and Abimelech asked him, "Why have you set apart these seven ewe lambs?"
Abraham a sojourner in that land, afterwards the troubler of Israel; for his sake as discipline, for their sakes as opportunity.
1. God's care for those beyond the covenant. A Beersheba in a heathen land.
2. The things of this world made a channel of higher blessings. The covenant arising out of bodily wants a civil agreement. The oath a testimony to God where reverently made.
3. He is not far from every one of us. The neighborhood of Beersheba, the revelation of Jehovah, the little company of believers.
4. The blessing made manifest. The days spent in Philistia left behind them some enlightenment.
5. Adaptation of Divine truth to those to whom it is sent. Abraham's name of God, Jehovah El Olam; the two revelations, the God of nature and the God of grace. The name of the Lord itself an invitation to believe and live. Paul at Athens adapted himself in preaching to the people's knowledge while leading them to faith. - R.
Swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me. I.
ABRAHAM YIELDS READILY TO THE REQUEST FOR HIS FRIENDSHIP. Abimelech's motives in seeking the friendship of Abraham were probably mixed, and included.
2. The worship of success.
3. The admiration of goodness.
II. ABRAHAM UNDERTAKES THE DUTIES OF FRIENDSHIP. He freely accepts Abimelech's conditions.
1. True and righteous dealing.
2. Gratitude for favours shown.
3. Faithfulness to the faults of a friend.
III. ABRAHAM RECOGNIZED THE SACREDNESS OF FRIENDSHIP (ver. 24).
Observe —(1) The motive that induces this friendly request; "he saw that God was with him." Probably the news of the extraordinary birth of Isaac had reached the court of Abimelech, and became a topic of conversation. "This," said he, "is a great man, and a great family, and will become a great nation; the blessing of heaven attends him. It is our wisdom. therefore, to take the earliest opportunity to be on good terms with him!" Had Abimelech's successors always acted on this principle towards Israel, it had been better for them; for whether they knew it or not, God, in blessing Abraham, had promised to "bless them that blessed him, and to curse them that cursed him."(2) The solemnity with which he wished the friendship to be confirmed: "swear unto me by God." ... It is a dictate of prudence very common among magistrates to require men to swear by a name which the party holds sacred. In this view Abimelech certainly acted a wise part; for whoever made light of God's name, the party here concerned would not. Abraham's cheerful and ready compliance. I hope he did not need to be sworn not to deal falsely; but as posterity was concerned the mere solemn the engagement the better. The friend of God has no desire but to be the friend of man.
PeopleAbimelech, Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, Phichol, Sarah
PlacesBeersheba, Egypt, Gerar, Paran
TopicsAbimelech, Abim'elech, Apart, Ewe, Ewe-lambs, Hast, Lambs, Mean, Meaning, Seven, Themselves
Outline1. Isaac is born, and circumcised.
6. Sarah's joy.
8. Isaac is weaned.
9. Hagar and Ishmael sent away.
15. Hagar in distress.
17. The angel relieves and comforts her.
23. Abimelech's covenant with Abraham at Beersheba.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 21:22-31
5430 oaths, human
5077 Abraham, character
LibraryCompassion for Souls
Behold the compassion of a mother for her child expiring with thirst, and remember that such a compassion ought all Christians to feel towards souls that are perishing for lack of Christ, perishing eternally, perishing without hope of salvation. If the mother lifted up her voice arid wept, so also should we; and if the contemplation of her dying, child was all too painful for her, so may the contemplation of the wrath to come, which is to pass upon every soul that dies impenitent, become too painful …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871
Therefore, if we Compare the Things Themselves, we May no Way Doubt that The...
28. Therefore, if we compare the things themselves, we may no way doubt that the chastity of continence is better than marriage chastity, whilst yet both are good: but when we compare the persons, he is better, who hath a greater good than another. Further, he who hath a greater of the same kind, hath also that which is less; but he, who only hath what is less, assuredly hath not that which is greater. For in sixty, thirty also are contained, not sixty also in thirty. But not to work from out that …
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage
The Gospel Feast
"When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?"--John vi. 5. After these words the Evangelist adds, "And this He said to prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do." Thus, you see, our Lord had secret meanings when He spoke, and did not bring forth openly all His divine sense at once. He knew what He was about to do from the first, but He wished to lead forward His disciples, and to arrest and …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII
Of Bearing the Cross --One Branch of Self-Denial.
The four divisions of this chapter are,--I. The nature of the cross, its necessity and dignity, sec. 1, 2. II. The manifold advantages of the cross described, sec. 3-6. III. The form of the cross the most excellent of all, and yet it by no means removes all sense of pain, sec. 7, 8. IV. A description of warfare under the cross, and of true patience, (not that of philosophers,) after the example of Christ, sec. 9-11. 1. THE pious mind must ascend still higher, namely, whither Christ calls his disciples …
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life
But if Moreover any not Having Charity, which Pertaineth to the Unity of Spirit...
23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirit and the bond of peace whereby the Catholic Church is gathered and knit together, being involved in any schism, doth, that he may not deny Christ, suffer tribulations, straits, hunger, nakedness, persecution, perils, prisons, bonds, torments, swords, or flames, or wild beasts, or the very cross, through fear of hell and everlasting fire; in nowise is all this to be blamed, nay rather this also is a patience meet to …
St. Augustine—On Patience
The Annunciation of Jesus the Messiah, and the Birth of his Forerunner.
FROM the Temple to Nazareth! It seems indeed most fitting that the Evangelic story should have taken its beginning within the Sanctuary, and at the time of sacrifice. Despite its outward veneration for them, the Temple, its services, and specially its sacrifices, were, by an inward logical necessity, fast becoming a superfluity for Rabbinism. But the new development, passing over the intruded elements, which were, after all, of rationalistic origin, connected its beginning directly with the Old Testament …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession …
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4
The Holiness of God
The next attribute is God's holiness. Exod 15:51. Glorious in holiness.' Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Psa 111:1. Holy and reverend is his name.' He is the holy One.' Job 6:60. Seraphims cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.' Isa 6:6. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God's holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil. Of purer eyes than …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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