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2 And Abram said, Lord God, I go childless, and the steward of what wilt thou give me, seeing mine house is this Eliezer of Da
e Acts 7. 5.
a prophecy in Is. 1. I, is called a vision, ple, interposes at the needful moment in accordance with what is said Num. and ministers the support, confidence, 12. 6, 'If there be a prophet among and courage which they require. — you, I the Lord will make myself I am thy shield. Gr. 'I will protect known to him in a vision (1892). thee.' Chal. 'My word shall be thy There is great obscurity resting upon strength.' As thou wert shielded by the modes of the divine communica- my protection in the late engagement, tions to men, but when God is said to so believe me to be to thee an everhave appeared to any one even in a vis- present defence. The same assurance ion, it does not necessarily follow that is virtually given to all God's servants, the recipient of such a revelation was Ps. 84. 11- And thine exceeding properly asleep. Though the night great reward. Rather, as the Heb. season and the state of sleep was often accents require, and as the Greek renchosen for that purpose, and probably ders it, 'Thy reward shall be exceeding was in the present instance, yet in great.' Although there is nothing speother cases the prophet was evidently cifically said of the grounds of this rethrown into a temporary trance, in ward, or of the nature of it, yet there which the exercise of the senses on
can be little doubt that it was but anoutward objects was suspended. In other form of the gracious promise alother instances the will of heaven was ready made to Abraham of his being imparted by the powerful agency of blest with a numerous seed, of his inthe Spirit of God, giving to the subject heriting the land of Canaan, and of his of it a strong perception and super finally becoming a fountain of blessing natural persuasion of the truth of the to the whole world. But as Abraham things revealed. See 'Hengstenberg's had done nothing to merit all this, if it Christology,' p. 217. Keith's Transl. is here spoken of as a reward, it could 1836.- - Saying, Feur not. As Abra- be only a reward to faith, and not to ham had defeated the kings mentioned works ; and it is in this view that the in the last chapter with far inferior num Apostle seems to allude to this very bers, he may have thought it not un- terin as here employed, Rom. 4. 4, likely that, in order to retrieve the dis- ‘Now to him that worketh is the regrace, they might again rally and come ward not reckoned of grace, but of upon him with a force which he should debt.' The plea of rewardable works be unable to resist. Such an assu- however did not hold in regard to Abrarance, therefore, as he now received of ham; 'But to him that worketh not the divine protection, must have been (that is not said to have worked, viz. peculiarly seasonable and consolatory. Abraham), but believeth on him that Whether from a review of past diffi- justifieth the ungodly, his faith is countculties, or from a prospect of augmented for righteousness.' ed trials, or from an apprehension of 2. And Abram said, Lord God what disappointed hopes, the most eminent wilt thou give me. Rather, according saints are prone at times to give way to the Heb. 3 yon nn how wilt thou to discouragements; but God, who do (it) for me. 'Such in numerous inwatches over the secret fears as well stances is the force of the original paras the outward afflictions of his peo- ticle here rendered 'what.' Thus Gen.
3 And Abram said, Behold, to lo, one born in mine house is me thou hast given no seed: and mine heir.
( ch. 14. 14.
44. 16, ' Horo (ar) shall we clear our tationis, son of running about ; or selves ? Job, 9. 2, 'How (aina) should one who occupies the station of headman be just with God ? Abraham's servant in the midst of a numerous thoughts instinctively reverted to the household. The idiom by which such great promise, and he here suggests an one is called a son of stewardship,' what he conceived, in the judgment of is of very frequent occurrence; thus human reason, an insuperable obsta- 1 Kings, 1. 52, son of strength' for cle to the fulfilment of this promise. 'strong man;' Ezek. 4. 1, 'sons of cap He reverently inquires how it was tivity' for 'captives;' Ju. 48, 45, 'sons possible that good word could be ac- of uproar' for 'tumultuous persons,' &c. complished to him, so long as he was The Chal. reading is *0270 m3 bar living and apparently like to die in a
parnasa, son of feeding, sustentation, childless slate? It is proper to remark,
or procuring, in evident allusion to the however, that the words of the com- office of a steward, whose business it mon translation make a consistent is to give every one his portion of sense in themselves, and do no violence meat (food) in due season,' Luke 12. 42. to the original, implying that Abraham The reason of Abraham's introducing could find no comfort or happiness in the mention of the steward of his house any thing else, so long as the promise in this connection, and the manner in respecting a blessed seed remained un- which it bore upon the objection statfulfilled or unfulfilling. Still the inter-ed, will be apparent from the next pretation we have given we think a
verse, and the accompanying notes. better one, as being equally consistent
-1 Is this Eliezer of Damascus. with the original and more natural in
. itself. - Seeing I go childless. Heb.
mascene, or Damasco-man, Eliezor. ngang 73707 am going childless ; i. e. The name 'Eliezer signifies help of am going out of the world. Thus the God,' and from this name, especially as Targ. Jon. “Seeing I depart out of the it is written Ex. 6. 25, 'Eleazer,' comes midst of this world.' Gr. arodvojice the apocopated 'Lazar,' and rom this, atekvos I am being dismissed, or let de- by adding the terınınation os, the Gr. part, childless ; the same word as that Lazaros; Eng. 'Lazarus. Guided used by Simeon, Luke 2. 29. `Now let- by inis clew, we learn why it is that test thou thy servant depart (ato, vels) our Saviour, in the parable of the rich in peace. Compare 1 Chron. 17. 11 man and Lazarus, Luke 16. 23, reprewith 2 Sam. 17. 12, where 'go' and sents Lazarus as being 'in Abraham's 'sleep' are evidently used as synony- bosom;? i. e. seated familiarly with mous terms, signifying to die.' So also him at the same table. It is because Ps. 39. 13, 'Spare me, that I may re- there is a covert allusion, in the person cover strength before I go hence (72x), of Lazarus, to this same Eliezer, the and be no more.' Ps. 58. 8, "As a patriarch's venerable steward. Since snail which melteth, let every one of the discourse, Luke 16. 20, is concern. them pass away (73079 go),' i. e. let ing Abraham and Lazarus, who would them die. Steward of mine house. not call to mind Abraham and Eleazer Heb. na pun 73 son of adminis- his servant, one born at Damascus, a tration or stewardship: filius discursi. Gentile by birth, and some time the
this Da הוא דמשק אליעזר .Heb
4 And behold, the word of the 5 And he brought him forth LORD came unto him, saying, abroad, and said, Look now toThis shall not be thine heir; but ward heaven, and tell the i stars, he that & shall come forth out of if thou be able to number them: thine own bowels shall be thine and he said unto him, "So shall heir.
thy seed be.
g 2 Sam. 7. 12 & 16. 11. 2 Chron. 32. 21.
b Ps. 147. 4. i Jer. 33. 22. k ch. 22. 17. Ex. 32. 13. Deut. 1. 10. & 10. 22. 1 Chron 27. 23. Rom 4. 18. Heb. 11. 12. ch. 13. 16.
heir apparent of Abraham, but shut of this class as their own child and out of the inheritance by the birth of heir; or sometimes they purchase promIsaac, yet restored here into Abraham's ising boys when young, and after have bosom? Which I leave to the judg- ing brought them up in their own faith, ment of the reader, whether it might formally adopt them as their children.' not hint the calling of the Gentiles into Pict. Bible. Such appears to have the faith of Abraham.' Lightfoot. been Abraham's idea in the present in
3. One born in mine house is mine stance. Instead of thinking of adoptheir. Heb. 078 0777 09 - ä ing his nephew Lot, he speaks as if his son of my house is inheriting me; 'i. e. faithful steward were the probable canabout to inherit, or destined or likely didate for that honour. to inherit me. To 'inherit one' is a 4. The word of the Lord came unto Hebraism for inheriting one's goods, him, saying, &c. God, in mercy to the or estate. Thus, Jer. 49. 1, "Why patriarch, condescends to remove his then doth their king inherit Gad?' doubts on this head, by assuring him this is explained in the ensuing clause that his heir should be the offspring of to import dwelling in his cities. By his own body. This he had not before the like idiom, 'to possess great na- done, but had merely given him a gentions,' Deut. 9. 1, is to possess their eral promise that he should be blest lands, cities, and substance; for the na- with an innumerable seed, leaving it tions themselves were to be destroyed. uncertain whether it should be by the So, Ps. 79. 7, “They have devoured increase of a natural or an adopted Jacob;' i. e. they have consumed his seed. But now his doubts on that possessions. 2 Cor. 11. 20, 'Ye suffer head are fully resolved, the promise if a man devour you ;' i. e. devour your being renewed in so explicit a manner, property. By one 'born in his house that it was impossible he should afteris meant a home-born servant in oppo- wards mistake in regard to it. It is sition to those bought or obtained true, indeed, he was not yet expressly otherwise from without, and also from informed whether this promised seed ‘sons of the womb, Prov. 31. 2, or should be the offspring of Sarah or of one's own proper children. 'In Mo- some other woman, but on this point hammedan Asia the slaves termed also he was afterwards clearly instruct'bouse-born' are regarded with peculiar ed, Gen. 17. 16; teaching us that it esteem. They form part of their mas- sometimes pleases God to make known ter's family, and their welfare is an ob- his will and impart his promises to his ject of his peculiar care. They are the servants not all at once, but by gradmost attached of his adherents, and ual disclosures. often inherit a large share of his wealth. 5. And he brought him forth abroad, It is sometimes the practice of child and said, &c. If the vision' menless persons to adopt a favourite slave tioned in the first verse was vouchsafed
6 And he i believed in the the LORD that brought thee out Lord; and be m counted it to him of • Ur of the Chaldees, P to give for righteousness.
thee this land to inherit it. 7 And he said unto him, I am
nch. 12. 1. O ch. 11. 28, 31. p Ps. 105. 42, 44.
Gal. 3. 6. James 2. 23.
Rom. 4. 13.
1 Rom. 4. 3, 9, 22. n Ps. 106. 31.
to Abraham in the sleeping hours of Chal. ang 722 77977 believed in night, we may easily conceive that it the Word of the Lord. Gr. EWLOTEVOS was early in the morning, before sun
To Oew believed God, omitting the 'in,' rise, that he was brought forth and bid which is followed by the Apostle, Rom. to count, if he could, the number of the 4. 3. In numerous other instances in stars. And this, on the whole, seems the New Testament the Greek verb the simplest mode of exposition, though
TTLO TEVw to believe is followed by the parMaimonides and other Jewish writers suppose that every thing related in this ticles els, enl, or ev, in, as if there were chapter was transacted in vision, in a designed distinction, at least in some which state stars might be made to
cases, between 'believing' and 'believappear to the mental perception al ing in ;' and perhaps it may not be noonday, as well as to the natural
improper to say, that while the devils
eye at midnight. This is indeed true, and believe Christ, a true penitent only it is true also that the Scriptures often can 'believe in' him.
The Hebrew represent that which is done in vision term 124 aman, from which comes the as if it were an historical fact, without familiar 'Amen' so be it, signifies to be clearly drawing the line between them, firm, fixed, stable, sure; and in the as in Jer. 13. 4, 5. Ezek. 8.7, 9. But Hiphil conjugation, which is here emin the present case, as all the circum- ployed, followed by 3 in or 3 to, to esstances are consistent with the literal tablish one's self, or one's faith, firmly verity of the incidents recorded, we pre- in or towards an object, to deem, or acfer this mode of interpretation, espe- count, or make sure to one's self, and cially as an act of faith so highly com- so to lean upon, con fide in, or trust to, mended as that of Abraham on this any thing as stable and stedfast. occasion would seem to have required Hence as applied to the act of a believthe exercise of a waking and not of a ing agent in reference to divine promsleeping or entranced mind. Whether ises, it denotes a degree of assured conthe innumerable host of stars were de- fidence amounting, as it were, to a signed to shadow forth the countless creative efficacy, making to exist, submultitude of his natural or his spiritual stantiating, confirming the thing beseed is not apparent from the narrative, lieved, 'calling things which are not as nor is it certain that a distinction of though they were.' Thus faith is the This kind was intended. It was prob- substance (the substantiating principle) ably designed as a general intimation of things hoped for;' and in this view including both, though with a domi- Christ is denominated the 'Amen, the nant reference to his seed in the line of faithful and true witness,' from his Isaac and Jacob. This is to be infer- being the ground of the most fixed red from the passages which speak of and stable confidence, whose fidelity the fulfilment of promise, as Deut. 10. or trust-worthiness may be relied upon 22. 1 Chron. 27. 23. Neh. 9. 23. with unbounded assurance. The cir
6 And he believed in the Lord. Heb. cumstances which gave so much effi. 7775,"3 7922817 believed in Jehovah. Icacy and value to the faith of Abraham
-and he count ויחשבה לו צדקה .Heb
on this occasion are so forcibly recited | pute (nn) iniquity unto me.' Ps. in the Epistle to the Romans, that we 32. 2, Blessed is the man un o whom adduce the words of the Apostle as the the Lord imputeth (207) not iniquimost apposite commentary which can ty. Comp. Lev. 7. 18.–17. 4. Num. be given upon this passage. Rom. 4. 18. 27. The expression before us be18–22, “Who against hope believed in comes important from the use which hope, that he might become the father is made of it by the Apostle Paul, Rom. of many nations; according to that 4, in establishing the doctrine of juswhich was spoken, So shall thy seed | tification by faith ; but as a full considbe. And being not weak in faith, he eration of his reasoning on the subject' considered not his own body now dead, would lead us into 100 wide a field of when he was about an hundred years discussion we shall content ourselves old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's with glancing at some of the leading womb. He staggered not at the prom- aspects of the passage. The 'believise of God through unbelief; but was ing which is here said to be counted to strong in faith, giving glory to God; Abraham for righteousness is not to and being fully persuaded, that what be understood of the general and habithe had promised, he was able also to ual faith that governed his life and perform. And therefore it was impu- entitled him to the character of a truly ted to him for righteousness.' — And pious man. It was the particular act he counted it to him for righteousness. of believing here spoken of which was
so imputed. Nor is it to be supposed ed it to him righteousness. Gr. Elogioon that Abraham now first began to beavtw Els dekaloovun it was reckoned, lieve savingly in God, for the Apostle accounted, imputed to him for right- assures us, Heb. 11. 8. 9, that it was by cousness. Nearly all the ancient ver- faith that he obeyed when called, long sions agree with the Sept. in rendering before this, to forsake his native counthe verb in the passive, which shows try, and sojourn in a strange land; that they understood it as construct- and so far as he then had true faith, he ed with an indefinite nominative, doubtless had justifying faith, or such equivalent to the passive, like Gen. 2. a faith as availed to constitute him a 20, But for Adam there was not found pious man and an heir of salvation. an help meet.' Heb. 872 x3 one did In what sense, then, was his faith on not find. See Note on Gen. 16. 14. this occasion peculiarly counted to him This current of authorities, which is for righteousness? We answer, that it countenanced by the Apostle's citing it was counted to him, as in its own naalso in the passive, strongly inclines ture it truly was, as a righteous, that us to regard this as the genuine sense is, an acceptable, an excellent, a praiseof the original, although the main scope worthy act. This we conceive to be, of the clause remains the same which in this connection, the genuine import ever construction be adopted. The of 1979 (Gr. dekaloouun) translated Scriptural usage of the term awn is righteousness, a term clearly used in a primarily to think, purpose, intend, parallel sense in D ut 24. 13, 'In any imagine, devise, as evil or mischief to- case thou shalt deliver him the pledge wards any one. Gen. 50. 20. Ps. 35. again when the sun goeth down, that 4, 20.—41. 8. Jer. 11. 19. 2 Sam. 14. 13. he may sleep in his own raiment and And secondly, to reckon, esteem, account; bless thee: and it shall be righteousto impite, to put to one's account, ness (77279) unto thee before the Lord whether favourably or the reverse. Thus thy God;' i. e. a good, a meritorious 2 Sam. 19. 20, 'Let not my lord im- l deed, an act of piety. So in Gen. 18