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5 And Lot also, which went to bear then, that they might with Abram, had flocks, and dwell logether: for their subherds, and tents.
stance was great, so that they 6 And the land was not able could not dwell together.
Ich. 36. 7.
pass God's altar,' and renew those de had done it before, be no doubt did it lightful experiences which still dwelt now also. The motives which promptupon his memory. It is well known ed him then would prompt him now, with what exquisite emotions we re- to make a constant open profession of visit, after a long absence, the scenes his allegiance to the one only Jehovah. with which we were familiar in child. 5. And Lot also, which went with hood and youth. The sight of the Abram. That is, who went with him well-remembered places and objects not merely on this expedition to Egypt, calls up a thousand interesting asso- but who constantly attended him as a ciations, and our past existence seems travelling companion.- Had flocks for a time to be renewed to us. But to and herds and tents. The companions the pious heart how much more de- and kindred of the saints are often enlightful and exhilarating is the view of riched with outward blessings for their scenes where we have experienced stri- sakes. Lot, it appears, was no loser king instances of providential kind- even in a temporal point of view by ness, where we have received tokens of joining Abraham in going forth at the the divine favour, where we have held divine call. By 'tents' here is to be cominunion with God, and been re- understood also the occupants of tents, freshed with the manifestations of his as wife, children, and domestics. Thus love. Beth-el was undoubtedly a place 1 Chron. 4. 41, ' And these came in the thus endeared by association to Abra- days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and ham, and it is only the heart that is a smote their tents,' i. e. their tents and stranger to such feelings, that will find those who occupied them. any difficulty in accounting for his 6. And the land was not able to bear anxiety to tread again its pleasant pre- them. Heb. &02 23 did not bear them. cincts, and breathe the air that was Gr. ouk EXwper avrovs did not contain or shed around it. To such a worldly receive them. The idea of inability heart how unmeaning must seem the conveyed by our translation, though aspirations of the Psalmist, Ps. 84. 1, not expressed in so many words in the 2." How amiable are thy tabernacles, original, is yet clearly implied. A simO Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, ilar usage obtains elsewhere. Thus yea even fainteth for the courts of the 2 Chron. 1. 10, 'Who shall judge ?' comLord: my heart and my flesh crieth pared with 1 Kings, 3. 9, 'Who is able out for the living God.' But wisdom is to judge ? Mat. 12. 25, 'It shall not justified of her children. - And stand,' comp. with Mark, 3. 24, 'It there Abram ealled upon the name of cannot stand.' Mat. 17. 21, 'This the Lord. That is, re-established pub- kind goeth not out,' comp. with Mark, lic worship, and again acted the part of 9. 29, 'Cannot go out.' The reason of a patriarchal missionary. The words, the difficulty is stated in the next however, may be rendered as in the clause. - For their substance was Syriae, 'where Abram had called on great, so that, &c. Heb. 070727 rc. the name of the Lord,' i. e. during his kusham, their acquisition ; froin a root former sojourn in that place. But if he (027 rakash) signifying to get, toustu
7 And there was sa strife be- 8 And Abram said unto Lot, tween the berdwen of Abram's i Let there be no strife, I pray cattle and the herdmen of Luis thee, between me and thee, and cautle: and the Canaanite a: d between my herumen and thy the Perizzite dwelled then in the j herdmen; for we be brethren. land.
11 Cor. 6.7
g ch. 26. 20. h ch. 12. 6.
quire. Their possessions in cattle had are ever on the watch to discover, pubgradually accumulated to such an ex- lish, and triumph over the feuds and tent, that the pasturage was not suffi- jealousies that may arise between its cient for both. The could not,' lowo members. This consideration alone ever, was probably in part of a moral should quench the unholy flame of dikind, arising from the perverse, conten- visions among brethren. tious, or overreaching disposition of 8. Let there be no strife, I pray thee, their respective herdsmen.
between me and thee, and betw . n my 7. And there was a strife, &c. Ori- herdmen and thy herdmen. That is, ginating doubtless in the increasing between me and thee, even between
carcity of herbage for the subsistence my herdmen and thy herdmen. Though of their flocks, and in their eagerness there was dous less the most entire for the possession of the wells or harmony between Abraham and Lot fountains of water, which in that rocky personally, yet the language of the paarid region have a value unknown triarch, according to Scripture usage, to the inhabitants of a country like identifies the principals themselves with ours. An eager desire for increasing their respective companies. Abraham à domestic establishment is very nat- sagaciously foresaw that these jarring ural, but the occurrence here record- discords bei ween his people and those ed is a striking commentary on the of Lot would increase more and more evils incident to such a department of in proportion to the enlargement of one's prosperity. The indiscretion, their possessions, and that at last some rashness, and petulance of servants unpleasant misunderstanding might often result in imbroiling heads of house- take place between him and his nephholds in the most unhappy strifes. In ew. Acting therefore on the truth of the present instance, the mischiefs ari- the wise man's saying, that the beginsing from this source were enhanced by ning of strife is as the letting out of their being witnessed by ill-disposed water,' he would, by a timely precauneighbours, who would not fail to be of- tion, arrest the evil in the outset, and fended and scandalized by the quarrels preserve the existing peace between of these professed followers of the only themselves by suppressing the quarrel true religion. It is probably with a between their adherents.
- For we view to hint at this unfortunate conse- be brcthren. Heb. 1778 07238 men quence, that allusion is made to the brethren. The Hebrews called all kinsfact of the Canaanite and the Perizzite men 'brethren,' but the term here was then dwelling in the land. The writer applicable in a still stricter sense, for would intimate that notwithstanding Abraliam was uncle to Lot, and also the check which the vicinity of these hea his brother-in-law, having married Lot's then tribes ought to have given to the sister. But there was a yet higher spirit of dissension, it still broke forth. sense in which they were brethren,' So in all ages enemies of the church | viz, in their religion. They professed
9 * Is not the whole land be take the left hand, then I will fore thee? Separate thyself, I go to the right; or if thou depart pray thee, from me: 'if thou wilt to the right hand, then I will go
to the left.
k ch. 20. 15. & 34. 10. 1 Rom. 12. 18. Heb. 12. 14. Jam. 3. 17.
the same faith and the same mode of and generous spirit which ruigns in the worship ; and as disciples of a religion bosom where the love of God has tabreathing love and peace, good will and ken up its abode. It was on this trygood offices, it could not but be attending occasion that the practical nature ed with the worst consequences were of Abraham's religion most strikingly they now to fall out with each other, developed itself; and that we may and present the sad spectacle of a divi- flace this in its strongest light, let us ded brotherhood. Indeed, if one of the for a moment consider the manner in laws of our adoption into the family of which a man of the world would have God is, that we become in all things acted upon such an emergency, and brethren to each other, and bound to then mark the instructive contrast. study each other's interest, how little Would not he have argued thus ?does that sacred relation effect, if it does “There can be no question that if the not avail to extinguish our mutual an- land will not maintain our whole comimosities? When we look around us pany, it will at least maintain me and in the world, who would believe that all that belong to me. Let not my the same relationship, and therefore the nephew therefore seek to appropriate to same powerful motive for peace, still ex- himself what has been in so peculiar ists among its inhabitants? When we a manner promised to me. I have both see the quarrels and the coldnesses, the the right to claim the country, and the lawsuits and the strif-s, between those power to enforce that right, and though who are not only bound by the com- I would not do any thing that is not mon tie of Christian fraternity, but by equitable and kind, it cannot be ex. the closest bonds of affinity and blood, pected that the elder should yield to the are we not ternpted to inquire, can younger, or that I should undervalue these men be indeed 'brethren ? Can the proinises or the gifts of God, by they all be trusting to the same hope being so unnecessarily ready to transof salvation, and expecting, or even de fer them to another. If strife or hostilsiring to dwell together in the same ity be awakened, the peril be to him heaven? Indeed, is it possible to con- who awakens it; I have wherewithal ceive that with such divisions of heart, to defend myself and to punish my opwith such bitterness of feeling, the same ponents.' Such would have been uneternal mansions could contain them? questionably the opinion of nine tenths Would not the tranquillity of heaven be of mankind, and so prevalent is this disturbed if they were admitted there? selfish mode of reasoning and acting, Would heaven be heaven, if it were a that we scarcely feel that there would place where so many differing brethren, have been any thing objectionable, had under the influence of alienated affec- this been the language and conduct of tions, were to be congregated for ever the patriarch himself. But how differtogether?
ent was the fact! Abraham's conduct 9. Is not the whole land before thee? throughout was worthy of his exalted Separate thyself, &c. It would be dif- character. It was (1) eminently conficult to point out a finer exemplifica- descending. As the elder of the two, tion of the truly noble, disinterested, I as standing in the superior relation of
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, destroyed Sodom and Gomorand beheld all - the plain of Jur- rah, even as the garden of the dan, that it was well watered LORD, like the land of Egypt, as every where, before the LORD thou comest unto p Zoar.
Deut. 34. 3.
Ps. 107. 34. nch.
och. 2. 10. Isai. 51. 3. p. ch. 14. 2, 8. & 19. 22.
m ch. 19. 17. 19. 24, 25.
an uncle, as being the person peculiar- spirit displayed itself in this proffer! ly called of God, while Lot was only Would to God that such an indifference a nephew and an attendant, he might to carnal interests were more prevalent have claimed the deference and submis- in the world, and especially among pro. sion due to him, and insisted on the fessors of religion! This would show right of a first choice. But instead of a becoming deadness to the world. It arrogating to himself any authority or would give evidence that our hearts standing upon his prerogative, he was were set on things above and not on ready to waive his rights and act the things below. It would illustrate more part of an inferior, so that peace might strongly than ten thousand wor is, the be preserved between them. In so do- efficacy of faith, and the excellence of ing he evinced the spirit of genuine pie- true religion. Yet alas! how little of ty, which teaches that condescension this spirit is there upon earth! To give is the truest honour, and that to be the up a single point, to yield upon a sinservant of all is to imitate most nearly gle question, although you know yourthe character of our blessed Lord. self to be in the wrong, is, in the opinFrom him accordingly the proposal | ion of the world, rather a mark of pucame, that since circumstances imperi- sillanimity and weakness, than of comously required a separation, they shonld | mon honesty and candour; while even separate in a manner that became their among sincere Christians such a conholy profession. How many angry cession is considered as no slight tridisputes, and bitter quarrels, and bloody umph of principle. But to yield when wars, might have been prevented, if the you are confessedly in the right, to give contending parties, instead of proudly up your claim when justice, reason, requiring the first advances from each equity, and the power to maintain it other, would strive who should be fore are all on your side, this is so rare as most in making proposals of peace! to be rather matter of tradition that (2.) It was generous. Common jus- such things have been, than among the tice required that the partition of land every-day occurrences of the Chrisshould be such as to secure to Abra- tian's life, that such things are. Yet ham equal advantages with Lot. But how completely was this the princidisregarding this he cheerfully conceded ple upon which Abraham acted, and to his nephew whatever portion he saw which the God of Abraham commands. fit to take. Though he too had numer- 10. And Lot lifted up his eyes, &c. ous flocks and herds to be subsisted as However admirable was the conduct well as Lot, and though he could not of Abraham, we observe a striking conbut know that there was great differ- trast to it in that of Lot. His conduct ence in the quality of the lands on either was censurable (1.) as it argued an side of him, the one being far more fer- inordinate degree of selfishness and tile and better watered than the other, of concern about his temporal interyet he desired Lot to occupy whichever ests. Having now an opportunity afhe preferred, and to leave the other to forded him of gratifying his covetous him. What a noble and magnanimous | desires, he seems greedily to have em
braced it. Had not selfishness deaden- selves and their families in places where ed the finer feelings of his nature, he sabbaths and sanctuaries are unknown, would have returned the compliment and where they are constantly exposed and given to Abraham the first choice. to the most pernicious influences. Alas, Or, if he had accepted his offer, he at how dear a price are such worldly would at least have endeavoured to advantages purchased! Well will it be make an equitable division of the lands, for them, if their goodly plains and so that each might have a fair portion of fields do not finally yield such a harthe more fertile country. But instead vest of sorrow as was gathered by of this, he casts a wishful eye over the hapless Lot. - 4 Beheld all the plain well-watered plains of the Jordan, and of Jordan, that it was well watered coin the spirit of a grasping worldling ery where. Heb. noun 750 n that leaves nothing unappropriated. If he it was all a watering"; i. e. abundantly escapes the charge of adding field to watered, or a region that shewed the field, it is by seizing the whole at once. fertilizing effects which the irrigation of Nothing less than all will satisfy his the Jordan would naturally produce. inordinate lust of land. How palpa- This river, being the principal stream ble the sordid selfishness of such a con- of Palestine, has acquired a distinction duet! How clear the evidence that much greater than its geographical imworldly considerations had obtained the portance could have given. It is soineascendancy, and were the governing times called 'the river' by way of emprinciples of his heart. His conduct, inence, being in fact almost the only (2.) was culpable because it argued stream of the country which continues too little regard to the interests of his to flow in summer. The river rises soul. He can hardly be supposed to about an hour and a quarter's journey have been ignorant of the character of|(say three or three miles and a quarter) the people of Sodom, for they declared northeast from Banias, the ancient their sin in the most open and unblush- Cæsarea Philippi, in a plain near a hill ing manner, as if in defiance of heaven called Tel-el-kadi. Here there are two and earth; nor could he but have been springs near each other, one smaller aware of the tendency of evil commu- than the other, whose waters very soon nications to corrupt good manners. unite, forming a rapid river, from twelve But as he seems to have left Abraham to fifteen yards across, which rushes without regret, so it would appear that over a stony bed into the lower plain, he approached Sodom without fear. where it is joined by a river which rises What benefits he was likely to lose, to the northeast of Banias.
A few what dangers to incur, . by the step, miles below their junction the now seem not to have entered his mind. considerable river enters the small lake His earthly prosperity was all that en- of Houle, or Semechonitis, (called 'the gaged his thoughts; and whether the waters of Merom' in the Old Testawelfare of his soul was promoted or ment). This lake receives several other impeded, he did not care. This con- mountain-streams, some of which seem duct no one hesitates to condemn, yet to have as good claim to be regarded as how many are there that practically forming the Jordan as that to which pursue the same heedless and perilous it is given in the previous statement; course in their great movements in life? and it would perhaps be safest to conWith the single view of bettering their sider the lake formed by their union worldly condition, they often turn their as the real source of the Jordan. After backs upon the means of grace, and leaving the lake, the river proceeds reckless of consequences plant them- l about twelve miles to the larger lake,