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10 And he took unto him all against another: but the birds these, and divided them in the divided he not. midsi, and laid each piece one 11 And when the fowls came
10. And he took unto him all these, fowls, i. e. the ravenous birds of prey, and divided them in the midst, &c. as eagles, vultures, kites, &c. which This very solemn form of ratifying a feed upon dead bodies. As the slain covenant is again particularly mention and divided animals represent the naed in Jer 24. 18. It consisted in cut- tion of Israel, so these birds of prey ting the throat of the victim, and pour- were doubtless emblematic of the Egyping out its blood. The carcass wastians and other enemies who should then divided, lengthwise, as nearly as fall upon, rob, and afflict them with the possible into two equal parts, which utmost rapacity and cruelty. Thus in being placed opposite to each other at a Ezek. 17. 3, 7, 12, the invading kings short distance, the covenanting parties of Babylon and Egypt are compared approached at the opposite ends of the to eagles; in Ezek. 39. 4, 17. Rev. 19. passage thus formed, and meeting in 17, 18, various hostile powers, under the middle took the customary oath. the emblem of ravenous birds, are The practice was by no means pecu- summoned to feast upon the sacrifice liar to the Hebrews. Traces of it may of a devoted and slaughtered people. be found in the Greek and Roman wri- The Jerus. Targ. interprets the passage ters, and in the accounts of travellers. in the same sense, understanding it of On the question of the time, scope, and the idolatrous monarchies which afobject of this transaction symbolically flicted Israel. Abram drove them considered, we defer our remarks to away. Heb. On* 309 puffed them v. 17. And laid each piece one away; i. e. by swelling his cheeks with against another.
Heb. W* 75797 his breath and blowing at them. Ains1799 600p7763 gave every one's worth renders it 'huffed them away.' part or piece against his fellow; i. e. The expression seems to be employed head against head, shoulder against with a view to denote the ease with shoulder, leg against leg, and so of the which, under a protecting providence, other parts, with a considerable space the assaults of their enemies should between, through which the covenant- be repulsed from the chosen people. ing parties were to pass, v. 17.- Targ. Jon. 'And idolatrous people deBut the birds divided he not. The scended, who are likened to an unclean same thing was afterwards prescribed bird, in order to prey upon the riches of in the law, Lev. 1. 17, 'He shall cleave Israel; but the merit of Abraham proit (the bird) with the wings thereof, tected them. Though Abraham is but shall not divide it asunder.' Fowls here represented as the instrument, yet were considered rather as mere appen- the effect is to be ascribed primarily to dages to the sacrifice, and their blood the tutelar agency of Omnipotence. was not sprinkled upon the altar. Yet Thus Ex. 15. 10, of the Egyptianis, in the present instance it is probable Thou didst blow with thy wind, the that the birds, like the several parts of sea covered them; they rank as lead the animals, were laid whole even in the mighty waters. Thus 100 Ezek. against each other.
21. 31, of the Ammonites, 'I will pour. 11. And when the fowls came down. out mine indignation upon thee, I Heb. 1997 the foul, collect. sing. for will blow against 'thee in the fire of
down upon the carcasses, Abram going down, 'a deep sleep fell drove them away.
upon Abram; and lo, an horror of 12 And when the sun was great darkness fell upon him.
t Gen. 2. 21. Job. 4. 13.
my wrath.' The following practical victims be not plundered nor polluted. suggestion, though doubtless very re- Thus employed he continues till the mote from the primitive drift of the going down of the sun, when his eyewords, and resting moreover on the lids begin to grow heavy, being pressed assumption that the present ceremony down by a supernatural impulse. And was a sacrifice, is yet drawn so nat- now we may expect that God will an. uraily from the incidents that we scru- swer him, as he had done before, by ple not to give it. 'Interruptions, we vision. But very different, in the cir. see, attended the father of the faithful in cumstances at least, is the revelation his most solemn approaches to God; now granted him from that which he and interruptions of a different kind had previously enjoyed. An horror attend believers in this. How often do of great darkness falls upon him, an intruding cares, like unclean birds, effect akin to that overpowering influseize upon that time and those affec-ence both upon the mind and the body tions which are devoted to God! Hap- which we elsewhere learn was py is it for us, if by prayer and watch- unusual accompaniment of prophetic fulness, we can drive them away so as trances. Thus Dan. 10. 8, 'I was left to worship him withont distraction!' | alone, and saw this great vision, and Fuller.
there remained no strength in me: for 12. And when the sun was going my comeliness was turned into cordown. Heb. 1733 to go in ; i. e. ready ruption, and I retained no strength.' to set; the usual form of expression in Job, 3. 13, 14, 'In thoughts from the the original. - A deep sleep fell upon visions of the night, when deep sleep Abraham. Heb. non tardamah. falleth on man, fear came upon me, Gr. Exoraris, i. e. a supernatural trance and trembling which made all my or extacy. The Heb. term is the same bones to shake.' The visitations of with that employed respecting the deep the Almighty are always awful, even sleep into which Adam was cast Gen. those of love and mercy, and no doubt 2. 21, upon the creation of Eve.—the preternatural gloom now made to An horror of great darkness fell upon rest upon Abraham's spirit, was dehim. Taking the whole narrative to signed in part to impress him with a gether it would seem that the day profound reverence of God, and to was entirely dedicated by Abraham to teach him that those that rejoice in him God. His first vision was before day- must still rejoice with trembling. But light, while the stars were yet to be it cannot be questioned that there was seen. In the morning he is ordered to yet a farther reach in the purpose of provide, slay, and arrange the appoint- this extraordinary illapse upon the paed victims, and in these preparations, triarch's mind. Every incident of the which must naturally have required transaction appears to have been fraught considerable time, it is probable the for- with emblematic meaning, and this mer part of the day was spent till noon among the rest. The overwhelming or after. Having thus done what was darkness, and the accompanying menenjoined, he was still required to wait tal emotions, were a striking image of and watch ; wait till God should con- profound distress and affliction, and descend to appear, and watch that the from what follows in the ensuing verse,
13 And he said unto Abram, \ is not theirs, and shall sarve Know of a surety " that thy seed them; and_ w they shall afflict shall be a stranger in a land that thein four hundred years;
u Ex. 12. 40. Ps. 105. 23. Acts 7. 6.
W Ex. 1. 11.
Ps. 105. 25.
we are left in no doubt that such was ed in compliance with his request in indeed their real purport. By signifi- v. 8.- - Shall be a stranger in a cant symbols he designed to give him land that is not theirs. The primary a just conception of the manner in and principal reference here is to the which the great end should be accom- land of Egypt, although from the lanplished, and to indicate that it would guage of Gen. 17. 8. Ps. 105. 9—12, it be against much opposition, through would seem that even the land of Camany troubles, and after long delays. naan itself, which though theirs by This calamitous scene of suffering was promise, was not actually made over to be brought about mainly, though not to thein as a possession and inheritance exclusively, by the oppressive power till some generations afterwards, was of Egypt. From this indeed they were also intended; and in the meantime was afterwards to be signally delivered and actually the scene of more or less perplanted in the land of promise ; but secution to the patriarchs, as is clear the darkness inust precede the light; from Gen. 21. 9.-26. 7, 14, 15 et inf. trial must pave the way for triumph. | And shall serve them. Heb. Egypt indeed is not named, for proph- 07739?. It is far from clear that our ecy requires to be delivered with some translation has given the right view of degree of obscurity, or it might tend to this clause. It is altogether more natdefeat its own design; but the grand ural to suppose the nominative here is fact of a series of unparalleled suffer- the people of the land in which they ings is clearly disclosed, while it is left were to be strangers, and that the proto time to develope the various related noun 'them' in both cases refers to the particulars. The Jerusalem Targum seed of Abraham. gives the symbol a somewhat more ex- therefore we take for ona 7723 they tended scope than most commentators; shall serve themselves of them. The And as the sun was near to setting, a Sept. has dovlwoovoly avrovs they shall profound slumber seized upon Abra- enslave them ; the Vulg. subjicient eos ham, and behold four kingdoms stood servituti, shall subject them to bondage, up with a view to reduce his children and equivalently the Syr. Arab. and into a state of bondage.' These king- Targums; all confirming the sense doms, as we elsewhere learn, were the which we propose. - They shall Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Ro- afflict them four hundred years. It is man, of which great account is made, not entirely clear from what date this as persecuting powers, by the Jewish period is to be reckoned. Ainsworth, writers.
with great probability, computes it fron 13. Know of a surety, &c. Heb. the time of Ishmael's mocking Isaac,
777 77 knowing know. This can be Gen. 21. 9. Gal. 4. 29, which occurred understood only as God's own inter- thirty years after the promise recorded pretation of the sign which he had Gen 12, 3. This promise was given vouchsafed to Abraham in the incidents 430 years before the giving of the law, above recorded. He here explains to Gal. 3. 17, and from Ex. 12. 41, it aphim the manner in which he is to un- pears that their deliverance from bondderstand the sign that was now grant- | age was aļso 430 years after that prom.
עבדום The word
14 And also that nation whom | fathers in peace; b thou shalt be they shall serve, will I judge: buried in a good old age. and afterward shall they come
16 But c in the fourth generaout with great substance. tion they shall come bither again : 15 And · thou shalt go to thy for the iniquity d of the Amorites
• is not yet full. x Ex. 6. 6. Deut. 6. 2. y Ex. 12. 36. Ps.
b ch. 25. 8. c Ex. 12. 40. d i Kings 21. 2.
105. 37. Z Job 5. 26. a Acts 13. 36.
Dan. 8. 23. Matt. 23. 32.
1 Thess. 2. 16.
ise. The chronology may be stated Ps. 105. 37, 'He brought them forth thus :
with silver and gold.' The promise of Abraham enters Canaan and
blessings to the church often comes in receives the promise
very close connection with the threatIsaac mocked by Ishmael
ening of judgments to its oppressors. Israel departs from Egypt
15. Thou shalt go to thy fathers in The difference between the first and
peace. Shalt die a peaceful death. last of these dates is just 430 years. Of The consolation hitherto imparted to this period 215 years were passed in Abraham was of such a nature as to sojourning in Canaan, and 215 in Egypt. pertain in common to bim and his seed; -It may here be remarked that ac- but here the divine discourse is directed cording to the Hebrew accents, which to the patriarch in person for his own we believe to be as correct indices of individual comfort. It could not but the sense as the Hebrew vowel points, i relieve the saddening influence of the the middle clause of this verse 'and above declarations to be assured that they shall serve them, and they shall his old age should be happy, and his afflict them,' is to be considered as par- end should be peace. Though he might enthetical, and we should therefore read
not be favoured in his life-time with it, ‘Know of a surety, that thy seed the actual possession of Canaan, his shall be a stranger in a land that is not promised inheritance, yet he should not theirs, four hundred years. The actual be wanting in the grounds of solid hope period of their service and affliction and joy in view of his departure to the was much less.
world of spirits. With such an assur14. That nation whom they shall ance from such a source, he will be serce, will I judge. That is, will pun- content to forego the privilege of seeing ish by the infliction of such judgments all the promises fulfilled. T Thou as their sins deserve. These are par- shalt be buried in a good old age. Heb. ticularly described Ex. ch. 7—11, and 7370 and in a good hoary-age. Ps. 78. 43--51.-27. 36. It goes to 16. In the fourth generation they counterbalance the announcement of shall come hither again. Or Heb. 777 grievous suffering to be assured that 7720 727209 nyan the fourth generathe eye of God is continually upon the tion shall return hiter ; but the prespersecutors, and that he will in due ent rendering in the fourth,' may be time avenge the wrong done to his own admitted, and in that case the phrase glory in the affliction of his unoffending is probably to be understood as denopeople. They shall come out with ting the fourth age or century, equivagreat substance. Heb. 3772 02na, lent to the 400 years in v. 13. It is that is, great riches, both of their own remarkable, however, that the land of and of the Egyptians, whose jewels of promise was actually entered upon and silver and gold, and garments,' they inherited by the fourth generation of carried away, Ex. 12, 35, 36, So also the Israelites who went down into
f Jer. 34. 19, 19.
17 And it came to pass, that nace, and a burning lamp that when the sun went down, and it'passed between those pieces. was dark, behold a smoking furEgypt, as Caleb was the fourth from tinct words promiscuously rendered Judah, and Moses the fourth from Levi, furnace,' in our common Translation; and so doubtless of many others.
and from this circumstance has arisen 1 For the iniquity of the Amorites is a confusion in the use of the term not yet full. Heb. 97289 the Amor- which can only be dispelled by a clear ite, collect. sing. Abraham was now exhibition of the respective meanings of indeed living among the Amorites, each. One of these words—that occurwhich made it natural that that people ring here is 77367 tannoor, which propshould be specified rather than
other; but the term properly includes all and portable oven, used by the orien
erly signifies that kind of cylindrical the other nations of Canaan whose ini- tals for baking and other culinary purquities had marked them out for de
poses. This is an earthen vessel about struction. The whole of these nations three feet high, smeared outside and are seldom enumerated together ; ono inside with clay, and placed upon a or more usually standing for all. Instead of is not yet full,' a more correct it and when the sides are sufficiently
frame or support. Fire is made within version is probably, is not till then heated, thin layers of dough are spread full.' It is evident from this that there is a certain measure of wickedness be when the process of baking is very
on the inside, and the top covered, yond which God will not spare a guilty quickly completed. This word occurs people. See Note on Gen. 6. 3.
fifteen times in the Hebrew Bible, and 17. Behold a smoking furnace, and in every instance refers to this kind of a burning lamp that passed between
oven, and is indeed rendered oven' in those pieces. Heb. 103 7730 lit. an
our translation in all of them except oden of smoke, or smoking oven. Our language does not perhaps afford a viz. Neh. 3. 11.-12. 38. Is. 31. 9. The
the present and three other passages, more intrinsically suitable word by other term is nya kor, of which 'furwhich to render the original 7729 tan-nace is the legitimate signification, i. e. noor than 'furnace;' and yet it is certain that a degree of ambiguity attaches a place for melting, assaying, and reto it in this connection which has led fining metals. Thus Ezek. 22. 18--22, to a very general misapprehension of 903 07990 775 is a place for refining the real scope of this part of the vision. silver, and ant 775 Prov. 17. 3, is a The phrase here employed has been al- place for refining gold. In like manmost universally considered as parallel ner the 3772 775 iron furnace, mento the expression Deut. 4. 20, The tioned in Deut. 4. 20, and from which Lord hath taken you and brought you the Israelites are said to have been out of the iron furnace, even out of brought out, is properly a furnace Egypt' (comp. Jer. 11. 4), and the drift for melting iron. It is this latter of the symbol has been understood word which is employed wherever a to be nothing more nor less than to people are said metaphorically to be point to that well-known scene of the cast into a furnace as Ezek. 22. 18—22, afflictions of Israel, while the burning or delivered out of one, as Deut. 4. 20. lamp' has been regarded as an emblem 1 Kings, 8. 51. Jer. 11. 4. It occurs of their joyful deliverance thence. But nine times, and is uniformly rendered the fact is, the Hebrew has two dis- l'furnace.' From this view of the usage