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3 But f God came to Abimelech 4 But Abimelech had not come in a dream by night, and said to near hr: and he said, LORD, nim, Behold, thou art bul a dead i wilt thou slay also a righteous man, for the woman which thou nation ? nast taken: for she is a man's wife. i Ps. 105. 14. & Job 33. 15. h ver. 7.

Ich. 18. 23. ver. 18

man, &c.

himmeka הנך מת .Heb

was it for Abraham, happy is it for us, made the medium of communicating that the 'Lord is our keeper.' - the most important truths to the chilAbimelech. Heb. 739928 abi-melek, dren of men. Accordingly Abimelech i. e. father-king; the common title of the dreamed that God addressed hint in the kings of Gerar, as Pharaoh was of the words following, although we suppose kings of Eyypt. See Note on Gen. 12. that there was something in the nature 15. The term conveys a latent impli- of the impression that carried with it cation that in those early days the the evidence of its own divine origin and kingly rule was considered to be of a authority.- -- Behold, thou art a dead paternal character. Indeed all mggistrates are spoken of in the Scriptures mēth. That is, thou art all but a dead

. as fathers to their people. 2 Kings, 5.

man; thou art in the most imminent 13. Job, 29. 16. In later times this feature of the office has mostly disappear: however, is to be understood with an

danger of death.

The threatening ed. - Sent and took Sarah. God so ordered it in his providence that he desisted from his present purpose

iinplied condition of impunity provided Abraham should be chastened for the evil counsel which he devised, by Sa- her husband. Comp. Ezek. 33. 14, 15.

and restored the woman unharmed to rah's being exposed to the very danger Jon. 3. 4. It is evident from such a from which, by a sinful evasion, he was endeavouring to shield her. Sim- stern admonition that God regards adulilar results may invariably be expected tery as a very heinous crime, and to follow the practical disbelief of which though originally addressed but to a the people of God may be guilty. They tened to as the voice of God sounding

single individual, yet it ought to be lis-, can neither equivocate, nor doubt, nor disobey with impunity.

out his judgment respecting this aggra3. God came to Abimelech in a dream vated sin in the ears of the whole human by night. That is, revealed himself in

race. For she is a man's wife, a dream by night. Chal And the Heb. 383 6392 4777 for she is marWord from the face of God came to ried to an husband ; or still more litAbimelech in a vision of the night.' erally, she is the possessed, subjected, or The Most High has access to all men's married one of a lord; implying that minds and can impress them by a her wedded fealty was wholly due to dream, an affliction, or in any way another; and that he could not take which seems to him good. He did her without infringing upon a most thus by Abimelech; he came to him in solemn covenant relation previously a dream. Dreams in general are the subsisting between Abraham and her. mere delusive play of the imagination, The simple declaration, she is a man's which is for the time released from the wife,' ought instantaneously to extin. control of reason. Yet they are sub-guish the least motion of unhallowed ject to the power of God, and in the desire towards an object made sacred early ages of the world, before the and inaccessible by the very nature of Scriptures were indited, were often the marriage compact.

5 Said he not unto me, She is a dream, Yea, I know that thou my sister ? and she, even she didst this in the integrity of thy herself said, He is my brother: heart; for 'I also withheld thee

in the integrity of my heart and from singing magainst me: thereinnocency of my hands have I fore suffered I thee not 10 touch done this.

her. 6 And God said unto him in

I ch. 31. 7. & 35. 5. Ex. 34. 24. 1 Sam. 25. 26, 34. m ch. 39. 9. Lev. 6. 2. Ps. 51. 4.

k 2 Kings 20. 3. 2 Cor. 1. 12.

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4. Wilt thou slay also a righteous their words for it that they were nation? These words appear to con- brother and sister, and nothing was tain a reference to the recent awful said of her being his wife. - In the cvent of Sodom's overthrow, which integrity of my heart, &c. Heb. cna must have greatly impressed the srir1933 in the perfection, sincerity, or rounding country. It is as if he had simplicity of my heart, &c. This is a said, 'I am aware that thou hast slain paraphrastic way of expressing innoa nation notorious for its filthy and un-cency of intention. Comp. Ps. 26. 6. natural crimes; but we are not such a -73. 13. Gr. 'In a pure heart and nation; and in the present case all that righteousness of hands have I done has been done was done in perfect ig- this.' Chal. “In the rectitude of my norance. Surely thou wilt not slay heart and cleanness of my hands have the innocent, as if they were guilty.' I done this.' The language evidently carries with it 6. And God said unto him in a the implication, which is abundantly dream. More correctly in the dream,' warranted elsewhere in the Scripture, i. e. in the dream mentioned v. 3. It that from the close connection existing does not appear that there was a twobetween them, the sins of rulers were fold communication made in this way. often visited upon their people. See - I know that thou didst this in the this illustrated in the case of David, integrity of thine heart, &c. God in 1 Chron. 21. 14, 17. The righteous his answer admits Abimelech's plea of ness' which he here affirms of the na- ignorance, and suggests that he was tion in general is doubtless to be un- noi charged with having yet sinned, derstood of innocency or guiltlessness although he sees fit to renew the threatin this respect, not of a universal free-ening of death, in case he persisted in dom from sin. Abimelech would not retaining Sarah, after being informed presume to arrogate to himself or to of the truth. It is intimated, however, his people entire exemption from moral that if he had come near her, he would, evil, but merely that in the present in- in so doing, have sinned against God, stance neither he nor they had know- whether he had sinned against Abraingly done wrong, and consequently ham or not. But though acquitted were not conderlined in their own con- on the whole, still as he and his peosciences. We find a similar use of the ple were not left without some marks word 2 Sam. 4. 11, where it unques- of the divine displeasure, v. 17, 18, we tionably signifies innocent; 'How are taught that the searching eye of much more when wicked men have Omniscience may behold admixtures slain a righteous (p73 tzaddik) per- of evil in that conduct which to general son in his house on his bed.'

view, and in our own estimation, may 5. Said he not unto me, &c. Thebe entirely free from fault, and that fault is theirs not mine; I had both copsequently in judging ourselves we

hy Now therefore restore the thou shalt live : and if thou reman his wise;" for he is a proph- store her not, oknow thou that et, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt surely die, thou

Pand all that are thine. ni Sam. 7. 5. 2 Kings 5. 11. Job 42. 8. Jam. 6. 14, 15. 1 John 5. 16,

och. 2. 17. ,p Num. 16. 32, 33.

are safe in taking it for granted that How much reason then have we to be many offences escape the most rigid thankful for God's protecting and preinquisition that we are able to make serving grace! Had he taken no betinto the state of our hearts. - For ter care of us than we have done of I also withheld thee from sinning, &c. ourselves, how many times should we Instead of 'for a better rendering of have dishonoured our holy profession! the particle in this clause would be Who that knows any thing of his own

moreover.' A close inspection of the heart, is not conscious that he has at original, however, will probably sug- some times tampered with sin, and gest, as preferable to either, the follow- laid such snares for his own feet, that ing, which makes the present clause nothing but God's gracious and unlookparenthetical ; 'I know that thou didsted for interference has preserved himn! this in the integrity of thy heart (and I, And even when we have deeply offendeven I, have withheld thee from sinning ed our heavenly Father by our peragainst me), therefore suffered I thee verseness, and done that which, if exnot to touch her.' In this declaration posed, would bring overwhelming diswe read a striking proof of the mercy grace upon us and our profession, how and condescension of Heaven. It was graciously has he prevented the consea signal kindness at once to Abraham quences of such culpable lapses, and and Abimelech thus to interpose an ef- accepted our secret penitence, instead of fectual restraint to the commission of a putting us to an open shame?' Let crime which might have been attended us then, while we magnify the goodwith the most disastrous consequences. ness of God, still trenible in view of God was thus propitious to the king our weakness, and ever feel the necegbecause he had, in the main, an honest sity of offering for ourselves the petiintention. He did not design to vio- tion, 'Lead us not into temptation.' late the sanctity of the marriage cove- Who can understand his errors? nant. On this ground alone he was Cleanse thou me from secret saults; favoured with impunity from sin. The keep back thy servant also from prenarrative teaches us, (1.) That absolute sumptuous sins; let them not have duignorance excuses from guilt. Yet let minion over me; then shall I be upright, us not forget that the ignorance of and I shall be innocent from the great which this can be said, mußt be una- transgression.'- - Suffered thee not. toidable

. Where the means of acquir. Heb. 776x3 gave thee not. "Giving knowledge are possessed, and igno-ing,' in the style of the Scriptures, is ance ariees from neglecting them, or often used for suffering, permitting. from aversion to the truth, it is so far Thus, Gen. 31. 7, ‘But God suffered from excusing, that it is in itself sinful. him not to hurt me;' Heb. gave him (2.) That great as the wickedness of

not. Ex. 3. 19, "The king of Egypt men is upon the face of the earth, it will not let you go ;' Heb. will not give would be much greater, were it not that you to go. Ps. 16. 10, `Neither wilt God, by his providence, in innumera- thou suffer thine Holy One to see corble insiances, withholds them from it. I ruption;' Heb. give thine Holy One. 9 Therefore Abimelech rose things in their ears: and the men early in the morning, and called were sore afraid. all his servants, and told all these 9 Then Abimelech called Abra

Rev. 13. 7, 'And it was given unto him a special intercourse with heaven, Maithat he should make war with the monides, the chief of the Jewish docsaints;' i. e. it was permitted him; he tors, remarks, that it is one of the received a providential license.

foundations of the Law, to know that 7. He is a prophet. Heb. 22 God maketh the sons of men to prophnabi. Gr. Aprenons prophctes, from esy; and prophecy resideth not but in #pu pro, before and one phemi, to a man that is great in wisdom, and speak; i. e. one who speaks of things mighty in his virtuous qualities, so that before they happen, or in other words a his affections overcome him not in any

foreteller of future events. But that worldly thing; but by his knowledge this was not the original notion of the he overcometh his affections continual word, its use in this place sufficiently ly, and is a man expert in knowledge proves. Abraham certainly was not a and of a very large understanding. prophet in the present usual accepta- On such a man the Holy Spirit cometh tion of the term. It here obviously down; and when the Spirit resteth means, in a more general sense, one upon him, his soul is associated unto who is favoured with the revelation and the angels, and he is changed to another spirit of God, one who stands in a spe- man, and be perceiveth in his own cially near relation to God, and who knowledge that he is not as he was, is consequently fitted to be the utterer but that he is advanced above the de or interpreter of his will. But as those gree of other wise men.' (Ainsıcorth.) who were in habits of intimacy with - He shall pray for thee. We are God by prayer and faith, were found elsewhere informed that intercession the most suitable persons to commu

for others was a special work of the nicate his mind to men, both with re- prophets. Thus, Jer. 27. 18, 'If they apeet to the present and the future, be prophets, and if the word of the hence the nadia the intercessor, became Lord be with thein, let them now make in process of time a public instructer intercession to the Lord of Hosis,' &c. or preacher, and also the predictor of Comp. Jer. 14. 11.-15. 1. And this, if future events; because to men of this we conceive of it aright, will ever apcharacter God revealed the secret of pear the most honourable and blessed his will. The idea therefore of an ut- part of the office. It is indeed a great terer of divine oracles, of an interpre- distinction to be made, as it were, privy ter of the divine will, is the leading idea to the counsels of Heaven, an utterer conveyed by the term prophet, and in or expounder of prophetic mysteries, conformity with this, Aaron as the but it is in fact a far higher privilege to spokesman or interpreter of Moses to act the part of a pious intercessor with the Egyptian king is termed his proph- God in behalf of men, and to be to et, Ex. 7. 1. In the New Testament them a procuring cause of spiritual also, prophet is, for the most part, sy- and temporal mercies. - Thou shalt nonymous with interpreter, and proph- lide. Heb. 77 lipe thou ; the impercsying with the interpretation or czpo- alive instead of the future for the sake sition of the Scriptures, 1 Cor. 14 29. of emphasis. Thus, Am. 5. 4, Seek In reference to the fact before adverted ye me, and ye shall live,' Heb." Lire -19, that the office of a prophet implies / ye (imper.).' Ps. 37. 27, 'Do good and

ham, and said unto him, What done deeds unto me r that ought hast'thou done unto us? and what not to be done. have I offended thee, that thou 10 And Abimelech said unto hast brought on me, and on my Abraham, What sa west thou, that kingdom a great sin ? thou hast thou hast done this thing?

q ch. 26. 10. Exod. 32. 21. Josh. 7. 25.

r ch. 34. 7.

dwell forevermore ;' i. e. ye shall dwell by this offended king we see much to forevermore.

admire and to commend. Considering 8. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the injury he had sustained, and the the morning, &c. The efficacy of the danger to which he had been exposed, oracle is here related. The divine ad- it is truly wonderful that he should exmonition was not lost upon Abimelech. press himself with such mildness and Deeply impressed with the dream, he moderation. The occasion would alsummons before him at an early hour most have justified the bitterest rethe principal men of his court, and im- proaches; and it might well be expectparts to them the particulars, at the re-ed that Abimelech would cast refleclation of which they were 'sore afraid.' tions on the patriarch's religion; conSome afflictions had already been laid demning that as worthless, or him as upon them, of which they were doubt- hypocritical. But not one reproachful less keenly sensible, v. 13, and consid- word escapes his lips. The only phrase ering the late tremendous judgments of that has at all that aspect is the gentle God upon Sodoin, it is no wonder that sarcasm in his address to Sarah, 'I they should be alarmed. An example, have given thy brother a thousand says Calvin, of such prompt obedience pieces of silver;' admonishing her thereput forth by a heathen king takes away by to call him no more by that deceitall excrise for our sluggishness, with ful name. But we are inore especially whom the reproofs of God avail so struck with the utter abhorrence exlittle. To him the Most High appear- pressed by this heathen prince of a sin ed only in a dream. To us he daily which is but too lightly regarded by the calls by Moses, by prophets, by apos. generality of those who call themtles, and by his only begotten Son; selves Christians. It is observable that and yet how disgraceful that such tes- he never once complained of the puntimonies should weigh less with us ishment which he and his family had than a single vision did with him !

-suffered, nor of the danger to which His servants. That is, his counsellors, they had been exposed, but only of ministers, principal court-officers. See their seduction into sin. He considered the word employed in this sense this as the greatest injury that could Kings, 1. 2.-10. 5; 2 Kings, 6. 8; and have been done to him, and inquires compare the Note on Gen. 24. 2. with artless but earnest anxiety what

9. Abimelech called Abraham and he had done to provoke Abrahan to said unto him, &c. We have here the the commission of it. The reply of well-grounded expostulation of Abime- the patriarch rather explains than juslech with Abraham. Were we to judge tifics the grounds of his procedure, and simply from this portion of the sacred presents to us a holy man in very hunarrative, we should perhaps be ready miliating circumstances. It was no to think that Abraham had been the little disgrace that a man of his charheathen, and Abimelech the prophet of acter, a saint, a prophet of the most the Lord. In the reproof administered I high God, should be reproved at all by

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