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Full text of "Biblical Commentary Old Testament. Keil and Delitzsch.6 vols.complete.Clark'sFTL.1864.1892."

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§ 1. Prolegomena on the Old Testament and its leading divisions, 9 
§ 2. Title, Contents, and Plan of the Books of Moses, . . 15 

§ 3. Origin and Date of the Books of Moses, . . .17 

§ 4. Historical Character of the Books of Moses, . . 28 


Contents, Design, and Plan of Genesis, 

The Creation of the World (Chap. i. 1-ii. 3), 
I. History of the Heavens and the Earth (Chap. 
II. History of Adam (Chap, v.-vi. 8), 

III. History of Noah (Chap. vi. 9-ix. 29), 

IV. History of the Sons of Noah (Chap, x.-xi. 9), 
V. History of Shem (Chap. xi. 10-26), . 

VI. History of Terah (Chap. xi. 27-xxv. 11), 

ii. 4-iv. 



5 20 

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VII. History of Ishmael (Chap. nv. 12-18), 
VIII. History of Isaac (Chap. xxv. 19-xxxv.), 
IX. History of Esau (Chap, xxxvi.), 
X. History of Jacob (Chap, xxxvii.-!.), . 



Contents and Arrangement of the Book of Exodus, 

Increase in the Number of the Israelites and their Bondage in Egypt 

Birth and Education of Moses; Flight from Egypt, and life in 
Midian (Chap, ii.), ..... 

Call of Moses, and his return to Egypt (Chap. iii. and iv.), 

Moses and Aaron sent to Pharaoh (Chap, v.-vii. 7), 

Moses' Negotiations with Pharaoh (Chap. vii. 8-zi. 10), 
The first three Plagues (Chap. vii. U-viii. 15), 
The three following Plagues (Chap. viii. 20-ix. 12), 
The last three Plagues (Chap. ix. 13-xi. 10), . 




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| HE Old Testament is the basis of the New. " God, 
who at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
unto the fathers by the prophets, hath spoken onto 
us by His only-begotten Son." The Church of Christ is built 
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. For Christ 
came not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil. As He 
said to the Jews, u Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye 
have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me ;" so also, 
a short time before His ascension, He opened the understanding 
of His disciples, that they might understand the Scriptures, and 
beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them 
in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. With firm 
faith in the truth of this testimony of our Lord, the fathers and 
teachers of the Church in all ages have studied the Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures, and have expounded the revelations of God 
under the Old Covenant in learned and edifying works, unfold- 
ing to the Christian community the riches of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God which they contain, and impressing them upon 
the heart, for doctrine, for reproof, for improvement, for instruc- 
tion in righteousness. It was reserved for the Deism, Natural- 
ism, and Rationalism which became so prevalent in the closing 
quarter of the eighteenth century, to be the first to undermine 
the belief in the inspiration of the first covenant, and more and 
more to choke up this well of saving truth ; so that at the present 
day depreciation of the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament is 

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as widely spread as ignorance of what they really contain. 1 At 
the same time, very much has been done during the last thirty 
years on the part of believers in divine revelation, to bring about 
a just appreciation and correct understanding of the Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures. 

As a still further contribution towards the same result, it is 
our present intention to issue a condensed Commentary upon the 
whole of the Old Testament, in which we shall endeavour to 
furnish not only a grammatical and historical exposition of the 
facts and truths of divine revelation, but a biblical commentary 
also, and thus to present to all careful readers of the Bible, 
especially to divinity students and ministers of the Gospel, an 
exegetical handbook, from which they may obtain some help to- 
wards a full understanding of the Old Testament economy of 
salvation, so far as the theological learning of the Church has 
yet been able to fathom it, and possibly also an impulse to further 
study and a deeper plunge into the unfathomable depths of the 
Word of God. 

May the Lord grant His blessing upon our labours, and 
assist with His own Spirit and power a work designed to pro- 
mote the knowledge of His holy Word. 

C. F. KEIL. 

1 This is unquestionably the case in Germany ; and although it is grow- 
ingly applicable to England also, it is happily far from describing our present 
condition. — Tr. 

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||HE Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament contain the 
divine revelations which prepared the way for the 
redemption of fallen man by Christ. The revela- 
tion of God commenced with the creation of the 
heaven and the earth, when the triune God called into existence 
a world teeming with organized and living creatures, whose life 
and movements proclaimed the glory of their Creator ; whilst, in 
the person of man, who was formed in the image of God, they 
were created to participate in the blessedness of the divine life. 
But when the human race, having yielded in its progenitors to 
the temptation of the wicked one, and forsaken the path ap- 
pointed by its Creator, had fallen a prey to sin and death, and 
involved the whole terrestrial creation in the effects of its fall ; 
the mercy of God commenced the work of restoration and re- 
demption, which had been planned in the counsel of the triune 
love before the foundation of the world. Hence, from the very 
beginning, God not only manifested His eternal power and god- 
head in the c reatio n, preservation, and government of the world 
and its inhabitants, bat also revealed through His Spirit His 
purpose and desire for the well-being of man. This manifesta- 
PENT. — Vt)L. I. B 

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tion of the personal God upon and in the world assumed, in 
consequence of the fall, the form of a plan of salvation, rising 
above the general providence and government of the world, and 
filling the order of nature with higher powers of spiritual life, in 
order that the evil, which had entered through sin into the 
nature of man and passed from man into the whole world, 
might be overcome and exterminated, the world be transformed 
into a kingdom of God in which all creatures should follow 
His holy will, and humanity glorified into the likeness of God 
by the complete transfiguration of its nature. These mani- 
festations of divine grace, which made the history of the world 
" a development of humanity into a kingdom of God under the 

i <Lx~< educational and judicial superintendence of the living God," 

•WW ''(*)- culminated in th e, incarnation of God in Christ to reconcile the 

j pU*^**'^^' world unto Himself. ~ •■• 

' This act of unfathomable love divides the whole course of 

the world's hist ory into two periods — th e times of preparation, 
a nd the times of accomplishment and completi on. TEeTormer 
extend from the fall of Adam to the coming of Christ, and have 
their culminating point in the economy of the first covenant. 
The latter commence with the appearance of the Son of God on 
earth in human form and human nature, and will last till His 
return in glory, when He will change the kingdom of grace 
into the kingdom of glory through the last judgment and the 
creation of a new heaven and new earth out of the elements of 
the old world, "the heavens and the earth which are now." 
The course of the universe will then be completed and closed, 
and time exalted into eternity (1 Cor. xv. 23-28; Rev. xx. 
and xxi.). 

If we examine the revelations of the first covenant , as they 

have been handed down to us in the sacred scriptures of the 

a Old Testament, we_ can distinguish three sta gesof pro gressiv e 

i development : p reparation for the kmgd ogLflf-iatod in its Old 

i .1/ J ' Testament form ; its e stablishment through the mediator ial 

\ ' office of Moses ; an d its develo pme nt and extension th rough 

t he prophets. In all these periods (iod revealed Himself and 

' His salvation to the human race by words and deeds. As the 

Gospel of the New Covenant is not limited to the truths and 

moral precepts taught by Christ and His apostles, but the fact 

of the incarnation of God in Christ Jesus, and the work of re- 

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demption completed by the God-man through deeds and suffer- 
ings, death and resurrection, constitute the quintessence of the 
Christian religion; so also the divine revelations of the Old 
Covenant are not restricted to the truths proclaimed by Moses, 
and by the patriarchs before him and prophets after him, as to 
the real nature of God, His relation to the world, and the divine 
destiny of man, but consist even more of the historical events 
by whr*h the personal and living God manifested Himself to 
men in His infinite love, in acts of judgment and righteousness, 
of mercy and grace, that He might lead them back to Himself 
as the only source of life. Hence all the acts of God in history,! 
by which the rising tides of iniquity have been stemmed, and' 
piety and morality promoted, including not only the judgments, 
of God which have fallen upon the earth and its inhabitants,! 
but the calling of individuals to be the upholders of His salva- 1 
tion and the miraculous guidance afforded- them, are to be re- 
garded as essential elements of the religion of the Old Testament, 
quite as much as the verbal revelations, by which God made 
known His will and saving counsel through precepts and 
promises to holy men, sometimes by means of higher and 
supernatural light within them, at other times, and still more 
frequently, through supernatural dreams, and visions, and theo- 
phanies in which the outward senses apprehended the sounds 
and words of human language. T foveaWl religion tm« nnt ™il y 
b een introd uced into the w orld by the special interposition of 
fi™l r bq* is essentially a history of what God has done to 
establish His kin gdo m upon the ear th ; in other words, to restore 
a real personal fellowship between God whose omnipresence 
fills the world, and man who was created in His image, in order 
that God might renew and sanctify humanity by filling it with 
His Spirit, and raise it to the glory of living and moving in 
His fulness of life. 

The way was opened for the establishment of this kingdom 
in its Old Testament form by the , call of Abraham , and his 
election to be the father of that nation, with which the Lord 
was about to make a covenant of grace as the source *>f blessing 
to all the families of the earth. Th&Ji rst stage in the sacre d 
history coim npngffl with the departure of Abraham, in obedience 
to the call of God, from his native country and his father's 
bouse, and Beaches to the time when ^"wiaepitVNpcomScd^to 




the patriarch had expanded in Egypt into the twelve tribes of 
Israel. The divine revelations during this period consisted of 
promises, which laid the foundation for the whole future de- 
velopment of the kingdom of God on earth, and of that special 
guidance, by which God proved Himself, in accordance with 
these promises, to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

The second s tage commences with the call of Moses and th e 
deli verance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and embraces 
the establishment of the Old Testament kingdom of God, not 
only through the covenant which God made at Sinai with the 
people of Israel, whom He had redeemed with mighty deeds out 
of Egypt, but also through the national constitution, which He 
gave in the Mosaic law to the people whom He had chosen as 
His inheritance, and which regulated the conditions of their 
covenant relation. In this constitution the eternal truths and 
essential characteristics of the real, spiritual kingdom are set 
forth in earthly forms and popular institutions, and are so far 
incorporated in them, that the visible forms shadow forth 
spiritual truths, and contain the germs of that spiritual and 
glorified kingdom in which God will be all in all. In conse- 
quence of t he design of this kin gdo m being merely to p repare 
and typif}' the full reve lation of God in His kingdom, jts_pre- 
dominant character was that of law, in order_that, whilst pro- 
ducing a deep and clear insight into human sinfulness and 
divine holiness, it might _excite an ear nest cra ving for A*. 
liyer ance from sin and death, and for the blessedness of living 
in the peace of Go<E Bui the laws and institutions of this 
kingdom not only impressed upon the people the importance of 
consecrating their whole life to the Lord God, they also opened 
. up to them the way of holiness and access to the grace of God, 
whence power might be derived to walk in righteousness before 
God, through the institution of a sanctuary which the Lord of 
heaven and earth filled with His gracious presence, and of a 
sacrificial altar which Israel might approach, and there in the 
blood of the sacrifice receive the forgiveness of its sins and re- 
joice in the gracious fellowship of its God. 
JThfijAireZ stage in the Old Testament, 

progr essive development of the kingdom of God establis hed up on 

death of Mo 

■Miuii, from the death of Moses, the lawgiver, till the extinction 
of prophecy at the close of the Babylonian captivity. During 

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this lengthened period God revealed Himself as the covenant 
God and the monarch in His kingdom, partly by the special 
protection which He afforded to His people, so long as they were 
faithful to Him, or when they returned to Him after a time of 
apostasy and sought His aid, either by raising up warlike heroes 
to combat the powers of the world, or by miraculous displays of 
His own omnipotence, and partly by the mission of prophets 
endowed with the might of His own Spirit, who kept His law 
and testimony before the minds of the people, denounced judg- 
ment upon an apostate race, and foretold to the righteous the 
Messiah's salvation, attesting their divine mission, wherever it 
was necessary, by the performance of miraculous deeds. In the 
fitgt centnries after Moses the re was a predominance of the direct 
acts of G od to establish His kingdom in Canaan, and exalt it to 
power and distinctionTh comparison with' the nations round 
about. But after it had attained its highest earthly power, and 
when the separation of the ten tribes from the house of David 
had been followed by the apostasy of the nation from the Lord, 
and the kingdom of God was hurrying rapidly to destruction, 
God increased the number of prophets, and thus prepared the 
way by the word of prophecy for the full revelation of His sal- 
vation in the establishment of a new covenant. 

Thus did the works of God go hand in hand with His reve 
lation in the words of promise, of law, and of prophecy, in the 
economy of the Old Covenant, not merely as preparing the way 
for the introduction of the salvation announced in the law and 
in prophecy, but as essential factors of the plan of God for the 
redemption of man, as acts which regulated and determined the 
whole course of the world, and contained in the germ the 
consummation of all things ; — the law, as a " schoolmaster to I 
bring to Christ," by training Israel to welcome the Saviour ; 
and prophecy, as proclaiming His advent with growing clearness, 
and even shedding upon the dark and deadly shades of a world 
at enmity against God, the first rays of the dawn of that coming 
day of salvation, in which the Sun of Righteousness would rise 
upon the nations with healing beneath His wings. 

As the revelation of the first covenant may be thus divided 
into three progressive stages, so the documents containing this 
revelation, the sac red books ofjhe PHJ^f'tvag.nt, hav° bN" k otm 
divided into three classes- — the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagio- 

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grapha or holy writings. But although this triple classification 
of the Old Testament canon has reference not merely to three 
stages of canonization, but also to three degrees of divine inspira- 
tion, the three parts of the Old Testament do not answer to the 
three historical stages in the development of the first covenant. 
The only division sustained by the historical facts is that of Law 
iH ,Pn?jiM* These two contain all that was objective in the 
Old Testament revelation, and so distributed that the Thorali, 
as the five books of Moses are designated even in the Scriptures 
themselves, contains the groundwork of the Old Covenant, or 
that revelation of God in words and deeds which laid the foun- 
dation of the kingdom of God in its Old Testament form, and 
also those revelations of the primitive ages and the early history 
of Israel which prepared the way for this kingdom ; whilst the 
Prophets, on the other hand, contain the revelations which helped 
to preserve and develop the Israelitish kingdom of God, from 
the death of Moses till its ultimate dissolution. The Prophets 
are also subdivided into two classes. The first of these embraces 
the so-called earlier prophets (prophetce priores), t.e. the prophe- 
tical books of history (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings), 
which contain the revelation of God as fulfilled in the historical 
guidance of Israel by judges, kings, high priests, and prophets ; 
the second, the later prophets (prophetce posteriores), Le. the pro- 
phetical books of prediction (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 
twelve minor prophets), which contain the progressive testimony 
to the counsel of God, delivered in connection with the acts of 
God during the period of the gradual decay of the Old Testament 
kingdom. The former, or historical books, are placed among the 
Prophets in the Old Testament canon, not merely because they 
narrate the acts of prophets in Israel, but still more, because they 
exhibit the development of the Israelitish kingdom of God from 
a prophet's point of view, and, in connection with the historical 
development of the nation and kingdom, set forth the progressive 
development of the revelation of God. The predictions of the 
later prophets, which were not composed till some centuries after 
the division of the kingdom, were placed in the same class with 
these, as being " the national records, which contained the pledge 
of the heavenly King, that the fall of His people and kingdom 
in the world had not taken place in opposition to His will, but 
expressly in accordance with it, and that He had not therefore 

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given np His people and kingdom, bnt at some future time, 
when its inward condition allowed, would restore it again in new 
and more exalted power and glory" (Auberleri). 

The other writings of the Old Covenant are all grouped 
together in the third part of the Old Testament canon under the 
title of ypafela, Scripta, or Hagiographa, as being also composed 
under the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Hagiographa diffe r 
fmm thft propW. jcal books both of history and prediction in 
t heir peculiarly subjective charact er, and the individuality of 
their representations of the facts and truths of divine revelation ; 
a feature common to all the writings in this class, notwithstand- 
ing their diversities in form and subject-matter. They include, 
(1) thojuuticaLhpoks : Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, 
Ecclesiastes, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah, — which bear 
witness of the spiritual fruits already brought to maturity in the 
faith, the thinking, and the life of the righteous by the revealed 
religion of the Old Covenant ; — (2) the book of Daniel, who lived 
and laboured at the Chaldean and Perslan^^oTtrty-with its rich 
store of divinely inspired dreams and visions, prophetic of the 
future history of the kingdom of God ; — (3) theJ&gtoricaJ books 
of Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, which depict 
the history of the government of David and his dynasty, with 
special reference to the relation in which the kings stood to the 
Levitical worship in the temple, and the fate of the remnant of 
the covenant nation, which was preserved in the downfall of the 
kingdom of Judah, from the time of its captivity until its return 
from Babylon, and its re-establishment in Jerusalem and Judah. 


The five books of Moses (17 ilon-aTew^o? sc. /3l/3\o$, Penta- 
teuchus sc. liber, the book in five parts) are called in the Old 
Testament Sepher hattorah, the Law-book (Deut. xxxi. 26; Josh. 
L 8, etc.), or, more concisely still, Hattorah, 6 v6fw<;, the Law 
(Neh. viii. 2, 7, 13, etc.), — a name descriptive both of the 
contents of the work and of its importance in relation to the 
economy of the Old Covenant The wordjg ^a Hiphil noun 
from rnin, demonstrare, docere, denotes instruction. The TJiorah 

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is t he book^of instruction , which Jehovah gave through Moses 
to the people of Israel, and is therefore called Torath Jehovah 
(2 Chron. xvii. 9, xxxiv. 14 ; Neh. ix. 3) and Torath Mosheh 
(Josh. viii. 31 ; 2 Kings xiv. 6 ; Neh. viii. 1), or Sepher Mosheh, 
the book of Moses (2 Chron. xxv. 4, xxxv. 12 ; Ezra vi. 18 ; 
Neh. xiii. 1). Its contents are a divine revelation in words and 
deeds, or rather the fundamental revelation, through which 
Jehovah selected Israel to be His people, and gave to them their 
rule of life (voftfc), or theocratical constitution as a people and 

The entire work, though divided into five parts, forms both 
in plan and execution one complete and carefully constructed 
whole, commencing with the creation, and reaching to the death 
of Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant. The foundation 
for the divine revelation was really laid in and along with the 
creation of the world. The world which God created is the 
scene of a history embracing both God and man, the site for 
the kingdom of God in its earthly and temporal form. All that 
the first book contains with reference to the early history of the 
human race, from Adam to the patriarchs of Israel, stands in 
a more or less immediate relation to the kingdom of God in 
Israel, of which the other books describe the actual establish- 
ment. The second depicts the inauguration of this kingdom 
at Sinai. Of the third and fourth, the former narrates the 
spiritual, the latter the political, organization of the kingdom 
by facts and legal precepts. The fifth recapitulates the whole 
in a hortatory strain, embracing both history and legislation, 
and impresses it upon the hearts of the people, for the purpose 
of arousing true fidelity to the covenant, and securing its 
lasting duration. The economy of the Old Covenant having 
been thus established, the revelation of the law closes with the 
death of its mediator. 

The division of the work into five books was, therefore, the 
most simple and natural that could be adopted, according to the 
contents and plan which we have thus generally described. The 
three middle books contain the history of the establishment of 
the Old Testament kingdom ; the first sketches the preliminary 
history, by which the way was prepared for its introduction ; 
and the fifth recapitulates and confirms it. This fivefold divi- 
sion was not made by some later editor, but is founded in the 

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entire plan of the law, and is therefore to be regarded as 
original. For even the three central books, which contain a 
continuous history of the establishment of the theocracy, are 
divided into three by the fact, that the middle portion, the third 
book of the Pentateuch, is separated from the other two, not 
only by its contents, but also by its introduction, chap. i. 1, and 
its concluding formula, chap, xxvii. 34. 


The five books of Moses occupy the first place in the canon 
of the Old Testament, not merely on account of their peculiar 
character as the fo undation and norm of alL-the res t, but also 
because of their actual date, as being t he oldest writin gs in th e 
canon , and the groundwork of the whole of the Old Testament 
literature ; all the historical, prophetic, and poetical works of the 
Israelites subsequent to the Mosaic era pointing back to the 
law of Moses as their primary source and type, and assum- 
ing the existence not merely of the law itself, but also of a book 
of the law, of precisely the character and form of the five books 
of Moses. In all the other historical books of the Old Testa- 
ment not a single trace is to be found of any progressive expan- 
sion of, or subsequent additions to, the statutes and laws of 
Israel ; for the account contained in 2 Kings xxii. and 2 Chron. 
xxxiv. of the discovery of the book of the law, t.e. of the copy 
placed by the side of the ark, cannot be construed, without a 
wilful perversion of the words, into a historical proof, that the 
Pentateuch or the book of Deuteronomy was composed at that 
time, or that it was then brought to light for the first time. 1 On 

1 Vaihinger geeks to give probability to EwabT* idea of the progressive 
growth of the Mosaic legislation, and also of the Pentateuch, daring a period 
of nine or ten centuries, by the following argument : — " We observe in the 
law-books of the ancient Parsees, in the Zendavesta, and in the historical 
writings of India and Arabia, that it was a custom in the East to tupple- 
merd the earlier works, and after a lapse of time to reconstruct them, so 
that whilst the root remained, the old stock was pruned and supplanted 
by a new one. Later editors constantly brought new streams to the old, 
until eventually the circle of legends and histories was closed, refined, and 
transfigured. Now, as the Israelites belonged to the same great family aa 



the contrary, we find that, from the time of Joshua to the age of 
Ezra and Nehemiah, the law of Moses and his book of the law 
were the only valid and unalterable code by which the national 
life was regulated, either in its civil or its religious institutions. 
Numerous cases undoubtedly occur, in which different com- 
mands contained in the law were broken, and particular ordi- 
nances were neglected ; but even in the anarchical and troubled 
times of the Judges, public worship was performed in the 
tabernacle at Shiloh by priests of the tribe of Levi according 
to the directions of the ThoraJi, and the devout made their 
periodical pilgrimages to the house of God at the appointed 
feasts to worship and sacrifice before Jehovah at Shiloh (Judg. 
xviii. 31, cf Josh, xviii. 1 ; 1 Sam. i. 1-iv. 4). On the estab- 
lishment of the monarchy (1 Sam. viii.-x.), the course adopted 
was in complete accordance with the laws contained in Deut. 
xvii. 14 sqq. The priesthood and the place of worship were 
reorganized by David and Solomon in perfect harmony with 
the law of Moses. Jehoshaphat made provision for the instruc- 
tion of the people in the book of the law, and reformed the 
jurisdiction of the land according to its precepts (2 Chron. 
xvii. 7 sqq., xix. 4 sqq.). Hezekiah and Josiah not only abo- 
lished the idolatry introduced by their predecessors, as Asa 
had done, but restored the worship of Jehovah, and kept the 
Passover as a national feast, according to the regulations of the 
Mosaic law (2 Chron. xxix.-xxxi. ; 2 Kings xxiii. ; and 2 Chron. 
xxxiv. and xxxv.). Even in the kingdom of the ten tribes, 
which separated from the Davidic kingdom, the law of Moses 
retained its force not merely in questions of civil law, but also 
in connection with the religious life of the devout, in spite of 

the rest of the Oriental nations (sic! bo that the Parsees and Hindoos are 
Semitic !), and had almost everything in common with them so far as dress, 
manners, and customs were concerned, there is ground for the supposition, 
that their literature followed the same course" (Herzog's Cycl.). But to 
this we reply, that the literature of a nation is not an outward thing to be 
put on and worn like a dress, or adopted like some particular custom or 
habit, until something more convenient or acceptable induces a change; 
and that there is a considerable difference between Polytheism and heathen 
mythology on the one hand, and Monotheism and revealed religion on the 
other, which forbids us to determine the origin of the religious writings of 
the Israelites by the standard of the Indian Veda and Parana, or the 
different portions of the Zendavesta. 

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the worship established by Jeroboam in opposition to the law, 
as we may clearly see from the labours of Elijah and Elisha, 
of Hosea and Amos, within that kingdom. Moreover, all the 
historical books are richly stored with unmistakeable allusions 
and references to the law, which furnish a stronger proof than 
the actual mention of the book of the law, how deeply the 
Thorah of Moses had penetrated into the religious, civil, and 
political life of Israel. (For proofs, see my Introduction to the 
Old Test. § 34, i.) 

In precisely the same way propliecy derived its authority and 
influence throughout from the law of Moses ; tor all the prophets, 
from the rirst to the last," invariably kept the precepts and pro- 
hibitions of the law before the minds of the people. They judged, 
reproved, and punished the conduct, the sins, the crimes of the 
people according to its rules ; they resumed and expanded its 
threats and promises, proclaiming their certain fulfilment ; and 
Anally, they employed the historical events of the books of Moses 
for the purpose of reproof or consolation, frequently citing the 
very words of the Thorah, especially the threats and promises of 
Lev. xxvi. and Dent, xxviii., to give force and emphasis to their 
warnings, exhortations, and prophecies. And , lastly, the poetr y. 
that flourished under David and Solomon, had also its roots in 
the law, which not only scans, illumines, and consecrates all the 
emotions and changes of a righteous life in the Psalms, and all 
the relations of civil life in the Proverbs, but makes itself heard 
in various ways in the book of Job and the Song of Solomon, 
and is even commended in Ecclesiastes (chap. xii. 13) as the 
sum and substance of true wisdom. 

Again, the int ernal charac ter of the book is in perfect har- 
mony with this indisputable tact, that the "Thorah, as Delitztch 
says, "is as certainly presupposed by the whole of the post- 
Mosaic history and literature, as the root is by the tree." For 
it cannot be shown to bear any traces of post-Mosaic times and 
circumstances; on the contrary, it has the evident stamp of 
Mosaic origin both in substance and in style. All that has 
been adduced in proof of the contrary by the so-called modern 
criticism is founded either upon misunderstanding and misinter- 
pretation, or upon a misapprehension of the peculiarities of the 
Semitic style of historical writing, or lastly upon doctrinal pre- 
judices, in other words, upon a repudiation of all the super- 

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natural characteristics of divine revelation, whether in the form 
of miracle or prophecy. The evidence of this will be given in 
the Commentary itself, in the exposition of the passages which 
have been supposed to contain either allusions to historical cir- 
cumstances and institutions of a later age, or contradictions and 
repetitions that are irreconcilable with the Mosaic origin of 
the work. The Thorah "answers all the expectations which 
a study of the pe rsonal character of Moses could lead us justly 
to form of any work composed by him. - He was one of those 
master-spirits, in whose life the rich maturity of one historical 
period is associated with the creative commencement of another, 
in whom a long past culminates, and a far-reaching future 
strikes its roots. In him the patriarchal age terminated, and 
the period of the law began ; consequently we expect to find 
him, as a sacred historian, linking the existing revelation with 
its patriarchal and primitive antecedents. As the mediator of 
the law, he was a prophet, and, indeed, the greatest of all pro- " 
phets: we expect from him, therefore, an incomparable, pro- 
phetic insight into the ways of God in both past and future. 
He was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians ; a work 
from his hand, therefore, would show, in various intelligent 
allusions to Egyptian customs, laws, and incidents, the well- 
educated native of that land" (Delitzsch). In all these respects, 
not only does the Thorah satisfy in a general manner the de- 
mands which a modest and unprejudiced criticism makes upon 
a work of Moses ; but on a closer investigation of its contents, it 
presents so many marks of the Mosaic age and Mosaic spirit, 
that it is a priori probable that Moses was its author. How 
admirably, for example, was the way prepared for the revela- 
tion of God at Sinai, by the revelations recorded in Genesis 
of the primitive and patriarchal times ! The same God who, 
when making a covenant with Abram, revealed Himself to him 
in a vision as Jehovah who had brought him out of Ur of the 
Chaldees (Gen. xv. 7), and who afterwards, in His character 
of El Shaddai, i.e. the omnipotent God, maintained the cove- 
nant which He had made with him (Gen. xvii. 1 sqq.), giving 
him in Isaac the heir of the promise, and leading and preserving 
both Isaac and Jacob in their way, appeared to Moses at Horeb, 
to manifest Himself to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 
in the full significance of His name Jehovah, by redeeming 

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the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and by ac- 
cepting them as the people of His possession (Ex. vi. 2 sqq.). 
How magnificent are the prophetic revelations contained in the 
. T/iorah, embracing the whole future history of the kingdom of 
God till its glorious consummation at the end of the world! 
Apart from such promises as Gen. xii. 1-3, Ex. xix. 5, 6, and 
others, which point to the goal and termination of the ways of 
God from the very commencement of His work of salvation ; 
not only does Moses in the ode sung at the Bed Sea behold his 
people brought safely to Canaan, and Jehovah enthroned as the 
everlasting King in the sanctuary established by Himself (Ex. 
xv. 13, 17, 18), but from Sinai and in the plains of Moab he 
surveys the future history of his people, and the land to which 
they are about to march, and sees the whole so clearly in the 
light of the revelation received in the law, as to foretell to a 
people just delivered from the power of the heathen, that they 
will again be scattered among the heathen for their apostasy 
from the Lord, and the beautiful land, which they are about 
for the first time to take possession of, be once more laid waste 
(Lev. xxvi.; Deut. xxviii.-xxx., but especially xxxii.). And with 
such exactness does he foretell this, that all the other prophets, in 
their predictions of the captivity, base their prophecies upon the 
words of Moses, simply extending the latter in the light thrown 
upon them by the historical circumstances of their own times. 1 
How richly stored, again, are all five books with delicate and 
casual allusions to Egypt, its historical events, its manners, 
customs, and natural history I Hengttenberg has accumulated 
a great mass of proofs, in his " Egypt and the Books of Moses," 
of thejnostaccurate acquain tance on the part of the author o f 
t he Tlwrah^vnth -Egypt and its institutions . To select only a 
few — and those such as are apparently trivial, and introduced 
quite incidentally into either the history or the laws, but which 
are as characteristic as they are conclusive, — we would mention 
the thoroughly Egyptian custom of man parrying baskets up on 
t heir head s, in the dream of Pharaoh's chief baker (Gen. xL 16); 
the s having of the beard (xli. 14); p rophesying with the cup 

1 Yet we never find in these words of Moses, or in the Pentateuch 
generally, the name Jehovah Sabaoth, which was unknown in the Mosaic 
age, but was current as early as the time of Samuel and David, and sc 
favourite a name with all the prophets. 

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-p (xliv. 5) ; t he custom of emb alming dead bodies and placing 
them in sarcophagi (1. 2, 3, and 26) ; the basket made of the 

-^papyrus ._aai_cQYere_d with. asphalt and pitch (Ex. ii. 3), "the 
pr ohibition against lyin g with cattle (Ex. xxii. 19 ; Lev. xviii. 

* 23, zx. 15, 16), and against other unnatural crimes which were 
common in Egypt; t he remark that Hebron was bnilt. nav^ n 

» years before Zoa n in Egypt (Num. xiii. 22); the allusion in 

5> Num. xi. 5 t f!_lh£."rdi n ° , 7 anA i*™™**. fond nf Egypt ; the 
Egy ptian mod e of ,wjatering^Deut. xi. 10, 11) ; the reference to 
the E gyptian m ode of whipping (Deut. xxv. 2, 3) ; the express 

9 mention of the eruptions and diseases of Egypt (Deut. vii. 15, 
xxriii. 27, 35, 60), and many other things, especially in the ac- 
count of the plagues, which tally so closely with the natural 
history of that country (Ex. vii. S-x. 23). 

In its general form, too, the Thorah answers the expecta- 
tions which we are warranted in entertaining of a work of 
Moses. In such a work we should expect to find " the unity o f 
a magnificent plan , c omparati va indiff erence to the mere de- 
Jajls* but a comprehensive and spirited grasp of the whole and 
of salient points ; depth and elevation combined with the 
greatest simplicity. In the magnificent unity of plan, we sha ll 
detect the mi ghty leadeTand ruler oflTpe nple nnmWjng tp.n« nf 
thousands : in the childlik e simplicity, the shepherd of Midian. 
who fed the sheep of Jethro tar away from the varied scenes 
of Egypt in the fertile clefts of the mountains of Sinai" 
(Delitzsch). The unity of the magnificent plan of the Thorah 
we have already shown in its most general outlines, and shall 
point out still more minutely in our commentary upon the sepa- 
rate books. The childlike naiveti of the shepherd of Midian 
is seen most distinctly in those figures and similes drawn from 
the immediate contemplation of nature, which we find in the 
more rhetorical portions of the work. To this class belong such 
poetical expressions as " covering the eye of the earth " (Ex. x. 
5, 15 ; Num. xxii. 5, 11) ; such similes as these : " as a nursing 
father beareth the suckling" (Num. xi. 12) ; "as a man doth 
bear his son " (Deut. i. 31) ; " as the ox licketh up the grass of 
the field" (Num. xxii. 4); " as sheep which have no shepherd" 
(Num. xxvii. 17); "as bees do" (Deut. i. 44); "as the eagle 
flieth " (Deut. xxviii. 49) ; — and again the figurative expressions 
" borne on eagles' wings" (Ex. six. 4, cf. Deut. xxxii. 11) ; " de- 

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Touring fire " (Ex. xxiv. 17 ; Deut. iv. 24, ix. 3) ; u head and tail" 
(Dent, xxviii. 13, 44) ; " a root that beareth gall and wormwood" 
(Dent. xxix. 18); "wet to dry" (Deut. xxix. 19), and many others. 

To this we may add t he antiquated character of the sty le, 
which is common to all five books, and distinguishes them essen- 
tially from all the other writings of the Old Testament. This 
appears sometimes in the use of words, of forms, or of phrases, 
which subsequently disappeared from the spoken language, and 
which either do not occur again, or are only used here and 
there by the writers of the time of the captivity and afterwards, 
and then are taken from the Pentateuch itself ; at other times, 
in the fact that words and phrases are employed in the books 
of Moses in simple prose, which were afterwards restricted to 
poetry alone ; or else have entirely changed their meaning. 
For example, the pronoun van and the noun "ip? are used in the 
Pentateuch for both gender s, whereas the forms KVl and 'TJJO 
were afterwards employed for the feminine ; whilst the former 
of these occurs only eleven times in the Pentateuch, the latter 
only once. T he demonstrativ e pronoun is spelt ?Mn, afterwards 
H9Kn ; the infinitive construct of the verbs' rf'^ is often written ri 
or \ without n, as ibTJ Gen. xxxi. 38, wkg Ex. xviii. 18, nk"j Gen. 
xlviii. 11 ; the third person plural of verbs is still for the most 
part the full form p, not merely in the imperfect, but also here 
and there in the perfect, whereas afterwards it was softened into 
1. Such words, too, as MK an ear of corn ; nnnow a Back ; TTja 
dusecuit ho*tia* ; "ina a piece ; 7$l a young bird ; ">3t a present ; 
"t?J to present ; Bte"jn a sickle ; KJO a basket ; IHpVl an existing, 
living thing; rnoo a veil, covering; ^$? a sprout (applied to 
men) ; "WB> a blood-relation ; such forms as TOj for T3T mat, 
3P3 for feoa a lamb ; phrases like VBIT7K *|DW, " gathered to his 
people ; " and many others which I have given in my Introduc- 
tion, — you seek in vain in the other writings of the Old Testa- 
ment, whilst the words and phrases, which are used there instead, 
are not found in the books of Moses. 

And whilst the contents and form of the Thorah bear wit- 
ness that it belongs to the Mosaic age, t here are express state- 
ments to the effec t that^it was written by Moses himself. Even 
in the central books, certain events and laws are said to have 
been written down. After^ the d efeat of the Amalekites, for 
example, Moses received orderefrom God to write the command 

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to exterminate Amalek, for a memorial, «'n <% hnnh ({.«. a book 
appointed for a record of the acts of the Lord in Israel : Ex. 
xviL 14). According to Ex. xxiv. 3, 4, 7, Moses wrote the 
words of the covenant (Ex. xx. 2-17) and the laws of Israel (Ex. 
xxi.-xxiii.) in the book of the covenant, and read them to the 
people. Again, in Ex. xxxiv. 27, Moses is commanded to write 
the words of the renewed covenant, which he no doubt did. And 
lastly, it is stated in Num. xxxiii. 2, that he wrote an account 
of the different encampments of the Israelites in the desert, 
according to the commandment of God. It is true that these 
statements furnish no direct evidence of the Mosaic authorship 
of the whole Thorah ; but from the fact that the covenant of 
Sinai was to be concluded, and actually was concluded, on the 
basis of a written record of the laws and privileges of the cove- 
nant, it may be inferred with tolerable certainty, that Moses 
committed all those laws to writing, which were to serve the 
people as an inviolable rule of conduct towards God. And from 
the record, which God commanded to be made, of the two his- 
torical events already mentioned, it follows unquestionably, that 
it was the intention of God, that all the more important mani- 
festations of the covenant fidelity of Jehovah should be handed 
down in writing, in order that the people in all time to come 
might study and lay them to heart, and their fidelity be thus 
preserved towards their covenant God. That Moses recognised 
this divine intention, and for the purpose of upholding the work 
already accomplished through his mediatorial office, committed 
to writing not merely the whole of the law, but the entire work 
/ \^J of the Lord in and for Israel, — in other words, that he wrote o nt 

- r-T^dX +1t« wjiola Tivth in the form in whic h it ha s come d own to n s, 
and handed over the work to the nation before hi s departu re 
from this life, thaFTlf might "be preserved and obeyed, — is dis- 
tinctly stated "at the conclusion of the Thorah, in Deut. xxxi. 9, 
%i. When he had delivered his last address to the people, and 
appointed Joshua to lead them into their promised inheritance, 
" he wrote this Tliorah, and delivered it unto the priests, the sons 
of Levi, and unto all the elders of Israel " (Deut. xxxi. 9), with a 
command that it was to be read to the people every seven years 
at the feast of Tabernacles, when they came to appear before the 
Lord at the sanctuary. Thereupon, it is stated (vers. 24 sqq.) 
that " it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing 

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the words of this law in a book, to the very close, that Moses 
commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of 
the Lord, saying : Take this book of the law, and put JLby-ihe I v 
si de of the a rk of the covenant of Jehovah your God, that it^\ 
may be there for a witness against thee," etc. This double \\ 
testimony to the Mosaic authorship of the Thorah i g_ confirme d 
still further by the command in Deut. xvii. 18, that the king to 
he afterwards chosen sho uld cause a copy of th is law^_to be 
written in a book by th e Leyitical priests, and should.jread 
th erein all the days of his life, and by the repeated allusions 
to " the words of this law, which are written in this book," or 
"in the book of the law" (Deut. xxviii. 58, 61, xxix. 21, xxx. 
10, xxxi. 26) ; for the former command and the latter allusions 
are not intelligible on any other supposition, than that Moses was 
engaged in writing the book of the law, and intended to hand 
it over to the nation in a complete form previous to his death ; 
though it may not have been finished when the command itself 
was written down and the words in question were uttered, but, 
as Dent. xxxi. 9 and 24 distinctly affirm, may have been com- 
pleted after his address to the people, a short time before his 
death, by the arrangement and revision of the earlier portions, 
and the addition of the fifth and closing book. 

The validity of this evidence must not be restricted, how- 
ever, to the fifth book of the Thorah, viz. Deuteronomy, alone ; 
it extends to all five books, that is to say, to the whole connected 
work. For it cannot be exeget ically_prQyed from Deuteronomy, 
that the expression, "this law," in every passage of the book 
from chap, l, .5. to xxxi. 24 relates to the so-called J^euterosis-ai 
the law, i.e. to the fifth book alone, or that Deuteronomy was 
written before the other four books, the contents of which it in- 
variably presupposes. Nor can it be historically proved that th." 
command respecting the copy of the law to be made for the 
future king, and the regulations for the reading of the law at 
the feast of Tabernacles, were understood by the Jews as refer- 
ring to Deuteronomy only. Josephus says nothing about any 
such limitation, but speaks, on the contrary, of the reading of 
the law generally (o dp^iepew . . . dvayivaxrKerm roixi vo/iov<{ 
vaxrt, Ant. iv. 8, 12). The Rabbins, too, understand the words 
" this law," in Deut. xxxi. 9 and 24, as relating to the whole 
Thorah from Gen. i. to Deut. xxxiv., and only differ in opinion 
pent. — vol. i. c 

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as to the question whether Moses wrote the whole work at once 
after his last address, or whether he composed the earlier books 
gradually, after the different events and the publication of the 
law, and then completed the whole by writing Deuteronomy and 
appending it to the four books in existence already. 1 

1 Cf. Hacerniek's Introduction, and the opinions of the Rabbins on 
Deut. xxxi. 9 and 21 in Meyer's adnotatt. ad Seder Olam. But as Delitzsch 
s till mainta ins that Deut. xxxi. 9 sqq, merely proves that the popk of 
Deuteronomy was wri t ten by Moses, and observes in support of this, that 
at the time of the second temple it was an undoubted custonTto read that 
book alone at the feast of Tabernacles in the year of release, as is evident 
from Sota, c. 7, and a passage of Si/ri (one of the earliest Midrashim of the 
school of Rab, born c. 165, d. 247), quoted by Rashi on Sota 41, we will 
give a literal translation of the two passages for the benefit of those who 
may not possess the books themselves, that they may judge for themselves 
what ground there is for this opinion. The passage from the Sota is headed, 
tectio regis quomodo, i.e. sectio a Reye prsdegenda, quibus ritihis recitata 
est, and runs thus : — " Transacta festivitatis tabernaculorum prima die, 
complete jam septimo anno et octavo ineunte, parabant Regi suggestum 
ligneum in Atrio, huic insidebat juxta illud : a fine septem annorum, etc. 
(Deut. xxxi. 10). Turn jEdituus (mere correctly, diaconus Synagogse) 
sumto libro legis tradidit eum Primario coetus (synagogte), hie porrigebat 
eum Antistiti, Antistes Summo Sacerdoti, Summus Sacerdos denique exhi- 
bebat ipsum regi. Rex autem stans eum accipiebat, verum prselegens con- 
sedit." Then follows a Haggada on a reading of King Agrippa's, and it 
proceeds : — " Prselegit vero (rex) ab initio Deuteronomii usque ad ilia • 
Audi Israel (c. 4, 4), qu» et ipse pnelegit. Turn subjecit (ex. c. 11, 13) : 
Eritque si serio auscultaveritis, etc. Dehinc (ex. c. 14, 22) : Fideliter 
decimato, etc. Postea (ex. c. 26, 22) : Cum absolveritis dare omnes deci- 
mas, etc. Deinde sectionem de Rege (qua? habetur, c. 17, 14 sqq.). Deni- 
que benedictiones et exsecrationes (ex. cc. 27 et 28) usque dum totam 
Ulam sectionem finiret." But how can a mere tradition of the Talmud like 
this, respecting the formalities with which the king was to read certain 
sections of the Thorah on the second day of the feast of Tabernacles, be 
adduced as a proof that in the year of release the book of Deuteronomy 
alone, or certain extracts from it, were read to the assembled people? Even 
if this rule was connected with the Mosaic command in Deut. xxxi. 10, or 
derived from it, it does not follow in the remotest degree, that either by 
ancient or modern Judaism the public reading of the Thorah appointed by 
Moses was restricted to this one reading of the king's. And even if the 
precept in the Talmud was so understood or interpreted by certain Rabbins, 
the other passage quoted by Delitzsch from Si/ri in support of his opinion, 
proves that this was not the prevailing view of the Jewish synagogue, or 
of modern Judaism. The passage runs thus : " He (the king) shall write 
ntftn rrrinn mvm DK- He shall do this himself, for he is not to use his 
ancestor's copy. Mishneh in itself means nothing more than Thorah Mishneh 

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Still less can this evidence be set aside or rendered doubtful 
by the objection, offered by Vaihinger, that "Moses cannot 
have related his own death and burial (Deut. xxxiv.) ; and yet 
the account of these forms an essential part of the work as we 
possess it now, and in language and style bears a close resem- 
blance to Num. xxvii. 12-23." The words in chap. xxxi. 24. 
" When Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a 
book to the end," are a sufficient proof of themselves that the 
account of his death was added by a different hand, without its 
needing to be distinctly stated. 1 The argument, moreover, re- 

(Deuteronomy). How do I know that the other words of the Thorah were to 
tie written also ? This is evident from the Scriptures, which add, ' to do all 
the words of this law.' But if this be the case, why is it called Mishneh 
Thorah f Because there would be a transformation of the law. Others say 
that on the day of assembly Deuteronomy alone was read." From this passage 
of the ancient Midrash we learn, indeed, that many of the Rabbins were of 
opinion, that at the feast of Tabernacles in the sabbatical year, the book of 
Deuteronomy only was to be read, but that the author himself was of a differ- 
ent opinion ; and, notwithstanding the fact that he thought the expression 
Mishneh Thorah must be understood as applying to the Deuterosis of the law, 
still maintained that the law, of which the king was to have a copy taken, 
was not only Deuteronomy, but the whole of the Pentateuch, and that he 
endeavoured to establish this opinion by a strange but truly rabbinical in- 
terpretation of the word Mishneh as denoting a transformation of the law. 

1 The weakness of the argument against the Mosaic authorship of the 
Thorah, founded upon the account of the death and burial of Moses, may 
be seen from the_analogous case cited by Hengstenberg in his Dissertation* 
on the Pentateuch. In the IS5T book of the Cdmmeniarii de statu religioni* 
et reipublicse Carolo V. Csesare, by J. Sleidanus, the account of Charles 
having abdicated and sailed to Spain is followed, without any break, by the 
words : " Octobris die ultimo Joannes Sleidanus, J. U. L., vir et propter 
eximias animi dotes et singularem doctrinam omni laude dignus, Argentorati e 
vita decedit, atque ibidem honorifice sepelitur." This account of the death 
and burial of Sleidan is given in every edition of his Commentarii, contain- 
ing the 26th book, which the author added to the 25 books of the first 
edition of April 1555, for the purpose of bringing down the life of Charles 
T. to his abdication in September 1556. Even in the very first edition, 
Argentorati 1558, it is added without a break, and inserted in the table of 
contents as an integral part of the book, without the least intimation that 
it is by a different hand. " No doubt the writer thought that it was quite 
unnecessary to distinguish himself from the author of the work, as every- 
body would know that a man could not possibly write an account of his 
own death and burial." Yet any one who should appeal to this as a proof 
that Sleidan was not the author of the Commentarii, would make himself 
ridiculous in the eyes of every student of history. 

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tains all its force, even if not only chap, xxxiv., the blessing of 
Moses in chap, xxxiii., whose title proves it to be an appendix 
to the Thorah, and the song in chap, xxxii., are included in the 
supplement added by a different hand, but if the supplement 
commences at chap. xxxi. 24, or, as Delitzsch supposes, at chap, 
xxxi. 9. For even in the latter case, the precepts of Moses on 
the reading of the Thorah at the feast of Tabernacles of the 
year of release, and on the preservation of the copy by the side 
of the ark, would have been inserted in the original prepared by 
Moses himself before it was deposited in the place appointed ; 
and the work of Moses would have been concluded, after his 
death, with the notice of his death and burial. The supplement 
itself was undoubtedly added, not merely by a contemporary, 
but by a man who was intimately associated with Moses, and 
occupied a prominent position in the Israelitish community, so 
that his testimony ranks with that of Moses. 

Other objections to the Mosaic authorship we shall notice, 
so far as they need any special refutation, in our commentary 
upon the passages in question. At the close of our exposition 
of the whole five books, we will review the modern hypotheses, 
which regard the work as the resultant of frequent revisions. 


Acknowledgment . of the his torical credib ility of the facts 
recorded in the books of Moses requires a previous admission of 
thlTreality o f a supe rnatu ral revelation fromTrbcL The wide- 
spread naturalism o7 modern theologians, which deduces the 
origin and development of the religious ideas and truths of the 
Old Testament from the nature of the human mind, must of 
necessity remit all that is said in the Pentateuch about direct or 
supernatural manifestations or acts of God, to the region of fic- 
titious sagas and myths, and refuse to admit the historical truth 
and reality of miracles and prophecies. But such an opinion 
must be condemned as neither springing from the truth nor 
leading to the truth, on the simple ground that it is directly at 
variance with what Christ and His apostles have taught in the 
New Testament with reference to the Old, and also as leading 
either to an unspiritual Deism or to a comfortless Pantheism, 

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which ignores the working of God on the one hand, and the 
inmost nature of the human mind on the other. Of the reality 
of the divine revelations, accompanied by miracles and prophe- 
cies, the Christian, t'.e. the believing Christian, has already a 
pledge in the miracle of regeneration and the working of the 
Holy Spirit within his own heart. He who has experienced in 
himself this spiritual miracle of divine grace, will also recognise 
as historical facts the natural miracles, by which the true and 
living God established His kingdom of grace in Israel, wherever 
the testimony of eye-witnesses ensures their credibility. Now 
we have this testimony in the case of all the events of Moses' 
own time, from his call downwards, or rather from his birth till 
his death ; that is to say, of all the events which are narrated / 
in the last four books of Moses. The l egal code contained in "VyCs 
these books is now acknowledged by the most naturalistic oppo- 6f*(e 
nents of _biblical revelation to have proceeded from so far l(j - 
asJts-BiOkt eiseiitwl elements :ire concerned ; and this is in itself ft£( r ]\ •, 
;; Miir !e confession that the Mosaic age is not a dark ancTmythi- ^ t "' . 

c al oue,_ but falls within the clear light of history. The events 
of such an age might, indeed, by possibility be transmuted into 
legends in the course of centuries; but only in cases where they 
had been handed down from generation to generation by simple 
word of mouth. Now this cannot apply to the events of the 
Mosaic age ; for even the opponents of the Mosaic origin of the 
Pentateuch admit, that the art of wr iting had h**™ ^»rm>A )iy 
the Israelites from the Egyptians long before th at ti me, and 
that not merely separate laws, but also memorable events, were 
committed to writing. To this we must add, that the historical 
events of the books of Moses contain no traces of legendary 
transmutation, or mythical adornment of the actual facts. Cases 
of discrepancy, which some critics have adduced as containing 
proofs of this, have been pronounced by others of the same theo- 
logical school to be quite unfounded. Thus Bertheau says, with 
regard to the supposed contradictions in the different laws : " It 
always appears to ine rash, to assume that there are contradic- 
tions in the laws, and to adduce these as evidence that the con- 
tradictory passages must belong to different periods. The state 
of the case is really this : even if the Pentateuch did gradually 
receive the form in which it has come down to us, whoever made 
additions must have known what the existing contents were, and 

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would therefore not only admit nothing that was contradictory, 
but would erase anything contradictory that might have found 
its way in before. The liberty to make additions does not 
appear to me to be either greater, or more involved in difficulties, 
than that to make particular erasures." And on the supposed 
discrepancies in the historical accounts, C. v. Lengerke himself 
says : " The discrepancies which some critics have discovered in 
the historical portions of Deuteronomy, as compared with the 
earlier books, have really no existence." Throughout, in fact, 
the pretended contradictions have for the most part been intro- 
duced into the biblical text by the critics themselves, and have 
so little to sustain them in the narrative itself, that on closer 
research they resolve themselves into mere appearance, and the 
differences can for the most part be easily explained. — The result 
•is just the same in the case of the repetitions of the same historical 
events, which have been regarded as legendary reduplications of 
things that occurred but once. There are only two miraculous 
occurrences mentioned in the Mosaic era which are said to have 

I been repeated; only two cases, therefore, in which it is possi- 
ble to place the repetition to the account of legendary fiction : 
viz. the feeding with quails, and bringing of water from a rock. 
But both of these are of such a character that the appearance of 
identity vanishes entirely before the distinctness of the historical 
accounts, and the differences in the attendant circumstances. 
The first feeding with quails took place in the desert of Sin, 
before the arrival of the Israelites at Sinai, in the second month 
of the first year ; the second occurred after their departure from 
Sinai, in the second month of the second year, at the so-called 
graves of lust. The latter was sent as a judgment or plague, 
which brought the murnrarers into the graves of their lust ; the 
former merely supplied the deficiency of animal food. The 
water was brought from the rock the first time in Rephidim, 
during the first year of their journey, at a spot which was called 
in consequence Massah and Meribah ; the second time, at Ka- 
desh, in the fortieth year, — and on this occasion Moses and Aaron 
sinned so grievously that they were not allowed to enter Canaan. 
It is apparently different with the historical contents of the 
book of Genesis. If Genesis was written by Moses, even be- 
tween the history of the patriarchs and the time of Moses there 
is an interval of four or five centuries, in which the tradition 

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might possibly have been corrupted or obscured. But to infer 
the reality from the bare possibility would be a very unscientific 
proceeding, and at variance with the simplest rules of logic. 
Now, if we look at the history which has been handed down to 
us in the book of Genesis from the primitive times of the human 
race and the patriarchal days of Israel, t he traditions from _the 
primitive times are restric ted t o a few simple incident s na turally 
described, and to genealogies which exhibit the development of 
the earliest families, and the origin of the different nations, in the 
plainest possible style. These transmitted accounts have such a 
g ennine historical stamp , that no well-founded question can be 
raised concerning their credibility; but, on the contrary, all 
thorough historical research into the origin of different nations 
o nly tends to their confirma tion. This also applies to the patri- 
archal history, in which, with the exception of the divine mani- 
festations, nothing whatever occurs that could in the most remote 
degree call to mind the myths and fables of the heathen nations, 
as to the lives and deeds of their heroes and progenitors. There 
are three separate accounts, indeed, in the lives of Abraham and 
Isaac of an abduction of their wives ; and modern critics can 
see nothing more in these, than three different mythical embel- 
lishments of one single event. But on a close and unprejudiced 
examination of the three accounts, the attendant circumstances 
in all three cases are so peculiar, and correspond so exactly to 
the respective positions, that the appearance of a legendary mul- 
tiplication vanishes, and all three events must rest upon a good 
historical foundation. " As the history of the world, and of the 
plan _of sa lvation, aboun ds not onl y in repetitions of wonderful 
e vents, but also in wonderful repetitions, critics had need act 
modestly, l est in e xcess of wisdom they become foolisbjaad 
ridiculous" (Delitzsch). Again, we find that in the guidance of 
the human race, from the earliest ages downwards, more espe- 
cially in the lives of the three patriarchs, God prepared the way 
by revelations for the covenant which He made at Sinai with the 
people of Israel. But in these preparations we can discover no 
sign of any legendary and unhistorical transference of later cir- 
cumstances and institutions, either Mosaic or post-Mosaic, to the 
patriarchal age ; and they are sufficiently justified by the facts 
themselves, since the Mosaic economy cannot possibly have been 
brought into the world, like a dew ex machina, without the 

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slightest previous preparation. The natural simpl icity of the 
patriarchal^ life, which shines out in every narrative, is another 
thing that produces on every unprejudiced reader the impression 
of a genuine historical tradition. This tradition, therefore, even 
though for the most part transmitted from generation to genera- 
tion by word of mouth alone, has every title to credibility, since 
it was perpetuated within the patriarchal family, " in which, 
according to divine command (Gen. xviii. 19), the manifesta- 
tions of God in the lives of the fathers were handed down as an 
heirloom, and that with all the greater ease, in proportion to the 
longevity of the patriarchs, the simplicity of their life, and the 
closeness of their seclusion from foreign and discordant influ- 
ences. Such a tradition would undoubtedly be guarded with 
the greatest care. It was the foundation of the very existence 
of the chosen family, the bond of its unity, the mirror of its 
duties, the pledge of its future history, and therefore its dearest 
inheritance" (Delitzsch). But we are by no means to suppose 
that all the accounts and incidents in the book of Genesis were 
dependent upon oral tradition ; on the contrary, there is much 
which was simply copied from written documents handed down 
from the earliest times. Not only the ancient genealogies, which 
may be distinguished at once from the historical narratives by 
their antique style, with its repetitions of almost stereotyped 
formularies, and by the peculiar forms of the names which they 
contain, but certain historical sections — such, for example, as 
the account of the war in Gen. xiv., with its superabundance of 
genuine and exact accounts of a primitive age, both historical 
and geographical, and its old words, which had disappeared from 
the living language before the time of Moses, as well as many 
others — were unquestionably copied by Moses from ancient docu- 
ments. (See Havernictt 's Introduction.) 

To all this must be added the fact, that the historical con 
tents, not of Genesis only, but of all the five books of Moses, 
are p ervaded and sustained b y thespjri^ofjru e religio n. This 
spirit has impressed a seal of truth upon the historical writings 
of the Old Testament, which distinguishes them from all merely 
human historical compositions, and may be recognised in the 
fact, that to all who yield themselves up to the influence of the 
Spirit which lives and moves in them, it points the way to the 
knowledge of that salvation which God Himself has revealed. 

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j HE first book of Moses, which has the superscription 
nW3 in the original, reveai,<; K6<t/aov in the Cod. 
Alex, of the LXX., and is called liber creatUmia 
by the Rabbins, has received the name of Genesis 
from its entire contents. Commencing with the creation of 
the heaven and the earth, and concluding with the death of the 
patriarchs Jacob and Joseph, this book supplies us with infor- 
mation with regard not only to the first beginnings and earlier 
stages of the world and of the human race, but also to those of 
the divine institutions which laid the foundation for the king- 
dom of God. Genesis commences with the_ creation of the 
world, because the heavens and the earth form the appointed 
s phere, s6~Tar~ as~tTme arid space are concerned, for the .kingdom 
o f God ; because God, according to His eternal counsel, ap- 
pointed the world to be the scene both for the revelation of His 
invisible essence, and also for the operations of His eternal love 
within and among His creatures ; and because in the beginning 
He created the world to be and to become the kingdom of God. 
The creation of the heaven and the earth, therefore, receives as 
its centre, paradise ; and in paradise, man, created in the image 
of God, is the head and crown of all created beings. The his- 
tory of the world and of the kingdom of God begins with him. 
His fall from God brought death and corruption into the whole 
creation (Gen. iii. 17 sqq. ; Eom. viii. 19 sqq.) ; his redemp- 

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tion from the fall will be completed in and with the glorifi- 
cation of the heavens and the earth (Isa. lxv. 17, lxvi. 22 ; 2 
Pet. iii. 13 ; Rev. xxi. 1). By sin, men have departed and 
separated themselves from God; but God, in His infinite mercy, 
has not cut Himself off from men, His creatures. Not only 
did He announce redemption along with punishment imme- 
diately after the fall, but from that time forward He continued 
to reveal Himself to them, that He might draw them back to 
Himself, and lead them from the path of destruction to the way 
of salvation. And through these operations of God upon the 
world in theophanies, or revelations by word and deed, the histo- 
rical development of the human race became a history of the 
plan of salvation. The book of Genesis narrates that history in 
broad, deep, comprehensive sketches, from its first beginning to 
the time of the patriarchs, whom God chose from among the 
nations of the earth to be the bearers of salvation for the entire 
world. This long space of 2300 years (from Adam to the 
flood, 1656 ; to the entrance of Abram into Canaan, 365 ; to 
Joseph's death, 285 ; in all, 2306 years) is divisible into two 
periods. T he first p eriod J^pb r gjl p 5 t^e dBKelopmeat_of_the 
h uman race f rom its first creation and fall to its dispersion over 
the earthy and the division of the one race into many nafidhs, 
wifEdifferent languages (chap. ii. 4-xi. 26) ; and is divided by 
t he floo d into two distinct ages ? which we may_call the jprimeval 
age and the_preparatory~age. All that is related of the primeval 
age, from Adam to Noah, is the history of the fall ; the mode of 
life, and longevity of the two families which descended from the 
two sons of Adam ; and the universal spread of sinful corruption 
in consequence of the intermarriage of these two families, who 
differed so essentially in their relation to God (chap. ii. 4-vi. 8). 
The primeval history closes with the flood, in which the old 
world perished (chap. vi. 9-viii. 19). Of the preparatory age, 
from Noah to Terah the father of Abraham, we have an account 
of the covenant which God made with Noah, and of Noah's 
blessing and curse ; the genealogies of the families and tribes 
which descended from his three sons ; an account of the con- 
fusion of tongues, and the dispersion of the people ; and the 
genealogical table from Shem to Terah (chap. viii. 20-xi. 26). — 
Th ^xer.ond period consists of thejatriiirrhal era. From this we 
have an elaborate description cf theTIves of the three patriarchs 

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of Israel, the family chosen to be the people of God, from the 
call of Abraham to the death of Joseph (chap. xi. 27-1.). Thus . 
the history of humanity, is gathered up into the history of the 
one family, which received the promise, that God would multiply 
it into a great people, or rather into a multitude of peoples, 
would make it a blessing to all the families of the earth, and 
would give it the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. 

This general survey will suffice to bring out the design of 
the book of Genesis, viz., to relate the early history of the Old 
Testament kingdom of God. By a simple and unvarnished 
description of the development of the world under the guidance 
and discipline of God, it shows how God, as the preserver and 
governor of the world, dealt with the human race which He had 
created in His own image, and how, notwithstanding their fall 
and through the misery which ensued, He prepared the way 
for the fulfilment of His original design, and the establishment 
of the kingdom which should bring salvation to the world. 
Whilst by virtue of the blessing bestowed in their creation, the 
human race was increasing from a single pair to families and 
nations, and peopling the earth; God stemmed the evil, which sin 
had introduced, by words and deeds, by the announcement of 
His will in commandments, promises, and threats, and by the 
infliction of punishments and judgments upon the despisers of 
His mercy. Side by side with the law of expansion from the 
unity of a family to the plurality of nations, there was carried 
on from the very first a law of separation between the ungodly 
and those that feared God, for the purpose of preparing and 
preserving a holy seed for the rescue and salvation of the whole 
human race. This double law is the organic principle which 
lies at the root of all the separations, connections, and disposi- 
tions which constitute the history of the book of Genesis. In 
accordance with the law of reproduction, which prevails in the 
preservation and increase of the human race, the genealogies 
show the historical bounds within which the persons and events 
that marked the various epochs are confined ; whilst the law of 
selection determines the arrangement and subdivision of such 
historical materials as are employed. 

So far as the plan of the book is concerned, the historical 
contents are divided into ten groups, with the uniform heading, 
" These are the generations'' (with the exception of chap. v. 1 : 

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"This is the book of the generations"); the account of the 
creation forming the substratum of the whole. These groups 
consist of the Tholedoth : 1. of the heavens and the earth (chap, 
ii. 4-iv. 26) ; 2. of Adam (v. 1-vi. 8) ; 3. of Noah (vi. 9-ix. 
29) ; 4. of Noah's sons (x. 1-xi. 9) ; 5. of Shem (xi. 10-26) ; 
6. of Terah (xi. 27-xxv. 11) ; 7. of Ishmael (xxv. 12-18) ; 8. 
of Isaac (xxv. 19-xxxv. 29) ; 9. of Esau (xxxvi.) ; and 10. of 
Jacob (xxxvii.-l.). There are five groups in the first period, 
and five in the second. Although, therefore, the two periods 
diffettconsiderably with regard to their scope and contents, in 
their historical importance to the book of Genesis they are upon 
a par ; a nd the number ten s tampsnpon jhe e ntire boo k, or 
rather upon the early history of Israel recorded in the book, the 
pViqraptP r of completeness . This arrangement flowed quite 
naturally from the contents and purport of the book. The two 
periods, of which the early history of the kingdom of God in 
Israel consists, evidently constitute two great divisions, so far as 
their internal character is concerned. All that is related of 
the first period, from Adam to Terah, is obviously connected, no 
doubt, with the establishment of the kingdom of God in Israel, 
but only in a remote degree. The account of paradise exhibits 
the primary relation of man to God and his position in the 
world. In the fall, the necessity is shown for the interposition 
of God to rescue the fallen. In the promise which followed the 
curse of transgression, the first glimpse of redemption is seen. 
The division of the descendants of Adam into a God-fearing and 
an ungodly race exhibits the relation of the whole human race 
to God. The flood prefigures the judgment of God upon the 
ungodly; and the preservation and blessing of Noah, the pro- 
tection of the godly from destruction. And lastly, in the 
genealogy and division of the different nations on the one hand, 
and the genealogical table of Shem on the other, the selection of 
one nation is anticipated to be the recipient and custodian of 
the divine revelation. The special preparations for the training 
of this nation commence with the call of Abraham, and consist 
of the care bestowed upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their 
posterity, and of the promises which they received. The leading 
events in the first period, and the prominent individuals in the 
second, also furnished, in a simple and natural way, the requisite 
points of view for grouping the historical materials of each under 

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a fivefold division. The proof of this will be found in the ex- 
position. "Within the different groups themselves the arrange- 
ment adopted is this : the materials are arranged and distri- 
buted according to the law of divine selection ; the familie s 
whjch ^ branched off from the main line are noticed first of all: 
and when they have been removed from the general "scope of 
the history, the course of the main line is more elaborately de- 
scribed, and the history itself is carried forward. According to 
this plan, which is strictly adhered to, the history of Cain and 
his family precedes that of Seth and his posterity ; the gene- 
alogy of Japhet and Ham stands before that of Shem ; the 
history of Ishmael and Esau, before that of Isaac and Jacob ; 
and the death of Terah, before the call and migration of Abra- 
ham to Canaan. In this regularity of composition, according to 
a .settled plan, the book of Genesis may. .clearly he seen, 
the careful production of one single author, who looked at the 
historical development of the human race in the light of divine 
revelation, and thus exhibited it as a complete and well arranged 
introduction to the history of the Old Testament kingdom of 


CHAP. I. l-II. 3 

The account of the creation, its commencement, progress, 
and completion, bears the marks, both in form and substance, 
of a historical document in which it is intended that we should 
accept as actual truth, not only the assertion that God created 
the heavens, and the earth, and all that lives and moves in the 
world, but also the description of the creation itself in all its 
several stages. If we look merely at the form of this document, 
i ts place at the beg inning of the book of Genesis is sufficient to 
warxanj.^ths. expectation that, it will give us history, and riot 
fictio n^gr human speculation. As the development of the 
human family has been from the first a historical fact, and as 
man really occupies that place in the world which this record 
assigns him, the creation of man. as well as that of the earth on 

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which, and the heaven for which, he is to live, must also be a. 
work of God, i.e. a fact of objective truth and reality. The 
grand simplicity of the account is in perfect harmony with the 
fact. " T he whole narrative is so ber, definitej^lear^ an d, con - 
crete. The historical events described contain a rich treasury 
of speculative thoughts and poetical glory ; but they themselves 
are free from the influence of human invention and human 
philosophizing" (Delitzsch). This is also true of the arrange- 
ment of the whole. The work of creation does not fall, as 
Herder and others maintain, into two triads of days, with the 
work of the second answering to that of the first. For although 
the creation of the light on the first day seems to correspond to 
that of the light-bearing stars on the fourth, there is no reality 
in the parallelism which some discover between the second and 
third days on the one hand, and the third and fourth on. the 
other. On the second day the firmament or atmosphere is 
formed ; on the fifth, the fish and fowl. On the third, after the 
sea and land are separated, the plants are formed ; on the sixth, 
the animals of the dry land and man. Now, if the creation of 
the fowls which fill the air answers to that of the firmament, 
the formation of the fish as the inhabitants of the waters ought 
to be assigned to the sixth day, and not to the fifth, as being 
parallel to the creation of the seas. The creation of the fish 
and fowl on the same day is an evident proof that a parallelism 
between the first three days of creation and the last three is not 
intended, and does not exist. Moreover, if the division of the 
work of creation into so many days had been the result of 
human reflection ; the creation of man, who was appointed lord 
of the earth, would certainly not have been assigned to the same 
day as that of the beasts and reptiles, but would have been kept 
1 'I H distinct from the creation of the beasts, and allotted to the seventh 
(1 t/"" I 'jr \i , ^ a y> m which the creation was completed, — a meaning which 
P A *" u v Richers and Keerl have actually tried to force upon the text of 
' , >M the Bible. In the different acts of creation we perceive indeed 

an_evident progress from the £eneraTtoTlie particular, from the 
lower to the higher orders of creatures, or rather a steady advance 
towards more and more concrete forms. Bu_t o n the fo urth day 
this progress is interrupted in a way which we can not expla in. 
Tn the transition from the creation of the plants to that of sun, 
moon, and stars, it is impossible to discover either a "well- 

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CHAP. I. l-II. 3. 39 

arranged and constant progress," or " a genetic advance," since 
the stars are not intermedi ate links between .plants and animals, 
and, in fact, have no place at all in the scale of earthly creatures. 
— If we pass on to the contents of onr account of the creation, a r 
they differ as widely from all other cosmogonies as tru th from " 
fiction. Those o f heathen .nations are either hylozojgjjcal, de- 
ducing the origin of life and living beings from some primeval 
matter ; or pantheistical , regarding the whole world as emanating 
from a common divine substance ; or mythological , tracing both 
gods and men to a chaos or world-egg. They do not even rise 
to the notion of a creation, much less to the knowledge of an 
almighty God, as the Creator of all things. 1 Even in the 
Etruscan and Persian myths, which correspond so remarkably 
to the biblical account that they must have been derived from it, 
the successive acts of creation are arranged according to the 
suggestions of human probability and adaptation.* In contrast 

1 According to Berosus and Syncellus, the Ch aldean mv jh represents the 
"All" as consisting of darkness and water, filled with monstrous creatures, 
and ruled by a woman, Markaya, or 'Oftopaxx (? Ocean). Bel divided the 
darkness, and cut the woman into two halves, of which he formed the 
heaven and the earth ; he then cut off his own head, and from the drops of 
blood men were formed. — According to the Phoenician myth of Sancht- 
niathon, the beginning of the All was a movement of dark air, and a dark, 
turbid chaos. By the union of the spirit with the All, Mar, i.e. slime, was 
formed, from which every seed of creation and the universe was deve- 
loped ; and the heavens were made in the form of an egg, from which the 

sun and moon, the stars and constellations, sprang. By the heating of tho f y ; -t 
earth and sea there arose winds, clouds and rain, lightning and thunder, ^ , r ( 
the roaring of which wakened up sensitive beings, so that living creatures / lj** 
of both sexes moved in the waters and upon the earth. In another passage >-^ vV ^ 
Sanchuniathon represents KoXvi* (probably ira ^ip, the moaning of the 
wind) and his wife B<c*v (bohi) as producing A/«» and trpari'/ovoi;, two 
mortal men, from whom sprang Yhos and Tina, the inhabitants of Phoe- 
nicia. — It is well known from Hesiod's theogony how the Grecian myth 
represents the gods as coming into existence at the same time as the world. 
The numerous inventions of the Indians, again, all agree in this, that they 
picture the origin of the world as an emanation from the absolute, through 
Brahma's thinking, or through the contemplation of a primeval being called 
Tad (it). — Buddhism also acknowledges no God as creator of the world, 
teaches no creation, but simply describes the origin of the world and the 
beings that inhabit it as the necessary consequence of former acts performed 
by these beings themselves. 

2 According to the Etruscan saga, which Suidas quotes from a his- 
torian, who was a " xxp xirroif (the Tyrrhenians) t/fz-upo; dviip (therefor* 

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with all these mythical inventions, the biblical account snines out 
in the clear light of truth, and proves itself by its contents to be 
an integral part of the revealed history, of which it is accepted 
as the pedestal throughout the whole of the sacred Scriptures. 
This is not the case with the Old Testament only ; but in the 
New Testament also it is accepted and t anpht by Chri st and the 
apostles as the basis of the divine revelation. To select only a 
few from the many passages of the Old and New Testaments, 
in which God is referred to as the Creator of the heavens and 
the earth, and the almighty operations of the living God in the 
world are based upon the fact of its creation : in Ex. xx. 9-11, 
xxxi. 12—17, the command to keep the Sabbath is founded upon 
the fact that God rested on the seventh day, when the work of 
creation was complete ; and in Ps. viii. and civ., the creation is 
depicted as a work of divine omnipotence in close adherence to 
the narrative before us. From the creation of man, as described 
in Gen. i. 27 and ii. 24, Christ demonstrates the indissoluble 
character of marriage as a divine ordinance (Matt. xix. 4-6) ; 
Peter speaks of the earth as standing out of the water and in 
the water by the word of God (2 Pet. iii. 5) ; and the author of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, " starting from Gen. ii. 2, describes 
it as the motive principle of all history, that the Sabbath of God 
is to become the Sabbath of the creature" (DelitztcK). 

The biblical account of the creation can also vindicate its 
claim to be true and actual history, in the presence of the 
doctrines of philosophy and the established results of natural 
science. S o long, in deed, as philosophy undertakes to construct 
tte_uniyerse jxom general ideas, it will be utterly jinable to 
comprehend the creation ; "But ideas will never explain the exisfc- 

not a native)," God created the world in six periods of one thousand year.\ 
each : in the first, the heavens and the earthy; in the second, the firmament ; < 
in the third, the sea and other waters of the earth; in the fourth, sun, moon, > 
and stars ; in the fifth, the beasts of the air, the water, and the land ; in ' 
the sixth, men. The world will last twelve thousand years, the human race 
six thousand. — According to the saga of the Zend in Avesta, the supreme 
Being Ormuzd created the visible world by his wonrin-eix periods or thou- 
sands of years : (1) the heaven, with the stare ; (2) the water on the earth, 
with the clouds ; (3) the earth, with the mountain Alborj and the other 
mountains ; (4) the trees ; (5) the beasts, which sprang from the primeval 
beast; (6) men, the first of whom was Kajomorts. Every one of these 
separate creations is celebrated by a festival. The world will last twelve 
thousand years. 

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CHAP. L 1— II. 8. 41 

cnce of t hings. Creation is an ikat-Qf-_the_.p.e£Sflflal God 3 not a 
process of nature , the development of which can be traced to 
the laws of birth and decay that prevail in the created world. 
But the work of God, as described in the history of creation, is 
in perfect harmony with the correct notions of divine omnipo- 
tence, wisdom, and goodness. The assertion, so frequently made, 
that the course of the creation takes its form from the Hebrew 
week, which was already in existence, and the idea of God's rest- 
ing on the seventh day, from the institution of the Hebrew Sab- 
bath, is entirely without foundation. Thersjsjaa allusion In 
Gen, ii. 2, 3 to the Sa bbath of the Israelites ; and the week of 
sevendays_js older than ._Jhe. Sabbath _of the 3ewish covenant. 
Natural research, again, will never explain the origin of the 
universe, or even of the earth ; for the creation lies beyond the 
limits of the territory within its reach. By all modest natural- 
ists, therefore, it is assumed that the origin of matter, or of the 
original material of the world, was due to an act of divine crea- 
tion. But there is no firm ground for the conclusion which they 
draw, on the basis of this assumption, with regard to the forma- 
tion or development of the world from its first chaotic condition 
into a fit abode for man. All the theories which have been 
adopted, from Descartes to the present day, are not the simple 
and well-established inductions of natural science founded upon 
careful observation, but combinations of partial discoveries em- 
pirically made, with speculative ideas of very questionable worth. 
The periods of creation, which modern geology maintains with 
such confidence, that not a few theologians have accepted them 
as undoubted and sought to bring them into harmony with the 
scriptural account of the creation, if not to deduce them from 
the Bible itself, are inferences partly from the successive strata 
which compose the crust of the earth, and partly from the 
various fossil remains of plants and animals to be found in 
those strata. The former are regarded as proofs of successive 
formation; and from the difference between the plants and 
animals found in a fossil state and those in existence now, the 
conclusion is drawn, that their creation must have preceded the 
present formation, which either accompanied or was closed by 
the advent of man. But it is not difficult to see that the former 
of these conclusions could only be regarded as fully established, 
if the process by which the different strata were formed were 
pent. — vol. l. r> 

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clearly and fully known, or if the different formations were 
always found lying in the same order, and could be readily dis- 
tinguished from one another. But with regard to the origin of 
the different species of rock, geologists, as is well known, are 
divided into two contending schools : the Neptunists, who attri- 
bute all the mountain formations to deposit in water ; and the 
Plutonists, who trace all the non-fossiliferous rocks to the action 
of heat. According to the Neptunists, the crystalline rocks are 
the earliest or primary formations ; according to the Plutonists, 
the granite burst through the transition and stratified rocks, and 
were driven up from within the earth, so that they are of later 
date. But neither theory is sufficient to account in this mecha- 
nical way for all the phenomena connected with the relative 
position of the rocks ; consequently, a third theory, which sup- 
poses the rocks to be the result of chemical processes, is steadily 
gaining ground. Now if the rocks, both crystalline and strati- 
fied, were formed, not in any mechanical way, but by chemical 
processes, in which, besides fire and water, electricity, galvanism, 
magnetism, and possibly other forces at present unknown to 
physical science were at work; the different formations may 
have been produced contemporaneously and laid one upon 
another. Till natural science has advanced beyond mere opi- 
nion and conjecture, with regard to the mode in which the rocks 
were formed and their positions determined ; there can be no 
ground for assuming that conclusions drawn from the successive 
order of the various strata, with regard to the periods of their 
formation, must of necessity be true. This is the more apparent, 
when we consider, on the one hand, that even the principal for- 
mations (the primary, transitional, stratified, and tertiary), not to 
mention the subdivisions of which each of these is composed, do 
not always occur in the order laid down in the system, but in 
not a few instances the order is reversed, crystalline primary 
rocks lying upon transitional, stratified, and tertiary formations 
(granite, syenite, gneiss, etc., above both Jura-limestone and 
chalk) ; and, on the other hand, that not only do the different 
leading formations and their various subdivisions frequently 
shade off into one another so imperceptibly, that no boundary 
line can be drawn between them and the species distinguished 
by oryctognosis are not sharply and clearly defined in nature, 
but that, instead of surrounding the entire globe, they are all 

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CHAP. I. 1— II. 3. 43 

met with in certain localities only, whilst whole series of inter- 
mediate links are frequently missing, the tertiary formations 
especially being universally admitted to be only partial. — Tlw 
second of these conclusions also stands or falls with the assump- 
tions on which they are founded, viz. with the three, proposi- 
tions : (1) that each of the fossiliferous formations contains an 
order of plants and animals peculiar to itself ; (2) that these are 
so totally different from the existing plants and animals, that 
the latter could not have sprung from them ; (3) that no fossil 
remains of man exist of the same antiquity as the fossil remains 
of animals. Not one of these can be regarded as an established 
truth, or as the unanimously accepted result of geognosis. The 
assertion so often made as an established fact, that the transition 
rocks contain none but fossils of the lower orders of plants and 
animals, that mammalia are first met with in the Trias, Jura, 
and chalk formations, and warm-blooded animals in the tertiary 
rocks, has not been confirmed by continued geognostic re- 
searches, but is more and more regarded as untenable. Even 
the frequently expressed opinion, that in the different forms of 
plants and animals of the successive rocks there is a gradual and 
to a certain extent progressive development of the animal and 
vegetable world, has not commanded universal acceptance. 
Numerous instances are known, in which the remains of one 
and the same species occur not only in two, but in several suc- 
cessive formations, and there are some types that occur in nearly 
all. And the widely spread notion, that the fossil types are alto- 
gether different from the existing families of plants and animals, 
is one of the unscientific exaggerations of actual facts. All the 
fossil plants and animals can be arranged in the orders and 
classes of the existing flora and fauna. Even with regard to the 
genera there is no essential difference, although many of the 
existing types are far inferior in size to the forms of the old 
world. It is only the species that can be shown to differ, either 
entirely or in the vast majority of cases, from species in exist- 
ence now. But even if all the species differed, which can by 
no means be proved, this would be no valid evidence that the 
existing plants and animals had not sprung from those that 
have passed away, so long as natural science is unable to obtain 
any clear insight into the origin and formation of species, and 
the question as to the extinction of a species or its transition into 

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another has met with no satisfactory solution. Lastly, even now 
the occurrence of fossil human bones among those of animals 
that perished at least before the historic age, can no longer 
be disputed, although Central Asia, the cradle of the human 
race, has not yet been thoroughly explored by palaeontologists. 
— If then the premises from which the geological periods have 
been deduced are of such a nature that not one of them is 
firmly established, the different theories as to the formation 
of the earth also rest upon two questionable assumptions, viz. 
(1) that the immediate working of God in the creation was re- 
stricted to the production of the chaotic matter, and that the 
formation of this primary matter into a world peopled by in- 
numerable organisms and living beings proceeded according to 
the laws of nature, which have been discovered by science as in 
force in the existing world ; and (2) that all the changes, which 
the world and its inhabitants have undergone since the creation 
was finished, may be measured by the standard of changes ob- 
served in modern times, and still occurring from time to time. 
But the Bible actually mentions two events of the primeval age, 
whose effect upon the form of the earth and the animal and 
vegetable world no natural science can explain. We refer to 
the curse pronounced upon the earth in consequence of the fall 
of the progenitors of our race, by which even the animal world 
was made subject to <f>0opa (Gen. iii. 17, and Rom. viii. 20) ; 
and the flood, by which the earth was submerged even to the 
tops of the highest mountains, and all the living beings on the 
dry land perished, with the exception of those preserved by 
Noah in the ark. Hence, even if geological doctrines do con- 
tradict the account of the creation contained in Genesis, they 
cannot shake the credibility of the Scriptures. 

But if the biblical account of the creation has full claim to 
be regarded as historical truth, the question arises, whence it 
was obtained. The opinion that the Israelites drew it from 
the cosmogony of this or the other ancient people, and altered 
it according to their own religious ideas, will need no further 
refutation, after what we have said respecting the cosmogonies 
of other nations. Whenee^thendid Israel obtain a pure kn ow- 
ledgeofGod, such as we cannot findTITany heathen nation, or 
in the most celebrated of the wise men of antiquity, if not from 
divine revelation ? This is the source from which the biblical 

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CHAP. I. l-II. 3. 46 

account of the creation springs. God ^^ed_it_tomen, — not 
first to Moses or Abraham, but undoubtedly to the first men, 
since without this revelation they eould not have understood 
either their relation to God or their true position in the world. 
The account contained in Genesis does not lie, as Hofmann 
says, " within that sphere which was open to man through his 
historical nature, so that it ma" be regarded as the utterance of 
the knowledge possessed by the first man of things which pre- 
ceded his own existence, and which he might possess, without 
needing any special revelation, if only the present condition of 
the world lay clear and transparent before him." By simple i 
int uition the first man might discern what nature had effected, ' 
v jz. the existing condi tion~oT the world, and possibly also ks J 
ca usality, but no t the fact that it was created in six days, or the t 
successive acts of creation, and the sanctification of the seventh 
day. _ Uur record contains not merely religious truth transformed 
into history, but the true and actual history of a work of God, 
which preceded the existence of man, and to which he owes his 
existence. Of this work he could only have obtained his know- 
ledge, through divine revelation, by the direct instruction of 
God. Nor could he have obtained it by means of a vision. 
The seven days' works are not so many " prophetico-historical 
tableaux," which were spread before the mental eye of the seer, 
whether of the historian or the first man. The account before 
us does not contain the slightest marks of a vision, is no picture 
of creation, in which every line betrays the pencil of a paintei 
rather than the pen of a historian, but is obviously a historical 
narrative, which we could no more transform into a vision than 
the account of paradise or of the fall. As God revealed Him- 
self to the first man not in visions, but by coming to him in a 
visible form, teaching him His will, and then after his fall 
announcing the punishment (ii. 16, 17, iii. 9 sqq.) ; as He 
talked with Moses " face to face, as a man with his friend," 
" mouth to mouth," not in vision or dream : so does the written 
account of the Old Testament revelation commence, not with 
visions, but with actual history. The manner in which God 
instructed the first men with reference to the creation must be 
judged according to the intercourse carried on by Him, as 
Creator and Father, with these His creatures and children. 
What God revealed to them upon this subject, they transmitted 

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to their children and descendants, together with everything of 
significance and worth that they had experienced and dis- 
covered for themselves. This tradition was kept in faithful 
remembrance by the family of the godly ; and even in the con- 
fusion of tongues it was not changed in its substance, but 
simply transferred into the new form of the language spoken by 
the Semitic tribes, and thus handed down from, generation to 
generation along with the knowledge and worship of the true 
God, until it became through Abraham the spiritual inheritance 
of the chosen race. Nothing certain can be decided as to the 
period when it was committed to writing ; probably some tin** 
before Moses, who inserted it as a written record in the Thorah 
of Israel. 

Chap. i. 1. " In Hie beginning God created Hie heaven and the 
earth." — Heaven and earth have not existed from all eternity, 
but had a beginning ; nor did they arise by emanation from an 
absolute substance, but were created by God. This sentence, 
which stands at the head of the records of revelation, is not a 
mere heading, nor a summary of the history of the creation, but 
a declaration of the primeval act of God, by which the universe 
was called into being. That this verse is not a heading merely, 
is evident from the fact that the following account of the course 
of the creation commences with 1 (and), which connects the 
different acts of creation with the fact expressed in ver. 1, as 
the primary foundation upon which they rest. n^B^oa (in the 
beginning) is used absolutely, like iv apXP m John i. 1, and 
n'^Nno in Isa. xlvi. 10. The following clause cannot be treated 
as subordinate, either by rendering it, " in the beginning when 
God created . . , the earth was," etc., or "in the beginning 
when God created . . (but the earth was then a chaos, etc.), 
God said, Let there be light " (Ewald and Bunsen). The first is 
opposed to the grammar of the language, which would require 
ver. 2 to commence with pKn vim ; the second to the simplicity 
of style which pervades the whole chapter, and to which so 
involved a sentence would be intolerable, apart altogether from 
the fact that this construction is invented for the simple purpose 
of getting rid of the doctrine of a creatio ex nihilo, which is so 
repulsive to modern Pantheism. JVKW in itself is a relative 
notion, indicating the commencement of a series of things or 
events ; but here the context gives it the meaning of the very 

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CHAP. I. 1. 47 

first beginning, the commencement of the world, when time 
itself began. The statement, that in the beginning God created 
the heaven and the earth, not only precludes the idea of the 
eternity of the world a parte ante, but shows that the creation of 
the heaven and the earth was the actual beginning of all things. 
The verb tQ3, indeed, to judge from its use in Josh. xvii. 15, 
18, where it occurs in the Piel (to hew out), means lit erall y "to 
cut, or h ew," but in Kal it always means to create, and is only 
applied to a divine creation, the production of that which had 
no existence before. It is never joined with an accusative of 
the material, although it does not exclude a pre-existent material 
unconditionally, but is used for the creation of man (ver. 27, 
ch. v. 1, 2), and of everything new that God creates, whether 
in the kingdom of nature (Num. xvi. SO) or of that of grace 
(Ex. xxxiv. 10 ; Ps. li. 10, etc.). In this verse, however, the 
existence of any primeval material is precluded by the object 
created : " the heaven and the earth." This expression is fre- 
quently employed to denote the world, or universe, for which 
there was no single word in the Hebrew language ; the universe 
consisting of a twofold whole, and the distinction between 
heaven and earth being essentially connected with the notion of 
the world, the fundamental condition of its historical develop- 
ment (vid. ch. xiv. 19, 22 ; Ex. xxxi. 17). In the earthly 
creation this division is repeated in the distinction between spirit 
and nature; and in man, as the microcosm, in that between 
spirit and body. Through sin this distinction was changed into 
an actual opposition between heaven and earth, flesh and spirit ; 
but with the complete removal of sin, this opposition will cease 
again, though the distinction between heaven and earth, spirit 
and body, will remain, in such a way, however, that the earthly 
and corporeal will be completely pervaded by the heavenly and 
spiritual, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth, 
and the earthly body being transfigured into a spiritual body 
(Rev. xxi. 1, 2; 1 Cor. xv. 35 sqq.). Hence, if in the begin- 
ning God created the heaven and the earth, " there is nothing 
belonging to the composition of the universe, either in material 
or form, which had an existence out of God prior to this divine 
act in the beginning" (Delitzsch). This is also shown in the 
connection between our verse and the one which follows : " and 
the earth was without form and void," not before, but when, or 

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after God created it. From this it is evi dentihat_t he void and 
fnrmle^ state pf the earth was pot_j?ncrea.ted, or withoutbe- 
ginning. At the same time it is obvious from the creative acts 
which follow (vers. 3-18), that the heaven and earth, as God 
created them in the beginning, were not the well-ordered uni- 
verse, but the world in its elementary form ; just as Euripides 
applies the expression ovpavbs km, yala to the undivided mass 
(fiopcjyfj iila), which was afterwards formed into heaven and 

Vers. 2-5. The First Day. — Though treating of the crea- 
tion of the heaven and the earth, the writer, both here and in 
what follows, describes with minuteness the original condition 
and progressive formation of the earth alone, and says nothing 
more respecting the heaven than is actually requisite in order to 
show its connection with the earth. He is writing for inhabitants 
of the earth, and for religious ends; not to gratify curiosity, 
but to strengthen faith in God, the Creator of the universe. 
What is said in ver. 2 of the chaotic condition of the earth, is 
equally applicable to the heaven, " for the heaven proceeds from 
the same chaos as the earth." — " And the earth was (not became) 
waste and void." The alliterative nouns tohu vabohu, the ety- 
mology of which is lost, si gnify w aste and empty (barren), but 
not laying waste and desolating. Whenever they are used 
together in other places (Isa. xxxiv. 11 ; Jer. iv. 23), they are 
taken from this passage ; but tohu alone is frequently employed 
as synonymous with T.S, non-existence, and 73n, nothingness 
(Isa. xl. 17, 23, xlix. 4). The coming earth was at first waste 
and desolate, a formless, lifeless mass, rudis indigestaque moles, 
vKn a/wfxfwi (Wisdom xi. 17) or ^ao?. — " And darkness was 
upon the face of the deep." tnnn, from tun, to roar, to rage, 
denotes the raging waters, the roaring waves (Ps. xlii. 7) or 
flood (Ex. xv. 5 ; Deut. viii. 7) ; and hence the depths of the 
sea (Job xxviii. 14, xxxviii. 16), and even the abyss of the 
earth (Ps. lxxi. 20). As an old traditional word, it is construed 
like a proper name without an article (Ewald, Gramm.). The 
chaotic mass in which the earth and the firmament were still 
undistinguished, unformed, and as it were unborn, was a heav- 
ing deep, an abyss of waters (a/3vao-o<;, LXX.), and this deep 
was wrapped in darkness. But it was in process of formation, 

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CHAP. I. 8-6. 49 

for the Spirit of God moved upon the waters, nn (breath) de- 
notes wind and spirit, like irvev/ia from uvea). Ruach Elohim is 
not a breath of wind caused by God (Theodoret, etc.), for the verb 
does not suit this meaning, but the creative Spirit of God, the 
principle of all life (Ps. sxxiii. 6, civ. 30), which worked upon 
the formless, lifeless mass, separating, quickening, and preparing 
the living forms, which were called into being by the creative 
words that followed, jm in the P iel is applied to t he hoverin g 
and bro oding of a bird oy erjts_young^to warmjhejn, an d dpyp. lnp 
t heir vital powers (Deut. xxxii. 11). In such a way as this the 
Spirit of God moved upon the deep, which had received at its 
creation the germs of all life, to fill them with vital energy by 
His breath of life. The three statements in our verse are 
parallel ; the substantive and participial construction of the second 
and third clauses rests upon the nrprn of the first. All three 
describe the condition of the earth immediately after the creation 
of the universe. This suffices to prove that the theosophic specu- 
lation of those who " make a gap between the first two verses, 
and fill it with a wild horde of evil spirits and their demoniacal 
works, is an arbitrary interpolation" (Ziegler). — Ver. 3. The 
word of God then went forth to the primary material of the 
world, now filled with creative powers of vitality, to call into 
being, out of the germs of organization and life which it con- 
tained, and in the order pre-ordained by His wisdom, those crea- 
tures of the world, which proclaim, as they live and move, the 
glory of their Creator (Ps. viii.). The work of creation commences 
with the words, " and God said." The words which God speaks 
are existing things. " He speaks, and it is done ; He commands, 
and it stands fast." These words are deeds of the essential Word, 
the X0709, by which " all things were made." Speaking is the 
revelation of thought ; the creation, the realization of the thoughts 
of God, a freely accomplished act of the absolute Spirit, and not 
an emanation of creatures from the divine essence. The first 
thing created by the divine Word was " light,'' the elementary 
light, or light-material, in distinction from the " lights," or light- 
bearers, bodies of light, as the sun, moon, and stars, created 
on the fourth day, are called. It is now a generally accepted 
truth of natural science, that the light does not spring from the 
sun and stars, but that the sun itself is a dark body, and the 
light proceeds from an atmosphere which surrounds it. Light 

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was the first thing called forth, and separated from the dark 
chaos by the creative mandate, " Let there be" — the first radiation 
of the life breathed into it by the Spirit of God, inasmuch as it 
is the fundamental condition of all organic life in the world, and 
without light and the warmth which flows from it no plant or 
animal could thrive. The expression in ver. 4, " God saw the 
light that it was good," for " God saw that the light was good," 
according to a frequently recurring antiptosis (cf. ch. vi. 2, xii. 
14, xiii. 10), is not an anthropomorphism at variance with enlight- 
ened thoughts of God ; for man's seeing has its type in God's, 
and God's seeing is not a mere expression of the delight of the 
eye or of pleasure in His work, but is of the deepest significance 
to every created thing, being the seal of the perfection which 
God has impressed upon it, and by which its continuance before 
God and through God is determined. The creation of light, 
however, was no annihilation of darkness, no transformation 
of the dark material of the world into pure light, but a separa- 
tion of the light from the primary matter, a separation which 
established and determined that interchange of light and dark- 
ness, which produces the distinction between day and night. 
Hence it is said in ver. 5, " God called the light Day, and Hie 
darkness Night;" for, as Augustine observes, " all light is not 
day, nor all darkness night ; but light and darkness alternating 
in a regular order constitute day and night." None but super- 
ficial thinkers can take offence at the idea of created things 
receiving names from God. The name of a thing is the expres- 
sion of its nature. If the name be given by man, it fixes in a word 
the impression which it makes upon the human mind ; but when 
given by God, it expresses the reality, what the thing is in God's 
creation, and the place assigned it there by the side of other 
things. — " Thus evening was and morning was one day." "IfiK 
(one), like ch and unus, is used at the commencement of a 
numerical series for the ordinal primus (cf. ch. ii. 11, iv. 19, viii. 
5, 15). Like the numbers of the days which follow, it is without 
the article, to show that the different days arose from the con- 
stant recurrence of evening and morning. It is not till the sixth 
and last day that the article is employed (ver. 31), to indicate 
the termination of the work of creation upon that day. It is to 
be observed, that the days of creation are bounded by the coming 
of evening and morning. The first day did not consist of the 

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CHAP. I. 2 5. 51 

primeval darkness and the origination of light, but was formed 
after the creation of the light by the first interchange of even- 
ing and morning. The first evening was not the gloom, which 
possibly preceded the full burst of light as it came forth from 
the primary darkness, and intervened between the darkness 
and full, broad daylight. It was not till after the light had been 
created, and the separation of the light from the darkness had 
taken place, that evening came, and after the evening the morn- 
ing ; and this coming of evening (lit. the obscure) and morning 
(the breaking) formed one, or the first day. It follows from 
this, that the days of creation are not reckoned from evening to 
evening, but from morning to morning. The first day does not 
fully terminate till the light returns after the darkness of night ; 
it is not till the break of the new morning that the first inter- 
change of light and darkness is completed, and a q/xepovvtcTiov 
has passed. The rendering, " out of evening and morning there 
came one day," is at variance with grammar, as well as with the 
actual fact. With grammar, because such a thought would 
require inK tin ; and with fact, because th« time from evening 
to morning does not constitute a day, but the close of a day. 
The first day commenced at the moment when God caused the 
light to break forth from the darkness ; but this light did not 
become a day, until the evening had come, and the darkness 
which set in with the evening had given place the next morn- 
ing to the break of day. Again, neither the words vm any <m 
np3, nor the expression npa any, evening-morning (= day), in 
Dan. viii. 14, corresponds to the Greek w^Orifiepov, for morn- 
ing is not equivalent to day, nor evening to night. The reckon-\ 
ing of days from evening to evening in the Mosaic law (Lev. I 
xxiii. 32), and by many ancient tribes (the pre-Mohammedan_ _ 
Arabs, the Athenians, Gauls, and Germans), arose not from the" 
days of creation, but from the custom of regulating seasons by 
the changes of the moon. But if the days of creation are regu- 
lated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they 
must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable dura- 
tion, of years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days. 
It is true the morning and evening of the first three days were 
not produced by the rising and setting of the sun, since the sun 
was not yet created ; but the constantly recurring interchange 
of light and darkness, which produced day and night upon the 

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earth, cannot for a moment be understood as denoting that the 
light called forth from the darkness of chaos returned to that 
darkness again, and thus periodically burst forth and disap- 
peared. The only way in which we can represent it to our- 
selves, is by supposing that the light called forth by the creative 
mandate, " Let there be," was separated from the dark mass of 
the earth, and concentrated outside or above the globe, so that 
the interchange of light and darkness took place as soon as the 
dark chaotic mass began to rotate, and to assume in the process 
of creation the form of a spherical body. The time occupied in 
the first rotations of the earth upon its axis cannot, indeed, be 
measured by our hour-glass ; but even if they were slower at 
first, and did not attain their present velocity till the completion 
of our solar system, this would make no essential difference 
between the first three days and the last three, which were regu- 
lated by the rising and setting of the sun. 1 

Vers. 6-8. The Second Day. — When the light had been 
separated from the darkness, and day and night had been 
created, there followed upon a second fiat of the Creator, the 
division of the chaotic mass of waters through the formation of 
the firmament, which was placed as a wall of separation ('""l??) 
in the midst of the waters, and divided them into upper and 
lower waters. Jfi?"], fro m Vp"i to stretc h, spread out, then beat or 
tread out, means expamum, the spreading out of the air, which 
surrounds the earth as an atmosphere. According to optical 
appearance, it is described as a carpet spread out above the 
earth (Ps. civ. 2), a curtain (Isa. xl. 22), a transparent work of 
sapphire (Ex. xxiv. 10), or a molten looking-glass (Job xxxvii. 
18) ; but there is nothing in these poetical similes to warrant the 

1 Exegesis must insist upon this, and not allow itself to alter the plain 
sense of the words of the Bible, from irrelevant and untimely regard to the 
so-called certain inductions of natural science. Irrelevant we call such 
considerations, as make interpretation dependent upon natural science, 
"~ ; ^tecause the creation lies outside the limits of empirical and speculative re- 
search, and, as an act of the omnipotent God, belongs rather to the sphere of 
miracles and mysteries, which can only be received by faith (Heb. xi. 8) ; 
and untimely, because natural science has supplied no certain conclusions 
as to the origin of the earth, and geology especially, even at the present 
time, is in a chaotic state of fermentation, the issue of which it is impos- 
sible to foresee. 

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CHAP. I. 8-8 53 

idea that the heavens were regarded as a solid mass, a cnSjpeov, 
or yaKKeov or iroXvxaXicov, such as Greek poets describe. The 
JTP^ (rendered Veste by Luther, after the <rrepea>fia of the LXX. 
and firmamentum of the Vulgate) is called lieaven in ver. 8, i.e. 
the vault of heaven, which stretches out above the earth. The 
waters under the firmament are the waters upon the globe itself ; 
those above are not ethereal waters 1 beyond the limits of the 

1 There is no proof of the existence of such " ethereal waters" to be found 
in such passages as Rev. iv. 6, xv. 2, xxii. 1 ; for what the holy seer there 
beholds before the throne as " a sea of glass like unto crystal mingled with 
fire," and " a river of living water, clear as crystal," flowing from the throne 
of God into the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, are wide as the poles from 
any fluid or material substance from which the stars were made upon the 
fourth day. Of such a fluid the Scriptures know quite as little, as of the nebu- 
lar theory of La Place, which, notwithstanding the bright spots in Mars and 
the inferior density of Jupiter, Saturn, and other planets, is still enveloped 
in a mist which no astronomy will ever disperse. If the waters above the fir- 
mament were the elementary matter of which the stars were made, the waters 
beneath must be the elementary matter of which the earth was formed ; for 
the waters were one and the same before the creation of the firmament. 
But the earth was not formed from the waters beneath ; on the contrary, 
these waters were merely Bpread upon the earth and then gathered together 
into one place, and this place is called Sea. The earth, which appeared as 
dry land after the accumulation of the waters in the sea, was created in the 
beginning along with the heavens ; but until the separation of land and 
water on the third day, it was so completely enveloped in water, that nothing 
could be seen but " the deep," or " the waters" (ver. 2). If, therefore, in 
the course of the work of creation, the heaven with its stars, and the earth 
with its vegetation and living creatures, came forth from this deep, or, to 
speak more correctly, if they appeared as well-ordered, and in a certain 
sense as finished worlds ; it would be a complete misunderstanding of the 
account of the creation to suppose it to teach, that the water formed the 
elementary matter, out of which the heaven and the earth were made with 
all their hosts. Had this been the meaning of the writer, he would have 
mentioned water as the first creation, and not the heaven and the earth. 
How irreconcilable the idea of the waters above the firmament being 
ethereal waters is with the biblical representation of the opening of the 
windows of heaven when it rains, is evident from the way in which Keerl, 
the latest supporter of this theory, sets aside this difficulty, viz. by the bold 
assertion, that the mass of water which came through the windows of 
heaven at the flood was different from the rain which falls from the clouds ; 
in direct opposition to the text of the Scriptures, which speaks of it not 
merely as rain (vii. 12), but as the water of the clouds. Vid. ch. ix. 12 sqq., 
where it is said that when God brings a cloud over the earth, Ho will set 
the rainbow in the cloud, as a sign that the water (of the clouds collected 
above the earth) shall not become a flood to destroy the earth again. 

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terrestrial atmosphere, but the waters which float in the at- 
mosphere, and are separated by it from those upon the earth, 
the waters which accumulate in clouds, and then bursting' these 
their bottles, pour down as rain upon the earth. For, accord- 
ing to the Old Testament representation, whenever it rains 
heavily, the doors or windows of heaven are opened (ch. vii. 
11, 12; Ps. lxxviii. 23, cf. 2 Kings vii. 2, 19 ; Isa. xxiv. 18). 
It is in (or with) the upper waters that God layeth the beams 
of His chambers, from which He watereth the hills (Ps. civ. 3, 
13), and the clouds are His tabernacle (Job xxxvi. 29). If, 
therefore, according to this conception, looking from an earthly 
point of view, the mass of water which flows upon the earth in 
showers of rain is shut up in heaven (cf . viii. 2), it is evident that 
it must be regarded as above the vault which spans the earth, or, 
according to the words of Ps. cxlviii. 4, " above the heavens." 1 

Vers. 9-13. The Third Day. — The work of this day was 
twofold, yet closely connected. At first the waters beneath the 
heavens, i.e. those upon the surface of the earth, were gathered 
together, so that the dry ( i1 j?'3! i !), the solid ground) appeared. 
In what way the gathering of the earthly waters in the sea and 
the appearance of the dry land were effected, whether by the 
sinking or deepening of places in the body of the globe, into 
which the water was drawn off, or by the elevation of the solid 
ground, the record does not inform us, since it never describes 
\ the process by which effects are produced. It is probable, how- 
J-iever, that the separation was caused both by depression and 
''T elevation. With the dry land the mountains naturally arose as 
I the headlands of the mainland. But of this we have no physi- 
cal explanations, either in the account before ns, or in the 
poetical description of the creation in Ps. civ. Even if we 
render Ps. civ. 8, " the mountains arise, and they (the waters) 

1 In ver. 8 the LXX. interpolate xa\ ttiu £ @ti( on x«Xo'» (and God 
saw that it was good), and transfer the words " and it was so" from the 
end of ver. 7 to the close of ver. 6. Two apparent improvements, but in 
reality two arbitrary changes. The transposition is copied from vers. 9, 
15, 24 ; and in making the interpolation, the author of the gloss has not 
observed that the division of the waters was not complete till the separa- 
tion of the dry land from the water had taken place, and therefore the 
proper place for the expression of approval is at the close of the work of 
the third day. 

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CHAP. I. 9-18. 55 

descend into the valleys, to the place which Thou (Jehovah) 
hast founded for them," we have no proof, in this poetical ac- 
count, of the elevation-theory of geology, since the psalmist is 
not speaking as a naturalist, but as a sacred poet describing the 
creation on the basis of Gen. i. " The dry" God called Earth, 
and " the gathering of the waters" i.e. the place into which the 
■waters were collected, He called Sea. D'B', an intensi ve rather 
th an a n u merical plural, is the great ocea n, which surrounds tne 
mainland on all sides, so that the earth - appears to be founded 
upon seas (Ps. xxiv. 2). Earth and sea are the two constituents 
of the globe, by the separation of which its formation was com- 
pleted. The "seas" include the rivers which flow into the 
ocean, and the lakes which are as it were "detached fragments" 
of the ocean, though they are not specially mentioned here. By 
the divine act of naming the two constituents of the globe, and 
the divine approval which follows, this work is stamped with 
permanency ; and the second act of the third day, the clothing 
of the earth with vegetation, is immediately connected with it. 
At the command of God " the eart/i brought forth green (KEH), 
teed yielding herb (pfe$), and fruit-bearing fruit-trees (*")B YVJ." 
These three classes embrace all the productions of the vegetable 
kingdom. KCH, lit. the young, tender green, which shoots up 
after rain and covers the meadows and downs (2 Sam. xxiii. 4 ; 
Job xxxviii. 27 ; Joel ii. 22 ; Ps. xxiii. 2), is a generic name for 
all grasses and cryptogamous plants. 2|?y, with the epithet 
JHJ Fl:??, yielding or forming seed, is used as a generic term for 
all herbaceous plants, com, vegetables, and other plants by which 
seed-pods are formed, na yy : not only fruit-trees, but all trees 
and shrubs, bearing fruit in which there is a seed according to 
its kind, i.e. fruit with kernels. rjKT) ?y (upon the earth) is not 
to be joined to " fruit-tree," as though indicating the superior 
size of the trees which bear seed above the earth, in distinction 
from vegetables which propagate their species upon or in the 
ground ; for even the latter bear their seed above the earth. It 
is appended to Kg^n, as a more minute explanation : the earth 
is to bring forth grass, herb, and trees, upon or above the 
ground, as an ornament or covering for it. faw (after its 
kind), from T? species, which is not only repeated in ver. 12 in 
its old form ^J'w in the case of the fruit-tree, but is also ap- 
pended to the herb. It indicates that the herbs and trees sprang 

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out of the earth according to their kinds, and received, together 
with power to bear seed and fruit, the capacity to propagate 
and multiply their own kind. In the case of the grass there is 
no reference either to different kinds, or to the production of 
seed, inasmuch as in the young green grass neither the one nor 
the other is apparent to the eye. Moreover, we must not picture 
the work of creation as consisting of the production of the first 
tender germs which were gradually developed into herbs, shrubs, 
and trees ; on the contrary, we must regard it as one element in 
the miracle of creation itself, that at the word of God not only 
tender grasses, but herbs, shrubs, and trees, sprang out of the 
earth, each ripe for the formation of blossom and the bearing 
of seed and fruit, without the necessity of waiting for years 
before the vegetation created was ready to blossom and bear 
fruit. Even if the earth was employed as a medium in the 
creation of the plants, since it was God who caused it to bring 
them forth, they were not the product of the powers of nature, 
generatio ceguivoca in the ordinary sense of the word, but a work 
of divine omnipotence, by which the trees came into existence 
before their seed, and their fruit was produced in full develop- 
ment, without expanding gradually under the influence of sun- 
shine and rain. 

Vers. 14—19. The Fourth Day. — After the earth had 
been clothed with vegetation, and fitted to be the abode of 
living beings, there were created on the fourth day the sun, 
moon, and stars, heavenly bodies in which the elementary light 
was concentrated, in order that its influence upon the earthly 
globe might be sufficiently modified and regulated for living 
beings to exist and thrive beneath its rays, in the water, in the 
air, and upon the dry land. At the creative word of God the 
bodies of light came into existence in the firmament, as lamps. 
On W, the singular of the predicate before the plural of the 
subject, in ver. 14, v. 23, ix. 29, etc., vid. Gesenius, Heb. Gr. 
§ 147. n'liKD, bodies of light, light-bearers, then lamps. These 
bodies of light received a threefold appointment : (1) They were 
" to divide between the day and the night," or, according to ver. 
18, between the light and the darkness, in other words, to regu- 
late from that time forward the difference, which had existed 
ever since the creation of light, between the night and the day. 

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CHAP. I. M-l». 57 

(2) They were to be (or serve : vrr\ after an imperative has the 
force of a command), — (a) for signs (se. for the earth), partly as 
portents of extraordinary events (Matt. ii. 2 ; Luke xxi. 25) and 
divine judgments (Joel ii. 30 ; Jer. x. 2 ; Matt. xxiv. 29), partly 
as showing the different quarters of the heavens, and as prog- 
nosticating the changes in the weather ; — (b) for seasons, or for 
fixed, definite times (OHjJto, from IV to fix, establish), — not for 
festal seasons merely, bnt " to regulate definite points and periods 
of time, by virtue of their periodical influence npon agriculture, 
navigation, and other human occupations, as well as upon the 
course of human, animal, and vegetable life (e.g. the breeding 
time of animals, and the migrations of birds, Jer. viii. 7, etc.) ; — 
(c) for days and years, i.e. for the division and calculation of 
days and years. The grammatical construction will not allow 
the clause to be rendered as a Hendiadys, viz. " as signs for 
definite times and for days and years," or as signs both for the 
times and also for days and years. (3.) They were to serve as 
lamps upon the earth, i.e. to pour out their light, which is in- 
dispensable to the growth and health of every creature. That 
this, the primary object of the lights, should be mentioned last, 
is correctly explained by Delitzsck : " From the astrological and 
chronological utility of the heavenly bodies, the record ascends 
to their universal utility which arises from the necessity of light 
for the growth and continuance of everything earthly." This 
applies especially to the two great lights which were created by 
God and placed in the firmament ; the greater to rule the day, 
the lesser to rule the night. "The great" and u Uie small" in 
correlative clauses are to be understood as used comparatively 
(cf. Gesenius, § 119, 1). That the sun and moon were intended, 
was too obvious to need to be specially mentioned. It might 
appear strange, however, that these lights should not receive 
names from God, like the works of the first three days. This 
cannot be attributed to forgetfulness on the part of the author, 
as Tuch supposes. As a rule, the names were given by God 
only to the greater sections into which the universe was divided, 
and not to individual bodies (either plants or animals). The 
man and the woman are the only exceptions (chap. v. 2). The 
sun and moon are called great, not in comparison with the earth, 
but in contrast with the stars, according to the amount of light 
which shines from them upon the earth and determines their 
PENT. — VOL. I. 15 

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rule over the day and night ; not so much with reference to the 
fact, that the stronger light of the sun produces the daylight, 
and the weaker light of the moon illumines the night, as to the 
influence which their light exerts by day and night upon all 
nature, both organic and inorganic — an influence generally ad- 
mitted, but by no means fully understood. In this respect the 
sun and moon are the two great lights, the stars small bodies of 
light ; the former exerting great, the latter but little, influence 
upon the earth and its inhabitants. 

This truth, which arises from the relative magnitude of the 
heavenly bodies, or rather their apparent size as seen from the 
earth, is not affected by the fact that from the standpoint of 
natural science many of the stars far surpass both sun and 
moon in magnitude. Nor does the fact, that in our account, 
which was written for inhabitants of the earth and for religious 
purposes, it is only the utility of the sun, moon, and stars to the 
inhabitants of the earth that is mentioned, preclude the possibi- 
lity of each by itself, and all combined, fulfilling other purposes 
in the universe of God. And not only is our record silent, but 
God Himself made no direct revelation to man on this subject ; 
because astronomy and physical science, generally, neither lead 
to godliness, nor promise peace and salvation to the soul. Belief 
in the truth of this account as a divine revelation could only be 
shaken, if the facts which science has discovered as indisputably 
true, with regard to the number, size, and movements of the 
heavenly bodies, were irreconcilable with the biblical account of 
the creation. But neither the innumerable host nor the im- 
measurable size of many of the heavenly bodies, nor the almost 
infinite distance of the fixed stars from our earth and the solar 
system, warrants any such assumption. Who can set bounds to 
the divine omnipotence, and determine what and how much it 
can create in a moment 1 The objection, that the creation of 
the innumerable and immeasurably great and distant heavenly 
bodies in one day, is so disproportioned to the creation of this one 
little globe in six days, as to be irreconcilable with our notions 
of divine omnipotence and wisdom, does not affect the Bible, 
but shows that the account of the creation has been misunder- 
stood. We are not taught here that on one day, viz. the fourth, 
I God created all the heavenly bodies out of nothing, and in a 
i perfect condition ; on the contrary, we are told that in the begin- 

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CHAP. L H-19. 59 

ning God created the heaven and the earth, and on the fourth 
day that He made the sun, the moon, and the stars (planets, 
comets, and fixed stars) in the firmament, to be lights for the 
earth. According to these distinct words, the primary material, 
not only of the earth, but also of the heaven and the heavenly 
bodies, was created in the beginning. If, therefore, the heavenly 
bodies were first made or created on the fourth day, as lights for 
the earth, in the firmament of heaven ; the words can have no 
other meaning than that their creation was completed on the 
fourth day, just as the creative formation of our globe was 
finished on the third ; that the creation of the heavenly bodies 
therefore proceeded side by side, and probably by similar stages, 
with that of the earth, so that the heaven with its stars was com- 
pleted on the fourth day. Is this representation of the work of 
creation, which follows in the simplest way from the word of 
God, at variance with correct ideas of the omnipotence and wis- 
dom of God ? Could not the Almighty create the innumerable 
host of heaven at the same time as the earthly globe t Or would 
Omnipotence require more time for the creation of the moon, 
the planets, and the sun, or of Orion, Sirius, the Pleiades, and 
other heavenly bodies whose magnitude has not yet been ascer- 
tained, than for the creation of the earth itself ? Let us beware 
of measuring the works of Divine Omnipotence by the standard 
of human power. The fact, that in our account the gradual 
formation of the heavenly bodies is not described with the same 
minuteness as that of the earth ; but that, after the general 
statement in ver. 1 as to the creation of the heavens, all that is 
mentioned is their completion on the fourth day, when for the 
first time they assumed, or were placed in, such a position with 
regard to the earth as to influence its development ; may be ex- 
plained on the simple ground that it was the intention of the 
sacred historian to describe the work of creation from the stand- 
point of the globe : in other words, as it would have appeared to 
an observer from the earth, if there had been one in existence 
at the time. For only from such a standpoint could this work 
of God be made intelligible to all men, uneducated as well as 
learned, and the account of it be made subservient to the reli- 
gious wants of all. 1 

1 Host of the objections to the historical character of our account, which 
hare been founded upon the work of the fourth day, rest upon a miscon- 

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Vers. 20-23. The Fifth Day.—" God said : Let die waters 
swarm with swarms, with living beings, and let birds fly above the 
earth in the face (the front, i.e. the side turned towards the earth) 
of the firmament." W"ie» and ItfJP are imperative. Earlier 
translators, on the contrary, have rendered the latter as a rela- 
tive clause, after the irerewhireroiteva of the LXX., " and with 
birds that fly ;" thus making the birds to spring out of the water, 
in opposition to chap. ii. 19. Even with regard to the element 
out of which the water animals were created the text is silent ; 
for the assertion that pB> is to be understood " with a causative 
colouring" is erroneous, and is not sustained by Ex. viii. 3 or 
Ps. cv. 30. The construction with the accusative is common to 
all verbs of multitude. pE*, from pff, to creep and swarm , is 
applied, " without regard to size, to those animals which congre- 
gate together in great numbers, and move about among one 
another." njn tpu, anima viva, living soul, animated beings 
(yid. ii. 7), is in apposition to pt?, " swarms consisting of living 
beings." The expression applies not only to fishes, but to all 
water animals from the greatest to the least, including reptiles, 
etc. In carrying out His word, God created (ver. 21) the great 
" (gaaiajm," — Kfc the long-stretched, from ??n, to stretch, — whales, 
crocodiles, and other sea-monsters ; and " all moving living beings 
with which the waters swarm after their kind, and all (every) 
winged fowl after its kind." That the water animals and birds of 
every kind were created on the same day, and before the land 
animals, cannot be explained on the ground assigned by early 
writers, that there is a similarity between the air and the water, 
and a consequent correspondence between the two classes of ani- 
mals. For in the light of natural history the birds are at all 
events quite as near to the mammalia as to the fishes ; and the 
supposed resemblance between the fins of fishes and the wings of 
birds, is counterbalanced by the no less striking resemblance be- 
tween birds and land animals, viz. that both have feet. The 

ception of the proper point of view from -which it should be studied. And. 
in addition to that, the conjectures of astronomers as to the immeasurable 
distance of most of the fixed stars, and the time which a ray of light would 
require to reach the earth, are accepted as indisputable mathematical proof ; 
whereas these approximative estimates of distance rest upon the unsubstan- 
tiated supposition, that everything which has been ascertained with regard 
to the nature and motion of light in our solar system, must be equally true 
of the light of the fixed stars. 

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CHAP. L 20-81. 61 

real reason is rather this, that the creation proceeds throughout 
from the lower to the higher ; and in this ascending scale the fishes 
occupy to a great extent a lower place in the animal economy 
than birds, and both water animals and birds a lower place than 
land animals, more especially the mammalia. Again, it is not 
stated that only a single pair was created of each kind ; on the 
contrary, the words, " let the waters swarm with living beings," 
seem rather to indicate that the animals were created, not only 
in a rich variety of genera and species, but in large numbers of 
individuals. The fact that but one human being was created at 
first, by no means warrants the conclusion that the animals were 
created singly also ; for the unity of the human race has a very 
different signification from that of the so-called animal species. 
— (Ver. 22). As animated beings, the water animals and fowls 
are endowed, through the divine blessing, with the power to be 
fruitful and multiply. The word of blessing was the actual com- 
munication of the capacity to propagate and increase in numbers. 

Vers. 24-31. The Sixth Day. — Sea and air are filled 
with living creatures ; and the word of God now goes forth to 
the earth, to produce living beings after their kind. These are 
divided into three classes, nona, cattle, from ona, mutum, brututn 
esse, generally denotes the larger domesticated quadrupeds (e.g. 
chap, xlvii. 18 ; Ex. xiii. 12, etc.), but occasionally the larger 
land animals as a whole, few (the creeping) embraces the smaller 
land animals, which move either without feet, or with feet that 
are scarcely perceptible, viz. reptiles, insects, and worms. In 
ver. 25 they are distinguished from the race of water reptiles by 
the term nciNn. jnt* irpn (the old form of the construct state, 
for )"iKn n>n), the beast of the earth, i.e. the freely roving wild ani- 
mals. — " After its kind:" this refers to all three classes of living 
creatures, each of which had its peculiar species ; consequently 
in ver. 25, where the word of God is fulfilled, it is repeated with 
every class. This act of creation, too, like all that precede it, is 
shown by the divine word " good" to be in accordance with the 
will of God. But the blessing pronounced is omitted, the author 
hastening to the account of the creation of man, in which the 
work of creation culminated. The creation of man does not 
take place through a word addressed by God to the earth, but as 
the result of the divine decree, " We will make man in Our 

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image, after our likeness," which proclaims at the very outset the 
distinction and pre-eminence of man above all the other crea- 
tures of the earth. Tli g plnrnl " W e" was regarded by the 
fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative 
of the Trinity : modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it 
either as pluralis majestatis ; or as an address by God to Himself, 
the subject and object being identical ; or as communicative, an 
address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and 
constitute His council. The last is Philo's explanation : SiaXe- 
<yerai 6 r&v S\cov irp.rrjp rot? eavrov hwdfie<nv (8w<£/i«s=angels). 
But although such passages as 1 Kings xxii. 19 sqq., Ps. lxxxix. 
8, and Dan. x., show that God, as King and Judge of the world, 
is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne 
and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders 
upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural 
authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as 
chap. ii. 7, 22, Isa. xl. 13 seq., xliv. 24, that the spirits took part 
in the creation of man ; or it reduces the plural to an empty 
phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to co- 
operate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing 
them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, 
this view is irreconcilable with the words " in our image, after 
our likeness;" since man was created in the image of God alone 
(ver. 27, chap. v. 1), and not in the image of either the angels, 
or God and the angels. A likeness to the angels cannot be in- 
ferred from Heb. ii. 7, or from Luke xx. 36. Just as little 
ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other pas- 
sages (iii. 22, xi. 7 ; Isa. vi. 8, xli. 22) as reflective, an appeal to 
self ; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even 
where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf . ii. 
18 ; Ps. xii. 5 ; Isa. xxxiii. 10). No other explanation is left, 
therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, — an interpre- 
tation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form 
(God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural num- 
ber, not reverentice caw><>. but with reference to the fulness of tho 
divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that 
lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz. that the poten- 
cies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something 
more than powers and attributes of God ; that they are hypo- 
stases, which in the farther course of the revelation of God in 

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CHAP. I. 24-M. 63 

His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as per- 
sons of the Divine Being. On the words " in our image, after 
our likeness" modern commentators have correctly observed, that 
there is no foundation for the distinction drawn by the Greek, 
and after them by many of the Latin Fathers, betwen el/ccov 
(imago) and 6/xoiWnj (similitudo), the former of which they sap- 
posed to represent the physical aspect of the likeness to God, the 
latter the ethical ; but that, on the contrary, the older Lutheran 
theologians were correct in stating that the two words are syno- 
nymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: 
" an image which is like Us" (Luther) ; since it is no more pos- 
sible to discover a sharp or well-defined distinction in the ordinary 
use of the words between D7V and iron, than between 3 and 3. 
D7V, from «, lit. a shadow, hence sketch, outline, differs no more 
from JHD^, likeness, portrait, copy, than the German words Vmriss 
or Abriss (outline or sketch) from Bild or Abbild (likeness, copy). 
3 and 3 are also equally interchangeable, as we may see from a 
comparison of this verse with chap. v. 1 and 3. (Compare also 
Lev. vi. 4 with Lev. xxvii. 12, and for the use of 3 to denote a 
norm, or sample, Ex. xxv. 40, xxx. 32, 37, etc.). There is more 
difficulty in deciding in what the likeness to God consisted. Cer- 
tainly not in the bodily form, the upright position, or command- 
ing aspect of the man, since God has no bodily form, and the 
man's body was formed from the dust of the ground ; nor in the 
dominion of man over nature, for this is unquestionably ascribed 
to man simply as the consequence or effluence of his likeness to 
God. M &n is the image of God by virtue of his spiritua l nature, 
of the breath ot God by wmch the being, formed from the dust 
of the earth, became a living soul. 1 The image of God consists, 
therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely 
in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the 
fact that man was created a consciously free Ego ; for personality 

1 " The breath of God became the soul of man ; the soul of man there- 
fore is nothing but the breath of God. The rest of the world exists through 
the word of God ; man through His own peculiar breath. This breath is the 
seal and pledge of our relation to God, of our godlike dignity; whereas the 
breath breathed into the animals is nothing but the common breath, the 
life-wind of nature, which is moving everywhere, and only appears in the 
animal fixed and bound into a certain independence and individuality, so 
that the animal soul is nothing but a nature-soul individualized into cer- | 
tain, though still material spirituality." — Ziegler. 

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is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real 
essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed 
with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as 
well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and 
blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the 
divine likeness was shattered by sin ; and it is only through 
Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression 
of His essence (Heb. i. 3), that our nature is transformed into 
the image of God again (Col. iii. 10 ; Eph. iv. 24). — " And tliey 
(D"iN, a generic term for men) shall have dominion over the fish," 
etc. There is something striking in the introduction of the ex- 
pression " and over all the earth," after the different races of 
animals have been mentioned, especially as the list of races 
appears to be proceeded with afterwards. If this appearance 
were actually the fact, it would be impossible to escape the'con- 
clusion that the text is faulty, and that Tvn has fallen out ; so 
that the reading should be, " and over all the wild beasts of the 
earth," as the Syriac has it. But as the identity of "every 
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (pKn) with "every 
thing that creepeth upon the ground" (iiDIKn) in ver. 25 is not 
absolutely certain; on the contrary, the change in expression 
indicates a difference of meaning ; and as the Masoretic text is 
supported by the oldest critical authorities (LXX., Sam., Onk.), 
the Syriac rendering must be dismissed as nothing more than a 
conjecture, and the Masoretic text be understood in the follow- 
ing manner. The author passes on from the cattle to the entire 
earth, and embraces all the animal creation in the expression, 
" every moving thing (feiyirrio) that moveth upon the earth," 
just as in ver. 28, " every living thing ntoin upon the earth." 
According to this, God determined to give to the man about to be 
created in His likeness the supremacy, not only over the animal 
world, but over the earth itself ; and this agrees with the blessing 
in ver. 28, where the newly created man is exhorted to replenish 
the earth and subdue it; whereas, according to the conjecture 
of the Syriac, the subjugation of the earth by man would be 
omitted from the divine decree. — Ver. 27. In the account of the 
accomplishment of the divine purpose the words swell into a 
jubilant song, so that we meet here for the first time with a 
parallelismus membrorum, the creation of man being celebrated 
in three parallel clauses. The distinction drawn between intt (in 

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CHAP. I. 24-81. 65 

the image of God created He him) and otik (as man and woman 
created He them) must not be overlooked. The word D£IK, 
which indicates that God created the man and woman as two 
human beings, completely overthrows the idea that man was at 
first androgynous (cf. chap. ii. 18 sqq.). By the blessing in 
ver. 28, God not only confers upon man the power to multiply 
and fill the earth, as upon the beasts in ver. 22, but also gives 
him dominion over the earth and every beast. In conclusion, 
the food of both man and beast is pointed out in vers. 29, 30, 
exclusively from the vegetable kingdom. Man is to eat of 
" every seed-bearing herb on the face of all the earth, and every 
tree on which there are fruits containing seed," consequently of the 
productions of both field and tree, in other words, of corn and 
fruit ; the animals are to eat of " every green herb" i.e. of vege- 
tables or green plants, and grass. 

From this it follows, that, accor ding to the c reative will of 
God, men were not to slaughter animals for food, nor were 
animals to prey upon one another ; consequently, that the fact 
which now prevails universally in nature and the order of the 
world, the violent and often painful destruction of life, is not 
a primary law of nature, nor a divine institution founded in 
the creation itself, but entered the world along with death at 
the fall of man, and became a necessity of nature through the 
curse of sin. It was not till after the flood, that men received 
authority from God to employ the flesh of animals as well as^r^ 
the~ green herb as food (ix. 3) ; and the fact that, according to 
the biblical view, no carnivorous animals existed at the first, 
may be inferred from the prophetic announcements in Isa. xi. 
6-8, lxv. 25, where the cessation of sin and the complete trans- 
formation of the world into the kingdom of God are described 
as being accompanied by the cessation of slaughter and the eat- 
ing of flesh, even in the case of the animal kingdom. With 
this the legends of the heathen world respecting the golden age 
of the past, and its return at the end of time, also correspond 
(cf. Gesenius on Isa. xi. 6-8). It is true that objections have 
been raised by natural historians to this testimony of Scrip- 
ture, but without scientific ground. For although at the pre- 
sent time man is fitted by his teeth and alimentary canal for 
the combination of vegetable and animal food ; and although 
the law of mutual destruction so thoroughly pervades the whole 

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animal kingdom, that not only is the life of one sustained by 
the death of another, but " as the graminivorous animals check 
the overgrowth of the vegetable kingdom, so the excessive in- 
crease of the former is restricted by the beasts of prey, and of 
these again by the destructive implements of man;" and al- 
though, again, not only beasts of prey, but evident symptoms of 
disease are met with among the fossil remains of the aboriginal 
animals : all these facts furnish no proof that the human and 
animal races were originally constituted for death and destruc- 
tion, or that disease and slaughter are older than the fall. For, 
to reply to the last objection first, geology has offered no con- 
clusive evidence of its doctrine, that the fossil remains of beasts 
of prey and bones with marks of disease belong to a pre- Adamite 
period, but has merely inferred it from the hypothesis already 
mentioned (pp. 41, 42) of successive periods of creation. Again, 
as even in the present order of nature the excessive increase of 
the vegetable kingdom is restrained, not merely by the grami- 
nivorous animals, but also by the death of the plants themselves 
through the exhaustion of their vital powers ; so the wisdom of 
the Creator could easily have set bounds to the excessive in- 
crease of the animal world, without requiring the help of hunts- 
men and beasts of prey, since many animals even now lose their 
lives by natural means, without being slain by men or eaten by 
beasts of prey. The teaching of Scripture, that death entered 
the world through sin, merely proves that the human race was 
created for eternal life, but by no means necessitates the as- 
sumption that the animals were also created for endless exist- 
ence. As the earth produced them at the creative word of God, 
the different individuals and generations would also have passed 
away and returned to the bosom of the earth, without violent 
destruction by the claws of animals or the hand of man, as soon 
as they had fulfilled the purpose of their existence. The decay 
of animals is a law of nature established in the creation itself, 
and not a consequence of sin, or an effect of the death brought 
into the world by the sin of man. At the same time, it was so 
far involved in the effects of the fall, that the natural decay of 
the different animals was changed into a painful death or violent 
end. Although in the animal kingdom, as it at present exists, 
many varieties are so organized that they live exclusively upon 
the flesh of other animals, which they kill and devour : this by 

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CHAP. IL 1-8. 67 

no means necessitates the conclusion, that the carnivorous beasts 
of prey were created after the fall, or the assumption that they 
were originally intended to feed upon flesh, and organized ac- 
cordingly. If, in consequence of the curse pronounced upon 
the earth after the sin of man, who was appointed head and 
lord of nature, the whole creation was subjected to vanity and 
the bondage of corruption (Rom. viii. 20 sqq.) ; this subjection 
might have been accompanied by a change in the organization 
of the animals, though natural science, which is based upon the 
observation and combination of things empirically discovered, 
could neither demonstrate the fact nor explain the process. And 
if natural science cannot boast that in any one of its many 
branches it has discovered all the phenomena connected with 
the animal and human organism of the existing world, how 
could it pretend to determine or limit the changes through 
which this organism may have passed in the course of thousands 
of years ? 

The creation of man and his installation as ruler on the 
earth brought the creation of all earthly beings to a close (ver. 
31). God saw His work, and behold it was all very good; i.e. 
everything perfect in its kind, so that every creature might reach 
the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose 
of its existence. By the application of the term "good" to 
everything that God made, and the repetition of the word with 
the emphasis "very" at the close of the whole creation, the 
existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely 
denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days' 
work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, 
which had already forced its way into it. The sixth day, as 
being the last, is distinguished above all the rest by the article— 
V&n Di> « a day, the sixth" (Gesenius, § 111, 2a). 

Chap. ii. 1-3. The Sabbath op Creation. — " Thug the 
heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." N3X 
here denotes the totality of the beings that fill the heaven and 
the earth: in other places (see especially Neh. ix. 6) it is applied 
to the host of heaven, i.e. the stars (Deut. iv. 19, xvii. 3), and 
according to a still later representation, to the angels also (1 
Kings xxii. 19 ; Isa. xxiv. 21 ; Neh. ix. 6 ; Ps. cxlviii. 2). These 
words of ver. 1 introduce the completion of the work of crea- 

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tion, and give a greater definiteness to the announcement in 
vers. 2, 3, that on the seventh day God ended the work which 
He had made, by ceasing to create, and blessing the day and 
sanctifying it. The completion or finishing ( n ??) of the work 
of creation on the seventh day (not on the sixth, as the LXX., 
Sam., and Syr. erroneously render it) can only be understood 
by regarding the clauses vers. 26 and 3, which are connected 
with hy*\ by ) consec. as containing the actual completion, i.e. by 
supposing the completion to consist, negatively in the cessation 
of the work of creation, and positively in the blessing and sanc- 
tifying of the seventh day. The cessation itself formed part of 
the completion of the work (for this meaning of n?B> vid. chap, 
vm. 22, Job xxxii. 1, etc.). As a human artificer completes his 
work just when he has brought it up to his ideal and ceases to 
work upon it, so in an infinitely higher sense, God completed 
the creation of the world with all its inhabitants by ceasing to 
produce anything new, and entering into the rest of His all- 
sufficient eternal Being, from which He had come forth, as it 
were, at and in the creation of a world distinct from His own 
essence. Hence ceasing to create is called resting (TO) in Ex. 
xx. 11, and being refreshed (&$?) in Ex. xxxi. 17. The rest 
into which God entered after the creation was complete, had its 
own reality " in the reality of the work of creation, in contrast 
with which the preservation of the world, when once created, 
had the appearance of rest, though really a continuous crea- 
tion" (Ziegler, p. 27). This rest of the Creator was indeed 
" the consequence of His self-satisfaction in the now united and 
harmonious, though manifold whole - " but this self-satisfaction 
of God in His creation, which we call His pleasure in His work, 
was also a spiritual power, which streamed forth as a blessing 
upon the creation itself, bringing it into the blessedness of the 
rest of God and filling it with His peace. This constitutes the 
positive element in the completion which God gave to the work 
of creation, by blessing and sanctifying the seventh day, be- 
cause on it He found rest from the work which He by making 
(JliiPJJ? faciendo : cf . Ewald, § 280d) had created. The divine 
act of blessing was a real communication of powers of salvation, 
grace, and peace; and sanctifying was not merely declaring 
holy, but " communicating the attribute of holy," " placing in a 
living relation to God, the Holy One, raising to a participation 

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CHAP. II. 1-8. 69 

in the pure clear light of the holiness of God." On B^iJ see 
Ex. xix. 6. The blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day had 
regard, no doubt, to the Sabbath, which Israel as the people of 
God was afterwards to keep ; but we are not to suppose that the 
theocratic Sabbath was instituted here, or that the institution of 
that Sabbath was transferred to the history of the creation. On 
the contrary, the Sabbath of the Israelites had a deeper mean- 
ing, founded in the nature and development of the created 
world, not for Israel only, but for all mankind, or rather for the 
whole creation. As the whole earthly creation is subject to the 
changes of time and the law of temporal motion and develop- 
ment; so all creatures not only stand in need of definite re- 
curring periods of rest, for the sake of recruiting their strength 
and gaining new power for further development, but they also 
look forward to a time when all restlessness shall give place to 
the blessed rest of the perfect consummation. To this rest thel 
resting of God {$ Karairavcni) points forward ; and to this rest, \ 
this divine o-aySySaTW/io? (Heb. iv. 9), shall the whole world, 
especially man, the head of the earthly creation, eventually come. 
For this God ended His work by blessing and sanctifying the 
day when the whole creation was complete. In connection with 
Heb. iv., some of the fathers have called attention to the fact, 
that the account of the seventh day is not summed up, like the 
others, with the formula "evening was and morning was ;" thus, 
e.g., Augustine writes at the close of his confessions : dies septimus 
sine vespera est nee kabet occasum, quia sanctificasti eum ad per- 
mansionem sempiternam. But true as it is that the Sabbath of 
God has no evening, and that the aafifiaTicrnos, to which the 
creature is to attain at the end of his course, will be bounded by 
no evening, but last for ever; we must not, without further 
ground, introduce this true and profound idea into the seventh 
creation-day. We could only be warranted in adopting such 
an interpretation, and understanding by the concluding day 
of the work of creation a period of endless duration, on the 
supposition that the six preceding days were so many periods in 
the world's history, which embraced the time from the begin- 
ning of the creation to the final completion of its development. 
But as the six creation-days, according to the words of the text, 
were earthly days of ordinary duration, we must understand the 
seventh in the same way ; and that all the more, because in every 

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passage, in which it is mentioned as the foundation of the theo- 
cratic Sabbath, it is regarded as an ordinary day (Ex. xx. 11, 
xxxi. 17). We mast conclude, therefore, that on the seventh 
day, on which God rested from His work, the world also, with 
all its inhabitants, attained to the sacred rest of God ; that the 
Kardirav<TK and <ra/3/3aTur/idt of God were made a rest and 
sabbatic festival for His creatures, especially for man ; and that 
this day of rest of the new created world, which the forefathers 
of oar race observed in paradise, as long as they continued in a 
state of innocence and lived in blessed peace with their God 
and Creator, was the beginning and type of the rest to which 
the creation, after it had fallen from fellowship with God 
through the sin of man, received a promise that it should once 
more be restored through redemption, at its final consummation. 

Chap. ii. 4-iv. 26. 

Contents and Heading. 

The historical account of the world, which commences at the 
completion of the work of creation, is introduced as the " His- 
tory of the heavens and the earth," and treats in three sections, 
(a) of the original condition of man in paradise (chap. ii. 5- 
25) ; (b) of the fall (chap. iii. ) ; (c) of the division of the human 
race into two widely different families, so far as concerns their 
relation to God (chap. iv.). — The words, " these are the iholedoHi 
of the heavens and the earth when they were created" form the 
heading to what follows. This would never have been disputed, 
had not preconceived opinions as to the composition of Genesis 
obscured the vision of commentators. The fact that in every 
other passage, in which the formula " these (and these) are the 
tholedoth" occurs (viz. ten times in Genesis; also in Num. iii. 1, 
Ruth iv. 18, 1 Chron. i. 29), it is used as a heading, and that in 
this passage the true meaning of nnWi precludes the possibility 
of its being an appendix to what precedes, fully decides the 
question. The word rtrhv\, which is only used in the plural, 

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CHAP. II. 4. 71 

t suffixes, 
i genera - 
of these *th_ 
listory of I 

and never occurs except in the construct state or with suffixes, 
is a Hiphil n yiir fa"" TTirij and signifies literally the genera - 
tion or post erity of any one, then the development of the 
g enerations or of his descenda nts ; in other words, the history 
those who are begotten, or the account of what happened to them 
and what they performed. In no instance whatever is it the 
history of the birth or origin of the person named in the geni- 
tive, out always the account of his family and life. According 
to this use of the word, we cannot underst and by the tholedoth 
of the he avens and the earth the accounTof the origin of the 
universe, since according to the biblical view the different things 
which make up the heavens and the earth can neither be re- 
garded as generations or products of cosmogonic and geogonic 
evolutions, nor be classed together as the posterity of the 
heavens and the earth. All the creatures in the heavens and on 
earth were made by God, and called into being by His word, 
notwithstanding the fact that He caused some of them to come 
forth from the earth. Again, as the completion of the heavens 
and the earth with all their host has already been described in 
chap. ii. 1-3, we cannot understand by " the heavens and the 
earth," in ver. 4, the primary material of the universe in its 
elementary condition (in which case the literal meaning of 
Ivin would be completely relinquished, and the " tholedoth of 
the heavens and the earth" be regarded as indicating this chaotic 
beginning as the first stage in a series of productions), but the 
universe itself after the completion of the creation, at the com- 
mencement of the historical development which is subsequently 
described. This places its resemblance to the other sections, 
commencing with " these are the generations," beyond dispute. 
Jujst_ as the thole doth of Noah 2 forjgxample, do not mention his 
birth, but contain hisTiistory and the birth of his sons ; so the 
th oledoth of the he ayehs"and the earth do not describe the origin" 
of the universe, but what Tiappened to the "heavens and" the 
«ftrf,}i ftftjer riiBir r.rp^tioTi . Dtoana "does not preclude this, 
though we cannot render it " after they were created." For 
even if it were grammatically allowable to resolve the participle 
into a pluperfect, the parallel expressions in chap. v. 1, 2, 
would prevent our doing so. As " the day of their creation " 
mentioned there, is not a day after the creation of Adam, but 
the day on which he was created ; the same words, when occur- 

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ring lure, must also refer to a time when the heavens and the 
earth were already created : and just as in chap. v. 1 the crea- 
tion of the universe forms the starting-point to the account 
of the development of the human race through the generations 
of Adam, and is recapitulated for that reason ; so here the 
creation of the universe is mentioned as the starting-point to the 
account of its historical development, because this account looks 
back to particular points in the creation itself, and describes 
them more minutely as the preliminaries to the subsequent 
course of the world. Dtfian is explained by the clause, " in the 
day that Jehovah God created ike earth and tJie heavens" Al- 
though this clause is closely related to what follows, the sim- 
plicity of the account prevents our regarding it as the protasis 
of a period, the apodosis of which does not follow till ver. 5 or 
even ver. 7. The former is grammatically impossible, because 
in ver. 5 the noun stands first, and not the verb, as we should 
expect in such a case (cf. iii. 5). The latter is grammatically 
tenable indeed, since vers. 5, 6, might be introduced into the 
main sentence as conditional clauses ; but it is not probable, in- 
asmuch as we should then have a parenthesis of most unnatural 
length. The clause must therefore be regarded as forming part 
of the heading. There are two points here that are worthy of 
notice: first, the unusual combination, "earth and heaven," 
which only occurs in Ps. cxlviii. 13, and shows that the earth is 
the scene of the history about to commence, which was of such 
momentous importance to the whole world ; and secondly, the 
introduction of the name Jehovah in connection with Elohim. 
That the hypothesis, which traces the interchange in the two 
names in Genesis to different documents, does not suffice to 
explain the occurrence of Jehovah Elohim in chap. ii. 4— iii. 24, 
even the supporters of this hypothesis cannot possibly deny. 
I Not only is God called Elohim alone in the middle of this sec- 
■ tion, viz. in the address to the serpent, a clear proof that the 
interchange of the names has reference to their different signi- 
; fications ; but the use of the double name, which occurs here 
twenty times though rarely met with elsewhere, is always signi- 
ficant. In the Pentateuch we only find it in Ex. ix. 30 ; in the 
other books of the Old Testament, in 2 Sam. vii. 22, 25; 1 
. Chron. xvii. 16, 17 ; 2 Chron. vi. 41, 42 ; Ps. lxxxiv. 8, 11 ; and 
I Ps. 1. 1, where the order is reversed ; and in every instance it is 

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CHAP. n. 4. 73 

nsed with peculiar emphasis, to give prominence to the fact that 
Jehovah is truly Elohim, whilst in Ps. 1. 1 the Psalmist advances 
from the general name El and Elohim to Jehovah, as the personal 
name of the God of Israel. In this section the combination 
Jehovah Elohim is expressive of the fact, that Jehovah is God, or 
one with Elohim. Hence Elohim is placed after Jehovah. For 
the constant use of the double name is not intended to teach that 
Elohim who created the world was Jehovah, but that Jehovah, 
who visited man in paradise, who punished him for the trans- 
gression of His command, but gave him a promise of victory- 
over the tempter, was Elohim, the same God, who created the 
heavens and the earth. 

The two names may be distinguishe d thu s : Elohim, the 
plural of ?rt7K, wmch is only 11354 In the lottier style of poetry, is 
an infinitive noun from W to fear, and signifies awe, fear, then 
the object of fear, the highest Being to be feared, like ina, which 
is used interchangeably with it in chap. xxxi. 42, 53, and tniD in 
Ps. lxxvi. 12 (cf. Isa. viii. 12, 13). The plural is not used for 
the abstract, in the sense of divinity, but to express the notion of 
God in the fulness and multiplicity of the divine powers. It is 
employed both in a numerical, and also in an intensive sense, so 
that Elohim is applied to the (many) gods of the heathen as well 
as to the one true God, in whom the highest and absolute ful- 
ness of the divine essence is contained. In this intensive sense 
Elohim depicts the one true God as the infinitely great and ex- 
alted One, who created the heavens and the earth, and who pre- 
serves and governs every creature. According to its derivation, 
however, it is object rather than subject, so that in the plural 
form the concrete unity of the personal God falls back behind 
the wealth of the divine potencies which His being contains. In 
this sense, indeed, both in Genesis and the later, poetical, books, 
Elohim is used without the article, as a proper name for the true 
God, even in the mouth of heathen (1 Sam. iv. 7) ; but in other 
places, and here and there in Genesis, it occurs as an appellative 
with the article, by which prominence is given to the absolute- 
ness or personality of God (chap. v. 22, vi. 9, etc.). — The name 
Jehovah, on the other hand, was originally a proper name, and 
according to the explanation given by God Himself to Moses 
(Ex. iii. 14, 15), was formed from the imperfect of the verb 
mn = rrn. God calls Himself rvrnt nefc rr<n», then more briefly 

PENT. — VOT. T. F 

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^* IT 


■TiiK, and then again, by changing the first person into the third, 
mrr. From the derivation of this name from the imperfect, 
it follows that it was either pronounced nvfl or nw, and had 
come down from the pre-Mosaic age ; for the form nw had been 
forced out of the spoken language by njn even in Moses' time. 
The Masoretic pointing nj<T belongs to a time when the Jews 
had long been afraid to utter this name at all, and substituted 
'J^K, the vowels of which therefore were placed as Keri, the word 
to be read, under the Kethib m.T, unless nw stood in apposition 
to ^"W, in which case the word was read Bv>* and pointed rrtrr 
(a pure monstrosity). 1 This custom, which sprang from a mis- 
interpretation of Lev. xxiv. 16, appears to have originated 
shortly after the captivity. Even in the canonical writings of 
this age the name Jehovah was less and less employed, and in 
the Apocrypha and the Septuagint version 6 Kvpux; (the Lord) 
is invariably substituted, a custom in which the New Testament 
writers follow the LXX. (yid. Oehler). — If we seek for the 
meaning of mrv, the expression rwitt "itW rwut, in Ex. iii. 14, is 
neither to be rendered eao/tac o? ecrofiai (Aq. } Theodt.), "I 
shall be that I shall be " (Lutiier), nor " I shall be that which 
I will or am to be" (M. Baumgarten). Nor does it mean, " He 
who will be because He is Himself, the God of the future" 
(Hofmann). For in names formed from the third person im- 
perfect, the imperfect is not a future, but an aorist. According 
to the fundamental signification of the imperfect, names so 
formed point out a person as distinguished by a frequently or 
constantly manifested quality, in other words, they express a dis- 
tinctive characteristic (yid. Ewald, § 136 ; chap. xxv. 26, xxvii. 
36, also xvi. 11 and xxi. 6). The Vulgate gives it correctly: 
ego sum qui sum, "I am who I am." u The repetition of the verb 
in the same form, and connected only by the relative, signifies 
that the being or act of the subject expressed in the verb is de- 

1 For a fuller discussion of the meaning and pronunciation of the name 
Jehovah vid. Hengstenberg, Dissertations on the Pentateuch i. p. 218 sqq. ; 
Oehler in Herzog's Cyclopaedia ; and Hblemann in his Bibelstudien. The last, 
in common with Stier and others, decides in favour of the Masoretic pointing 
rtf IT as giving the original pronunciation, chiefly on the ground of Rev. i. 4 
and 5, 8 ; but the theological expansion 6 at x»l i ij» xmk i if%i(*nt{ cannot be 
regarded as a philological proof of the formation of mn by the fusion of 
mn, ntfl, VP into one word. 

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CHAP. II 4 75 

termined only by the subject itself" (Hofmann). The verb nnj 
signifies "to be, to happen, to become;" but as neither happen- 
ing nor becoming is applicable to God, the unchangeable, since 
the pantheistic idea of a becoming God is altogether foreign 
to the Scriptures, we must retain the meaning "to be;" not 
forgetting, however, that as the Divine Being is not a resting, 
or, so to speak, a dead being, but is essentially living, displaying 
itself as living, working upon creation, and moving in the world, 
the formation of m:T from the imperfect precludes the idea of 
abstract existence, and points out the Divine Being as moving, 
pervading history, and manifesting Himself in the world. So 
far then as the words rrriK ib>k rrrm are condensed into a proper 
name in iw, and God, therefore, " is He who is," inasmuch as 
in His being, as historically manifested, He is the self-deter- 
mining one, the name Jehovah, which we have retained as 
being naturalized in the ecclesiastical phraseology, though we 
are quite in ignorance of its correct pronunciation, "includes 
both the absolute independence of God in His historical move- 
ments," and " the absolute constancy of God, or the fact that 
in everything, in both words and deeds, He is essentially in 
harmony with Himself, remaining always consistent" (Oehler). 
The " 1 am who am," therefore, is the absolute I, the absolute 
personality, moving with unlimited freedom ; and in distinction 
from Elohim (the Being to be feared), He is the personal God 
in His historical manifestation, in which the fulness of the 
Divine Being unfolds itself to the world. This movement of 
the personal God in history, however, has reference to the re- 
alization of the great purpose of the creation, viz. the salvation 
of man. Jehovah therefore is the God of the history of sal--i— 
vation. This is not shown in the etymology of the name, but * 
in its historical expansion. It was as Jehovah that God mani- 
fested Himself to Abram (xv. 7), when He made the covenant 
with him; and as this name was neither derived from an attribute 
of God, nor from a divine manifestation, we must trace its origin 
to a revelation from God, and seek it in the declaration to Abram, 
"I am Jehovah." Just as Jehovah here revealed Himself to 
Abram as the God who led him out of Ur of the Chaldees. to 
give him the land of Canaan for a' possession, and thereby de- 
scribed Himself as the author of all "he promises which Abram 
received at his call, and which were renewed to him and to his 

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descendants, Isaac and Jacob; so did He reveal Himself to 
Moses (Ex. iii.) as the God of his fathers, to fulfil His promise 
to their seed, the people of Israel. Through these revelations 
Jehovah became a proper name for the God, who was working 
out the salvation of fallen humanity; and in this sense, not only 
is it used proleptically at the call of Abram (chap, xii.), but trans- 
ferred to the primeval times, and applied to all the manifesta- 
tions and acts of God which had for their object the rescue of 
the human race from its fall, as well as to the special plan in- 
augurated in the call of Abram. The preparation commenced 
in paradise. To show this, Moses has introduced the name 
Jehovah into the history in the present chapter, and has indi- 
cated the identity of Jehovah with Elohim, not only by the 
constant association of the two names, but also by the fact that 
in the heading (ver. 4ft) he speaks of the creation described in 
chap. i. as the work of Jehovah Elohim. 

PARADISE. — CHAP. II. 6-26. 

The account in vers. 5-25 is not a second, complete and 
independent history of We creation, nor does it contain mere 
appendices to the account in chap. i. ; but i t describes the com- 
mencement of t he history of the human race! This commencfr- 
ment includes not only a complete account of the creation of 
the first human pair, but a description of the place which God 
prepared for their abode, the latter being of the highest impor- 
tance in relation to the self-determination of man, with its mo- 
mentous consequences to both earth and heaven. Even in the 
history of the creation man takes precedence of all other crea- 
tures, as being created in the image of God and appointed lord 
of all the earth, though he is simply mentioned there as the last 
and highest link in the creation. To this our present account 
is attached, describing with greater minuteness the position of 
man in the creation, and explaining the circumstances which 
exerted the greatest influence upon his subsequent career. 
These circumstances were — the formation of man from the dust 
of the earth and the divine breath of life ; the tree of knowledge 
in paradise ; the formation of the woman, and the relation of 
the woman to the man. Of these three elements, the first 
forms the substratum to the other two. Hence the more exact 

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CHAP. II. 5, 6. 77 

account of the creation of Adam is subordinated to, and in- 
serted in, the description of paradise (ver. 7). In vers. 5 and 6, 
with which the narrative commences, there is an evident allusion 
to paradise : " And as yet there was (arose, grew) no shrub of 
Hie field upon the earth, and no herb of the field sprouted; for 
Jehovah El had not caused it to rain upon the eartli, and there 
teas no man to till the ground; and a mist arose from the earth 
and watered the whole surface of the ground." njn in parallelism 
with noy means to become, to arise, to proceed. Although the 
growth of the shrubs and sprouting of the herbs are repre- 
sented here as dependent upon the rain and the cultivation of 
the earth by man, we must not understand the words as mean- 
ing that there was neither shrub nor herb before the rain and 
dew, or before the creation of man, and so draw the conclusion 
that the creation of the plants occurred either after or con- 
temporaneously with the creation of man, in direct contradic- 
tion to chap. i. 11, 12. The creation of the plants is not alluded 
to here at all, but simply the planting of the garden in Eden. 
The growing of the shrubs and sprouting of the herbs is 
different from the creation or first production of the vegetable 
kingdom, and relates to the growing and sprouting of the plants 
and germs which were called into existence by the creation, the 
natural development of the plants as it had steadily proceeded 
ever since the creation. This was dependent upon rain and 
human culture; their creation was not. Moreover, the shrub 
and herb of the field do not embrace the whole of the vegetable 
productions of the earth. It is not a fact that " the field is 
used in the second section in the same sense as the earth in the 
first." n"ife> is not " the widespread plain of the earth, the broad 
expanse of land," but a field of arable land, soil fit for cultiva- 
tion, which forms only a part of the "earth" or "ground-" 
Even the "beast of the field" in ver. 19 and iii. 1 is not 
synonymous with the " beast of the earth" in chap. i. 24, 25, 
but is a more restricted term, denoting only such animals as 
live upon the field and are supported by its produce, whereas 
the " beast of the earth" denotes all wild beasts as distinguished 
from tame cattle and reptiles. In the same way, the " shrub of 
the field" consists of such shrubs and tree-like productions of 
the cultivated land as man raises for the sake of their fruit, and 
the "herb of the field," all seed-producing plants, both corn 

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and vegetables, which serve as food for man and beast. — The 
mist (IN, vapour, which falls as rain, Job xxxvi. 27) is cor- 
rectly regarded by Delitzech as the creative beginning of the 
rain ("W3Dn) itself, from which we may infer, therefore, that it 
rained before the flood. 

Ver. 7. " Then Jehovah God formed man from dust of the 
ground? "IBB is the accusative of the material employed (Ewald 
and Gesenius). The Vav consec. imperf. in vers. 7, 8, 9, does not 
indicate the order of time, or of thought ; so that the meaning 
is not that God planted the garden in Eden after He had 
created Adam, nor that He caused the trees to grow after He 
had planted the garden and placed the man there. The latter 
is opposed to ver. 15 ; the former is utterly improbable. The 
process of man's creation is described minutely here, because it 
serves to explain his relation to God and to the surrounding 
world. He was formed from dust (not de limo terra, from a 
clod of the earth, for idj? is not a solid mass, but the finest part 
of the material of the earth), and into his nostril a breath of 
life was breathed, by which he became an animated being. 
Hence the nature of man consists of a material substance and 
an immaterial principle of life. " The breath of life" ue. breath 
producing life, does not denote the spirit by which man is dis 
tinguished from the animals, or the soul of man from that 
of the beasts, but only the life-breath (vid. 1 Kings xvii. 17). 
It is true, TOOT generally signifies the human soul, but in 
chap. vii. 22 D^n rnvnDBJi is used of men and animals both ; 
and should any one explain this, on the ground that the allusion 
is chiefly to men, and the animals are connected per zeugma, 
or should he press the ruach attached, and deduce from this 
the use of neshamah in relation to men and animals, there are 
several passages in which neshamah is synonymous with ruach 
(e.g. Isa. xlii. 5 ; Job xxxii. 8, xxxiii. 4), or D«n rm applied to 
animals (chap. vi. 17, vii. 15), or again neshamah used as equi- 
valent to nephesh (e.g. Josh. x. 40, cf. vers. 28, 30, 32). For 
neshamah, the breathing, woq, is " the ruach in action" (Auber- 
len). Beside this, the man formed from the dust became, 
through the breathing of the " breath of life," a n»n eks, an 
animated, and as such a living being ; an expression which is 
also applied to fishes, birds, and land animals (i. 20, 21, 24, 30), 
and there is no proof of pre-eminence on the part of man. As 

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CHAP. II. 7. 79 

njn B'W, -^vyr) ftSxra, does not refer to the soul merely, but to 
the whole man as an animated being, so not?3 does not denote 
the spirit of man as distinguished from body and soul. On the 
relation of the soul to the spirit of man nothing can be gathered 
from this passage; the words, correctly interpreted, neither 
show that the soul is an emanation, an exhalation of the human 
spirit, nor that the soul was created before the spirit and merely 
received its life from the latter. The formation of man from 
dust and the breathing of the breath of life we must not under- 
stand in a mechanical sense, as if God first of all constructed a 
human figure from dust, and then, by breathing His breath of 
life into the clod of earth which he had shaped into the form of 
a man, made it into a living being. The words are to be under- 
stood 8eoTrpe7T(o<i. By an act of divine omnipotence man arose 
from the dust ; and in the same moment in which the dust, by 
virtue of creative omnipotence, shaped itself into a human form, 
it was pervaded by the divine breath of life, and created a living 
being, so that we cannot say the body was earlier than the soul. 
The dust of the earth is merely the earthly substratum, which 
was formed by the breath of life from God into an animated, 
living, self-existent being. When it is said, "God breathed 
into his nostril the breath of life," it is evident that this descrip- 
tion merely gives prominence to the peculiar sign of life, viz. 
breathing; since it is obvious, that what God breathed into 
man could not be the air which man breathes ; for it is not 
that which breathes, but simply that which is breathed. Conse- 
quently, breathing into the nostril can only mean, that " God, 
through His own breath, produced and combined with the 
bodily form that principle of life, which was the origin of all 
human life, and which constantly manifests its existence in the 
breath inhaled and exhaled through the nose" (Delitesch, Psychol. 
p. 62). Breathing, however, is common both to man and beast ; 
so that this cannot be the sensuous analogon of the supersensuous 
spiritual life, but simply the principle of the physical life of the 
soul. Nevertheless the vital principle in man is different from 
that in the animal, and the human soul from the soul of the 
beast. This difference is indicated by the way in which man 
received the breath of life from God, and so became a living 
soul. " The beasts arose at the creative word of God, and no 
communication of the spirit is mentioned even in ch. ii. 19 ; the 

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origin of their soul was coincident with that of their corporeality, 
and their life was merely the individualization of the universal 
life, with which all matter was filled in the beginning by the 
Spirit of God. On the other hand, the human spirit is not a 
mere individualization of the divine breath which breathed upon 
the material of the world, or of the universal spirit of nature ; 
nor is his body merely a production of the earth when stimu- 
lated by the creative word of God. The earth does not bring 
forth his body, but God Himself puts His hand to the work and 
forms him ; nor does the life already imparted to the world by 
the Spirit of God individualize itself in him, but God breathes 
directly into the nostrils of the one man, in the whole fulness of 
His personality, the breath of life, that in a manner correspond- 
ing to the personality of God he may become a living soul" 
(DelitzscK). This was the foundation of the pre-eminence of 
man, of his likeness to God and his immortality ; for by this 
he was formed into a personal being, whose immaterial part was 
not merely soul, but a soul breathed entirely by God, since 
spirit and soul were created together through the inspiration of 
God. As the spiritual nature of man is described simply by 
the act of breathing, which is discernible by the senses, so the 
name which God gives him (chap. v. 2) is founded upon the 
earthly side of his being : Adah, from nolK (adamah), earth, 
the earthly element, like homo from humus, or from x a f u h 
\afud, yafiaBev, to guard him from self-exaltation, not from the 
red colour of his body, since this is not a distinctive character- 
istic of man, but common to him and to many other creatures. 
The name man (Mensch), on the other hand, from the Sanskrit 
mdnu8cha, manusckja, from man to think, manas — mens, ex- 
presses the spiritual inwardness of our nature. 

Ver. 8. The abode, which God prepared for the first man, 
was a " garden in Eden" also called " the garden of Eden" (ver. 
15, chap. ili. 23, 24 ; Joel ii. 3), or Eden (Isa. li. 3 ; Ezek. xxviii. 
13, xxxi. 9). Eden (JV!.> *'•«• delight) is the proper name of a 
particular district, the situation of which is described in vers. 10 
sqq. ; but it must not be confounded with the Eden of Assyria 
(2 Kings xix. 12, etc.) and Ooelesyria (Amos i. 5), which is writ- 
ten with double seghol. The garden (lit. a place hedged round) 
was to the east, i.e. in the eastern portion, and is generally called 
Paradise from the Septuagint version, in which the word is ren- 

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CHAP. IL 10-H. 81 

dered irapaSeuros. This word, according to Spiegel, was derived 
from the Zendic pairi-daiza, a hedging round, and passed into 
the Hebrew in the form DT|B (Cant. iv. 13 ; Eccl. ii. 5 ; Neh. 
ii. 8), a park, probably through the commercial relations which / 
Solomon established with distant countries. In the garden itself 
God caused all kinds of trees to grow out of the earth ; and 
among them were two, which were called " the tree of life" and 
" the tree of knowledge of good and evil," on account of their 
peculiar significance in relation to man (see ver. 16 and chap. iii. 
22). Din?, an infinitive, as Jer. xxii. 16 shows, has the article 
here because the phrase jm 3U3 njn is regarded as one word, and 
in Jeremiah from the nature of the predicate. — Ver. 10. "And, 
there was a river going out of Eden, to water the garden ; and from 
thence it divided itself, and became four heads ;" i.e. the stream 
took its rise in Eden, flowed through the garden to water it, and 
on leaving the garden was divided into four heads or beginnings 
of rivers, that is, into four arms or separate streams. For this 
meaning of DWi see Ezek. xvi. 25, Lam. ii. 19. Of the four 
rivers whose names are given to show the geographical situa- 
tion of paradise, the last two are unquestionably Tigris and 
Euphrates. Hiddekel occurs in Dan. x. 4 as the Hebrew name 
for Tigris ; in the inscriptions of Darius it is called Tigrd (or the 
arrow, according to Strabo, Pliny, and Curtms), from the Zendic 
tighra, pointed, sharp, from which probably the meaning stormy 
(rapidus Tigris, Hor. Carm. 4, 14, 46) was derived. It flows 
before (JIDIJ?), in front of, Assyria, not to the east of Assyria ; 
for the province of Assyria, which must be intended here, was 
on the eastern side of the Tigris : moreover, neither the mean- 
ing, " to the east of," nor the identity of nonp and mpD has 
been, or can be, established from chap. iv. 16, 1 Sam. xiii. 5, 
or Ezek. xxxix. 11, which are the only other passages in which 
the word occurs, as JEwald himself acknowledges. P'rath, which 
was not more minutely described because it was so generally 
known, is the Euphrates ; in old Persian, Ufrdta, according to 
Delitzsch, or the good and fertile stream ; Ufrdtu, according to 
Spiegler, or the well-progressing stream. According to the 
present condition of the soil, the sources of the Euphrates and 
Tigris are not so closely connected that they could be regarded 
as the commencements of a common stream which has ceased to 
exist. The main sources of the Tigris, it is true, are only 2000 

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paces from the Euphrates, but they are to the north of Diar- 
bekr, in a range of mountains which is skirted on three sides by 
the upper course of the Euphrates, and separates them from 
this river. We must also look in the same country, the high- 
lands of Armenia, for the other two rivers, if the description of 
paradise actually rests upon an ancient tradition, and is to be 
regarded as something more than a mythical invention of the 
fancy. The name Phishon sounds like the PJiasis of the an- 
cients, with which Belaud supposed it to be identical ; and Cha- 
vilah like Colchis, the well-known gold country of the ancients. 
But the $oo-« o Kokxps (Herod. 4, 37, 45) takes its rise in the 
Caucasus, and not in Armenia. A more probable conjecture, 
therefore, points to the Cyrus of the ancients, which rises in 
Armenia, flows northwards to a point not far from the eastern 
border of Colchis, and then turns eastward in Iberia, from which 
it flows in a south-easterly direction to the Caspian Sea. The 
expression, "which compasseth the whole land of ChavUah," would 
apply very well to the course of this river from the eastern bor- 
der of Colchis ; for 33D does not necessarily signify to surround, 
but to pass through with different turns, or to skirt in a semi- 
circular form, and Chavilali may have been larger than modern 
Colchis. It is not a valid objection to this explanation, that in 
every other place Chavilah is a district of Southern Arabia. 
The identity of this Chavilah with the Chavilah of the Jok- 
tanites (chap. x. 29, xxv. 18 ; 1 Sam. xv. 7) or of the Cushites 
(chap. x. 7 ; 1 Chron. i. 9) is disproved not only by the article 
used here, which distinguishes it from the other, but also by the 
description of it as land where gold, bdolach, and the shoham- 
stone are found ; a description neither requisite nor suitable in 
the case of the Arabian Chavilah, since these productions are 
not to be met with there. This characteristic evidently shows 
that the Chavilah mentioned here was entirely distinct from the 
other, and a land altogether unknown to the Israelites. — What 
we are to understand by n?"i3n is uncertain. There is no certain 
ground for the meaning "pearls" given in Saad. and the later 
Kabbins, and adopted by Bochart and others. The rendering 
fi&eXka or fiSeWiov, bdellium, a vegetable gum, of which Dio- 
scorus says, ol Be fiaSeXtcov ol he fio\j^6v KaKovai, and Pliny, " aUi 
brochon appellant, alii malacham, alii maldacon," is favoured by 
the similarity in the name ; but, on the other side, there is the 

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CHAP. II. 10-14. 83 

fact that Ptiny describes this gum as nigrum and hadrobolon, 
and Dioscorus as vtrvK&aov (blackish), which does not agree 
with Num. xi. 7, where the appearance of the white grains of 
the manna is compared to that of bdolack. — The stone thoham, 
according to most of the early versions, is probably the beryl, 
which is most likely the stone intended by the LXX. (d Xtflos 
6 irpatrtvo<:, the leek-green stone), as Pliny, when speaking of 
beryls, describes those as probatiseimi, qui viriditatem puri maris 
imitantur ; but according to others it is the onyx or sardonyx 
(vid. Ges. 8. v.). 1 The Gihon (from rw to break forth) is the 
Araxes, which rises in the neighbourhood of the Euphrates, 
flows from west to east, joins the Cyrus, and falls with it into 
the Caspian Sea. The name corresponds to the Arabic Jaihun, 
a name given by the Arabians and Persians to several large 
rivers. The land of Cush cannot, of course, be the later Cush, 
or Ethiopia, but must be connected with the Asiatic Koaaaia, 
which reached to the Caucasus, and to which the Jews (of Shir- 
wan) still give this name. But even though these four streams 
do not now spring from one source, but on the contrary their 
souroes are separated by mountain ranges, this fact does not 
prove that the narrative before us is a myth. Along with or 
since the disappearance of paradise, that part of the earth may 
have undergone such changes that the precise locality can no 
longer be determined with certainty. 2 

1 The two productions furnish no proof that the Phishon is to be sought 
for in India. The assertion that the name bdolach is Indian, is quite un- 
founded, for it cannot be proved that maddlaha in Sanscrit is a vegetable 
gum ; nor has this been proved of maddra, which is possibly related to it 
(of. Lassen's indische Alchk. 1, 290 note). Moreover, Pliny speaks of Bac- 
triana as the land " in qua Bdellium est nominalissimum" although he adds, 
" nasciiur et in Arabia Indiaque, et Media ac Babylone ;" and Isidorus says 
of the Bdella which comes from India, " Sordida est et nigra et majori 
gleba" which, again, does not agree with Num. xi. 7. — The sholiam-stone 
also is not necessarily associated with India ; for although Pliny says of the 
beryls, "India eos gignit, raro alibi repertos," he also observes, " in nostra 
orbe aliquando circa Pontum inveniri putantur." 

* That the continents of our globe have undergone great changes since 
the creation of the human race, is a truth sustained by the facts of natural 
history and the earliest national traditions, and admitted by the most cele- 
brated naturalists. (See the collection of proofs made by Kesri.") These 
changes must not be all attributed to the flood ; many may have occurred 
before and many after, like the catastrophe in which the Dead Sea origin- 

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Vers. 15-17. After the preparation of the garden in Eden 
God placed the man there, to dress it and to keep it. 'rovr not 
merely expresses removal thither, but the fact that the man was 
placed there to lead a life of repose, not indeed in inactivity, 
but in fulfilment of the coarse assigned him, which was very 
different from the trouble and restlessness of the weary toil into 
which he was plunged by sin. In paradise he was to dress 
(colere) the garden ; for the earth was meant to be tended and 
cultivated by man, so that without human culture, plants and 
even the different varieties of corn degenerate and grow wild. 
Cultivation therefore preserved (lDC* to keep) the divine planta- 
tion, not merely from injury on the part of any evil power, 
either penetrating into, or already existing in the creation, but 
also from running wild through natural degeneracy. As nature 
was created for man, it was his vocation not only to ennoble it 
by his work, to make it subservient to himself, but also to raise 
it into the sphere of the spirit and further its glorification. 
This applied not merely to the soil beyond the limits of paradise, 
but to the garden itself, which, although the most perfect portion 
of the terrestrial creation, was nevertheless susceptible of de- 
velopment, and which was allotted to man, in order that by his 
care and culture he might make it into a transparent mirror of 
the glory of the Creator. — Here too the man was to commence 
his own spiritual development. To this end God had planted 
two trees in the midst of the garden of Eden ; the one to tra in 
bis spirit thr ough the exercise of obedience to the worcTofZGod, 
the other to transform his earthly nature into the spiritual 
essence of eternal Me. These trees received their names from 
their relation to man, that is to say, from the effect which the 
eating of their fruit was destined to produce upon human life 
and its development. The fruit of the tree of life conferred the 
power of eternal, immortal life ; and the tree of knowledge was 
planted, to lead men to the knowledge of good and evil. The 
knowledge of good and evil was no mere experience of good and 
ill, but a moral element in that spiritual development, through 

ated, without being recorded in history as this has been. Still less most we 
interpret chap. xi. 1 (compared with x. 26), as Fabri and Keerl have done, 
as indicating a complete revolution of the globe, or a geogonic process, by 
which the continents of the old world were divided, and assumed their pre- 
sent physiognomy, 

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CHAP. IL 15-17. 85 

which the man created in the image of God was to attain to the 
filling out of that nature, which had already been planned in the 
likeness of God. For not to know what good and evil are, is a 
sign of either the immaturity of infancy (Deut. i. 39), or the 
imbecility of age (2 Sam. xix. 35) ; whereas the power to dis- 
tinguish good and evil is commended as the gift of a king (1 
Kings iii. 9) and the wisdom of angels (2 Sam. xiv. 17), and in 
the highest sense is ascribed to God Himself (chap. iii. 5, 22). 
Why then did God prohibit man from eating of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil, with the threat that, as soon as he 
ate thereof, he would surely die! (The inf. abs. before the 
finite verb intensifies the latter : vid. Ewald, § 312a). Are we 
to regard the tree as poisonous, and suppose that some fatal pro- 
perty resided in the fruit ? A supposition which so completely 
ignores the ethical nature of sin is neither warranted by the 
antithesis, nor by what is said in chap. iii. 22 of the tree of 
life, nor by the fact that the eating of the forbidden fruit was 
actually the cause of death. Even in the case of the tree of 
life, the power is not to be sought in the physical character of 
the fruit. No earthly fruit possesses the power to give immor- 
tality to the life which it helps to sustain. Life is not rooted 
in man's corporeal nature ; it was in his spiritual nature that it 
had its origin, and from this it derives its stability and per- 
manence also. It may, indeed, be brought to an end through 
the destruction of the body ; but it cannot be exalted to per- 
petual duration, i.e. to immortality, through its preservation and 
sustenance. And this applies quite as much to the original 
nature of man, as to man after the fall. A body formed from 
earthly materials could not be essentially immortal : it would of 
necessity either be turned to earth, and fall into dust again, or 
be transformed by the spirit into the immortality of the soul. 
The power which transforms corporeality into immortality is 
spiritual in its nature, and could only be imparted to the earthly 
tree or its fruit through the word of God, through a special 
operation of the Spirit of God, an operation which we can only 
picture to ourselves as sacramental in its character, rendering 
earthly elements the receptacles and vehicles of celestial powers. 
God had given such a sacramental nature and significance to the 
two trees in the midst of the garden, that their fruit could and 
would produce supersensual, mental, and spiritual effects upon 

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. the nature of the first human pair. The tree of life was to im- 
/ J part the power of transformation into eternal life. The tree of 
/ / knowledge was to lead man to the knowledge of good and evil ; 

~T" and, according to the divine intention, this was to be attained 
I through his not eating of its fruit. This end was to be accom- 
plished, not only by his discerning in the limit imposed by the 
prohibition the difference between that which accorded with the 
will of God and that which opposed it, but also by his coming 
eventually, through obedience to the prohibition, to recognise 
the fact that all that is opposed to the will of God is an evil to 
be avoided, and, through voluntary resistance to such evil, to the 
full development of the freedom of choice originally imparted 
to him into the actual freedom of a deliberate and self-conscious 
choice of good. By obedience to the divine will he would have 
attained to a godlike knowledge of good and evil, i.e. to one in 
accordance with his own likeness to God. He would have de- 
tected the evil in the approaching tempter; but instead of yield- 
ing to it, he would have resisted it, and thus have made good 
his own property acquired with consciousness and of his own 
free-will, and in this way by proper self-determination would 
gradually have advanced to the possession of the truest liberty. 
But as he failed to keep this divinely appointed way, and ate 
the forbidden fruit in opposition to the command of God, the 
power imparted by God to the fruit was manifested in a dif- 
ferent way. He learned the difference between good and evil 
from his own guilty experience, and by receiving the evil into 
his own soul, fell a victim to the threatened death. Thus 
through his own fault the tree, which should have helped him 
to attain true freedom, brought nothing but the sham liberty of 
sin, and with it death, and that without any demoniacal power 
of destruction being conjured into the tree itself, or any fatal 
poison being hidden in its fruit. 

Vers. 18-25. Creation of the Woman. — As the creation 
cf man is introduced in chap. i. 26, 27, with a divine decree, so 
here that of the woman is preceded by the divine declaration, 
It is not good that the man should be alone ; I will make' him 
ilM3 1JV, a help of his like : " i.e. a helping being, in which, as 
soon as he sees it, he may recognise himself " (Delitzsch). Of such 
a help the man stood in need, in order that he might fulfil his 

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CHAP. II. 18-25. 87 

calling, not only to perpetuate and multiply his race, but to cul- 
tivate and govern the earth. To indicate this, the general word 
TU33 n?P is chosen, in which there is an allusioc to the relation 
of the sexes. To call out this want, God brought the larger 
quadrupeds and birds to the man, " to see what he would call 
them (tf> lit. each one) ; and whatsoever the man might call evert/ 
living being should be its name." The time when this took place 
must have been the sixth day, on which, according to chap. i. 27, 
the man and woman were created : and there is no difficulty in this, 
since it would not have required much time to bring the animals 
to Adam to see what he would call them, as the animals of 
paradise are all we have to think of ; and the deep sleep into 
which God caused the man to fall, till he had formed the woman 
from his rib, need not have continued long. In chap. i. 27 the 
creation of the woman is linked with that of the man ; but here 
the order of sequence is given, because the creation of the woman 
formed a chronological incident in the history of the human 
race, which commences with the creation of Adam. The circum- 
stance that in ver. 19 the formation of the beasts and birds is 
connected with the creation of Adam by the imperf. c. 1 consec, 
constitutes no objection to the plan of creation given in chap. i. 
The arrangement may be explained on the supposition, that the 
writer, who was about to describe the relation of man to the 
beasts, went back to their creation, in the simple method of the 
early Semitic historians, and placed this first instead of making 
it subordinate ; so that our modern style of expressing the same 
thought would be simply this : " God brought to Adam the 
beasts which He had formed." 1 Moreover, the allusion is not 

1 A striking example of this style of narrative we find in 1 Kings vii. 
13. First of all, the building and completion of the temple are noticed 
several times in chap, vi., and the last time in connection with the year 
and month (chap. vi. 9, 14, 37, 38) ; after that, the fact is stated, that 
the royal palace was thirteen years in building ; and then the writer pro- 
ceeds thus : " And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram from Tyre .... 
and he came to king Solomon, and did all his work ; and made the two pil- 
lars," etc. Now, if we were to understand the historical preterite with 1 con- 
tec, here, as giving the order of sequence, Solomon would be made to send 
for the Tyrian artist, thirteen years after the temple was finished, to come 
and prepare the pillars for the porch, and all the vessels needed for the 
temple. But the writer merely expresses in Semitic style the simple 
thought, that " Hiram, whom Solomon fetched from Tyre, made the ves» 
■ek," etc. Another instance we find in Jndg. ii. 6. 

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to the creation of all the beasts, but simply to that of the beasts 
living in the field (game and tame cattle), and of the fowls of 
the air, — to beasts, therefore, which had been formed like man 
from the earth, and thus stood in a closer relation to him than 
water animals or reptiles. For God brought the animals to 
Adam, to show him the creatures which were formed to serve 
him, that He might see what he would call them. Calling 
or naming presupposes acquaintance. Adam is to become 
acquainted with the creatures, to learn their relation to him, and 
by giving them names to prove himself their lord. God does 
not order him to name them ; but by bringing the beasts He 
gives him an opportunity of developing that intellectual capacity 
which constitutes his superiority to the animal world. " The 
man sees the animals, and thinks of what they are and how they 
^. -look ; and these thoughts, in themselves already inward words, 
take the form involuntarily of audible names, which he utters 
to the beasts, and by which he places the impersonal creatures 
in the first spiritual relation to himself, the personal being" 
\ (Delitzscli). Language, as W. v. Humboldt says, is " the organ 
-Hh©f the inner being, or rather the inner being itself as it gradually 
""| attains to inward knowledge and expression." It is merely 
* thought cast into articulate sounds or words. The thoughts of 
Adam with regard to the animals, to which he gave expression 
in the names that he gave them, we are not to regard as the mere 
results of reflection, or of abstraction from merely outward pe- 
culiarities which affected the senses ; but as a deep and direct 
mental insight into the nature of the animals, which penetrated 
far deeper than such knowledge as is the simple result of reflect- 
ing and abstracting thought. The naming of the animals, there- 
fore, led to this result, that there was not found a help meet 
for man. Before the creation of the woman we must regard 
the man (Adam) as being " neither male, in the sense of com- 
plete sexual distinction, nor androgynous as though both sexes 
were combined in the one individual created at the first, but 
as created in anticipation of the future, with a preponderant 
tendency, a male in simple potentiality, out of which state he 
passed, the moment the woman stood by his side, when the mere 
potentia became an actual antithesis" (Ziegler). — Then God 
caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man (ver. 21). florin, a 
deep sleep, in which all consciousness of the outer world and 

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CHAP. II. 18-25. 89 

of one's own existence vanishes. Sleep is an essential element in 
the nature of man as ordained by God, and is quite as neces- 
sary for man as the interchange of day and night for all nature 
besides. But this deep sleep was different from natural sleep, 
and God caused it to fall upon the man by day, that He might 
create the woman out of him. " Everything out of^which 
something new is to spring, sinks first of all into such a sleep " 
(Ziegler). y?? meansThe sidey and, *s a p or tion of -the- human 
body, the rib. The correctness of this meaning, which is given 
by all the ancient versions, is evident from the words, " God 
took one of his n\)ht" which show that the man had several of 
them. " And closed up flesh in the place thereof;" i.e. closed the 
gap which had been made, with flesh which He put in the place 
of the rib. The woman was created, not of dust of the earth, but 
from a rib of Adam, because she was formed for an inseparable 
unity and fellowship of life with the man, and the mode of her 
creation was to lay the actual foundation for the moral ordi- 
nance of marriage. As the moral idea of the unity of the human 
race required that man should not be created as a genus or 
plurality, 1 so the moral relation of the two persons establishing 
the unity of the race required that man should be created first, 
and then the woman from the body of the man. By this the 
priority and superiority of the man, and the dependence of the 
woman upon the man, are established as an ordinance of divine 
creation. This ordinance of God forms the root of that tender 

1 Natural science can only demonstrate the unity of the human race, 
not the descent of all men from one pair, though many naturalists question 
and deny even the former, but without any warrant from anthropological 
facta. For every thorough investigation leads to the conclusion arrived at 
by the latest inquirer in this department, Th. Waitz, that not only are 
there no facts in natural history which preclude the unity of the various 
races of men, and fewer difficulties in the way of this assumption than in 
that of the opposite theory of specific diversities ; but even in mental re- 
spects there are no specific differences within the limits of the race. Delitzsch 
has given an admirable summary of the proofs of unity. " That the races 
of men," he says, " are not species of one genus, but varieties of one species, 
is confirmed by the agreement in the physiological and pathological pheno- 
mena in them all, by the similarity in the anatomical structure, in the fun- 
damental powers and traits of the mind, in the limits to the duration of 
life, in the normal temperature of the body and the average rate of pulsa- 
tion, in the duration of pregnancy, and in the unrestricted fruitfulness of 
marriages between the various races." 

PENT. — VOL. I. O 

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love with which the man loves the woman as himself, and by 
which marriage becomes a type of the fellowship of love and life, 
which exists between the Lord and His Church (Eph. vi. 32). 
If the fact that the woman was formed from a rib, and not from 
any other part of the man, is significant ; all that we can find in 
this is, that the woman was made to stand as a helpmate by the 
side of the man, not that there was any allusion to conjugal love 
as founded in the heart ; for the text does not speak of the rib 
as one which was next the heart. The word fU3 is worthy of 
note : from the rib of the man God builds the female, through 
whom the human race is to be built up by the male (chap. xvi. 2, 
xxx. 3). — Vers. 23, 24. The design of God in the creation of 
the woman is perceived by Adam, as soon as he awakes, when 
the woman is brought to him by God. Without a revelation 
from God, he discovers in the woman bone of kia bones and flesh 
of his flesh!' The words, " this is now (W^n lit. this time) bone 
of my bones," etc., are expressive of joyous astonishment at the 
suitable helpmate, whose relation to himself he describes in the 
words, u she shall be called Woman, for she is taken out of man." 
fiBta is well rendered by Luther, u Mdnnm" (a female man), 
like the old Latin vira from vir. The words which follow, 
1 " therefore shall a man leave hit father and his mother, and shall 
: cleave unto his wife, and they shall become one flesh," are not to 
; be regarded as Adam's, first on account of the ??"v?, which is 
always used in Genesis, with the exception of chap. xx. 6, xlii. 21, 
to introduce remarks of the writer, either of an archaeological 
•or of a historical character, and secondly, because, even if 
Adam on seeing the woman had given prophetic utterance to 
his perception of the mystery of marriage, he could not with 
propriety have spoken of father and mother. They are the 
words_fltMoses, written to bring out the truth embodied in the 
fact recorded as a divinely appointed result, to exhibit marriage 
as the deepest corporeal and spiritual unity of man and woman, 
and to hold up monogamy before the eyes of the people of Israel 
as the form of marriage ordained by God. But as the words of 
Moses, they are the utterance of divine revelation ; and Christ 
could quote them, therefore, as the word of God (Matt. xix. 5). 
By the leaving of father and mother, which applies to the woman 
as well as to the man, the conjugal union is shown to be a spiritual 
oneness, a vital communion of heart as well as of body, in which 

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CHAP. III. 91 

it finds its consummation. This union is of a totally different 
nature from that of parents and children ; hence marriage be- 
tween parents and children is entirely opposed to the ordinance 
of God. Marriage itself, notwithstanding the fact that it de- 
mands the leaving of father and mother, is a holy appointment 
of God ; hence celibacy is not a higher or holier state, and the 
relation of the sexes for a pure and holy man is a pure and 
holy relation. This is shown in ver. 25 : " They were both 
naked (B^" 1 ^, with dagesh in the e, is an abbreviated form of 
Dnyi\g iii. 7, from -\y to strip), the man and hie toife, and were not 
ashamed? Their bodies were sanctified by the spirit, which 
animated them. Shame entered first with sin, which destroyed 
the normal relation of the spirit to the body, exciting tenden- 
cies and lusts which warred against the squl, and turning the 
sacred ordinance of God into sensual impulses and the lust of 
the flesh 


The man, whom God had app ointed lord of the earth and its 
i nhabitan ts, was jendowed_ with eyei^Hng_reguisite_ for the de^ 
vel opment of his nature and the fulfilment of his destiny. In 
the fruit of the trees of the garden he had food for the susten- 
ance of his life ; in the care of the garden itself, a field of labour 
for the exercise of his physical strength ; in the animal and vege- 
table kingdom, a capacious region for the expansion of his 
intellect; in the tree of knowledge, a positive law for the train- 
ing of his moral nature ; and in the woman associated with him, 
a suitable companion and help. In such circumstances as these 
he might have developed both his physical and spiritual nature 
in accordance with the will of God. But a tempter approached 
him from the midst of the animal world, and he yielded to the 
temptation to break the command of God. The serpent is said 
to have been the tempter. But to any one who reads the narra- 
tive carefully in connection with the previous history of the 
creation, and bears in mind that man is there described as exalted 
far above all the rest of the animal world, not only by the fact 
of his having been created in the image of God and invested 
with dominion over all the creatures of the earth, but also because 
God breathed into him the breath of life, and no help meet for 

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him was found among the beasts of the field, and also that this 
superiority was manifest in the gift of speech, which enabled 
him to give names to all the rest — a thing which they, as speech- 
less, were unable to perform, — it must be at once apparent that 
it was not from the serpent, as a sagacious and crafty animal, 
that the temptation proceeded, but that the serpent was simply 
the tool of that evil spirit, who is met with in the further course 
of the world's history under the name of Satan (the opponent), 
or the Devil (o Sta^SoXo?, the slanderer or accuser). 1 When 
the serpent, therefore, is introduced as speaking, and that just as 
if it had been entrusted with the thoughts of God Himself, the 
speaking must have emanated, not from the serpent, but from a 
superior spirit, which had taken possession of the serpent for the 
sake of seducing man. This fact, indeed, is not distinctly stat ed 
in the canonical books of the Old Testament ; but that is simply 
for, the same educational reason which led Moses to transcribe 
the account exactly as it had been handedTownTln'the pure 
objective form of an outward and visible occurrence, and with- 
out any allusion to the causality which underlay the external 
phenomenon, viz. not so much to oppose the tendency of con- 
temporaries to heathen superstition and habits of intercourse 
with the kingdom of demons, as to avoid encouraging the dispo- 
sition to transfer the blame to the evil spirit whichjtejnptedjnan, 
and thus reduce sin to a mere act of weakness. But we find the 
fact distinctly alluded to in the book of Wisdom ii. 24 ; and not 
only is it constantly noticed in the rabbinical writings, where 
the prince of the evil spirits is called the old serpent, or the ser- 
pent, with evident reference to this account, but it was introduced 
at a very early period into Parsism also. It is also attested by 
Christ and His apostles (John viii. 44; 2 Cor. xi. 3 and 14; 
Rom. xvi. 20 ; Rev. xii. 9, xx. 2), and confirmed by the tempta- 

1 There was a fall, therefore, in the higher spiritual world before the fall 
of man ; and this is not only plainly taught in 2 Pet. ii. 4 and Jude 6, but 
assumed in everything that the Scriptures say of Satan. But this event in 
the world of spirits neither compels us to place the fall of Satan before the 
six days' work of creation, nor to assume that the days represent long periods. 
For as man did not continue long in communion with God, so the angel- 
prince may have rebelled against God shortly after his creation, and not only 
have involved a host of angels in his apostasy and fall, but have proceeded 
immediately to tempt the men, who were created in the image of God, to 
abuse their liberty by transgressing the divine command. 

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CHAP. III. 93 

tion of our Lord. Thejtemptation of Christ is the counterpart 
of that of Ad am. Christ was tempted by the devil, not only 
like Adam, but because Adam had been tempted and overcome, 
in order that by overcoming the tempter He might wrest from 
the devil that dominion over the whole race which he had secured 
by his victory over the first human pair. The tempter approached 
the Saviour openly ; to the first man he came in disguise. The 
serpent is not a merely symbolical term applied to Satan ; nor 
was it only the form which Satan assumed ; but it was a real 
s erpen t, perverted by Satan to be the instrument of his tempta- 
tion (vers. 1 and 14). The possibility of such a perversion, or of 
the evil spirit using an animal for his own purposes, is not to be 
explained merely on the ground of the supremacy of spirit over 
nature, but also from the connection established in the creation 
itself between heaven and earth ; and still more, from the posi- 
tion originally assigned by the Creator to the spirits of heaven 
in relation to the creatures of earth. The origin, force, and limits 
of this relation it is impossible to determine a priori, or in any 
other way than from such hints as are given in the Scriptures ; 
so that there is no reasonable ground for disputing the possibility 
of such an influence. Notwithstanding his self-willed opposition 
to God, Satan is still a creature of God, and was created a good 
spirit ; although, in proud self-exaltation, he abused the freedom 
essential to the nature of a superior spirit to purposes of rebellion 
against his Maker. He cannot therefore entirely shake off his 
dependence upon God. And this dependence may possibly ex- 
plain the reason, why he did not come " disguised as an angel of 
light" to tempt our first parents to disobedience, but was obliged 
to seek the instrument of his wickedness among the beasts of the 
field. The trial of our first progenitors was ordained by God, 
because probation was essential to their spiritual development ^1/ 
and self-determination. But as Hejlid not desire that they 
shoujdjje tempted to their fall, He would not suffer Satan to 
tempt them in a way which should surpass their human capacity. 
The tempted might therefore have resisted the tempter. If, 
instead of approaching them in the form of a celestial being, in 
the likeness of God, he came in that of a creature, not only far 
inferior to God, but far below themselves, they could have no 
excuse for allowing a mere animal to persuade them to break the 
commandment of God. For they had been made to have do- 

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minion over the beasts, and not to take their own law from them. 
Moreover, the fact that an evil spirit was approaching them in 
the serpent, could hardly be concealed fromihem^ Its speaking 
alone must have suggested that ; for Adam had already become 
acquainted with the nature of the beasts, and had not found one 
among them resembling himself — not one, therefore, endowed 
with reason and speech. The substance of the address, too, was 
enough to prove that it was no good spirit which spake through 
the serpent, but one at enmity with God. Hence, when they 
paid attention to what he said, they were altogether without 

Vers. 1-8. " The serpent was more subtle than all the beasts 
of the field, which Jehovah God Jiad made" — The serpent is here 
described not only as a beast, but also as a creature of God ; it 
must therefore have been good, like everything else that He 
had made. S ubtiltyw as a natural characteristic of the serpent 
(Matt. x. 16), which led the evil one to select it as his instru- 
ment. Nevertheless the predicate Dnj> is not used here in the 
good sense of (ftpovi/w; (LXX.), prudens, but in the bad sense of 
iravovpyos, callidus. For its subtiUy was manifested as the craft 
of a tempter to evil, in the simple fact that it was to the weaker 
woman that it turned ; and cunning was also displayed in what 
it said : " Hath God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of all the trees of 
the garden!" 'SJK is an interrogative expressing surprise (as in 
1 Sam. xxiii. 3, 2 Sam. iv. 11) : "Is it really the fact that God 
has prohibited you from eating of all the trees of the garden t " 
The Hebrew may, indeed, bear the meaning, "hath God said, 
ye shall not eat of every tree?" but from the context, and espe- 
cially the conjunction, it is obvious that the meaning is, " ye 
shall not eat of any tree." The_ serpent calls God hy the name 
o f Elohim alone, and the woman does the same. In this more 
general and indefinite name the personality of the living God 
is obscured. To attain his end, the tempter felt it necessary to 
change the living personal God into a merely general numen 
divinum, and to exaggerate the prohibition, in the hope of excit 
ing in the woman's mini partly distrust of God Himself, and 
partly a doubt as to the truth of His word. And his words 
were listened to. Instead of turning away, the woman replied, 
" We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the 
fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, 

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CHAP. IIL 1-8. 95 

Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." She 
was aware of the prohibition, therefore, and fully understood its 
meaning ; but she added, " neither shall ye touch it," and proved 
by this very ex agge ration that it appeared too sfrringpnt. pyp.n to 
her, and therefore that her love and confidence towards God 
were already beginning to waver. Here was the beginning of 
her fall: " for doubt is the father of sin, and skepsis the mother 
of all transgression ; aricTin this father and this mother, all our 
present knowledge has a common origin with sin" (Ziegler). 
From doubt, the tempter advances to a direct denial of the truth 
of the divine threat, and to a malicious suspicion of the divine 
love (vers. 4, 5). " Ye wiU bji no means die" (gfr is placed be- 
fore_the infinitive absolute, as in Ps. xlix. 8 and Amos be. 8 ; 
for the meaning is not, " ye will not die;" but, ye will positively 
not die). " But 1 God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof ^ 
your eyes will be opened,* and ye will be like God, knowing good 
and evil." That is to say, it is not because the fruit of the tree 
will injure you that God has forbidden you to eat it, but from 
ill-will and envy, because He does not wish you to be like Him- 
self. " A truly satanicjfouWe entendre, in which a certain agree- 
ment between truth and untruth is secured ! " By eating the 
fruit, man did obtain the knowledge of good and evil, and in this 
respect became like God (vers. 7 and 22). This was the truth 
which covered the falsehood " ye shall not die," and turned the 
whole statement into a lie, exhibiting its author as the father of 
lies, who abides not in the truth (John viii. 44). For the know- 
ledge of good and evil, which man obtains by going into evil, is 
as far removed from the true likeness of God, which he would 
have attained by avoiding it, as the imaginary liberty of a sinner, 
which leads into bondage to sin and ends in death, is from the 
true liberty of a life of fellowship with God. — Ver. 6. The 
illusive hope of being like God excited a longing for the for- 
bidden fruit. " The woman saw that the tree was good for food, 
and that it was a pleasure to the eyes, and to be desired to make 
one wise (fty*} signifies to gain or show discernment or insight) ; 
and she took of its fruit and ate, and gave to her husband by her 
(who was present), and he did eat." As distrust of God's com- 

1 <3 used to establish a denial. 

2 VlpOJl perfect c. l consec. See Gesenivt, § 126, Note 1. 

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mand leads to a disregard of it, so the longing for a false inde- 
pendence excites a desire for the seeming good that has been 
prohibited ; and this desire is fostered by the senses, until it 
brings forth sin. Doub^ unbelief, and pride were the r oots of 
the sin of our first parents, as they have been of all.the sins of 
their^osterity. The more trifling the object of their sin seems 
to have been, the greater and more difficult does the sin itself 
appear ; especially when we consider that the first men u stood 
in a more direct relation to God, their Creator, than any other 
man has ever done, that their hearts were pure, their discern- 
ment clear, their intercourse with God direct, that they were 
surrounded by gifts just bestowed by Him, and could not excuse 
themselves on the ground of any misunderstanding of the divine 
prohibition, which threatened them with the loss of life in the 
event of disobedience " (DeliUsch). Yet not only did the woman 
yield to the seductive wiles of the serpent, but even the man 
allowed himself to be tempted by the woman. — Vers. 7, 8. 
" Then the eyes of them both were opened" (as the serpent had 
foretold : but what did they see ?), " and tliey knew that they were 
naked." They had lost " that blessed blindness, the ignorance 
of innocence, which knows nothing of nakedness" (Ziegler). 
The discovery of their„nakedness excited shame, which they 
sought to conceal by an outward covering. " They sewed Jig- 
leaves together, and made themselves aprons? The word njRn 
always denotes the fig-tree, not the pisang (Musa paradisiaca), 
nor the Indian banana, whose leaves are twelve feet long and two 
feet broad, for there would have been no necessity to sew them 
together at all. rnJ0> irept^mftaTO, are aprons, worn round the 
hips. It was here that the consciousness of nakedness first 
suggested the need of covering, not because the fruit had poi- 
soned the fountain of human life, and through some inherent 
quality had immediately corrupted the reproductive powers of 
the body (as Hoffmann and Baumgarten suppose), nor because 
any physical change ensued in consequence of the fall ; but 
I because, with the destruction of the normal connection between 
\ soul and body through sin, the body ceased to be thejrare abode 
N^of. a spirit in fellowship with God, and in the purely natural 
state of the body the consciousness was produced not merely of 
the distinction of the sexes, but still more of the worthlessness 
of the flesh ; so that the man and woman stood ashamed in each 

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CHAP. III. 9-18. 


other's presence, and endeavoured to hide the disgrace of their 
spiritual nakedness, by covering those parts of the body through 
which the impurities of nature are removed. That the natural 
feeling of shame, the origin of which is recorded here, had its 
root, not in sensuality or any physical corruption, but in the 
consciousness of guilt or shame before God, and consequently 
that it was the conscience which was really at work, is evident 
from the fact that the man and his wife hid themselves from 
Jehovah God among the trees of the garden, as soon as they 
heard the sound of His footsteps, nftp Mp (the voice of Jeho- 
vah, ver. 8) is not the voice of God speaking or calling, but 
the sound of God walking, as in 2 Sam. v. 24, 1 Kings xiv. 
6, etc. — In the cool of the day (lit. in the wind of the day), i.e. 
towards the evening, when a cooling wind generally blows. 
The__m en hav e broken away from God, but God will not and 
cannot leavethem alone. He comes to them as one man to 
another. This was the earliest form of divine revelation. God 
conversed with the first man in a visible shape, as the Father 


and Instructor of His children. He did not adopt this mode for 
the first time after the fall, but employed it as far back as the ' f**** . '' ' 
period when He brought the beasts to Adam, and gave him the J- i ' *■' 
woman to be his wife (chap. ii. 19, 22). This human mode of 
intercourse between man and God is not a mere figure of speech, 
but a reality, having its foundation in the nature of humanity, or 
rather in the fact that man was created in the image of God, but 
not in the sense supposed by Jakobi, that " God theomorphised 
when creating man, and man therefore necessarily anthropomor- 
phises when he thinks of God." T he anth ropomorphies of 
Gadjbaye their real foundation in the divinecondescension 
which culminated in the incarnation of God in Christ. They 
are to be understood, however, as implying, not That corporeality, 
or a bodily shape, is an essential characteristic of God, but that 
God having given man a bodily shape, when He created him 
in His own image, revealed Himself in a manner suited to his 
bodily senses, that He might thus preserve him in living com- 
munion with Himself. 

Vers. 9-15. The man could not hide himself from God. "Je- 
hovah God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou ?" 
Not that He was ignorant of his hiding-place, but to bring him 
to a confession of his sin. And when Adam said that he had 

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hidden himself through fear of his nakedness, and thus sought 
to hide the sin behind its consequences, his disobedience behind 
the feeling of shame ; this is not to be regarded as a sign of pe- 
culiar obduracy, but easily admits of a psychological explanation, 
viz. that at the time he actually thought more of his nakedness 
and shame than of his transgression of the divine command, and 
his consciousness of the effects of his sin was keener than his 
sense of the sin itself. Toawaken the Latter God .said, " Who 
toMdlies. that thou wast naked V and asked him whether he had 
broken His command. He could not deny that he had, but 
sought to excuse himself by saying, that the woman whom God 
gave to be with him had given him of the tree. When the 
woman was questioned, she pleaded as her excuse, that the ser- 
pent had beguiled her (or rather deceived her, itjairarrjaev, 2 Cor. 
xi. 3). In offering these excuses, neither of them denied the 
fact. But the fault in both was, that they did not at once smite 
upon their breasts. " It is so still ; the sinner first of all endea- 
vours to throw the blame upon others as tempters, and then upon 
circumstances which God has ordained." — Vers. 14, 15. The sen- 
tence follows the examination, and is pronounced first of all upon 
the serpent as the tempter : " Because thou hast done this, thou art 
cursed before all cattle, and before every beast of the field." 10. liter - ' 
al ly out of the beasts, separate from them (Deut. xiv. 2 ; Judg. v. 
24), is not a comparative signifyi ng more tha n, nor does it mean 
by : for the curse did not proceed from the beasts, but from God, 
and was not pronounced upon all the beasts, but upon the serpent 
alone. The Kriam, it is true, including the whole animal crea- 
tion, has been " made subject to vanity" and " the bondage of 
corruption," in consequence of the sin of man (Bom. viii. 20, 21); 
yet this subjection is not to be regarded as the effect of the 
; curse, which was pronounced upon the serpent, having fallen 
upon the whole animal world, but as the consequence of death 
passing from man into the rest of the creation, and thoroughly 
•pervading the whole. Tfee_ creation was drawn into the fall of 
jman, and compelled to share its consequences, because the whole 
bf the irrational creation was made for man, and made subject 
to him as its head ; consequently the ground was cursed for 
man's sake, but not the animal world for the serpent's sake, or 
even along with the serpent. The curse fell upon the serpent 
for having tempted the woman, according to the same law by 


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CHAP. HI. 9-15. 99 

which not only a beast which had injured a man was ordered to 
be put to death (chap. ix. 5 ; Ex. xxi. 28, 29), but any beast 
which had been the instrument of an unnatural crime was to be 
slain along with the man (Lev. xx. 15, 16) ; not as though the 
beast were an accountable creature, but in consequence of its 
having been made subject to man, not to injure his body or his 
life, or to be the instrument of his sin, but to subserve the great 
purpose of his life. " Just as a loving father," as Chrysostom 
says, " when punishing the murderer of his son, might snap in~ s. 
two the sword or dagger with which the murder had been com- 
mitted." The proof, therefore, that the serpent was merely the 
instrument of an evil spirit, does not lie in the. punishment itself, 
but in the manner in which the sentence was pronounced. When 
God addressed the animal, and pronounced a curse upon it, this 
presupposed that the curse had regard not so much to the irra- 
tional beast as to the spiritual tempter, and that the punishment 
which fell upon the serpent was merely a symbol of his own. 
The punishment of the serpent corresponded to the crime. It 
had exalted itself above the man ; therefore upon its belly it 
should go, and dust it should eat all the days of its life. If these 
words are not to be robbed of their entire meaning, they cannot 
be understood in any other way than as denoting that the_form 
and moyements_of the serpent were altered, and that its present 
repulsive shape is the effect of the curse pronounced upon it, 
though we cannot form any accurate idea of its original appear- 
ance. Going upon the belly (= creeping, Lev. xi. 42) was a 
mark of the deepest degradation ; also the eating of dust, which 
is not to be understood as meaning that dust was to be its only 
food, but that while crawling in the dust it would also swallow 
dust (cf. Micah vii. 17 ; Isa. xlix. 23). Although this punish- 
ment fell literally upon the serpent, it also affected the tempter 
in a figurative or symbolical sense. He became the object of 
the utmost contempt and abhorrence ; and the serpent still keeps 
the revolting image of Satan perpetually before the eye. This 
degradation was to be perpetual. " While all the rest of crea- 
tion shall be delivered from the fate into which the fall has 
plunged it, according to Isa. lxv. 25, the instrument of man 's 
temptation is to remain sentenced to perpetual degradation in 
fulfilment of the sentence, ' all the days of thy life,' a nd th us to 
preligure the~?ate of the real tempter, for whom there is no 

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deliverance" (Hengstenberg, Christology i. 15). — The presump- 
tion of the tempter was punished with the deepest degradation ; 
and in like manner his sympathy with the woman was to be 
turned into eternal hostility (ver. 15) God established perpe- 
tual enmity, not only between the serpent and the woman, but 
also between the serpent's and the woman's seed, i.e. between the 
human and the serpent race. The seed of the woman would 
crush the serpent's head, and the serpent crush the heel of the 
woman's seed. The meaning, terere, conterere, is thoroughly 
established by the Chald., Syr., and Rabb. authorities, and we 
have therefore retained it, in harmony with the word awrpLfieiv 
in Rom. xvi. 20, and because it accords better and more easily 
with all the other passages in which the word occurs, than the 
rendering inhiare, to regard with enmity, which is obtained from 
the combination of *\W with 'INt?. The verb is construed with a 
double accusative, the second giving greater precision to the first 
(vid. Ges. § 139, note, and Ewald, § 281). The same word is used 
in connection with botli head and heel, to show that on both 
sides the intention is to destroy the opponent ; at the same time, 
the expressions head and heel denote a majus and minus, or, as 
Calvin says, superiut et inferius. This contrast arises from the 
nature of the foes. The serpent can only seize the heel of the 
man, who walks upright ; whereas the man can crush the head 
of the serpent, that crawls in the dust. But this difference is 
itself the result of the curse pronounced upon the serpent, and 
its crawling in the dust is a sign that it will be defeated in its 
conflict with man. However pernicious may be the bite of a 
serpent in the heel when the poison circulates throughout the 
body (chap. xlix. 17), it is not immediately fatal and utterly 
incurable, like the crushing of a serpent's head. 

But even in this sentence there is an unmistakeable allusion 
to the evil and hostile being concealed behind the serpent. That 
the human race should triumph over the serpent, was a neces- 
sary consequence of the original subjection of the animals to 
man. When, therefore, God not merely confines the serpent 
within the limits assigned to the animals, but puts enmity 
between it and the woman, this in itself points to a higher, 
spiritual power, which may oppose and attack the human race 
through the serpent, but will eventually be overcome. Observe, 
too, that although in the first clause the seed of the serpent is 

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CHAP. IL 9-15. 101 

opposed to the seed of the woman, in the second it is not over 
the seed of the serpent hut over the serpent itself that the 
victory is said to Be_gained. It, i.e. the seed of the woman, 
will crush thy head, and thou (not thy seed) wilt crush its heel. 
Thus the seed of the serpent is hidden behind the unity of the 
serpent, or rather of the foe who, through the serpent, has done 
such injury to man. This foe is Satan, who incessantly opposes 
the seed of the woman and bruises its heel, but is eventually to 
be trodden under its feet. It does not follow from this, how- 
ever, apart from other considerations, that by the seed of the 
woman we are to understand one solitary person, one individual 
only. As the woman is the mother of all living (ver. 20), her 
s eed, to w hich the victory over the serpent and its seed is pro- 
mised, m ust be the h uman race. But if a direct and exclusive 
reference to Christ appears to be exegetically untenable, the 
allusion in the word to Christ is by no means precluded in con- 
sequence. In itself the idea of jnj, the seed, is an indefinite one, 
since the posterity of a man may consist of a whole tribe or of 
one son only (iv. 25, xxi. 12, 13), and on the other hand, an 
entire tribe may be reduced to one single descendant and be- 
come extinct in him. The question, therefore, who is to be 
understood by the " seed " which is to crush the serpent's head, 
can only be answered from the history of the human race. But 
a point of much greater importance comes into consideration 
here. Against the natural serpent the conflict may be carried 
on by the whole human race, by all who are born of woman, 
but not against Satan. As he is a foe who can only be met 
with spiritual weapons, none can encounter him successfully but 
such as possess and make use of spiritual arms. Hence the idea 
of the " seed " is modified by the nature of the foe. If we look 
at the natural development of the human race, Eve bore three 
sons, but only one of them, viz. Seth, was really the seed by 
whom the human family was preserved through the flood and 
perpetuated in Noah: so, again, of the three sons of Noah, Shern, 
the blessed of Jehovah, from whom Abraham descended, was 
the only one in whose seed all nations were to be blessed, and 
that not through Ishmael, but through Isaac alone. Through 
these constantly repeated acts of divine selection, which were 
not arbitrary exclusions, but were rendered necessary by differ- 
ences in the spiritual condition of the individuals concerned, the 

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"seed," to which the victory over Satan was promised, was 
spiritually or ethically determined, and ceased to be co-extensive 
with physical descent. This spiritual seed culminated in "Christ, 
in whom the Adamitic family terminated, henceforward to be 
renewed by Christ as the second Adam, and restored by Him 
to its original exaltation and likeness to God. In thi s sense 
r!hrigf. fc the, wd of fjiR woman, who tramples Satan under His 
feet, not as an individual, but as the head both of the posterity 
of the'woman which kept the promise and maintained the con- 
flict with the old serpent before His advent, and also of all those 
who are gathered out of all nations, are united to Him by faith, 
and formed into one body of which He is the head (Rom. xvi. 
20). On the other hand, all who have n ot regarde d and pre- 
serifid_tbe_promise, have fallen into the~power of the old serpent, 
and are to be regarded as the s eed of the serpent, whose head 
will be trodden under foot (Matt, xxiii. 33 ; John viii. 44 ; 1 
John iii. 8). If then the promise culminates in Christ, the fact 
that the victory over the serpent is promised to the posterity of 
the woman, not of the man, acquires this deeper significance, 
that as it was through the woman that the craft of the devil 
brought sin and death into the world, so it is also through the 
woman that the grace of God will give to the fallen human race 
the conqueror of sin, of death, and of the devil. And even if 
the words had reference first of all to the fact that the woman 
had been led astray by the serpent, yet in the fact that the 
destroyer of the serpent was born of a woman (without a human 
father) they were fulfilled in a way which showed that the pro- 
mise must have proceeded from that Being, who secured its 
fulfilment not only in its essential force, but even in its ap- 
parently casual form. 

Vers. 16-19. It was not till the prospect of victory had been 
presented, that a sentence of punishment was pronounced upon 
both the man and the woman on account of their sin. The 
woman, who had broken the divine command for the sake of 
earthly enjoyment, was punished in consequence with the 
sorrows and pains of pregnancy and childbirth. " / will greatly 
multiply (pSV\ is the inf. abs. for Win, which had become an 
adverb: vid. JEwald, § 240c, as in chap. xvi. 10 and xxii. 17) 
thy sorrow and thy pregnancy : in sorrow thou shall bring forth 
children." As the increase of conceptions, regarded as the ful- 

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CHAP. III. 17-19. 103 

filment of the blessing to " be fruitful and multiply " (i. 28), 
could be no punishment, ^\}} must be understood as in apposi- 
tion to 1^3XP thy sorrow (i.e. the sorrows peculiar to a woman's 
life), and indeed (or more especially) thy pregnancy (i.e. the 
sorrows attendant upon that condition). The sentence is not 
rendered more lucid by the assumption of a hendiadys. " That 
the woman should bear children was the original will of God ; 
butit was a punishment that henceforth she was to bear them 
i n sorrow , i.e. with pains which threatened her own life as well 
as that of the child" (Delitzsch). The punishment consisted in 
an enfeebling of nature, in consequence of sin, which disturbed 
the normal relation between body and soul. — The woman had 
also broken through her divinely appointed subordination to 
the man ; she had not only emancipated herself from the man 
to listen to the serpent, but had led the man into sin. For that, 
she was punished with a desire bordering upon disease (n^efa 
from pg? to run, to have a violent craving for a thing), and 
with subjection to the man. "And he shall rule over thee" 
Created for the man, the woman was made subordinate to him 
ftQBk-thfijvery first ; but the supremacy of the man was not in- 
tended to become a despotic rule, crushing the woman into a 
slave, which has been the rule in ancient and modern Heathenism, 
and even in Mahometanism also, — a rule which was first softened 
by the sin-destroying grace of the Gospel, and changed into a 
form more in harmony with the original relation, viz. that of a 
rule on the one hand, and subordination on the other, which 
have their roots in mutual esteem and love. 

Vers. ^^-19. " And unto Adam:" the noun is here used for 
the first time as a proper name without the article. Tn chap. 
i. 26 and ii. 5, 20, the noun is appellative, and there are sub- 
stantial reasons for the omission of the article. The sentenc e 
upon Adam includes a twofold punishment : first the_cursing j>f 
t he gro und, and secondly "death, "which affects the woman as 
well, on account of their common guilt. By listening to his 
wife, when deceived by the serpent, Adam had repudiated his 
superiority to the rest of creation. As a punishment, therefore, 
nature would henceforth offer resistance to his will. By break- 
ing the divine command, he had set himself above his Maker , 
death would therefore show him the worthlessness of his own 
nature. " Cursed be the ground for thy sake ; in sorrow shall 

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thou eat it (the ground by synecdoche for its produce, as in Isa. 
i. 7) all the days of thy life : tlwrns and thistles sliall it bring 
forth to thee, and thou shah eat the herb of tlie field." The curse 
pronounced on man's account upon the soil created for him, 
consisted in the fact, that the earth no longer yielded spon- 
: y) j taneou sly the fruits requisite for his maintenance, but the man 
i \ k was obliged to force out the necessaries of life by labour and 
-j, strenuous exertion. The herb of the field is in contrast with 
the trees of the garden, and sorrow with the easy dressing of 
the garden. We are not to understand, however, that because 
1 man failed to guard the good creation of God from the invasion 
of the evil one, a host of demoniacal powers forced their way 
; - into the material world to lay it waste and offer resistance to 
man ; but because man himself had fallen into the power of the 
- 1 "' evil one, therefore God cursed the earth, not merely withdraw- 

ing the divine powers of life which pervaded Eden, but chang- 
ing its relation to man. As Luther says, " primum in eo, quod 
ilia bona non fert quae tulisset, si homo non esset lapsus, deinde 
in eo quoque, quod multa noxia fert quae non tulisset, sicut sunt 
infelix lolium, steriles arena, zizania, urticas, spince, tribuli, adde 
venena, noxias bestiolas, et si qua sunt alia hujus generis." But 
the curse reached much further, and the writer has merely 
noticed the most obvious aspect. 1 The disturbance and distor- 
tion of the original harmony of body and soul, which sin intro- 
duced into the nature of man, and by which the flesh gained 
the mastery over the spirit, and the body, instead of being more 
and more transformed into the life of the spirit, became a prey 

1 "Non omnia incommoda enumerat Moses, quibus se homo per peccatum 
implicuit: constat enim ex eodem prodiisse fonte omnes prmsentis vitse asrumnas, 
quas experientia innumeras esse ostendit. ASris intemperies, gelu, tonitrua, 
pluvue intempcstivm, uredo, grandines et quicquid inordinatum est in mundo, 
peccati sunt fruclus. Nee alia morborum prima est causa: idque poeticis 
fabulis celebratumfuit: haud dubie quod per manus a patribus traditum esset. 
Unde illud Horatii : 

Post ignem wtherta domo 

Subductmn, modes et novafebrium 

Terris incubuii cohort: 

Semoiiijw prius tarda necasilas 

Lethi corripuit gradum. 

Sed Moses qui brevitati studet, suo more pro communi vulgi captu attingere 
contentus fuit quod magis apparuit : ut sub exemplo uno discamus, hominis vitio 
inversion fuisse totum naturtt ordinem" — Calvin. 

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CHAP. III. 17-19. 105 

to death, spread over the whole material world ; so that every- 
where on earth there were to be seen wild and rugged wastes, 
desolation and rain, death and corruption, or fuvraUfrrfi and 
<p6opd (Bom. viii. 20, 21). Everything injurio us to man in the 
o rganic , vegetable and animal creation, is the effect of the curse 
pronounced upon the earth for Adam's sin, however little we 
may be able to explain the manner in which the curse was 
carried into effect; since our view of the causal connection 
between sin and evil even in human life is very imperfect, and 
the connection between spirit and matter in nature generally is 
altogether unknown. In this causal link between sin and the 
evils in the world, the wrath of God on account of sin was 
revealed ; since, as soon as the creation (iraaa f) /cruris, Horn. viii. 
22) had been wrested through man from its vital connection 
with its Maker, He gave it up to its own ungodly nature, so 
that whilst, on the one hand, it has been abused by man for the 
gratification of his own sinful lusts and desires, on the other, it 
has turned against man, and consequently many things in the 
world and nature, which in themselves and without sin would 
have been good for him, or at all events harmless, have become 
poisonous and destructive since his fall. For in the sweat of 
his face man is to eat his bread (DTO the bread-corn which 
springs from the earth, as in Job xxviii. 5 ; Psa. civ. 14) until 
he return to the ground. Formed out of the dust, he shall re- 
turn to dust again. This was the fulfilment of the threat, " In 
the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," which began 
to take effect immediately after the breach of the divine com- 
mand ; for not only did man then become mortal, but he also 
actually came under the power of death, received into his nature 
the germ of death, the maturity of which produced its eventual 
dissolution into dust. The reason why the life of the man did 
not come to an end immediately after the eating of the for- 
bidden fruit, was not that "the woman had been created be- 
tween the threat and the fall, and consequently the fountain 
of human life had been divided, the life originally concentrated 
in one Adam shared between man and woman, by which the 
destructive influence of the fruit was modified or weakened " 
(v. Hoffmann), but that the mercy and long-suffering of God 
afforded space for repentance, and so controlled and ordered the 
sin of men and the punishment of sin, as to render them sub- 

PENT. — VOL. I. H 

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servient to the accomplishment of His original purpose and the 
glorification of His name. 

Vers. 20-24. As justice and mercy were combined in the 
divine sentence ; justice in the fact that God cursed the tempter 
alone, and only punished the tempted with labour and mortality, 
mercy in the promise of eventual triumph over the serpent : so 
God also displayed His mercy to the fallen, before carrying 
the sentence into effect. It was through the power of divine 
grace that Adam believed the promise with regard to the 
woman's seed, and manifested his faith in the name which he 
gave to his wife, njn Eve, an old form of njn, signifying life 
(fyrf), LXX.), or life-spring, is a substantive, and not a feminine 
adjective meaning " the living one," nor an abbreviated form of 
iTjnp, from njn = njn (xix. 32, 34), the lif e-receiving one. This 
name was given by Adam to his wife, "because," as the writer 
explains with the historica l fulfilment before his mind, " she be- 
came the mother of all living? i.e. because the continuance and 
life of his race were guaranteed to the man through the woman. 
God also displayed His mercy by clothing the two with coats 
of skin, i.e. the skins of beasts. The words, " God made 
coats," are not to be interpreted with such bare literality, as that 
God sewed the coats with His own fingers ; they merely affirm 
" that man's first clothing was the work of God, who gave the 
necessary d'r** 4 '""" and ability " (Delitssch). By this clothing, 
God imparted to the feeling of shame the visible sign of an 
awakened conscience, and to the consequent necessity for a cover- 
ing to the bodily nakedness, the higher work of a suitable disci- 
pline for the sinner. By selecting the skins of beasts for the 
clothing of the first men, and therefore causing the death or 
slaughter of beasts for that purpose, He showed them how they 
might use the sovereignty they possessed over the animals for 
their own good, and even sacrifice animal life for the preservation 
of human ; so that this act of God laid the foundation for the 
sacrifices, even if the first clothing did not prefigure our ulti- 
mate "clothing upon " (2 Cor. v. 4), nor the coats of skins the 
robe of righteousness. — Vers. 22, 23. Clothed in this sign of 
mercy, the man was driven out of paradise, to bear the punish- 
ment of his sin. The words of Jehovah, " The man is become as 
one of Us, to know good and evil," contain no irony, as though 
man had exalted himself to a position of autonomy resembling 

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CHAP. IlL 20-24. 107 

that of God ; for " irony at the expense of a wretched tempted 
soul might well befit Satan, bnt not the Lord." Likeness to 
God is predicated only with regard to the knowledge of good and 
evil, in which the man really had become like God. In order 
that, after the germ of death had penetrated into his nature 
along with sin, he might not "take also of the tree of life, and eat 
and live for ever (*n contracted from *n = n*n, as in chap. v. 5 ; 
1 Sam. xx. 31), God sent him forth from the garden ofJEden." 
With Viw^ (sent him forth) the narrative passes over from the 
words to the actions of God. From the Dj (also) it follows that 
the man had not yet eaten of the tree of life. Had he con- 
tinned in fellowship with God by obedience to the command 
of God, he might have eaten of it, for he was created for 
eternal life. Bat after he had fallen through sin into the power 
of death, the fruit which produced immortality could only do 
him harm. For immortality in a state of sin is not the £an? 
auovux;, which God designed for man, but endless misery, which 
the Scriptures call " the second death" (Rev. ii. 11, xx. 6, 14, 
xxi. 8). The expulsion from paradise, therefore, was a punish- 
ment inflicted for man's good^ intended, while exposing him to 
temporal death, to preserve him from eternal death. To keep 
the approach to the tree of life, " God caused cherubim to dwell 
(to encamp) at the east (on the eastern side) of the garden, and 
the (ue. with the) flame of the sword turning to and fro" (rOBTirio, 
moving rapidly). The word 3V3 cherub has no suitable etymo- 
logy in the Semitic, but is unquestionably derived from the same 
root as the Greek ypvyjr or ypvires, and has been handed down 
from the forefathers of our race, though the primary meaning 
can no longer be discovered. The cherubim, however, are crea- 
tures of a higher world, which are represented as surrounding 
the throne of God, both in the visions of Ezekiel (i. 22 sqq., 
x. 1) and the Revelation of John (chap. iv. 6) ; not, however, as 
throne-bearers or throne-holders, or as forming the chariot of 
the throne, but as occupying the highest place as living beings 
(Jli»n, £Sa) in the realm of spirits, standing by the side of God 
as the heavenly King when He comes to judgment, and proclaim- 
ing the majesty of the Judge of the world. In this character 
God stationed them on the eastern side of paradise, not " to in- 
habit the garden as the temporary representatives of man," but 
u to keep the way of the tree of life," t.e. to render it impossible 

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for man to return to paradise, and eat of the tree of life. Hence 
there appeared by their side the flame of a sword, apparently in 
constant motion, cutting hither and thither, representing the de- 
vouring fire of the divine wrath, and showing the cherubim to 
be ministers of judgment. With the expulsion of man from 
the garden of Eden, paradise itself vanished from the earth. 
God did not withdraw from the tree of life its supernatural 
power, nor did He destroy the garden before their eyes, but 
simply prevented their return, to show that it should be pre- 
served until the time of the end, when sin should be rooted out 
by the judgment, and death abolished by the Conqueror of the 
serpent (1 Cor. xv. 26), and when upon the new earth the tree 
of life should flourish again in the heavenly Jerusalem, and bear 
fruit for the redeemed (Rev. xx. and xxi.). 


Vers. 1-8. The propagation of the human race did not com- 
mence till after the expulsion from paradise. Generation in man 
is an act of personal free-will, not a blind impulse of nature, and 
rests upon a moral self-determination. It flows from the divine 
institution of marriage, and is therefore knowing (JHJ) the wife. 
— At the birth of the first son Eve exclaimed with joy, " I have 
gotten (w:p) a man with Jehovah ;" wherefore the child received 
the name Cain (1$ from pp=fUj3, ktooBoi). So far as the gram- 
mar is concerned, the expression nJrTTiK might be_rendered, as 
h in apposition to B"l*, " a man, the Lord" (Luther), but the sense 
would not allow it. For even if we could suppose the faith 
of Eve in the promised conqueror of the serpent to have been 
. sufficiently alive for this, the promise of God hadjiot^giyenjier 
the slightest reason to expectthat the promised seed would be of 
divine nature, and might be Jehovah, so as to lead her to believe 
that she had given birth to Jehovah now. n$*js a preposition 
in the sense of helpful association, as in chap. xxi. 20, xxxix. 2, 
21, etc. That she sees in the birth of this son the commence- 
ment of the fulfilment of the promise, and thankfully acknow 
ledges the divine help in this display of mercy, is evident from 
the name Jehovah, the God of salvation. The use of this name 
is significant. Although it cannot be supposed thaLEye herself 
knew and uttered this name, since it was not till a later period 

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CHAP. IV. 1-8. 109 

that it was made known to man, and it really belongs to the 
Hebrew, which was not formed till after the division of tongues, 
yet it expresses the feeling of Eve on receiving this proof of the 
gracious help of God. — Ver. 2. But her joy was soon overcome 
by the discovery of the vanity of this earthly life. This is ex- 
pressecTin the name Abel, which was given to the second son 
(?an, in pause «n, t'.e. nothingness, vanity), whether it indicated 
generally a feeling of sorrow on account of his weakness, or was 
a prophetic presentiment of his untimely death. The occupation 
of the sons is noticed on account of what follows. u Abel was a 
keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground." Adam had, 
no doubt, already commenced both occupations, and the sons 
selected each a different department. God Himself had pointed 
out both to Adam, — the tilling of the ground by the employment 
assigned him in Eden, which had to be changed into agriculture 
after his expulsion ; and the keeping of cattle in the clothing 
that He gave him (iii. 21). Moreover, agriculture can never be 
entirely separated from the rearing of cattle ; for a man not only 
requires food, but clothing, which is procured directly from the 
hides and wool of tame animals. In addition to this, sheep do 
not thrive without human protection and care, and therefore 
were probably associated with man from the very first. The 
different occupations of the brothers, therefore, are not to be 
regarded as a proof of the difference in their dispositions. This 
comes out first in the sacrifice, which they offered after a time 
to God, each one from the produce of his vocation. — u In process 
of time" (lit. at the end of days, i.e. after a considerable lapse of 
time : for this use of D'pj cf . chap. xl. 4 ; Num. ix. 2) Cain 
brought of the fruit of tJie ground a gift (p™$) to the Lord; and 
Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, andjndeedjvay 
in an explanatory sense, vid. Ges. § 155, 1) of their fat," i.e. the 
f attest of the firstlings, and not merely the first good one that 
came to hancL~ D s 35n are not the fat portions of the animals, as in 
the Levitical law of sacrifice. This is evident from the fact, that 
the sacrifice was not connected with a sacrificial meal, and ani- 
mal food was not eaten at this time. That the usage of the 
Mosaic law cannot determine the meaning of this passage, is evi- 
dent from the word minchah, which is applied in Leviticus to 
bloodless sacrifices only, whereas it is used here in connection 
with Abel's sacrifice. " And JehovaJi looked upon Abel and his 

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\ 1 1 


gift ; and upon Cain and his gift He did not look." The look of 
Jehovah was in any case a visible sign of satisfaction. It is a 
common and ancient opinion that fire consumed Abel's sacrifice, 
and thus showed that it was graciously accepted. Theodotion 
explains the words by xal hetrvpurev 6 Oeo?. But whilst this 
explanation has the analogy of Lev. ix. 24 and Judg. vi. 21 in 
its favour, it does not suit the words, " upon Abel_andhis^gift." 
The reason for the different reception of the .two^fiffe rings w as 
the state of m ind towards G od with which t hey were brought, 
ancTwhich manifested itself in the selection of the gifts. Not, 
indeed, in the fact that Abel brought a bleeding sacrifice and 
Cain a bloodless one ; for this difference arose from the differ- 
ence in their callings, and each necessarily took his gift from the 
produce of his own occupation. It was rather in the fact that 
r V * 1 Abel offered the fattest firstlings of his flock, the best that he 

could bring"; whilst Cain only brought a portion of the jfrjiit of 
thejjround, but not the first-fruits. By this choice Abel brought 
irkeiova QvvUwjita^h Kaiv, and manifested_jhat_disposition 
whicKTTclesignated faith (Trjar}i) in Heb. xi. 4. The nature of 
this disposition^ however, can only be determined from the mean- 
ing of the offering itself. 

The sacrifices offered by Adam's sons, and that not in con- 
sequence of a divine command, but from the free impulse of 
their nature as determined by God, were the first sacrifices of the 
human race. The origin of sacrifice, therefore, is neither to be 
traced to a positive command, nor to be regarded as a human 
invention. To form an accurate conception of the idea which 
lies at the foundation of all sacrificial worship, we must bear in 
mind that the first sacrifices were offered a fter ..the fall, and 
therefore presupposed the spiritual separation of_man from God, 
and were designed to satisfy the need of the heartfor fellowship 
with God. This need existed in the case of Cain, as well as in 
that of Abel ; otherwise he would have offered no sacrifice at all, 
since there was no command to render it compulsory. Yet it 
was not the wish for forgiveness of sin which led Adam's sons to 
offer sacrifice; for there is no mention of expiation, and the 
notion that Abel, by slaughtering the animal, confessed that 
he deserved death on account of sin, is transferred to this 
passage from the expiatory sacrifices of the Mosaic law. The 
offerings were expressive of gratitude to God, to whom they owed 

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rf J-' 



' l 1 U 

■ V 



. C- ' 




\- , 

CHAP. IV. 1-ft. Ill 

all that they had ; and were associated also with the desire to 
secure the divine favour and blessing, so that they are to be 
regarded not merely as th ank-offerings , but as supplicatory sacri- 
fices^and as propitiatory also, in the wider sense oFthe word. In 
this the two offerings are alike. The reason why they were not 
equally acceptable to God is not to be sought, as Hofmann thinks, 
in the fact that Gain merely offered thanks " for the preservation 
of this present life," whereas Abel offered thanks " for the for- 
giveness of sins," or " for the sin-forgiving clothing received by 
man from the hand of God." To take the nourishment of the 
body literally and the clothing symbolically in this manner, is an 
arbitrary procedure, by which the Scriptures might be made to 
mean anything we chose. The reason is to be found rather in 
the fact, that AieJ^sJh^nltS-iSinejrjjm the. depth, pf^his heart, 
whilst Cain merely offered his to keep on good terms with God, — 
a difference that was"fflanifested in the choice of the gifts, which 
each one brought from the produce of his occupation. This 
choice shows clearly " that it was the pious feeling, through 
which the worshipper put his heart as it were into the gift, which 
made the offering acceptable to God" (Oehler) ; that the essence 
of the sacrifice was not the presentation of a. gift to God, but 
that the offering was intended to shadow forth the dedication of 
the heart to God. At the same time, the desire of the wor- 
shipper, by the dedication of the best of his possessions to secure 
afresh the favour of God, contained the germ of that substitu- 
tionary meaning of sacrifice, which was afterwards expanded in 
connection with the deepening and heightening of the feeling of 
sin into a desire for forgiveness, and led to the development of 
the idea of expiatory sacrifice. — On account of the preference 
shown to Abel, " it burned Cain sore (the subject, ' wrath,' is 
wanting, as it frequently is in the case of rvin, cf . chap, xviii. 30, 
32, xxxi. 36, etc.), and his countenance fell" (an indication of his 
discontent and anger: cf. Jer. iii. 12; Job xxix. 24). God 
warned him of giving way to this, and directed his attention 
to the cause and consequences of his wrath. " Why art thou 
wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen t" The answer to this 
is given in the further question, " Is there not, if thou art good, 
a lifting up" (*c. o f the countenance) ? It is evident from the 
context^and the antithesis ofTalling and lifting up (Vsa and NCW), 
that CJS must be supplied after Jigb. "Rj fjn'a dr^ g-aw him to 

^RY OF r^x 

ffS UNION ^ N \ 


understand that his look was indicative of evil thoughts and in- 
tentions ; for the lifting up of the countenance, i.e. a free, open 
look, is the mark of a good conscience (Joh xi. 15). " But if 
thou art not good, sin lieth before the door, and its desire is to thee 
(directed towards thee) ; but thou shouldst rule over t£" The 
' fern. riKtsn is construed as a masculine, because, with evident 

/ allusion to the serpent, sin is personified as a wild beast, lurking 

/ at the door of the human heart, and eagerly desiring to devour 
his soul (1 Pet. v. 8). ^D'n, to make good, signifies here not 
good action, the performance of good in work and deed, but 
making the disposition good, i.e. directing the heart to what is 
good. Cain is to rule over the sin which is greedily desiring 
him, by giving up his wrath, not indeed that sin may cease to 
lurk for him, but that the lurking evil foe may obtain no entrance 
into his heart. There is no need to regard the sentence as in- 
terrogative, "Wilt thou, indeed, be able to rule over it?" (Ewald), 
nor to deny the allusion in ia to the lurking^ ^a^aa_JDeUizsch 
does. The words do not command the suppression of an inward 
temptation, but resistance to the power of evil as pressing from 
J : ; v i without, by hearkening to the word which God addressed to Cain 
in person, and addresses to us through the Scriptures. There is 
;■ ■ . ' r nothing said here about God appearing visibly ; but this does not 
warrant us in interpreting either this or the following conversa- 
',- ' tion as a simple process that took place in the heart and con- 

science of Cain. It is evident from vers. 14 and 16 that God 
did not withdraw His personal presence and visible intercourse 
from men, as soon as He had expelled them from the garden of 
Eden. " God talks to Cain as to a wilful child, and draws out 
of him what is sleeping in his heart, and lurking like a wild 
beast before his door. And what He did to Cain He does to 
every one who will but observe his own heart, and listen to the 
voice of God" (Herder). But Cain paid no heed to the divine 
warning. Ver. 8. He u said to his brother Abel." What he said 

I is not stated. We may either supply^ i<," viz. what God had 
just said to him, which would be grammatically admissible, since 
"ion is sometimes followed by a simple accusative (xxii. 3, xliv. 
16), and this accusative has to be supplied from the context (as in 
Ex. xix. 25) ; or we may supply from what follows some such 

^ expressions as " let us go into the field" as the LXX., Sam., 
Jonathan, and others have done. This is also allowable, sothat 

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CHAP. IV. 9-15. 113 

we need not imagine a gap in the text, bat may explain the con- 
struction as in chap. iii. 22, 23, by supposing that the writer has- 
tened on to describe the carrying out of what was said, without 
stopping to set down the words themselves. This supposition is 
preferable to the former, since it is psychologically most improb- 
able that Cain should have related a warning to his brother which 
produced so Httte" impression upon his own mind. In the field 
" Cairrrosritp-affainstAbeTKis brother, and slew him." Thus 
the sin of Adam had grown into fratricide in his son. The 
writer intentionally re peats again and again the words " his 
b rother£ _to bring clearly outthe horror of the sin. Cain was 
the first man who let sin reign in him ; he was " of the wicked 
one" (1 John iii. 12). In him the seed of the woman had 
already become the seed of the serpent ; and in his deed the real 
nature of the wicked one, as " a murderer from the beginning," 
had come openly to light : so that already there had sprung up 
that contrast of two distinct seeds within the human race,~which 
runs through the entire history of humanity. 

Vers. 9-15. Defiance grows with sin, and punishment keeps 
pace with guilt. Adam and Eve fear before God, and acknow- 
ledge their sin ; Cain boldly denies it, and in reply to the 
question, " Wliere is Abel thy brother?" declares, " I know not, 
am I my brothers keeper?" God therefore charges him with his 
crime : " What hast thou done ! voice of Hiy brother's blood crying 
to Me from the earth." The verb u crying" refers to the u blood," 
since this is the principal word, and the voice merely expresses 
the adverbial idea of "aloud," or "listen" {Ewald, § Zlld). DW 
(drops of blood) is sometimes used to denote natural hemorrhage 
(Lev. xii. 4, 5, xx. 18) ; but is chiefly applied to blood shed un- 
naturally, i.e. to murder. " Innocent blood has no voice, it may 
be, that is discernible by human ears, but it has one that reaches 
God, as the cry of a wicked deed demanding vengeance" 
(Delitzsch). Murder is one of the sins that cry to heaven. 
u Primum ostendit Deus se de factis hominum cognoscere utcunque 
nullus queratur vel accuset; deinde sibi magis cliaram esse homi- 
num vitam quam ut sanguinem innoxium impune effundi sinat . 
tertio curam sibi piorum esse non solum quamdiu vivunt sed etiam 
post mortem" (Calvin). AhgLwas the firstofjhfi^saiots^whose 
blood is precious_in_the^ight of God (Ps. cxvi. 15) ; and by 
virtuel)? histaith, he being dead yet speaketh through his blood 

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which cried unto God (Heb. xi. 4). — Vers. 11, 12. " And now 
(sc. because thou hast done this) be cursed from the earth." 
From: i.e. eith er awa y from the. earth, driven forth so that it longer afford a. quiet, resting-place {Gerlach, DeUtzsch, 
etc.), or out of the earth, through its withdrawing its strength, 
I and thus securing the fulfilment Jjf perpetual wandering (Baum- 
garten, etc.). It is difficult to choose between the two ; but the 
clause, "which hath opened her mouth? etc., seems rather to 
favour the latter. Because the earth has been compelled to 
drink innocent blood, it rebels against the murderer, and when 
he tills it, withdraws its strength, so that the soil yields no pro- 
duce ; just as the land of Canaan is said to have spued out the 
Canaanites, on account of their abominations (Lev. xviii. 28). 
In any case, the idea that " the soil, through drinking innocent 
blood, became an accomplice in the sin of murder," has no bibli- 
cal support, and is not confirmed by Isa. xxvi. 21 or Num. xxxv. 
33. The suffering of irrational creatures through the sin of man 
is very different from their participating in his sin. " A fugi- 
, tive and vagabond (*UV M, i.e. banished and homeless) shalt thou 

be in the earth." Cain is *o affected by this curse, that his ob- 
duracy is turned into desjfciir. " My sin " he says in ver. 13, "is 
greater than can be IwH&S |il> NBO signifies to take away and 
bear sin or guilt, a^»' is used with reference both to God and 
man. God takes guilt away by forgiving it (Ex. xxxiv. 7) ; 
man carries it awayand bears it, by enduringjts__pnnishment 
(cf. Num. v. 31). Tjuiker, following the ancient versions, has 
adopted the first meaning ; but the context sustains the second : 
for Cain_after\vards complains, not of the_greatness of the sin, 
but only of the severity of the punishment. " Behold, Thou hast 
driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Thy 
face shall I be hid; . . . and it shall come to pass that every one 
that findeth me shall slay me." T he adama h, from the face of 
which the curse of Jehovah had driven Cain, w as Ed en (cf . ver. 
-16), where he had carried on his agricultural pursuits, and where 
God had revealed His face, i.e. His presence, to the men after 
their expulsion from the garden ; so that henceforth Cain had to 
wander about upon the wide world, homeless and far from the 
presence of God, and was afraid lest any one who found him 
might slay him. By "tvery one that findeth me" we are not to 
understand omnis creatura, sis though Cain had excited the hos- 

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CHAP. IV. 10-84. 115 

tility of all creatures, but every man ; not in the sense, however, 
of such as existed apart from the family of Adam, but such as 
were aware of his crime, and knew him to be a murderer. For 
Gainjs evidently afraid of revenge on the part of relatives of 
the slain, that is to say, of descendants of Adam, who were 
either already in existence, or yet to be born. Though Adam 
might not at this time have had " many grandsons and great- 
grandsons," yet according to ver. j7 and chap. v. 4, he had un- 
doubtedly_other children, who might increase in number, and 
sooner or later might avenge Abel's death. For, that blood shed 
demands blood in return, " is a principle of equity written in the 
heart of every man ; and that Cain should see the earth full of 
avengers is just like a murderer, who sees avenging spirits 
('Eptpve?) ready to torture him on every hand." — Ver. 15. 
Although Cain expressed not penitence, but fear of punishment, 
God displayed His long-suffering and gave him the promise, 
" Therefore (E» not in the sense of g &, but because it was the 
case, and there was reason for his complaint) whosoever slayeth 
Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." J$ ^>r?3 is cos. 
absolut. as in chap. ix. 6; and Dgn avenged, i.e. resented, punished, 
as Ex. xxi. 20, 21. The mark which God put upon Cain is 
n ot to be regarded as a mark upon his body, as the Rabbins 
and others supposed, but as a certain sign which protected him 
from vengeance, though of what kind it is impossible to deter- 
mine. God granted him continuance of life, not because 
banishment from the place of God's presence was the greatest 
possible punishment, or because the preservation of the human 
race required at that time that the lives of individuals should be 
spared, — for God afterwards destroyed the whole human race, 
with the exception of one family, — but partly because the tares 
were to grow with the wheat, and sin develop itself to its utmost 
extent, partly also because from the very first God determined to 
take punishment into His own hands, and protect human life 
from the passion and wilfulness of human vengeance. 

Vers. 16-24. The family of the Cainites.— Ver. 16. The 
geographical situation of the land of Nod, in the front of Eden 
(nonp, see chap. ii. 14), where Cain settled after his departure 
from the place or the land of the revealed presence of God (cf . 
Jonah i. 3), cannot be determined. The name iVflrf_denotes a 
l and of flight and ba nishment, in contract with Eden, the land 

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of delight, where Jehovah walked with men. There Cain knew 
his wife. The text assumes it as self-evident that she accom- 
panied him in his exile ; also, that she was a daughter of Adam, 
and consequently a sister of Cain. The marriage of brothers 
and sisters was inevitable in the case ofthe children oT the first 
men, if the human race was actually to descend from a single 
pair, and may therefore be justified in the face of the Mosaic 
prohibition of such marriages, on the ground that the sons and 
daughters of Adam represented not. rppmly the fam ily bu t the 
gpfliis^ and that it was not till after the rise of several families 
mat the bands of fraternal and conjugal love became distinct 
from one another, and assumed fixed and mutually exclusive 
forms, the violation of which is sin. (Comp. Lev. xviii.) His 
son he named Hanoch (consecration), because he regarded his 
birth as a pledge of the renovation of his life. For this reason 
he also gave the same name to the city which he built, inasmuch 
as its erection was another phase in the development of his family. 
The construction of a city by Cain will cease to surprise us, if 
we consider that at the commencement of its erection^centuries 
had already passed since the creation of man, and Cain's descend- 
ants may by this time have increased considerably in numbers ; 
also, that T^does not necessariIy_pre*uppose_a Jarge_towji, but 
simply an enclosed space with fortified dwellings, in contradis- 
tinction to theTsdlated tents of shepherds ; and lastly, that the 
words rob W» " be was building," merely indicate the com- 
mencement and progress of the building, but not its termination. 
It appears mora surprising that Cain^ who was^to be a fugitive 
and a vagabond upon the earth, should have established himself 
in the l and of Nod. This cannot be fully explained, either on 
the ground that he carried on the pursuits of agriculture, which 
lead to settled abodes, or that he strove against the curse. In 
addition to both the facts referred to, there is also the circum- 
stance, that the curse, " the ground shall not yield to thee her 
strength," was so mollified by the grace of God, that Cain and 
his descendants were enabled to obtain sufficient food in the land 
of his settlement, though it was by dint of hard work and 
strenuous effort ; unless, indeed, we follow Luther and under- 
stand the curse, that he should be a fugitive upon the earth, as 
relating to his expulsion from Eden, and his removal ad incertum 
locum et opus, non addita ulla vel promtstione vel mandato t sieut 

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CHAP. IV. 18-24. 117 

avis qiice in Ubero coelo incerta vagatur. The fact that Cain 
undertook the erection of a city, is also significant. Even if we 
do not regard this city as <{ th e first foundation-stone of the 
kingdom of the world, in which the spirit of the beast bears 
sway," we cannot fail to detect the desire to neutralize the 
curse of banishment, and create for his family a point of unity, 
as a compensation for the loss of unity in fellowship with God, 
as well as the inclination of the family of Cain for that which 
was earthly. The powerful development of the worldly mind 
and of ungodliness among the Cainites was openly displayed 
in Lamech, in the sixth generation. Of the intermediate links, 
the names only are given. (On the use of the passive with the 
accusative of the object in the clause "to Hanoch was born (they 
bore) Irad" see Ges. § 143, 1.) Some of these names resemble 
those of the Sethite genealogy, viz. Irad and Jared, Mehujael 
and Mahalaleel, Methusael and Methuselah, also Cain and 
Cainan; and the names Enoch and Lamech occur in both 
families. But neither the recurrence of similar names, nor even 
of the same names, warrants the conclusion that the two genea- 
bgical tables are simply different forms of one primary legend. 
For the names, though similar in sound, are very different in 
meaning . Irad probably signifies the townsman, Jered, descent, 
or that which has descended; Mehujael, smitten of God, and 
Mahalaleel, praise of God ; Methusael, man of prayer, and Me- 
thuselah, man of the sword or of increase. The repetition of the 
two names Enoch and Lamech even loses all significance, when 
we consider the different places which they occupy in the re- 
spective lines, and observe also that in the case of these very 
names, the more precise descriptions which are given so 
thoroughly establish the difference of character in the two indi- 
viduals, as to preclude the possibility of their being the same, 
not to mention the fact, that in the later history the same names 
frea t uentlyjiccnr_ia- totally different families ; e.g. Korah in the 
families of Levi (Ex. vi. 21) and Esau (chap, xxxvi. 5) ; Hanoch 
in those of Reuben (chap. xlvi. 9) and Midian (chap. xxv. 4) ; 
Kenaz in those of Judah (Num. xxxii. 12) and Esau (chap. 
xxxvi. 11). The identity and similarity of names can prove j J,f : 
no^njjmore_than_that the two branches of the human race did ;> 
not keep entirely apart fro m each o ther ; a fact established by , : .* • 

their subsequently intermarrying. — Lamech took two wives, and 

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Qv^xf Ahus was the first to prepare the way for polygamy, by which 

j i ;/ ' ,, '6+^ the ethical aspect of marriage, as ordained by God, was turned 

' " into the last of the eye and lust of the flesh. The names of the 

women are indicative of sensual attractions : Adah, the adorned ; 

and Zillah, either the shady or the tinkling. His tKreesons are 

J A - the authors of inventions which show how the mind and efforts 

. ' i «' of the Cainites were directed towards the beautifying and per- 

, i " , • fecting of the earthly life. Jabal (probably =j ebul, p roduce) 

became the father of inch as dwelt in tents, ue. of nomads who 

lived in tents and with their flocks, getting their living by a 

pastoral occupation, and possibly also introducing the use of 

animal food, in disregard of the divine command (Gen. i. 29). 

Jubal j(aonnd), the father of all such as handle the harp and 

pipe, ue. the inventors of stringed and wind instruments, "fa? a 

guitar or harp; 3W the shepherd's reed or bagpipe. Tiibal-Cain, 

" hammering all kinds of cutting things (the verb is to~be con- 

struedas neuter) in brass and iron ; " the inventor therefore of 

all kinds of edge-tools for working in metals.: so that Cain, from 

Ti? to Jorge, is probably to be regarded as the surname which 

Tubal received on account of his inventions. The meaning of 

Tubal is obscure ; for the Persian Tupal, iron-scoria, can throw 

no light upon it, as it must be a much later word. The allusion 

to the sister of Tubal-Cain is evidently to be attributed to her 

name, Naamah, the lovely, or graceful, since it reflects the worldly 

mind of the Cainites. In the arts, which owed their origin to 

Lantech's sons, this disposition reached its culminating point ; 

and it appears in the form of pride and defiant arrogance in the 

song in which Lamech celebrates the inventions of Tubal-Cain 

(vers. 23, 24) : "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice ; ye wives of 

Lamech, hearken unto my speech : Men I slay for my wound, and 

young men for my stripes. For sevenfold is Cain avenged, and 

Lamech seven and seventy-fold." The perfect Wi is expressive 

not of a deed accomplished, but of confident assurance (Ges. § 

126, 4 ; Ewald, § 135c) ; and the suffixes in Wan and 'JttB 

are to be taken in a passive sense. The idea is this : whoever 

I inflicts a wound or stripe on me, whether man or youthpl will 

4. put to death ; and for every injury done to my person, I will 

I take ten times more vengeance than that with which God 

1 promised to avenge the murder of my ancestor Cain. In this 

' song, which contains in its rhythm, its strophic arrangement of 

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CHAP. IV. 25, 28. 119 

the thoughts, and its poetic diction, th e germ of the later poetry, 
we may detect " that Titanic arrogance, of which the~BIbTe says 
that its power is its god (Hah. i. 11), and that it carries its god, 
viz. its sword, in its hand (Job xii. 6) " (Delitzsch). — Accord- 
ing to these accounts, the principal arts and manufactures were 
invented by the Cainites, and carried out in an ungodly spirit ; 
but they are not therefore to be attributed to the curse which 
rested upon the family. They have their roots rather in the 
mental powers with which man was endowed for the sovereignty 
and subjugation of the earth, but which, like all the other powers 
and tendencies of his nature, were pervaded by sin, and dese- 
crated in its service. Hence these inventions have become the 
common property of humanity, because they not only may pro- 
mote its intended development, but are to be applied and conse- 
crated to this purpose for the glory of God. 

Vers. 25, 26. The character of the ungodly family of 
Cainites was now fully developed in Lamech and his children. 
The history, therefore, turns from them, to indicate briefly the 
origi n_Qf the -g odly-race. After Abel's death a third son was 
born to Adam, to whom his mother gave the name of Seth (nc?, 
from JVB>, a j>resent participle, the appointecLone, the compensa- 
tion) ; "for" she said, " Trod Tiaik ^appointed me another seed 
(descendant) for Abel, because Cain slew him." The words 
" because Cain slew him " are not to be regarded as an explana- 
tory supplement, but as the words of Eve ; and *3 by virtue of 
the previous nnn is to be understood in the sense of '3 nnn. 
What Cain (human wickedness) took from her, that has Elohim 
(divine omnipotence) restored. Because of this antithesis she 
calkvthe giver Elohim instead of Jehovah, and not because her 
hopes had been sadly depressed by her painful experience in 
connection with the first-born. — Ver. 26. " To Seth, to him also 
(ton DJ, intensive, vid. Ges. § 121, 3) there was born a son, and 
he called his name Enosh." ^S, from W8 to be weak, faint, 
frail, designates man from his frail and mortal condition "(Ps. 
viii. 4, xc. 3, ciii. 15, etc.). In this name, therefore, the feeling 
and knowledge of human weakness and frailty were expressed 
(the opposite of the pride and arrogance displayed by the 
Canaanitish family) ; and this_feeling led to God, to that in- 
vocation of the name of Jehovah which commenced under Enos. 
nirv DB^ trijJ, literally to call in (or by) the name of Jehovah, is 

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used for a solemn calling of the name of God. When applied 
to men, it denotes invocation (here and chap. xii. 8, xiii. 4, etc.); 
to God, calling out or proclaiming His name (Ex. xxxiii. 19, 
xxxiv. 5). The name of God signifies in general " the whole 
nature of God, by which He attests His personal presence in 
v n the relation into which He has entered with man, the divine 
self-manifestation, or the whole of that revealed side of the 
divine nature, which is turned towards man" (Oehler). We 
have here an account of the commencement of that worship of 
God which consists in prajer, praise, and thanksgiving, or in 
the acknowledgment and celebration of the mercy and help of 
Jehovah. While the family of Cainites, by the erection of a city, 
and the invention and development of worldly arts and business, 
were laying the foundation for the kingdom of this world ; the 
family of the Sethites began, by united invocation of the name of 
the God of grace, to found and to erect the kingdom of God. 


Chap, v.-vi. 8. 

generations from adam to noah.— chap. v. 

The origin of the human race and the general character of 
its development having been thus described, all that remained 
of importance to universal or sacred history, in connection with 
the progress of our race in the primeval age, was to record the 
order of the families (chap, v.) and the, ultimate result of the 
course which they pursued (chap. vi. 1-8). — First of all, we 
have the genealogical table of Adam with the names of the first 
ten patriarchs, who were at the head of that seed of the woman 
by which the promise was preserved, viz. the posterity of the 
first pair through Seth, from Adam to the flood. We have also 
an account of the ages of these patriarchs before and after the 
birth of those sons in whom the line was continued ; so that the 
genealogy, which indicates the line of development, furnishes 
at the same time a chronology of the primeval age. In the 
genealogy of the Cainites no ages are given, since this family, 
as t»eing accursed by God, had no future history. On the other 
hand, the family of Sethites, which acknowledged God, began 
from the time of Enos to call upon the name of the Lord, and 

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was therefore preserved and sustained by God, in order that 
under the training of mercy and judgment the human race 
might eventually attain to the great purpose of its creation. 
The genealogies of the primeval age, to quote the apt words of 
M. Baumgarten, are " memorials, which bear testimony quite a^ 
much to the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promise, as tor 
the faith and patience of the fathers themselves." This testiy 
mony is first placed in its true light by the numbers of the 
years. The historian gives not merely the age of each patriarch 
at the time of the birth of the first-born, by whom the line of 
succession was continued, but the number of years that he lived 
after that, and then the entire length of his life. Now if we 
add togeth er t he age s at the birth of the several first-born -eons, 
a n5 the hnn( hjgdyeariTb~5tweeii the birth of Shem and the flood, 
we find that the duration of the first period in the world's 
history was 1 656 yea rs. We obtain a different result, however, 
from the numbers given by the LXX. and the Samaritan 
version, which differ in almost every instance from the Hebrew 
text, both in chap. v. and chap. xi. (from Shem to Terah), as 
will appear from the following table : — 

The Fathers 

before the Flood. — < 



Hebrew Text. 

Samaritan Text 


a * 







H P. 





















Year of bir 


Adam, . . . 












Seth,. . . . 












Enos, . . . 












Oainan, . . 
























Jared, . . . 












Enoch, . . . 


























Lamecb, . . 












Noah, . . . 












To the flood, 
Total, . . . 






1 The numbers in brackets are the reading of the Cod. Alexandrinus of 
the LXX. In the genealogical table, chap. zi. 10 sqq., the Samaritan text 
is the only one which gives the whole duration of life. 

PENT. — VOL. I. I 

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The Fathers from the Flood to the call o/Abram. — Chap. xi. 10-26. 

a * 

S 2 



Shorn, . . 

Salah, . 
Eber, . 

Peleg, . 
Regu, . 
Serug, . 

Nahor, . 

Terah, . 
His call, 

Total, . 

Hebrew Text 

Samaritan Text 













■«1 o 
















500 600 


































a -a 






The principal deviations from the Hehrew in the case of the 
other two texts are these : in chap. v. the Samaritan places the 
birth of the first-born of Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech 100 
years earlier, whilst the Septuagint places the birth of the first- 
born of all the other fathers (except Noah) 100 years later than 
the Hebrew ; in chap. xi. the latter course is adopted in both 
texts in the case of all the fathers except Shem and Terah. In 
consequence of this, the interval from Adam to the flood is 
shortened in the Samaritan text by 349 years as compared with 
the Hebrew, and in the Septuagint is lengthened by 586 (Cod. 
Alex. 606). The interval from the flood to Abram is lengthened 
in both texts ; in the Sam. by 650 years, in the Sept. by 880 
(Cod. Alex. 780). In the latter, Cainan is interpolated between 
Arphaxad and Salah, which adds 130 years, and the age of the 
first-born of Nahor is placed 150 years later than in the Hebrew, 
whereas in the former the difference is only 50 years. With 
regard to the other differences, the reason for reducing the lives 
of Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech in the Samaritan text after 
the birth of their sons, was evidently to bring their deaths within 

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CHAP. V. 123 

the time before the flood. The age of Methuselah, as given in 
the Cod. Alex, of the LXX., is evidently to be accounted for on 
the same ground, since, according to the numbers of the Vatican 
text, Methuselah must have lived 14 years after the flood. In i 
the other divergences of these two texts from the Hebrew, no/ 
definite purpose can be detected ; at the same time they are suffi-\ 
cient to show a twofold tendency, viz. to lengthen the interval! - 
from the flood to Abram, and to reduce the ages of the fathers \ 
at the birth of their first-born to greater uniformity, and to take I 
care that the age of Adam at the birth of Seth should not be ■ 
exceeded by that of any other of the patriarchs, especially in the 
time before the flood. To effect this, the Sept. adds 100 years 
to the ages of all the fathers, before and after the flood, whose 
sons were born before their 100th year ; the Sam., on the other 
hand, simply does this in the case of the fathers who lived after 
the flood, whilst it deducts 100 years from the ages of all the 
fathers before the flood who begot their first-born at a later 
period of their life than Adam and Seth. The age of Noah 
alone is left unaltered, because there were other data connected 
with the flood which prevented any arbitrary alteration of the 
text. That the principal divergences of both texts from the 
Hebrew are intentional changes, based upon chronological theo- 
ries or cycles, is sufficiently evident from their internal character, 
viz. from the improbability of the statement, that whereas the 
average duration of life after the flood was about half the length 
that it was before, the time of life at which the fathers begot 
their first-born after the flood was as late, and, according to the 
Samaritan text, generally later than it had been before. No 
such intention is discernible in the numbers of the Hebrew text ; 
consequently every attack upon the historical character of its 
numerical statements has entirely failed, and no tenable argu- 
ment can be adduced against their correctness. The objection, 
that such longevity as that recorded in our chapter is incon- 
ceivable according to the existing condition of human nature, 
loses all its force if we consider u that all the memorials of the I 
oldjvorld contain evidence of gigantic power ; that Jhe climate, ], 
the weather, ancTother natural conditions, were different from I _ 
thoseaftiFthelood; that life was much more simple and uni- 
form ; and that the after-effects of the condition of man in para- 
dise would not be immedTately exhausted" (Delitzsch). This ' 

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longevity, moreover, necessarily con tributed grearfy to the in- 
cre ase of the human.race ; and the circumstance that the children 
were not born till a comparatively advanced period of life, — that 
is, until the corporeal and mental development of the parent was 
perfectly complete, — necessarily favoured the ge neration o f a 
powerful race. From both these circumstances, however, the 
development of the race was sure to be characterized by peculiar 
energy in evil as well as in good ; so that whilst in the godly por- 
tion of the race, not only were the traditions of the fathers trans- 
mitted faithfully and without adulteration from father to son, but 
family characteristics, piety, discipline, and morals took deep 
root, whilst in the ungodly portion time was given for sin to de- 
velop itself with mighty power in its innumerable forms. 

The heading in ver. 1 runs thus : "This is the book (sepher) 
of the generations (tholedotK) of Adam." On tholedolh, see chap, 
ii. 4. Sepker is a writing complete in itself, whether it consist 
of one sheet or several, as for instance the "bill of divorce- 
ment " in Deut. xxiv. 1,3. The addition of the clause, " t'n th e 
day tliat God created man" etc., is analogous to chap, ii. 4 ; the 
creation being mentioned again as the starting point, because all 
the development and history of humanity was rooted there. — 
Ver. 3. As Adam was created in the image of God, so did he 
beget " in his own likeness, after his image ; " that is to say, he 
transmitted the image of God in which he was created, not in 
the purity in which it came direct from God, but in the form 
given to it by his own self-determination, modified and cor- 
rupted by sin. The begetting of the son by whom the line was 
perpetuated (no doubt in every case the first-born), is followed 
by an account of the number of years that Adam and the other 
fathers lived after that, by the statement that each one begat 
(other) sons and daughters, by the number of years that he 
lived altogether, and lastly, by the assertion n&\ " and he di ed.'' 
This apparently superfluous announcement is " intended to in- 
dicate byits constant recurrence that death reigned from Adam 
downward^ as an unchangeable law (yid. Bom. v. 14). But 
aglunst this background of universal death, the power of life was 
still more conspicuous. For the man did not die till he had 
propagated life, so that in the midst of the death of individuals 
the life of the race was preserved, and the hope of the seed sus- 
tained, by which the author of death should be overcome." In 

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CHAP. V. 125 

the case of one of the fathers indeed, viz. Enoch (vers. 21 
sqq.), life had not only a different issue, but also a different 
form. Instead of the expression " and he lived," which intro- 
duces in every other instance the length of life after the birth of 
the first-born, we find in the case of Enoch this statement, " he 
wal ked with God (E lohim) ; " and instead of the expression " and 
he died," the announcement, "and he was not, for God (Elohim) 
took him." The phra se " walked. ..wilh.Xtod,". which, is only 
applied to E noch and Noah (chap. vi. 9), denotes the most 
confidential intercourse, the closest communion with the personal 
God, a"Wa1fcirig as it were by the side of God, who still continued 
His visible intercourse with men (vid. in. 8). It must be distin-( 
guished from "walking before God" (chap. xvii. 1, xxiv. 40, etc.), 
and " walking after God " (Deut. xiii. 4), both which phrases 
are used to indicate a pious, moral, blameless life under the law 
according to the directions of the divine commands. The only 
other passage in which this expression " walk with God " occurs 
is Mai. n. 6, where it denotes not the piety of the godly Israelites 
generally, but the conduct of the priests, who stood in a closer re- 
lation to Jehovah under the Old Testament than the rest of the 
faithful, being permitted to enter the Holy Place, and hold direct 
intercourse with Him there, which the rest of the people could not 
do. The article in DVrSwn gives prominence to the personality 
of Elohim, and shows that" the expression cannot refer to inter 
courser with the spiritual world. — In Enoch, the seventh from 
Adam through Seth, godliness attained its highest point; whilst 
ungodliness culminated in Lamech, the seventh from Adam 
through Cain, who made his sword his god. Enoch, therefore, 
like Elijah, was taken away by God, and carried into the 
heavenly paradise, so that he did not see (experience) death 
(Heb. xi. 5) ; i.e. he was taken up from this temporal life and 
transfigured into life eternal, being exempted by God from the 
law of death and of return to the dust, as those of the faithful 
will be, who shall be alive at the coming of Christ to judgment, 
and who in like manner shall not taste of death and corruption, 
bat be changed in a moment. There is no foundation for the 
opinion, that Enoch did not participate at his translation in the 
glorification which awaits the righteous at the resurrection. 
For, according to 1 Cor. xv. 20, 23, it is not in glorification, 
but in the resurrection, that Christ is the first-fruits. Now the 

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latter presupposes death. Whoever, therefore, through the grace 
of God is exempted from death, cannot rise from the dead, but 
reaches cuf>dap<rla, or the glorified state of perfection, through 
being " changed " or " clothed upon " (2 Cor. v. 4). This does 
not at all affect the truth of the statement in Rom. v. 12, 14. 
For the same God who has appointed death as the wages of sin, 
and given us, through Christ, the victory over death, possesses 
the power to glorify into eternal life an Enoch and an Elijah, 
and all who shall be alive at the coming of the Lord without 
chaining their glorification to death and resurrection. Enoch 
and Elijah were translated into eternal life with God without 
passing through disease, death, and corruption, for the consola- 
tion of believers, and to awaken the hope of a life after death. 
Enoch's translation stands about half way between Adam and 
the flood, in the 987th year after the creation of Adam. Seth, 
Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Jared were still alive. His son 
Methuselah and his grandson Lamech were also living, the latter 
being 113 years old. Noah was not yet born, and Adam was 
dead. His translation, in consequence of his walking with God, 
was " an example of repentance to afl_generations, w as the son of 
Sirach says^Ecclus. xliv. 16) ; and the apocryphal legend in the 
book of Enoch i. 9 represents him as prophesying of the coming 
of the Lord, to execute judgment upon the ungodly (Jude 14, 
15). In comparison with the longevity of the other fathers, 
Enoch was taken away young, before he had reached half the 
ordinary age, as a sign that whilst long life, viewed as a time for 
repentance and grace, is indeed a blessing from God, when the 
ills which have entered the world through sin are considered, it 
is also a burden and trouble which God shortens for His chosen. 
That the patriarchs of the old world felt the ills of this earthly 
life in all their severity, was attested by Lamech (vers. 28, 29), 
when he gave his son, who was born 69 years after Enoch's 
translation , the name of Noah, saying, " This same shall comfort 
us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the 
ground which the Lord hath cursed." Noali, nfa from no to re st 
and rpjn to bring rest, is explained by Dru to comfort, in the 
sense of helpful and remedial consolation. Lamech not only 
felt the burden of his work upon the ground which God had 
cursed, but looked forward with a prophetic presentiment to the 
time when the existing misery and corruption would terminate, 

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CHAP. VI. 1-8. 127 

and a change for the better, a redemption from the curse, would 
come. This presentiment assumed the form of hope when his 
son was born ; he therefore gave expression to it in his name. 
But his hope was not realized, at least not in the way that he 
desired. A change did indeed take place in the lifetime of 
Noah. By the judgment of the flood the corrupt race was ex- 
terminated, and in Noah, who was preserved because of his 
blameless walk with God, the restoration of the human race was 
secured ; but the effects of the curse, though mitigated, were 
not removed ; whilst a covenant sign guaranteed the preservation 
of the human race, and therewith, by implication, his hope of 
the eventual removal of the curse (ix. 8—17). — The genealogical 
table breaks off with Noah; all that is mentioned with reference 
to him being the birth of his three sons, when he was 500 years 
old (ver. 32 ; see chap. xi. 10), without any allusion to the re- 
maining years of his life, — an indication of a later hand. " The 
mention of three sons leads to the expectation, that whereas 
hitherto the line has been perpetuated through one member 
alone, in the future each of the three sons will form a new begin- 
ning (yid. ix. 18, 19, x. 1)." — M. Baumgarten. 

MEN. — OHAP. VI. 1-a 

The genealogies in chap. iv. and v., which trace the develop- 
ment of the human race through two fundamentally different lines, 
headed by Cain and Seth, are accompanied by a description of 
their moral development, and the statement that through mar- 
riages between the " so ns of God" (Elokim) and the " daughters 
of men," the wickedness became so great, that God determined to 
destroy the men whom He had created. This description applies 
to the whole human race, and presupposes the intercourse or 
marriageof the Cainites with the Sethites. — Ver. 1 relates to the 
increase of men generally {ETKfi, without any restriction), i.e. of 
the whole human race ; and whilst the moral corruption is repre- 
sented as universal, the whole human race, with the exception of 
Noah, who found grace before God (ver. 8), is described as ripe 
for destruction (vers. 3 and 5-8). To understand this section, 
and appreciate the causes of this complete degeneracy of the race, 
we must first obtain a correct interpretation of the expressions 

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" sons of God" (ovifon ya) and " daughters of men" (mttn nun). 
Th ree dif ferent views have been entertained from the very ear- 
\ liest times : the w sons of God" being regarded as (a) the sons 
of princes, (b) angels, (c) the Sethites or godly men; and" the 
" daughters of men," as the Slaughters (a) of people of the lower 
orders, (b) of mankind generally, (c) of the Cainites, or of the rest 
of mankind as contrasted with the godly or the children of God. 
/ A ikJjXA ^ these three views, the first, although it has become the tradi- 
j/vW*T^ tional one in orthodox rabbinical Judaism, may be dismissed at 
once as not warranted by the usages of the language, and as 
altogether unscriptural. The second, on the contrary, may be 
I J defended on two plausible grounds : first, the fact that the " sons 
,. try ! of God," in Job i. 6; ii. 1, and xxxviii. 7, and in Dan. iii. 25, are 
/ unquestionably angels (also DvK \n in Ps. xxix. 1 and lxxxix. 7) ; 

and secondly, the antithesis, " sons of God" and " daughters 
of men." Apart from the context and tenor of the passage, 
these two points would lead us most naturally to regard the 
"sons of God" as angels, in distinction from men and the 
daughters of men. But this explanation, though the first to 
suggest itself, can only lay claim to be received as the correct 
one, provided the language itself admits of no other. Now that 
is not the case. For it is not to angels only that the term " sons 
^ of Elohim," or " sons of Elim," is applied ; but in Ps. lxxiii. 15, 
in an address to Elohim, the godly are called " the generation of 
Thy sons," i.e. sons of Elohim ; in Deut. xxxii. 5 the Israelites 
are called His (God's) sons, and in Hos. i. 10, " sons of the living 
God ;" and in Ps. lxxx. 17, Israel is spoken of as the son, whom 
Elohim has made strong. These passages show that the expres- 
sion " sons of God" cannot be elucidated by philological means, 
but must be interpreted by theology alone. Moreover, even 
when it is applied to the angels, it is questionable whether it is 
to be understood in a physical or ethical sense. The notion that 
" it is employed in a physical sense as nomen natures, instead of 
angels as nomen officii, and presupposes generation of a physical 
kind," we must reject as an unscriptural and gnostic error. Ac- 
cording to the scriptural view, the heavenly spirits are creatures of 
God, and not begotten from the divine essence. Moreover, all the 
other terms applied to the angels are ethical in their character. 
But if the title w sons of God" cannot involve the notion of phy- 
sical generation, it cannot be restricted to celestial spirits, but is 

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CHAP. VI. l-». 129 

applicable to all beings which bear the image of God, or by virtue 
of their likeness to God participate in the glory, power, and 
blessedness of the divine life, — to men therefore as well as angels, 
since God has caused man to " want but little of Elohim," or to 
stand but a little behind Elohim (Ps. viii. 5), so that even ma- 
gistrates are designated " Elohim, and sons of the Most High" 
(Ps. lxxxii. 6). When Delitzsch objects to the application of the 
expression " sons of Elohim" to pious men, because, " although 
the idea of a child of God may indeed have pointed, even in the 
O. T., beyond its theocratic limitation to Israel (Ex. iv. 22 ; 
Deut. xiv. 1) towards a wider ethical signification (Ps. lxxiii. 15 ; 
Prov. xiv. 26), yet this extension and expansion were not so 
completed, that in historical prose the terms ' sons of God' (for 
which 'sons of Jehovah' should have been used to prevent 
mistake), and ' sons (or daughters) of men,' could be used to dis- 
tinguish the children of God and the children of the world," — 
this argument rests upon the er roneous supposition, that the ex \j- 
pression " sons of God" was introduced by Jehovah for the first 
time when He selected Israel to be the covenant nation. So 
much is true, indeed, that before the adoption of Israel as the 
first-born son of Jehovah (Ex. iv. 22), it would have been out of 
place to speak of sons of Jehovah ; but the notion is false, or at 
least incapable of proof, that there were not children of God in 
the olden time, long before Abraham's call, and that, if there 
were, they could not have been called " sons of Elohim." The 
idea was not first introduced in connection with the theocracy, 
and extended thence to a more universal signification. It had 
its roots in the divine image, and therefore was general in its 
application from the very first ; and it was not till God in the 
character of Jehovah chose Abraham and his seed to be the 
vehicles of salvation, and left the heathen nations to go their 
own way, that the expression received the specifically theocratic 
signification of " son of Jehovah," to be again liberated and 
expanded into the more comprehensive idea of viodeala tow 
Geov (i.e. Elohim, not tow icvpiov — Jehovah), at the coming of 
Christ, the Saviour of all nations. If in the olden time there 
were pious men who, like Enoch and Noah, walked with Elohim, 
or who, even if they did not stand in this close priestly relation 
to God, made the divine image a reality through their piety and 
fear of God, then there were sons (children) of God, for whom 

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the only correct appellation was " sons of Elohim," since sonship 
to Jehovah was introduced with the call of Israel, so that it 
could only have been proleptically that the children of God in 
the old world could be called " sons of Jehovah." But if it be 
still argued, that in mere prose the term "sons of God" could 
not have been applied to children of God, or pious men, this 
would be equally applicable to " sons of Jehovah." On the 
other hand, there is this objection to our applying it to angels, 
that the pious, who walked with God and called upon the name 
of the Lord, had been mentioned just before, whereas no allu- 
sion had been made to angels, not even to their creation. 

Again, the antithesis " sons of God" and " daughters of men" 
does not prove that the former were angels. It by no means 
follows, that because in ver. 1 D*1KH denotes man as a genus, i.e. 
the whole human race, it must do the same in ver. 2, where the 
expression " daughters of men" is determined by the antithesis 
" sons of God." And with reasons existing for understanding 
by the sons of God and the daughters of men two species of the 
genus Dlttn, mentioned in ver. 1, no valid objection can be offered 
to the restriction of mun, through the antithesis Elohim, to all 
men with the exception of the sons of God ; since this mode of 
expression is by no means unusual in Hebrew. " From the ex- 
pression ' daughters of men,' " as Dettinger observes, " it by no 
means follows that the sons of God were not men ; any more 
than it follows from Jer. xxxii. 20, where it is said that God had 
done miracles ' in Israel, and among men,' or from Isa. xliii. 4, 
where God says He will give men for the Israelites, or from 
Judg. xvi. 7, where Samson says, that if he is bound with seven 
green withs he shall be as weak as a man, or from Ps. lxxiii. 5, 
where it is said of the ungodly they are not in trouble as men, 
that the Israelites, or Samson, or the ungodly, were not men at 
all. In all these passages DIN (men) denotes the remainder of 
mankind in distinction from those who are especially named." 
Oases occur, too, even in simple prose, in which the same term 
is used, first in a general, and then directly afterwards in a more 
restricted sense. We need cite only one, which occurs in Judg. 
xix.-xxi. In chap. xix. 30 reference is made to the coming of 
the children of Israel (i.e. of the twelve tribes) out of Egypt ; and 
directly afterwards (chap. xx. 1, 2) it is related that " all the 
children of Israel," " all the tribes of Israel," assembled together 

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CHAP. VL 1-8. 131 

(to make war, as we learn from vers. 3 sqq., upon Benjamin) ; 
and in the whole account of the war, chap. xx. and xxi., the 
tribes of Israel are distinguished from the tribe of Benjamin : 
so that the expression " tribes of Israel" really means the rest of 
the tribes with the exception of Benjamin. And yet the Ben- 
jamites were Israelites. Why then should the fact that the 
sons of God are distinguished from the daughters of men prove 
that the former could not be men t There is not force enough 
in these two objections to compel us to adopt the conclusion that 
the sons of God were angels. 

The question whether the " sons of Elohim " were celestial / l*^* 

or terrestrial sons of God (angels or pious men of the family of 
Seth) can only be determined from the context, and from the 
substance of the passage itself, that is to say, from what is re- 
lated respectin g the co nd^fft "f thn tonn nf God and its results. 
That The connection does not favour the idea of their being 
nngels, is acknowledged even by those who adopt this view. 
" It cannot be denied," says Delitzsch, " that the connection of 
chap. vi. 1-8 with chap. iv. necessitates the assumption, that 
such intermarriages (of the Sethite and Cainite families) did 
take place about the time of the flood (cf. Matt. xxiv. 38 ; Luke 
xvii. 27) ; and the prohibition of mixed marriages under the law 
(Ex. xxxiv. 16 ; cf . Gen._ xxvii. 46, xxviii. 1 sqq.) also favours the 
same idea^TJutthis " assumption " is placed beyond all doubt, 
by what is here related of the sons of God. In ver. 2 it is 
stated that " the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that 
they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they 
chose," i.e. of any with whose beauty they were charmed ; and 
these wives bare children to them (ver. 4). Now nBta np? (to 
take a wife) is a standing expression throughout the whole of 
the Old Testament for the marriage relation established by God 
at the creation, and is never applied to iropvela, or the simple 
act of physical connection. This is quite sufficient of itself to 
exclude any reference to angels. For Christ Himself distinctly 
states that the angels cannot marry (Matt. xxii. 30 ; Mark xii. 
25 ; cf. Luke xx. 34 sqq.). And when Kurtz endeavours to 
weaken the force of these words of Christ, by arguing that they 
do not prove that it is impossible for angels so to fall from their 
original holiness as to sink into an unnatural state ; this phrase 
has no meaning, unless by conclusive analogies, or the clear 

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testimony of Scripture, 1 it can be proved that the angels either 
possess by nature a material corporeality adequate to the con- 
traction of a human marriage, or that by rebellion against their 
Creator they can acquire it, or that there are some creatures in 
heaven and on earth which, through sinful degeneracy, or by 
sinking into an unnatural state, can become possessed of the 

1 We cannot admit that there is any force in Hofmanris argument in 
his Schriflbeweis I, p. 426, that "the begetting of children on the part of 
angels is not more irreconcilable with a nature that is not organized, like 
that of man, on the basis of sexual distinctions, than partaking of food is 
with a nature that is altogether spiritual ; and yet food was eaten by the 
angels who visited Abraham." For, in the first place, the eating in this 
case was a miracle wrought through the condescending grace of the omni- 
potent God, and furnishes no standard for judging what angels can do by 
their own power in rebellion against God. And in the second place, there 
is a considerable difference between the act of eating on the part of the 
angels of God who appeared in human shape, and the taking of wives and 
begetting of children on the part of sinning angels. We are quite unable 
also to accept as historical testimony, the myths of the heathe n respecting 
demigods, sons of gods, and the begetting of children on the part of their 
gods, or the fables of the book of Enoch (chap. vi. sqq.) about the 200 
angels, with their leaders, who lusted after the beautiful and delicate 
daughters of men, and who came down from heaven and took to them- 
selves wives, with whom they begat giants of 3000 (or according to one 
MS. 800) cubits in height. Nor do 2 Pet. ii. 4 and Jude 6 furnish any 
evidence of angel marriages. Peter is merely speaking of sinning angels in 
general (ckyythei* AfiapmaaTuS) whom God did not spare, and not of any 
particular sin on the part of a small number of angels ; and Jude describes 
these angels as tov; f*% Tripr)t*»r*s ni* iavror dficA'i HOiA dvtikivonrtti to 
iiia» cUnrvpior, those who kept not their princedom, their position as ruleis, 
but left their own habitation. There is nothing here about marriages with 
the daughters of men or the begetting of children, even if we refer the 
word tovtoic in the clause to» Sftoion Twro/f Tpo«ro» exnropiitvoxaxi in ver. 7 to 
the angels mentioned in ver. 6 ; for iKimptitn, the commission of fornication, 
would be altogether different from marriage, that is to say, from a conjugal 
bond that was permanent even though unnatural. But it is neither certain 
nor probable that this is the connection of rovroi;. Huther, the latest com- 
mentator upon this Epistle, who gives the preference to this explanation of 
tcivtoii, and therefore cannot be accused of being biassed by doctrinal pre- 
judices, says distinctly in the 2d Ed. of his commentary, "rovrcx; may be 
grammatically construed as referring to Sodom and Gomorrah, or per synesin 
to the inhabitants of these cities ; but in that case the sin of Sodom and 
Gomorrah would only be mentioned indirectly." There is nothing in the 
rules of syntax, therefore, to prevent our connecting the word with Sodom 
and Gomorrah ; and it is not a fact, that " grammaticte et logic ss prtecepta 
compel us to refer this word to the angels," as G. v. Zeschwiu says. But 

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CHAP. VI. 1-ft 133 

power, which they have not hy nature, of generating and pro- 
pagating their species. As man could indeed destroy by sin 
the nature which he had received from his Creator, but could 
not by his own power restore it when destroyed, to say nothing 
of implanting an organ or a power that was wanting before ; so 
we cannot believe that angels, through apostasy from God, could 

the very same reason which Hulher assigns for not connecting it with 
Sodom and Gomorrah, may be also assigned for not connecting it with the 
angels, namely, that in that case the sin of the angels would only be men- 
tioned indirectly. We regard PhilippCs explanation (in his GlaubensUhre 
iii. p. 803) as a possible one, viz. that the word rovroit refers back to the 
Atiptnrtt Atihyui mentioned in ver. 4, and as by no means set aside by 
De Wette's objection, that the thought of ver. 8 would be anticipated in that 
case ; for this objection is fully met by the circumstance, that not only does 
the word ovroi, which is repeated fire times from ver. 8 onwards, refer back 
to these men, but even the word nvreii in ver. 14 also. On the other hand, 
the reference of tovtqii to the angels is altogether precluded by the clause 
x*l dxtXtovatu iietaa tjxpxo{ trip*;, which follows the word iitiropMvtrcuxi. 
For fornication on the part of the angels could only consist in their going 
after flesh, or, as Hofmann expresses it, " having to do with flesh, for which 
they were not created," but not in their going after other, or foreign flesh. 
There would be no sense in the word "trip*; unless those who were Uxop- 
Hvcams were themselves possessed of dpi ; so that this is the only alter- 
native, either we must attribute to the angels a dpi or fleshly body, or the 
idea of referring rovrtti to the angels must be given up. When Kurtz 
replies to this by saying that " to angels human bodies are quite as much a 
trip* dpi, i.e. a means of sensual gratification opposed to their nature and 
calling, as man can be to human man," he hides the difficulty, but does not 
remove it, by the ambiguous expression " opposed to their nature and call- 
ing." The 'trip* dpi must necessarily presuppose an til* dpi. — But it is 
thought by some, that even if toirui in ver. 7 do not refer to the angels 
in ver. 6, the words of Jude agree so thoroughly with the tradition of the 
book of Enoch respecting the fall of the angels, that we must admit the 
allusion to the Enoch legend, and so indirectly to Gen. vi., since Jude could 
not have expressed himself more clearly to persons who possessed the book 
of Enoch, or were acquainted with the tradition it contained. Now this 
conclusion would certainly be irresistible, if the only sin of the angels 
mentioned in the book of Enoch, as that for which they were kept in chains 
of darknes still the judgment-day, had been their intercourse with human 
wives. For the fact that Jude was acquainted with the legend of Enoch, 
and took for granted that the readers of his Epistle were so too, is evident 
from his introducing a prediction of Enoch in vers. 14, 15, which is to be 
found in chap. i. 9 of Dillmann's edition of the book of Enoch. But it is 
admitted by all critical writers upon this book, that in the book of Enoch 
which has been edited by Dillmann, and is only to be found in an Ethiopia 
version, there are contradictory legends concerning the fall and judgment 



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acquire sexual power of which they had previously been desti- 

Ver. 3. The sentence of God upon the " sons of God" is also 
appropriate to men only. . " JehovaJi said : My spirit shall not 
rule in men for ever ; in their wandering they are flesh" The 
verb p , i=p. signifies to rule (hence ffw the ruler), and to judge, 

of the angels ; that the book itself is composed of earlier and later materials ; 
and that those very sections (chap, vi.-xvi. 106, etc.) in which the legend 
of the angel marriages is given without ambiguity, belong to the so-called 
book of Noah, i.e. to a later portion of the Enoch legend, which is opposed 
in many passages to the earlier legend. The fall of the angels is certainly 
often referred to in the earlier portions of the work ; but among all the 
passages adduced by Dillmann in proof of this, there is only one (chap. xix. 
1) which mentions the angels who had taken wives. In the others, the only 
thing mentioned as the sin of the angels or of the hosts of Azazel, is the 
fact that they were subject to Satan, and seduced those who dwelt on the 
earth (chap. liv. 2-6), or that they came down from heaven to earth, and 
revealed to the children of men what was hidden from them, and then led 
them astray to the commission of sin (chap. lxiv. 2). There is nothing 
at all here about their taking "wives. Moreover, in the earlier portions of 
the book, besides the fall of the^&ngels, there is frequent reference made 
to a fall, i.e. an act of sin, on th6\J>art of the stars of heaven and the 
army of heaven, which transgressedrfce commandment of God before 
they rose, by not appearing at their awointed time (vid. chap, xviii. 
14, 15, xxi. S, xc. 21, 24, etc.) ; and their putehment and place of punish- 
ment are described, in just the same manner a* * n the case of the wicked 
angels, as a prison, a lofty and horrible place \} which the seven stars 
of heaven lie bound like great mountains and helping with fire (chap, 
xxi. 2, 3), as an abyss, narrow and deep, dreadfu\and dark, in which 
the star which fell first from heaven is lying, bound 9j*nd and foot (chap, 
lxxxviii. 1 , cf . xc. 24). From these passages it is quit* evident, that thu 
legend concerning the fall of the angels and stars sprangV out of Isa. xxiv. 
21, 22 (" And it shall come to pass in that day, that the L&rd shall visit the 
host of the height (DVlon toy, the host of heaven, by which) star8 and angels 
are to be understood) on high (i.e. the spiritual powers IP* t^ 6 heavens) 
and the kings of the earth upon the earth, and they shall V 6 gathered to- 
gether, bound in the dungeon, and shut up in prison, and aJ ter mxa y da/ 8 
they shall be punished"), along with Isa. xiv. 12 (" How t rt ^° n fallen 
from heaven, thou beautiful morning star I"), and that the icconnt of the 
sons of God in Gen. vi., as interpreted by those who « *er it to the 
angels, was afterwards combined and amalgamated with it. Now if these 
different legends, describing the judgment upon the stars =*>** fe U fl0m 
heaven, and the angels that followed Satan in seducing ma ", in just the 
same manner as the judgment upon the angels who bego- ' giants from 
women, were in circulation at the time when the Epistle of J nde was writ- 
ten ; we must not interpret the sin of the angels, referred tc by Peter and 

d google 

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CHAP. VL 8. 135 

as the consequence of ruling, Wi is the divine spirit of life 
bestowed upon man, the principle of physical and ethical, natural 
and spiritual life. This iHITspirit God will withdraw from man, 
and thereby put an end to their life and conduct. D|t?a is re- 
garded by many as a particle, compounded of 3, B* a contraction 

Jade, in a one-sided manner, and arbitrarily connect it with only such pas- 
sages of the book of Enoch as speak of angel marriages, to the entire disre- 
gard of all the other passages, which mention totally different sins as com- 
mitted by the angels, that are punished with bands of darkness ; but we must 
interpret it from what Jude himself has said concerning this sin, as Peter 
gives no further explanation of what he means by ifixprvrcu. Now the 
only sins that Jude mentions are fiii rtip^am t%» hxurup dpx'i' and Am'hiieii* 
to fiiop olKYirtipiof. The two are closely connected. Through not keeping 
the dpxv («'•«• the position as rulers in heaven) which belonged to them, and 
was assigned them at their creation, the angels left " their own habitation" 
(lim ttjotrtipioo) ; just as man, when he broke the commandment of God 
and failed to keep his position as ruler on earth, also lost " his own habita- 
tion" (fiio* o/*uti)/mov), that is to say, not paradise alone, but the holy body 
of innocence also, so that he needed a covering for his nakedness, and will 
continue to need it, until we are " clothed upon with our house which is 
from heaven " (oU>rrt>pio» tif*u» i£ oip»uou). In this description of the angels 1 
sin, there is not the slightest allusion to their leaving heaven to woo the 
beautiful daughters of men. The words may be very well interpreted, as 
they were by the earlier Christian theologians, as relating to the fall of 
Satan and his angels, to whom all that is said concerning their punishment 
fully applies. If Jude had had the vapvu'x of the angels, mentioned in the 
Enoch legends, in his mind, he would have stated this distinctly, just as he 
does in ver. 9 in the case of the legend concerning Michael and the devil, 
and in ver. 11 in that of Enoch's prophecy. There was all the more reason 
for his doing this, because not only do contradictory accounts of the sin of 
the angels occur in the Enoch legends, but a comparison of the parallels 
cited from the book of Enoch proves that he deviated from the Enoch legend 
in points of no little importance. Thus, for example, according to Enoch 
liv. 3, " iron chains of immense weight " are prepared for the hoste of Azazel, 
to put them into the lowest hell, and cast them on that grea^day into the 
furnace with flaming fire. Now Jude and Peter say notning about iron 
chains, and merely mention "everlasting chains under darkness " and "chains 
of darkness." Again, according to Enoch x. 12,^£he angel sinners are 
" bound fast under the earth for seventy generation/, till the day of judgment 
and their completion, till the last judgment shall be held for all eternity." 
Peter and Jude make no allusion to this point o." time, and the supporters 
of the angel marriages, therefore, have thought -r ell to leave it out when 
quoting this parallel to Jude 6. Under these circumstances, the silence of 
the apostles as to either marriages or fornication on the part of the sinful 
angels, is a sure sign that they gave no credence to these fables of a Jewish 
gnosticising tradition. 

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i of 1CV, and DJ (also), used in the sense of quoniam, because, 

' \ , (efc = netes, as V or ^ = i#K Judg. v. 7, vi. 17 ; Song of Sol. 

^ • i. 7). But the objection to this explanation is, that the D|, " be- 

\ J ^ ' , cause he also is flesh," introduces an incongruous emphasis into 

"^ y the clause. We therefore prefer to regard D|t? as the inf. of 

_-="^ JJB> = nitf with the suffix : " in their erring (that of men) he 

I "(man as a genus) is flesh;" an explanation ^to"wHich, to our mind, 

' the extremely harsh change of number (they, he), is no objection, 
since many examples might be adduced of a similar change (vid. 
Hupfeld on Ps. v. 10). Men, says God, have proved themselves 
by their erring and straying to be flesh, Le. given up to the flesh, 
and incapable of being ruled by the Spirit of God and led back 

, to the divine goal of their life. 1^2 is used already in its ethi cal 
signification, like <rag£jin the Sew Testament, denoting not 
merely the natural corporeality of man, but his materiality as 
rendered ungodly by sin. u Therefore his days shall Be 120 
years:" this means, not that human life should in future never 
attain a greater age than 120 years, but that a respite of 120 
years should still be granted to the human race. This sentence, 
as we may gather from the context, was made known to Noah 
in his 480th year, to be published by him as " preacher of right- 
eousness" (2 Pet. ii. 5) to the degenerate race. The reason why 
men had gone so far astray, that God determined to withdraw 
His spirit and give them up to destruction, was that the sons of 
God had taken wives of such of the daughters of men as they 

. chose. Can this mean, because angels had formed marriages 

t>. with the daughters of men ? Even granting that such marriages, 

I as being unnatural connections, would have led to the complete 

1 corruption of human nature ; the men would in that case have 
been the tempted, and the real authors of the corruption would 
have been the angels. Why then should judgment fall upon 
the tempted alone ? The judgments of God in the world are 
not executed with^snch partiality as this. And the supposition 
that nothing is said about the punishment of the angels, because 
the narrative has to da with the history of man, and the spiritual 
world is intentionally veiled as much as possible, does not meet 
the difficulty. If tn£ sons of God were angels, the narrative is 
concerned not only with men, but with angels also ; and it is not 
the custom of the. Scriptures merely to relate the judgments 
which fall upon the tempted, and say nothing at all about the 


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CHAP. Vt 4. 137 

tempters. For the contrary, see chap. iii. 14 sqq. If the " sons 
of God" were not men, so as to he included in the term ffW, the 
punishment would need to he specially pointed out in their case, 
and no deep revelations of the spiritual world would be required, 
since these celestial tempters would be living with men upon the 
earth, when they had taken wives from among their daughters. 
The judgments of God are not only free from all unrighteous- 
ness, but avoid every kind of partiality. 

Ver. 4. " The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and 
also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters 
of men, and they bare children to them : these are the heroes 
(D^lkin) who from the olden time ( D ^W?, as in Ps. xxv. 6 ; 1 Sam. 
xxvii. 8) are the men of name" (i.e. noted, renowned or notorious 
men). DT'W, from *>M to fall upon (Job i. 15 ; Josh. xi. 7), sig- 
nifies the invaders (iTriTrtirrovre; Aq., /Swubt Sym.). Luther gives 
the correct meaning, "tyrants :" t hey were called N e philim b e- , 
c ause they fell upon the people and oppressed them. 1 The I 
meaning of the verse is a subject of dispute. To an unpreju- 
diced mind, the words, as they stand, represent the Nephilim, 
who were on the earth in those days, as existing before the sons 
of God began to marry the daughters of men, and clearly dis- 
tinguish them from the fruits of these marriages. W can no 
more be rendered " they became, or arose," in this connection, 
than rvn in chap. i. 2. WW would have been the proper word. 
The expression "in those days" refers most naturally to the 

1 The notion that the Nephilim -were giants, to which the Sept. rendering 
ytyeunti has given rise, was rejected even by Luther as fabulous. He bases 
his view upon Josh. zi. 7 : " Nephilim non dictos a magnitudine corporum, 
sicu( Itabbini putant, sed a tyrannide et oppressions quod vi grassati sint, 
nulla hahita ratione legum aut honestatix, sed simpUciter indulgentes suis 
vohtptatibus et cupiditatibus." The opinion that giants are intended derives 
no support from Num. xiii. 82, 88. When the Bpies describe the land of 
Canaan as " a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof," and then add % 
(ver. 83), " and there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak among (p lit. 
from, out of, in a partitive sense) the Nephilim," by the side of whom they 
were as grasshoppers ; the term Nephilim cannot signify giants, since the 
spies not only mention them especially along with the inhabitants of the 
land, who are described as people of great stature, but single out only a 
portion of the Nephilim as "sons of Anak" (pjp '33), i.e. long-necked 
people or giants. The explanation "fallen from heaven" needs no refuta- 
tion ; inasmuch as the main element, " from heaven," is a purely arbitrary 

PENT. — VOL. I. K 

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time when God pronounced the sentence upon the degenerate 
race; but it is so general and comprehensive a term, that it 
must not be confined exclusively to that time, not merely be- 
cause the divine sentence was first pronounced after these mar 
riages were contracted, and the marriages, if they did not 
produce the corruption, raised it to that fulness of iniquity 
which was ripe for the judgment, but still more because the 
words " after that" represent the marriages which drew down 
the judgment as an event that followed the appearance of the 
NephiUm. " The same were mighty men :" this might point back 
to the NephiUm ; but it is a more natural supposition, that it 
refers to the children horn to the sons of God. " These," 
i.e. the sons sprung from those marriages, " are the heroes, those 
renowned heroes of old." Now if, according to the simple 
meaning of the passage, the NephiUm were in existence at the 
very time when the sons of God came in to the daughters of 
men, the appearance of the NephiUm cannot afford the slightest 
evidence that the " sons of God" were angels, by whom a family 
of monsters were begotten, whether demigods, daemons, or angel- 

1 How thoroughly irreconcilable the contents of this veree are with the 
angel-hypothesis is evident from the strenuous efforts of its supporters to 
bring them into harmony with it. Thus, in Reuter's Repert., p. 7, Del. 
observes that the verse cannot be rendered in any but the following man- 
ner : " The giants were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when 
the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, these they bare to them, 
or rather, and these bare to them ; " but, for all that, he gives this as the 
meaning of the words, " At the time of the divine determination to inflict 
punishment the giants arose, and also afterwards, when this unnatural con- 
nection between super-terrestrial and human beings continued, there arose 
such giants;" not only substituting "arose" for "were," but changing 
"when they connected themselves with them" into "when this connection 
continued." Nevertheless he is obliged to confess that " it is strange that 
this unnatural connection, which I also suppose to be the intermediate cause 
of the origin of the giants, should not be mentioned in the first clause of 
ver. 4." This is an admission that the text says nothing about the origin 
of the giants being traceable to the marriages of the sons of God, but that 
the commentators have been obliged to insert it in the text to save their 
angel marriages. Kurtz has tried three different explanations of this verse, 
but they are all opposed to the rules of the language. (1) In the History of 
the Old Covenant he gives this rendering : " Nephilim were on earth in these 
days, and that even after the sons of God had formed connections with the 
daughters of men ;" in which he not only gives to DJ the unsupportable 

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CHAP. VL &-«. 139 

Vers. 5-8. Now when the wickedness of man became great, 
and " every imagination of the tJioughis of his heart was only 
evil the whole day," i.e. continually and altogether evil, it re- 
pented God that He had made man, and He determined to 
destroy them. This determination and the motive assigned 
are also irreconcilable with the angel-theory. " Had the god- 
less race, which God destroyed by the flood, sprung either en- 
tirely or in part from the marriage of angels to the daughters 
of men, it would no longer have been the race first created 
by God in Adam, but a grotesque product of the Adamitic 
factor created by God, and an entirely foreign and angelic 
factor" (Phil.). 1 The force of nn|», « it repented the Lord," 

meaning, " even, just," but takes the imperfect wfy in the sense of the per- 
fect «t3- (2) In his Ehen der SShne Gottes (p. 80) he gives the choice of 
this and the following rendering : " The Nephilim were on earth in those 
days, and also after this had happened, that the sons of God came to the 
daughters of men and begat children," where the tmgrammatical rendering 
of the imperfect as the perfect is artfully concealed by the interpolation of 
" after this had happened." (3) In " die SShne Gottes," p. 85 : " In these 
days and also afterwards, when the sons of God came (continued to come) 
to the daughters of men, they bare to them (*c. Nephilim)," where \t£y, 
they came, is arbitrarily altered into ttf 3? *D , Di'', they continued to come. 
But when he observes in defence of this quid pro quo, that " the imperfect 
denotes here, as Hengstenberg has correctly affirmed, and as so often is the 
case, an action frequently repeated in past times," this remark only shows 
that he has neither understood the nature of the usage to which H. refers, 
nor what Ewald has said (§ 136) concerning the force and use of the im- 

1 When, on the other hand, the supporters of the angel marriages main- f 
tain that it is only on this interpretation that the necessity for the flood, 
i.e. for the complete destruction of the whole human race with the excep- 
tion of righteous Noah, can be understood, not only is there no scriptural 
foundation for this argument, but it is decidedly at variance with those 
statements of the Scriptures, which speak of the corruption of the men whom 
God had created, and not of a race that had arisen through an unnatural 
connection of angels and men and forced their way into God's creation. If 
it were really the case, that it would otherwise be impossible to understand 
where the necessity could lie, for all the rest of the human race to be de- 
stroyed and a new beginning to be made, whereas afterwards, when 
Abraham was chosen, the rest of the human race was not only spared, bat 
preserved for subsequent participation in the blessings of salvation : we 
should only need to call Job to mind, who also could not comprehend the 
necessity for the fearful sufferings which overwhelmed him, and was unable 
to discover the justice of God, but who was afterwards taught a better 

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may be gathered from the explanatory W1V, u it grieved Him 
at His heart." This shows that the repentance of God does no t 
presuppose any variableness in His nature. or His purposes. In 
this sense God never repents of anything (1 Sam. xv. 29), 
"quia nihil Mi inopinatum vel non pramsum accidit" (Calvin). 
The repe ntance of God is an anthropomorphic expression for 
the pain of the divine love at the sin of man, and signifies that 
" God is hurt no less by the atrocious sins of men than if they 
pierced His heart with mortal anguish" (Calvin). The destruc- 
tion of all, u from man unto beast," etc., is to be explained on 
the ground of the sovereignty of man upon the earth, the irra- 
tional creatures being created for him, and therefore involved in 
his fall. This destruction, however, was not to bring the human 
race to an end. " Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." 
In these words mercy is seen in the midst of wrath, pledging 
the preservation and restoration of humanity. 


Chap. vt. 9-ix. 29. 

The important relation in which Noah stands both to sacrec 
and unTversiil histofy^aflses from the fact, thartle T^ound mercy 
on account of" his blameless walk with God ; that in him the 
human race was kept from total destruction, and he was pre- 
served from the all-destroying flood, to found in his sons a new 

lesson by God Himself, and reproved for his rash conclusions, as a sufficient 
proof of the deceptive and futile character of all such human reasoning. 
But this is not the true state of the case. The Scriptures expressly affirm, 
that after the flood the moral corruption of man was the same as before the 
flood ; for they describe it in chap. viii. 21 in the very same words as in 
chap. vi. 6 : and the reason they assign for the same judgment not being 
repeated, is simply the promise that God would no more smite and destroy 
all living, as He had done before — an evident proof that God expected no 
change in human nature, and out of pure mercy and long-suffering would 
never send a second flood. " Now, if the race destroyed had been one that 
sprang from angel-fathers, it is difficult to understand why no improvement 
, was to be looked for after the flood ; for the repetition of any such unna- 
tural angel-tragedy was certainly not probable, and still less inevitable" 

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CHAP. VI. 9-«. 141 

beginning to the history of the world. The piety of Noah, his 
preservatio n, a nd the covenant through which God appoi nted 
hi m the hea d of the human race, are the three main_points in 
this section. The first of these is dismissed in a very few words. 
The second, on the contrary, viz. the destruction of the old 
world by the flood, and the preservation of Noah, together with 
the animals enclosed in the ark, is circumstantially and elabo- 
rately described, " because this event included, on the one hand, 
a work of judgment and mercy of the greatest significance to the 
history of the kingdom of God " — a judgment of such univer- 
sality and violence as will only be seen again in the judgment at 
the end of the world ; and, on the other hand, an act of mercy 
which made the flood itself a flood of grace, and in that respect 
a type of baptism (1 Pet. in. 21), and of life rising out of death. 
" Destruction ministers to preservation, immersion to purification, 
death to new birth ; the old corrupt earth is buried in the flood, 
that out of this grave a new world may arise" (Delitzsch). 


Vers. 9-12 contain a description of Noah and his contempo- 
raries ; vers. 13-22, the announcement of the purpose of God 
with reference to the flood. — Ver. 9. " Noah, a righteous man, 
was blameless among his generations :" righteous in his moral re- 
lation to God ; blameless (reXeto?, integer) in his character and 
conduct, rfrrn, yeveai, were the generations or families " which 
passed by Noah, the Nestor of his time." His righteousness 
and integrity were manifested in his walking with God, in which 
he resembled Enoch (chap. v. 22). — In vers. 10-12, the account 
of the birth of his three sons, and of the corruption of all flesh, is 
repeated. This corruption is represented as corrupting the whole 
earth and filling it with wickedness ; and thus the judgment 
of the flood is for the first time fully accounted for. " The 
earth was corrupt before God (Elohim points back to the pre- 
vious Elohim in ver. 9)," it became so conspicuous to God, that 
He could not refrain from punishment. The corruption pro- 
ceeded from the fact, that " all Jlesh" — i.e. the whole human 
race which had resisted the influence of the Spirit of God and 
become flesh (see ver. 3) — " had corrupted its way" The term 
" flesh " in vgr^!2 cannot include_ the animal w orld, since the 

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expression, u corrupted its way," is applicable to man alone. The 
facttHat in vers. 13 arid 17 thlslerm^ernBraces boflTmen and 
animals is no proof to the contrary, for the simple reason, that 
in ver. 19 "all flesh" denotes the animal world only, an evident 
proof that the precise meaning of the word must always be de- 
termined from the context. — Ver. 13. " The end of all flesh is 
come before Me" ?* Kte, when applied to rumours, invariably 
signifies " to reach the ear" (vid. chap, xviii. 21 ; Ex. iii. 9 ; 
Esth. ix. 11) ; hence '3B? K3 in this case cannot mean a me con?- 
stitutus est (Ges.). )ft, there fore, is not the end in the sense of 
y^yfyj 1 d estruction, bu t the end (extremity') of depravi ty or corrup tion, 
* 1 which leads to destruction. " For the earth has become full of 
' ttnckednelh U. r'JUUj" i.e. proceeding from them, u and I destroy 
them along with the earth." Because all flesh had destroyed its 
way, it should be destroyed with the earth by God. The lex 
talionis is obvious here. — Vers. 14 sqq. Noah was exempted 
from the extermination. He was to build an ark, in order that 
he himself, his family, and the animals might be preserved. 
nan, which is only used h ere an d^i n Exi ~iL_3^_5»—where jt ; s 
a pplied t o tfie~ark in which Moses^ was placed, is probably an 
~" ian word : ^lie JUXX. render it Kl/3arro<; herSpsxsi-^ilSfj^a 
xodus; tfi&"-Vulgate area, from which our word ark is derived. 
\Gopher-xooo d (ligna bituminata ; Jerome") is most likel y cj/press. 
The air. \ey. gopher is related to ">B^, resin, arid Kunrapuraixi ; it 
is no proof to the contrary that in later Hebrew the cypress is 
called berosh, for gopher belongs to the pre-Hebraic times. The 
ark was to be made cells, i.e. divided into cells, D'li? (lit. nests, 
niduli, mansiunculce), and pitched pB3 denom. from IM) within 
and without with copher, or asphalte (LXX. aa<f>aXro<:, Vulg. 
bitumen). On the supposition, which is a very probable one, 
that the ark wasjbailt in the f orm not o f a ship, but of a chest, 
with flat bottom, like a floating house, aTif was noT meant for 
saifihgPTrat merely to - Boatupon the water, the dimensions, 
300 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high, give a superficial area 
of 15,000 square cubits, and a cubic measurement of 450,000 
cubits, probably of the ordinary standard, " after the elbow 
of a man" (Deut. iii. 11), i.e. measured from the elbow to 
the end of the middle finger. — Ver. 16. " Light shalt thou 
make to the ark, and in a cubit from above shalt thou finish 
it." As the meaning light for -irrtf is established by the word 

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CHAP. VI. 9-J2. 143 

D^irnt, " double-light" or mid-day, the passage can only signify . 

that a hole or opening for light anj^ njr wa,s to hp, sn ^rmstmrtorl i Lit^. /£ 

ngto_n»a ch within a , cnhjt of the edge of the roof. A window ' 

only a cubit square could not possibly "Be intended ; for in* is 
not synonymous with ft?n (chap. viii. 6), but signifies, generally, a 
space for light, or by which light could be admitted into the ark, 
and in which the window, or lattice for opening and shutting, 
could be fixed ; though we can form no distinct idea of what the 
arrangement was. The door he was to place in the side ; and 
to make " lower, second, and third {to. cells)," i.e. three distinct 
stories. 1 — Vers. 17 sqq. Noah was to build this ark, because 
God was about to bring a flood upon the earth, and would save 
him, with his family, and one pair of every kind of animal. 

TOO, (thp. flnnd), is an arrfrmV. witrrl^ coined expresslyjot-lhe 

waters of NoaK (Isa. liv. .9). and i* use<Lnowhfire_filae_ except 
?St M' f- 1 P . n?? '? Q, ° 1S M apposition to mabbul : " I bring 
tlie flood, watert upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein it a 
living breath " {i.e. man and beast). With Noah, God made a 
covenant. On rrta see chap. xv. 18. A» not only the human 
race, but the animal world also was to be preserved through Noah, 
he was to take with him into the ark his wife, his sons and their 
wives, and of every living thing, of all flesh, two of every sort, a 
male and a female, to keep them alive ; also all kinds of food for 
himself and family, and for the sustenance of the beasts. — Vex. 
22. " Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him" 
(with regard to the building of the ark). Cf. Heb. xi. 7. 

1 As the height of the ark was thirty cubits, the three stories of cells 
can hardly have filled the entire space, since a room ten cubits high, or nine 
cubits if we deduct the thickness of the floors, would have been a prodigality 
of space beyond what the necessities required. It has been conjectured that 
above or below these stories there was space provided for the necessary sup- 
plies of food and fodder. At the same time, this is pure conjecture, like 
every other calculation, not only as to the number and Bize of the cells, but 
also as to the number of animals to be collected and the fodder they would 
require. Hence every objection that has been raised to the suitability of 
the structure, and the possibility of collecting all the animals in the ark and 
providing them with food, is based upon arbitrary assumptions, and should 
be treated as a perfectly groundless fancy. As natural science is still in the 
dark as to the formation of species, and therefore not in a condition to 
determine the number of pairs from which all existing species are descended, 
it is ridiculous to talk, as Pfaff and others do, of 2000 species of mammalia, 
and 6500 species of birds, which Noah would have had to feed every day. 

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The account of the commencement, course, and termination 
of the flood ab ounds in repetition s ; but although it progresse s 
somewhat heavily, the connection is well sustained, and no link 
coiild be erased without producing a gap. — Vers. 1-16. When 
the ark was built, and the period of grace (vi. 3) had passed, 
Noah received instructions from Jehovah to enter the ark with 
his family, and with the animals, viz. seven of every kind of 
clean animals^ and two of the unclean ; and was informed 
that within seven days God would cause it to rain upon the 
earth forty days and forty nights. The date of the flood is 
then given (ver. 6) : " Noah was six hundred years old, and 
the flood was (namely) water upon the earth ;" and the execu- 
tion of the divine command is recorded in vers. 7-9. There 
follows next the account of the bursting forth of the flood, 
the date being given with still greater minuteness; and the 
entrance of the men and animals into the ark is again de- 
scribed as being fully accomplished (vers. 10-16). — The fact 
that in the command to enter the ark a distinction is now made 
betw een clean a ncLuncleananimals. seven ofthe former being 
ordered to be taken, — i.e. three pair and a single one, probably 
a male for sacrifice, — is no more a proof of different authorship, 
or of the fusion of two accounts, than the interchange of the 
names Jehovah and Elohiin. For the distinction between clean 
and unclean animals did not originate with Moses, but was 
confirmed by him as a long established custom, in harmony with 
the law. It reached hack to the very earliest times, and arose 
from a certain innate feeling of the human mind, when undis- 
turbed by unnatural and ungodly influences, which detects types 
of sin and corruption in many animals, and instinctively recoils 
from them (see my biblische Archdologie ii. p. 20). That the 
variations in the names of God furnish no criterion by which 
to detect different documents, is evident enough from the fact, 
that in chap. vii. 1 it is Jehovah who commands Noah to 
enter the ark, and in ver. \ Noah does as Elohim had com- 
manded, whilst in ver. 16, in two successive clauses, Elohim 
alternates with Jehovah — the animals entering the ark at the 
command of Elohim, and Jehovah shutting Noah in. With 
regard to the entrance of the animals into the ark, it is worthy 

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CHAP. VII. 17-M. 145 

of notice, that in vers. 9 and 15 it is stated that " they came two 
and two" and in ver. 16 that "the coming ones came male and 
female of all flesh." In this expression " they came " it is 
clearly intimated, that the animals collected about Noah and 
were taken into the ark, without his having to exert himself to 
collect them, and that they did so in consequence of an insti nct 
produced by God, Tike - that which frequently leads animals to 
scent and try to flee from dangers, of which man has no pre- 
sentiment. The time when the flood commenced is said to have 
been the 600th year of Noah's life, on the 17th day of the second 
month (ver. 11). The months must be reckoned, not accord- 
ing to the Mosaic ecclesiastical year, which commenced in the 
spring, but according to the natural or civil yea r, which com- 
menced in the autumn at the beginning of sowing time, or the 
autumnal equinox; so that the flood would be pouring upon 
the earth in October and November. " The same clay wire all 
the fountains of the great deep (blnn the unfathomable ocean) 
broken up, and the sluices (windows, lattices) of heaven opened, 
and there was (happened, came) pouring rain (DW in distinction 
from 1DD) upon the earth 40 days and 40 nights" Thus the 
floodjwas produced by the bursting_Jorth of fountains^ hidden 
withinjhe-fiarth^ whichjdrpve_seas_and_rkers. above their banks, 
andbyjwn which continued incessantly for 40" days and ^0 
nights. — Ver. 13. " In the self-same day had Noah . . . entered 
into the ark :" Ma^p luperfect " had com e," not came, which would 
require &P. The idea is not that Noah, with his family and 
all the animals, entered the ark on the very day on which 
the rain began, but that on that day he had entered, had com- 
pleted the entering, which occupied the seven days between the 
giving of the command (ver. 4) and the commencement of the 
flood (ver. 10). 

Vers. 17-24 contain a description of the flood : how the 
water increased more and more, till it was 15 cubits above all 
the lofty mountains of the earth, and how, on the one hand, it 
raised the ark above the earth and above the mountains, and, 
on the other, destroyed every living being upon the dry land, 
from man to cattle, creeping things, and birds. " The descrip- 
tion is simple and majestic ; the almighty judgment of God, 
and the love manifest in the midst of the wrath, hold the his- 
torian fast. ThgJaHtolQgies_depict the fear ful mono jpjiy_pJLth8 

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immeasurable expanssj rf wate r: omnia pontes erant et deerant 
liiera pontoT The words of ver. 17, " and the flood was (came) 
upon the earth for forty days" relate to the 40 days' rain com- 
bined with the bursting forth of the fountains beneath the earth. 
By these the water was eventually raised to the height given, 
at which it remained 150 days (ver. 24). But if the w ater 
covered. " all the hig h hills under the whole^ajxn^thisjdea.rly 
indicate s the u niversality of t he floo d. The statement, indeed, 
that it rose 15^cubits~ above the mountains, is probably founded 
upon the fact, that the ark drew 15 feet of water, and that when 
the waters subsided, it rested upon the top of Ararat, from 
which the conclusion would very naturally be drawn as to the 
greatest height attained. Now as Ararat, according to the 
measurements of Perrot, is only 16,254 feet high, whereas the 
loftiest peaks of the Himalaya and Cordilleras are as much as 
26,843, the submersion of these mountains has been thought 
impossible, and the statement in ver. 19 has been regarded as a 
rhetorical expression, like Dent. ii. 25 and iv. 19, which is not 
of universal application. But even if those peaks, which are 
higher than Ararat, were not covered by water, we cannot 
therefore pronounce the flood merely partial in its extent, but 
must regard it as universal, as extending over every part of 
the world, since the few peaks uncovered would not only sink 
into vanishing points in comparison with the surface covered, 
but would form an exception not worth mentioning, for the 
simple reason that no living beings could exist upon these 
mountains, covered with perpetual snow and ice ; so that every- 
thing that lived upon the dry land, in whose nostrils there was a 
breath of life, would inevitably die, and, with the exception of 
those shut up in the ark, neither man nor beast would be able 
to rescue itself, and escape destruction. A flood which rose 15 
cubits above the top of Ararat could not remain partial, if it 
only continued a few days, to say nothing of the fact that the 
water was rising for 40 days, and remained at the highest ele- 
vation for 150 days. To speak of such a flood as partial is 
absurd , even if it broke out at only one spot, it would spread 
over the earth from one end to the other, and reach everywhere 
to the same elevation. However impossible, therefore, scientific 
men may declare it to be for them to conceive of a universal 
flood of such a height and duration in accordance with the 

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CHAP. VIII. 1-6. 147 

known laws of nature, this inability on their part does not 
justify any one in questioning the possibility of such an event 
being produced by the omnipotence of God. It has been justly 
remarked, too, that the proportion of such a quantity of water to 
the entire mass of the earth, in relation to which the mountains 
are but like the scratches of a needle on a globe, is no greater 
than that of a profuse perspiration to the body of a man. And 
to this must be added, that, apart from the legend of a flood, 
which is found in nearly every nation, the earth presents un- 
questionable traces of submersion in the fossil remains of ani- 
mals and plants, which are found upon the Cordilleras and 
Himalaya even beyond the limit of perpetual snow. 1 In ver. 23, 
instead of rnw (imperf. Niphal) read no^ (imperf. Kal) : " and 
He (Jehovah) destroyed every existing thing," as He had said in 
ver. 4. 

Chap. viii. 1-5. With the words, "then God remembered 
Noah and all the animals . . . tn the ark," the narrative turns 
to the description of the gradual decrease of the water until the 
ground was perfectly dry. The fall of the water is described 
in the same pictorial style as its rapid rise. God's " remember- 
ing'' was a manifestation of Himself, an effective restraint of the 
force of the raging element. He caused a wind to blow over 
the earth, so that the waters sank, and shut up the fountains of 
the deep, and the sluices of heaven, so that the rain from heaven 
was restrained. " Then the waters turned ('3?*} »'.«. flowed off) from 
the earth, flowing continuously (the inf. absol. 3ien ^|vn expresses 
continuation), and decreased at Hie end of 150 days." The de- 
crease first became perceptible when the ark rested upon the 

1 The geological facta which testify to the submersion of the entire 
globe are collected in Bttckland's reliquim diluv., Schubert's Gesch. der Natur, 
and C. v. Saunter's Geography, and are of such importance that even Cuvier 
acknowledged " Je pense done, avec MM. Deluc et Dolomieu, que s'il y a 
quelque chose de constate" en geologic ; e'est que la surface de notre globe a 
6t6 victime d'une grande et subite revolution, dont la date ne peut remonter 
beaucoup an dela de cinq on six mille ans " (Diacours but les revol. de la sur- 
face du glebe, p. 290, ed. 6). The latest phase of geology, however, denies 
that these facts furnish any testimony to the historical character of the 
flood, and substitutes the hypothesis of a submersion of the entire globe 
before the creation of man : 1. because the animals found are very different 
from those at present in existence ; and 2. because no certain traces have 
hitherto been found of fossil human bones. We have already shown that 
there is no force in these arguments. Vid. Keerl, pp. 489 sqq. 

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mountains of Ararat on the 17th day o f the seventh m onth; ue., 
reckoningjO.days to a month7 exactlyl50 da ys after the flood 
commenced. FronTlhaT time forth it continued without inter- 
mission, so that on the first day of the tenth month, probably 73 
days after the resting of the ark, the tops of the mountains were 
seen, viz. the tops of the Armenian highlands, by which the ark 
was surrounded. Ararat was the name of a province (2 Kings 
xix. 37), which is mentioned along with Minni (Armenia) as a 
kingdom in Jer. li. 27, probably the central province of the 
country of Armenia, which Moses v. Chorene calls Arairad, 
Araratia. The mountains of Ararat are, no doubt, the group of 
mountains which rise from the plain of the Araxes in two lofty 
peaks, the greater and lesser Ararat, the former 16,254 feet 
above the level of the sea, the latter about 12,000. This land- 
ing-place of the ark is extremely interesting in connection with 
the development of the human race as renewed after the flood. 
Armenia, the source of the rivers of paradise, has been called 
" a cool, airy, well-watered mountain-island in the midst of the 
old continent ; " but Mount Ararat especially is situated almost 
in the middle, not only of the great desert route of Africa and 
Asia, but also of the range of inland waters from Gibraltar to 
the Baikal Sea — in the centre, too, of the longest line that can 
be drawn through the settlements of the Caucasian race and the 
Indo-Germanic tribes ; and, as the central point of the longest 
land-line of the ancient world, from the Cape of Good Hope to 
the Behring Straits, it was the most suitable spot in the world, 
for the tribes and nations that sprang from the sons of Noah to 
descend from its heights and spread into every land (vid. K. v. 
Raumer, Palast. pp. 456 sqq.). 

Vers. 6-12. Forty days after the appearance of the mountain 
tops, Noah opened the window of the ark and let a raven fly out 
(lit. the raven, i.e. the particular raven known from that circum- 
stance), for the purpose of ascertaining the drying up of the 
waters. The raven went out and returned until the earth was 
dry, but without being taken back into the ark, as the mountain 
tops and the carcases floating upon the water afforded both rest- 
ing-places and food. After that, Noah let a dove fly out three 
times, at intervals of seven days. It is not distinctly stated that 
he sent it out the first time seven days after the raven, but this 
is implied in the statement that he stayed yet other seven days 

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CHAP. VIII. 18-19. 149 

before sending it out the second time, and the same again be-. 
fore sending it the third time (vers. 10 and 12). The dove, 
when first sent out, "found no rest for the sole of its foot;" for 
a dove will only settle upon such places and objects as are dry 
and clean. It returned to the ark and let Noah take it in again 
(vers. 8, 9j). The second time it returned in the evening, 
having remained out longer than before, and brought a fresh 
(*riD freshly plucked) olive-leaf in its mouth. Noah perceived 
from this that the water must be almost gone, had " abated from 
off the earth," though the ground might not be perfectly dry, as 
the olive-tree will put out leaves even under water. The fresh 
olive-leaf was the first sign of the resurrection of the earth to 
new life after the flood, and the dove with the olive-leaf a herald 
of salvation. The third time it did not return ; a sign that the 
waters had completely receded from the earth. The fact that 
Noah waited 40 days before sending the raven, and after that 
always left an interval of seven days, is not to be accounted for 
on tbe supposition that these numbers were already regarded as 
significant. The 40 days correspond to the 40 days during 
which the rain fell and the waters rose ; and Noah might as-s < 
surae that they would require the same time to recede as to rise. 
The seven days constituted the week established at the creation, 
and God had already conformed to it in arranging their entrance 
into the ark (chap. vii. 4, 10). The selection which Noah 
made of the birds may also be explained quite simply from the 
difference in their nature, with which Noah must have been ac- 
quainted ; that is to say, from the fact that the raven in seeking 
its food settles upon every carcase that it sees, whereas the dove 
will only settle upon what is dry and clean. 

Vers. 13-19. Noah waited some time, and then, on the first 
day of the first month, in the 601st year of his life, removed the 
covering from the ark, that he might obtain a freer prospect over 
the earth. He could see that the surface of the earth was dry ; 
but it was not till the 27th day of the second month, 57 days, 
therefore, after the removal of the roof, that the earth was com- 
pletely dried up. Then God commanded him to leave the ark 
with his family and all the animals ; and so far as the latter were\ 
concerned, He renewed the blessing of the creation (ver. 17 cf. i. V 
22). As the flood commenced on the 17th of the second month 
of the 600th year of Noah's life, and ended on the 27th of the 

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second month of the 601st year, it lasted a yearandtgjulays ; but 
whether a solar year of 360 or 365 days, or a lunar year of 352, 
is doubtful. The former is the more probable, as the first five 
mouths are said to have consisted of 150 days, which suits the 
solar year better than the lunar. The question cannot be de- 
cided with certainty, because we neither know the number of 
days between the 17th of the seventh month and the 1st of the 
tenth month, nor the interval between the sending out of the 
dove and the 1st day of the first month of the 601st year. 


IX. 29. 

A -< \* Two twenty nf Nnq h's life, of w nrld-wjdq y^port""^, are re- 

,X y^^^t/^ corded as having occurred after the flood : his sacrifice, with the 

Uv » *A y divine promise which iollowed it (chap. viii.~20-ix. 17) ; and the 

nj r prophetic curseand blessing pronounced upon his sons (ix. 18- 

29).— Vers. 20-22. The first thing which Moses did, was to 

build an altar for burnt sacrifice, to thank the Lord for gracious 

protection, and pray for His mercy in time to come. This 

I altar — ngto, lit , a place for the offering ofslajn animals, Xrom 
rtgj, jjke UiMruurrfipiouTrom dvew — is ^ Eefirst altar mentioned in 
history. The sons ot AdamHad built no altar for their offerings, 
because God was still present on the earth in paradise, so that 
they could turn their offerings and hearts towards that abode. 
But with the flood God had swep t pa radise away, wi thdrawn t he 
glace JiFHis jpresenceTanil "set up Wis throne In heaven, from 
whiclTHe would henceforth reveal Himself to man (cf. chap, 
xi. 5, 7). In future, therefore, the hearts of the pious had to be 
turned towards heaven, and their offerings and prayers needed 
to ascend on high if they were to reach the throne of God. To 
give this direction to their offerings, heights or elevated places 
were erected, from which they ascended towards heaven in 
i. I fire. From this the offerings recei ved t he name of jfrfr fro m 
S i yfyv f the ascending, not solnudTbecauseThlf'sacrificTal animals 
ascertdecTbr were raised upon the altar, as because they rose 
from the altar to heaven (cf . Judg. xx. 40 ; Jer. xlviii. 15 ; 
Amos iv. 10). Noah took his offerings from every clean beast 
and every clean fowl — from those animals, therefore, which were 
destined for man's food ; probably the seventh of every kind, 

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CHAP. IX. 1-7 151 

which he had taken into the irk. " And Jehovah swelled the 
smell of satisfaction" ».«. He graciously accepted the feelings of 
the offerer which rose to Him in the odour of the sacrificial 
flame. In the sacrificial flame the essence of the animal was 
resolved into vapour ; so that when man presented a sacrifice in 
his own stead, his inmost being, his spirit, and his heart ascended 
to God in the vapour, and the sacrifice brought the feeling of 
his heart before God. This feeling of gratitude for gracious 
protection, and of desire for further communications of grace, 
was well-pleasing to God. He " said to His heart " (to, or in 
Himself; i.e. He resolved), "I will not again curse the ground any 
more for man's sake, because the image (ue. the thought and 
desire) of man's heart is evil from his youth up (ue. from the I U C\T 
very time when he begins to act with consciousness)." This 
hardly seems an appropriate reason. As Luther says: "Hie 
inconstantiae videtur Deus accusari posse. Supra puniturus, 
hominem causam consilii dicit, quia figmentum cordis humani 
malum est. Hie promissurus homini gratiam, quod posthac tali ' 
ira uti nolit, eandem causam allegat." Both Lutlier and Calvin 
-express the same thought, though without really solving the 
apparent discrepancy. It was not because the thoughts and 
desires of the human heart are evil that God would not smite 
any more every living thing, that is to say, would not extermi- 
nate it judicially ; but bec ause they are evil from his youth up, 
becajis^evUisinnate injman^ andforTnar reason^he_Sfie3s the 
forbeara nce oQjrod ; and also (and here lies the principal motive 
for the divine resolution) because in the offering of the righteous 
Noab, not only were thanks presented for past protection, and 
entreaty for further care, but the desire of man was expressed, 
to remain in fellowship with God, and to procure the divine 
favour. " All the days of the earth ;" i.e. so long as the earth 
shall continue, the regular alternation of day and night and of 
the seasons of the year, so indispensable to the continuance of 
the human race, would never be interrupted again. 

Chap. ix. 1-7. These divine purposes of peace, which were 
communicated to Noah while sacrificing, were solemnly con- 
firmed by the renewal of the blessing pronounced at the creation 
and the establishment of a covenant through a visible sign, 
which would be a pledge for all time that there should never be 
a flood again. In the words by which the first blessing was 

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transferred to Noah and his sons (ver. 2), t he suprema cy gr&nt.pd 
to_manj3^e£_rtie_ammanvorldwas expr essed j till_ more forc ibly 
than in chap. i. 26 and 28; because, inasmuch as sin with its 
consequences had loosened the bond of voluntary subjection on 
the part of the animals to the will of man, — man, on the one 
hand, having lost the power of the spirit over nature, and nature, 
on the other hand, having become estranged from man, or rather 
having rebelled against him, through the curse pronounced upon 
the earth, — henceforth it was only by force that he could rule 
over it, by that " fear and dread" which God instilled into the 
animal creation. Whilst the animals were thus placed in the 
hand (power) of man, permission was also given to him to 
slaughter them for food, the eating of the blood being the only 
thing forbidden. V ers. 3, 4. " Every moving thing that liveth shall 
be food for you ; even as the green of the herb have I given you all 
(73T1N = ?3n)." These words do notjiffirm that, man then_first 
be^an^oeat_animal_iood, but only that God then for the first 
time authorized, or allowed him to do, what probably he had 
previously done in opposition to His will. " Only flesh in its 
soul, its blood (iDT in apposition to ^^033), shall ye not eat;" t.«. 
flesh in which there is still blood, because the soul of the animal 
is in the blood. The prohibition applies to the eating of flesh 
with blood in it, whether of living animals, as is the barbarous 
custom in Abyssinia, or of slaughtered animals from which the 
blood has not been properly drained at death. This prohibition 
presented, on the one hand, a safeguard against harshness and 
cruelty; and contained, on the other, "an undoubted reference 
to the sacrifice of animals, which was afterwards made the sub- 
ject of command, and in which it was the blood especially that 
was offered, as the seat and soul of life (see note on Lev. xvii. 
11, 14) ; so that from this point of view sacrifice denotes the 
surrender of one's own inmost life, of the very essence of life, to 
God " {Ziegler). Allusion is made to the first again in the still 
\ further limitation given in ver. 5 : " and only (ffi) your blood, 
I with regard to your souls (? indicative of reference to an indivi- 
jdual object, Ewald, § 310a), will I seek (demand or avenge, cf . 
iPs. ix. 13) from the Itand of every beast, and from the hand of 
man, from the hand of every one, his brother;" i.e. from every 
man, whoever he may be, because he is his (the slain man's) 
brother, inasmuch as all men are brethren. The life of man 

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CHAP. IX. 1-7. 


was thus made secure against animals as well as men. Gcd 
would avenge or inflict punishment for every murder, — not 
directly, however, as He promised to do in the case of Cain, but 
indirectly by giving the command, " Whoso sheddeth man's bloo d, 
ly man shall hisJ dood be shed" and thus placing in the hand of 
man His own judicial power. " This w as the fi rst command," 
says Luther, " hav ing reference to the tem poral sword. By these 
words temporal government was established, and the sword 
placed in its hand by God." It is true the punishment of the 
murderer is enjoined upon " man " universally ; but as all the 
judicial relations and ordinances of the increasing race were 
rooted in those of the family, and grew by a natural process out 
of that, the family relations furnished of themselves the norm 
for the closer definition of the expression " man." Hence the 
command does not ^sanction revenge, but lays the foundation 
for the judicial rights of the divinely appointed "powers that 
be " (Rom. xiii. 1). This is evident from the reason appended : 
"for in the image of God made He man." If murder was to/ 
be punished with death because it destroyed the image of Godl 
in man, it is evident that the infliction of the punishment was] 
not to be left to the caprice of individuals, but belonged to those! 
alone who represent the authority and majesty of God, i.e. thel 
divinely appointed rulers, who for that very reason are called 
Elohim in Ps. lxxxii. 6. This command then laid the founda- 
tion for all civil government, 1 and formed a necessary comple- 
ment to that unalterable continuance of the order of nature 
which had been promised to the human race for its further de- 
velopment. If God on account of the innate sinfulness of man 
would no more bring an exterminating judgment upon the 
earthly creation, it was necessary that by commands and autho- 
rities He should erect a barrier against the supremacy of evil, 
and thus lay the foundation for a well-ordered civil develop- 
ment of humanity, in accordance with the words of the blessing, 
which are repeated in ver. 7, as showing the intention and goal 
of this new historical beginning. 

\j^J-^ '" 


1 " Hie igitnr fons est, ex quo manat totum jus civile et jus gentium. 
Nam si Deus concedit homini potestatem super vitain et mortem, profecto 
etiam concedit potestatem Buper id, quod minus est, ut sunt fortune, fa- 
milia, uxor, liberi, servi, agri ; H«ec omnia vult certorum hominum potestati 
esse obnoxia Deus, ut reos puniant." — Luther. 

PENT. — VOL. I. L 

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Vers. 8—17. To give Noah and his sons a firm assurance of 
the prosperous continuance of the human race, God condescended 
to establish a covenant with them and their descendants, and 
to confirm this covenant by a visible sign for all generations. 
ma D , i?n is not equivalent to JTH3 rna • it does not denote the 
formal conclusion of an actual covenant, but the " setting up of 
a covenant," or the giving of a promise possessing the nature of 
a covenant. In summing up the animals in ver. 10, the pre- 
positions are accumulated : first 3 embracing the whole, then the 
partitive V? restricting the enumeration to those which went out 
of th» ark, and lastly ?, " with regard to," extending it again 
to every individual. There was a correspondence between the 
covenant (ver. 11) and the sign which was to keep it before the 
sight of men (ver. 12) : " / give (set) My bow in the cloud" (ver. 
13). When God gathers (|?P ver. 14, lit. clouds) clouds over 
the earth, " the bow shall be seen in the cloud," and that not for 
man only, but for God also, who will look at the bow, " to re- 
member His everlasting covenant." An " everlasting covenant" is 
a covenant " for perpetual generations," i.e. one which shall extend 
to all ages, even to the end of the world. The fact that God 
Himself would look at the bow and remember His covenant, was 
" a glorious and living expression of the great truth, that God's 
covenant signs, in which He has put His promises, are real 
vehicles of His grace, that they have power and essential worth 
not only with men, but also be/ore God" (0. v. Gerlach). The 
1 establishment of the rainbow as a covenant sign of the promise 
Ithat there should be no flood again, presupposes that it appeared 
then for the first time in the vault and clouds of heaven. From 
this it may be inferred, not that it did not rain before the flood, 
which could hardly be reconciled with chap. ii. 5, but that the 
atmosphere was differently constituted ; a supposition in perfect 
: harmony with the facts of natural history, which point to dif- 
ferences in the climate of the earth's surface before and after the 
flood. The fact that the rainbow, that "coloured splendour 
thrown by the bursting forth of the sun upon the departing 
clouds," is the result of the reciprocal action of light, and air, 
and water, is no disproof of the origin and design recorded here. 
For the laws of nature are ordained by God, and have their ulti 
mate ground and purpose in the divine plan of the universe 
which links together both nature and grace. " Springing as it 

Digitized by 


CHAP. IX. 18-29. 155 

does from the effect of the sun upon the dark mass of clouds, it 
typifies the readiness of the heavenly to pervade the earthly , 
spread out as it is between heaven and earth, it proclaims peace 
between God and man ; and whilst spanning the whole horizon, 
it teaches the all-embracing universality of the covenant of 
grace" (JDeUtzseh). 

Vers. 18-29. The second occurrence in the life of Noah after 
the flood exhibited the germs of the future development of the 
human race in a threefold direction, as manifested in the charac- 
ters of his three sons. As all the families and races of man 
descend from them, their names are repeated in ver. 18 ; and in 
prospective allusion to what follows, it is added that " Ham was 
the father of Canaan." From these three " the earth (the earth's 
population) spread itself out." a The earth" is used for the popu- 
lation of the earth, as in chap. x. 25 and xi. 1, and just as lands 
or cities are frequently substituted for their inhabitants, rratu : 
probably Niphal for TOM, from pB to scatter (xi. 4), to spread out. 
" A nd No ah the husbandman began, an d planted a vineya rd" As 
WiKn C'N cannofbeThe predicate of the sentence, on account of 
the article, but must be in apposition to Noah, Ws^l and ?rm must 
be combined in the sense of " began to plant" (Ges. § 142, 3). 
The writer does not mean to affirm that Noah resumed his 
agricultural operations after the Hood, but that as a husband- ' 
man he began to cultivate the vine ; because it was this which 
furnished the occasion for the manifestation of that diversity in 
the character of his sons, which was so eventful in its conse- 
quences in relation to the future history of their descendants. 
In ignorance of the fiery nature of wine, Noah drank and was 
drunken, and uncovered himself in his tent (ver. 21). Although 
excuse may be made for this drunkenness, the words of Luther 
are still true : " Qui excusant patriarcham, volentes Iianc consola- 
tionetn, quam Spiritus S. eeelesiis necessariam judicavit, abjiciunt, 
quod scilicet etiam summi sancti aliquando labitntur." This trifling 
fall served to display the hearts of his sons. Ham saw the naked- 
ness of his father, and told his two brethren without. Not con- 
tent with finding pleasure himself in his father's shame, " nun- 
quam enim vino vietum patremfilius risisset, nisiprius ejecisset 
animo illam reverentiam et opinionem, qua in liberie de parentibus 
ex mandato Dei existere debet" (Luther), he must proclaim his 
disgraceful pleasure to his brethren, and thus exhibit his shame* 

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Lj ^, a tA less sensuality. The brothers, on the contrary, with reverential 
! i )r ' modesty covered their father with a garment ('"YpbT! the garment, 
which was at hand), walking backwards that they might not see 
his nakedness (ver. 23), and thus manifesting their childlike 
reverence as truly as their refined purity and modesty. For 
this they receive their father's blessing, whereas Ham reaped 
for his son Canaan the patriarch's curse. In ver. 24 Ham is 
called Jtpj?n foa " his (Noah's) little son," and it is questionable 
whether the adjective is to be taken as comparative in the sense 
of " the younger," or as superlative, meaning " the youngest." 
Neither grammar nor the usage of the language will enable us to 
decide. For in 1 Sam. xvii. 14, where David is contrasted with 
his brothers, the word means not the youngest of the four, but 
the younger by the side of the three elder, just as in chap. i. 16 
the sun is called "the great" light, and the moon " the little" light, 
not to show that the sun is the greatest and the moon the least 
of all lights, but that the moon is the smaller of the two. If, on 
the other hand, on the ground of 1 Sam. xvi. 11, where "the 
little one" undoubtedly means the youngest of all, any one would 
press the superlative force here, he must be prepared, in order to 
be consistent, to do the same with haggadol, " the great one," in 
chap. x. 21, which would lead to this discrepancy, that in the verse 
before us Ham is called Noah's youngest son, and in chap. x. 
21 Shem is called Japhet's oldest brother, and thus implicite 
Ham is described as older than Japhet. If we do not wish 
lightly to introduce a discrepancy into the text of these two 
chapters, no other course is open than to follow the LXX., 
Vulg. and others, and take " the little" here and " the great" in 
chap. x. 21 as used in a comparative sense, Ham being represented 
here as Noah's younger son, and Shem in chap. x. 21 as Japhet's 
elder brother. Consequently the order in which the three names 
stand is also an indication of their relative ages. And this is 
not only the simplest and readiest assumption, but is even con- 
firmed by chap, x., though the order is inverted there, Japhet 
being mentioned first, then Ham, and Shem last ; and it is also 
in harmony with the chronological datum in chap. xi. 10, as 
compared with chap. v. 32 {vid. chap. xi. 10). 

To understand the words of Noah with reference to his sons 
(vers. 25—27), we must bear in mind, on the one hand, that as 
the moral nature of the patriarch was transmitted by generation 

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CHAP. IX. 18-29. 157 

to his descendants, so the diversities of character in the sons of 
Noah foreshadowed diversities in the moral inclinations of the 
tribes of which they were the head ; and on the other hand, that 
Noah, through the Spirit and power of that God with whom he 
walked, discerned in the moral nature of his sons, and the 
different tendencies which they already displayed, the germinal 
commencement of the future course of their posterity, and 
uttered words of blessing and of curse, which were prophetic of 
the history of the tribes that descended from them. In the sin 
of Ham " there lies the great stain of the whole Hamitic race, l^~ 
whose chief characteristic is sexual sin" {Zieghr) ; and the curse 
which Noah pronounced upon this sin still rests upon the race. 
It was not Ham who was cursed, however, but his son Canaan. 
Ham had sinned against his father, and he was punished in his 
son. But the reason why Canaan was the only son named, is 
not to be found in the fact that Canaan was the youngest son of 
Ham, and Ham the youngest son of Noah, as Hofmann sup- 
poses. The latter is not an established fact; and the purely 
external circumstance, that Canaan had the misfortune to be the 
youngest son, could not be a just reason for cursing him alone. 
The real reason must either lie in the fact that Canaan was 
already walking in the steps of his father's impiety and sin, or 
else be sought in the name Canaan, in which Noah discerned, 
through the gift of prophecy, a significant omen ; a supposition 
decidedly favoured by the analogy of the blessing pronounced 
upon Japhet, which is also founded upon the name. Canaan 
does not signify lowland, nor was it transferred, as many main- 
tain, from the land to its inhabitants ; it was first of all the name 
of the father of the tribe, from whom it was transferred to 
his descendants, and eventually to the land of which they took 
possession. The meaning of Canaan is " the submissive one," 
from W3 to stoop or submit, HipM^to bend or subjugate (Deut. 
ix. 3 , Judg. iv. 23, etc.). " Ham gave his son the name from 
the obedience which he required, though he did not render it 
himself. The son was to be the servant (for the name points to 
servile obedience) of a father who was as tyrannical towards 
those beneath him, as he was refractory towards those above. 
The father, when he gave him the name, thought only of sub- 
mission to his own commands. But the secret providence of 
God, which rules in all such things, had a different submission 

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in view " (Hengstenberg, Christol. i. 28, transl.). u Servant of 
servants (i.e. the lowest of slaves, vid. Ewald, § 313) let him 
become to his brethren." Although this curse was expressly 
pronounced upon Canaan alone, the fact that Ham had no share 
in Noah's blessing, either for himself or his other sons, was a 
sufficient proof that his whole family was included by implica- 
tion in the curse, even if it was to fall chiefly upon Canaan. 
And history confirms the supposition. The_C_anaaidtes were 
partly exterminated, and partly subjected to the lowest form of 
slavery, by the Israelites, who belonged to the family of Shem ; 
and those who still remained were reduced by Solomon to the 
same condition (1 Kings ix. 20, 21). The Phoenici ans, alon g 
V , with the Carthaginians and the Egyptians, who all belonged to 
' i the family of Canaan, were jubjected by the Japhetic Persians, 
( Macedonians, and Romans ; andjiiejgmamderj)? the Jtiamitic 
tribes either shared the same fate, or still sigh, likeTKe negroes, 
for example, and other African tribes, beneath the yoke of the 
, most crushing slavery. — Ver. 26. In contrast with the curse, 
the blessings upon Shem and Japhet are introduced with a fresh 
" and he said," whilst Canaan's servitude comes in like a refrain 
I and is mentioned in connection with both his brethren : " Blessed 
\ be JehovaJi, the God of Shem, and let Canaan be servant to tJiem." 
I Instead of wishing good to Shem, Noah praises the God of 
Shem, just as Moses in Deut. xxxiii. 20, instead of blessing Gad, 
blesses Him " that enlargeth Gad," and points out the nature of 
the good which he is to receive, by using the name Jehovah. 
This is done "propter excellentem benedictionem. Non enim 
loquitur de corporali benedictione, sed de benedictione futura per 
semen promissum. Earn tantam videt esse ut explicari verbis non 
possit, ideo se vertit ad gratiarum actionem" (Luther). Because 
Jehovah is the God of Shem, Shem will be the recipient and 
heir of all the blessings of salvation, which God as Jehovah be- 
stows upon mankind, to? = on? neither stands for the singular 
\*? (Ges. § 103, 2), nor refers to Shem and Japhet. It serves to 
show that the announcement does not refer to the personal relation 
of Canaan to Shem, but applies to their descendants. — Ver. 27. 
" Wide let God make it to Japliet, and let him dwell in the tents 
of Shem." Starting from the meaning of the name, Noah 
sums up his blessing in the word HB' (j gpht\ from nng to be wi de 
(Prov. xx. 19), in the Hiphil with ?, to procure a wide space for 

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CHAP. IX. 18-29. 159 

any one, used either of extension over a wide territory, or of 
removal to a free, unfettered position; analogous to ^rnn, cna P« 
xxvi. 22 ; Ps. iv. 1, etc. Both allusions mast be retained here, 
so that the promise to the family of Japhet embraced not only 
a wide extension, but also prosperity on every band. This 
blessing was desired by Noah, not from Jehovah, the God of 
Shem, who bestows saving spiritual good upon man, but from 
Eloldm, God as Creator and Governor of the world ; for it had 
respect primarily to the blessings of the earth, not to spiritual 
blessings ; although Japhet would participate in these as well, 
for he should come and dwell in the tents of Shem. The d is 
jmted question, whether G°d or Japhet is to be regarded as the 
subject of the verb ".shalLdweiy is already decided by the use 
of the word Elohim. If it were God whom Noah described as 
dwelling in the tents of Shem, so that the expression denoted 
the gracious presence of God in Israel, we should expect to find 
the name Jehovah, since it was as Jehovah that God took up 
His abode among Shem in Israel. It is much more natural to 
regard the expression as applying to Japhet, (a) because the 
refrain, "Canaan shall be his servant," requires that we should 
understand ver. 27 as applying to Japhet, like ver. 26 to 
Shem; (b) because the plural, tents, is not applicable to the 
abode of Jehovah in Israel, inasmuch as in the parallel passages 
" we read of God dwelling in His tent, on His holy hill, in Zion, 
in the midst of the children of Israel, and also of the faithful 
dwelling in the tabernacle or temple of God, but never of God 
dwelling in the tents of Israel " (Hengstenberg) ; and (c) be- 
cause we should expect the act of affection, which the two sons 
so delicately performed in concert, to have its corresponding 
blessing in the relation established between the two (Delitzsch). 
Japhet's dwelling in the tents of Shem is supposed by Bpchart 
and others to refer to the fact, that Japhet's descendants^ would 
one day take the land of the Shemites, and subjugate the 
inhabitants ; but even the fathers almost unanimously under- 
stand the words i n a s piritual sense, as_denoting_tha-participation 
o f thfi.T^ phptitps in thpT saving blessings of the Shemites. There 
is truth in both views] Dwelling presupposes possession ; but 
the idea of taking by force is. precluded by the fact, that it 
would be altogether at variance with the blessing pronounced 
upon Shem. If history shows that the tents of Shem were 

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conquered and taken by the Japhetites, the dwelling predicted 
here still relates not to the forcible conquest, but to the fact that 
the conquerors entered into the possessions of the conquered; 
that along with them they were admitted to the blessings of 
salvation; and that, yielding to the spiritual power of the van- 
quished, they lived henceforth in their tents as brethren (Ps. 
cxxxiii. 1). And if the dwelling of Japhet in the tents of 
Shera presupposes the conquest of the land of Shem by Japhet, 
,it is a blessing not only to Japhet, but to Shem also, since, 
whilst Japhet enters into the spiritual inheritance of Shem, he 
brings to Shem all the good of this world (Isa. lx.). " The ful- 
filment," as Delitzsch says, "is plain enough, for we are all 
Japhetites dwelling in the tents of Shem ; and the language of 
the New Testament is the language of Javan entered into the 
tents of Shem." To this we may add, that by the Gospel 
preached in this language, Israel, though subdued by the 
imperial power of Rome, became the spiritual conqueror of the 
orbis terrarum Romanus, and received it into his tents. More- 
over it is true of the blessing and curse of Noah, as of all pro- 
phetic utterances, that they are fulfilled with regard to the 
nations and families in question as a whole, but do not predict, 
like an irresistible fate, the unalterable destiny of every indi- 
vidual ; on the contrary, they leave room for freedom of per- 
sonal decision, and no more cut off the individuals in the 
accursed race from the possibility of conversion, or close the 
way of salvation against the penitent, than they secure the indi- 
viduals of the family blessed against the possibility of falling 
from a state of grace, and actually losing the blessing. Hence, 
whilst a Rahab and an Araunah were received into the fellow- 
ship of Jehovah, and the Canaanitish woman was relieved by 
the Lord because of her faith, the hardened Pharisees and 
scribes had woes pronounced upon them, and Israel was 
rejected because of its unbelief. In vers. 28, 29, the history of 
Noah is brought to a close, with the account of his age, anl of 
his death. 

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CHAP. X. 161 


Chap. x.-xi. 9. 
pedigree of the nations. — chap. x. 

Of the sons of Noah, all that is handed down is the pedigree 
of the nations, or the list of the tribes which sprang from them 
(chap, x.), and the account of the confusion of tongues, together 
with the dispersion of men over the face of the earth (chap. xi. 
1-9) ; two events that were closely related to one another, and 
of the greatest importance to the history of the human race and 
of the kingdom of God. The genealogy traces the origin of the 
tribes which were scattered over the earth; the confusion oi 
tongues shows the cause of the division of the one human race 
into many different tribes with peculiar languages. 

The genealogy of the tribes is not an ethnographical myth, nor 
t]ie_attempt^oran JSebxew to4w*je the -eefiaeetion of his 
own people with the other nations of the earth by means of un- 
ce rtain t raditions and subjective combinations, but a historical 
record of the genesis of the nations, founded upon a tradition 
handed down from the fathers, which, to judge from its contents, 
belongs to the time of Abraham (cf. Havernick's Introduction 
to Pentateuch, p. 118 sqq. transl.), and was inserted by Moses in 
the early history of the kingdom of God on account of its uni- 
versal importance in connection with sacred history. For it not 
only indicates the place of the family which was chosen as the 
recipient of divine revelation among the rest of the nations, but 
traces the origin of the entire world, with the prophetical inten- 
tion of showing that the nations, although they were quickly 
suffered to walk in their own ways (Acts xiv. 16), were not in- 
tended to be for ever excluded from the counsels of eternal 
love. In this respect the genealogies prepare the way for the 
promise of the blessing, which was one day to spread from the 
chosen family to all the families of the earth (chap. xii. 2, 8). — 
The historical character of the genealogy is best attested by the 
contents themselves, since no trace can be detected, either of any 
pre-eminence given to the Shemites, oi of an intention to fill up 
gaps by conjecture or invention. It gives just as much as had 

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been handed down with regard to the origin of the different 
tribes. Hence the great diversity in the lists of the descendants 
of the different sons of Noah. Some are brought down only to 
the second, others to the third or fourth generation, and some 
even further ; and whilst in several instances the founder of a 
tribe is named, in others we have only the tribes themselves ; 
and in some cases we are unable to determine whether the names 
given denote the founder or the tribe. In many instances, too, 
on account of the defects and the unreliable character of the 
accounts handed down to us from different ancient sources with 
regard to the origin of the tribes, there are names which cannot 
be identified with absolute certainty. 1 

Vers. 1-5. Descendants Of Japhet. — In ver. 1 the 
names of the three sons are introduced according to their rela- 
tive ages, to give completeness and finish to the ThoUdoth; but 
in the genealogy itself Japhet is mentioned first and Shem last, 
according to the plan of the book of Genesis as already explained 
at p. 37. In ver. 2 seven sons of Japhet are given. The names, 
indeed, afterwards occur as those of tribes ; but here undoubt- 
edly they are intended to denote the tribe-fathers, and may 
without hesitation be so regarded. For even if in later times 
many nations received their names from the lands of which they 
took possession, this cannot be regarded as a universal rule, since 
unquestionably the natural rule in the derivation of the names 
would be for the tribe to be called after its ancestor^ and for the 
co untries to receijre_ their names from their earliest inhabitants. 
Gomer is most probably the tribe of the Cimmerlans^vrho dwelt, 
according to Herodotus, on the Maeotis, in the Taurian Cher- 
sonesus, and from whom are descended the Cumri or Cymry in 

1 Sam. Bochart has brought great learning to the explanation of the table 
of nations in Phalcg, the first part of his geographia sacra, to which Mifhaelis 
and Rosenmiiller made valuable additions, — the former in his spicil. geogr. 
Hebr. ext. 1769 and 1780, the latter in his Biblical Antiquities. Knobel has 
made use of all the modern ethnographical discoveries in his " Vblkertafel 
der Genesis" (1850), but many of his combinations are very speculative. 
Kieperl, in his article iiber d. geograph. Stellung der nordlicJien Lander in der 
phBnikisch-hebriiischen Erdkwnde (in the Monatsberichte d. Berliner Akad, 
1859), denies entirely the ethnographical character of the table of nations, 
and reduces it to a mere attempt on the part of the Phoenicians to account 
for the geographical position of the nations with which they were acquainted. 

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CHAP. X. 1-8. 16b 

Wales and Brittany, whose relation to the Germanic Cimbri is 
still in obscurity. Magog is connected by Josephus with the 
Scythians on the Sea of Asdf and in the Caucasus ; but Kiepert 
associates the name with Macija or Maka, and applies it to Scy- 
thian nomad tribes which forced themselves in between the Arian 
or Arianized Modes, Kurds, and Armenians. Madai are the 
Medes, called Mada on the arrow-headed inscriptions. Javan 
corresponds to the Greek J Ida>v, from whom the Ionians (Mawe?) 
are derived, the parent tribe of the Greeks (in Sanskrit Javana, 
old Persian Jund). Tubal and Meshech are undoubtedly the 
Tibareni and Moschi, the former of whom are placed by Hero- 
dotus upon the east of the Thermodon, the latter between the 
sources of the Phasis and Cyrus. Tiras : according to Josephus, 
the Thracians, whom Herodotus calls the most numerous tribe 
next to the Indian. As they are here placed by the side of 
Meshech, so we also find on the old Egyptian monuments Ma- 
shuash and Tuirash, and upon the Assyrian Tubal and Misek 
(Rawlinson). — Ver. 3. Descendants of Gomer. Ashkenaz: accord- 
ing to the old Jewish explanation, the Germani; according to 
Knobel, the family of Asi, which is favoured by the German 
legend of Mannus, and his three sons, lscus (J sk, 'Ao-kovuk), 
Tngus, and Hermino. Kiepert, however, and Bocliart decide, on 
geographical grounds, in favour of the Ascanians in Northern 
Phrygia. Riphath : in Knobel 's opinion the Celts, part of whom, 
according to Plutarch, crossed the Sprj 'Pvrrata, Monies Rhipaei, 
towards the Northern Ocean to the furthest limits of Europe ; 
but Josephus, whom Kiepert follows, supposed 'PifSaBni to be 
Paphlagonia. Both of these are very uncertain. Togarmah is 
the name of the Armenians, who are still called the house of 
Thorgom or Torkornatsi. — Ver. 4. Descendants of Javan. Elishah 
suggests Elis, and is said by Josephus to denote the uEolians, the 
oldest of the Thessalian tribes, whose culture was Ionian in its 
origin; Kiepert, however, thinks of Sicily. Tarshish (in the 
Old Testament the name of the colony of Tartessus in Spain) is 
referred by Knobel to the Etruscans or Tyrsenians, a Pelasgic 
tribe of Greek derivation ; but Delitzsch objects, that the Etrus- 
cans were most probably of Lydian descent, land, like the Lydians 
of Asia Minor, who were related to the Assyrians, belonged to 
the Sbemites. Others connect the name with Tarsus in Cilicia. 
But the connection with the Spanish Tartessus must be retained, 

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although, so long as the origin of this colony remains in obscurity, 
nothing further can be determined with regard to the name. 
Kittim embraces not only the Citicei, CiUenses in Cyprus, with 
the town Cition, but, according to Knobel and Delitzsch, probably 
" the Carians, who settled in the lands at the eastern end of the 
Mediterranean Sea ; for which reason Ezekiel (xxvii. 6) speaks 
of the " isles of Chittim." Dodanim (Dardani) : according to 
Delitzsch, " the tribe related to the Ionians and dwelling with 
them from the very first, which the legend has associated with 
them in the two brothers Jasion and Dardanos ;" according to 
Knobel, " the whole of the Illyrian or north Grecian tribe." — 
Ver. 5. " From these liave the islands of the nations divided tfiem- 
selves in their lands ;" i.e. from the Japhetites already named, the 
tribes on the Mediterranean descended and separated from one 
another as they dwell in their lands, " every one after his tongue, 
after their families, in their nations." The islands in the Old 
Testament are the islands and coastlands of the Mediterranean, 
on the European shore, from Asia Minor to Spain. 

Vers. 6-20. Descendants of Ham. — Cush: th e Ethiop ians 
of the ancients, who not only dwelt in Africa, but were scattered 
over the whole of Southern Asia, and originally, in all probability, 
settled in Arabia, where the tribes that still remained, mingled 
with Shemites, aqd adopted a Shemitic language. Mizraim is 
Egypt : the dual form was probably transferred from the land 
to tbe people, referring, however, not to the double strip, i.e. the 
two strips of land into which the country is divided by the Nile, 
but to the two Egypts, Upper and Lower, two portions of the 
country which differ considerably in their climate and general 
condition. The name is obscure, and not traceable to any 
Semitic derivation ; for the term "tf¥D in Isa. xix. 6, etc., is not to 
be regarded as an etymological interpretation, but as a signifi- 
cant play upon the word. The old Egyptian name is Kemi 
(Copt. Chgmi, Ke*me), which, Plutarch says, is derived from the 
dark ash-grey colour of the soil covered by the slime of the Nile, 
but which it is much more correct to trace to Ham, and to re- 
card as indicative of the Hamitic descent of its first inhabitants. 
Put denotes the Libyans in the wider sense of the term (old 
Egypt. Phet; Copt. Phaiai), who were spread over Northern 
Africa as far as Mauritania, where even in the time of Jerome 

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CHAP. X. 8-12. ll>5 

ft river with the neighbouring district still bore the name of 
Phut; cf. Bochart, Phal. iv. 33. On Canaan, see chap. ix. 25. — 
Ver. 7. Descendants of Cush. Seba ; the inhabitants of Meroii; 
according to Knobel, the northern Ethiopians, the ancient 
Blemmyer, and modern Bisharin. Havihh: the AlaXlrai or 
'AfiaXiTai of the ancients, the Macrobian Ethiopians in modern 
Habesh. Sabtah : the Ethiopians inhabiting Hadhramaut, 
whose chief city was called Sabatha or Sabota. Maamah : 
'Peypd, the inhabitants of a city and bay of that name in south- 
eastern Arabia (Oman). Sabtecah: the Ethiopians of Cara- 
mania, dwelling to the east of the Persian Gulf, where the 
ancients mention a seaport town and a river Sa/ivScuen. The 
descendants of Raamah, Sheba and Dedan, are to be sought in 
the neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf, "from which the 
Sabaean and Dedanitic Cushites spread to the north-west, where 
they formed mixed tribes with descendants of Joktan and Abra- 
ham." See notes on ver. 28 and chap. xxv. 3. 

Vers. 8-12. Besides the tribes already named, there sprang 
f rom Cush Nimrod , the founder of the first imperial kingdo m, 
the origin ot which is introduced as a memorable event into the 
genealogy of the tribes, just as on other occasions memorable 
events are interwoven with the genealogical tables (cf. 1 Chron. 
ii. 7, 23, iv. 22, 23, 39-41). 1 Nimrod " began to be a mighty 
one in the earth." I3i is used here, as in chap. vi. 4, to denote a 
man who makes himself renowned for bold and daring deeds. 
Nimrod was mighty in hunting, and that in opposition to Jeho- 
vah (ivavriov tcvptov, LXX.) ; not before Jehovah in the sense 
of7 according to the purpose and will of Jehovah, still less, like 
DVDtO in Jonah iii. 3, or t$ &e$ in Acts vii. 20, in a simply 
superlative sense. The last explanation is not allowed by the 
usage of the language, the second is irreconcilable with the con- 
text. The name itself, Nimrod from T^o, "we will revolt," 
points to some violent resistance to God. It is so characteristic 
that it can only have been given by his contemporaries, and 
thus have become a proper name. 3 In addition to this, Nimrod 

1 These analogies overthrow the assertion that the verses before us have 
been interpolated by the Jehovist into the Elohistic document; since the 
use of the name Jehovah is no proof of difference of authorship, nor the use 
of t^ for T^in, as the former also occurs in vers. 13, 15, 24, and 26. 

' This was seen even by Perizonius (Origg. Babul, p. 183), who says, 

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as a mighty hunter founded a powerful kingdom ; and the 
founding of this kingdom is shown by the verb VBjfl with 1 
consec. to have been the consequence or result of his strength in 
hunting, so that the hunting was most intimately connected with 
the establishment of the kingdom. Hence, if the expression " a 
mighty hunter " relates primarily to hunting in the literal sense, 
we must add to the literal meaning the figurative signification of 
a " hunter of men " (" a trapper of men by stratagem and force," 
Herder) ; Nimrod the hunter became a tyrant, a powerful 
hunter of men. This course of life gave occasion to the pro- 
verb, " like Nimrod, a mighty hunter against the Lord," which 
immortalized not his skill in hunting beasts, but the success of his 
hunting of men in the establishment of an imperial kTngdom by 
tyj^nnyand power. But if this be the meaning of the proverb, 
rfnyoDp "in the face of Jehovah " can only mean in defiance of 
Jehovah, as Josephus and the Targums understand it. And the 
proverb must have arisen when other daring and rebellious men 
followed in Nimrod's footsteps, and must have originated with 
those who saw in such conduct an act of rebellion against the 
God of salvation, in other words, with the possessors of the 
divine promises of grace. 1 — Ver. 10. " And the beginning of his 

/kingdom was Babel," the well-known city of Babylon on the 
Euphrates, which from the time of Nimrod downwards has 
been the symbol of the power of the world in its hostility to 
God; — i( and Ereeh" ('O/je^, LXX.), one of the seats of the 
Cutheans (Samaritans), Ezra iv. 9, no doubt Orchoi, situated, 
according to Rawlinson, on the site of the present ruins of 
Warka, thirty hours' journey to the south-east of Babel ; — and 
Accad ^ApxaS, LXX.), a place not yet determined, though, 
judging from its situation between Ereeh and Calneh, it was not 

" Grediderim hominem hiuic utpote venatorem ferocem et sodalium comitatu 

succinctam semper in ore habuisse et ingeminasse, ad reliquoe in rebellionem 

excitandos, illud nimrod, nimrod, h.e. rebellemus, rebellemus, atque inde 

postea ab aliis, etiam ab ipso Mose, hoc vocabalo tanquam proprio nomine 

designatum," and who supports his opinion by other similar instances in 


I l This view of Nimrod and his deeds is favoured by the Eastern legend, 

L which not only makes him the builder of the tower of Babel, which was to 

t- reach to heaven, but has also placed him among the constellations of heaven 

/ as a heaven-storming giant, who was chained by God in consequence. Vid. 

Herzog's Real-Encyel. Art. Nimrod. 

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CHAP. X 13, 14. 


•a *#i 

far from either, and Pressel is probably right in identifying it 
with the ruins of Niffer, to the south of Hillah; — "and Calneh:" 
this is fonnd by early writers on the site of Ctesiphon, now a 
great heap of ruins, twenty hours north-east of Babel. These 
four cities were in the land of Shinar, i.e. of the province of 
Babylon, on the Lower Euphrates and Tigris. — Vers. 11, 12. 
From Shinar Nimrod went to Assyria (^Wjsjhfi-accnsative pf 
direction), the country on the east of the Tigris, and there built 
four - cities, or probably a large imperial city composed of the 
four cities named. As three of these cities — Rehoboth-Ir, i.e. 
city markets (not " street-city," as Bunsen interprets it), Chelack, 
and Besen — are not met with again, whereas Nineveh was re- 
nowned in antiquity for its remarkable size (vid. Jonah iii. 3), 
the words " this i s the great city " must apply not to Besen, bat 
to Ninev eh. This is grammatically admissible, if we regard the 
last three names as subordinate to the first, taking i as the sign 
of subordination (Ewald, § 339a), and render the passage thus : 
"he built Nineveh, with Rehoboth-Ir, Oheloch, and Besen 
between Nineveh and Chelach, this is the great city." From 
this it follows that t he four places fo rmed a large composit e city, I 
a large range. of towns, to which tKe"n ame o f the (well-known) j 1/2^/ 
gr eat city j)f Nineveh was" applied, in distinction^from Nineveh / 
i n the more restncteoTienseTwIth which Nimrod probably con- 
nected the other three places so as to form one great capital, 
possibly also the chief fortress of his kingdom on the Tigris. 
These four cities most likely correspond to the ruins on the east 
of the Tigris, which Layard has so fully explored, viz. Nebbi 
Yunus and Kouyunjik opposite to Mosul, Khorsabad five hours to 
the north, and Nimrud eight hours to the south of Mosul. 1 

Vers. 13, 14. From Mizraim descended Ludim: not the 
Semitic Ludim (ver. 22), bnt, according to Movers, the old tribe 
of the Lewdtah dwelling on the Syrtea, according to others, the 
Moorish tribes collectively. Whether the name is connected 
with the Laud Jlumen (Plin. v. 1) is uncertain; in any case 
Knobel is wrong in thinking of Ludian Shemites, whether 
Hyksos, who forced their way to Egypt, or Egyptianized 
Arabians. Anamim: inhabitants of the Delta, according to 
Knobel. He associates the ' Eveftertelf* of the LXX. with 

1 This supposition of Bawliruon, Grote, M. v. Niebuhr, Knobel, Delituch, 
•cd others, has recently been adopted by Ewald also. 



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Sunemhit, or Northern Egypt : " tsanemhit, i.e. pars, regio sep~ 
teritrionis." Leliabim (= Lubim, Nahum iii. 9) are, according 
to Josephus, the Alfives or Avpies, not the great Libyan tribe 
(PJiut, ver. 6), which Nahum distinguishes from them, but the 
Libyaegyptii of the ancients. Naphtuchim: in KnobeFs opinion, 
the Middle Egyptians, as the nation of PthaJi, the god of Mem- 
phis: but Bochart is more probably correct in associating the name 
with Ne<j>dw;, in Plut. de Is., the northern coast line of Egypt. 
Pathrusim : inhabitants of Pathros, Iladovpns, Egypt. Petris, 
land of the south ; i.e. Upper Egypt, the Tliebais of the ancients. 
Casluchim: according to general admission the Colchians, who 
descended from the Egyptians (Herod, ii. 104), though the 
connection of the name with Cassiods is uncertain. "From 
thence (i.e. from Casluchim, which is the name of both people 
and country) proceeded the Philistines." Philistim, LXX. $fX- 
Itortet/i or 'AX)J><f>vXoi, lit. emigrants or immigrants from the 
lEthiopic falldsa. This is not at variance with Amos ix. 7 and 
jjer. xlvii. 4, according to which the Philistines came from 
•Caphtor, so that there is no necessity to transpose the relative 
clause after Philistim. The two statements may be reconciled 
on the simple supposition that the Philistian nation was primarily 
a Casluchian colony, which settled on the south-eastern coast 
line of the Mediterranean between Gaza (ver. 19) and Pelu- 
sium, but was afterwards strengthened by immigrants from 
Caphtor, and extended its territory by pressing out the Avim 
(Deut. ii. 23, cf. Josh. xiii. 3). Caphtorim : according to the 
old Jewish explanation, the Cappadocians ; but according to 
Lakemacher's opinion, which has been revived by Ewald, etc., 
the Cretans. This is not decisively proved, however, either by 
the name Cherethites, given to the Philistines in 1 Sam. xxx. 
14, Zeph. ii. 5, and Ezek. xxv. 16, or by the expression u isle 
of Caphtor" in Jer. xlvii. 4. — Vers. 15 sqq. From Canaan de- 
scended "Zidon his first-born, and Heth." Although Zidon 
occurs in ver. 19 and throughout the Old Testament as the 
name of the oldest capital of the Phoenicians, here it must be 
regarded as the name of a person, not only because of the apposi- 
tion " his first-born" and the verb >?, "begat," but also because 
the name of a city does not harmonize with the names of the 
other descendants of Canaan, the analogy of which would lead 
us to expect the nomen gentile " Sidonian" (Judg. iii. 3, etc.); 

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CHAP.. X. 18, 14. 'f 169 

and lastly, because the word Zidon, from -nv to hunt, to catch, 
is not directly applicable to a sea-port and Commercial town, 
and there are serious objections upon philological grounds to 
Justin! 8 derivation, " quam a piscium ubertate Sidona appellave- 
runt, nampiscem Phaenices Sidon vocant" (var. hist. 18, 3). Heth 
is also the name of a person, from which the term Hittite (xxv. 
9 ; Num. xiii. 29), equivalent to " sons of Heth" (chap, xxiii. 5), 
is derived. "The Jebusite:" inhabitants of Jebus, afterwards 
called Jerusalem. " The Amorite :" not the inhabitants of the 
mountain or heights, forlhe derivation from "^DK, " summit," is 
not established, but a branch of the Canaanites, descended from 
Emor^Amor), which was spread far and wide over the moun- 
tains of Judah and beyond the Jordan in the time of Moses, so 
that in chap. xv. 16, xlviii. 22, all the Canaanites are compre- 
hended by the name. " The Girgashites" Tepyecrauy; (LXX.), 
are also mentioned in chap. xv. 21, Deut. vii. 1, and Josh. xxiv. 
11 ; but their dwelling-place is unknown, as the reading Tepye- 
crqvoi in Matt. viii. 28 is critically suspicious. " The Hwites" 
dwelt in Sichem (xxxiv. 2), at Gibeon (Josh. ix. 7), and at the 
foot of Hermon (Josh xi. 3) ; the meaning of the word is un- 
certain. "The Arkites:" inhabitants of 'Apicrf, to the north of 
Tripolis at the foot of Lebanon, the ruins of which still exist 
(yid. Robinson). " The Sinite :" the inhabitants of Sin or Sinna, 
a place in Lebanon not yet discovered. " The Anadite" or 
Aradians, occupied from the eighth century before Christ, the 
small rocky island of Arados to the north of Tripolis. u The 
Zemarite:" the inhabitants of Simyra in Eleutherus. " The 
Hamathite : " the inhabitants or rather founders of Hamath on 
the most northerly border of Palestine (Num. xiii. 21, xxxiv. 8), 
afterwards called JEpiphania, on the river Orontes, the present 
Hamdh, with 100,000 inhabitants. The words in ver. 18, " and 
afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad" 
mean that they all proceeded from one local centre as branches 
of the same tribe, and spread themselves over the country, the 
limits of which are given in two directions, with evident refer- 
ence to the fact that it was afterwards promised to the seed of 
Abraham for its inheritance, viz. from north to south, — "from 
Sidon, in the direction (lit. as thou comest) towards Gerar (see 
chap. xx. 1), unto Gaza," the primitive Awite city of the Philis- 
tines (Deut. ii. 23), now called Guzzeh, at the S.W. corner of 

PENT. — VOL. I. M 


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Palestine, — and thence from west to east, "in the direction towards 
Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (see xix. 24) to Lesha^ 
i.e. Calirrhoe, a place with sulphur baths, on the eastern side of 
the Dead Sea, in Wady Serka Maein (Seetzen and Sitter). 

Vers. 21-32. Descendants of Shem. — Ver. 21. For the 
construction, vid. chap. iv. 26. Shem is called the father of all 
the sons of Eber, because two tribes sprang from Eber through 
Peleg and Joktan, viz. the Abrahamides, and also the Arabian 
tribe of the Joktanides (vers. 26 sqq.). — On the expression, 
"the brother ofJaphet7n\<]," see chap. ix. 24. The names of 
the five sons of Shem occur elsewhere as the names of tribes 
and countries; at the same time, as there is no proof that 
in any single instance the name was transferred from the 
country to its earliest inhabitants, no well-grounded objection 
can be offered to the assumption, which the analogy of the other 
descendants of Shem renders probable, that they were originally 
the names of individuals. As the name of a people, Elam de- 
notes the Elymaans, who stretched from the Persian Gulf to 
the Caspian Sea, but who are first met with as Persians no 
longer speaking a Semitic language. Asshur: the Assyrians 
who settled in the country of Assyria, 'Arovpla, to the east of 
the Tigris, but who afterwards spread in the direction of Asia 
Minor. Arphaxad: the inhabitants of 'AppaTrajfiTK in nor- 
thern Assyria. The explanation given of the name, viz. 
"fortress of the Chaldeans" (Ewald), "highland of the Chal- 
deans " (Knobel), " territory of the Chaldeans" (Dietrich), are 
very questionable. Lud: the Lydians of Asia Minor, whose 
connection with the Assyrians is confirmed by the names of the 
ancestors of their kings. Aram: the ancestor of the Aramceans 
of Syria and Mesopotamia. — Ver 23. Descendants of Aram. Uz: 
a name which occurs among the Nahorides (chap. xxii. 21) and 
Horites (xxxvi. 28), and which is associated with the Alcrirat 
of Ptolemy, in Arabia deserta towards Babylon; this is favoured 
by the fact that Uz, the country of Job, is called by the LXX. 
yu>pa Aval-rut, although the notion that these Aesites were an 
Aramaean tribe, afterwards mixed up with Nahorides and Hor- 
ites, is mere conjecture. Hul: Delitzsch associates this with 
Cheli (Chert), the old Egyptian name for the Syrians, and the 
Hylatce who dwelt near the Emesenes (Plin. 5, 19). Gether he 

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CHAI'. X. 21-82. 171 

connects with the name given in the Arabian legends to the 
ancestor of the tribes Them&d and Ghadis. Mash: for which we 
find Meshech in 1 Chron. i. 17, a tribe mentioned in Ps. cxx. 5 
along with Kedar, and since the time of Bochart generally asso- 
ciated with the Spo? Mdaiov above Niaibis. — Ver. 25. Among 
the descendants of Arphaxad, Eber's eldest son received the 
name of Peleg, because in his days the earth, i.e. the population/ 
of the earth, was divided, in consequence of the building of the' 
tower of Babel (xi. 8). His brother Joktan is called Kachtan 
by the Arabians, and is regarded as the father of all the primi- 
tive tribes of Arabia. The names of his sons are given in vers. 
26-29. There are thirteen of them, some of which are still 
retained in places and districts of Arabia, whilst others are not 
yet discovered, or are entirely extinct. Nothing certain has 
been ascertained about Almodad, Jerah, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, 
and Jobab. Of the rest, Sheleph is identical with Salif or 
Sulaf (in Ptol. 6, 7, XaXanrnvoL), an old Arabian tribe, also a 
district of Yemen. Hazarmaveth (ye. forecourt of death) is 
the Arabian Hadhramaut in South-eastern Arabia on the 
Indian Ocean, whose name Jauhari is derived from the un- 
healthiness of the climate. Hadoram: the 'ABpa/urai of Ptol. 
6, 7, Atramitce of Plin. 6, 28, on the sonthern coast of Arabia. 
Uzal: one of the most important towns of Yemen, south-west of 
Mareb. Sheba: the Sabceans, with the capital Saba or Mareb, 
Mariaba regia (Plin.), whose connection with the Cushite (ver. 
7) and Abraliamite Sabseans (chap. xxv. 3) is quite in obscurity. 
Ophir has not yet been discovered in Arabia ; it is probably to 
be sought on the Persian Gulf, even if the Ophir of Solomon 
was not situated there. Havilah appears to answer to Chaulaw 
of Edrisi, a district between Sanaa and Mecca. But this dis- 
trict, which lies in the heart of Yemen, does not fit the account 
in 1 Sam. xv. 7, nor the statement in chap. xxv. 18, that 
Havilah formed the boundary of the territory of the Ishmaelites. 
These two passages point rather to XavKoraZoi, a place on the 
border of Arabia Petrsea towards Yemen, between the Naba- 
tseans and Hagrites, which Strabo describes as habitable. — Ver. 
30. The settlements of these Joktanides lay "from Mesha 
towards Sephar the mountain of the East" Mesha is still un- 
known : according to Gesenius, it is Mesene on the Persian Gulf, 
and in KnobeVs opinion, it is the valley of Bisha or Beishe in the 

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north of Yemen ; bnt both are very improbable. SepJiar is sup- 
posed by Mesnel to be the ancient Himyaritish capital, Shafdr, 
on the Indian Ocean ; and the mountain of the East, the moun- 
tain of incense, which is situated still farther to the east. — The 
genealogy of the Shemites closes with ver. 31, and the entire 
genealogy of the nations with ver. 32. According to the Jewish 
Midrash, there are seventy tribes, with as many different lan- 
guages; but this number can only be arrived at by reckoning Nim- 
rod among the Hamites, and not only placing Peleg among the 
Shemites, but taking his ancestors Salah and Eber to be names 
of separate tribes. By this we obtain for Japhet 14, for Ham 
31, and for Shem 25, — in all 70 names. The Eabbins, on the 
other hand, reckon 14 JapR?ticj^30 Hamitic, and 26 Semitic 
nations ; whilst the fathers make 72 in all. But as these calcu- 
lations are perfectly arbitrary, and the number 70 is nowhere 
given or hinted at, we can neither regard it as intended, nor 
discover in it " the number of the divinely appointed varieties of 
the human race," or " of the cosmical development," even if the 
seventy disciples (Luke x. 1) were meant to answer to the 
seventy nations whom the Jews supposed to exist upon the earth. 
— Ver. 32. The words, " And by these were the nations of Hie 
earth divided in the earth after thejlood," prepare the way for the 
description of that event which led to the division of the one 
race into many nations with different languages. 


Ver. 1. "And the whole earth (i.e. the population of the 
earth, vid. chap. ii. 19) was one lip and one kind of words :" 
unius labii eorundemgue verborum. The unity of language of the 
whole human race follows from the unity of its descent from one 
human pair (vid. ii. 22). But as the origin and formation of the 
races of mankind are beyond the limits of empirical research, so 
no philology will ever be able to prove or deduce the original 
unity of human speech from the languages which have been 
historically preserved, however far comparative grammar may 
proceed in establishing the genealogical relation of the languages 
of different nations. — Vers. 2 sqq. As men multiplied they moved 
from the land of Ararat "eastward," or more strictly to the 
touth-east, and settled in a plain. nyj?a does not denote a valley 

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CHAP. XI. l-». 173 

between mountain ranges, but a broad plain, ireZiov fieya, as 
Herodotus calls the neighbourhood of Babylon. There they 
resolved to build an immense tower ; and for this purpose they 
made bricks and burned them thoroughly (nc^fe? " to burning " 
serves to intensify the verb like the inf. absol.), so that they 
became stone; whereas in the East ordinary buildings are con- 
structed of bricks of clay, simply dried in the sun. For mortar 
they used asphalt, in which the neighbourhood of Babylon 
abounds. From this material, which may still be seen in the 
ruins of Babylon, they intended to build a city and a tower, 
whose top should be in heaven, i.e. reach to the sky, to make to 
themselves a name, that they might not be scattered over the 
whole earth. DtP X? ne»y denotes, here and everywhere else, to 
establish a name, or reputation, to set up a memorial (Isa. lxiii. 
12, 14; Jer. xxxii. 20, etc.). The r eal motive therefore was the 
desire for renown, and the object was to^estaDTisfrirfnoTeiL cen- 
t ral poin t, which might serve, la maintain their jinity. The one 
was jast as "ungodly as the other. For, ac cording to the divine 
purpos e, men were to fill tbfi_eaxth, i.e. to spread over the wTToIe 
earth, not indeed to separate, but to maintain their inward unity 
notwithstanding their dispersion. But the fact that they were 
afraid of dispersion is a proof that the inward spiritual bond of 
unity and fellowship, not only " the oneness of their God and 
their worship," but also the unity of brotherly love, was already 
broken by sin. Consequently the undertaking, dictated by pride, 
to preserve and consolidate by outward means the unity which 
was inwardly lost, could not be successful, but could only bring 
down the judgment of dispersion. — Vers. 5 sqq. " Jehovah came 
down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men had 
built" (the perfect U3 refers_to_the_ building^as. one^nished^np 
tQ c-a certain poin t). Jehovah's " coming down " is not the same 
here as in Ex. xix. 20, xxxiv. 5, Num. xi. 25, xii. 5, viz. the 
descent from heaven of some visible symbol of His presence, but I 
is an anthropomorphic description of God's interposition in the I 
actions of men, primarily a " judicial cognizance of the actual • 
fact," and then, ver. 7, a judicial infliction of punishment. The 
reason for the judgment is given in the word, i.e. the sentence, 
which Jehovah pronounces upon the undertaking (ver. 6) : " Be-\ 
hold one people (p¥ lit. union, connected whole, from ODV to \ 
bind) and one language have they all, and this (the building ) 

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of this city and tower) w (onMjhe beginning of their deeds ; 
and now («c. when they have finished this)~ nothing wiU be im- 
possible to them (Dno "TC3^ to lit. cut off from them, prevented) 

\which they purpose to do" (*D£ for IBfj from DOf, see chap. ix. 19). 
By the firm establishment of an ungodly unity, the wickedness 
and audacity of men would have led to fearful enterprises. But 
God determined, by confusing their language, to prevent the 
heightening of sin through ungodly association, and to frustrate 
their design. " Up" (nan " go to," in ironical imitation of the 

' same_expression in vers. 3 and 4), wi We wilt gd dow%'an& there 
confound their language (oiTlhe plural, see chap. i. 26 ; rraj for 
n?i, Kal from 7?a, like 1Dr> in ver. 6), that they may not under- 
stand one another's speech." The execution of this divine purpose 
is given in ver. 8, in a description of its consequences : " Jehovah 
scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, 
and they left off building the city" We must not conclude from 
this, however, that the differences in language were simply the 
result of the separation of the various tribes, and that the latter 
arose from discord and strife ; in which case the confusion of 
tongues would be nothing more than " dissensio animorum, per 
quam factum sit, ut qui turretn struebant distraeti sint in contraria 
studia et consilia" (Vitringd). Such a view not only does vio- 
lence to the words " that one may not discern (understand) the lip 
(language) of the other," but is also at variance with the object 
of the narrative. When it is stated, first of all, that God re- 
solved to destroy the unity of lips and words by a confusion of 
the lips, and then that He scattered the men abroad, this act of 
divine judgment cannot be understood in any other way, than 
that God deprived them of the ability to comprehend one 
another, and thus effected their dispersion. The event itself 
cannot have consisted merely in a change of the organs of speech, 
produced by the omnipotence of God, whereby speakers were 
turned into stammerers who were unintelligible to one another. 
This opinion, which is held by Vitringa and Hofmann, is neither 
reconcilable with the text, nor tenable as a matter of fact. The 
differences, to which this event gave rise, consisted not merely in 
variations of sound, such as might be attributed to differences in 
the formation in the organs of speech (the lip or tongue), but 
had a much deeper foundation in the human mind. If language 
is the audible expression of emotions, conceptions, and thoughts 

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CHAP. XI. 1-9. 175 

of the mind, the cause of the confusion or division of the one 
human language into different national dialects must be sought 
in an effect produced upon the human mind, by which the origi- 
nal unity of emotion, conception, thought, and will was broken 
up. This inward unity had no doubt been already disturbed by 
sin, but the disturbance had not yet amounted to a perfect 
breach. This happened first of all in the event recorded here, 
through a direct manifestation of divine power, which caused the 
disturbance produced by sin in the unity of emotion, thought, 
and will to issue in a diversity of language, and thus by a 
miraculous suspension of mutual understanding frustrated the 
enterprise by which men hoped to render dispersion and estrange- 
ment impossible. More we cannot say in explanation of this 
miracle, which lies before us in the great multiplicity and variety 
of tongues, since even those languages which are genealogically 
related — for example, the Semitic and Indo-Germanic — were 
no longer intelligible to the same people even in the dim prime- 
val age, whilst others are so fundamentally different from one 
another, that hardly a trace remains of their original unity. 
With the disappearance of unity the one original language was 
also lost, so that neither in the Hebrew nor in any other lan- 
guage of history has enough been preserved to enable us to form 
the least conception of its character. 1 The primitive language 
is extinct, buried in the materials of the languages of the nations, s . 
to rise again one day to eternal life in_the glorified form of the I ' 
tctuval yKwtracu intelligible to all the redeemed, when sin with' 
its consequences is overcome and extinguished by the power of 
grace. A type and pledge of this hope was given in the gift of 
tongues on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church 

1 The opinion of the Rabbins and earlier theologians, that the Hebrew 
was the primitive language, has been generally abandoned in consequence of 
modern philological researches. The fact that the biblical names handed 
down from the earliest times are of Hebrew extraction proves nothing. 
With the gradual development and change of language, the traditions with 
their names were cast into the mould of existing dialects, without thereby 
affecting the truth of the tradition. For as Drechster has said, " it makes 
no difference whether I say that Adam's eldest son had a name correspond- 
ing to the name Cam from flip, or to the name Ctesias from xr&rtcu ; the 

T r T 

truth of the Thorah, which presents us with the tradition handed down from 
the sons of Noah through Shem to Abraham and Israel, is not a verbal, but 
a living tradition — is not in the letter, but in the spirit." 

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on the first Christian day of Pentecost, when the apobtles, filled 
with the Holy Ghost, spoke with other or new tongues of u the 
wonderful works of God," so that the people of every nation 
under heaven understood in their own language (Acts ii. 1-11). 
From the confusion of tongues the city received the name 
Babel (-03 %.e. confusion, contracted from 7Sf& from 573 to con- 
fuse), according to divine direction, though without any such 
intention on the part of those who first gave the name, as a 
standing memorial of the judgment of God which follows all 
the ungodly enterprises of the power of the world. 1 Of this 
city consi derable ruins still remain, including the remains of an 
enormous tower, Sirs Nimrud,' which is regarded by the Arabs 
as the tower of Babel that was destroyed by fire from heaven. 
Whether these ruins have any historical connection witli the 
tower of the confusion of tongues, must remain, at least for the 
present, a matter of uncertainty. With regard to the date of 
the event, we find from ver. 10 that the division of the human 
race occurred in the days of Peleg, who was born 100 years 
after t he-nood. In 150 or 180 years, with a rapid succession of 
births, the descendants of the three sons of Noah, who were 
already 100 years old and married at the time of the flood, 
might have become quite numerous enough to proceed to the 
erection of such a building. If we reckon, for example, only 
four male and four female births as the average number to each 
marriage, since it is evident from chap. xi. 12 sqq. that chil- 
dren were born as early as the 30th or 35th year of their parent's 
age, the sixth generation would be born by 150 years after the 
flood, and the human race would number 12,288 males and as 
many females. Consequently there would be at least about 
30,000 people in the world at this time. 

1 Such explanations of the name as " gate, or house, or fortress of Bel," 
are all the less worthy of notice, because the derivation iri rot BvXov in 
the Etymol. magn., and in Persian and Nabatean works, is founded upon the 
myth, that Bel was the founder of the city. And as this myth is destitute 
of historical worth, so is also the legend that the city was built by Semi- 
ramis, which may possibly have so much of history as its basis, that this 
half-mythical queen extended and beautified the city, just as Nebuchad- 
nezzar added a new quarter, and a second fortress, and strongly fortified it. 

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chap. xi. io-2e. 177 


Chap. xi. 10-26. 

After describing the division of the one family which sprang 
from the three sons of Noah, into many nations scattered over 
the earth and speaking different languages, the narrative returns 
to Shem, and traces his descendants in a direct line to Terah the 
father of Abraham. The first five members of this pedigree have 
already been given in the genealogy of the Shemites ; and in that 
case the object was to point out the connection in which all the 
descendants of Eber stood to one another. They are repeated 
here to show the direct descent of the Terahites through Peleg 
from Shem, but more especially to follow the chronological 
thread of the family line, which could not be given in the gene- 
alogical tree without disturbing the uniformity of its plan. By 
the statement in ver. 10, that " Shem, a hundred years old, begat 
Arphaxad two years after the flood," the chronological data 
already given of Noah's age at the birth of his sons (chap. v. 32) 
and at the commencement of the flood (vii. 11) are made still 
more definite. As the expression " after the flood" refers to the 
commencement of the flood (chap. ix. 28), and according to chap, 
vii. 11 the flood began in the second month, or near the begin- 
ning of the six hundredth year of Noah's life, though the year 
600 is given in chap. vii. 6 in round numbers, it is not necessary 
to assume, as some do, in order to reconcile the difference between 
our verse and chap. v. 32, that the number 500 in chap. v. 32 
stands as a round number for 502. On the other hand, there 
can be no objection to such an assumption. The different state- 
ments may be easily reconciled by placing the birth of Shem at 
the end of the five hundredth year of Ndah's life, and the birth 
of Arphaxad at the end of the hundredth year of that of Shem ; 
in which case Shem would be just 99 years old when the flood 
began, and would be fully 100 years old " two years after the 
flood," that is to say, in the second year from the commencement 
of the flood, when he begat Arphaxad. In this case the " two 
years after the flood" are not to be added to the sum-total of the 
chronological data, but are included in it. The table given here 
forms in a chronological and material respect the direct con- 

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tinuation of the one in chap, v., and differs from it only in form, 
viz. by giving merely the length of life of the different fathers 
before and after the birth of their sons, without also summing 
up the whole number of their years as is the case there, since 
this is superfluous for chronological purposes. But on comparing 
the chronological data of the two tables, we find this very im- 
portant difference in the duration of life before and after the 
flood, that the patriarch J s_afterjhejGbod _ Jived upon an average 
\ only half the num ber of years of thoseJ aefore it, ancTthat with 
1 Eeleg the .average duration of life was again reduced by one 
\ half. Whilst Noah with his 950 years belonged entirely to the 
'old world, and Shem, who was born before the flood, reached 
the age of 600, Arphaxad lived only 438 years, Salah 433, and 
Eber 464 ; and again, with Peleg the duration of life fell to 239 
years, Reu also lived only 239 years, Serug 230, and Nahor not 
more than 148. Here, then, we see that the two catastrophes, 
j t he fl flfld. and the jf p ara tinn si t 1 "* *"""<»" race Tn to nations, 
, y ( \ exerted ji powerful mfluencejn^shgrtening the duration of life ; 
■ V v_ , the—former by_altg ring the c limate of the earth, the. latter by 
changing_the. habit s of men. But while the length of life 
diminished, the children were born proportionally earlier. Shem 
begat his first-born in his hundredth year, Arphaxad in the thirty- 
fifth, Salah in the thirtieth, and so on to Terah, who had no 
children till his seventieth year ; consequently the human race, 
notwithstanding the shortening of life, increased with sufficient 
rapidity to people the earth very soon after their dispersion. 
There is nothing astonishing, therefore, in the circumstance, that 
wherever Abraham went he found tribes, towns, and kingdoms, 
though only 365 years had elapsed since the flood, when we con- 
sider that eleven generations would have followed one another 
in that time, and that, supposing every marriage to have been 
blessed with eight children on an average (four male and four 
female), the eleventh generation would contain 12,582,912 
couples, or 25,165,824 individuals. And if we reckon ten chil- 
dren as the average number, the eleventh generation would con- 
tain 146,484,375 pairs, or 292,968,750 individuals. In neither 
of these cases have we included such of the earlier generations 
as would be still living, although their number would be by no 
means inconsiderable, since nearly all the patriarchs from Shem 
to Terah were alive at the time of Abram's migration. In ver. 

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\ \ 

CHAP. XL 27-82: 179 

26 the genealogy closes, like that in chap. v. 32, with the names 
of three sons of Terah, all of whom sustained an important rela- 
tion to the subsequent history, viz. Abram as the father of the 
chosen family, Nahor as the ancestor of Rebekah (cf. ver. 29 with 
chap. xxii. 20-23), and Haran as the father of Lot (ver. 27). 


Chap. xi. 27-xxv. 11. 

family of terah. — chap. xi. 27-32. 

The genealogical data in vers. 27-32 prepare the way for 
the history of the patriarchs. The heading, " These are the gene- 
rations of Ttrahf hftlny^gH not, mo/feh^tn Yfrg 9/TZ2& r tu\tJpj}\(> 
whole of the fofowjng accountof_ Abram, since it corresponds to 
" the generations" of Ishmael and oflsaac in chap. xxv. 12 and 19. 
Of the three sons of Terah, who are mentioned again in ver. 27 
to complete the plan of the different Toledoth, such genealogical 
notices are given as are of importance to the history of Abram and 
his family. According to the regular plan of Genesis, the fact that 
Haran the youngest son of Terah begat Lot, is mentioned first 
of all, because the latter went with Abram to Canaan ; and then 
the fact that he died before his father Terah, because the link 
which would have connected Lot with his native land was broken 
in consequence. " Be/ore his father," 'JB ?V lit. upon the face 
of his father, so that he saw and survived his death. Ur of the 
Chaldees is to be sought either in the " Ur nomine persicum castel- 
lum" of Ammian (25, 8), between Hatra and Nisibis, near Arra- 
pachitis, or in Orhoi, Armenian Urrhai, the old name for Edessa, 
the modern Urfa. — Ver. 29. Abram and Nahor took wives from 

their kindred. Abram married Saraii his_halfj*ister (xx. 12), of ^ 

whom it is already related, in anticipation of what follows, that 
she was barren. Nahor married Milcah, the daughter of his 
hr^tior Har^ who borejto- him Bethuelj the father of Rebekah v_^ 
(xxii. 22, 23). The reason why Iscah is mentioned is doubtful. 
For the rabbinical notion, that Iscah is another name for Sarai, 
is irreconcilable with chap. xx. 12, where Abram calls Sarai his 
sister, daughter of his father, though not of his mother ; on the 

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other hand, the circumstance that Sarai is introduced in ver 31 
merely as the danghter-in-law of Terah, may be explained on the 
ground that she left Ur, not as his daughter, but as the wife of 
i his son Abram. A better hypothesis is that of Ewald, that 
J«4scah is mentioned because she was the wife of Lot ; but this is 
I pure conjecture. According to ver. 31, Terah already prepared 
to leave Ur of the Chaldees with Abram and Lot, and to remove 
to Canaan. In the phrase " they went forth with them" the 
subject cannot be the unmentioned members of the family, such 
as Nahor and his children ; though Nahor must also have gone 
to Haran, since it is called in chap. xxiv. 10 the city of Nahor. 
For if he accompanied them at this time, there is no perceptible 
reason why he should not have been mentioned along with the 
rest. The nominative to the verb must be Lot and Sarai, who 
went with Terah and Abram ; so that although Terah is placed 
\ ,i-0 v * at the head, Abram must have taken an active part in the re- 

i 1 (V/V^ moval, or the resolution to remove. This does not, however, 

iv « \ • \ Pecessitatejthe conclusion, that he_ hacTalready be en called b y 
I lJUr y ?od in U r. Nor does chap. xv. 7 require any such assumption. 

^^ For it is not stated there that God called Abram in Ur, but only 

that He brought him out. But the simple fact of removing from 
Ur might also be called a leading out, as a work of divine super- 
intendence and guidance, without a special call from God. _It 
was in Haran that Abram first received the divine call to go to 
Canaan (xii. 1-4J, when he left not only his country and kindred, 
but also his father's house. Terah did not carry out his inten- 
tion to proceed to Canaan, but remained in Haran, in his native 
country Mesopotamia, probably because he found there what he 
was going to look for in the land of Canaan. Haran, more pro- 
perly Charan, pn, is a place in north-western Mesopotamia, the 
ruins ofwhich may stuTBe - seen7a~full day's journey Totfie south 
of Edessa (Gr. Kdjbfcu, Lat. Carrce), where Crassus fell when 
defeated by the Parthians. It was a leading settlement of the 
Ssabians, who had a temple there dedicated to the moon, which 
they traced back to Abraham. There Terah died at the age of 
205, or sixty years after the departure of Abram for Canaan ; for, 
according to ver. 26, Terah was seventy years old when Abram 
was born, and Abram was seventy-five years old when he ar- 
/"\ jrived in Canaan. When Stephen, therefore, placed the removal 
lof Abram from Haran to Canaan after the death of his father, 

\ wa 

\ .' 

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CHAP. XI. 27-XXV. 11. 181 

he merely inferred this from the fact, that the call of Abram 
(chap, xii.) was not mentioned till after the death of Terah had 
been noticed, taking the order of the narrative as the order of 
events ; whereas, according to the plan of Genesis, the death of 
Terah is introduced here, because Abram never met with his 
father again after leaving Ilaran, and there was consequently 
nothing more to be related concerning him. 


The dispersion of the descendants of the sons of Noah, who 
had now grown into numerous families, was necessarily followed 
on the one hand by the rise of a variety of nations, differing in 
language, manners, and customs, and more and more estranged 
from one another; and on the other by the expansion of the germs 
of idolatry, contained in the different attitudes of these nations to- 
wards God, into the polytheistic religions of heathenism, in which 
the glory of the immortal God was changed into an image made 
like to mortal man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and 
creeping things (Rom. i. 23 cf. Wisdom xiii.-xv.). If God 
therefore would fulfil His promise, no more to smite the earth 
with the curse of the destruction of every living thing because of 
the sin of man (chap. viii. 21, 22), and yet would prevent the 
moral corruption which worketh death from sweeping all before 
it ; it was necessary that by the side of these self-formed nations 
He should form a nation for Himself, to be the recipient and pre- 
server of His salvation, and that in opposition to the rising king- 
doms of the world He should establish a kingdom for the living, 
saving fellowship of man with Himself. The foundation for this 
was laid by God in the call and separation of Abram from his 
people and his country, to make him, by special guidance, the 
father of a nation from which the salvation of the world should 
come. With the choi ce of Abram the revelation of God Jxunan 

assumed a select r^rapter^nngirmpVi as Qr\r\ manifested Himnalf 

henceforth to Abram and his posterity alone as the, author. of 
sa lvatio n andtheguide to true life ; whilst other nations were left 
to follow their own course according to the powers conferred upon 
them, in order that they might learn that in their way, and with- 
out fellowship with the living God, it was impossible to find peace 
to the soul, and the true blessedness of life (cf. Acts xvii. 27). 

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Kiitjjvis escluaJYeneSS <-nntainpd frnm thp very £rat tba-gtwnn of 
universalism. Abram was called, that through him all the fami- 
lies of~the earth might be blessed (chap. xii. 1-3). Hence the 
new form which the divine guidance of the human race assumed 
in the call of Abram was connected with the general develop- 
ment of the world, — on the one hand, by the fact that Abram 
belonged to the family of Shem, which Jehovah had blessed, and 
on the other, by his not being called alone, but as a married 
man with his wife. But whilst, regarded in this light, the con- 
tinuity of the divine revelation was guaranteed, as well as the 
plan of human development established in the creation itself, the 
call of Abram introduced so far the commencement of a new 
period, that to carry oat the designs of God their very founda- 
tions required to be renewed. Although, for example, the know- 
ledge and worship of the true God had been preserved in the 
families of Shem in a purer form than among the remaining 
descendants of Noah, even in the house of Terah the worship of 
God was corrupted by idolatry (Josh. xxiv. 2, 3) ; and although 
Abram was to become the father of the nation which God was 
about to form, yet his wife was barren, and therefore, in the way 
of nature, a new family could not be expected to spring from 

As a perfectly new begim img^herefor e, the patriarchal his- 
tory jisjumed the form of a family history, in which the grace 
of God prepared the ground for the coming Israel. For the 
nation was to grow out of the family, and in the lives of the 
patriarchs its character was to be determined and its develop- 
ment foreshadowed. The early history consists of three stages , 
which are indicated by t he thre e patriarchs, peculiarly so called, 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; and injJiesons of Jacob the van ity 
of the chosen family was expa nded i nto the twelve immediate 
fathers of the nation. l a the triple num F >pr " f tllg p a tir'ftrfib''j 
the d ivine electio n of the nation on the one hand, and the entire 
. _formation_of the character ahd~guidance of theTifed Israel on 
the other, were to attain to their fullest typical manifestation. 
These two were the pivots, upon which all'the divine revelations 
made to the patriarchs, and all the guidance they received, were 
made to turn. The revelations consisted almost exclusively of 
promises ; and so far as these promises were fulfilled in the lives 
of the patriarchs, the fulfilments themselves were predictions and 

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CHAP. XI. 27-XXV. 11. 


pledges of the ultimate and complete fulfilment, reserved for a 
distant, or for the most remote futurity. And the guidance 
vouchsafed had for its object the calling forth of faith in response 
to the promise, which should maintain itself amidst all the changes 
of this earthly life. " A faith, which laid hold of the word of 
promise, and on the strength of that word gave up the visible 
and present for the invisible and future, was the fundamental 
characteristic of the patriarchs" (Delitzsch). This faith Abram 
manifested and sustained by great sacrifices, by enduring pa- 
tience, and by self-denying obedience of such a kind, that he 
thereby became the father of believers {ira-rhp ir a vrmv tS^ v iruf- 
Tevovrav, Bom. iv. 11). Isaac also was strong in patience and 
hope ; and Jacob wrestled in faith amidst painful circumstances 
of various kinds, until he had secured the blessing of the promise. 
" Abraham was a man of faith that works ; Isaac, of faith tha,t 
endures; Jacob, of faith that yrfesUes' r ~(Baumgarteri) . — Thus, 
walking in faith, the patriarchs were types of faith for all the 
families that should spring from them, and be blessed through 
them, and ancestors of a nation which God had resolved to form 
according to the election of His grace. For the election of God 
was not restricted to the separation of Abram from the family 
of Shem, to be the father of the nation which was destined to be 
the vehicle of salvation ; it was also manifest in the exclu sion of 
Ishmael, whom Abram had begotten by the will of man, through 
Hagar the handmaid" of his~wTR£~for~Fh~e purpose of securing 
the promised seed, and in the new life imparted to the womb of 
the barren Sarai, and her consequent conception and birth of 
Isaac, the son of promise. And lastly, it appea red still more mani- 
festly in the twin sons born by Bebekah to Isaac, of whom the 
first-born, Esau, was rejected, and the younger, Jacob, chosen to 
be the heir of the promise; - and this choice, which was announced 
before their birth, was maintained in spite of Isaac's plans, so 
that Jacob, and not Esau, received the blessing of the promise. 
— AH this occurred as a typefpr Jthe. future, that Israel might 
know and lay to heart the fact, that bodily descent- from Ahra- 
ham did not make a man a child of God, but that they alone 
were children of "God who laid hold of the divine promise in 
faith, and" walked In the steps of their forefather's faith (cf. Bom. 
ix. 6-13)." 

If we fix our eyes upon the method of the divine revelation, 

■ AU, 

I I 

4-n * -»s 


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we find a new beginning in this respect, that as soon as Abram 
is called, we read of the appearing of God. It is true that from 
the very beginning God had manifested Himself visibly to men ; 
but in the olden time we read nothing of appearances, because 
before the flood God had not withdrawn His presence from the 
earth. Even to Noah He revealed Himself before the flood as 
one who was present on the earth. But when He had established 
a covenant with him after the flood, and thereby had assured the 
continuance of the earth and ofjhe human race, the direct mani - 
festationsfc eased, for Trod withdrew His visible presence from the 
world] so that it was from heaven that the judgment fell upon the 
. tower of Babel, and even the call to Abram in his home in Haran 
was issued through His word, that is to say, no doubt, through an 
inward monition. But as soon as Abram had gone to Canaan, 
in obedience to the call of God, Jehovah appeared to him there 
(chap. xii. 7). These appearance, whichja^reconstantlyrepeated 
from that time forward, mustjiave tjdcen_place_frojnJhsaYen ; 
for we read that Jehovah, after speaking with Abram and the 
other patriarchs, " went away" (chap, xviii. 33), or " went up" 
(chap. xvii. 22, xxxv. 13) ; and the patriarchs saw them, some- 
times while in a waking condition, in a form discernible to the 
bodily senses, sometimes in visions, in a state of mental ecstasy, 
and at other times in the form of a dream (chap, xxviii. 12 sqq.). 
On the form in which God appeared, in most instances, nothing 
is related. But in chap, xviii. 1 sqq. it is stated that three men 
came to Abram, one of whom is introduced as Jehovah, whilst 
the other two are called angels (chap. xix. 1). Beside this, we 
frequently read of appearances of the " angel of Jehovah" 
(xvi. 7, xxii. 11, etc.), or of "Elohim," and the "angel of 
Elohim" (chap. xxi. 17, xxxi. 11, etc.), which were repeated 
throughout the whole of the Old Testament, and even occurred, 
though only in vision, in the case of the prophet Zechariah. 
. The appj^rances_of_the angel of Jeh ovah for El ohi m) canno t 
/ haveHbeen essentially different from those of Jehovah (or _Elo- 
( hm^Hiniself ; for Jacob describes the appearance of Jehovah at 
Bethel (chap, xxviii. 13 sqq.) as an appearance of " the angel 
of Elohim," and of " the God of Bethel" (chap. xxxi. 11, 13) ; 
and in his blessing on the sons of Joseph (chap, xlviii. 15, 16), 
" The God {Elohim) before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac 
did walk, the God (Elohim) which fed me all my life long unto 

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CHAP. XL 27-XXV. 11. 185 

this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless th« 
lads," he places the angel of God on a perfect equality with God, 
not only regarding Him as the Being to whom he has been in- 
debted for protection all his life long, but entreating from Him 
a blessing upon his descendants. 

The question arises, therefore, w hethe r the angel of Jehovah, 
or of GWPwas God Himself in one particular phase of His 
self-manifestation, or a created angel of whom God made use 
as the organ of His self-revelation. 1 The former appears to 
us to be the only scriptural view. For the essential unity of 
the Angel of Jehovah with Jehovah Himself follows indisput- 
ably from the following facts. In the first place, the Angel of 
Godjdentifies Himself with Jehovah and Elohim, by attributing 
to Himself divine attributes and performing divine works : e.g., 
chap. xxii. 12, "Now /know that thou fearest God, seeing thou 
hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me" (i.e. hast 
been willing to offer him up as a burnt sacrifice to God) ; again 
(to Hagar) chap. xvi. 10, " 1 will multiply thy seed exceedingly, 
that it shall not be numbered for multitude ;" chap, xxi., ' I will 
make him a great nation," — the very words used by Elohim in 
chap. xvii. 20 with reference to Ishmael, and by Jehovah in 
chap. xiii. 16, xv. 4, 5, with regard to Isaac; also Ex. in. 6 
sqq., " i" am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the 
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob : / have surely seen the 
affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their 
cry, and / am come down to deliver them" (cf. Judg. ii. 1). 
In addition to this, He performs miracles, consuming with fire 
the offering placed before Him by Gideon, and the sacrifice pre- 
pared by Manoah, and ascending to heaven in the flame of the 
burnt-offering (Judg. vi. 21, xiii. 19, 20). Secondly, theAngel i« \ 
of__Qo4_was recognised as God by those to whom He appeared, ' 

1 In the old Jewish synagogue the Angel of Jehovah was regarded as 
the Shechinah, the indwelling of God in the world, i.e. the only Mediator 
between God and the world, who bears in the Jewish theology the name 
Metatron. The early Church regarded Him as the Logos, the second person 
of the Deity ; and only a few of the fathers, such as Augustine and Jerome, 
thought of a created angel (vid. Hengstenberg, Ghristol. vol. 3, app.). This 
view was adopted by many Romish theologians, by the Socinians, Arminians, 
and others, and has been defended recently by Hofmann, whom Delilzsch, 
Kurtz, and others follow. But the opinion of the early Church has been 
vindicated most thoroughly by Hengstenberg in his Christology. 


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on the one hand by their addressing Him a s Adonai (t.e. the 
Lord God ; Judg. vi. 15), declaring tbit Jhey_ha3~seen God, 
and fearing that they should die (chap. xvi. 13 ; Ex. hi. 6 ; 
Judg. vi. 22, 23, xiii. 22), and on the other hand by thgir_paying 
Him divine honour, offering sacrifices which He accepted, and 
worshipping Him (Judg. vi. 20, xiii. 19, 20, cf. ii. 5). The 
force of these facts has been met by the assertion, that the am- 
bassador perfectly represents the person of the sender; and 
evidence of this is adduced not only from Grecian literature, 
but from the Old Testament also, where the addresses of the 
prophets often glide imperceptibly into the words of Jehovah, 
whose instrument they are. But even if the address in chap, 
xxii. 16, where the oath of the Angel of Jehovah is accompanied 
by the words, " saith the Lord," and the words and deeds of the 
Angel of God in certain other cases, might be explained in this 
way, a created angel sent by God could never say, " I am the 
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," or by the acceptance of 
sacrifices and adoration, encourage the presentation of divine 
honours to himself. How utterly irreconcilable this fact is 
with the opinion that the Angel of Jehovah was a created angel, 
is conclusively proved by Rev. xxii. 9, which is generally re- 
garded as perfectly corresponding to the account of the " Angel 
of Jehovah " of the Old Testament. The angel of God, who 
shows the sacred seer the heavenly Jerusalem, and who is sup- 
posed to say, "Behold, I come quickly" (ver. 7), and "I am 
Alpha and Omega" (ver. 13), refuses in the most decided way 
the worship which John is about to present, and exclaims, " See 
I am thy fellow-servant: worship God." Thirdly, the Angel 
of Jehovah is ako identified with Jehovah by the sacred writers 
themselves, who call theTAng^TJehcivairwrthtmftheleast reserve 
(cfTExT iii. 2 and 4, Judg. vi. 12 and 14-16, but especially 
Ex. xiv. 19, where the Angel of Jehovah goes before the host of 
the Israelites, just as Jehovah is said to do in Ex. xiii. 21). — 
On the other hand, the objection is raised, that 0776X09 icvpiov 
in the New Testament, which is confessedly the Greek rendering 
of mrp -]vbo, is always a created angel, and for that reason can- 
not be the uncreated Logos or Son of God, since the latter could 
not possibly have announced His own birth to the shepherds at 
Bethlehem. But this important difference has been overlooked, 
that according to Greek usage, ayycXo; icvpiov denotes an (any) 

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CHAP. XL 27-XXV. 11. 187 

angel of the Lord, whereas according to the rules of the Hebrew 
language njrp ?[K7D means the angel of the Lord ; that in the 
New Testament the angel who appears is always described as 
&ffeKxxs Kvptov without the article, and the definite article is 
only introduced in the further course of the narrative to denote 
the angel whose appearance has been already mentioned, where- 
as in the Old Testament it is always "the Angel of Jehovah" 
who appears, and whenever the appearance of a created angel is 
referred to, he is introduced first of all as " an angel " (yid. 1 
Kings xix. 5 and 7). 1 At the same time, it does not follow from 
this use of the expression Maleach Jehovah, that the (particular) 
angel of Jehovah was essentially one with God, or that Maleach 
Jehovah always has the same signification ; for in Mai. ii. 7 the 
priest is called Maleach Jehovah, i.e. the messenger of the Lord. 
Who the messenger or angel of Jehovah was, must be deter- 
mined in each particular instance from the connection of the 
p assag e ; and where the context furnishes ho criterion, it must 
remain undecided. Consequently such passages as Ps. xxxiv. 
7, XXXV. 5, 6, etc., where the angel of Jehovah is not more 
particularly described, or Num. xx. 16, where the general term 
angel is intentionally employed, or Acts vii. 30, Gal. iii. 19, 
and Heb. ii. 2, where the words are general and indefinite, 
furnish no evidence that the Angel of Jehovah, who proclaimed 
Himself in His appearances as one with God, was not in reality 
equal with God, unless we are to adopt as the rule for inter- 
preting Scripture the inverted principle, that clear and definite 
statements are to be explained by those that are indefinite and 

In attempting now to determine the connection between the 
appearance of the Angel of Jehovah (or Elohim) and the ap- 
pearance of Jehovah or Elohim Himself, and to fix the precise 
meaning of the expression Maleach Jehovah, we cannot make 

1 The force of this difference cannot be set aside by the objection that 
the New Testament writers follow the usage of the Septuagint, where 1JK7D 
miV is rendered otyyiXo; xvptov. For neither in the New Testament nor in 
the Alex, version of the Old is iyyihet xvplw used as a proper name ; it is 
a simple appellative, as is apparent from the fact that in every instance, in 
which further reference is made to an angel who has appeared, he is called 
• <Jyy«*of, with or without xvpi'ov. All that the Septuagint rendering 
proves, is that the translators supposed " the angel of the Lord " to be a 
created angel ; but it by no means follows that their supposition is correct. 

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use, as recent opponents of the old Church view have done, of 
the manifestation of God in Gen. xviii. and xix., and the allusion 
to the great prince Michael in Dan. x. 13, 21, xii. 1 ; just be- 
cause neither the appearance of Jehovah in the former instance, 
nor that of the archangel Michael in the latter, is represented as 
an appearance of the Angel of Jehovah. We must confine our- 
selves to the passages in which " the Angel of Jehovah" is actu- 
ally referred to. We will examine these, first of all, for the 
purpose of obtaining a clear conception of the form in which 
the Angel of Jehovah appeared. Gen. xvi., where He is men- 
tioned for the first time, contains no distinct statement as to 
His shape, but produces on the whole the impression that He 
appeared to Hagar in a human form, or one resembling that 
of man ; since it was not till after His departure that she drew 
the inference from His words, that Jehovah had spoken with 
her. He came in the same form to Gideon, and sat under the 
terebinth at Ophrah with a staff in His hand (Judg. vi. 11 and 
21) ; also to Manoah's wife, for she took Him to be a man of 
God, i.e. a prophet, whose appearance was like that of the Angel 
of Jehovah (Judg. xiii. 6) ; and lastly, to Manoah himself, who 
did not recognise Him at first, but discovered afterwards, from 
the miracle which He wrought before his eyes, and from His 
miraculous ascent in the flame of the altar, that He was the 
Angel of Jehovah (vers. 9-20). In other cases He revealed 
Himself merely by calling and speaking from heaven, without 
those who heard His voice perceiving any form at all : e.g., to 
Hagar, in Gen. xxi. 17 sqq., and to Abraham, chap. xxii. 11 
sqq. On the other hand, He appeared to Moses (Ex. iii. 2) in 
a flame of fire, speaking to him from the burning bush, and to 
the people of Israel in a pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. xiv. 19, cf. 
xiii. 21 sq.), without any angelic form being visible in either 
case. Balaam He met in a human or angelic form, with a 
drawn sword in His hand (Num. xxii. 22, 23). David saw Him 
by the threshing-floor of Araunah, standing between heaven and 
earth, with the sword drawn in His hand and stretched out over 
Jerusalem (1 Chron. xxi. 16) ; and He appeared to Zechariah 
in a vision as a rider upon a red horse (Zech. i. 9 sqq.). — From 
these varying forms of appearance it is evident that the opinion 
that the Angel of the Lord was a real angel, a divine mani- 
festation, " not in the disguise of angel, but through the actual 

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CHAP. XI. 27-XXV. 11. 189 

appearance of an angel," is not in harmony with all the state- 
ments of the Bible. The form of the Angel of Jehovah, which 
was discernible by the senses, varied according to the purpose of 
the appearance ; and, apart from Gen. xxi. 17 and xxii. 11, we 
have a sufficient proof that it was not a real angelic appearance, 
or the appearance of a created angel, in the fact that in two 
instances it was not really an angel at all, but a dame of fire 
and a shining cloud which formed the earthly substratum of the 
revelation of God in the Angel of Jehovah (Ex. iii. 2, xiv. 19), 
unless indeed we are to regard natural phenomena as angels, 
without any scriptural warrant for doing so. 1 These earthly 
substrata of the manifestation of the u Angel of Jehovah" per- 
fectly suffice to establish the conclusion, that the Angel of 
Jehovah was only a peculiar form in which Jehovah Himself 
appeared, and which differed from the manifestations of God 
described as appearances of Jehovah simply in this, that in " the 
Angel of Jehovah," God or Jehovah revealed Himself in a mode 
which was more easily discernible by human senses, and ex- 
hibited in a guise of symbolical significance the design of each 
particular manifestation. In the appearances of Jehovah no 
reference is made to any form visible to the bodily eye, unless 
they were through the medium of a vision or a dream, excepting 
in one instance (Gen. xviii.), where Jehovah and two angels 
come to Abraham in the form of three men, and are entertained 

1 The only passage that could be adduced in support of this, viz. Ps. 
civ. 4, does not prove that God makes natural objects, winds and flaming 
fire, into forms in which heavenly spirits appear, or that He creates spirits 
out of them. Even if we render this passage, with Delitzsch, " making His 
messengers of winds, His servants of flaming fire," the allusion, as Delitzsch 
himself observes, is not to the creation of angels ; nor can the meaning be, 
that God gives wind and fire to His angels as the material of their appear- 
ance, and as it were of their self-incorporation. For nbj?, constructed with 

T 1 

two accusatives, the second of which expresses the materia ex qua, is never 
met with in this sense, not even in 2 Chron. iv. 18-22. For the greater 
part of the temple furniture summed up in this passage, of which it is stated 
that Solomon made them of gold, was composed of pure gold ; and if some 
of the things were merely covered with gold, the writer might easily apply 
the same expression to this, because he had already given a more minute 
account of their construction (e.g. chap. iii. 7). But we neither regard 
this rendering of the psalm as in harmony with the context, nor assent tc 
the assertion that nfc>JJ with a double accusative, in the sense of making 
into anything, is ungrammatical 

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I 1 


by him, — a form of appearance perfectly resembling the appear- 
ances of the Angel of Jehovah, but which is not so described by 
the author, because in this case Jehovah does not appear alone, 
but in the company of two angels, that " the Angel of Jehovah" 
might not be regarded as a created angel. 

But although there was no essential difference, but only a 
formal one, between the appearing of Jehovah and the appear- 
ing of the Angel of Jehovah, the disti nction between J ehovah 
andjthe^Angel of Jehovah points to a distinction in the divine 
nature, to which even the Old Testament contains several obvious 
allusions. The very_joame indicates such a differe nce, :Jt<?D 
nirp (from jJN? to work, from^vhtchrcbme >ij«5b the work, opus, 
and 1$P, /t?rheThrough whom a work is executed, but in ordi- 
nary usage restricted to the idea of a messenger) denotes the 
person through whom God works and appears. Beside these 
passages which represent "the Angel of Jehovah" as one with 
Jehovah, there are others in which the Angel distinguishes 
Himself from Jehovah ; e.g. when He gives emphasis to the 
oath by Himself as an oath by Jehovah, by adding " saith Jeho- 
vah" (Gen. xxii. 16) ; when He greets Gideon with the words, 
"Jehovah with thee, thou brave hero" (Judg. vi. 12); when 
He says to Manoah, " Though thou constrainedst me, I would 
not eat of thy food ; but if thou wilt offer a burnt-offering to 
Jehovah, thou raayest offer it" (Judg. xiii. 16) ; or when He 
prays, in Zech. i. 12, "Jehovah Sabaoth, how long wilt Thou 
not have mercy on Jerusalem?" (Compare also Gen. xix. 24, 
where Jehovah is distinguished from Jehovah.) Just as in 
these passages the Angel of Jehovah distinguishes Himself per- 
sonally from Jehovah, there are others in which a distinction is 
drawn between a self-revealing side of the divine nature, visible 
to men, and a hidden side, invisible to men, i.e. between the 
self-revealing and the hidden God. Thus, for example, not 
only does Jehovah say of the Angel, whom He sends before 
Israel in the pillar of cloud and fire, " My name is in Him," i.e. 
he reveals My nature (Ex. xxiii. 21), but He also calls Him '3fi, 
" My face" (xxxiii. 14) ; and in reply to Moses' request to see His 
glory, He says " Thou canst not see My face, for there shall no 
man see Me and live," and then causes His glory to pass by 
Moses in such a way that he only sees His back, but not His 
face (xxxiii. 18-23). On the strength of these expressions, He 

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CHAP. XI. 27-XXV. 11. 191 

in whom Jehovah manifested Himself to His people as a Saviour 
is called in Isa. lxiii. 9, " the Angel of His face," and all the 
guidance and protection of Israel are ascribed to Him. In 
accordance with this, Malachi, the last prophet of the Old 
Testament, proclaims to the people waiting for the manifesta- 
tion of Jehovah, that is to say, for the appearance of the Mes- 
siah predicted by former prophets, that the Lord (1^*0 > *•*• God), 
the Angel of the covenant, will come to His temple (iii. 1). 
This "Angel of the covenant," or "Angel of the face," hasi 
appeared in Christ. The A ngel of Jehovah, therefore, was nol 
ot her than the_JLflfios, which not only "was with God," but[ 
"was God," and in Jesus Christ "was made flesh" and "came/ 
unto His own" (John i. 1, 2, 11) ; the only-begotten Son or 
God, who was sent by the Father into the world, who, thongh 
one with the Father, prayed to the Father (John xvii.), and 
who is even called " the Apostle," 6 airoaraiKos, in Heb. iii. 1. 
From all this It is sufficiently obvious, that neither the title 
Angel or Messenger of Jehovah, nor the fact that the Angel of 
Jehovah prayed to Jehovah Sabaoth, furnishes any evidence 
against His essential unity with Jehovah. That which is un- 
folded in perfect clearness in the New Testament through the 
incarnation of the Son of God, was still veiled in the Old Tes- 
ment according to the wisdom apparent in the divine training. 
The difference between Jehovah and the Angel of Jehovah is 
generally hidden behind the unity of the two, and for the most 
part Jehovah is referred to as He who chose Israel as His nation 
and kingdom, and who would reveal Himself at some future 
time to His people in all His glory ; so that in the New Testa- 
ment nearly all the manifestations of Jehovah under the Old 
Covenant are referred to Christ, and regarded as fulfilled 
through Him. 1 

1 This is not a mere accommodation of Scripture, but the correct inter- 
pretation of the obscure hints of the Old Testament by the light of the ful- 
filment in the New. For not only is the Maleach Jehovah the revealer of 
God, but Jehovah Himself is the revealed God and Saviour. Just as in the 
history of the Old Testament there are not only revelations of the Maleach 
Jehovah, but revelations of Jehovah also ; so in the prophecies the announce- 
ment of the Messiah, the sprout of David and servant of Jehovah, is inter- 
mingled with the announcement of the coming of Jehovah to glorify His 
people and perfect Hie kingdom. 

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The life of Abraham, from his call to his death, consists of 
four stage s, the commencement of each of which is markedjby a 
divine revelation of sufficient importance to constitute a distinct 
epoch. The first stage (chap, xii.-xiv.) commences with his call 
and removal to Canaan ; the second (chap. xv. xvi.), with the 
promise of a lineal heir and the conclusion of a covenant ; the 
third (chap, xvii.— xxi.), with the establishment of the covenant, 
accompanied by a change in his name, and the appointment of 
the covenant sign of circumcision ; the fourth (chap, xxii.-xxv. 
11), with the temptation of Abraham to attest and perfect his life 
of faith. All the revelations made to him proceed from Jehovah ; 
and the name Jehovah is employed throughout the whole life of 
the father of the faithful, El phim bein g used only where Jehovah, 
from its meaning, would be either entirely inapplicable, or at any 
rate less appropriate. 1 

Vers. 1-3. The Call. — The word of Jehovah, by which 
Abram was called, contained a command and a promise. Abram 
was to leave all — his country, his kindred (see chap, xliii. 7), and 
his father's house — and to follow the Lord into the land which He 
would show him. Thus he was to trust entirely to the guidance 
of God, and to follow wherever He might lead him. But as he 
went in consequence of this divine summons into the land of 
Canaan (ver. 5), we must assume that God gave him at the very 
first a distinct intimation, if not of the land itself, at least of the 
direction he was to take. That Canaan was to be his destination, 
was no doubt made known as a matter of certainty in the revela- 
tion which he received after his arrival there (ver. 7). — For thus 
renouncing and denying all natural ties, the Lord gave him the 
inconceivably great promise, " / will make of thee a great nation ; 
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great ; and thou shalt be a 
blessing." The four members of this promise are not to be divided 

1 The hypothesis, that the history is compounded of Jeliovistic and Elo- 
histic documents, can only be maintained by those who misunderstand the 
distinctive meaning of these two names, and arbitrarily set aside the Jehovah 
in chap. xvii. 1, on account of an erroneous determination of the relation in 
which nE* fo stands to mn». 

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CHAP. XII. 1-3. 193 

into two parallel members, in which case the athnach would 
stand in the wrong place ; bat are to be regarded as_an_ascand- 
ing climax, expressing four elements of the salvation promised to 
Abram, the last of which is still further expanded in ver. 3. By 
placing the athnach under ip# the fourth member is marked as 
a new and independent feature added to the other three. The 
four distinct elements are — 1. increase int o a numerpns_p^ople 
2. a blessing, that is to say, material P n ^ spiritual prosperity ; 3. 
t he exalta tion of his rum a, i.e. the elevation of Abram to honour 
and glory; 4. his appointment -to be the possessor and dispenser 
•of the bless ing. Abram was not only to receive blessing, but to 
be a blessing ; not only to be blessed by God, but to become a 
blessing, or the medium of blessing, to others. The blessing, as 
the more minute definition of the expression " be a blessing" in 
ver. 3 clearly shows, was henceforth to keep pace as it were 
with Abram himself, so that (1) the blessing and cursing of men 
were to depend entirely upon their attitude towards him, and (2) 
all the families of the earth were to be blessed in him. i"|gi lit. to 
treat as light or little, to despise, denotes " blasphemous cursing 
on the part of a man ;" "ntj " judicial cursing on the part of 
God." It appears significant^ however, "that the_plural isuged i, 
in relation to the blessing, and the singular only in relation to"3p 
thVcursing ; grace expects that there will be many to bless, and 
that only an individual here and there will render not blessing 
for blessing, but curse for curse." — In ver. 3 b, Abram, the one, 
is made a blessing for all. In the word *l 3 the primary mean- 
ing of 3, tw, is not to be given up, though the instrumental sense, 
through, is not to be excluded. Abram was not merely to be- 
come a mediator, but the source of blessing for all. The expres- 
sion " all the families of the ground" points to the division of 
the one family into many (chap. x. 5, 20, 31), and the word 
noiKn to the curse pronounced upon the ground (chap. iii. 17). 
The blessing of Abraham was once more to unite the divided 
families, and change the curse, pronounced upon the ground on 
account of sin, into a blessing for the whole human race. This 
concluding word comprehends all nations and times, and con- 
denses, as Bawmgarten has said, the whole fulness of the divine 
counsel for the salvation of men into the call of Abram. All 
further promises, therefore, not only to the patriarchs, but also 
to Israel, were merely expansions and closer definitions of the 

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salvation held out to the whole human race in the first promise. 
Even the assurance, which Abram received after his entrance 
into Canaan (ver. 6), was implicitly contained in this first pro- 
mise ; since a great nation could not be conceived of, without a 
r. q country of its own. This promise was renewed to Abram on 

(_l i \MAI*s*~*> several occasions: first after his separation from Eot (xiii. 14-16), 
/' 7 on which occasion, however, the " blessing" was not mentioned, 

■L^iixttt ■ because not required by the connection, and the two elements 
** on ly> viz* the numerous increase of his seed, and the possession 

of the land of Canaan, were assured to him and to his seed, and 
that " for ever ; " secondly, in chap, xviii. 18 somewhat more 
casually, as a reason for the confidential manner in whicTTJehovah 
explained to him the secret of His government ; and lastly, at the 
t wo princ ipal turning points of his life, where the whole promise 
was confirmed with the greatest solemnity, viz. in ch ap, xvi i. at the 
commencement of the establishment of the covenant made with 
him, where u I will make of thee a great nation" was heightened 
into " I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of 
thee," and his being a blessing was more fully defined as the estab- 
lishment of a covenant, inasmuch as Jehovah would be God to 
him and to his posterity (vers. 3 sqq.), and in .chap. xiii. after 
the attestation of his faith and_obedience, even to the sacrifice of 
his only son, where the innumerable increase of his seed and the 
| ... blessing to pass from him to all nations were guaranteed by an 

Oath. Thgjjianie prmnJH^wns aftprwftrHa rpnp.wpfl t/< Tsimn, with a 

distinct allusion to the oath (chap. xxvi. 3, 4), and a gain to J acob, 
bnthj n) his flightj Frnm flf^flg^ for fear of Esau^chapTxxviii. 
» •'. < ) 13, 14), and on his return thither (chap. xxxv. 11, 12). In the 
case of these renewalspltis only in chap, xxviii. 14 that the last 
expression, "all the families of theAdamah," is repeated verbatim, 
though with the additional clause " and in thy seed ;" in the 
other passages " all the nations of the earth" are mentioned, 
the family connection being left out of sight, and the national 
character of the blessing being brought into especial prominence. 
In two instances also, instead of the Niphal U"D3 we find the 
Hithpael ^ari?. This change of conjugation by no means proves 
that the Niphal is to be taken in its original reflective sense. The 
Hithpael has no doubt the meaning " to wish one's self blessed" 
(Deut. xxix. 19), with 3 of the person from whom the blessing 
is sought (Isa. lxv. 16 ; Jer. iv. 2), or whose blessing is desired 

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CHAP. XII. 4-9. 195 

(Gen. xlviii. 20). But the Niphal *H3? has only the passive sig- 
nification " to be blessed." And the promise not only meant that 
all families of the earth would wish for the blessing which Abram 
possessed, but that they would really receive this blessing in 
Abram and his seed. By the explanation "wish themselves 
blessed" the point of the promise is broken off ; and not only is 
its connection with the prophecy of Noah respecting Japhet's 
dwelling in the tents of Shem overlooked, and the parallel between 
the blessing on all the families of the earth, and the curse pro- 
nounced upon the earth after the flood, destroyed, but the actual 
participation of all the nations of the earth in this blessing is 
rendered doubtful, and the application of this promise by Peter 
(Acts iii. 25) and Paul (Gal. iii. 8) to all nations, is left without 
any firm scriptural basis. At the same time, we must not attri- 
bute a passive signification on that account to the Hithpael in I 
chap. xxii. 18 and xxvi. 4. In these passages prominence is I 
given to the subjective attitude of the nations towards the bless- J 
ing of Abraham, — in other words, to the fact that the nations/ 
would desire the blessing promised to them in Abraham and his* 

Vers. 4-9. Bemoval to Canaan. — Abram cheerfully 
followed the call of the Lord, and " departed as the Lord had 
spoken to him." He was then 75 years old. His age is given, 
because a new period in the history of mankind commenced with 
his exodus. After this brief notice there follows a more circum- 
stantial account, in ver. 5, of the fact that he left Haran with 
his wife, with Lot, and with all that they possessed of servants 
and cattle, whereas Terah remained in Haran (cf.chap. xi. 31). 
*b£ IB** trsari are not the souls which they had begotten, but the 
male and female slaves that Abram and Lot had acquired. — 
Ver. 6. On his arival in Canaan, " Abram passed through the 
land to the place of Sichem : " i.e. the place where Sichem, the 
present Nablus, afterwards stood, between Ebal and Gerizim, 
in the heart of the land. " To the terebinth (or, according to 
Deut. xi. 30, the terebinths) of Moreh : " fb*, *?$ (chap. xiv. 6) 
and D7K are the terebinth, Ji;* and njw the oak; though in many 
MSS. and editions |WK and tftt are interchanged in Josh. xix. 33 
and Judg. iv. 11, either because the pointing in one of these 
passages is inaccurate, or because the word itself was uncertain, 

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as the ever-green oaks and terebinths resemble one another in 
the colour of their foliage and their fissured bark of sombre 
grey. — The notice that " the Caxmajajej ■>"« re then in. " 
does not point to a p ost-Mosaic date f when the Canaanites were 
extinct. For it does not mean that the Canaanites were then 
still in the land, but refers to jthe promise which fo llows, that 
God would give this land to the seed of Abram (ver. 7), and 
merely states that the land into which Abram had come was 
1 not uninhabited and without a possessor ; so that Abram could 
I not regard it at once as his own and proceed to take possession 
of it, but could only wander in it in faith as in a foreign land 
(Heb. xi. 9). — Ver. 7. Here in Sichem Jehovah appeared to 
him, and assured him of the possession of the land of Canaan 
for his descendants. The assurance was made by means of an 
appearance of Jehovah, as a sign that this land was henceforth 
to be the scene of the manifestation of Jehovah. Abram 
understood this, " and there builded he an altar to Jehovah, who 
appeared to him," to make the soil which was hallowed by the 
appearance of God a place for the worship of the God who 
appeared to him. — Ver. 8. He did this also in the mountains, 
to which he probably removed to secure the necessary pasture 
for his flocks, after he had pitched his tent there. " Bethel west- 
wards and Ai eastwards" i.e. in a spot with Ai to the east and 
Bethel to the west. The nnmff Tiefhtl (^nr^ligrg_pro)°ptj^flljy : 
at the time referred to, it was still called Luz (chap, xxviii. 19); 
its present name is Beitin (Robinson's Palestine). At a dis- 
tance of about five miles to the east was Ai, ruins of which are 
still to be seen, bearing the name of Medinet Gai (Ritters 
Erdkunde). On the words " called upon the name of the Lord," 
see chap. iv. 26. From this point Abram proceeded slowly to 
the Negeb, i.e. to the southern district of Canaan towards the 
Arabian desert (yid. chap. xx. 1). 

Vers. 10-20. Abram in Egypt. — Abram had scarcely 
passed through the land promised to his seed, when a famine 
compelled him to leave it, and take refuge in Egypt, which 
abounded in corn ; just as the Bedouins in the neighbourhood 
are accustomed to do now. Whilst the famine in Canaan was 
to teach Abram, that even in the promised land food and cloth- 
ing come from the Lord and His blessing, he was to discover in 

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CHAP. XII. 10-20. 197 

Egypt that earthly craft is soon put to shame when dealing with 
the possessor of the power of this world, and that help and 
deliverance are to be found with the Lord alone, who can so 
smite the mightiest kings, that they cannot touch His chosen or 
do them harm (Ps. cv. 14, 15). — When trembling for his life in 
Egypt on account of the beauty of Sarai his wife, he arranged 
with her, as he approached that land, that she should give her- 
self out as his sister, since she really was his half-sister (chap, 
xi. 29). He had already made an arrangement with her, that 
she should do this in certain possible contingencies, when they. _^ 
first removed to Canaan (chap. xx. 13). The conduct of the 
Sodomites (chap, xix.) was a proof that he had reason for his 
anxiety ; and it was not without cause even so far as Egypt was 
concerned. But his precaution did not spring from faith. 
He might possibly hope, that by means of the plan concerted, 
he should escape the danger of being put to death on account of 
his wife, if any one should wish to take her ; but how he ex- 
pected to save the honour and retain possession of his wife, we 
cannot understand, though we must assume, that he thought he 
should be able to protect and keep her as his sister more easily, 
than if he acknowledged her as his wife. But the very thing 
he feared and hoped to avoid actually occurred. — Vers. 15 sqq. 
The princes of Pharaoh finding her very beautiful, extolled her 
beauty to the king, and she was taken to Pharaoh's house. As 
Sarah was th en 65 years old (cf. chap. xvii. 17 and xii. 4),Jier 
beauty at such an age has been made a difficulty by some. But 
as sheT Tvect Jo Ihe age ]rf i2T^Bhapr"5Xlil.' 1), She was then 
middle-aged ; and as her vigour and bloom had not been tried 
by bearing children, she might ^asily appear verjjDeautifuLin 
the_eyes_jof the Egyptians, whose wires, accwdiag_tg— both 
ancient and modern testimony, were generally u gly, and faded 
early. FharaoK (the Egyptian ouro, king, with the article Pi) 
is~the Hebrew name for all the Egyptian kings in the Old 
Testament; their proper names being only occasionally men- 
tioned, as, for example, Necho in 2 Kings xxiii. 29, or Hophra 
in Jer. xliv. 30. For Sarai' s sake Pharaoh treated Abram well, 
presenting him with cattle and slaves, possessions which con- 
stitute the wealth of nomads. These presents Abram could 
not refuse, though by accepting them he increased his sin. God 
then interfered (ver. 17), and smote Pharaoh and his house 

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with great plagues. What the nature of these plagues was, 
cannot be determined; they were certainly of such a kind, 
however, that whilst Sarah was preserved by them from dis- 
honour, Pharaoh saw at once that they were sent as punishment 
by the Deity on account of his relation to Sarai ; he may also 
have learned, on inquiry from Sarai herself, that she was 
Abram's wife. He gave her back to him, therefore, with a 
reproof for his untruthfulness, and told him to depart, appoint- 
ing men to conduct him out of the land together with his wife 
and all his possessions, fw, to dismiss, to gi ve an escort (xvii i. 
16, xxxi. 27), does not necessarily denote an involuntary dis- 
missal here. For as Pharaoh had discovered in the plague the 
wrath of the God of Abraham, he did not venture to treat him 
harshly, but rather sought to mitigate the anger of his God, by 
the safe-conduct which he granted him on his departure. But 
Abram was not justified by this result, as was very apparent 
from the fact, that he was mute under Pharaoh's reproofs, and 
did not venture to utter a single word in vindication of his con- 
duct, as he did in the similar circumstances described in chap. 
xx. 11, 12. The saving mercy of God had so humbled him, 
that he silently acknowledged his guilt in concealing his relation 
to Sarah from the Egyptian king. 

abram's separation from LOT. — CHAP. XIII. 

Vers. 1-4. Abram, having returned from Egypt to the south 
of Canaan with his wife and property uninjured, through the 
gracious protection of God, proceeded with Lot V^BD? " accord - 
i ng to 7iis j ourne ys " (lit. with the repeated breaki ng up of his 
camp^ required by a nomad life ; on PD) to break up a tenty to 
remove, see Ex. xii. 37) into the neighbourhood of Bethel and 
Ai, where he had previously encamped and built an altar (chap, 
xii. 8), that he might there call upon the name of the Lord 
again. That K"}i??5 (ver. 4) is not a continuation of the relative 
clause, but a resumption of the main sentence, and therefore 
corresponds with ^P5. (ver. 3), " he went . . . and called upon 
the name of the Lord there" has been correctly concluded by 
DeUtztch from the repetition of the subject Abram. — Vers. 5-7. 
But as Abram was very rich ( Tjj, li t, weighty) in possessions 
(rupo, cattle and slaves), and Lot also had flocks, and herds, and 

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CHAP. XIII. 1-4. 199 

tents (D^TK for D^K, Get. § 93, 6, 3) for his men, of whom 
there must have been many therefore, the land did not bear them 
when dwelling together ("fc'J, masculine at the commencement of 
the sentence, as is often the case when the verb precedes the 
subject, vid. Ges. § 147), i.e. the land did not furnish space 
enough for the numerous herd to graze. Consequently disputes 
ar ose between the two parties of herds jpen. The difficulty was / 
in creased by the fact tha t the Can aanites an d Perizzites were j 
then dwellingjn thgJian^^aoiKaFtnB gparp was very contracted. 
The Feriszites, who are mentioned here and in chap, xxxiv. 30, 
Judg. i. 4, along with the Canaanites, and who are placed in 
the other lists of the inhabitants of Canaan among the different 
Canaanitish tribes (chap. xv. 20 ; Ex. iii. 8, 17, etc.), are not 
mentioned among the descendants of Canaan (chap. x. 15-17), 
and may therefore, like the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 
and Kephaim (xv. 19-21), not have been descendants of Ham at 
all. The common explanation of the name Perizzite as equiva- 
lent to rfriB J-TK 3g* "inhabitant of the level ground" (Ezek. 
xxxviii. 11), is at variance not only with the form of the word, 
the inhabitant of the level ground being called TiBil (Deut. iii. 
5), but with the fact of their combination sometimes with the 
Canaanites, sometimes with the other tribes of Canaan, whose 
names were derived from their founders. Moreover, to explain 
the term " Canaanite," as denoting u the civilised inhabitants of 
towns," or " the trading Phoenicians," is just as arbitrary as if 
we were to regard the Kenites, Kenizzites, and the other tribes 
mentioned chap. xv. 19 sqq. along with the Canaanites, as all 
alike traders or inhabitants of towns. The origin of the name 
Perizzite is involved in obscurity, like that of the Kenites and j) 
other tribes settled in Canaan that were not descended from ' 9^*yp>^ 
Ham. But we may infer from the frequency with which theyl 
are mentioned in connection with the Hamitic inhabitants off 
Canaan, that they were widely dispersed among the latter. Vid! 
chap. xv. 19-21. — Vers. 8, 9. To put an end to the strife be- 
tween their herdsmen, Abram proposed to Lot that they should 
separate, as strife was unseemly between CHK e^n, men w h 
stood in the relation of brethren, and left him to choose his 
ground. " If thou to the left, I will turn to the right ; and if 
thou to the right, I will turn to tlie left." Although Abram was 
the_glde r, and the lea der of the company, he was magnanimous 

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enough to leave the choice to his nephew, who was the younger, 
in the contTdehtassurance that the Lord would so direct the de- 
cis!on,"tEat His promise would be fulfilled. — Vers. 10-13. Lot 
chose what was apparently the best portion of the land, the 
whole district of the Jordan, or the valley on both sides of the 
Jordan from the Lake of Gennesareth to what was then the 
vale of Siddim. For previous to the destruction of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, this whole country was well watered, " as the garden 
of Jehovali" the garden planted by Jehovah in paradise, and 
" as Egypt," the land rendered so fertile by the overflowing of 
the Nile, "in the direction of Zoar." Abram therefore re- 
mained in the land of Canaan, whilst Lot settled in the cities of 
the plain of the Jordan, and tented (pitched his tents) as far as 
Sodom. In anticipation of the succeeding history (chap, xix.), it 
is mentioned here (ver. 13), that the inhabitants of Sodom were 
very wicked, and sinful before Jehovah. — Vers. 14-18. After 
Lot's departure, Je hpvah rep eated to Abramjb y - a mo nt al, inw ard 
assurance, as. w e may in fer from thejfact that IDS "saidJMs not 
ac«jnipanjed_byKT3 " be appeared") His promise that He would 
give the land tohlm and to his seed in its whole extent, north- 
ward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, and would 
make his seed innumerable like the dust of the earth. From 
this we may see that the separation of Lot was in accordance 
with the will of God, as Lot had no share in the promise of 
God ; though God afterwards saved him from destruction for 
Abram's sake. The possession of thft land is jrnmi sed D?iy ts 
"_£or eve r." The promise of God is unchangeable. As the seed 
of Abraham was to exist before God for ever, so Canaan was to 
be its everlasting possession. Tfcl f^i'g a pplied not to thn linril 
posterjtyjojfj^bram, *° his seed according to the flesh, hji&lo.the 
true spiritual ^geed, which embraced the promise in faith, and 
herd it in a pure believing heart. The promise, ther efore, 
neither prp pln d n d thn -twtpukion-nf the nnheliftvjn g sppiH from the. 
land of Canaan, nor guarantees to pvisting .Tpws a wtnm tr> the 
earthly Palestine after their conversion to Christ. For as Calvin 
justly says, "guum terra in saculum promittitur, non simpliciter 
notatur perpetuitas ; sed qua finem accepit in Christo." Throu gh 
Christ the premise has been exalted from its temporal form to 
its4rue_gssence_; through Him the wholeearth becomes Canaan 
(ml. chap. xvii. 8). That Abram might appropriate this renewed 

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CHAP. XIV. 1-1*. 201 

and now more fully expanded promise, Jehovah directed him to 
walk through the land in the length of it and the breadth of it. 
In doing this he came in his " tenting" i.e. his wandering 
through the land, t o Hebr on, where he nettlad hy the terebinth 
of _the Am ori te Mamre (chap. xiv. 13), and built an altar to 
Jehovah. The t erm~Hgfr (s et himself, settled down, sat, dwelt) 
den otes that Abram made J^j?h}geUie_cgntoal _pojial_ pf his s ub- 
sequent stay in Can aan (cf. chap. xiv. 13, xviii. 1, and chap, 
xxiii.). On Hebron, see chap, xxiii. 2. 


Vers. 1-12. The war, which furnished Abram with an op- 
portunity, while in the promised land of which as yet he could 
not really call a single rood his own, to prove himself a valiant 
warrior, and not only to smite the existing chiefs of the imperial 
power of Asia, but to bring back to the kings of Canaan the 
booty that had been carried off, is circumstantially described, not 
so much in the interests of secular history as on account of its 
significance in relation to the kingdom of God. It is of impor- 
tance, however, as a simple historical fact, to see that in the state- 
ment in ver. 1, the k ing of S hinar occupies the first place, 
although the king of Eoom, Chedorlaomer, not only took the 
lead in the expedition, and had allied himself for that purpose 
with the other kings, but had previously subjugated the cities of 
the valley of Siddim, and therefore had extended his dominion 
very widely over hither Asia. If, notwithstanding this, the time 
of the war related here is connected with " the days ofAmraphel, 
king of Shinar," this is done, no doubt, with reference to the fact 
that th£_first worldly kingdom, was founded in Shinar bv_Nim- 
rodj(chap. x. 10), a kingdom-wlujJisti^x^ted^undeFAmraphel. 
though it was now confined to Shinar itselfj" wKilsTElam pos- 
sessed the supremacy in inner Asia. There is no_ground what- 
ever f or—gaeafdiag _thfi four kingsLmentioned in yer.1 as four 
Assyriangenerals or viceroys, as Josephus has done in direct 
conlrMIciionJ:o the Tiiblical text; for, according to the more 
careful historical researches, the commencement of the Assyrian 
l^gdom_betongs_to a later penocT; and Berostts speaks of an 
earlier Median rule in Babylon, which reaches as far back as the 
PENT. — vol. I. o 

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age of the patriarchs (cf. M. v. Niebuhr, Geseh. Assurs, p. 271). 
It appears significant^ako, that the imperial power of Asia had 
already extended as f ar-as-Canaan, and had snbdned the valley of 

"The Jordan, no doubt-with. the intention of holding ihcjlordan 
valley as the high-road. toJEgypt. "We have here a prelude of 
the future assault of .the worldly power .upgn. the kingdom of 
God established tu Canaan ; and the importance of this event to 
sacred history consists in the fact, that the kings of the valley of 
the Jordan and the surrounding country submitted to the worldly 
power, whilst Abram, on the contrary, with his home-born ser- 
vants, smote the conquerors and rescued their booty, — a pro- 
phetic sign that in the conflict with the power of the world the 
seed of Abram would not only not be subdued, but would be 
able to rescue from destruction those who appealed to it for aid. 
In vers. 1-3 the account is introduced by a list of the parties 
eugaged in war. The kings named here are not mentioned 
again. On Shinar, see chap. x. 10 ; and on Elatn, chap. x. 22. 
It cannot be determined with certainty where EUasar was. 
Knobel supposes it to be Artemita, which was also called XaXdaap, 
in southern Assyria, to the north of Babylon. Goyim is not 
used here for nations generally, but is the name of one parti- 
cular nation or country. In DelitzscKs opinion it is an older 
name for Galilee, though prohably with different boundaries (cf . 
Josh. xii. 23 ; Judg. iv. 2 ; and Isa. ix. 1). — The verb ife'V (made), 
in ver. 2, is governed by the kings mentioned in ver. 1. To 
Bela, whose king is not mentioned by name, the later name Zoar 
(vid. xix. 22) is added as being better known. — Ver. 3. " All 
these (five kings) allied themselves together, (and came with their 
forces) into the vale of Siddim (D""?^, prob. fields or plains), 
which is the Salt Sea ;" that is to say, which was changed into the 

ISalt Sea on the destruction of its cities (chap. xix. 24, 25). That 
xhere should be five kings in the five cities (vevrdiroXis, Wisdom 
x. 6) of this valley, was quite in harmony with the condition of 
Canaan, where even at a later period every city had its king. — 
Vers. 4 sqq. The occasion of the war was the revolt of the kings 

,of the vale of Siddim from Chedorlaomer. They had been 
subject to him for twelve years,' "and the thirteenth year they re- 
belled." In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came with his 
allies to punish them for their rebellion, and attacked on his way 
several other cities to the east of the Arabah, as far as the 

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CHAP. XIV. 1-12. 203 

Elanitic Golf, no doubt because they also had withdrawn from 
his dominion. The_army moved along the great military road 
f rom inner Asia, past Damascus, through Eerrea, where they 
smote the Rephaim s, Znzim s^ Emims, and Horites. " The 
Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim:" all that is known with cer- 
tainty of the Rephaim is, that they were a tribe of gigantic 
stature, and in the time of Abram had spread over the whole of 
Peraea, and held not only Bashan, but the . country afterwards 
possessed by the Moabites ; from which possessions they were 
subsequently expelled by the descendants of Lot and the Anior- 
ites, and so nearly exterminated, that O g, jring of Bashan, is de- 
scribed as the remnant of theJEephaim (Deut.1T. 20, lii. 11, 13 ; 
Josh. xii. 4, xiii. 12). Reside this, there were Rephaim on this 
side of the Jordan among the Canaanitish tribes (chap. xv. 20), 
some to the west of Jerusalem, in the valley which was called 
after them the valley of the Rephaim (Josh. xv. 8, xviii. 16; 
2 Sam. v. 18, etc.), others on the mountains of Ephraim (Josh, 
xvii. 15) ; while the last remains of them were also to be found 
among the Philistines (2 Sam. xxi. 16 sqq. ; 1 Chron. xx. 4 sqq.). 
The current explanation of the name, viz. " the long-8tretched,"l 
or giants (Ewald), does not prevent our regarding KB") as the per-' 
sonal name of their forefather, though no intimation is given of 
their origin. That they were not Canaanites may be inferred 
from the fact, that on the eastern side of the Jordan they were 
subjugated and exterminated by the Canaanitish branch of the 
Amorites. Notwithstanding this, they may have been descend- 
ants of Ham, though the fact that the Canaanites spoke a 
Semitic tongue rather favours the conclusion that the oldest 
population of Canaan, and therefore the Rephaim, were of 
Semitic descent. At any rate, the opinion of J. G. Muller, that 
they belonged to the aborigines, who were not related to Shem, 
Ham, and Japhet, is perfectly arbitrary. — Ashteroth Karnaim, 
or briefly Aihtaroth, the capital afterwards of Og of Bashan, was 
situated in Hauran ; and ruins of it are said to be still seen in 
Tell Ashtereh, two hours and a half from Nowah, and one and 
three-quarters from the ancient Edrei, somewhere between Nowah 
and Mezareib (see Bitter, Erdkunde). 1 — " The Zuzims in Ham n 

1 J. G. Welztein, however, has lately denied the identity of Ashteroth 
Karnaim, which he interprets as meaning Ashtaroth near Karnaim, with 
Ashtaroth the capital of Og (See Reueber. lib. Hauran, etc. 1860, p. 107). 


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were probably the people whom the Ammonites called Zam 
zummim, and who were also reckoned among the Rephaim 
(Deut. ii. 20). Ham was possibly the ancient name of Rabba 
of the Ammonites (Deut. iii. 11), the remains being still pre- 
served in the ruins of Amman. — " The Emim in the plain of 
Kiryathaim:" the &&$ or D'DN (»'.«. fearful, terrible), were the 
earlier inhabitants of the country of the Moabites, who gave 
them the name ; and, like the Anakim, they were also reckoned 
among the Rephaim (Deut. ii. 11). Kiryathaim is certainly 
not to be found where Eusebius and Jerome supposed, viz. in 
Kapid&a, Coraiatha, the modern Koerriatli or Kereyat, ten miles 
to the west of Medabah ; for this is not situated in the plain, and 
corresponds to Keriotli (Jer. xlviii. 24), with which Eusebiue 
and Jerome have confounded Kiryathaim. It is probably still to 
be seen in the ruins of el Teym or et Tueme, about a mile to the 
west of Medabah. " Tlie Horites (from *"jn, dwellers in caves), 
in the mountains of Seir" were the earlier inhabitants of the 
land between the Dead Sea and the Elanitic Gulf, who were 
conquered and exterminated by the Edomites (xxxvi. 20 sqq.). — 
" To El-Paran, which is by tlie wilderness :" i.e. on the eastern 
side of the desert of Paran (see chap. xxi. 21), probably the 
same as Elath (Deut. ii. 8) or Eloth (1 Kings ix. 26), the im- 
portant harbour of Aila on the northern extremity of the so- 
called Elanitic Gulf, near the modern fortress of Akaba, where 
extensive heaps of rubbish show the site of the former town, 
which received its name El or Elath (terebinth, or rather wood) 
probably from the palm-groves in the vicinity. — Ver. 7. From 
Aila the conquerors turned round, and marched (not through 
the Arabah, but on the desert plateau which they ascended from 

But he does so without sufficient reason. He disputes most strongly the fact 
that Ashtaroth was situated on the hill Aahtere, because the Arabs now in 
Hauran assured him, that the ruins of this Tell (or hill) suggested rather a 
monastery or watch-tower than a large city, and associates it with the Bostra 
of the Greeks and Romans, the modern Bozra, partly on account of the cen- 
tral situation of this town, and its consequent importance to Hauran and 
Perea generally, and partly also on account of the similarity in the name, 
as Bostra is the latinized form of Beeshterah, which we find in Josh. xxi. 
27 in the place of the Ashtaroth of 1 Chron. vi. 56 ; and that form is composed 
of Beth Ashtaroth, to which there are as many analogies as there are instances 
of the omission of Beth before the names of towns, which is a sufficient ex* 
planation of Ashtaroth (cf. Ges. thes., p. 175 and 19S). 

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CHAP. XIV. 18-16. 205 

Aila) to En-mishpat {well of judgment), the older name of 
Kadesh, the situation of which, indeed, cannot be proved with 
certainty, but which is most probably to be sought for in the 
neighbourhood of the spring Ain Kades, discovered by Rowland, 
to the south of Bir Seba and Khalcua (JElusa), twelve miles 
E.S.E. of Moyle, the halting-place for caravans, near Hagar*s 
well (xvi. 14), on the heights oiJebelHalal (see Bitter, Erdkunde, 
and Num. xiii.). " And they smote all the country of the Ama- 
lekites" i.e. the country afterwards possessed by the Amalekites 
(vid. chap, xxxvi. 12), 1 to the west of Edomitis on the southern 
border of the mountains of Judah (Num. xiii. 29), " and also the 
Amorites, who dwelt in Hazazon-Thamar" i.e. Engedi, on the 
western side of the Dead Sea (2 Chron. xx. 2). — Vers. 8 sqq. 
After conquering all these tribes to the east and west of the 
Arabah, they gave battle to the kings of the Pentapolis in the 
vale of Siddim, and put them to flight. The kings of Sodom 
and Gomorrah fell there, the valley being full of asphalt-pits, 
and the ground therefore unfavourable for flight ; but the others 
escaped to the mountains (rnn for f^ri), that is, to the Moabitish 
highlands with their numerous denies. The conquerors there- 
upon plundered the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and carried 
off Lot, who dwelt in Sodom, and all his possessions, along with 
the rest of the captives, probably taking the route through the 
valley of the Jordan up to Damascus. 

Vers. 13-16. A fugitive (lit. the fugitive ; the jtrticle de notes 
th e genus , Ewald, § 277) brought intelligence of this to Abram 
thejlebrew (^yn^ an immigPUitjFjrom_beyoa€l- th o E uphrates). 
Abram is so called in distinction from Mamre and his two 
brothers, who were Amorites, and had made a defensive treaty 
with him. To rescue Lot, Abram ordered his trained slaves 
(vyan, i.e. practised in arms) born in the house (cf. xvii. 12), 318 
men, to turn out {lit, to pour themselves out) ; and with these, 
and (as the supplementary remark in ver. 24 shows) with his 
allies, he pursued the enemy as far as Dan, where " he divided 

i ' The circumstance that in the midst of a list of tribes -who were defeated, 
\ we find not the tribe but only ihejields (mt?) of the Amalekites mentioned, 
lean only be explained on the supposition that the nation of the Amalekites 
Iwas not then in existence, and the country was designated proleptically by 
the name of its future and well-known inhabitants (Hengstenberg, Diss. ii. 
p. 249, translation). 

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himself against them, he and his servants, by night," — {.«. he divided 
his men into companies, who fell upon the enemy by night from 
different sides, — "smote them, and pursued them to Hobah, to the 
left (or north) of Damascus'' Hobah has probably been pre- 
served in the village of Hobo, mentioned by Troilo, a quarter of a 
mile to the north of Damascus. So far as the situation of Dan 
is concerned, this passage proves that it cannot have been iden- 
tical with Leshem or Laish in the valley of Beth Behob, which 
the Danites conquered and named Dan (J'udg. xviii. 28, 29; 
Josh. xix. 47) ; for this Laish-Dan was on the central source of 
the Jordan, el Leddan in Tell el Kady, which does not lie in 
either of the two roads, leading from the vale of Siddim or of 
the Jordan to Damascus. 1 This Dan belonged to Gilead (Dent, 
xxxiv. 1), and is no doubt the same as the Dan-Jaan mentioned 
in 2 Sam. xxiv. 6 in connection with Gilead, and to be sought 
for in northern Persea to the south-west of Damascus. 

Vers. 17-24. — As Abram returned with the booty which he 
had taken from the enemy, the king of Sodom (of course, the 
successor to the one who fell in the battle) and Melchizedek, 
king of Salem, came to meet him to congratulate him on his 
victory ; the former probably also with the intention of asking 
for the prisoners who had been rescued. They met him in " the 
valley of Shaveh, which is (what was afterwards called) t he King 's 
dale." This valley, in which Absalom erected a monument for 
himself (2 Sam. xviii. 18), was, according to Josephus, two 
stadia from Jerusalem, probably by the brook Kidron there- 
fore, although Absalom's pillar, which tradition places there, was 
of the Grecian style rather than the early Hebrew. The name 
King's dale was given to it undoubtedly with reference to the 
event referred to here, which points to the neighbourhood of 
Jerusalem. For the Salem of Melchizedek cannot have been 
the Salem near to which John baptized (John iii. 23), or JEnon, 
which was eight Roman miles south of Scythopolis, as a march 

l One runs below the Sea of Galilee past Fik and Nowa, almost in a 
straight line to Damascus ; the other from Jacob's Bridge, below Lake 
Merom. But if the enemy, instead of returning with their booty to Thap- 
sacus, on the Euphrates, by one of the direct roads leading from the Jordan 
past Damascus and Palmyra, bad gone through the land of Canaan to the 
sources of the Jordan, they would undoubtedly, when defeated at Laish-Dan, 
have fled through the Wady et Teim and the Bekaa to Hamath, and not by 
Damascus at all (vid. Robinson, Bibl. Researches. 

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CHAP. XIV. 17-24. 207 

of about forty hours for the purpose of meeting Abraham, if 
not romantic, would at least be at variance with the text of 
Scripture, where the kings are said to have gone out to Abram 
after his return. It must be Jerusa lem, therefore, which is 
called by the old nam e Salens in PsTlxxvi. 2, out of which the . 
name Jerusalem (founding of peace, or possession of peace) was I /^* *-<->*•&-» 
formed by the addition of the prefix vv = 'vv " founding," or 'q/L^J-a* 
efrv "j fwgQgginn " Melcbizedek brings bread and wine from J 
Salem " to supply the exhausted warriors with food and drink, 
but more especially as a mark of gratitude to Abram, who had 
conquered for them peace, freedom, and prosperity " (Delitzsch). 
This gratitude he expresses, as a priest of the supreme God, in 
the words, " Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the founder 
of heaven and earth ; and blessed be God, the Most Sigh, who 
hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." The form of the 
b lessing is poeti cal, two parallel members with words peculiar to 
poetry, TVS for T3*, and isb.—fty £>K without the article is a 
proper name for the supreme God, the God over all (cf. Ex. 
xviii. 11), who is pointed out as the only true God by the addi- 
tional clause, " founder of the heaven and the earth." On the 
construction of *P">3 with \, vid. chap. xxxi. 15, Ex. xii. 16, and 
Ges. § 143, 2. rub, founder and possessor : njj? combines the 
meanings of ktI^siv and /craadai. This priestly reception Abram 
reciprocated by giving him the tenth of all, ue. of the whole of 
the booty taken from the enemy. Gi ving the tenth wasaprac- i 
tic al ackn owledgment of the divine priesthood of Melchizedek ; j 
fo r the tenth was, according "to The geria^TBtistOm, The offering - 
pre sented tol he Deity. Abram_also_acknowledged the God of 
Melchizedek. as. _ the true God; for when the king of Sodom 
asked for his people only, and would have left the rest of the 
booty to Abram, he lifted up his hand as a solemn oath " to 
Jehovah, the Most High God, the founder of heaven and earth," — 
acknowledging himself as the servant of this God by calling 
Him by the name Jehovah, — and swore that he would not take 
" from a thread to a shoe-string," i.e. the smallest or most worth- 
less thing belonging to the king of Sodom, that he might not 
be able to say, he had made Abram rich. Qs*, as the sign of an 
oath, is negative, and in an earnest address is repeated before 
the verb. " Except (^S^?, lit. not to me, nothing for me) only 
what the young men (Abram's men) have eaten, and the portion 

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of my allies . ... let them ta'ke their portion:" i.e. his follower! 
should receive what had been consumed as their share, and the 
allies should have the remainder of the booty. 

Of the property belonging to the king of Sodom, which he 
had taken from the enemy, Abram would not keep^thejjnallest 
partj because be would not have anything in common with 
Sodom. On the other hand, he accepted from Salem's pFieslT 
and king, Melchizedek, not only bread and wine for the invigo- 
ration of the exhausted warriors, but a priestly blessing also, 
and gave him in return the tenth of all his booty, as a sign that 
he acknowledged this king as a priest of the living God, and 
submitted to his royal priesthood. Tn this self-subordination of 
Abram to Melchizedek there was the practical prediction of a 
royal priesthood which is higher than the priesthood entrusted to 
Abram's descendants, the sons of Levi, and foreshadowed in the 
noble form of Melchizedek, who blessed as king and priest the 
patriarch whom God had called to be a blessing to all the fami- 
lies of the earth. The name of this royal priest is full of mean- 
ing : Melchizedek, i.e. King of Righteousness. Even though, 

\ judging from Josh. x. 1, 3, where a much later king is called 
Adoniz edek, i.e. Lord of Righteousness, this name may have 
been a standing title of the ancient kings of Salem, it no doubt 
originated with a king who ruled his people in righteousness, 
and was perfectly appropriate in the case of the Melchizedek 
mentioned here. There is no less significance in the name of 
the seat of his government, Sqlem^ the peaceful or peace, since 
it shows that the capital of its kings was a citadel oTpeace, not 
only as a natural stronghold, but through the righteousness of 
its sovereign ; for which reason David chose it as the seat of 
royalty in Israel ; and Moriah, which formed part of it, was 
pointed out to Abraham by Jehovah as the place of sacrifice for 
the kingdom of God which was afterwards to be established. 
And, lastly, there was something very significant in the appear- 

i ance in the midst, of .the. Regenerate tribes of Canaan of^ this 
king^of righteousness, and priest of the true God of heaven and 
earth, without any account of his descent, or of the beginning 
and end of his life ; so that he stands forth in the Scriptures, 
u without father, without mother, without descent, having neither 
beginning of days nor end of life." Although it by no means 
follows from this, however, that Melchizedek was a celestial 

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CHAP. XV. 209 

being (the Logos, or an angel), or one of the primeval patriarchs 
(Enoch or Shem), as Church fathers, Rabbins, and others have 
conjectured, and we can see in him nothing more than one, per- 
haps the last, of the witnesses and confessors of the early reve- 
lation of God, coming out into the light of history from the dark 
night of heathenism ; yet this appearance does point to a priest- 
hood of universal s ignifican ce, and to a higher, order of things, 
which existed jit the commencement of the world, and is one day \ 
t o be restored agai n. In all these respects, the noble form of 
this king of Salem and priest of the Most High God was a 
type of the God-King and eternal High Priest Jesus Christ ; 
a thought which is expanded in Heb. vii. on the basis of this 
account, and of the divine utterance revealed to David in the 
Spirit, that the King of Zion sitting at the right hand of Jeho- 
vah should be a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek 
(Ps. ex. 4). 


With the formula "after these things" there is introduced a 
new revelation of the Lord to Abram, which differs from the 
previous ones in form and substance, and constitutes a new 
turning point in his life. The "word ofJehovali " came to him 
" i n a vision : n i.e. neither by a direct internal address, norTiy such 
a manifestation of Himself as fell upon the outward senses, nor 
in a dream of the night, but i n a state o f ecstasy by an inward 
spy ftyftl in tuition, and that not in a nocturnaTvTsloh, as In chap. 
xlvi. 2, but i n the day- time. The expr ession " in a vision " ap- 
p lies to th e whole chapter. There is no pause anywliere, nor 
any sign that the~vi5ibn ceased, or that the action was trans- 
ferred to the sphere of the senses and of external reality. Con- 
sequently the whole process is to be regarded as an internal 
one. The vision embraces not only vers. 1-4 or 8, but the 
entire chapter, with this difference merely, that fro m ver. 12 
onwards th e ecstasy assumed the form of a prophetic sleep pro- 
duced by God. It is true that the bringing Abram out, his 
seeing tne stars (ver. 5), and still more especially his taking the 
sacrificial animals and dividing them (vers. 9, 10), have been 
supposed by some to belong to the sphere of external reality, 
on the ground that these purely external acts would not neces- 

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sarily presuppose a cessation of the ecstasy, since the vision was 
no catalepsy, and did not preclude the full (t) use of the out- 
ward senses. But however true this may be, not only is even' 
■> _^ mark wanting, which would warrant us in assuming a transition 

Y*^ A"* 1 from the purely inward and spiritual sphere, to the outward 
' J kvv**Y*"^ sphere of the senses, but the entire revelation culminates in a 
"' prophetic sleep, which also bears the character of a vision. As 

it was in a deep sleep that Abram saw the passing of the divine 
appearance through the carefully arranged portions of the sacri- 
fice, and no reference is made either to the burning of them, 
as in Judg. vi. 21, or to any other removal, the arrangement of 
the sacrificial animals must also have been a purely internal 
process. To regard this as an outward act, we must break up the 
continuity of the narrative in a most arbitrary wayj'alld uul only 
transfer the commencement of the vision into the night, and 
"^ suppose it to have lasted from twelve to eighteen hourSj. but 
i we must interpolate the burning of the sacrifices, etc., in a still 
| more arbitrary manner, merely for the sake of supporting the 
1 erroneous assumption, that visionary procedures had no objec- 
tive reality, or, at all events, less evidence of reality than out- 
ward acts, and things perceived by the senses. A vision wrought 
by God was not a mere fancy, or a subjective play of the 
thoughts, but a spiritual fact, which was not only in all respects 
as real as things discernible by the senses, but which surpassed 
in its lasting significance the acts and events that strike the eye. 
The covenant which Jehovah made with Abram was not in- 
tended to give force to a mere agreement respecting mutual 
rights and obligations, — a thing which could have been accom- 
plished by an external sacrificial transaction, and by God pass- 
ing through the divided animals in an assumed human form, — 
I but it was designed to establish the purely spiritual relation of 
a living fellowship between God and Abram, of the deep in- 
ward meaning of which, nothing but a spiritual intuition and 
experience could give to Abram an effective and permanent hold. 
Vers. 1-6. The words of Jehovah run thus: "Fear not, 
Abram : J am a shield to thee, thy reward very much." n:nn an 
inf. absol., generally used adverbially, but here as an adjective, 
equivalent to " thy very great reward." The divine promise to 
be a shield to him, that is to say, a protection against all ene- 
mies, and a reward, i.e. richly to reward his confidence, his 

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CHAP. XV. 1-6. 211 

ready obedience, stands here, as the opening words " after these 
things " indicate, in close connection with the previous guidance 
of Abram. Whilst the protection of his wife in Egypt was a 
practical pledge of the possibility of his having a posterity, and 
the separation of Lot, followed by the conquest of the kings of 
the East, was also a pledge of the possibility of his one day pos- 
sessing the promised land, there was as yet no prospe ct what- 
ever of the promise being realized, that he should become a 
great nation, and possess an innumerable posterity. In these 
circumstances, anxiety about the future might naturally arise in 
h is mind . To meet this, the word of the Lord came" to him 
with the comforting assurance, "Fear not, I am thy shield." 
Bu b <w h u ii lilt Lord acld ad, ilandihyjcery. great reward," Abram 
co uld only rep ly, as he thought of his childless condition: 
" Lo rd Jehov ah, what wilt Thou give me } seeing I go childless t" 
Of what avail are all my possessions, wealth, and power, since 
I have no child, and the heir of my house is Eliezer the Dama- 
scene? pVD } synonymous with pen?? (Zeph. ii. 9), possession, or 
the seizure of possession, is chosen on account of its assonance 
with PfeW. PEte"J3, son of the seizing of possession = seizer of 
possession, or heir. Eliezer of Damascus (lit. Damascus viz. 
Eliezer) : Eliezer is an explanatory apposition to Damascus, in 
the sense of the Damascene Eliezer ; though Pfef?, on account 
of its position before itJT^Kj cannot be taken grammatically as 
equivalent to ^pfcTjPi. 1 — To give still more distinct utterance to 
his grief, Abra m adds (ver. Sp ic Behold, to me Thou hast given 
no seed ; and lo, an~z^flUUi~of my house (W3"|3 in distinction 
from JvaTT*., home-born, chap. xiv. 14) will be my heir." The 
word of the Lord then came to him : " Not he, but one who shall 
come forth from thy body, he will be thine heir" God then took 
him into the open air, told him to look up to heaven, and pro- 
mised him a posterity as numerous as the innumerable host of 
stars (cf. chap. xxii. 17, xxvi. 4 ; Ex. xxxii. 13, etc). Whether 
Abram at this time was "in the body or out of the body," is a 
matter of no moment. The reality of the occurrence is the 
same in either case. This is evident from the remark made by 
Moses (the historian) as to the conduct of Abram in relation to 

1 The legend of Abram having been king in Damascus appears to have 
originated in this, though the passage before us does not so much as show 
that Abram obtained possession of Eliecer on his way through Damascus. 

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the promise of God : " And he believed in Jehovah, and He 
counted it to him for righteousness" In the strictly objective 
character of the account in Genesis, in accordance with which 
the simple, facts are related throughout without any introduc- 
tion of subjective opinions, this remark appears so striking, that 
the qnestion naturally arises, What led Moses to introduce it ? 
In what way did Abram make known his faith in Jehovah ? 
And in what way did Jehovah count it to him as righteousness ? 
The reply to both questions must not be sought in the New 
Testament, but must be given or indicated in the context. 
What reply did Abram make on receiving the promise, or 
what did he do in consequence ? Wher. God, to confirm the 
promise, declared Himself to be Jehovah, who brought him out 
*, of Ur of the Chaldees to give him that land as a possession, 

Ifot H Abram replied, " Lord, whereby shall I know that I shall pos- 

^•^ i \/ sess it?" God then directed him to "fetch a heifer of three 

Q*r years old," etc. ; and Abram fetched the animals required, and 

arranged them (as we may certainly suppose, though it is not 
expressly stated) as God had commanded him. B y this re adi- 
n ess to perform what God commanded him, ^brarajjave a 
practical proof that he belieyei Jehovah 4 and what God did 
\vith_the animals so arranged was a practical declaration ou the 
part of Jehovah, that He reckoned this faith .tft.Abram as 
righteousness. The significance of the divine act is, finally, 
summed up in ver. lopin the words, " On that day Jehovah 
made a covenant with Abram." Consequently Jehovah reckoned 
Abram' s faith to him as righteousness, by making a covenant 
with him, by taking Abram into covenant fellowship with Him- 
self. HP^n, from !?K to continue and to preserve, to be firm 
and to confirm, in Hiphil to trust, believe (irunewa)), expresses 
"that state of mind which is sure of its object, and relies 
firmly upon it ;" and as denoting conduct towards God, as " a 
firm, inward, personal, self-surrendering reliance upon a per- 
sonal being, especially upon the source of all being," it is con- 
strued sometimes with ? (e.g. Deut. ix. 23), but more frequently 
with a (Num. xiv. 11, xx. 12; Deut. i. 32), "to believe the 
Lord," and " to believe on the Lord," to trust in Him, — ina- 
I reveiv hrl rov Qeov, as the apostle has more correctly rendered 
I the brtarevaev — t& &e$ of the LXX. (yid. Bom. iv. 5). Eait h 
therefore is not me rely assensus. nut JMwiy also, unconditional 

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CHAP. XV. 7-11. 213 

t rust in the L ord and His word, even where tibe n atural course 
of eve nts f urnishes no ground for hope or expectation. This 
faith Abram manifested, as the apostle has shown in Rom. iv. ; 
and this faith God reckoned to him as righteousness by the 
actual conclusion of a covenant with him. njTiy, ri ghteousness, j 
as a human characteristic, is correspo ndence to the will of God I 
both in c haracter and conduct, or a state answerijig__to_the[ 
d ivine purpose of a_man3s_T>eihg. This was the state in which 
man was first created in the image of God ; but it was lost by 
sin, through which he placed himself in opposition to the will 
of God and to his own divinely appointed destiny, and could 
only be restored by God. When the human race had univer- 
sally corrupted its way, Noah alone was found righteous before 
God (vii. 1), because he was blameless and walked with God 
(vi. 9). This righteousness Abram acquired through his un- 
conditional trust in the Lord, his undoubting faith in His pro- 
mise, and his ready obedience to His word. This state of mind, 
which is expressed in the words nirva P?K£, was reckoned to him 
as righteousness, so that God treated him as a righteous man, 
and formed such a relationship with him, that he was placed in 
living fellowship with God. The foundation of this relation- 
ship was laid in the manner described in vers. 7—11. 

Vers. 7—11. Abram's question, " Whereby shall I know that I 
shall take possession ofti (the land)?" was not an expression of 
doubt, but of desire for the confirmation or sealing of a promise, 
which transcended human thought and conception. To gratify 
this desire, God commanded him to make preparation for the 
conclusion of a covenant. " Take Me, He said, a heifer of three 
years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three 
years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon ;" one of every 
species of the animals suitable for sacrifice. Abram took these, 
and "divided them in the mid*t" i.e. in half, " and placed one 
half of each opposite to the other (fan? E"K, every one its half, cf . 
xlii. 25 ; Num. xvii. 17) ; onlyjhe birds divided Aft. mrf,"- -just as 
in sacrifice_the doves were not divided into pieces, but placed 
upon the fire whole (Lev. i. 17). The animals chosen, as well 
as the fact that the doves were left whole, co rresponded exactl y 
to Ahe ritual of s acrifice. Yet the transaction itself was not a 
real sacrifice, since there was neither sprinkling of blood nor 
offering upon an altar (oblatio), and no mention is made of the 

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pieces being burned. The proceeding corre sponded rather to 
thecustom, prevalent in many ancient nations, o f slaughterin g 
animals when concluding a covenant, and after dividing them 
into pieces, of laying the pieces opposite to one another, that 
the persons making the covenant might pass between them. 
Thus Ephraem Syrus (1, 161) observes, that God condescended 
to follow the custom of the Chaldeans, that He might in the 
most solemn manner confirm His oath to Abram the Chaldean. 
The wide extension of this custom is evident from the.£xpxes§ion 
used to denote the conclusion of a covenant, nna rna tohew, or 
cut a covenant, Aram. D"}!? HJ, Greek S piua re/ iveiv, Jwdusjfrire, 
i.e. ferienda hostia facet -e fadus ; cf. JBochart (Hieroz. 1, 332) ; 
whilst it is evident from Jej\_xxxiv. 18, that this was still 
customary among the Israelites of later times. The choice of 
sacrificial animals for a transaction which was not strictly a 
sacrifice, was founded upon the symbolical significance of the 
sacrificial animals, i.e. upon the fact that they represented and 
took the place of those who offered them. In the case before 
us, they were meant to typify the promised seed of Abram. 
This would not hold good, indeed, if the cutting of the animals 
had been merely intended to signify, that any who broke the 
covenant would be treated like the animals that were there cut 
in pieces. But there is no sure ground in Jer. xxxiv. 18 sqq. 
for thus interpreting the ancient custom. The meaning which 
the prophet there assigns to the symbolical usage, may be simply 
a different application of it, which does not preclude an earlier 
and different intention in the symbol. The division of the 
animals probably denoted originally the two parties to the 
covenant, and the passing of the latter through the pieces laid 
opposite to one another, their formation into one ; a signification 
to which the other might easily have been attacned as a further 
consequence and explanation. And if in such a case the sacri- 
ficial animals represented the parties to the covenant, so also 
even in the present instance the sacrificial animals were fitted 
for that purpose, since, although originally representing only the 
owner or offerer of the sacrifice, by their consecration as sacri- 
fices they were also brought into connection with Jehovah. But 
in the case before us the animals represented Abram and his 
seed, not in the fact of their being slaughtered, as significant of 
the slaying of that seed, but only in what happened to and in 

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CHAP. XV. 1*-17. 215 

connection with the slaughtered animals : birds of prey attempted 
to eat them, and when extreme darkness came on, the glory of 
God passed through them. As all the seed of Abram was con- 
cerned, one of every kind of animal suitable for sacrifice was 
taken, ut ex toto populo et singulis partibus sacrificium unurn\ 
Jieret (Calvin). The age of the animals, three years old, was 
supposed by Theodoret to refer to the three generations of 
Israel which were to remain in Egypt, or The three centuries 
of captivity in a foreign land ; and this is rendered very probable 
by the fact, that in Judg. vi. 25 the bullock of seven years old 
undoubtedly refers to the seven years of Midianitish oppression. 
On the other hand, we cannot find in the six halves of the three 
animals and the undivided birds, either 7 things or the sacred 
number 7, for two undivided birds cannot represent one whole, 
but two ; nor can we attribute to the eight pieces any symbolical 
meaning, for these numbers necessarily followed from the choice 
of one specimen of every kind of animal that was fit for sacri- 
fice, and from the division of the larger animals into two. — Ver. 
11. " Then birds, of prey (p]V^ with the article, as chap. xiv. 13) 
came down upon the carcases, and A bram frigldened them away." 
The„.hirris jif-.prejr represented the_foes of .Israel^ who would 
seek to eat up, i.e. exterminate it. And the fact that Abram 
frightened them away was a sign, that Abram' s faith and his 
relation to the Lord would preserve the whole of his posterity 
from destruction, that Israel would be saved for Abram's sake 
(Ps. cv. 42). 

Vers. 12-17. " And when the sun was just about to go down 
(on the construction, see Ges. § 132), and deep sleep (nDTW, as 
in chap. ii. 21, a deep sleep produced by God) had fallen upon 
Abram, behold there fell upon him terror, great darkness" The 
vision here passes into a prophetic sleep produced by God. In 
tmssTeep there fell upon Abram dread and darkness ; this is 
shown by the interchange of the perfect rfa&i and the participle 
JvBJ. The reference to the time is intended to show u the 
supernatural character of the darkness and sleep, and the dis- 
tinction between the vision and a dream" (0. v. Gerlach). It 
also possesses a symbolical meaning. The setting oi the sun 
prefigured to_ Abram the departtjre of the sun of grace, which 
shone upon Israel, and the commencement of a dark and dread- 
ful _peri<^of ^sufeiing-fnrJii&posterity, the very anticipation of 

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which involved Abram in darkness. For the words which he 
heard in the darkness were these (vers. 13 sqq.) : u Know of a 
surety, that thy seed sliall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, 
and shall serve them (the lords of the strange land), and they (the 
foreigners) shall oppress them 400 years" That these words 
had reference to the sojourn of the children of Israel in Egypt, 
is placed beyond all doubt by the fulfilment. T he 400 years 
were, according to prophetic language, a round number for the 
430 years that Israel spent in Egypt (Ex. xii. 40). " Also 
that nation whom tliey shall serve will I judge (see the fulfilment, 
Ex. vi. 11) ; and afterward shall they come out with great sub- 
stance (the actual fact according to Ex. xii. 31-36). And thou 
shalt go to thy fathers in peace, and be buried in a good old age 
(cf. chap. xxv. 7, 8) ; and in Hie fourth generation they sliall come 
hither again" The calculations are made here on the basis of a 
hundred years to a generation : not too much for those times, 
when the average duration of life was above 150 years, and 
Isaac, was born in the hundredth year of Abraham's life. " For 
the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" ^.wionte^thfi-name 
of the most powerful tribe of the Cana apites. is used here as_the 
common nameoFTuTthe inhabitants of Canaan, just as in Josh, 
xxiv. llT~(cfrx. 5),Tu3g. vi. 10, etc.).— By this revelation 
Abram had the future history of his seed pointed out to him in 
general outlines, and was informed at the same time why 
neither he nor his descendants could obtain immediate posses- 
sion of the promised land, viz. because the Canaanites were not 
yet ripe for the sentence of extermination. — Ver. 17. When 
the sun had gone down, and thick darkness had come on (HNi 
impersonal), " behold a smoking furnace, and (with) a fiery 
torch, which passed between those pieces" — a description of what 
Abram saw in his deep prophetic sleep, corresponding to the 
mysterious character of the whole proceeding. "WSlji, a stove, is 
a cylindrical fire-pot, such as is used in the dwelling-houses of 
the East. The phenomenon, which passed through the pieces 
as they lay opposite to one another, resembled such a smoking 
stove, from which a fiery torch, i.e. a brilliant flame, was 
streaming forth. In this symbol Jehovah manifested Himself 
to Abram, just as He afterwards did to the peopleof Israel in 
the pillar of cloud and fire. Passing through the jpieces, He 
ratified the covenant which He made with Abram. His glory 

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CHAP. XV. 18-J1. 217 

was enveloped in fire and smoke, the product of the consuming 
tire, — both symbols of the wrath of God (cf. Ps. xviii. 9, and 
Hengstenberg in foe), whose fiery zeal consumes whatever 
opposes it (vid. Ex. iii. 2). — To establish and give reality to the 
covenant to be concluded with Abram, Jehovah would have 
to pass through the seed of Abram when oppressed by the 
Egyptians and threatened with destruction, and to execute 
judgment upon their oppressors (Ex. vii. 4, xii. 12). In this 
symbol, the passing of the Lord between the pieces meant 
something altogether different from the oath of the Lord by 
Himself in chap. xxii. 16, or by His life in Dent, xxxii. 40, or 
by His soul in Amos vi. 8 and Jer. li. 14. It set before Abram 
the condescension of the Lord to his seed, in the fearful glory 
of His majesty as the judge of their foes. Hence the pieces 
were not consumed by the fire ; for the transaction had refer- 
ence not to a sacrifice, which God accepted, and in which the 
soul of the offerer was to ascend in the smoke to God, but to a 
covenant in which God came down to man. From the nature 
of this covenant, it followed, however, that God alone went 
through the pieces in a symbolical representation of Himself, 
and not Abram also. For although a covenant always estab- 
lishes a reciprocal relation between two individuals, yet in that 
covenant which God concluded with a man, the man did not 
stand on an equality with God, but God established the relation 
of fellowship by His promise and His gracious condescension to 
the man, who was at first purely a recipient, and was only 
qualified and bound to fulfil the obligations consequent upon 
the covenant by the reception of gifts of grace. 

In vers. 18-21 this divine revelation is described as the mak- 
ing of a covenant ("V}3, from Tia to cut, lit. the bond concluded 
by cutting up the sacrificial animals), and the substance of this 
covenant is embraced in the promise, that God would give that 
land to the seed of Abram, from the river of Egypt to the great 
river Euphrates. The river (i*u) of Egypt is the Nile, and not 
the brook (fy"0) of Egypt (Num. xxxiv. 5), i.e. the boundary 
stream Rhinocorura, Wady el Arish. According to the oratori- 
cal-character of the promise, the two large rivers, the Nile and 
the Euphrates, are mentioned as the boundaries within which 
the* seed of Abram would possess the promised land, the exact 
limits of which are more minutely described in the list of tho 
pent. — VOL. T. p 

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tribes who were then in possession. Ten tribes are mentioned 
between the southern border of the land and the extreme north, 
" to convey the impression of universality withoutjexception, of 
unqualified completeness, the symbol of which i&_the-number 
ten " (JDelitzsch). In other passages we find sometimes seven 
tribes mentioned (Deut. vii. 1 ; Josh. iii. 10), at other times six 
(Ex. iii. 8, 17, xxiii. 23 ; Deut. xx. 17), at others five (Ex. xiii. 
5), at others again only two (chap. xiii. 7) ; whilst occasionally 
they are all included in the common name of Canaanites (chap, 
xn. 6). The absence of the Hivites is striking here, since they 
are not omitted from any other list where as many as five or seven 
tribes are mentioned. Out of the eleven descendants of Canaan 
(chap. x. 15-18) the names of four only are given here ; the 
others are included in the common name of Canaanites. On 
the other hand, four tribes are given, whose descent from Canaan 
is very improbable. The origin of the Kenites cannot be deter- 
mined. According to Judg. i. 16, iv. 11, Hobab, the brother- 
in-law of Moses, was a Kenite. His being called a Midianite 
(Num. x. 29) does not prove that he was descended from Midian 
(Gen. xxv. 2), but is to be accounted for from the fact that he 
dwelt in the land of Midian, or among the Midianites (Ex. ii. 15). 
This branch of the Kenites went with the Israelites to Canaan, 
into the wilderness of Judah (Judg. i. 16), and dwelt even in 
Saul's time among the Amalekites on the southern border of 
Judah (1 Sam. xv. 6), and in the same towns with members of 
the tribe of Judah (1 Sam. xxx. 29). There is nothing either 
in this passage, or in Num. xxiv. 21, 22, to compel us to distin- 
guish these Midianitish Kenites from those of Canaan. The 
Philistines also were not Canaanites, and yet their territory was 
assigned to the Israelites. And just as the Philistines had forced 
their way into the land, so the Kenites may have taken posses- 
sion of certain tracts of the country. All that can be inferred 
from the two passages is, that there were Kenites outside Midian, 
who were to be exterminated by the Israelites. On the Kenizzites, 
all that can be affirmed with certainty is, that the name is neither 
to be traced to the Edomitish Kenaz (chap, xxxvi. 15, 42), nor 
to be identified with the Kenezite Jephunneh, the father of 
Caleb of Judah (Num. xxxii. 12 ; Josh. xiv. 6 : see my Comm. 
on Joshua, p. 356, Eng. tr.). — The Kadmonites are never men- 
tioned again, and their origin cannot be determined. On the 

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CHAP. XVI. 1-14. 219 

Perizzites see chap. xiii. 7 ; on the Rephaims, chap. xiv. 5 ; and 
on the other names, chap. x. 15, 16. 


Vers. 1—6. As the promise of a lineal heir (chap. xv. 4) did 
not seem likely to be fulfilled, even after the covenant had been 
made, Sarai resolved, ten years after their entrance into Canaan, 
to give her Egyptian maid Hagar to her husband, that if possible 
she might " be built up by her" i.e. obtain children, who might 
found a house or family (chap. xxx. 3). The resolution seemed 
a judicious one, and according to the customs of the East, there 
would be nothing wrong in carrying it out. Hence_Abraham 
consented without opposition, because, as Malachi (ii. 15) says, 
he_sought the seed promised by God. But they were both of 
them soon to learn, that their thoughts were the thoughts of man 
and not of God, and that their wishes and actions were not in 
accordance with the divine promise. Sarai, the originator of the 
plan, was the first to experience its evil coriseqnences. When 
the maid was with child by AbramT^ Tier mistress became little in 
her eyes." When Sarai complained to Abram of the contempt 
she received from her maid (saying, " My wrong" the wrong done 
to me, " come upon thee" cf. Jer. Ii. 35 ; Gen. xxvii. 13), and 
called upon Jehovah to judge between her and her husband, 1 
Abram gave her full power to act as mistress towards her maid, 
without raising the slave who was made a concubine above her 
position. But as soon as Sarai made her feel her power, Hagar 
fled. Thus, instead of securing the fulfilment of their wishes, 
Sarai and Abram had reaped nothing but grief and vexation, 
and apparently had lost the maid through their self-concerted 
scheme. But the faithful covenant God turned the whole into 
a blessing. 

Vers. 7—14. Hagar no doubt intended to escape to Egypt by 
a roadu sed from timeimme morial, thj tjSTlrom JttebroiTpast 
be ersEeFa, *± by theway of Shur."—Shur, the present Jifar, is 
the name given to thenorth-western portion of the desert of 
Arabia (cf. Ex. xv. 22). There the angel of the Lord found 

1 T^a, with a point over the second Jod, to show that it is irregular 
and suspicious ; since pa with the singular suffix is always treated as a sin- 
gular, and only with a plural suffix as plural. 

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her by a well, and directed her to return to her mistress, and 
submit to her ; at the same time he promised her the birth of a 
son, and an innumerable multiplication of her descendants. As 
the fruit of her womb was the seed of Abram, she was to return 
to his house and there bear him a son, who, though not the seed 
promised by God, would be honoured for Abram's sake with the 
blessing of an innumerable posterity. For this reason also 
Jehovah appeared to her in the form of the Angel of Jehovah 
(cf. p. 129). rnn is adj. verb, as in chap, xxxviii. 24, etc. : " thou 
art witli child and wilt bear ;" W? for nT* (chap. xvii. 19) is 
found again in Judg. xiii. 5, 7. This son she was to caU Ishmaef 
(" Go d hears "), "for Jehovah hath hearkened to thy distress" 
^J? dffticuonem sine dubio vocat, quam Hagar afflictionem sentiebat 
esse, netnpe conditionem servitem et quod castigata esset a Sara 
(Luther). It was Jehovah, not Elohim, who had heard, although 
the latter name was most naturally suggested as the explanation 
of Ishmael, because the hearing, i.e. the multiplication of 
llshmael's descendants, was the result of the covenant~grace of 
I Jehovah. Moreover, in contrast with the oppression^ which she 
had endured and still would endure, she received the promise 
that her son would endure no such oppression. " HejeiUJje a 
wild ass of a ma n." The figure of a K^B, onager, that wild and 
untameable animal, roaming at its will in the desert, of which 
so highly poetic a description is given in Job xxxix. 5—8, depicts 
most aptly " the Bedouin's boundless love of freedom as he rides 
about in the desert, spear in hand, upon his camel or his horse, 
hardy, frugal, revelling in the varied beauty of nature, and de- 
spising town life in every form ;" and the words, " his hand will 
be against every man, and every man's hand against him," describe 
most trnjy^themc£S5ant^tate^ofjfeud, in which the Ishmaelites 
live with one another or with their neighbours. " He will dwell 
before the face of all his brethren" \if bv denotes, it is true, to 
the east of (cf. chap. xxv. 18), and this meaning is to be retained 

/ here; but the geog ra phical n otice of the dwelling-place of the 
Ishmaelites hardly~exhausts the force of the expression, which 
also indicated that Ishmael would maintain a n indepen dent 

- standing before (in the presence of) all the descendants of 
Abraham. History has confirmed this promise. The Ish- 
maelites have continued to this day in free and undiminished 
possession of the extensive peninsula between the Euphrates, the 

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CHAP. XVI. 7-14. 221 

Straits of Suez, and the Red Sea, from which they have over- 
spread both Northern Africa and Southern Asia. — Ver. 13. 
In the angel, Hagar recognised God manifesting Himself to her, 
the presence of Jehovah, and called Him, " Thou art a God of\ 
seeing; for she said, Have I also seen here after seeing ?" jS eliev - \ 0* y 
i ng that a man must die if he saw God (Ex. xx. 19, xxxiii. 20), \ ^j 
Ha gar w as astonished that she had seen God and remained 
alive, and called Jehovah, who had spoken to her, "God of 
seeing," i.e. who allows Himself to be seen, because here, on the 
spot where this sight was granted her, after seeing she still saw, 
i.e. remained alive. From this occurrence the well received 
the name of " well of the seeing alive" i.e. at which a man saw 
God and remained alive. B eer-lahai-r oi : according to Ewald, 
'Ki VI is to be regarded as a composite noun, and ? as a sign of 
the genitive ; but this explanation, in which ^xi is treated as a 
pausal form of *iO, does not suit the form ^ with the accent 
upon the last syllable, which points rather tq_the participle ntft 
with the first pers. suffix. On this ground Delitzseh and others 
have decided in favour of the interpretation given in the Chaldee 6*-^ ' 
version, " Thou_art^ God of jeeing^ i.e. the all-seeing, from 
whose all-seeing eye the helpless and forsaken is not hidden even 
in the farthest corner of the desert." "Have I not even here (in 
the barren land of solitude) looked after Him, who saw met" and 
Beer-lahai-roi, " the well of the Living One who sees me, i.e. of 
the omnipresent Providence." But still greater difficulties lie in 
the way of this view. It not only overthrows the close connection 
between this and the similar passages chap, xxxii. 31, Ex. xxxiii. 
20, Judg. xiii. 22, where the sight of God excites a fear of death, 
but it renders the name, which the well received from this ap- 
pearance of God, an inexplicable riddle. If Hagar called the 
God who appeared to her »so btl because she looked after Him 
whom she saw, i.e. as we must necessarily understand the word, 
saw not His face, but only His back; how could it ever occur ^f [, 
to her or to any one else, to caJMhe_jrellJBeer-Jahai-rbi, " well ) , 

o f. the Liv ing One, who sees me," instead of Beer-eKbTT^Sfore- 
over, what completely overthrows this explanation, 4s the fact 
that neither in Genesis nor anywhere in the P entate uch is God 
called "the Living One ;" and throughout the Old Testament it 
is only in contrast with the dead gods or idols of the heathen, a 
contrast never thought of here, that the expressions VI D'iipM and 

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'P ?K occur, whilst *nn is never used in the Old Testament as a 
name of God. For these reasons we must abide byjthe first ex- 
planation, and change the reading *K*i into '^J. 1 With regard 
to the well, it is still further added that it was between Kadesh 
(xiv. 7) and Bered. Though Bered has not been discovered, 
Rowland believes, with good reason, that he has found the well 
of Hagar, which is mentioned again in chap. xxiv. 62, xxv. 11, 
in the spring Ain Kades, to the south of Beersheba, at the lead- 
ing place of encampment of the caravans passing from Syria to 
Sinai, viz. Moyle, or Moilahi, or Muweilih (Robinson, Pal. i. p. 
280), which the Arabs call Moilahi Hagar, and in the neigh- 
bourhood of which they point out a rock Beit Hagar. Bered 
must lie to the west of this. 

Vers. 15—16. Having returned to Abram's house, Hagar bare 
him a son in his 86th year. He gave it the name Ishmael, , and 
re garded it probably as_ t he promi sed seed, until, t hirteen yea rs 
afterwards, the counsel of God was morefclearly unfolded to him. 


Vers. 1-14. The covena nt had been made with Abram for 
a t least fou rteen years, and yet Abram remained without any 
visible sign of its accomplishment, and was merely pointed in 
faith to the inviolable character of the promise of God. Jeho- 
vah now appeared to Him again, when he was ninety-nine years 
old, twe nty-four yea rs .after his migration, and thirteen after the 
birth of Ishmael, to give effect to the covenant and prepare for 
its execution. Having come down to Abram in a visible form 
(ver 22), He said to him, "lam Ej^Shaddai (almighty God): 
walk before Me and be blameless." At the establishment of the 

1 The objections to this chaDge in the accentuation are entirely counter- 
balanced by the grammatical difficulty connected with the second explana- 
tion. If, for example, <so is a participle with the 1st pen. suff., it should 
be written ys*l (Isa. xxix. 15) or y&h (Isa. xlvii. 10). *vh cannot mean, 
" who sees me," but "my s<vr," an expression utterly inapplicable to God, 
which cannot be supported by a reference to Job vii. 8, for the accentuation 
varies there ; and the derivation of 'Kh from <tn " eye of the seeing," for 
the eye which looks after me, is apparently fully warranted by the analo- 
gous expression rrh rtt?K in Jer. xiii. 21. 

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CHAP. XVIL 1-14. 


covenant, God had manifested Himself to him as Jehovah (xv. 
7); here Jehovah describes Himself as El Shaddai, God the 
Mighty One. ^^from T\& t o be strong, with the substantive 
termination ai, like *»n the festal, **?& the old man, VD the 
thorn-grown, etc. This name is not to be regarded as identical 
with Elohim, that is to say, with God as Creator and Preserver 
of the world, although in simple narrative Elohim is used for 
El Shaddai, which is only employed in the more elevated and 
solemn style of writing. ^Jbelonged to the sphere_ofsalvation, 
fo rming on e element in the manifestation of Jehovah, and de- 
scribing JeEovanJ the coverianfGod, as possessing the power to 

realize His promises, even when the order of nature presented 
no prospect of their fulfilment, and the powers of nature were 
insufficient to secure it. The name which Jehovah thus gave 
to Himself was to be a pledge, that in spite of " his own body 
now dead," and "the deadness of Sarah's womb" (Bom. iv. 19), 
God could and would give him the promised innumerable pos- 
terity. On the other hand, God required this of Abram, " Walk 
b eforeMe (cf. chap. v. 22") a nd be blameless" ( vi. 9\. " Just as right- 
eousness received in faith was necessary for the establishment of 
the covenant, so a blameless walk before God was required for the 
maintenance and confirmation of the covenant." This introduction 
is followed by a more definite account of the new revelation ; first 
of the promise involved in the new name of God (vers. 2-8), and 
then of the obligation imposed upon Abram (vers. 9-14). " / 
will give My covenant" says the Almighty, " between Me and thee, 
and multiply thee exceedingly." nnjjro^ signifies, not to make a 
covenant, but to give, to put, i.e. t o realize^to set in operation 
t he things prom ised in the covenant — equivalent to setting up 
the covenant (cf. ver. 7 and ix. 12 with ix. 9). This promise 
Abram appropriated to himself by falling upon his face in wor- 
ship, upon which God still further expounded the nature of the j ' iA, 
covenant about to be executed. — Ver. 4. On the part of God "f/'v ' 
('IK placed at the beginning absolutely: so far as I am concerned, 
for my part) it was to consist of this : (1) that God would, make 
A bram the father (3K instead of H 3K chosen with reference to 
the name Abram) of~a multitude o f nations, the ancestor of 
nations and kings; (2) t hat He would be Gqd * show Himself to 
be God, in an eternal covenant relation, to him_andj to his pos- 
teri^according to their families, according to all their succes- 


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sive generations ; and (3) that He would give them the land in 
which lie had wandered as a foreigner, viz. all' Cana alyFor an 
everlasting possession. As a pledge of this promise God changed 
I his na me D*ptt. i.e. high father,, into P^ffM, »•<• father of t he 
VW) mu ltitude , from 3N and D>Ti, Arab, ruhdm = multitude. In this 
— name God gave him a tangible pledge of the fulfilment of His 
covenant, inasmuch as a name which God gives cannot be a 
mere empty sound, but must be the expression of something 
real, or eventually acquire reality. — Vers. 9 sqq. On the part of 
I . w \. ^ j Abraham (nnw thou, the antithesis to ^N., as for me, ver. 4) God 
' ~ required that he and his descendants in all generations should 

. l,vv keep the covenant, and that as a sign he should circumcise him- 

self and every male in his house. Tto? Niph. of 7*0, and DFTO3 
per/. Niph. for Of^M, from 77D=7tts. As the sign of the covenant, 
circumcision is called in ver. 13, "the covenantj n th e flesh" so 
far as the nature of the covenant was manifested in the flesh. 
It was to be extended not only to the seed, the lineal descend- 
ants of Abraham, but to all the males in his house, even to 
every foreign slave not belonging to the seed of Abram, whether 
born in the house or acquired (i.e. bought) with money, and to 
the " son of eight days," i.e. the male child eight days old ; with 
the threat that the uncircumcised should be exterminated from 
his people, because by neglecting circumcision he had broken 
the covenant with God. The form of speech NVinjsjwn ___nrna), 
by which many of the laws are enforced (cf. Ex. xii. 15, 19 ; 
Lev. vii. 20, 21, 25, etc.), denotes not rejection from the 
nation, or banishment, but death, whether by a direct judgment 
from God, an untimely deatlTat the hand of God, or by the 
punishment of death inflicted by the congregation or the magis- 
trates, and that whether no? niD is added, as in Ex. xxxi. 14, 
etc, or not. This is very evident from Lev. xvii. 9, 10, where 
the extermination to be effected by the authorities is distinguished 
from that to be executed by God Himself (see my biblische 
Arch&ohgie ii. § 153, 1). In this sense we sometimes find, in the 
place of the earlier expression "from his people" i.e. his nation, 
such expressions as "from among his people" (Lev. xvii. 4, 10; 
Num. xv. 30), "from Israel" (Ex. xii. 15 ; Num. xix. 13), " from 
the congregation of Israel" (Ex. xii. 19); and instead of "that 
soul," in Lev. xvii. 4, 9 (cf. Ex. xxx. 33, 38), we find "that man." 
Vers. 15-21. The appointment of the sign of the covenant 

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CHAP. XVII. 15-2L 225 

was followed by this further revelation as to the promised seed, 
that Abra m would receive it thr ough his wife Sarai. In confir- 
mation of this her exalted destiny, she was no longer to be called 
Sarai (*}& , probably from Tie> with the termination at, the / , 
princely), b ut rntP f tbe prince ss ; for she was to become nations, \ 
themother of kings of nations. Abraham then fell upon his face 
and laughed, saying in himself {i.e. thinking), " Shall a child be 
born to him that is a hundred years old, or shall SaraJi, that is 
ninety years old, bear?" " The promise was so immensely great, 
th at he sank inadoration to the ground, and so immensely para- 
d oxical, th at he could not~Eelp laughing" {Del.). " Not that he 
ei ther ridiculed the promise of God, or treated it as a fable, or 
re jected it al together; but, as often happens when thing3 occur 
w hich ar e least expected, partly lifted up with joy, partly carried 
out of himself with wonder, he burst out into laughter" (Calvin). 
In this joyous amazement he said to God (ver. 18), " that 
Ishmael might live before Thee ! " To regard these words, with 
Calvin and others, as intimating that he should be satisfied with 
the prosperity of Ishmael, as though he durst not hope for any- 
thing higher, is hardly sufficient. The prayer implies anxiety, Vl*fy 
l est Ishmael shonld hxvp. no part in the blessings of the covenant. -^ 
God answers, " Yes («K into), Sara/t thy wife bears tliee a son, 
and thou vrilt call his name Isaac (according to the Greek form 
'Icradie, for the Hebrew plTf, i.e. laugher, with reference to 
Abraham's laughing; ver. 17, cf. xxi. 6), and I will establish My 
covenant with him" i.e. make him the recipient of the covenant 
grace. And the prayer for Ishmael God would also grant : He 
would mak e him very fruitful, so that he should .beget Jtwelve 
princfia_and_b?come a great nation. But the covenant, God 
repeated (ver. 21), should be established with Isaac, whom 
Sarah was to bear to him at that very time in the following 
year. — Since Ishmael therefore was excluded from participating 
in the covenant grace, which was ensured to Isaac alone ; and 
yet Abraham was to become a multitude of nations, and that 
through Sarah, who was to become " nations " through the son 
she was to bear (ver. 16); the "multitude of nations" could 
not include either the Ishmaelites or the tribes descended from 
the sons of Keturah (chap. xxv. 2 sqq.), but the descendants of 
Isaac alone ; and as one of Isaac's two sons received no part of 
the covenant promise, the descendants of Jacob alone. But the 

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whole of the twelve sons of Jacob founded only the one nation 
of Israel, with which Jehovah established the covenant made 
with Abraham (Ex. vi. and xx.-xxiv.), so that Abraham 
became through Israel the lineal father of one n ation only. 
From thj sjtenecessarily follows, that the posterity of Abraham, 
whi ch was to e xpand into a multitude of nations, extends be- 
yojuL^thjs one lineal posterity, and embraces the_jspiritual 
posterity__ajso, i.e. all nations who are grafted 4k 7rtorea>? 
'jQpaajA into the seed of Abraham (Rom. iv. If, 12, and 
16, 17). Moreover, the fact that the seed of Abraham was 
not to be restricted to his lineal descendants, is evident from 
the fact, that circumcision as the covenant sign was not con- 
fined to them, but extended to all the inmates of his house, so 
that these strangers were received into the fellowship of the 
covenant, and reckoned as part of the promised seed. Now, if 
the whole land of Canaan was promised to this posterity, which 
was to increase into a multitude of nations (ver. 8), it is per- 
fectly evident, from what has just been said, that the sum and 
substance of the promise was not exhausted by the gift of the 
land, whose boundaries are described in chap. xv. 18-21, as a 
possession to the nation of Israel, but that the extension of the 
idea of the lineal posterity, " Israel after the flesh," to the spi- 
ritual posterity, " Israel after the spirit," requires the expansion 
of the idea and extent of the earthly Canaan to the full extent 
of the spiritual Canaan, whose boundaries reach as widely as the 
multitude of nations having Abraham as father ; and, therefore, 
that in reality Abraham received the promise " that he should 
be the heir of the world" (Rom. iv. 13). 1 

And what is true of the seed of Abraham and the land of 
Canaan must also hold good of the covenant and the covenant sign. 

1 What stands out clearly in this promise — viz. the fact that the expres- 
sions " seed of A braham " (people of Israel) and ' ' land of Canaan " are not 
exhausted in the physical Israel and earthly Canaan, but are to be under- 
stood spiritually, Israel and Canaan acquiring the typical significance of the 
people of God and land of the Lord — is still further expanded by the pro- 
phets, and most distinctly expressed in the New Testament by Christ and 
the apostles. This scriptural and spiritual interpretation of the Old Testa- 
ment is entirely overlooked by those who, like Auberlen, restrict all the 
promises of God and the prophetic proclamations of salvation to the phy- 
sical Israel, and reduce the application of them to the " Israel after the 
spirit," i.e. to believing Christendom, to a mere accommodation. 

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CHAP. XVII. 22-27. 


Eterna l duration was promised only to the covenant established 
by God with the seed of Abraham, which was to grow into a 
multitude of nations, b nt not t o the covena nt instit ution which 
God establishe d in f»njriTuytipn wi th fli p linga] poftterity_£if Ahrn. 
harn^ the twelve tribes of Israel. Everything in this institution 
which was of a local and limited character, and only befitted the 
physical Israel and the earthly Canaan, existed only so long as 
was necessary for the seed of Abraham to expand into a multi- 
tude of nations. So again it was only in its essence that circum- 
cision could be a sign of the eternal covenant. Circumcision, 
whether it passed from Abraham to other nations, or sprang up 
among other nations independently of Abraham and his descend- 
ants (see my Archaologie, § 63, 1), was based upon the religious 
view, that the sin and moral impurity which the fall of Adam 
had introduced into the nature of man had concentrated itself 
in the sexual organs, because it is in sexual life that it generally 
manifests itself with peculiar force ; and, consequently, that for 
the sanctification of life, a purification or sanctification of the 
organ of generation, by which life is propagated, is especially re- 
quired. In this way circumcision in the flesh became a sym- 
bol of the circumcision, i.e. the purification, of the heart (Deut. 
x. 16, xxx. 6, cf. Lev. xxvi. 41, Jer. iv. 4, ix. 25, Ezek. xliv. 7), 
and a covenant sign to those who received it, inasmuch as they 
were received into the fellowship of the holy nation (Ex. xix. 6), 
and required to sanctify their lives, in other words, to fulfil all 
that the covenant demanded. It was to be performed on every 
boy on the eighth day after its birth, not because the child, like 
its mother, remains so long in a state of impurity, but because, 
as the analogous rule with regard to the fitness of young animals 
for sacrifice would lead us to conclude, this was regarded as the 
first day of independent existence (Lev. xxii. 27 ; Ex. xxii. 29 ; 
see my Archdologie, § 63). 

Vers. 22-27. When God had finished His address and as- 
cended again, Abraham immediately fulfilled the covenant duty 
enjoined upon him, by circumcising himself on that very day, 
along with all the male members of his house. Because Ishmael 
was 13 years old when he was circumcised, the Arabs even now 
defer circumcision to a much later period than the Jews, gene- 
rally till between the ages of 5 and 13, and frequently even till 
the 13th year. 


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Having been received into the covenant with God through 
the rite of circumcision, Abraham was shortly afterwards hon- 
oured by being allowed to receive and entertain the Lord and 
two angels in his tent. This fresh manifestation of God had a 
double purpose, viz. to establish Sarah's faith in the promise 
that she should bear a son in her old age (vers. 1-15), and to 
announce the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (vers. 16-33). 

Vers. 1-15. When sitting, about mid-day, in the grove of 
Mamre, in front of his tent, Abraham looked up and unexpect- 
edly saw three men standing at some distance from him (V?V 
above him, looking down upon him as he sat), vi2. Jehovah (ver. 
13) and two angels (xix. 1) ; all three in human form. Per- 
ceiving at once that one of them was the Lord ('J^S, t.e. God), 
he prostrated himself reverentially before them, and entreated 
them not to pass him by, but to suffer him to entertain them as 
his guests : " Let a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and 
recline yourselves ($>&>} to recline, leaning upon the arm) under 
the tree." — " Comfort your hearts ;" lit. " strengthen the heart," 
i.e. refresh yourselves by eating and drinking (Judg. xix. 5 ; 
1 Kings xxi. 7). "For therefore («c. to give me an opportunity to 
entertain you hospitably) have ye come over to your servant :" '? 
15 by does not stand for '3 t? ?? (Ges. thes. p. 682), but means 
" because for this purpose" (vid. Ewald, § 353). — Vers. 6 sqq. 
When the three men had accepted the hospitable invitation, 
Abraham, jnst like a Bedouin sheikh of the present day, directed 
his wife to take three seahs (374 cubic inches each) of fine meal, 
and b?ke cakes of it as quickly as possible (T\\i^ round un- 
leavened cakes baked upon hot stones) ; he also had a tender 
calf killed, and sent for milk and butter, or curdled milk, and 
thus prepared a bountiful and savoury meal, of which the guests 
partook. The eating of material food on the part of these 
heavenly beings was not in appearance only, but was really 
eating; an act which may be attributed to the corporeality 
assumed, and is to be regarded as analogous to the eating on the 
part of the risen and glorified Christ (Luke xxiv. 41 sqq.), 
although the miracle still remains physiologically incomprehen- 
sible. — Vers. 9-15. During the meal, at which Abraham stood. 

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CHAP. XVIIL 16-88. 229 

and waited upon them as the host, they asked for Sarah, for 
whom the visit was chiefly intended. On being told that she 
was in the tent, where she could hear, therefore, all that passed 
under the tree in front of the tent, the one whom Abraham ad- 
dressed as Adonai (my Lord), and who is called Jehovah in 
ver. 13, said, "I will return to thee (Wi njQ) at this time, when it 
lives again" (HJRJ reviviscens, without the article, Ges. § 111, 2b), 
i.e. at this time next year ; " and, behold, Sarah, thy wife, will 
(then) have a son." Sarah heard this at the door of the tent ; 
"and it was behind Him" (Jehovah), so that she could not be 
seen by Him as she stood at the door. But as the fulfilment of 
this promise seemed impossible to her, on account of Abraham's 
extreme age, and the fact that her own womb had lost the 
power of conception, she laughed within herself, thinking that 
she was not observed; But that she might know that the pro- 
mise was made by the omniscient and omnipotent God, He 
reproved her for laughing, saying, " Is anything too wonderful 
(i.e. impossible) for Jelwvali t at the time appointed I will return 
unto thee," etc. ; and when her perplexity led her to deny it, He 
convicted her of falsehood. Abraham also had laughed at this 
promise (chap. xvii. 17), and without receiving any reproof. For 
his laughing was the joyous outburst of astonishment ; Sarah's, 
on the contrary, the result of doubt and unbelief, which had to 
be broken down by reproof, and, as the result showed, really was 
broken down, inasmuch as she conceived and bore a son, whom 
she could only have conceived in faith (Heb. xi. 11). 

Vers. 16-33. After this conversation with Sarah, the hea- 
venly guests rose up and turned their faces towards the plain of 
Sodom ('JB ??, as in chap. xix. 28 ; Num. xxi. 20, xxiii. 28). 
Abraham accompanied them some distance on the road ; accord- 
ing to tradition, he went as far as the site of the later Caphar 
barucha, from which you can see the Dead Sea through a ravine, 
— 8olitudinem ac terras Sodomce. And Jehovah said, " Shall I 
hide from Abraham what I propose to do ? Abraham is destined 
to be a great nation and a blessing to all nations (xii. 2, 3) ; for 
I have known, i.e. acknowledged him (chosen him in anticipative 
love, Vjl as in Amos iii. 2 ; Hos. xiii. 4), that he may command 
his whole posterity to keep the way of Jehovah, to practise 
justice and righteousness, that all the promises may be fulfilled 
in them." God then disclosed to Abraham what he was about 

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to do to Sodom and Gomorrah, not, as Kurtz supposes, because 
Abraham had been constituted the hereditary possessor of the 
land, and Jehovah, being mindful of His covenant, would not 
do anything to it without his knowledge and assent (a thought 
quite foreign to the context), but because Jehovah had chosen 
him to be the father of the people of God, in order that, by in- 
structing his descendants in the fear of God, he might lead them 
in the paths of righteousness, so that they might become par- 
takers of the promised salvation, and not be overtaken by judg- 
ment. The destruction of Sodom and the surrounding cities 
was to be a permanent memorial of the punitive righteousness 
of God, and to keep the fate of the ungodly constantly before 
the mind of Israel. To this end Jehovah explained to Abraham 
the cause of their destruction in the clearest manner possible, 
that he might not only be convinced of the justice of the divine 
government, but might learn that when the measure of iniquity 
was full, no intercession could avert the judgment, — a lesson 
and a warning to his descendants also. — Ver. 20. " The cry of 
Sodom and Gomorrah, yea it is great ; and their sin, yea it is 
very grievous." The cry is the appeal for vengeance or punish- 
ment, which ascends to heaven (chap. iv. 10). The '? serves to 
give emphasis to the assertion, and is placed in the middle of the 
sentence to give the greater prominence to the leading thought 
(cf. Ewald, § 330). — Ver. 21. God was about to go down, and 
convince Himself whether they had done entirely according to 
the cry which had reached Him, or not. '"TO <v&y, Ut. to make 
completeness, here referring to the extremity of iniquity, gene- 
rally to the extremity of punishment (Nahum i. 8, 9 ; Jer. iv. 
27, v. 10) : n?| is a noun, as Isa. x. 23 shows, not an adverb, as 
in Ex. xi. 1. After this explanation, the men (according to 
chap. xix. 1, the two angels) turned from thence to go to Sodom 
(ver. 22) ; but Abraham continued standing before Jehovah, 
who had been talking with him, and approached Him with ear- 
nestness and boldness of faith to intercede for Sodom. He was 
urged to this, not by any special interest in Lot, for in that case 
he would have prayed for his deliverance ; nor by the circum- 
stance that, as he had just before felt himself called upon to 
become the protector, avenger, and deliverer of the land from 
its foes, so he now thought himself called upon to act as medi- 
ator, and to appeal from Jehovah's judicial wrath to Jehovah's 

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CHAP. XVIII. 16-88. 231 

covenant grace (Kurtz), for he had not delivered the land from 
the foe, hut merely rescued his nephew Lot and all the booty that 
remained after the enemy had withdrawn ; nor did he appeal to 
the covenant grace of Jehovah, but to His justice alone ; and on 
the principle that the Judge of all the earth could not possibly 
destroy the righteous with the wicked, he founded his entreaty 
that God would forgive the city if there were but fifty righteous 
in it, or even if there were only ten. He was led to intercede 
in this way, not by "communis erga quinque populos miseri- 
cordia" (Calvin), but by the love which springs from the con- 
sciousness that one's own preservation and rescue are due to 
compassionate grace alone ; love, too, which cannot conceive of 
the guilt of others as too great for salvation to be possible. This 
sympathetic love, springing from the faith which was counted 
for righteousness, impelled him to the intercession which Luther 
thus describes : " sexies petiit, et cum tanto ardore ac affectu sic 
urgente, ut prce nimia angustia, qua cupit consultum miseris civi- 
tatibus, videatur quasi stulte loqui." There may be apparent 
folly in the words, " Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the 
wicked f" but they were only " violenta oratio et impetuosa, quasi 
cogens Deum ad ignoscendum" For Abraham added, " perad- 
venture there be fifty righteous within the city ; wilt Thou also 
destroy and not forgive ("tw, to take away and bear the guilt, 
i.e. forgive) the place for the fifty righteous that are therein ?" 
and described the slaying of the righteous with the wicked as 
irreconcilable with the justice of God. He knew that he was 
speaking to the Judge of all the earth, and that before Him he 
was " but dust and ashes" — " dust in his origin, and ashes in the 
end ;" and yet he made bold to appeal still further, and even as 
low as ten righteous, to pray that for their sake He would spare 
the city. — DVBn ?|K (ver. 32) signifies " only this (one) time more," 
as in Ex. x. 17. This " seemingly commercial kind of entreaty 
is," as Delitzsch observes, " the essence of true prayer. It is 
the holy avalBeta, of which our Lord speaks in Luke xi. 8, the 
shamelessne8s of faith, which bridges over the infinite distance 
of the creature from the Creator, appeals with importunity to 
the heart of God, and ceases not till its point is gained. This 
would indeed be neither permissible nor possible, had not God, 
by virtue of the mysterious interlacing of necessity and freedom 
in His nature and operations, granted a power to the prayer of 

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faith, to which He consents to yield ; had He not, bj virtue of 
His absoluteness, which is anything but blind necessity, placed 
Himself in such a relation to men, that He not merely works 
upon them by means of His grace, but allows them to work 
upon Him by means of their faith ; had He not interwoven the 
life of the free creature into His own absolute life, and accorded 
to a created personality the right to assert itself in faith, in dis- 
tinction from His own." With the promise, that even for the 
sake of ten righteous He would not destroy the city, Jehovah 
" went His way," that is to say, vanished ; and Abraham re- 
turned to his place, viz. to the grove of Mamre. The judgment 
which fell upon the wicked cities immediately afterwards, proves 
that there were not ten " righteous persons" in Sodom ; by which 
we understand, not merely ten sinless or holy men, but ten who 
through the fear of God and conscientiousness had kept them- 
selves free from the prevailing sin and iniquity of these cities. 


Vers. 1-11. The messengers (angels) sent by Jehovah to 
Sodom, arrived there in the evening, when Lot, who was sitting 
at the gate, pressed them to pass the night in his house. The 
gate, generally an arched entrance with deep recesses and seats 
on either side, was a place of meeting in the ancient towns of 
the East, where the inhabitants assembled either for social inter- 
course or to transact public business (vid. chap, xxxiv. 20; Deut. 
xxi. 19, xsdi. 15, etc.). The two travellers, however (for such 
Lot supposed them to be, and only recognised them as angels 
when they had smitten the Sodomites miraculously with blind- 
ness), said that they would spend the night in the street — 3in")3 
the broad open space within the gate — as they had been sent to 
inquire into the state of the town. But they yielded to Lot's 
entreaty to enter his house; for the deliverance of Lot, after 
having ascertained his state of mind, formed part of their 
commission, and entering into his house might only serve to 
manifest the sin of Sodom in all its heinousness. While Lot 
was entertaining his guests with the greatest hospitality, the 
people of Sodom gathered round his house, u both old and young, 
all people from every quarter" (of the town, as in Jer. li. 31), and 

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CHAP. XIX. 14-22. 233 

demanded, with the basest violation of the sacred rite of hos- 
pitality and the most shameless proclamation of their sin (Isa. 
iii. 9), that the strangers should be brought out, that they 
might know them. VT T is applied, as in Judg. xix. 22, to the 
carnal sin of poederastia, a crime very prevalent among the 
Canaanites (Lev. xviii. 22 sqq., xx. 23), and according to 
Horn. i. 27, a curse of heathenism generally. — Vers. 6 sqq. 
Lot went out to them, shut the door behind him to protect 
his guests, and offered to give his virgin daughters up to 
them. " Only to these men (?«n, an archaism for "2*% t occurs 
also in ver. 25, chap. xxvi. 3, 4, Lev. xviii. 27, and Deut. 
iv. 42, vii. 22, xix. 11 ; and ?K for r&K in 1 Ohron. xx. 8) do 
nothing, for tlierefore (viz. to be protected from injury) have 
they come under the shadow of my roof." In his anxiety, Lot 
was willing to sacrifice to the sanctity of hospitality his duty as 
a father, which ought to have been still more sacred, " and com- 
mitted the sin of seeking to avert sin by sin." Even if he ex- 
pected that his daughters would suffer no harm, as they were 
betrothed to Sodomites (ver. 14), the offer was a grievous viola- 
tion of his paternal duty. But this offer only heightened the 
brutality of the mob. " Stand back " (make way, Isa. xlix. 20), 
they said ; " the man, who came as a foreigner, is always wanting 
to play the judge" (probably because Lot had frequently reproved 
them for their licentious conduct, 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8) : " now will we 
deal worse with thee than with them." With these words they 
pressed upon him, and approached the door to break it in. The 
men inside, that is to say, the angels, then pulled Lot into the 
house, shut the door, and by miraculous power smote the people 
without with blindness (D*TO? here and 2 Kings vi. 18 for 
mental blindness, in which the eye sees, but does not see the 
right object), as a punishment for their utter moral blindness, 
and an omen of the coming judgment. 

Vers. 12-22. The sin of Sodom had now become manifest. 
The men, Lot's guests, made themselves known to him as the 
messengers of judgment sent by Jehovah, and ordered him to 
remove any one that belonged to him out of the city. " Son- 
in-law (the singular without the article, because it is only 
assumed as a possible circumstance that he may have sons-in- 
law), and thy sons, and thy daughters, and all that belongs to tliee" 
(sc. of persons, not of things). Sons Lot does not appear to 
tent. — VOL. I. Q 

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have had, as we read nothing more about them, but only " sons 
in-law (Wfi* '0?') wno t0 « r « about to take his daughters" as 
Josephus, the Vulgate, Ewald, and many others correctly render 
it. The LXX., Targums, Knobel, and Delitzsch adopt the ren- 
dering " who had taken his daughters," in proof of which the 
last two adduce JitnttMii in ver. 15 as decisive. But without 
reason; for this refers not to the daughters who were still in the 
father's house, as distinguished from those who were married, 
but to his wife and two daughters who were to be found with 
him in the house, in distinction from the bridegrooms, who also 
belonged to him, but were not yet living with him, and who 
had received his summons in scorn, because in their carnal secu- 
rity they did not believe in any judgment of God (Luke xvii. 
28, 29). If Lot had had married daughters, he would un- 
doubtedly have called upon them to escape along with their 
husbands, his sons-in-law. — Ver. 15. As soon as it was dawn, 
the angels urged Lot to hasten away with his family; and 
when he still delayed, his heart evidently clinging to the earthly 
home and possessions which he was obliged to leave, they laid 
hold of him, with his wife and his two daughters, v?y rftv roona, 
" by virtue of the sparing mercy of Jehovah (which operated) 
upon him" and led him out of the city. — Ver. 17. When they 
left him here (?T*?» to let loose, and leave, to leave to one's 
self), the Lord commanded him, for the sake of his life, not to 
look behind him, and not to stand still in all the plain (133, 
xiii. 10), but to flee to the mountains (afterwards called the 
mountains of Moab). In ver. 17 we are struck by the change 
from the plural to the singular : " when they brought them 
forth, lie said." To think of one of the two angels — the one, for 
example, who led the conversation — seems out of place, not only 
because Lot addressed him by the name of God, " Adonai" 
(ver. 18), but also because the speaker attributed to himself the 
judgment upon the cities (vers. 21, 22), which is described in ver. 
24 as executed by Jehovah. Yet there is nothing to indicate 
that Jehovah suddenly joined the angels. The only supposi- 
tion that remains, therefore, is that Lot recognised in the two 
angels a manifestation of God, and so addressed them (ver. 18) as 
Adonai (my Lord), and that the angel who spoke addressed him 
as the messenger of Jehovah in the name of God, without its 
following from this, that Jehovah was present in the two angels. 

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CHAP. XIX 28-28. 235 

Lot, instead of cheerfully obeying the commandment of the 
Lord, appealed to the great mercy shown to him in the preser- 
vation of his life, and to the impossibility of his escaping to the 
mountains, without the evil overtaking him, and entreated 
therefore that he might be allowed to take refuge in the small 
and neighbouring city, i.e. in JBela, which received the name of 
Zoar (chap. xiv. 2) on account of Lot's calling it little. Zoar, 
the Svy^P of the LXX., and Segor of the Crusaders, is hardly 
to be sought for on the peninsula which projects a long way 
into the southern half of the Dead Sea, in the Ghor of el 
Mezraa, as Irby and Robinson (Pal. iii. p. 481) suppose; it is 
much more probably to be found on the south-eastern point of 
the Dead Sea, in the Ghor of el Szaphia, at the opening of 
the Wady el Ahsa (yid. v. Raumer, Pal. p. 273, Anm. 14). 

Vers. 23-28. " When the sun had risen and Lot had come 
towards Zoar (i.e. was on the way thither, but had not yet 
arrived), Jehovah caused it to rain brimstone and fire from Je- 
hovah out of heaven, and overthrew those cities, and the whole 
plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and the produce of the 
earth." In the words "Jehovah caused it to rain from Je- 
hovah " there is no distinction implied between the hidden and 
the manifested God, between the Jehovah present upon earth 
in His angels who called down the judgment, and the Jehovah 
enthroned in heaven who sent it down; but the expression "from 
Jehovah " is emphatica repetitio, quod non usitato natures ordine 
tune Dens pluerit, sed tanquam exerta menu palam fulminaverit 
prater solitum morem : ut satis constaret nullis causis naturalibus 
conflatam ftdsse pluviam iUam ex igne et sulphur e {Calvin). The 
rain of fire and brimstone was not a mere storm with lightning, 
which set on fire the soil already overcharged with naphtha and 
sulphur. The two passages, Ps. xi. 6 and Ezek. xxxviii. 22, 
cannot be adduced as proofs that lightning is ever called fire 
and brimstone in the Scriptures, for in both passages there is 
an allusion to the event recorded here. The words are to be 
understood quite literally, as meaning that brimstone and fire, 
ue. burning brimstone, fell from the sky, even though the ex- 
amples of burning bituminous matter falling upon the earth 
which are given in Oedmann's vermischte Sammlungen (iii. 120) 
may be called in question by historical criticism. By this rain 
of fire and brimstone not only were the cities and their inhabi- 

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tants consumed, but even the soil, which abounded in asphalt, 
was set on fire, so that the entire valley was burned out and 
sank, or was overthrown (i|Bn) i.e. utterly destroyed, and the 
Dead Sea took its place. 1 In addition to Sodom, which was 
probably the chief city of the valley of Siddim, Gomorrah and 
the whole valley (t'.e. the valley of Siddim, chap. xiv. 3) are 
mentioned ; and along with these the cities of Admah and Ze- 
boim, which were situated in the valley (Deut. xxix. 23, cf . Hos. 
xi. 8), also perished, Zoar alone, which is at the south-eastern end 
of the valley, being spared for Lot's sake. Even to the present 
day the Dead Sea, with the sulphureous vapour which hangs 
about it, the great blocks of saltpetre and sulphur which lie 
on every hand, and the utter absence of the slightest trace of 
animal and vegetable life in its waters, are a striking testimony 
to this catastrophe, which is held up in both the Old and New 
Testaments as a fearfully solemn judgment of God for the 
warning of self-secure and presumptuous sinners. — Ver. 26. On 
the way, Lot's wife, notwithstanding the divine command, looked 
" behind him away" — i.e. went behind her husband and looked 
backwards, probably from a longing for the house and the 
earthly possessions she had left with reluctance (cf. Luke xvii, 
31, 32), — and " became a pillar of salt." We are not to suppose 
that she was actually turned into one, but having been killed by 
the fiery and sulphureous vapour with which the air was filled, 
and afterwards encrusted with salt, she resembled an actual 
statue of salt ; just as even now, from the saline exhalation of 
the Dead Sea, objects near it are quickly covered with a crust 
of salt, so that the fact, to which Christ refers in Luke xvii. 32, 
may be understood without supposing a miracle. 2 — In vers. 27, 

1 Whether the Dead Sea originated in this catastrophe, or whether there 
was previously a lake, possibly a fresh water lake, at the north of the valley 
of Siddim, which was enlarged to the dimensions of the existing sea by the 
destruction of the valley with its cities, and received its present character 
at the same time, is a question which has been raised, since Capt. Lynch has 
discovered by actual measurement the remarkable fact, that the bottom of the 
lake consists of two totally different levels, which are separated by a penin- 
sula that stretches to a very great distance into the lake from the eastern 
shore ; so that whilst the lake to the north of this peninsula is, on an 
average, from 1000 to 1200 feet deep, the southern portion is at the most 
16 feet deep, and generally much less, the bottom being covered with salt 
mud, and heated by hot springs from below. 

* But when this pillar of salt is mentioned in Wisdom xi. 7 and Clemens 

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CHAP. XIX. 29-88. 237 

28, the account closes with a remark which points back to chap, 
rviii. 17 sqq., viz. that Abraham went in the morning to the 
place where he had stood the day before, interceding with the 
Lord for Sodom, and saw how the judgment had fallen upon 
the entire plain, since the smoke of the country went up like 
the smoke of a furnace. Yet his intercession had not been in 

Vers. 29-38. For on the destruction of these cities, God had 
thought of Abraham, and rescued Lot. This rescue is attributed 
to Elohim, as being the work of the Judge of the whole earth 
(chap, xviii. 25), and not to Jehovah the covenant God, because 
Lot was severed from His guidance and care on his separation 
from Abraham. The fact, however, is repeated here, for the 
purpose of connecting with it an event in the life of Lot of 
great significance to the future history of Abraham's seed. — Vers. 
30 sqq. From Zoar Lot removed with his two daughters to the 
(Moabitish) mountains, for fear that Zoar might after all be 
destroyed, and dwelt in one of the caves ("P^o with the generic 
article), in which the limestone rocks abound (vid. Lynch), and 
so became a dweller in a cave. While there, his daughters re- 
solved to procure children through their father ; and to that end 
on two successive evenings they made him intoxicated with wine, 
and then lay with him in the night, one after the other, that 
they might conceive seed. To this accursed crime they were 
impelled by the desire to preserve their family, because they 
thought there was no man on the earth to come in unto them, 
i.e. to marry them, " after the manner of all the earth." Not 
that they imagined the whole human race to have perished in 
the destruction of the valley of Siddim, but because they were 
afraid that no man would link himself with them, the only sur 
vivors of a country smitten by the curse of God. If it was not 
lust, therefore, which impelled them to this shameful deed, their 
conduct was worthy of Sodom, and shows quite as much as their 
previous betrothal to men of Sodom, that they were deeply im- 
bued with the sinful character of that city. The words of vers. 
33 and 35, " And he knew not of her lying down and of her 

ad Cor. xi. as still in existence, and Josephus professes to have seen it, this 
legend is probably based upon the pillar-like lumps of salt, which are still 
to be seen at Mount Usdum (Sodom), on the south-western side of the 
Dead Sea. 

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rising up," do not affirm that he was in an unconscious state, as 
the Rabbins are said by Jerome to have indicated by the point 
over nwpa : " quasi incredibile et quod natura rerum non capiat, 
coire quempiam nescientem" They merely mean, that in his in- 
toxicated state, though not entirely unconscious, yet he lay with 
his daughters without clearly knowing what he was doing. — 
Vers. 36 sqq. But Lot's daughters had so little feeling of shame 
in connection with their conduct, that they gave names to the 
sons they bore, which have immortalized their paternity. Moab, 
another form of 3ND " from the father," as is indicated in the 
clause appended in the LXX. : Xeryowra etc rov iran-po? ftov, and 
also rendered probable by the reiteration of the words " of our 
father" and "by their father" (vers. 32, 34, and 36), as well 
as by the analogy of the name Ben-Ammi = Amman, 'Afifidv, 
Xeyovaa Tw? yevov? fiov (LXX.). For itojf, the sprout of the 
nation, bears the same relation to Dp, as ItoJK, the rush or sprout 
of the marsh, to D3K (Delitztch). — This account was neither the 
invention of national hatred to the Moabites and Ammonites, 
nor was it placed here as a brand upon those tribes. These 
discoveries of a criticism imbued with hostility to the Bible are 
overthrown by the fact, that, according to Deut. ii. 9, 19, Israel 
was ordered not to touch the territory of either of these tribes 
because of their descent from Lot ; and it was their unbrotherly 
conduct towards Israel alone which first prevented their recep- 
tion into the congregation of the Lord, Deut. xxiii. 4, 5. — Lot 
is never mentioned again. Separated both outwardly and in- 
wardly from Abraham, he was of no further importance in 
relation to the history of salvation, so that even his death is not 
referred to. His descendants, however, frequently came into 
contact with the Israelites ; and the history of their descent is 
given here to facilitate a correct appreciation of their conduct 
towards Israel. 

Abraham's sojourn at gerar. — chap. xx. 

Vers. 1-7. After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, 
Abraham removed from the grove of Mamre at Hebron to the 
south country, hardly from the same fear as that which led Lot 
from Zoar, but probably to seek for better pasture. Here he 
dwelt between Kadesh (xiv. 7) and Shur (xvi. 7), and remained 

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CHAP. XX. 1-7. 239 

for some time in Gerar, a place the name of which has been 
preserved in the deep and broad Wady Jur/el Gerdr (t'.«. torrent 
of Gerar) about eight miles S.S.E. of Gaza, near to which Row 
land discovered the ruins of an ancient town bearing the name 
of Khirbet el Gerdr. Here Abimelech, the Philistine king of 
Gerar, like Pharaoh in Egypt, took Sarah, whom Abraham had 
again announced to be his sister, into his harem, — not indeed be- 
cause he was charmed with the beauty of the woman of 90, which 
was either renovated, or had not yet faded (Kurtz), but in all 
probability "to ally himself with Abraham, the rich nomad 
prince " (Delitesch). From this danger, into which the untruth- 
ful statement of both her husband and herself had brought her, 
she was once more rescued by the faithfulness of the covenant 
God. In a dream by night God appeared to Abimelech, and 
threatened him with death (no ^Jn en te moriturum) on account 
of the woman, whom he had taken, because she was married to 
a husband. — Vers. 4 sqq. Abimelech, who had not yet come 
near her, because God had hindered him by illness (vers. 6 and 
17), excused himself on the ground that he had done no wrong, 
since he had supposed Sarah to be Abraham's sister, according 
to both her husband's statement and her own. This plea was 
admitted by God, who told him that He had kept him from 
sinning through touching Sarah, and commanded him to restore 
the woman immediately to her husband, who was a prophet, that 
he might pray for him and save his life, and threatened him with 
certain death to himself and all belonging to him in case he 
should refuse. That Abimelech, when taking the supposed 
sister of Abraham into his harem, should have thought that he 
was acting " in innocence of heart and purity of hands," i.e. in 
perfect innocence, is to be fully accounted for, from his unde- 
veloped moral and religious standpoint, by considering the cus- 
toms of that day. But that God should have admitted that he 
had acted " in innocence of heart," and yet should have pro- 
ceeded at once to tell him that he could only remain alive through 
the intercession of Abraham, that is to say, through his obtain- 
ing forgiveness of a sin that was deserving of death, is a proof 
that God treated him as capable of deeper moral discernment 
and piety. The history itself indicates this in the very charac- 
teristic variation in the names of God. First of all (ver. 3), 
Elohirn (without the article, i.e. Deity generally) appears to him 

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in a dream ; but Abimelech recognises the Lord, Adonai, i.e. God 
(ver. 4); whereupon the historian represents cri^Kn (Elohirawith 
the article), the personal and true God, as speaking to him. The 
address of God, too, also shows his susceptibility of divine truth. 
Without further pointing out to him the wrong which he had 
done in simplicity of heart, in taking the sister of the stranger 
who had come into his land, for the purpose of increasing his 
own harem, since he must have been conscious of this himself, 
God described Abraham as a prophet, whose intercession alone 
could remove his guilt, to show him the way of salvation. A 
prophet : lit. the God-addressed or inspired, since the " inward 
speaking" (Ein-sprache) or inspiration of God constitutes the 
essence of prophecy. Abraham was irpo$rfn}<i as the recipient 
of divine revelation, and was thereby placed in so confidential a 
relation to God, that he could intercede for sinners, and atone 
for sins of infirmity through his intercession. 

Vers. 8-15. Abimelech carried out the divine instructions. 
The next morning he collected his servants together and related 
what had occurred, at which the men were greatly alarmed. 
He then sent for Abraham, and complained most bitterly of his 
conduct, by which he had brought a great sin upon him and his 
kingdom. — Ver. 10. " What sawest thou" i.e. what hadst thou in 
thine eye, with thine act (thy false statement)? Abimelech did 
this publicly in the presence of his servants, partly for his own 
justification in the sight of his dependants, and partly to put 
Abraham to shame. The latter had but two weak excuses : (1) 
that he supposed there was no fear of God at all in the land, 
and trembled for his life because of his wife ; and (2) that when 
he left his father's house, he had arranged with his wife that in 
every foreign place she was to call herself his sister, as she really 
was his half-sister. On the subject of his emigration, he expressed 
himself indefinitely and with reserve, accommodating himself to 
the polytheistic standpoint of the Philistine king : " when God (or 
the gods, Elohim) caused me to wander" i.e. led me to commence 
an unsettled life in a foreign land ; and saying nothing about 
Jehovah, and the object of his wandering as revealed by Him. — 
Vers. 14 sqq. Abimelech then gave him back his wife with a 
liberal present of cattle and slaves, and gave him leave to dwell 
wherever he pleased in his land. To Sarah he said, " Behold, I 
have given a thousand shekele of silver to thy brother; behold, it is 

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CHAP. XX. 8-16. 241 

to thee a covering of the eyes (i.e. an expiatory gift) with regard 
to all that are %oith thee ("because in a mistress the whole 
family is disgraced," Del.), and vrith all — so art thou justified." 
The thousand shekels (about £131) were not a special present 
made to Sarah, but indicate the value of the present made 
to Abraham, the amount of which may be estimated by this 
standard, that at a later date (Ex. xxi. 32) a slave was reckoned 
at 30 shekels. By the "covering of the eyes" we are not to 
understand a veil, which Sarah was to procure for 1000 shekels; 
but it is a figurative expression for an atoning gift, and is to be 
explained by the analogy of the phrase 'D '3B IBS u to cover any 
one's face," so that he may forget a wrong done (cf . chap, xxxii. 
21 ; and Job ix. 24, " he covereth the faces of the judges," i.e. 
he bribes them), nrota can only be the 2 pers. fern. sing. perf. 
Niphal, although the Dagesh lene is wanting in the n ; for the 
rules of syntax will hardly allow us to regard this form as a 
participle, unless we imagine the extremely harsh ellipsis of nrou 
for JjH* nnafo. The literal meaning is u so thou art judged," i.e. 
justice has been done thee. — Vers. 17, 18. After this reparation, 
God healed Abimelech at Abraham's intercession ; also his wife 
and maids, so that they could bear again, for Jehovah had closed 
up every womb in Abimelech's house on Sarah's account. nviDK, 
maids whom the king kept as concubines, are to be distinguished 
from nines? female slaves (ver. 14). That there was a material 
difference between them, is proved by 1 Sam. xxv. 41. IXP 
DrrrTS does not mean, as is frequently supposed, to prevent actual 
childbirth, but to prevent conception, i.e. to produce barrenness 
(1 Sam. i. 5, 6). This is evident from the expression " He hath 
restrained me from bearing" in chap. xvi. 2 (cf. Isa. lxvi. 9, and 
1 Sam. xxi. 6), and from the opposite phrase, " open the womb," 
so as to facilitate conception (chap. xxix. 31, and xxx. 22). The 
plague brought upon Abimelech's house, therefore, consisted of 
some disease which rendered the begetting of children (the 
coitus) impossible. This might have occurred as soon as Sarah 
was taken into the royal harem, and therefore need not presup- 
pose any lengthened stay there. There is no necessity, therefore, 
to restrict VDJJ to the women and regard it as equivalent to nriprrj, 
which would be grammatically inadmissible ; for it may refer to 
Abimelech also, since 1? T signifies to beget as well as to bear. 
We may adopt KnobeVs explanation, therefore, though without 

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approving of the inference that ver. 18 was an appendix of the 
Jehovist, and arose from a misunderstanding of the word WJ in 
ver. 17. A later addition ver. 18 cannot be; for the simple 
reason, that without the explanation given there, the previous 
verse would be unintelligible, so that it cannot have been want- 
ing in any of the accounts. The name Jehovah, in contrast 
with Elohim and Ha-Elohim in ver. 17, is obviously significant. 
The cure of Abimelech and his wives belonged to the Deity 
(Elohim). Abraham directed his intercession not to Elohim, an 
indefinite and unknown God, but to D'n^tcn ; for the God, whose 
prophet he was, was the personal and true God. It was He 
too who had brought the disease upon Abimelech and his house, 
not as Elohim or Ha-Elohim, but as Jehovah, the God of salva- 
tion ; for His design therein was to prevent the disturbance or 
frustration of His saving design, and the birth of the promised 
son from Sarah. 

But if the divine names Elohim and Ha-Elohim indicate 
the true relation of God to Abimelech, and here also it was 
Jehovah who interposed for Abraham and preserved the mother 
of the promised seed, our narrative cannot be merely an Elohistic 
side-piece appended to the Jehovistic account in chap. xii. 14 
sqq., and founded upon a fictitious legend. The thoroughly 
distinctive character of this event is a decisive proof of the 
fallacy of any such critical conjecture. Apart from the one 
point of agreement — the taking of Abraham's wife into the royal 
harem, because he said she was his sister in the hope of thereby 
saving his own life (an event, the repetition of which in the 
space of 24 years is by no means startling, when we consider the 
customs of the age) — all the more minute details are entirely 
different in the two cases. In king Abimelech we meet with a 
totally different character from that of Pharaoh. We see in 
him a heathen imbued with a moral consciousness of right, and 
open to receive divine revelation, of which there is not the 
slightest trace in the king of Egypt. And Abraham, in spite 
of his natural weakness, and the consequent confusion which he 
manifested in the presence of the pious heathen, was exalted by 
the compassionate grace of God to the position of His own 
friend, so that even the heathen king, who seems to have been 
in the right in this instance, was compelled to bend before him 
and to seek the removal of the divine punishment, which had 

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CHAP. XXI. 1-7. 243 

fallen upon him and his house, through the medium of his inter- 
cession. In this way God proved to the Philistine king, on the one 
hand, that He suffers no harm to befall His prophets (Ps. cv. 15), 
and to Abraham, on the other, that He can maintain His cove- 
nant and secure the realization of His promise against all oppo- 
sition from the sinful desires of earthly potentates. It was in this 
respect that the event possessed a typical significance in relation 
to the future attitude of Israel towards surrounding nations. 


Vers. 1-7. Birth of Isaac. — Jehovah did for Sarah what 
God had promised in chap. xvii. 6 (cf . xviii. 14) : she conceived, 
and at the time appointed bore a son to Abraham, when he was 
100 years old. Abraham gave it the name of Jizchak (or Isaac), 
and circumcised it on the eighth day. The name for the pro- 
mised son had been selected by God, in connection with Abra- 
ham's laughing (chap. xvii. 17 and 19), to indicate the nature 
of his birth and existence. For as his laughing sprang from 
the contrast between the idea and the reality; so through a 
miracle of grace the birth of Isaac gave effect to this contrast 
between the promise of God and the pledge of its fulfilment on 
the one hand, and the incapacity of Abraham for begetting 
children, and of Sarah for bearing them, on the other; and 
through this name, Isaac was designated as the fruit of omni- 
potent grace working against and above the forces of nature. 
Sarah also, who had previously laughed with unbelief at the 
divine promise (xviii. 12), found a reason in the now accom- 
plished birth of the promised son for laughing with joyous 
amazement ; so that she exclaimed, with evident allusion to his 
name, " A laughing hath God prepared for me; every one who 
heart it will laugh to me" {i.e. will rejoice with me, in amaze- 
ment at the blessing of God which has come upon me even in 
my old age), and gave a fitting expression to the joy of her 
heart, in this inspired tristich (ver. 7) : " Who would have mid 
unto Abraham: Sarah is giving suck; for I have born a son to 
his old age." Sw is the poetic word for "i? , J, and '? before the 
perfect has the sense of — whoever has said, which we should ex- 
press as a subjunctive ; cf. 2 Kings xx. 9 ; Ps. xi. 3, etc. 

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Vers. 8-21. Expulsion op Ishmael. — The weaning of the 
child, which was celebrated with a feast, furnished the outward 
occasion for this. Sarah saw Ishmael mocking, making ridicule 
on the occasion. " Isaac, the object of holy laughter, was made 
the butt of unholy wit or profane sport. He did not laugh (pnv), 
but he made fun (P<[WD). The little helpless Isaac a father of 
nations ! Unbelief, envy, pride of carnal superiority, were the 
causes of his conduct. Because he did not understand the sen- 
timent, 'Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?' it seemed to 
him absurd to link so great a thing to one so small" (Hengsten- 
berg). Paul calls this the persecution of him that was after the 
Spirit by him that was begotten after the flesh (Gal. iv. 29), and 
discerns in this a prediction of the persecution, which the Church 
of those who are born after the spirit of faith endures from those 
who are in bondage to the righteousness of the law. — Ver. 9. 
Sarah therefore asked that the maid and her son might be sent 
away, saying, the latter " shall not be heir with Isaac." The de- 
mand, which apparently proceeded from maternal jealousy, dis- 
pleased Abraham greatly u because of his son," — partly because in 
Ishmael he loved his own flesh and blood, and partly on account of 
the promise received for him (chap. xvii. 18 and 20). But God 
(Elohim, since there is no appearance mentioned, but the divine 
will was made known to him inwardly) commanded him to com- 
ply with Sarah's demand : "for in Isaac shall seed (posterity) be 
called to thee." This expression cannot mean " thy descendants 
will call themselves after Isaac," for in that case, at all events, 
lO would be used ; nor "in (through) Isaac shall seed be called 
into existence to thee," for trip does not mean to call into exist- 
ence ; but, " in the person of Isaac shall there be posterity to 
thee, which shall pass as such," for tnp,? includes existence and 
the recognition of existence. Though the noun is not defined by 
any article, the seed intended must be that to which all the pro 
raises of God referred, and with which God would establish His 
covenant (chap. xvii. 21, cf. Bom. ix. 7, 8 ; Heb. xi. 18). To 
make the dismissal of Ishmael easier to the paternal heart, God 
repeated to Abraham (ver. 13) the promise already given him 
with regard to this son (chap. xvii. 20). — Vers. 14 sqq. The next 
morning Abraham sent Hagar away with Ishmael. The words, 
" he took bread and a bottle of water and gave it to Hagar, putting 
it (DB' participle, not perfect) upon her shoulder, and the boy, and 

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CHAP. XXI. 8-81. 245 

tent her away" do not state that Abraham gave her Ishmael also 
to carry. For "WrTwn does not depend upon Qt? and JRJJ because 
of the copula \ but upon R$\, the leading verb of the sentence, 
although it is separated from it by the parenthesis " putting it 
upon her shoulder." It does not follow from these words, there- 
fore, that Ishmael is represented as a little child. Nor is this 
implied in the statement which follows, that Hagar, when wan- 
dering about in the desert, " cast the boy under one of the shrubs," 
because the water in the bottle was gone. For *i£ like "*OT does 
not mean an infant, but a boy, and also a young man (iv. 23) ; — 
Ishmael must have been 15 or 16 years old, as he was 14 before 
Isaac was born (cf. ver. 5, and xvi. 16) ; — and lyffy " to throw," 
signifies that she suddenly left hold of the boy, when he fell ex- 
hausted from thirst, just as in Matt. xv. 30 plirretv is used for 
laying hastily down. Though despairing of his life, the mother 
took care that at least he should breathe out his life in the 
shade, and she sat over against him weeping, "in the distance as 
archers," i.e. according to a concise simile very common in He- 
brew, as far off as archers are accustomed to place the target. 
Her maternal love could not bear to see him die, and yet she 
would not lose sight of him. — Vers. 17 sqq. Then God heard the 
voice (the weeping and crying) of the boy, and the angel of God 
called to Hagar from heaven, " What aileih thee, Hagar t Fear 
not, for God hath heard the voice of the boy, where he is" (nettt 
for ">&*! tfp!??, 2 Sam. xv. 21), i.e. in his helpless condition : 
" arise, lift up the lad" etc. It was Elohim, not Jehovah, who 
heard the voice of the boy, and appeared as the angel of Elohim, 
not of Jehovah (as in chap. xvi. 7), because, when Ishmael and 
Hagar had been dismissed from Abraham's house, they were 
removed from the superintendence and care of the covenant 
God to the guidance and providence of God the ruler of all 
nations. God then opened her eyes, and she saw what she had 
not seen before, a well of water, from which she filled the bottle 
and gave her son to drink. — Ver. 20. Having been miraculously 
saved from perishing by the angel of God, Ishmael grew up 
under the protection of God, settled in the wilderness of Paran, 
and " became as he grew tip an archer." Although preceded by 
•V, the TO*) is not tautological ; and there is no reason for attri- 
buting to it the meaning of " archer," in which sense 33T alone 
occurs in the one passage Gen. xlix. 23. The desert of Paran 

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is the present large desert of et-Tih, which stretches along the 
southern border of Canaan, from the western fringe of the 
Arabah, towards the east to the desert of Shur (Jifar), on the 
frontier of Egypt, and extends southwards to the promontories 
of the mountains of Horeb (yid. Num. x. 12). On the northern 
edge of this desert was Beersheba (proleptically so called in ver. 
14), to which Abraham had removed from Gerar ; so that in all 
probability Hagar and Ishmael were sent away from his abode 
there, and wandered about in the surrounding desert, till Hagar 
was afraid that they should perish with thirst. Lastly, in pre- 
paration for chap. xxv. 12-18, it is mentioned in ver. 21 that 
Ishmael married a wife out of Egypt. 

Vers. 22-34. Abimelech's Tbeatt with Abraham. — 
Through the divine blessing which visibly attended Abraham, 
the Philistine king Abimelech was induced to secure for himself 
and his descendants the friendship of a man so blessed ; and for 
that purpose he went to Beersheba, with his captain Phicol, to 
conclude a treaty with him. Abraham was perfectly ready to 
agree to this ; but first of all he complained to him about a well 
which Abimelech's men had stolen, i.e. had unjustly appro- 
priated to themselves. Abimelech replied that this act of 
violence had never been made known to him till that day, and 
as a matter of course commanded the well to be returned. 
After the settlement of this dispute the treaty was concluded, 
and Abraham presented the king with sheep and oxen, as a 
material pledge that he would reciprocate the kindness shown, 
and live in friendship with the king and his descendants. Out 
of this present he selected seven lambs and set them by them- 
selves ; and when Abimelech inquired what they were, he told 
him to take them from his hand, that they might be to him 
(Abraham) for a witness that he had digged the well. It was 
not to redeem the well, but to secure the well as his property 
against any fresh claims on the part of the Philistines, that the 
present was given ; and by the acceptance of it, Abraham's 
right of possession was practically and solemnly acknowledged. — 
Ver. 31. From this circumstance, the place where it occurred 
received the name 1'3B> ">K3, i.e. seven-well, " because there they 
sware both of them." It does not follow from this note, that 
the writer interpreted the name "oath-well," and took JOB* in the 

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CHAP. XXI. 22-84. 247 

sense of '*W3B?. The idea is rather the following : the place re- 
ceived its name from the seven lambs, by which Abraham 
secured to himself possession of the well, because the treaty was 
sworn to on the basis of the agreement confirmed by the seven 
lambs. There is no mention of sacrifice, however, in connection 
with the treaty (see chap. xxvi. 33). MtM to swear, lit. to 
seven one's self, not because in the oath the divine number 3 is 
combined with the world-number 4, but because, from the 
sacredness of the number 7, the real origin and ground of 
which are to be sought in the number 7 of the work of creation, 
seven things were generally chosen to give validity to an oath, 
as was the case, according to Herodotus (3, 8), with the Arabians 
among others. Beersheba was in the Wady es-Seba, the broad 
channel of a winter-torrent, 12 hours' journey to the south of 
Hebron on the road to Egypt and the Dead Sea, where there 
are still stones to be found, the relics of an ancient town, and 
two deep wells with excellent water, called Bit es Seba, i.e. 
seven-well (not lion-well, as the Bedouins erroneously interpret 
it) : cf. Bobituon's Pal. i. pp. 300 sqq. — Ver. 33. Here Abraham 
planted a tamarisk and called upon the name of the Lord (vid. 
chap. iv. 26), the everlasting God. Jehovah is called the ever- 
lasting God, as the eternally true, with respect to the eternal 
covenant, which He established with Abraham (chap. xvii. 7). 
The planting of this long-lived tree, with its hard wood, and its 
long, narrow, thickly clustered, evergreen leaves, was to be a 
type of the ever-enduring grace of the faithful covenant God. — 
Ver. 34. Abraham sojourned a long time there in the Philistines' 
land. There Isaac was probably born, and grew up to be a 
young man (xxii. 6), capable of carrying the wood for a sacri- 
fice ; cf. xxii. 19. The expression " in the land of the Philis- 
tines" appears to be at variance with ver. 32, where Abimelech 
and Phicol are said to have returned to the land of the Philistines. 
But the discrepancy is easily reconciled, on the supposition that 
at that time the land of the Philistines had no fixed boundary, 
at all events, towards the desert. Beersheba did not belong to 
Gerar, the kingdom of Abimelech in the stricter sense ; but the 
Philistines extended their wanderings so far, and claimed the 
district as their own, as is evident from the fact that Abime- 
lech's people had taken the well from Abraham. On the other 
hand, Abraham with his numerous flocks would not confine him 

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self to the Wady es Seba, but must have sought for pasture- 
ground in the whole surrounding country ; and as Abiraelech 
had given him full permission to dwell in his land (xx. 15), he 
would still, as heretofore, frequently come as far as Gerar, so 
that his dwelling at Beersheba (xxii. 19) might be correctly 
described as sojourning (nomadizing) in the land of the Philis- 



Vers. 1-19. Offering up of Isaac. — For many years had 
Abraham waited for the promised seed, in which the divine 
promise was to be fulfilled. At length the Lord had given him 
the desired heir of his body by his wife Sarah, and directed him 
to send away the son of the maid. And now that this son had 
grown into a young man, the word of God came to Abraham to 
offer up this very son, who had been given to him as the heir of 
the promise, for a burnt-offering, upon one Of the mountains 
which should be shown him. This word did not come from his 
own heart, — was not a thought suggested by the sight of the 
human sacrifices of the Canaanites, that he would offer a similar 
sacrifice to his God ; nor did it originate with the tempter to 
evil. The word came from Ha-Elohim, the personal, true God, 
who tried him ("B?), i.e. demanded the sacrifice of the only, be- 
loved son, as a proof and attestation of his faith. The issue 
shows, that God did not desire the sacrifice of Isaac by slaying 
and burning him upon the altar, but his complete surrender, 
and a willingness to offer him up to God even by death. Never- 
theless the divine command was given in such a form, that 
Abraham could not understand it in any other way than as re- 
quiring an outward burnt-offering, because there was no other 
way in which Abraham could accomplish the complete surrender 
of Isaac, than by an actual preparation for really offering the 
desired sacrifice. This constituted the trial, which necessarily 
produced a severe internal conflict in his mind. Ratio humana 
eimpliciter eoncluderet aut mentiri promissionem aut mandatum 
non esse Dei sed Diaboli ; est enim contradictio manifesto. Si enitn 
debet occidi Isaac, irrita est promissio ; sin rata est promissio, im- 
possibile est hoe esse Dei mandatum (Luther). But Abraham 

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CHAP. XXII. 1-19. 249 

brought his reason into captivity to the obedience of faith. He 
did not question the truth of the word of God, which had been 
addressed to him in a mode that was to his mind perfectly in- 
fallible (not in a vision of the night, however, of which there is 
not a syllable in the text), but he stood firm in his faith, " ac- 
counting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead" 
Heb. xi. 19). Without taking counsel with flesh and blood, 
Abraham started early in the morning (vers. 3, 4), with his son 
Isaac and two servants, to obey the divine command ; and on the 
third day (for the distance from Beersheba to Jerusalem is about 
20£ hours ; Rob. Pal. iii. App. 66, 67) he saw in the distance the 
place mentioned by God, the land of Moriah, i.e. the moun- 
tainous country round about Jerusalem. The name <l*pp, com- 
posed of the Hophal partic. of ritn and the divine name n*, an 
abbreviation of nirv (lit. " the shown of Jehovah," equivalent to 
the manifestation of Jehovah), is no doubt used proleptically in 
ver. 2, and given to the mountain upon which the sacrifice was 
to be made, with direct reference to this event and the ap- 
pearance of Jehovah to Abraham there. This is confirmed by 
ver. 14, where the name is connected with the event, and ex- 
plained in the fuller expression Jehovah-jireh. On the ground 
of this passage the mountain upon which Solomon built the 
temple is called rnlBn -with reference to the appearance of the 
angel of the Lord to David on that mountain at the threshing- 
floor of Araunah (2 Sam. xxiv. 16, 17), the old name being re- 
vived by this appearance. 

Ver. 5. When in sight of the distant mountain, Abraham left 
the servants behind with the ass, that he might perform the last 
and hardest part of the journey alone with Isaac, and, as he said 
to the servants, " worship yonder and then return? The servants 
were not to see what would take place there ; for they could not 
understand this " worship," and the issue even to him, notwith- 
standing his saying " we will come again to you," was still in- 
volved in the deepest obscurity. This last part of the journey 
is circumstantially described in vers. 6-8, to show how strong a 
conflict every step produced in the paternal heart of the patri- 
arch. They go both together, he with the fire and the knife in 
his hand, and his son with the wood for the sacrifice upon his 
shoulder. Isaac asks his father, where is the lamb for the burnt- 
offering ; and the father replies, not " Thou wilt be it, my son," 

PENT. — VOL. I. B 

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but " God (Elohim without the article — God as the all-pervading 
supreme power) will provide it;" for he will not and cannot 
yet communicate the divine command to his son. Non vult 
filium macerare longa cruce et tentatione (Luther). — Vers. 9, 10. 
Having arrived at the appointed place, Abraham built an altar, 
arranged the wood upon it, bound bis son and laid him upon the 
wood of the altar, and then stretched out his hand and took the 
knife to slay his son. — Vers. 11 sqq. In this eventful moment, 
when Isaac lay bound like a lamb upon the altar, about to receive 
the fatal stroke, the angel of the Lord called down from heaven 
to Abraham to stop, and do his son no harm. For the Lord now 
knew that Abraham was DWK tcv God-fearing, and that his obe- 
dience of faith did extend even to the sacrifice of his own beloved 
son. The sacrifice was already accomplished in his heart, and 
he had fully satisfied the requirements of God. He was not to 
slay his son: therefore God prevented the outward fulfilment of 
the sacrifice by an immediate interposition, and showed him a 
ram, which he saw, probably being led to look round through a 
rustling behind him, with its horns fast in a thicket ("ins adv. 
behind, in the background) ; and as an offering provided by God 
Himself, he sacrificed it instead of his son. — Ver. 14. From this 
interposition of God, Abraham called the place Jehovdh-jireh, 
" Jehovah sees," i.e. according to ver. 8, provides, providet ; so 
that C 1 ^?, as in chap. xiii. 16, is equivalent to 1? ?{?, x. 9) men arc 
still accustomed to say, " On the mountain where Jehovah appears" 
(n*£V), from which the name Moriah arose. The rendering " on 
the mount of Jehovah it is provided" is not allowable, for the 
Niphal of the verb does not mean provideri, but " appear." 
Moreover, in this case the medium of God's seeing or interposi- 
tion was His appearing. — Vers. 15-19. After Abraham had offered 
the ram, the angel of the Lord called to him a second time from 
heaven, and with a solemn oath renewed the former promises, as 
a reward for this proof of his obedience of faith (cf. xii. 2, 3). 
To confirm their unchangeableness, Jehovah swore by Himself 
(cf. Heb. vi. 13 sqq.), a thing which never occurs again in His 
intercourse with the patriarchs ; so that subsequently not only do 
we find repeated references to this oath (chap. xxiv. 7, xxvi. 3, 
L 24 ; Ex. xiii. 5, It., xxxui. 1, etc.), but, as Luther observes, all 
that is said in Ps. lxxxix. 36, cxxxii. 11, ex. 4 respecting the oath 
given to David, is founded upon this. Stem enim promissio 

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CHAP. XXII. 1-19. 251 

aeminis AbrahcB derivata est in semen Davidis, ita Scriptura S.jus- 
jurandum Abrahae datum in personam Davidis trans/ert. For in 
the promise upon which these psalms are based nothing is said 
about an oath (cf. 2 Sam. vii. ; 1 Chron. xvii.). The declara- 
tion on oath is still further confirmed by the addition of nto Dtu 
" edict (Ausspruch) of JehovaJi," which, frequently as it occurs 
in the prophets, is met with in the Pentateuch only in Num. xiv. 
28, and (without Jehovah) in the oracles of Balaam, Num. xxiv. 
3, 15, 16. As the promise was intensified in form, so was it also 
in substance. To express the innumerable multiplication of the 
seed in the strongest possible way, a comparison with the sand 
of the sea-shore is added to the previous simile of the stars. And 
this seed is also promised the possession of the gate of its ene- 
mies, i.e. the conquest of the enemy and the capture of his cities 
(cf. xxiv. 60). 

This glorious result of the test so victoriously stood by Abra- 
ham, not only sustains the historical character of the event itself, 
but shows in the clearest manner that the trial was necessary to 
the patriarch's life of faith, and of fundamental importance to 
his position in relation to the history of salvation. The question, 
whether the true God could demand a human sacrifice, was 
settled by the fact that God Himself prevented the completion 
of the sacrifice ; and the difficulty, that at any rate God contra- 
dicted Himself, if He first of all demanded a sacrifice and then 
prevented it from being offered, is met by the significant inter- 
change of the names of God, since God, who commanded Abra- 
ham to offer up Isaac, is called Ha-Elohim, whilst the actual 
completion of the sacrifice is prevented by u the angel of Jeho- 
vah," who is identical with Jehovah Himself. The sacrifice of 
the heir, who had been both promised and bestowed, was de- 
manded neither by Jehovah, the God of salvation or covenant 
God, who had given Abraham this only son as the heir of the 
promise, nor by Elohim, God as creator, who has the power 
to give life and take it away, but by Ha-Elohim, the true 
God, whom Abraham had acknowledged and adored as his per- 
sonal God, and with whom he had entered into a personal rela- 
tion. Coming from the true God whom Abraham served, the 
demand could have no other object than to purify and sanctify 
the feelings of the patriarch's heart towards his son and towards 
his God, in accordance with the great purpose of his call. It 

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was designed to purify his love to the son of his body from all 
the dross of carnal self-love and natural selfishness which might 
still adhere to it, and so to transform it into love to God, from 
whom he had received him, that he should no longer love the 
beloved son as his flesh and blood, but simply and solely as a 
gift of grace, as belonging to his God, — a trust committed to 
him, which he should be ready at any moment to give hack to 
God. As he had left his country, kindred, and father's house 
at the call of God (xii. 1), so was he in his walk with God 
cheerfully to offer up even his only son, the object of all his 
longing, the hope of his life, the joy of his old age. And still 
more than this, not only did he possess and love in Isaac the heir 
of his possessions (xv. 2), but it was upon him that all the promises 
of God rested : in Isaac should his seed be called (xxi. 12). By 
the demand that he should sacrifice to God this only son of his 
wife Sarah, in whom his seed was to grow into a multitude of 
nations (xvii. 4, 6, 16), the divine promise itself seemed to be 
cancelled, and the fulfilment not only of the desires of his heart, 
but also of the repeated promises of his God, to be frustrated. 
And by this demand his faith was to be perfected into uncondi- 
tional trust in God, into the firm assurance that God could even 
raise him up from the dead. — But this trial was not. only one of 
significance to Abraham, by perfecting him, through the conquest 
of flesh and blood, to be the father of the faithful, the progenitor 
of the Church of God ; Isaac also was to be prepared andsancti 
fied by it for his vocation in connection with the history of 
salvation. In permitting himself to be bound and laid upon the 
altar without resistance, he gave up his natural life to death, to 
rise to a new life through the grace of God. On the altar he 
was sanctified to God, dedicated as the first beginning of the 
holy Church of God, and thus " the dedication of the first-born, 
which was afterwards enjoined in the law, was perfectly fulfilled 
in him." If therefore the divine command exhibits in the most 
impressive way the earnestness of the demand of God upon His 
people to sacrifice all to Him, not excepting the dearest of their 
possessions (cf. Matt. x. 37, and Luke xiv. 26) ; the issue of the 
trial teaches that the true God does not demand a literal human 
sacrifice from His worshippers, but the spiritual sacrifice of an 
unconditional denial of the natural life, even to submission to 
death itself. By the sacrifice of a ram as a burnt-offering in the 

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CHAP. XXII. 20-24. 253 

place of his son, under divine direction, not only was animal 
sacrifice substituted for human, and sanctioned as an acceptable 
symbol of spiritual self-sacrifice, but the offering of human 
sacrifices by the heathen was condemned and rejected as an un- 
godly i6eXo0prj<TKeui. And this was done by Jehovah, the God 
of salvation, who prevented the outward completion of the sacri- 
fice. By this the event acquires prophetic importance for the 
Church of the Lord, to which the place of sacrifice points with 
peculiar clearness, viz. Mount Moriali, upon which under the legal 
economy all the.typical sacrifices were offered to Jehovah ; upon 
which also, in the fulness of time, God the Father gave up His 
only-begotten Son as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the 
whole world, that by this one true sacrifice the shadows of the 
typical sacrifices might be rendered both real and true. If 
therefore the appointment of Moriah as the scene of the sacrifice 
of Isaac, and the offering of a ram in his stead, were primarily 
only typical in relation to the significance and intent of the Old 
Testament institution of sacrifice ; this type already pointed to 
the antitype to appear in the future, when the eternal love of 
the heavenly Father would perform what it had demanded of 
Abraham ; that is to say, when God would not spare His only 
Son, but give Him up to the real death, which Isaac suffered 
only in spirit, that we also might die with Christ spiritually, and 
rise with Him to everlasting life (Rom. viii. 32, vi. 5, etc.). 

Vers. 20-24. Descendants of Nahor. — With the sacri- 
fice of Isaac the test of Abraham's faith was now complete, and 
the purpose of his divine calling answered : the history of his 
life, therefore, now hastens to its termination. But first of all 
there is introduced quite appropriately an account of the family 
of his brother Nahor, which is so far in place immediately after 
the story of the sacrifice of Isaac, that it prepares the way for 
the history of the marriage of the heir of the promise. The con- 
nection is pointed out in ver. 20, as compared with chap. xi. 29, 
in the expression, " she also." Nahor, like Ishmael and Jacob, 
had twelve sons, eight by his wife Milcah and four by his con- 
cubine ; whereas Jacob had his by two wives and two maids, and 
Ishmael apparently all by one wife. This difference with regard 
to the mothers proves that the agreement as to the number twelve 
rests upon a good historical tradition, and is no product of a later 

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myth, which traced to Nahor the same number of tribes as to 
Ishmael and Jacob. For it is a perfectly groundless assertion 
or assumption, that Nailer's twelve sons were the fathers of as 
many tribes. There are only a few names, of which it is pro- 
bable that their bearers were the founders of tribes of the same 
name. On Uz, see chap. x. 23. Buz is mentioned in Jer. xxv. 
23 along with Dedan and Tema as an Arabian tribe; and 
Elihu was a Buzite of the family of Ram (Job xxxii. 2). 
Kemuel, the father of Aram, was not the founder of the Ara- 
maeans, but the forefather of the family of Ram, to which the 
Buzite Elihu belonged, — Aram being written for Bam, like 
Arammim in 2 Kings viii. 29 for Rammim in 2 Chron. xxii. 5. 
Chesed again was not the father of the Chasdim (Chaldeans), 
for they were older than Chesed; at the most he was only 
the founder of one branch of the Chasdim, possibly those who 
stole Job's camels (Knobel; vid. Job i. 17). Of the remaining 
names, Bethuel was not the founder of a tribe, but the father of 
Laban and Bebekah (chap. xxv. 20). The others are never met 
with again, with the exception of Maachah, from whom pro- 
bably the Maachites (Deut. iii. 14 ; Josh. xii. 5) in the land of 
Maacah, a small Arabian kingdom in the time of David (2 Sam. 
x. 6, 8 ; 1 Chron. xix. 6), derived their origin and name ; though 
Maachah frequently occurs as the name of a person (1 Kings 
ii. 39 ; 1 Chron. xi. 43, xxvii. 16). 


Vers. 1, 2. Sarah is the only woman whose age is men- 
tioned in the Scriptures, because as the mother of the pro- 
mised seed she became the mother of all believers (1 Pet. iii. 6). 
She died at the age of 127, thirty-seven years after the birth of 
Isaac, at Hebron, or rather in the grove of Mamre near that 
city (xiii. 18), whither Abraham had once more returned after a 
lengthened stay at Beersheba (xxii. 19). The name Kirjath 
Arba, t.«. the city of Arba, which Hebron bears here and also 
in chap. xxxv. 27, and other passages, and which it still bore at 
the time of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites (Josh. xiv. 
15), was not the original name of the city, but was first given to 
it by Arba the Anakite and his family, who had not yet arrived 

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chap. xxm. 3-1& 255 

there in the time of the patriarchs. It was probably given by 
them when they took possession of the city, and remained until 
the Israelites captured it and restored the original name. The 
place still exists, as a small town on the road from Jerusalem to 
Beersheba, in a valley surrounded by several mountains, and is 
called by the Arabs, with allusion to Abraham's stay there, el 
Khalil, i.e. the friend (of God), which is the title given to 
Abraham by the Mohammedans. The clause "in the land of 
Canaan" denotes, that not only did Sarah die in the land 
of promise, but Abraham as a foreigner acquired a burial- 
place by purchase there. "And Abraham came" (not from 
Beersheba, but from the field where he may have been with the 
flocks), " to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her," i.e. to arrange 
for the customary mourning ceremony. 

Vers. 3-16. He then went to the Hittites, the lords and 
possessors of the city and its vicinity at that time, to procure 
from them " a possession of a burying-place." The negotiations 
were carried on in the most formal style, in a public assembly 
"of the people of the land," i.e. of natives (ver. 7), in the gate 
of the city (ver. 10). As a foreigner and sojourner, Abraham 
presented his request in the most courteous manner to all the 
citizens ( " all that went in at the gate," vers. 10, 18 ; a phrase 
interchangeable with "all that went out at the gate," chap, 
xxxiv. 24, and those who " go oat and in," Jer. xvii. 19). The 
citizens with the greatest readiness and respect offered "the 
prince of God," i.e. the man exalted by God to the rank of a 
prince, " the choice " ("IITO?, ue. the most select) of their graves 
for his use (ver. 6). But Abraham asked them to request 
Ephron, who, to judge from the expression " his city " in ver. 
10, was then ruler of the city, to give him for a possession the 
cave of Machpelah, at the end of his field, of which he was the 
owner, " for full silver," ue. for its full worth. Ephron there- 
upon offered to make him a present of both field and cave. 
This was a turn in the affair which is still customary in the 
East ; the design, so far as it is seriously meant at all, being 
either to obtain a present in return which will abundantly 
compensate for the value of the gift, or, what is still more fre- 
quently the case, to preclude any abatement in the price to be 
asked. The same design is evident in the peculiar form in 
which Ephron stated the price, in reply to Abraham's repeated 

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declaration that he was determined to buy the piece of land : 
"a piece of land of 400 shekels of silver, what is that between 
ine and thee" (ver. 15) ? Abraham understood it so (l"?t!^ ver. 
16), and weighed him the price demanded. The shekel of 
silver " current with the merchant," i.e. the shekel which passed 
in trade as of standard weight, was 274 Parisian grains, so that 
the price of the piece of land was £52, 10s.; a very considerable 
amount for that time. 

Vers. 17-20. "Thus arose (DjW) the field . . . to Abraham 
for a possession ;" i.e. it was conveyed to him in all due legal 
form. The expression " the field of Ephron which is at Mach- 
pelah " may be explained, according to ver. 9, from the fact that 
the cave of Machpelah was at the end of the field , the field, 
therefore, belonged to it. In ver. 19 the shorter form, u cave of 
Machpelah," occurs ; and in ver. 20 the field is distinguished 
from the cave. The name Machpelah is translated by the 
LXX. as a common noun, to ctr^Kcuov to BittXovp, from 
«"6b3D doubling; but it had evidently grown into a proper 
name, since it is used not only of the cave, but of the adjoining 
field also (chap. xlix. 30, 1. 13), though it undoubtedly origi- 
nated in the form of the cave. The cave was before, i.e. pro- 
bably to the east of, the grove of Mamre, which was in the 
district of Hebron. This description cannot be reconciled with 
the tradition, which identifies Mamre and the cave with Harriet 
el Khalil, where the strong foundation-walls of an ancient 
heathen temple (according to Rosenmtiller's conjecture, an Idu- 
msean one) are still pointed out as Abraham's house, and where 
a very old terebinth stood in the early Christian times ; for this 
is an hour's journey to the north of modern Hebron, and even 
the ancient Hebron cannot have stretched so far over the 
mountains which separate the modern city from Rameh, but 
must also, according to chap, xxxvii. 14, have been situated 
in the valley (see Robinson's later Biblical Researches, pp. 
365 sqq.). There is far greater probability in the Moham- 
medan tradition, that the Harem, built of colossal blocks 
with grooved edges, which stands on the western slope of the 
Geabireh mountain, in the north-western portion of the present 
town, contains hidden within it the cave of Machpelah with 
the tomb of the patriarchs (cf. Robinson, Pal. ii. 435 sqq.); and 
Rosen, is induced to look for Mamre on the eastern slope of 

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CHAP. XXIV. 1-9. 257 

the Bumeidi hill, near to the remarkable well Ain el Jedid. — 
Ver. 20. The repetition of the statement, that the field with the 
cave in it was conveyed to Abraham by the Hittites for a burial- 
place, which gives the result of the negotiation that has been 
described with, so to speak, legal accuracy, shows the great im- 
portance of the event to the patriarch. The fact that Abraham 
purchased a burying-place in strictly legal form as an hereditary 
possession in the promised land, was a proof of his strong faith 
in the promises of God and their eventual fulfilment. In this 
grave Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, were buried ; 
there Jacob buried Leah ; and there Jacob himself requested 
that he might be buried, thus declaring his faith in the promises, 
even in the hour of his death. 


Vers. 1-9. After the death of Sarah, Abraham had still to 
arrange for the marriage of Isaac. He was induced to provide 
for this in a mode in harmony with the promise of God, quite 
as much by his increasing age as by the blessing of God in 
everything, which necessarily instilled the wish to transmit that 
blessing to a distant posterity. He entrusted this commission to 
his servant, " the eldest of his house," — i.e. his upper servant, 
who had the management of all his house (according to general 
opinion, to Eliezer, whom he had previously thought of as the 
heir of his property, but who would now, like Abraham, be ex- 
tremely old, as more than sixty years had passed since the occur- 
rence related in chap. xv. 2), — and made him swear that he would 
not take a wife for his son from the daughters of the Canaanites, 
but would fetch one from his (Abraham's) native country, and 
his kindred. Abraham made the servant take an oath in order 
that his wishes might be inviolably fulfilled, even if he himself 
should die in the interim. In swearing, the servant put his 
hand under Abraham's hip. This custom, which is only men- 
tioned here and in chap, xlvii. 29, the so-called bodily oath, 
was no doubt connected with the significance of the hip as the 
part from which the posterity issued (xlvi. 26), and the seat of 
vital power ; but the early Jewish commentators supposed it to 
be especially connected with the rite of circumcision. The oath 
was by "Jehovah, God of heaven and earth," as the God who 

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rules in heaven and on earth, not by Elohim ; for it had respect 
not to an ordinary oath, but to a question of great importance in 
relation to the kingdom of God. " Isaac was not regarded as 
a merely pious candidate for matrimony, but as the heir of the 
promise, who must therefore be kept from any alliance with the 
race whose possessions were to come to his descendants, and which 
was ripening for the judgment to be executed by those descend- 
ants" (ffengstenberg, Dissertations i. 350). For this reason the rest 
of the negotiation was all conducted in the name of Jehovah. — 
Vers. 5 sqq. Before taking the oath, the servant asks whether, 
in case no woman of their kindred would follow him to Canaan, 
Isaac was to be conducted to the land of his fathers. But Abra- 
ham rejected the proposal, because Jehovah took him from his 
father's house, and had promised him the land of Canaan for a 
possession. He also discharged the servant, if that should be the 
case, from the oath which he had taken, in the assurance that 
the Lord through His angel would bring a wife to his son from 

Vers. 10-28. The servant then went, with ten camels and 
things of every description belonging to his master, into Meso- 
potamia to the city of Nahor, i.e. Haran, where Nahor dwelt 
(xi. 31, and xii. 4). On his arrival there, he made the camels 
kneel down, or rest, without the city by the well, " at the time of 
evening, the time at which the women come out to draw water" and 
at which, now as then, women and girls are in the habit of fetch- 
ing the water required for the house (vid. Bobimoris Pales- 
tine ii. 368 sqq.). He then prayed to Jehovah, the God of 
Abraham, u Let there come to meet me to-day," sc. the person de- 
sired, the object of my mission. He then fixed upon a sign con- 
nected with the custom of the country, by the occurrence of which 
he might decide upon the maiden ("iJJ|n puella, used in the Pen- 
tateuch for both sexes, except in Deut. xxii. 19, where •TJJU occurs) 
whom Jehovah had indicated as the wife appointed for His ser- 
vant Isaac, n* 1 ?^ (ver. 14) to set right, then to point out as 
right; not merely to appoint. He had scarcely ended his prayer 
when his request was granted. Rebekah did just what he had 
fixed upon as a token, not only giving him to drink, but offer- 
ing to water his camels, and with youthful vivacity carrying 
out her promise. Niebuhr met with similar kindness in those 
regions (see also Robinson, Pal. ii. 351, etc.). The servant did 

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CHAP. XXIV. 20-54 259 

not give himself blindly up to first impressions, however, but 
tested the circumstances. — Ver. 21. " The man, wondering at 
her, stood silent, to know whether Jehovah had made his journey 
prosperous or not? ntwefoj from ru<B> to be desert, inwardly 
laid waste, i.e. confused. Others derive it from nKK>=nye>to 

' TT T ▼ 

see; but in the Hithpael this verb signifies to look restlessly 
about, which is not applicable here. — Vers. 22 sqq. After the 
watering of the camels was over, the man took a golden nose- 
ring of the weight of a beka, i.e. half a shekel (Ex. xxxviii. 26), 
and two golden armlets of 10 shekels weight, and (as we find 
from vers. 30 and 47) placed these ornaments upon her, not as 
a bridal gift, but in return for her kindness. He then asked 
her about her family, and whether there was room in her 
father's house for him and his attendants to pass the night 
there ; and it was not till after Rebekah had told him that she 
was the daughter of Bethuel, the nephew of Abraham, and had 
given a most cheerful assent to his second question, that he felt 
sure that this was the wife appointed by Jehovah for Isaac. He 
then fell down and thanked Jehovah for His grace and truth, 
whilst Rebekah in the meantime had hastened home to relate 
all that had occurred to " her mother's house" i.e. to the female 
portion of her family, ion the condescending love, JlDK the 
truth which God had displayed in the fulfilment of His promise, 
and here especially manifested to him in bringing him to the 
home of his master's relations. 

Vers. 29-54. As soon as Laban her brother had seen the 
splendid presents and heard her account, he hurried out to the 
stranger at the well, to bring him to the house with his attend- 
ants and animals, and to show to him the customary hospitality 
of the East. The fact that Laban addressed him as the 
blessed of Jehovah (ver. 31), may be explained from the 
words of the servant, who had called his master's God Jehovah. 
The servant discharged his commission before he partook of the 
food set before him (the Kethibh qewi in ver. 33 is the imperf. 
Kal of DB'J = D«?) ; and commencing with his master's posses- 
sions and family affairs, he described with the greatest minute- 
ness his search for a wife, and the success which he had thus 
far met with, and then (in ver. 49) pressed his suit thus: 
" And now, if ye will show kindness and truth to my lord, 
tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or 

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to the left" »e. to seek in other families a wife for Isaac. — Ver. 
50. Laban and Bethuel recognised in this the guidance of God, 
and said, " From Jehovah (the God of Abraham) the tiling pro- 
ceedeth; we cannot speak unto thee bad or good" i.e. cannot add a 
word, cannot alter anything (Num. xxiv. 13 ; 2 Sam. xiii. 22). 
That Kebekah's brother Laban should have taken part with her 
father in deciding, was in accordance with the usual custom (cf . 
xxxiv. 5, 11, 25, Judg. xxi. 22, 2 Sam. xiii. 22), which may 
have arisen from the prevalence of polygamy, and the readiness 
of the father to neglect the children (daughters) of the wife he 
cared for least. — Ver. 52. After receiving their assent, the ser- 
vant first of all offered thanks to Jehovah with the deepest 
reverence ; he then gave the remaining presents to the bride, 
and to her relations (brother and mother) ; and after everything 
was finished, partook of the food provided. 

Vers. 54-60. The next morning he desired at once to set off 
on the journey home; but her brother and mother wished to 
keep her with them "riby it< D'O', "some days, or ratlier ten" but 
when she was consulted, she decided to go, se. without delay. 
a Then they sent away Rebekali their sister (Laban being chiefly 
considered, as the leading person in the affair) and her nurse " 
(Deborah; Ch. xxxv. 8), with the parting wish that she might be- 
come the mother of an exceedingly numerous and victorious pos- 
terity. " Become thousands of myriads" is a hyperbolical expression 
for an innumerable host of children. The second portion of the 
blessing (ver. 606) is almost verbatim the same as chap. xxii. 17, 
but is hardly borrowed thence, as the thought does not contain 
anything specifically connected with the history of salvation. 

Vers. 61-67. When the caravan arrived in Canaan with 
Rebekah and her maidens, Isaac had just come from going to 
the well Lahai-Roi (xvi. 14), as he was then living in the south 
country ; and he went towards evening (a^y rriJDp, at the turn- 
ing, coming on, of the evening, Deut. xxiii. 12) to the field " to 
meditate." It is impossible to determine whether Isaac had been 
to the well of Hagar which called to mind the omnipresence of 
God, and there, in accordance with his contemplative character, 
had laid the question of his marriage before the Lord (Delitzsch), 
or whether he had merely travelled thither to look after his 
(locks and herds (Knobel). But the object of his going to the 
field to meditate, was undoubtedly to lay the question of his mar- 

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CHAP. XXV. 1-4. 261 

riage before God in solitude, rnb, meditari, is rendered " to 
pray " in the Chaldee, and by Luther and others, with substantial 
correctness. The caravan arrived at the time ; and Rebekah, as 
soon as she saw the man in the field coming to meet them, sprang 
(7B3 signifying a hasty descent, 2 Kings v. 21) from the camel 
to receive him, according to Oriental custom, in the most respect- 
ful manner. She then inquired the name of the man ; and as 
soon as she heard that it was Isaac, she enveloped herself in her 
veil, as became a bride when meeting the bridegroom. VJW, 
depurrpov, the cloak-like veil of Arabia (see my ArcJidologie, 
§ 103, 5). The servant then related to Isaac the result of his 
journey ; and Isaac conducted the maiden, who had been brought 
to him by God, into the tent of Sarah his mother, and she be- 
came his wife, and he loved her, and was consoled after his 
mother, i.e. for his mother's death. n?Pikn with n local, in the 
construct state, as in chap. xx. 1, xxviii. 2, etc. ; and in addition to 
that, with the article prefixed (cf. Ges. Gram. § 110, 2bc). 

Abraham's marriage to keturah — his death and 
burial. — chap. xxv. 

Vers. 1-4. Abraham's marriage to Keturah is gene- 
rally supposed to have taken place after Sarah's death, and his 
power to beget six sons at so advanced an age is attributed to 
the fact, that the Almighty had endowed him with new vital 
and reproductive energy for begetting the son of the promise. 
Bnt there is no firm ground for this assumption ; as it is not 
stated anywhere, that Abraham did not take Keturah as his wife 
till after Sarah's death. It is merely an inference drawn from 
the fact, that it is not mentioned till afterwards ; and it is taken 
for granted that the history is written in strictly chronological 
order. But this supposition is precarious, and is not in harmony 
with the statement, that Abraham sent away the sons of the 
concubines with gifts during his own lifetime ; for in the case 
supposed, the youngest of Keturah' s sons would not have been 
more than twenty-five or thirty years old at Abraham's death ; 
and in those days, when marriages were not generally contracted 
before the fortieth year, this seems too young for them to have 
been sent away from their father's house. This difficulty, how- 
ever, is not decisive. Nor does the fact that Keturah is called 

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a concubine in ver. 6, and 1 Chron. i. 32, necessarily show that 
she was cotemporaxy with Sarah, but may be explained on the 
ground that Abraham did not place her on the same footing as 
Sarah, his sole wife, the mother of the promised seed. Of the 
sons and grandsons of Keturah, who are mentioned in 1 Chron. i. 
32 as well as here, a few of the names maj r still be found among 
the Arabian tribes, but in most instances the attempt to trace 
them is very questionable. This remark applies to the identifi- 
cation of Zimran with Zafipdft (Ptol. vi. 7, 5), the royal city of 
the KtvcuZoKoKirh-cu to the west of Mecca, on the Red Sea ; of 
Jokshan with the KaaaavlTtu, on the Red Sea (Ptol. vi. 7, 6), 
or with the Himyaritish tribe of Jakish in Southern Arabia ; of 
lshbak with the name Shobek, a place in the Edomitish country 
first mentioned by Abulfeda ; of Shuah with the tribe Syayhe 
to the east of Aila, or with Szyhhan in Northern Edom {Burck- 
hardt, Syr. 692, 693, and 945), although the epithet the Shuhite, 
applied to Bildad, points to a place in Northern Idumaea. There 
is more plausibility in the comparison of Medan and Midian 
with MoSidva on the eastern coast of the Elanitic Gulf, and 
Ma&iava, a tract to the north of this (Ptol. vi. 7, 2, 27 ; called 
by Arabian geographers Madyan, a city five days' journey to 
the south of Aila). The relationship of these two tribes will 
explain the fact, that the Midianim, chap, xxxvii. 28, are called 
Medanim in ver. 36. — Ver. 3. Of the sons of Jokshan, Slieba 
was probably connected with the Sabaeans, who are associated 
in Job vi. 19 with Tema, are mentioned in Job i. 15 as having 
stolen Job's oxen and asses, and, according to Slrabo (xvi. 779), 
were neighbours of the Nabataeans in the vicinity of Syria. 
Dedan was probably the trading people mentioned in Jer. xxv. 
23 along with Tema and Bus (Isa. xxi. 13 ; Jer. xlix. 8), in 
the neighbourhood of Edom (Ezek. xxv. 13), with whom the 
tribe of Banu Dudan, in Hejas, has been compared. On their 
relation to the Cushites of the same name, vid. chap. x. 7 and 
28. — Of the sons of Dedan, the Asshurim have been associated 
with the warlike tribe of the Anr to the south of Hejas, the 
Letushim with the Banu Leits in Hejas, and the Leummun with 
the tribe of the Banu Lam, which extended even to Babylon 
and Mesopotamia. Of the descendants of Midian, JEphah is 
mentioned in Isa. Ix. 6, in connection with Midian, as a people 
trading in gold and incense. Epher has been compared with the 

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CHAP. XXV. 6-11. 263 

JBanu Gifar in Hejas ; Hanoch, with the place called Hanakye, 
three days' journey to the north of Medinah ; Abidah and El- 
daak, with the tribes of Abide and Vadaa in the neighbourhood 
of Asir. But all this is very uncertain. 

Vers. 5-11. Before his death, Abraham made a final dispo- 
sition of his property. Isaac, the only son of his marriage with 
Sarah, received all his possessions. The sons of the concubines 
(Hagar and Keturah) were sent away with presents from their 
father's house into the east country, ue. Arabia in the widest 
sense, to the east and south-east of Palestine. — Vers. 7, 8. 
Abraham died at the good old age of 175, and was "gathered to 
his people." This expression, which is synonymous with " going 
to his fathers" (xv. 15), or "being gathered to his fathers" 
(Judg. ii. 10), but is constantly distinguished from departing 
this life and being buried, denotes the reunion in Sheol with 
friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith 
in the personal continuance of a man after death, as a presenti- 
ment which the promises of God had exalted in the case of the 
patriarchs into a firm assurance of faith (Heb. xi. 13). — Vers. 
9, 10. The burial of the patriarch in the cave of Machpelah 
was attended to by Isaac and Ishmael ; since the latter, although 
excluded from the blessings of the covenant, was acknowledged 
by God as the son of Abraham by a distinct blessing (xvii. 20), 
and was thus elevated above the sons of Keturah. — Ver. 11. 
After Abraham's death the blessing was transferred to Isaac, 
who took up his abode by Hagar' s well, because he had already 
been there, and had dwelt in the south country (xxiv. 62). 
The blessing of Isaac is traced to JElohim, not to Jehovah ; 
because it referred neither exclusively nor pre-eminently to the 
gifts of grace connected with the promises of salvation, but 
quite generally to the inheritance of earthly possessions, which 
Isaac had received from his father. 

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Chap. xxv. 12-18. 

(Compare 1 Chron. i. 28-31.) 

To show that the promises of God, which had been made to 
Ishmael (chap. xvi. 10 sqq. and xvii. 20), were fulfilled, a short 
account is given of his descendants ; and according to the settled 
plan of Genesis, this account precedes the history of Isaac. 
This is evidently the intention of the list which follows of the 
twelve sons of Ishmael, who are given as princes of the tribes 
which sprang from them. Nebajoth and Kedar are mentioned 
in Isa. lx. 7 as rich possessors of flocks, and, according to the 
current opinion which Wetzstein disputes, are the Nabatcri et 
Cedrei of Pliny (h. n. 5, 12). The Nabatceans held possession 
of Arabia Petraa, with Petra as their capital, and subsequently 
extended toward the south and north-east, probably as far as 
Babylon ; so that the name was afterwards transferred to all 
the tribes to the east of the Jordan, and in the Nabataean 
writings became a common name for Chaldeans (ancient Baby- 
lonians), Syrians, Canaanites, and others. The Kedarenes are 
mentioned in Isa. xxi. 17 as good bowmen. They dwelt in the 
desert between Arabia Petraea and Babylon (Isa. xlii. 11 ; Ps. 
cxx. 5). According to Wetzstein, they are to be found in the 
nomad tribes of Arabia Petraea up to Harra. The name DumaJi, 
Aovfieda, AovfiaiBa (Ptol. v. 19, 7, Steph. Byz.\ Domata (Plin. 
6, 32), has been retained in the modern Dumat el Jendel in 
Nejd, the Arabian highland, four days' journey to the north of 
Taima. — Tema: a trading people (Job vi. 19; Isa. xxi. 14; 
mentioned in Jer. xxv. 23, between Dedan and Bus) in the 
land of Taima, on the border of Nejd and the Syrian desert. 
According to Wetzstein, Duma and T&ma are still two important 
places in Eastern Hauran, three-quarters of an hour apart. 
Jetur and Naphish were neighbours of the tribes of Israel to 
the east of the Jordan (1 Chron. v. 19), who made war upon 
them along with the Hagrites, the 'Aypalot of Ptol. and Strabo. 
From Jetur sprang the Iturasans, who lived, according to Strabo, 
near the Trachonians in an almost inaccessible, mountainous, 

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chap. xxvi. l-i. 269 

archs it embraced the chieftainship, the rule over the brethren 
and the entire family (xxvii. 29), and the title to the blessing of 
the promise (xxvii. 4, 27-29), which included the future posses- 
sion of Canaan and of covenant fellowship with Jehovah (xxviii. 
4). Jacob knew this, and it led him to anticipate the purposes 
of God. Esau also knew it, but attached no value to it. There 
is proof enough that he knew he was giving away, along with 
the birthright, blessings which, because they were not of a mate- 
rial but of a spiritual nature, had no particular value in his 
estimation, in the words he made use of: "Behold lam going to 
die (to meet death), and what is the birthright to me?" The only 
thing of value to him was the sensual enjoyment of the present; 
the spiritual blessings of the future his carnal mind was unable 
to estimate. In this he showed himself to be /3e/3ijKo<s (Heb. 
xii. 16), a profane man, who cared for nothing but the moment- 
ary gratification of sensual desires, who " did eat and drink, and 
rote up, and went his way, and so despised his birthright " (ver. 
34). With these words the Scriptures judge and condemn the 
conduct of Esau. Just as Ishmael was excluded from the pro- 
mised blessing because he was begotten "according to the 
flesh," so Esau lost it because his disposition was according to 
the flesh. The frivolity with which he sold his birthright to his 
brother for a dish of lentils, rendered him unfit to be the heir 
and possessor of the promised grace. But this did not justify 
Jacob's conduct in the matter. Though not condemned here, 
yet in the further course of the history it is shown to have been 
wrong, by the simple fact that he did not venture to make this 
transaction the basis of a claim. 

Isaac's jots and sorrows.— chap. xxvi. 

The incidents of Isaac's life which are collected together in 
this chapter, from the time of his sojourn in the south country, 
resemble in many respects certain events in the life of Abra- 
ham ; but the distinctive peculiarities are such as to form a true 
picture of the dealings of God, which were in perfect accord- 
ance with the character of the patriarch. 

Vers. 1-5. Renewal of the promise. — A famine " in the 
land " (i.e. Canaan, to which he had therefore returned from 

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Hagar*s well ; xxv. 11), compelled Isaac to leave Canaan, as it 
had done Abraham before. Abraham went to Egypt, where 
his wife was exposed to danger, from which she could only be 
rescued by the direct interposition of God. Isaac also intended 
to go there, but on the way, viz. in Gerar, he received instruc- 
tion through a divine manifestation that he was to remain there. 
As he was the seed to whom the land of Canaan was promised, 
he was directed not to leave it. To this end Jehovah assured 
him of the fulfilment of all the promises made to Abraham on 
oath, with express reference to His oath (xxii. 16) to him 
and to his posterity, and on account of Abraham's obedience of 
faith. The only peculiarity in the words is the plural, " all these 
lands." This plural refers to all the lands or territories of the 
different Canaanitish tribes, mentioned in chap. xv. 19-21, like 
the different divisions of the kingdom of Israel or Judah in 1 
Chron. xiii. 2, 2 Chron. xi. 23. wn ; an antique form of n?ttn 
occurring only in the Pentateuch. The piety of Abraham is 
described in words that indicate a perfect obedience to all the 
commands of God, and therefore frequently recur among the 
legal expressions of a later date, njr^ HTDB>D "IDE> '< to take care 
of Jehovah's care," ix. to observe Jehovah, His person, and His 
will. Mishmereth, reverence, observance, care, is more closely 
defined by " commandments, statutes, laws" to denote constant 
obedience to all the revelations and instructions of God. 

Vers. 6-11. Protection op Rebekah at Gekar. — As 
Abraham had declared his wife to be his sister both in Egypt 
and at Gerar, so did Isaac also in the latter place. But the 
manner in which God protected Rebekah was very different from 
that in which Sarah was preserved in both instances. Before 
any one had touched Rebekah, the Philistine king discovered 
the untruthfulness of Isaac's statement, having seen Isaac "sport- 
ing with Rebekah," se. in a manner to show that she was his 
wife ; whereupon he reproved Isaac for what he had said, and 
forbade any of his people to touch Rebekah on pain of death. 
Whether this was the same Abimelech as the one mentioned in 
chap. xx. cannot be decided with certainty. The name proves 
nothing, for it was the standing official name of the kings of 
Gerar (cf. 1 Sam. xxi. 11 and Ps. xxxiv.), as Pharaoh was of 
the kings of Egypt. The identity is favoured by the pious con- 

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CHAP. XXVI. 12-22. 271 

duct of Abimelech in both instances ; and no difficulty is caused 
either by the circumstance that 80 years had elapsed between 
the two events (for Abraham had only been dead five years, 
and the age of 150 was no rarity then), or by the fact, that 
whereas the first Abimelech had Sarah taken into his harem, the 
second not only bad no intention of doing this, but was anxious 
to protect her from his people, inasmuch as it would be all the 
easier to conceive of this in the case of the same king, on the 
ground of his advanced age. 

Vers. 12—17. Isaac's increasing wealth. — As Isaac had 
experienced the promised protection (" I will be with thee," ver. 
3) in the safety of his wife, so did he receive while in Gerar 
the promised blessing. He sowed and received in that year u a 
hundred measures," i.e. a hundred-fold return. This was an un- 
usual blessing, as the yield even in very fertile regions is not 
generally greater than from twenty-five to fifty-fold (Niebultr 
and Burckhardt), and it is only in the, that small and 
most fruitful plain of Syria, that wheat yields on an average 
eighty, and barley a hundred-fold. Agriculture is still practised 
by the Bedouins, as well as grazing (Robinson, Pal. i. 77, and 
Seetzeri) ; so that Isaac's sowing was no proof that he had been 
stimulated by the promise of Jehovah to take up a settled abode 
in the promised land. — Vers. 13 sqq. Being thus blessed of Jeho- 
vah, Isaac became increasingly (w?, vid. chap. viiL 3) greater 
(i.e. stronger), until he was very powerful and his wealth very 
great ; so that the Philistines envied him, and endeavoured to do 
him injury by stopping up and filling with rubbish all the wells 
that had been dug in his father's time ; and even Abimelech 
requested him to depart, because he was afraid of his power. 
Isaac then encamped in the valley of Gerar, i.e. in the " undu- 
lating land of Gerar," through which the torrent (Jurf) from 
Gerar flows from the south-east (Ritter, Erdk. 14, pp. 1084—5). 

Vers. 18-22. Reopening and discovert of wells. — In 
this valley Isaac dug open the old wells which bad existed from 
Abraham's time, and gave them the old names. His people also 
dug three new wells. But Abimelech' s people raised a contest 
about two of these ; and for this reason Isaac called them Esek 
and Sitnah, strife and opposition. The third there was no dis- 

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pute about ; and it received in consequence the name Rehoboth, 
" breadths," for Isaac said, " Yea now (fW$P?)> as in chap. xxix. 
32, etc.) Jehovah has provided for us a broad space, that we may 
be fruitful (multiply) in Hie land" This well was probably not 
in the land of Gerar, as Isaac had removed thence, but in the 
Wady Ruhaibeh, the name of which is suggestive of Rehoboth, 
which stands at the point where the two roads from Gaza and 
Hebron meet, about 3 hoars to the south of Elusa, 8^ to the south 
of Beersheba, and where there are extensive ruins of the city of 
the same name upon the heights, also the remains of wells 
(Robinson, Pal. i. 289 sqq. ; Strauss, Sinai and Golgotha) ; where 
too the name Sitnah seems to have been retained in the Wady 
Shutein, with ruins on the northern hills between RuJiaibeh and 
Khulasa (Elusa). 

Vers. 23-25. Isaac's journey to Beebsheba. — Here, 
where Abraham had spent a long time (xxi. 33 sqq.), Jehovah 
appeared to him during the night and renewed the promises al- 
ready given ; upon which, Isaac built an altar and performed a 
solemn service. Here his servants also dug a well near to the tents. 

Vers. 26-33. Abimelech's treatt with Isaac. — The 
conclusion of this alliance was substantially only a repetition 
or renewal of the alliance entered into with Abraham ; but the 
renewal itself arose so completely out of the circumstances, that 
there is no ground whatever for denying that it occurred, or for 
the hypothesis that our account is merely another form of the 
earlier alliance; to say nothing of the fact, that besides the 
agreement in the leading event itself, the attendant circum- 
stances are altogether peculiar, and correspond to the events 
which preceded. Abimelech not only brought his chief captain 
Phicol (supposed to be the same as in chap. xxi. 22, if Phicol is 
not also an official name), but his jn? "friend," i.e. his privy 
councillor, Ahuzzath. Isaac referred to the hostility they had 
shown; to which Abimelech replied, that they (he and his people) 
did not smite him (VM), i.e. drive him away by force, but let 
him depart in peace, and expressed a wish that there might be 
an oath between them. n?K the oath, as an act of self-impreca- 
tion, was to form the basis of the covenant to be made. From 
this n?K came also to be used for a covenant sanctioned by an 

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CHAP. XXVIL 1-4. 273 

oath (Deut. xxix. 11, 13). nfc^n DK " that thou do not : " DK a 
particle of negation used in an oath (xiv. 23, etc.). (On the verb 
with zere, see Qes. § 75, Anm. 17 ; Ewald, § 224.) — The same 
day Isaac's servants informed him of the well which they had 
dag ; and Isaac gave it the name Shebah ( n Wtr, oath), in com- 
memoration of the treaty made on oath. " Therefore the city 
teas called Bcerslieba." This derivation of the name does not 
shut the other (xxi. 31) out, but seems to confirm it. As the 
treaty made on oath between Abimelech and Isaac was only a 
renewal of his covenant concluded before with Abraham, so the 
name Beersheba was also renewed by the well Shebah. The 
reality of the occurrence is supported by the fact that the two 
wells are in existence still (vid. chap. xxi. 31). 

Vers. 34, 35. Esau's Marriage. — To the various troubles 
which the Philistines prepared for Isaac, but which, through 
the blessing of God, only contributed to the increase of his 
wealth and importance, a domestic cross was added, which 
caused him great and lasting sorrow. Esau married two wives 
in the 40th year of his age, the 100th of Isaac's life (xxv. 26); 
and that not from his own relations in Mesopotamia, but from 
among the Canaanites whom God had cast off. On their names, 
see chap, xxxvi. 2, 3. They became " bitterness of spirit" the 
cause of deep trouble, to his parents, viz. on account of their 
Canaanitish character, which was so opposed to the vocation of 
the patriarchs; whilst Esau by these marriages furnished another 
proof, how thoroughly his heart was set upon earthly things. 

Isaac's blessing. — chap, xxvii. 

Vers. 1-4. When Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were 
dim, so that he could no longer see (ntoo from seeing, with the 
neg. JO as in chap. xvi. 2, etc.), he wished, in the consciousness of 
approaching death, to give his blessing to his elder son. Isaac 
was then in his 137th year, at which age his half-brother 
Ishmael had died fourteen years before ; * and this, with the 
increasing infirmities of age, may have suggested the thought 

1 Cf. Lightfoot, opp. 1, p. 19. This correct estimate of Luther's is based 
npon the following calculation: — When Joseph was introduced to Pharaoh- 
he was thirty years old (xli. 46), and when Jacob went into Egypt, thirty- 

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of death, though he did not die till forty-three years afterwards 
(xxxv. 28). Without regard to the words which were spoken 
by God with reference to the children before their birth, and 
without taking any notice of Esau's frivolous barter of his 
birthright and his ungodly connection with Canaanites, Isaac 
maintained his preference for Esau, and directed him therefore 
to take his things (By?, hunting gear), his quiver and bow, to 
hunt game and prepare a savoury dish, that he might eat, and 
his soul might bless him. As his preference for Esau was fos- 
tered and strengthened by, if it did not spring from, his liking 
for game (xxv. 28), so now he wished to raise his spirits for 
imparting the blessing by a dish of venison prepared to his 
taste. In this the infirmity of his flesh is evident. At the 
same time, it was not merely because of his partiality for Esau, 
but unquestionably on account of the natural rights of the first- 
born, that he wished to impart the blessing to him, just as the 
desire to do this before his death arose from the consciousness 
of his patriarchal call. 

Vers. 5-17. Rebekah, who heard what he said, sought to 
frustrate this intention, and to secure the blessing for her 
(favourite) son Jacob. Whilst Esau was away hunting, she 
told Jacob to take his father a dish, which she would prepare 
from two kids according to his taste; and, having introduced 
himself as Esau, to ask for the blessing u before Jehovah." 
Jacob's objection, that the father would know him by his smooth 
skin, and so, instead of blessing him, might pronounce a curse 
upon him as a mocker, i.e. one who was trifling with his blind 
father, she silenced by saying, that she would take the curse 
upon herself. She evidently relied upon the word of promise, 
and thought that she ought to do her part to secure its fulfil- 
ment by directing the father's blessing to Jacob; and to this 
end she thought any means allowable. Consequently she was 
so assured of the success of her stratagem as to have no fear of 
the possibility of a curse. Jacob then acceded to her plan, and 

nine, as the seven years of abundance and two of famine had then passed 
by (xlv. 6). But Jacob -was at that time 180 years old (xlvii. 9). Conse- 
quently Joseph was born before Jacob was ninety-one ; and as his birth 
took place in the fourteenth year of Jacob's sojourn in Mesopotamia (cf- 
xxx. 25, and xxix. 18, 21, and 27), Jacob's flight to Laban occurred in 
the seventy-seventh year of his own life, and the 187th of Isaac's. 

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CHAP. XXVIL 18-29. 27.') 

fetched the goats. Rebekah prepared them according to her 
husband's taste; and having told Jacob to put on Esau's best 
clothes which were with her in the dwelling (the tent, not the 
house), she covered his hands and the smooth (i.e. the smooth 
parts) of his neck with the skins of the kids of the goats, 1 and 
sent him with the savoury dish to his father. 

Vers. 18-29. But Jacob had no easy task to perform before 
his father. As soon as he had spoken on entering, his father 
asked him, " Who art thou, my son f " On his replying, " lam 
Esau, thy first-born" the father expressed his surprise at the 
rapid success of his hunting; and when he was satisfied with 
the reply, " Jehovah tliy God sent it (the thing desired) to meet 
me," he became suspicious about the voice, and bade him come 
nearer, that he might feel him. But as his hands appeared hairy 
like Esau's, he did not recognise him ; and " so lie blessed him." 
In this remark (ver. 23) the writer gives the result of Jacob's 
attempt ; so that the blessing is merely mentioned proleptically 
here, and refers to the formal blessing described afterwards, and 
not to the first greeting and salutation. — Vers. 24 sqq. After his 
father, in order to get rid of his suspicion about the voice, had 
asked him once more, "Art thou really my son Esau?" and 
Jacob had replied, " I am" 0?$j=yes), he told him to hand him 
the savoury dish that he might eat. After eating, he kissed his 
son as a sign of his paternal affection, and in doing so he smelt 
the odour of his clothes, i.e. the clothes of Esau, which were 
thoroughly scented with the odour of the fields, and then im- 
parted his blessing (vers. 27—29). The blessing itself is 
thrown, as the sign of an elevated state of mind, into the poetic 
style of parallel clauses, and contains the peculiar forms of 
poetry, such as n«"j for nan, rnn for rrn, etc. The smell of the 
clothes with the scent of the field suggested to the patriarch's 
mind the image of his son's future prosperity, so that he saw him 
in possession of the promised land and the full enjoyment of 
its valuable blessings, having the smell of the field which 
Jehovah blessed, i.e. the garden of paradise, and broke out into 
the wish, " God (Ha-Elohim, the personal God, not Jehovah, the 

1 We must not think of oar European goats, whose skins would be 
quite unsuitable for any such deception. "It is the camel-goat of the 
East, whose black, silk -like hair was used even by the Romans as a substi- 
tute for human hair. Martial zii. 46." — Tuch on ver. 16. 

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covenant God) give thee from the dew of lieaven, and tlie fat 
fields of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine" i.e. a land 
blessed with the dew of heaven and a fruitful soil. In Eastern 
countries, where there is so little rain, the dew is the most im- 
portant prerequisite for the growth of the fruits of the earth, 
and is often mentioned therefore as a source of blessing (Deut. 
xxxiii. 13, 28; Hos. xiv. 6; Zech. viii. 12). In 'joeto, not- 
withstanding the absence of the Dagesh from the E?, the D is the 
prep. 19, as the parallel 7t9tp proves ; and D S 3DB> both here and in 
ver. 39 are the fat (fertile) districts of a country. The rest of 
the blessing had reference to the future pre-eminence of his 
son. He was to be lord not only over his brethren (i.e. over 
kindred tribes), but over (foreign) peoples and nations also. 
The blessing rises here to the idea of universal dominion, which 
was to be realized in the fact that, according to the attitude 
assumed by the people towards him as their lord, it would 
secure to them either a blessing or a curse. If we compare this 
blessing with the promises which Abraham received, there are 
two elements of the latter which are very apparent ; viz. the 
possession of the land, in the promise of the rich enjoyment of 
its produce, and the numerous increase of posterity, in the pro- 
mised dominion over the nations. The third element, however, 
the blessing of the nations in and through the seed of Abra- 
ham, is so generalized in the expression, which is moulded 
according to chap. xii. 3, " Cursed be every one that curseth 
thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee," that the person 
blessed is not thereby declared to be the medium of salvation to 
the nations. Since the intention to give the blessing to Esau 
the first-born did not spring from proper feelings towards 
Jehovah and His promises, the blessing itself, as the use of the 
word Elohim instead of Jehovah or El Shaddai (cf. xxviii. 3) 
clearly shows, could not rise to the full height of the divine 
blessings of salvation, but referred chiefly to the relation in 
which the two brothers and their descendants would stand to 
one another, the theme with which Isaac's soul was entirely 
filled. It was only the painful discovery that, in blessing 
against his will, he had been compelled to follow the saving 
counsel of God, which awakened in him the consciousness of 
his patriarchal vocation, and gave him the spiritual power to 
impart the " blessing of Abraham " to the son whom he had 

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CHAP. XXVIL 80-40. 277 

kept back, but whom Jehovah had chosen, when he was about 
to s.end him away to Haran (xxviii. 3, 4). 

Vers. 30-40. Jacob had hardly left his father, after receiving 
the blessing (K£ *|N, was only gone out), when Esau returned 
and came to Isaac, with the game prepared, to receive the bless- 
ing. The shock was inconceivable which Isaac received, when 
he found that lie had blessed another, and not Esau — that, in 
fact, he had blessed Jacob. At the same time he neither could 
nor would, either curse him on account of the deception which 
he had practised, or withdraw the blessing imparted. For he 
could not help confessing to himself that he had sinned and 
brought the deception upon himself by his carnal preference for 
Esau. Moreover, the blessing was not a matter of subjective 
human affection, but a right entrusted by the grace of God to 
paternal supremacy and authority, in the exercise of which the 
person blessing, being impelled and guided by a higher autho- 
rity, imparted to the person to be blest spiritual possessions and 
powers, which the will of man could not capriciously withdraw. 
Regarding this as the meaning of the blessing, Isaac necessarily 
saw in what had taken place the will of God, which had directed 
to Jacob the blessing that he had intended for Esau. He there- 
fore said, " / have blessed him ; yea, he will be (remain) blessed" 
(cf. Heb. xii. 17). Even the great and bitter lamentation into 
which Esau broke out could not change his father's mind. To 
his entreaty in ver. 34, " Bless me, even me also, my father !" 
he replied, " Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away 
thy blessing" Esau answered, " Is it that (W) they have named 
him Jacob (overreacher), and he has overreaclied me twice?" i.e. 
has he received the name Jacob from the fact that he has twice 
outwitted me ? *3H is used " when the cause is not rightly 
known" (cf. chap. xxix. 15). To his further entreaty, "Hast 
thou not reserved a blessing for me ?" (/**, lit. to lay aside), Isaac 
repeated the substance of the blessing given to Jacob, and added, 
" and to thee (p 3? for 1? as in chap. iii. 9), now, what can I do, my 
son f" When Esau again repeated, with tears, the entreaty that 
Isaac would bless him also, the father gave him a blessing (vers. 
39, 40), but one which, when compared with the blessing of 
Jacob, was to be regarded rather as " a modified curse," and 
which is not even described as a blessing, but "introduced a 
disturbing element into Jacob's blessing, a retribution for the 

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impure means by which he had obtained it." "Behold? it 
states, "from the fat fields of the earth will thy dwelling be, and 
from Hie dew of lieaven from above" By a play upon the words 
Isaac uses the same expression as in ver. 28, " from the fat fields 
of the earth, and from the dew," but in the opposite sense, p 
being partitive there, and privative here, " from=away from." 
The context requires that the words should be taken thus, and 
not in the sense of " thy dwelling shall partake of the fat of the 
earth and the dew of heaven" (Vulg., Luth., etc.). 1 Since Isaac 
said (ver. 37) he had given Jacob the blessing of the super- 
abundance of corn and wine, he could not possibly promise Esau 
also fat fields and the dew of heaven. Nor would this agree 
with the words which follow, "By thy sword wilt thou live." 
Moreover, the privative sense of P is thoroughly poetical (cf . 
2 Sam. i. 22; Job xi. 15, etc.). The idea expressed in the 
words, therefore, was that the dwelling-place of Esau would be 
the very opposite of the land of Canaan, viz. an unfruitful land. 
This is generally the condition of the mountainous country of 
Edom, which, although not without its fertile slopes and valleys, 
especially in the eastern portion (cf . Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 552), is 
thoroughly waste and barren in- the western ; so that Seetzen says 
it consists of " the most desolate and barren mountains probably 
in the world." The mode of life and occupation of the inhabit- 
ants were adapted to the country. " By (lit. on) thy sword thou 
wilt live ;" i.e. thy maintenance will depend on the sword (?V as 
in Deut. viii. 3 cf. Isa. xxxviii. 16), " live by war, rapine, and 
freebooting" (Knobel). " And thy brother thou wilt serve ; yet it 
will come to pass, as (wto, lit. in proportion as, cf . Num. xxvii. 
14) thou shakest (tossest), thou wilt break his yoke from thy neck" 
TVl, " to rove about" (Jer. ii. 31 ; Hos. xii. 1), Hiphil " to cause 
(the thoughts) to rove about" (Ps. lv. 3) ; but Hengstenberg' s 
rendering is the best here, viz. " to shake, sc. the yoke." In the 
wild, sport-loving Esau there was aptly prefigured the character 
of his posterity. Josephus describes the Idumsean people as " a 
tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the watch on every 

1 I cannot discover, however, in Mai. i. 3 an authentic proof of the pri- 
vative meaning, as Kurtz and Delitzsch do, since the prophet's words, " I 
have hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste," are not 
descriptive of the natural condition of Idumaa, but of the desolation to 
which the land was given up. 

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CHAP. XXVII. 80-4(1. 279 

motion, delighting in mutations" ( Whiston's tr. : de bell Jud. 4, 
4, 1). The mental eye of the patriarch discerned in the son his 
whole future family in its attitude to its brother-nation, and he 
promised Edom, not freedom from the dominion of Israel (for 
Esau was to serve his brother, as Jehovah had predicted before 
their birth), but only a repeated and not unsuccessful struggle 
for freedom. And so it was ; the historical relation of Edom to 
Israel assumed the form of a constant reiteration of servitude, 
revolt, and reconquest. After a long period of independence at 
the first, the Edomites were defeated by Saul (1 Sam. xiv. 47) 
and subjugated by David (2 Sam. viii. 14) ; and, in spite of an 
attempt at revolt under Solomon (1 Kings xi. 14 sqq.), they 
remained subject to the kingdom of Judah until the time of 
Joram, when they rebelled. They were subdued again by 
Amaziah (2 Kings xiv. 7; 2 Chron. xxv. 11 sqq.), and remained 
in subjection under Uzziah and Jotham (2 Kings xiv. 22 ; 
2 Chron. xxvi. 2). It was not till the reign of Ahaz that they 
shook the yoke of Judah entirely off (2 Kings xvi. 6 ; 2 Chron. 
xxviii. 17), without Judah being ever able to reduce them again. 
At length, however, they were completely conquered by John 
Hyrcanus about B.C. 129, compelled to submit to circumcision, 
and incorporated in the Jewish state (Jo&ephus, Ant. xiii. 9, 1, 
xv. 7, 9). At a still later period, through Antipater and Herod, 
they established an Idumsean dynasty over Judea, which lasted 
till the complete dissolution of the Jewish state. 

Thus the words of Isaac to his two sons were fulfilled, — 
words which are justly said to have been spoken " in faith con- 
cerning things to come" (Heb. xi. 20). For the blessing was a 
prophecy, and that not merely in the case of Esau, but in that 
of Jacob also ; although Isaac was deceived with regard to the 
person of the latter. Jacob remained blessed, therefore, because, 
according to the predetermination of God, the elder was to serve 
the younger ; but the deceit by which his mother prompted him 
to secure the blessing was never approved. On the contrary, 
the sin was followed by immediate punishment. Rebekah was 
obliged to send her pet son into a foreign land, away from his 
father's house, and in an utterly destitute condition. She did 
not see him for twenty years, even if she lived till his return, 
and possibly never saw again. Jacob had to atone for his sin 
against Doth brother and father by a long and painful exile, in the 

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midst of privation, anxiety, fraud, and want. Isaac was punished 
for retaining his preference for Esau, in opposition to the revealed 
will of Jehovah, by the success of Jacob's stratagem 5 and Esau 
for his contempt of the birthright, by the loss of the blessing of 
the first-born. In this way a higher hand prevailed above the 
acts of sinful men, bringing the counsel and will of Jehovah to 
eventual triumph, in opposition to human thought and will. 

Vers. 41-46. Esau's complaining and weeping were now 
changed into mortal hatred of his brother. " TJie days of mourn- 
ing" he said to himself, "for my father are at hand, and I will 
kill my brother Jacob" '38 ?3« : genit. obj. as in Amos viii. 10 ; 
Jer. vi. 26. He would put off his intended fratricide that he 
might not hurt his father's mind. — Ver. 42. When Rebekah 
was informed by some one of Esau's intention, she advised Jacob 
to protect himself from his revenge (DO? 1 ?"? *° procure comfort 
by retaliation, equivalent to " avenge himself," Di??riri, Isa. i. 24 1 ), 
by Seeing to her brother Laban in Haran, and remaining there 
" some days," as she mildly puts'it, until his brother's wrath was 
subdued. " For why should I lose you both in one day?" viz. 
Jacob through Esau's vengeance, and Esau as a murderer by 
the avenger of blood (chap. ix. 6, cf. 2 Sam. xiv. 6, 7). In 
order to obtain Isaac's consent to this plan, without hurting his 
feelings by telling him of Esau's murderous intentions, she spoke 
to him of her troubles on account of the Hittite wives of Esau, 
and the weariness of life that she should feel if Jacob also were 
to marry one of the daughters of the land, and so introduced the 
idea of sending Jacob to her relations in Mesopotamia, with a 
view to his marriage there. 

Jacob's flight to haran and dream in bethel. — chap. 


Vers. 1-9. Jacob's departure from his parents' house. 
— Rebekah' s complaint reminded Isaac of his own call, and his 
consequent duty to provide for Jacob's marriage in a manner 
corresponding to the divine counsels of salvation. — Vers. 1-5. 
He called Jacob, therefore, and sent him to Padan-Aram to his 
mother's relations, with instructions to seek a wife there, and not 

1 This reference is incorrect ; the Niphal is used in Isa. i. 24, the 
HiOipael in Jer. v. 9-29. Tr. 

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CHAP. XXVIII. 10-22. 281 

among the daughters of Canaan, giving him at the same time 
the " blessing of Abraham" i.e. the blessing of promise, which 
Abraham had repeatedly received from the Lord, but which is 
more especially recorded in chap. xvii. 2 sqq., and xxii. 16-18. — 
Vers. 6-9. When Esau heard of this blessing and the sending 
away of Jacob, and saw therein the displeasure of his parents 
at his Hittite wives, he went to Ishmael — i.e. to the family of Ish- 
mael, for Ishmael himself had been dead fourteen years (p. 273) — 
and took as a third wife Mahalath, a daughter of Ishmael (called 
Bashemath in chap, xxxvi. 3, a descendant of Abraham there- 
fore), a step by which he might no doubt ensure the approval 
of his parents, but in which he failed to consider that Ishmael 
had been separated from the house of Abraham and family of 
promise by the appointment of God ; so that it only furnished 
another proof that he had no thought of the religious interests of 
the chosen family, and was unfit to be the recipient of divine 

Vers. 10—22. Jacob's dream at Bethel. — As he was 
travelling from Beersheba, where Isaac was then staying (xxvi. 
25), to Haran, Jacob came to a place where he was obliged to 
stop all night, because the sun had set. The words " he hit 
(lighted) upon the place" indicate the apparently accidental, yet 
really divinely appointed choice of this place for his night- 
quarters ; and the definite article points it out as having become 
well known through the revelation of God that ensued. After 
making a pillow with the stones (nfe^OD, head-place, pillow), he 
fell asleep and had a dream, in which he saw a ladder resting 
upon the earth, with the top reaching to heaven ; and upon 
it angels of God going up and down, and Jehovah Himself 
standing above it. The ladder was a visible symbol of the real 
and uninterrupted fellowship between God in heaven and His 
people upon earth. The angels upon it carry up the wants of 
men to God, and bring down the assistance and protection of 
God to men. The ladder stood there upon the earth, just where 
Jacob was lying in solitude, poor, helpless, and forsaken by men. 
Above in heaven stood Jehovah, and explained in words the 
symbol which he saw. Proclaiming Himself to Jacob as the 
God of his fathers, He not only confirmed to him all the pro- 
mises of the fathers in their fullest extent, but promised him 

pent. — VOL. I. I 

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protection on his journey and a safe return to his home (vers. 
13-15). But as the fulfilment of this promise to Jacob was still 
far off, God added the firm assurance, " / will not leave thee till 
I have done (carried out) wltat I have told thee" — Vers. 16 sqq. 
Jacob gave utterance to the impression made by this vision as 
soon as he awoke from sleep, in the words, " Surely Jehovah is 
in this place, and I knew it not." Not that the omnipresence of 
God was unknown to him ; but that Jehovah in His condescend- 
ing mercy should be near to him even here, far away from his 
father's house and from the places consecrated to His worship, — 
it was this which he did not know or imagine. The revelation 
was intended not only to stamp the blessing, with which Isaac 
had dismissed him from his home, with the seal of divine approval, 
but also to impress upon Jacob's mind the fact, that although 
Jehovah would be near to protect and guide him even in a 
foreign land, the land of promise was the holy ground on which 
the God of his fathers would set up the covenant of His grace. 
On his departure from that land, he was to carry with him a 
sacred awe of the gracious presence of Jehovah there. To that 
end the Lord proved to him that He was near, in such a way 
that the place appeared " dreadful," inasmuch as the nearness 
of the holy God makes an alarming impression upon unholy 
man, and the consciousness of sin grows into the fear of death. 
But in spite of this alarm, the place was none other than " the 
house of God and the gate of heaven," i.e. a place where God dwelt, 
and a way that opened to Him in heaven. — Ver. 18. In the 
morning Jacob set up the stone at his head, as a monument 
(rnxo) to commemorate the revelation he had received from God ; 
and poured oil upon the top, to consecrate it as a memorial of 
the mercy that had been shown him there (visionis insigne 
fivnfioawov, Calvin), not as an idol or an object of divine wor- 
ship (yid. Ex. xxx. 26 sqq.). — He then gave the place the name 
of Bethel, i.e. House of God, whereas (WW) the town had been 
called Luz before. This antithesis shows that Jacob gave the 
name, not to the place where the pillar was set up, but to the 
town, in the neighbourhood of which he had received the divine 
revelation. He renewed it on his return from Mesopotamia 
(xxxv. 15). This is confirmed by chap, xlviii. 3, where Jacob, 
like the historian in chap. xxxv. 6, 7, speaks of Luz as the place 
of this revelation. There is nothing at variance with this in 

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CHAP. XXIX. 1-14. 283 

.-.' Josh. xvi. 2, xviii. 13; for it is not Bethel as a city, but the 
/* mountains of Bethel, that are there distinguished from Luz (see 
/ my Commentary on Josh. xvi. 2). 1 — Ver. 20. Lastly, Jacob 

made a vow : that if God would give him the promised protec- 
tion on his journey, and bring him back in safety to his father's 
house, Jehovah should be his God (rrorj in ver. 21 commences 
the apodosis), the stone which he had set up should be a house 
of God, and Jehovah should receive a tenth of all that He gave 
to him. It is to be noticed here, that Elohim is used in the pro- 
tasis instead of Jehovah, as constituting the essence of the vow : 
if Jehovah, who had appeared to him, proved Himself to be God 
by fulfilling His promise, then he would acknowledge and worship 
Him as his God, by making the stone thus set up into a house 
of God, i.e. a place of sacrifice, and by tithing all his possessions. 
With regard to the fulfilment of this vow, we learn from chap. 
xxxv. 7 that Jacob built an altar, and probably also dedicated 
the tenth to God, i.e. offered it to Jehovah ; or, as some have 
supposed, applied it partly to the erection and preservation of 
the altar, and partly to burnt and thank-offerings combined with 
sacrificial meals, according to the analogy of Deut. xiv. 28, 29 
(cf. chap. xxxi. 54, xlvi. 1). 

Jacob's stay in haran. his double marriage and 
children. — chap. xxix. and xxx. 

Vers. 1-14. Arrival in Haran, and reception by 
Laban. — Being strengthened in spirit by the nocturnal vision, 
Jacob proceeded on his journey into " the land of the sons of 
the East ;" by which we are to understand, not so much the 

1 The fact mentioned here has often been cited as the origin of the 
anointed stones (/Wri/Xo<) of the heathen, and this heathen custom has been 
regarded as a degeneration of the patriarchal. But apart from this essential 
difference, that the Baetulian worship was chiefly connected with meteoric 
stones (cf . F. von Dalberg, lib. d. Meteor-cuUus d. Alteri), which were sup- 
posed to have come down from some god, and were looked upon as deified, 
this opinion is at variance with the circumstance, that Jacob himself, in 
consecrating the stone by pouring oil upon it, only followed a custom already 
established, and still more with the fact, that the name /WtvXo;, jimn-vXttc, 
notwithstanding its sounding like Bethel, can hardly have arisen from the 
name Beth-El, Gr. B«<4qx, since the r for t would be perfectly inexplicable. 
Dietrich derives /3<un/A<o» from ^93, to render inoperative, and interpret* it 

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Arabian desert, that reaches to the Euphrates, as Mesopotamia, 
which lies on the other side of that river. For there he saw 
the well in the field (ver. 2), by which three flocks were lying, 
waiting for the arrival of the other flocks of the place, before 
they could be watered. The remark in ver. 2, that the stone 
upon the well's mouth was large (n?* 1 ? without the article is a 
predicate), does not mean that the united strength of all the 
shepherds was required to roll it away, whereas Jacob rolled it 
away alone (ver. 10) ; but only that it was not in the power of 
every shepherd, much less of a shepherdess like Rachel, to roll 
it away. Hence in all probability the agreement that had been 
formed among them, that they would water the flocks together. 
The scene is so thoroughly in harmony with the customs of the 
East, both ancient and modern, that the similarity to the one 
described in chap. xxiv. 11 sqq. is by no means strange (yid. 
Rob. Pal. i. 301, 304, ii. 351, 357, 371). Moreover the well 
was very differently constructed from that at which Abraham's 
servant met with Rebekah. There the water was drawn at once 
from the (open) well and poured into troughs placed ready for 
the cattle, as is the case now at most of the wells in the East ; 
whereas here the well was closed up with a stone, and there is 
no mention of pitchers and troughs. The well, therefore, was 
probably a cistern dug in the ground, which was covered up or 
closed with a large stone, and probably so constructed, that after 
the stone had been rolled away the flocks could be driven to the 
edge to drink. 1 — Vers. 5, 6. Jacob asked the shepherds where 
they lived ; from which it is probable that the well was not 
situated, like that in chap. xxiv. 11, in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the town of Haran ; and when they said they were 
from Haran, he inquired after Laban, the son, i.e. the descen- 
dant, of Nahor, and how he was (v OVfn : is he well ?) ; and 
received the reply, " Well; and behold Rachel, his daughter, is just 
coming (HN3 particip.) with the flock? When Jacob thereupon 
told the shepherds to water the flocks and feed them again, for 

1 Like the cistern Bir Beskat, described by Rosen., in the valley of Hebron, 
or those which Robinson found in the desert of Judah (Pal. ii. 165), hol- 
lowed out in the great mass of rock, and covered with a large, thick, flat 
stone, in the middle of which a round hole had been left, which formed the 
opening of the cistern, and in many cases was closed up with a heavy stone, 
which it would take two or three men to roll away. 

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CHAP. XXIX. 15-80. 285 

the day was still " great," — i.e. it wanted a long while to the 
evening, and was not yet time to drive them in (to the folds to 
rest for the night), — he certainly only wanted to get the shep- 
herds away from the well, that he might meet with his cousin 
alone. But as Rachel came up in the meantime, he was so 
carried away hy the feelings of relationship, possibly by a certain 
love at first sight, that he rolled the stone away from the well, 
watered her flock, and after kissing her, introduced himself 
with tears of joyous emotion as her cousin (TO* 1 W, brother, 
i.e. relation of her father) and Rebekah's son. What the other 
shepherds thought of all this, is passed over as indifferent to the 
purpose of the narrative, and the friendly reception of Jacob 
by Laban is related immediately afterwards. When Jacob had 
told Laban " all these things" — i.e. hardly " the cause of his 
journey, and the things which had happened to him in relation 
to the birthright" (Rosenmuller), but simply the things men- 
tioned in vers. 2-12, — Laban acknowledged him as his relative : 
" Yes, thou art my bone and my flesh " (cf . ii. 23 and Judg. ix. 
2) ; and thereby eo ipso ensured him an abode in his house. 

Vers. 15-30. Jacob's double marriage. — After a full 
month (" a month of days," chap. xli. 1 ; Num. xi. 20, etc.), 
during which time Laban had discovered that he was a good 
and useful shepherd, he said to him, "Shouldst thou, because 
thou art my relative, serve me for nothing ? fix me thy wages'' 
Laban's selfishness comes out here under the appearance of 
justice and kindness. To preclude all claim on the part of. his 
sister's son to gratitude or affection in return for his services, he 
proposes to pay him like an ordinary servant. Jacob offered 
to serve him seven years for Rachel, the younger of his two 
daughters, whom he loved because of her beauty ; i.e. just as 
many years as the week has days, that he might bind himself 
to a complete and sufficient number of years of service. For 
the elder daughter, Leah, had weak eyes, and consequently was 
not so good-looking ; since bright eyes, with fire in them, are 
regarded as the height of beauty in Oriental women. Laban 
agreed. He would rather give his daughter to him than to a 
stranger. 1 Jacob's proposal may be explained, partly on the 

1 This is the case still with the Bedouins, the Druses, and other Eastern 
tribes. (Burckhardt, Volney, Layard, and Lane.) 

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ground that he was not then in a condition to give the cus- 
tomary dowry, or the usual presents to relations, and partly also 
from the fact that his situation with regard to Esau compelled 
him to remain some time with Laban. The assent on the part 
of Laban cannot be accounted for from the custom of selling 
daughters to husbands, for it cannot be shown that the pur- 
chase of wives was a general custom at that time ; but is to be 
explained solely on the ground of Laban' s selfishness and avarice, 
which came out still more plainly afterwards. To Jacob, how- 
ever, the seven years seemed but u a few days, because he loved 
Rachel." This is to be understood, as C. a JLapide observes, 
" not affective, but appretiative," i.e. in comparison with the re- 
ward to be obtained for his service. — Vers. 21 sqq. But when 
Jacob asked for his reward at the expiration of this period, and 
according to the usual custom a great marriage feast had been 
prepared, instead of Rachel, Laban took his elder daughter 
Leah into the bride-chamber, and Jacob went in unto her, 
without discovering in the dark the deception that had been 
practised. Thus the overreacher of Esau was overreached him- 
self, and sin was punished by sin. — Vers. 25 sqq. But when 
Jacob complained to Laban the next morning of his deception, 
he pleaded the custom of the country : 15 Tfepg t6, " it is not 
accustomed to be so in our place, to give the younger be/ore the 
Jirst-bom." A perfectly worthless excuse ; for if this had really 
been the custom in Haran as in ancient India and elsewhere, 
he ought to have told Jacob of it before. But to satisfy Jacob, 
he promised him that in a week he would give him the younger 
also, if he would serve him seven years longer for her. — Ver. 
27. u Fulfil her week ;" i.e. let Leah's marriage-week pass over. 
The wedding feast generally lasted a week (cf. Judg. xiv. 12 ; 
Job xi. 19). After this week had passed, he received Rachel 
also : two wives in eight days. To each of these Laban gave 
one maid-servant to wait upon her ; less, therefore, than Bethuel 
gave to his daughter (xxiv. 61). — This bigamy of Jacob must 
not be judged directly by the Mosaic law, which prohibits mar- 
riage with two sisters at the same time (Lev. xviii. 18), or set 
down as incest (Calvin, etc.), since there was no positive law on 
the point in existence then. At the same time, it is not to be 
justified on the ground, that the blessing of God made it the 
means of the fulfilment of His promise, viz. the multiplication 

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CHAP. XXIX. 81-85, XXX. 1-8. 287 

of the seed of Abraham into a great nation. Just as it had 
arisen from Laban's deception and Jacob's love, which regarded 
outward beauty alone, and therefore from sinful infirmities, so 
did it become in its results a true school of affliction to Jacob, in 
which God showed to him, by many a humiliation, that such 
conduct as his was quite unfitted to accomplish the divine coun- 
sels, and thus condemned the ungodliness of such a marriage, 
and prepared the way for the subsequent prohibition in the law. 

Vers. 31-35. Leah's first sons. — Jacob's sinful weakness 
showed itself even after his marriage, in the fact that he loved 
Rachel more than Leah ; and the chastisement of God, in the 
fact that the hated wife was blessed with children, whilst Rachel 
for a long time remained unfruitful. By this it was made appa- 
rent once more, that the origin of Israel was to be a work not of 
nature, but of grace. Leah had four sons in rapid succession, 
and gave them names which indicated her state of mind : 
(1) Reuben, " see, a son ! " because she regarded his birth as 
a pledge that Jehovah had graciously looked upon her misery, 
for now her husband would love her ; (2) Simeon, i.e. " hear- 
ing," for Jehovah had heard, i.e. observed that she was hated ; 
(3) Levi, i.e. attachment, for she hoped that this time, at least, 
after she had born three sons, her husband would become 
attached to her, i.e. show her some affection ; (4) Judah ('TJW, 
verbal, of the fut. hoph. of rxv), i-e. praise, not merely the praised 
one, but the one for whom Jehovah is praised. After this fourth 
birth there was a pause (ver. 31), that she might not be unduly 
lifted up by her good fortune, or attribute to the fruitfulness of 
her own womb what the faithfulness of Jehovah, the covenant 
God, had bestowed upon her. 

Chap. xxx. 1-8. Bilhah's sons. — When Rachel thought of 
her own barrenness, she became more and more envious of her 
sister, who was blessed with sons. But instead of praying, either 
directly or through her husband, as Rebekah had done, to 
Jehovah, who had promised His favour to Jacob (xxviii. 13 sqq.) 
she said to Jacob, in passionate displeasure, " Get me children, 
or I shall die ;" to which he angrily replied, " Am I in God's 
stead {i.e. equal to God, or God), who hath withheld from thee the 
fruit of the womb ? " i.e., Can I, a powerless man, give thee what 

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the Almighty God has withheld? Almighty like God Jacob 
certainly was not ; but he also wanted the power which he might 
have possessed, the power of prayer, in firm reliance upon the 
promise of the Lord. Hence he could neither help nor advise 
his beloved wife, but only assent to her proposal, that he should 
beget children for her through her maid Bilhah (cf. xvi. 2), 
through whom two sons were born to her. The first she named 
Dan, i.e. judge, because God had judged her, i.e. procured her 
justice, hearkened to her voice (prayer), and removed the re- 
proach of childlessness ; the second Naphtali, i.e. my conflict, or 
my fought one, for "fightings of God, she said, have I fought 
with my sister, and also prevailed? O^K vtflB? are neither 
luctationes quam maxima, nor " a conflict in the cause of God, 
because Rachel did not wish to leave the founding of the nation 
of God to Leah alone " (Knobel), but " fightings for God and 
His mercy " {Hengstenberg), or, what comes to the same thing, 
" wrestlings of prayer she had wrestled with Leah ; in reality, 
however, with God Himself, who seemed to have restricted His 
mercy to Leah alone" (Delitzsch). It is to be noticed, that 
Rachel speaks of Elohim only, whereas Leah regarded her first 
four sons as the gift of Jehovah. In this variation of the names, 
the attitude of the two women, not only to one another, but also 
to the cause they served, is made apparent. It makes no dif- 
ference whether the historian has given us the very words of the 
women on the birth of their children, or, what appears more 
probable, since the name of God is not introduced into the names 
of the children, merely his own view of the matter as related by 
him (chap. xxix. 31, xxx. 17, 22). Leah, who had been forced 
upon Jacob against his inclination, and was put by him in the 
background, was not only proved by the four sons, whom she 
bore to him in the first years of her marriage, to be the wife 
provided for Jacob by Elohim, the ruler of human destiny ; but 
by the fact that these four sons formed the real stem of the 
promised numerous seed, she was proved still more to be the wife 
selected by Jehovah, in realization of His promise, to be the 
tribe-mother of the greater part of the covenant nation. But 
this required that Leah herself should be fitted for it in heart and 
mind, that she should feel herself to be the handmaid of Jeho- 
vah, and give glory to the covenant God for the blessing of chil- 
dren, or 6ee in her children actual proofs that Jehovah had 

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CHAP. XXX. 9-21. 289 

accepted her and would bring to her the affection of her hus- 
band. It was different, with Rachel, the favourite and there- 
fore high-minded wife. Jacob should give her, what God alone 
could give. The faithfulness and blessing of the covenant God 
were still hidden from her. Hence she resorted to such earthly 
means as procuring children through her maid, and regarded 
the desired result as the answer of God, and a victory in her 
contest with her sister. For such a state of mind the term 
Elohim, God the sovereign ruler, was the only fitting expression. 
Vei-s. 9-13. Zilpah's Sons. — But Leah also was not con- 
tent with the divine blessing bestowed upon her by Jehovah. 
The means employed by Rachel to retain the favour of her hus- 
band made her jealous ; and jealousy drove her to the employ- 
ment of tne same means. Jacob begat two sons by Zilpah her 
maid. The one Leah named Gad, i.e. " good fortune," saying, 
1J3, " with good fortune," according to the Chethib, for which 
the Masoretic reading is "H N3, " good fortune has come," — not, 
however, from any ancient tradition, for the Sept. reads iv rvjffi, 
but simply from a subjective and really unnecessary conjecture, 
since "US = " to my good fortune," sc. a son is born, gives a very 
suitable meaning. The second she named Asher, i.e. the happy 
one, or bringer of happiness ; for she said, , "!^?, " to my hap« 
piness, for daughters call me happy," i.e. as a mother with 
children. The perfect Wt^ relates to " what she had now 
certainly reached " (Del.). Leah did not think of God in con- 
nection with these two births. They were nothing more than the 
successful and welcome result of the means she had employed. 

Vers. 14-21. The other children op Leah. — How 

thoroughly henceforth the two wives were carried away by con- 
stant jealousy of the love and attachment of their husband, is 
evident from the affair of the love-apples, which Leah's son Reu- 
ben, who was then four years old, found in the field and brought 
to his mother. D'tnn, fiijKa fiavhpar/opatv (LXX.), the yellow 
apples of the alraun (Mandragora vernalis), a mandrake very 
common in Palestine. They are about the size of a nutmeg, with 
a strong and agreeable odour, and were used by the ancients, as 
they still are by the Arabs, as a means of promoting child-bear- 
ing. To Rachel's request that she would give her some, Leah re- 
plied (ver. 15) : " Is it too little, that thou hast taken (drawn away 

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from me) my husband, to take also" (nn^ infiru), i.e. that thou 
wouldst also take, " my son's mandrakes ?" At length she parted 
with them, on condition that Rachel would let Jacob sleep with 
her the next night. After relating how Leah conceived again, 
and Rachel continued barren in spite of the mandrakes, the writer 
justly observes (ver. 17), " Elohim hearkened imto Leah," to show 
that it was not from such natural means as love-apples, but 
from God the author of life, that she had received such fruit- 
fulness. Leah saw in the birth of her fifth son a divine reward 
for having given her maid to her husband — a recompense, that 
is, for her self-denial ; and she named him on that account 
Issaschar, "^E^, a strange form, to be understood either accord- 
ing to the Chethib ~OW & " there is reward," or according to the 
Keri ">3fe> Ntf " he bears (brings) reward." At length she bore 
her sixth son, and named him Zebulun, i.e. "dwelling ;" for she 
hoped that now, after God had endowed her with a good portion, 
her husband, to whom she had born six sons, would dwell with 
her, i.e. become more warmly attached to her. The name is 
from ??J to dwell, with ace. constr. " to inhabit," formed with a 
play upon the alliteration in the word 13J to present — two Snraf 
Xeyofieva. In connection with these two births, Leah mentions 
Elohim alone, the supernatural giver, and not Jehovah, the 
covenant God, whose grace had been forced out of her heart by 
jealousy. She afterwards bore a daughter, Dinali, who is men- 
tioned simply because of the account in chap, xxxiv. ; for, ac- 
cording to chap, xxxvii. 35 and xlvi. 7, Jacob had several 
daughters, though they are nowhere mentioned by name. 

Vers. 22-24. Bibth of Joseph. — At length God gave 
Rachel also a son, whom she named Joseph, 1?^, i.e. taking away 
(= f\Dk>, cf. 1 Sam. xv. 6 ; 2 Sam. vi. 1 ; Ps. civ. 29) and add- 
ing (from 1?}), because his birth not only furnished an actual 
proof that God had removed the reproach of her childlessness, 
but also excited the wish, that Jehovah might add another son. 
The fulfilment of this wish is recorded in chap. xxxv. 16 sqq. 
The double derivation of the name, and the exchange of Elohim 
for Jehovah, may be explained, without the hypothesis of a 
double source, on the simple ground, that Rachel first of all 
looked back at the past, and, thinking of the earthly means that 
had been applied in vain for the purpose of obtaining a child. 

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CHAP. XXX 22-24. 291 

regarded the son as a gift of God. At the same time, the good 
fortune which had now come to her banished from her heart 
her envy of her sister (ver. 1), and aroused belief in that God, 
who, as she had no doubt heard from her husband, had given 
Jacob such great promises ; so that in giving the name, pro- 
bably at the circumcision, she remembered Jehovah and prayed 
for another son from His covenant faithfulness. 

After the birth of Joseph, Jacob asked Laban to send him 
away, with the wives and children for whom he had served him 
(ver. 25). According to this, Joseph was born at the end of the 
14 years of service that had been agreed upon, or seven years 
after Jacob had taken Leah and (a week later) Rachel as his 
wives (xxix. 21-28). Now if all the children, whose births are 
given in chap. xxix. 32-xxx. 24, had been born one after another 
during the period mentioned, not only would Leah have had 
seven children in 7, or literally 6£ years, but thei'e would have been 
a considerable interval also, during which Rachel's maid and her 
own gave birth to children. But this would have been impos- 
sible ; and the text does not really state it. When we bear in 
mind that the imperf. e. i consee. expresses not only the order of 
time, but the order of thought as well, it becomes apparent that 
in the history of the births, the intention to arrange them ac- 
cording to the mothers prevails over the chronological order, so 
that it by no means follows, that because the passage, " when 
Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children," occurs after Leah 
is said to have had four sons, therefore it was not till after the 
birth of Leah's fourth child that Rachel became aware of her 
own barrenness. There is nothing on the part of the grammar 
to prevent our arranging the course of events thus. Leah's first 
four births followed as rapidly as possible one after the other, so 
that four sons were born in the first four years of the second period 
of Jacob's service. In the meantime, not necessarily after the 
birth of Leah's fourth child, Rachel, having discovered her 
own barrenness, had given her maid to Jacob ; so that not only 
may Dan have been born before Judah, but Naphtali also not 
long after him. The rapidity and regularity with which Leah 
had born her first four sons, would make her notice all the more 
quickly the cessation that took place ; and jealousy of Rachel, as 
well as the success of the means she had adopted, would impel 
her to attempt in the same way to increase the number of her 

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children. Moreover, Leah herself may have conceived again 
before the birth of her maid's second son, and may have given 
birth to her last two sons in the sixth and seventh years of their 
marriage. And contemporaneously with the birth of Leah's 
last son, or immediately afterwards, Rachel may have given 
birth to Joseph. In this way Jacob may easily have had eleven 
sons within seven years of his marriage. But with regard to 
the birth of Dinah, the expression "afterwards" (ver. 21) seems 
to indicate, that she was not born during Jacob's years of ser- 
vice, but. during the remaining six years of his stay with Laban. 

Vers. 25—43. New contract of service between 
Jacob and Laban. — As the second period of seven years ter- 
minated about the time of Joseph's birth, Jacob requested 
Laban to let him return to his own place and country, i.e. to 
Canaan. Laban, however, entreated him to remain, for he 
had perceived that Jehovah, Jacob's God, had blessed him for 
his sake ; and told him to fix his wages for further service. The 
words, " if I have found favour in thine eyes" (ver. 27), contain 
an aposiopesis, sc. then remain. wro " a heathen expression, 
like avgurando cognovi" (Delitzsch). v}> T]3B> thy wages, which 
it will be binding upon me to give. Jacob reminded him, on the 
other hand, what service he had rendered him, how Jehovah's 
blessing had followed " at his foot," and asked when he should 
begin to provide for his own house. But when Laban repeated 
the question, what should he give him, Jacob offered to feed and 
keep his flock still, upon one condition, which was founded upon 
the fact, that in the East the goats, as a rule, are black or dark- 
brown, rarely white or spotted with white, and that the sheep 
for the most part are white, very seldom black or speckled. 
Jacob required as wages, namely, all the speckled, spotted, and 
black among the sheep, and all the speckled, spotted, and white 
among the goats; and offered "even to-day" to commence 
separating them, so that " to-morrow" Laban might convince 
himself of the uprightness of his proceedings, "ipn (ver. 32) 
cannot be imperative, because of the preceding "frVN, but must 
be infinitive : " I will go through the whole flock to-day to re- 
move from thence all . . ;" and *~0\& njn signifies " what is re- 
moved shall be my wages," but not everything of an abnormal 
colour that shall hereafter be found in the flock. This was no 

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CHAP. XXX. 25-48. 293 

doubt intended by Jacob, as the further course of the narrative 
shows, but it is not involved in the words of ver. 32. Either 
the writer has restricted himself to the main fact, and omitted 
to mention that it was also agreed at the same time that the 
separation should be repeated at certain regular periods, and 
that all the sheep of an abnormal colour in Laban's flock should 
also be set aside as part of Jacob's wages; or this point was 
probably not mentioned at first, but taken for granted by both 
parties, since Jacob took measures with that idea to his own ad- 
vantage, and even Laban, notwithstanding the frequent alteration 
of the contract with which Jacob charged him (xxxi. 7, 8, and 
41), does not appear to have disputed this right. — Vers. 34 sqq. 
Laban cheerfully accepted the proposal, but did not leave Jacob 
to make the selection. He undertook that himself, probably to 
make more sure, and then gave those which were set apart as 
Jacob's wages to his own sons to tend, since it was Jacob's 
duty to take care of Laban's flock, and " set three days' journey 
betwixt himself and Jacob" i.e. between the flock to be tended 
by himself through his sons, and that to be tended by Jacob, 
for the purpose of preventing any copulation between the 
animals of the two flocks. Nevertheless he was overreached by 
Jacob, who adopted a double method of increasing the wages 
agreed upon. In the first place (vers. 37-39), he took fresh 
rods of storax, maple, and walnut-trees, all of which have a 
dazzling white wood under their dark outside, and peeled white 
stripes upon them, J3?n *|eriD (the verbal noun instead of the 
inf. abs. *prt), "peeling the white naked in the rods." These 
partially peeled, and therefore mottled rods, he placed in the 
drinking-troughs (O'Biri lit. gutters, from orn=:jn to run, is ex- 
plained by cnsn ninj>e> water-troughs), to which the flock came 
to drink, in front of the animals, in order that, if copulation took 
place at the drinking time, it might occur near the mottled 
sticks, and the young be speckled and spotted in consequence. 
naorn a rare, antiquated form for njonn] from Don, and *orm for 
iDrm imperf. Kal of Dnj=DDn. This artifice was founded upon 
a fact frequently noticed, particularly in the case of sheep, that 
whatever fixes their attention in copulation is marked upon the 
young (see the proofs in Bochart, Hieroz. 1, 618, and Friedreich 
zur Bibel 1, 37 sqq.). — Secondly (ver. 40), Jacob separated the 
speckled animals thus obtained from those of a normal colour, 

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and caused the latter to feed so that the others would be con- 
stantly in sight, in order that he might in this way obtain a con- 
stant accession of mottled sheep. As soon as these had multi- 
plied sufiiciently, he formed separate flocks (viz. of the speckled 
additions), "and put them not unto Laban's cattle;" i.e. he kept 
them apart in order that a still larger number of speckled ones 
might be procured, through Laban's one-coloured flock having 
this mottled group constantly in view. — Vers. 41, 42. He did 
not adopt the trick with the rods, however, on every occasion of 
copulation, for the sheep in those countries lamb twice a year, 
but only at the copulation of the strong sheep (rriiB>j?ipri the 
bound ones,i.e. firm and compact), — Luther, "the spring flock;" 
naorv? inf. Pi. " to conceive it (the young) ;" — but not " in the 
weakening of the sheep," i.e. when they were weak, and would 
produce weak lambs. The meaning is probably this : he only 
adopted this plan at the summer copulation, not the autumn ; 
for, in the opinion of the ancients (Pliny, Columella), lambs that 
were conceived in the spring and born in the autumn were 
stronger than those born in the spring (cf. Bochart I.e. p. 582). 
Jacob did this, possibly, less to spare Laban, than to avoid excit- 
ing suspicion, and so leading to the discovery of his trick. — In 
ver. 43 the account closes with the remark, that the man in- 
creased exceedingly, and became rich in cattle (ni3T flftf many 
head of sheep and goats) and slaves, without expressing appro- 
bation of Jacob's conduct, or describing his increasing wealth as 
a blessing from God. The verdict is contained in what follows. 

Jacob's flight, and fakewell of laban. — chap. xxxi. 

Vers. 1-21. The flight. — Through some angry remarks 
of Laban's sons with reference to his growing wealth, and the 
evident change in the feelings of Laban himself towards him 
(vers. 1, 2), Jacob was inwardly prepared for the termination of 
his present connection with Laban ; and at the same time he re- 
ceived instructions from Jehovah, to return to his home, together 
with a promise of divine protection. In consequence of this, he 
sent for Rachel and Leah to come to him in the field, and ex- 
plained to them (vers. 4—13), how their father's disposition had 
changed towards him, and how he had deceived him in spite of 
the service he had forced out of him, and had altered his wages ten 

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CHAT. XXXI. 1-21. 295 

times ; but that the God of his father had stood by him, ana nad 
transferred to him their father's cattle, and now at length had 
directed him to return to his home. — Ver. 6. njnK : the original 
form of the abbreviated JfW, which is merely copied from the 
Pentateuch in Ez. xiii. 11, 20, xxxiv. 17. Ver. 9. D^3K : for 
J3'3K as in chap, xxxii. 16, etc. — " Ten times :" i.«. as often as pos- 
sible, the ten as a round number expressing the idea of complete- 
ness. From the statement that Laban had changed his wages ten 
times, it is evident that when Laban observed, that among his 
sheep and goats, of one colour only, a large number of mottled 
young were born, he made repeated attempts to limit the original 
stipulation by changing the rule as to the colours of the young, 
and so diminishing Jacob's wages. But when Jacob passes over 
his own stratagem in silence, and represents all that he aimed at 
and secured by crafty means as the fruit of God's blessing, this 
differs no doubt from the account in chap. xxx. It is not a con- 
tradiction, however, pointing to a difference in the sources of the 
two chapters, but merely a difference founded upon actual fact, 
viz. the fact that Jacob did not tell the whole truth to his wives. 
Moreover self-help and divine help do not exclude one another. 
Hence his account of the dream, in which he saw that the rams 
that leaped upon the cattle were all of various colours, and heard 
the voice of the angel of God calling his attention to what had been 
seen, in the words, " Ihave seen all that Laban hath done to thee" 
may contain actual truth ; and the dream may be regarded as a 
divine revelation, which was either sent to explain to him now, 
at the end of the sixth year, " that it was not his stratagem, but 
the providence of God which had prevented him from falling a 
victim to Laban' s avarice, and had brought him such wealth" 
(JDelitzscK) ; or, if the dream occurred at an earlier period, was 
meant to teach him, that " the help of God, without any such 
self-help, could procure him justice and safety in spite of Laban' s 
selfish covetousness" {Kurtz). It is very difficult to decide be- 
tween these two interpretations. As Jehovah's instructions to 
him to return were not given till the end of his period of service, 
and Jacob connects them so closely with the vision of the rams 
that they seem contemporaneous, DeliizscKs view appears to 
deserve the preference. But the nfefy in ver. 12, " all that Laban 
is doing to thee," does not exactly suit this meaning ; and we 
should rather expect to find nfeflj used at the end of the time of 

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service. The participle rather favours Kurtz's view, that Jacob 
had the vision of the rams and the explanation from the angel 
at the beginning of the last six years of service, but that in his 
communication to his wives, in which there was no necessity to 
preserve a strict continuity or distinction of time, he connected 
it with the divine instructions to return to his home, which he 
received at the end of his time of service. But if we decide in 
favour of this view, we have no further guarantee for the ob- 
jective reality of the vision of the rams, since nothing is said 
about it in the historical account, and it is nowhere stated that 
the wealth obtained by Jacob's craftiness was the result of the 
divine blessing. The attempt so unmistakeably apparent in 
Jacob's whole conversation with his wives, to place his dealings 
with Laban in the most favourable light for himself, excites the 
suspicion, that the vision of which he spoke was nothing more 
than a natural dream, the materials being supplied by the three 
thoughts that were most frequently in his mind, by night as well 
as by day, viz. (1) his own schemes and their success ; (2) the 
promise received at Bethel ; (3) the wish to justify his actions 
to his own conscience ; and that these were wrought up by an 
excited imagination into a visionary dream, of the divine origin 
of which Jacob himself may not have had the slightest doubt. — 
In ver. 13 ?xn has the article in the construct state, contrary to 
the ordinary rule ; cf. Ges. § 110, 25 ; Ewald, § 290. 

Vers. 14 sqq. The two wives naturally agreed with their 
husband, and declared that they had no longer any part or in- 
heritance in their father's house. For he had not treated them 
as daughters, but sold them like strangers, i.e. servants. " And 
he has even constantly eaten our money" i.e. consumed the pro- 
perty brought to him by our service. The inf. abs. TO* after 
the finite verb expresses the continuation of the act, and is in- 
tensified by dj "yes, even." '3 in ver. 16 signifies "so that," 
as in Deut. xiv. 24, Job x. 6. — Vers. 17-19. Jacob then set 
out with his children and wives, and all the property that he had 
acquired in Padan-Aram, to return to his father in Canaan ; 
whilst Laban had gone to the sheep-shearing, which kept him 
some time from his home on account of the size of his flock. 
Rachel took advantage of her father's absence to rob him of his 
teraphim (penates), probably small images of household gods in 
human form, which were worshipped as givers of earthly pros- 

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CHAP. XXXI. 22-64. 297 

perity, and also consulted as oracles (see my Archdologie, § 90). — 
Ver. 20. " Thus Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he told 
him not that he fled;" — 3? 331 to steal the heart (as the seat of the 
understanding), like tcKhrreiv voov, and 3U with the simple accus. 
pen., ver. 27, like xKeirreiv riva, signifies to take the know- 
ledge of anything away from a person, to deceive him ; — " and 
passed over the river (Euphrates), and took the direction to the 
mountains of Gilead" 

Vers. 22-54. Laban's pursuit, reconciliation, and 
covenant with Jacob. — As Laban was not told till the third 
day after the flight, though he pursued the fugitives with his 
brethren, i.e. his nearest relations, he did not overtake Jacob for 
seven days, by which time he had reached the mountains of 
Gilead (vers. 22-24). The night before he overtook them, he 
was warned by God in a dream, " not to speak to Jacob from 
good to bad" i.e. not to say anything decisive and emphatic for 
the purpose of altering what had already occurred (vid. ver. 29, 
and the note on xxiv. 50). Hence he confined himself, when they 
met, " to bitter reproaches combining paternal feeling on the one 
hand with hypocrisy on the other ;" in which he told them that 
he had the power to do them harm, if God had not forbidden 
hiin, and charged them with stealing his gods (the teraphim). — 
Ver. 26. " Like sword-booty ;" i.e. like prisoners of war (2 Kings 
vi. 22) carried away unwillingly and by force. — Ver. 27. " So I 
might liave conducted thee with tnirtli and songs, with tabret and 
harp," i.e. have sent thee away with a parting feast. Ver. 28. 
ft"J| : an old form of the infinitive for rrtfc'y as in chap, xlviii. 
llj 1. 20.— Ver. 29. nj *?vb & : "there is' to God my hand" 
(Mic. ii. 1 ; cf. Deut. xxviii. 32 ; Neh. v. 5), i.e. my hand 
serves me as God (Hab. i. 11 ; Job xii. 6), a proverbial expres- 
sion for "the power lies in my hand." — Ver. 30. "And now 
thou art gone (for, if thou art gone), because thou hngedst after 
thy father's house, why hast thou stolen my gods f" The mean- 
ing is this : even if thy secret departure can be explained, thy 
stealing of my gods cannot. — Vers. 31, 32. The first, Jacob met 
by pleading his fear lest Laban should take away his daughters 
(keep them back by force). " For I said:" equivalent to "for 
I thought." But Jacob knew nothing of the theft ; hence he 
declared, that with whomsoever he might find the gods he should 

PENT. — VOL. I. U 

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be put to death, and told Laban to make the strictest search 
among all the things that he had with him. "Before our brethren? 
i.e. the relations who had come with Laban, as being impartial 
witnesses (cf. ver. 37) ; not, as Knobel thinks, before Jacob's 
horde of male and female slaves, of women and of children. — 
Vers. 33 sqq. Laban looked through all the tents, but did not 
find his teraphim ; for Rachel had put them in the saddle of her 
camel and was sitting upon them, and excused herself to her 
lord (Adonai, ver. 35), on the ground that the custom of women 
was upon her. " The camel's furniture" i.e. the saddle (not 
"the camel's litter :" Luther), here the woman's riding saddle, 
which had a comfortable seat formed of carpets on the top of the 
packsaddle. The fact that Laban passed over Rachel's seat 
because of her pretended condition, does not presuppose the 
Levitical law in Lev. xv. 19 sqq., according to which, any one 
who touched the couch or seat of such a woman was rendered un- 
clean. For, in the first place, the view which lies at the founda- 
tion of this law was much older than the laws of Moses, and is 
met with among many other nations (cf . Bdhr, Symbolik ii. 466, 
etc.) ; consequently Laban might refrain from making further ex- 
amination, less from fear of defilement, than because he regarded 
it as impossible that any one with the custom of women upon 
her should sit upon his gods. — Vers. 36 sqq. As Laban found 
nothing, Jacob grew angry, and pointed out the injustice of his 
hot pursuit and his search among all his things, but more espe- 
cially the harsh treatment he had received from him in return for 
the unselfish and self-denying services that he had rendered him 
for twenty years. Acute sensibility and elevated self -conscious- 
ness give to Jacob's words a rhythmical movement and a poetical 
form. Hence such expressions as ^nK pTj u hotly pursued," 
which is only met with in 1 Sam. xvii. 53 ; ra^nst for niKtariK " J 
had to atone for it," i.e. to bear the loss ; " the Fear of Isaac" used 
as a name for God, *ins, <7q8a$ = o-efiaafia, the object of Isaac's 
fear or sacred awe. — Ver. 40. " / liave been ; by day (i.e. I have 
been in this condition, that by day) heat has consumed (prostrated) 
me, and cold by night" — for it is well known, that in the East 
the cold by night corresponds to the heat by day ; the hotter the 
day the colder the night, as a rule. — Ver. 42. " Except the God 
of my father . . . had been for me, surely thou wouldst note 
have sent me away empty. God has seen mine affliction and ike 

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CHAP. XXXI. 43-64. 299 

labour of my hands, and last night He judged it." By the warn- 
ing given to Laban, God pronounced sentence upon the matter 
between Jacob and Laban, condemning the course which Laban 
had pursued, and still intended to pursue, towards Jacob ; but 
not on that account sanctioning all that Jacob had done to in- 
crease his own possessions, still less confirming Jacob's assertion 
that the vision mentioned by Jacob (vers. 11, 12) was a revelation 
from God. But as Jacob had only met cunning with cunning, 
deceit with deceit, Laban had no right to punish him for what 
he had done. Some excuse may indeed be found for Jacob's 
conduct in the heartless treatment he received from Laban, but 
the fact that God defended him from Laban' s revenge did not 
prove it to be right. He had not acted upon the rule laid down 
in Prov. xx. 22 (cf. Kom. xii. 17 ; 1 Thess. v. 15). 

Vers. 43-54. These words of Jacob " cut Laban to tho 
heart with their truth, so that he turned round, offered his 
hand, and proposed a covenant." Jacob proceeded at once to 
give a practical proof of his assent to this proposal of his father- 
in-law, by erecting a stone as a memorial, and calling upon his 
relations also (" his brethren," as in ver. 23, by whom Laban and 
the relations who came with him are intended, as ver. 54 shows) 
to gather stones into a heap, which formed a table, as is briefly 
observed in ver. 466, for the covenant meal (ver. 54). This 
stone-heap was called Jegar-Sahadutha by Laban, and Galeed 
by Jacob (the former is the Chaldee, the latter the Hebrew ; 
they have both the same meaning, viz. " heaps of witness" *), 
because, as Laban, who spoke first, as being the elder, explained, 
the heap was to be a " witness between him and Jacob." The 
historian then adds this explanation : " there/ore they called his 
name Gated," and immediately afterwards introduces a second 
name, which the heap received from words that were spoken 
by Laban at the conclusion of the covenant (ver. 49) : " And 
Miipah," i.e. watch, watch-place (so. he called it), "for he 
(Laban) said, Jehovah watch between me and thee ; for we are 
hidden from one another (from the face of one another), if thou 

1 These -words are the oldest proof, that in the native country of the 
patriarchs, Mesopotamia, Aramean or Chaldnan was spoken, and Hebrew 
in Jacob's native country, Canaan; from which we may conclude that 
Abraham's family first acquired the Hebrew in Canaan from the Canaanite* 



shall oppress »n t v daughters, and if thou shall tale wives to my 
daughters I No man is with us, behold God is witness between 
me and thee ! " (vers. 49, 50). After these words of Laban, 
which are introduced parenthetically, 1 and in which he enjoined 
upon Jacob fidelity to his daughters, the formation of the cove- 
nant of reconciliation and peace between them is first described, 
according to which, neither of them (sive ego sive tu, as in Ex. 
xix. 13) was to pass the stone-heap and memorial-stone with a 
hostile intention towards the other. Of this the memorial was 
to serve as a witness, and the God of Abraham and the God of 
Nahor, the God of their father (Terah), would be umpire be- 
tween them. To this covenant, in which Laban, according to 
his polytheistic views, placed the God of Abraham upon the 
same level with the God of Nahor and Terah, Jacob swore by 
" the Fear of Isaac " (ver. 42), the God who was worshipped by 
his father with sacred awe. He then offered sacrifices upon 
the mountain, and invited his relations to eat, i.e. to partake of 
a sacrificial meal, and seal the covenant by a feast of love. 

The geographical names G-ilead and Ramath-Mizpeh (Josh, 
xiii. 26), also Mizpeh-Gilead (Judg ii. 29), sound so obviously 
like GaCed and Mizpah, that they are no doubt connected, and 
owe their origin to the monument erected by Jacob and Laban ; 
so that it was by prolepsis that the scene of this occurrence was 
called " the mountains of Gilead " in vers. 21, 23, 25. By the 
mount or mountains of Gilead we are not to understand the 
mountain range to the south of the Jabbok (Zerka), the 
present Jebel Jelaad, or Jebel es Salt. The name Gilead has a 
much more comprehensive signification in the Old Testament ; 
and the mountains to the south of the Jabbok are called in 
Deut. iii. 12 the half of Mount Gilead ; the mountains to the 

1 There can be no doubt that vers. 49 and 50 bear the marks of a subse- 
quent insertion. But there is nothing in the nature of this interpolation 
to indicate a compilation of the history from different sources. That 
Laban, when making this covenant, should have spoken of the future treat- 
ment of his daughters, is a thing so natural, that there would have been 
something strange in the omission. And it is not less suitable to the cir- 
cumstances, that he calls upon the God of Jacob, i.e. Jehovah, to watch 
in this affair. And apart from the use of the name Jehovah, which is per- 
fectly suitable here, there is nothing whatever to point to a different source ; 
to say nothing of the fact that the critics themselves cannot agree as to the 
nature of the source supposed. 

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CHAP. XXXII. 1-8. 301 

north of the Jabbok, the JebeLAjlun, forming the other half. 
In this chapter the name is used in the broader sense, and refers 
primarily to the northern half of the mountains (above the 
Jabbok) ; for Jacob did not cross the Jabbok till afterwards 
(xxxii. 23, 24). There is nothing in the names Ramath- 
Mizpeh, which Ramoth in Gilead bears in Josh. xiii. 26, and 
Mizpeh-Gilead, which it bears in Judg. xi. 29, to compel us to 
place Laban's meeting with Jacob in the southern portion of 
the mountains of Gilead. For even if this city is to be found 
in the modern Salt, and was called Ramath-Mizpeh from the 
event recorded here, all that can be inferred from that is, that 
the tradition of Laban's covenant with Jacob was associated in 
later ages with Ramoth in Gilead, without the correctness of the 
association being thereby established. 


Vers. 1-3. The host of God. — When Laban had taken 
his departure peaceably, Jacob pursued his journey to Canaan. 
He was then met by some angels of God, in whom he discerned 
an encampment of God ; and he called the place where they 
appeared Mahanaim, i.e. double camp or double host, because 
the host of God joined his host as a safeguard. This appear- 
ance of angels necessarily reminded him of the vision of the 
ladder, on his flight from Canaan. Just as the angels ascend- 
ing and descending had then represented to him the divine 
protection and assistance during his journey and sojourn in a 
foreign land, so now the angelic host was a signal of the help 
of God for the approaching conflict witb Esau of which he 
was in fear, and a fresh pledge of the pwmise (chap, xxviii. 
15), "I will bring thee back to the land,' etc. Jacob saw 
it during his journey ; in a waking condition, therefore, not 
internally, but out of or above himself : but whether with the 
eyes of the body or of the mind (cf. 2 Kings vi. 17), cannot be 
determined. Mahanaim was afterwards a distinguished city, 
which is frequently mentioned, situated to the north of the 
Jabbok ; and the name and remains are still preserved in the 
place called Malineh (Robinson, Pal. Appendix, p. 1G6), the site 
of which, however, has not yet been minutely examined (see 
my Comm. on Joshua, p. 259). 

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Vers. 4-13. From this point Jacob sent messengers forward 
to his brother Esau, to make known his return in such a style 
of humility (" thy servant," " my lord ") as was adapted to con- 
ciliate him. 1HN (ver. 5) is the first pers. imperf. Kal for 
"intJK, from int* to delay, to pass a time; cf. Prov. viii. 17, and 
Ges. § 68, 2. The statement that Esau was already in the land 
of Seir (ver. 4), or, as it is afterwards called, the field of Edom, 
is not at variance with chap, xxxvi. 6, and may be very naturally 
explained on the supposition, that with the increase of his 
family and possessions, he severed himself more and more from 
his father's house, becoming increasingly convinced, as time 
went on, that he could hope for no change in the blessings pro- 
nounced by his father upon Jacob and himself, which excluded 
him from the inheritance of the promise, viz. the future posses- 
sion of Canaan. Now, even if his malicious feelings towards 
Jacob had gradually softened down, he had probably never said 
anything to his parents on the subject, so that Rebekah had 
been unable to fulfil her promise (chap, xxvii. 45) ; and Jacob, 
being quite uncertain as to his brother's state of mind, was 
thrown into the greatest alarm and anxiety by the report of the 
messengers, that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men. 
The simplest explanation of the fact that Esau should have had 
so many men about him as a standing army, is that given by 
Delitzsch ; namely, that he had to subjugate the Horite popula- 
tion in Seir, for which purpose he might easily have formed 
such an army, partly from the Canaanitish and Ishmaelitish 
relations of his wives, and partly from his own servants. His 
reason for going to meet Jacob with such a company may have 
been, either to show how mighty a prince he was, or with the 
intention of making his brother sensible of his superior power, 
and assuming a hostile attitude if the circumstances favoured it, 
even though the lapse of years had so far mitigated his anger, 
that he no longer seriously thought of executing the vengeance 
he had threatened twenty years before. For we are warranted 
in regarding Jacob's fear as no vain, subjective fancy, but as 
having an objective foundation, by the fact that God endowed 
him with courage and strength for his meeting with Esau, 
through the medium of the angelic host and the wrestling at 
the Jabbok ; whilst, on the other hand, the brotherly affection 
and openness with which Esau met him, are to be attributed 

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CHAP. XXXII. 14-88. 303 

partly to Jacob's humble demeanour, and still more to the fact, 
that by the influence of God, the still remaining malice had 
been rooted out from his heart. — Vers. 8 sqq. Jacob, fearing 
the worst, divided his people and flocks into two camps, that if 
Esau smote the one, the other might escape. He then turned 
to the Great Helper in every time of need, and with an earnest 
prayer besought the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac, 
who had directed him to return, that, on the ground of the 
abundant mercies and truth (cf. xxiv. 27) He had shown him 
thus far, He would deliver him out of the hand of his brother, 
and from the threatening destruction, and so fulfil His promises. 
— Ver. 12. "For lam in fear of him, that (fB ne) he come and 
smite me, mother with children." 0^3 <>P DK is a proverbial ex- 
pression for unsparing cruelty, taken from the bird which 
covers its young to protect them (Deut. xxii. 6, cf. Hos. x. 14). 
7? super, una cum, as in Ex. xxxv. 22. 

Vers. 14-22. Although hoping for aid and safety from the 
Lord alone, Jacob neglected no means of doing what might help 
to appease his brother. Having taken up his quarters for the 
night in the place where he received the tidings of Esau's ap- 
proach, he selected from his flocks (" of that which came to his 
Jiand," i.e. which he had acquired) a very respectable present of 
550 head of cattle, and sent them in different detachments to 
meet Esau, " as a present from his servant Jacob," who was 
coming behind. The selection was in harmony with the general 
possessions of nomads (cf. Job i. 3, xliii. 12), and the proportion 
of male to female animals was arranged according to the agri- 
cultural rule of Varro (de re rustica 2, 3). The division of the 
present, " drove and drove separately," i.e. into several separate 
droves which followed one another at certain intervals, was to 
serve the purpose of gradually mitigating the wrath of Esau. 
D'JB 1B3, ver 21, to appease the countenance ; D^D XOT to raise 
any one's countenance, i.e. to receive him in a friendly manner. 
This present he sent forward; and he himself remained the 
same night (mentioned in ver. 14) in the camp. 

Vers. 23-33. The wrestling with God. — The same 
night, he conveyed his family with all his possessions across the 
ford of the Jabbok. Jabbok is the present Wady es Zerka (i.«. 
the blue), which flows from the east towards the Jordan, and 

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with its deep rocky valley formed at that time the boundary be- 
tween the kingdoms of Sihon at Heshbon and Og of Bashan. 
It now separates the countries of Moerad or Ajlun and Belka. 
The ford by which Jacob crossed was hardly the one which he 
took on his outward journey, upon the Syrian caravan-road by 
Kahat-Zerka, but one much farther to the west, between Jebel 
Ajlun and Jebel Jelaad, through which Buckingham, Burckhardt, 
and Seetzen passed, and where there are still traces of walls and 
buildings to be seen, and other marks of cultivation. — Ver. 25. 
When Jacob was left alone on the northern side of the Jabbok, 
after sending all the rest across, " there wrestled a man with him 
until the breaking of the day." P?W, an old word, which only oc- 
curs here (vers. 25, 26), signifying to wrestle, is either derived 
from p?K to wind, or related to p?n to contract one's self, to 
plant limb and limb firmly together. From this wrestling the 
river evidently received its name of Jabbok (P3* = P*K*). — Ver. 
26. "And when He (the unknown) saw that He did not overcome 
him, He touched his hip-socket; and his hip-socket was put out of 
joint Qljxn from ypj) as He wrestled with him." Still Jacob 
would not let Him go until He blessed him. He then said to 
Jacob, " Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel (^Pj^?» 
God's fighter, from n"ifc> to fight, and ?N God); for thou hast 
fought with God and with men, and luist prevailed" When 
Jacob asked Him His name, He declined giving any definite 
answer, and "blessed him there." He did not tell him His 
name ; not merely, as the angel stated to Manoah in reply to a 
similar question (Judg. xiii. 18), because it was tOB wonder, i.e. 
incomprehensible to mortal man, but still more to fill Jacob's 
soul with awe at the mysterious character of the whole event, 
and to lead him to take it to heart. What Jacob wanted to 
know, with regard to the person of the wonderful Wrestler, 
and the meaning and intention of the struggle, he must 
already have suspected, when he would not let Him go until 
He blessed him; and it was put before him still more plainly 
in the new name that was given to him with this explana- 
tion, " Thou hast fought with Elohim and with men, and hast 
conquered" God had met him in the form of a man : 
God in the angel, according to Hos. xii. 4, 5, i.e. not in a 
created angel, but in the Angel of Jehovah, the visible mani- 
festation of the invisible God. Our history does not speak of 

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CHAP. XXXII. 23-88. 305 

Jshevab, or the Angel of Jehovah, bat of Elohim, for the par- 
pose of bringing out the contrast between God and the creature. 
This remarkable occurrence is not to be regarded as a dream 
or an internal vision, but fell within the sphere of sensuous per- 
ception. At the same time, it was not a natural or corporeal wres- 
tling, but a " real conflict of both mind and body, a work of the 
spirit with intense effort of the body" (Delitzsch), in which Jacob 
was lifted up into a highly elevated condition of body and mind 
resembling that of ecstasy, through the medium of the manifesta- 
tion of God. In a merely outward conflict, it is impossible to 
conquer through prayers and tears. As the idea of a dream or 
vision has no point of contact in the history ; so the notion, that 
the outward conflict of bodily wrestling, and the spiritual conflict 
with prayer and tears, are two features opposed to one another and 
spiritually distinct, is evidently at variance with the meaning of 
the narrative and the interpretation of the prophet Hosea. Since 
Jacob still continued his resistance, even after his hip had been 
put out of joint, and would not let Him go till He had blessed 
him, it cannot be said that it was not till all hope of maintaining 
the conflict by bodily strength was taken from him, that he had 
recourse to the weapon of prayer. And when Hosea (xii. 4, 5) 
points his contemporaries to their wrestling forefather as an ex- 
ample for their imitation, in these words, " He took his brother 
by the heel in the womb, and in his human strength he fought 
with God ; and he fought with the Angel and prevailed ; he wept 
and made supplication unto Him," the turn by which the ex- 
planatory periphrasis of Jacob's words, " I will not let Thee go 
except Thou bless me," is linked on to the previous clause by naa 
without a copula or vav consec, is a proof that the prophet did 
not regard the weeping and supplication as occurring after the 
wrestling, or as only a second element, which was subsequently 
added to the corporeal struggle. Hosea evidently looked upon 
the weeping and supplication as the distinguishing feature in the 
conflict, without thereby excluding the corporeal wrestling. At 
the same time, by connecting this event with what took place at 
the birth of the twins (xxv. 26), the prophet teaches that Jacob 
merely completed, by his wrestling with God, what he had 
already been engaged in even from his mother's womb, viz. his 
striving for the birthright ; in other words, for the possession of 
the covenant promise and the covenant blessing. This meaning 

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is also indicated by the circumstances under which the event 
took place. Jacob had wrested the blessing of the birthright from 
his brother Esau ; but it was by cunning and deceit, and he had 
been obliged to flee from his wrath in consequence. And now 
that he desired to return to the land of promise and his father's 
house, and to enter upon the inheritance promised him in his 
father's blessing ; Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men, 
which filled him with great alarm. As he felt too weak to enter 
upon a conflict with him, he prayed to the covenant God for 
deliverance from the hand of his brother, and the fulfilment of 
the covenant promises. The answer of God to this prayer was 
the present wrestling with God, in which he was victorious 
indeed, but not without carrying the marks of it all his life long 
in the dislocation of his thigh. Jacob's great fear of Esau's 
wrath and vengeance, which he could not suppress notwith- 
standing the divine revelations at Bethel and Mahanaim, had its 
foundation in his evil conscience, in the consciousness of the sin 
connected with his wilful and treacherous appropriation of the 
blessing of the first-born. To save him from the hand of his 
brother, it was necessary that God should first meet him as an 
enemy, and show him that his real opponent was God Himself, 
and that he must first of all overcome Him before he could hope 
to overcome his brother. And Jacob overcame God ; not with 
the power of the flesh however, with which he had hitherto 
wrestled for God against man (God convinced him of that by 
touching his hip, so that it was put out of joint), but by the 
power of faith and prayer, reaching by firm hold of God even 
to the point of being blessed, by which he proved himself to be 
a true wrestler of God, who fought with God and with men, i.e. 
who by his wrestling with God overcame men as well. And 
whilst by the dislocation of his hip the carnal nature of his pre- 
vious wrestling was declared to be powerless and wrong, he 
received in the new name of Israel the prize of victory, and at 
the same time directions from God how he was henceforth to 
strive for the cause of the Lord. — By his wrestling with God, 
Jacob entered upon a new stage in his life. As a sign of this, 
he received a new name, which indicated, as the result of this 
conflict, the nature of his new relation to God. But whilst 
Abram and Sarai, from the time when God changed their names 
(xvii. 5 and 15), are always called by their new names; in the his- 

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> CHAP. XXXIII. 1-17. 307 

Sory of Jacob we find the old name used interchangeably with the 
new. " For the first two names denoted a change into a new 
and permanent position, effected and intended by the will and 
promise of God ; consequently the old names were entirely abo- 
lished. But the name Israel denoted a spiritual state determined 
by faith ; and in Jacob's life the natural state, determined by 
flesh and blood, still continued to stand side by side with this. 
Jacob's new name was transmitted to his descendants, however, 
who were called Israel as the covenant nation. For as the 
blessing of their forefather's conflict came down to them as a 
spiritual inheritance, so did they also enter upon the duty of 
preserving this inheritance by continuing in a similar conflict. 

Ver. 31. The remembrance of this wonderful conflict Jacob 
perpetuated in the name which he gave to the place where it 
had occurred, viz. Pniel or Pnuel (with the connecting sound ' 
or '), because there ho had seen Elohim face to face, and his soul 
had been delivered (from death, xvi. 13). — Vers. 32, 33. With 
the rising of the sun after the night of his conflict, the night 
of anguish and fear also passed away from Jacob's mind, so 
that he was able to leave Pnuel in comfort, and go forward on 
his journey. The dislocation of the thigh alone remained. For 
this reason the children of Israel are accustomed to avoid eating 
the nervus ischiadicus, the principal nerve in the neighbourhood 
of the hip, which is easily injured by any violent strain in wres- 
tling. " Unto this day :" the remark is applicable still. 

Jacob's reconciliation with esatt and ketukn to 
canaan. — chap. xxxiii. 

Vers. 1-17. Meeting with Esau. — Vers. 1 sqq. As 
Jacob went forward, he saw Esau coming to meet him with 
his 400 men. He then arranged his wives and children in such 
a manner, that the maids with their children went first, Leah 
with hers in the middle, and Rachel with Joseph behind, thus 
forming a long procession. But he himself went in front, and 
met Esau with sevenfold obeisance. WW VWB* does not denote 
complete prostration, like rRfiK D?BK in chap. xix. 1, but a deep 
Oriental bow, in which the head approaches the ground, but does 
not touch it. By this manifestation of deep reverence, Jacob 
hoped to win his brother's heart. He humbled himself before 

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him as the elder, with the feeling that he had formerly sinneli 
against him. Esau, on the other hand, " had a comparatively 
better, but not so tender a conscience." At the sight of Jacob 
he was carried away by the natural feelings of brotherly affec- 
tion, and running up to him, embraced him, fell on his neck, 
and kissed him ; and they both wept. The puncta extraordi- 
naria above V^B* are probably intended to mark the word as 
suspicious. They " are like a note of interrogation, questioning 
the genuineness of this kiss ; but without any reason " (Del.). 
Even if there was still some malice in Esau's heart, it was over- 
come by the humility with which his brother met him, so that 
he allowed free course to the generous emotions of his heart ; all 
the more, because the " roving life " which suited his nature 
had procured him such wealth and power, that he was quite equal 
to his brother in earthly possessions. — Vers. 5-7. When his eyes 
fell upon the women and children, he inquired respecting them, 
" Whom hast thou here ? " And Jacob replied, " T7ie children 
wiiJi wliom Elohim hath favoured me" Upon this, the mothers 
and their children approached in order, making reverential obei- 
sance. I?n with double ace. " graciously to present." Elohim : 
" to avoid reminding Esau of the blessing of Jehovah, which had 
occasioned his absence" (Del.). — Vers. 8-11. Esau then in- 
quired about the camp that had met him, i.e. the presents of 
cattle that were sent to meet him, and refused to accept them, 
until Jacob's urgent persuasion eventually induced him to do so. 
— Ver. 10. " For therefore" sc. to be able to offer thee this pre- 
sent, " have I come to see Uiy face, as man seeth the face of God, 
and thou hast received me favourably >." The thought is this : In 
thy countenance I have been met with divine (heavenly) friend- 
liness (cf. 1 Sam. xxix. 9, 2 Sam. xiv. 17). Jacob might say 
this without cringing, since he " must have discerned the work 
of God in the unexpected change in his brother's disposition 
towards him, and in his brother's friendliness a reflection of the 
divine." — Ver. 11. Blessing: i.e. the present, expressive of his 
desire to bless, as in 1 Sam. xxv. 27, xxx. 26. DtOH : for 
nsaPl, as in Deut. xxxi. 29, Isa. vii. 14, etc. ; sometimes also in 
verbs nS, Lev. xxv. 21, xxvi. 34. fe W : "I have all" (not all 
kinds of things) ; viz. as the heir of the divine promise. 

Vers. 12-15. Lastly, Esau proposed to accompany Jacob 
on his journey. But Jacob politely declined not only his own 

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CHAP. XXXIII. 12-16. 309 

company, but also the escort, which Esau afterwards offered him, 
of a portion of his attendants ; the latter as being unnecessary, 
the former as likely to be injurious to his flocks. This did not 
spring from any feeling of distrust ; and the ground assigned 
was no mere pretext. He needed no military guard, " for he 
knew that he was defended by the hosts of God ;" and the rea- 
son given was a very good one : " My lord knoweth that tlie chil- 
dren are tender, and the flocks and herds that are milking (1i/y 
from Sy, giving milk or suckling) are upon me" (vV) : i.e. because 
they are giving milk they are an object of especial anxiety to 
me ; " and if one should overdrive them a single day, all the sheep 
would die." A caravan, with delicate children and cattle that 
required care, could not possibly keep pace with Esau and his 
horsemen, without taking harm. And Jacob could not expect 
his brother to accommodate himself to the rate at which he was 
travelling. For this reason he wished Esau to go on first ; and 
he would drive gently behind, " according to tJie foot of the 
cattle ( n ? K ?? possessions = cattle), and according to the foot of 
the children" i.e. " according to the pace at which the cattle 
and the children could go" {Luther). u Till I come to my lord 
to Seir:" these words are not to be understood as meaning that 
he intended to go direct to Seir ; consequently they were not a 
wilful deception for the purpose of getting rid of Esau. Jacob's 
destination was Canaan, and in Canaan probably Hebron, 
where his father Isaac still lived. From thence he may have 
thought of paying a visit to Esau in Seir. "Whether he carried 
out this intention or not, we cannot tell ; for we have not a re- 
cord of all that Jacob did, but only of the principal events of 
his life. We afterwards find them both meeting together as 
friends at their father's funeral (xxxv. 29). Again, the attitude 
of inferiority which Jacob assumed in his conversation with 
Esau, addressing him as lord, and speaking of himself as servant, 
was simply an act of courtesy suited to the circumstances, in 
which he paid to Esau the respect due to the head of a powerful 
band ; since he could not conscientiously have maintained the 
attitude of a brother, when inwardly and spiritually, in spite of 
Esau's friendly meeting, they were so completely separated the 
one from the other. — Vers. 16, 17. Esau set off the same day 
for Mount Seir, whilst Jacob proceeded to Succoth, where he 
built himself a house and made succoth for his flocks, i.e. pro- 

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bably not huts of branches and shrubs, but hurdles or folds made 
of twigs woven together. According to Josh. xiii. 27, Suceoth 
was in the valley of the Jordan, and was allotted to the tribe of 
Gad, as part of the district of the Jordan, " on the other side 
Jordan eastward ; " and this is confirmed by Judg. viii. 4, 5, 
and by Jerome (qucest. ad h. I.) : Sochoth usque hodie civitas 
trans Jordanem in parte Scythopoleos. Consequently it cannot 
be identified with the Sdcut on the western side of the Jordan, 
to the south of Beisan, above the Wady el Mdlih. — How long 
Jacob remained in Suceoth cannot be determined ; but we may 
conclude that he stayed there some years from the circumstance, 
that by erecting a house and huts he prepared for a lengthened 
stay. The motives which induced him to remain there are also un- 
known to us. But when Knobel adduces the fact, that Jacob came 
to Canaan for the purpose of visiting Isaac (xxxi. 18), as a reason 
why it is improbable that he continued long at Suceoth, he for- 
gets that Jacob could visit his father from Suceoth just as well 
as from Shechem, and that, with the number of people and cattle 
that he had about him, it was impossible that he should join and 
subordinate himself to Isaac's household, after having attained 
through his past life and the promises of God a position of 
patriarchal independence. 

Vers. 18-20. From Suceoth, Jacob crossed a ford of the 
Jordan, and " came in safety to the city of Sachem in the land of 
Canaan" DPE* is not a proper name meaning " to Shaletn," as 
it is rendered by Luther (and Eng. Vers., TV.) after the LXX., 
Vulg., etc. ; but an adjective, safe, peaceful, equivalent to DW3, 
" in peace," in chap, xxviii. 21, to which there is an evident 
allusion. What Jacob had asked for in his vow at Bethel, before 
his departure from Canaan, was now fulfilled. He had returned 
in safety u to the land of Canaan ;" Suceoth, therefore, did not 
belong to the land of Canaan, but must have been on the eastern 
side of the Jordan. MB* *VJ?> lit. city of Shechem ; so called from 
Shechem the son of the Hivite prince Hamor 1 (ver. 19, xxxi v. 
2 sqq.), who founded it and called it by the name of his son, since 
it was not in existence in Abraham's time (vid. xii. 6). Jacob 
pitched his tent before the town, and then bought the piece of 
ground upon which he encamped from the sons of Hamor for 100 

1 Mamortha, which according to Plin. (h. n. v. 14) was the earlier name 
of Neapolis (Nablus), appears to have been a corruption of Chamor. 

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CHAP. XXXIV. 1-4. 311 

Kesita. ntre'D is not a piece of silver of the value of a lamb (ac- 
cording to the ancient versions), but a quantity of silver weighed 
out, of considerable, though not exactly determinable value : cf. 
Ges. thes. 8. v. This purchase showed that Jacob, in reliance upon 
the promise of God, regarded Canaan as his own home and the 
home of his seed. This piece of field, which fell to the lot of 
the sons of Joseph, and where Joseph's bones were buried (Josh, 
xxiv. 32), was, according to tradition, the plain which stretches 
out at the south-eastern opening of the valley of Shechem, where 
Jacob's well is still pointed out (John iv. 6), also Joseph's grave, 
a Mahometan wely (grave) two or three hundred paces to the 
north (Bob. Pal. iii. 95 sqq.). Jacob also erected an altar, as 
Abraham had previously done after his entrance into Canaan 
(xii. 7), and called it ELelohe-hrael, " God (the mighty) is the 
God of Itrael," to set forth in this name the spiritual acquisition 
of his previous life, and according to his vow (xxviii. 21) to give 
glory to the " God of Israel " (as he called Jehovah, with refer- 
ence to the name given to him at chap, xxxii. 29), for having 
proved Himself to be El, a mighty God, during his long absence, 
and that it might serve as a memorial for his descendants. 


Vers. 1-4. During their stay at Shechem, Dinah, Jacob's 
daughter by Leah, went out one day to see, i.e. to make the 
acquaintance of the daughters of the land ; when Shechem the 
Hivite, the son of the prince, took her with him and seduced 
her. Dinah was probably between 13 and 15 at the time, and 
had attained perfect maturity ; for this is often the case in the 
East at the age of 12, and sometimes earlier. There is no ground 
for supposing her to have been younger. Even if she was born 
after Joseph, and not till the end of Jacob's 14 years' service 
with Laban, and therefore was only five years old when they 
left Mesopotamia, eight or ten years may have passed since then, 
as Jacob may easily have spent from eight to eleven years in 
Succoth, where he had built a house, and Shechem, where he 
had bought " a parcel of a field." But she cannot have been 
older ; for, according to chap, xxxvii. 2, Joseph was sold by his 
brethren when he was 17 years old, i.e. in the 11th year after 

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Jacob's return from Mesopotamia, as he was born in the 14th 
year of Jacob's service with Laban 1 (cf. xxx. 24). In the interim 
between Dinah's seduction and the sale of Joseph there occurred 
nothing but Jacob's journey from Shechem to Bethel and thence 
to Ephratah, in the neighbourhood of which Benjamin was born 
and Rachel died, and his arrival in Hebron (chap. xxxv.). This 
may all have taken place within a single year. Jacob was still 
at Hebron, when Joseph was sent to Shechem and sold by his 
brethren (xxxvii. 14) ; and Isaac's death did not happen for 12 
years afterwards, although it is mentioned in connection with 
the account of Jacob's arrival at Hebron (chap. xxxv. 27 sqq.). 
— Ver. 3. Shechem " loved the girl, and spoke to her heart;" i.e. 
he sought to comfort her by the promise of a happy marriage, 
and asked his father to obtain her for him as a wife. 

Vers. 5-12. When Jacob heard of the seduction of his 
daughter, " he was silent" i.e. he remained quiet, without taking 
any active proceedings (Ex. xiv. 14 ; 2 Sam. xix. 11) until his 
sons came from the field. When they heard of it, they were 
grieved and burned with wrath at the disgrace. KtDt? to defile = 
to dishonour, disgrace, because it was an uncircumcised man who 
had seduced her. "Because he had wrought folly in Israel, by 
lying with Jacob's daughter." " To work folly" was a standing 
phrase for crimes against the honour and calling of Israel as 
the people of God, especially for shameful sins of the flesh 
(Deut. xxii. 21 ; Judg. xx. 10 ; 2 Sam. xiii. 2, etc.) ; but it was 
also applied to other great sins (Josh. vii. 15). As Jacob had 
become Israel, the seduction of his daughter was a crime against 
Israel, which is called folly> inasmuch as the relation of Israel to 
God was thereby ignored (Ps. xiv. 1). "And this ought not to 
be done:" >)&)£. potentialis as in chap. xx. 9. — Hamor went to 
Jacob to ask for his daughter (ver. 6) ; but Jacob's sons 
reached home at the same time (ver. 7), so that Hamor spoke 
to them (Jacob and his sons). To attain his object Hamor pro- 
posed a further intermarriage, unrestricted movement on their 
part in the land, and that they should dwell there, trade (i/Mro- 
peveaQaC), and secure possessions (W?R3 settle down securely, as in 
xlvii. 27). Shechem also offered (vers. 11, 12) to give anything 

1 This view is generally supported by the earlier writers, such as Deme- 
trius, Petavius (Hengst. Diss.), etc. ; only they reckon Dinah's age at 16, 
placing her birth in the 14th year of Jacob's service. 

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CHAP. XXXIV. 13-24. 313 


they Vords\ght ask in the form of dowry ("inb not purchase-money, 
Wt jnwf (usual gift made to the bride, vid. xxiv. 53) and presents 
(f deep a\ brothers and mother), if they would only give him the 
■ *Sin His \ 

^6 hou* 13-17. Attractive as these offers of the Hivite prince 
and i°at our sere, they were declined by Jacob's sons, who had 
the chiel-digne in the question of their sister's marriage (vid. 
xxiv. 50). And they were quite right; for, by accepting them, 
they would have&Js "d^ted t^.: sacred call of Israel and his seed, 
and sacrificed the x In ftcs^eJehovah to Mammon. But they 
did it in a wrong wtmoifcarr "they answered with deceit and 
acted from behind" (VIST? W1D3: "St is to be rendered doloe 
struxit ; B^yj ISl would be the expression for " giving mere 
words," Hos. x. 4 ; vid. Gee. thee.), "because he had defiled Dinah 
their sister" They told him that they could not give their sister 
to an uncircumcised man, because this would be a reproach to 
them ; and the only condition upon which they would consent 
(nitu imperf. Niph. of JWN) was, that the Shechemites should all 
be circumcised ; otherwise they would take their sister and go. 

Vers. 18—24. The condition seemed reasonable to the two 
suitors, and by way of setting a good example, " the young man 
did not delay to do this word" i.e. to submit to circumcision, " as 
he was honoured before all his father's house." This is stated by 
anticipation in ver. 19 ; but before submitting to the operation, 
he went with his father to the gate, the place of public assembly, 
to lay the matter before the citizens of the town. They knew 
so well how to make the condition palatable, by a graphic de- 
scription of the wealth of Jacob and his family, and by expa- 
tiating upon the advantages of being united with them, that 
the Shechemites consented to the proposal. &&)>&: integri, 
people whose bearing is unexceptionable. "And the land, behold 
broad on both sides it is before them," i.e. it offers space enough 
in every direction for them to wander about with their flocks. 
And then the gain : " Their cattle, and their possessions, and their 
beasts of burden . . . shall they not be ourst" njpD is used here 
for flocks and herds, nona for beasts of burden, viz. camels and 
asses (cf. Num. xxxii. 26). But notwithstanding the advantages 
here pointed out, the readiness of all the citizens of Shechem 
(rid. chap, xxiii. 10) to consent to be circumcised, could only be 
satisfactorily explained from the fact that this religious rite was 
PENT. — VOL. I. X 

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already customary in different nations (according to Hi ^ 

104, among the Egyptians and Colchians), as an act of 
or priestly consecration. 

Vers. 25-31. But on the third day, when the Shed 
were thoroughly prostrated by the painful effects of tlj a- C 

tion, Simeon and Levi (with their servants of couijMJ0P upon \ 

the town nt33 (i.e. while the people were off thei^" ,.^rd, as . in ' 

Ezek. xxx. 9), slew all the males, including Hamojrand Shechem, 
with the edge of the sword, i.e. without qua"* ' (Num. xxi. 24 ; 
Josh. x. 28, etc.), and brought back tb/^ «<er. The sons of 
Jacob then plundered the town, and -f ^eia off all the cattle in 
the town and in the fields, and al* cfieir possessions, including 
the women and the children in their houses. By the sons of 
Jacob (ver. 27) we are not to understand the rest of his sons to 
the exclusion of Simeon, Levi, and even Reuben, as Delitzsch 
supposes, but all his sons. For the supposition, that Simeon 
and Levi were content with taking their murderous revenge, 
and had no share in the plunder, is neither probable in itself nor 
reconcilable with what Jacob said on his death-bed (chap. xlix. 
5-7, observe *»W npJJ) about this very crime; nor can it be inferred 
from 'WW in ver. 26, for this relates merely to their going away 
/rom the house of the two princes, not to their leaving Shechem 
altogether. The abrupt way in which the plundering is linked 
on to the slaughter of all the males, without any copulative Vav, 
gives to the account the character of indignation at so revolting 
a crime ; and this is also shown in the verbosity of the descrip- 
tion. The absence of the copula is not be accounted for by the 
hypothesis that vers. 27—29 are interpolated ; for an interpolator 
might have supplied the missing link by a car, just as well as the 
LXX. and other ancient translators. — Vers. 30, 31. Jacob re- 
proved the originators of this act most severely for their wicked- 
ness: " Ye have brought me into trouble (conturbare), to make 
me stink (an abomination) among the inhabitants of the land; 
. . . and yet I (with my attendants) am a company that can be 
numbered (lit. people of number, easily numbered, a small band, 
Deut. iv. 27, cf. Isa. x. 19) ; and if they gather together against 
me, tfiey will slay me," etc. If Jacob laid stress simply upon the 
consequences which this crime was likely to bring upon himself 
and his house, the reason was, that this was the view most 
adapted to make an impression upon his sons. For his last 

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CHAP. XXXV. 1-8. SI 5 

words concerning Simeon and Levi (xlix. 5—7) are a sufficient 
proof that the wickedness of their conduct was also an object of 
deep abhorrence. And his fear was not groundless. Only God 
in His mercy averted all the evil consequences from Jacob and 
his house (chap. xxxv. 5, 6). But bis sons answered, "Are they 
to treat our sister like a harlot?" >WV: as in Lev. xvi. 15, etc. 
Their indignation was justifiable enough ; and their seeking re- 
venge, as Absalom avenged the violation of his sister on Amnon 
(2 Sam. xiii. 22 sqq.), was in accordance with the habits of 
nomadic tribes. In this way, for example, seduction is still 
punished by death among the Arabs, and the punishment is 
generally inflicted by the brothers (cf . Niebuhr, Arab. p. 39 ; 
Burckhardt, Syr. p. 361, and Beduinen, p. 89, 224-5). In addi- 
tion to this, Jacob's sons looked upon the matter not merely as 
a violation of their sister's chastity, but as a crime against the 
peculiar vocation of their tribe. But for all that, the deception 
they practised, the abuse of the covenant sign of circumcision 
as a means of gratifying their revenge, and the extension of 
that revenge to the whole town, together with the plundering of 
the slain, were crimes deserving of the strongest reprobation. 
The crafty character of Jacob degenerated into malicious 
cunning in Simeon and Levi ; and jealousy for the exalted voca- 
tion of their family, into actual sin. This event " shows us in 
type all the errors into which the belief in the pre-eminence of 
Israel was sure to lead in the course of history, whenever that 
belief was rudely held by men of carnal minds" (0. v. Gerlaeh). 

Jacob's ketubn to bethel and hebron. death of 
isaac. — chap. xxxt. 

Vers. 1-8. Journey to Bethel. — Jacob had allowed ten years 
to pass since his return from Mesopotamia, without performing 
the vow which he made at Bethel when fleeing from Esau 
(xxviii. 20 sqq.), although he had recalled it to mind when re- 
solving to return (xxxi. 13), and had also erected an altar in 
Shechem to the "God of Israel" (xxxiii. 20). He was now 
directed by God (ver. 1) to go to Bethel, and there build an 
altar to the God who had appeared to him on his flight from 
Esau. This command stirred him up to perform what had 
been neglected, viz. to put away from his house the strange 

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gods, which he had tolerated in weak consideration for his wives, 
and which had no doubt occasioned the long neglect, and to 
pay to God the vow that he had made in the day of his trouble. 
He therefore commanded his house (vers. 2, 3), i.e. his wives 
and children, and "all that were with him," i.e. his men and 
maid-servants, to put away the strange gods, to purify them- 
selves, and wash their clothes. He also buried " all the strange 
gods," i.e. Rachel's teraphim (xxxi. 19), and whatever other idols 
there were, with the earrings which were worn as amulets and 
charms, " under the terebintli at Sfiechem," probably the very 
tree under which Abraham once pitched his tent (xii. 6), and 
which was regarded as a sacred place in Joshua's time (vid. 
Josh. xxiv. 26, though the pointing is n?K there). The burial 
of the idols was followed by purification through the washing of 
the body, as a sign of the purification of the heart from the 
defilement of idolatry, and by the putting on of clean and festal 
clothes, as a symbol of the sanctification and elevation of the 
heart to the Lord (Josh. xxiv. 23). This decided turning to 
the Lord was immediately followed by the blessing of God. 
When they left Shechem a " terror of God" i.e. a supernatural 
terror, " came upon the cities round about" so that they did not 
venture to pursue the sons of Jacob on account of the cruelty 
of Simeon and Levi (ver. 5). Having safely arrived in Bethel, 
Jacob built an altar, which he called El Bethel (God of Bethel) 
in remembrance of the manifestation of God on His flight from 
Esau. — Ver. 8. There Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and was 
buried below Bethel under an oak, which was henceforth called 
the "oak of weeping," a mourning oak, from the grief of 
Jacob's house on account of her death. Deborah had either 
been sent by Rebekah to take care of her daughters-in-law and 
grandsons, or had gone of her own accord into Jacob's house- 
hold after the death of her mistress. The mourning at her 
death, and the perpetuation of her memory, are proofs that she 
must have been a faithful and highly esteemed servant in 
Jacob's house. 

Vers. 9-15. The fresh revelation at Bethel. — After 
Jacob had performed his vow by erecting the altar at Bethel, 
God appeared to him again there ("again," referring to chap, 
xxviii.), " on his coming out of Padan-Aram" as He had ap- 

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CHAP. XXXV. 9-15. 317 

peared to him 30 years before on his journey thither, — though 
it was then in a dream, now by daylight in a visible form (cf. 
ver. 13, u God went up from Mm"). The gloom of that day of 
fear had now brightened into the clear daylight of salvation. 
This appearance was the answer, which God gave to Jacob on 
his acknowledgment of Him ; and its reality is thereby estab- 
lished, in opposition to the conjecture that it is merely a legend- 
ary repetition of the previous vision. 1 The former theophany 
had promised to Jacob divine protection in a foreign land and 
restoration to his home, on the ground of his call to be the 
bearer of the blessings of salvation. This promise God had 
fulfilled, and Jacob therefore performed his vow. On the 
strength of this, God now confirmed to him the name of Israel, 
which He had already given him in chap, xxxii. 28, and with it 
the promise of a numerous seed and the possession of Canaan, 
which, so far as the form and substance are concerned, points- 
back rather to chap. xvii. 6 and 8 than to chap, xxviii. 13, 14, 
and for the fulfilment of which, commencing with the birth of 
his sons and his return to Canaan, and stretching forward to the 
most remote future, the name of Israel was to furnish him with 
a pledge. — Jacob alluded to this second manifestation of God at 
Bethel towards the close of his life (chap, xlviii. 3, 4) ; and Hosea 
(xii. 4) represents it as the result of his wrestling with God. The 
remembrance of this appearance Jacob transmitted to his descend- 
ants by erecting a memorial stone, which he not only anointed with 
oil like the former one in chap, xxviii. 18, but consecrated by a 
drink-offering and by the renewal of the name Bethel. 

1 This conjecture derives no support from the fact that the manifesta- 
tions of God are ascribed to Elohim in vers. 1 and 9 sqq., although the 
whole chapter treats of the display of mercy by the covenant God, i.e. 
Jehovah. For the occurrence of Elohim instead of Jehovah in ver. 1 may 
be explained, partly from the antithesis of God and man (because Jacob, the 
man, had neglected to redeem his vow, it was necessary that he should be 
reminded of it by God), and partly from the fact that there is no allusion 
to any appearance of God, but the words " God said " are to be understood, 
no doubt, as relating to an inward communication. The use of Elohim in vers. 
9 sqq. follows naturally from the injunction of Elohim in ver. 1 ; and there 
was the less necessity for an express designation of the God appearing aa 
Jehovah, because, on the one hand, the object of this appearance was simply 
to renew and confirm the former appearance of Jehovah (xxviii. 12 sqq.), 
and on the other hand, the title assumed in ver. 11, El Shaddai, refers to 
chap. xrii. 1, where Jehovah announces Himself to Abram as El Shaddai. 

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Vers. 16-20. Birth op Benjamin and death op Rachel. 
— Jacob's departure from Bethel was not in opposition to the 
divine command, " dwell there " (ver. 1). For the word 3B> does 
not enjoin a permanent abode ; but, when taken in connection 
with what follows, " make there an altar," it merely directs him 
to stay there and perform his vow. As they were travelling 
forward, Rachel was taken in labour not far from Ephratah. 
jntjn rrpa is a space, answering probably to the Persian parasang, 
though the real meaning of rn33 is unknown. The birth was a 
difficult one. n^nfe B*i?Fi : she had difficulty in her labour (in- 
stead of Piel we find Hiphil in ver. 17 with the same significa- 
tion). The midwife comforted her by saying : " Fear not, for 
this alao is to thee a son," — a wish expressed by her when Joseph 
was born (xxx. 24). But she expired ; and as she was dying, 
^he called him Ben-oni, "son of my pain." Jacob, however, 
called him Ben-jamin, probably son of good fortune, according 
to the meaning of the word jamin sustained by the Arabic, to 
indicate that his pain at the loss of his favourite wife was com- 
pensated by the birth of this son, who now completed the 
number twelve. Other explanations are less simple. He buried 
Rachel on the road to Ephratah, or Ephrath (probably the 
fertile, from ^6), i.e. Bethlehem (bread-house), by which name 
it is better known, though the origin of it is obscure. He also 
erected a monument over her grave ('"OtfD, crrjkij), on which 
the historian observes, " This is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto 
this day:" a remark which does not necessarily point to a post- 
Mosaic period, but which could easily have been made even 10 
or 20 years after its erection. For the fact that a grave-stone 
had been preserved upon the high road in a foreign land, the 
inhabitants of which had no interest whatever in it, might 
appear worthy of notice even though only a single decennary 
had passed away. 1 

1 But even if this Mazzebah was really preserved till the conquest of 
Canaan by the Israelites, i.e. more than 450 years, and the remark referred 
to that time, it might be an interpolation by a later hand. The grave was 
certainly a well-known spot in Samuel's time (1 Sam. x. 2) ; but a mottu- 
menlum ubi Rachel posita est uxor Jacob is first mentioned again by the 
Bordeaux pilgrims of a.d. 333 and Jerome. The Kubbet Rakil (Rachel's 
grave), which is now shown about half an hour's journey to the north of 
Bethlehem, to the right of the road from Jerusalem to Hebron, is merely 
" an ordinary Muslim wely, or tomb of a holy person, a small square build* 

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CHAP. XXXV. 21-29. 319 

Vers. 21, 22a. Reuben's inoest. — As they travelled on- 
ward, Jacob pitched his tent on the other side of Migdal Eder, 
where Reuben committed incest with Bilhah, his father's con- 
cubine. It is merely alluded to here in the passing remark that 
Israel heard it, by way of preparation for chap. xlix. 4. Migdal 
Eder (flock-tower) was a watch-tower built for the protection of 
flocks against robbers (cf. 2 Kings sviii. 8 ; 2 Chron. xxvi. 10, 
xxvii. 4) on the other side of Bethlehem, but hardly within 1000 
paces of the town, where it has been placed by tradition since 
the time of Jerome. The piska in the middle of ver. 22 does 
not indicate a gap in the text, but the conclusion of a parashah, 
a division of the text of greater antiquity and greater correctness 
than the Masoretic division. 

Vers. 226-29. Jacob's return to his father's house, 
and death OP Isaac. — Jacob had left his father's house with 
no other possession than a staff, and now he returned with 12 
sons. Thus had he been blessed by the faithful covenant God. 
To show this, the account of his arrival in his father's tent at 
Hebron is preceded by a list of his 12 sons, arranged according 
to their respective mothers ; and this list is closed with the re- 
mark, " These are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in 
Padan-Aram" (T9J for YT3J; Ges. § 143, 1), although Benjamin, 
the twelfth, was not born in Padan-Aram, but on the journey 
back. — Vers. 27, 28. Jacob's arrival in "Mamre Kirjath-Arbah" 
, i.e. in the terebinth-grove of Mamre (xiii. 18) by Kirjath-Arbah 
or Hebron (yid. xxiii. 2), constituted his entrance into his father's 
house, to remain there as Isaac's heir. He had probably visited 
his father during the ten years that had elapsed since his return 
from Mesopotamia, though no allusion is made to this, since such 
visits would have no importance, either in themselves or their 
consequences, in connection with the sacred history. This was 
not the case, however, with his return to enter upon the family 

ing of stone with a dome, and within it a tomb in the ordinary Mohammedan 
form" (Rob. Pal. 1, p. 322). It has been recently enlarged by a square 
court with high walls and arches on the eastern side (Rob. Bibl. Researches, 
p. 357). Now although this grave is not ancient, the correctness of the 
tradition, which fixes upon this as the site of Rachel's grave, cannot on the 
whole be disputed. At any rate, the reasons assigned to the contrary by 
Theniux, Kurtz, and others are not conclusive. 

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inheritance. With this, therefore, the history of Isaac's life is 
brought to a close. Isaac died at the age of 180, and was buried 
by his two sons in the cave of Machpelah (chap. xlix. 31), Abra- 
ham's family grave, Esau having come from Seir to Hebron to 
attend the funeral of his father. But Isaac's death did not 
actually take place for 12 years after Jacob's return to Hebron. 
For as Joseph was 17 years old when he was sold by his brethren 
(xxxvii. 2), and Jacob was then living at Hebron (xxxvii. 14-), 
it cannot have been more than 31 years after his flight from 
Esau when Jacob returned home (cf. chap, xxxiv. 1). Now 
since, according to our calculation at chap, xxvii. 1, he was 77 
years old when he fled, he must have been 108 when he returned 
home; and Isaac would only have reached his 168th year, as he 
was 60 years old when Jacob was born (xxv. 26). Consequently 
Isaac lived to witness the grief of Jacob at the loss of Joseph, 
and died but a short time before his promotion in Egypt, which 
occurred 13 years after he was sold (xli. 46), and only 10 years 
before Jacob's removal with his family to Egypt, as Jacob was 
130 years old when he was presented to Pharaoh (xlvii. 9). But 
the historical significance of his life was at an end, when Jacob 
returned home with his twelve sons. 

Chap, xxxvi. 

" Esau and Jacob shook hands once more over the corpse of 
their father. Henceforth their paths diverged, to meet no more" 
{Del.). As Esau had also received a divine promise (xxv. 23), 
and the history of his tribe was already interwoven in the pater- 
nal blessing with that of Israel (xxvii. 29 and 40), an account 
is given in the book of Genesis of his growth into a nation ; and 
a separate section is devoted to this, which, according to the 
invariable plan of the book, precedes the tkoledoth of Jacob. 
The account is subdivided into the following sections, which are 
distinctly indicated by their respective headings. (Compare with 
these the parallel list in 1 Chron. i. 35-54.) 

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CHAP. XXXVI. 1-8. 321 

T Vers. 1-8. Esau's wives and children. His settle- 
'. ment in the mountains op Seik. — In the heading (ver. 1) 
' the surname Edom is added to the name Esau, which he received 
at his birth, because the former became the national designation 
of his descendants. — Vers. 2, 3. The names of Esau's three wives 
differ from those given in the previous accounts (chap. xxvi. 34 
and xxviii. 9), and in one instance the father's name as well. 
The daughter of Elon the Hittite is called Adah (the ornament), 
and in chap. xxvi. 34 Basmath (the fragrant) ; the second is 
called Aholibamah (probably tent-height), the daughter of Anah, 
daughter, i.e. grand-daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, and in xxvi. 
34, Jehudith (the praised or praiseworthy), daughter of Beeri the 
Hittite ; the third, the daughter of Ishmael, is called Basmath 
here and Mahalath in chap, xxviii. 9. This difference arose 
from the fact, that Moses availed himself of genealogical docu- 
ments for Esau's family and tribe, and inserted them without 
alteration. It presents no irreconcilable discrepancy, therefore, 
but may be explained from the ancient custom in the East, of 
giving surnames, as the Arabs frequently do still, founded upon 
some important or memorable event in a man's life, which gra- 
dually superseded the other name {e.g. the name Edom, as ex- 
plained in chap. xxv. 30) ; whilst as a rule the women received 
new names when they were married (cf. Chardin, Ilengstenberg, 
Dissertations, vol. ii. p. 223-6). The different names given for 
the father of Aholibamah or Judith, Hengstenberg explains by 
referring to the statement in ver. 24, that Anah, the son of 
Zibeon, while watching the asses of his father in the desert, dis- 
covered the warm springs (of Calirrhoe), on which he founds the 
acute conjecture, that from this discovery Anah received the 
surname Beeri, i.e. spring-man, which so threw his original name 
into the shade, as to be the only name given in the genealogical 
table. There is no force in the objection, that according to ver. 
25 Aholibamah was not a daughter of the discoverer of the 
springs, but of his uncle of the same name. For where is it 
stated that the Aholibamah mentioned in ver. 25 was Esau's 
wife ? And is it a thing unheard of that aunt and niece should 
have the same namet^Jf Zibeon gave his second son the 
name of his brother &/ ^^-^ers. 24 and 20), why could not 
his son Anah have/ \ugTiter after his cousin, the 

daughter of his,f ' \ie reception of Aholibamah 


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into the list of the Seirito princes is no proof that she was Esau's 
wife, but may be much more naturally supposed to have arisen 
from the same (unknown) circumstance as that which caused 
one of the seats of the Edomitish Alluphim to be called by her 
name (ver. 41). — Lastly, the remaining diversity, viz. that Anaiu. 
is called a Hivite in ver. 2 and a Hittite in chap. xxvi. 34, is not 
to be explained by the conjecture, that for Hivite we should read 
Horite, according to ver. 20, but by the simple assumption that 
Hittite is used in chap. xxvi. 34 sensu latiori for Canaanite, 
according to the analogy of Josh. i. 4, 1 Kings x. 29, 2 Kings 
vii. 6 ; just as the two Hittite wives of Esau are called daughters 
of Canaan in chap, xxviii. 8. For the historical account, thege 
neral name Hittite sufficed ; but the genealogical list required the 
special name of the particular branch of the Canaanhish tribes, 
viz. the Hivites. In just as simple a manner may the introduc 
tion of the Hivite Zibeon among the Horites of Seir (vers. 20 and 
24) be explained, viz. on the supposition that he removed to the 
mountains of Seir, and there became a Horite, i.e. a troglodyte, 
or dweller in a cave. — The names of Esau's sons occur again in 
1 Chron. L 35. The statement in vers. 6, 7, that Esau went 
with his family and possessions, which he had acquired in 
Canaan, into the land of Seir, from before his brother Jacob, 
does not imply (in contradiction to chap, xxxii. 4, xxxiii. 14-16) 
that he did not leave the land of Canaan till after Jacob's return. 
The words may be understood without difficulty as meaning, that 
after founding a house of his own, when his family and flocks 
increased, Esau sought a home in Seir, because he knew that 
Jacob, as the heir, would enter upon the family possessions, but 
without waiting till he returned and actually took possession. 
In the clause " went into the country" (ver. 6), the name Seir or 
Edom (cf. ver. 16) must have dropt out, as the words " into 
the country" convey no sense when standing by themselves. 

Vers. 9-14 (cf. 1 Chron. i. 36, 37). Esau's sons and 
GRANDSONS AS FATHERS OF tribes. — Through them he be- 
came the father of Edom, i.e. the founder of the Edomitish 
nation on the mountains of Seir. Moimt Seir is the mountain- 
ous region between the Dead Se~ ' ]i e Elanitic Gulf, the 
northern half of which is f' 'Te$a)J\vt\) by the 
Arabs, the southern half, S "•. 552). — In the 


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CHAP. XXXVI. 9-14. 323 

case of two of the wives of Esau, who bore only one son each, 
the tribes were founded not by the sons, but by the grandsons; 
but in that of Aholibamah the three sons were the founders. 
Among the sons of Eliphaz we find Amalek, whose mother was 
Timna, the concubine of Eliphaz. He was the ancestor of the 
Amalekites, who attacked the Israelites at Horeb as they came 
out of Egypt under Moses (Ex. xvii. 8 sqq.), and not merely of 
a mixed tribe of Amalekites and Edomites, belonging to the 
supposed aboriginal Amalekite nation. For the Arabic legend 
of AmUk as an aboriginal tribe of Arabia is far too recent, con- 
fused, and contradictory to counterbalance the clear testimony 
of the record before us. The allusion to the fields of the 
Amalekites in chap. xiv. 7 does not imply that the tribe was 
in existence in Abraham's time, nor does the expression " first 
of the nations," in the saying of Balaam (Num. xxiv. 20), repre- 
sent Amalek as the aboriginal or oldest tribe, bat simply as the 
first heathen tribe by which Israel was attacked. The Old 
Testament says nothing of any fusion of Edomites or Horites 
with Amalekites, nor does it mention a double Amalek (cf. 
Hengstenberg, Dessertations 2, 247 sqq., and Kurtz, History 
i. 122, 3, ii. 240 sqq.). 1 If there had been an Amalek previous 
to Edom, with the important part which they took in opposition 
to Israel even in the time of Moses, the book of Genesis would 
not have omitted to give their pedigree in the list of the na- 
tions. At a very early period the Amalekites separated from the 
other tribes of Edom and formed an independent people, having 
their headquarters in the southern part of the mountains of 
Judah, as far as Kadesh (xiv. 7 ; Num. xiii. 29, xiv. 43, 45), 
but, like the Bedouins, spreading themselves as a nomad tribe 
over the whole of the northern portion of Arabia Petrsea, from 
Havilah to Shur on the border of Egypt (1 Sam. xv. 3, 7, 
xxvii. 8); whilst one branch penetrated into the heart of 
Canaan, so that a range of hills, in what was afterwards the 
inheritance of Ephraim, bore the name of mountains of the 
Amalekites (Judg. xii. 15, cf. v. 14). Those who settled in 
Arabia seem also to have separated in the course of time into 
several branches, so that Amalekite hordes invaded the land of 

l The occurrence of " Timna and Amalek " in 1 Chron. i. 36, as co- 
ordinate with the sons of Eliphaz, ia simply a more concise form of saying 
" and from Timna, Amalek." 

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Israel in connection sometimes with the Midianites and the sons 
of the East (the Arabs, Judg. vi. 3, vii. 12), and at other times 
with the Ammonites (Judg. iii. 13). After they had been 
defeated by Saul (1 Sam. xiv. 48, xv. 2 sqq.), and frequently 
chastised by David (1 Sam. xxvii. 8, xxx. 1 sqq. ; 2 Sam. 
viii. 12), the remnant of them was exterminated under Heze- 
kiah by the Simeonites on the mountains of Seir (1 Chron. iv. 
42, 43). 

Vers. 15-19. The tribe-princes who descended from 
Esau. — DTO was the distinguishing title of the Edomite 
and Horite phylarchs; and it is only incidentally that it is 
applied to Jewish heads of tribes in Zech. ix. 7, and xii. 5. 
It is probably derived from 1?** or MJlf, equivalent to rrtPlBBfe, 
families (1 Sam. x. 19; Mic. v. 2), — the heads of the families, 
i.e. of the principal divisions, of the tribe. The names of 
these Alluphim are not names of places, but of persons — of 
the three sons and ten grandsons of Esau mentioned in vers. 
9—14 ; though Knobel would reverse the process and interpret 
the whole geographically. — In ver. 16 KoraJi has probably been 
copied by mistake from ver. 18, and should therefore be erased, 
as it really is in the Samar. Codex. 

Vers. 20-30 (parallel, 1 Chron. i. 38-42). Descendants 
of Seir the Horite ; — the inhabitants of the land, or 
pre-Edomitish population of the country. — " The Horite : " 
6 TpwyKoSvrryt, the dweller in caves, which abound in the 
mountains of Edom (vid. Bob. Pal. ii. p. 424). The Horites, 
who had previously been an independent people (xiv. 6), were 
partly exterminated and partly subjugated by the descendants 
of Esau (Deut. ii. 12, 22). Seven sons of Seir are given as 
tribe-princes of the Horites, who are afterwards mentioned as 
Alluphim (vers. 29, 30), also their sons, as well as two daughters, 
Timna (ver. 22) and Aholibamah (ver. 25), who obtained no- 
toriety from the fact that two of the headquarters of Edomitish 
tribe-princes bore their names (vers. 40 and 41). Timna was 
probably the same as the concubine of Eliphaz (ver. 12); but 
Aholibamah was not the wife of Esau (cf. ver. 2). — There are 
a, few instances in which the names in this list differ from those 
in the Chronicles. But they are differences which either con- 

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CHAP. XXXVI. 81-89. 325 

sist of variations in form, or have arisen from mistakes in 
copying. 1 Of Anah, the son of Zibeon, it is related (ver. 24), 
that as he fed the asses of his father in the desert, he " found 
Dl ?!n;" — not " he invented mules," as the Talmud, Luther, etc., 
render it, for mules are D'Tl?, and *WO does not mean to invent, 
but he discovered aqua calidce ( Vulg.), either the hot sulphur 
springs of Calirrlwe in the Wady Zerka Maein (vid. x. 19), or 
those in the Wady el Ahsa to the S.E. of the Dead Sea, or 
those in the Wady Hamad between Kerek and the Dead Sea. 2 — 
Ver. 30. " These are the princes of the Horites according to their 
princes" i.e. as their princes were individually named in the 
land of Seir. ? in enumerations indicates the relation of the 
individual to the whole, and of the whole to the individual. 

Vers. 31-39 (parallel, 1 Chron. i. 43-50). The kings in 
the LAND OF Edom : before the children of Israel had a king. 
It is to be observed in connection with the eight kings men- 
tioned here, that whilst they follow one another, that is to say, 

1 Knobel also undertakes to explain these names geographically, and to 
point them out in tribes and places of Arabia, assuming, quite arbitrarily 
and in opposition to the text, that the names refer to tribes, not to persons, 
although an incident is related of Zibeon's son, which proves at once that 
the list relates to persons and not to tribes ; and expecting his readers to 
believe that not only are the descendants of these troglodytes, who were 
exterminated before the time of Moses, still to be found, but even their 
names may be traced in certain Bedouin tribes, though more than 3000 
years have passed away ! The utter groundlessness of such explanations, 
which rest upon nothing more than similarity of names, may be seen 
in the association of Shobal with Syria Sobal (Judith iii. 1), the name 
used by the Crusaders for Arabia tertia, i.e. the southernmost district 
below the Dead Sea, which was conquered by them. For notwithstand- 
ing the resemblance of the name Shobal to Sobal, no one could seriously 
think of connecting Syria Sobal with the Horite prince Shobal, unless 
he was altogether ignorant of the apocryphal origin of the former name, 
which first of all arose from the Greek or Latin version of the Old Testa- 
ment, and in fact from a misunderstanding of Ps. lx. 2, where, instead 
rniY OIK, Aram Zobah, we find in the LXX. lupt* 2o/3«x, and in the Vulg. 
Syria el Sobal. 

2 It is possible that there may be something significant in the fact that 
it was " as he was feeding his father's asses," and that the asses may havo 
contributed to the discovery ; just as the whirlpool of Karlsbad is said to 
have been discovered through a hound of Charles IV., which pursued a stag 
into a hot spring, and attracted the huntsmen to the spot by its howling. 

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one never comes to the throne till his predecessor is dead, yet 
the son never succeeds the father, but they all belong to different 
families and places, and in the case of the last the statement that 
" he died" is wanting. From this it is unquestionably obvious, 
that the sovereignty was elective ; that the kings were chosen 
by the phylarchs ; and, as Isa. xxxiv. 12 also shows, that they 
lived or reigned contemporaneously with these. The contem- 
poraneous existence of the Alluphim and the kings may also be 
inferred from Ex. xv. 15 as compared with Num. xx. 14 sqq. 
Whilst it was with the king of Edom that Moses treated re- 
specting the passage through the land, in the song of Moses it 
is the princes who tremble with fear on account of the miracu- 
lous passage through the Red Sea (cf. Ezek. xxxii. 29). Lastly, 
this is also supported by the fact, that the account of the seats 
of the phylarchs (vers. 40-43) follows the list of the kings. 
This arrangement would have been thoroughly unsuitable if the 
monarchy had been founded upon the ruins of the phylarchs 
(vid. Hengstenberg, ut sup. pp. 238 sqq.). Of all the kings of 
Edom, not one is named elsewhere. It is true, the attempt has 
been made to identify the fourth, Hadad (ver. 35), with the 
Edomite Hadad who rose up against Solomon (1 Kings xi. 14) ; 
but without foundation. The contemporary of Solomon was of 
royal blood, but neither a king nor a pretender ; our Hadad, on 
the contrary, was a king, but he was the son of an unknown 
Hadad of the town of Avith, and no relation to his predecessor 
Husham of the country of the Temanites. It is related of him 
that he smote Midian in the fields of Moab (ver. 35) ; from which 
Hengstenberg (pp. 235-6) justly infers that this event cannot 
have been very remote from the Mosaic age, since we find the 
Midianites allied to the Moabites in Num. xxii. ; whereas after- 
wards, viz. in the time of Gideon, the Midianites vanished from 
history, and in Solomon's days the fields of Moab, being Israel- 
itish territory, cannot have served as a field of battle for the 
Midianites and Moabites. — Of the tribe-cities of these kings 
only a few can be identified now. Bozrdh, a noted city of the 
Edomites (Isa. xxxiv. 6, bdii. 1, etc.), is still to be traced in el 
Buseireh, a village with ruins in Jebal (Eob. Pal. ii. 571). — The 
land of the Temanite (ver. 34) is a province in northern Idumaea, 
with a city, Tetnan, which has not yet been discovered ; accord- 
ing to Jerome, quinque millibus from Petra. — Behoboth of the 

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CHAP. XXXVI. 81-89. 327 

river (ver. 37) can neither be the Idumsean Robotha, nor er 
Buheibeh in the wady running towards el Arish, bnt must be 
sought for on the Euphrates, say in Errachabi or Rachabeh, near 
the mouth of the Chaboras. Consequently Saul, who sprang 
from Rehoboth, was a foreigner. — Of the last king, Radar (ver. 
39 ; not Hadad, as it is written in 1 Chron. i. 50), the wife, the 
mother-in-law, and the mother are mentioned : his death is not 
mentioned here, but is added by the later chronicler (1 Chron. 
i. 51). This can be explained easily enough from the simple 
fact, that at the time when the table was first drawn up, Hadad 
was still alive and seated upon the throne. In all probability, 
therefore, Hadad was the king of Edom, to whom Moses applied 
for permission to pass through the land (Num. xx. 14 sqq.). 1 At 
any rate the list is evidently a record relating to the Edomitish 
kings of a pre-Mosaic age. But if this is the case, the heading, 
" These are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before 
there reigned any king over the children of Israel," does not refer 
to the time when the monarchy was introduced into Israel under 
Saul, but was written with the promise in mind, that kings 
should come out of the kins of Jacob (xxxv. 11, cf. xvii. 4 sqq.), 
and merely expresses the thought, that Edom became a kingdom 
at an earlier period than Israel. Such a thought was by no 
means inappropriate to the Mosaic age. For the idea, " that 

1 If this be admitted ; then, on the supposition that this list of kings 
contains all the previous kings of Edom, the introduction of monarchy 
among the Edomites can hardly have taken place more than 200 years be- 
fore the exodus ; and, in that case, none of the phylarchs named in vers. 
15-18 can have lived to see its establishment. For the list only reaches to 
the grandsons of Esau, none of whom are likely to have lived more than 
100 or 150 years after Esau's death. It is true we do not know when Esau 
died ; but 413 years elapsed between the death of Jacob and the exodus, 
and Joseph, who was born in the 91st year of Jacob's life, died 54 years 
afterwards, i.e. S59 years before the exodus. But Esau was married in his 
40th year, 87 years before Jacob (xxvi. 84), and had sons and daughters 
before his removal to Seir (ver. 6). Unless, therefore, his sons and grand- 
sons attained a most unusual age, or were married remarkably late in life, 
his grandsons can hardly have outlived Joseph more than 100 years. Now, 
if we fix their death at about 250 years before the exodus of Israel from 
Egypt, there remains from that point to the arrival of the Israelites at the 
land of Edom (Num. xx. 14) a period of 290 years ; amply sufficient for the 
reigns of eight kings, even if the monarchy was not introduced till after the 
death of the last of the phylarchs mentioned in vers. 15-18. 

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Israel was destined to grow into a kingdom with monarchs of 
his own family, was a hope handed down to the age of Moses, 
which the long residence in Egypt was well adapted to foster" 

Vers. 40-43 (parallel, 1 Chron. i. 51-54). Seats op the 


That the names which follow are not a second list of Edomitish 
tribe-princes (viz. of those who continued the ancient constitu- 
tion, with its hereditary aristocracy, after Hadar's death), but 
merely relate to the capital cities of the old phylarchs, is evident 
from the expression in the heading, " After their places, by their 
names" as compared with ver. 43, " According to their habita- 
tions in the land of tlieir possession." This being the substance 
and intention of the list, there is nothing surprising in the fact, 
that out of the eleven names only two correspond to those given 
in vers. 15-19. This proves nothing more than that only two 
of the capitals received their names from the princes who cap- 
tured or founded them, viz. Jimnah and Kenaz. Neither of 
these has been discovered yet. The name Aholibamah is derived 
from the Horite princess (ver. 25) ; its site is unknown. Elali 
is the port Aila (vid. xiv. 6). Pinon is the same as Phunon, an 
encampment of the Israelites (Num. xxxiii. 42-3), celebrated 
for its mines, in which many Christians were condemned to 
labour under Diocletian, between Petra and Zoar, to the north- 
east of Wady Musa. Tetnan is the capital of the land of the 
Temanites (ver. 34). Mibzar is supposed by Knobel to be Petra ; 
but this is called Selah elsewhere (2 Kings xiv. 7). Magdiel and 
lram cannot be identified. The concluding sentence, " This is 
Esau, the father (founder) of Edom" (i.e. from him sprang the 
great nation of the Edomites, with its princes and kings, upon 
the mountains of Seir), not only terminates this section, but 
prepares the way for the history of Jacob, which commences 
with the following chapter. 

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chap, xxxm-u 329 


Chap. xxxvii.-l. 

its substance and character. 

The history (tholedotli) of Isaac commenced with the found- 
ing of his house by the birth of his sons (p. 266) ; but Jacob 
was abroad when his sons were born, and had not yet entered 
into undisputed possession of his inheritance. Hence his tho- 
Udoth only commence with his return to his father's tent and 
his entrance upon the family possessions, and merely embrace 
the history of his life as patriarch of the house which he founded. 
In this period of his life, indeed, his sons, especially Joseph and 
Judah, stand in the foreground, so that " Joseph might be de- 
scribed as the moving principle of the following history." But 
for all that, Jacob remains the head of the house, and the centre 
around whom the whole revolves. This section is divided by 
the removal of Jacob to Egypt, into the period of his residence in 
Canaan (chap, xxxvii.-xlv.), and the close of his life in Goshen 
(chap. xlvi.-L). The first period is occupied with the events 
which prepared the way for, and eventually occasioned, his mi- 
gration into Egypt. The way was prepared, directly by the sale 
of Joseph (chap, xxxvii.), indirectly by the alliance of Judah with 
the Canaanites (chap, xxxviii.), which endangered the divine 
call of Israel, inasmuch as this showed the necessity for a tem- 
porary removal of the sons of Israel from Canaan. The way 
was opened by the wonderful career of Joseph in Egypt, his 
elevation from slavery and imprisonment to be the ruler over 
the whole of Egypt (xxxix.-xli.). And lastly, the migration was 
occasioned by the famine in Canaan, which rendered it necessary 
for Jacob's sons to travel into Egypt to buy corn, and, whilst it 
led to Jacob's recovery of the son he had mourned for as dead, 
furnished an opportunity for Joseph to welcome his family into 
Egypt (chap, xlii.-xlv.). The second period commences with 
the migration of Jacob into Egypt, and his settlement in the 
land of Goshen (chap, xlvi.-xlvii. 27). It embraces the patri- 
arch's closing years, his last instructions respecting his burial in 
Canaan (chap, xlvii. 28-31), his adoption of Joseph's sons, and 

pent. — VOL. I. T 

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the blessing given to his twelve sons (chap, xlix.), and extends 
to his burial and Joseph's death (chap. 1.). 

Now if we compare this period of the patriarchal history with 
the previous ones, viz. those of Isaac and Abraham, it differs 
from them most in the absence of divine revelations — in the fact, 
that from the time of the patriarch's entrance upon the family 
inheritance to the day of his death, there was only one other 
occasion on which God appeared to him in a dream, vie. in Beer- 
sheba, on the border of the promised land, when he had prepared 
to go with his whole house into Egypt: the God of his father 
then promised him the increase of his seed in Egypt into a great 
nation, and their return to Canaan (xlvi. 2-4). This fact may 
be, easily explained on the ground, that the end of the divine 
manifestations had been already attained ; that in Jacob's house 
with his twelve sons the foundation was laid for the development 
of the promised nation ; and that the time had come, in which 
the chosen family was to grow into a nation, — a process for which 
they needed, indeed, the blessing and protection of God, but no 
special revelations, so long at least as this growth into a nation 
took its natural course. That course was not interrupted, but 
rather facilitated by the removal into Egypt. But as Canaan 
had been assigned to the patriarchs as the land of their pilgrim- 
age, and promised to their seed for a possession after it had 
become a nation ; when Jacob was compelled to leave this land, 
his faith in the promise of God might have been shaken, if God 
had not appeared to him as he departed, to promise him His pro- 
tection in the foreign land, and assure him of the fulfilment of 
His promises. More than this the house of Israel did not need to 
know, as to the way by which God would lead them, especially as 
Abraham had already received a revelation 'from the Lord (xv. 

In perfect harmony with the character of the time thus com- 
mencing for Jacob-Israel, is the use of the names of God in 
this last section of Genesis : viz. the fact, that whilst in chap, 
xxxvii. (the sale of Joseph) the name of God is not met with at 
all, in chap, xxxviii. and xxxix. we find the name of Jehovah 
nine times and Elohim only once (xxxix. 9), and that in circum- 
stances in which JeJwvah would have been inadmissible ; and 
after chap. xl. 1, the name Jehovah almost entirely disappears, 
occurring only once in chap. xl.-L (chap. xlix. 18, where Jacob 

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uses it), whereas Ehhim is used eighteen times and Ha-Elohim 
seven, not to mention sach expressions as "your God" (xliii. 
23), or " the God of his, or your father" (xlvi. 1, 3). So long 
as the attention is confined to this numerical proportion of 
Jehovah, and Elohim or Ha-Elohim, it must remain " a difficult 
enigma." But when we look at the way in which these names 
are employed, we find the actual fact to he, that in chap, xxxviii. 
and xxxix. the writer mentions God nine times, and calls Him 
Jehovah, and that in chap, xl.-l. he only mentions God twice, 
and then calls Him Elohim (xlvi. 1, 2), although the God of 
salvation, i.e. Jehovah, is intended. In every other instance in 
which God is referred to in chap. xl.-l., it is always hy the per- 
sons concerned : either Pharaoh (xli. 38, 39), or Joseph and his 
brethren (xl. 8, xli. 16, 51, 52, etc., Elohim; and xli. 25, 28, 
32, etc., Ha-Elohim), or by Jacob (xlviii. 11, 20, 21, Elohim). 
Now the circumstance that the historian speaks of God nine 
times in chap, xxxviii. xxxix. and only twice in chap. xl.-l. is 
explained by the substance of the history, which furnished no 
particular occasion for this in the last eleven chapters. But the 
reason why he does not name Jehovah in chap, xl.-l. as in chap, 
xxxviii.-xxxix., but speaks of the " God of his (Jacob's) father 
Isaac," in chap. xlvi. 1, and directly afterwards of Elohim (ver. 
2), could hardly be that the periphrasis "the God of his father" 
seemed more appropriate than the simple name Jehovah, since 
Jacob offered sacrifice at Beersheba to the God who appeared to 
his father, and to whom Isaac built an altar there, and this God 
(Elohim) then appeared to him in a dream and renewed the pro- 
mise of his fathers. As the historian uses a periphrasis of the 
name Jehovah, to point out the internal connection between what 
Jacob did and experienced at Beersheba and what his father ex- 
perienced there ; so Jacob also, both in the blessing with which 
he sends his sons the second time to Egypt (xliii. 14) and at the 
adoption of Joseph's sons (xlviii. 3), uses the name El Shaddai, 
and in his blessings on Joseph's sons (xlviii. 15) and on Joseph 
himself (xlix. 24, 25) employs rhetorical periphrases for the name 
Jehovah, because Jehovah had manifested Himself not only to 
him (xxxv. 11, 12), but also to his fathers Abraham and Isaac 
(xvii. 1 and xxviii. 3) as El Shaddai, and had proved Himself 
to be the Almighty, f* the God who fed him," " the Mighty One 
of Jacob," " the Shepherd and Bock of Israel." In these set 

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discourses the titles of God here mentioned were unquestionably 
more significant and impressive than the simple name Jehovali. 
And when Jacob speaks of Elohim only, not of Jehovah, in chap, 
xlviii. 11, 20, 21, the Elohim in vers. 11 and 21 may be easily 
explained from the antithesis of Jacob to both man and God, 
and in ver. 20 from the words themselves, which contain a com- 
mon and, so to speak, a stereotyped saying. Wherever the 
thought required the name Jehovah as the only appropriate one, 
there Jacob used this name, as chap. xlix. 18 will prove. But 
that name would have been quite unsuitable in the mouth of 
Pharaoh in chap. xli. 38, 39, in the address of Joseph to the 
prisoners (xl. 8) and to Pharaoh (xli. 16, 25, 28, 32), and in his 
conversation with his brethren before he made himself known 
(xlii. 18, xliii. 29), and also in the appeal of Judah to Joseph as 
an unknown Egyptian officer of state (xliv. 16). In the mean- 
time the brethren of Joseph also speak to one another of Elohim 
(xlii. 28) ; and Joseph not only sees in the birth of his sons merely 
a gift of Elohim (xli. 51, 52, xlviii. 9), but in the solemn mo- 
ment in which he makes himself known to his brethren (xlv. 5-9) 
he speaks of Elohim alone : " Elohim did send me before you 
to preserve life " (ver. 5) ; and even upon his death-bed he says, 
" I die, and Elohim will surely visit you and bring you out of 
this land" (1. 24, 25). But the reason of this is not difficult to 
discover, and is no other than the following : Joseph, like his 
brethren, did not clearly discern the ways of the Lord in the 
wonderful changes of his life ; and his brethren, though they 
felt that the trouble into which they were brought before the 
unknown ruler of Egypt was a just punishment from God for 
their crime against Joseph, did not perceive that by the sale of 
their brother they had sinned not only against Elohim (God the 
Creator and Judge of men), but against Jehovah the covenant 
God of their father. They had not only sold their brother, but 
in their brother they had cast out a member of the seed promised 
and given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, from the fellowship of 
the chosen family, and sinned against the God of salvation and 
His promises. But this aspect of their crime was still hidden 
from them, so that they could not speak of Jehovah. In the 
same way, Joseph regarded the wonderful course of his life as a 
divine arrangement for the preservation or rescue of his family , 
and he was so far acquainted with the promises of God, that he 

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CHAP. XXXVH.-L. 333 

regarded it as a certainty, that Israel would be led out of Egypt, 
especially after the last wish expressed by Jacob. But this did 
not involve so full and clear an insight into the ways of Jehovah, 
as to lead Joseph to recognise in his own career a special appoint- 
ment of the covenant God, and to describe it as a gracious work 
of Jehovah. 1 

The disappearance of the name Jehovah, therefore, is to be 
explained, partly from the fact that previous revelations and 
acts of grace had given rise to other phrases expressive of the 
idea of Jehovah, which not only served as substitutes for this 
name of the covenant God, but in certain circumstances were 
much more appropriate ; and partly from the fact that the sons 
of Jacob, including Joseph, did not so distinctly recognise in 
their course the saving guidance of the covenant God, as to be 
able to describe it as the work of JehovaJt. This imperfect in- 
sight, however, is intimately connected with the fact that the 
direct revelations of God had ceased ; and that Joseph, although 
chosen by God to be the preserver of the house of Israel and 
the instrument in accomplishing His plans of salvation, was 
separated at a very early period from the fellowship of his 
father's house, and formally naturalized in Egypt, and though 
endowed with the supernatural power to interpret dreams, was 
not favoured, as Daniel afterwards was in the Chaldaean court, 
with visions or revelations of God. Consequently we cannot 
place Joseph on a level with the three patriarchs, nor assent to 
the statement, that " as the noblest blossom of the patriarchal 
life is seen in Joseph, as in him the whole meaning of the 
patriarchal life is summed up and fulfilled, so in Christ we see 
the perfect blossom and sole fulfilment of the whole of the Old 
Testament dispensation" {Kurtz, Old Covenant ii. 95), as being 

1 The very fact that the author of Genesis, who wrote in the light of the 
further development and fuller revelation of the ways of the Lord with 
Joseph and the whole house of Jacob, represents the career of Joseph as a 
gracious interposition of Jehovah (chap, xxxix.), and yet makes Joseph him- 
self speak of Elohim as arranging the whole, is by no means an unimpor- 
tant testimony to the historical fidelity and truth of the narrative ; of which 
farther proofs are to be found in the faithful and exact representation of 
the circumstances, manners, and customs of Egypt, as Hengstenberg has 
proved in bis Egypt and the Books of Moses, from a comparison of these 
accounts of Joseph's life with ancient documents and monuments connected 
with this land. 

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either correct or scriptural, so far as the first portion is concerned. 
For Joseph was not a medium of salvation in the same way as 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was indeed a benefactor, not 
only to his brethren and the whole house of Israel, but also to 
the Egyptians ; but salvation, i.e. spiritual help and culture, he 
neither brought to the Gentiles nor to the house of Israel. In 
Jacob's blessing he is endowed with the richest inheritance of 
the first-born in earthly things ; but salvation is to reach the 
nations through Judah. We may therefore without hesitation 
look upon the history of Joseph as a" type of the pathway of 
the Church, not of Jehovah only, but also of Christ, from low- 
liness to exaltation, from slavery to liberty, from suffering to 
glory" (Delitzsch) ; we may also, so far as the history of Israel 
is a type of the history of Christ and His Church, regard the 
life of Joseph, as believing commentators of all centuries have 
done, as a type of the life of Christ, and use these typical traits 
as aids to progress in the knowledge of salvation ; but that we 
may not be seduced into typological trifling, we must not over- 
look the fact, that neither Joseph nor his career is represented, 
either by the prophets or by Christ and His apostles, as typical 
of Christ, — in anything like the same way, for example, as the 
guidance of Israel into and out of Egypt (Hos. xi. 1 cf. Matt. ii. 
15), and other events and persons in the history of Israel. 


Vers. 1-4. The statement in ver. 1, which introduces the 
tholedoth of Jacob, " And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father s 
pilgrimage, in the land of Canaan," implies that Jacob had now 
entered upon his father's inheritance, and carries on the patri- 
archal pilgrim-life in Canaan, the further development of which 
was determined by the wonderful career of Joseph. This strange 
and eventful career of Joseph commenced when he was 17 years 
old. The notice of his age at the commencement of the narra- 
tive which follows, is introduced with reference to the principal 
topic in it, viz. the sale of Joseph, which was to prepare the way, 
according to the wonderful counsel of God, for the fulfilment 
of the divine revelation to Abraham respecting the future his- 
tory of his seed (xv. 13 sqq.). While feeding the flock with his 
brethren, and, as he was young, with the sons of Bilhah and 

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CHAP. XXXVII. 6-11. 335 

Zilpab, who were nearer his age than the sons of Leah, he 
brought an evil report of them to his father (fijn intentionally 
indefinite, connected with DT£ft without an article). The words 
">J0 wrn, « and he a lad," are subordinate to the main clause : 
they are not to be rendered, however, " he was a lad with the 
sons," but, " as he was young, he fed the flock with the sons of 
Bilhah and Zilpab." — Ver. 3. "Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph 
more than all his (other) sons, because he was born in his old age" 
as the first-fruits of the beloved Rachel (Benjamin was hardly 
a year old at this time). And lie made him &'BB runs : a long 
coat with sleeves (%iTdh> atrrpayaKeios, Aqu., or ooTywyaXwro?, 
LXX. at 2 Sam. xiii. 18, tunica talaris, Vulg. ad Sam.), i.e. an 
upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as noblemen 
and kings' daughters wore, not " a coat of many colours" (" blot- 
ter Rock," as Lutlier renders it, from the ^irtova iroucCXov, tuni- 
cam polymitam, of the LXX. and Vulgate). This partiality 
made Joseph hated by his brethren ; so that they could not 
" speak peaceably unto him," i.e. ask him how he was, offer him 
the usual salutation, " Peace be with thee." 

Vers. 5-11. This hatred was increased when Joseph told 
them of two dreams that he had had : viz. that as they were 
binding sheaves in the field, his sheaf "stood and remained 
standing," but their sheaves placed themselves round it and 
bowed down to it ; and that the sun (his father), and the moon 
(his mother, "not Leah, but Bachel, who was neither forgotten 
nor lost"), and eleven stars (his eleven brethren) bowed down 
before him. These dreams pointed in an unmistakeable way to 
the supremacy of Joseph ; the first to supremacy over his bre- 
thren, the second over the whole house of Israel. The repe- 
tition seemed to establish the thing as certain (cf. xlL 32); so 
that not only did his brethren hate him still more " on account 
of his dreams and words" (ver. 8), t.6. the substance of the 
dreams and the open interpretation of them, and become jealous 
and envious, but his father gave him a sharp reproof for the 
second, though he preserved the matter, i.e. retained it in his 
memory (">DB> LXX. ^lerriprjae, cf. crwerqpei, Luke ii. 19). The 
brothers with their ill-will could not see anything in the dreams 
but the suggestions of his own ambition and pride of heart ; and 
even the father, notwithstanding his partiality, was grieved by 
the second dream. The dreams are not represented as divine 

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revelations ; yet they are not to be regarded as pare flights of 
fancy from an ambitious heart, but as the presentiments of deep 
inward feelings, which were not produced without some divine 
influence being exerted upon Joseph's mind, and therefore were of 
prophetic significance, though they were not inspired directly by 
God, inasmuch as the purposes of God were still to remain hidden 
from the eyes of men for the saving good of all concerned. 

Vers. 12-24. In a short time the hatred of Joseph's brethren 
grew into a crime. On one occasion, when they were feeding 
their flock at a distance from Hebron, in the neighbourhood 
of Shechem (Nablus, in the plain of Mukhnah), and Joseph 
who was sent thither by Jacob to inquire as to the welfare 
(ahalom, valetudo) of the brethren and their flocks, followed them 
to Doihain or Doilian, a place 12 Roman miles to the north of 
Samaria (Sebaste), towards the plain of Jezreel, they formed the 
malicious resolution to put him, " this dreamer," to death, and 
throw him into one of the pits, i.e. cisterns, and then to tell (his 
father) that a wild beast had slain him, and so to bring his 
dreams to nought. — Vers. 21 sqq. Reuben, who was the eldest 
son, and therefore specially responsible for his younger brother, 
opposed this murderous proposal. He dissuaded his brethren 
from killing Joseph (B>M 'd nan), and advised them to throw him 
" into this pit in the desert" i.e. into a dry pit that was near. 
As Joseph would inevitably perish even in that pit, their malice 
was satisfied ; but Reuben intended to take Joseph out again, 
and restore him to his father. As soon, therefore, as Joseph 
arrived, they took off his coat with sleeves and threw him into 
the pit, which happened to be dry. 

Vers. 25-36. Reuben had saved Joseph's life indeed by his 
proposal ; but his intention to send hi'ji back to his father was 
frustrated. For as soon as the brethren sat down to eat, after 
the deed was performed, they saw a company of Ishmaelites 
from Gilead coming along the road which leads from Beisan 
past Jenin (Rob. Pal. iii. 155) and through the plain of Dothan 
to the great caravan road that runs from Damascus by Lcjun 
(Legio, Megiddo), Ramleh, and Gaza to Egypt (Rob. iii. 27, 
178). The caravan drew near, laden with spices : viz. nttoJ, 
gum-tragacanth ; '"iV, balsam, for which Gilead was celebrated 
(xliii. 11 ; Jer. viii. 22, xlvi. 11) ; and D*>, ladanum, the fragrant 
resin of the cistus-rose. Judah seized the opportunity to pro- 

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CHAP. XXXVII. 26-86. 337 

pose to bis brethren to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. " What 
'profit have we," he said, " that we slay our brother and conceal hie 
blood ? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites ; and our hand, 
let it not lay hold of him («c. to slay him), for he is our brother, 
our flesh" Reuben wished to deliver Joseph entirely from his 
brothers' malice. Judah also wished to save his life, though not 
from brotherly love so much as from the feeling of horror, 
which was not quite extinct within him, at incurring the guilt of 
fratricide ; but he would still like to get rid of him, that his 
dreams might not come true. Jndah, like his brethren, was 
probably afraid that their father might confer upon Joseph the 
rights of the first-born, and so make him lord over them. His 
proposal was a welcome one. When the Arabs passed by, the 
brethren fetched Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ish- 
maelites, who took him into Egypt. The different names given 
to the traders — viz. Ishmaelites (vers. 25, 27, and 286), Midianites 
(ver. 28a), and Medanites (ver. 36)— do not show that the account 
has been drawn from different legends, but that these tribes 
were often confounded, from the fact that they resembled one 
another so closely, not only in their common descent from Abra- 
ham (xvi. 15 and xxv. 2), but also in the similarity of their mode 
of life and their constant change of abode, that strangers could 
hardly distinguish them, especially when they appeared not as 
tribes but as Arabian merchants, such as they are here described 
as being : " Midianitish men, merchant*." That descendants of 
Abraham should already be met with in this capacity is by no 
means strange, if we consider that 150 years had passed by since 
Ishmael's dismissal from his father's house, — a period amply suffi- 
cient for his descendants to have grown through marriage into 
a respectable tribe. The price, " twenty («c. shekels) of silver," 
was the price which Moses afterwards fixed as the value of a 
boy between 5 and 20 (Lev. xxvii. 5), the average price of a 
slave being 30 shekels (Ex. xxi. 32). But the Ishmaelites 
naturally wanted to make money by the transaction. — Vers. 29 
sqq. The business was settled in Reuben's absence; probably 
because his brethren suspected that he intended to rescue Joseph. 
When he came to the pit and found Joseph gone, he rent his 
clothes (a sign of intense grief on the part of the natural man) 
and exclaimed : " The boy is no more, and I, whither shall lgo!" 
— how shall I account to his father for his disappearance ! But 

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the brothers were at no loss ; they dipped Joseph's coat in the 
blood of a goat and sent it to his father, with the message, " We 
have found this ; see whether it is thy son's coat or not." Jacob 
recognised the coat at once, and mourned bitterly in mourning 
clothes (pi?) for his son, whom he supposed to have been de- 
voured and destroyed by a wild beast ("fib fiB inf. abs. of Kal 
before Pual, as an indication of undoubted certainty), and re- 
fused all comfort from his children, saying, "No ('3 immo, 
elliptical : Do not attempt to comfort me, for) J will go down, 
mourning into Sheol to my son." Sheol denotes the place where 
departed souls are gathered after death ; it is an infinitive form 
from -'KB' to demand, the demanding, applied to the place which 
inexorably summons all men into its shade (cf. Prov. xxx. 15, 
16 ; Isa. v. 14 ; Hab. ii. 5). How should his sons comfort him, 
when they were obliged to cover their wickedness with the sin of 
lying and hypocrisy, and when even Reuben, although at first 
beside himself at the failure of his plan, had not courage enough 
to disclose his brothers' crime ? — Ver. 36. But Joseph, while his 
father was mourning, was sold by the Midianites to Potiphar, 
the chief of Pharaoh's trabantes, to be first of all brought low, 
according to the wonderful counsel of God, and then to be 
exalted as ruler in Egypt, before whom his brethren would bow 
down, and as the saviour of the house of Israel. The name 
Potipliar is a contraction of Poti Pherdh (xli. 50) ; the LXX. 
render both Here^prp or Herefypfj (vid. xli. 50). D*"i0 (eunuch) 
is used here, as in 1 Sam. viii. 15 and in most of the passages of 
the Old Testament, for courtier or chamberlain, without regard 
to the primary meaning, as Potiphar was married. " Captain of 
the guard" (to. captain of the slaughterers, i.e. the executioners), 
commanding officer of the royal body-guard, who executed the 
capital sentences ordered by the king, as was also the case with 
the Chaldeans (2 Kings xxv. 8 ; Jer. xxxix. 9, lii. 12. See my 
Commentary on the Books of Kings, vol. i. pp. 35, 36, Eng. Tr.). 

judah's marriage and children, his incest with 
thamar. — chap. xxxviii. 

The following sketch from the life of Judah is intended to 
point out the origin of the three leading families of the future 
princely tribe in Israel, and at the same time to show in what 

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CHAP. XXXVIII. 1-11. 839 

danger the sons of Jacob would have been of forgetting the 
sacred vocation of their race, through marriages with Canaan- 
itish women, and of perishing in the sin of Canaan, if the mercy 
of God had not interposed, and by leading Joseph into Egypt 
prepared the way for the removal of the whole house of Jacob 
into that land, and thus protected the family, just as it was ex- 
panding into a nation, from the corrupting influence of the 
manners and customs of Canaan. This being the intention of 
the narrative, it is no episode or interpolation, but an integral 
part of the early history of Israel, which is woven here into the 
history of Jacob, because the events occurred subsequently to 
the sale of Joseph. 

Vers. 1-11. About this time, i.e. after the sale of Joseph, 
while still feeding the flocks of Jacob along with his brethren 
(xxxvii. 26), 1 Judah separated from them, and went down (from 
Hebron, xxxvii. 14, or the mountains) to Adullam, in the low- 
land (Josh. xv. 35), into the neighbourhood of a man named 
Hirah. u He pitched (his tent, xxvi. 25) up to a man of Adul- 
lam," i.e. in his neighbourhood, so as to enter into friendly inter- 
course with him. — Vers. 2 sqq. There Judah married the daugh- 
ter of Shuah, a Canaanite, and had three sons by her : Ger (IP), 
Onan, and Shelah. The name of the place is mentioned when 
the last is born, viz. Chezifo or Achzib (Josh. xv. 44 ; Micah i. 14), 

1 As the expression " at that time" does not compel us to place Judah 'g 
marriage after the sale of Joseph, many have followed Augustine (quant. 123), 
and placed it some years earlier. But this assumption is rendered extremely 
improbable, if not impossible, by the fact that Judah was not merely acci- 
dentally present when Joseph was sold, but was evidently living with his 
brethren, and had not yet set up an establishment of his own ; whereas he 
had settled at Adullam previous to his marriage, and seems to have lived 
there up to the time of the birth of the twins by Thamar. Moreover, the 
28 years which intervened between the taking of Joseph into Egypt and the 
migration of Jacob thither, furnish space enough for all the events recorded 
in this chapter. If we suppose that Judah, who was 20 years old when 
Joseph was sold, went to Adullam soon afterwards and married there, his 
three sons might have been born four or five years after Joseph's captivity. 
And if his eldest son was born about a year and a half after the sale of 
Joseph, and he married him to Thamar when he was 15 years old, and gave 
her to his second son a year after that, (man's death would occur at least 
five years before Jacob's removal to Egypt ; time enough, therefore, both for 
the generation and birth of the twin-sons of Judah by Thamar, and for 
Judah's two journeys into Egypt with his brethren to buy corn. (See chap. 
xlvi. 8 sqq.) 

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in the southern portion of the lowland of Judah, that the de- 
scendants of Shelah might know the birth-place of their ancestor. 
This was unnecessary in the case of the others, who died child- 
less. — Vers. 6 sqq. When Ger was grown np, according to ancient 
custom (cf. xxi. 21, xxxiv. 4) his father gave him a wife, named 
Thamar, probably a Canaanite, of unknown parentage. But 
Ger was soon put to death by Jehovah on account of his wicked- 
ness. Judah then wished Onan, as the brother-in-law, to marry 
the childless widow of his deceased brother, and raise up seed, 
i.e. a family, for him. But as he knew that the first-born son 
would not be the founder of his own family, but would perpe- 
tuate the family of the deceased and receive his inheritance, he 
prevented conception when consummating the marriage by spill- 
ing the semen. nyiK fire*, " destroyed to the ground (i.e. let it 
fall upon the ground), so as not to give seed to his brother 
(jro for nn only here and Num. xx. 21). This act not only be- 
trayed a want of affection to his brother, combined with a despi- 
cable covetousness for his possession and inheritance, but was 
also a sin against the divine institution of marriage and its object, 
and was therefore punished by Jehovah with sudden death. 
The custom of levirate marriage, which is first mentioned here, 
and is found in different forms among Indians, Persians, and 
other nations of Asia and Africa, was not founded upon a divine 
command, but upon an ancient tradition, originating probably 
in Chaldea. It was not abolished, however, by the Mosaic law 
(Deut. xxv. 5 sqq.), but only so far restricted as not to allow it to 
interfere with the sanctity of marriage ; and with this limitation 
it was enjoined as a duty of affection to build up the brother's 
house, and to preserve his family and name (see my Bibl. Archa- 
ologie, § 108). — Ver. 1 1. The sudden death of his two sons so 
soon after their marriage with Thamar made Judah hesitate to 
give her the third as a husband also, thinking, very likely, accord- 
ing to a superstition which we find in Tobit iii. 7 sqq., that either 
she herself, or marriage with her, had been the cause of her hus- 
bands' deaths. He therefore sent her away to her father's house, 
with the promise that he would give her his youngest son as soon 
as he had grown up ; though he never intended it seriously, "for 
he thought lest (IB *U?K, i.e. he was afraid that) he also might die 
like his brethren" 

Vers. 12-30. But when Thamar, after waiting a long time, 

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CHAP. XXXVIH. 12-30. 341 

saw that Shelah had grown up and yet was not (riven to her as 
a husband, she determined to procure children from Judah 
himself, who had become a widower in the meantime ; and his 
going to Timnath to the sheep-shearing afforded her a good 
opportunity. The time mentioned (" the days multiplied," i.e. 
a long time passed by) refers not to the statement which follows, 
that Judah's wife died, but rather to the leading thought of the 
verse, viz. Judah's going to the sheep-shearing, onsn: he 
comforted himself, i.e. he ceased to mourn. Timnath is not the 
border town of Dan and Judah between Beth-shemesh and 
Ekron in the plain (Josh. xv. 10, xix. 43), but Ttmnah on the 
mountains of Judah (Josh. xv. 57, cf. Rob. Pal. ii. 343, note), 
as the expression " went up " shows. The sheep-shearing was a 
fete with shepherds, and was kept with great feasting. Judah 
therefore took his friend Hirah with him; a fact noticed in 
ver. 12 in relation to what follows. — Vers. 13, 14. As soon as 
Thamar heard of Judah's going to this feast, she took off her 
widow's clothes, put on a veil, and sat down, disguised as a 
harlot, by the gate of Enayim, where Judah would be sure to 
pass on his return from Timnath. Enayim was no doubt the 
same as Enam in the lowland of Judah (Josh. xv. 34). — Vers. 
15 sqq. When Judah saw her here and took her for a harlot, 
he made her an offer, and gave her his signet-ring, with the 
band (^1B) by which it was hung round his neck, and his staff, 
as a pledge of the young buck-goat which he offered her. They 
were botb objects of value, and were regarded as ornaments in 
the East, as Herodotus (i. 195) has shown with regard to the 
Babylonians (see my Bibl. Arch. 2, 48). He then lay with her, 
and she became pregnant by him. — Vers. 19 sqq. After this 
had occurred, Thamar laid aside her veil, put on her widow's 
dress again, and returned home. When Judah, therefore, sent 
the kid by his friend Hirah to the supposed harlot for the 
purpose of redeeming his pledges, he could not find her, and 
was told, on inquiring of the inhabitants of Enayim, that there 
was no neh£ there, neh^n : lit. " the consecrated," i.e. the 
hierodule, a woman sacred to Astarte, a goddess of the Canaan- 
ites, the deification of the generative and productive principle of 
nature ; one who served this goddess by prostitution (vid. Deut. 
xxiii. 18). This was no doubt regarded as the most respectable de- 
signation for public prostitutes in Canaan. — Vers. 22, 23. When 

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his friend returned with the kid and reported his want of success, 
Judah resolved to leave his pledges with the girl, that he might 
not expose himself to the ridicule of the people by any further 
inquiries, since he had done his part towards keeping his promise. 
" Let her take them (i.e. keep the signet-ring and staff) for her- 
self, that we may not become a (an object of) ridicule" The 
pledges were unquestionably of more value than a young he- 

Vers. 24-26. About three months afterwards (b6e>d prob. 
for vfafo with the prefix D) Judah was informed that Thamar 
had played the harlot and was certainly (nw) with child. He 
immediately ordered, by virtue of his authority as head of the 
tribe, that she should be brought out and burned. Thamar was 
regarded as the affianced bride of Shelah, and was to be punished 
as a bride convicted of a breach of chastity. But the Mosaic 
law enjoined stoning in the case of those who were affianced 
and broke their promise, or of newly married women who were 
found to have been dishonoured (Deut. xxii. 20, 21, 23, 24) ; 
and it was only in the case of the whoredom of a priest's 
daughter, or of carnal intercourse with a mother or a daughter, 
that the punishment of burning was enjoined (Lev. xxi. 9 and 
xx. 14). Judah' s sentence, therefore, was more harsh than the 
subsequent law ; whether according to patriarchal custom, or 
on other grounds, cannot be determined. When Thamar was 
brought out, she sent to Judah the things which she had kept 
as a pledge, with this message : " By a man to whom these belong 
am I with child : look carefully therefore to whom this signet-ring, 
and band, and stick belong." Judah recognised the things as 
his own, and was obliged to confess, " She is more in the riglvt. 
than I; for tlterefore (sc. that this might happen to me, or that 
it might turn out so ; on 13^JP? see chap, xviii. 5) have I not 
given her to my son Shelah." In passing sentence upon Thamar, 
Judah had condemned himself. His sin, however, did not con- 
sist merely in his having given way to his lusts so far as to lie 
with a supposed public prostitute of Canaan, but still more in 
the fact, that by breaking his promise to give her his son Shelah 
as her husband, he had caused his daughter-in-law to practise 
this deception upon him, just because in his heart he blamed 
her for the early and sudden deaths of his elder sons, whereas 
the real cause of the deaths which had so grieved his paternal 

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CHAP. XXXVIII. 37-80. 343 

heart was the wickedness of the sons themselves, the main- 
spring of which was to be found in his own marriage with a 
Canaanite in violation of the patriarchal call. And even if the 
sons of Jacob were not unconditionally prohibited from marry- 
ing the daughters of Canaanites, Judah's marriage at any rate 
had borne such fruit in his sons Ger and Onan, as Jehovah the 
covenant God was compelled to reject. But if Judab, instead 
of recognising the hand of the Lord in the sudden death of his 
sons, traced the cause to Thamar, and determined to keep her 
as a childless widow all her life long, not only in opposition to 
the traditional custom, but also in opposition to the will of God 
as expressed in His promises of a numerous increase of the seed 
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; Thamar had by no means acted 
rightly in the stratagem by which she frustrated his plan, and 
sought to procure from Judah himself the seed of which he was 
unjustly depriving her, though her. act might be less criminal 
than Judah's. For it is evident from the whole account, that 
she was not driven to her sin by lust, but by the innate desire 
for children (or* 8k wat&Wo&a? %a/w, /cat ov <f>i\i)Sov(a<; rovro 
6 O a. fiap ifwfxavqaaTo, — Theodoret); and for that reason she 
was more in the right than Judah. Judah himself, however, 
not only saw his guilt, but he confessed it also ; and showed both 
by this confession, and also by the fact that he had no further 
conjugal intercourse with Thamar, an earnest endeavour to 
conquer the lusts of the flesh, and to guard against the sin into 
which he had fallen. And because he thus humbled himself, 
God gave him grace, and not only exalted him to be the chief 
of the house of Israel, but blessed the children that were be- 
gotten in sin. 

Vers. 27-30. Thamar brought forth twins ; and a circum- 
stance occurred at the birth, which does occasionally happen 
when the children he in an abnormal position, and always im- 
pedes the delivery, and which was regarded in this instance as 
so significant that the names of the children were founded upon 
the fact. At the birth T^H " there was a hand" i.e. a hand 
came out (t>|P as in Job xxxvh. 10, Frov. xiii. 10), round which 
the midwife tied a scarlet thread, to mark this as the first-born. 
— Ver. 29. " And it came to pass, when it (the child) drew back 
its hand (^B^OS for ^Eb n^ns as in chap. xl. 10), behold its 
brother came out. Then she (the midwife) said, What a breach 

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hast thou made for thy part? Upon thee the breach;" i.e. thou 
bearest the blame of the breach. p.B signifies not rupturam 
perinoei, but breaking through by pressing forward. From that 
he received the name of Perez (breach, breaker through). Then 
the other one with the scarlet thread came into the world, and 
was named ZeraJt (rnt exit, rising), because he sought to appear 
first, whereas in fact Perez was the first-born, and is even placed 
before Zerah in the lists in chap. xlvi. 12, Num. xxvi. 20. 
Perez was the ancestor of the tribe-prince Nahshon (Num. ii. 
3), and of king David also (Ruth iv. 18 sqq. ; 1 Chron. ii. 5 
sqq.). Through him, therefore, Thamar has a place as one of 
the female ancestors in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. 


Vers. 1-18. In Potiphae's house. — Potiphar had bought 
him of the Ishmaelites, as is repeated in ver. 1 for the purpose 
of resuming the thread of the narrative ; and Jehovah was 
with him, so that he prospered in the house of his Egyptian 
master, n TV? VPK : a man who has prosperity, to whom God 
causes all that he undertakes and does to prosper. When 
Potiphar perceived this, Joseph found favour in his eyes, and 
became his servant, whom he placed over his house (made 
manager of his household affairs), and to whom he entrusted 
all his property (bmrbs ver. 4=WT^ W'k vers. 5, 6). This 
confidence in Joseph increased, when he perceived how the 
blessing of Jehovah (Joseph's God) rested upon his property 
in the house and in the field; so that now "he left to Joseph 
everything tJuxt lie liad, and did not trouble himself frlK (with or 
near him) about anything but his own eating" — Vers. 6b sqq. 
Joseph was handsome in form and feature; and Potiphar's 
wife set her eyes upon the handsome young man, and tried 
to persuade him to lie with her. But Joseph resisted the adul- 
terous proposal, referring to the unlimited confidence which 
his master had placed in him. He (Potiphar) was not greater 
in that house than he, and had given everything over to 
him except her, because she was his wife. " How could he so 
abuse this confidence, as to do this great wickedness and sin 
against God !" — Vers. 10 sqq. But after she had repeated her 
enticements day after day without success, " it came to pass at 

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CHAP. XXXIX. 19-23. 345 

that time (n»n Di»ii3 for the more usual njn oi»3 (chap. 1. 20), lit. 
about this day, i.e. the day in the writer's mind, on which the 
thing to be narrated occurred) that Joseph came into hie house to 
attend to his duties, and iliere were none of the house-servants 
within? And she laid hold of him by his garment and entreated 
him to lie with her ; but he left his garment in her hand and 
fled from the house. — Vers. 13-18. When this daring assault 
upon Joseph's chastity had failed, on account of his faithfulness 
and fear of God, the adulterous woman reversed the whole affair, 
and charged him with an attack upon her modesty, in order that 
she might have her revenge upon him and avert suspicion from 
herself. She called her house-servants and said, " See, he (her 
husband, whom she does not think worth naming) has brought 
us a. Hebrew man ("no epiiheton ornans to Egyptian ears: xliii. 
32") to mock us (pnv to show his wantonness; us, the wife and 
servants, especially the female portion) : he came in unto me to 
lie with me ; and I cried with a loud voice . . . and he left his 
garment by me." She said v¥K "by my side," not "in my 
hand," as that would have shown the true state of the case. 
She then left the garment lying by her side till the return of 
Joseph's master, to whom she repeated her tale. 

Vers. 19-23. Joseph in prison. — Potiphar was enraged 
at what he heard, and put Joseph into the prison where (i^K 
for DC> "IB>K, xl. 3 like xxxv. 13) the king's prisoners (state- 
prisoners) were confined, irien JV3 : lit. the house of enclosure, 
from nriD, to surround or enclose (o^v/xo/to, LXX.) ; the state- 
prison surrounded by a wall. This was a very moderate pun- 
ishment. For according to Diod. Sic. (i. 78) the laws of the 
Egyptians were triKpol irepl t&v ywacK&v vo/jloi. An attempt at 
adultery was to be punished with 1000 blows, and rape upon a 
free woman still more severely. It is possible that Potiphar was 
not fully convinced of his wife's chastity, and therefore did not 
place unlimited credence in what she said. 1 But even in that 

1 Credibile est aliquod fuisse indicium, quo Josephum innocentem esse 
Potiphari constiteret; neque enim servi vita tanti erat ut ei parceretur in tarn 
r/ravi delicto. Sed licet innocuum, in careers tamen detinebat, ut uxoris 
honori et into consuleret (Clericus). The chastity of Egyptian women has 
been in bad repute from time immemorial (Diod. Sic. i. 59 ; Herod, ii. 111). 
Even in the middle ages the Fatimite Hakim thought it necessary to adopt 
PENT. — VOL. I. Z 

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case it was the mercy of the faithful covenant God, which now 
as before (xxxvii. 20 sqq.) rescued Joseph's life. 

Vers. 21—23. In the prison itself Jehovah was with Joseph, 
procuring him favour in the eyes of the governor of the prison, 
so that he entrusted all the prisoners to his care, leaving every- 
thing that they had to do, to be done through him, and not 
troubling himself about anything that was in his hand, ue. was 
committed to him, because Jehovah made all that he did to 
prosper. " The keeper" was the governor of the prison, or 
superintendent of the gaolers, and was under Potiphar, the 
captain of the trabantes and chief of the executioners (chap, 
xxxvii. 36). 


Vers. 1-8. The head cup-bearer and head baker had com 
mitted crimes against the king of Egypt, and were imprisoned 
in " the prison of the house of the captain of the trabantes, the 
prison where Joseph himself was confined;" the state-prison, ac- 
cording to Eastern custom, forming part of the same building as 
the dwelling-house of the chief of the executioners. From a 
regard to the exalted position of these two prisoners, Potiphar 
ordered Joseph to wait upon them, not to keep watch over them; 
for n« 1£B does not mean to appoint as guard, but to place by 
the side of a person. — Ver. 5. After some time (" days," ver. 4, 
as in iv. 3), and on the same night, these two prisoners had each 
a peculiar dream, u each one according to the interpretation of his 
dream;" i.e. each one had a dream corresponding to the inter- 
pretation which specially applied to him. On account of these 
dreams, which seemed to them to have some bearing upon their 
fate, and, as the issue proved, were really true omens of it, 
Joseph found them the next morning looking anxious, and asked 
them the reason of the trouble which was depicted upon their 
countenances. — Ver. 8. On their replying that they had dreamed, 
and there was no one to interpret the dream, Joseph reminded 
them first of all that "interpretations are God's," come from 

severe measures against their immorality (Bar-Hebrmi, chron. p. 217), and 
at the present day, according to Bwrchhardt (arab. Sprichworter, pp. 222, 
227), chastity is " a great rarity" among women of every rank in Cairo. 

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CHAP. XL. 9-19 347 

God, arc His gift; at the same time he bade them tell him their 
dreams, from a consciousness, no doubt, that he was endowed 
with this divine gift. 

Vers. 9-15. The cup-bearer gave this account: "In my dream, 
behold there was a vine before me, and on the vine three branches ; 
and it was as though blossoming, it shot forth Us blossom (iW 
either from the hapax 1. )*;i"-ni?3, or from fW3 with the fem. ter- 
mination resolved into the 3 pers. stiff. : Ewald, § 257d), its 
clusters ripened into grapes. And Pharaoh's cup was in my 
hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, 
and gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand." In this dream the office 
and duty of the royal cup-bearer were represented in an unmis- 
takeable manner, though the particular details must not be so 
forced as to lead to the conclusion, that the kings of ancient 
Egypt drank only the fresh juice of the grape, and not fermented 
wine as well. The cultivation of the vine, and the making and 
drinking of wine, among the Egyptians, are established beyond 
question by ancient testimony and the earliest monuments, not- 
withstanding the statement of Herodotus (2, 77) to the contrary 
(see Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 13 sqq.). — 
Vers. 12 sqq. Joseph then gave this interpretation : The three 
branches were three days, in which time Pharaoh would restore 
him to his post again (" lift up his head," t.e. raise him from his 
degradation, send and fetch him from prison, 2 Kings zxv. 27). 
And he added this request (ver. 14) : " Only think of me, as it 
goes well with thee, and show favour tome . . . for I was stolen 
(i.e. carried away secretly and by force; I did not abscond because 
of any crime) out of the land of the Hebrews (the land where the 
Ibrim live); and here also I have done nothing (committed no 
crime) for which they should put me into the hole." "ri3 : the cell, 
applied to a prison as a miserable hole, because often dry cess- 
pools were used as' prisons. 

Vers. 16-19. Encouraged by this favourable interpretation, 
the chief baker also told his dream : "I too, . . . tn my dream : 
behold, baskets of white bread upon my head, and in the top basket 
all kinds of food for Pharaoh, pastry ; and the birds ate it out of 
the basket from my head" In this dream, the carrying of the 
baskets upon the head is thoroughly Egyptian ; for, according 
to Herod. 2, 35, the men in Egypt carry burdens upon the 
head, the women upon the shoulders. And, according to the 

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monuments, the variety of confectionary was very extensive (cf. 
Hengat. p. 27). In the opening words, " / too" the baker points 
to the resemblance between his dream and the cup-bearer's. 
The resemblance was not confined to the sameness of the num- 
bers — three baskets of white bread, and three branches of the 
vine, — but was also seen in the fact that his official duty at the 
court was represented in the dream. But instead of Pharaoh 
taking the bread from his hand, the birds of heaven ate it out of 
the basket upon his head. And Joseph gave this interpretation : 
" The three baskets signify three days : within that time Pharaoh 
will take away thy head from thee (" lift up thy head," as in 
ver. 13, but with T7JO " away from thee," i.e. behead thee), and 
hang thee on the stake (thy body after execution ; vid. Deut. xxi. 

22, 23), and the birds will eat tliy flesh from off thee." However 
simple and close this interpretation of the two dreams may ap- 
pear, the exact accordance with the fulfilment was a miracle 
wrought by God, and showed that as the dreams originated in 
the instigation of God, the interpretation was His inspiration also. 

Vers. 20-23. Joseph's interpretations were fulfilled three 
days afterwards, on the king's birth-day. rn?n Di* : the day of 
being born ; the inf. Hoph. is construed as a passive with the 
accus. obj., as in chap. iv. 18, etc. Pharaoh gave his servants 
a feast, and lifted up the heads of both the prisoners, but in very 
different ways. The cup-bearer was pardoned, and reinstated 
in his office ; the baker, on the other hand, was executed. — Ver. 

23. But the former forgot Joseph in his prosperity, and did 
nothing to procure his liberation. 

pharaoh's dreams and Joseph's exaltation. — chap. xli. 

Vers. 1-36. Pharaoh's dreams and their interpreta- 
tion. — Two full years afterwards (D^J accus. " in days," as in 
chap. xxix. 14) Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing by the 
Nile, and saw seven fine fat cows ascend from the Nile and feed 
in the Nile-grass (TIK an Egyptian word) ; and behind them seven 
others, ugly (according to ver. 19, unparalleled in their ugliness), 
lean (lE'a rripn " thin in flesh," for which we find in ver. 19 rrtjn 
" fallen away," and "KPa nipn withered in flesh, fleshless), which 
placed themselves beside those fat ones on the brink of the Nile 
and devoured them, without there being any effect to show that 

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CHAP. XLI. 1-SC. 349 

they had eaten them. He then awoke, but fell asleep again and 
had a second, similar dream : seven fat (ver. 22, full) and fine 
ears grew upon one blade, and were swallowed up by seven 
thin (ver. 23, " and hardened") ones, which were blasted by the 
east wind (D , "!i' i.e. the S.E. wind, Chamsin, from the desert of 
Arabia). — Ver. 7. " Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold it was a 
dream." The dream was so like reality, that it was only when 
he woke that he perceived it was a dream. — Ver. 8. Being 
troubled about this double dream, Pharaoh sent the next morning 
for all the scribes and wise men of Egypt, to have it interpreted. 
D'BD'inj from D"in a stylus (pencil), are the UpoypafifiareZi, men 
of the priestly caste, who occupied themselves with the sacred 
arts and sciences of the Egyptians, the hieroglyphic writings, 
astrology, the interpretation of dreams, the foretelling of events, 
magic, and conjuring, and who were regarded as the possessors 
of secret arts (yid. Ex. vii. 11) and the wise men of the nation. 
But not one of these could interpret it, although the clue to the 
interpretation was to be found in the religious symbols of Egypt. 
For the cow was the symbol of Isis, the goddess of the all-sus- 
taining earth, and in the hieroglyphics it represented the earth, 
agriculture, and food ; and the Nile, by its overflowing, was the 
source of the fertility of the land. But however simple the expla- 
nation of the fat and lean cows ascending out of the Nile appears 
to be, it is " the fate of the wisdom of this world, that where it 
suffices it is compelled to be silent. For it belongs to the govern- 
ment of God to close the lips of the eloquent, and take away the- 
understanding of the aged (Job xii. 20)." Baumgarten. 

Vers. 9 sqq. In this dilemma the head cup-bearer thought of 
Joseph ; and calling to mind his offence against the king (xl. 1), 
and his ingratitude to Joseph (xl. 23), he related to the king 
how Joseph had explained their dreams to him and the chief 
baker in the prison, and how entirely the interpretation had 
come true. — Vers. 14 sqq. Pharaoh immediately sent for Joseph. 
As quickly as possible he was fetched from the prison ; and after 
shaving the hair of his head and beard, and changing his clothes, 
as the customs of Egypt required (see Hengst. Egypt and the 
Books of Moses, p. 30), he went in to the king. On the king's 
saying to him, " / have heard of thee (IvP de te), thou hearest a 
dream to interpret it" — i.e. thou only needest to hear a dream, and 
thou canst at once interpret »t, -Joseph replied, " Not I (?~lffl } 

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lit. " not so far as me," this is not in my power, vid. xiv. 24), God 
will answer Pharaoh's good" i.e. what shall profit Pharaoh ; just 
as in chap. xl. 8 he had pointed the two prisoners away from 
himself to God. Pharaoh then related his double dream (vers. 
17-24), and Joseph gave the interpretation (vers. 25-32): "The 
dream of Pharaoh is one (».«. the two dreams have the same 
meaning) ; God hath showed Pharaoh what He is about to do." 
The seven cows and seven ears of corn were seven years, the 
fat ones very fertile years of superabundance, the lean ones very 
barren years of famine ; the latter would follow the former over 
the whole land of Egypt, so that the years of famine would leave 
no trace of the seven fruitful years ; and, "for that the dream 
was doubled unto Pharaoh twice " (i.e. so far as this fact is con- 
cerned, it signifies) " that the thing is firmly resolved by God, 
and God will quickly carry it out" In the confidence of this 
interpretation which looked forward over fourteen years, the 
divinely enlightened seer's glance was clearly manifested, and 
could not fail to make an impression upon the king, when con- 
trasted with the perplexity of the Egyptian augurs and wise 
men. Joseph followed up his interpretation by the advice (vers. 
33-36), that Pharaoh should " look out (**"}.?.) a man discreet and 
wise, and set him over the land of Egypt ; " and cause ( n j?!£) that 
in the seven years of superabundance he should raise fifths 
(e'en), t'.e. the fifth part of the harvest, through overseers, and 
have the corn, or the stores of food (« N), laid up in the cities 
" under the band of the king," i.e. by royal authority and direc- 
tion, as food for the land for the seven years of famine, that it 
might not perish through famine. 

Vers. 37-57. Joseph's promotion. — This counsel pleased 
Pharaoh and all his servants, so that he said to them, " Shall we 
find a man like this one, in whom the Spirit of God is t" " The 
Spirit of Elohim;" i.e. the spirit of supernatural insight and 
wisdom. He then placed Joseph over his house, and over all 
Egypt ; in other words, he chose him as his grand vizier, saying 
to him, " After God hath showed thee all this, there is none dis- 
creet and wise as thou." p?* T?"??, " according to thy mouth (i*. 
command, chap. xlv. 21) shall my whole people arrange itself." 
PSW does not mean to kiss (Rabb., Ges., etc.), for 79 ptM is not 
Hebrew, and kissing the mouth was not customary as an act of 

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CHAP. XIX 37-57. 351 

homage, but " to dispose, arrange one's self" (ordine disposuit). 
" Only in the throne will I be greater than thou" — Vers. 42 sqq. 
As an installation in this post of honour, the king handed him 
his signet-ring, the seal which the grand vizier or prime minister 
wore, to give authority to the royal edicts (Esth. iii. 10), clothed 
him in a byssus dress (B^, fine muslin or white cotton fabric), 1 
and put upon his neck the golden chain, which was usually worn 
in Egypt as a mark of distinction, as the Egyptian monuments 
show (Hgst. pp. 30, 31). — Ver. 43. He then had him driven in 
the second chariot, the chariot which followed immediately upon 
the king's state-carriage; that is to say, he directed a solemn 
procession to be made through the city, in which they (heralds) 
cried before him TP* (i.e. bow down), — an Egyptian word, which 
has been pointed by the Masorites according to the Hiphil or Aphel 
of T}3. In Coptic it is abork, projicere, with the signs of the 
imperative and the second person. Thus he placed him over all 
Egypt. |in« inf. absol. as a continuation of the finite verb (vid. 
Ex. viii. 11 ; Lev. xxv. 14, etc.). — Ver. 44. " lam P/iaraoh," he 
said to him, " and without thee shall no man lift his hand or foot 
in all the land of Egypt ;" i.e. I am the actual king, and thou, the 
next to me, shalt rule over all my people. — Ver. 45. But in order 
that Joseph might be perfectly naturalized, the king gave him 
an Egyptian name, Zaphnath-Paaneah, and married him to 
Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, the priest at On. The 
name Zaphnath-Paaneah (a form adapted to the Hebrew, for 
Wovdofupawfa (LXX.) ; according to a Greek scholium, acorrjp 
Koafwv, u salvator mundi" (Jerome)), answers to the Coptic 
P-sote-m-ph-eneh, — P the article, sots salvation, m the sign of the 
genitive, ph the article, and eneh the world (lit. atas, seculum) ; or 
perhaps more correctly, according to Rosellini and more recent 
Egyptologists, to the Coptic P-sOnt-em-ph-anh, i.e. sustentator 
vita, support or sustainer of life, with reference to the call en- 
trusted to him by God. 2 AsenatJi, 'AaeveO (LXX.), possibly 

1 See my Bfbl. Antiquities, § 17, 5. The reference, no doubt, is to the 
fvAjrec A(*f>i», worn by the Egyptian priests, which was not made of linen, 
but of thejrutex quern aliqui gossipion vocant, plures xylon et ideo ldja inde 
facta xylina. Nee ulla sunt eis candore mottitiave prmferenda. — Vestes inde 
sacerdotibus JSgypti gratissimx. Plin. h. n. xix. 1. 

* Luther in his version, " privy councillor," follows the rabbinical ex- 
planation, which was already to be found in Josephus (Ant. ii. 6, 1) : zpwirrZ* 
liftris, from r0Bx = rtU1BX occulta, and ruprj revelator. 

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connected with the name Neitk, the Egyptian Pallas. Poti- 
Pliera, Here^pr) (LXX.), a Coptic name signifying ille qui solis 
est, consecrated to the sun (<f>pv with the aspirated article signi- 
fies the sun in Memphitic). On was the popular name for Helio- 
polis ('H\wv7roXt9, LXX.), and according to Cyrill. Alex, ad 
Hos. v. 8 signifies the sun ; whilst the name upon the monuments 
is ta-Rd or pa-Rd, house of the sun (Brugsch, Reisebericht, p. 50). 
From a very early date there was a celebrated temple of the sun 
here, with a learned priesthood, which held the first place among 
the priests' colleges of Egypt {Herod. 2, 3 ; Hengst. pp. 32 sqq.). 
This promotion of Joseph, from the position of a Hebrew slave 
pining in prison to the highest post of honour in the Egyptian 
kingdom, is perfectly conceivable, on the one hand, from the great 
importance attached in ancient times to the interpretation of 
dreams and to all occult science, especially among the Egyp- 
tians, and on the other hand, from the despotic form of govern- 
ment in the East ; but the miraculous power of God is to be seen 
in the fact, that God endowed Joseph with the gift of infallible 
interpretation, and so ordered the circumstances that this gift 
opened the way for him to occupy that position in which he 
became the preserver, not of Egypt alone, but of his own family 
also. And the same hand of God, by which he had been so 
highly exalted after deep degradation, preserved him in his lofty 
post of honour from sinking into the heathenism of Egypt; 
although, by his alliance with the daughter of a priest of the 
sun, the most distinguished caste in the land, he had fully 
entered into the national associations and customs of the land. — 
Ver. 46. Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh, 
and went out from him and passed through all the land of Egypt, 
i.e. when he took possession of his office ; consequently he had 
been in Egypt for 13 years as a slave, and at least three years 
in prison. 

Vers. 47 sqq. For the seven years of superabundance the 
land bore D^ify, in full hands or bundles ; and Joseph gathered 
all the provisional store of these years (i.e. the fifth part of 
the produce, which was levied) into the cities. " The food of 
the field of the city, which was round about it, he brought 
into the midst of it ;" i.e. he provided granaries in the towns, in 
which the corn of the whole surrounding country was stored. 
In this manner he collected as much corn " as the sand of the 

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CHAP. XLI. 47-57. 353 

sea," until he left off reckoning the quantity, or calculating 
the number of bushels, which the monuments prove to have 
been the usual mode adopted (cm/. Hengst. p. 36). — Vers. 50-52. 
During the fruitful years two sons were born to Joseph. The 
first-born he named Manasseh, i.e. causing to forget ; "for, he 
said, God hath made me forget all my toil and all my fathers 
house ('?#>, an Aram. Piel form, for 'JBb, on account of the re- 
semblance in sound to flBOD)." ffcec pia est, ac sancta gratiarum 
actio, quod Deus oblivisei eum fecit pristinas omnes arumnas : sed 
nullus honor tanti esse debuit, ut desiderium et memoriam paternw 
domus ex animo deponeret (Calvin). But the true answer to the 
question, whether it was a Christian boast for him to make, that 
he had forgotten father and mother, is given by Luther : " I see 
that God would take away the reliance which I placed upon my 
father ; for God is a jealous God, and will not suffer the heart 
to have any other foundation to rely upon, but Him alone." 
This also meets the objection raised by Theodoret, why Joseph 
did not inform his father of his life and promotion, but allowed 
so many years to pass away, until he was led to do so at last in 
consequence of the arrival of his brothers. The reason of this 
forgetfulness and silence can only be found in the fact, that 
through the wondrous alteration in his condition he had been 
led to see, that he was brought to Egypt according to the counsel 
of God, and was redeemed by God from slavery and prison, and 
had been exalted by Him to be lord over Egypt ; so that, know- 
ing he was in the hand of God, the firmness of his faith led him 
to renounce all wilful interference with the purposes of God, 
which pointed to a still broader and more glorious goal (Baum- 
garten, Delitcsch). — Ver. 52. The second son he named Ephraim, 
Le. double-fruitf ulness ; "for God hath made me fruitful in the 
land of my affliction" Even after his elevation Egypt still con- 
tinued the land of affliction, so that in this word we may see one 
trace of a longing for the promised land. — Vers. 53-57. When 
the years of scarcity commenced, at the close of the years of 
plenty, the famine spread over all (the neighbouring) lands ; 
only in Egypt was there bread. As the famine increased in the 
land, and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, he directed 
them to Joseph, who " opened all in which was" (bread), i.e. 
all the granaries, and sold corn p^t?, denom. from ~&&, signifies 
to trade in corn, to buy and sell corn) to the Egyptians, and 

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(as the writer adds, with a view to what follows) to all the 
world (}HKrn>3 } V er. 57), that came thither to buy corn, because 
the famine was great on every hand. — Years of famine have 
frequently fallen, like this one, upon Egypt, and the neigh- 
bouring countries to the north. The cause of this is to be seen 
in the fact, that the overflowing of the Nile, to which Egypt is 
indebted for its fertility, is produced by torrents of rain falling 
in the alpine regions of Abyssinia, which proceed from clouds 
formed in the Mediterranean and carried thither by the wind ; 
consequently it has a common origin with the rains of Palestine 
(see the proofs in Hengst. pp. 37 sqq.). 


Vers. 1-6. With the words " Why do ye look at one another?" 
viz. in such a helpless and undecided manner, Jacob exhorted his 
sons to fetch corn from Egypt, to preserve his family from star- 
vation. Joseph's ten brothers went, as their aged father would 
not allow his youngest son Benjamin to go with them, for fear 
that some calamity might befall him C r J? = , " T 3P, xliv. 29 as in ver- 
38 and xlix. 1) ; and they came " in the midst of the comers" t.e. 
among others who came from the same necessity, and bowed 
down before Joseph with their faces to the earth. For he was 
" the ruler over the land," and had the supreme control of the 
sale of the corn, so that they were obliged to apply to him. 
D'pB'n seems to have been the standing title which the Shemites 
gave to Joseph as ruler in Egypt ; and from this the later legend 
of Sd\art.<i the first king of the Hyksos arose (Josephus c. Ap. 
i. 14). The only other passages in which the word occurs in 
the Old Testament are in writings of the captivity or a still 
later date, and there it is taken from the Chaldee ; it belongs, 
however, not merely to the Aramaean thesaurus, but to the 
Arabic also, from which it was introduced into the passage 
before us. 

Vers. 7-17. Joseph recognised his brothers at once; but 
they could not recognise a brother who had not been seen for 
20 years, and who, moreover, had not only become thoroughly 
Egyptianized, but had risen to be a great lord. And he acted 
as a foreigner (" | 3?T) towards them, speaking harshly, and 

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CHAP. XLII. 7-17. 355 

asking them whence they had come. In ver. 7, according to a 
truly Semitic style of narrative, we have a condensation of what 
is more circumstantially related in vers. 8-17. — Vers. 9 sqq. As 
the sight of his brethren bowing before him with the deepest reve- 
rence reminded Joseph of his early dreams of the sheaves and 
stars, which had so increased the hatred of his brethren towards 
him as to lead to a proposal to kill him, and an actual sale, he 
said to them, " Ye are spies ; to see the nakedness of the land (i.e. 
the unfortified parts of the kingdom which would be easily acces- 
sible to a foe) ye are come;" and persisted in this charge notwith- 
standing their reply, "Nay, my lord, but Q. see Ges. § 155, 16) to 
buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man's sons (un: 
for ^™^j only in Ex. xvi. 7, 8 ; Num. xxxii. 32 ; 2 Sam. xvii. 
12; Lam. iii. 42): honest (D , ?2) are we; thy servants are no 
spies" Cum exploratio sit delictum capitale, non est verisimile ; 
quod pater totfilios una tempore vitce periculo expositurus sit (J. 
Gerhard). But as their assertion failed to make any impression 
upon the Egyptian lord, they told him still more particularly about 
their family (vers. 13 sqq.) : " Twelve are thy servants, brothers 
are we, sons of a man in the land of Canaan ; and behold the 
youngest is now with our father, and one is no more (UJ'K as in chap, 
v. 24). Joseph then replied, " That is it (s«n neut. like xx. 16) 
that I spake unto you, saying ye are spies. By this shall ye be proved: 
By the life of Pharaoh! ye shall not (DK, like xiv. 23) go hence, un- 
less your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, and let 
him fetch your brotJier; but ye shall be in bonds, and ?,.wr words 
shall be proved, whether there be truth in you or not. By ihe life 
of Pharaoh! ye are truly spies!" He then had them put into 
custody for three days. By the coming of the youngest brother, 
Joseph wanted to test their assertion, not because he thought 
it possible that he might not be living with them, and they 
might have treated him as they did Joseph (Kn.), but because 
he wished to discover their feelings towards Benjamin, and see 
what affection they had for this son of Rachel, who had taken 
Joseph's place as his father's favourite. And with his harsh 
mode of addressing them, Joseph had no intention whatever to 
administer to his brethren " a just punishment for their wicked- 
ness towards him," for his heart could not have stooped to such 
mean revenge ; but he wanted to probe thoroughly the feelings 
of their hearts, " whether they felt that they deserved the pun- 

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ishment of God for the sin they had committed," and how they 
felt towards their aged father and their youngest brother. 1 
Even in the fact that he did not send the one away directly to 
fetch Benjamin, and merely detain the rest, but put the whole 
ten in prison, and afterwards modified his threat (vers. 18 sqq.), 
there was no indecision as to the manner in which he should 
behave towards them — no "wavering between thoughts of 
wrath and revenge on the one hand, and forgiving love and 
meekness on the other ;" but he hoped by imprisoning them to 
make his brethren feel the earnestness of his words, and to give 
them time for reflection, as the curt "is no more" with which 
they had alluded to Joseph's removal was a sufficient proof that 
they had not yet truly repented of the deed. 

Vers. 18-25. On the third day Joseph modified his severity. 
" This do and live" i.e. then ye shall live : " / fear God." 
One shall remain in prison, but let the rest of you take home 
"corn for the famine of your families," and fetch your youngest 
brother, that your words may be verified, and ye may not die, 
i.e. may not suffer the death that spies deserve. That he might 
not present the appearance of despotic caprice and tyranny by 
too great severity, and so render his brethren obdurate, Joseph 
stated as the reason for his new decision, that he feared God. 
From the fear of God, he, the lord of Egypt, would not punish 
or slay these strangers upon mere suspicion, but would judge 
them justly. How differently had they acted towards their 
brother! The ruler of all Egypt had compassion on their fami- 
lies who were in Canaan suffering from hunger ; but they had 

1 Joseph nihil aliud agit quam ut revelet peccatum fratrum hoc duris- 
simo opere et sermone. Descendunt enim in jEgyptum una cum aliis em- 
turn frumentum, securi et negligentes tarn atrocis delicti, cujus sibi erant 
conscii, quasi nihil unquam deliquissent contra patrera decrepitum aut 
fratrem innocentem, cogitant Joseph jam diu exemtum esse rebus humanis, 
patrem vero rerum omnium ignarum esse. Quid ad nos? Non agunt pceni- 
tentiam. Hi silices et adamantes frangendi et conterendi sunt ac aperiendi 
oculi eorum, ut videant atrocitatem sceleris sui, idque ubi perfecit Joseph 
statini verbis et gestibus humaniorem se prsebet eoequc honorifice tractat. — 
Hsec igitur atrocitas scelerum movit Joseph ad explorandos animos fratrum 
accuratius, ita ut non solum priorum delictorum aed et cogitationum pra- 
varum memoriam renovaret, ac fuit sane inquisitio satis ingrata et acerba 
et tamen ab animo placidissimo profecta. Ego durius eos tractassera. Sed 
hsec acerbitas, quam prse se fert, non pertinet ad vindicandnm injurkm sed 
ad salutarem eorum poenitentiam, ut humilientur. — Luther. 

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CHAP. XLIL 26-38. 357 

intended to leave their brother in the pit to starve ! These and 
similar thoughts could hardly fail to pass involuntarily through 
their minds at Joseph's words, and to lead them to a penitential 
acknowledgment of their sin and unrighteousness. The notion 
that Joseph altered his first intention merely from regard to his 
much afflicted father, appears improbable, for the simple reason, 
that he can only have given utterance to the threat that he would 
keep them all in prison till one of them had gone and fetched 
Benjamin, for the purpose of giving the greater force to his ac- 
cusation, that they were spies. But as he was not serious in 
making this charge, he could not for a moment have thought of 
actually carrying out the threat. "And they did so:" in these 
words the writer anticipates the result of the colloquy which 
ensued, and which is more fully narrated afterwards. Joseph's 
intention was fulfilled. The brothers now saw in what had hap- 
pened to them a divine retribution : "Surely we atone because of 
our brother, whose anguish of soul we saw, when he entreated us and 
we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us" And 
Reuben reminded them how he had warned them to no purpose, 
not to sin against the boy — "and even his blood . . . behold it is 
required" (cf . ix. 5) ; i.e. not merely the sin of casting him into 
the pit and then selling him, but his death also, of which we 
have been guilty through that sale. Thus- they accused them- 
selves in Joseph's presence, not knowing that he could under- 
stand ; "for the interpreter was between them." Joseph had con- 
versed with them through an interpreter, as an Egyptian who 
was ignorant of their language. " The interpreter," viz. the one 
appointed for that purpose ; ni^? like xxvi. 28. But Joseph 
understood their words, and "turned away and wept" (ver. 
24), with inward emotion at the wonderful leadings of divine 
grace, and at the change in his brothers' feelings. He then 
turned to them again, and, continuing the conversation with 
them, had Simeon bound before their eyes, to be detained as a 
hostage (not Reuben, who had dissuaded them from killing 
Joseph, and had taken no part in the sale, but Simeon, the next 
in age). He then ordered his men to fill their sacks with corn, 
to give every one (B^R as in chap. xv. 10) his money back in his 
sack, and to provide them with food for the journey. 

Vers. 26—38. Thus they started with their asses laden with 
the corn. On the way, when they had reached their halting- 

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place for the night, one of them opened his sack to feed the ass, 
and found his money in it. JvO, camping-place for the night, is 
merely a resting-place, not an inn, both here and in Ex. iv. 24 ; 
for there can hardly have been caravanserais at that time, either 
in the desert or by the desert road, nrtnox: an antiquated 
word for a corn-sack, occurring only in these chapters, and used 
even here interchangeably with Pb. — Ver 28. When this dis- 
covery was made known to the brethren, their hearts sank within 
them. They turned trembling to one another, and said, " What 
i.9 this that God hath done to us!" Joseph had no doubt had 
the money returned, " merely because it was against his nature 
to trade with his father and brethren for bread ;" just as he 
had caused them to be supplied with food for the journey, for 
no other reason than to give them a proof of his good-will. 
And even if he may have thought it possible that the brothers 
would be alarmed when they found the money, and thrown into 
a state of much greater anxiety from the fear of being still 
further accused by the stern lord of Egypt of cheating or of 
theft, there was no reason why he should spare them this anxiety, 
since it could only help to break their hard hearts still more 
At any rate, this salutary effect was really produced, even if 
Joseph had no such intention. The brothers looked upon this 
incomprehensible affair as a punishment from God, and ne- 
glected in their alarm to examine the rest of the sacks. — Vers. 
29-34. On their arrival at home, they told their father all that 
had occurred. — Vers. 35 sqq. But when they emptied their sacks, 
and, to their own and their father's terror, found their bundles 
of money in their separate sacks, Jacob burst out with the com- 
plaint, " Ye are making me childless! Joseph is gone, and Simeon is 
gone, and will ye take Benjamin ! All this falls upon me " (naps 
for $3 as in Prov. xxxi. 29). — Vers. 37, 38. Reuben then offered 
his two sons to Jacob as pledges for Benjamin, if Jacob would 
entrust him to his care : Jacob might slay them, if he did not 
bring Benjamin back — the greatest and dearest offer that a 
son could make to a father. But Jacob refused to let him go. 
fC If mischief befell him by the way, ye would bring down my grey 
hairs with sorrow into Sheol " (cf . xxxvii. 35). 

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CHAP. XUII. 1-15. 359 


Vers. 1-15. When the corn brought from Egypt was all con- 
sumed, as the famine still continued, Jacob called upon his sons 
to go down and fetch a little corn (little in proportion to their 
need). — Vers. 3 sqq. Judah then declared, that they would not 
go there again unless their father sent Benjamin with them ; for 
the man (Joseph) had solemnly protested ("WfJ tpn) that they 
should not see his face without their youngest brother. Judah 
undertook the consultation with his father about Benjamin's 
going, because Reuben, the eldest son, had already been refused, 
and Levi, who followed Reuben and Simeon, had forfeited his 
father's confidence through his treachery to the Shechemites 
(chap, xxxiv.). — Vers. 6 sqq. To the father's reproachful ques- 
tion, why they had dealt so ill with him, as to tell the man that 
they had a brother, Judah replied : "The man asked after us 
and our kinsmen : Is your father yet alive t have ye a brother ? 
And we answered him in conformity (*B ?V as in Ex. xxxiv. 27, 
etc.) with these words (i.e. with his questions). Could we know, 
then, that he would say, Bring your brother down ? " Joseph had 
not made direct inquiries, indeed, about their father and their 
brother ; but by his accusation that they were spies, he had com- 
pelled them to give an exact account of their family relation- 
ships. So that Judah, when repeating the main points of the 
interview, could very justly give them in the form just men- 
tioned. — Ver. 8. He then repeated the only condition on which 
they would go to Egypt again, referring to the death by famine 
which threatened them, their father, and their children, and 
promising that he would himself be surety for the youth (TPIfJ, 
Benjamin was twenty-three years old), and saying, that if he did 
not restore him, he would bear the blame (KDn to be guilty of a 
sin and atone for it, as in 1 Kings i. 21) his whole life long. 
He then concluded with the deciding words, "for if we had not 
delayed, surely we should already have returned a second time." — 
Ver. 11. After this, the old man gave way to what could not be 
avoided, and let Benjamin go. But that nothing might be want- 
ing on his part, which could contribute to the success of the 
journey, he suggested that they should take a present for the man, 
and that they should also take the money which was brought 

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back in their sacks, in addition to what was necessary for the 
corn they were to purchase ; and he then commended them to 
the mercy of Almighty God. " If it must be so, yet do this (KiBK 
belongs to the imperative, although it precedes it here, cf. xxvii. 
37) : take of Hie prize (the most choice productions) of the land 
— a little balm and a little honey (^-T 1 . the Arabian dibs, either 
new honey from bees, or more probably honey from grapes, — a 
thick syrup boiled from sweet grapes, which is still carried every 
year frpm Hebron to Egypt), gum-dragon and myrrh (yid. xxxvii. 
25), pistachio nuts and almonds." D^oa, which are not mentioned 
anywhere else, are, according to the Samar. vers., the fruit of the 
pistacia vera, a tree resembling the terebinth, — long angular 
nuts of the size of hazel-nuts, with an oily kernel of a pleasant 
flavour ; it does not thrive in Palestine now, but the nuts are 
imported from Aleppo. — Ver. 12. " And take second (i.e. more) 
money (n3B>o t|D3 is different from *|D3""UB>p doubling of the 
money = double money, ver. 15) in your hand ; and the money 
that returned in your sacks take with you again ; perhaps it is a 
mistake" i.e. was put in your sacks by mistake. — Ver. 14. Thus 
Israel let his sons go with the blessing, " God Almighty give you 
mercy before the man, that he may liberate to you your other 
brother (Simeon) and Benjamin;" and with this resigned submis- 
sion to the will of God, " And I, if lam bereaved, lam bereaved," 
i.e. if I am to lose my children, let it be so ! For this mode of 
expression, cf. Esth. iv. 16 and 2 Kings vii. 4. ^pat? with the 
pausal a, answering to the feelings of the speaker, which is fre- 
quently used for o ; e.g. e ^^t? , for ^B'., chap. xlix. 27. 

Vers. 16-25. When the brethren appeared before Joseph, 
he ordered his steward to take them into the house, and pre- 
pare a dinner for them and for him. natp the original form of 
the imperative for natp. But the brethren were alarmed, think- 
ing that they were taken into the house because of the money 
which returned the first time (a#n which came back, they could 
not imagine how), that he might take them unawares (lit. roll 
upon them), and fall upon them, and keep them as slaves, along 
with their asses. For the purpose of averting what they dreaded, 
they approached (ver. 19) the steward and told him, "at the door 
of the house," before they entered therefore, how, at the first 
purchase of corn, on opening their sacks, they found the money 
that had been paid, " every one's money in the mouth of his sack, 

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CHAP. XLIII. 26-84. 361 

our money according to its weight" i.e. in full, and had now 
brought it back, together with some more money to buy corn, 
and they did not know who had put their money in their sacks 
(vers. 20-22). The steward, who was initiated into Joseph's 
plans, replied in a pacifying tone, " Peace be to you (ps? DW 
is not a form of salutation here, but of encouragement, as in 
Judg. vi. 23) : fear not ; your God and the God of your father has 
given you a treasure in your sacks ; your money came to me ; " and 
at the same time, to banish all their fear, he brought Simeon 
out to them. He then conducted them into Joseph's house, and 
received them in Oriental fashion as the guests of his lord. 
But, previous to Joseph's arrival, they arranged the present 
which they had brought with them, as they heard that they were 
to dine with him. 

Vers. 26-34. When Joseph came home, they handed him the 
present with the most reverential obeisance. — Ver. 27. Joseph first 
of all inquired after their own and their father's health (D'frB'first 
as substantive, then as adjective = Dw xxxiii. 18), whether he was 
still living ; which they answered with thanks in the affirmative, 
making the deepest bow. His eyes then fell upon Benjamin, 
the brother by his own mother, and he asked whether this was 
their youngest brother ; but without waiting for their reply, he 
exclaimed, " God be gracious to thee, my son!" 1?IT for 1311* as in 
Isa. xxx. 19 (cf. Ewald, § 251d). He addressed him as " my 
son," in tender and, as it were, paternal affection, and with spe- 
cial regard to his youth. Benjamin was 16 years younger than 
Joseph, and was quite an infant when Joseph was sold. — Vers. 
30, 31. And "his (Joseph's) bowels did yearn" (VIM? lit, were 
compressed, from the force of love to his brother), so that he 
was obliged to seek (a place) as quickly as possible to weep, and 
went into the chamber, that he might give vent to his feelings 
in tears ; after which, he washed his face and came out again, 
and, putting constraint upon himself, ordered the dinner to be 
brought in. — Vers. 32, 33. Separate tables were prepared for 
him, for his brethren, and for the Egyptians who dined with 
them. This was required by the Egyptian spirit of caste, which 
neither allowed Joseph, as minister of state and a member of the 
priestly order, to eat along with Egyptians who were below him, 
nor the latter along with the Hebrews as foreigners. " They can- 
not (i.e. may not) eat (cf. Deut. xii. 17, xvi. 5, xvii. 15). For 

PENT. — VOL. I. 2 A 

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this was an abomination to the Egyptians" The Hebrews and 
others, for example, slaughtered and ate animals, even female ani- 
mals, which were regarded by the Egyptians as sacred ; so that, 
according to Herod, ii. 41, no Egyptian would use the knife, or 
fork, or saucepan of a Greek, nor would any eat of the flesh of 
a clean animal which had been cut up with a Grecian knife 
(cf. Ex. viii. 22).— Vers. 33, 34. The brothers sat in front of 
Joseph, u the first-born according to his birthright, and the smallest 
(youngest) according to his smallnesi (youth) ;" i.e. the placta 
were arranged for them according to their ages, so that they 
looked at one another with astonishment, since this arrangement 
necessarily impressed them with the idea that this great man 
had been supernaturally enlightened as to their family affairs. 
To do them honour, they brought (Kfe?, Ges. § 137, 3) them 
dishes from Joseph, i.e. from his table ; and to show especial 
honour to Benjamin, his portion was five times larger than that of 
any of the others (rrtT lit. hands, grasps, as in chap, xlvii. 24 ; 
2 Kings xi. 7). The custom is met with elsewhere of showing 
respect to distinguished guests by giving them the largest and 
best pieces (1 Sam. ix. 23, 24 ; Homer, H. 7, 321 ; 8, 162, etc.), 
by double portions (e.g. the kings among the Spartans, Herod. 
6, 57), and even by fourfold portions in the case of the Archons 
among the Cretans (Heraclid. polit. 3). But among the Egyp- 
tians the number 5 appears to have been preferred to any other 
(cf . chap. xli. 34, xlv. 22, xlvii. 2, 24 ; Isa. xix. 18). By this par- 
tiality Joseph intended, with a view to his further plans, to draw 
out his brethren to show their real feelings towards Benjamin, that 
he might see whether they would envy and hate him on account 
of this distinction, as they had formerly envied him his long coat 
with sleeves, and hated him because he was his father's favourite 
(xxxvii. 3, 4). This honourable treatment and entertainment 
banished all their anxiety and fear. " They drank, and drank 
largely with him," i.e. they were perfectly satisfied with what they 
ate and drank ; not, they were intoxicated (cf . Bag. i. 9). 


Vers. 1-13. The test. — Vers. 1, 2. After the dinner Joseph 
had his brothers' sacks filled by his steward with corn, as much 
as they could hold, and every one's money placed inside : and 

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chap. xliv. l-ia. 363 

in addition to that, had his own silver goblet put into Ben- 
jamin's sack. — Vers. 3-6. Then as soon as it was light ("i^K, 3d 
pers. pert", in o: Ges. § 72, 1), they were sent away with their 
asses. But they were hardly outside the town, u not far off," 
when he directed his steward to follow the men, and as soon as 
he overtook them, to say, " Where/ore have ye rewarded evil for 
good? Is it not this from which my lord drinketh, and he is ac* 
customed to prophesy from itf Ye have done an evil deed!" 
By these words they were accused of theft; the thing was taken 
for granted as well known to them all, and the goblet purloined 
was simply described as a very valuable possession of Joseph's. 
8>ro : lit. to whisper, to mumble out formularies, incantations, 
then to prophesy, divinare. According to this, the Egyptians 
at that time practised Xetcavotricoiri-r) or Xeieavofunneia and 
vBpo/utvrela, the plate and water incantations, of which Jambli- 
chus speaks (de myst. iii. 14), and which consisted in pouring 
clean water into a goblet, and then looking into the water for 
representations of future events ; or in pouring water into a 
goblet or dish, dropping in pieces of gold and silver, also 
precious stones, and then observing and interpreting the appear- 
ances in the water (cf. Varro apud August, civ. Dei 7, 35; 
Plin. h. n. 37, 73 ; Strabo, xvi. p. 762). Traces of this have 
been continued even to our own day (see NordetCs Journey 
through Egypt and Nubia). But we cannot infer with cer- 
tainty from this, that Joseph actually adopted this superstitious 
practice. The intention of the statement may simply have been 
to represent the goblet as a sacred vessel, and Joseph as ac- 
quainted with the most secret things (ver. 15). — Vers. 7-9. In 
the consciousness of their innocence the brethren repelled this 
charge with indignation, and appealed to the fact that they 
brought back the gold which was found in their sacks, and 
therefore could not possibly have stolen gold or silver ; and de- 
clared that whoever should be found in possession of the goblet, 
should be put to death, and the rest become slaves. — Ver. 10. 
The man replied, "Now let it be even (M placed first for the sake 
of emphasis) according to your words: with whom it is found, he 
shall be my slave, and ye (the rest) shall remain blameless." 
Thus he modified the sentence, to assume the appearance of jus- 
tice. — Vers. 11-13. They then took down their sacks as quickly 
as possible ; and he examined them, beginning with the eldest 

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and finishing with the youngest ; and the goblet was found in 
Benjamin's sack. With anguish and alarm at this new calamity 
they rent their clothes (yid. xxxvii. 34), loaded their asses again, 
and returned to the city. It would now be seen how they felt in 
their inmost hearts towards their father's favourite, who had 
been so distinguished by the great man of Egypt : whether now 
as formerly they were capable of giving up their brother, and 
bringing their aged father with sorrow to the grave ; or whether 
they were ready, with unenvying, self-sacrificing love, to give up 
their own liberty and lives for him. And they stood this test. 

Vers. 14-34. Result of the test. — Vers. 14-17. With 
Judah leading the way, they came into the house to Joseph, 
and fell down before him begging for mercy. Joseph spoke to 
them harshly : " What kind of deed is this that ye have done f 
Did ye not know that such a man as I (a. man initiated into the 
most secret things) would certainly divine this t " S?n? augurari. 
Judah made no attempt at a defence. " What shall we say to 
my lord? how speak, how clear ourselves ? God (Ha-Elohim, the 
personal God) has found out the wickedness of thy servants (i.e. 
He is now punishing the crime committed against our brother, 
cf. xlii. 21). Behold, we are my lord's slaves, both we, and he 
in whose hand the cup was found" But Joseph would punish 
mildly and justly. The guilty one alone should be his slave ; 
the others might go in peace, i.e. uninjured, to their father. — 
Vers. 18 sqq. But that the brothers could not do. Judah, who 
had pledged himself to his father for Benjamin, ventured in the 
anguish of his heart to approach Joseph, and implore him to 
liberate his brother. " I would give very much," says Luther, 
" to be able to pray to our Lord God as well as Judah prays to 
Joseph here ; for it is a perfect specimen of prayer, the true 
feeling that there ought to be in prayer." Beginning with the 
request for a gracious hearing, as he was speaking to the ears of 
one who was equal to Pharaoh (who could condemn or pardon 
like the king), Judah depicted in natural, affecting, powerful, 
and irresistible words the love of their aged father to this son of 
his old age, and his grief when they told him that they were not 
to come into the presence of the lord of Egypt again without 
Benjamin; the intense anxiety with which, after a severe 
struggle, their father had allowed him to come, after he 

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chap. xlv. l-u. 365 

(Judah) had offered to be answerable for his life ; and the 
grievous fact, that if they returned without the youth, they 
must bring down the grey hairs of their father with sorrow to 
the grave. — Ver. 21. To u set eyes upon him" signifies, with a 
gracious intention, to show him good-will (as in Jer. xxxix. 
12, xl. 4). — Ver. 27. " That my wife bore me two (sons) :" 
Jacob regards Rachel alone as his actual wife (cf. xlvi. 19). — 
Ver. 28 low, preceded by a preterite, is to be rendered " and 
I was obliged to say, Only (nothing but) torn in pieces has he be- 
come." — Ver. 30. "His soul is bound to his soul:" equivalent to, 
" he clings to him with all his soul." — Vers. 33, 34. Judah 
closed his appeal with the entreaty, "Now let tJiy servant (me) 
remain instead of the lad as slave to my lord, but let lite lad go 
up with his brethren ; for how could I go to my father without the 
lad being with me ! (I cannot,) tliat I may not see the calamity 
which will befall my father ! " 


Vers. 1-15. The recognition. — Ver. 1. After this ap- 
peal, in which Judah, speaking for his brethren, had shown the 
tenderest affection for the old man who had been bowed down 
by their sin, and the most devoted fraternal love and fidelity to 
the only remaining son of his beloved Rachel, and had given a 
sufficient proof of the change of mind, the true conversion, that 
had taken place in themselves, Joseph could not restrain him- 
self any longer in relation to all those who stood round him. 
He was obliged to relinquish the part which he had hitherto 
acted for the purpose of testing his brothers' hearts, and to give 
full vent to his feelings. " He called out : Cause every man to gc 
out from me. And there stood no man (of his Egyptian attendants), 
with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brethren," quia 
effusio ilia affectuum et CTO/xyf/s erga fratres et parentem tantafuit, 
ut non posset ferre alienorum prasentiam et aspectum (Luther). — 
Vers. 2, 3. As soon as all the rest were gone, he broke out into 
such loud weeping, that the Egyptians outside could hear it; and 
the house of Pharaoh, i.e. the royal family, was told of it (cf. 
vers. 2 and 16). He then said to his brethren : "lam Joseph. 
Is my father still alive ? " That his father was still living, he 

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had not only been informed before (xliii. 27), but had just been 
told again; but his filial heart impels him to make sure of it once 
more. " But his brethren could not answer him, for they were 
terrified before him : " they were so smitten in their consciences, 
that from astonishment and terror they could not utter a word. 
— Vers. 4, 5. Joseph then bade his brethren approach nearer, 
and said : " / am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 
But now be not grieved nor angry with yourselves (Da^JJB in^Ttt 
as in chap. xxxi. 35) that ye sold me hither ; for God hath sent 
me before you to preserve life." Sic enim Joseph interpretatur 
venditionem. Vos quidem me vendidistis, sed Deus emit, asseruit et 
vindicavit me sibi pastor em, principem et salvatorem populorum 
eodem consilio, quo videbar omissus et perditus (Luther). " For," 
he continues in explanation, " now there are two years of famine 
in the land, and there are five years more, in which there will be 
no ploughing and reaping. And God hath sent me before you to 
establish you a remnant (cf. 2 Sam. xiv. 7) upon the earth (i.e. to 
secure to you the preservation of the tribe and of posterity during 
this famine), and to preserve your lives to a great deliverance," 
i.e. to a great nation delivered from destruction, cf. 1. 20. ^BvB 
that which has escaped, the band of men or multitude escaped 
from death and destruction (2 Kings xix. 30, 31). Joseph 
announced prophetically here, that God had brought him into 
Egypt to preserve through him the family which He had chosen 
for His own nation, and to deliver them out of the danger of 
starvation which threatened them now, as a very great nation. — 
Ver. 8. " And now (this was truly the case) it was not you that 
sent me hither ; but God (Ha-Ehhim, the personal God, in con- 
trast with his brethren) liaih made me a father to Pharaoh (i.e. his 
most confidential counsellor and friend ; cf. 1 Mace. xi. 32, Ges. 
thes. 7), and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the 
land of Egypt ; " cf . xli. 40, 41. 

Vers. 9 sqq. Joseph then directed his brethren to go up to 
their father with all speed, and invite him in his name to 
come without delay, with all his family and possessions, into 
Egypt, where he would keep him near himself, in the land of 
Goshen (see xlvii. 11), that he might not perish in the still 
remaining five years of famine. BHtfi : ver. 11, lit. to be 
robbed of one's possessions, to be taken possession of by another, 
from Ehj to take possession. — Vers. 12, 13. But the brethren 

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CHAr. XLV. 16-88. 367 

were so taken by surprise and overpowered by this unexpected 
discovery, that to convince them of the reality of the whole 
affair, Joseph was obliged to add, " Behold, your eyes see, and 
the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that 
speaketh unto you. And tell my father all my glory in 
Egypt, and all that ye have seen, and bring my father quickly 
hither." — Vers. 14, 15. He then fell upon Benjamin's neck and 
wept, and kissed all his brethren and wept on them, i.e. whilst 
embracing them ; " and after that, hie brethren talked with him" 
p 'nrw, : after Joseph by a triple assurance, that what they had 
done was the leading of God for their own good, had dispelled 
their fear of retribution, and, by embracing and kissing them 
with tears, had sealed the truth and sincerity of his words. 

Vers. 16-28. Invitation to Jacob to come into Egypt. 
— Vers. 16 sqq. The report of the arrival of Joseph's brethren 
soon found its way into the palace, and made so favourable an 
impression upon Pharaoh and his courtiers, that the king sent a 
message through Joseph to his brethren to come with their 
father and their families {"your houses") into Egypt, saying 
that he would give them " the good of the land of Egypt" and 
they should eat " the fat of the land" 3«3, "the good," is not 
the best part, but the good things (produce) of the land, as in 
vers. 20, 23, xxiv. 10, 2 Kings viii. 9. 2?n fat, i.e. the finest pro- 
ductions. — Vers. 19, 20. At the same time Pharaoh empowered 
Joseph (" thou art commanded ") to give his brethren carriages 
to take with them, in which to convey their children and wives 
and their aged father, and recomnv nded them to leave then- 
goods behind them in Canaan, for the good of all Egypt was at 
their service. From time immemorial Egypt was rich in small, 
two-wheeled carriages, which could be used even where there 
were no roads (cf. chap. 1. 9, Ex. xiv. 6 sqq. with Isa. xxxvi. 9) 
" Let not your eye look toith mourning (Dhn) at your goods ; " i.e. 
do not trouble about the house-furniture which you are obliged 
to leave behind. The good-will manifested in this invitation of 
Pharaoh towards Jacob's family was to be attributed to the 
feeling of gratitude to Joseph, and " is related circumstantially, 
because this free and honourable invitation involved the right of 
Israel to leave Egypt again without obstruction " (Delitzsch). 

Vers. 21 sqq. The sons of Israel carried out the instructions 

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of Joseph and the invitation of Pharaoh (vers. 25-27). Bat 
Joseph not only sent carriages according to Pharaoh's directions, 
and food for the journey, he also gave them presents, changes of 
raiment, a suit for every one, and five suits for Benjamin, as 
well as 300 shekels of silver, rmob niopn : change of clothes, 
clothes to change ; i.e. dress clothes which were worn on special 
occasions and frequently changed (Judg. siv. 12, 13, 19 ; 2 
Kings v. 5). "And to his father he tent like these;" i.e. not 
changes of clothes, but presents also, viz. ten asses " carrying 
of the good of Egypt," and ten she-asses with corn and pro- 
visions for the journey ; and sent them off with the injunction : 
Wjrr?K, fifj 6py%e<rde (LXX.), " do not get angry by the way." 
Placatus erat Joseph fratribus, simul eos admonet, ne quid tur- 
barum moveant. Timendum enim erat, ne quisque se purgando 
crimen transferre in alios studeret atque ita surgeret contentio 
(Calvin). — Vers. 25-28. When they got back, and brought 
word to their father, "Joseph is still living, yea ('31 an em- 
phatic assurance, Ewald, § 3306) he is ruler in all the land of 
Egypt, his heart stopped, for he believed them not;" i.e. his heart 
did not beat at this joyful news, for he put no faith in what 
they said. It was not till they told him all that Joseph had said, 
and he saw the carriages that Joseph had sent, that " Hie spirit 
of their father Jacob revived; and Israel said: It is enough! 
Joseph my son is yet alive : I will go and see him before I die" 
Observe the significant interchange of Jacob and Israel. When 
once the crushed spirit of the old man was revived by the cer- 
tainty that his son Joseph was still alive, Jacob was changed 
into Israel, the " conqueror overcoming his grief at the previous 
misconduct of his sons " (Fr. v. Meyer). 


Vers. 1-7. " So Israel took his journey (from Hebron, chap, 
xxxvii. 14) witli all who belonged to him, and came to Beersheba." 
There, on the border of Canaan, where Abraham and Isaac had 
called upon the name of the Lord (xxi. 33, xxvi. 25), he offered 
sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac, ut sibifirmum et ratum 
esse testetur fasdus, quod Dens ipse cum Patribus pepigerat (Cal- 
vin). Even though Jacob might see the ways of God in the 
wonderful course of his son Joseph, and discern in the friendly 

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CHAP. XLVI. 8-27. 369 

invitation of Joseph and Pharaoh, combined with the famine 
prevailing in Canaan, a divine direction to go into Egypt ; yet 
this departure from the land of promise, in which his fathers 
had lived as pilgrims, was a step which necessarily excited 
serious thoughts in his mind as to his own future and that of 
his family, and led him to commend himself and his follow- 
ers to th» care of the faithful covenant God, whether in so 
doing he thought of the revelation which Abram had received 
(chap. xv. 13-16), or not. — Ver. 2. Here God appeared to him 
in a vision of the night (nioo, an intensive plural), and gave 
him, as once before on his flight from Canaan (xxviii. 12 sqq.), 
the comforting promise, " / am ?Kn (the Mighty One), the God 
of thy father : fear not to go down into Egypt ("Tr*!? for HT1D, as 
in Ex. ii. 4 njrc for nin, cf. Ges. § 69, 3, Anm. 1); for ' I will 
there make thee a great nation. I will go down toith thee into 
Egypt, and I — bring thee up again also will J, and Joseph shall 
close thine eyes." ripjTDj an inf. abs. appended emphatically 
(as in chap. xxxi. 15) ; according to Ges. inf. Kal. — Vers. 5-7. 
Strengthened by this promise, Jacob went into Egypt with 
children and children's children, his sons driving their aged 
father together with their wives and children in the carriages 
sent by Pharaoh, and taking their flocks with all the possessions 
that they had acquired in Canaan. 1 

Vers. 8-27. The size of Jacob's family, which was to grow 
into a great nation, is given here, with evident allusion to the 
fulfilment of the divine promise with which he went into Egypt. 
The list of names includes not merely the " sons of Israel" in 
the stricter sense ; but, as is added immediately afterwards, 
"Jacob and his sons" or, as the closing formula expresses it (ver. 
27), u all the souls of tlie house of Jacob, who came into Egypt" 
(rwan for ntja im, Ges. § 109), including the patriarch himself, 
and Joseph with his two sons, who were born before Jacob's ar- 
rival in Egypt. If we reckon these, the house of Jacob consisted 
of 70 souls ; and apart from these, of 66, besides his sons' wives. 
The sons are arranged according td the four mothers. Of LeaJi 

' Such a scene as this, with the emigrants taking their goods laden upon 
asses, and eren two children in panniers upon an ass's back, may bo seen 
depicted upon a tomb at Beni Hassan, which might represent the immigra- 
tion of Israel, although it cannot be directly connected with it. (See the 
particulars in Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses.) 

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there are given 6 sons, 23 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons (sons of 
Pharez, whereas Er and Onan, the sons of Judah who died in 
Canaan, are not reckoned), and 1 daughter, Dinah, who re- 
mained unmarried, and was therefore an independent member 
of the house of Jacob; in all, therefore, 6 + 23 + 2 + 1 = 32, 
or with Jacob, 33 souls. Of Zilpah, Leah's maid, there are 
mentioned 2 sons, 11 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons, and 1 
daughter (who is reckoned like Dinah, both here and Num. 
xxvi. 46, for some special reason, which is not particularly de- 
scribed) ; in all, 2 + 11 + 2 + 1 = 16 souls. Of Rachel, "Jacob's 
(favourite) wife," 2 sons and 12 grandsons are named, of whom, 
according to Num. xxvi. 40, two were great-grandsons, =14 
souls ; and of Rachel's maid BiUiali, 2 sons and 5 grandsons = 
7 souls. The whole number therefore was 33+16+14 + 7 = 
70. 1 The wives of Jacob's sons are neither mentioned by name 
nor reckoned, because the families of Israel were not founded 
by them, but by their husbands alone. Nor is their parentage 
given either here or anywhere else. It is merely casually that 
one of the sons of Simeon is called the son of a Canaanitish 
woman (ver. 10) ; from which it may be inferred that it was quite 
an exceptional thing for the sons of Jacob to take their wives 
from among the Canaanites, and that as a rule they were chosen 
from their paternal relations in Mesopotamia ; besides whom, 
there were also their other relations, the families of Ishmael, 
Keturah, and Edom. Of the " daughters of Jacob " also, and 
the " daughters of his sons," none are mentioned except Dinah 
and Serah the daughter of Asher, because they were not the 
founders of separate houses. 

If we look more closely into the list itself, the first thing 
which strikes us is that Pharez, one of the twin-sons of Judah, 
who were not born till after the sale of Joseph, should already 
have had two sons. Supposing that Judah's marriage to the 

1 Instead of the number 70 given here, Ex. i. 5, and Deut. x. 22, 
Stephen speaks of 75 (Acts vii. 14), according to the LXX., which has the 
number 75 both here and Ex. i. 5, on account of the words which follow 
the names of Manasseh and Ephraim in ver. 20 : iyhorro is viol M»»«tro-r„ 
ov( fctxst ainy fi vdKXaxT) q 2ip», to* Vlocx'P' Mettle ii iyimat ri» Tct- 
>.««o. viol ii 'Etppxtfi ditXtpov tiateuarf SovroAicAft k*\ Taift. viol ii 2on- 
■teiKaaft.- 'Ela/x: and which are interpolated by conjecture from chap. 1. 23, 
and Num. xxvi. 29, 35, and 36 (38, 39, and 40), these three grandsons and 
two great-grandsons of Joseph being reckoned in. 

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CHAP. XLV1. 8-27. 371 

daughter of Shuah the Canaanite occurred, notwithstanding 
the reasons advanced to the contrary in chap, xxxviii., before the 
sale of Joseph, and shortly after the return of Jacob to Canaan, 
during the time of his sojourn at Shechem (xxxiii. 18), it can- 
not have taken place more than five, or at the most six, years 
before Joseph was sold; for Judah was only three years older 
than Joseph, and was not more than 20 years old, therefore, at 
the time of his sale. But even then there would not be more 
than 28 years between Judah' s marriage and Jacob's removal to 
Egypt; so that Pharez would only be about 11 years old, since 
he could not have been born till about 17 years after Judah's 
marriage, and at that age he could not have had two sons. 
Judah, again, could not have taken four sons with him into 
Egypt, since he had at the most only two sons a year before 
their removal (xlii. 37) ; unless indeed we adopt the extremely 
improbable hypothesis, that two other sons were born within 
the space of 11 or 12 months, either as twins, or one after the 
other. Still less could Benjamin, who was only 23 or 24 years 
old at the time (vid. pp. 311 and 319), have had 10 sons already, 
or, as Num. xxvi. 38-40 shows, eight sons and two grandsons. 
From all this it necessarily follows, that in the list before us 
grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob are named who were 
born afterwards in Egypt, and who, therefore, according to a 
view which we frequently meet with in the Old Testament, 
though strange to our modes of thought, came into Egypt in 
lumbia patrum. That the list is really intended to be so under- 
stood, is undoubtedly evident from a comparison of the " sons 
of Israel " (ver. 8), whose names it gives, with the description 
given in Num. xxvi. of the whole community of the sons of 
Israel according to their fathers' houses, or their tribes and 
families. In the account of the families of Israel at the time 
of Moses, which is given there, we find, with slight deviations, 
all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob whose names 
occur in this chapter, mentioned as the founders of the families, 
into which the twelve tribes of Israel were subdivided in Moses' 
days. The deviations are partly in form, partly in substance. 
To the former belong the differences in particular names, which 
are sometimes only different forms of the same name; e.g. Jemuel 
and Zohar (ver. 10), for Nemuel and Zerah (Num. xxvi. 12, 13); 
Ziphion and Arodi (ver. 16), for Zephon and Arod (Num. xxvi. 

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15 and 17) ; Huppim (ver. 21) for Hupham (Num. xxvi. 39) ; 
Ehi (ver. 21), an abbreviation of Ahiram (Num. xxvi. 38) : 
sometimes different names of the same person ; viz. Ezbon (ver. 
16) and Ozni (Num. xxvi. 16); Muppim (ver. 21) and Shupham 
(Num. xxvi. 39) ; Hushim (ver. 23) and Shuham (Num. xxvi. 
42). Among the differences in substance, the first to be noticed 
is the fact, that in Num. xxvi. Simeon's son Ohad, Asher's son 
Ishuah, and three of Benjamin's sons, Becher, Gera, and Rosh, 
are missing from the founders of families, probably for no other 
reason than that they either died childless, or did not leave a 
sufficient number of children to form independent families. 
With the exception of these, according to Num. xxvi., all the 
grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob mentioned in this chap- 
ter were founders of families in existence in Moses' time. From 
this it is obvious that our list is intended to contain, not merely 
the sons and grandsons of Jacob, who were already born when 
he went down to Egypt, but in addition to the sons, who were 
the heads of the twelve tribes of the nation, all the grandsons 
and great-grandsons who became the founders of mishpachotk, 
i.e. of independent families, and who on that account took the 
place or were advanced into the position of the grandsons of 
Jacob, so far as the national organization was concerned. 

On no other hypothesis can we explain the fact, that in the 
time of Moses there was not one of the twelve tribes, except the 
double tribe of Joseph, in which there were families existing, 
that had descended from either grandsons or great-grandsons of 
Jacob who are not already mentioned in this list. As it is quite 
inconceivable that no more sons should have been born to Jacob's 
sons after their removal into Egypt, so is it equally inconceiv- 
able, that all the sons born in Egypt either died childless, or 
founded no families. The rule by which the nation descending 
from the sons of Jacob was divided into tribes and families 
(mishpachotk) according to the order of birth was this, that 
as the twelve sons founded the twelve tribes, so their sons, i.e. 
Jacob's grandsons, were the founders of the families into which 
the tribes were subdivided, unless these grandsons died without 
leaving children, or did not leave a sufficient number of male 
descendants to form independent families, or the natural rule 
for the formation of tribes and families was set aside by other 
events or causes. On this hypothesis we can also explain the 

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CHAP. XLVI. 8-27. 373 

other real differences between this list and Num. xxvi. ; viz. the 
fact that, according to Num. xxvi. 40, two of the sons of Benja- 
min mentioned in ver. 21,Naaman and Ard, were his grandsons, 
sons of Belah ; and also the circumstance, that in ver. 20 only the 
two sons of Joseph, who were already born when Jacob arrived 
in Egypt, are mentioned, viz. Manasseh and Ephraim, and none 
of the sons who were born to him afterwards (xlviii. 6). The 
two grandsons of Benjamin could be reckoned among his sons 
in our list, because they founded independent families just like 
the sons. And of the sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim 
alone could be admitted into our list, because they were elevated 
above the sons born to Joseph afterwards, by the fact that shortly 
before Jacob's death he adopted them as his own sons and thus 
raised them to the rank of heads of tribes ; so that wherever 
Joseph's descendants are reckoned as one tribe (e.g. Josh. xvi. 1, 
4), Manasseh and Ephraim form the main divisions, or leading 
families of the tribe of Joseph, the subdivisions of which were 
founded partly by their brothers who were born afterwards, and 
partly by their sons and grandsons. Consequently the omission 
of the sons born afterwards, and the grandsons of Joseph, from 
whom the families of the two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who 
were elevated into tribes, descended, forms only an apparent 
and not a real exception to the general rule, that this list 
mentions all the grandsons of Jacob who founded the families of 
the twelve tribes, without regard to the question whether they 
were born before or after the removal of Jacob's house to Egypt, 
since this distinction was of no importance to the main purpose 
of our list. That this was the design of our list, is still further 
confirmed by a comparison of Ex. i. 5 and Deut. x. 22, where 
the seventy souls of the house of Jacob which went into Egypt 
are said to constitute the seed which, under the blessing of the 
Lord, had grown into the numerous people that Moses led out 
of Egypt, to take possession of the land of promise. From this 
point of view it was a natural thing to describe the seed of the 
nation, which grew up in tribes and families, in such a way as to 
give the germs and roots of all the tribes and families of the 
whole nation; i.e. not merely the grandsons who were born before 
the migration, but also the grandsons and great-grandsons who 
were born in Egypt, and became founders of independent 
families. By thus embracing all the founders of tribes and 

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families, the significant number 70 was obtained, in which the 
number 7 (formed of the divine number 3, and the world number 
4, as the seal of the covenant relation between God and Israel) is 
multiplied by the number 10, as the seal of completeness, so as 
to express the fact that these 70 souls comprehended the whole 
of the nation of God. 1 

Vers. 28-34. This list of the house of Jacob is followed by an 
account of the arrival in Egypt. — Ver. 28. Jacob sent his son 
Judah before him to Joseph, " to show (rfMrp) before him to 
Goshen;" i.e. to obtain from Joseph the necessary instructions 
as to the place of their settlement, and then to act as guide to 
Goshen. — Ver. 29. As soon as they had arrived, Joseph had his 
chariot made ready to go up to Goshen and meet his father (/W 
applied to a journey from the interior to the desert or Canaan), 
and "showed himself to him there (lit. he appeared to him; JW"0, 
which is generally used only of the appearance of God, is selected 
here to indicate the glory in which Joseph came to meet his 
father) ; and fell upon his neck, continuing (lip) upon his neck 
(i.e. in his embrace) weeping." — Ver. 30. Then Israel said to 
Joseph : " Now (pVBn lit. this time) will I die, after I have seen 
thy face, that thou (art) still alive."— Vers. 31, 32. But Joseph 
told his brethren and his father's house (his family) that he 
would go up to Pharaoh (JVV here used of going to the court, as 
an ideal ascent), to announce the arrival of his relations, who 
were TOpD ^JK " keepers of flocks," and had brought their sheep 
and oxen and all their possessions with them. — Vers. 33, 34. 
At the same time Joseph gave these instructions to his brethren, 
in case Pharaoh should send for them and inquire about their 
occupation : " Say, Thy servants have been keepers of cattle 
from our youth even until now, we like our fathers ; that ye 
may dwell in the land of Goshen ; for every shepherd is an 
abomination of the Egyptians." This last remark formed part 
of Joseph's words, and contained the reason why his brethren 
should describe themselves to Pharaoh as shepherds from of 
old, namely, that they might receive Goshen as their dwelling- 
place, and that their national and religious independence might 

1 This was the manner in which the earlier theologians solved the actual 
difficulties connected with our list ; and this solution has been adopted and 
defended against the objections offered to it by Hengstenbt r g (Disserta- 
tions) and Kurtz (History of the Old Covenant). 

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CHAP. XLVII. 1-12. 375 

not be endangered by too close an intercourse with the Egyptians. 
The dislike of the Egyptians to shepherds arose from the fact, 
that the more completely the foundations of the Egyptian state 
rested upon agriculture with its perfect organization, the more 
did the Egyptians associate the idea of rudeness and barbarism 
with the very name of a shepherd. This is not only attested in 
various ways by the monuments, on which shepherds are con- 
stantly depicted as lanky, withered, distorted, emaciated, and 
sometimes almost ghostly figures (Graul, Reise 2, p. 171), but 
is confirmed by ancient testimony. According to Herodotus 
(2, 47), the swine-herds were the most despised ; but they were 
associated with the cow-herds (fiovKokoi) in the seven castes of 
the Egyptians (Herod. 2, 164), so that Diodorus Siculus (1, 74) 
includes all herdsmen in one caste ; according to which the word 
fiov/coXoi in Herodotus not only denotes cow-herds, but a potiori all 
herdsmen, just as we find in the herds depicted upon the monu- 
ments, sheep, goats, and rams introduced by thousands, along 
with asses and horned cattle. 


Vers. 1-12. When Joseph had announced to Pharaoh the 
arrival of his relations in Goshen, he presented five out of the 
whole number of his brethren (vn« nxpD ; on nxjj see chap. xix. 
4) to the king. — Vers. 3 sqq. Pharaoh asked them about their 
occupation, and according to Joseph's instructions they replied 
that they were herdsmen (J^X ny*i, the singular of the predicate, 
see Ges. § 147c), who had come to sojourn in the land ("nj, i.e. 
to stay for a time), because the pasture for their flocks had failed 
in the land of Canaan on account of the famine. The king 
then empowered Joseph to give his father and his brethren a 
dwelling (a^n) in the best part of the land, in the land of 
Goshen, and, if he knew any brave men among them, to make 
them rulers over the royal herds, which were kept, as we may 
infer, in the land of Goshen, as being the best pasture-land. — 
Vers. 7-9. Joseph then presented his father to Pharaoh , but 
not till after the audience of his brothers had been followed by 
the royal permission to settle, for which the old man, who was 
bowed down with age, was not in a condition to sue. The pa- 

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triarch saluted the king with a blessing, and replied to his inquiry 
as to his age, " The days of Oie years of my pilgrimage are 130 
years ; few and sorrowful are the days of my life's years, and liave 
not reached (the perfect in the presentiment of his approaching 
end) the days of the life's years of my fathers in the days of their 
pilgrimage." Jacob called his own life and that of his fathers a 
pilgrimage (D^up), because they had not come into actual pos- 
session of the promised land, but had been obliged all their life 
long to wander about, unsettled and homeless, in the land pro- 
mised to them for an inheritance, as in a strange land. This 
pilgrimage was at the same time a figurative representation of 
the inconstancy and weariness of the earthly life, in which man 
does not attain to that true rest of peace with God and blessed 
ness in His fellowship, for which he was created, and for which 
therefore his soul is continually longing (cf. Ps. xxxix. 13, cxix. 
19, 54; 1 Chron. xxix. 15). The apostle, therefore, could 
justly regard these words as a declaration of the longing of the 
patriarchs for the eternal rest of their heavenly fatherland (Heb. 
xi. 13-16). So also Jacob's life was little (B?p) and evil (».«. 
full of toil and trouble) in comparison with the life of his fathers. 
For Abraham lived to be 175 years old, and Isaac 180 ; and 
neither of them had led a life so agitated, so full of distress and 
dangers, of tribulation and anguish, as Jacob had from his first 
flight to Haran up to the time of his removal to Egypt. 

Ver. 10. After this probably short interview, of which, how- 
ever, only the leading incidents are given, Jacob left the king 
with a blessing. — Ver. 11. Joseph assigned to his father and his 
brethren, according to Pharaoh's command, a possession ( n }n*) 
for a dwelling-place in the best part of Egypt, the land of 
RaSmses, and provided them with bread, u according to tlie mouth 
of the little ones," i.e. according to the necessities of each family, 
answering to the larger or smaller number of their children. 
?373 with a double accusative (Ges. § 139). The settlement of 
the Israelites is called the land of RaSmses (DDDjn, in pause 
DDOjn Ex. i. 11), instead of Goshen, either because the province 
of Goshen (JW/t, LXX.) is indicated by the name of its former 
capital RaSmses (i.e. HeroopoUs, on the site or in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the modern Abu Keisheib, in Wady Tumilat 
(vid. Ex. i. 11), or because Israel settled in the vicinity of 
RaSmses. The district of Goshen is to be sought in the modern 

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CHAP. XLVII. 18-27. 377 

province of el Sharkiyek (i.e. the eastern), on the east side of 
the Nile, towards Arabia, still the most fertile and productive 
province of Egypt (cf. Robinson, Pal. i. 78, 79). For Goshen 
was bounded on the east by the desert of Arabia Petrsea, which 
stretches away to Philistia (Ex. xiii. 17, cf. 1 Chron. vii. 21) 
and is called Teakfi 'Apafitas in the Septuagint in consequence 
(chap. xlv. 10, xlvi. 34), and must have extended westwards to 
the Nile, since the Israelites had an abundance of fish (Num. 
xi. 5). It probably skirted the Tanitic arm of the Nile, as the 
fields of Zoan, i.e. Tunis, are said to have been the scene of the 
mighty acts of God in Egypt (Ps. lxxviii. 12, 43, cf. Num. xiii. 
22). In this province Joseph assigned his relations settlements 
near to himself (xlv. 10), from which they could quickly and 
easily communicate with one another (xlvi. 28, xlviii. 1 sqq.). 
Whether he lived at Raemses or not, cannot be determined, just 
because the residence of the Pharaoh of that time is not known, 
and the notion that it was at Memphis is only based upon utterly 
uncertain combinations relating to the Hyksos. 

Vers. 13-27. To make the extent of the benefit conferred 
by Joseph upon his family, in providing them with the necessary 
supplies during the years of famine, all the more apparent, a 
description is given of the distress into which the inhabitants of 
Egypt and Canaan were plunged by the continuance of the 
famine. — Ver. 13. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan 
were exhausted with hunger. — iWn : from nrp = r\»b, to languish, 
to be exhausted, only occurring again in Prov. xxvi. 18, Hithp. 
in a secondary sense. — Ver. 14. All the money in both countries 
was paid in to Joseph for the purchase of corn, and deposited by 
him in Pharaoh's house, i.e. the royal treasury. — Vers. 15 sqq. 
When the money was exhausted, the Egyptians all came to 
Joseph with the petition : u Give us bread, why should we die 
before thee" (i.e. so that thou shouldst see us die, when in reality 
thou canst support us) ? Joseph then offered to accept their 
cattle in payment ; and they brought him their herds, in return 
for which he provided them that year with bread. ?ru : Piel to 
lead, with the secondary meaning, to care for (Ps. xxiii. 2 ; Isa. 
xl. 11, etc.) ; hence the signification here, " to maintain." — Vers. 
18, 19. When that year had passed (pim, as in Ps. cii. 28, to 
denote the termination of the year), they came again " the second 
year" (i.e. after the money was gone, not the second of the seven 

PENT. — VOL. I. 2 B 

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years of famine) and said : " We cannot hide it from my lord 
C^iK, a title similar to your majesty), but the money is all gone, 
and the cattle have come to my lord ; we have nothing left to offer 
to my lord but our bodies and our land." OK '3 is an intensified 
'3 following a negation (" but," as in chap, xxxii. 29, etc.), and 
is to be understood elliptically ; lit. u for if," sc. we would speak 
openly ; not " that because," for the causal signification of DK is 
not established. DPI with ?K is constructio prcegnans : " completed 
to my lord," i.e. completely handed over to my lord. '?.?? " 1 ¥*^ 
is the same : " left before my lord," i.e. for us to lay before, or 
offer to my lord. " Why should we die before thine eyes, we and 
our land! Buy us and our land for bread, that we may be, we 
and our land, servants (subject) to Pharaoh ; and give seed, that 
we may live and not die, and the land become not desolate." In 
the first clause row is transferred per zeugma to the land ; in the 
last, the word Dtfn is used to describe the destruction of the land. 
The form DOT is the same as ->p$ in chap. xvi. 4. — Vers. 20, 21. 
Thus Joseph secured the possession of the whole land to Pharaoh 
by purchase, and " the people he removed to cities, from one end of 
the land of Egypt to the other" D*1JJ?, not from one city to another, 
but " according to (= Kara) the cities ;" so that he distributed 
the population of the whole land according to the cities in which 
the corn was housed, placing them partly in the cities them- 
selves, and partly in the immediate neighbourhood. — Ver. 22. 
The lands of the priests Joseph did not buy, " for the priests 
had an allowance from Pharaoh, and ate their allowance, which 
Pharaoh gave them; therefore iliey sold not their lander ph a 
fixed allowance of food, as in Prov. xxx. 8 ; Ezek. xvi. 27. This 
allowance was granted by Pharaoh probably only during the 
years of famine; in any case it was an arrangement which 
ceased when the possessions of the priests sufficed for their need, 
since, according to Diod. Sic. i. 73, the priests provided the sacri- 
fices and the support of both themselves and their servants from 
the revenue of their lands ; and with this Herodotus also agrees 
(2, 37). — Vers. 23 sqq. Then Joseph said to the people : " Be- 
hold I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh; there 
have ye (KH only found in Ezek. xvi. 43 and Dan. ii. 43) seed, and 
sow t/ie land; and of the produce ye shall give the fifth for Pharaoh, 
and four parts (TfV, as in chap, xliii. 34) shall belong to you for 
seed, and for the support of yourselves, your families and children." 

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CHAP. XLVII. 18-J7. 379 

The people agreed to this ; and the writer adds (ver. 26), it be- 
came a law, in existence to this day (his own time), " with regard 
to the land of Egypt for Pharaoh with reference to the fifth," 
i.e. that the fifth of the produce of the land should be paid to 

Profane writers have given at least an indirect support to 
the reality of this political reform of Joseph's. Herodotus, for 
example (2, 109), states that king Sesostris divided the land 
among the Egyptians, giving every one a square piece of the 
same size as his hereditary possession (icXfjpov), and derived his 
own revenue from a yearly tax upon them. JDiod. Sic. (1, 73), 
again, says that all the land in Egypt belonged either to the 
priests, to the king, or to the warriors; and Strabo (xvii. p. 
787), that the fanners and traders held rateable land, so that 
the peasants were not landowners. On the monuments, too, 
the kings, priests, and warriors only are represented as having 
landed property (cf. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs i. 263). 
The biblical account says nothing about the exemption of the 
warriors from taxation and their possession of land, for that was 
a later arrangement. According to Herod. 2, 168, every warrior 
had received from former kings, as an honourable payment, 
twelve choice fields (apovpeu) free from taxation, but they were 
taken away by the Hephaesto-priest Sethos, a contemporary of 
Hezekiah, when he ascended the throne {Herod. 2, 141). But 
when Herodotus and Diodorus Sic. attribute to Sesostris the 
division of the land into 36 voftol, and the letting of these for a 
yearly payment; these comparatively recent accounts simply 
transfer the arrangement, which was actually made by Joseph, 
to a half-mythical king, to whom the later legends ascribed all 
the greater deeds and more important measures of the early 
Pharaohs. And so far as Joseph's arrangement itself was 
concerned, not only had he the good of the people and the inte- 
rests of the king in view, but the people themselves accepted it 
as a favour, inasmuch as in a land where the produce was regu- 
larly thirty-fold, the cession of a fifth could not be an oppressive 
burden. And it is probable that Joseph not only turned the 
temporary distress to account by raising the king into the posi 
tion of sole possessor of the land, with the exception of that of 
the priests, and bringing the people into a condition of feudal 
dependence upon him, but had also a still more comprehensive 

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object in view ; viz. to secure the population against the danger 
of starvation in case the crops should fail at any future time, 
not only by dividing the arable land in equal proportions among 
the people generally, but, as has been conjectured, by laying the 
foundation for a system of cultivation regulated by laws and 
watched over by the state, and possibly also by commencing a 
system of artificial irrigation by means of canals, for the pur- 
pose of conveying the fertilizing water of the Nile as uniformly 
as possible to all parts of the land. (An explanation of this 
system is given by Hengstenberg in his Dissertations, from the 
Correspondance d' Orient par Michaud, etc.) To mention either 
these or any other plans of a similar kind, did not come within 
the scope of the book of Genesis, which restricts itself, in ac- 
cordance with its purely religious intention, to a description of 
the way in which, during the years of famine, Joseph proved 
himself to both the king and people of Egypt to be the true 
support of the land, so that in him Israel already became a 
saviour of the Gentiles. The measures taken by Joseph are 
thus circumstantially described, partly because the relation into 
which the Egyptians were brought to their visible king bore a 
typical resemblance to the relation in which the Israelites were 
placed by the Mosaic constitution to Jehovah, their God-King, 
since they also had to give a double tenth, i.e. the fifth of the 
produce of their lands, and were in reality only farmers of the 
soil which Jehovah had given them in Canaan for a posses- 
sion, so that they could not part with their hereditary possessions 
in perpetuity (Lev. xxv. 23) ; and partly also because Joseph's 
conduct exhibited in type how God entrusts His servants with 
the good things of this earth, in order that they may use them 
not only for the preservation of the lives of individuals and 
nations, but also for the promotion of the purposes of His king- 
dom. For, as is stated in conclusion in ver. 27, not only did 
Joseph preserve the lives of the Egyptians, for which they ex- 
pressed their acknowledgments (ver. 25), but under his adminis- 
tration the house of Israel was able, without suffering any 
privations, or being brought into a relation of dependence 
towards Pharaoh, to dwell in the land of Goshen, to establish 
itself there (TTJW as in chap, xxxiv. 10), and to become fruitful 
and multiply. 

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CHAP. XLVn. 28-31, XLVIII. 1-7. 381 


Vers. 28—31. Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years. He then 
sent for Joseph, as he felt that his death was approaching ; and 
having requested him, as a mark of love and faithfulness, not to 
bury him in Egypt, but near his fathers in Canaan, he made 
him assure him on oath (by putting his hand under his hip, vid. 
p. 257) that his wishes should be fulfilled. When Joseph had 
taken this oath, " Israel bowed (in worship) upon the bed" 8 head" 
He had talked with Joseph while sitting upon the bed; and 
when Joseph had promised to fulfil his wish, he turned towards 
the head of the bed, so as to lie with his face upon the bed, and 
thus worshipped God, thanking Him for granting his wish, 
which sprang from living faith in the promises of God ; just as 
David also worshipped upon his bed (1 Kings i. 47, 48). The 
Vulgate rendering is correct : adoravit Deum conversus ad lectuli 
caput. That of the LXX., on the contrary, is trpoo-e/cvvr/a-ep 
'Io-parfk eirl to atcpov Trjs pdfib'ov avrov (i.e. n ??f?); and the 
Syriac and Itala have the same (cf. Heb. xi. 21). But no fitting 
sense can be obtained from this rendering, unless we think of the 
staff with which Jacob had gone through life, and, taking avrov 
therefore in the sense of avrov, assume that Jacob made use 
of the staff to enable him to sit upright in bed, and so prayed, 
bent upon or over it, though even then the expression nt3Dn tfto 
remains a strange one; so that unquestionably this rendering 
arose from a false reading of nDon, and is not proved to be cor- 
rect by the quotation in Heb. xi. 21. "Adduxit enim LXX. In- 
terpr. versionem Apostolus, quod ea turn usitata esset, non quod 
lectionem Mam prwferendam judicaret (Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad 
h. 1.). 

Chap, xlviii. 1-7. Adoption op Joseph's sons. — Vers. 1, 
2. After these events, i.e. not long after Jacob's arrangements 
for his burial, it was told to Joseph (iDtfa "one said," cf. ver. 2) 
that his father was taken ill ; whereupon Joseph went to him 
with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who were then 18 or 
20 years old. On his arrival being announced to Jacob, Israel 
made himself strong (collected his strength), and sat up on his 
bed. The change of names is as significant here as in chap. xlv. 
27, 28. Jacob, enfeebled with age, gathered up his strength for 

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a work, which he was about to perform as Israel, the bearer of 
the grace of the promise. — Vers. 3 sqq. Referring to the promise 
which the Almighty God had given him at Bethel (xxxv. 10 sqq. 
cf. xxviii. 13 sqq.), Israel said to Joseph (ver. 5) : "And now thy 
two sons, which were born to thee in the land of Egypt, until (before) 
I came to thee into Egypt . . .let them be mine; Ephraim and Ma- 
nasseh, like Reuben and Simeon (my first and second born), let them 
be mine." The promise which Jacob had received empowered the 
patriarch to adopt the sons of Joseph in the place of children. 
Since the Almighty God had promised him the increase of his 
seed into a multitude of peoples, and Canaan as an eternal pos- 
session to that seed, he could so incorporate into the number of 
his descendants the two sons of Joseph who were born in Egypt 
before his arrival, and therefore outside the range of his house, 
that they should receive an equal share in the promised inherit- 
ance with his own eldest sons. But this privilege was to be re- 
stricted to the two first-born sons of Joseph. " Tliy descendants" 
he proceeds in ver. 6, " which thou hast begotten since them, shall 
be thine; by the name of their brethren shall they be called in their 
inheritance;" i.e. they shall not form tribes of their own with a 
separate inheritance, but shall be reckoned as belonging to 
Ephraim and Manasseh, and receive their possessions among 
these tribes, and in their inheritance. These other sons of 
Joseph are not mentioned anywhere; but their descendants are 
at any rate included in the families of Ephraim and Manasseh 
mentioned in Num. xxvi. 28-37 ; 1 Chron. vii. 14-29. By this 
adoption of his two eldest sons, Joseph was placed in the posi- 
tion of the first-born, so far as the inheritance was concerned 
(1 Chron v. 2). Joseph's mother, who had died so early, was 
also honoured thereby. And this explains the allusion made by 
Jacob in ver. 7 to his beloved Rachel, the wife of his affections, 
and to her death — how she died by his side (??), on his return 
from Padan (for Padan-Aram, the only place in which it is so 
called, cf. xxv. 20), without living to see her first-born exalted 
to the position of a saviour to the whole house of Israel 

Vers. 8-22. The blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh. 
— Vers. 8 sqq. Jacob now for the first time caught sight of 
Joseph's sons, who had come with him, and inquired who they 
were ; for u the eyes of Israel were heavy (dim) with age, so that 

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CHAP. XLVIIL 8-22. 383 

he could not see well" (ver. 10). The feeble old man, too, may 
not have seen the youths for some years, so that he did not recog- 
nise them again. On Joseph's answering, " My sons whom God 
hath given me here" he replied, "Bring them to me then (W~Dnj3), 
that I may bless them;" and he kissed and embraced them, when 
Joseph had brought them near, expressing his joy, that whereas 
he never expected to see Joseph's face again, God had per- 
mitted him to see his seed. nJO for JliK"j, like ^JJ (xxxi. 28). 
??B : to decide ; here, to judge, to think. — Vers. 12, 13. Joseph 
then, in order to prepare his sons for the reception of the bless- 
ing, brought them from between the knees of Israel, who was 
sitting with the youths between his knees and embracing them, 
and having prostrated himself with his face to the earth, he 
came up to his father again, with Ephraim the younger on his 
right hand, and Manasseh the elder on the left, so that Ephraim 
stood at Jacob's right hand, and Manasseh at his left. — Vers. 
14, 15. The patriarch then stretched out his right hand and laid 
it upon Ephraim' s head, and placed his left upon the head of 
Manasseh (crossing his arms therefore), to bless Joseph in his 
sons. " Guiding his hands wittingly ; " i.e. he placed his hands 
in this manner intentionally. Laying on the hand, which is 
mentioned here for the first time in the Scriptures, was a sym- 
bolical sign, by which the person acting transferred to another a 
spiritual good, a snpersensual power or gift ; it occurs elsewhere 
in connection with dedication to an office (Num. zxvii. 18, 23 ; 
Deut. xxxiv. 9; Matt. xix. 13; Acts vi. 6, viii. 17, etc), with the 
sacrifices, and with the cures performed by Christ and the 
apostles. By the imposition of hands, Jacob transferred to 
Joseph in his sons the blessing which he implored for them from 
his own and his father's God : " The God {Ha-Elohim) before 
whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God (Ha- 
JElohim) who hatJt fed me (led and provided for me with a 
shepherd's faithfulness, Ps. xxiii. 1, xxviii. 9) from my existence 
up to this day, tlie Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the 
lads." This triple reference to God, in which the Angel who is 
placed on an equality with Ha-Elohim cannot possibly be a 
created angel, but must be the " Angel of God," i.e. God mani- 
fested in the form of the Angel of Jehovah, or the " Angel of 
His face" (Isa. lxiii. 9), contains a foreshadowing of the Trinity, 
though only God and the Angel are distinguished, not three 

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persons of the divine nature. The God before whom Abraham 
and Isaac walked, had proved Himself to Jacob to be " the God 
which fed" and " the Angel which redeemed," i.e. according to 
the more fully developed revelation of the New Testament, o 0eo? 
and o X0709, Shepherd and Redeemer. By the singular TO}) 
(bless, benedicat) the triple mention of God is resolved into the 
unity of the divine nature. Non dicit (Jakob) benedicant, plu- 
raliter, nee repetit sed conjungit in uno opere benedicendi tree per- 
sonas, Deum Patrem, Deutn pastorem et Angelum. Sunt igitur 
hi tres unus Dene et unus benedietor. Idem opus facit Angelus 
quod pastor et Deus Patrum (Luther). u Let my name be named 
on them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac," t.«. 
not, " they shall bear my name and my fathers'," " dicanturjilii 
mei et patrum meorum, licet ex te nati sint " (Rosenm.), which 
would only be another way of acknowledging his adoption of 
them, " nota adoptionis " (Calvin) ; for as the simple mention of 
adoption is unsuitable to such a blessing, so the words appended, 
u and according to the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac" 
are still less suitable as a periphrasis for adoption. The thought 
is rather : the true nature of the patriarchs shall be discerned 
and acknowledged in Ephraim and Manasseh ; in them shall 
those blessings of grace and salvation be renewed, which Jacob 
and his fathers Isaac and Abraham received from God. The 
name expressed the nature, and " being called" is equivalent to 
" being, and being recognised by what one is." The salvation 
promised to the patriarchs related primarily to the multiplication 
into a great nation, and the possession of Canaan. Hence 
Jacob proceeds : " and let them increase into a multitude in the 
midst of the land." n«: air. Xey., " to increase," from which the 
name H, a fish, is derived, on account of the remarkable rapidity 
with which they multiply. — Vers. 17-19. When Joseph observed 
his father placing his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, the 
younger son, he laid hold of it to put it upon Manasseh's head, 
telling his father at the same time that he was the first-born ; 
but Jacob replied, " / know, my son, I know : he also (Manasseh) 
will become a nation, and will become great, yet (DJ*W as in xxviii. 
19) his younger brother will become greater than he, and his seed- 
will become the fulness of nations" This blessing began to be 
fid filled from the time of the Judges,, when the tribe of Ephraim 
so increased in extent and power, that it took the lead of the 

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CHAP. XLVIII. 8-22. 38o 

northern tribes and became the head of the ten tribes, and its 
name acquired equal importance with the name Israel, whereas 
under Moses, Manasseh had numbered 20,000 more than 
Ephraim (Num. xxvi. 34 and 37). As a result of the promises 
received from God, the blessing was not merely a pious wish, 
but the actual bestowal of a blessing of prophetic significance 
and force. — In ver. 20 the writer sums up the entire act of bless- 
ing in the words of the patriarch : " In thee (i.e. Joseph) will 
Israel (as a nation) bless, saying : God make thee as Ephraim 
and Manasseh " (i.e. Joseph shall be so blessed in his two sons, 
that their blessing will become a standing form of benediction in 
Israel) ; " and thus he placed Ephraim before Manasseh" viz. in 
the position of his hands and the terms of the blessing. Lastly, 
(ver. 21) Israel expressed to Joseph his firm faith in the promise, 
that God would bring back his descendants after his deatli into 
the land of their fathers (Canaan), and assigned to him a double 
portion in the promised land, the conquest of which passed be- 
fore his prophetic glance as already accomplished, in order to 
insure for the future the inheritance of the adopted sons of 
Joseph. " I give thee one ridge of land above thy brethren " (i.e. 
above what thy brethren receive, each as a single tribe), " which 
I take from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and bow" (i.e. 
by force of arms). As the perfect is used prophetically, trans- 
posing the future to the present as being already accomplished, 
so the words ^ing? "lew must also be understood prophetically, as 
denoting that Jacob would wrest the land from the Amorites, 
not in his own person, but in that of his posterity. 1 The words 
cannot refer to the purchase of the piece of ground at Shechem 
(xxxiii. 19), for a purchase could not possibly be called a con- 
quest by sword and bow ; and still less to the crime committed 
by the sons of Jacob against the inhabitants of Shechem, when 
they plundered the town (xxxiv. 25 sqq.), for Jacob could not 

1 There is no force in Kurtz's objection, that this gift did not apply to 
Joseph as the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, but to Joseph personally ; 
for it rests upon the erroneous assumption, that Jacob separated Joseph 
from his sons by their adoption. But there is not a word to that effect in 
ver. 6, and the very opposite in ver. 15, viz. that Jacob blessed Joseph in 
Ephraim and Manasseh. Heim's conjecture, which Kurtz approves, that by 
the land given to Joseph we are to understand the high land of Gilead, 
which Jacob had conquered from the Amorites, needs no refutation, for it 
is purely imaginary. 

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possibly have attributed to himself a deed for which he had 
pronounced a curse upon Simeon and Levi (xlix. 6, 7), not to 
mention the fact, that the plundering of Shechem was not 
followed in this instance by the possession of the city, but by 
the removal of Jacob from the neighbourhood. "Moreover, 
any conquest of territory would have been entirely at variance 
with the character of the patriarchal history, which consisted in 
the renunciation of all reliance upon human power, and a be- 
lieving, devoted trust in the God of the promises" (I)elitesch). 
The land, which the patriarchs desired to obtain in Canaan, 
they procured not by force of arms, but by legal purchase (cf. 
chap. xxiv. and xxxiii. 19). It was to be very different in the 
future, when the iniquity of the Amorites was full (xv. 16). 
But Jacob called the inheritance, which Joseph was to have in 
excess of his brethren, D2t? (/it. shoulder, or more properly nape, 
neck ; here figuratively a ridge, or tract of land), as a play upon 
the word Shechem, because he regarded the piece of land pur- 
chased at Shechem as a pledge of the future possession of the 
whole land. In the piece purchased there, the bones of Joseph 
were buried, after the conquest of Canaan (Josh. xxiv. 32.) ; and 
this was understood in future times, as though Jacob had pre- 
sented the piece of ground to Joseph (vid. John iv. 5). 

Jacob's blessing and death. — chap. xlix. 

Vers. 1-28. The blessing. — Vers. 1, 2. When Jacob had 
adopted and blessed the two sons of Joseph, he called his twelve 
sons, to make known to them his spiritual bequest In an ele- 
vated and solemn tone he said, " Gather yourselves together, that 
J may tell you that which shall befall you (*"]?? for nnj^, as in 
chap. xlii. 4, 38) at the end of the days! Gather yourselves 
together and hear, ye sons of Jacob, and hearken unto Israel your 
father /" The last address of Jacob-Israel to his twelve sons, 
which these words introduce, is designated by the historian 
(ver. 28) "the blessing," with which "their father blessed them, 
every one according to his blessing." This blessing is at the 
same time a prophecy. " Every superior and significant life be- 
comes prophetic at its close" (Ziegler). But this was especially 
the case with the lives of the patriarchs, which were filled and 
sustained by the promises and revelations of God. As Isaac in 

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CHAP. 3XIX. 1-88. 387 

his blessing (chap, xxvii.) pointed out prophetically to his two 
sons, by virtue of divine illumination, the future history of their 
f amities ; " so Jacob, while blessing the twelve, pictured in grand 
outlines the lineamenta of the future history of the future nation " 
(Ziegler). The groundwork of his prophecy was supplied partly 
by the natural character of his twelve sons, and partly by the 
divine promise which had been given by the Lord to him and to 
his fathers Abraham and Isaac, and that not merely in these two 
points, the numerous increase of their seed and the possession of 
Canaan, but in its entire scope, by which Israel had been ap- 
pointed to be the recipient and medium of salvation for all na- 
tions. On this foundation the Spirit of God revealed to the 
dying patriarch Israel the future history of his seed, so that 
he discerned in the characters of his sons the future develop- 
ment of the tribes proceeding from them, and with prophetic 
clearness assigned to each of them its position and importance 
in the nation into which they were to expand in the promised in- 
heritance. Thus he predicted to the sons what would happen to 
them " in the last days," liL " at the end of the days " (ev f itrya- 
rmv T&rv qfiep&v, LXX.), and not merely at some future time, 
mrw, the opposite of n'BW, signifies the end in contrast with 
the beginning (Dent. xi. 12 ; Isa. xlvi. 10) ; hence DOT mriK in 
prophetic language denoted, not the future generally, bat the 
last future (see Hengstenberg 's History of Balaam, pp. 465-467, 
transl.), the Messianic age of consummation (Isa. ii, 2 ; Ezek. 
xxxviii. 8, 16 ; Jer. xxx. 24, xlviii. 47, xlix. 39, etc. : so also 
Num. xxiv. 14; Deut. iv. 30), like tV iaj(aTov r&v rjnep&v (2 
Pet. hi. 3; Heb. i. 2), or h> rat? laypnawi r/fiepaR (Acts ii. 
17 ; 2 Tim. iii. 1). But we must not restrict " the end of the 
days" to the extreme point of the time of completion of the Mes- 
sianic kingdom ; it embraces " the whole history of the comple- 
tion which underlies the present period of growth," or " the future 
as bringing the work of God to its ultimate completion, though 
modified according to the particular stage to which the work of 
God had advanced in any particular age, the range of vision 
opened to that age, and the consequent horizon of the prophet, 
which, though not absolutely dependent upon it, was to a certain 
extent regulated by it" (Delitzsch). 

For the patriarch, who, with his pilgrim-life, had been obliged 
in the very evening of his days to leave the soil of the promised 

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land and seek a refuge for himself and bis house in Egypt, the 
final future, with its realization of the promises of God, com- 
menced as soon as the promised land was in the possession of the 
twelve tribes descended from his sons. He had already before 
his eyes, in his twelve sons with their children and children's 
children, the first beginnings of the multiplication of his seed 
into a great nation. Moreover, on his departure from Canaan 
he had received the promise, that the God of his fathers would 
make him into a great nation, and lead him up again to Canaan 
(xlvi. 3, 4). To the fulfilment of this promise his thoughts and 
hopes, his longings and wishes, were all directed. This consti- 
tuted the firm foundation, though by no means the sole and ex- 
clusive purport, of his words of blessing. The fact was not, as 
Baumgarten and Kurtz suppose, that Jacob regarded the time 
of Joshua as that of the completion ; that for him the end was 
nothing more than the possession of the promised land by his 
seed as the promised nation, so that all the promises pointed to 
this, and nothing beyond it was either affirmed or hinted at. 
Not a single utterance announces the capture of the promised 
land ; not a single one points specially to the time of Joshua. 
On the contrary, Jacob presupposes not only the increase of his 
sons into powerful tribes, but also the conquest of Canaan, as 
already fulfilled ; foretells to his sons, whom he sees in spirit as 
populous tribes, growth and prosperity on the soil in their pos- 
session ; and dilates upon their relation to one another in Canaan 
and to the nations round about, even to the time of their final 
subjection to the peaceful sway of Him, from whom the sceptre 
of Judah shall never depart. The ultimate future of the patri- 
archal blessing, therefore, extends to the ultimate fulfilment of 
the divine promises — that is to say, to the completion of the 
kingdom of God. The enlightened seer's-eye of the patriarch 
surveyed, " as though upon a canvas painted without perspec- 
tive," the entire development of Israel from its first foundation 
as the nation and kingdom of God till its completion under the 
rule of the Prince of Peace, whom the nations would serve in 
willing obedience ; and beheld the twelve tribes spreading them- 
selves out, each in his inheritance, successfully resisting their 
enemies, and finding rest and full satisfaction in the enjoyment 
of the blessings of Canaan. 

It is in this vision of the future condition of his sons as 

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CHAP. XLIX. 8, 4. 389 

grown into tribes that the prophetic character of the blessing 
consists ; not in the prediction of particular historical events, all 
of which, on the contrary, with the exception of the prophecy 
of Shiloh, fall into the background behind the purely ideal por- 
traiture of the peculiarities of the different tribes. The blessing 
gives, in short sayings full of bold and thoroughly original pic- 
tures, only general outlines of a prophetic character, which are to 
receive their definite concrete form from the historical develop- 
ment of the tribes in the future ; and throughout it possesses 
both in form and substance a certain antique stamp, in which 
its genuineness is unmistakeably apparent. Every attack upon 
its genuineness has really proceeded from an a priori denial of 
all supernatural prophecies, and has been sustained by such mis- 
interpretations as the introduction of special historical allusions, 
for the purpose of stamping it as a vaticinia ex eventu, and by 
other untenable assertions and assumptions ; such, for example, 
as that people do not make poetry at so advanced an age or in 
the immediate prospect of death, or that the transmission of such 
an oration word for word down to the time of Moses is utterly 
inconceivable, — objections the emptiness of which has been de- 
monstrated in Hengstenberg , s Christology i. p. 76 (transl.) by 
copious citations from the history of the early Arabic poetry. 

Vers. 3, 4. Reuben, my first-born thou, my might and first- 
fruit of my strength ; pre-eminence in dignity and pre-eminence in 
power. — As the first-born, the first sprout of the full virile power 
of Jacob, Reuben, according to natural right, was entitled to the 
first rank among his brethren, the leadership of the tribes, and a 
double share of the inheritance (xxvii. 29 ; Deut. xxi. 17). (pxty : 
elevation, the dignity of the chieftainship ; W, the earlier mode 
of pronouncing ty, the authority of the first-born.) But Reu- 
ben had forfeited this prerogative. " Effervescence like water — 
thou shalt have no preference ; for thou didst ascend thy father's 
marriage-bed: tlien hast ilwu desecrated; my couch has he as- 
cended." W?B : Ut. the boiling over of water, figuratively, the 
excitement of lust; hence the verb is used in Judg. ix. 4, Zeph. 
iii. 4, for frivolity and insolent pride. With this predicate Jacob 
describes the moral character of Reuben ; and the noun is stronger 
than the verb nine of the Samaritan, and njnriK or nymK effer- 
buistif astuasti of the Sam. Vers., i^v^purai of the LXX., and 

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vTrep^ia-wi of Symm. ">nta is to be explained by "inj : have no 
pre-eminence. His crime was, lying with Bilhah, his father's 
concubine (xxxv. 22). Jv?n is used absolutely : desecrated hast 
thou, sc. what should have been sacred to thee (cf. Lev. xviii. 8). 
From this wickedness the injured father turns away with indig- 
nation, and passes to the third person as he repeats the words, 
" my couch he has ascended." By the withdrawal of the rank 
belonging to the first-born, Reuben lost the leadership in Israel ; 
so that his tribe attained to no position of influence in the na- 
tion (compare the blessing of Moses in Deut. xxxiii. 6). The 
leadership was transferred to Judah, the double portion to 
Joseph (1 Chron. v. 1, 2), by which, so far as the inheritance 
was concerned, the first-born of the beloved Rachel took the 
place of the first-born of the slighted Leah ; not, however, ac- 
cording to the subjective will of the father, which is condemned 
in Deut. xxi. 15 sqq., but according to the leading of God, by 
which Joseph had been raised above his brethren, but without 
the chieftainship being accorded to him. 

Vers. 5-7. " Simeon and Levi are brethren :" emphatically 
brethren in the full sense of the word ; not merely as having the 
same parents, but in their modes of thought and action. " Wea- 
pons of wickedness are their swords'' The ewraf Xey. T130 is 
rendered by Luther, etc., weapons or swords, from "R3=rn3, to 
dig, dig through, pierce : not connected with fiayaipa. L. de 
Dieu and others follow the Arabic and JEthiopic versions : 
"plans;" but Don 73, utensils, or instruments, of wickedness, 
does not accord with this. Such wickedness had the two brothers 
committed upon the inhabitants of Shechem (xxxiv. 25 sqq.), 
that Jacob would have no fellowship with it. " Into their coun- 
sel come not, my soul; with tJieir assembly let not my honour 
unite." "tfD, a council, or deliberative consessus. "inn, imperf. 
of irp ; ^33, like Ps. vii. 6, xvi. 9, etc., of the soul as the noblest 
part of man, the centre of his personality as the image of God. 
" For in their wrath have they slain men, and in their wantonness 
houghed oxen." The singular nouns E*K and "\W, in the sense of 
indefinite generality, are to be regarded as general rather than 
singular, especially as the plural form of both is rarely met 
with ; of B*K, only in Ps. cxli. 4, Prov. viii. 4, and Isa. liii. 3 ; of 
"rie s — D'Tt?, only in Hos. xii. 12. Jftn : inclination, here in a bad 

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CHAP. \T.TX. fr-7. 391 

sense, wantonness. IfW : vevpo/covrelv, to sever the houghs (ten- 
dons of the hind feet), — a process hy which animals were not 
merely lamed, but rendered useless, since the tendon once severed 
could never be healed again, whilst as a rule the arteries were 
not cut so as to cause the animal to bleed to death (cf. Josh. ad. 
6, 9 ; 2 Sam. viii. 4). In chap, xxxiv. 28 it is merely stated 
that the cattle of the Shechemites were carried off, not that they 
were lamed. But the one is so far from excluding the other, that 
it rather includes it in such a case as this, where the sons of 
Jacob were more concerned about revenge than booty. Jacob 
mentions the latter only, because it was this which most strik- 
ingly displayed their criminal wantonness. On this reckless 
revenge Jacob pronounces the curse, " Cursed be their anger, for 
it was fierce ; and their wrath, for it was cruel : I shall divide them 
in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel" They had joined together 
to commit this crime, and as a punishment they should be divided 
or scattered in the nation of Israel, should form no independent 
or compact tribes. This sentence of the patriarch was so ful- 
filled when Canaan was conquered, that on the second number- 
ing under Moses, Simeon had become the weakest of all the 
tribes (Num. xxvi. 14) ; in Moses' blessing (Deut. xxxiii.) it was 
entirely passed over ; and it received no separate assignment of 
territory as an inheritance, but merely a number of cities within 
the limits of Judah (Josh. xix. 1—9). Its possessions, therefore, 
became an insignificant appendage to those of Judah, into 
which they were eventually absorbed, as most of the families of 
Simeon increased but little (1 Chron. iv. 27) ; and those which 
increased the most emigrated in two detachments, and sought 
out settlements for themselves and pasture for their cattle out- 
side the limits of the promised land (1 Chron. iv. 38-43). Levi 
also received no separate inheritance in the land, but merely a 
number of cities to dwell in, scattered throughout the possessions 
of his brethren (Josh. xxi. 1-40). But the scattering of Levi 
in Israel was changed into a blessing for the other tribes through 
its election to the priesthood. Of this transformation of the 
curse into a blessing, there is not the slightest intimation in 
Jacob's address; and in this we have a strong proof of its 
genuineness. After this honourable change had taken place 
under Moses, it would never have occurred to any one to cast 
such a reproach upon the forefather of the Levites. How dif- 

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ferent is the blessing pronounced by Moses upon Levi (Deut. 
xxxiii. 8 sqq.) ! But though Jacob withdrew the rights of primo- 
geniture from Reuben, and pronounced a curse upon the crime 
of Simeon and Levi, he deprived none of them of their share in 
the promised inheritance. They were merely put into the back- 
ground because of their sins, but they were not excluded from 
the fellowship and call of Israel, and did not lose the blessing 
of Abraham, so that their father's utterances with regard to 
them might still be regarded as the bestowal of a blessing 
(ver. 28). 

Vers. 8-12. Judah, the fourth son, was the first to receive 
a rich and unmixed blessing, the blessing of inalienable supre- 
macy and power. "Judah thou, thee will thy brethren praise! 
thy hand in the neck of thy foes! to thee will thy father's sons 
bow down!" Jinn, thou, is placed first as an absolute noun, 
like 'JK in chap. xvii. 4, xxiv. 27; IVTi' is a play upon rrwi» 
like rnlK in chap. xxix. 35. Judah, according to chap. xxix. 
35, signifies : he for whom Jehovah is praised, not merely the 
praised one. "This nomen, the patriarch seized as an omen, 
and expounded it as a presage of the future history of Judah." 
Judah should be in truth all that his name implied (cf. xxvii. 
36). Judah had already shown to a certain extent a strong and 
noble character, when he proposed to sell Joseph rather than 
shed his blood (xxxvii. 26 seq.) ; but still more in the manner in 
which he offered himself to his father as a pledge for Benjamin, 
and pleaded with Joseph on his behalf (xliii. 9, 10, xliv. 16 sqq.); 
and it was apparent even in his conduct towards Thamar. In 
this manliness and strength there slumbered the germs of the 
future development of strength in his tribe. Judah would put 
his enemies to flight, grasp them by the neck, and subdue them 
(Job xvi. 12, cf. Ex. xxiii. 27, Ps. xviii. 41). Therefore his 
brethren would do homage to him : not merely the sons of his 
mother, who are mentioned in other places (xxvii. 29 ; Judg. 
viii. 19), i.e. the tribes descended from Leah, but the sons of 
his father — all the tribes of Israel therefore ; and this was really 
the case under David (2 Sam. v. 1, 2, cf. 1 Sam. xviii. 6, 7, and 
16). This princely power Judah acquired through his lion-like 
nature. — Ver. 9. "A young lion is Judah ; from the prey, my 
son, art thou gone up: he has lain down; like a lion there he lieth, 

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CHAP. XLIX. 8-12 393 

and like a lioness, who can rouse him up!" Jacob compares 
Judah to a young, i.e. growing lion, ripening into its full 
strength, as being the "ancestor of the lion-tribe." But he 
quickly rises " to a vision of the tribe in the glory of its perfect 
strength," and describes it as a lion which, after seizing prey, 
ascends to the mountain forests (cf. Song of Sol. iv. 8), and 
there lies in majestic quiet, no one daring to disturb it. To in 
tensify the thought, the figure of a lion is followed by that of the 
lioness, which is peculiarly fierce in defending its young. The 
perfects are prophetic ; and n?V relates not to the growth or 
gradual rise of the tribe, but to the ascent of the lion to its lair 
upon the mountains. " The passage evidently indicates some 
thing more than Judah's taking the lead in the desert, and in 
the wars of the time of the Judges ; and points to the position 
which Judah attained through the warlike successes of David " 
(KnobeT). The correctness of this remark is put beyond ques- 
tion by ver. 10, where the figure is carried out still further, but 
in literal terms. " The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor 
the ruler's staff from between his feet, till Shiloh come and the 
willing obedience of the nations be to him" The sceptre is the 
symbol of regal command, and in its earliest form it was a long 
staff, which the king held in his hand when speaking in public 
assemblies (e.g. Agamemnon, II. 2, 46, 101) ; and when he sat 
upon his throne he rested it between his feet, inclining towards 
himself (see the representation of a Persian king in the ruins of 
Persepolis, Niebuhr Reisebeschr. ii. 145). pi?no the determining 
person or thing, hence a commander, legislator, and a com- 
mander's or rulers staff (Num. xxi. 18); here in the latter sense, 
as the parallels, "sceptre" and "from between his feet," require. 
Judah — this is the idea — was to rule, to have the chieftainship, 
till Shiloh came, i.e. for ever. It is evident that the coming of 
Shiloh is not to be regarded as terminating the rule of Judah, 
from the last clause of the verse, according to which it was only 
then that it would attain to dominion over the nations. '? *W 
has not an exclusive signification here, but merely abstracts 
what precedes from what follows the given terminus ad quern, 
as in chap. xxvi. 13, or like i^K *W chap, xxviii. 15, Ps. cxii. 8, 
or IV Ps. ex. 1, and eo>? Matt. v. 18. 

But the more precise determination of the thought contained 
in ver. 10 is dependent upon our explanation of the word Shiloh. 
pekt. — VOL. i. a c 

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It cannot be traced, as the Jerusalem Targum and the Rabbins 
affirm, to the word ?& filius with the suffix >i = i "his son" 
since such a noun as ?& is never met with in Hebrew, and 
neither its existence nor the meaning attributed to it can be 
inferred from nw, afterbirth, in Deut. xxviii. 57. Nor can the 
paraphrases of Onkehs (donee veniat Messias cujus est regnum), 
of the Greek versions («u? iav ebJBn rk anroKel/ieva avrco ; or eS 
airoKeirai, as Aquila and Symmachus appear to have rendered 
it), or of the Syriac, etc., afford any real proof, that the defec- 
tive form IW, which occurs in 20 MSS., was the original form 
of the word, and is to be pointed iwforw=v 1BW. For 
apart from the fact, that B* for "H^K would be unmeaning here, 
and that no such abbreviation can be found in the Pentateuch, 
it ought in any case to read *«n w " to whom it (the sceptre) 
is due," since W alone could not express this, and an ellipsis of 
ton in such a case would be unparalleled. It only remains 
therefore to follow Luther, and trace nTV to n?e>, to be quiet, to 
enjoy rest, security. But from this root Shiloh cannot be ex- 
plained according to the analogy of such forms as "tiT 1 ?, twyp. 
For these forms constitute no peculiar species, but are merely 
derived from the reduplicated forms, as BiajJ, which occurs as 
well as tfo'p, clearly shows; moreover they are none of them 
formed from roots of n"?. nyv points to P^B*, to the formation 
of nouns with the termination 6n, in which the liquids are elimi- 
nated, and the remaining vowel ^ is expressed by ri (Ew. § 84) ; 
as for example in the names of places, fW or w, also v>V (Judg. 
xxi. 21 ; Jer. vii. 12) and Htj (Josh. xv. 51), with their deriva- 
tives *&y (1 Kings xi. 29, xii. 15) and "&i (2 Sam. xv. 12), also 
rfraK (Prov. xxvii. 20) for p*nK (Prov. xv. 11, etc.), clearly prove. 
Hence p? , B> either arose from p" w (nfe), or was formed directly 
from TUS^fW, like P« from ^3. But if f>^ is the original form 
of the word, •iT'B' cannot be an appellative noun in the sense of 
rest, or a place of rest, but must be a proper name. For the 
strong termination on loses its n after o only in proper names, 
like nb^p, too by the side of ptio (Zech.