Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. After these things--the conquest of the invading kings.
the word of the Lord--a phrase used, when connected with a
vision, to denote a prophetic message.
Fear not, Abram--When the excitement of the enterprise was over,
he had become a prey to despondency and terror at the probable revenge
that might be meditated against him. To dispel his fear, he was favored
with this gracious announcement. Having such a promise, how well did it
become him (and all God's people who have the same promise) to dismiss
fears, and cast all burdens on the Lord
2. Lord God, what wilt thou give?--To his mind the declaration,
"I am thy exceeding great reward"
had but one meaning, or was viewed but in one particular light, as
bearing on the fulfilment of the promise, and he was still experiencing
the sickness of hope deferred.
3. Eliezer of Damascus . . . one born in my house is mine
heir--According to the usage of nomadic tribes, his chief
confidential servant, would be heir to his possessions and honors. But
this man could have become his son only by adoption; and how sadly
would that have come short of the parental hopes he had been encouraged
to entertain! His language betrayed a latent spirit of fretfulness or
perhaps a temporary failure in the very virtue for which he is so
renowned--and absolute submission to God's time, as well as way, of
accomplishing His promise.
4. This shall not be thine heir--To the first part of his
address no reply was given; but having renewed it in a spirit of more
becoming submission, "whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it"
he was delighted by a most explicit promise of Canaan, which was
immediately confirmed by a remarkable ceremony.
9-21. Take me an heifer, &c.--On occasions of great importance,
when two or more parties join in a compact, they either observe
precisely the same rites as Abram did, or, where they do not, they
invoke the lamp as their witness. According to these ideas, which have
been from time immemorial engraven on the minds of Eastern people, the
Lord Himself condescended to enter into covenant with Abram. The
patriarch did not pass between the sacrifice and the reason was that in
this transaction he was bound to nothing. He asked a sign, and God was
pleased to give him a sign, by which, according to Eastern ideas, He
bound Himself. In like manner God has entered into covenant with us;
and in the glory of the only-begotten Son, who passed through between
God and us, all who believe have, like Abram, a sign or pledge in the
gift of the Spirit, whereby they may know that they shall inherit the