Genesis

J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)

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Genesis 5

This begins quite anew; it is a new division of subject.

We have the moral history of the antediluvian; history, much more of Adam (man) in what proceeds; the rest was nothing, save Enoch. They lived and died; of Cain's family a good deal - they civilized the world. Here there was one Enoch, and the prophecy of a world to come.

- 1. As to Adam (man), it is only said the "likeness" of God, not "image," the point here being what he was, not his place.

So it is Adam, not Ha-Adam, the representative man. But we return to the first chapter here, it is "likeness," not "image." Man is still, according to place, the image and glory of God; this will be actually fulfilled in Christ. The answer in God's mind to "what is man?" for all failed in glory, is to be made good in Him; failed that is in responsible man. In James we have him made in the likeness. Christ is never said to be like God - nullum simile est idem (there is no "like" that is "the same"); He was the revelation of God, in a word He is and was God. But God created them also as an animal race, and both get the name, of the one created, as being this race; but here individually; there, but as one being characteristically. "Adam begat a son in his own likeness, according to his image"; in chapter 1 it is in His "image, according to his likeness"; but Seth was in likeness, morally, the same thing. Seth, though taking the place of Adam, and so according to his image, could not have Adam as that of which he was to be an image. Adam was created to be God's image, Seth was in a certain sense in this place, compare 1 Corinthians 11:7, but he was not Adam's image, but according to it, but he was in his likeness. These are Adam's generations, not the woman's hopes, or faith, but what man, a child of Adam, was; in chapter 4 Seth is God's gift to Eve, here the "child of Adam" (male and female); Adam begat a son in his own likeness.

47 Nothing can be more striking than the way in which "God," and "Jehovah," are distinctively used here; "Jehovah" always connected with moral government; the dealings of "God" with those he had to say to.

Enoch walked with "God"; verse 22 - it is the ground which "Jehovah" had cursed, verse 29 - it was dealing of the righteous Governor.

God is the Being, the Originator, of all things, and is named in His nature.

Thus, in verse 1, we have "God"; so Enoch walked with "God," "God" took him. Verse 29, which "the Lord" hath cursed; so chapter 6 . 3. But in chapter 6:5, we have "God," because it is what He is, Himself, in His nature; but it repented "Jehovah," here He is in heart occupied with His dealings with man; so chapter 6:7, but in chapter 6:12, it returns to "God's" own estimate, as "God," and so to the end. The Sovereign Originator of all is now going to set it aside, and begin a new world. In chapter 7 he begins to deal with man in a relative, so to speak, official way, and it is "Jehovah"; He is carrying out His thoughts and we have "clean" and "unclean." In chapter 6 He was a Creator, here a Governor, and see how they are brought together in chapter 7:16. In chapter 8:1-19, it is "God" setting up a new thing; verses 20, 21, special dealings with Noah and men. In chapter 9 "God" establishes the new earth; in the matter of Ham, verse 26, we have "Jehovah" again. The contrast of chapter 4:1 and 25, noticed precedingly, is very striking; there was, though on divine ground, in a certain sense, assumption in verse 1; all is ascribed to sovereign originating grace in verse 25 - but this brings out a people, who know the revealed "God" in His name.

48 NOTE. - In chapter 1 God gives names Himself to "day" and "night," to "earth," "heaven," "seas" (not to "light," light was light on the face of the deep), to the things formed on the earth, or in the seas He does not - His word brings them forth, and they are good when He sees them - nor in this chapter, when they only come in as part of Elohim's creation, though in a special way does He to man. But in verse 2, we learn, when man's history is begun, God, not Jehovah, called their name Adam in the day He created them; that was the name, as a race. Adam gave Eve her name first Ish-shah, then in faith, as I suppose, Eve - Khav-vah - and he gave names to all animals.

NOTE. - Adam, though asleep when it was done, knew whence Eve was - Ish-shah is her natural relation to Adam - Eve (Khav-vah) her place after the fall, and revelation of the gift of the seed. The repetition of chapter 2:19, that "out of the ground Jehovah Elohim formed every beast . . . and brought them to Adam" is to be noted. So he gave them names as his, and so to the fowls (fishes are outside this); but there was no helpmeet (k'neg-do). Then the woman is of himself, yet given a name - subject to him - his.

She is afterwards Eve, but now Ish-shah; names of large import; first, when death was written on him, he gives her the name of Eve - God had separated her - the seed of the woman was to come, and Adam retires as it were, accepts it by faith as promise and gives her the name, not of connection with himself, but of her posterity; death, with God's judgment on the Serpent, did not hinder her being Eve - she had that place by promise, not by connection with Ish; but in chapter 5 the race is taken up in both, on the ground of creation, and now fallen.

- 3. Seth is in Adam's likeness and after his image; he was like Adam (fallen), and represented him too on the earth. With Cain and Hevel (Abel) we have nothing of all this; they had their own history, but are not brought forward as any way representing Adam, or taking place, it was intrinsic moral walk, yith'hal-lekh' eth ha-Elohim (walked with God - not Jehovah), not merely relationship in government, as in chapter 4:20.

49 - 27. Methuselah died, at the very latest, the year of the Flood - according to Septuagint 14, Vat. 6 years - all make him 969.

- 29. The Patriarchs here were in the Adam condition, calling on the name also of the Lord distinctively; not Cain's condition - their actual personal state, save Enoch, we do not know. This verse shows the Adam state and the Lord owned.

- 32. Shem was 98 when the Flood came; and it is likely these three sons were born after Noah was 500 years old, certainly all but Japheth. Probably none are named but those who escaped - born when apart from the world; he may have had, probably had, many others, unless he lived alone all his life till then. Twenty years before this he received the revelation of the end of all flesh; the direction for the ark was later, chapter 6:14-16.

Genesis 6

Up to this chapter I see three characters of sacrifice. God covers our nakedness, that is our first need as sinners; next, coming to God in worship, we are accepted, personally, according to the value, and worth of our gift. Then God smells a sweet savour and says "I will no more curse." But this makes a new heaven, and a new earth; here earth, and note here, in spite of, and as meeting the wickedness of men, compare 6:5; and it is Ha-Adam here. But then we have something more here; they were clean beasts. It was founded on God's mercy, according to His mind, an odour of rest. Abel's owned death, and needed sacrifice, in himself - came in faith, and all its value was on him; but Noah's was the sweet savour of Christ according to God's mind, acceptable in itself so as to bring favour and blessing on the world. Abraham's is more worship of God, who revealed Himself; doubtless he offered sacrifices, but it is not what is noticed; so at the second altar he called on the name of Jehovah.

50 - 2. Jude and Peter seem to make the B'ney ha-Elohim (sons of God) the angels; but God effaced all this in the deluge, and so may we; but the Titans and mighty men, heroes, find the origin of their tradition here.

I have little doubt this is purposely obscure, but the language here, in itself, tends to the thought that B'ney Elohim (sons of God) were not of the race of Ha-Adam (man).

"Wives" is not right; nashim (women) is not necessarily "wives." They chose those they liked, and compare verse 4; and query there if it be not "and also after the sons of Elohim went in to the daughters of men, and they bore to them; these were the heroes, mighty men which were of old, men of name"; these were Nachsatz.

- 3. "Jehovah said" - all is of Jehovah till the historic recital, verse 10. "My Spirit shall not always strive with man," in his wanderings - he is flesh; "yet his days shall be," etc.

Yadon, from dun (judges, contends with), rightly "strive" or "plead" I cannot doubt; it is the regular sense of din or dun, and even where it is judge, very often the judging is a judicial striving of God with man; see too the noun.

- 3, 4. Here we return wholly to the race of "Ha-Adam."

It is a question whether akharey-ken asher does not mean "after that," "thereupon that," and no stop, or only a comma between "them" and "these"; Asher (that) is not "when," or "als"; akharey-asher (after that) is clearly so used, and I see not why akharey-ken asher; asher is not "when," that I know.

I can understand two distinct classes here, but they seem to have subsisted together, though the first may have, in the first instance, preceded the second. They may have been Cain's progeny; another offspring of the unholy mixture of the sons of God and daughters of men. Certainly the two are brought out as bringing about the Flood, they both characterised the epoch which brought about the Flood - "those days."

The principle is the mixture of those who are of God with evil; but I am not aware that B'ney ha-Elohim (sons of God), is ever used for men. Job 38:7, they are surely not men, but angelic; so Job 1: 6. B'ney El khay (sons of the Living God) in Hosea 1:10 (in the Hebrew 2:1), is surely different. Judges are called "Elohim," but not B'ney ha-Elohim (sons of God). But there is no question of that here; so that the usage is certainly for beings angelic, not human, in nature; see Jude. I cannot for a moment doubt the force of this B'ney ha-Elohim (sons of God), and b'noth ha-Adam (daughters of man); and Jude quite confirms it. It seems to me also that akharey ken is not "afterwards" but "after that"; i.e., the consequence of this alliance; they were Titans and such like. All these traditions had a source. It may be questioned if the nephilim (giants) and gib-bo-rim (mighty ones) are identical.

51 But then, afterwards, only the general state of the race of Ha-Adam (Man) is spoken of. The sons of Anak are called nephilim; elsewhere giants are "Rephaim"; the connection with the traditions of giants, Titans, etc., seems evident.

I cannot help thinking that the war of Titans (mythology), and the details referred to in them, are directly connected, not merely with the fact of the deluge, but - though mixed up with the original desire and temptation, "ye shall be as gods" - with the apostasy of angels, and the frightful oppression, war, and corruption, and open rebellion against God. No doubt Scripture - the Spirit of God - has clothed all this dreadful evil with a veil of brief words, and the pious mind will see the divine wisdom, and perfectness of this, yet enough, as in so many cases, to explain all the various traditions of the heathen world as to it, and that is all we want. The tartarosas of 2 Peter, and the sinning angels of Jude; the genealogy of Titans, and their end are too closely connected not to give a character to the history of the world before the Flood, which accounts for its being passed over. It is curious that these poor slaves of the enemy while worshipping the gods who, they alleged, destroyed the Titans, yet honoured these as illustrious, and the origin of creation; and how Satan had succeeded in making the righteous Noah and his family, who were spared, into fallen gods, though they owned the judgment on apostasy which had spared them. But such is man, if not kept of God.

They are called giants or nephilim, giants I suppose earthborn; all this history is their being men of renown. Ovid says, besides the violence against men they would have aimed at heavenly rule, but were judged. Yet the giants and Titans are said to have been in contention; the oppression of the heaven-assailing rebels, who would have introduced all this, may be here alluded to.

52 Hesiod's making only three ages before the Trojan war is remarkable; he very likely meant to compliment his ancestors - the common bent of poetry.

He says:

Titenes upo zopho eeroenti kekruphatai (the Titans have been buried in murky darkness).

And again tois ouk exiton esti (for whom there is no coming out).

And again before this he says: kai tous men Titenas upo chithonos euruodeies pempsian kai desmoisin en argaleoisin edesan (and sent the Titans beneath earth, whose ways are open to all, and bound them in grievous chains).

I have sometimes thought that in this verse (4) two classes of persons are referred to - the giants, and men of renown. They were men of renown (I apprehend the article in the Hebrew is emphatic), the builders of Babel aimed at it; it is possible that the mythologists mixed up this story with it. I apprehend certainly it is "the" giants were in the earth in those days, and also after that the sons of Elohim came into the daughters of Adam, and they bore to them, the same were mighty men which were of old, men of name - of the well-known name, an'shey hashshem, the men of name.

I do not in the least pretend to say how the impiety against heaven was shown, nor disentangle all the mythological accounts, but the great facts seem plain; Jude must of course be looked at, his subject is apostasy; Peter's, just judgment - apostasy (Jude) as leading to judgment.

With Jude, the angels are cast down, and not seen, they are upo zophon (under darkness), Sodom and Gomorrha prokeintai deigma (lie there as an example) in the earth; this is all fitting.

In Peter, we have it therefore with the Flood - the world's judgment, and a remnant saved - judgment being his subject, and an elect remnant. The reserved judgment no heathen could know, Satan would not teach them that, for it was responsibility was there; the eternal judgment, or of the secrets of men's hearts, was not his subject of course - now that full salvation is come in, he may reduce men to this level, quod nota, and so he does. Hence the importance of full grace for deliverance from him.

NOTE. - Milton - I do not know what men of taste will say - was a miserable engrafting of all the heathen mythology on what was, after all, error so as really to make a fresh heathenism; that is the effect for the imagination, and so merge the power of what approached to truth in it. With most beautiful poetry, no doubt, it is a very mischievous book; indeed I have ever thought it so since I read it. But he was full of various learning of this kind, and turned Scripture scenes, and his views of truth (which was not the truth) into it. Purity mixed with corruption is corrupted purity, and that is not purity at all, but as an effect, and an evil worse than new corruption, save indeed, as the word implies, that it is always that, for corruption always implies something good corrupted, there is no evil created. What God has had to bear with in man! but He is perfect in all, and oh! how great the grace which has brought, and brought us, into the perfect light in grace and truth by Jesus Christ.

53 The Satanic idolatrous version of divine facts, as to God or man, with which truth is connected, having its origin in what, in itself, truth had to tell - this truth, as given by God, both gives us the positive blessing of itself, and explains, and guards against all that Satan derives from it.

Apply this to the corruption of Christianity. I do not doubt that this system will come in again in the gods, mauzzim (Dan. 11:38, 39), and that Satan will thus, where he exercises his direct power, so rule the world. How great the deliverance of being in the light.

NOTE. - That the evil being in the form of a serpent was called aphophis - the sacred asp - or the giant in Egypt, he was also called the brother of the sin.

- 5. But besides this, man's - Ha-Adam's - wickedness was great upon the earth; I say, besides this, for it was general, though this may have had a great deal to say to its coming in in this shape. Rol-hay-yom is surely "continually" not "every-day" - "all the day."

- 5. "And God saw" - He sees all things; He cannot forget His faithful ones, and He does nothing, but He makes it known to His servants the prophets.

- 7. Ma-khah (to blot out), is a very strong word, "wipe" or "blot out," "destroy."

- 9. His walking with God was not merely the acknowledgment of Jehovah, which he did, but "walking with God" - his moral character and walk - fear of God like Enoch.

- 11. So the earth was corrupt before God. We have the origin here of diaphtheirai tous diaphtheirontas ten gen (to destroy those that destroy the earth), Rev. 11:18; but it is only in the Apocalypse, and thus Hebraic in language, but in 1 Corinthians 3:17, is the same, save dia.

54 - 13. All is simple judgment here, there is no intercession. We are not on the anticipative ground of grace in communion, but simple deliverance in judgment.

NOTE. - When the end of all flesh came, the spirits are in prison, yet it died.

- 18. Noah stood alone for the covenant "with thee."

There are two things here: the declaration of not repeating the curse on Adam as to the ground, and the non-repetition of the Flood. This was founded on sacrifice. The new world, as this earth, was founded on sacrifice, the first on judgment; then the curse, here the curse no more repeated; with man's nature fully seen, God acted on the sacrifice, not on it.

As to labour, partial relief, see verse 29.

- 7-12. I cannot but think the raven and dove emblematic, though not a type; yet the ravens brought food to Elijah.

- 11. Ta-raph, "pluckt off" or "fresh" - not an old dried one to be found anywhere.

- 12. Where the dove could rest, Noah could; so blessed be God, with us; yet then, no sure rest, now sure.

- 21. We have here the propitiatory character of the sweet savour of Christ's sacrifice. It was not a sin-offering, bearing, and putting sin away, but one which met the mind of God, as to His sense of sin, by the perfectness of the sacrifice - a reyakh hannikhoakh (odour of the rest) to Him; so Jehovah said el-lib-bo (in his heart).

- 21. The word as to the curse is this - Noah was to comfort man concerning the work of his hands, because of the ground which the Lord had cursed; it does not say the curse was gone, but there was comfort in labour as to it. But further, there was to be no repetition of the curse, or the Lord might have been always at it, for all the imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil and that continually. But there was this on the ground of sacrifice, "the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in his heart, I will no more again curse," neither would He smite the earth with a flood. He would not again act as He had done. And the effect of this sweet savour is very striking, not in changing God's mind, but in revealing what He is - the source of peace.

Love was free in righteousness, righteousness glorified in the sacrifice, the sacrifice love had provided. The Lord had seen that the imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually, and the Lord said, "I will destroy." But now, the sweet savour of the sacrifice was the ground of action - what drew out the heart of God - moved it in grace, and could because righteously; hence, though seeing all the evil, acts on the sweet savour. If I deal according to what man is, I must always curse, for the ground of cursing is always there as spoken of (chap. 6:5, 6). Hence "I will not again," do it, or act as moved by what is in man (for there is only evil), but on the ground of the sacrifice offered. Here as to the world, for the old world was, as to dealings of God, left to itself, only with a testimony, and was founded (besides Cain) on "He drove out the man." This world was passed away, and sacrifice was the basis of God's dealings in testimony as to this. In the old we had full individual testimony, as Abel - Enoch - but they by cross or heaven left the world they belonged to outwardly. This had in view the world itself, and the rainbow was given in pledge, and appears in the throne, in Revelation; when in chapter 11:19 God is taking up the earth we have the ark of His covenant, and the Lord begins again with the Jews. Revelation 4 has a far wider range; He is Creator and all created for Him, and redeems out of nations, peoples, tongues, languages. And this opens a good deal the book of Revelation. In chapter 4 the throne is set in heaven; it is the heavenly throne making good in power the universal title. In chapter 11:19, the temple of God is opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant is seen, and then the Jewish people immediately come on the scene, and the wars and judgments. In chapter 5 angels and all even ept tes ges praise and glorify Him that sits on the throne; the elders and living creatures fall down before the Lamb who has redeemed.

55 - 22. It was yet a remaining earth.

Genesis 9

This chapter gives Noah's family and personal fall, and the judgment on Canaan, son of Ham. It is Noah's personal history and prophecy; but it was the fall of the head of the new world, with all its consequent history. Babylon was another thing - association to make a centre to themselves without God. Then God constitutes nations out of a family, or three families, at most. It is the actual basis of the state of the existing world - the world such as it is.

56 - 2. What a different dominion from Adam's! (chap. 2:19, 20). God there, as Creator, puts all living animals under Adam's power; he names them. Here, God is a preserver, soter, but the animals are merely placed in Noah's power, and fear, the character of relationship; Noah is their destroyer, whom they fear. Blood is put into his hand in the way of government, for blood shedding, life taking, was in the earth. It is clearly a setting of the whole thing upon a new system, and footing (compare Gen. 1:28, 29).

- 6. This puts evidently the image of God on a different footing from moral qualities.

- 20. The history of Noah, and his patriarchal prophecy.

- 26, 27. Is it intended, the difference of Shem and Japheth? Jehovah, the name of relationship with Shem - Jehovah, the God of Shem; and Elohim, simply the fact of divine power and providence - "God shall enlarge him"; he gets the world, as such, when direct relationship is not established in the world; this is the basis of the world's history.

The whole chapter gives the relationship of God with the new world and its order; this is the world's history in general, in prophetic plan according to God.

Genesis 10

This chapter begins that historically. It is a general history of the local planting of the nations of the earth; not a date of an event - the geographical arrangement of the world. It looks back, and sees the earth partitioned out, and traces the families from their sources.

The world is here ethnologically arranged, as to races and families; morally, in chapter 11:1-9, and at the same time nationally, as distinct countries. We have here the central family before God; but there is another fact, the earth was divided (v. 25).

- 5. Parad (separated) - not palag (divided). They separated from one another, and so settled; this verse is evidently after the confusion of tongues, so verse 32. Verse 19 shows it to be of Moses's time, only Nimrod and Peleg are as special facts noticed on the way.

57 It is remarkable how Noah entirely disappears after his fall and prophecy. Headship over the world there was none; but first association, and then individual energy.

- 6-8. We have Ham, Cush, Nimrod.

- 8. I do not think Nimrod was the immediate son of Cush, it may be, he was of his family. The chapter takes up the different families, as Mizraim, Philistine, etc.; then Nimrod is singled out from his beginning an empire. But Babel was there before he began, as beknown there to this day.

- 10. I suppose Nimrod was after the dispersion; Babel was the beginning of his kingdom. It does not appear if the division of the earth was before or after. The dispersion was judgment - the division, arrangement, and man's life shortened by half. Conquest may have been after this, or the arrangement consequent on Nimrod's violence; in Scripture they are independent facts. The first fact is Nimrod - imperial energy; the second, general ethnological location as a fact. The judgment on the family of men, is what brought the ethnological division about, verse 5.

- 22-25. Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg. If Ham's family had the same length of life, Nimrod was long contemporary with Peleg. Peleg was born some sixty years or more after him; but up to Peleg the ages were, say 430 years. Peleg lived only 239 years, he died, according to Hebrew chronology, 340 years after the Flood, he was born 149 years before the death of Noah. Nimrod with similar ages died 87 years after Peleg and was contemporary with him all his days. The whole period of the lives of the members of Shem's family is not noted, so that the Spirit would draw our attention to it there, chapter 11; here the change is the important thing.

- 25. I suppose, with many others, the division of Peleg to be a distinct thing. According to Hebrew chronology, Noah died 10 years after Peleg. The Sept. Chron. of course alters their relative dates; according to this, Peleg was born 401 after the Flood; I think Nimrod lived say from 267 to 576, Peleg to 510. If we accept the Hebrew chronology, this division was in Noah's lifetime, indeed long before his death; if that of the Sept., not so; at any rate, I apprehend, after the dispersion. It seems a kind of orderly settlement - a distribution. Remark how Noah has disappeared; his authority was lost. Where was he when the tower was set about? The dividing, besides their record, is the great subject of this chapter.

58 NOTE. - All the present mighty ones are Japheth. Of the four empires, Persia (Elam) alone was Shem, and favoured the Jews; and, as the Rationalists say, Shem was monotheistic, which is true - "Jehovah, God of Shem." They did not know the true God without revelation surely, but providentially were not Jovists - mere mythological heathen, i.e., of the four, for the Assyrians were idolators, and were of Shem.

After Nimrod and Mizraim, for Ham began, the great powers of later days have been Japheth; Asshur was Shem, but he never pulled down Jerusalem, nor built it up as others did; perhaps Nebuchadnezzar was Ham, the first Chaldean empire was. I suppose "went forth Asshur" (v. 11) is right, for certainly they had Asshur for their first great god in Assyria. They had really the longest, and, on the whole, greatest empire; but though a rod for Israel, they never came into collision with God's throne in Jerusalem, nor supplanted it; Sennacherib would have done so. As far as Assyria is concerned, the alleged monotheism of Shem is a fable; they were idolators as the rest.

Genesis 11

This was their first descent into the plain, where they would have centralized themselves, and were dispersed. They would have humanity one - a kind of republic; God made nations and tongues of them. Then Nimrod began an empire, and afterwards there was some kind of partition among them of the known earth in Peleg's time.

- 2. Mikkedem, eastward; the word seems to me thus formed - it is used as in the mouth of a person speaking in relation to himself - a person to the east of me is, of course, coming, speaking, or looking from the east, thence mikkedem, eastward.

2 Chronicles 4:10, "the right side of the east end," i.e., the right side in relation to one looking towards it, for it faced the south, and was not to the east of the person, therefore not mikkedem, but ked'mah (eastward); so mikketheph, on the right side; so I take mimmul (on) to be opposite the south; so 2 Chron. 5:12.

59 Chapter 10 is practically a parenthesis; this chapter continues from chapter 9, or begins afresh as the next noticed fact, and settles providentially the state of the world after Noah; here, the "Lord" is dealing - "God" began the world afresh with Noah in chapter 9.

The history of the old world after the flood is ended, and the new form of men's relationship - the world, not Noah's family, but nations, tongues, etc. - is established.

To the end of this chapter we have the genealogy of Abram, but not the Lord's dealings, though in fact the call had come, but the action is Terah's.

- 1-9, comes before chapter 10, and goes by itself, showing how, by the judgment of God, historically the dispersion of mankind, came about. This closes the tol'doth (generation) Noah; and now the origin of the whole state of the earth.

- 10-32. These verses go with what follows - Shem's family, they are the distinctive tol'doth (generation) Shem.

- 2. Bik'ah (a plain), a low river plain.

- 5. B'ney Ha-Adam (sons of man) again.

- 10 begins the generations of the family God owned - the history of Abraham's race - the people of Jehovah - He was the Lord God of Shem.

- 19. Diminution of half the duration of life, connected with the regular settling of the earth; not the spreading of the various stocks and branching off of families.

- 24 et seq. According to Jewish chronology, i.e., as given in the text, the last born of Terah's three sons was born only four years after Noah's death.

Chapters 12, 13. These two chapters give the whole position consequent on the calling, and its realization in the heavenly place of faith, with the contrasts of weakness and worldliness.

We have the general promise on which the faith was built, and Abraham distinguished and separated.

Genesis 12

This chapter evidently begins a wholly new matter, and relationship with God.

God had formed the world, and called Abraham out of it to be in it to Himself, and deposits all blessings and promises in him as a head of race; it is the beginning of promise to men - save outwardly, no more flood - and it is not to men, but to a chosen person, and then to his posterity, as taken up for God by Himself in grace.

60 The interesting points of detail I have noticed elsewhere, but this is the place they hold in the history; it begins a new one, and promises, and blessings to descendants.

God elects, reveals Himself, calls out to Himself, and deposits promises. Here the path of faith is entered on, as a stranger in the world which God had formed by judgment - the world around us.

Now, separation from Terah - natural ties - comes first; going down into the world, from natural motives, at the end of the chapter. In the first case, he does not reach Canaan at all; in the second, he leaves it, and denies his wife - Jehovah was forgotten - but he is well off through it. The true relationship of Christ and the Church must be lost when we get into the world.

Abram is a stranger with an altar, but none while with Terah, none in Egypt; they belong to the place of faith, not exactly to the revelation by which God calls, but by the revelation of Himself, by which He associates with Himself in the place of promise, and this brings in necessarily the seed.

We have seen sacrifice for Adam, in Abel, and in Noah, here an altar - worship on the revelation of God Himself (in promise), or that carried on as a known relationship with God. But then in verses 7 and 8 it is immediately connected with Israel and the land; he was in the place of promise. The general testimony brought him out as the Lord commanded him, but worship is only in Canaan. Here note too, as regards the promise and its going, Abram's seed; the descendible quality, though actually enjoyed in the path and place of obedience has nothing to do with a nature, or relative place with God in virtue of the sin, or goodness of that nature.

Abram is shown, called by God's revelation of Himself, and receives the promises; not as Adam, a father of a race in his image, and exclusion from God's presence; there is the path of faith, but God calls and gives, and that to the seed too.

It is not descendible nature and place, but grace and promise - he is a stranger too by faith, out of the world - not out of Paradise, and God's presence, by sin. "I am a stranger with thee," so we as to this world, but besides we sit in heavenly places - we are let in by righteousness (through one Man's obedience), and belong to Christ (as his children to Adam); we are not strangers in our Canaan, but in the world we are; but in our walk we are, for spiritual wickedness is still in heavenly places. We see how union with Christ has given us an entirely new additional element to Abraham; Abraham had not so much as to set his foot on, nor have we, actually, as men in the body, but we are sitting there in Christ.

61 NOTE. - We pass here definitely from great general principles, in which God is revealed, to special dealings with one specifically called out into relationship with Him.

It is all Jehovah, not that that is the particular name of revelation - that is El Shaddai; but it is not Elohim, but Jehovah's dealings, only he is shown to be Elohim as One who condescends to man - is the Source of blessing, and who executes judgment, looked at as an historical fact; chapters 17:3-14, and 19:29. See also chapters 21 and 22, in the last God Himself looking for absolute obedience and confidence - a contrast with Eve and Adam. But the dealings are Jehovah's; hence, note, we have the question of man's ways in the relationship into which grace has called, and by which conduct is judged - not mere right and wrong in detail.

- 1. God appears to Abraham, causing him to seek the country; he does so in the land (v. 7), and he builds an altar, it is the ground of worship. This he renews as his habitual portion (v. 8); having none in Egypt, he only returns to the one he had, at the first, on coming back.

This personal designation, instead of dealing with Ha-Adam, is most remarkable; and setting the blessing distinctively in one called out from the system which God had settled as the world. Abraham is called out of his country; his heavenly place is brought out only, when he has not so much as to set his foot on, in the country God had shown him.

"Had" is right here, see Acts 7:2. What has misled many is supposing Abram to be Terah's eldest son; verse 31 clearly depends on this.

- 2. How is heyeh thou shalt be? It? If it be the name, it is, I suppose, "in thee shall they bless."

- 3. "I will curse" - pronounce a judicial curse, pronounce a curse arar (he cursed), him that curseth, speaketh injuriously, wishing evil-kalal (to curse). Here clearly it must be Jehovah not Elohim and the creature Ha-Adam.

62 This verse then goes back to chapter 10:32, in grace.

- 4. Terah was 130 when Abram was born, or a trifle more, i.e., the time between his death and Abram's departure, 205 - 75= 130. Terah begat Nahor at 70; there were thus some 60 years between Nahor and Abraham, but most, or a great part, of this was passed in Ur of the Chaldees. Lot was born there, and I suppose Milcah married to Nahor.

- 5. They had been some time in Haran.

- 6. This is the root of perseverance of faith; and being a stranger, he could not have what he was called to.

- 7. But the Lord's revelation of Himself, in the place Abraham was called to, reveals to him the way he would have it, and is the ground of worship; this continues as his condition - a tent and an altar. Still promises are on earth here.

- 10. Nothing wrong apparently, but, when tested by the difficulties of the place of faith, he does not walk by faith, nor consult divine wisdom and will for guidance. He acts on the wisdom of sense, but that is Egypt; and this goes further, he must conceal the full truth there.

The world takes up what belongs exclusively to the man of God, but is judged for it; the man of God had denied its being exclusively his, because he had lost his own place of calling with God. This is the forgetting the Church and distinctiveness of blessing where we are called.

The call and blessing of Abram is most deeply important. The world's history had been gone through - the Adam fallen - the world formed by man's sin - Babel - his multiplying and forming settlements - and the earth divided - countries were formed - and then a kingdom or empire by man as a mighty hunter still connected with Babylon. Now we get, not merely individuals called by grace, or walking in godliness, of and in the midst of the race - one of the families and countries of the world - but one called out of the scene which God Himself had settled. Countries were that order; Abram is to get out of his, and blessing established and settled in him as a stock apart. It is not dealing with Ha-Adam in his responsibility, but positive purpose and grace calling out and conferring a blessing. It is on another principle from man's responsibility.

Then countries are left behind as the things called out of; in the millennium they will be taken up - all the families of the earth (ground) will be blessed; but here blessing is deposited in a called out one - further, "I will make thee a blessing," nothing more full or complete than this. Did man, or angel, or any, wish to know what a blessing was, look at Abram. "In thee," it is said, "shall Israel bless, saying Jehovah make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh"; he was blessed of God so as to be a model and pattern of blessing; so we, through infinite grace, in a much higher way, that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness towards us by Christ Jesus. Hence Paul, in the personal consciousness which we have of it through the Holy Ghost, says, "Would God that not only thou, but all who hear me this day were both almost and altogether such as I am, save these bonds." He was a conscious model of blessing, and that is the true Christian state, nor does any aright, else, truly honour God, when we think of the grace given to us in Christ - in His own Son; things that angels desire to look into are for us - a place in Him above creature name - and not merely glory, but blessed in Him, one with Him and loved as He is loved, and in the same blessed relationship as He is in with the Father.

63 NOTE. - In chapters 12, 13 and 14, we have the relationship of the called in the earth with the world; failure is seen, but in general it is "called out" and "leaving it" - perseverance in heavenly separatedness from it - leaving, because of the promise, the world to the world, and, in the end, full victory over it, and blessing in it from the Possessor of heaven and earth under Melchizedek. In chapter 15 we have the principles on which, by faith, the called is sustained in going through it, while not enjoying the effect of the promise; while chapter 16 is the failure, and here the earthly people are under oppression of the free but must submit. In chapter 17, the inheritance of the world is brought out by the covenant of circumcision, and Sarah - the free woman, under the new covenant, is mother of the heir, for He was rejected under the old. Here, mark, however, it was historically a covenant to keep a covenant in the flesh; Israel had to keep it, and execute it, and one who did not would be cut off; it was imposed, the bought servant was to undergo it - it was his duty. This was connected with faith, i.e., the position of the believer - he was father of many nations before Him whom he believed, for this hangs on chapter 15 (compare Romans 4); still the word is, "Thou shalt keep," Gen. 17:9. Now in Christianity, the seal of faith is a gift - it is the Holy Spirit, and it is power, "after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise - earnest of the inheritance, till the redemption of the purchased possession," and baptism, which has the form of outward recognition, is conferred - granted, "who can forbid water?" "what doth hinder me to be baptized?" it was more in association with Jewish ground and ways of relationship with God.

64 The commission in Matthew supposes the residue of Israel all right, and sends out to gather in the Gentiles, all baptizing them according to the new light. Paul, though he owned and submitted to it, for all was to be linked together, was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel in power.

Even this, however, did not impose a law on flesh, nor seal a promise by man's act, but implied remission of sins, and deliverance, complete by death and resurrection in Christ - that immense saving, and divine life-giving boon, which is given through Him.

Hence, though they came under it by the call of God, it was, in form even, a conferred benefit; they were baptized - the Church baptized them to confer the benefit, and admit them by death and resurrection into its blessings, and standing before God; thus, in ordinance, the character is opposed - the seal of God is the Holy Spirit. Circumcision is before the birth of the son of the free woman; hence we find it also as to time in connection with the effort to have the promise by law - the unbelievingness of the vessel of promise - Sarai.

Genesis 13

Now there is giving up because he had his portion; thereon the Lord leads him to the full knowledge of his own portion, this leads to his building a new altar. Now he is finally victorious over the world; this produces no altar, but blessing and praise through the royal priest. Hitherto we had altars - relationships of faith turning to worship.

- 3. Bat-t'khil-lah (at the beginning).

- 4. Barisho-nah (at the first).

There is the true point of return, but no progress; but he returned to the altar there, and there he called on the name of Jehovah - cared for meanwhile, but no calling on the name. The Lord's prayers are as little possible in a strange land as the Lord's songs are unfit.

65 - 8, 9. It is a difficult place, where grace must separate; but it always yields as regards self and the world. It gets what its desire would rest in, though only by gracious conduct, the heavenly place and promise. This is not the cross, but the spirit of grace. Self goes necessarily towards judgment, because it does not know itself; all this is very instructive.

When the world and self are given up, the place of promise is more measured and known. Abram was fearful - it was want of faith. Lot's heart was in the world - selfish - it was a sad course with Lot.

- 10-17. The whole picture is striking of Lot and Abraham, but I have considered it elsewhere. Only remark this, that Abraham failed in faith, got into sorrow, and returned; Lot chose the well-watered plain, and got into Sodom, and out of it into sorrow, as through fire.

- 13. I think "sinners," laY'hovah (before Jehovah) is special; it is not merely "How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (chap. 39:9) i.e., a true conscience and the fear of God. It was Jehovah, the Governor, offended and, speaking reverently, disgusted, with the evil, infamous as it was.

- 14. How beautiful it is from this verse!

- 18. There are three altars here; God's appearing to him in the land, the regular, natural so to say, habit of communion, sign of the bond of the soul with God. To this he must return on leaving Egypt; he builds no new one - and consequent upon his survey, and realization of the place and gift of promise. In Egypt, of course, none.

NOTE. - I do not find any intercourse like that of Abraham with God; Noah's is the most like it after the flood - there too we find an altar; then there is a present salvation ordered of God - the altar is to Jehovah. But when the blessing comes, it was Elohim renewing the earth - the ordering of the condition of the world only - Jehovah comes in with Shem. Here it is special calling and promise, and revelation of Himself, and intercourse on the ground of it.

66 Genesis 14

The whole history closes in the end of this chapter, with Melchizedek, and the revelation of God in His final character in time, or dispensation - Possessor of heaven and earth - victory after failure - and full final blessing, and praise, and that in the King of righteousness and King of peace.

- 2. "That these," better left out.

- 12. "And he, a dweller in Sodom," is rather emphatic in Hebrew.

- 14. Grace does not cease to care for the worldly believer, who has got into weakness, though strength be with faith.

- 19. This is power and its full results, as it will be indeed accomplished. It receives all from the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth; so Abram knows God. There is not an altar here, we are on other ground; Abraham was only prophetically and typically on this ground, but worship is not prophetic. It is the people of God's (Israel's) full victorious blessing in the millennial earth.

From the world's possessor of the earth the believer will take nothing.

- 22. NOTE. - Abram, in speaking to the King of Sodom, takes the place of Melchizedek's revelation - acts on the full results of all, in his ways as to this world. "I have lifted up my hand to the most high God, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take" - will not give the world an opportunity of saying - "I have made Abram rich." He who possesses heaven and earth will do, what seems good to Him, with us in this respect. Abram here, with his brother, with the enemy, with the world as such, is above the world - its master and superior - morally and really - Lot under its power; if we enjoy it we are. On Church ground, with Sarah and Pharaoh, he had failed; but he had gone down through trial, not inquiring God's will; it was not taking the world, but his own counsel when tried.

NOTE. - Abraham gives up the world in liberty - conquers it in power - refuses it that he may have everything from God. He is blessed of the most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth.

NOTE. - While Abram is called by the revelation of the God of glory, and then by God's again appearing to him in the land, he gets the ground of worship; with us it is more inward and intimate, though on the same principle; Christ, that bread of God, is revealed in our souls, as the object revealed by the inward working of the Father's drawing, and then our worship is not merely by an outward revelation which calls forth praise and adoration, but we feed on Him slain for our sakes. All the divine love and grace, the perfect obedience which has been shown in Him, dying in love for us, draws out our praise and adoration to the Father who gave Him, and to Him who gave Himself; and the soul is fed by this grace, the heart delighting in it inwardly, and entering into it by the power and working of the Spirit of God. This is evidently a nearer and more intimate thing, hence we see how the Lord's supper allies itself to worship, witnessing too redemption. The glorified Christ is another thing, there we are drawn out after, and see the absolute completeness of the work, and the new place into which we are called.

67 There was no promise, before Abraham, to any person as an object and depositary of it; there was an object of faith in the judgment of the serpent, as to the promised seed, but there was no person an object of promise. What Christ was to God is to us of infinite interest in this way; for the drawing out of one of deep and admirable affections, and large mental powers, an adequate object is necessary, that all He is may be displayed and in exercise. Now Christ, looked at as an object, was divinely and infinitely so to God and His Father; such was He, that all that was in the Godhead of infinite perfection was necessarily and perfectly drawn out - what a blessed thought!

NOTE. - It is into this we are brought, as put in Christ; as love, "that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them," this is only a given case of it - "that thou hast loved them as thou hast laved me." He is gone to His Father and our Father, His God and our God. When we think how all that God is, must shine out on Christ in glory in the Father's house, and remember that we are there with Him ever, and like Him, we see what the infinite enjoyment of our heavenly place wilt be. What a sweet, blessed, and peaceful portion!

68 Genesis 15

This is a new order of chapters; the place of faith and triumph has been given as a whole in chapters 12 to 14; here we have God's ways - promise - law - covenant, etc. Historically, the title of God seems founded on the facts of the preceding chapter, and Abraham's conduct; this makes the difference between this chapter and chapter 17 still plainer; here it is Jehovah.

Abraham having conquered the power of the enemy, and refused anything from the world, God is his shield and exceeding great reward; being his he asks for himself and is answered, receiving the promise of the heir, and the limits of the earthly inheritance - what man down here wanted. God did not appear to Abraham here; the word of the Lord came to him, and he believed it, and he is justified, it is for righteousness to him. It is not worship. Faith is sealed by a covenant for the earth.

The beginning of the chapter seems a reply to the renouncement of chapter 14; this gives a character also to what follows. The intervention of God was from Himself, not a reply, so that the other questions were awakened.

God reveals what He is in Himself to Abraham - his defence and portion for ever - but His grace leading out the desires, and meeting the condition of man also, assured all that in grace.

There is His word for the positive, conferred blessing; destitute man finds His righteousness in faith in it; being God's word he believes it, notwithstanding all in himself which would make it impossible through weakness - impossibility of submitting to the sentence of condemnation, and the greatness of sin causing doubt as to grace. Further, the Lord volunteers to recall his attention to Himself being concerned in it in grace (v. 7), "I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it" - I came to you, when a poor idolater, with the purpose and intention, and your lot depends on grace and purpose, not on your strength or condition - it did not then - it does not now - I had the purpose when I visited you in your misery, when you had not even the desire for it.

Next, Jehovah encourages him by binding Himself now by the solemnity of His own act, in which it was impossible for Him to deny Himself, or lie as a man would by a similar solemn covenant; He passes between the pieces of the victim.

69 But more, the value of the Sacrifice, its moral claim, its title, to set aside which God must deny Himself - not be Himself, which is established by Himself, and which is between Him and Christ, so that Christ would not have what has infinite claim for what it is - divine righteousness, which He should have (see John 17 and 12); the whole power of that which is founded on what God is, is now engaged in securing the blessing. This is wonderful truth!

God has graciously entered into this - given us this assurance - but the same necessity of His nature which rejects sin - the same truth which cannot fail - the same righteousness which cannot fail - the moral obligation which flows from His nature in the highest possible way - is engaged in the blessing. It, relatively and repulsively, in its negative effect, rejected firstly, necessarily, sin - a sinner; but in its positive, and powerful reality of nature, will, and righteousness, and debt to Christ, now secures the blessing. It has so voluntarily acted to secure me, and make me happy, but it has acted in manifesting itself in the work of Christ, and cannot afterwards deny itself; it is between Christ and God, though to my security, profit and joy.

He has passed between the pieces, the sacrifice of Christ, the offering of Himself up to death; it is the sacrifice He despises, that is, morally, Himself, whose character has been perfectly glorified in it, if there is not perfect security of blessing. What a wonderful grace, and condescension is this! Yet God is glorified in it, and in Himself in it.

Then there is another thing, man's nature, such as we are, can have no part in it; hence it involves death as to this, He brings us out into another scene and state where we enjoy the profit. Abraham passes under the horror of great darkness, and sleep, to come under the promise of blessing, and receive it, in this way of severity. Christ therefore has, in accomplishing this, died, and risen again to enjoy and enter into it.

Death must pass upon nature, when God gives blessings, secured according to His, in righteousness; this also becomes real deliverance from sin. God becomes (is in this and becomes) the light (of life), and the furnace of His people, to consume all that connects with the life of sin.

It is a wonderful display of God's ways and dealings, basing blessing on Himself, in connection with sinners, through the work and sacrifice of Christ Himself; the Holy Ghost realizes all this in our souls. Romans and Galatians, in a more elementary way, are just the development of this, and the doctrine in them as found elsewhere in Paul; other consequences are attached to it in connection with the Person and title of Him who wrought it.

70 The driving away the birds (v. 11) seems the guarding the perfectness of the Victim of sacrifice from all contamination or imperfection; the living, working Christ as man does this, for Abraham is the living dying man.

We have here an entirely new thought or principle; hayah d 'var Y'hovah el Av'ram, "the word of Jehovah was to Abram." The God of glory had appeared to him, and spoken (chap. 12), but now there was an express word or revelation, a communication of God's intention and mind.

It is all prophetic announcement; d'var (word of) Jehovah, not personal relationship.

- 2. Adonai Jehovah.

- 4. Here again d'var [Y'hovah] elav lemor, "the word was to him, saying," in this faith is manifested, Abram he-emin ba-hovah (believed Jehovah).

NOTE. - It is not when Jehovah appeared, but when the word of the Lord came to Abram, that he believed, and it was counted to him for righteousness.

- 6. Better, I think, as Paul interprets, to translate here "believed the Lord"; there is b' (in) in Hebrew, but the verb with it has scarcely this force.

- 7. "And He said, I am Jehovah"; the davar (word) was Jehovah who had too made him go out from Ur of the Chaldees.

Now too Jehovah makes a covenant with him.

We have not the davar (word of) Jehovah again till 1 Samuel 3:1, 7, 21, which makes it more remarkable; in verse 21, it is formally distinguished, Jehovah spoke to him (Samuel) bid'var (by the word of) Jehovah. After Genesis 15, and Samuel, and to Nathan, 2 Samuel 7:4, we find it with Solomon when at Gibeon, 1 Kings 6:11 - 12:22, Shemaiah; and with the prophets regularly, particularly Jeremiah and Ezekiel; in Daniel not, save in reference to Jeremiah. Psalm 33:6, is remarkable, even if it cannot necessarily be made personal, because we have davar (word) and ruakh (spirit), Isaiah 30:33, is nish'math (breath).

71 - 13. It is clear that either in the 400 years, all are from that time to the exodus, or that 100 years is the equivalent of a generation. In the fourth generation they shall return, Ya-shu-vu (they shall come again), verse 16 seems from Egypt where they had gone down. Abram's portion is parenthetically in verse 18; but verse 13 applies to his seed, and the "serving" to the Egyptians, for the nation that subjected them to it God would judge, verse 14.

Then the 400 years comes in question, that is, whether it is directly found in-nu (they shall afflict) or not; it is not by the accents; Athnakh comes before it, then it would be "up to 400 years hence"; however, this I still leave in doubt. There is no reason to confine ger (a stranger) in a nation not theirs to Egypt, and if so, the 400 years becomes simple, only it is what we call round numbers. The two events occupy 400 years; the fourth generation would then be the stay in Egypt; "returning hither" clearly does not refer to a sojourn in the land. The only question would be on b'eretz lo la-hem (in a land not theirs).

The Mal'a'k (Angel of) Jehovah, (is not this the first time we have had it?) is distinctly called "Jehovah."

We are here, not in the large principles of moral good and evil, and God's ordering of the world, but of man's ways as within the calling of God; man's, or woman's, workings and plannings, and the result in God's hand. The only person who was any way right, save despising her mistress, for which she suffered, was Hagar, and to her an Angel - messenger from Jehovah, speaks; not to any one else in the chapter. Abram accepts it, and gives the name pointed out.

But Mal'a'k Jehovah seems an inferior manifestation to Jehovah's own visitation; the ye-ra Jehovah (Jehovah appeared) as chapter 12:7, and as we learn from Acts 7, already in Ur of the Chaldees, and again in chapter 17:1; in chapter 15 we have another form of revelation - the word of the Lord d'var (word of) Jehovah was to Abram in a vision, ma-khazeh. The Lord's appearing seems more present relationship; it produces worship, or familiar intercourse, communion in confidence and intercession according to its nature. At first such a revelation as led Abram to God, chapter 12; it is not said "appeared," indeed it is passed over as already done, for Terah had taken Abram before; it is only in chapter 12:4, that he moves "as the Lord had said." The word of the Lord being in a vision, produces faith in what is said.