J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)

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Genesis 16

This chapter is evidently law, but the delay of promise to want of faith gives to flesh the occasion of putting itself on this ground. God uses it to raise the question of righteousness - to judge flesh; it must return back to promise in submission of will. Israel under law, Abraham's seed according to flesh, God does not give up; not only promise was before law, but, for flesh, law must come after promise, because flesh takes up law, in self confidence, to obtain the hope of promise.

Here chapter 15 is the promise; the manner of its accomplishment, in divine grace and power, is not yet revealed, nor is it until God reveals Himself in chapter 17, after law. Christ may be known after the flesh; but as Sarai was the state, no fruit of promise by divine power; yet Abram acts on flesh's impatience to have it, according to flesh's desire, in its own way.

In a certain sense Ishmael answered to chapter 15:4, but it was all flesh's doing. Under promise, Israel according to flesh will have inheritance, but it is not in the place of Sarah and Abraham, the heavenly glory over the Gentiles; in itself, in chapter 21, it is cast out, and cannot be heir, it will come in no doubt under grace. Even in chapter 15, it was promise according to desire; in chapter 17 according to Elohim's own full purpose, and direct revelation of Himself; chapter 15, we have seen, however, met faith, only Abram did not, in reply, rise above want.

NOTE. - Up to the end of chapter 15, we have promises fully, and a covenant for earthly promises as to Israel, and government, the smoking lamp, and the furnace. But the development of the seed is after the entering into relationship by express revelation, and the consecration of Abraham to Himself by God by circumcision - the judgment, though here only partial, of the flesh; before this we have the earthly seed, which is according to law - Hagar, which God takes care of providentially, but which is not the true personal son of promise in grace.

Note further, this is not the leading to faith by grace; it was the seal of faith, as we have the Holy Ghost as a seal - the special relationship in which Abraham had to walk with God.

It is not until chapter 17:19 that we have the personal seed; the promises to the seed, and to the land are confirmed, and will surely be accomplished, but the personal seed is nominally revealed to the exclusion of the legal seed, though the former must be born for it to be carried out.

73 Historically we are on earth, and it goes on so, but in principle we are getting out of flesh - promise and circumcision, or rather circumcision and promise, with known relationship, and communion, by the revelation of God Himself, are brought in. What God is, is made the ground of relationship - hence, note, communion.

Remark further, Lot was never circumcised; circumcision is not simply believing, though it be the true place of every believer now. Israel was circumcised when they had crossed the Jordan, as remarked elsewhere, not in the wilderness. Lot, though he left Ur, was, as to his own faith, not separate from the world, on the contrary, connected himself with it - was a believer in the world. Circumcision, in its full import, takes out of the flesh; we have died with Christ, and cannot be consequently alive in the world.

The reproach of Egypt was rolled away at Gilgal; hence, circumcision comes after chapter 15, which connected Abram with this world, in promise; then we have the heir, as an immediate promise, and the judgment of the world, but God in communion with Abraham about it. This gives the character of chapters 17 and 18; millennial promise may come in, but founded on death and resurrection.

Genesis 17

In this chapter we have again God, and here it is not only historical, but there is special ground for so taking it; for instead of a Mosaic, i.e., a divinely given apprehension of it according to the then knowledge of Jehovah, it is what then passed as it passed, and was the communication by God Himself of another kind of knowledge - that of God Almighty - Elohim revealing Himself as El Shaddai, as in Exodus 6:3. But though Jehovah did this, and Jehovah did that, as Moses and Israel, here the one true God, and it was important that Israel should understand that their Jehovah was not a particular god, but the one true Elohim. Yet it was not with them of old Jehovah, known as such to Israel, "Jehovah" did and said so and so; God had that name, what its import is is another question, but it was their knowledge of Him as to themselves; it is a revelation of what Elohim was - the Absolute, ever-existing One; not merely "I am" (abstract existence), but perpetual existence. Hence One who went on, as to men and lives, with His purpose, could be counted on for promise. In actual governmental dealings with men He could not be simply Elohim, that is God in His nature, whereas as Jehovah, He governs - is something in connection with men - has descended into relationship and dealing; and hence it was important to see that He, Elohim, who said "I am El Shaddai," which was being something, and putting Himself into relationship, was Jehovah; and here the New Testament speaks as clearly, in that it was in the Person of the Son. Thus this chapter is "Elohim," and chapters 18 and 19, "Jehovah."

74 - 1. God appears to Abraham and reveals Himself, and that by the name by which He declares to Moses He was made known to him, and to the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob. This has a new character, it is not worship, nor an altar, but communion, a still higher, as it seems to me, and more blessed thing; Abraham falls on his face, and Elohim talks with him, having declared His special name of relationship. He then unfolds all His purposes, and the death of the flesh is brought in. But hereon Abraham (chap. 18) receives the visit of the Lord with two angels; the Lord abides with him as a guest, Abraham knowing Him, but saying nothing to Him, as the Lord, when all the rest were there, the Angels and Sarah. The son is promised as soon to come, and then God reveals His purpose as to the world, treating Abraham as His friend; hereupon Abraham acts on this ground, he is alone with Him, and he pleads with Him - intercedes for others. There is the confidence produced by this revelation of Himself by God, and the communications which followed, and, while owning Him as Judge of all the earth, yet a counting on mercy and goodness - no asking for self - not merely worship, but intimacy, communion, and intercession; and Elohim went up, when He had done communing with Abraham. This is surely of another character from the building of an altar, and more blessed, though worship will have its place in heaven. But surely this will not cease, though a display of friendship, in condescension like this, may have no place.

NOTE. - That after stating that it was Jehovah which appeared, it is always "Elohim" - God in Himself, as such; it is wholly on the ground of His sovereign purpose and action.

75 It is ett'nah (I will make, lit. give), not ka-rath (he made, lit. cut); grace more simply and obligingly. It is not merely here the Lord appeared, and said something, and then Abram builds an altar, but He appears to reveal Himself, saying, "I am," so and so, "walk before me," so that Abram fell on his face as a present thing; and then God not simply yo-mer (said), but talked with him y'dab-ber itto (talked with him). The covenant is given, is, and is established liv'rith olam (for an everlasting covenant).

- 3. Abraham does not ask in answer to "thy," which characterized chapter 15, but is on his face, and Elohim talks with him. God cannot reveal Himself, and be only to a nation; this we see in Christ even down here, though He may be to a nation in His own wise, sovereign will.

- 7, 8. I think we get here a covenant with the seed - and Abraham - to be a God to them, i.e., to Abraham, and his seed.

- 8. To be their God in the land; this last consequently is, "I will be to them for God," i.e., as coming into possession of the land, though it was given to Abraham; so, before, it was "to be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee," here only lahem (their).

- 9. Remark how it here begins afresh with Elohim, as a fresh starting point with man in Abraham, which is to be noted, not as in relationship.

- 10. This seal of righteousness and the covenant is founded on chapter 15 - the righteousness of God.

- 12. Surely the eighth day signifies that circumcision is in resurrection, not in nature, hence after Jordan was passed.

- 16. "Also" - but in verse 19, "indeed."

- 17-19. God seems to accept the faith of Abraham, and Abraham's laughter in his heart gives a name to his son - Isaac, laughter; it was the simplicity of heart in the unexpected glad tidings; Sarah's - for God can discern - was incredulous, mocking satisfaction.

- 20, 21. Ishmael does not belong to this chapter, but he is blessed in it as a son of Abraham, and so loved, but he is no co-heir; that cannot be, all that flows from a higher source. Circumcision was not instituted when he was born - it was life in flesh; but he is circumcised now, for the sure mercies of David can only be through resurrection. Abraham and all take this place now that it is God's revelation of Himself; but it is connected with the revelation of Himself before the heir comes.

76 - 22. God went up from him; He was talking with Abraham, and went only when He had finished, and Abraham could present the desires of his heart to Elohim, and had a full answer, but God had His own purpose.

- 23. Abraham's obedience was blessedly prompt. It is, though in the flesh, yet a bright scene; all that belonged to him, all his house, are subjected to God's covenant.

The position of Abraham (and so of every believer) seems to me a very blessed one. He is the one in whom God centres and deposits blessing, and that from which blessings flow out to others without. Now this is the very character of God, only that in Him it is essential and original - it is Himself; while in us, of course, it is Him. God is the centre of all blessing, and in Him, and in His nature, blessing is, but it is by grace deposited in the believer, and flows out from him; he dwelling in love, dwells in God, and God in him; he loves therefore because divine love is shed abroad in his heart - what a place to be in! Christ the fulness of it in man, but we entering into it in Him.

In the circumstances in which this has place in Abraham, God had, on the manifestation of pride in man, settled them in divers countries by languages; they were not merely dispersed, but, in Peleg's days, the earth was divided - the earth was arranged and ordered under God. Now Abraham is called out of what God had settled, to be to Himself, and so the depositary of blessing. It was not the Adam race (ha-Adam) in its responsibility, but the active, self-originated, and originating grace of God, which called out one to be the head of a new race in grace, to Himself; and as the place and family of blessing - Abraham's seed (now a spiritual seed, another connection with Christ no doubt) on the failure of the natural because it was flesh, and according to purpose, but still as Abraham's seed, the family of blessing. This is an immense and most important principle.

There are three principles or characters of revelation; first, the personal dealings and relationship, as in chapter 12, Jehovah calling - revealing Himself in the land - appearing to Abraham, so as to draw him out in various ways, in relationship to Himself. Next the word of the Lord; and this was the foundation of faith, on which righteousness was counted. Then God, as such, for now Abraham could be righteously before Him, puts Abraham in a known position of covenant standing, as a system of blessing in grace to him and to his seed, and he has the seal of the righteousness which is by faith. God here talks with Abraham and he gets his dispensational place.

77 Remark well the character of the different revelations to Abraham in chapters 15 and 17. The first is what God is for Abraham, and Abraham asks what he is to have; the Lord in grace tells him this. But in chapter 17 God says what He is, the name by which He makes Himself known, and thereon it will be found that, though God gives the present hope of the heir, Abraham's place is not to ask for himself, but that of communion with God - God talks with him - eats with him, and, though reverently, Abraham is familiarly in intercourse with Him, and then, according to this position, intercedes for others. This is a sweet and important difference.

This chapter gives a new and very wide ground. No doubt it is still Jehovah, but it is not appearing in covenant and personal relationships in gracious dealings. It is Elohim Himself all through; the relationship name - as with us, Father - is a sweet thing, and we come in our personal relationship, under it we have access to the Father. But God is God, and does what He pleases in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; here He reveals Himself as El Shaddai - Elohim talked with Abram. He does not take the name Jehovah with him, though it was Jehovah, but of God Almighty, so Abram falls on his face, yet He talks with him - so Sarah is not my princess - that was with man - but princess.

Here only Abraham is fully put in his place, not his personal place of blessing - that is in chapter 12 - but full relation place towards others - nations - seed - land - and God Himself, as of God. He is the Adam of blessing towards those below him, as he was of responsibility - the father of us all before God; that, Adam never was - he was the father of us all driven out from God - only now of course it is spiritually and in Christ. That is Galatian doctrine and Romans 4, yet Paul there treats the covenant of this chapter as founded, as regards Abraham, on the faith of chapter 15 - quod nota. But this refers to the righteousness - God takes this place with a personally accepted one, and that was by the word of Jehovah - it was faith.

78 Genesis 18

This chapter is a different relative place in the communications of God, consequent on the place of faith.

Note, in all this chapter, Abraham never calls the Lord "Jehovah," here it was not the name of relationship. In chapters 12 and 13 his altars are to Jehovah, and again at Beersheba he calls on the name of Jehovah; so in chapter 15:2. But here in this closer communion and intercourse with God, founded on his walking in covenant relationship, in his own place as set of God in the earth, it is Adonai.

The mystery is evidently intentional here, and the perception of faith, and the already exercised spiritual mind in Abraham, instructive and divine. He knew he had to do with One who visited him thus, but, till the Lord reveals Himself, he acts towards Him in the way He comes; this was true deference, and heavenly propriety, and he receives the fruit in the Lord's gracious familiarity with him on this ground - a significant anticipation of Christ's presence. From verse 9 onwards the Lord blesses him, in revealing Himself, according to and as a reward of - as meeting - this instinctive perception of who it was. Under the Spirit's power, we always do what is fitting.

From verse 22, Abraham deals openly with the Lord, then alone with him, on the full known ground of what He is. All this is exceedingly beautiful. What a thought - to receive the Lord thus! - it was Martha's privilege, without the cumbering, and hence the communion besides.

It is evident also that true intimacy is exercised when alone, and so it is here, and what a place this gives!

When judgment is announced as to the world, the immediate giving of the Son is made known to faith.

In this chapter we have no doubt Abraham's place, and contrasted with Lot's, but the patient goodness of God, in government, is brought out, more than Abraham, at the end.

- 2. It would seem that the three men stood suddenly by him, nitztzavim alav (stood by him).

- 3. Abraham only speaks to One - "in thy sight"; there was discernment, but no intrusion into their secret.

- 4,5. This is all in the plural. The Angels would have known the discernment of the saint. Then all enters into the apparent form, and this continues to verse 9.

79 - 9. It is not that all spoke, but it was not Jehovah testimony.

- 10. Here it is again the revelation of Jehovah given by the inspired writer. The name of Isaac (laughter) is from Abraham's laughter; however Sarah may have disbelieved, Abraham fell adoringly on his face, owning the communications of the Lord, not so Sarah. How very different is what seems like in the things of God! But in spite of Israel's unbelief, God's purpose will be accomplished. (See Psalm 126.)

There is wonderful depth in this passage. It seems clear the Word takes up the declaration here, being a word of promise; also it is Jehovah in verse 1, and I suppose in verse 3 it is Jehovah, or else it is a common titular name of Christ as the Supreme God, and particularly connected with the Jewish people. In verse 5 it is "they" said - Abraham compelled doubtless in his mind by the Spirit, addresses (them) as Jehovah or Adonai, and says "favour in thine eyes"; all personal acts are placed plural - "your feet" - "ye have come" - "your servant"; that which recognised Jehovah, singular - "Thy sight" - so in their acts - "they did eat" - "they said" - and "He said returning, I will return" - we shall see more concerning it afterwards.

- 13. Here we have Jehovah Himself, directly.

- 14. For Abraham, Sarah's unbelief is only an occasion of confirming his faith; this also is blessed. Sarah did not fail to see that the Lord spake, but there was the unbelief of heart which thinks of flesh.

Our poor unbelief is very often a reason for the Lord confirming His word in mercy, yet were we happier in Him in simple faith - "speak the word." The passage is singularly beautiful.

- 17. The portion of the believing Church of God.

When the Lord has promised the Son - the seed of blessing and laughter - in the old age of the Church, He looks or turns towards Sodom, nor does the unbelief of the Church alter His purpose concerning it. Shall the Church also not be afraid to laugh? But the Lord shall make it laugh. Indeed Abraham is constantly used I think for the men (people) who compose the Church, and Sarah for the Church subjectively, or in the abstract - Abraham, the men as acted in by the Spirit (failing or not).

- 20. The Lord declares the cry of Sodom, and He going down to see - Abraham enquires - recognising the righteousness of judgment, pleads righteousness in sparing for any's sake - then the Lord instructs us in the measure of His (accurate) judgment in reply.

80 - 25. Abraham clearly treats Him here distinctly as God - the Judge of all the earth would do right.

The place of Abraham is communion with the Lord about the judgment - Lot is only saved, by his interference, out of it - but Abraham was where he stood before the Lord - it was the top of the mountain whence he saw the smoke of the plain going up; and mystically this place is Heaven, for God says to Abraham there, "I will go down and see" - and that is the place of intercession - of the Church in spirit.

What a wondrous passage this is! It appears, certainly to me, that Jehovah appeared and talked, but that it was He only who alone reveals Jehovah, who was the man of those three thus associated with Him as the messengers of His service - for He is Lord of angels. Yet we know that He has had Angels strengthening Him, and He sends them here - the executors of His judicial power, compare Matthew 13:41, for it is the Son revealed who is the executor, the Father judging no man, but committing all judgment to the Son - and He, as Man, will here exercise this judgment; I certainly do think also more particularly that Abraham represents here the saints, and Lot the Jews, though what else, I say not here. There was some good in Lot, though he was in Sodom; there was the sense of evil, and hence he did not lose the good - he liked to have it with him - I do not say it was the only motive, the apostle commends it in Hebrews.

But what that in Benjamin should be formed the sin of Sodom!

We are admitted to the Lord's thoughts by revelation; only leaving that, He treats Abraham as His friend, and I think that, though verses 20, 21 are an abstract revelation, yet the place they are introduced shows that, as to the nature of the communications, the Lord, though with Abraham who was on earth, was on His own heavenly ground, not gone down to earth in judgment, and to judge; this is important as the place of intercession. Only the Lord knew of course what He would do, and the two men - angels - had gone on their way, but faith's heavenly intercourse with the Lord, however imperfect, is within all that.

Note well, this is all connected with chapter 17; it is not as in chapter 15, God for us in our wants, which ends, in all cases, in what we are on earth. It is God with us - hence revealing Himself - hence grace in us does not ask for self, but intercedes for others; it has already all from God, according to His delight, only chapter 17 is sovereign purpose, as Elohim is minded to have it; this chapter (18) is gracious communication - the Lord dealing with Abraham as with a friend. In one, Jehovah is Elohim Shaddai - blessed that He is so! - in the other, He is, though Jehovah, still as a Man as near in intercourse, and revealing all, as He is solemn in judgment. And note, in treating Abraham as a friend, He does not tell him what concerns himself, but what is in His own mind concerning others. This is the Church's place - the Christian's - this is what we do with a friend - how singularly blessed! surely more than "What wilt thou give me?" though that has its place.

81 The Lord's own most patient grace in judgment is also shown both in verse 21, and in the intercession. Abraham never says "Jehovah," but "Adonai"; Abraham was not in his place, as at home on earth, when he pleaded with the Lord; he was with Jehovah in the way of faith - we may say a heavenly way. He returned to his place - the home of nature; there he had received the Lord, but in his communing and intercession, he was before the Lord, where the Lord had taken him.

One can scarce believe the extent of intercession, or patience of God's grace and gracious ear; but there is however "once more" - yet the Lord more righteous than that - note however the language of verses 30 and 32 - most wondrous!

Then - what a scene! - but how great the patience.

It is something like 2 Corinthians 12, where we begin with the third heaven, verse 2, and end with vile conversation, verses 20, 21, yet in Christians; here mainly, the world.

Genesis 19

We have here the wretched picture, not only of the grossest wickedness, but of the moral consequence to the saint of getting into such a place; think of Lot saying "my brethren," and offering his daughters. Where sin is not a horror, there is companionship and friendliness.

There is nothing here at all of the ease and familiarity of Jehovah's intercourse with Abraham; this is all the ways of Jehovah.

82 On the whole this is a sad scene. The believer, if in the world, would have importance in it - do good; he sits in the gate - the gate of Sodom! But Lot is not easy at being found there, he acts as at ease, but he would hinder the strangers from knowing what a place they had found him in; it is no use, he takes it on himself, uses atrocious means, for what could he do against them? Power delivers him, that is all. These are Jehovah's ways in relationship with men; it is not Elohim here; note from verse 17, it is practically referred directly to the Lord, "He said," so verse 21 - and verse 29, we find Elohim; they are God's ways, and judgment. We have noticed the general case elsewhere.

- 1. See the place Lot found himself in - the place of society and the worldly place, but it was not Jehovah he met. I suppose there was right feeling, and discernment however; his soul was righteous, but fleshly interest had brought him where he heard it (2 Peter 2:7), and to no purpose.

- 6, 7. What a picture of the falseness of his place. How strange he could have rested there; and akhay (my brethren)!

- 8. I think there was the desire to avoid, with respectable strangers, the perception of the company he was in. It is dreadful, and such an offer.

- 11. I suppose this shows very persevering wickedness; no sense of God's hand upon them.

- 14. Content - every point must be dwelt upon in this chapter - sorrowful, yet merciful (verse 19), so most instructive.

- 20. Lot's seeking to save Zoar seems a terrible proof of moral low estate. Grace indeed is wonderfully shown, but that this wonderful intervention of grace should not have led him to joyful obedience to the Angel's word!

- 21. Though accepted and borne with, how he clings to the city, and the plain. He believed the testimony as a fact, but in no way enters into the spirit of it, or he would not have sought one of the cities; he escapes, that is all. The true place of Abraham - faith - he is afraid of.

- 27. Note; one sees the judgment in the place where one has been in communion - for us heaven.

- 29. Note that it is Elohim here; the historical fact as to God's dealings; otherwise intercourse and dealings with Jehovah.

83 - 30. Judgment is so near what mercy has spared that Lot flees from it. The judgment of the world he recognizes, but he never himself judges the spirit of it.

- 31. There were plenty of men in the earth, but so unbelief calculates.

What lessons his daughters had learnt in Sodom!

Even before this, it was for Abraham's sake Lot was delivered.

God in judgment and government could not think of Lot with satisfaction; he was righteous, He did deliver him, He knows how - yea, the evil enhances His grace in doing it, but "God remembered Abraham" (v. 29).

It is a sad and terrible picture; his pleading for Zoar is an expression of utter prostration as to faith.

There cannot be a more terrible picture of the fruit of connection with a godless world than this history, and see how the world is infected by it - a stain upon the moral feeling. What details of the case there are!

- 37, 38. "Unto this day" - this gives a dismal sense of what the world is. Sin perpetuates itself till judgment comes in, and gives the sense of a world infected by it, and which has its history from it; and we know this - not that the mind dwells on it as occupying it, for our own place is with Abraham on the mountain - with our Father in heaven.

But if I think of this world, I must in truth know it thus. And note, this was after deliverance; faith and confidence in God had been destroyed - sunk in dissoluteness of moral feeling.

Genesis 20

I think this refers to Jewish position before the manifestation of Messiah. It is not the place of faith, but the contrary, but then, while Israel is in the power of the world, God preserves the nation for Himself and for the time when "to us a Son is born." It is elsewhere remarked that the woman is the state, and the man the conduct in general in types of this kind. The Gentile power is not looked at as hostile here, but as in a false position in respect of the people of God.

Though the typical and spiritual import of this chapter may have its place here - and I believe historically it has been doubted of old time - not only was Sarah very old, but chapters 17:24 and 21:5, show that it was within the year she bore Isaac (if the chapter be according to date), but it may be early in it; if not, chapter 12, between verses 8 and 9, may be the place.

84 It is all so very sad; besides the judgment of the world, and saving God's people out of it, which is simple enough, I do not quite understand. Historically, as to those Israel was in connection with, it is very clear, i.e., as to its object. I see the care of God over His people, even when they are in evil, and failure, as of Lot, and Abraham in Philistia; this is most gracious, "He suffered no man to do them wrong," but, I apprehend there must be more figurative, and dispensational truth in it.

- 3. With Abimelech it is "Elohim."

- 4. Lord is "Adonai."

- 18. It is Jehovah again. The divine government in relationship with Abraham.

I think I see the position of Abimelech clearer, which was something obscure and undefined. Chapter 14 closes the history of Abram proper with victory and Melchizedek; chapter 15 supplements it by the promise of an heir of his own bowels, but in connection with Israel, the numerous seed, and the covenant of the land - still a seed is spoken of; chapter 16 is the effort to have it according to the flesh before the time - the Hagar, and legal principle; chapter 17 begins a fresh revelation - God is revealed to Abraham as Shaddai, and he the father of many nations - still we are on the ground of the seed here; chapter 18, the Lord visits Abraham and the personal seed, Isaac, is promised as an immediate expectation - the Church's place in communion with God on the mountain, and the judgment of the world revealed - God treating him as His friend - the spirit of intercession. Then comes the deliverance of Israel, but through the fire, just escaped - in principle, the believer mixed up with the world. In Abimelech we have the power of the world; Abraham and Sarah deny the true place of Sarai - the Church loses its place and the expectation of the promised seed; it is taken under the protection, into the home, of the king of this world. All goes on as if no promised seed was in present expectation; only God takes care of it all. Though unjustifiable in a sense, yet the world did it in integrity; but God takes care where man's faith does not, and all is kept for the promised seed, but Abraham and Sarah are both reproved. There is more faithfulness in the world's power than in them. The Church (Christians) has lost here then its present true place and relationship, and expectation of the promised seed. In what follows, the seed is born; the seed according to the flesh - Israel under the law - the system, and all born after the flesh, done with. That part of what had to say apparently and fleshlily to the root of promise, goes to Egypt. But now Abraham has the upper hand of Abimelech, and reproves him, and Abimelech, and the world's power, seek him because God is with him, and he plants a grove, takes possession of the land with his altar, and this is the everlasting God - "His mercy has endured for ever." But it is a grove instead of a tent, for, besides the deeply instructive principles, Israel is always in view; hence also Beersheba. But now other truths as to the seed must come in, and to the one seed, which is Christ, always in view, but here distinctively.

85 Genesis 21

- 1. We have in the ways and faithfulness of Jehovah in promise, His name brought out.

Then all the dealings historically are Elohim; Elohim had spoken, not man; Elohim, in mercy, heard the voice of the lad; Elohim could not allow the bondwoman's seed to inherit.

Note here how we have the origines gentium, no doubt in the family of Shem. The Ishmaelites, as is known, characterise whole countries to this day, but they were allied with Ham, and Egypt; here his mother and wife were Egyptians. Now that Isaac has his true place as sure and only heir, Abraham recognises Jehovah, the God of the full future of purpose, the El o-lam (God everlasting). This helps to the khay-yey o-lam (life everlasting); Daniel 12:2. Only the now incarnate and glorified Christ gives other elements of it.

This chapter brings in the heir and that is clear enough; the fleshly heir is cast out, the seed of Hagar, only as Abraham's seed there is earthly blessing. The world recognises Abraham as the one blessed of God, and here we come to earthly and so Jewish title, yet by the manifested seed.

- 33. This was a kind of pledge of the possession of the land, as also the tide he gives Jehovah. He was Jehovah olam for a future day yet hidden, save in promise; Beersheba was literally the bounds of the land.

86 - 33, 34, is a sort of taking into possession of the land or earth, and the name of God refers to that; He is Jehovah, the El olam, the God of Might for ever, for the yet hidden future.

Note this; the conduct of the believer - as under the blessing in the land wherein he is a stranger, not having so much as to set his foot on - and Isaac, not in the same strength of blessing, yields - in principle right and alike, but not exercising the same spiritual energy - not in the same power of blessing. Is it connected with what goes before?

Genesis 22

First we have, up to this, the path of faith and promise in various forms, and degrees, and failure; and I think the person of the seed as of promise, all that connected itself with Christ's Person, and in the divine power of life. Now the ground, sacrifice and resurrection; promises given up, looked at as connected with flesh, and promise to one in it.

NOTE. - It begins with Elohim dealing with man, and then brings in Jehovah dealing with the faithful one, founded on the perfect work done to glorify Him, and the blessing attached to the risen seed.

- 8, 9. The calmness of Abraham is lovely.

Note here, that Isaac is not slain and laid on the altar but laid on the altar to be slain - in this, more exactly like Christ No doubt there was the fear of God, but what wonderful intimacy what passed at the offering up of Isaac must have given to Abraham. First, God's calling him to such entire self-devotedness to Himself, to give up everything nearest heart to Him, and thus be to Himself, not for another; then withal to trust Him, for the promises were given up and Jehovah trusted for them.

NOTE. - God tempts (tries), as such, but the consequent promises are from the Lord. But all promises, as flesh could trust in them, were given up to and for God; this puts him in a very peculiar place - a place of intimacy - and into which he was brought by God, by His own will to Himself - a wonderful place!

The confirmation to the seed is noticed elsewhere.

87 The whole scene is beautiful, yet solemn; a wonderful act of resigned obedience, and unreserved giving up of self to God, and trust in Him. It was meant as a test, and to bring this out, a fit testimony to Him who did it in far other depths, but a blessed testimony. We have both blessings here united through the seed, and not only promise, but through obedience. It is evident too we are here with wholly a new starting point; Elohim is taking new ground, and as Elohim, in absolute surrender to Himself, accomplished in Christ, and thus takes Himself, "By myself have I sworn," as the sure and immutable ground of blessing, and blessing to Gentiles in the seed. It is in this respect a very important chapter; it is founded on God's nature and righteousness, passed (here in figure) the whole sphere of evil, and in righteousness entered into a new one, which must answer too to the worth of that righteousness, and drawing from God what His own nature could give according to that, yet from Himself as its origin and source, though in righteousness and holiness, fruit of His own nature, counsel, and will, yet saying "because" as Christ too Himself has said both in terms, and laying the ground for it. The scene in itself is of wonderful simplicity.

This chapter seems also the trial of the Church; as possessed by the Spirit, the Church is the man, as in service and affection, and corporately the woman.

Can any doubt the blessed beauty of the covenant-sacrifice of the Son, though there be more in principle in it, i.e., being a principle, it contains more. Thus God's relinquishment, i.e., Christ's of Jewish laughter, to have resurrection joy - and the Church's also - bitter as it may seem, all hang on this example of God, shown in the sacrifice and surrender of Christ. So Sarah's laughter of unbelief is God's laughter of joy, for He chooses the weak things.

Genesis 23

- 1. Abraham therefore about 147 years old.

In the noble manners and sentiments of patriarchal simplicity, we have the great truth that Abraham, having the heir and all promises, had nothing here below, but must buy a sepulchre to bury his dead out of his sight, that is all he had a present possession in the earth.

88 I certainly think that this is the passing away of the spouse of the unrisen Lord (Israel under the old covenant in flesh), to make way for the spouse of the risen One, that has to leave her country like Abraham (we are not here in the type of Sarah and Hagar) but after the offering up of Isaac.

- 4. How, where there is faithfulness, the consciousness of our true position, given of God, is carried with us in the most ordinary circumstances, and shows itself as a witness of truth for God - a burying place in righteousness, but that was all.

NOTE. - We are here after the sacrifice and resurrection of Isaac in figure, and Abraham is a stranger in the land; Sarah (mother of Isaac) is gone, and Abraham knows the God of heaven and earth, as seen below, and a bride sought for Isaac, who is not to go back to the world Abraham was called out of.

Genesis 24

The positive prohibition to bring Isaac down to the country Abraham had left, and seeking a spouse for him in the place of promise (heaven), by the mission of Eleazar, spoken of elsewhere already, and Rebekah taking the place of Sarah - the Church instead of Israel.

- 3. Here Abraham attributes to God His full title of glory in heaven and earth. There was to be no connection with the rejected race - with the world in which he dwelt a stranger. It enhances the Melchizedek title (not state) of God, and according to Colossians and Ephesians 1, but there fulfilled in Christ. The whole title as a sphere of glory is here - Abraham calls God "Jehovah the God of heaven, and the God of the earth," further on, to his servant Eleazar, "the God of heaven" as He who had called him; his faith owned Him the former; in realisation He was only and distinctively the latter, and hence the source and power (through grace) of Abraham's hope. Daniel speaks of the "God of heaven," he could not of the "God of the earth." Some say Christ has all power in heaven and on earth, and we believe it, but He has in no way taken the earth yet, and even in heaven He is on His Father's throne. The Canaanite was a judged race in the place of promise. But Abraham will not have Isaac in the place of nature - the place out of which he was called; and note here, therefore God (Jehovah) is God of heaven - he knows the God which took him out of his country in this character. Isaac was now risen (in figure), Sarah's burial declared him a stranger - he sought a country - he was on heavenly ground. Hence we have a type of the Church, and of the Holy Ghost's work, sent to draw her to the Son - heir of all - out of the world too. Canaanites are a peculiar character of the world - the apostate world - of which Satan is prince - his instruments and power.

89 - 8. Note this point; for though the spouse may be taken out the world, yet we can never return into the elements of it again. The man represents the Church in the energy of the Spirit - the spouse, its substance and position as acquired subjectively by the Lord.

12 et seq, the laying the ground of faith right, shows the existence of faith, and finds its effect even though in inferior circumstances - so, "Truth Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs," etc.; so, the centurion, etc.

NOTE. - Abraham gives no blessing to his son; God gives it directly to him, and confirms it to his seed. He charges Eleazar only not to bring back Isaac to the place he had left, and to fetch his wife thence. No doubt Abraham had the earthly promises, but this separation to the heavenly thing is remarkable in his case. He merges, as on earth, in the risen Isaac. As I have noticed, he calls God, "the God of heaven and earth," and Jehovah, "the God of heaven," when he sends Eleazar, which gives these names a greater force. Daniel had only that as a resource when, as God of the earth, He had left His throne in Israel; but here it is the positive source of blessing. Abraham had had his blessing from the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, but that is specific.

Genesis 25

This may be after Sarah's death, but is not necessarily so; it is an account of other details of his history to complete it, and show the nations that were of his race.

- 1. "Then" is hardly a note of time; or rather, there is no "then"; it is "And Abraham added to take a wife." But Abraham lived 35 years after Isaac's marriage, how long Sarah had then been dead is not said - chapter 24:67 would say not very long. The "added" is used for "again" or "another."

90 - 6. Most probably applies to a previous period - what, save as to their races, makes no part of his divine history. It looks as if Keturah was after Sarah's death, but "then again" is only English vay'yo-seph (and added); it is merely the additional fact, and Abraham took another wife, not positively saying when - though very possibly it may have been after the death of Sarah. He lived 75 years after Isaac's birth, being then 100 - Sarah died at 127, so that he lived towards 40 years after Sarah's death. Only Isaac's bringing Rebekah into his mother's tent, though much more meant to show the substitution of one to another, seems to hint that the time was not so long since her death. Abraham was 140 at Isaac's marriage, so that he lived 35 years after that; it was therefore, as I said, towards 40 years. Abraham was some 12 years older than Sarah, assuming her death and Isaac's marriage to be not far apart - a year or two.

- 7. Some thirty-four years after Isaac's marriage.

- 11. Elohim blesses Isaac. Here again it is God, as such - God's blessing on man.

- 21. The blessings for which Isaac entreats, and which are given are of Jehovah.

- 34. "He ate and drank, and rose up and went his way," refers, I think, to his profane indifference.

Genesis 26

This chapter answers as to Isaac, chapter 12 as to Abraham, but there is nothing answering to chapter 17, nor indeed to chapter 15, there is something of both in verses 3, 4, but the revelation of God, as all that depends on it - as the intercession for Sodom - is wanting. Jacob, returned to Bethel, has this revelation as in chapter 17.

All this must be enquired into - it is connected with the full blessing of Israel. Then what was Isaac's place, leaving aside chapter 24, or is there any connection with this?

The whole of this chapter is in connection with Jehovah, even Abimelech so speaks - it is a matter of covenant acknowledgment.

- 2. Here Isaac comes under Abraham, but the blessing of the nations in the seed is promised. There is no personal revelation as a source of it.

91 I do not see the free liberty of grace in Isaac as in Abraham (personally), nor the faith of him that left all. He is blessed, but is more tied to earth - he gives way to Abimelech - suffers from the Philistines - makes an oath with the world - has his title to the land limited. There is no Lot left to choose, nor intercession for Sodom. He is blessed, but less with God, and more with man. No sacrifice of Isaac. It has another tone altogether.

Rich in possessions as he was, he cedes Abraham's wells to the Philistine, instead of chasing the four kings and freeing Lot. How things, the effects of faith and unbelief that is, last in the world; Beersheba and the Philistines are found again in the later history of Israel.

- 5. Refers to chapter 22.

- 23. Here evidently the Lord furnishes a kind of limit to the land of promise.

- 24. Here he is on Jewish ground again.

- 25. Then he has his altar and tent. Jacob has only Jewish promises and the nation's blessing in them. The particular revelation of God's name to Abraham was in connection with the Jewish promises; Gen. 17. The first was a personal calling, and establishment in promise. He reveals Himself to Jacob by His name, but there it is Jewish again. The seed stands alone with Isaac, as with Abraham, and on the same ground.

- 29. That is, had now taken the place of Abraham, as the one evidently blessed of Jehovah, and that is the place He had taken in verse 24.

NOTE. - In the history of Abraham and Isaac, both had the revelation of God, consequent upon a series of experiences, I mean the full revelation for communion, not that by which grace called them, and, no doubt, Abraham failed, but the experience of Jacob was away from God in failure, and confiding in the flesh, and being, in many respects, in it, i.e., walking after it, and he returns through great grace, but with struggle and conflict.

Abraham's path, in general, was in intercourse with God Himself, leaning on Him, looking to Him, in a word in the main before Him, and the result is accordingly.

The same promise is made, pretty much, to Jacob as to Abraham, as to his own blessing, and that of his family; but all the communications that follow there is nothing of in the case of Jacob - no intercession for others - no blessing of the nations in his seed - all this is wanting. He is blessed by God, and in communication with Him as to it, but not in fellowship with God in the purposes of God's own heart, beyond Jacob himself. All this is instructive.

92 Genesis 27

How we have sunk down here from Abraham's history - Isaac's mouth is full of venison; who would have thought of such a thing?

And what a different place too Rebekah has from Sarah. It is a sad picture; nobler human nature indifferent to God and the promise; and he who cared for it, a base and false nature, and led by the cunning of woman; yet all accomplishes the purpose of God, and we know Esau heartlessly despised God's privileges, selling them for a mess of pottage - he was profane.

- 33. I do not doubt that the thought of God's coming in to thwart his flesh had greatly to do with Isaac's trembling, e-pho ("then") - mi-e-pho ("WHO then?")

Sad as Jacob's course was, the overruling hand of God is most plain. We have a mixture of Jehovah and Elohim; Rebekah speaks of the blessing before Jehovah; Jacob says "Jehovah thy God" to Isaac; and Isaac speaks of a field which "Jehovah hath blessed," but in the next verse asks blessing from Elohim. It was God as such giving blessing to man - it came from God. So in the next chapter it is "El Shaddai (God the Almighty) bless thee," he going on a pilgrimage to a strange land. So Elohim gave to Abraham, it was God as a Sovereign.

Genesis 28

We have got out of the venison here, and Jacob is subject to God's mind, not only in his words, but soberly in his will, but then we have come down to earth, and to Israel. Jehovah is there the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and will take care of Jacob even when a wanderer; the land is given to him, and in him and his seed all the families are to be blessed. It is not the promise confirmed to the seed, but the numerous seed the seat of blessing for the earth.

93 - 3. Jehovah never appeared to Isaac by His name of God Almighty; he knew Him, we see, as such, but it is not the revealed relationship of the risen seed.

Jehovah appeared to him twice (see chapter 26:2, 24). Isaac was not to return into Egypt - the risen man into the world - he was Abraham's seed. To Jacob God reveals Himself as God Almighty; this is all, I apprehend, characteristic, and is remarkable.

- 8, 9. Well meant, perhaps, but this imitation was no use; it is, besides, ethnological.

- 11. M'ra-ashoth (pillows) at his head. Angels of God, servants thus, or messengers, apart from Himself, but of Elohim as such. Clearly John 1 refers to this, but not with the foolish thought that Christ was the ladder - He held Jacob's place.

- 13. But we get Jehovah at once in His intercourse with Jacob - it is specially relationship.

- 14. Here the seed is Israel, for we are on earthly ground, and so it will be; before, it was in Abraham and in his seed risen (compare chapter 35:9-13), only the earthly seed and blessing - we have no Galatian promise. To Isaac we have no promise of the land (but see chapter 26:3-4); only the personal promise of a numerous seed. He was the seed of promise, and is the figure of Christ thus risen and exalted. The heir of promise ought to be Abraham's, so to speak, not Jacob's; Abraham had all the promises.

- 19. How striking these earthly memorials, and associations with God. But we are on wholly earthly ground here; this attaches to earth though (and this is to be noted) connected with heaven. The vow and all partook of this character.

- 20-22. The vow of Jacob was a poor thing, suited indeed to one driven out, through his want of principle; faith in a certain sense, but faith used for selfishness. Never did Abraham, or even Isaac make such a vow.

Genesis 29

We have men here, not Jehovah, or Elohim, though surely God was behind it all; but it is a different scene even from

- 14. How different from Eleazar's bringing up Rebekah to where Isaac was. Jacob was to avoid the Canaanites too, but he does return to Padan Aram himself, and the whole scene, though touching, is, in spiritual elevation, so totally below the divinely imprinted dignity of Eleazar's mission.

94 - 32. Sorrowful and wronged Leah alone speaks of Jehovah.

Genesis 30

How dreadfully all is sunk morally from Abraham's, and even Isaac's time. It is not barrenness of flesh, and God coming in, in promise, and power; but, oh! what a scene of selfishness, jealousies, and craft. One only spot of green is in it - Rachel, the barren one, is heard. All the rest is miserable and flesh, only just chastisement, and discipline from God; and how it has characterised the race since! Yet God has blessed and will bless. How thoroughly we have got into man, and man's ways. So Rachel here, even in special circumstances, has no thought of Jehovah's ways; it is "Elohim hath judged me," and so all through, till her heart is softened by grace; then she says, in faith, "Jehovah will add." Joseph is the promise of Benjamin. Laban too owns Jehovah, and Jacob calls Him so. The rest of the chapter is Jacob, but, oh! how far we are from Abraham; yet Jacob is found in Hebrews 11, not this; but it was righteous recompense as regards Laban.

Genesis 31

- 2. No great wonder; but the natural fruit of all this evil and planning. What a path of peace is godly simplicity!

- 3. Still Jehovah is with Israel in grace; there is government with God's people, but government in favour. We have Jehovah Himself taking up the matter again; He always pursues His plans. But it is a personal God, "the God of my Father"; the true God, but brought down to their relationship.

- 9. It is God acting as such, save the angelic message alleged by Jacob, verse 11.

It rests on this ground - a family God, or God, Creator and providential Ruler.

95 - 52. This was, after all, a formal separation of Jacob from the world; God had taken care of him till now, He always does of Israel, but even by angels - He only meets him after this - He told him to leave, that was all.

Genesis 32

This rises up to Jehovah.

- 1. It is not Mal'ak' (angel) Jehovah, but Mal'akey (angel of) Elohim; God's providential display of sovereign care.

- 2. "Mahanaim" is not a sovereign covenant act.

NOTE. - Jehovah can send him away in this character, but, till he is back in his right place, He does not reveal Himself on the way in any way by His name; but he can refer back to that kind of revelation.

- 9, 10. But it is only as a present thing, Peniel (the face of God); and this was all in its place, a faithful, gracious, but not a revealed God; we ought to have both. It is in His place we have this.

- 20. This is all wretched and the fruit of evil.

- 29. We have often remarked, there is no name here, no revelation of God; there was a name at Bethel, not of present relationship, but of promise and care. This is conflict - he is not returned there.

- 30. NOTE. - In confirmation of the view of Jacob's wrestling heretofore given, that all that he can say (and though perfect grace in God, how poor as to communion with Him), is "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" - was that all? Oh, how sorrowful! Note too, the struggle was in the dark which is very expressive.

Genesis 33

Preserved, victorious in the struggle of faiths he calls God, here only, El, Elohe Israel; there was faith and even worship, but founded on circumstances, and present interventions of God in favour of self. It was well, but low down in the scale of faith; he was not yet returned to God Himself, as He reveals Himself, though he had found Him faithful to him in mercy.

96 Genesis 34

- 31. Where evil is, and men are away from God, nothing is right on any side; but grace can come in and overrule the evil and set right, as in the next chapter.

Genesis 35

God calls him back to his first point of departure; there Jehovah's name had been revealed to him; then the purified house of Jacob goes to the meeting place where he had become an outcast. Then God reveals Himself by His patriarchal name, directly, and the land comes in sight. But it is not said Jehovah appeared as to Abraham and Isaac, and there is nothing of the blessing of the nations in the seed. Isaac is much more lost in Abraham; God never reveals Himself directly to him by a name, He is the God of his father Abraham.

A vast deal afterwards is history often interesting, and important, but only as a preparation for God's dealings as Jehovah. The only places in which we have "Jehovah" in the rest of the book, are in Judah's case, chapter 38:7-10, where one sees they are His special ways, and government; with Joseph sold and in trial, chapter 39; and, after Dan, Jacob's waiting for His salvation, which is an Israelitish millennial desire, chapter 49:18; his present wish of blessing for Joseph is from God Almighty, his own name - of relationship with God. We get "God" often - His dealings, as ruling all things, in contrast with men.

- 9-11. All is gone through, as if he was then just returned, and he really was then only returned to God at Bethel, where he had last been with Him in leaving Canaan.

- 11. Here God is revealed, but the promises are only Jewish; we are come down to that now - Jacob and Israel are their name.

- 13. God goes up then from Jacob - as from Abraham, after talking with him.

Experiences are useful to bring us to God, but they all disappear when God reveals Himself.

- 14. Here we get Jacob upon Abraham ground, because it is renewed in grace, see chapter 17:1-22, but both are on earthly ground; Isaac was never placed on this, he was still alive too, see verse 27.

97 - 18. The true Heir, in figure, of renewed Israel; the former thing - Israel - dead and gone, and the new, the Son of its affliction, but of His Father's right hand.

Note the beauty of the order as to the Patriarchs.

Abraham, depositary of the promises, is a stranger in the place of promise. All we read of his journey, as owned of God - for he failed with Sarah, he had not departed as the Lord had said - was " - he went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan he came." We have no sign of the Lord being with him in the way that he went down into Egypt, though He visited Pharaoh with plagues.

His history, of which we have detail, is - a stranger in the land of promise - communion with God as such - and depositary of the communications, and promises of God.

Of Isaac we have nothing, save the fact of his being offered up (which was the act of Abraham, though Isaac is submissive, God provided Himself with a lamb for a burnt offering) and his going out to meet Rebecca.

The history we have is of Eleazar fetching Rebecca to him - he is hidden; his dealings with Esau and Jacob only introduce these two, it is not his history. He represents Christ unseen, and the Church gathered.

As in Esau we have high-handed rebellion, and self-will - in Jacob, we have God with him in the path, secretly by His providence, but a path occasioned by his evil and unbelief. In this sense - God with us - "in the way," is a humbling, and to us an evil place - blessed and patient grace, and turned to good and blessing - still a humbling place; God's name is not revealed to us in it, even when we prevail to have blessing by faith through His grace.

God is with us "in the way," but we should not be "in the way," if unbelief had not, for a time, put us out of the proper place of promise. Jacob was a stranger from, not in, the place of promise; the Lord would keep him, and bring him again, when he was a stranger, and his way and wanderings from Canaan - but he was going from this place which might be an anchor to him.

98 It would seem that the wrestling had not set his heart right, for he buys land, and is not a stranger, and, but for God's providential interference, would have settled and made alliance. Also the strange gods were in his household, and he seems to have known it. He had not fairly come to God; chapter 37:1 alone brings us back to the proper patriarchal, Abrahamic place, and Allon Bachuth and Benoni accompany, or are connected with the altar that was raised; chapter 37:1 is grounded on chapter 35:27, and 36:6.

How entirely in Jacob's history we descend into a lower sphere; also he had reason to say "few and evil." But then we have more of the ways of God, and His supremacy above evil, and yet His dealing with evil, and therein His gracious process with the evil doer, and all this is very precious to us.

Of Abraham, the called man, the friend of God, we have an ample history of what man is in that place, imperfect surely, but most blessed.

Of Isaac, the heavenly man, little or nothing but the fact - he gets a wife, and does not go back to the place he was called out of.

Of Jacob, we have a long and detailed history, and the blessing of Isaac belongs to it. It is man, though man with promise, and the patient condescension of God with him, making good His counsels, and after all through faith, but giving us a sad history, though life shines through it.

We are still in dealings and providence - government; Simeon and Levi do what scatters them in Israel, in their cruel wrath. It is a human history, and human ways.

But further, when Israel gets back to Bethel, in which place alone he is fully back to God after his compulsory wanderings - and even the idols only then put away - yet kept and preserved, but then when God reveals Himself, we have nothing now of the blessing of the nations in the seed. It is purely Jewish, Rachel - representing the mother of the seed of power in the earth - departs, and he, who was the son of her affliction, is the son of his father's right hand. God takes care of him, blesses Jacob meanwhile, but he does not meet Him in the place of promise till Bethel, and then clear from all other gods.

When he had settled his own place on earth, he had to move away, though there he recognised El as the Elohe Israel.

99 Genesis 37

Jacob's dwelling in the land where his father was a stranger, is not, I think, a contrast in evil; the same word ya shav (to dwell) is used as to Abraham and Lot together in Canaan, and as to Lot in Sodom; it is that he was now not a wanderer out of it, but a dweller in it. Still he was more settled than Abraham was, only when he did settle, God stirred him up out of his rest.

- 1. He was desired in chapter 35 to go and dwell at Bethel; here it is put he "dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings," but the history now is the history of his sons; his history till he went to Egypt is in this one verse. In chapter 35 Jacob has the blessing here below, the seed of power, son of his right hand, and there the mother dies, and the history is the history of his sons, and of Esau besides.

Jacob sinks into the shade, though then Joseph is on the scene, and so verse 2 begins: "These are the tol'doth Jacob, Joseph being," etc. The wanderer was kept, the time for the possession of the land was not come, and that was Jacob's figurative place; only he is Israel, and Bethel the place he has returned to.

Bethel is the second place for Elijah; he begins at Gilgal, which is to be noted - separation, promise, death, heaven, and return in power (resurrection).

- 9. This is the general idea, as his mother was now dead, or he must have had the dream before his reaching Canaan in his seventh year, ten years before this. The Jews have noted this, as showing a dream, not properly a prophetic vision; but this is clearly a prophecy.

In the account of Joseph, so deeply interesting, we descend more to history, only, already elsewhere noticed, it is a perfect picture of Christ and Israel. We have only Judah's conduct as soon as Joseph is brought in, and all is connected with Christ in one way or another.

- 21. This seems to exculpate Israel as ignorant.

- 26-29. Judah sold him to the Gentiles, Reuben was ignorant of it. Judah was directly guilty of selling him to the Gentiles; when the Benjamin character comes in, Judah is identified with him - is surety for him.

100 Genesis 38

This is Judah's history and genealogy.

- 10. The God of government had to say to it.

Genesis 39

- 2. Matz' liakh (prosperous), that is the fruit of the Lord's being with one; Adonai - what matter, if the Lord was with him, and made all prosper with him. Ish-matz' liakh (a man prosperous). He prospered, for Jehovah matz' liakh, Jehovah made to prosper, that is what it is.

- 4. Vay' shareth (and he served), i.e., waited on him personally.

- 9. It was a plain moral wrong against God - not a question of Jehovah's dealings.

- 21. This was as true as when Jehovah was matz' liakh (prospering) him - how blessed this! and the consciousness of it makes prison and prosperity alike. And it ends here, as there (though the prison was a little lower than a slave) in favour, Jehovah matz' liakh (prospered) him; this is what we want. It is connected - though the prison was with the fear of God; but it is all Jehovah in government - not God Almighty.

If Abraham give us the bright and blessed picture of communion with God, in Joseph we find goodness and unsullied integrity of heart towards God, in the midst of, and where the power of evil was. It is a lovely picture, and, in this, a beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord in His life - the Beloved of His Father.

Faithfulness is the way of divine spiritual understanding.

How we have got on here from the great outlines and principles of truth, and God's ways, and the freshness of individual faith to the working out of righteousness; the time came that his cause was known, "the word of the Lord tried him," Psa. 105:19. But it is Jehovah who is with him, the governing God, not by His name God Almighty.

Note how far the trial of Joseph, limited by divine ordering from anything that should hinder it - intended to frustrate God's purpose - and apparently clean against it - and his righteous suffering in Egypt only just bring about the whole thing they seemed to frustrate; it was in the Egypt his brothers sold him to, and in the prison Potiphar put him in that led him to the butler and baker, which set him governor over all the land of Egypt. We cannot put God out of His way. It is better to trust him. How little they thought they were bringing about God's purpose they thought to set aside, still less that they were arranging a touching figure of the blessed Lord, the restoration of Israel after their repentance, and that He that they rejected should be the head of the heathen.

101 Genesis 40

Joseph's history is excessively interesting, but I do not think he is. He was upright and God-fearing, and God's hand was with him, but there is very little of God in his history. We are in Egypt, and it is Egyptian, and worldly, save that God is everywhere. With his brethren at the end he was gracious; he closes with the Sovereign God, not Jehovah, chapter 50:24, 26.

Genesis 41

- 41. Note, the humiliation of Joseph was God's path to his exaltation.

- 51, 52. It is all Church ground, not Jewish.

Genesis 42-45

NOTE. - Joseph presents to us Christ as Wisdom - as rejected - first, His revealed claim of dominion and His Father's favour occasion His rejection by His brethren - then He suffers, and His wisdom is known, "till the time came that His cause was known," etc. - then in power - then receiving again His brethren.

Genesis 46

- 15. Dinah is not reckoned in the thirty-three, Er and Onan are.

- 26. Dinah is reckoned, Er and Onan are not - they were dead.

- 27. Jacob is reckoned in.

102 Genesis 47 and 48

- 3. We have reference to God Almighty appearing in Canaan, but all through here it is God, the One Sovereign, not man. In the great body of Joseph's history, we see His hand, not His name, only in millennial hope, after Dan, Jehovah comes in.

- 4. All Israel is to be K'hal-ammim, an assembly of nations.

- 19. Ephraim is to be m'lo-haggoyim, fulness of nations; the last a large word, but not, I apprehend, a number of different nations, and it hardly seems to be a "multitude of nations." Is not that the meaning of it? Is not this "fulfilling" or "fulness of the nations" something else? See Septuagint v. 4 sunagogas ethnon and v. 19 plethos ethnon and compare with Romans 11:12 ploutos ethnon.

At any rate not "a multitude of nations"; see Isaiah 31:4, "all the shepherds together," I suppose. The multitude of nations shall be to Ephraim, not to Manasseh. I am disposed to believe it is the mass of Israel's tribes, but the whole body of the peoples of Israel was counted to Ephraim.

Note it is haggoyim (the nations).

NOTE. - It is not the Jews but Israel all through.

Genesis 49

Here we have, after all, the whole history of Israel clearly set out, besides the history of particular tribes when important.

- 3-7. First Reuben, Simeon, Levi - Israel according to the flesh - heir according to nature; it has failed, it is scattered for its violence and cruelty.

- 8-12. Then Judah is the place of royalty; here the coming of Shiloh, and this part of the special history is noticed.

- 13. Zebulun - they mix with the Gentiles.

- 14, 15. Issachar - they bow down to them and serve.

- 16-18. Dan - seemingly lost, shall still judge His people; but in Dan the apostasy is brought out, then the remnant wait for Jehovah for salvation.

- 19. Thereupon we have one - Gad - heretofore overcome, at the last overcomer himself.

103 - 20. Asher - abundance and blessing are there.

- 21. Naphtali - liberty and good words.

- 22-26. Joseph - full millennial blessing.

- 27. Benjamin - full millennial power.

Genesis 50

- 10. As regards Jacob's burying place, when they carried him into Canaan, they did not go the straight way to the south of Canaan, but they went to Atad, which is beyond Jordan. Yet he was buried in Mamre, so that their carrying him to Shechem or Sychem has nothing extraordinary in it.

- 23. NOTE. - The third generation means three, not counting the point of departure, and as Jacob's sons' sons went down, there is nothing to fix the fourth generation necessarily within seven from Jacob inclusively.

The blessing of Jacob is clearly the scheme of God - that of Moses His dealings in the land as with a people there - a scheme connected with present conduct in the earlier part, and then His counsels.