Genesis, Typically Considered

J. N. Darby.

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(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)

Genesis 1


The establishment of man as the image of God, and in dominion.

The first verse stands alone as an immense, simple, and unique revelation (verse 16 alone at the end connected).

The second verse, the state of the earth at a given time - tohu bohu (wasteness, emptiness) and in darkness.

Next there is the divine vivifying agency according to the divine will.

First, God, as regards this scene of power, willed there should be light; it is not said bara (created) - it did not spring however from the earth - it was no produce of it - it shone when God commanded it to shine, God saw it - no man or eye else was there to see it.

NOTE. - It was night, and day for the earth. The dividing was now, whether the fiat of God for its existence was, I cannot now say - it may have been so. If light was made to shine perfectly on the earth - not twilight - evening necessarily came first.

I hardly think that hay'thah (was) here is simple existence, but more "was become" (geworden war), yet so that it actually was in that state - was - but as a state into which it had passed - come to be - still was, but by beginning to be. I have no objection to "there was," but as a consequence.

In Exodus 3:14, we have "I am that I am," in the future or abstract tense, but that seems another thing - the English auxiliary answers to it; only the tohu bohu was not the effect of creation, so as to "evening and morning" it was an effect.

In verses 8-10 we have evidently a descent in the use of shamayim (heaven) and eretz (earth) from verse 1, for the dried place is now eretz contrasted with the waters, not the globe contrasted with the hashshamayim (the heaven) and so shamayim is the expanse between the lower and upper waters, not what is contrasted with the eretz; so in verse 14 rakia (firmament) has a conventional visible sense, not as in verse 8 - compare verse 15.

Verse 14 is remarkable in this, that God does not make the sun and moon, "and it was so," but, as with the light, "God said, let there be lights"; in whatever way, He made them appear as centres of light to the earth, He set them for the seasons, and signs of the earth, and it was so. And God made all these lights, and the stars, and set or gave them to light the earth and rule, etc.; and God saw that it was good.

112 He made them - when the solid bodies were made is not said - they became lights to the ordered earth now; all the ways of expressing the creating, or ordering, almost are different, and surely not without intention. In verses 11, 12, there is no making nor creation, nor for the light; in verses 3, 4 He made the firmament "and it was so" - the atmospheric heavens, I apprehend; in the third day, verses 9-13, there is no making; I doubt that verse 17 applies to the stars, but it may be so.

In verse 21, life is in question, even animal life - God creates again. Man might have fancied the waters teemed with life from the sun or something; it was of moment to distinguish the animal body as coming to-tze (let bring forth) from the earth, yet, verse 25, God made.

In verse 26, bara (created) is again used as to man; before as to the races of animals, verse 21, in sea or air, and originally heaven and earth. Image represents, and presents likeness - does so fitly - the thing is like, because it corresponds to what the image presents. An image represented Jupiter - likeness was only ideal. A picture is "like" - it is the very image, when it presents himself to my mind; here it is "image," according to His likeness - as to the first he had God's place, a centre of subject dependent creation, looking up to him - no angel had that; likeness was another thing.

Genesis 2

The delight of God - intelligence as to the man's creation. The inheritance of delight, and the wife taken out of him while sleeping.

This is all in responsibility of obedience.

NOTE. - The heir or governor is also spoken of as being born of the woman, i.e., when fallen, for so great is the grace in purpose - made out of the man in accomplishment in evil - He born out of the woman; marvellous grace - "for neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord," but the man was created first, not the woman, and "the woman being deceived, was in the transgression," but as the woman is for the man, so is the man by the woman, quod nota, for, as we have said, it is marvellous grace.

113 Howbeit this chapter is the creation or forming the delights of God, and of him whom He had created.

I doubt the order (v. 4) eretz v'shamayim (earth and heavens) is changed without design; we are here descended to the present ordering of the earth, and earthly heavens - yet hanging on the original creation.

In verse 7, man, dust from the ground. There is no forming spoken of for animals - life was a different thing, though real, for here man becomes a living soul by God's breathing into his nostrils.

In verses 8, 9, the planting the garden is a special act of power and will, as verse 9 shows - verses 8, 9 have no time here, save putting the man into the garden. I cannot but think, verse 10, that the force of the passage is this, "and a river went out from Eden" (not the garden) - that practically stands by itself - then its object, "to water the garden"; then, a river system going forth, it separated itself and became four sources, i.e., of large streams, which flowed through the countries elsewhere. Ethiopia (margin Cush) is then a difficulty as to what country.

In verse 22 we have another character of a creative act - He builded it into a woman - it was no doubt creation, but formed, as to its materials, out of the rib.

In verse 23, these words, zoth (this) and hap-pa-am (the time) are to be noted, because they connect this with all that went before, as to the beasts, etc., and the same word is used in verse 19, vay-ya-ve (and He brought). It is a remarkable and interesting proof of who the Lord Jesus is in Ephesians 5:27-30, particularly in verse 27; note both the points are united.

Note the intelligence of Adam and his knowledge of the mystery of the woman's creation; so, I suppose, the names of the beasts were right, only here the point is dominion - this is so, as to woman, for he gives her a name, but owns she is part of himself. This time it is so, as indeed the name shows - part of himself, but subject - he can give her a name, himself too - she was taken out of Adam, but Ish; so, no doubt, she is divinely called, but Adam gave her the name from himself, and to himself in giving it. All this is very striking.

114 Genesis 3


Judgment - but on Satan, and, connected with fruit here, the curse of present sorrow.

NOTE. - The present sorrow is not the pronounced judgment, which is not touched upon, it remained in its full force in se.

Note, also, that fallen Eve is the mother of all living; and the Lord clothes with skins, but bars the way of nature, under responsibility in sin, to life.

There is more in it, but Adam gives here a name also to his wife - one of faith and authority, not of relationship with himself, Ishshah - still the mother of all living is a wonderful word, when death had just come in. But they are not yet clothed in divine righteousness, but though in sorrow, their curse to be children, and this he would take up on the judgment of Eve. Children and posterity - yea the bruising of the serpent's head was promised, though in judgment on it, by the woman's seed; but clothing the nakedness gave no return to undying life on earth - eternal life was not yet revealed, nor incorruptibility - these were brought to light by the Gospel.

Genesis 4

We have then the principle on which thus fallen men can stand, or do stand with God - this on the ground of coming, and how they could come.

I should question "accepted" in verse 7, the rather as s'eth (exaltation) is used for it here. The whole question of relationship - faith, by a sacrifice - doing well, if it existed, recognised, and therein eldership - lifting up - Abel's desire would be to him, as Eve's to Adam, and he would rule over him - otherwise, it must be khat-tath (sin offering), sin was at the door.

115 All this is the ground of nature - faith knows how it is met in Christ, He has been made sin for us; the whole history of nature and grace is here.

Then it is secondly, not merely "where art thou?" as to sin against God - but "where is thy brother?"

Then, "cursed are thou" - but neither is this in se final judgment - it is "from the earth," as the Jews of whom it is a type.

Then, the whole effect of going from the presence of the Lord, and settling in the world, i.e., we have the extent and character of sin - the suffering of the righteous, and the substitution of the appointed Seth.

NOTE. - Ish (a man) the name of strength and honour - Seth calls his son Enos (a fallen man) the contrary. Ish was the head of hope in nature - Ishshah was taken out of Ish. Nature also takes Jehovah with it in accomplishing its hope, according to promise, and says "I have gotten," but it must come to Abel (vanity and emptiness) - if accepted, and come by death and to death, be rejected of men even to death.

Genesis 5

Then the whole family of God, who only die here.

Enoch specially presents the redeemed, translated Church.

There is a difference here from chapter 1:26; "in his image according to his likeness," here "in his likeness according to his image" (v. 3), this is natural, I think. God meant man to be His image, and created him according to His likeness therefore; man could not create anything - he begat him in his likeness, he could do nothing else - and hence according to his image, to take the place he was in, this was a consequence of begetting necessarily in his likeness. Hence indeed we have not "a son" - he begat after this manner.

But calling him "Seth," I apprehend, was an act of faith; Eve gave it him in gracious thankfulness - God appointed to her - Adam adopts it indeed, but with him it is simply the appointed one, not appointed to him. Eve was not wrong, but this was quite right - by the divine Spirit, I apprehend, which moved Eve's heart, but it was prophetic in Adam.

In verse 32, I apprehend the date is vague, indicating about the time in which God began to deal in view of the Flood, but if the genealogical age of chapter 11:10 be taken, Shem was born three years after Noah was 500. I suppose Japheth was the eldest.

116 Genesis 6

We have in Noah, the coming in of a new world after testimony to the old, and judgment in his circumstances, representing the Jewish remnant, as Enoch the Church. "The Lord cometh with" (not to) "to execute judgment against those who spake against him."

NOTE. - The occasion of the judgment was, the mixture of the heavenly family with the earthly - the daughters of men.

He cannot be alone with God - must through weakness, or through love (as in Christ) take the sorrow and trouble in the flesh.

Here the restraint of this curse, on the earth, came in on the sweet savour of the sacrifice of Christ, viewing and in full view of the sin of man, which was the occasion of it - such was the new world, founded on that death and sacrifice.

Externally hitherto merely creation, of which God could repent, and destroy on corruption and sin - not so of His calling - but typically, a complete history of all God's dealings, to the end, in their principles; the roots, thus early shown, of that in which we degrade, but through which God has glorified Himself, and shown His righteousness; this is to the end of chapter 8.

In verse 3, I suppose it is (the flesh) "leads him astray"; but God's Spirit should not always deal with man in remonstrance. He would judge him, but give him 120 years delay. I see no difficulty in "in that he also."

De Wette reads "my Spirit shall not always strive with man on account of his going astray, he is flesh and his years," etc.

Young - "in his folly (or error) he is flesh, and so let his days be," etc. All take it as wandering. The sense, after all, is the same, for "he is flesh" is the reason at any rate.

The important question is the force of basar (flesh); now I do not think that, in the Old Testament, an instance can be found in which basar is used in contrast with "spirituality" - with "Spirit" or "the Spirit" and with "God," it is - but that turns the other way here; hence, because of flesh leading them astray cannot I think be the meaning, to say nothing of hu (also); "flesh" in this sense, is the discovery of Christianity, consequent on the Spirit being in the Christian down here.

117 Thus hu basar goes together, and I apprehend it is, that God will not always go on striving uselessly with a mere mortal, fallen and resisting, and an occasion of disorder - evil, and flesh have not to be respected with patience for ever.

He is flesh - mortal man - and not God; "the Egyptians are men, and not God - their horses flesh, and not Spirit." "He is flesh, and so let his days" - this with a slight change of stop, to give emphasis to hu basar, is De Wette's translation. But I apprehend De Wette applies 120 years to the length of life - this I believe to be a total mistake. It is the space allowed for preaching repentance, and the ark; "in their wanderings" would be quite as good as "because of," or better. It would then stand thus: "My Spirit shall not always strive with man (or amongst men) in their wanderings - he is flesh - but his days shall be 120 years."

This was the end of Adam as created - Noah's was a new world, though still of fallen man - but dispensational, founded on sparing through mercy and grace.

Genesis 7

Note the continued difference between God and Lord; God is a more secret, and at the same time universal name - Lord, of positive relationship. There is no question of sevens, or clean beasts with God, but with the Lord. God in speaking to Noah speaks of His own thoughts, and what is before Him; the Lord commands him in certain duties and relationships.

In verse 21 and the like, we have the witness of the way in which the corporate nature of man - the ha-Adam is spoken of, so in chapter 6:1. o protor anthropos.

Genesis 8

God is to Noah a faithful Creator; at the close He accepts the sacrifice, and smelling the savour of Rest, alters the terms of His relationship with the judicially judged earth. The passing away of judgment was gradual, and the dove - the peaceful reign of the Spirit - though it bring token of peace to them in the ark, of whom we have spoken, found no rest till they were all passed.

118 Note also, the ground was cursed for man's sake; this is arrested on the typical sacrifice, because God finds a savour of rest in that, and, on the recognition of the evil in man, which had led Him to destroy, declares He will no more smite, but the regular order of creation should subsist while the earth remained.

Genesis 9

The world is here begun again - we cannot say "a new creation," but "the world that now is" - the other is entirely an old "world that then was." Compare the donatives in chapter 1:28 and also verse 22 - so far it is, in part, man animally, yet withal in the image of God too, and dominion here; the terms of the new donative are quite other, and suppose, though no more curse on the ground, or destruction, sin to be there, and the sword in man's hand for righteous judgment - life, which was reserved before to God, now is put in government, and restraining vengeance into man's hand - so are they called Elohim.

We have then here, on restored blessing, not all peace, but subjection, government, security against evil, and the earth - the entire subject here - its failure in Noah, who began to look for the earth's blessing - and on the sin of his younger son, the distribution by God of the three great families by Noah's prophecy.

Note too, verse 6 - God never loses His rights by the failure or evil of man, nor His privilege so to consider it - so with the Church as against His enemies, or Israel either, for they ought to have recognised God's title in it, though He may punish and chastise at the same time.

But death and life are prominently brought out and the value of life manifested by death.

It is evident this chapter is a complete new ground and beginning of the world, though sin be still there, and death seen to be reigning, but life claimed as belonging to God. Man was made in His image, thus man in se connected with what was before, though the dispensation and footing of man with all things and God also, be quite new; also we have the failure, and then the generations as in chapter 5.

119 Blessing here is conferred of grace - on sacrifice, for that is ever needed - and Noah and his sons are blessed without reference to what they are. It is a primary analogous blessing to Adam's, though not anything of federal headship in sin for the sons are blessed with him.

Also the covenant is made with the earth - the Lord would not again curse it - Adam's present judgment was dispensational, so we shall find here. But this present rest and comfort concerning the work of their hands, because of the ground which the Lord had cursed, was abused, as before disobedience had been shown, Noah drinking himself drunk, and losing his intelligence, and the true place of government as head in wisdom, was thus against Him who had set him in blessing, and then relative sin comes out, as before in Cain, in not loving his brother - Canaan, Ham, does not respect his father. Hence the first prophetic testimony of patriarchal family announcement (for descendance now comes in - the blessing having been on their seed after them) opens with a curse, and hence it lights on Canaan; but this does not touch the covenant blessing given in grace, for the rain still descends on evil and good, and the sun rises on just and on unjust. Special government under law there may be, but on the earth in general this continues, and will, so long as it endures.

The taking off of the curse - dispensational curse - is not the redemption of the creature absolutely, as to death necessarily - this is an everlasting covenant with man, independent of law and righteousness. The new curse - prophetic - falls not on Earth - that Noah could not do - but on the unrighteous despiser of the Father and the reverence due to Him; hence it lights on Ham in his child, and is strict prophetic righteousness, but while so, as in pain and sorrow to Noah's heart too, for he has to see this prophetic judgment in judging his own ways, by a curse on those whom God had instituted in the blessing of creation with him (v. 9).

What sure ways of righteousness here, and quite a new feature of providential righteousness and judgment, and that in descendants too, while grace rules supreme before - independent of - and over all. The same consequently, the spirit of prophecy taking up this, plants Shem in the place of blessing, and relationship in this state of things; the governmental mind of God, in dispensation, prophetically revealed as to this relationship with Him, "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem."

120 Hence, the curse reversed on earth as Creator in new successional dispensation, it lights on the head of the rebellious son amongst the families, only election is placed in the place of relationship with God - He is the Lord God of Shem. And yet other general providential purposes and ways preserved for the history of the world, but not in this relationship; God, in His own will and thought, shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in Shem's tents. God does it, but He is not the Lord God of Japheth; Japheth may come in these tents for the blessing, or at least in relation with the blesser, while he possesses in providence the power, but we must rise up to God in supremacy, beyond the relation of this covenant dealing, to find Japheth in this blessing. It was the dealing of God prophetically with the earth - here Japheth might have power, but He was not the Lord God of Japheth in it; for him revealed foresight begins, but it begins (as the testimony in Paradise) after sin entered in, and therefore with a curse, adding thereto elective relationship, and supreme providence.

Thus was, while the earth was concerned in it, all the basis laid for what was carried on in Israel. This was the first prophecy; it is not that the Lord has not been pleased to reserve us the prophecy of Enoch - even He who knows the end from the beginning - but it was the first revealed order in prophetic dealing and government in the progress of God's dealings with the world.

Noah - as John Baptist - closed one scene and ushered in another in which he died, as those of the old before him, for really in man nothing was changed, though in circumstances, and even guilt, much; for blessing and grace was sinned against - Gentiles or nations soon begin now to have a place in our thoughts in the Word.

We have the sacrifice, blessing or promise, and covenant, and for the earth. This is distinct from the position - he is set in the failure and the curse, and the ministration of divine government in it.

The important division into all the different nations, and tongues; Japheth, isles of the Gentiles, and see verses 5-20, 31. In Ham's family, the first human kingdom by means of man's violence; "he was a mighty hunter," "and the beginning of his kingdom." This chapter throws light, by these nations, etc., on all the after prophecies. The dates, and ordering of providence go in Shem's family, and in fact on Eber being brought to light, Joktan was east; by them were the nations divided after the Flood.

121 This gives one great branch of prophecy - providence and pride, and more peculiar relationship to God, the God of providential ordering.

Genesis 10

The generations of Adam were after the full ruin, so here, after the curse. Also they are the generations of the sons of Noah, for they go by descendance; now it is not ha-Adam.

We have the nations and the beginning of a kingdom - quite a new thing - there were violent men before, now nations and a kingdom individually set up. They broke off from the stem and settled there, "in their lands" - thus countries had their origin too; this was settled in Peleg's time, only these were they who could not stay at home.

The isles of the Gentiles are all from Japheth; except Javan and Tiras - these we may say are all in Gog's expedition besides Peres, Cush and Phut - not Japheth's sons - Madai is not properly so perhaps, but in the kingdom it is mixed up with Peres - these we shall see afterwards.

Tubal and Javan are mentioned in Isaiah 66:119 - the stopping of the accents there, in the Hebrew, does not join Tubal, Javan and the isles, but separates them as distinct, semi-closing the sentence at Javan - verse 4 here shows the connection. Tarshish, and we see Cush - Asiatic, it was part of or adjoining the land of Assyria - Babel was the portion of Nimrod his son; for Havilah, see chapter 2:11, there was, however, a Havilah, son of Shem, also we have those who with Tarshish attended Gog for spoil - Sheba and Dedan.

In verses 7 and 8 we have instances how this genealogy supplies us with two things - the great families which appear again in the latter days, and the detail of families by which God's purposes, and Satan's plans and wickedness were brought about in the course of events. This Nimrod has much to be noted in character; note also - as in Cain - the city building. The whole character - the city building is nowhere else.

122 Chittim or Kittim, we are familiar with; Elishah, Riphath and Ashkenaz alone are not expressly mentioned in the latter day array. Mizraim is not mentioned with Gog - the land of Mizraim does not escape the wilful king; Cush and Phut we have seen with Gog. Lebim and Cushim are also connected with the wilful king - the former from Mizraim, see verse 13. Canaan also is well known, only so far as it remained, in Sidon, etc.

Note the language as to Shem in verse 21, Elam, Asshur, Lud and Syria alone are spoken of Shem nationally, but he was the father of all the children of Eber. The three distinctive characters of the three are to be noted; is ga-dol (greater) certainly "elder"?

The purport of all this is obvious - only we remark Japheth haggadol - Elam, Asshur, etc.

In verse 32, they settled by breaking off from the parent stock, or settled branch. Note this principle of nations, consequent on Babel, was entirely a new one.

Note, "the Lord" comes in here; also note, even Shem's families come in after the curse of dispersion on the sons of Noah, for this chapter is the history of the sons, the government is there, Noah stands alone.

It is national, derived from families, the government of the Lord now, but then that as a consequence of the judgment on Babel. Here, in Shem now, one family is taken up, and progeny, not death, is noted in the catalogue for, though under ruin, the Lord comes in as the Lord God of Shem, and this was now His way of blessing, i.e., as to the earth. But the order of God is here, the dates, families, and division of the earth - unity in evil - then Babel, Nimrod and Peleg give the three great types of this state of things.

We may also note that the characteristic title of the nations is consequent on the judgment on the public sin of the dispensation - the tower of Babel - for they are divided "after his tongue"; Japheth has the isles of the Gentiles, Ham is first great, Shem is noticed as younger, but the father of all those counted among the name of descent of God's people - their name among the peoples - "the Hebrews" say the Philistines.

123 Genesis 11

Note that in verse 5, we have B'ney ha-Adam (the sons of Adam) - still their common generic name, no nations yet. As in chapter 10, the first human kingdom, so here the first great human confederacy to maintain themselves together, and exalt themselves in a joint centralizing name, which God has called "Babel" (confusion). This, though another point, was the head or beginning of Nimrod's kingdom. This was the occasion of a new character of judgment - scattering, to confound the pride - not simply destruction, to put an end to wickedness. We have then the chronology of Shem, in whose special family - for the Lord God was the God of Shem, though Japheth might be enlarged, and dwell in his tents - was the calling of God, an entirely new principle, now manifested actually, though doubtless true before; this was the principle.

We learn from Joshua 24, the occasion was idolatrous worship, i.e., ascription of power to demons, and not to God, which made judgment unavailing, for it was ascribed to the misleader of man; such was the occasion of the principle of God's calling. Till entirely disconnected from his family, he could not go to the land; Acts 7.

We have the public sin, and the Lord's judgment of the world, in providence, for it, and the descent of the chosen family from the chosen head of it. This was prepared in providence, for calling must stand by itself. Though the family afterwards were called, the immediate family are called, and the notice de facto that the separation of Abraham was incomplete, for he was obliged to be left a good while in Charran, because his father was with him; afterwards, God's mind and way in the matter is seen - he "went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan he came."

Thus we have man (ha-Adam) and the end of all flesh - Noah, and the new world, and his failure - the government of the world based on this failure by calling and judgment (on Ham's family), and the preference of younger to elder - providential arrangements thus ordered, and then further - Babel and violent power, beginning the subsequent history - and then the family of the owned seed. The call of Abraham begins all on a new basis.

The national order had its root and occasion in the sin, as all in the sin of Adam - the family order of the world was completely ruined in the tower of Babel; this was the beginning of Nimrod's kingdom. And there man's renewed empire began, not only with violent Nimrod, but with the divinely established throne of Nebuchadnezzar. In general, we have association in unity of men, and power in an individual as king of Babylon. We learn from Joshua 24 that Satan had set himself up as the head of providential agency, as god, even in Abram's family, so that some new intervention of God was absolutely necessary, unless He should have destroyed all, He Himself had created, again. As the sin of Adam became, in the knowledge of good and evil, the occasion of blessing far higher, so the sin of Babel and confusion became the platform of blessing in Abram - he is to be a great nation; yet the widest blessing reaches back beyond - the families of the earth are to be blessed - so did grace as to Adam.

124 NOTE. - It is upon his return out of Egypt to the altar at Beth-el, the house of God, that the separation takes place, and the world and the inheritance become clearly distinguished.

Genesis 12.

This great principle is brought out - called to act - on faith, in God's Word for a promise only in hope, and when there only in earnest, a land to be shown - a nation - blessing - and all families blessed in him - this was the most general promise - he was the man, the depositary of promise, and promised blessing.

The Canaanite - the power of already announced evil - was already, and now, in the inheritance where he was brought; so we, see Ephesians 6:12; but the principle, "they went forth to go" and "they came" - that was their condition - through this, and in this, however, he moved in liberty; but there was a famine in it - he, without call, or direction, goes down to Egypt - the world - then denies his wife, gets presents for it, and the prince of this world, and his house judgment, till they are let go.

This is entirely a new principle in the world; God had, under Peleg, settled them in countries of their dispersion. They had not only settled in their countries, but it was divided - allotted out. Abram is told of God to leave his country - he becomes a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth, as regards original natural ties in flesh, but he has not here done with earth as the scene of blessing - he was to go into the country which Jehovah would show him.

125 But the calling of an individual, and settling blessing in him, is a most important principle. It is not the responsibility of ha-Adam, nor individuals owned and godly through grace, but the purpose of God calling one out, and setting and centring blessing in him; and it is remarkable how blessing is dwelt on and repeated, cursing only coming in as a fence - a judgment on any who should wish it on him. But Abram was called to a land (country), and the races or families of the earth (ground) were to be blessed in him - he is taken from them to be a blessing to them. Making it a blessing means, I apprehend, the type of it - "the Lord make thee like Abram" being the best wish of blessing possible; but all that was an earthly habitation he was separated from.

This being the very type and model of divine blessing is most remarkable, and more so far in us, for indeed we are - being in Christ - beyond all comparison; this is grace and a sovereign, original purpose.

Note, too, not only was he the model and type in which divine blessing was expressed, but he was the depositary and so source of it to others; this, far more fully and actually the case, in its complete fulfilment in us, is a very divine place. We have so the divine blessing in God Himself in Christ, in conscious communicated possession, that we become the communicators of it to others. This is first of all Christ's place, but he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him, and so it is shown and flows forth. Compare John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12, as showing how this is.

This principle is not only supreme on the part of God, and the accomplishment of His counsel, but it is clean contrary to, and out of the order His natural providence had established; the world was ordered by families, everything arranged by families settled in such and such terrestrial divisions, and kindred was the tie that bound the earth together.

Abram is called to loose all these, and leave them; corruption was come in, and they that were of God must be to God, but then the great principle of calling out by special grace - God interfering because of His grace, and in grace having one for Himself in the world - was manifested.

126 Yet Terah acts for himself, and takes Abram a certain road towards the place; Abram did not act on the call at once. The expression "the Lord had said" is correct, from Acts 7.

Although the call was from out of the world as settled by providence in families, yet, being called out, the blessing ran in that order, whatever might be contained under it, or however God might bring about its accomplishment.

NOTE. - This is "the Lord," as acting within the sphere of covenant, and dispensed relationship, not simply in supreme Godhead; the land he was to go to was of God the Lord's showing; "he went out not knowing whither he went" - it was dependence and confidence in the Lord - the ear opened to hear His will. Then the promise - a great nation - blessing, his name great - to be a blessing - kept, owned, so that blessing and curse should depend on treatment - and lastly besides, all the families of the earth blessed in him, I say besides, for making him a nation was one thing as called, and the families of the earth, left where they were, being blessed, is another; there we have, on Terah's death, his acting on the call - kept, perhaps, hitherto to himself, Terah had no part in it, and he dies in Haran, for Abram was to be out of his house and kindred; on this, Lot accompanies him, but he had neither after all - Sodom was his place of loss of all - on the contrary, in verse 5 we have the purpose of obedience, and its certain accomplishment in grace according to the calling. "They went forth to go, and they came" - the whole effect of the promise in a certain sense.

Abram passes through the land - the powers of evil, which are to be destroyed, are still in it.

By calling, the depositary of promise is brought into a place which is to be the rest, but he is there as a stranger - the powers of evil, afterwards to be exterminated, being still there.

Here the Lord appears to Abram - reveals Himself - now for the first time spoken of; this is in the land, where he is brought by faith - there is the revelation of the Lord Himself to him; hence it is a promise of the land - this land - to his seed, for he was, though in hope, a stranger in the effect of the promise, as regards the part of it here taken up, therefore this land.

Here also is worship ordered before the Lord - "he builded an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him."

It was also a promise of the land to his seed, that is, in fact, it was the assurance of futurity - of perpetuity according to the nature of the thing.

127 This is the place of communion and worship - "in the heavenly places" - the Lord revealing Himself there, the seal of faith in communion, and so ground of worship, carrying with it the assurance of eternity in it, and the consciousness that we are in the place, with the Lord, to which he had called us; for He has called us to His own kingdom and glory. But in these heavenly places, the power of wickedness - the race on whom the curse ruled - still are; we are strangers, yet the Lord appears to faith, in secret as it were, and, though moving to and fro, the Lord's altar is ours, in spite of the Canaanite, in every place. These are the two subjects in verse 9. In the end of the chapter we have Abram, not in the title of the Lord, but acting on distress, on his own wisdom, enriched outwardly, but his wife in the hands of the prince of this world; the end is judgment on the prince of this world, for, if man be unfaithful, God vindicates His own titles.

We have in verse 16 a remarkable picture of the departure of the church from God - Abram, whose acts are in question, representing the persons in it who dealt with the Church in this way, and got rewards - rewards or gifts of a harlot specially, as they say such in character. All these things they got from Pharaoh (king of Egypt) - everything they could wish, and in favour, but in dishonour of God and of her too, through whom the seed of covenant was called - beautiful in the eyes of the world, Egypt had nothing to produce like it - but besides being beautiful, she was the espoused of Abraham, the spouse of promise in the purpose of God. It was distrust of God in Abraham, which led to it, and to deny his inseparable bondship with her, as separate (for ever) from all others - this in spirit, but it has striking reference to the Jews when the bride of the Lord; he was not Abraham (father of nations) yet.

Genesis 13

Abram returns to his former altar - "at the first"; this is a great principle, be it for Christian or Jew; it is the history of the stock of faith - great principles. Lot, favoured hereto fore with him, chooses what is good, and well watered, but the scene of God's judgment, into which he gets.

128 Abram gives up, and has only the scene of judgment, and gets all things, and it is promised now to him, and his seed, as in chapter 12:7. This was when in the land, always an actual thing, not a promise for a principle to all, though we may apply it in a sense.

We have the entire separation of faith from a portion in this world, so that it should come into the inheritance of God's counsels - worldliness in him that had not the promises, or however did not act in faith as renouncing the world, having to dwell in the place of judgment, acting on the senses and selfishness to which this was then the best place, the apparent place of the Lord's blessing; this also is a type of the Jews.

Note in verse 12, Lot pitched toward - up to, even to - Sodom, but in verse 12 of the next chapter he was settled here.

Genesis 14

I think that "in the days of … made," is not "that these" made - Chedorlaomer was chief; I suppose the king of Shinar was the foreign nation most connected with the Jordan kings.

Note - whatever brings one into the blessing, brings one into the power of the world; it is not the delivered land - the Canaanite may be in it - but there is no choice of Sodom - the power of the Lord is with those in it.

We have then the captivity of Lot in the wars of this world (as Israel, who chose the world, shall be), and the liberty of a deliverance by Abram who acted in renouncement on promise; he can use the world with him, as his servants, for he is acting for himself on his own principles. Melchizedek - the Lord Jesus - Priest and King, comes forth to bless - not intercede here - the most High God, now possessor of heaven and earth, and Abram from Him; but all that comes of and from the men of the world is ever, and utterly rejected. His superiority is owned.

129 Thus the great principles of the life of faith in the Church, and Israel too, are stated.

It is the victory of Abram over all the powers of the world, which had subjected those with whom Lot was associated, and thereon the full blessing of the depositary of promise of the King-Priest, on the part of the most High God, possessor of heaven and earth - on the other hand the royal priesthood of blessing in the whole sphere of heaven and earth possessed of God supreme, and centring in Abram.

Thus the great principles of the life of faith in the Church, and Israel too are stated; this closes completely this book - it is from chapter 12 to end of chapter 14.

The calling, position and failure of faith - the dependence and renouncement of faith - and the effect of worldliness - triumph of the heir of the world, and the royal millennial blessing in Christ in heaven and earth.

Genesis 15

We now come to other points - the seed and heirs - and the covenants - the flesh and spirit - and the principle of justifying faith.

God the Lord declares - after this deliverance and refusal of anything from Sodom - "I am thy shield and exceeding great reward." This was the great, the blessed - how blessed - infinitely blessed - and for ever beyond all our thoughts in communion with Him - and glorious truth, our own too in some measure, as He is the Father of all them that believe. Such then was - if such was - God to him - the deep resting place of all brethren - an anxiety on his soul, the occasion of an instruction - the manner of it; he had no end but "the word of the Lord," for this was by "the word of the Lord" quod nota.

The Lord appeared, chapter 12:7; but here we have the word brought in - to him saying he should have an heir out of his own bowels - his body now dead, it was a resurrection, and Sarah in the same way. Here he exercised faith, i.e., in God raising the dead, giving him a numerous seed - compare Romans 4. Thus the promise of an heir - faith in the word of the Lord - and God raising the dead - all are now introduced as concurrent principles, faith now being first mentioned - the word - the heir - and resurrection, though all had been true actually, or in hope before. There is also the principle of a covenant dealing - God's entering into the minutest detail of the interests of His people, and all their history, knowing their path, blessed be God, even in sorrow - their enemies all before Him - their deliverance all arranged for good - and binds Himself in the same covenant, whether of a lamp to guide or a furnace to prove. And if the horror of a great darkness - the power of the destruction of the flesh - the shadow of death in the midst of Abram's care for the sacrifice against corrupters, or the power of evil - the weight of God's judgment on the flesh fall on Abram's soul, He who covenanted with him passed through the power of death for him, to secure a covenant which He only could make - He only sustain - He only secure thus to such, as to any sinner.

130 Here we have faith counted for righteousness; before, it was "thee only have I seen." Enoch walked with God - Abel's works were righteous, though we all know all these were by faith - but the principle is here first introduced.

Note - the Lord does not appear to him here - it is a new kind of revelation, and as to the manner, an inferior one - prophetic - not the revelation of Himself. But it was first about Himself, only relatively to Abram; hence here we have the plans and purposes of God, and faith. Heretofore God's appearing, and personal relationship - great principles, and promises - now, the world having been judged, overcome, refused, the earthly purpose of God in the heirs (people) and inheritance is prophetically brought out, and secured by a covenant, full of mystery. The proper founding of an earthly covenant, on the revelation of a name of God, is only in chapter 17 - He was revealed there on this patriarchal ground of God Almighty. All this chapter is Jehovah.

In verse 2, does mah-titten-li (what wilt Thou give me?) refer at all to s'kar'ka (thy reward)? At any rate take notice of the connection of the previous chapter; unless a son is born, and an inheritance, the destruction of enemies is of no avail - the refusal of Sodom's goods is not all, without the possession of the Lord's inheritance, and here also comes in the recognition of character in chapter 22 - without an heir, gift is naught. In Adam, first inheritance, then head - now, in redemption, first the heir - (the inheritance subsisting, but being ruined), then the inheritance. So then here in promise "what give - seeing I go childless, and my heir," etc.; for herein God must have an Heir - as well as he an heir of misery - in redemption; and Heir of Worlds as a servant, ven-bethi (the son of my house, v. 3), but not so, there is an Heir of promise, One who indeed is Heir of God, and resurrection Heir, and herein declared Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, and not herein a servant, but a Son, though herein a Servant in love. But He was the Heir of the Church - also in another sense, of Abraham's promises, as object of promise.

131 Note also, this comes out of "I am thy shield, and exceeding great reward." So the millennial glory, which is the heir and the inheritance, is the gift of God, as all in all, to the Church - Christ is all in all, quod nota, for it opens much the two things, for they are in one sense two, yet one, for He is the first and the last, yet the Man of intermediate inheritance in which the Church, etc., learns this great thing - it is the lesson of it, and by indwelling. The inheritance was a former - unrevealed - one to Adam, but in act it follows on the heir, and that as a voluntary promise; the covenant was a necessity, without it we may say bammah eda (whereby shall I know)?

Note - on the enquiry as to the heir, which was necessary for any promise, the word of promise is given, and believed - the inheritance, voluntarily promised, is matter of covenant "whereby shall I know?" quod nota; the answer primarily to mah-titten-li is the heir. The covenant and the inheritance includes however sorrow with it; in this sense Joshua is a most important character. But surely it was a sad word mah-titten-li when God had said anokhi (1); but God directed Abram's attention to Himself in saying "a shield to thee." Yet God meets this with the promise of the heir (seed, in an earthly sense) and inheritance - we must look out, I do not doubt, upon this (Abraham) as the image of our Lord's faith (in weakness), as well as Father of the faithful, but I speak in a general sense - it was a sad picture of the weakness of the human heart, sustained (to learn God) by intermediate witness of blessing, till all was accomplished, for this is God's way - for what could be so great, so blessed as anokhi - the end, centre and substance of blessing - all blessing. "I am thy shield," yet he says "what wilt Thou give me?" now this was tide in Christ, and here it is justified - but wretched weakness in us, for what blessing but is in God? Yet He has met this weakness in the righteousness of that tide, for so Abraham represents both - it is a most important sentence, whether in principle or in type as to us.

It seems to me that, in verse 6, he-emin ba-hovah is more justly "he believed Jehovah," than "in" Him - he put his Amen to what Jehovah said - it is not trusting, because it is confiding, or trust in His word, which is believing Him.

132 In verse 12 there was the covenant security of death, but the power of death - it rested on redemption ground. God came down on man in darkness, but bound Himself by death, and sacrifice, to the gift. Trial and guiding light were the character in which He secured it, but death was on the creature, and God bound Himself. It is not exactly our place, because we come in after it is accomplished - Christ having gone through it for us, and we are entitled to reckon ourselves dead; still there must be the death of the nature, and we often pass through it to arrive at liberty.

In verse 17, alatah (thick darkness), I apprehend is "thick darkness" - quite dark; so in the other places in Ezekiel 12 where it is translated "twilight." It must mean obscurity - thick darkness, of which He was to profit - to be hid.

NOTE. - Paul counts from the confirmation of the promise to law, 430 years (Gal. 3), that was some 14 years after this, perhaps more - 14 or 15 years from chapter 16 (see beginning and end); but he takes evidently Exodus 12:40, as a general statement. I apprehend the statement here need not be a captivity and servitude of 400 (or 430) years, for at first the Israelites were not enslaved - it was when Joseph was forgotten - and this makes it easy to believe that the 400 years is the terminus of the period, given in round numbers. The Samaritan and Septuagint, in Exodus 12:40, would be an interpretation, and it looks like a gloss; the computation from Kohath, and Amram is of no weight. That the 400 years is a terminus, from the then present time, seems borne out by this, that it is given as a reason, that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full - it would be in 400 years - they would be in Egypt as to the 400th year; 400 years is an absolute sentence - afflict them - 400 years. There is the difficulty of the sojourning of the children of Israel - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not there - but the text may be occupied with them, as if they were. On the other hand, it may be said, that Paul in Galatians 3 takes the whole patriarchal time in Canaan, as the time of promise, and the 430 years from Jacob's descent into Egypt.

We have hitherto had the calling and history of Abram, father of the faithful, depositary of the promises, and the great principles connected with it. Now we have the heir and the inheritance - first then sought in a carnal way - the promise of faith and the carnal way of getting it.

133 As to details, we have God his shield and exceeding great reward - the promise, on his plaint, of the heir - faith, by which he was counted righteous. The same God that called him to this land to inherit it - the definition of the inheritance by Covenant to an oppressed and delivered seed - God, binding Himself to them, for this, as a burning lamp and smoking furnace. The heir was promised generally, and then seed as the stars of heaven; being promised generally to him, he seeks it then in the way of the flesh, instead of waiting on the Lord, and the bondwoman, being cast out, becomes yet the object of providential care and promise, but not in the house of Abram in the promise, but of supreme promise - God living and seeing.

After the heir, the detail of promise here was the land and the numerous seed. In this way chapters 15 and 16 make another division of the Book.

Note, in Eden it was judgment on the serpent, and the setting up of the woman's seed not properly a promise; it was a grand dealing of God, according to His own mind - and nature too - announcing the destruction of evil by that which here had its source in the feeble and failing woman, the first Adam quite set aside - unless he came under it.

In Abram promise begins, and he is called by that which is temporal - but of faith, "which I will show" - but brought into the place of promise, here he has nothing, and thereon he begins to look for the city which has foundations; the land is promised to his seed, while he enjoyed communion. The nations were to be blessed in him, chapter 12 - in his seed, chapter 22; the special promise - to wit, of the seed to come - was then narrowed to David's seed, while established and confirmed.

It is clear then that Abram must enjoy the inheritance after a heavenly manner, i.e., he being in a heavenly position, for this was the position of his own faith. Then he is an heir according to promise, that is, he will so have the inheritance in a heavenly manner.

Christ Himself, come according to all these promises according to the flesh, takes nothing, but becomes heir, after a heavenly manner, by the power of resurrection; and Abraham will no doubt inherit the world thus in Christ.

This seems plain - that that which Abraham came to and had not - and Christ came to and took nothing - he who saw the day of Christ will surely enjoy after a true and heavenly manner, according to the glory of the Seed of promise, who shall possess it, and as taking it under Him - this I think presents no difficulty. But then another point comes in - Christ, who came thus according to promise, was, in that nature in which He came, above all promise - He was one with His Father, this could form no part of promise. The question then arises, what is the Church's place in this?

134 By the Holy Ghost's dwelling in us, we are brought into a marvellous unity with Him who possesses this nature - who is in it, one with the Father - we are one in Them; this unity being by the Holy Ghost, is applicable only to those in whom - to wit the Church - the Holy Ghost dwells; if Christ is in the Father we are in Him, and He in us, hence though the blessing comes upon the Gentiles, the present means of an election of Gentiles was not revealed to the ages - it was a mystery hidden - the day which Abraham desired to see, when the promises will be fully accomplished, is not yet come; and this will be the spouse of Christ, in a word, though the elect among the Gentiles come into blessing (as had been promised to Abraham) they come in now, by a means which rises far above promise, in Him who was loved before the foundation of the world, and according to a purpose formed, as to them, before it too, and which was not revealed by promise, but is based on the Person and work of Christ actually come, and union with Him before the world, is what is peculiar to the Church, see John 1 and 17, our union is with Him who was so - it is at Christ, as revealed by John specially, we are to look - its administrative accomplishment in Ephesians.

However, I do not think we can say that Abraham was properly of the aionon (of his heavenly inheritance I have already spoken) but I doubt that Election, Calling and Promise is properly an aion. Noah's then existed and contracted itself, so to speak, into Israel for the time; nor do I exactly see, on the other hand, that looking for a city makes him the city. It seems clear that there is blessing without the city, for the nations of the saved shall walk in the light of it (Rev. 21:24) - that he will enjoy it, I doubt not at all - that he will be in it, remains yet not shown to me. A grave question connects itself with this - that special privilege here bears no distinctive result above; for God had reserved some better thing for us - does this cease with this earth? By one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, compare Ephesians 5 and 1 at the end; also the Church displays to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies a new thing.