Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 29th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Take our poll

Bible Commentaries
Genesis 15

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

After these things - the conquest of the invading kings. The campaign was closed by a noble demonstration of disinterestedness and generosity on the part of Abram, in restoring every portion of the recovered booty to its respective owners. But the moral of that narrative is greatly weakened if not lost, by separating the act of self-denial from its compensation as related in this chapter.

The word of the Lord came unto Abram. "The word of the Lord" is a phrase used to denote a divine communication. Since this is the first instance of its occurrence, it may be remarked that, although the term naturally suggests the idea of audible and articulate sounds, by which the Lord made an oracular announcement of his will to men, the revelation was made sometimes through the medium of a vocal address, at other times without the employment of this external agency. In the instance of Moses when he entered the tabernacle (Numbers 7:89; Numbers 8:1), of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:31), of our Lord at three eventful periods of his ministry (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 12:28), and of Paul (Acts 9:4), a real voice, miraculously produced, uttered sounds which were heard and understood by those to whom they were addressed; and that fact is announced in a manner so express that there can be no room for doubting it. But the phraseology in this verse implies no external phenomena; and the usus loquendi of the sacred writers leads to the conclusion that, when 'the word of the Lord came unto Abram,' it was by a direct influence upon his mind, originating a train of ideas so far beyond the ordinary range of human thoughts, or the penetration of human sagacity, and impressed with such unusual vividness and force as was sufficient to determine it to be a supernatural communication.

In a vision - [Hebrew, bamachªzeh (H4236); Septuagint, en (G1722) horamati (G3705)]. The recipient of a divine communication in this form was fully awake; but his mind, supernaturally elevated, was entirely absorbed in the contemplation of objects apart from the influence of material impressions, as well as unconnected with any former experience; and the supernatural scene was, by the intense excitement of his faculties as distinctly exhibited to his mental vision as if he had obtained the knowledge through the medium of the bodily eye (cf. Numbers 24:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

Fear not, Abram. When the excitement of the enterprise was over, he had become a prey to despondency and terror at the probable revenge that might be meditated against him. To dispel his fear, he was favoured with this gracious announcement. Having such a promise, how well did it become him to dismiss his fear, and cast his burden on the Lord! (Psalms 27:3.) Septuagint [egoo huperaspizoo sou] - I throw the shield of my protection above and around you; and, as I have preserved you amid the dangers of your recent enterprise, shall deliver you also from future perils. Only be 'strong in the faith.'

And thy exceeding great reward. The translation of the Septuagint is more in accordance with the original-and your reward shall be very great.' The Hebrew [ saakaar (H7939)] denotes a reward, especially from God, because stedfast perseverance either in labour or in sufferings (cf. 2 Chronicles 15:7; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 62:11; Jeremiah 31:16; Ezekiel 29:18-19). But since Abram had done nothing that entitled him to an equivalent recompense, the promised result must be considered as a reward of faith, and not of works, and accordingly it is represented in this light by the Apostle (Romans 4:4-5). The words contained a renewal of the original promise, in special connection with Abram's grand act of self-denial in renouncing the valuable booty that was in his hands; and since he had resolved on that renunciation in firm reliance on the word of the Lord, he now received an expressed assurance that his hopes would not be disappointed; because the divine promise would not only be fulfilled to the extent formerly indicated, but far beyond it.

Verse 2

And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

Lord God - not Yahweh (H3068) 'Elohiym (H430), as formerly, but 'Adonaay (H136) Yahweh (H3068), my Lord Yahweh. The first word is a plural form, put for the singulular, as spoken of the divine majesty. Others regard it as strictly a suffix plural, so that as, pluralis excellentiae, it would be a reverential expression, signifying my Lord, Yahweh (cf. Genesis 18:27; Genesis 18:30; Genesis 18:32); or, the force of the suffix being neglected, Yahweh, Lord.

What wilt thou give? To his mind the declaration, "I am thy exceeding great reward," had but one meaning, or was viewed but in one particular light, as bearing on the filfillment of the promise, and he was still experiencing the sickness of hope deferred.

And the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus. This is an obscure and difficult passage; but part of the obscurity and difficulty arises from the incorrect translation in our version. The proper rendering is, 'and the son of possession - i:e., the possessor of my house, or of my personal property-will be this Damascene, Eliezer' (Gesenius). There is an alliteration in the original words which is not seen in the English form. The Septuagint, regarding the two rare words in the passage as proper names, translates the clause thus:-`And this son of Masek is Dammesek Eliezer.'-Jerome, Lee, and others, follow them in the belief that the two latter words constitute the man's name. The common view of this vexed passage is that Eliezer was the oldest, at all events the confidential, slave of Abram (Genesis 24:1-67), and that, according to an ancient usage in nomadic tribes, when the master or chief was childless, the steward or servant "who was over his house" fell heir to all his property. But there is no ground for either opinion-no evidence that Abraham in this passage referred to his steward; and no instance on record that, in default of a natural heir, the right of inheritance among the nomads of the East belonged to the steward. Besides, Lot, who was living at no great distance from Hebron, was a near kinsman of Abram. But the probability is, as has been suggested by Kitto, that Eliezer was some nearer relative, whom Abram regarded as his heir-at-law, then residing at Damascus, while some have identified Lot, with Eliezer-a name (my God helps) given to him in reference to his recent deliverance. But that is no more than a conjecture. Abram's language betrayed a latent spirit of fretfulness, or perhaps a temporary failure in the very virtue for which he is so renowned-an absolute submission to God's time as well as way of accomplishing His promise.

Verse 3

And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 4

And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

This shall not be thine heir. To the first part of his address no reply was given; but having renewed it in a spirit of more becoming submission, "whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it," he was delighted by a most explicit promise of Canaan, which was immediately confirmed by a remarkable ceremony.

Verse 5

And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

And he brought him forth abroad. It appears, from several instances, that things are related in Scripture as actually done which yet were only transacted in a vision; and this is one of them, where the text says that God brought Abram forth abroad, and bade him number the stars; while it is evident from Genesis 15:12 that the sun had not gone down (cf. Jeremiah 13:4; Jeremiah 25:17). In the transparent nocturnal sky with which Abram was familiar at Hebron, the firmament would be seen studded in every part with innumerable radiant gems; and although the stars have been mapped and counted by modern astronomers, yet as, to the naked eye, they appear in myriads, it was in this popular sense the sign was now given to Abram.

So shall thy seed be. Of course, his natural seed are here meant-the Jews. He had now a sensible sign to support his faith, when it might be apt to flag or waver. The starry heavens would be thenceforth indissolubly associated with his cherished habits of thought; and we may well suppose that, since his heart was so intently set upon the promise, he would feed his faith with the nightly spectacle, welcoming in the countless stars that sparkled in the ethereal vault an image of his own posterity.

Verse 6

And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

He believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness - Hebrew, trusted in Yahweh (H3068), as a child leans on the arm of his nursing-father, who guides and takes care of it. Such is the import of the original term. The Divine Guide led him slowly and progressively as a pedagogue, and his faith, 'simple, elementary, vague, as it probably was,' was accepted as including all religious excellence. 'The patriarch in other words, had such a faith in God as justifies his claim to be a Christian by anticipation, the "father of the faithful"' (Hardwick.) But since Abram is not represented in this colloquy as expressing such a belief, the statement must be considered as made by the historian; and if we inquire on what grounds he made it, the answer is, on the readiness with which Abram complied with the divine directions, and the implicit acquiescence he placed in the divine word.

Moreover, this act of faith took place before the rite of circumcision was appointed as the token of the covenant; and the conclusion, therefore, to be drawn from that circumstance, as the apostle clearly shows, is, that righteousness is not of the law, but of faith (Romans 10:5-6); and that all, whether Gentiles or Jews, will receive the free gift of justification who believe in the promises of God, which are yea and amen in Christ (Romans 4:11; Romans 4:23-25; Galatians 3:16-17).

Verse 7

And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur. The divine person who appeared repeatedly to the patriarch expressly called Himself Yahweh (H3068) only on two occasions-namely, once here in the earlier part of his conversation with Abram, and afterward in what appears to have been the beginning of His miraculous communications with Jacob (Genesis 28:13). It was in the highest degree seasonable to assure Abram that He who had called him out of Ur, to "go into a land which he should show him," was the identical Person who now ratified the promissory grant of that land by a solemn oath.

Verse 8

And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? This question did not imply that Abram was staggered at the magnitude of the difficulties which lay in the way of the promises being fulfilled; for, to a reflecting mind like his, several circumstances in his personal experience must have occurred as already pointing to the eventual removal of all others-namely, the protection of Sarai and the separation of Lot, as bearing upon the promise of his posterity; and the conquest of the invading kings upon that of his future possession of the land. At all events, the question is not to be considered as indicating any hesitancy on the part of the patriarch to rely on the divine promise as 'a faithful saying, and worthy of his acceptation;' but rather as prompted by an earnest desire to obtain clearer light, fuller knowledge on a subject of intense and engrossing interest. In short, he put this question in a spirit of genuine, unwavering faith, with a view to receiving a confirmation or seal of the promise; and He who has showed Himself ever ready to satisfy humble and honest inquirers (cf. Judges 6:37-40; 2 Kings 20:8-11; Luke 1:34) was pleased to ratify his promise by a remarkable ceremony.

Verse 9

And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

And he said unto him, take me an heifer of three years old, ... The animals specified were considered clean, and permitted to be used in sacrifice by the law (cf. Genesis 7:2; Genesis 8:20, with Leviticus 1:2-6; Leviticus 1:14; Leviticus 12:6-8; Numbers 6:10). [ Mªshuleshet (H8027), not triplets, three of each, but as the Septuagint renders it, trietizousan, three years old, when the animals were considered in their prime.]

Verse 10

And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

Divided them in the midst - i:e., into halves.

And laid each piece one against another - i:e., each half at a little interval opposite its corresponding half.

But the birds divided he not - as was afterward prescribed in the Mosaic law (Leviticus 1:15; Leviticus 1:17).

Verse 11

And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

And when the fowls came down upon the carcass. The Septuagint interpolates a clause here [epi ta soomata, epi ta dichotomeemata autoon], upon the carcasses, upon their severed portions [kai sunekathisen autois Abram), and Abram sat along with them.] These birds of prey have been generally viewed as symbols of the affliction of Abram's posterity in Egypt, and of their deliverance.

Verse 12

And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

A deep sleep, [ tardeemaah (H8639)] - a preternatural sleep, produced by God (see the note at Genesis 11:21).

An horror of great darkness. [The Septuagint has fobos skoteinos megas, a great and awful darkness.] The Scripture represents prophetic visions and dreams as distinct things (Numbers 12:6); for, 'between prophetic visions and dreams generally, there appears to exist this radical distinction, that the former, though sometimes physiologically originating in a particular condition of the body, did not exclude the healthy exercise of the mental faculties, and were granted in the waking state; whereas the latter necessarily took place in a state of somnolency, and were connected with brainular affections.

In visions, mind was raised entirely above the influence of material impressions and former reminiscences, and had all its energies concentrated in the intense contemplation of the supernatural objects directly presented to its view; in dreams there was a resuscitation of former ideas, more or less influenced by the condition of the cerebral organ. In the dream which Abram had, the subject was one which had occupied his thoughts during the day-the posterity which God had promised him. Still, while visions and dreams were distinct, there was a close connection between them, so close that, as Henderson ('On Inspiration') has remarked, 'the one species of revelation occasionally merges into the other.' Such was the case in the experience of Abram.

The divine communications first took place in the daytime in a vision, but afterward, at sunset, they continued to be made when 'a deep sleep and a horror of great darkness fell upon him.' 'The statement of the time is meant to signify the supernatural character of the darkness and of the sleep, and to denote the difference between a vision and a dream' (Gerlach). That Abram saw in prophetic ecstasy the servitude of his children in Egypt, represented in a panoramic view before his mental eye, is maintained by Hengstenberg, who thinks that this scenic picture accompanied the prediction made to him, and recorded in the following verses-a prediction remarkable for its specific character, and which bears upon its front the marks of having been uttered before the event to which it refers took place.

Verse 13

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger, ... It will be seen by inspecting the Hebrew text that the words, 'they shall serve them, and they shall afflict them,' are, from the accentuation, to be regarded as parenthetical; so that the passage, these words being omitted, would stand thus: 'Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs four hundred years.' The actual duration, however, neither of their servitude, nor of their sojourn extended over the whole of this period (see the note at Genesis 15:16). "A stranger " [Hebrew, geer (H1616)] is usually derived from [ guwr (H1481)] to dwell, so that it signifies a sojourner-one living out of his own country. But Aben Ezra maintains that it is rather connected with gaarar (H1641), to shake off fruit from a tree; so that in this sense it will denote a person or thing forcibly detached from the native soil. "Four hundred years." The statement is made here in round numbers, as also in Acts 7:6; but more exactly 430 years in Exodus 12:40; Galatians 3:17. Josephus also mentions the former number ('Jew. War,' B. 5: 9, sec. 4; 'Antiquities,' 2: 9, section 1); and the latter ('Antiquities,' 2: 15, section 2).

Verse 14

And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge. The exodus of Israel from Egypt was to be marked by a series of severe national judgments upon that country; and these were to be inflicted by God upon the Egyptians, not only because the subjects of their grinding oppression were the posterity of Abram, but on account of their aggravated sins, particularly that of idolatry.

Afterward shall they come out with great substance - (see the note at Exodus 12:35-36).

Verse 15

And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace. It has been said by many that 'going to one's fathers,' or 'being gathered to one's people' was a phrase synonymous with 'being buried.' But here the distinction is clearly brought out. Abram was buried in the cave of Machpelah, but none of his ancestors had been interred there. Whereas his 'going to his fathers' is a beautiful and gentle form of expression for death, his soul then departing to the place of spirits, whither his deceased forefathers had preceded him. This is the first passage in which the phraseology occurs; and the Jewish commentator Rashi infers, from the use of the words by God himself, that Terah, Abram's father, must have renounced idolatry and returned in penitence and faith to the worship of the true God, since there could be a reunion between his spirit and Abram's in the future state.

Verse 16

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

But in the fourth generation, [Hebrew, dowr (H1755), or dor (H1755)] - the revolution or circle of human years; an age or generation. [Like genea (G1074), among the Greeks, and soeculum among the Romans, its meaning, as to extent of time, differed at different periods.] In the patriarchal age it denoted a hundred years (cf. Genesis 15:13 with Exodus 12:40). In later ages its signification was more limited, since it is used to describe a period of from thirty to forty years (Job 42:16). And on the ground of this ordinary import borne by the word "generation," a recent writer has founded an objection to the historical truth of this history. But he draws an unwarrantable conclusion; for, since there are only two modes of computing a "generation," the ordinary rate of calculating it at from thirty to forty years, and the patriarchal usage to which, in accordance with Abram's habits of thought, the Divine Revealer accorded His words, it is evident that the "fourth generation" is to be taken in the latter sense, as is distinctly intimated in Genesis 15:13.

They shall come hither again. [In that part of the speech of Stephen (Acts 7:7) where he is quoting this prediction, he adds, kai (G2532) latreusousin (G3000) moi (G3427) en (G1722) too (G3588) topoo (G5117) toutoo (G5129). But these words are not found either in the Hebrew text or the Septuagint. They are supposed by Wolfius to refer to Exodus 3:12.]

For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. The Amorites were so numerous and powerful a tribe in Canaan that they are sometimes named for the whole of the ancient inhabitants, as they are here. The statement implies that there is a progress in the course of sin and vice among nations as well as with individuals, and that, although it be long permitted, by the tolerant spirit of the divine government, to go on with impunity, it will at length reach a culminating point, where, in the retributions of a righteous Providence, the punishment of the sinner, even in this world, is inevitable.

Verse 17

And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

When the sun went down, and it was dark. This season was chosen for rendering more visible and distinct the impressive ceremony in the scene about to be described.

A smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In explanation of this transaction, it is necessary to observe that, on occasions of great importance, when two or more parties joined in a compact, the ancient custom was to ratify the covenant or treaty by sacrifice, which was offered in the following manner:-The carcasses of the animals to be used in the sacrificial rite were divided into halves, which were arranged on two separate altars erected opposite to each other; then the parties between whom the covenant was made passed in the intermediate space, with the severed parts of the victim lying on either side of them-a symbolical act by which they obliged themselves to the covenant by all their hopes of peace and prosperity, or imprecated the divine vengeance on their own heads in the event of their altering or violating the terms of the treaty. The scene terminated by the consumption of the sacrifice by fire.

It is an interesting fact that the burning lamp or fire is still used in the East in confirmation of a covenant; and it is still customary to invoke and appeal to the lamp of the temple as a witness (Robert's 'Oriental Customs'). That fire was a symbol of the divine presence, everyone acquainted with the Language of the Scriptures will admit. Now, in the pledge which God gave to Abram, that the promise respecting the possession of Canaan should, at the stipulated time, be accomplished, these are the solemnities described that were usually observed in the confirmation of permanent covenants. There is the sacrifice-the parts first divided and then laid, one half opposite the other-the smoking furnace, and the burning lamp, which symbolized the Divine Being passing between the parts of the sacrifice. According to these ideas, which from time immemorial have been engraven on the minds of Eastern people, the Lord Himself condescended to enter into covenant with Abram. The patriarch did not pass between the sacrifice, and the reason was, that in the transaction he was bound to nothing. He asked a sign, and God was pleased to give him a sign, by which, according to Eastern ideas, He bound Himself. The usual termination of such a solemnity was by consuming the sacrificial victim with fire.

Many writers, however, are of opinion that the whole scene described in this chapter is to be regarded in unbroken continuity, as an internal visionary one. Not only is every mark wanting which would warrant us in assuming a transition from the purely inward and spiritual sphere to the outward sphere of the senses, but the entire revelation culminates in a prophetic sleep, which also bears the character of vision. Since it was in a deep sleep that Abram saw the passing of the divine appearance through the carefully arranged portions of the sacrifice, and no reference is made either to the burning of them, as in Judges 6:21, or to any other removal, the arrangement of the sacrificial animals must also have been a purely internal one. To regard this as an outward act, we must break up the continuity of the narrative in a most arbitrary way, and not only transfer the commencement of the vision into the night, and suppose it to have lasted from 12 to 18 hours, but we must interpolate the burning of the sacrifices, etc., in a still more abitrary manner, merely for the sake of supporting the erroneous assumption that visionary procedures had no objective reality, or, at all events, less evidence of reality, than outward acts and things perceived by the senses' (Deitzsch).

Verse 18

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

In the same day the Lord made a covenant - [Hebrew, kaarat (H3772), cut; Greek, temnein spondas; Latin, icere foedus, to strike a league, in allusion to the cutting in pieces the sacrificial victim, and disposing them in the manner described.] It is deserving of notice that although the same promise, previously made to Abram in general terms, is recorded in Genesis 12:1-20 and Genesis 13:1-18, the revelation is not termed a covenant until it had been ratified by symbolical sacrifice. The word "covenant," however, is not to be taken here in the sense of a compact between two parties with mutual stipulations and conditions. It is rather to be considered a disposition (see the note at Genesis 9:9-11), because it was an act of grace on the part of God (hence called by the apostle "a promise," Galatians 3:18), though embraced, on the part of Abram, by faith.

Unto thy seed have I given this land. Here is Abram's charter, giving the right of inheritance of Canaan to the Israelites.

From the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates - [Hebrew, minªhar (H5104), from the river.] There are three conjectures concerning this river. The first is, that it is the little rivulet which flows into the sea a few miles south of Gaza; the second, that it is the Sihor, or torrent of Egypt, which passes El-Arish a little to the northeast, dividing the desert from the borders of the pasture-land; and the third, that it was the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. The first is too paltry and insignificant a stream to have any claims to notice in this connection. The El-Arish water being [nahal] a winter-torrent, liable to be dried up, whereas the water referred to was evidently perennial, is altogether inapplicable; and the conclusion therefore is, that the reference was to the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, Pelusium being from the earliest times the frontier town of Egypt. The descendants of Abram, in point of fact, never extended their possessions, even in the greatest height of their national prosperity, to the full extent of the boundaries here defined. But the land of promise, as contemplated in the divine purpose, was co-extensive with the limits specified, and the failure to realize the full accomplishment of the promise arose not from unfaithfulness on the part of God, but from the sinful apathy and disobedience of those to whom the promise was given, in not exterminating the pagan, who had forfeited the right to occupy the land (Exodus 23:31).

Verse 19

The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,

The Kenites. Their territory lay in the south and west of Canaan (Numbers 24:21; Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11; Judges 4:17; Judges 5:24; 1 Samuel 30:29). They were mixed up with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:3), and hence, they forfeited their country, which fell into the possession of Israel, though they continued on terms of amicable discussion with the nation.

The Kenizzites. They are mentioned only in this place, and nothing certain can be said respecting them.

The Kadmonites - "the children of the East" (cf. Judges 6:3; Job 1:3), a geographical term of indefinite signification, applied to the extensive pastoral places, or wilderness, that lay contiguous to the Syrian and Arabian deserts, and occupied by nomadic people (Genesis 25:6). This is the common opinion respecting the Kadmonites. But a different view has been taken recently by a well-informed traveler, who says the Kadmonites are supposed to have resided about the head-waters of the Jordan, under Hermon. This name is still preserved among the Nusairiyeh, north of Tripoli, and they have a tradition that their ancestors were expelled from Palestine by Joshua. It is curious also that a fragment of this strange people still cling to their original home at 'Ain-Fit, Zaora, and Ghujar, near the foot of Hermon. I have repeatedly traveled among them in their own mountains, and many things in their physiognomy and manners gave me the idea that they were a remnant of the most ancient inhabitants of this country ('Land and Book').

Verse 20

And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,

The Hittites. The chief or general body of the Hittite tribe appear to have occupied the district extending from the Lake of Tiberius westward to the Mediterranean, while some branches of them were settled in the south (Genesis 23:1-20; Genesis 26:34-35; Genesis 27:46).

The Perizzites. The Perizzites are always mentioned along with the Canaanites in formulas respecting the promise. They were a rural population, similar to the Fellahs of Egypt, dwelling in open unwalled villages. They are described as located in various parts of the land, as in the south (Judges 1:4-5); in the north, as far as the plain of Esdraelon (Genesis 13:7; Genesis 34:30); and westward in the wood country about Carmel (Joshua 17:15-18).

The Rephaims. They were a numerous and powerful race, settled in the regions east of the Jordan, and in various districts of Palestine Proper.

Verse 21

And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

The Amorites. Taking the term, not as representing the whole people of Canaan, but as the name of a distinct tribe, they inhabited the mountains not only of central Palestine, but of the northeast (Numbers 21:1-35) and the southwest (Judges 1:34-36).

The Canaanites - (see the note at Genesis 15:20.)

The Girgashites. Their locality is unknown, though it is believed to be what in the New Testament is called "the country of the Gergesenes" (Matthew 8:26); the lake-country, bounded on the north by Hermon, and on the east by the mountain ridge that runs south from it. But the Girgashites seem to have extended their possessions to Gadara, on the Hieromax, the principal river of Bashan (Luke 8:26).

( The Hivites) - i:e., according to Gesenius, 'villagers,' and to Ewald, 'midlanders.' Their name, dropped out of the Hebrew text, is retained in that of the Samaritan, and of the Septuagint. They formed a numerous tribe, whose territory stretched along the western side of Hermon, up the spacious Wady et-Teim, between Libanus and Antilibanus, toward Baalbek (Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3: cf. 2 Samuel 24:7). The omission of their name in this list has appeared so strange that some writers have attempted to identify them with the Kadmonites, who are not enumerated in other passages, while the Hivites are mentioned. But a far likelier conjecture is that they are the same as the Avites, whose town, Avim, was situated in the same district as the Hivites of Gibeon. Their name is not inserted in the report of the spies (Numbers 13:29), and the conclusion is, either that they had become greatly reduced, or were scattered in various localities.

The Jebusites are first heard of as possessing Jebus (Joshua 10:1; Joshua 15:63). But it is doubtful whether they were settled in that place in the days of Abram, as it seems to have formed originally part of the Rephaite territory. The assurance to Abram of Canaan being appropriated as the future inheritance of his posterity, but of its postponement until a period long posterior to his own time; the announcement of the degradation and servitude to which they would be subjected in a foreign land; their eventual deliverance in a state of joy and triumph, while their oppressors should suffer the retributions of a righteous Providence; the specification of the precise period when their establishment should be effected by the displacement, either through conquest or peaceful submission, of the hopelessly corrupt aborigines of Canaan;-all these details, which could not have been consistently strung together by a forger in later times, point to an early date for this prophecy, and form a group of circumstances so far beyond the sphere of natural sagacity to foresee, as to stamp it with the unmistakeable characteristics of a supernatural origin. The utterance of it at the time of forming the compact with Abram was an element in the consideration of it of the greatest importance; and there cannot be a doubt that, being carefully preserved among the families of Abram's descendants, their faith in its accomplishment would animate and support the hearts of pious Israelites amid their deepest depression in Egypt.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/genesis-15.html. 1871-8.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile