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25 That be far from thee to do find in Sodom fifty righteous after this manner, to slay the within the city, then I will spare righteous with the wicked; and all the place for their sakes. h that the righteous should be as 27 And Abraham answered the wicked, that be far from thee: and said, Behold now, I have i Shall not the Judge of all the taken upon me to speak unto the earth do right?

LORD, which am mbut dust and 26 And the LORD said, “If I ashes:

h Job. 8. 20. Isai. 3. 10, 11. i J. 8, 3, 4 34. 17. Ps. 58. 11. & 94. 2. Rom. 3. 6. k Jer. 5. 1. Ezek. 22. 30.

I Luke 18. 1. mch. 3. 19. J. 10.4 19. Eccles. 12. 7. I Cur. 15. 47, 48.2 Cor. 5. 1.

casion an exemption was granted to all sakes. But pondering farther upon the such as would avail themselves of in subject, his benevolent feelings, togethy. 26, for command was given by er with his conviction of the divine Moses to the congregation, saying, clemency, seem to have prompted him Depart, I pray you, from the tents of to widen the scope of his intercession, these wicked men, and touch nothing and to sue for the sparing of the guilty of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all for the sake of the innocent part of the their sins. Comp. 2 Sam. 24. 17. Ps. population. For their own sakes he 11. 4-7.

would not venture to offer the petition. 24. Peradventure there be fifty right- In this we see the working of a pious cous. Abraham charitably hopes the heart, which is continually prone to best with respect to the number of enlarge its desires, and like the horsethe righteous even in Sodom. At this leech's daughter to cry, 'Give, give.' the outset of his intercession, he cer- Like the four things that are never sattainly considered it as at least a pos- isfied—the grave, the barren womb, the sible" case, that there might be found thirsty earth, and the fire- 'it saith not, in that wicked place fifty righteous, and it is enough.' though in this instance he was sadly

25. That be far from thee to do. mistaken, yet his example teaches us Heb. 1337 halilah; a term expresthe propriety of entertaining the most sing detestation of a thing as profane, charitable hopes, even in the midst of abominable, shocking, and consequentthe worst appearances.

From facts elsewhere recorded in the sacred vol- ly that which was forbidden to be done.

It is rendered in the Sept. by un YEVOLTO ume, we learn that God still had a reinnant to serve him in times of gen- and in Job, 27. 5, un sin be it not. In

let it not be, or by undauws by no means, eral apostacy, even though they were nnknown to his own servants; and all the parallel New Testament texts, we are perhaps warranted to believe the Gr. is uniformly ren yevoito, and that although in regard to particular the Eng. version 'God forbid.' places the number of the righteous may

28. Peradventure there shall lack fide be less than we suppose, yet in the of the fifty righteous, &c. If it be world at large it is much greater.- -TT

asked why Abraham continued thus to Wilt thou also destroy and not spare press his suit abating the number by the place? From the question pro- five till at length he had reduced it down posed by Abraham in the preceding to ten, the answer perhaps may be, verse, it would appear that he contem.

that being in the outset uncertain as to plated the preservation of the righteous the number of righteous in Sodom, the only, without presuming to hope for readiness and facility of Jehovah in the deliverance of the wicked for their yielding to his first petition, inspired a

28 Peradventure there shall 31 And he said, Behold now, I lack five of the fifty righteous : have taken upon me to speak unto wilt thou destroy all the city for the LORD: Peradventure there lack of five ? And he said, if I shall be twenty found there. find there forty and five, I will And he said, I will not destroy it not destroy it.

for twenty's sake. 29 And he spake unto him yet 32 And he said, "Oh, let not again, and said, Peradventure the Lord be angry, and I will there shall be forty found there. speak yet but this once: PeradAnd he said, I will not do it for venture ten shall be found there. forty's sake.

And he said, I will not destroy 30 And he said unto him, Oh, it for ten's sake. let not the LORD be angry, and I 33 And the LORD went his will speak : Peradventure there way, as soon as he had left comshall thirly be found there. And muning with Abraham : and he said, I will not do it, if I find | Abraham returned unto his place. thirty there.

n Judg. 6. 39.

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o James 5. 16.

doubt whether the specified fifty could and the iniquities of a people may arbe found. This doubt would naturally rive at such a pitch that if Noah, Danbe increased by every successive con iel, and Job were in it, those holy men cession, each one of which paved the should not prevail except to deliver way for the following, till at length he their own souls by their righteousness, probably deemed it both hopeless and Ezek. 14. 14. It is not to be forgotten presumptuous to proceed any farther. therefore that notwithstanding the Yet who can affirm that one step far- amazing condescension of God manither in the reduction might not have fested on this and other occasions to secured the salvation of Sodom? The the prayers of his saints, there is a liminquiry is not perhaps profitable or dec: it beyond which their intercessions will orous, but certain it is that on a sub- not avail. sequent occasion, when God was about 33. And the Lord went his way, &c. to send the Jews into captivity, Jer. Rather, Heb. 7377 went away; which 5. 1, he told them that if they could implies that he was one of the three find one righteous man in Jerusalem, persons who had come to Abraham. he would spare them all; and after he Chal. The glory of the Lord was lifthad inflicted his judgments upon them, ed up.'— Unto his place ; i. e. to he assigned as his reason for it, Ezek. the grove of Mamre, where he was now 22. 30, 31, that not one had been found residing. to stand in the gap, and intercede for REMARKS.—The above narrative of them. But on the other hand, it must Abraham's intercession teaches us, (1.) be admitted that God holds the preroga- How highly God esteems the righteous, tive of pardoning in a sovereign man- and what blessings they are to the planer, and will not allow himself to be ces in which they live. They are well bound by his own precedent. The termed the 'light of the world and the clemency which wonld have spared salt of the earth,' for without them the Sodom for the sake of ten could not world would be immersed in total darkbe moved on any account to avert the ness, and speedily become one mass of threatened wrath from the city which corruption. Little do the world think had rejected the Saviour, Matt. 11. 24, I how much they are indebted to God'e people. If only ten persons of this case ten righteous men had been found character had been found in Sodom it in it. Our glorious Intercessor has would have been spared. Good men availed to save ten thousand times ten are the safeguards of a nation. Though thousand of the guilty progeny of Adoften traduced and represented as the am, though not one righteous man has troubiers of Israel, yet were they been found throughout all their generviewed aright they would be considered ations. rather as the 'shields of the earth,' who 3. The astonishing efficacy of interward off from it the judgments of the cessory prayer, and the duty which rests Almighty, and the removal would upon us of offering it. It appears from mourned as a publie calamity. When the present narrative that Abraham left Lot is taken out of Sodom, Sodom is off asking before God left off granting taken out of the world.' Trapp. and though the particular object of his

(2.) The humility which ought to petitions was not accorded to him, yot characterise our addresses to God. the a vowed conditions on which it Nothing more distinguishes the prayer would have been granted show that no of Abraham on this occasion than the limits, but such as a concern for his profound abasement of spirit which own honour induced God to fix, can breathes through it. He speaks as one be assigned to the exercise of his grace who can hardly realize that he has ta- in answer to his people's prayers. It ken it upon him to speak at all. Un- was in fact a virtual obtaining of the der the same oppressive consciousness object of his suit. How diligently then of our being but sinful dust and ashes should the pious improve their interest should we draw near to God. It is in behalf of others! We can scarcely only when the awe of the divine ma- conceive a person so obdurate, but that jesty and purity falls upon us, and we if, by speaking to another, he could are filled with an overwhelming sense obtain health for the sick or relief for of our own unworthiness and vileness, the indigent, he would avail himself of and of the vast distance that separates such an opportunity to benefit his fel. us from God, that we can suitably ap- low.creatures. Yet, alas ! what backproach him. But if duly penetrated wardness among Christians to the work with these emotions, we need not fear of intercession! How silent, how cold, that he will be angry with us, or that how indifferent, while an awful nass our humble, compassionate, and fer- of ignorance, wretchedness, and impivent petitions will fail of acceptance. ety, surrounds them on every side! Moreover, let us remember for our con- Shall Abraham be thus fervent, thus solation and encouragement, while thus anxious in behalf of a guilty city by abased with the sense of our ill-desert, whose destruction he could in no way that we have a High Priest within the have been injured, while we sit unconvail, whose merits countervail our demer. cerned in the midst of perishing parits, and who will present our poor peti-ents, children, brethren, and friends ? tions at the throne of his Father ; who Let us stir ourselves up to this good will do more than this-who will in- work. Let us consider how much we tercede for us as Abraham never could; ourselves need the prayers of others, for the intercession of Jesus cannot and from this let us judge of the claims weary, his petitions cannot fail. How of others upon us. Let us consider also comforting, how delightful a thought to that to neglect to pray for others is to the true believer! Abraham's inter- sin against God, 1 Sam. 12. 23; and that cession, with all his fervency, could if we have no heart to sigh and cry for only avail to save devoted Sodom in the abominations or miseries of others,

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CHAPTER XIX. 2 And he said, Behold now, AN

ND there • came two angels my lords, e turn in, I pray you,

to Sodom at even; and Lot into your servant's house, and sat in the gate of Sodom; and tarry all night, and wash your

Lot, seeing them, rose up to feet, and ye shall rise up early, meet them; and bowed himself and go on your ways. And they with his face toward the ground; said, • Nay; but we will abide in

the street all night.

a ch. 18. 22.b ch. 18. 1, &c.

c Heb. 13. 2 d ch. 18. 4. d Luke 24. 28.

we have great reason to fear and trem- special formalities of appointment, the ble for ourselves.

supposition is perhaps not ill-founded.

Certain it is that in the book of Job, CHAPTER XIX.

which contains so many striking pic1. And there came two angels to Sod-tures of patriarchal times, the phrase om. Rather according to the literal is used in that sense; ch. 27. 7–12, rendering of the Heb. 90 2277 When I went out to the gate through 69333737 and there came two of the the city, when I prepared my seat in angels, or the two angels ; i. e. two of in the street, &c.—I delivered the poor the three spoken of in the previous that cried, and the fatherless, and him chapter, and there called men. While that had none to help him ;' i. e. I did the Angel-Jehovah remained commu- this judic ly. Lot was now an aged ning with Abraham, the other two went

man and a resident of long standing in on their way till they came to Sodom. Sodom, and might with other elders - And Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. have sustained this character, though The gates of cities were anciently the it would appear from v. 9, that he was chief places of general resort for the cit- too good a man to have been a popular izens where they assembled not only to magistrate. — And Lot seeing them, confer upon public affairs, and to hold rose up to meet them, &c. Lot, like their courts of justice, but also for the sake Abraham, was ‘upon hospitable thoughts of social intercourse and pleasant rec- intent,' and with the ready courtesy reation. Indeed it appears from 2 Kings, which is ever prompted by a pious 7. 1, 18, that markets were some heart, he rises and goes forth to meet times held in their gates, which would the approaching strangers, and to tender naturally bring together a concourse of to them the welcome and the attentione people, and it is remarked by travellers of a generons host; thus exemplifying that the modern Arabs and other Ori- the language of Job, ch. 31. 32, The entals are exceedingly addicted to flock- stranger did not lodge in the street; ing together to their markets and fairs but I opened my doors to the traveller.' for the sake of society and amusement. 2. Behold, now, my lords, turn in, As to the passage before us, the Jewish &c. Heb. 977 Adonai ; a word frecommentators understand the phrase quently applied as a title of the Most

sitting in the gate,' as implying the High, although in such cases distinexercise of authority as a magistrate ; guished by a different mode of vowel. and if we suppose, as is highly proba- pointing. The absence of inns in eastble, that in those primitive times the ern countries (except the caravanserais, elders' of cities and villages were the where shelter alone is provided), both acknowledged judges in civil affairs in in ancient and modern times renders virtue of their age, and without any I such an invitation as Lot's a custom

6

3 And he pressed upon them 4 1 But before they lay down, greatly; and they turned in unto the men of the city, even ihe men him, and entered into his house; of Sodom, compassed the house and he made them a feast, and round, both old and young, all the did bake unleavened bread, and people from every quarter: they did eat.

( ch. 18. 8.

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ary civility under similar circumstan- enjoy their company and converse, but ces. But for such a proffer of because he was too well aware of the tainment in private houses, strangers danger to which they would be exoften pass the night in the open squares posed, were they to adhere to their de of cities, which in that warm climate clared purpose of lodging in the street. is attended with little inconvenience. The Heb. term implies an earnestness

-4 Nay, but we will abide in the of importunity almost amounting to street all night. They at first refuse, violence, and is in fact the very same as if it were accounied as great a mark word that occurs v. 9, 'And they pressof civility on the part of strangers not ed sore upon the man,' which cannot to seem forward in accepting, as it was perhaps be better rendered. Its Gr. on his to be forward in inviting. The representative is kateßlagaro, a synonreply is to be construed, not as a delib-yme with which is employed in a simerate violation of truth, but as the lan- ilar connection, Luke, 24. 29, ‘But guage of common etiquette on such they constrained (Trapeßiaoavto) him occasions, and as expressing their pres- saying, Abide with us; for it is toward ent purpose, unless they should be fur- evening, and the day is far spent. And ther importuned by Lot; in that case, he went in to tarry with them.'their words would not be understood to He made them a feast. Heb. 17522 preclude the liberty of complying. Our a drinking, a banquet. Gr. protov id. Saviour's language, Luke, 24. 28, 29, rendered in Est. 5. 6.-7. 7, a 'banquet affords a striking parallel to their re- of wine.' Comp. Est. 7. 1, 2.-3. 15; fusal. The answer of the angels, more- so called from that which constituted over, was better calculated to put to the principal part of the entertainment. the test and make manifest the sincer- This was customary in those days, and ity and kindness of Lot's disposition. on similar occasions, and is not to be By acting as if they deemed it safe to judged of by those rules of abstinence lodge in the streets, while they knew from every exciting beverage which the contrary to be true, they gave a pious and benevolent men in modern fair opportunity to Lot to show how times have felt constrained to adopt unseigned was his concern for their se- under a state of society altogether difcurity, while at the same time the inti- ferent, and in view of evils which have mations from him of the danger to be made a course of rigid abstinence abapprehended would go to disclose the solutely imperative on their conscienaggravated wickedness of the place, ces. Did bake unleavened bread. and justify the judgment about to be in- Because this could be more expeditious

ly prepared than any thing else of the 3. He pressed upon them greatly. kind.

. was 4. And before they lay down, &c. exceedingly urgent upon them. Not While the little party were thus inmerely from an impulse of generosity, nocently refreshing and enjoying themthat he might refresh them with the selves under the hospitable roof of cheer of his house, or from a wish to Lot, the characteristic baseness of the

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