by A.W. Pink

1. Creation and Restoration.
2. Christ in

Genesis 1.
3. Two Trees.
4. The Fall.
5. The Fall, continued.
6. The Fall, concluded.
7. Cain and Abel.
8. Cain and Abel, continued.
9. Enoch.
10. Noah.
11. The Flood.
12. Noah a Type of Christ.
13. The Typology of the Ark.
14. God’s Covenant with Noah.
15. Noah’s Fall and Noah’s Prophecy
16. Nimrod and the Tower of Babel
17. The Call of Abraham.
18. Abraham and Lot.
19. Abraham and Melchizedek.
20. Abraham’s Vision.
21. Abraham and Hagar.
22. Abraham at Ninety and Nine.
23. Abraham at Gerar.
24. Abraham “the Father of us all”..
25. The Birth of Isaac.
26. The Offering Up of Isaac.
27. The Man Isaac..3
28. Isaac Blessing His Sons.
29. The Man Jacob.
30. Jacob at Padan-Aram.
31. Jacob at Padan-Aram, continued.
32. Jacob’s Departure from Haran.
33. Jacob at Mahanaim..
34. Jacob at Peniel.
35. Jacob Meeting Esau.
36. Jacob at Bethel Again.
37. The Sunset of Jacob’s Life.
38. Jacob’s Prophecy.
39. Jacob’s Prophecy, continued.
40. Joseph As a Youth.
41. Joseph Betrayed by His Brethren.
42. Joseph in Egypt.
43. Joseph’s Exaltation.
44. Joseph the Savior of the World.
45. Joseph and His Brethren, Dispensationally Considered.
46. Joseph and His Brethren, Evangelically Considered..4
Appropriately has Genesis been termed “the seed plot of the Bible,” for in
it we have, in germ form, almost all of the great doctrines which are
afterwards fully developed in the books of Scripture which follow.
In Genesis God is revealed as the Creator-God, as the Covenant-God, as
the Almighty-God, as well as “the Most High, Possessor of heaven and
In Genesis we have the first hint of the Blessed Trinity, of a plurality of
Persons in the Godhead — “Let us make man in our image” (

In Genesis man is exhibited. First as the creature of God’s hands, then as a
fallen and sinful being, and later as one who is brought back to God,
finding grace in His sight (

Genesis 6:8), walking with God (

6:9), made “the friend of God” (

James 2:23).
In Genesis the wiles of Satan are exposed. We “are not ignorant of his
devices,” for here the Holy Spirit has fully uncovered them. The realm in
which the arch-enemy works is not the moral but the spiritual. He calls into
question the Word of God, casts doubt on its integrity, denies its veracity.
In Genesis the truth of sovereign election is first exhibited. God singles out
Abraham from an idolatrous people, and makes him the father of the
chosen Nation. God passes by Ishmael and calls Isaac.
In Genesis the truth of salvation is typically displayed. Our fallen first
parents are clothed by God Himself, clothed with skins: to procure those
skins death had to come in, blood must be shed, the innocent was slain in
the stead of the guilty. Only thus could man’s shame be covered, and only
thus could the sinner be fitted to stand before the thrice holy God.
In Genesis the truth of justification by faith is first made known:
“And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for
righteousness” (

Genesis 15:6).
Abraham believed God: not Abraham obeyed God, or loved God, or
served God; but Abraham believed God. And it was counted unto him for.5
(not instead of, but unto) righteousness. Then, if righteousness was
“counted” unto Abraham, he had none of his own. Believing God,
righteousness was reckoned to Abraham’s account.
In Genesis the believer’s security is strikingly illustrated. The flood of
Divine judgment descends on the earth, and swallows up all its guilty
inhabitants. But Noah, who had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, was
safely preserved in the ark, into which God had shut him.
In Genesis the truth of separation is clearly inculcated. Enoch’s lot was
cast in days wherein evil abounded, but he lived apart from the world,
walking with God. Abraham was called upon to separate himself from
idolatrous Chaldea, and to step out upon the promises of God. Lot is held
up before us as a solemn example of the direful consequences of being
unequally yoked with unbelievers, and of having fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness.
In Genesis God’s disciplinary chastisements upon an erring believer are
portrayed. Jacob is the standing example of what happens to a child of God
who walks after the flesh, instead of after the spirit. But in the end we are
shown how Divine grace triumphs over human frailty.
In Genesis we are shown the importance and value of prayer. Abraham
prayed unto God and Abimelech’s life was spared (

Genesis 20:17).
Abraham’s servant cries to the Lord that God would prosper his efforts to
secure a wife for Isaac, and God answered his petition (

chap. 24).
Jacob, too, prays, and God hearkened.
In Genesis the saint’s rapture to heaven is vividly portrayed. Enoch, the
man who walked with God, “was not,” for God had translated him. He did
not pass through the portals of death. He was suddenly removed from
these scenes of sin and suffering and transported into the realm of glory
without seeing death.
In Genesis the divine incarnation is first declared. The Coming One was to
be supernaturally begotten. He was to enter this world as none other ever
did. He was to be the Son of Man, and yet have no human father. The One
who should bruise the serpent’s head was to be the woman’s “Seed.”
In Genesis the death and resurrection of the Savior are strikingly
foreshadowed. The ark, in which were preserved Noah and his family,
were brought safely through the deluge of death on to the new earth. Isaac,.6
the beloved son of Abraham, at the bidding of his father, is laid,
unresistingly, on the altar, and from it Abraham “received him back as in a
figure from the dead.”
In Genesis we also learn of the Savior’s coming exaltation. This is
strikingly typified in the history of Joseph — the most complete of all the
personal types of Christ — who, after a period of humiliation and suffering
was exalted to be the governor over all Egypt. Jacob, too, on his deathbed,
also declares of Shiloh that “unto him shall the gathering of the peoples be”

Genesis 49:10).
In Genesis the priesthood of Christ is anticipated. The Lord Jesus is a
Priest not of the Aaronic system, but “after the order of Melchzedek.” And
it is in Genesis that this mysterious character, who received tithes from and
blessed Abraham, is brought before our view.
In Genesis the coming Antichrist is announced, announced as “the seed of
the serpent” (

Genesis 3:15). He is seen, too, foreshadowed in the
person and history of Nimrod, the rebel against the Lord, the man who
headed the first great federation in open opposition to the Most High.
In Genesis we first read of God giving Palestine to Abraham and to his
“And the Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, Unto thy seed
will I give this land” (

Genesis 12:7).
And again,
“For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy
seed forever” (

Genesis 13:15).
In Genesis the wondrous future of Israel is made known.
“And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man
can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be
numbered” (

Genesis 13:16).
“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”

Genesis 22:18).
In Genesis the judgment of God on the wicked is solemnly exhibited. Cain
confesses his punishment is greater than he can bear. The flood comes on
the world of the ungodly and sweeps them all away. Fire and brimstone.7
descend on Sodom and Gomorrah, till naught but their ashes remain. Lot’s
wife, for one act of disobedience, is turned into a pillar of salt.
What a marvelous proof is all this of the Divine Authorship! Who but the
One who knows the end from the beginning, could have embodied, in germ
form, what is afterwards expanded and amplified in the rest of the Bible?
What unequivocal demonstration that there was One superintending mind,
directing the pens of all who wrote the later books of Holy Scripture! May
the blessing of God rest upon us as we seek to enjoy some of the
inexhaustible riches of this book of beginnings.
Arthur W. Pink.
Swengel, Pa..8

The manner in which the Holy Scriptures open is worthy of their Divine
Author. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and that
is all that is here recorded concerning the original creation. Nothing is said
which enables us to fix the date of their creation; nothing is revealed
concerning their appearance or inhabitants; nothing is told us about the
modus operandi of their Divine Architect. We do not know whether the
primitive heaven and earth were created a few thousands, or many millions
of years ago. We are not informed as to whether they were called into
existence in a moment of time, or whether the process of their formation
covered an interval of long ages. The bare fact is stated: “In the beginning
God created,” and nothing is added to gratify the curious. The opening
sentence of Holy Writ is not to be philosophized about, but is presented as
a statement of truth to be received with unquestioning faith.
“In the beginning God created.” No argument is entered into to prove the
existence of God: instead, His existence is affirmed as a fact to be believed.
And yet, sufficient is expressed in this one brief sentence to expose every
fallacy which man has invented concerning the Deity. This opening
sentence of the Bible repudiates atheism, for it postulates the existence of
God. It refutes materialism, for it distinguishes between God and His
material creation. It abolishes pantheism, for it predicates that which
necessitates a personal God. “In the beginning God created,” tells us that
He was Himself before the beginning, and hence, Eternal. “In the beginning
God created,” and that informs us he is a personal being, for an
abstraction, an impersonal “first cause,” could not create. “In the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth,” and that argues He is infinite and
omnipotent, for no finite being possesses the power to “create,” and none
but an Omnipotent Being could create “the heaven and the earth.”
“In the beginning God.” This is the foundation truth of all real theology.
God is the great Originator and Initiator. It is the ignoring of this which is
the basic error in all human schemes. False systems of theology and
philosophy begin with man, and seek to work up to God. But this is a
turning of things upside down. We must, in all our thinking, begin with.9
God, and work down to man. Again, this is true of the Divine inspiration
of the Scriptures. The Bible is couched in human language, it is addressed
to human ears, it was written by human hands, but, in the beginning God
“holy men of God spake, moved by the Holy Spirit” (

2 Peter 1:21).
This is also true of salvation. In Eden, Adam sinned, and brought in death;
but his Maker was not taken by surprise: in the beginning God had
provided for just such an emergency, for, “the Lamb” was “foreordained
before the foundation of the world” (

1 Peter 1:20). This is also true of
the new creation. The soul that is saved, repents, believes, and serves the
Lord; but, in the beginning, God chose us in Christ (

Ephesians 1:4), and
now, “we love Him, because He first loved us.”
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and we cannot
but believe that these creations were worthy of Himself, that they reflected
the perfections of their Maker, that they were exceedingly fair in their
pristine beauty. Certainly, the earth, on the morning of its creation, must
have been vastly different from its chaotic state as described in

1:2. “And the earth was without form and void” must refer to a condition
of the earth much later than what is before us in the preceding verse. It is
now over a hundred years ago since Dr. Chalmers called attention to the
fact that the word “was” in

Genesis 1:2 should be translated “became,”
and that between the first two verses of

Genesis 1 some terrible
catastrophe must have intervened. That this catastrophe may have been
connected with the apostasy of Satan, seems more than likely; that some
catastrophe did occur is certain from

Isaiah 45:18, which expressly
declares that the earth was not created in the condition in which

Genesis 1:2 views it.
What is found in the remainder of

Genesis 1 refers not to the primitive
creation but to the restoration of that which had fallen into ruins.

Genesis 1:1 speaks of the original creation;

Genesis 1:2 describes
the then condition of the earth six days before Adam was called into
existence. To what remote point in time

Genesis 1:1 conducts us, or as
to how long an interval passed before the earth “became” a ruin, we have
no means of knowing; but if the surmises of geologists could be
conclusively established there would be no conflict at all between the
findings of science and the teaching of Scripture. The unknown interval
between the first two verses of

Genesis 1, is wide enough to embrace all
the prehistoric ages which may have elapsed; but all that took place from

Genesis 1:3 onwards transpired less than six thousand years ago..10
“In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in
them is” (

Exodus 20:11).
There is a wide difference between “creating” and “making”: to “create”
is to call into existence something out of nothing; to “make” is to form or
fashion something out of materials already existing. A carpenter can
“make” a chair out of wood, but he is quite unable to “create” the wood
itself. “In the beginning (whenever that was) God created the heaven and
the earth”; subsequently (after the primitive creation had become a ruin)
“the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.” This
Exodus scripture settles the controversy which has been raised as to what
kind of “days” are meant in

Genesis 1, whether days of 24 hours, or
protracted periods of time. In “six days,” that is, literal days of twenty-four
hours duration, the Lord completed the work of restoring and re-fashioning
that which some terrible catastrophe had blasted and plunged
into chaos.
What follows in the remainder of

Genesis 1 is to be regarded not as a
poem, still less as an allegory, but as a literal, historical statement of
Divine revelation. We have little patience with those who labor to show
that the teaching of this chapter is in harmony with modern science — as
well ask whether the celestial chronometer is in keeping with the timepiece
at Greenwich. Rather must it be the part of scientists to bring their
declarations into accord with the teaching of

Genesis 1, if they are to
receive the respect of the children of God. The faith of the Christian rests
not in the wisdom of man, nor does it stand in any need of buttressing from
scientific savants. The faith of the Christian rests upon the impregnable
rock of Holy Scripture, and we need nothing more. Too often have
Christian apologists deserted their proper ground. For instance: one of the
ancient tablets of Assyria is deciphered, and then it is triumphantly
announced that some statements found in the historical portions of the Old
Testament have been confirmed. But that is only a turning of things upside
down again. The Word of God needs no “confirming.” If the writing upon
an Assyrian tablet agrees with what is recorded in Scripture, that confirms
the historical accuracy of the Assyrian tablet; if it disagrees, that is proof
positive that the Assyrian writer was at fault. In like manner, if the
teachings of science square with Scripture, that goes to show the former
are correct; if they conflict, that proves the postulates of science are false.
The man of the world, and the pseudo-scientist may sneer at our logic, but
that only demonstrates the truth of God’s Word, which declares,.11
“but the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned” (

1 Corinthians 2:14).
Marvelously concise is what is found in

Genesis 1. A single verse
suffices to speak of the original creation of the heaven and the earth.
Another verse is all that is needed to ac-scribe the awful chaos into which
the ruined earth was plunged. And less than thirty verses more tell of the
six days’ work, during which the Lord “made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that in them is.” Not all the combined skill of the greatest literary
genuii, historians, poets, or philosophers this world has ever produced,
could design a composition which began to equal

Genesis 1. For
reconditeness of theme, and yet simplicity of language; for
comprehensiveness of scope, and yet terseness of expression; for scientific
exactitude, and yet the avoidance of all technical terms; it is unrivalled, and
nothing can be found in the whole realm of literature which can be
compared with it for a moment. It stands in a class all by itself. If “brevity
is the soul of wit” (i. e. wisdom) then the brevity of what is recorded in this
opening chapter of the Bible evidences the divine wisdom of Him who
inspired it. Contrast the labored formulae of the scientists, contrast the
verbose writings of the poets, contrast the meaningless cosmogonies of the
ancients and the foolish mythologies of the heathen, and the uniqueness of
this Divine account of Creation and Restoration will at once appear. Every
line of this opening chapter of Holy Writ has stamped across it the
autograph of Deity.
Concerning the details of the six days’ work we cannot now say very
much. The orderly manner in which God proceeded, the ease with which
He accomplished His work, the excellency of that which was produced,
and the sire-plicity of the narrative, at once impress the reader. Out of the
chaos was brought the “cosmos,” which signifies order, arrangement,
beauty; out of the waters emerged the earth; a scene of desolation,
darkness and death, was transformed into one of light, life, and fertility, so
that at the end all was pronounced “very good.” Observe that here is to be
found the first Divine Decalogue: ten times we read, “and God said, let
there be,” etc. (

vv. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 14, 20, 24, 26, 30), which may be
termed the Ten Commandments of Creation.
In the Hebrew there are just seven words in the opening verse of

Genesis 1, and these are composed of twenty-eight letters, which is 7.12
multiplied by 4. Seven is the number of perfection, and four of creation,
hence, we learn that the primary creation was perfect as it left its Maker’s
hands. it is equally significant that there were seven distinct stages in God’s
work of restoring the earth:
First, there was the activity of the Holy Spirit (

Genesis 1:2);
Second, the calling of light into existence (

Genesis 1:3);
Third, the making of the firmament (

Genesis 1:6-9);
Fourth, the clothing of the earth with vegetation (

Genesis 1:11);
Fifth, the making and arranging of the heavenly bodies (

Genesis 1:14-
Sixth, the storing of the waters (

Genesis 1:20-21);
Seventh, the stocking of the earth (

Genesis 1:24).
The perfection of God’s handiwork is further made to appear in the seven
times the word “good” occurs here — vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31 — also
the word “made” is found seven times in this section —

Genesis 1:7,
16, 25, 26, 31; 2:2, 3. Seven times “heaven” is mentioned in this chapter —
vv. 1, 8, 9, 14, 15, 17, 20. And, it may be added, that “God” Himself is
referred to in this opening section (

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4) thirty-five times,
which is 7 multiplied by 5. Thus the seal of perfection is stamped upon
everything God here did and made.
Turning from the literal meaning of what is before us in this opening
chapter of Holy Writ, we would dwell now upon that which has often been
pointed out by others, namely, the typical significance of these verses. The
order followed by God in re-constructing the old creation is the same
which obtains in connection with the new creation, and in a remarkable
manner the one is here made to foreshadow the other. The early history of
this earth corresponds with the spiritual history of the believer in Christ.
What occurred in connection with the world of old, finds its counterpart in
the regenerated man. It is this line of truth which will now engage our
1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” As we have
already observed, the original condition of this primary creation was vastly
different from the state in which we view it in the next verse. Coming fresh.13
from the hands of their Creator, the heaven and the earth must have
presented a scene of unequalled freshness and beauty. No groans of
suffering were heard to mar the harmony of the song of “the morning
stars” as they sang together (

Job 38:7). No worm of corruption was
there to defile the perfections of the Creator’s handiwork. No iniquitous
rebel was there to challenge the supremacy of God. And no death shades
were there to spread the spirit of gloom. God reigned supreme, without a
rival, and everything was very good.
So, too, in the beginning of this world’s history, God also created man, and
vastly different was his original state from that into which he subsequently
fell. Made in the image and likeness of God, provided with a helpmate,
placed in a small garden of delights, given dominion over all the lower
orders of creation, “blessed” by His Maker, bidden to be fruitful and
multiply and replenish the earth, and included in that which God
pronounced “very good,” Adam had all that heart could desire. Behind him
was no sinful heredity, within him was no deceitful and wicked heart, upon
him were no marks of corruption, and around him were no signs of death.
Together with his helpmate, in fellowship with his Maker, there was
everything to make him happy and contented.
2. “And the earth became without form and void; and darkness was upon
the face of the deep.” Some fearful catastrophe must have occurred. Sin
had dared to raise its horrid head against God, and with sin came death and
all its attendant evils. The fair handiwork of the Creator was blasted. That
which at first was so fair was now marred, and what was very good
became very evil. The light was quenched, and the earth was submerged
beneath the waters of judgment. That which was perfect in the beginning
became a ruin, and darkness abode upon the face of the deep. Profoundly
mysterious is this, and unspeakably tragic. A greater contrast than what is
presented in the first two verses of

Genesis 1 can hardly be conceived.
Yet there it is: the primitive earth, created by God “in the beginning,” had
become a ruin.
No less tragic was that which befell the first man. Like the original earth
before him, Adam remained not in his primitive state. A dreadful
catastrophe occurred. Description of this is given in

Genesis 3. By one
man sin entered the world, and death by sin. The spirit of insubordination
possessed him; he rebelled against his Maker; he ate of the forbidden fruit;
and terrible were the consequences which followed. The fair handiwork of.14
the Creator was blasted. Where before there was blessing, there now
descended the curse. Into a scene of life and joy, entered death and sorrow.
That which at the first was “very good,” became very evil. Just as the
primitive earth before him, so man became a wreck and a ruin. He was
submerged in evil and enveloped in darkness. Unspeakably tragic was this,
but the truth of it is verified in the heart of every descendant of Adam.
“There was, then, a primary creation, afterward a fall; first, ‘heaven and
earth,’ in due order, then earth without a heaven — in darkness, and buried
under a ‘deep’ of salt and barren and restless waters. What a picture of
man’s condition, as fallen away from God! How complete the confusion!
How profound the darkness! How deep the restless waves of passion roll
over the wreck of what was once so fair! ‘The wicked are like the troubled
sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt’“ (F. W.
Here, then, is the key to human destiny. Here is the cause of all the
suffering and sorrow which is in the world. Here is the explanation of
human depravity. Man is not now as God created him. God made man
“upright” (

Ecclesiastes 7:9), but he continued not thus. God faithfully
warned man that if he ate of the forbidden fruit he should surely die. And
die he did, spiritually. Man is, henceforth, a fallen creature. He is born into
this world “alienated from the life of God” (

Ephesians 4:18). He was
born into this world with a heart that is “deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked” (

Jeremiah 17:9). This is the heritage of The Fall.
This is the entail of Adam’s transgression. Man is a ruined creature, and
“darkness,” moral and spiritual, rents upon the face of his understanding.

Ephesians 4:18).
3. “And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Here is
where hope begins to dawn. God did not abandon the primitive earth,
which had become a ruin. It would not have been surprising, though, if He
had. Why should God trouble any further about that which lay under His
righteous judgment? Why should He condescend to notice that which was
now a desolate waste? Why, indeed. But here was where sovereign mercy
intervened. He had gracious designs toward that formless void. He
purposed to resurrect it, restore it, refructify it. And the first thing we read
of in bringing about this desired end was, “the Spirit of God moved upon
the face of the waters.” There was Divine activity. There was a movement
on the part of the Holy Spirit. And this was a prime necessity. How could.15
the earth resurrect itself? How could that which lay under the righteous
judgment of God bring itself into the place of blessing? How could
darkness transform itself into life? In the very nature of the case it could
not. The ruined creation was helpless. If there was to be restoration, and a
new creation, Divine power must intervene, the Spirit of God must
The analogy holds good in the spiritual realm. Fallen man had no more
claim upon God’s notice than had the desolated primitive earth. When
Adam rebelled against his Maker, he merited naught but unsparing
judgment at His hands, and if God was inclined to have any further regard
for him, it was due alone to sovereign mercy. What wonder if God had left
man to the doom he so richly deserved! But no. God had designs of grace
toward him. From the wreck and ruin of fallen humanity, God purposed to
bring forth a “new creation.” Out of the death of sin, God is now bringing
on to resurrection ground all who are united to Christ His Son. And the
first thing in bringing this about is the activity of the Holy Spirit. And this,
again, is a prime necessity. Fallen man, in himself, is as helpless as was the
fallen earth. The sinner can no more regenerate himself than could the
ruined earth lift itself out of the deep which rested upon it. The new
creation, like the restoration of the material creation, must be accomplished
by God Himself.
4. “And God said, let there be light, and there was light.” First the activity
of the Holy Spirit and now the spoken Word. No less than ten times in this
chapter do we read “and God said.” God might have refashioned and
refurnished the earth without speaking at all, but He did not. Instead, He
plainly intimated from the beginning, that His purpose was to be worked
out and His counsels accomplished by the Word. The first thing God said
was, “Let there be light,” and we read, “There was light.” Light, then,
came in, was produced by, the Word. And then we are told, “God saw the
light, that it was good.”
It is so in the work of the new creation. These two are inseparably joined
together — the activity of the Spirit and the ministry of the Word of God.
It is by these the man in Christ became a new creation. And the initial step
toward this was the entrance of light into the darkness. The entrance of sin
has blinded the eyes of man’s heart and has darkened his understanding. So
much so that, left to himself, man is unable to perceive the awfulness of his
condition, the condemnation which rests upon him, or the peril in which he.16
stands. Unable to see his urgent need of a Savior, he is, spiritually, in total
darkness. And neither the affections of his heart, the reasonings of his
mind, nor the power of his will, can dissipate this awful darkness. Light
comes to the sinner through the Word applied by the Spirit. As it is
written, “the entrance of Thy words giveth light” (

Psalm 119:130).
This marks the initial step of God’s work in the soul. Just as the shining of
the light in Genesis I made manifest the desolation upon which it shone, so
the entrance of God’s Word into the human heart reveals the awful ruin
which sin has wrought.
5. “And God divided the light from the darkness.”

Hebrews 4:12 tells
us, the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged
sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and
of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart.” This is not a figurative expression but, we believe, a statement
of literal fact. Man is a tripartite being, made up of “spirit and soul and
body” (

1 Thessalonians 5:23). The late Dr. Pierson distinguished
between them thus: “The spirit is capable of God-consciousness; the soul is
the seat of self-consciousness; the body of sense-consciousness.’’ In the
day that Adam sinned, he died spiritually. Physical death is the separation
of the spirit from the body; spiritual death is the separation of the spirit
from God. When Adam died, his spirit was not annihilated, but it was
“alienated” from God. There was a fall. The spirit, the highest part of
Adam’s complex being, no longer dominated; instead, it was degraded, it
fell to the level of the soul, and ceased to function separately. Hence,
today, the unregenerate man is dominated by his soul, which is the seat of
lust, passion, emotion. But in the work of regeneration, the Word of God
“pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,” and the spirit is
rescued from the lower level to which it has fallen, being brought back
again into communion with God. The “spirit” being that part of man which
is capable of communion with God, is light; the “soul” when it is not
dominated and regulated by the spirit is in darkness, hence, in that part of
the six days’ work of restoration which adumbrated the dividing asunder of
soul and spirit, we read, “And God divided the light from the darkness.”
6. “And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and
let it divide the waters from the waters …. and God called the firmament
heaven” (

Genesis 1:6, 8). This brings us to the second days work, and
here, for the first time, we read that “God made” something (

1:7). This was the formation of the atmospheric heaven, the “firmament,”.17
named by God “heaven.” That which corresponds to this in the new
creation, is the impartation of a new nature. The one who is “born of the
Spirit” becomes a “partaker of the Divine nature” (

2 Peter 1:4).
Regeneration is not the improvement of the flesh, or the cultivation of the
old nature; it is the reception of an altogether new and heavenly nature. It
is important to note that the “firmament” was produced by the Word, for,
again we read, “And God said.” So it is by the written Word of God that
the new birth is produced,
“Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth”

James 1:18).
And again,
“being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by
the Word of God” (

1 Peter 1:23).
7. “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together
unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God said.
Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree
yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself” (

Genesis 1:9-11).
These verses bring before us God’s work on the third day, and in harmony
with the meaning of this numeral we find that which clearly speaks of
resurrection. The earth was raised out of the waters which had submerged
it, and then it was clothed with vegetation. Where before there was only
desolation and death, life and fertility now appeared. So it is in
regeneration. The one who was dead in trespasses and sins, has been raised
to walk in newness of life. The one who was by the old creation “in
Adam,” is now by new creation “in Christ.” The one who before produced
nothing but dead works, is now fitted to bring forth fruit to the glory of
And here we must conclude. Much has been left untouched, but sufficient
has been said, we trust, to show that the order followed by God in the six
days’ work of restoration, foreshadowed His work of grace in the new
creation: that which He did of old in the material world, typified His
present work in the spiritual realm. Every stage was accomplished by the
putting forth of Divine power, and everything was produced by the
operation of His Word. May writer and reader be more and more subject
to that Word, and then shall we be pleasing to Him and fruitful in His
In our first meditation upon this wonderful book of beginnings we pointed
out some of the striking analogies which exist between the order followed
by God in His work of creation and His method of procedure in the “new
creation,’’ the spiritual creation in the believer. First, there was darkness,
then the action of the Holy Spirit, then the word of power going forth, and
then light as the result, and later resurrection and fruit. There is also a
striking fore-shadowment of God’s great dispensational dealings with our
race, in this record of His work in the six days, but as this has already
received attention from more capable pens than ours, we pass on to still
another application of this scripture. There is much concerning Christ in
this first chapter of Genesis if only we have eyes to see, and it is the typical
application of

Genesis 1 to Christ and His work we would here direct
Christ is the key which unlocks the golden doors into the temple of Divine
truth. “Search the Scriptures,” is His command, “for they are they which
testify of Me.” And again, He declares, “In the volume of the Book it is
written of Me.” In every section of the written Word the Personal Word is
enshrined — in Genesis as much as in Matthew. And we would now
submit that on the frontispiece of Divine Revelation we have a typical
programme of the entire Work of Redemption.
In the opening statements of this chapter we discover, in type, the great
need of Redemption. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth.” This carries us back to the primal creation which, like everything
else that comes from the hand of God, must have been perfect, beautiful,
glorious. Such also was the original condition of man. Made in the image
of his Creator, endowed with the breath of Elohim, he was pronounced
“very good.”
But the next words present a very different picture — “And the earth was
without form and void,” or, as the original Hebrew might be more literally
translated, “The earth became a ruin.” Between the first two verses in

Genesis 1 a terrible calamity occurred. Sin entered the universe. The
heart of the mightiest of all God’s creatures was filled with pride — Satan
had dared to oppose the will of the Almighty. The dire effects of his fall
reached to our earth, and what was originally created by God fair and.19
beautiful, became a ruin. Again we see in this a striking analogy to the
history of man. He too fell. He also became a ruin. The effects of his sin
likewise reached beyond himself — the generations of an unborn humanity
being curst as the result of the sin of our first parents.
“And darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Darkness is the opposite of
light. God is light. Darkness is the emblem of Satan. Well do these words
describe the natural condition of our fallen race. Judicially separated from
God, morally and spiritually blind, experimentally the slaves of Satan, an
awful pall of darkness rests upon the entire mass of an unregenerate
humanity. But this only furnishes a black background upon which can be
displayed the glories of Divine Grace. “Where sin abounded grace did
much more abound.” The method of this “abounding of grace” is, in type,
outlined in God’s work during the six days. In the work of the first four
days we have a most remarkable foreshadowment of the four great stages
in the Work of Redemption. We cannot now do much more than call
attention to the outlines of this marvellous primitive picture. But as we
approach it, to gaze upon it in awe and wonderment, may the Spirit of God
take of the things of Christ and show them unto us.
If fallen and sinful men are to be reconciled to the thrice holy God what
must be done? How can the infinite chasm separating Deity from humanity
be bridged? What ladder shall be able to rest here upon earth and yet reach
right into heaven itself? Only one answer is possible to these questions. The
initial step in the work of human redemption must be the Incarnation of
Deity. Of necessity this must be the starting point. The Word must become
flesh. God Himself must come right down to the very pit where a ruined
humanity helplessly lies, if it is ever to be lifted out of the miry clay and
transported to heavenly places. The Son of God must take upon Himself
the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of men.
This is precisely what the first day’s work typifies in its foreshadowment of
the initial step in the Work of Redemption, namely, the Incarnation of the
Divine Redeemer. Notice here five things.
First, there is the work of the Holy Spirit. “And the Spirit of God moved
(Hebrews ‘brooded’) upon the face of the waters” (verse 2). So also was.20
this the order in the Divine Incarnation. Concerning the mother of the
Savior we read,
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall
come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow
thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall
be called the Son of God” (

Luke 1:35).
Second, the word issues forth as light. “And God said (the word) let there
be light and there was light” (verse 3). So also as soon as Mary brings forth
the Holy Child “The glory of the Lord shone round about” the shepherds
on Bethlehem’s plains (

Luke 2:9). And when He is presented in the
temple, Simeon was moved by the Holy Spirit to say, “For mine eyes have
seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people:
a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
Third, the light is approved by God. “And God saw the light, that it was
good” (verse 4). We cannot now enlarge much upon the deep typical
import of this statement, but would remark in passing that the Hebrew
word here translated “good” is also in (

Ecclesiastes 3:11) rendered
“beautiful” — “He hath made everything beautiful in his time.” God saw
that the light was good, beautiful! How obvious is the application to our
incarnate Lord! After His advent into this world we are told that
“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and
man” (

Luke 2:52),
and the first words of the Father concerning Him were, “This is My
beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Yes, good and beautiful was the
light in the sight of the Father. How blind was man that he should see in
Him no beauty that he should desire Him!
Fourth, the light was separated from the darkness. “And God divided the
light from the darkness” (verse 4). How jealously did the Holy Spirit guard
the types! How careful is He to call our attention to the immeasurable
difference between the Son of Man and the sons of men! Though in His
infinite condescension He saw fit to share our humanity, yet He shared not
our depravity. The light of Christ was divided from the darkness (fallen
“For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners” (

Hebrews 7:26)..21
Fifth, the light was named by God. “And God called the light Day” (verse
5). So also was it with Him who is the Light of the world. It was not left to
Joseph and Mary to select the name for the Holy Child. Of old the prophet
had declared,
“Listen, O isles unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; the Lord
hath called Me from the womb; from the bowels of My mother hath
He made mention of My name” (

Isaiah 49:1).
And in fulfillment thereof, while yet in His mother’s womb, an angel is sent
by God to Joseph, saying, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt
call His name Jesus.”
What was the next thing necessary in the accomplishment of the Work of
Redemption? The Incarnation by itself would not meet our need.
s“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth
alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (

John 12:24).
The Incarnate Christ reveals the spotless and perfect life which alone meets
the Divine mind, but it helps not to bridge the awful gulf between a holy
God and a ruined sinner. For this, sin must put away, and that cannot be
done except death comes in. “For without shedding of blood is no
remission.” The Lamb of God must be slain. The Holy One must lay down
His life. The Cross is the only place where the righteous claims of God’s
throne can be met.
And in the second day’s work this second step in the accomplishment of
human redemption is typically set forth. The prominent thing in this second
day’s work is division, separation, isolation.
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,
and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the
firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament
from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so”
(verses 6-7).
It is striking to note here that there is a twofold division. First there is a
firmament in the midst of the waters and this firmament divides the waters.22
from the waters, and secondly, the firmament divided the waters which
were under it from those which were above it. We believe that the
“firmament” here typifies the Cross, and sets forth its twofold aspect. There
our blessed Lord was divided or separated from God Himself — “My
God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”; and there also He was
separated from man “Cut off out of the land of the living.”
That the “firmament” here does foreshadow the Cross seems to be clearly
borne out by the marvellous analogy between what is here told us
concerning it and its typical agreement with the Cross of Christ. Observe
four things.
First, the firmament was purposed by God before it was actually made. In
verse 6 it reads, “And God said let there be a firmament,” and in verse 7,
“And God made the firmament.” How perfect is the agreement between
type and antitype! Long, long before the Cross was erected on Golgotha’s
heights, it was purposed by God. Christ was
“The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”

Revelation 13:8).
Second, the firmament was set in the midst of the waters. It is well known
to Bible students that in Scripture “waters” symbolize peoples, nations (cf.

Revelation 17:15). In its typical application then, these words would
seem to signify, “Let there be a Cross in the midst of the peoples.”
Manifold are the applications suggested by these words. Accurate beyond
degree is the type. Our minds immediately turn to the words, “They
crucified Him, and two others with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in
the midst” (

John 19:18). The geographical situation of Calvary is
likewise a fulfillment: Palestine being practically the center or midst of the
Third, the firmament divided the waters. So the Cross has divided the
“peoples.” The Cross of Christ is the great divider of mankind. So it was
historically, for it divided the believing thief from the impotent thief. So it
has been ever since, and so it is today. On the one hand, “The preaching of
the Cross is to them that perish, foolishness,” but on the other, “unto us
which are saved, it is the power of God” (

1 Corinthians 1:18).
Fourth, the firmament was designed by God. “And God made the
firmament.” So was it announced on the Day of Pentecost concerning the
Lord Jesus Christ. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and.23
foreknowledge of God” (

Acts 2:23). So was it declared of old, “It
pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief.” The Cross was
of Divine design and appointment.
Is it not also deeply significant that the words, “And God saw that it was
good” are omitted at the close of this second day’s work? Had they been
included here the type would have been marred. The second day’s work
pointed forward to the Cross, and at the Cross God was dealing with sin.
There His wrath was being expended on the Just One who was dying for
the unjust. Though He was without any sin, yet was He “made sin for us”
and dealt with accordingly. Does not then the omission here of the usual
expression “God saw that it was good” assume a deeper significance than
has been hitherto allowed.
Our article has already exceeded the limits we originally designed, so
perforce, we must abbreviate.
The third thing necessary in the accomplishment of the Work of
Redemption was the Resurrection of the Crucified One. A dead Savior
could not save anyone. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by Him”; Why? “Seeing He ever liveth”

Hebrews 7:25).
Thus it is in our type. Beyond doubt, that which is foreshadowed on the
third day’s work is resurrection. It is in the record concerning this third
day that we read “Let the dry land appear” (verse 9). Previously the earth
had been submerged, buried beneath the waters. But now the land is raised
above the level of the seas; there is resurrection, the earth appears. But this
is not all. In verse 11 we read, “And let the earth bring forth grass, etc.”
Hitherto death had reigned supreme. No life appeared upon the surface of
the ruined earth. But on the third day the earth is commanded to “bring
forth.” Not on the second, not on the fourth, but on the third day was life
seen upon the barren earth! Perfect is the type for all who have eyes to see.
Wonderfully pregnant are the words, “Let the earth bring forth” to all who
have ears to hear. It was on the third day that our Lord rose again from the
dead “according to the Scriptures.” According to what Scriptures? Do we
not have in these 9th and 11th verses of

Genesis 1 the first of these
scriptures, as well as the primitive picture of our Lord’s Resurrection!.24
The Resurrection did not complete our Lord’s redemption work. In order
for that He must enter the Heavenly Place not made with hands. He must
take His seat on the right hand of the Majesty on high. He must go
“into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us”

Hebrews 9:24).
Once more we find the type corresponds with the Anti-type. In the fourth
day’s work our eyes are removed from the earth and all its affairs and are
turned to the heavens! (See verses 14-19). As we read these verses and
gather something of their typical import, do we not hear the Holy Spirit
“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the
right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on
things on the earth” (

Colossians 3:1, 2).
And as we lift our eyes heavenwards what do we see? “Two great lights”
— typically, Christ and His people. The sun which speaks to us of “the Sun
of Righteousness” (

Malachi 4:2), and the moon which tells of Israel and
the Church (

Revelation 12:1), borrowing its light from, and reflecting
the light of, the sun. And observe their functions. First, they are “to give
light upon the earth (verse 17), and secondly, they are “to rule over the day
and over the night” (verse 18). So it is with Christ and His people. During
the present interval of darkness, the world’s night, Christ and His people
are “the light of the world,” but during the Millennium they shall rule and
reign over the earth.
Thus in the first four days’ work in

Genesis 1, we have foreshadowed
the four great stages or crises in the accomplishment of the Work of
Redemption. The Incarnation, the Death, the Resurrection, and the
Ascension of our blessed Lord are respectively typified. In the light of this
how precious are those words at the close of the six days’ work:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of
them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had
made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which
He had made” (

Genesis 2:1, 2)..25
The work of Redemption is completed, and in that work God finds His
As we continue our meditations on the book of Genesis may God in His
condescending grace reveal unto us “wondrous things out of His Law.”.26

It is not our purpose to give a detailed and exhaustive exposition of
Genesis, rather shall we attempt to single out some of the less obvious
treasures from this wonderful mine, in which are stored inexhaustible
supplies of spiritual riches. This first book in the Word of God is full of
typical pictures, prophetic foreshadowings, and dispensational
adumbrations, as well as important practical lessons, and it will be our
delight to call attention to a few of these as we pass from chapter to
In studying the typical teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures we learn
from them sometimes by way of contrast and sometimes by way of
comparison. A striking illustration of this double fact is found in the second
chapter of Genesis. In the ninth verse we read of “The tree of knowledge
of good and evil.” In

Acts 5:30 we read,
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged
on a tree”;
and again in

1 Peter 2:24, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own
body on the tree.” Now the thoughtful reader will naturally inquire, Why
should the Cross of our blessed Lord be spoken of as a “tree”? Surely there
must be some deeper meaning than that which appears on the surface. Was
it not intended by the Holy Spirit that we should refer back to

2:9 and compare and contrast these two trees? We believe so, and a quiet
meditation thereon reveals some remarkable points both of comparison and
contrast between the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree on
which our Lord was crucified. Let us consider some of the points of
contrast first.
1. The first tree was planted by God
“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree
that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also
in the midst of the garden and the Tree of Knowledge of good and
evil” (

Genesis 2:9).27
This tree then was planted not by Adam, but by Adam’s Maker — God.
But the second tree, the tree to which our Lord was nailed, was planted by
man. “And they crucified Him” (

Matthew 27:35) is the brief but terrible
record. It was human hands which devised, provided and erected that cruel
tree on the hill of Calvary.
In marked contrast from the first tree, it was the hands of the creature and
not the Creator which planted the second tree.
2. The first tree was pleasant to the eyes.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make
one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat”

Genesis 3:6).
Exactly in what this “pleasantness” consisted we do not know, but the
Divine record seems to indicate that this tree was an object of beauty and
delight. What a contrast from the second Tree! Here everything was
hideous and repellant. The suffering Savior, the vulgar crowd, the taunting
priests, the two thieves, the flowing blood, the three hours darkness —
nothing was there to please the outward eye. The first tree was “pleasant to
the eyes,” but concerning the One on the second tree it is written, “They
saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him.”
3. God forbade man to eat of the first tree.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not
eat of it” (

Genesis 2:17).
A divine prohibition was placed upon the fruit of this tree. But again, how
different from the second tree! How startling the contrast! There is no
restriction here. In this case man is freely invited to draw near and eat of
the fruit of this tree. The sinner is hidden to “Taste and see that the Lord is
good.” “All things are ready, Come.” The position is exactly reversed. Just
as man was commanded not to eat of the fruit of the first tree, he is now
commanded to eat of the second.
4. Because God forbade man to eat of the first tree, Satan used every
artifice to get man to eat of it. Contrariwise, because God now invites men
to eat of the second tree, Satan uses all his powers to prevent men eating
of it. Is not this another designed contrast marked out for us by the Holy.28
Spirit? Humanly speaking it was solely due to the cunning and malice of
the great enemy of God and man that our first parents ate of the forbidden
fruit, and can we not also say, that it is now primarily due to the subtle
devices of the old serpent the Devil that sinners are kept from eating the
fruit of that second tree?
5. The eating of the first tree brought sin and death
“For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”

Genesis 2:17).
It was through eating of the fruit of this tree that the Curse descended
upon our race with all its attendant miseries. By eating of the second Tree
comes life and salvation.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of
Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my
flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life” (

John 6:53, 54).
Is there not in these words of our Lord a latent reference to the history of
man’s fall, and a designed contrast from the first tree? Just as by the act of
“eating” man lost his spiritual life, so by an act of “eating” man now
obtains spiritual and eternal life!
6. Adam, the thief, through eating of the first tree, was turned out of
Paradise, while the repentant thief, through eating of the second Tree,
entered Paradise. We doubt not that once again there is a designed
antithesis in these two things. A thief is connected with both trees, for in
eating of the forbidden fruit our first parents committed an act of theft. Is it
not then something more than a coincidence that we find a “thief” (yea, two
thieves) connected with the second Tree also? And when we note the
widely different experiences of the two thieves the point is even more
striking. As we have said one was cast out of Paradise (the garden), the
other was admitted into Paradise, and to say the least, it is remarkable that
our Lord should employ the word “Paradise” in this connection — the only
time He ever did use it!
Now, briefly, let us consider some of the points of resemblance:
1. Both trees were planted in a garden. The first in the Garden of Eden,
the second in a garden which is unnamed. “Now in the place where He was
crucified there was a garden’’ (

John 19:41). Are we not told this, for.29
one reason, in order that we should connect the two trees? Is it not a
striking point of analogy, that both the first Adam and the last Adam died
in a “garden”!
2. In connection with both trees we find the words “in the midst.”
“The tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of
knowledge of good and evil” (

Genesis 2:9).
The word “and” connecting the two trees together and intimating their
juxtaposition in the midst of the garden. In like manner we also read
concerning our Savior, “They crucified Him, and two others with Him on
either side one, and Jesus in the midst?”
3. Both are trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Where in all the world, or in all the Scriptures, do we learn the knowledge
of good and evil as we do at the second Tree — the Cross? There we see
Goodness incarnate. There we behold the Holiness of God displayed as
nowhere else. There we discover the unfathomable love and matchless
grace of Deity unveiled as never before or since. But there, too, we also
see Evil see it in all its native hideousness. There we witness the
consummation and climax of the creature’s wickedness. There we behold
as nowhere else the vileness, the heinousness, the awfulness of sin as it
appears in the sight of the thrice holy God. Yes, there is a designed
resemblance as well as a contrast between the two trees. The Cross also is
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
4. Finally, there is another tree beside the one that was planted in Eden, of

Genesis 3:6 is true,
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make
one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.”
Ah! that second Tree is surely “good for food,” too. The Cross of Christ
and all that it stands for, is the very meat and marrow of the believer’s life.
It is “good” as “food” for the soul! And how “pleasant” it is “to the eyes”
of faith! There we see all our sins blotted out. There we see our old man
crucified. There we see the ground upon which a holy God can meet a
guilty sinner. There we see the Finished Work of our adorable Redeemer.
Truly, it is “pleasant to the eyes.” And is not this second Tree also “a tree.30
to be desired to make one wise”? Yes; the preaching of the Cross is not
only the power of God, but “the wisdom of God” as well. The knowledge
of this second Tree makes the sinner “wise” unto salvation.
In closing this little meditation we would call attention to one or two other
scriptures in which a “tree” figures prominently. First, from

3:17 we learn that the “tree” is linked directly with the Curse: “Because
thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree,
of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the
ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat’ of it all the days of thy life.”
In the light of this how significant are the following passages: In

Genesis 40 we have recorded the dreams of the two men who were in
prison with Joseph. When interpreting the baker’s dream, Joseph said,
“Within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and
shalt hang thee on a tree” (

Genesis 40:19).
Again, in

Joshua 8:29 we are told, “And the king of Ai was hanged on a
tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded
that they should take his carcass down from the tree.” Once more, in

Esther 2:23 we read, “And when inquisition was made of the matter, it
was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was
written in the book of the chronicles before the king.” What striking
illustrations are these of what we find in

Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath
redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is
written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”!
“And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he
sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lifted up his eyes
and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: when he saw them, he
ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the
ground, And said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight,
pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I
pray thee, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves
under the tree” (

Genesis 18:1-4).
How suggestive are the last words of this quotation. Why should we be
told that Abraham invited his three visitors to rest “under the tree,” unless
there is some typical meaning to his words? The “tree,” as we have seen,
speaks of the Cross of Christ, and it is there that “rest” is to be found. An
additional point is brought out in the eighth verse of

Genesis 18:.31
“And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed,
and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and
they did eat.”
Eating is the symbol of communion, and it was under the tree these three
men ate: so, it is the Cross of Christ which is the basis and ground of our
fellowship with God. How striking, too, the order here: first, rest under the
“tree,” and then eating, or fellowship!
Finally, how meaningful is

Exodus 15:23-25. When Israel, at the
commencement of their wilderness journey reached Marah, “they could not
drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter.” And Moses “cried unto
the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the
waters, the waters were made sweet.” Comment is almost needless, the
type is so apparent. Here again, the “tree” typifies the Cross of Christ and
the Christ of the Cross. It was our blessed Lord Who, by going down into
the place of death, sweetened the bitter waters for us. Furthermore, it is
only as the believer applies, practically, the principle of the Cross to his
daily life, that the Marahs of our wilderness experiences are transmuted
into “waters that are made sweet.” To enter into “the fellowship of His
sufferings,” and to be “made conformable unto His death,” is the highest
Christian privilege.
How remarkable is the order, the progressive order, of these passages!
First, the “tree” is seen as the place of the curse.
Second, the “tree” is seen as the place where rest is found.
Third, the “tree” is seen as the ground of communion.
Fourth, the “tree” is seen as the principle of action to the daily life of
the believer..32

The third chapter in Genesis is one of the most important in all the Word of
God. What has often been said of Genesis as a whole is peculiarly true of
this chapter: it is the “seed-plot of the Bible.” Here are the foundations
upon which rest many of the cardinal doctrines of our faith. Here we trace
back to their source many of the rivers of divine truth. Here commences
the great drama which is being enacted on the stage of human history, and
which well-nigh six thousand years has not yet completed. Here we find the
Divine explanation of the present fallen and ruined condition of our race.
Here we learn of the subtle devices of our enemy, the Devil. Here we
behold the utter powerlessness of man to walk in the path of righteousness
when divine grace is withheld from him. Here we discover the spiritual
effects of sin — man seeking to flee from God. Here we discern the
attitude of God toward the guilty sinner Here we mark the universal
tendency of human nature to cover its own moral shame by a device of
man’s own handiwork. Here we are taught of the gracious provision which
God has made to meet our great need. Here begins that marvellous stream
of prophecy which runs all through the Holy Scriptures. Here we learn that
man cannot approach God except through a mediator. To some of these
deeply important subjects we shall now give our attention.
The divine record of the Fall of man is an unequivocal refutation of the
Darwinian hypothesis of evolution. Instead of teaching that man began at
the bottom of the moral ladder and is now slowly but surely climbing
heavenwards, it declares that man began at the top and fell to the bottom.
Moreover, it emphatically repudiates the modern theory about Heredity
and Environment. During the last fifty years socialistic philosophers have
taught that all the ills to which man is heir are solely attributable to heredity
and environment. This conception is an attempt to deny that man is a fallen
creature and at heart desperately wicked.
We are told that if legislators will only make possible a perfect
environment, man will then be able to realize his ideals and heredity will be.33
purified. But man has already been tested under the most favorable
conditions and was found wanting. With no evil heredity behind them, our
first parents were placed in the fairest imaginable environment, an
environment which God Himself pronounced “very good.” Only a single
restriction was placed upon their liberty, but they failed and fell. The
trouble with man is not external but internal. What he needs most is not a
new berth, but a new birth.
A single restriction was placed upon man’s liberty, and this from the
necessity and nature of the case. Man is a responsible being, responsible to
serve, obey and glorify his Maker. Man is not an independent creature, for
he did not make himself. Having been created by God he owes a debt to his
Creator. We repeat, man is a responsible creature, and as such, subject to
the Divine government. This is the great fact which God would impress
upon us from the commencement of human history.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not
eat of it” (

Genesis 2:17).
There was no other reason why the fruit of this tree should not be eaten
save the plain command of God. And, as we have sought to show, this
command was not given arbitrarily in the real meaning of that word, but
gave emphasis to the relationship in which man stood to God. As an
intelligent, responsible creature, man is subject to the Divine government.
But the creature became self-seeking, self-centred, self-willed, and as the
result he disobeyed, sinned, fell.
The record of the Fall deserves the closest study. Abler pens than ours
have called attention to the different steps which led up to the overt act.
First, the voice of the tempter was heeded. Instead of saying, “Get thee
behind me, Satan,” Eve quietly listened to the Evil One challenging the
word of Jehovah. Not only so, but she proceeds to parley with him. Next
there is a tampering with God’s Word. Eve begins by adding to what God
has said — always a fatal course to pursue. “Ye shall not eat of it, neither
shall ye touch it.” This last clause was her own addition, and

30:6 received its first exemplification, “Add thou not unto his words, lest
He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Next she proceeded to alter
God’s Word, “lest ye die.” The sharp point of the Spirit’s Sword was
blunted. Finally, she altogether omits God’s solemn threat, “Thou shalt
surely die.” How true it is that “History repeats itself.” God’s enemies
today are treading the same path: His Word is either added to, altered, or.34
flatly denied. Having forsaken the only source of light, the act of
transgression became the natural consequence. The forbidden fruit is now
looked upon, desired, taken, eaten, and given to her husband. This is ever
the logical order. Such, in brief, is the Divine account of the entry of sin
into our world. The will of God was resisted, the word of God was
rejected, the way of God was deserted.
The Divine record of the Fall is the only possible explanation of the present
condition of the human race. It alone accounts for the presence of evil in a
world made by a beneficent and perfect Creator. It affords the only
adequate explanation for the universality of sin. Why is it that the king’s
son in the palace, and the saint’s daughter in the cottage, in spite of every
safeguard which human love and watchfulness can devise, manifest from
their earliest days an unmistakable bias toward evil and tendency to sin?
Why is it that sin is universal, that there is no empire, no nation, no family
free from this awful disease! Reject the Divine explanation and no
satisfactory answer is possible to these questions. Accept it, and we see
that sin is universal because all share a common ancestry, all spring from a
common stock, “In Adam all die.” The Divine record of the Fall alone
explains the mystery of death. Man possesses an imperishable soul, why
then should he die? He had breathed into him the breath of the Eternal
One, why then should he not live on in this world for ever? Reject the
Divine explanation and we face an insoluble enigma. Accept it, receive the
fact that,
“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so
death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”

Romans 5:12),
and we have an explanation which meets all the facts of the case.
Here for the first time in Scripture we meet with that mysterious personage
the Devil. He is introduced without any word of explanation concerning his
previous history. For our knowledge of his creation, his pre-Adamic
existence, the exalted position which he occupied, and his terrible fall from
it, we are dependent upon other passages, notably

Isaiah 14:12-15, and

Ezekiel 28:12-19. In the chapter now before us we are taught several
important lessons respecting our great Adversary. We learn what is the
sphere of his activities, what the method of his approach and what the form.35
of his temptations. And here also we learn of the certainty of his ultimate
overthrow and destruction.
Contrary to the popular conception, which makes Satan the author of the
grosset sins of the flesh, and which attributes to him that which our Lord
plainly declared issues out of the human heart, we are here informed that
the sphere of his operations is the religious or spiritual realm. His chief
aim is to get between the soul and God, to estrange man’s heart from his
Maker and inspire confidence instead, in himself. He seeks to usurp the
place of the Most High to make His creatures his own willing subjects and
children. His work consists of substituting his own lies in the place of
divine truth.

Genesis 3 gives us a sample of his operations and the
method he employs. These things are written for our learning, for his
activities, and the realm in which he works are the same today as they were
in the Garden of Eden.
The method of Satan’s approach was the same then as it is now. “Yea hath
God said?” He begins by throwing doubt on the Divine Word! He
questions its veracity. He suggests that God did not mean what He had
said. So it is today. Every effort that is being made to deny the Divine
inspiration of the Scriptures, every attempt put forward to set aside their
absolute authority, every attack on the Bible which we now witness in the
name of scholarship, is only a repetition of this ancient question, “Yea,
hath God said?” Next, he substitutes his own word for God’s, “Ye shall
not surely die.” We see the same principle illustrated in the first two
parables in

Matthew 13. The Lord Jesus goes forth sowing the seed
which is the Word of God, and then the Evil One immediately follows and
sows his tares. And the sad thing is that while men refuse to believe the
Word of the living God, yet they are sufficiently credulous to accept
Satan’s lies. So it was at the beginning, and so it has been ever since.
Finally, he dares to cast reflection upon God’s goodness, and to call in
question His perfections. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat
thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing
good and evil.” In other words, the Devil here suggests, that God was
despotically withholding from man something which would be
advantageous to him, and he presents as his bait the promise that, if only
Eve will believe his lie rather than God’s Word she shall be the gainer, and
the obtainer of a knowledge and wisdom previously denied her. The same
attraction is being dangled by him before the eyes of the devotees of
Spiritism and Theosophy, but into this we cannot now enter..36
It is to be noted that in the temptation a threefold appeal was made to Eve
corresponding with the tripartite nature of the human constitution. “The
woman saw that the tree was good for food” — appealing to the bodily
senses; “and that it was pleasant to the eyes” — appealing to the desire
nature, the emotions, which have their seat in the soul; “and a tree to be
desired to make one wise” — appealing to the intelligence, which has its
center in the spirit (Cf.

1 Corinthians 2:11). Thus we learn here a deeply
important fact, namely, that Satan works from without to within, which is
the very reverse of the Divine operations. God begins His work in man’s
heart, and the change wrought there reacts and transforms the outward life.
But Satan begins with the external and through the bodily senses and
emotions of the soul works back to the spirit — the reason for this being,
that normally he has not direct access to man’s spirit as God has. This same
line was followed in reference to our blessed Lord. “Command that these
stones be made bread “ — appealing to the bodily senses; “Cast Thyself
down” a challenge to His courage or an appeal to the emotional nature of
the soul. “Fall down and worship me’ ‘ — an appeal to the spirit, for we
worship the Father “in spirit and in truth.”
The first effect of the Fall upon Adam and Eve was a realization of their
shame. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they
were naked.” Through sin man obtained that which he did not have before
(at least, in operation), namely, a conseience — a knowledge of both good
and evil. This was something which un-fallen man did not possess, for man
was created in a state of innocency, and innocence is ignorance of evil. But
as soon as man partook of the forbidden fruit he became conscious of his
wrongdoing, and his eyes were opened to see his fallen condition. And
conscience, the moral instinct, is something which is now common to
human nature. Man has that within him which witnesses to his fallen and
sinful condition! But not only does conscience bear witness to man’s
depravity, it is also one of the marks of a personal Creator’s handiwork.
The conscience cannot be of man’s making. He would not voluntarily have
set up an accuser, a judge, a tormentor, in his own breast. From whence
then does it proceed? It is no more the result of education than is reason or
memory, though like both it may be cultivated. Conscience is the still small
voice of God within the soul, testifying to the fact that man is not his own
master but responsible to a moral law which either approves or reproves..37
Having become conscious of their shame Adam and Eve at once
endeavored to hide it by making unto themselves aprons of fig leaves. This
action of theirs was highly significant. Instead of seeking God and openly
confessing their guilt, they attempted to conceal it both from Him and from
themselves. Such has ever been the way of the natural man. The very last
thing he will do is to own before God his lost and undone condition.
Conscious that something is wrong with him, he seeks shelter behind his
own self-righteousness and trusts that his good works will more than
counter-balance his evil ones. Church-going, religious exercises, attention
to ordinances, philanthropy and altruism are the fig leaves which many
today are weaving into aprons to cover their spiritual shame. But like those
which our first parents sewed together they will not endure the test of
eternity. At best they are but things of time which will speedily crumble
away to dust.
A passage in the Gospels throws light on the one we are now considering
— we refer to another fig tree, the one on which our Lord found no fruit.
How striking is the lesson taught us by comparing these two Scriptures!
Why are we told that Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together? And why
are we informed that it was a fig tree which our Lord cursed? Was it not in
order that we should connect them together? The fig tree was the only
thing which our Lord cursed while He was here upon earth, and are we not
intended to learn from that action of His that that which man employs to
hide his spiritual shame is directly under the curse of Christ, bears no fruit,
and is doomed to quickly wither away!
But these self-manufactured aprons did not remove from Adam and Eve
the sense of their shame, for when they heard the voice of the Lord God
they “hid themselves” from Him. Man’s conscience then did not bring him
to God — for that there must be the work of the Holy Spirit — rather did
it terrify him and drive him away from God. Our first parents sought to
hide themselves. Again we note how characteristic and representative was
their action. They had some faint conception at least of the moral distance
that there was between themselves and their Creator. He was holy, they
were sinful, consequently they were afraid of Him and sought to flee from
His presence. So it is with the unregenerate today. In spite of all their
proud boastings, religious exercises, and self-manufactured coverings, men
are uneasy and fearful. Why is it that the Bible is so much neglected? It is
because it brings man nearer to God than any other book, and men are
uneasy in the presence of God and wish to hide from Him. Why is it that.38
the public ministry of the Word is so sparsely attended? People will proffer
many excuses, but the real reason is because that these services bring God
near to them and this makes them uncomfortable in their sin, so they seek
to flee from Him. How evident it is then that we all shared in the first sin
and died in Adam. The position in which the first man stood was a federal
one; and that he acted in a representative capacity is seen by the fact that
all his children share his nature and perpetuate his transgression.
When God sought out Adam and brought him face to face with his guilt, he
was given fair and full opportunity to confess his sin. “Hast thou eaten of
the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” And
what was the reply? How did Adam avail himself of this opportunity?
Instead of a broken-hearted confession of his sin he excused himself —
“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave
me of the tree, and I did eat.” It was the same with Eve: “And the Lord
God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the
woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Attempt was thus
made to palliate the sin by shifting the responsibility upon others. How
marvellously true to life in this twentieth century! What undesigned proofs
are these of Divine inspiration! But the very excuse man makes is the
ground of his condemnation. We have another illustration of this principle
in the parable of the marriage supper. “I have bought a piece of ground and
must needs go to see it. I pray thee have me excused.” Where was the
“needs” be? Just this, that he preferred his own gratification rather than to
accept God’s invitation. So it was with Adam — “the woman whom thou
gavest to be with me” — the excuse he furnishes is the very ground of his
condemnation. “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,
and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt
not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it
all the days of thy life.” All these subterfuges were unavailing and man
stood face to face with a holy God and was convicted of his guilt and
unspeakable shame. Thus will it be at the great white throne.
We find then that the effects of the Fall (so far as we have yet considered
it) upon man himself were fourfold: the discovery that something was
wrong with himself; the effort to hide his shame by a self-provided
covering; fear of God and an attempt to hide from His presence; and
instead of confessing his sin, seeking to excuse it. The same effects are
observable today the world over..39
“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art
thou?” Beautiful indeed is this record of Divine grace. This was not the
voice of the policeman, but the call of a yearning love. Dark as is the
background here, it only serves more clearly to reveal the riches of God’s
grace. Highly favored as our first parents were, blest with everything the
heart could desire, only a single restriction placed upon their liberty in
order to test their loyalty and fidelity to their Maker — how fearful then
their fall, how terrible, their sin! What wonder if God had consigned them
to “everlasting chains under darkness,” as He did the angels when they
sinned? What wonder if His wrath had instantly consumed them? Such
would have been no undue severity. It would simply have been bare justice.
It was all they deserved. But no. In His infinite condescension and
abundant mercy, God deigned to be the Seeker, and came down to Eden
crying, Where art thou?
W. Griffith Thomas has forcibly summed up the significance of this
question in the following words:
“God’s question to Adam still sounds in the ear of every sinner:
‘Where art thou?’ It is the call of Divine justice, which cannot
overlook sin. It is the call of Divine sorrow, which grieves over the
sinner. It is the call of Divine love. which offers redemption from
sin. To each and to every one of us the call is reiterated, ‘Where art
Everything recorded in

Genesis 3 has far more than a local significance.
God’s attitude and action there were typical and characteristic. It was not
Adam who sought God, but God that sought Adam. And this has been the
order ever since. “There is none that seeketh after God” (

3:11). It was God who sought out and called Abram while yet an idolater.
It was God who sought Jacob at Bethel when he was fleeing from the
consequences of his wrong doing. It was God who sought out Moses while
a fugitive in Midian. It was Christ who sought out the apostles whilst they
were engaged in fishing, so that He could say, “Ye have not chosen Me,
but I have chosen you.” It was Christ who, in His ineffable love, came to.40
seek and to save that which was lost. It is the Shepherd who seeks the
sheep, and not the sheep that seek the Shepherd. How true it is that “We
love Him because He first loved us.” O, that we might appreciate more
deeply the marvellous condescension of Deity in stooping so low as to care
for and seek out such poor worms of the dust.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between
thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise
his heel” (

Genesis 3:15).
Here again we behold the exceeding riches of God’s grace. Before He
acted in judgment He displayed His mercy; before He banished the guilty
ones from Eden, He gave them a blessed promise and hope. Though Satan
had encompassed the downfall of man, it is announced that One shall come
and bruise his head. By woman had come sin, by woman should come the
Savior. By woman had come the curse, by woman should come Him who
would bear and remove the curse. By woman Paradise was lost, yet by
woman should be born the One who should regain it. O what grace — the
Lord of glory was to be the woman’s Seed!
Here we have the beginning and germ of all prophecy. It would be outside
our province now to attempt anything more than a bare outline of the
contents of this wonderful verse. But three things should be carefully
First, it is announced that there should be enmity between Satan and the
woman. This part of the verse is invariably passed over by commentators.
Yet it is of profound importance. The “woman” here typifies Israel — the
woman from whom the promised Seed came — the woman of

Revelation 12. The children of Israel being the appointed channel
through which the Messiah was to come, became the object of Satan’s
continued enmity and assault. How marvellously this prediction has already
been fulfilled all students of Scripture know full well. The “famines”
mentioned in Genesis were the first efforts of the enemy to destroy the
fathers of the chosen race. The edict of Pharaoh to destroy all the male
children; the Egyptian attack at the Red Sea; the assaults of the Canaanites
when in the land; the plot of Haman, are all so many examples of this
enmity between Satan and “the woman,” while the continued persecution
of the Jew by the Gentiles and the yet future opposition by the Beast
witness to the same truth..41
Second, two “seeds” are here referred to — another item which is
generally overlooked — “thy seed” and “her seed” — Satan’s seed and the
woman’s Seed — the Antichrist and the Christ. In these two persons all
prophecy converges. In the former of these expressions “thy seed” (Satan’s
seed) we have more than a hint of the supernatural and satanic nature and
character of the Antichrist. From the beginning the Devil has been an
imitator, and the climax will not be reached until he daringly travesties the
hypostatic union of the two natures in our blessed Lord — His humanity
and His Deity. The Antichrist will be the Man of Sin and yet the Son of
Perdition literally the “seed” of the serpent — just as our Lord was the Son
of Man and the Son of God in one person. This is the only logical
conclusion. If “her seed” ultimates in a single personality — the Christ —
then by every principle of sound interpretation “thy seed” must also
ultimate in a single person — the Antichrist.
“Her seed” the woman’s Seed. Here we have the first announcement
concerning the supernatural birth of our Savior. It was prophetically
foretold that He should enter this world in an unique manner. “Her seed —
the woman’s seed, not the man’s! How literally this was fulfilled we learn
from the two inspired records given us in the New Testament of the
miraculous conception. A “virgin’’ was with child and four thousand years
after this initial prediction “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman”

Galatians 4:4).
In the third item of this marvelous prophecy reference is made to a double
“bruising” — the woman’s Seed shall bruise the Serpent’s head, and the
Serpent should bruise His heel. The last clause in this prediction has
already become history. The “bruising” of the heel of the woman’s Seed is
a symbolical reference to the sufferings and death of our Savior, who was
“wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.” The first
of these clauses yet awaits fulfillment. The bruising of the Serpent’s head
will take place when our Lord returns to the earth in person and in power,
and when “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan shall
be bound for a thousand years (the Millennium) and cast into the
bottomelss pit (

Revelation 20:2, 3). Again, we say, what a remarkable
proof this verse furnishes us of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures!
Who but He who knoweth the end from the beginning could have given
such an accurate outline of subsequent history, and packed it within the
limits of this one verse!.42
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of
skins, and clothed them” (

Genesis 3:21).
In order to adequately explain and expound this verse many pages might
well be written, but perforce, we must content ourselves with a few lines.
This verse gives us a typical picture of a sinner’s salvation. It was the first
Gospel sermon, preached by God Himself, not in words but in symbol and
action. It was a setting forth of the way by which a sinful creature could
return unto and approach his holy Creator. It was the initial declaration of
the fundamental fact that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” It
was a blessed illustration of substitution — the innocent dying in the stead
of the guilty.
Before the Fall, God had defined the wages of sin: “In the day thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die.” God is righteous, and as Judge of all the
earth He must do right. His law had been broken and justice cried aloud for
the enforcing of its penalty. But is justice to override mercy! Is there no
way by which grace can reign through righteousness? Blessed be God there
is, there was. Mercy desired to spare the offender and because justice
demands death, another shall be slain in his place. The Lord God clothed
Adam and Eve with skins, and in order to procure these skins animals must
have been slain, life must have been taken, blood must have been shed!
And in this way was a covering provided for the fallen and ruined sinner.
The application of the type is obvious. The Death of the Son of God was
shadowed forth. Because the Lord Jesus laid down His life for the sheep
God can now be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
How beautiful and perfect is the type! It was the Lord God who furnished
the skins, made them into coats and clothed our first parents. They did
nothing. God did it all. They were entirely passive. The same blessed truth
is illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. When the wanderer had
taken the place of a lost and undone creature and had owned his sin, the
grace of the father’s heart was displayed.
“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and
put it on him” (

Luke 15:22).
The prodigal did not have to furnish the robe, nor did he have put it on
himself, all was done for him. And so it is with every sinner.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God” (

Ephesians 2:8)..43
Well may we sing,
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my
God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He
hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (

Isaiah 61:10).
“So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden
of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to
keep the way of the tree of life” (

Genesis 3:24).
This was the immediate climax in the Divine condemnation of the first sin.
After sentence of judgment had been passed first upon the serpent, then
upon the woman, and finally upon the man, and after God had acted in
mercy by giving them a precious promise to stay their hearts and by
providing a covering for their shame, Adam and Eve were driven out of
Paradise. The moral significance of this is plain. It was impossible for them
to remain in the garden and continue in fellowship with the Lord. He is
holy, and that which defileth cannot enter His presence. Sin always results
in separation.
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and
your sins have hid His face from you” (

Isaiah 59:2).
Here we see the fulfillment of God’s threat. He had announced, “In the day
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Die, not only physically — there
is something infinitely worse than that — but die spiritually. Just as
physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, so spiritual death
is the separation of the soul from God. — “This my son was dead
(separated from me) and is alive again — restored to me. When it is said
that we are by nature “dead in trespasses and sins,” it is because men are
“alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in
them, because of the blindness of their heart” (

Ephesians 4:18).
In like manner, that judicial death which awaits all who die in their sins —
the “Second Death” — is not annihilation as so many are now falsely
but eternal separation from God and everlasting punishment in
the lake of fire. And so here in

Genesis 3 we have God’s own definition
of death — separation from Him, evidenced by the expulsion of man from
The barring of the way to the tree of life illustrated an important spiritual
truth. In some peculiar way this tree seems to have been a symbol of the
Divine presence (see

Proverbs 3:18), and the fact that fallen man had no
right of access to it further emphasized the moral distance at which he
stood from God. The sinner, as such, had no access to God, for the sword
of justice barred his way, just as the veil in the Tabernacle and Temple shut
man out from the Divine presence. But blessed be God, we read of One
who has opened for us a “new and living way” to God, yea, who is Himself
the Way (

John 14:6). And how has that been accomplished? Did justice
withdraw her sword! Nay, it sheathed it in the side of our adorable Savior.
Doubtless that solemn but precious word in

Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O
sword, against My Shepherd,” looks back to

Genesis 3:24. And because
the Shepherd was smitten the sheep are spared, and in the Paradise of God
we shall eat of the fruit of that tree from which Adam was barred (see

Revelation 2:7).
Summing up, then, this important division of our subject — God and the
Fall — we discover here: An exhibition of His condescension in seeking
man; an evidence of His mercy in giving a blessed prophecy and promise to
sustain and cheer the heart of man; a demonstration of His grace in
providing a covering for the shame of man; a display of His holiness in
punishing the sin of man; and a typical foreshadowment of the urgent need
of a Mediator between God and man..45
The philosophy of life as interpreted by the Darwinian school, affirms that
sin is merely a present imperfection and limitation which will gradually
disappear as the human race ascends the hill of life. The evolutionary
hypothesis, therefore, not only denies the teaching of Genesis one, but it
also repudiates the facts recorded in Genesis three. And here is the real
point and purpose of Satan’s attack. The specious reasoning of our modern
theologians has not only attempted to undermine the authenticity of the
account of Creation, but it has also succeeded in blunting the point of the
Gospel’s appeal.
By denying the Fall, the imperative need of the new birth has been
concealed. For, if man began at the bottom of the moral ladder — as
evolutionists ask us to believe — and is now slowly but surely climbing
heavenwards, then all he needs is education and cultivation. On the other
hand, if man commenced at the top of the ladder but through sin fell to the
bottom — as the Bible declares — then he is in urgent need of regeneration
and justification. The issue thus raised is vital and fundamental.
While we are entirely dependent upon the revelation which God has given
us in His Word for our knowledge of the beginnings of human history, and
while His Word is absolutely authoritative and to be received with
unquestioning faith, and while the Holy Scriptures need no buttressing with
human logic and argument, yet an appeal to history and experience is not
without interest and value. This is the case in respect to the “Fall.” And we
would now submit that the teaching of Genesis three is substantiated and
vindicated by the great facts of human history and experience.
1. The Teaching of Human Experience
Read the annals of history, examine the reports of our police courts, study
life in the slums of our large cities, and then ask, How comes it that man,
the king of creation, designed and fitted to be its leader and lord, should
have sunken lower than the animals? Illustrations are scarcely necessary to
show how low man has sunk, for all who know vice as it really exists
beneath the thin covering provided by the conventionalities of modern.46
civilization, are only too painfully aware of the degradation and desolation
which exist on all sides. A beast will not abandon its young as is now so
frequently the ease with the parents of illegitimate children. The beasts of
the field put multitudes of human beings to shame, for in the breeding
season they confine themselves to their own mates exceptions being found
only among those animals which man has partially domesticated! No
animal will drink foul and poisoned water, yet thousands of well educated
men and women are annually poisoned with alcohol.
But what is the cause of these effects. What is the true explanation of these
sad facts? How comes it that the king of creation has sunken lower than
the beasts of the field? Only one answer is possible — SIN, the FALL. Sin
has entered the human constitution; man is a fallen creature, and as such,
capable of any vileness and wickedness.
2. The Discords of Human Nature
Man, the unregenerate man, is a composite being. Two principles are at
work within him. He is a self-contradiction. One moment he does that
which is noble and praiseworthy, but the next that which is base and vile.
Sometimes he is amenable to that which is good and elevating, but more
often he abandons himself to the pleasures of sin. In some moods he seems
closely akin to God, in others he is clearly a child of the devil.
Whence comes this conflict between good and evil! Why this perplexing
duality in our common make-up? Only one explanation meets all the facts
of the case. On the one hand, man is “the offspring of God”; but, on the
other, sin has come in through the Fall and marred the Creator’s
3. The Universality of Sin
Why is it that the king’s son in the palace and the saint’s daughter in the
cottage, in spite of every safeguard which love and watchfulness can
devise, manifest an unmistakable bias towards evil and tendency to sin?
Why is it that heredity and environment, education and civilization are
powerless to change this order? Why are all sinful! Why is it that there is
no nation, no tribe, no family, free from the taint of sin? Only the Word of
God solves this problem. All have a common origin (Adam); all share a
common heritage (the Fall); all enter into a common legacy (Sin).
4. The Existence of Death.47
“There is one event that happeneth to all,” but why should it? We have
been created by the Eternal God, we possess a never-dying soul; why, then,
should not men continue to live on this earth for ever? Why should there be
such things as decay and destruction? Why should man die? Science can
furnish no answer to these questions, and philosophy offers no explanation.
Again we are shut up to the Word of God. Death is the wages of sin, and
death is universal because sin is universal. If any inquire, Why are sin and
death universal, the answer is, “By one man sin entered the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.”
5. The Present Paralysis of the Human Race
Every being and organism is subject to a necessity of becoming other than
it is — in a single word, it must grow. Not only the animal and the plant,
but the crystal, too, obeys this law, and it is difficult to see why humanity
which, as history shows, forms an organic whole, alone does not follow it.
The only solution of this problem is, that man is not now in his original and
normal state: he is no longer as God created him. He who denies the Fall
has no light upon this profound mystery. It is beyond doubt that had man
never fallen, he would have continued to grow in knowledge, goodness and
happiness: in fact, would have become more and more like to God. Enoch,
the man who walked with God, and whom He took to Himself after he had
lived the great cycle of three hundred and sixty-five years — a year for a
day — is an example of a human being who had fulfilled his destiny, and
most probably a type of what the destiny of all men might have been. But
alas! man fell, hence progress and advancement in the final sense became
The fact that man has not progressed, or rather, is not now progressing,
may be seen by comparing the products from the various fields of human
enterprise of today with those of two or three thousand years ago. In
literature, nothing has appeared which equals the Book of Job, or which
rivals the Psalms. In Philology — which is a sure test of the intellectual
development and mental life of a people there is no modern language which
matches the Sanskrit. In Art, all that is best we borrow from the ancient
Greeks. In Science, we are still far behind the designers and builders of the
Pyramids — a recent examination of some mummies has revealed the fact
that the Egyptians were ahead of us even in dentistry, in Ethics, the
marvellous system formulated by Confucius is superior to anything we
have today outside of the Bible. In gigantic civilizations, none have.48
outstripped those of the Babylonians and Phoenicians, which flourished
hundreds of years before the Christian era commenced. In legislation,
forensic and organizing ability, the Romans have never been surpassed.
While physically we compare unfavorably with the ancients.
Here then is a fact fully demonstrated, that as an organic whole, our race is
making no real progress and evidencing no signs of growth. And we
repeat, it is the only one among all living organisms which is not growing
— growing, not evolving. What, then, is the cause of this mysterious
paralysis? How can we account for it except by the explanation furnished
in the Word of God, namely, that this organism has had a terrible fall, is
marred and broken, is not now in its normal and original state!
If then the Fall is a historical fact and the only adequate explanation of
human history, what follows! First, man is a fallen creature; second, he is a
sinner; third, he needs a Savior. This then is the foundation of the Gospel
appeal. By nature, man is alienated from God, under condemnation, lost.
What then is the remedy? The answer is, A new creation. “If any man be in
Christ he is a new creation” (

2 Corinthians 5:17). It is not the
cultivation of the old nature which is needed, for that is ruined by the Fall,
but the reception of an entirely new nature which is begotten by the Holy
Spirit. “Ye must be born again.” Anything short of this is worthless and
No study of

Genesis 3 would be complete without meditating upon it
with the Lord Jesus before the heart.
Several passages in the Word link together Adam and Christ, and therefore
it behooves us to carefully compare and contrast them. In thinking of
Christ and the Fall a threefold line of thought may be developed.
First, a contrast between the first man and the second man in their
characters and conduct.
Second, Christ Himself bearing the Curse of the Fall.
Third, Christ reversing the effects of the Fall and bringing in the
“better thing.” Let us take up these thoughts in this order..49
It has been suggested by another, that in eating of the forbidden fruit Adam
cast reproach upon God’s love, God’s truth and God’s majesty. Created in
the image of his Maker: vitalized by the very breath of Deity: placed in a
perfect environment: surrounded by every blessing the heart could desire:
put in complete authority over the works of God’s hands: provided with a
suitable companion and helpmeet: made an example to all the universe of
Jehovah’s goodness and love, and given one single command that he might
have opportunity to show his appreciation by an easy observance of it —
yet, he gives ear to the voice of the tempter and believes the Devil’s lie.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God
doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” What did Satan wish these
words to imply? They were as though he said: Did God tell you not to eat
of this tree? How unkind! He is withholding from you the very best thing in
the garden. He knows full well that if you partake of this fruit your eyes
will be opened, and you yourselves will become as God. In other words, it
was an appeal for them to distrust God, to doubt His grace, and to
question His goodness. Thus in eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam
repudiated and dishonored God’s love.
Moreover, he questioned and dishonored God’s veracity. God had plainly
warned him. In unequivocal language He had threatened, “In the day thou
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam knew nothing of death. He was
surrounded only by living creatures. Reason might have argued that it was
impossible for death to enter such a fair land as Paradise. But there rang
the Word of Him who cannot lie, “Thou shalt surely die.” The serpent,
however, boldly denies Jehovah’s Word “Ye shall not surely die,” he
declares. Which would Adam believe — God or Satan. He had more
confidence in the latter: he dared to doubt the former, and the fell deed was
done. Thus, in eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam repudiated and
dishonored God’s Truth.
Further: he rejected God’s authority. As the Creator, God possesses the
inherent right to issue commands, and to demand from His creatures
implicit obedience. It is His prerogative to act as Law-giver, Controller,
Governor, and to define the limits of His subjects’ freedom. And in Eden
He exercised His prerogative and exprest His will. But Adam imagined he
had a better friend than God. He regarded Him as austere and despotic, as
One who begrudged him that which would promote his best interests. He.50
felt that in being denied the fruit of this tree which was pleasant to the eyes
and capable of making one wise God was acting arbitrarily, cruelly, so he
determined to assert himself, claim his rights and throw off the restraint of
the Divine government. He substitutes the Devil’s word for God’s law: he
puts his own desire before Jehovah’s command. Thus, in eating of the
forbidden fruit, Adam repudiated and dishonored God’s Majesty. So much
then for the character and conduct of the first Adam.
In turning to the last Adam we shall find that everything is in direct
antithesis. In thought, word and deed, the Christ of God completely
vindicated the love, truth, and majesty of Deity which the first man had so
grievously and deliberately dishonored. How He vindicated the love of
God! Adam harbored the wicked thought that God begrudged him that
which was beneficial, and thereby questioned His goodness. But how the
Lord Jesus has reversed that decision! In coming down to this earth to seek
and to save that which was lost, He fully revealed the compassion of Deity
for humanity. In His sympathy for the afflicted, in His miracles of healing,
in His tears over Jerusalem, in His unselfish and unwearied works of
mercy, He has openly displayed the beneficence and benevolence of God.
And what shall we say of His sufferings and death on the cruel tree! In
laying down His life for us, in dying upon the cross He unveiled the heart
of the Father as nothing else could. “God commendeth His love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST died for us. ‘ In the light of
Calvary we can never more doubt the goodness and grace of God.
How Christ vindicated the truth of God! When tempted by Satan to doubt
God’s goodness, question His truth and repudiate His majesty, He
answered each time, “It is written.” When He entered the synagogue on
the Sabbath day it was to read out of the Holy Oracles. When selecting the
twelve apostles He designedly chose Judas in order that the Scriptures
“might be fulfilled.” When censuring His critics, He declared that by their
traditions they made void “the Word of God.” In His last moments upon
the Cross, knowing that all things had been accomplished, in order that the
Scriptures might be fulfilled He said, “I thirst.” After He had risen from the
dead and was journeying with the two disciples to Emmaus, He
“expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
At every point, and in every detail of His life He honored and magnified
God’s truth..51
Finally, Christ completely vindicated the majesty of God. The creature had
aspired to be equal with the Creator. Adam chafed against the
governmental restraint which Jehovah had placed upon him. He despised
God’s law, insulted His majesty, defied His authority. How different with
our blessed Savior! Though He was the Lord of Glory and equal with God,
yet He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon the form of a
servant. O matchless grace! He condescended to be “made under the law,”
and during the whole of His stay here upon earth He refused to assert His
rights, and was ever subject to the Father. “Not My will” was His holy cry.
Nay, more: “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Never was God’s law so magnified, never was God’s authority so honored,
never were God’s government claims so illustriously upheld, as during the
thirty-three years when His own Son tabernacled among men. Thus in His
own Person Christ vindicated the outraged majesty of God.
We turn now to contemplate Christ Himself bearing the Curse of the Fall.
What was the punishment which followed the first Adam’s sin? In
answering this question we confine ourselves to the chapter now before us.
Beginning at

Genesis 3:17 we may trace a sevenfold consequence upon
the entrance of sin into this world. First, the ground was cursed. Second, in
sorrow man was to eat of it all the days of his life. Third, thorns and
thistles it was to bring forth. Fourth, in the sweat of his face man was to eat
his bread. Fifth, unto dust man was to return. Sixth, a flaming sword barred
his way to the tree of life. Seventh, there was the execution of God’s threat
that in the day man partook of the forbidden fruit he should surely die.
Such was the curse which fell upon Adam as the result of the Fall.
Observe now how completely the Lord Jesus bore the full consequences of
man’s sin.
First, Christ was “made a curse for us” (

Galatians 3:13).
Second, so thoroughly was He acquainted with grief, He was denominated
“the man of sorrows” (

Isaiah 53:3).
Third, in order that we might know how literally the Holy One bore in His
own body the consequences of Adam’s sin, we read “Then came Jesus
forth wearing the crown of thorns” (

John 19:5)
Fourth, corresponding with the sweat of his face in which the first man
was to eat his bread, we learn concerning the second man,.52
“And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to
the ground” (

Luke 22:44).
Fifth, just as the first Adam was to return unto the dust, so the cry of the
last Adam, in that wonderful prophetic Psalm, was “Thou hast brought Me
into the dust of death” (

Psalm 22:15).
Sixth, the sword of justice which barred the way to the tree of life was
sheathed in the side of God’s Son, for of old, Jehovah had said,
“Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is
My Fellow” (

Zechariah 13:7).
Seventh, the counterpart of God’s original threat to Adam, namely,
spiritual death (for he did not die physically that same day), which is the
separation of the soul from God, is witnessed in that most solemn of all
“My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27:46).
How absolutely did our blessed Savior identify Himself with those which
were lost, took their place and suffered the Just for the unjust! How
apparent it is, that Christ in His own body, did bear the Curse entailed by
the Fall.
In conclusion we shall now consider Christ reversing the effects of the Fall.
God alone is able to bring good out of evil and make even the wrath of
man to praise Him. The Fall has afforded Him an opportunity to exhibit His
wisdom and display the riches of His grace to an extent which, so far as we
can see, He never could have done, had not sin entered the world. In the
sphere of redemption Christ has not only reversed the effects of the Fall,
but because of it has brought in a better thing. If God could have found a
way, consistently with His own character, to restore man to the position
which he occupied before he became a transgressor, it would have been a
remarkable triumph, but that through Christ man should actually be the
gainer is a transcendent miracle of Divine wisdom and grace. Yet such is
the case. The redeemed have gained more through the last Adam than they
lost through the first Adam. They occupy a more exalted position. Before
the Fall Adam dwelt in an earthly Paradise, but the redeemed have been
made to sit with Christ in heavenly places. Through redemption they have
been blest with a nobler nature. Before the Fall man possessed a natural.53
life, but now, all in Christ have been made partakers of the Divine nature.
They have obtained a new standing before God. Adam was merely
innocent, which is a negative condition, but believers in Christ are
righteous, which is a positive state. We share a better inheritance. Adam
was lord of Eden, but believers are “heirs of all things,” “heirs of God and
joint heirs with Christ.” Through grace we have been made capable of a
deeper joy than unfallen spirits have known: the bliss of pardoned sin, the
heaven of deep conscious obligation to Divine mercy. In Christ believers
enjoy a closer relationship to God than was possible before the Fall. Adam
was merely a creature, but we are members of the body of Christ —
“members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” How marvellous!
We have been taken into union with Deity itself, so that the Son of God is
not ashamed to call us brethren. The Fall provided the need of
Redemption, and through the redeeming work of the Cross, believers have
a portion which unfallen Adam could never have attained unto. Truly,
“where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”.54

There is a very close connection between

Genesis 3 and 4. In the former
we see the beginning of sin in man, in the latter we read of its progress and
fruits; in the one it was sin in the individual, in the other, sin in the family.
Like leprosy, sin contaminates, spreads and issues in death. In

Genesis 3
the sin was against God, in

Genesis 4 it is against a fellow-man. The
order here is ever the same; the one who has no fear of God before his
eyes, has no genuine respect for the rights of his neighbor. Again, in

Genesis 4 we see the local fulfillment of

Genesis 3:15 — the enmity
between the two seeds — the wicked and the righteous, Cain and Abel.
Further; we are shown, even more clearly than by the coats of skins in the
previous chapter, that the guilty sinner can only approach God by means of
a sacrifice. We propose now to study briefly the contents of

Genesis 4
from three viewpoints, namely; the historical, the typical and the
The record of

Genesis 4 is exceedingly terse and much is gathered up
which scarcely appears on the surface. The central truth of the chapter is
that God is to be worshipped, that He is to be worshipped through
sacrifice, that He is to be worshipped by means of a sacrifice which is
appropriated by faith (cf.

Hebrews 11:4). Three things are to be
carefully noted in regard to the worship of Cain and Abel.
First, that there was a place where God was to be worshipped. This is
indicated in the third verse: “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an
offering unto the Lord.” That is, he brought his offering to some particular
place. This supposition seems to be supported by the language of verse 16
— “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” A further
corroboration may be discovered in the mention of “the fat” which Abel
brought (verse 4). “The firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof” suggests
an altar upon which the victim should be offered and upon which the fat
should be burned. Where this place of worship was located perhaps we
cannot say for certain, but there is ground for believing that it was at the.55
east of the Garden of Eden. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, in their
commentary on Genesis, translate the last verse of

Genesis 3 as follows:
“And He (God) dwelt at the east of the Garden of Eden between the
Cherubim, as a Shekinah (a fire-tongue or fire-sword) to keep open the
way to the tree of life.”
The same thought is presented in the Jerusalem
Targum. If the grammatical construction of the Hebrew will warrant this
translation, then

Genesis 3:24 would seem to signify that, having
expelled man from the garden, God established a mercy-seat protected by
the Cherubim, the fire-tongue or sword being the symbol of the Divine
presence, and whoever would worship God must approach this mercy-seat
by way of sacrifice. We commend this suggestion to the prayerful
consideration of our readers. To say the least,

Genesis 4 seems to imply
that there was some definite place to which Cain and Abel brought their
offerings, a place which they entered and from which they went out.
Second: Not only does there appear to have been a definite place of
worship, but there seems also to have been an appointed time for worship.
The marginal reading of

Genesis 4:3 gives, “And at the end of days it
came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto
the Lord.” May not this signify, at the end of the week? In other words,
does not this expression appear to point to the Sabbath day as the time
when God was to be formally worshipped? A third thing implied is a
prescribed means of worship. God could be approached and worshipped
only by means of sacrifice. This incident then seems to intimate that the
children of Adam and Eve had been definitely instructed that there was a
place where God could be found, that there was a time in which to come
before Him, and that appointed means of approach had been established.
Neither Cain nor Abel would have known anything about sacrifices unless
sacrifices had been definitely appointed. From

Hebrews 11:4 we learn
that it was “By faith Abel offered” his sacrifice, and in

Romans 10:17
we are told that “Faith cometh by hearing.” It was by faith and not by fancy
that Abel brought his offering to God. He had heard that God required a
sacrifice, he believed, and he evidenced his faith by a compliance with
Godrevealed will.
The nature of the offerings which Cain and Abel brought unto the Lord,
and God’s rejection of the one and acceptance of the other, point us to the
most important truth in the chapter. Attention should be fixed not so much
on the two men themselves, as upon the difference between their offerings.
So far as the record goes there is nothing to intimate that up to this time.56
Cain was the worst man of the two, that is, considered from a natural and
moral standpoint. Cain was no infidel or atheist. He was ready to
acknowledge the existence of God, he was prepared to worship Him after
his own fashion. He “brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the
Lord.” But mark three things. First, his offering was a bloodless one, and
“without shedding of blood is no remission” (

Hebrews 9:22). Second,
his offering consisted of the fruit of his own toil, it was the product of his
own labors, in a word, it was the works of his own hands. Third, he
brought of “the fruit of the ground,” thus ignoring the Divine sentence
recorded in

Genesis 3:17, “Cursed is the ground.” Abel “brought of the
firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof,” and to secure this, sacrifice had
to be made, life had to be taken, blood had to be shed. The comment of the
Holy Spirit upon this incident is, that
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain” (

Hebrews 11:4).
He does not state that Abel was more excellent, but that the offering which
be presented was more pleasing and acceptable to his Maker.
Next we learn that “The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering,”
or, as

Hebrews 11:4 expresses it, “God testifying of his gifts.” By
comparing later Scriptures we may justly infer that the manner in which
Jehovah showed His acceptance of the offering was by fire coming down
from heaven and consuming the sacrifice (see

Leviticus 9:24;


1 Kings 18:38;

1 Chronicles 21:26;

2 Chronicles 7:1). “But
unto Cain and his offering He had not respect.’’ No doubt Cain’s offering
was a very beautiful one. No doubt he selected the very choicest fruits that
could be found. No doubt his offering cost him considerable toil and labor,
and probably it was with no little self-satisfaction that he came before the
Lord. But Jehovah had no respect unto his gift; there was no visible token
of the Divine approval; no fire came down from heaven to consume it in
proof of God’s acceptance. And Cain’s countenance fell. He was furious
that all his labors should stand for nothing. He was angry at the thought
that he could not approach and worship God according to the dictates of
his own mind. And, as we shall see later, he was filled with wrath as he
contemplated the exaltation of Abel above him. So it is today. Unless the
darkened understanding of man be illumined by the Holy Spirit and the
enmity of the carnal mind be subdued, the human heart rebels against the
idea of the impossibility of approaching God save through a bloody.57
sacrifice. The natural man in his pride and self-righteousness hates the
truths of substitution and expiation worse than he hates the Devil.
“And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy
countenance fallen?” The condition of Cain’s heart was clearly revealed by
his anger at God’s refusal to receive his offering. His worship, like that of
multitudes in our day, was merely “a form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof” (

2 Timothy 3:5), that is, destitute of any genuineness or
reality. Had Cain’s offering been presented in the right spirit there would
have been no “wroth” when Jehovah refused to accept it, but instead, a
humble desire to learn God’s will.
“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest
not well, sin lieth at the door; and unto thee shall be his desire, and
thou shalt rule over him” (

Genesis 4:7).
This verse has always been a difficult one to expositors and commentators,
and we have never yet seen any explanation of it that fully satisfied us. The
interpretation most widely received is as follows: Why art thou wroth,
Cain? If thou doest well if you will present the proper and specified
offering it will be accepted; and if thou doest not well — if the offering you
brought has been rejected the remedy is simple “sin lieth at the door,” i.e.,
a suitable and meet offering, a sin offering is right to your hand, and if you
present this you shall “have the excellency’’ (margin), that is, you shall
retain the right of the firstborn and have the precedence over Abel your
younger brother. The Hebrew word here translated sin, is in other passages
sometimes rendered sin-offering — the one Hebrew word doing duty for
our two English expressions. Though many of the ablest Bible students
have accepted this translation and interpretation, we feel obliged to humbly
dissent from it. And for this reason. Apart from this one doubtful case

Genesis 4:7), doubtful, as to whether or not the Hebrew word should
be translated sin or sin-offering — there in no other reference in Scripture
of any Sin offering before the giving of the Law at Sinai. We do read of the
patriarch’s presenting burnt and meat offerings, but never of sin offerings.
In the light of

Romans 3:20 we firmly believe that there was no sin
offering before Moses. “By the Law is the knowledge of sin.” The Law
was given in order that sin might be recognized as sin. It was the Law
which convicted men of sin and of their need of a sin offering. Hence we
submit that there was no sin offering before the Law was given.

Job 1:5
supports this contention, “And it was so, when the days of their feasting.58
were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the
morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all,
for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their
hearts” — had they sinned after the Law was given a sin offering, not a
burnt offering, would have been needed. What then is the significance of

Genesis 4:7?
Undoubtedly the words “If thou doest well” have reference to the bringing
of a proper offering to the Lord. In case Cain was willing to do this
Jehovah asks, “Shalt thou not have the excellency” (margin), which means,
Shalt thou not retain the right of primogeniture over Abel? “And if thou
doest not well sin lieth at the door,” which we understand to mean, If you
refuse to bring the required offering, sin lieth (Hebrew, is crouching) at the
door, and like a wild beast is ready to spring upon you and devour you.
The remainder of the verse referring back to the matter of Cain’s rights by
virtue of his seniority.
The use of the word “And” all through the passage and the word “Also” in
verse 4 seem to show that Cain and Abel came together to present their
offerings unto the Lord. Abel’s offering was accepted, Cain’s was rejected.
Probably, Cain reasoned from this that there would likely be a change in
the order of primogeniture and that his younger brother should become his
ruler. Hence his “wroth” and readiness to kill Abel rather than submit to
him. In a word Cain intended to be first at all costs. Believing that he had
lost the place and privilege of the firstborn — for only upon his bringing of
the stipulated offering could he continue to rule over his brother — and
refusing to sacrifice according to God’s requirements, and fearing that
Abel would now be his ruler, he decided that rather than submit to this, he
would kill his brother. Such we believe to be the real explanation, the
motive, the cause of the first murder. The first word of verse 8 which
recounts the deed bears this out, linking it as it does with the previous
To summarize our suggested interpretation of verse 7: Cain’s offering
having been refused, anger filled his heart. Jehovah asks him why he is
wroth, and tells him there is no just cause for his displeasure, and that if he
will bring the required offering it would he accepted and Cain would then
retain the rights of the firstborn. At the same time God faithfully and
solemnly warns him of the consequences which will follow his refusal to
bring the specified sacrifice. If his sin is not removed by an expiatory.59
offering, it will spring upon and devour him. Cain refused to comply with
Jehovah’s demands and the Divine threat was carried out. What an
illustration of

James 1:15!
“When lust (desire, passion) hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:
and sin when it is finished (consummated), bringeth forth death.”
This was the precise order in Cain’s case: first — lust, anger — then, sin
— lying at the door, — then, death — Abel murdered.
“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I
know not. Am I my brother’s keeper? And He said, What hast thou done?
the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Sin
cannot be hid. There may have been no human witness to Cain’s crime, but
the eye of God had seen it. Solemn is the lesson taught here. “Be not
deceived, God is not mocked.” “Be sure your sin will find you out.” “For
there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall
not be known,” are only so many ways of stating the same truth. To
Jehovah’s pointed inquiry, Cain replied, “I know not.” How this brings out
the inveterate evil of the human heart! There was no contrition, no
confessing of sin, but instead, a repudiation and covering of it. So it was
with our first parents in Eden, and so it ever is with all their descendants
until God’s grace works effectually in us. It is to be noted that we have
here the first mention of “blood” in Scripture, and like all first mention.
ings therein, it expresses what is primary and fundamental, hinting also at
the amplifications of subsequent teaching. The blood here was innocent
blood, blood shed by wicked hands, blood which cried aloud to God. How
deeply significant! How it speaks to us of the precious blood of Christ!
After the Divine inquisition comes the Divine sentence upon the guilty one
telling of God’s holiness and righteousness which will not for an instant
tolerate sin, “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened
her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. When thou tillest
the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive
and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” No matter where he should go
in the world the ground should be against him, the ground that held the
blood of his brother, the blood of his victim. The remembrance of his
murder should pursue him, so that he would not be able to content himself
long in any one place..60
“And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.”
Cain now realizes something of what he has done, though his mind is
occupied more with his punishment than with the sin which had caused it.
“My punishment is greater than I can bear” will be the language of the lost
in the Lake of Fire. The awful lot of the unsaved will be unbearable, and
yet it will have to be endured and endured for ever. “From Thy face shall I
be hid” cried Cain. Though the sinner knows it not, this will be the most
terrible feature of his punishment — eternally banished from God. “Depart
from Me ye cursed” will be the fearful sentence passed upon the wicked in
the day of judgment. “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord,
and dwelt in the land of Nod.” Nod means “wandering” — there is no
peace or rest for the wicked: in this world they are like the troubled waves
of the sea; in the world to come, they shall be like wandering stars, lost in
the blackness of darkness for ever. My reader, if you reject the Sacrifice of
the Lord Jesus Christ, Cain’s doom shall be your doom. “He that believeth
on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not
see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”.61
Cain and Abel stand as the representatives of two great classes of people.
They typify respectively the lost and the saved; the self-righteous and the
broken-spirited; the formal professor and the genuine believer; those who
rely upon their own works, and those who rest upon the finished work of
Christ; those who insist upon salvation by human merits, and those who are
willing to be saved by Divine grace; those who are rejected and cursed by
God, and those who are accepted and blessed. Both Cain and Abel were
the children of fallen parents, and both of them were born outside of Eden.
Both were, therefore, by nature “children of wrath,” and as such judicially
alienated from God. Both had been shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin,
and hence both stood in need of a Savior. But, as we shall show, Cain
denied his ruined and fallen condition and refused to accept the Remedy
God provided; while Abel acknowledged his sinnership, believed the
Divine testimony, put his faith in a sacrificial substitute, and was accounted
righteous before God.
In our study of

Genesis 3, we saw that before God banished our first
parents from Eden, He revealed to them the way of salvation: “Unto Adam
also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed
them (

Genesis 3:21). This was the first Gospel sermon ever preached
on this earth, preached not by word but by symbol. By clothing Adam and
Eve with these skins God taught them four lessons. First, that in order for a
guilty sinner to approach a holy God he needed a suitable covering.
Second, that the aprons of fig leaves which their own hands had made were
not acceptable to Him. Third, that God Himself must provide the covering.
Fourth, that the necessary covering could only be obtained through death.
Death is the wages of sin. Adam and Eve had broken God’s command, and
justice clamored for the execution of law’s penalty. Either they must die or
another must die in their place. Mercy can only come in after justice has
been satisfied. Grace reigns “through righteousness,” and never at the
expense of it. God dealt with Adam and Eve in mercy, but in doing so He
first met the claims of His broken law. In clothing them with skins God
showed them by forceful symbol that sin could only be covered — atoned.62
for, for the Hebrew word for atone means “to cover” — at the cost of
sacrifice, by life being taken, by blood being shed. And so in Eden itself we
find the first type and foreshadowment of the Cross of Christ. To Adam
and Eve, God preached the blessed and basic truth of substitution — the
just dying for the unjust, the innocent suffering for the guilty. Adam and
Eve were guilty and merited destruction, but these animals died in their
stead, and by their death a covering was provided to hide their sin and
shame. So it is with Christ and the believer. In Him I am provided with a
robe of righteousness — “the best robe” which perfectly satisfies the eye of
the thrice holy God.
In Eden then we hear the first Gospel message. But not only so, in Eden
God showed man plainly and unmistakably what He required of him. In the
slaying of those animals from whose bodies the skins were taken to clothe
our first parents, God revealed the condition upon which alone the sinner
can approach his Maker, namely, blood-shedding. Man must put a
substitute between himself and God’s wrath. In the slaying of the animal,
the offerer identified himself with his offering and acknowledged that he
was a sinner, that he deserved naught but judgment at God’s hands, that
death was his legitimate due. In the slaying of the offering with which the
offerer had identified himself, he saw the death of his substitute, the
meeting of God’s claims, the satisfying of Divine justice, and that, because
his substitute had died in his stead, he went free.
We have again commented somewhat freely upon

Genesis 3:21 because
our understanding of this important verse is necessary in order to
intelligently apprehend the contents of

Genesis 4. As we have seen,
Adam and Eve were clearly and definitely instructed by God Himself
concerning the terms of approach to their Maker. To them He explicitly
revealed His requirements, and these requirements were made known by
Adam and Eve to their children. It is beyond question that Cain and Abel
knew that in order to come before Jehovah with acceptance they must
bring with them a bloody offering.

Hebrews 11:4 makes that fact
abundantly clear. It was “by faith” that Abel presented his sacrifice to God,

Romans 10:17 tells us
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,”
hence it is evident that he and his brother had “heard” of God’s
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of
the ground an offering unto the Lord.” In bringing such an offering Cain
deliberately turned his back on God’s revealed will and dared to set up his
own will in defiance. In bringing the offering he did, Cain denied that he
was a fallen creature — the fallen child of fallen parents — and as such
under the sentence of Divine condemnation. He denied that he was a guilty
sinner, morally and penally separated from God. He deliberately ignored
God’s demand for expiation by the death of a sacrificial substitute. He
insisted upon approaching God on the ground of personal worthiness.
Instead of accepting God’s way, he audaciously went his own way and
selected an offering which commended itself to his own tastes. He offered
to God the fruits of the ground which God had cursed. He presented the
product of his own toil, the work of his own hands, and God refused to
receive it.
Cain represents the natural man. He represents those who turn their back
upon the blood of the Cross and who speak of the Atonement as “a
doctrine of the shambles.” He represents that large class of people who
reject the finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and who think to obtain
salvation by works of righteousness which they have done. Cain is the
father of the Pharisee, who prides himself that he is the superior of the
contritious Publican, and who boasts loudly of his morality and
religiousness. He is the representative of all who pride themselves that they
can in their own strength live a life which is pleasing to God and who can
by their own efforts produce that which shall merit Divine esteem.

Jude, verse 11, pronounces a solemn woe upon those who have “gone
in the way of Cain.” To whom does he refer? They are those who deny that
the whole human race sinned and fell in Adam and who are therefore by
nature children of wrath. They are those who deny that man has been
driven out of God’s presence and that a great gulf is now fixed between
them. They deny that that gulf can only be bridged by the Cross of Christ
and that through Him and His redemption lies the sole way back to the
Father. They deny that human nature is essentially evil, incurably wicked,
and under the curse of God. They deny that it is absolutely impossible for a
clean thing to come out of an unclean, and that unless a man be born again
he cannot see the Kingdom of God. On the contrary, they declare that
human nature is essentially good, and that by a process of development and
culture it can bring forth good fruit — fruit which is acceptable to God.
They offer this fruit unto God in the form of moral character, unselfish.64
deeds and charitable works. Their language is, Something in my hands I
bring, to my goodness I do cling. This is the way of Cain. Cain brought of
the fruits of the ground which God had cursed, and God had no respect
unto such an offering. Human nature is under God’s curse, and as like can
only produce like, it follows that human works — the best of them — are
only the fruits of a cursed ground; as it is written, “All our righteousnesses
are as filthy rags,” i.e., obnoxious to God. As it was in the beginning, so it
is now. God has no respect for such offerers and offerings. He will not
accept them. The only offering that God will receive is that which is
presented to Him on the ground of the merits of His blessed Son.
“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the
fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering”

Genesis 4:4).
Abel presents a sharp antithesis to Cain. In bringing the offering which he
did Abel confessed that he was a fallen creature, a guilty sinner, one at a
moral and penal distance from God. He bowed to the Divine sentence of
condemnation resting upon him and owned its justice. He acknowledged
that he was worthy of death. By offering a lamb he testified that his only
hope before God lay in a substitute taking his place and bearing the penalty
which was his due. He presented his offering “by faith.” That is to say, he
believed that God would accept this slain lamb, that its shed blood would
meet all His requirements and satisfy His justice. He had heard from the
lips of his parents that the only way back to God was through sacrifice —
through an innocent life being offered up on the behalf of the guilty, and
having heard this he believed it, and believing it he acted upon it. This is
precisely what constitutes saving faith: It is believing God’s Word and
acting on it. Consider an illustration in proof:
“He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your
nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master,
we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at
Thy Word I wilt let down the net” (

Luke 5:4, 5).
Faith is more than an intellectual assent. Faith is the committal of ourselves
to God’s Word. Faith necessarily involves volition, “I will let down the
net.” Faith flies in the face of all carnal reasonings, feelings and experience
and says, “Nevertheless at Thy Word I will.” Abel then took God at His
Word, offered his sacrifice by faith and was accepted and pronounced
As Cain represents the natural man so Abel typifies the spiritual man, the
man born from above, the man created anew in Christ Jesus. Abel is the
representative of those who take God’s side against themselves; who
accept the character which God has given them in His Word; who own that
they are lost, undone, helpless; who realize their only hope lies outside of
themselves in Another, and who realizing this, cast themselves upon God’s
grace, crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Abel represents those who
pin their faith to the atoning sacrifice of Calvary, who rest their all both for
time and eternity on the redemptive work of the Cross, who sing from their
hearts, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and
righteousness.” In short, Abel stands as a lasting type of all who receive as
their substitute and Savior the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of
the world.
The ultimate difference, then, between Cain and Abel was not in their
characters, but in their offerings. In one word, it was a difference of blood.
Abel was accepted because he offered to God a bleeding lamb. Cain was
rejected because he refused to offer such. Here, then, we have traced back
to their fountain head the two streams which empty themselves in Heaven
and Hell, namely, the saved and the lost, and the dividing line between
them in a line of blood. That was the difference between the Israelites and
the Egyptians. On the night when God’s avenging angel passed through the
land of Pharaoh and found a house upon whose door blood was sprinkled
— the blood of a lamb, he passed over. But, when he found a house
without blood upon it, he entered and slew the firstborn, from the king
upon his throne to the prisoner in the dungeon.
This will be the test in the day of judgment — all whose names are not
found written in the Lamb’s book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire.
Redemption is to be obtained only through Jesus Christ.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His
blood” (

Romans 3:26).
Reader, on what is your hope based? If you are relying upon your efforts
and works, if you are trusting to your own goodness and morality to carry
you through, you are building your house upon a foundation of sand and
great will be the fall of it. But, if you are trusting in and relying upon the
merits of the precious blood of Christ, then are you building upon the rock,
and in that Rock shall you find shelter from the wrath to come. And now in
“Now all these things happened unto them for types (margin); and
they are written for our admonition” (

1 Corinthians 10:11).
Abel is a striking type of Christ, and his murder by Cain was a remarkable
foreshadowment of our Lord’s rejection and crucifixion by the Jews. At
least thirty-five points of resemblance can be traced here between type and
antitype. In considering Abel as a type of our Lord, it is to be noted that,
like Isaac, offered up on the altar and the ram caught in a thicket, which
afterwards took his place in death, we have here a double type also. Both
Abel and the offering which he brought pointed to the Lord Jesus. To
make it easier for our readers to follow us, we have numbered the different
points of agreement in type and antitype.
(1) Abel was a shepherd (

Genesis 4:2) and
(2) it was as a shepherd that he presented his offering unto God
(3) Though giving no cause for it, he was hated by his brother. As we
have shown in the last chapter, Cain was jealous of his brother and
(4) it was out of “envy” that he slew him.
(5) Abel then did not die a natural death, but
(6) met with a violent end at the hand of his own brother.
(7) After his death God declared that Abel’s blood “cried” unto Him,
and severe punishment was meted out upon his murderer.
Turning from Abel himself to his offering, we note:
(8) Abel presented an offering “unto God” (

Hebrews 11:4).
(9) That the offering which he presented was “the firstlings of his
flock”: in other words, a “lamb.”
(10) In bringing his offering “by faith,” he honored and magnified the
Will and Word of the Lord.
(11) The offering which Abel presented is described as an “excellent”
one (

Hebrews 11:4)..67
(12) God had “respect unto Abel and to his offering”: in other words,
He accepted them.
(13) In the presentation of his offering Abel “obtained witness that he
was righteous” (

Hebrews 11:4).
(14) After he had presented his offering, God publicly “testified” His
acceptance of it.
(15) Finally, Abel’s offering still “speaks” to God — “By it he being
dead yet speaketh.”
The type is perfect at every point.
(1) Our Lord is a “shepherd” — the Good Shepherd — and
(2) it was as the Shepherd He presented His offering to God (

(3) Though giving no cause for it, He was hated by His brethren
according to the flesh (

John 15:25).
(4) It was through “envy” that He was delivered up to be crucified

Matthew 27:18).
(5) Our Lord did not die a natural death. He was “slain” by wicked
hands (

Acts 2:23).
(6) He was crucified by “The House of Israel” (

Acts 2:36), His own
brethren according to the flesh.
(7) After His death our Lord’s murderers were severely punished by
God (

Mark 12:9).
Turning from Himself to His offering we note:
(8) The Lord Jesus presented an offering “to God” (

Ephesians 5:2).
(9) The offering He presented was Himself — a “Lamb” (

1 Peter
(10) In presenting Himself as an offering He honored and magnified the
Will and Word of God (

Hebrews 10:7-9).
(11) The offering Christ presented was an “excellent” one — it was a
“sweet smelling savor” (

Ephesians 5:2)..68
(12) God accepted His offering: the proof of this is seen in the fact that
He is now seated at God’s right hand (

Hebrews 10:12).
(13) While presenting Himself on the Cross as an offering to God, He
“obtained witness that He was righteous “ — the centurion crying,
“Certainly this was a righteous man” (

Luke 23:47).
(14) God publicly testified His acceptance of Christ’s offering by
raising Him from the dead (

Acts 2:32).
(15) Christ’s offering now “speaks” to God (

Hebrews 12:24).
Just as Abel and his offering are, at every point, a wonderful type of Christ
and His offering, so Cain, who slew Abel, prefigures the Jews, who
crucified their Messiah.
(16) Cain was “a tiller of the ground” (

Genesis 4:2). Thus the first
thing told us about him connects him with the land.
(17) In refusing to bring the required lamb, Cain rejected the offering
which God’s grace had provided.
(18) In his self-righteousness Cain brought an offering of his own
(19) The offering he brought was the product of his own labors.
(20) This offering was rejected by God.
(21) It was Cain’s God-given privilege to rule over his brother

Genesis 4:7).
(22) This privilege he forfeited.
(23) Being envious of Abel, he wickedly slew him.
(24) God charged him with his crime.
(25) God told him that Abel’s blood cried for vengeance.
(26) Because of the shedding of his brother’s blood, God’s curse fell
upon Cain.
(27) Part of his punishment consisted in the ground becoming barren to
him (

Genesis 4:12)..69
(28) Further, he was to be a fugitive and vagabond in the earth.
(29) Cain acknowledged that his punishment was greater than he could
(30) Because of his sin, he was “driven out” (

Genesis 4:14).
(31) Because of his sin, he was hidden from God’s face.
(32) Every man’s hand was now against him (

Genesis 4:14).
(33) God set a mark upon him (

Genesis 4:15).
(34) God declared that He would visit with a sevenfold vengeance
those who slew Cain.
(35) Cain left the land and went and dwelt in a city (

Genesis 4:17).
Turning once more to the antitype, let us note how accurately Cain
foreshadowed the history of Israel.
(16) The first thing which is conspicuous about the Jews was that they
were the people of a land the promised land, the Holy Land

Genesis 13:15).
(17) In refusing the Lamb of God (

John 1:11) the Jews rejected the
offering which God’s grace had provided.
(18) The apostle Paul declares that the Jews were “ignorant of God’s
righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness”

Romans 10:3).
(19) The Jews rested upon their own obedience to God’s Law

Romans 9:21).
(20) But God had no respect to their works (

Acts 13:39).
(21) Had Israel walked in God’s statutes they would have been the
head of the nations (

Deuteronomy 28:13).
(22) But through sin they forfeited the place and privilege (

(23) It was the Jews who crucified the Christ of God (

Acts 5:30).
(24) God charged them with their crime (

Acts 2:22, 23)..70
(25) Christ’s blood is now judicially resting “upon” the Jews

Matthew 27:25).
(26) Because of the crucifixion of their Messiah, God’s curse fell upon
Israel (

Jeremiah 24:9).
(27) Part of the curse which God threatened of old to bring upon Israel
was the barrenness of their land — “desolate” (

Leviticus 26:34, 35).
(28) The Jew has been an age-long wanderer in the earth

Deuteronomy 28:65).
(29) Israel will yet acknowledge their punishment is greater than they
can bear (

Zechariah 12:10).
(30) Forty years after the Crucifixion, Israel was driven out of
(31) Since then God’s face has been hid from them (

Hosea 1:9).
(32) For nigh 2,000 years, almost every man’s hand has been against
the Jew (

Deuteronomy 28:66).
(33) A mark of identification has been placed upon the Jew so that he
can be recognized anywhere.
(34) God’s special curse has always rested on those who have cursed
Israel (

Genesis 12:3).
(35) For the most part, even to this day, the Jews continue to
congregate in large cities.
Upon what ground can we account for this remarkable agreement between
type and antitype? The only possible explanation lies in the supernatural
inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures. The Holy Spirit “moved” the
writer of Genesis. Only He who knew the end from the beginning could
have foreshadowed so accurately and minutely that which came to pass
thousands of years afterwards. Prophecy, either in direct utterance or in
symbolic type, is the Divine autograph upon the sacred page. May God
continue to strengthen our faith in the divinity, the authority and the
absolute sufficiency of the Holy Oracles..71

In our comments upon the fourth chapter of Genesis, we noted how that
the descendants of Adam followed two distinct lines of worship through
Cain and Abel, Abel worshipping God by faith and bringing a bleeding
sacrifice as the ground of his approach; Cain, ignoring the double fact that
he was depraved by nature because descended from fallen parents, and a
sinner by choice and deed and, therefore, rejecting the vicarious expiation
prescribed by grace, tendered only the product of his own labors, which
was promptly refused by his Maker. The remainder of the chapter traces
the godless line of Cain down to the seventh generation, and then closes
with an account of the birth of Seth the appointed successor of Abel and
the one from whom the chosen race and the Messiah should come.

Genesis 5 begins a new section and traces for us the line of Seth. The
opening words of this chapter are worthy of close attention. No less than
ten times we find in Genesis this phrase, “These are the generations of,”

Genesis 2:4; 6:9;




25:12, 19;

36:1; 36:9;

37:2); but here in

Genesis 5:1 there is an important
addition — “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” Nowhere else
in Genesis, nor, indeed, in the Old Testament (compare

Numbers 3:1

Ruth 4:18), does this form of expression recur. But we do find it
once more when we open the New Testament, and there it meets us in the
very first verse! “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.”
This is
deeply significant and a remarkable proof of verbal inspiration.
Why, then, should there be these two different forms of expression, and
only these two —

Genesis 5:1 and

Matthew 1:1 — exceptions to the
usual form? Surely the answer is not far to seek. Are not these the two
books of Federal Headship? In the first book — “The book of the
generations of Adam” are enrolled the names of the fallen descendants of
the first man; in the second — “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ”
— are inscribed the names of all who have been redeemed by sovereign
grace. One is the Book of Death; the other is the Lamb’s Book of Life.
“The book of the generations of Adam,”.72
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ,”
and do we not see the marvelous unity of the two Testaments? The whole
of the Bible centers around these two books — the book of the generations
of Adam, and the book of the generation of Jesus Christ.
But what is the force of this word “generations”? Here the law of First
Mention will help us. The initial occurrence of this expression defines its
scope. When we read in

Genesis 2:4 “These are the generations of the
heavens and of the earth” the reference is not to origin but to development.

Genesis 2:4 been intended to supply information as to how the
heavens and the earth were produced, this expression would have occurred
at the commencement of

Genesis 1, which treats of that subject. Again,
when we read of “The generations of Noah” (

Genesis 6:9) it is not to
give us the ancestry of this patriarch — that is found in

Genesis 5 —
but to tell us who were his descendants, as the very next verse goes on to
show. “Generations,’’ then, means history, development, and not origin.
Try this key in each lock and you will find it fits perfectly. “The generations
(or history) of the heavens and of the earth.” So here in

Genesis 5:1.
From this point onwards we have the history and development of Adam’s
progeny. So, too, of

Matthew 1:1. What is the New Testament but the
history and development of Jesus Christ and His “brethren”?
As we have stated, chapter five opens a new section of Genesis. Righteous
Abel has been slain, and all the descendants of Cain are doomed to
destruction by the Flood. It is from Seth that there shall issue Noah, whose
children, coming out of the Ark, shall replenish the earth. Hence it is that
we are here taken back once more to the beginning. Adam is again brought
before us — fallen Adam — to show us the source from which Seth
Two sentences in the opening verses of this chapter (

Genesis 5) need to
be carefully compared and contrasted.
“In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He

Genesis 5:1.
“And Adam . . . begat a son in his own likeness, after his image,”

Genesis 5:3.
By sin Adam lost the image of God and became corrupt in his nature and a
fallen parent could do no more than beget a fallen child. Seth was begotten.73
in the likeness of a sinful father! Since Noah was the direct descendant of
Seth and is the father of us all, and since he was able to transmit to-us only
that which he had, himself, received from Seth, we have here the doctrine
of universal depravity. Every man living in the world today is, through
Noah and his three sons, a descendant of Seth, hence it is that care is here
taken at the beginning of this new section to trace the spring back to its
fountain head, and show how all are, by nature, the fallen offspring of a
fallen parent — that we have all been begotten in the image and likeness of
a corrupt and sinful father.
Until we reach the twenty-first verse of

Genesis 5, there is little else in
the chapter which calls for comment. The intervening verses trace for us
the line of Seth’s seed, and death is writ large across the record. Eight
times we read, “And he died.” But in verses 21 to 24 we have a notable
exception. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, died not. He was translated
without seeing death. And to the consideration of this remarkable man we
shall now direct our attention.
Enoch is a striking character. He is one of but two men of whom it is said
in Scripture that he “walked with God.” He is one of but two men who
lived on this earth and went to heaven without passing through the portals
of death. And he is the only one, except our blessed Lord, of whom it is
written, “He pleased God.”
He is one of the very few who lived before
the Flood of whom we know anything at all. The days when Enoch lived
on the earth were flagrantly wicked, as the Epistle of Jude plainly shows.
He seems to have stood quite alone in his fearless denunciation of the
ungodly and in his faithful testimony for God. Very little is recorded of
him, which is another proof of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures — a
truth which cannot be overemphasized. Had the Bible been a human
production, much would have been written about Enoch and an attempt
made to show the cause and explain the method of his mysterious exit from
this world. The silence of Holy Scripture attest their Divine origin! But
though little is told us about Enoch, a careful examination of what is
recorded suggests and supplies a wonderfully complete biography.
“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And
Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred
years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch
were three hundred sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with
God: and he was not; for God took him.” (

Genesis 5:21-24)..74
The first thing implied in Enoch’s walk with God is reconciliation. A
pertinent question is asked in

Amos 3:3, “How can two walk together
except they be agreed?” Thus two walking together supposes agreement,
sympathy, harmony. From the nature of the ease, it is implied that one of
the two had been at enmity with the other and that there had been a
reconciliation. So that when we say of any man that he walks with God, it
implies that he has been reconciled to God. God has not conformed to him,
but he has conformed to God.
To walk with God implies a correspondency of nature. Light hath no
communion with darkness. No sinner can walk with God for he has
nothing in common with Him, and more, his mind is at enmity against Him.
It is sin which separates from God. The day that Adam sinned he fled from
his Maker and hid himself among the trees of the garden. A walk with God
then supposes the judicial putting away of sin and the impartation of the
Divine nature to the one who walked with Him.
To walk with God implies a moral fitness. God does not walk out of the
way of holiness. Before God would walk through Israel’s camp everything
which defiled had to be put away. Before Christ commences His millennial
reign all things that offend must be gathered out of His Kingdom. The
thrice holy God keeps no company with the unclean.
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness,
we lie, and do not the truth: But, if we walk in the light, as He is in
the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of
Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

1 John 1:6, 7.
In a sentence, then, walking with God means that we cease taking our own
way, that we abandon the world’s way, that we follow the Divine way.
To walk with God implies a surrendered will. God does not force His
company upon any. “How can two walk together except they be agreed?”
The supreme example and illustration is the Lord Jesus. None enjoyed such
perfect and intimate communication with the Father as He. And what was
the secret of it all? “I delight to do Thy will, O God,” supplies the
explanation. If, then, we would walk with the Lord, there must be a
willingness and readiness on our part. “Take My yoke upon you.” He does
not force it on any!
To walk with God implies spiritual communion. “How can two walk
together except they be agreed?” The word “walk” suggests steady.75
progress. It has been quaintly but well said, Enoch “did not take a turn or
two with God and then leave His company, but he walked with God for
hundreds of years. What a splendid walk! A walk of three hundred years! It
was not a run, a leap, a spurt, but a steady walk.”
“And Enoch walked with God.” What light that one word casts on the life
and character of this manlHow much it reveals to us. Like every other
descendant of Adam, Enoch was by nature a child of wrath, alienated from
the life of God. But a day came when he was reconciled to his Maker. If it
be asked, What was the cause of this reconciliation?

Hebrews 11:5
supplies the answer — Enoch “had this testimony, that he pleased God.” If
it be further asked, How did he please God? the very next verse informs us,
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Faith then was the
instrumental cause of his reconciliation. Again we say, how much that one
sentence tells us about this “seventh from Adam”! Born into this world a
lost sinner, he is saved by grace through faith. He is born again and thus
made a partaker of the Divine nature. He is brought into agreement with
the Most High and fitted to have fellowship with the Holy One.
But from the analogy of other Scriptures, by comparing text with text we
may learn still more about this man who “pleased God.” What would be
the result of his walk with God? Would not the first consequence of such a
walk be a growth in grace? Walking implies progress, and that in a
forward direction. Enoch’s life must have been progressive. At the close of
three hundred years of communion with God, Enoch could not be morally
and spiritually where he was at the beginning. He would have a deeper
abhorrence of sin and a humbler estimate of himself. He would be more
conscious of his own helplessness and would feel more and more his need
of absolute dependency on God. There would be a larger capacity to enjoy
God. There would be a going on from strength to strength and from glory
to glory.
There would also be a growth in the knowledge of the Lord. It is one thing
to talk about God, to reason and speculate about Him, to hear and read
about Him, it is quite another to know Him. This is the practical and
experimental side of the Christian life. If we would know God we must
walk with Him: we must come into living contact with Him, have personal
dealings with Him, commune with Him. After such a walk of three hundred
years Enoch would have a deeper appreciation of God’s excellency, a.76
greater enjoyment of His perfections and would manifest a more earnest
concern for His glory.
Another consequence of Enoch’s walk with God would be a deep settled
joy and peace. Enoch’s life must have been supremely happy. How could
he be miserable with such a Companion! He could not be gloomy in such
company. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I
will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” Walking with God ensures
protection. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall
abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Nothing can harm the man who
has the Lord God at his right hand.
A further consequence of Enoch’s walk was his witness for God — see

Jude 14 and 15. This is something which needs to be stressed. This
order cannot be reversed, it is of Divine appointment. Before we can
witness for God, we must walk with God. It is greatly to be feared that
much of what passes for “Christian service” in our day is not the product
of such a walk, and that it will prove but “wood, hay and stubble” in the
day of testing. There is something which must precede service, “Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.”
Having considered at some length the character of Enoch’s walk, let us in
closing note two other things, the commencement and the culmination of
this walk.
“And Enoch lived sixty and five years and begat Methuselah: And
Enoch walked with God” (

Genesis 5:21, 22).
It is not said that Enoch walked with God before his son was born, and the
inference seems to be that the coming into his life of this little one God’s
gift — may have been the means of leading him into this close fellowship.
Such ought ever to be the case. The responsibilities of parenthood should
cast us more and more upon God.
The name of his son strongly implies that Enoch had received a revelation
from God. Methuselah signifies, “When he is dead it shall be sent,” i.e.,
the Deluge (Newberry). In all probability then, a Divine revelation is
memorialized in this name. It was as though God had said to Enoch, “Do
you see that baby? The world will last as long as he lives and no longer!
When that child dies, I shall deal with the world in judgment. The windows
of heaven will be opened. The fountains of the great deep will be broken
up, and all humanity will perish.” What would be the effect of such a.77
communication upon Enoch? Imagine for a moment a parallel case today.
Suppose God should make known to you, in such a way that you could not
question His veracity, that this world would last only as long as the life of
some little one in your home. Suppose God should say to you, “The life of
that little one is to be the life of the world. When that child dies the world
will be destroyed.’’ What would be the effect upon you? Not knowing how
soon that child might die, there would come before you the possibility that
the world might perish at any time. Every time that child fell sick the
world’s doom would stare you in the face! Suppose further, that you were
unsaved. Would you not be deeply exercised? Would you not realize as
never before your urgent need of preparing to meet God? Would you not
at once begin to occupy yourself with spiritual things? May not some such
effects have been produced upon Enoch? Be this as it may — and it is
difficult to escape such a conclusion it is certainly implied that from the
time Methuselah was born, the world lost all its attractiveness for Enoch
and from that time on, if never before, he walked with God.
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death and
was not found, because God had translated him: for before his
translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God”

Hebrews 11:5).
God had translated him.
After Enoch had lived on earth the great cycle
— a year for a day — of three hundred and sixty-five years, God took him
to Himself, as if to show that he was an example of a human being, who
had fulfilled his destiny, and a type of what the destiny of all mankind might
have been had sin never entered the world (Bettex).
God had translated him. We cannot do better than quote here from Dr. B.
H. Carroll’s exposition of Genesis — a work from which many original and
excellent suggestions may be gathered: “God translated him.” This is an
old Latin word, an irregular verb, and it simply means carried over or
carried across. God carried him across. Across what? Across death. Death
is the river that divides this world from the world to come, and here was a
man that never did go through that river at all. When he got there God
carried him across. God transferred him; translated him; God picked him
up and carried him over and put him on the other shore. And walking along
here in time and communing with God by faith, in an instant he was
communing with God by sight in another world. Faith, Oh, precious faith!
Faith had turned to sight, and hope bad turned to fruition in a single.78
moment. The life of faith was thus crowned by entrance into the life of
perfect fellowship above, “And they shall walk with Me in white”

Revelation 3:4).
In conclusion, we would point out the fact that Enoch is a type of those
believers who shall be alive on the earth when our Lord shall descend into
the air to catch up to Himself His blood bought people “Behold, I show
you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall be all changed, in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye (

1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). Just as
Enoch was translated to heaven without seeing death, so also will those of
the Lord’s people who remain on the earth till the time of His return. May
it be ours to “walk with God” during the short interval that now intervenes,
and, if it pleaseth Him, may we be among that number which shall be
raptured to glory without having to first pass through the portals of the
10. NOAH

Little is told us of the parentage of Noah, yet sufficient is revealed to
indicate that he was the descendant of believing ancestors and the child of a
God-fearing father. Noah was the grandson of Methuselah, and the great
grandson of Enoch who was translated to heaven. The name of his father
was Lamech, and on the birth of his son we are told that
“he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us
concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground
which the Lord hath cursed” (

Genesis 5:29).
That Lamech was a man of faith appears from the fact that he attributed his
“toil” and the condition of the ground to the Lord’s “curse.” Further, it
seems as though God had revealed to him something of His future
purposes in connection with Noah in that he looked on him as one that was
to bring “comfort” or “rest.”
The times in which Noah lived and the condition of the world then serve as
a dark background to bring out in vivid relief the faith and righteousness of
the one who was “perfect in his generations” and “walked with God.”
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the
earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will
destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both
man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for
it repenteth Me that I have made man” (

Genesis 6:5-7).
What a terrible scene was here spread before the all-seeing eye of God, and
how startling the contrast between it and the one on which He had looked
at the close of the six days’ work! There we are told,
“God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very
good” (

Genesis 1:31)..80
But here, the next time we read that “God saw” we are told that “the
wickedness of man was great in the earth.” How awful is sin, and how
fearful its course when unrestrained by God!
But there is another, and a blessed contrast here, too. After we read of the
greatness of man’s wickedness and the consequent grief of God’s heart, we
are told,
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (

Genesis 6:8).
There was an oasis in the midst of the dreary desert, an oasis which the
grace of God had prepared, and on which His eyes dwelt. When beholding
the wicked we read only that God “saw,” but when Noah is in view the
“eyes of the Lord” are mentioned. A look at the former was sufficient; but
something more definite and protracted greeted the latter. Before we study
the Character of Noah, a word first on the one following the last quoted.
“These are the generations of Noah” (

Genesis 6:9).
Here a new section of Genesis commences. The Chronology of Genesis
having been brought up to Noah’s day in

Genesis 5, the opening verses

Genesis 6 look backward not forward, giving us the history of the
world and describing the character of mankind in the days which preceded
the Flood. Verses 5 to 8 of

Genesis 6 close the second main division of
the book. Each new division opens with the words “These are the
generations of,” see

Genesis 2:4; 5:1; 6:9, etc. The thought to which we
would now call attention is that each of these divisions ends (we use the
word relatively) with a picture that portrays the effects and results of sin.
The first division (the concluding verses of

Genesis 4, closes with the
record of Abel’s murder by Cain, and of Lamech’s glorying over a young
man whom he had slain. The second division closes (

Genesis 6:1-8)
with God looking down on the wickedness of the Antediluvians. The third
division closes (

Genesis 9:20-29) with the sad scene of Noah’s
drunkenness, the curse pronounced on a part of his descendants, and the
patriarch’s death. The fourth division closes (

Genesis 11:1-9) by
bringing before us the overthrow of the Tower of Babel. The fifth division
closes (

Genesis 11:10-26) with the births, ages, and deaths of Shem’s
descendants. The sixth division closes (

Genesis 11:31, 32) with the
death of Terah. The seventh division closes (

Genesis 25:10, 11) with
the burial of Abraham. The eighth division closes (

Genesis 25:18) with
the death of Ishmael. The ninth division closes (

Genesis 35:29) with the.81
death of Isaac. The tenth division closes (

Genesis 36:8) with the
departure of Esau from the promised land, the birthright to which he had
sold for a mess of pottage. The eleventh division closes (

Genesis 36)
with a list of the descendants of Esau, and significantly ends with the
words, “He is Esau the father of the Edomites.” While the last division
closes (

Genesis 1:26) with the death of Joseph.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (

Genesis 6:8).
This is the first thing that is told us about Noah. Grace is the foundation of
every life that is well-pleasing to God. Grace is the source from which
issues every blessing we receive. It was the grace of God and not the
graces of Noah which preserved him from a watery grave. Is it not
beautiful to note that it is here this precious word “grace” is seen for the
first time in God’s Word! It was when the sin of the creature had reached
its climax that Grace was exercised and displayed, as if to teach us from the
onset, that it is nothing within man which calls forth the bestowment of
Divine favors.
When God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of
the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the
air,” it seemed as if He was about to make an end of the entire race. But
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was as a lily among the
thorns, whose godly walk would appear the lovelier from contrast with that
of the world about him. Humanly speaking it has never been an easy matter
for the believer to live that life that brings glory to God, not even when he
receives encouragement from fellow-saints. But here was a man living in a
world of wickedness, where “all flesh had corrupted his way on the earth.”
Here was a man who was compelled to set his face against the whole
current of public opinion and conduct. What a testimony to the sufficiency
and keeping power of Divine grace!
The character of Noah is described in

Genesis 6:9 where three things
are told us about him: “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations,
and Noah walked with God.” first, he was “just.” He is the first man so
called, though not the first man who was so. The meritorious ground of
justification is the Blood of Christ (

Romans 5:9); the instrumental cause
is faith (

Romans 5:1). The just shall live by faith, hence we find Noah
among the fifteen believers mentioned in the great faith chapter

Hebrews 11). The faith by which Noah was justified before God was
evidenced by him being” moved with fear” and in his obedience to the.82
Divine command to build the ark. Second, he was “perfect in his
generations.” Here the reference seems to point to Noah and his family
having kept themselves separate from the moral evil around them and
preserved themselves from contact with the Nephilim. The Hebrew word is
“tamim” and is elsewhere translated in the Old Testament “without
blemish” forty-four times. It is probably the word from which our English
“contaminated” springs. Noah was uncontaminated in his generations.
Third, he “walked with God.” It is only as we walk with Him that we are
kept from the evil around us.
The faith of Noah is described in

Hebrews 11:7:
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet,
moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by
which he condemned the world, and became heir of the
righteousness which is by faith.”
In this remarkable verse, remarkable for its fullness and terseness, seven
things are told us about Noah’s faith, each of which we do well to ponder.
The first thing we learn here of Noah’s faith is its ground, namely, God’s
Word — “being warned of God.” The ground of all faith which is
acceptable to God is that which rests neither on feelings nor fancy, but on
the naked Word.
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”

Romans 10:17).
Simon and his partners had fished from sunset to sunrise and their labors
had been in vain. The Lord entered their ship and said, “Launch out into
the deep and let down your nets for a draught,” and Simon replied,
“Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing:
nevertheless, at Thy word I will let down the net” (

Luke 5:4, 5).
Once again: for many days the ship in which the apostle was journeying to
Italy battled with stormy seas, until all hope that he and his fellow
passengers should be saved had disappeared. Then it was, when everything
to the outward eye seemed to contradict, that Paul stood forth and said,
“Sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it
was told me” (

Acts 27:25).
A faith that does not rest upon the written word is mere credulity..83
The second thing mentioned in connection with Noah’s faith is its sphere.
His faith laid hold of things “not seen as yet,” that is, of things which
pertained to the realm of the unseen. Believers walk by faith and not by
sight (

2 Corinthians 5:7). As Noah labored at the building of the ark,
doubtless, the world looked upon him as an enthusiastic fanatic, as one
who was putting himself to a great deal of needless trouble. What was
there to portend such a calamity as the Deluge? Nothing at all. All things
continued as they were from the beginning of creation. History furnished
no analogy whatever. Not only had there never been any previous flood,
but even rain was then unknown. What then could induce Noah to act in
the way he did? Nothing but the testimony of God. Here then is an
exemplification and demonstration of the nature of faith. Faith is the eye of
the spirit. It is that which visualizes the unseen; it is that which gives
tangibility to the invisible; it is that which makes substantial the things
hoped for.
In the third place we learn here of the character of Noah’s faith — it was
“moved with fear.” Faith not only relies upon the precious promises of
God, but it also believes His solemn threatenings. As the beloved Spurgeon
said, “He who does not believe that God will punish sin, will not believe
that He will pardon it through the atoning blood. He who does not believe
that God will cast unbelievers into hell, will not be sure that He will take
believers to heaven. If we doubt God’s Word about one thing, we shall
have small confidence in it upon another thing. Since faith in God must
treat all God’s Word alike; for the faith which accepts one word of God,
and rejects another, is evidently not faith in God, but faith in our own
judgment, faith in our own taste.” Noah had received from God a gracious
promise, but he had also been warned of a coming judgment which should
destroy all living things with a flood, and his faith believed both the
promise and the warning. Again, we need the admonition of Mr. Spurgeon

“I charge you who profess to be the Lord’s, not to be unbelieving
with regard to the terrible threatenings of God to the ungodly.
Believe the threat, even though it should chill your blood; believe,
though nature shrinks from the overwhelming doom, for, if you do
not believe, the act of disbelieving God about one point will drive
you to disbelieve Him upon the other parts of revealed truth, and
you will never come to that true, childlike faith which God will
accept and honor.”.84
Fourth, we see the evidence of Noah’s faith he “prepared an ark.” “Faith, if
it hath not works is dead, being by itself” (

James 2:17), which means, it
is a lifeless faith, a merely nominal faith, and not the “faith of God’s elect”

Titus 1:1). To the same effect:
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith,
and have not works” (

James 2:14).
The Apostle Paul writes of the justification of believing sinners; James
writes of the justification of faith itself, or rather, the claim to be in
possession of faith. I profess to be a believer, how shall I justify my claim?
By my works, my walk, my witness for God. Read through

Hebrews 11
and it will be seen that in every case recorded there, faith was evidenced by
works. Abel had faith. How did he display it? By presenting to God the
Divinely preserved sacrifice. Enoch had faith. How did he manifest it? By
walking with God. Noah had faith. How did he evidence it? By preparing
the ark. And mark this also — faith expresses itself in that which costs its
possessor something! The preparing of the ark was no small undertaking. It
was not only a very laborious and protracted task, but it must have been a
very expensive one, too. It has ever been thus; Abraham was the father of
the faithful, and his faith found expression and resulted in that which meant
personal sacrifice. To Abraham it meant leaving home, kindred and
country, and subsequently the offering up of his well beloved son on the
altar of sacrifice. What is it costing you to express your faith? A faith that
does not issue in that which is costly is not worth much.
Fifth, we see the issue of Noah’s faith — Noah “prepared an ark to the
saving of his house.” God always honors real faith in Him. The particular
issue of Noah’s faith deserves prayerful consideration. While it is true that
there is no such thing as salvation by proxy, that no parent can believe to
the saving of his child’s soul, yet, Scripture furnishes many examples of
God’s blessings coming upon those who exercised no faith themselves on
account of the faith of others. Because Abraham exercised faith, God gave
to his seed the land of Palestine. Because Rahab believed the report of the
spies, her whole household was preserved from destruction. Coming to the
New Testament, we remember such cases as the man sick of the palsy,
who was brought to the Lord Jesus by others —
“And Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy: Son,
be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (

Matthew 8:2)..85
Because of the nobleman’s faith, his servant was healed. Because of the
Canaanitish woman’s faith, her daughter was made whole. Noah’s faith
then issued in the temporal salvation of “his house.” Is not this written for
our learning? Is there no word of encouragement here for believing parents
today who have unsaved children? Do we remember the word spoken to
the Philippian jailor — “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, and thy house” — do we appropriate it and plead it before God?
Sixth, we learn of the witness of Noah’s faith — “by which he condemned
the world.” In considering this clause we would first inquire into the nature
of faith. What is faith? In

Romans 14:23, we read, “Whatsoever is not
of faith is sin.” Faith is the opposite of sin. What then is sin? The divinely
inspired answer is found in

1 John 3:4 “Sin is lawlessness” (R. V.). Sin
is more than an act, it is an attitude. Sin is rebellion against God’s
government, a defiance of His authority. Sin is spiritual anarchy. Sin is the
exercise of self-will, self-assertion, self-independency. God says, “Thou
shalt,” and I don’t; what is that but me saying “I won’t!” God says “Thou
shalt not,” and I do; what is that but me saying, “I will!” But faith is in
every respect the antithesis of sin. Faith is also more than an act, it is an
attitude. Faith is submission to God’s government, a yielding to His
authority, a compliance with His revealed will. Faith in God is a coming to
the end of myself. Faith is the spirit of entire dependency on God. There is
a great gulf then separating between those who are members of the
household of faith and those who are the children of the wicked one. We
walk by faith, they by sight; we live for God’s glory, they for self-gratification;
we live for eternity, they for time. And every Christian who is
walking by faith, necessarily condemns the world. His conduct is a silent
rebuke upon the course followed by the ungodly. His life is a witness
against their sin.
Finally, we learn here the reward of Noah’s faith — he “became heir of the
righteousness which is by faith.” Faith brings a present blessing: it wins
God’s smile of approval, fills the heart with peace, oils the machinery of
life, and makes “all things” possible. But the grand reward of faith is not
received in this life. The inheritance into which faith conducts us is not
possessed here and now. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never did anything
more than “sojourn in the land of promise.” The children of God are
“heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,” but the entering into their
inheritance is yet future — we do not say the enjoyment of it, for faith
appropriates it and revels in it even now. The Son Himself has been.86
“appointed heir of all things” (

Hebrews 1:2), and it is not until He
enters into His possessions that we shall share them with Him. Meanwhile,
we are, with Noah, “heirs of the righteousness which is by faith.”.87

In our article on “Enoch” it was pointed out that the name of his child
intimated that God had given warning to him of the coming of the Deluge

“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah”

Genesis 5:21).
The signification of Methuselah is, “When he is dead it shall be sent,” i.e.,
the Deluge (Newberry). A divine revelation then was memorialized in this
name. The world was to last only as long as this son of Enoch lived. If

Peter 3:20 be linked to

Genesis 5:21 an interesting and precious
thought is brought before us: “Which (the antediluvians now in ‘prison’)
some time were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited
in the days of Noah.” To what does this “long-suffering” refer which
“waited” while the ark was a preparing? How long had God’s patience
been exercised? Nine hundred and sixty-nine years seems to be the answer
the span of Methuselah’s life. As long as Enoch’s son lived the world was
safe; but when he died, then should it (the Deluge) be sent. Is it not a most
impressive demonstration of God’s “long-suffering” that the man whose
life was to measure the breath of a world’s probation, was permitted to live
longer than any one else ever did live! Nine hundred and sixty-nine years
— what an exhibition of God’s mercy! How wondrous are the ways of
Jehovah! As that child was to live until the time came for mankind to be
swept away by the flood; and, as during this interval God’s servants were
to warn men from the coming wrath, shall not the mercy of God prolong
that day? Shall not this man live longer than any other man ever did live?
Shall not his age be unique, standing out from the ages of all others? —
because that from the hour of his birth the Divine decree had gone forth,
“When the breath leaves his body the throes of dissolution shall commence;
when he departs the thunder clouds of God’s anger shall burst, the
windows of heaven shall be opened, the foundations of the great deeps
shall give way, and every living thing shall be swept from this earth by the
besom of Divine destruction.” And so it was. Methuselah out-lived all his
contemporaries and remained on earth almost a thousand years..88
Having viewed the postponement of the flood through the long-suffering of
God, let us next consider the provocation of it. We have already dwelt
upon the fact that the New Testament Scriptures call our attention to the
“longsuffering of God (which) waited in the days of Noah”

1 Peter 3:20).
These words intimate that God’s longsuffering had already been exercised
and that it continued to “wait” even in the days of Noah. This causes us to
inquire how and when had God’s “long-suffering” been manifested
previously to Noah?
The word “long-suffering” implies that God had dealt in mercy, that His
mercy had been slighted, and that His patience (humanly speaking) had
been sorely tried. And this leads us to ask another question — a deeply
interesting and important one: What Divine light did the antediluvians
enjoy? What knowledge of God, of His character and of His ways, did they
possess? What was the measure of their responsibility? To answer these
questions is to discover the enormity of their sin, is to measure the extent
of their wickedness, is to determine the degree of their aggravation of God;
and, consequently, is to demonstrate the magnitude of His long-suffering in
bearing with them for so long.
While the record is exceedingly brief, sufficient is revealed to show that
men in general possessed no small amount of light even in days before the
flood. Not only had they, in common with all generations the “light of
Nature,” or as

Romans 1:19, 20 expresses it, “Because that which may
be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power
and Godhead” — which rendered them “without excuse’’; not only had
they the testimony of conscience (

Romans 2:14, 15), but, in addition,
they possessed the light of Divine revelation. In what this latter consisted
we shall now endeavor to show.
First, man had the Promise of a Redeemer. Before our first parents were
banished from Eden, God declared that the woman’s Seed should bruise
the serpent’s head, and for His appearing believers looked and longed (see

Genesis 49:18).
Second: There was the institution of expiatory sacrifices as the one means
of approach to Jehovah. This was made known by God to Adam and Eve.89
by means of the coats of skins which He provided as a covering for their
nakedness. The meaning of His gracious condescension was clearly
understood by them, and the significance of it and need of such sacrifice
was communicated to their children, as is clear from the acts of Cain and
Abel. That such knowledge was handed down from father to son is also
seen in the fact that as soon as Noah came out of the ark he
“built an altar unto the Lord… and offered burnt offerings on the
altar” (

Genesis 8:20).
Third: There was the “mark” which God set upon Cain (

Genesis 4:15),
which was a reminder of his disapprobation, a visible memorial of his own
sin, and a solemn warning unto those among whom his lot was
subsequently cast.
Fourth: As we indicated in our comments on

Genesis 4, the institution
of the Sabbath was even then established, as may be seen from the fact that
there was a set time for worship (

Genesis 4:3, margin).
Fifth: The longevity of the patriarchs must be borne in mind. But two lives
spanned the interval from the beginning of human history to the Deluge
itself,, namely Adam’s and Methuselah’s. For nine hundred and thirty years
the first man lived to tell of his original creation and condition, of his
wicked disobedience against God, and of the fearful consequences which
followed his sin. A striking illustration of the communication of this
knowledge from one generation to another may be seen in the words of
Lamech, who lived to within a few years of the flood itself words recorded

Genesis 5:29, where it will be found he makes reference to “the
ground which the Lord God hath cursed.”
Sixth: There was the preaching of Enoch through whom God warned the
world of its approaching doom (

Jude 14, 15).
Seventh: The mysterious and supernatural translation of Enoch, which
must have made a profound impression upon those among whom his lot
was cast.
Eighth: The preaching of Noah (

2 Peter 2:25), followed by his building
of the ark, by which he condemned the world.
Ninth: The ministry of the Holy Spirit (

Genesis 6:3;

1 Peter 3:19),
striving with men and, as the record implies, this for some considerable.90
time. From these things then it is abundantly clear that the antediluvians fell
not through ignorance but by wilfully rejecting a Divine revelation, and
from deliberately persisting in their wickedness.
Having considered the Provocation of the Flood, let us now examine the
cause of it. Stated in a sentence, this was the awful depravity and
wickedness of mankind, or to quote the language of our chapter,
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for
all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto
Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled
with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with
the earth” (

Genesis 6:12, 13).
God’s saints are the salt of the earth (

Matthew 5:13), and little as the
world realizes or appreciates it, the fact remains that it is the presence of
God’s people here which prevents the mystery of iniquity coming to a head
and preserves mankind from an outpouring of God’s wrath. Ten righteous
men in Sodom would have stayed the Divine judgment, but only one could
be found.
The salt character of God’s people is due to the Holy Spirit dwelling
within and working through them. Let His gracious manifestations be
resisted and despised and they will be withdrawn, then the measure of
man’s iniquity will be quickly filled up. These two preserving and
restraining factors are brought together in

2 Thessalonians 2. Before
our Lord shall return to the earth itself, accompanied by the saints
(previously translated), there shall come one who is denominated, “the man
of sin, the son of perdition.” This superman shall oppose God and
blasphemously exalt himself above all that has any reference to God, so
that he shall sit in God’s temple (at Jerusalem) claiming to be God, and
demanding Divine homage. His coming will be “after the working of Satan,
with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all receivableness of
unrighteousness.” But though this “mystery of iniquity” was at work, even
in the days of the apostles, two things have prevented it coming to full
fruition. The Man of Sin cannot be “revealed” till “his time” because of
“what withholdeth” and “he who now letteth (hindereth) until he
be taken out of the way” (

2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).
Undoubtedly the neuter pronoun here has reference to the Church of God,
and the masculine one to the Holy Spirit Himself. While they are upon.91
earth Satan’s work is held in check; but let them — the Holy Spirit and the
Church be removed, let the salt be taken away and the One who gives it
pungency, and the restraining and preserving influences are gone, and then
nothing remains to stay corruption or hinder the outworking of Satan’s
From the above premises, established by the analogies furnished in
Scripture, we have no difficulty in discovering the immediate cause of the
Flood. A Divine revelation had been despised and rejected. Repeated
warnings had been flouted. Atonement for sin by an expiatory sacrifice had
been spurned. Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil. The number of God’s saints had been diminished to such an
extent that there was but one family left who feared the Lord and walked
by faith. There was not sufficient “salt” left to preserve the carcass. God
had forewarned the race that His Spirit would not always strive with man,
and now His long-suffering was ended; therefore, His Spirit would be
withdrawn, and naught then remained but summary judgment. Though the
faithful remnant should be sheltered, yet, the storm of Divine wrath must
now burst upon a world filled with iniquity.
We turn now to consider the occasion of the Flood.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of
the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God
saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them
wives of all which they chose” (

Genesis 6:1, 2).
There has been considerable difference of opinion among commentators
and expositors in respect to the identity of these “sons of God.” The view
which has been most widely promulgated and accepted is, that these
marriages between the sons of God and the daughters of men refer to
unions between believers and unbelievers. It is supposed that the “sons of
God” were the descendants of Seth, while the “daughters of men” are
regarded as the offspring of Cain, and that these two lines gradually
amalgamated, until the line of distinction between God’s people and the
world was obliterated. It is further supposed that the Deluge was a
visitation of God’s judgment, resulting from His peoples’ failure to
maintain their place of separation. But, it seems to us, there are a number
of insuperable objections to this interpretation..92
If the above theory were true, then, it would follow that at the time this
amalgamation took place God’s people were limited to the male sex, for
the “sons of God” were the ones who “married” the “daughters of men.”
Again; if the popular theory were true, if these “sons of God” were
believers, then they perished at the Flood, but

2 Peter 2:5 states
otherwise — “Bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” Once
more; there is no hint in the Divine record (so far as we can discover) that
God had yet given any specific command forbidding His people to marry
unbelievers. In view of this silence it seems exceedingly strange that this sin
should have been visited with such a fearful judgment. In all ages there
have been many of God’s people who have united with worldlings, who
have been “unequally yoked together,” yet no calamity in anywise
comparable with the Deluge has followed. Finally; one wonders why the
union of believers with unbelievers should result in “giants” — “there were
giants in the earth in those days” (

Genesis 6:4).
If, then, the words “sons of God” do not signify the saints of that age, to
whom do they refer? In

Job 1:6,

Job 2:1,

Job 38:7, the same
expression is found, and in these passages the reference is clearly to angels.
It is a significant fact that some versions of the Septuagint contain the
word “angels” in

Genesis 6:2, 4. That the “sons of God,” who are here
represented as cohabiting with the daughters of men were angels — fallen
angels — seems to be taught in

Jude 6: “And the angels which kept not
their principality but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in
everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.”
These “sons of God,” then, appear to be angels who left their own
habitation, came down to earth, and cohabited with the daughters of men.
Before we consider the outcome of this illicit intercourse, let us first
enquire into the cause of it. Why did these angels thus “sin” (

2 Peter
2:4)? The answer to this question leads us into a mysterious subject which
we cannot now treat at length: the “why” finds its answer in Satan.
Immediately after that old serpent, the Devil, had brought about the
downfall of our first parents, God passed sentence on the “serpent” and
declared that the woman’s “Seed” should “bruise his head” (

3:15). Hence, in due course, Satan sought to frustrate this purpose of God.
His first effort was an endeavor to prevent his Bruiser entering this world.
This effort is plainly to be seen in his attempts to destroy the channel
through which the Lord Jesus was to come..93
First, God revealed the fact that the Coming One was to be of human kind,
the woman’s Seed, hence, as we shall seek to show, Satan attempted to
destroy the human race. Next, God made known to Abraham that the
Coming One was to be a descendant of his (

Genesis 12:3;


Matthew 1:1); hence, four hundred years later, when the
descendants of Abraham became numerous in Egypt Satan sought to
destroy the Abrahamic stock, by moving Pharaoh to seek the destruction of
all the male children (

Exodus 1:15, 16). Later, God made known the
fact that the Coming One was to be of the offspring of David (

2 Samuel
7:12, 13); hence, the subsequent attack made upon David through Absalom

2 Samuel 15). As, then, the Coming One was to be of the seed of
David, He must spring from the tribe of Judah, and hence the significance
of the divided Kingdom, and the attacks of the Ten Tribes upon the Tribe
of Judah!
The reference in

Jude 6 to the angels leaving their own habitation,
appears to point to and correspond with these “sons of God” (angels)
coming in unto the daughters of men. Apparently, by this means, Satan
hoped to destroy the human race (the channel through which the woman’s
Seed was to come) by producing a race of monstrosities. How nearly he
succeeded is evident from the fact, that with the exception of one family,
“all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (

Genesis 6:12).
That monstrosities were produced as the result of this unnatural union
between the “sons of God” (angels) and the daughters of men, is evident
from the words of

Genesis 6:4: “There were giants in the earth in those
days.” The Hebrew word for “giants” here is nephilim, which means fallen
ones, from “naphal” to fall. The term “men of renoun” in

Genesis 6:4
probably finds its historical equivalent in the “heroes” of Grecian
mythology. Satan’s special object in seeking to prevent the advent of the
woman’s “Seed” by destroying the human race was evidently an attempt
to avert his threatened doom!
Against the view that “the sons of God” refer to fallen angels

22:30 is often cited. But when the contents of this verse are closely studied
it will be found there is, really, nothing in it which conflicts with what we
have said above. Had our Lord said, “in the resurrection they neither
marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God” and
stopped there, the objection would have real force. But the Lord did not
stop there. He added a qualifying clause about the angels: He said “as the.94
angels of God in heaven.” The last two words make all the difference. The
angels in heaven neither marry nor are they given in marriage. But the
angels referred to in

Genesis 6 as the “sons of God” were no longer in
heaven: as

Jude 6 expressly informs us “they left their own
principality.” They fell from their celestial position and came down to
earth, entering into unlawful alliance with the daughters of men. This, we
are assured, is the reason why Christ modified and qualified His assertion

Matthew 22:30. The angels of God in heaven do not marry, but
those who left their own principality did.
Ere we close, there is one other passage of Scripture which ought to be
considered in this connection, namely,

Matthew 24:37 —
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son
of Man be.”
History is to repeat itself. Ere the Lord returns to this earth, the condition
which prevailed in the world before the Flood are to be reproduced. The
characteristic of the days of Noah may be summarized in the following ten
1. Multiplication of mankind (

Genesis 6:1) — note the great
increase of earth’s population during the past century.
2. God dealing in long-suffering with a wicked world.
3. God sending His messengers to warn sinners of coming judgment.
4. God’s Spirit striving with men, and the threat that He would not
always do so — cf

2 Thessalonians 2, which tells of His Spirit being
taken away once more.
5. God’s overtures toward men despised and rejected — such is the
condition of the world today.
6. A small remnant who find grace in the sight of the Lord and walk
with Him.
7. Enoch miraculously translated — typifying the removal of the saints
from the earth caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
8. Descent to the earth of the fallen angels and their union with the
daughters of men: how near we have already approached to a repetition.95
of this may be discovered in the demoniacal activities among Spiritists,
Theosophists and Christian Scientists.
9. God’s judgments poured forth on the ungodly — of

Revelation 6
to 19.
10. Noah and his family miraculously preserved — type of the Jewish
remnant preserved through the Tribulation, see

Revelation 12..96

No study of the person and character of Noah would be complete without
viewing him as a type of the Lord Jesus. With one or two notable
exceptions it will be beside our purpose to do more than call attention to
some of the most striking points of correspondency between the type and
the antitype, leaving our readers to develop at greater length these seed
1. To begin at the beginning, Noah’s very name foreshadowed the Coming
One. In

Genesis 5:28, 29 we read,
“And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a
son; and he called his name Noah.”
Noah means “rest.” His father regarded him as the one who should be the
rest-giver, and as one who should provide comfort from the toil incurred
by the Curse. “He called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us
concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which
the Lord hath cursed.” Lamech looked upon his son as one who should
bring deliverance from the Curse, as one who should provide comfort and
rest from the weariness of toil. Our readers will readily see how this ancient
prophecy (for prophecy it undoubtedly was) receives its fulfillment in the
One of whom it was also written, “And His rest shall be glorious”

Isaiah 11:10), and who when on earth said,
“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest” (

Matthew 11:28).
But further than this, Noah’s name, and the prophecy of his father on the
occasion of the bestowment of it upon his son, also looks forward to the
time of our Lord’s Second Advent when He shall deliver the earth from its
Curse — See

Isaiah 9; 35, etc.
2. The first thing which is told us in connection with Noah is that he
“found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (

Genesis 6:8). In a previous
article we have commented upon the setting of these words and have
pointed out the contrast which they are designed to emphasize. “All flesh.97
had corrupted his way upon the earth.” The ruinous and ravaging effects of
sin were universal. But as God looked down upon the creatures of His
hand, now fallen and depraved, there was one who stood out by himself,
one who was just and perfect in his generation, one upon whom God’s eye
delighted to rest. It is very significant that nothing at all is said about
Noah’s family — his “sons and their wives” — in this connection; Noah
only is mentioned, as if to show he is the one on whom our attention
should be fixed. When we note what a striking type of our Lord Jesus
Noah is, the reason for this is obvious; He is the one in whom the heart of
the Father delighted, and just as the first thing told us in connection with
Noah is that he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” so the first words of
the Father after the Lord Jesus had commenced His public ministry were,
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”

Matthew 3:17).
3. The next thing told us about Noah is that he “was a just man”

Genesis 6:9). As is well known, the word just means “righteous.” Like
all other sinners who find acceptance with God, Noah was “justified by
faith.” He possessed no inherent righteousness of his own. Righteousness is
imputed, imputed to those that believe (

Romans 4:6, 22-25). There was
only one man who has ever walked our earth who was inherently and
intrinsically righteous and that was He whom Noah foreshadowed, He of
whom the centurion testified, “Certainly this was a righteous man”

Luke 23:47).
4. Next we read that Noah was “perfect in his generations” (

6:9). In a previous article we have seen that this expression has reference
to the body and not to perfection of character. Noah and his family had not
been defiled by contact with the Nephilim. “Perfect in his generations’’
signifies that Noah was uncontaminated physically. “Perfect in his
generations” is predicated of Noah alone; of none other is this said. How
plain and perfect the type! Does it not point to the immaculate humanity of
our Lord? When the Eternal Word was “made flesh” He did not contract
the corruptions of our fallen nature. Unlike all of human kind, He was not
“shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin.” On the contrary His mother was
“That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son
of God” (

Luke 1:35)..98
In His humanity our Lord was “separate from sinners” (

Hebrews 7:26).
He was uncontaminated by the virus of sin; He was “perfect in His
5. Next we read of Noah that he “walked with God” (

Genesis 6:9). In
this also he was a type of Him who for thirty-three years lived here in
unbroken communion with the Father. All through those years, however
varied His circumstances, we find Him enjoying holy and blessed
fellowship with the Father. During His early life, in the seclusion of
Nazareth we learn that
“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and
man” (

Luke 2:52).
During the long season of fasting and temptation in the wilderness, we find
Him living by “every word of God” (

Luke 4:4). While His disciples
slept, our blessed Lord retired to the solitudes of the mountain, there to
pour out His soul to God and enjoy fellowship with His Father (

6:12). At the close of His sufferings on the Cross we hear Him cry,
“Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (

Luke 23:46).
Truly His walk was ever “with God.”
6. God Gave Noah an Honorous Work to Do
“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the
ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. With thee will
I establish My covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou,
and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of
every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring in
the ark, to keep them alive with thee” (

Genesis 6:14, 18, 19).
Here we find a work is entrusted to Noah by God, a highly important
work, a momentous and stupendous work. Never before or since has such
a task been allotted to a single man. The task of preserving from God’s
judgment representatives of all creation was committed to Noah! The type
is so clear and plain that comment is almost needless. To the Lord Jesus
Christ, God’s beloved Son, was entrusted the task of effecting the salvation
of lost and ruined sinners. It is to this He refers when He says,
“I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do”

John 17:4).99
— speaking here as though in Glory, where He now is as our great High
7. Noah, Alone, Did the Work
We shall consider separately the typical significance of the ark; for the
moment we would direct attention upon Noah and his work. Is it not
striking that there is no reference here to any help that Noah received in
the executing of his God-given task? There is no hint whatever that any
assisted him in the work of building the ark. The record reads as though
Noah alone provided the necessary means for securing the lives of those
that God had entrusted to his care! Surely the reason is obvious. The truth
which is foreshadowed here is parallel with the typology of

16:17 —
“And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation
when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he
come out”
when atonement was being made the High Priest must be alone. So it was
in the antitype. The work of redemption was accomplished by our Lord
Jesus Christ,
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree”

1 Peter 2:24),
and He needed no assistance in this work, for God had “laid help upon
One that is mighty” (

Psalm 89:19, R.V.). In full harmony then with the

Leviticus 16 type, and in perfect accord with its fulfillment in our
gracious Savior, we find that the record in Genesis reads as though Noah
was alone in his task and received no assistance in the work of providing a
refuge from the coming storm of Divine wrath.
8. Moreover, is not the perfection of the type further to be seen in the fact
that the inspired record passes over the interval of time necessary for Noah
to have performed his task? This is very striking, for many months, and
probably years, would be required to build an ark of the dimensions given
us in Genesis. But not a word is said about this. After God gave
instructions to Noah to build the ark, the next thing we read is,.100
“Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did
he. And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into
the ark” (

Genesis 6:22;

Genesis 7:1)
— as though to show that when he began, his work was speedily
accomplished! How much we may learn from the silences of Scripture!
Again we call attention to the parallel type in

Leviticus 16 —
“For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you to
cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the
Lord” (verse 30).

Leviticus 23 the Day of Atonement is classed among Israel’s great
feasts, and by noting this the point we are now making comes out more
clearly by way of contrast. Others of these feasts, e.g., Unleavened Bread,
Tabernacles, etc., extended over a period of several days, but Atonement
was accomplished in one day. Nothing was left over to be completed on
the next day; which reminds us of the blessed words of our triumphant
Savior — “It is finished.” There is nothing now for us to do but rest on His
Finished Work. In one day, yes, in three hours, on the Cross, our Lord put
away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. As we have said, this was anticipated
in the typical significance of Noah’s work by the silence of Scripture upon
the length of time he was engaged in the performance of his task, the
record reading as though it was speedily executed.
9. The successful issue of Noah’s work, seen in “the saving of his house”

Hebrews 11:7) reminds us of the language of

Hebrews 3:6,
“But Christ as a son over his own house” (

Hebrews 3:6).
But the type goes further: Noah’s work brings blessing to all creation as is
seen from the fact that the animals and birds were also preserved in the ark.
Observe how beautifully this is brought out in

Genesis 8:1 — “And
God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was
with him in the ark.” So, too, the work of Christ shall yet bring blessing to
the beasts of the field. At His return to the earth “the creation itself also
shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty
of the children of God” (

Romans 8:21).
10. In

Genesis 6:19 we have a hint of the animal creation being subject
to Noah.101
“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou
bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee.”
We have a passing glimpse of the yet future fulfillment of this part of the
type in

Mark 1:13 —
“And He was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan;
and was with the wild beasts.”
Noah’s headship over all creatures comes out even more clearly in

Genesis 9:2 —
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast
of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth
upon earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are
they delivered.”
How this reminds us of

Psalm 8, which speaks of the future dominion
of the Son of Man. “For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels,
and hast crowned Him with glory and honor. For thou madest Him to have
dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His
feet (compare

Hebrews 2:8), “But now we see not yet all things put
under Him, all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of
the air and the fish of the sea!” This same thought is repeated in the
Genesis narrative again and again as if with deliberate emphasis. When we
read of the animals entering the Ark we are told “They went in unto Noah
(not unto Noah and his family) into the Ark,” and then we are told “And
the Lord shut him (not ‘them’) in” (

Genesis 7:15, 16). And again, on
leaving the ark we read that God said unto Noah,
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the
green herb have I given you all things” (

Genesis 9:3).
So Christ is “the Heir of all things” (

Hebrews 1:2).
11. In

Genesis 6:21 we find Noah presented as the great food-provider:
“And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it
to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.” We need hardly say
that this finds its complement in Christ the Bread of Life. He is God’s
Manna for our souls. He is the Shewbread which was eaten by Aaron and
his sons (

Leviticus 24:9). He is the Old Corn of the land (

5:11). In short, it is only as we feed upon Christ as He is presented unto us
in the written Word that our spiritual life is quickened and nourished.
12. In

Genesis 6:22 we learn of Noah’s implicit and complete obedience

“Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him,
so did he.”
And again,
“And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him”

Genesis 7:5).
So, too, we read of the perfect obedience of Him whom Noah
“If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even so I
have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love”

John 15:10).
Only, be it noted, the obedience of our blessed Lord went farther than that
of Noah, for He
“became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”

Philippians 2:8)
— in all things He has the preeminence.
13. —
“And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’
wives with him; every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl,
and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds went
forth out of the ark” (

Genesis 8:18, 19).
In these verses we see Noah bringing all whom God had committed to his
care on to the new earth, which reminds us of our Lord’s words,
“Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none” (

John 18:9).
However, the fact that the animal creation is here specifically mentioned as
sharing in this blessing seems to point to a milennial scene when all
creation shall enjoy the benefit of Christ’s reign (cf.

Isaiah 11).
14. —.103
“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean
beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the
altar (

Genesis 8:20).
Here we see Noah offering a burnt offering unto the Lord: the and-typical
parallel is found in

Ephesians 5:2 —
“Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an
offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.”
15. “And God blessed Noah and his sons” (

Genesis 9:1). It is beautiful
to see Noah and his sons here linked together in the enjoyment of God’s
blessing, as though to foreshadow the blessed fact that every mercy we
now enjoy is ours for Christ’s sake.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath
blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”

Ephesians 1:3).
16. With Noah and his sons God established His Covenant,
“And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And
I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed
after you” (

Genesis 9:8, 9).
The word “covenant” occurs just seven times in this passage, namely, in
verses 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17. Note, the covenant that God made with
Noah was “an everlasting covenant” (

Genesis 9:16), and so we read
concerning the anti-type —
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord
Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the
everlasting covenant” (

Hebrews 13:20)..104

The ark which was built by Noah according to divine directions, in which
he and his house, together with representatives from the lower creation,
found shelter from the storm of God’s wrath, is one of the clearest and
most comprehensive types of the believer’s salvation in Christ which is to
be found in all the Scriptures. So important do we deem it, we have
decided to devote a separate article to its prayerful and careful
1. The first thing to be noted in connection with the ark is that it was a
Divine provision. This is very clear from the words of

Genesis 6:13, 14

“And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before Me….
make thee an ark.”
Before the flood came and before the ark was made, a means of escape for
His own people existed in the mind of God. The ark was not provided by
Him after the waters had begun to descend. Noah was commanded to
construct it before a drop had fallen. So, too, the Saviourship of Christ was
no afterthought of God when sin had come in and blighted His creation;
from all eternity He had purposed to redeem a people unto Himself, and in
consequence, Christ, in the counsels of the Godhead, was “a lamb slain
from the foundation of the world” (

Revelation 13:8). The ark was
God’s provision for Noah as Christ is God’s provision for sinners.
2. Observe now that God revealed to Noah His own designs and ordered
him to build a place of refuge into which he could flee from the impending
storm of judgment. The ark was no invention of Noah’s; had not God
revealed His thoughts to him, he would have perished along with his fellow
creatures. In like manner, God has to reveal by His Spirit His thoughts of
mercy and grace toward us; otherwise, in our blindness and ignorance we
should be eternally lost.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory
of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:6)..105
3. In the next place, we note that Noah was commanded to make an ark of
gopher-wood (

Genesis 6:14). The material out of which the ark was
built teaches an important lesson. The ark was made, not of steel like our
modern “dreadnoughts,’’ but out of wood. The typical truth which this fact
is designed to teach us lies not on the surface, yet is one that is brought
before us again and again both in the Word and in Nature; the truth, that
life comes out of death, that life can be secured only by sacrifice. Before
the ark could be made, trees must be cut down. That which secured the life
of Noah and his house was obtained by the death of the trees. We have a
hint here, too, of our Lord’s humanity. The trees from which the wood of
the ark was taken were a thing of the earth, reminding us of Isaiah’s
description of Christ — “a root out of a dry ground” (

Isaiah 53:2). So
Christ, who was the eternal Son of God must become the Son of man —
part of that which, originally, was made out of the dust of the earth — and
as such be cut down, or, in the language of prophecy, be “cut off”

Daniel 9:26), before a refuge could be provided for us.
4. The ark was a refuge from Divine judgment. There are three arks
mentioned in Scripture and each of them was a shelter and place of safety.
The ark of Noah secured those within it from the outpoured wrath of God.
The ark of bulrushes (

Exodus 2:3) protected the young child Moses
from the murderous designs of Pharaoh, who was a type of Satan. The ark
of the covenant sheltered the two tables of stone on which were inscribed
the holy law of God. Each ark speaks of Christ, and putting the three
together, we learn that the believer is sheltered from God’s wrath, Satan’s
assaults and the condemnation of the law — the only three things in all the
universe which can threaten or harm us. The ark of Noah was a place of
safety. It was provided by God when death threatened all. It was the only
place of deliverance from the wrath to come, and as such it speaks of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior of lost sinners —
“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other
name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”

Acts 4:12).
5. Into this ark man was invited to come. He was invited by God Himself,
“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into
the ark” (

Genesis 7:1)..106
This is the first time the word “come” is found in the Scriptures, and it
recurs over five hundred times in the remainder of the Bible. Is it not highly
significant that we meet with it here as its first occurrence! A number of
thoughts are suggested by this connection, for several of which we are
indebted to Dr. Thomas’ work on Genesis. Observe that the Lord does not
say “Go into the ark,” but “Come.” “Go” would have been a command,
“Come” was a gracious invitation; “Go” would have implied that the Lord
was bidding Noah depart from Him, “Come” intimated that in the ark the
Lord would be present with him. Is it not the same thought as we have in
the Gospel — “Come unto Me and I will give you rest!” Observe further
that the invitation was a personal one — “Come thou”; God always
addresses Himself to the heart and conscience of the individual. Yet, the
invitation went further —
“Come thou and all thy house into the ark,” and again we find a
parallel in the Gospel of grace in our day: “Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”

Acts 16:31).
6. The ark was a place of absolute security. This truth is seen from several
particulars. First, the ark itself was pitched “within and without with pitch”

Genesis 6:14), hence it would be thoroughly watertight, and as such, a
perfect shelter. No matter how hard it rained or how high the waters rose,
all inside the ark were secure. The ark was in this respect also, a type of
our salvation in Christ. Speaking to the saints, the apostle said,
“Your life is hid (like Noah in the ark) with Christ in God”

Colossians 3:3).
In the next place, we read concerning Noah after he had entered the ark,
“And the Lord shut him in” (

Genesis 7:16). What a blessed word is
this! Noah did not have to take care of himself; having entered the ark,
God was then responsible for his preservation. So it is with those who have
fled to Christ for refuge, they are
“kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be
revealed in the last time” (

1 Peter 1:5).
Finally, the security of all in the ark is seen in the issuing of them forth one
year later on to the destruction-swept earth —.107
“And Noah went forth, and his sons and his wife and his sons’
wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl,
and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went
forth out of the ark” (

Genesis 8:18, 19).
All who had entered that ark had been preserved, none had perished by the
flood, and none had died a natural death, so perfect is the type. How this
reminds us of our Lord’s words,
“Of them which thou gavest Me have I lost none” (

John 18:9).
7. Next we would note what has often been pointed out by others, that the
ark had only one door to it. There was not one entrance for Noah and his
family, another for the animals, and yet another for the birds. One door was
all it had. The same was true later of the tabernacle; it, too, had but a single
entrance. The spiritual application is apparent. There is only one way of
escape from eternal death. There is only one way of deliverance from the
wrath to come. There is only one Savior from the Lake of Fire, and that is
the Lord Jesus Christ —
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the
Father but by Me” (

John 14:6).
The language of our type is directly employed by Christ in

John 10:9,
where we hear Him say, “I am the door.” It is also worthy of attention to
note that Noah was ordered by God to set the door “in the side” of the ark

Genesis 6:16). Surely this pointed forward to the piercing of our
Lord’s “side” (

John 19:34) which was the intimation that the way to the
heart of God is now open to guilty and ruined sinners.
8. The ark had three stories in it,
“with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it”

Genesis 6:16).
Why are we told this? What difference does it make to God’s saints living
four thousand years afterwards how many stories the ark had, whether it
had one or a dozen? Every devout student of the Word has learned that
everything in the Holy Scriptures has some significance and spiritual value.
Necessarily so, for every word of God is pure. When the Holy Spirit
“moved” Moses to write the book of Genesis, He knew that a book was
being written which should be read by the Lord’s people thousands of.108
years later, therefore, what He caused to be written must have in every
instance, something more than a merely local application. “Whatsoever
was written aforetime was written for our learning.” What then are we to
“learn” from the fact that in the ark there were three stories, no less and no
We have already seen that the ark itself unmistakably foreshadowed the
Lord Jesus. Passing through the waters of judgment, being itself
submerged by them; grounding on the seventeenth day of the month — as
we shall see, the day of our Lord’s Resurrection; and affording a shelter to
all who were within it, the ark was a very clear type of Christ. Therefore
the inside of the ark must speak to us of what we have in Christ. Is it not
clear then that the ark divided into three stories more than hints at our
threefold salvation in Christ? The salvation which we have in Christ is a
threefold one, and that in a double sense. It is a salvation which embraces
each part of our threefold constitution, making provision for the
redemption of our spirit, and soul, and body (

1 Thessalonians 5:23);
and further, our salvation is a three tense salvation — we have been saved
from the penalty of sin, are being saved from the power of sin, we shall yet
be saved from the presence of sin.
9. Next, we observe that the ark was furnished with a window and this was
placed “above” —
“A window shalt thou make to the ark and in a cubit shalt thou
finish it above” (

Genesis 6:16).
The spiritual application is patent. Noah and his companions were not to be
looking down on the scene of destruction beneath and around them, but up
toward the living God. The same lesson was taught to Jehovah’s people in
the Wilderness. The pillar of cloud to guide them by day and the pillar of
fire to protect them by night was provided not only for their guidance, but
was furnished for their instruction as well. Israel must look up to the great
Jehovah and not be occupied with the difficulties and dangers of the
wilderness. So, we, called upon to walk by faith, are to journey with our
eyes turned heavenward. Our affection must be set upon” things above, not
on things on the earth” (

Colossians 3:2).
10. The ark was furnished with “rooms” or “nests” —
“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms (margin “nests”) shalt
thou make in the ark” (

Genesis 6:14)..109
In every other passage in the Old Testament where the Hebrew word “gen”
occurs, it is translated “nest.” We hesitate to press the spiritual
signification here; yet, we have seen that the ark is such a striking and
comprehensive type of our salvation in Christ we must believe that this
detail in the picture has some meaning, whether we are able to discern it or
no. The thought which is suggested to us is, that in Christ we have
something more than a refuge, we have a resting place; we are like birds in
their nests, the objects of Another’s loving care. Oh, is it that the “nests” in
the ark look forward to the “many mansions” in the Father’s House? which
our Lord has gone to prepare for us. It is rather curious that there is some
uncertainty about the precise meaning of the Greek word here translated
“mansions.’’ Weymouth renders it, “In My Father’s house are many resting
11. In connection with the ark the great truth of Atonement is typically
presented. This comes out in several particulars:
“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the
ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch”

Genesis 6:14).
The Hebrew word here is not the common one for “pitch” which is
“zetteth,” but is “kapher,” which is translated seventy times in the Old
Testament “to make atonement.” The simple meaning of “kapher” is “to
cover” and nowhere else is it rendered “pitch.” Atonement was made by
the blood which provided a covering for sin. Our readers being familiar
with this thought, there is no need for us to develop it. God is holy, and as
such He is
“of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity”

Habakkuk 1:13),
hence sin must be covered — covered by blood. It is therefore remarkable
that this word “kapher” should be employed (for the first time in Scripture)
in connection with the ark, as though to teach us that a shelter from God’s
wrath can be found only beneath the atoning blood! Again we notice that
the storm fell upon the ark which provided shelter for Noah and those that
were with him. So, too, the clouds of Divine judgment burst upon our
adorable Redeemer as He suffered in our stead: “All Thy waves and thy
billows are gone over Me” (

Psalm 42:7) was His cry; and may not His.110
words here be language pointing back to the very type we are now
12. As others have pointed out, the typical teaching of the ark reaches
beyond the truth of atonement to resurrection itself. We quote here from
the writings of the late Mr. William Lincoln: “There seems no reason to
doubt that the day the ark rested on the mountain of Ararat is identical
with the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. It rested “on the
seventeenth day of the seventh month.” But by the commandment of the
Lord, given at the time of the institution of the feast of the Passover, the
seventh month was changed into the first month. Then three days after the
Passover, which was on the fourteenth day of the month, the Lord, having
passed quite through the waters of judgment, stood in resurrection in the
midst of His disciples, saying, “Peace be unto you.” They, as well as
Himself, had reached the haven of everlasting rest.” But not only does our
type prefigure our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, it also suggests the
truth of His ascension, for we read
“And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of
the month upon the mountains of Ararat” (

Genesis 8:4).
The final resting place of the ark was upon the mountain top, speaking of
the place “on high” where our Savior is now seated at the right hand of
We lay our pen down with a strengthened conviction that the Holy
Scriptures are no mere “cunningly devised fables,” but that they are indeed
the inspired Word of the living God..111

The covenants referred to therein constitute one of the principal keys to the
interpretation of the Old Testament, denoting, as they do, the dividing lines
between the different Dispensations, and indicating the several changes of
procedure in God’s dealings with the earth. At various times God
condescended to enter into a compact with man, and failure to observe the
terms and scope of these compacts necessarily leads to the utmost
confusion. The Word of truth can only be rightly divided as due attention is
paid to the different covenants recorded therein. The covenants varied in
their requirements, in their scope, in their promises and in the seals or signs
connected with them. The inspired history growing out of the covenants
furnishes a signal demonstration of God’s faithfulness and of man’s
faithlessness and failure.
There are exactly seven covenants made by God referred to in Scripture,
neither more nor less.
First, the Adamic which concerned man’s continued enjoyment of Eden on
the condition that he refrained from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree.
But Adam failed to keep his part of the agreement, see

Hosea 6:7
Second, the Noahic which concerned the earth and its seasons, see

Genesis 9.
Third, the Abrahamic which concerned Israel’s occupancy of Palestine,

Genesis 15:18, etc.
Fourth, the Mosaic which concerned Israel’s continued enjoyment of
God’s favors, conditioned by their obedience to His law, see

24:7, 8;

Exodus 34:27.
Fifth, the Levitic which concerned the priesthood, promising that it should
remain in this tribe, see

Numbers 25:12, 13;

Malachi 2:4, 5;

Ezekiel 44:15, which proves God’s faithfulness in respect to this
covenant in the Millennium..112
Sixth, the Davidic which concerns the Kingdom and particularly the
throne, see

2 Samuel 23:5;

2 Chronicles 13:5.
Seventh, the Messianic or New Covenant which concerns the Millennium,

Isaiah 42:6;

Jeremiah 31:31-34. Much might be written
concerning these different covenants, but we limit ourselves to the second,
the Noahic. We wish to say, however, that a careful study of the above
references will richly repay every diligent and prayerful reader.
1. Coming now to the second of these great covenants let us notice the
occasion of it. It was as it were the beginning of a new world. There was
to he a fresh start. With the exception of those who found shelter in the
ark, the flood had completely destroyed both the human family and the
lower orders of creation. On to the destruction-swept earth came Noah and
his family. Noah’s first act was to build, not a house for himself, but an
altar “unto the Lord,” on which he presented burnt offerings. These were,
unto the Lord, a “sweet savor,” and after declaring that He would not
curse the ground any more for man’s sake, and after promising that while
the earth remained its seasons should not cease, we are told “God blessed
Noah and his sons” (

Genesis 9:1). This is the first time that we read of
God blessing any since He had blessed unfallen man in Eden (

1:28). The basis of this “blessing” was the burnt offerings; the design of it
to show that the same Divine favor that was extended to Adam and Eve
should now rest upon the new progenitors of the human race.
Here then we have the second “beginning” of Genesis, a beginning which,
in several respects, resembled the first, particularly in the command to be
fruitful and multiply, and in the subjection of the irrational creature to
man’s dominion. But there is one difference here which it is important to
notice: all now rests upon a covenant of grace based upon shed blood.
Man had forfeited the “blessing” of God and his position as lord of
creation, but grace restores and reinstates him. God makes a covenant with
Noah which in its scope included the beasts of the field (

Genesis 9:2)
who are made to be at peace with him and subject to his authority; and
which in its duration would last while the earth remained. Let us now note:
2. The source of this covenant. At least two of the seven covenants
referred to above (the first and the fourth) were mutual agreements
between God and man, but in the one now before us, God Himself was the
initiator and sole compacter. The whole passage emphasizes the fact that it
was a covenant of God with Noah, and not of Noah with God. God was.113
the giver, man the receiver. Note “I will establish My covenant with you”
(verse 11); “This is the token of the covenant which I make” (verse 12);
“And I will remember My covenant” (verse 15). That this was God’s
covenant with Noah, and that man had no part in the making or keeping of
it is further seen from the following language:
“I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a
covenant between Me and the earth” (verse 13),
“I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and
every living creature of all flesh” (verse 15).
It is further to be noted that God said to Noah “with thee will I establish
My covenant” (

Genesis 6:18). The benefits of it have been enjoyed by
Noah’s posterity, yet the covenant was not made with them. Favor has
been shown to his descendants for Noah’s sake. Similarly, God made a
covenant with Abraham in which He promised to bless his offspring. Thus,
at this early period in human history God was revealing the great principle
by which redemption should afterwards be effected by His Son, namely,
that of representation, the one acting for the many, the many receiving
blessing through the one.
3. The basis of this covenant is seen in the closing verses of

Genesis 8.
The chapter division here is most unfortunate.

Genesis 8 ought to
terminate with the nineteenth verse, the remaining three forming the proper
commencement of the ninth chapter.
“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean
beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the
altar” (

Genesis 8:20)
— the next two verses, and the whole of chapter nine down to the
seventeenth verse, contain Jehovah’s response to Noah’s offering. It is in
these verses we learn God’s answer to the “sweet savor” that ascended
from the altar. This covenant, then, was based upon sacrifice, and being
made by God with Noah, and not by Noah with God, is therefore
unconditionable and inviolable. How blessed to learn from this type that
every temporal blessing which the earth enjoys as well as every spiritual
blessing which is the portion of the saints, accrues to us from the Sacrifice
of the Lord Jesus Christ of whom Noah’s burnt offerings spoke..114
4. The contents of this covenant call for careful consideration. A part of
these has already engaged our attention.
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and
heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease”

Genesis 8:20);
“And I will establish My covenant with you; neither shall all flesh
be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any
more be a flood to destroy the earth” (

Genesis 9:11).
These promises were given more than four thousand years ago, and the
unfailing annual fulfillment of them all through the centuries forms a
striking demonstration of the faithfulness of God. The terms of this
covenant refer us to that which is almost universally lost sight of in these
days, namely, the fact that behind Nature’s “laws” is Nature’s Lord. Men
now seek to shut God out of His own creation. We hear so much of the
science of farming and the laws of diet that our daily bread and the health
of the body are regarded as something that man produces and controls.
Our daily bread is a gift, for without the recurring seasons and God’s
“renewal of the face of the earth” (

Psalm 104:30) man could produce
no grain at all, and the recurring of the seasons and the renewal of the earth
are the fulfillment of the covenant that God made with Noah. A casual
observation of Nature’s “laws” reveals the fact that they are not uniform in
their operation, hence if a Divine Revelation be eliminated man possesses
no guarantee that the seasons may not radically change or that the earth
shall not be destroyed again by a flood. Nature’s “laws” did not prevent the
Deluge in Noah’s day, why should they prevent a recurrence of it in ours?
How blessed for the child of God to turn to the inerrant Word and hear his
Father say, “And I will establish My covenant with you; neither shall all
flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any
more be a flood to destroy the earth!”
5. The design of the covenant is hinted at in the scripture just quoted. The
timeliness and blessedness of such a revelation are apparent. Such an awful
catastrophe as the Flood would shake violently the confidence of men in
the established order of Nature, and distressing apprehensions were likely
to obsess their minds for generations to come. They would be filled with
terror as they feared a repetition of it. It was therefore a merciful act on the
part of God to set their minds at rest and assure His creatures that He
would no more destroy the earth with a flood. It was a wondrous display.115
of His grace, for man had fully shown that he was utterly unworthy of the
least of heaven’s mercies, yet, despite the fact that “the imagination of
man’s heart is evil from his youth,” the Lord said in His heart, “Neither will
I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done” (

8:21). It was also an affirmation of His Creatorship — the varying seasons,
the planets that rule them, the influences of climatic conditions, were all
beneath the control of Him who upholds “all things by the word of His
power” (

Hebrews 1:3).
6. The requirements of the covenant are of deep interest. Though the word
itself does not occur till the eleventh verse of the ninth chapter, a careful
study of the context makes it clear that the covenant itself is expressed in

Genesis 8:22, and that from there on the “covenant” is the one theme
of the entire passage. Three things are included among the Divine
requirements: first, blood must not be eaten; second, the principle of
retributive judgment is clearly enunciated for the first time, capital
punishment as the penalty of murder being now commanded; the human
race was to multiply and people the earth which had been depopulated by
the flood. Let us take a brief look at each of these things.
“But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye
not eat” (

Genesis 9:4).
This is the second passage in Scripture in which the word blood occurs.
Here, as everywhere in the Word, the earliest references forecast in outline
all that is subsequently said upon the subject. The first seven passages in
which the word blood is found contain a complete summary of the teaching
of God’s Word upon this fundamental theme.

Genesis 4:10, 11, gives us the first mention of blood, and here
we learn that the blood cries unto God.

Genesis 9:4-6, here we learn that the blood is the life, and that
blood must be held sacred.

Genesis 37:22, 26, 31, Joseph’s coat is dipped in blood and is
brought to Jacob: here we learn, in type, that the blood of the Son is
presented to the Father.

Genesis 42:22, here we learn that blood is required at the hand
of those who shed it..116

Genesis 49:11, here, in poetic and prophetic language, Judah’s
clothes are said to be washed in the blood of grapes.”

Exodus 4:9, the waters of the Nile are turned into blood,
teaching us that blood is the symbol and expression of God’s judgment
upon sin.

Exodus 12:13, the blood provides a covering and shelter for
Israel from the avenging angel. We say again, that in these passages
which are the first seven in the Scriptures in which blood is referred to,
we discover a marvellously complete summary of all that is
subsequently said about the precious blood. It is deeply significant,
then, that in the first requirement in this covenant, which God made
with Noah, man should be taught to regard the blood as sacred.
We turn now to the second of God’s requirements mentioned here in
connection with His covenant with Noah —
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for
in the image of God made He man” (

Genesis 9:6).
Here we have instituted the principle of all human government. The sword
of magisterial authority is, for the first time, committed into the hands of
man. Before the flood, there does not seem to have been any recognized
form of human government designed for the suppression of crime and the
punishment of evil doers. Cain murdered his brother, but his own life was
spared. Lamech also slew a man, but there is no hint that he had to defend
himself before any tribunal that had been ordained by God. But now, after
the flood, capital punishment as the penalty of murder is ordained,
ordained by God Himself, ordained centuries before the giving of the
Mosaic law, and therefore, universally binding until the end of time. It is
important to observe that the reason for this law is not here based upon the
well-being of man, but is grounded upon the basic fact that man is made “in
the image of God.” This expression has at least a twofold significance — a
natural and a moral. The moral image of God in man was lost at the Fall,
but the natural has been preserved as is clear from

1 Corinthians 11:7,

James 3:9. It is primarily because man is made in the image of God
that it is sinful to slay him.
“To deface the King’s image is a sort of treason among men,
implying a hatred against him, and that if he himself were within
reach, he would be served in the same manner. How much more.117
treasonable, then, must it be to destroy, curse, oppress, or in any
way abuse the image of the King of kings!” (Andrew Fuller’s
Exposition of Genesis).
As we have said above, God’s words to Noah give us the institution of
human government in the earth. The sword of magisterial authority has
been given into the hands of man by God Himself, hence it is we read,
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no
power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of
God” (

Romans 13:1, 2).
We turn now to the third of God’s requirements —
“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the
earth, and multiply therein” (

Genesis 9:7).
This was the renewal of God’s word to Adam (

Genesis 1:28). The
human family was starting out afresh. There was a new beginning. Noah
stood, like Adam stood, as the head of the human race. The need for this
word was obvious. The earth had been depopulated. The human family had
been reduced to eight souls

1 Peter 3:20). If then the purpose of
man’s creation was to be realized, if the earth was to be replenished and
subdued, then must man be “fruitful and multiply.”
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast
of the earth and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth
upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand
are they delivered” (

Genesis 9:2)
is further proof that Noah stood as the new head of the race, the lower
orders of creation being delivered into his hands as they had been into the
hands of Adam.
7. “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between
Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual
generations: I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a
covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I
bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud;…. and
I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between
God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth”.118

Genesis 9:12-16). These verses bring before us the token of the
covenant. In the giving of the rainbow God ratified the promise which He
had made. The bow in the cloud was not only to assure man that no more
would the earth be destroyed by a flood, but it was also the memorial of
the new relationship which God had entered into with His creatures. “His
eye,” and not man’s only, is upon the bow, and thus He gives them
fellowship with Himself in that which speaks of peace in the midst of
trouble, of light in the place of darkness; and what this bow speaks of it is
ours to realize, who have the reality of which all figures speak.
“‘God is light,’ and that which doth make manifest is light.” Science has
told us that the colors which everywhere clothe the face of nature are but
the manifold beauty of the light itself. The pure ray which to us is colorless
is but the harmonious blending of all possible colors. The primary one — a
trinity in unity — from which all others are produced, are blue, red, and
yellow; and the actual color of any object is the result of its capacity to
absorb the rest. If it absorb the red and yellow rays, the thing is blue; if the
blue and yellow, it is red; if the red only, it is green; and so on. Thus the
light paints all nature; and its beauty (which in the individual ray, we have
not eyes for) comes out in partial displays wherein it is broken up for us
and made perceptible.
“‘God is light’; He is Father of lights.” The glory, which in its unbroken
unity is beyond what we have sight for, He reveals to us as distinct
attributes in partial displays which we are more able to take in, and with
these He clothes in some way all the works of His hands. The jewels on the
High Priest’s breastplate the many-colored gems whereon the names of His
people were engraved were thus the “Urim and Thummim” the “Lights and
Perfections,” typically, of God Himself; for His people are identified with
the display of those perfections, those “lights,” in Him more unchangeable
than the typical gems.
“In the rainbow the whole array of these lights manifests itself, the solar
rays reflecting themselves in the storm; the interpretation of which is
simple. “When I bring a cloud over the earth,” says the Lord, “the bow
shall be seen in the cloud; and I (not merely you) will look upon it.” How
blessed to know that the cloud that comes over our sky is of His bringing!
and if so, how sure that some way He will reveal His glory in it! But that is
not all, nor the half; for surely but once has been the full display of the
whole prism of glow, and that in the blackest storm of judgment that ever.119
was; and it is this in the cross of His Son that God above all looks upon
and that He remembers.” (F. W. Grant).
In the rainbow we have more than a hint of grace. As some one has said,
“The bow is directed towards heaven, and arrow to it there is none, as if it
had already been discharged.” There are many parallels between the
rainbow and God’s grace. As the rainbow is the joint product of storm and
sunshine, so grace is the unmerited favor of God appearing on the dark
background of the creature’s sin. As the rainbow is the effect of the sun
shining on the drops of rain in a raincloud, so Divine grace is manifested by
God’s love shining through the blood shed by our blessed Redeemer. As
the rainbow is the telling out of the varied hues of the white light, so the
“manifold grace of God”

1 Peter 4:10) is the ultimate expression of
God’s heart. As Nature knows nothing more exquisitely beautiful than the
rainbow, so heaven itself knows nothing that equals in loveliness the
wonderful grace of our God. As the rainbow is the union of heaven and
earth — spanning the sky and reaching down to the ground — so grace in
the one Mediator has brought together God and men. As the rainbow is a
public sign of God hung out in the heavens that all may see it, so
“the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all
men” (

Titus 2:11).
Finally, as the rainbow has been displayed throughout all the past forty
centuries, so in the ages to come God will shew forth
“the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us,
through Christ Jesus” (

Ephesians 2:7)..120

In our last article we inquired into God’s Covenant with Noah — its basis,
its contents, its requirements, etc. We saw, in the emerging out of the ark
that from Noah and his sons the human family started out afresh. The new
beginning promised well. God entered into a covenant with Noah,
declaring that the earth should not again be destroyed by a flood — thus
did the Lord set the heart of His creatures at rest. Then, we learned that
“God blessed Noah and his sons”; that He caused the fear and dread of
man to fall upon every beast of the field, and “delivered” all the lower
orders of creation into his hands. Further, we discovered that man was now
vested with the sword of magisterial authority, the principle of human
government being ordained and instituted by God Himself.
After such a merciful deliverance from the deluge, after witnessing such a
solemn demonstration of God’s holy wrath against sin, and after being
started out with full provision and Divine assurance, one would have
supposed that the human race, ever after, would adhere to the path of
righteousness — but, alas! The very next thing we read is that
“Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and
he drank of the wine and was drunken, and he was uncovered
within his tent” (

Genesis 9:20, 21).
Scholars tell us that the Hebrew word here for “uncovered” clearly
indicates a deliberate act and not a mere unconscious effect of
drunkenness. The sins of intemperance and impurity are twin sisters! No
wonder the Psalmist was constrained to cry, “What is man that thou art
mindful of him?” What a contrast there is between this section of Genesis
and the last that we considered! Who would have imagined such a tragic
sequel? How evident it is that truth is stranger than fiction.

Genesis 9 brings before us the inauguration of a new beginning and as
we study and ponder what is recorded herein our minds revert to the first
“beginning” of the human race, and careful comparison of the two reveals
the fact that there is a most extraordinary resemblance in the history of
Noah with that of Adam. We would here call attention to a tenfold.121
correspondence or likeness. Adam was placed upon an earth which came
up out of the
“deep and which had previously been dealt with by God in
judgment” (

Genesis 1:12);
so, also, Noah came forth onto an earth which had just emerged from the
waters of the great Deluge sent as a Divine judgment upon sin. Adam was
made lord of creation (

Genesis 1:28) and into the hands of Noah God
also delivered all things (

Genesis 9:2). Adam was “blessed” by God and
told to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (

Genesis 1:28),
and, in like manner, Noah was “blessed” and told to “be fruitful and
multiply and replenish the earth” (

Genesis 9:1). Adam was placed by
God in a garden to “dress and to keep it” (

Genesis 2:15), and Noah
“began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard” (

Genesis 9:20).
In this garden Adam transgressed and fell, and the product of the vineyard
was the occasion of Noah’s sin and fall. The sin of Adam resulted in the
exposure of his nakedness (

Genesis 3:7), and so, too, we read “And he
(Noah) was uncovered within his tent” (

Genesis 9:21). Adam’s
nakedness was covered by another (

Genesis 3:21); thus also was it with
Noah (

Genesis 9:23). Adam’s sin brought a terrible curse upon his
posterity (

Romans 5:12), and so did Noah’s too (

Genesis 24:24,
25). Adam had three sons — Cain, Abel and Seth, the last of which was
the one through whom the promised Seed came; and here again the
analogy holds good, for Noah also had three sons — Japheth, Ham and
Shem, the last mentioned being the one from whom descended the Messiah
and Savior. Almost immediately after Adam’s fall a wonderful prophecy
was given containing in outline the history of redemption (

3:15); and almost immediately after Noah’s fall, a remarkable prophecy
was uttered containing in outline the history of the great races of the earth.
Thus does history repeat itself.
“planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine and was drunken, and
he was uncovered within his tent” (

Genesis 9:21).
As we read these words we are reminded of the Holy Spirit’s comment
upon the Old Testament Scriptures —
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our
learning” (

Romans 15:4)..122
What then are we to “learn” from this narration of Noah’s sad fall?
First, we discover a striking proof of the Divine inspiration of the
scriptures. In the Bible human nature is painted in its true colors: the
characters of its heroes are faithfully depicted, the sins of its most
prominent personages are frankly recorded. It is human to err, but it is also
human to conceal the blemishes of those we admire. Had the Bible been a
human production, had it been written by uninspired historians, the defects
of its leading characters would have been ignored, or if recorded at all, an
attempt at extenuation would have been made. Had some human admirer
chronicled the history of Noah, his awful fall would have been omitted. The
fact that it is recorded and that no effort is made to excuse his sin, is
evidence that the characters of the Bible are painted in the colors of truth
and nature, that such characters were not sketched by human pens, that
Moses and the other historians must have written by Divine inspiration.
Second, we learn from Noah’s fall that man at his best estate is altogether
vanity, in other words, we see the utter and total depravity of human

Genesis 9 deals with the beginning of a new dispensation, and
like those which preceded it and those which followed it, this also opened
with failure. Whatever the test may be, man is unable to stand. Placed in an
environment which the besom of destruction had swept clean; a solemn
warning of the judgment of heaven upon evil-doers only recently spread
before him; the blessing of God pronounced upon him, the sword of
magisterial authority placed in his hand, Noah, nevertheless, fails to govern
himself and falls into open wickedness. Learn then that man is essentially
“evil” (

Matthew 7:11) and that naught avails but “a new creation”

Galatians 6:15).
Third, we learn from Noah’s fall the danger of using wine and the awful
evils that attend intemperance. It is surely significant and designed as a
solemn warning that the first time wine is referred to in the Scriptures it is
found associated with drunkenness, shame and a curse. Solemn are the
denunciations of the Word upon drunkenness, a sin which, despite all the
efforts of temperance reformers, is, taking the world as a whole, still on the
increase. Drunkenness is a sin against God, for it is the abusing of His
mercies; it is a sin against our neighbors, for it deprives those who are in
want of their necessary supplies and sets before them an evil example; it is
a sin against ourself, for it robs of usefulness, self-government and.123
common decency. Moreover, drunkenness commonly leads to other evils.
It did in Noah’s case; Noah’s sin gave occasion for his son to sin.
Fourth, in Noah’s sin we learn our need of watchfulness and prayer. A
believer is never immune from falling. The evil nature is still within us and
nothing but constant dependency upon God can enable us to withstand the
solicitations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. “Let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall” is a word that every saint needs daily to
take to heart. Neither age nor character is any security in the hour of
testing. Here was a man who had withstood the temptations of an evil
world for six hundred years, yet nevertheless, he now succumbs to the lusts
of the flesh. And this is one of the things which is written for “our
admonition” (

1 Corinthians 10:11). Then let us not sit in judgment
upon Noah with pharisaical complacency, rather let us “consider ourselves,
lest we also be tempted” (

Galatians 6:1). No experience of God’s
mercies in the past can deliver us from exposure to new temptations in the
Finally, Noah’s fall utters a solemn warning to every servant of God. It is
deeply significant that following this prophecy, recorded in the closing
verses of

Genesis 9, nothing whatever save his death is recorded about
Noah after his terrible fall. The last three hundred years of his life are a
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by
any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a
castaway” (

1 Corinthians 9:27).
Having dwelt at some length upon Noah’s fall and the lessons it is designed
to teach us, we turn now to examine the prophecy which he uttered
immediately after. Three things will engage our attention: the occasion of
this prophecy, the meaning of this prophecy, and the fulfillment of it.
1. The occasion of Noah’s prophecy. The setting of it is a remarkable one.
The terrible fall of the illustrious patriarch and the wonderful prediction he
uttered concerning the future history of the three great divisions of the
human family are placed in juxtaposition. The fact that the Holy Spirit has
thus joined these two together is a striking illustration of the truth that
God’s ways are different from ours. The devout student of the Word has
learnt that not only are the very words of Scripture inspired of God, but
that their arrangement and order also evidence a wisdom that transcends.124
the human. What then are we to learn from this linking together of Noah’s
fall and Noah’s prophecy?
In seeking an answer to our last question we need to observe the scope of
the prophecy itself. Noah’s prediction contains an outline sketch of the
history of the nations of the world. The great races of the earth are here
seen in their embryonic condition: they are traced to their common source,
through Shem, Ham end Japheth, back to Noah. The nature of the stream
is determined by the character of the fountain — a bitter fountain cannot
send forth sweet waters. The type of fruit is governed by the order of the
tree — a corrupt tree cannot produce wholesome fruit. Noah is the
fountain, and what sort of a stream could flow from such a fountain! Read
again the sad recital of Noah’s fall and of Ham’s wickedness and then ask,
what must be the fruit which springs from such a tree, what must be the
harvest that is reaped from such a sowing! What will be the history of the
races that spring from Noah’s three sons? What can it be? A history that
began by Noah abusing God’s mercies; a history that commenced with the
head of the new race failing, completely, to govern himself; a history that
started with Ham’s shameful impropriety can have only one course and
end. It began with human failure, it has continued thus, and it will end thus.
Here then is the answer to our question: Why is Noah’s prophecy, which
sketches the history of the three great races of mankind, linked to Noah’s
fall? The two are joined together as cause and effect, as premise and
conclusion, as sowing and harvest!
It was written of old that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with
God.” A striking illustration of this is discovered today in the wicked
writings of the self-termed “Higher Critics.” These blind leaders of the
blind aim to degrade God’s Word to the level of human productions and in
this remarkable prophecy of Noah regarding his sons they see nothing more
than a hasty ejaculation caused by the knowledge of his humiliation and
expressed in this curse and blessing. That these words of Noah were not
uttered to gratify any feeling of resentment, but were spoken under a
Divine impulse is proven by the fulfillment of the prophecy itself. A very
superficial acquaintance with the facts of ancient history will evidence the
fact that there is far more in Noah’s words than a local expression of
indignation and gratitude. A careful comparison of other scriptures shows
that this utterance of Noah was a prophecy and its remarkable fulfillment
demonstrates that it was a Divine revelation..125
“And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be
unto his brethren. “And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem;
and Canaan shall be his servant.“God shall enlarge Japheth, and he
shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Caanan shall be his servant”

Genesis 9:25-27).
2. Let us consider now the meaning of Noah’s prophecy. This utterance
consists of two parts: a malediction and a benediction. Noah’s prediction
concerning his sons corresponds with their conduct on the occasion of their
father’s drunkenness. Fearful had been the fall of Noah, but it was a still
greater sin for Ham, on discovering the sad condition of his parent, to go
out and report with malignant pleasure to his brethren. It is “fools” who
“make a mock of sin” (

Proverbs 14:9). For a child to expose and sneer
at his parent’s fall was wickedness of the worst kind, and evidenced a heart
thoroughly depraved.
In the curse passed upon Canaan we find an exceedingly solemn instance of
the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children. In this day of human
pride and scepticism, when everything is questioned and challenged, men
have dared to criticise the ethics of this hereditary law. It has been termed
unmerciful and unjust. The humble believer does not attempt to pry into
things which are too deep for him, it is enough for him that the thrice holy
God has instituted this law and therefore he knows it is a righteous one
whether he can see the justice of it or no.
Ham’s sin consisted of an utter failure to honor his father. He was lacking,
altogether, in filial love. Had he really cared for his father at all he would
have acted as his brothers did; but instead, he manifested a total disrespect
for and subjection unto his parent. And mark the fearful consequence: he
reaped exactly as he had sown — Ham sinned as a son and was punished in
his son! The punishment meted out to Ham was that his son shall be
brought into subjection to others, his descendants shall be compelled to
honor, yea, “serve” others — “servant of servants” (verse 25) implies the
lowest drudgery, slavery.
It is to be noted that the “curse” uttered by Noah did not fall directly on
Ham but upon one of his sons, the fourth — “Canaan “ (

Genesis 10:6).
As we shall seek to show, this curse was not confined to Canaan but
embraced all the descendants of Ham. It is highly probable that “Canaan”
was specifically singled out from the rest of his brethren as a special
encouragement to the Israelites who, centuries later, were to go up and.126
occupy the Promised land. Moses would thus be taught by the Holy Spirit
that a special curse rested upon the then occupants of the land, i.e., the
Canaanites. Yet, as we have said, all of Ham’s children appear to have
been included within the scope of this malediction as is evident from the
fact that no blessing at all was pronounced upon Ham as was the case with
each of his brothers.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his
servant” (verse 26).
The reward of Shem was in the sphere of religious privileges. The Divine
title employed here supplies the key. In the following verse we read, “God
shall enlarge Japheth,” but here “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem,” this
being the title expressive of covenant relationship. God was to enter into
covenant relationship with the children of Shem. The realization that
Jehovah was to be the God of Shem caused Noah to break forth into
thanksgiving — “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.”
“God shall enlarge Japheth” (verse 27).
The word Japheth means “enlargement” so that here there was a play upon
words. “And he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” This expression is
somewhat ambiguous, the obscurity being occasioned by the difficulty to
ascertain the antecedent. Scholars and students have differed as to whether
the “he” refers to God or to Japheth dwelling in the tents of Shem.
Personally, we incline toward the latter alternative, though we believe that
each of them has been verified in subsequent history. May it not be that the
Holy Spirit has designedly left it uncertain, to show that both
interpretations are true? Sure it is that God did dwell in the tents of Shem,
and equally sure is it that the descendants of Japheth are now doing so.
3. The fulfillment of Noah’s prophecy. The wonderful prediction uttered
by the builder of the Ark gives in a few brief sentences the history of the
new world, and shows the positions that were delegated by God to the
three great divisions of the human family. In the closing verses of

Genesis 9 we have a remarkable unfolding of the future destinies of the
new humanity. The various parts which are to be played in human history
by its leading characters are now made known. The subjection of one, the
religious preeminence of the second, and the enlarging of the third head of
the postdiluvian race, is here revealed..127
“Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his
brethren” (verse 25).
Above, we intimated that as no blessing at all was pronounced upon Ham
as was the ease with each of his brothers, it would seem that the curse was
not intended to be limited to Canaan (there being a particular reason why
Canaan should be thus singled out, namely, as an encouragement to the
Israelites,) but included all of his children. By tracing the history of Ham’s
other sons it becomes evident that the scope of Noah’s prophecy reached
beyond Canaan. Nimrod sprang from Ham through Cush (

Genesis 10:6-
8), and he founded the city and empire Babylon. Mizraim was another of
Ham’s children and he was the father of the Egyptians (

Genesis 10:6

Psalm 78:51). For a time Babylon and Egypt waxed great, but
subsequently both of them were reduced to subjection, first by the Persians
who descended from Shem, and later by the Greeks and Romans who were
the children of Japheth. And from these early subjugations they have never
recovered themselves. The whole of Africa was peopled by the
descendants of Ham, and for many centuries the greater part of that
continent lay under the dominion of the Romans, Saracens, and Turks.
And, as is well known, the negroes who were for so long the slaves of
Europeans and Americans, also claim Ham as their progenitor.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his
servant” (verse 26).
Two things are promised here: Jehovah was to be the God of Shem and
Canaan was to be his servant. Shem was “the father of all the children of
Eber,” that is, the Hebrews (

Genesis 10:21). Thus, in the Hebrews, the
knowledge and worship of God was preserved in the family of Shem. The
fulfillment of this part of the prophecy is well known to our readers. God
was in a peculiar sense the God of the Hebrews —
“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their
God” (

Exodus 29:45).
And again,
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth”

Amos 3:2).
“And Canaan shall be his (Shem’s) servant.” This received its first
fulfillment in the days of Joshua —.128
“And Joshua made them (the Gibeonites) hewers of wood and
drawers of water for the congregation” (

Joshua 9:27).
The following scriptures set forth its further accomplishment:
“And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the
Canaanites to tribute” (

Judges 1:28).
“And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites,
Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of
Israel, their children that were left after them in the land, whom the
children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those
did Solomon levy a tribute of bond service unto this day” (

Kings 9:20, 21).
“God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem”
(verse 27).
Two things were also predicted of Japheth: first, he should be enlarged;
second, he should dwell in the tents of Shem or, in other words, should
receive blessing from Shem. The accomplishment of this prediction is
witnessed to by history both sacred and secular. Those nations which have
been most enlarged by God have descended from Japheth. The Greeks and
the Romans who in their time dominated practically all of the then known
world; and more recently the European Powers who have entered into the
rich possessions of Asia (inhabited by the children of Shem); and, today,
the Anglo-Saxon race, which occupies more territory than any other
people, are all the descendants of Noah’s firstborn! In

Genesis 10,
where a list of Japheth’s sons is found, we read, “By these were the isles of
the Gentiles divided in their lands.”
“And he shall dwell in the tents of Shem” intimates that Japheth was to be
Shem’s guest, that he should share the rest and shelter of Shem’s
tabernacles. How remarkably has this prophecy been fulfilled spiritually!
“The revelation which we prize is that of the God of Israel; the Savior in
whom we trust is the seed of Abraham; the Old Testament was written
principally for Israel; and the New Testament though written in a Japhetic
tongue, and, therefore for us, was penned by Jewish fingers” (Urquhart).
To this may be added the words of our Lord, “Salvation is of the Jews”

John 4:22); and that remarkable statement of the Apostle Paul’s in

Romans 11 where, writing of the Gentiles, he says, “And thou, being a
wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them (Israel), and with them.129
partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (verse 17). Thus do we
see Japheth “dwelling in the tents of Shem.”
Who but He who knows the end from the beginning could have outlined
the whole course of the three great divisions of the postdiluvian race so
tersely and so accurately!.130

GENESIS 10, 11

Genesis 10 and 11 we have the historical links which connect for us
the time of Noah with the days of Abraham. Uninteresting as they may
appear to the casual reader they furnish most valuable information to the
prayerful student. Without these two chapters and the genealogies which
they contain, we should be quite unable to trace the fulfillment of Noah’s
wonderful prophecy; we should be without any satisfactory solution to the
ethnological problem presented by the variety and number of the different
nations and tongues; and, we should be left in ignorance concerning the
cause (from the human side) which led up to God abandoning His dealings
with the nations and singling out Abram to be the father of His chosen
people Israel.

Genesis 10 and 11 give us the history of the postdiluvian world; they
show us the ways of men in this new world — in revolt against God and
seeking to glorify and deify themselves; and they set before us the
principles and judgments upon which this world is founded. For the
understanding of the chapters it is necessary to pay careful attention to
their structure and chronology. Chapter eleven historically antedates much

Genesis 10, furnishing us with a commentary upon it. Verses eight to
twelve of chapter ten and verses one to nine of chapter eleven should be
read as two parentheses. Reading them thus, we find, that outside of these
parentheses, these chapters furnish us with the genealogical descent of
Abram from Noah. Upon these genealogies and origins of the various
nations we shall not now comment, preferring to dwell at some length on
the parenthetical portions.
Like everything else in Genesis, the historical events recorded in these brief
parentheses are remarkable in their typical significance and reach. In the
clearer and fuller light of the New Testament we cannot fail to see that
Nimrod foreshadowed the last great World-Ruler before our Lord
descends to earth and ushers in His millennial reign It is deeply significant
that the person and history of Nimrod are here introduced at the point
immediately preceding God calling Abram from among the Gentiles and
bringing him into the Promised Land. So will it be again in the near future..131
Just before God gathers Abraham’s descendants from out of the lands of
the Gentiles (many, perhaps the majority of whom will be found dwelling at
that very time in Assyria, — see

Isaiah 11:11), there will arise one who
will fill out the picture here typically outlined by Nimrod. We refer of
course to the Antichrist. As the Antichrist is a subject of such interest and
importance — his manifestation being now so near at hand — we digress
for a moment to say one or two things about him.
To begin at the beginning. We need not remind our readers that Satan is
the avowed and age-long enemy of God and that all through the course of
human history he has been opposing his Maker and seeking to secure the
scepter of earth’s sovereignty. Further, we need not dwell upon the fact, so
plainly revealed in Scripture, that Satan is an imitator, parodying and
counterfeiting the ways and things of the Lord. But the climax of all
Satan’s schemes has not yet become history, though the inspired Word
shows us clearly what form this climax will assume. God’s purposes for
this earth are to be realized and consummated in a man, “the man Christ
Jesus” who will yet reign over it as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Satan’s designs will also head up in a man, “the man of Sin” who will for a
short season reign over the earth as its acknowledged King. This man will
be, preeminently, energized by Satan himself (

2 Thessalonians 2:9). He
will assume the right to enforce his autocratic dictates on all alike —
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and
bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads;
and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the
name of the beast, or the number of his name” (

13:16, 17).
He it was who was before the Psalmist when he said,
“He (Christ) shall wound the head over many countries”

Psalm 110:6).
He was the one pictured by the prophet when he wrote — “Yea also,
because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at
home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be
satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all
people,” etc., see

Habakkuk 2:1-8. This Man of Sin (

Thessalonians 2:3) will be the super-man of whom the world is even now
talking about, and for whom it is so rapidly being prepared. He will be the.132
“Lord of Light” — the great Mahatma — for whom Theosophists and
Bahaists are looking.
The Antichrist is not only the subject of Old Testament prophecy, but he is
also the subject of Old Testament typology. Most of the characters brought
before us in Old Testament history are types of one of two men — the
Christ or the Antichrist. Much attention has been paid to the study of and
much has been written about those personages which foreshadowed our
blessed Lord, but much less thought has been devoted to the consideration
of those who prefigured the Man of Sin. A wide field here lies open for
investigation, and we doubt not that as his appearing draws nigh the Holy
Spirit will furnish additional light on this little-studied subject.
One of those who foreshadowed the Antichrist was Nimrod. In at least
seven particulars can the analogy be clearly traced.
First: his very name describes that which will be the most prominent
characteristic of all in the one whom he typifies. “Nimrod” means “the
Rebel,” reminding us of one of the titles of the Antichrist, found in

Thessalonians 2:8 — “The Lawless One” R.V.
Second: the form which Nimrod’s rebellion assumed was to head a great
confederacy in open revolt against God. This confederacy is described in
Genesis eleven and that it was an organized revolt against Jehovah is clear
from the language of

Genesis 10:9 — “Nimrod, the mighty hunter
before the Lord,” which (as we shall see) means that he pushed his own
designs in brazen defiance of his Maker. Thus it will be with the Antichrist;
of him it is written,
“And the King shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt
himself and magnify himself above every god (ruler), and shall
speak marvellous things against the God of Gods, and shall prosper
till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall
be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the
desire of women, nor regard any god, for he shall magnify himself
above all” (

Daniel 11:36, 37).
Third: four times over the word “mighty” is used to describe Nimrod.
Here again we are reminded of the Lawless One of whom it is said
“Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all
power and signs and lying wonders” (

2 Thessalonians 2:9)..133
Fourth: Nimrod was a “hunter” (

Genesis 10:9), probably a hunter of
men. This is precisely what the Lawless One will be. In

Psalm 5:6 he is
denominated “the bloody and deceitful man.”
Fifth: Nimrod was a “king “ — the beginning of his kingdom was Babel

Genesis 10:10), and, as we have seen in

Daniel 11:36 the Antichrist
is also termed “king.”
Sixth: Nimrod’s headquarters were in Babylon, see

Genesis 10:10 and
11:1-9; so also, we find the Man of Sin is called “the king of Babylon”

Isaiah 14:4), and in the Apocalypse he is connected with “mystery
Babylon” (

Revelation 17:3-5).
Seventh: Nimrod’s supreme ambition and desire was to make to himself a
name. He had an inordinate desire for fame. Here, too the antitype agrees
with the type. “Pride” is spoken of as the condemnation of the Devil: it was
an impious ambition which brought about his downfall. The Man of Sin
will be fully possessed by Satan, hence, an insatiable pride will possess him.
It is this Satanic egotism which will cause him to oppose and
“exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so
that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he
is God” (

2 Thessalonians 2:4).
We have now prepared the way for a more detailed, yet brief, exposition of
the two parenthetical portions of

Genesis 10 and 11.
“And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the
earth” (

Genesis 10:8).
The first thing we note here is that Nimrod was a descendant of Ham,
through Cush; in other words, he sprang from that branch of Noah’s family
on which rested the “curse.” Next, we observe that it is said, “he began to
be mighty,” which seems to suggest the idea that he struggled for the
preeminence, and by mere force of will obtained it. Finally, we observe that
he “began to be mighty in the earth.” The intimation appears to be that of
conquest or subjugation, as though he became a leader and ruler over men,
as indeed he did.
“He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; wherefore it is said, Even
as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord” (

Genesis 10:9)..134
In so brief a description the repetition of these words, “mighty hunter
before the Lord” are significant. Three times in

Genesis 10 and again in

1 Chronicles 1:10 the word “mighty” is applied to Nimrod. The Hebrew
word is “gibbor,” and is translated in the Old Testament “chief” and
“chieftain.” The verse in Chronicles is in perfect agreement with these in
Genesis — “And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be mighty upon the
earth.” The Chaldee paraphrase of this verse says, “Cush begat Nimrod
who began to prevail in wickedness, for he slew innocent blood and
rebelled against Jehovah.” Observe, “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” If
we compare this expression with a similar one in

Genesis 6:11 — “The
earth also (in the days of Noah) was corrupt before God,” the impression
conveyed is that this “Rebel” pursued his own impious and ambitious
designs in brazen and open defiance of the Almighty. As we shall see, the
contents of Genesis eleven confirm this interpretation.
“And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel”

Genesis 10:10).
Here is the key to the first nine verses of the eleventh chapter. Here we
have the first mention of Babel, and like the first mention of anything in
Scripture this one demands careful consideration. In the language of that
time Babel meant “the gate of God” but afterwards, because of the
judgments which God inflicted there, it came to mean “Confusion,” and
from here onwards this is its force or meaning. By coupling together the
various hints which the Holy Spirit has here given us we learn that Nimrod
organized not only an imperial government over which he presided as king,
but that he instituted a new and idolatrous worship. If the type is perfect,
and we believe it is, then like the Lawless One will yet do, Nimrod
demanded and received Divine honors; in all probability it is just here that
we have the introduction of idolatry. Here, again, we learn how
wonderfully the first mention of anything in Scripture defines its future
scope; from this point Babylon in Scripture stands for that which is in
opposition to God and His people — it was a Babylonish garment

Joshua 7:21) which led to the first sin in the promised land, while from

Revelation 17 we learn that Romanism, which will gather into itself the
whole of apostate Christendom, is termed “Mystery Babylon.”
Out of that land he went forth into Assyria (marginal rendering) and
builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen, between
Nineveh and Calah; the same is a great city” (

Genesis 10:11, 12). From.135
these statements we gather the impression that Nimrod’s ambition was to
establish a world-empire. But we must turn now to the next chapter,
asking our readers to study carefully the first nine verses in the light of
what we have said above.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And
it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a
plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there” (

These geographical and topographical references have a moral force, just
as we read of “going down to Egypt,” but “up to Jerusalem.” Here we are
told that men journeyed “from the east,” i.e., turned their backs upon the
sunrise. Note further, “a plain (not a “mountain”) in the land of Shinar.”
Nimrod is not mentioned at all in

Genesis 11, but from the statements
made in the previous chapter we learn that he was the “chief” and “king”
which organized and headed the movement and rebellion here described.
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose
top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be
scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”

Genesis 11:4).
Here we discover a most blatant defiance of God, a deliberate refusal to
obey His command given through Noah. He had said, “Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth” (

Genesis 9:1); but they said, “Let us
make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole
As we have seen, Nimrod’s ambition was to establish a world-empire. To
accomplish this two things were necessary. First, a center of unity, a city
headquarters; and second, a motive for the encouragement and inspiration
of his followers. This latter was supplied in the “let us make us a name.” It
was an inordinate desire for fame. Nimrod’s aim was to keep mankind all
together under his own leadership “lest we be scattered.” The idea of the
“tower” (considered in the light of its setting) seems to be that of strength
— a stronghold — rather than eminence.
“And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all
one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be
restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us.136
go down, and there confound their language, that they may not
understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them
abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off
to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel
(Confusion); because the Lord did there confound the language of
all the earth, and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad
upon the face of all the earth” (

Genesis 11:6-9).
Another crisis had arrived in the history of the world. Once again the
human race was guilty of the sin of apostasy. Therefore did God intervene,
brought Nimrod’s schemes to naught by confounding the speech of his
subjects and scattered them throughout the earth. Here was one of the
mightiest and most far-reaching miracles of history. It finds no parallel until
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost when another
miracle of “tongues” was performed. The effect of God’s intervention was
the origination of the different nations and after the destruction of the
Tower of Babel we get the formation of the “world” as we now have it. At
this point the nations were abandoned to their own devices — “God gave
them up” (

Romans 1) — but not until the race had twice enjoyed a
revelation of God’s mercy (first to Adam and then to Noah) and had twice
forsaken Him before and now, after the Deluge.
To sum up. In Nimrod and his schemes we see Satan’s initial attempt to
raise up a universal ruler of men. In his inordinate desire for fame, in the
mighty power which he wielded, in his ruthless and brutal methods-suggested
by the word “hunter”; in his blatant defiance of the Creator,
(seen in his utter disregard for His command to replenish the earth,) by
determining to prevent his subjects from being scattered abroad; in his
founding of the kingdom of Babylon — the Gate of God — thus
arrogating to himself Divine honors; inasmuch as the Holy Spirit has placed
the record of these things immediately before the inspired account of God’s
bringing Abram into Canaan — pointing forward to the re-gathering of
Israel in Palestine immediately after the overthrow of the Lawless One; and
finally, in the fact that the destruction of his kingdom is described in the
“Let us go down and there confound their language”

Genesis 11:7
— foreshadowing so marvellously the descent of Christ from Heaven to
vanquish His impious Rival, we cannot fail to see that there is here, beneath.137
the historical narrative, something deeper than that which appears on the
surface; yea, that there is here a complete typical picture of the person,
work and destruction of the Anti-christ.
Much more might have been written upon this interesting and suggestive
incident, but we trust sufficient has been said to indicate the broad outlines
of its typical teaching and to stimulate others to further study for the filling
in of the details..138

We have now reached a section of this book which is of surpassing interest
and one that is full of important lessons for those who are members of the
household of faith. The passage for our present consideration introduces us
to the third great section of Genesis. As its name intimates, Genesis is the
book of Beginnings. Its literary structure is true to its title for the whole of
its contents center around three beginnings.
First there is the beginning of the human race in Adam;
Second, there is the new beginning on the post-diluvian earth in Noah
and his sons;
Third, there is the beginning of the Chosen Nation in Abram. Thus in
Genesis we have three great “beginnings,” and therefore as three is the
number of the Godhead, we see how in this first book of the Divine
Library, the very autograph of Deity is stamped on the opening pages
of Holy Writ as though anticipating and rebuking the modern assaults
on this book by the Evolutionists and Higher Critics.
The relative importance (we do not say “value”) of the three main divisions
of Genesis is indicated by their respective dimensions. The first two
divisions cover a period of not less than two thousand years, yet, but
eleven chapters are devoted to this section of human history; whereas the
third division, covering scarcely four hundred years, contains no less than
thirty-nine chapters. More than three-fourths of the book is occupied with
narrating the lives of Abram and the first three generations of his
While it is true that the first two divisions of the book are embraced by the
first eleven chapters in Genesis, yet, from a literary viewpoint, it would
really be more correct to regard these chapters as a preface, not only to the
remaining twenty-nine chapters of Genesis, but also to the entire Old
Testament, and, we may add, of the Bible as a whole. This Divine
“preface” is given to explain that which is made known in all that follows.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis are really the foundation on which
rests the remainder of the Old Testament. They trace in rapid review the.139
line of descent from Adam to Abram. It has been well said concerning the
book of Genesis that “as the root to the stem so are chapters 1-11 to 12-
50, and as the stem to the tree so is Genesis to the rest of the Bible.” One
of the main purposes of Genesis is to reveal to us the origin and beginnings
of the Nation of Israel, and in the first eleven chapters we are shown the
different steps by which Israel became a separate and Divinely chosen
nation. In

Genesis 10 and 11 the entire human race is before us, but

Genesis 12 onwards attention is directed to one man and his

Genesis 12 brings before us Abram — “the father of all them that
believe.” Abram whose name was subsequently changed to Abraham the
most illustrious personage in ancient history. Abraham! venerated by Jews,
Christians and Mohammedans. Abraham! the progenitor of the nation of
Israel. Abraham! termed “the friend of God.” Abraham! from whom,
according to the flesh, our Lord came. Surely we shall be richly repaid if
we devote our most diligent attention to the prayerful study of the life of
such a man. The present article will serve to introduce a short series of
papers which will be given to the consideration of the history of one who,
in several respects, was the most eminent of all the patriarchs.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country
and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that
I will show thee” (

Genesis 12:1).
The tense of the verb here looks back to an incident which was referred to
by Stephen and which is recorded in

Acts 7:2, 3 —
“The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he
was in Mesopotamia before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and come into
the land which I shall show thee.”
Three things here call for a brief comment; first, the Divine title used in this
connection; second, the fact of the Lord’s “appearing,” and third, His
communication to Abram.
The Divine title which is used here is found in only one other scripture,

Psalm 29, which is one of the Millennial Psalms “The voice of
the Lord is upon the waters, the God of Glory thundereth” (verse 3). That
this is a Millennial Psalm is clear from verse 10 — “The Lord sitteth upon
the flood yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.” Closely connected with the.140
above Divine title is the one by which the Lord Jesus is designated in

Psalm 24 (another Millennial Psalm) — “Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come
in” (verse 7). Thus we see that this title is peculiarly a Kingdom title, and
therefore, when Jehovah appeared to the father of the Kingdom people, it
was as “The God of Glory.” The appropriateness of this title is further
evident from the religious state of Abram and his fathers at the time that
God appeared to him, namely, a state of Idolatry. The “God of Glory” was
in vivid contrast from the “other gods” mentioned in

Joshua 24:2.
“The God of Glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in
Mesopotamia.” This is the first recorded “appearing” of God after the
banishment of our parents from Eden. It was probably the earliest of all the
theo-phanic manifestations that we read of in the Old Testament and which
anticipated the Incarnation as well as marked the successive revelations of
God to men. We do not hear of God appearing to Abel or Noah. Great
then was the privilege thus conferred upon the one who afterwards was
termed the “friend of God.” We turn now to consider the terms of the
Divine communication received by Abram.
And God said unto him “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and come into the land which I shall show thee.” This command from God
came to Abram in Mesopotamia, in the city of Ur of the Chaldees, which
was situated near to the Persian Gulf. The time of Abram’s call is
significant. It occurred shortly after the destruction of Babel and dispersion
of the nations. As we endeavored to show in our last paper, even in that
early day, men had added to their other offenses against God, the sin of
idolatry. A scripture which throws considerable light upon the religious
conditions that prevailed throughout the earth in the days immediately
preceding the Call of Abram is to be found in

Romans 1 —
“When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were
thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish
heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became
fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image
made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts,
and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to
uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts to dishonor their
own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God
into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the.141
Creator, who is blessed for ever” (verses 21-25, and read to end of

Genesis 5:28).
Three times over in this solemn passage we read “God gave them up,” that
is, He turned away from those who had first turned from Him. We believe
the historical reference here is to

Genesis 11. It was at that time God
abandoned the nations, suffering them all to “walk in their own ways”

Acts 14:16, and compare

Amos 3:3). The family from which Abram
sprang was no exception to the general rule, his progenitors were idolaters
too as we learn from

Joshua 24:2 —
“Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, your fathers dwelt on the other
side of the flood in old time even Terah, the father of Abraham and
the father of Nachor and they served other gods.”
Here then is the setting of the incident now before us. Having abandoned
(temporarily) the nations, God now singles out a man from whom the
Chosen Nation was to spring. Having dealt in judgment (at Babel) God
now deals in grace. This has been, and will ever be, true of all God’s
dealings. According to His infinite wisdom, judgment (which is His
“strange” work) only serves to prepare the way for greater manifestations
of His redeeming love. God’s judgment upon Israel resulted in the
enriching of the Gentiles. The outpouring of Divine wrath in the
Tribulation period will be but the precursor of Millennial blessedness. And,
we may add, the judgment of the great white throne will be followed by the
new heaven and new earth wherein righteousness shall “dwell” and upon
which the tabernacle of God shall be with men. Thus it was of old. The
overthrow of Babel and the scattering of the nations was followed by the
call of Abraham to be the father of a divinely governed nation which was to
be a witness for God, the depository of His revelation, and ultimately, the
channel through which His blessing should flow to all the families of the
The lesson to be learned here is a deeply important one. The connection
between Genesis eleven and twelve is highly significant. The Lord God
determined to have a people of His own by the calling of grace, but it was
not until all the claims of the natural man had been repudiated by his own
wickedness that Divine clemency was free to flow forth. In other words, it
was not until the utter depravity of man had been fully demonstrated by the
antediluvians, and again at Babel, that God dealt with Abram in sovereign
grace. That it was grace and grace alone, sovereign grace, which called.142
Abram is seen in his natural state when God first appeared to him. There
was nothing whatever in the object of His choice which commended him to
God. There was nothing whatever in Abram which merited God’s esteem.
The cause of election must always be traced to God’s will. Election itself is
“of grace” (

Romans 11:5), therefore it depends in no wise upon any
worthiness in the object — either actual or foreseen. If it did, it would not
be “of grace.” That it was not a question of worthiness in Abram is clear
from the language of

Isaiah 51:1, 2 —
“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the
Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn and to the hole of the
pit whence ye are digged. LOOK UNTO ABRAHAM your father, and
unto Sarah that bare you.”
While God’s dealings are never arbitrary, yet their raison d’etre must ever
be found in His own sovereign pleasure.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country,
and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house unto a land that I
will show thee” (

Genesis 12:1).
As we have seen from

Acts 7:3 this call from God came to Abram at his
home in Mesopotamia. It was a call which demanded absolute confidence
in and obedience to the word of Jehovah. It was a call of separation from
the ties of the natural man. This is a marked advance upon that which we
studied in connection with our previous patriarch. The connection between
the histories and experiences of Noah and Abraham is most instructive.
Noah passing through the judgment of the old world and coming forth
upon a new earth, represents the acceptance of the believer in Christ, with
a new standing ground before God. Abram called upon to separate himself
from his home and kindred and bidden to go out into a place which
afterwards God would give him for an inheritance, typifies the one whose
citizenship is in heaven but who is still in the world, and in consequence,
called upon to walk by faith and live as a stranger and pilgrim on the earth.
In a word, Abram illustrates the heavenly calling of those who are
members of the body of Christ.
In Abram we have exhibited the life of faith which is just what we shall
expect, seeing that he is termed “the father of all them that believe.” The
call of Abram shows us the starting-point of the life of faith. The first
requirement is separation from the world and from our place in it by.143
nature. Abram was called upon to leave his “kindred” as well as his
“country.” Terah was an idolater, whereas Abram had become a believer in
the living God, therefore it was expedient that Terah should be left behind
for “how can two walk together except they be agreed.” Even the closest
ties of human affection cannot unite souls which are sundered by opposite
motives, the one possessing treasure in heaven and the other having nought
save that which moth and rust doth corrupt and which thieves may steal.
In order to learn what response Abram made to God’s call it is necessary
to revert again to the previous chapter —
“And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s
son and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they
went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land
of Canaan and they came unto Haran and dwelt there” (

From these words we discover a two-fold failure on Abram’s part. Three
things were commanded him by God; he was to leave his own country, he
was to separate himself from his kindred, and he was to go forth unto a
land which Jehovah had promised to show him. In respect to the first
requirement Abram obeyed, but with reference to the last two he failed. He
left Chaldea, but instead of separating himself from his kindred, Terah his
father and Lot his nephew accompanied him. Terah means “delay,” and
thus it proved. Terah’s accompanying Abram resulted in a delay of at least
five years in Haran, which word means “parched”!
Abram’s response to
God’s call then, was partial and slow, for observe that in

Isaiah 51:2 we
are expressly told that God called Abram “alone,” yet in the end he
“obeyed.” How beautiful it is to note that when we come to the New
Testament Abram’s failure is not mentioned —
“By faith Abram, when he was called to go out into a place which
he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out,
not knowing whither he went” (

Hebrews 11:8),
his obedience in leaving Ur is thus singled out, but no notice is here taken
by the Holy Spirit of his disobedience in taking his “kindred” with him —
that sin, with all of his others, had been “blotted out”!
“Get thee out” was Jehovah’s command, and His commands are not
grievous. The Lord’s commands are rarely accompanied with reasons but.144
they are always accompanied with promises, either exprest or understood.
So it was in Abram’s case. Said the Lord:
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and
make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing”

Genesis 12:2).
In the first place it is to be observed, however, that this promise was
couched in very general terms and in a manner calculated to test Abram’s
faith. “Get thee out….. unto a land,” not unto “a land flowing with milk
and honey.” And again, “unto a land that I will show thee” as yet there was
no assurance that God was going to give it to him and his seed. In the
second place it is to be noted that the promise corresponds closely with the
command. The command included a threefold requirement and the promise
embraced a threefold blessing.” “And I will make of thee a great nation,”
this was compensation for the loss of country. The nation from which he
sprang had fallen into gross idolatry and ultimately perished beneath God’s
judgments; but from Abram God would make a great nation.” “And I will
bless thee,” the blessing of Jehovah would more than make up for any loss
of carnal joys he would lose by leaving his “kindred.” “And make thy name
great.” He was to leave his father’s house, but God would make of him the
head of a new house, even the house of Israel, on account of which he
would be known and venerated the world over. In the third place, it should
be pointed out that this promise included within its scope the call and
blessing of the Gentiles. Abram’s response to God’s demand was to be the
first link in a series of Divine interpositions by which God’s mercy might be
extended to the whole earth. “And thou shalt be a blessing.” Abraham
was not merely the subject of Divine blessing, but a medium of blessing to
others. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth
thee.” Here we see Jehovah identifying the cause of Abram with His own.
“And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This part of the
promise received a partial fulfillment in the birth of Him who was
according to the flesh, “the son of Abraham” (

Matthew 1:1), but its
complete and ultimate fulfillment looks forward to the Millennium, for then
it will be that all families of the earth shall receive blessing through Abram
and his seed.
“So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot
went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he
departed out of Haran” (

Genesis 12:4)..145
As we have seen, instead of journeying unto Canaan, Abram tarried at
Haran. It was not until after Terah’s death that Abram left Haran and came
into Canaan. It was death which broke the link which bound Abram to
Haran —
“Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in
Charran (Greek for “Haran”) and from thence, when his father was
dead he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell”

Acts 7:4).
So it is with all his spiritual children. It is death which separates the
believer from that which by nature unites him with the old creation —
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto
the world” (

Galatians 6:14).
“And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the
land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land
unto the place of Sichem, and unto the place (oak) of Moreh”

Genesis 12:5, 6).
Abram did not enter into occupation of Canaan, he merely” passed through
the land.” As we read in

Acts 7:5 —
“the (God) gave him none inheritance in it, not so much as to set
his foot on: Yet He promised that He would give it to him for a
possession and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.”
Abram first halted at Sichem (Shecham) which signifies “shoulder” — the
place of strength, unto the oak of Moreh which means “instruction.” How
significant! What a lesson for us! It is only as we separate ourselves from
the world and walk in the path marked out for us by God that we reach the
place where strength is to be found, and, it is only thus that we can enter
into fellowship with and learn from Him in whom are hid all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge. “And the Canaanite was then in the land”
(verse 6) — to challenge and contest the occupation of it, just as the hosts
of wickedness are in present occupancy of the heavenlies to wrestle with
those who are partakers of the heavenly calling..146
“And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I
give this land, and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who
appeared unto him” (

Genesis 12:7).
There is no record of Abram receiving any further revelation from God
until His call had been fully obeyed, but now that he had left Ur and Haran
behind him and had actually arrived in the land, Jehovah appeared once
more unto him. At the first appearing God called him to go unto a land that
He would show him, and now He rewards Abram’s faith and obedience by
promising to give this land unto his seed. Thus does the Lord lead His
children step by step. At the first appearing the God of Glory called upon
Abram to separate himself from his place by nature; but at this second
appearing He reveals Himself to Abram for communion, and the result is
that Abram erects an altar. There was no “altar” for Abram in Ur or
Haran. It is not until there is real separation from the world that fellowship
with God is possible. First the obedience of faith and then communion and
“And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of
Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hat on
the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called
upon the name of the Lord” (

Genesis 12:8).
How significant! Bethel means “the house of God” while Hat signifies “a
heap of ruin,” and it was between them that Abram pitched his tent —
typical of the sphere of the believer’s present path, with the old creation (a
ruin) on the one side and the house of God (on high) on the other. Observe
the two objects here: “tent” and the “altar” — symbols of that which
characterizes a walk in separation with God, the one speaking of the
pilgrim life and the other of dependency upon and worship of God. Note,
too, the order of mention: we must first be strangers and pilgrims on the
earth before acceptable worship is possible.
And now we come to the second failure of Abram, namely, his leaving
Canaan and going down into Egypt. Concerning this incident we can here
say only a few words. First it is to be noted that, “Abram journeyed, going
on still toward the south” (verse 9). This geographical reference is deeply
significant: southward was Egyptward! When the “famine” overtook
Abram his face was already toward Egypt..147
“And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to
sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land” (verse 10). This is
the first mention in Scripture of Egypt, and like all its subsequent
references, so here, it stands for that which is a constant menace to the
people of God symbolizing, as it does, alliance with the world and reliance
upon the arm of flesh —
“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help and stay on horses,
and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen,
because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One
of Israel, neither seek the Lord!” (

Isaiah 31:1).
The famine was sent as a trial of Abram’s faith. A famine in the Land of
Promise. What a test of faith!
“God would see whether he had such confidence in His goodness
that even famine could not shake it. Alas, Abram did as we are all
prone to do, he sought relief from all his difficulties, rather than
profit by the trial” (Ridout).
Observe that when this famine came there was no seeking counsel from the
Lord. Abram was prompted by the wisdom of the flesh which ever
suggests relief in means and human help, in fact, anything rather than in the
living God. O, the inconsistencies of God’s children! Faith in God with
regard to our eternal interest, but afraid to confide in Him for the supply of
our temporal needs. Here was a man who had journeyed all the way from
Chaldea to Canaan on the bare word of Jehovah and yet was now afraid to
trust Him in the time of famine. Sad that it should be so, but how like us
One sin leads to another. Failure in our love to God always results in
failure in our love to our neighbor. Down in Egypt Abram practices
deception and denies that Sarai is his wife, thus endangering the honor of
the one who was nearest and should have been dearest to him. Alas! What
is man? But Jehovah would not allow His purposes to be frustrated —
“If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny
Himself” (

2 Timothy 2:13).
So it was here. The Lord interposed —.148
“And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues
because of Sarai, Abram’s wife” (verse 17).
The sequel is found in the next chapter.
“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he
had….. and he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel,
unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between
Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made
there at the first, and there Abram called on the name of the Lord”

Genesis 13:1, 3, 4).
He returned to the very place he had left. He repented and “did the first
works.” Abram’s sojourn in Egypt was so much lost time.
We cannot close this paper without first seeking to gather up in a few
words the practical and deeply important lessons here recorded for our
1. The call which came to Abram comes to each one of his believing
children — the call for absolute confidence in God; the call to take Him at
His word and step out in simple and unquestioning faith; the call to
separate ourselves from the world to a life of pilgrimage in dependency
upon Jehovah.
2. The trial of Abram’s faith is also the lot of all his children. Profession
must be tested and at times the meal in the barrel will run very low. The
failure of Abram is a solemn warning against being occupied with
circumstances instead of with God. Look not at the famine but unto God’s
3. Beware of going down to Egypt. The friendship of the world is enmity
with God. Time spent in Egypt is wasted. Days lived out of communion
with God produce nought but “wood, hay and stubble.”
4. As you see in the failures of Abram the sad record of your own history,
marvel anew at the long sufferance of God which deals in such infinite
patience and grace with His erring and ungrateful children..149

In our last article we followed Abraham from Ur of Chaldea to Haran, and
from Haran to Canaan. We saw that after he had arrived in the land to
which God called him, a famine arose, and his faith failing him in the hour
of crisis, Abraham, accompanied by Lot, sought refuge in Egypt. Our
present study reveals some of the results of the patriarch’s backsliding.
While God, in faithfulness and grace, restored His wandering child, yet the
effects of his departure from the path of faith were manifested soon
afterwards and continued to harass him the remainder of his days. The
principle of sowing and reaping is of universal application and is true of
believers equally as much as unbelievers. Two things Abraham obtained
from his sojourn in Egypt, each of which proved a hindrance and curse,
though in the end both were overruled by God for His own glory. We refer
to them here in the inverse order of their mention in Genesis.
“And Sara, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, after
Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to
her husband, Abram, to be his wife” (

Genesis 16:3).
During their stay in Egypt, Sarah took unto her the maid, Hagar. The
strife, the jealousy, the trouble which Hagar introduced into the patriarch’s
household is well known, the climax of it all being seen in Ishmael (Hagar’s
son) “mocking Isaac” (

Genesis 21:9) and his subsequent expulsion from
Abram’s tent.
The second thing which Abraham seems to have obtained in Egypt was
great earthly possessions —
“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife and all that he
had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in
cattle, in silver, and in gold” (

Genesis 13:1, 2).
This is the first time we read of Abram’s “cattle,” and it is deeply
significant that shortly afterwards these very flocks and herds became the
occasion of strife between him and his nephew. It also deserves to be
noticed that this is the first mention of “riches” in Scripture, and, as now,.150
so then, they pierced their possessor through with “many sorrows” (

Timothy 6:10).
“And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and
tents” (

Genesis 13:5).
Till now we hear nothing of Lot since he left Haran, but he appears to have
been one of Abram’s family and to have gone with him wherever he went.
The characters and careers of Abram and Lot present a series of sharp
antitheses. Throughout the biographical portions of Scripture we find the
Holy Spirit frequently brings together two men of widely different
character and placing them in juxtaposition so that we might the better
learn the salutary lessons He would teach us. Abel and Cain, Moses and
Aaron, Samuel and Saul, David and Solomon, are well known examples of
this principle. In almost every respect Lot compares unfavorably with
Abram. Abram walked by faith, Lot by sight. Abram was generous and
magnanimous; Lot greedy and worldly. Abram looked for a city whose
builder and maker was God; Lot made his home in a city that was built by
man and destroyed by God. Abram was the father of all who believe; Lot
was father of those whose name is a perpetual infamy. Abram was made
“heir of the world” (

Romans 4:3), while the curtain falls upon Lot with
all his possessions destroyed in Sodom, and himself dwelling in a “cave”

Genesis 19:30).
The history of Lot is a peculiarly tragic one and for that reason full of
“admonition” for us upon whom the ends of the ages have come. We
attempt nothing more than a rapid sketch of it, considering:
This is described in

Genesis 13:
“And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell
together, for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell
together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s
cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle” (verses 6 and 7).
How often “strife” between kinsmen has been brought about by earthly
possessions and wealth! The record is very terse, but there can be little
doubt as to who was to blame. The subsequent conduct of Lot and the
Lord’s rewarding of Abram indicate plainly that it was Lot who was in the
wrong. Nor is the cause far to seek. Lot had brought with him out of Egypt.151
something else besides “herds and flocks” — he had contracted its spirit
and acquired a taste for its “fleshpots.”
“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee,
between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen;
for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate
thyself, I pray thee, from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I
will go to the right; or, if thou depart to the right hand, then I will
go to the left” (verses 8, 9).
Abram foresaw there was danger of a falling out between himself and his
nephew, that what had begun with the servants would probably end with
the masters. Deprecating the thought of friction between brethren, he
proposed that they should separate. The wisdom which is from above is
first pure and then peaceable. In spirit, Abram carried out the letter of the
Divine admonition: “As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
The proposal made by Abram to his nephew was exceedingly generous,
and in his greed, Lot took full advantage of it. Instead of leaving the choice
to Abram, we read:
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that
it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom
and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of
Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain
of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east, and they separated themselves
the one from the other” (verses 10, 11).
Observe, that Lot “Lifted up his eyes and beheld.” In other words, he
preferred to walk by sight, rather than by faith. How impossible then for
Lot to remain with Abram! How can two walk together except they be
agreed? Abram “endured as seeing him who is invisible,” while Lot’s heart
was set upon the things of time and sense. Hence, we are told, “they could
not dwell together” (verse 6) — it was a moral impossibility.
Lot “lifted up his eyes.” This was the commencement, outwardly, at least,
of a decline which ended in the utmost shame. Eye-gate is one of the
avenues through which temptations assail the soul:
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the
eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”

1 John 2:16)..152
Walking by sight is the cause of most of our failures and sorrows. So it
was at the beginning:
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make
one wise, she took of the fruit thereof” (

Genesis 3:6).
Mark, too, the confession of Achan:
“When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment and
two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels
weight, then I coveted them and took them” (

Joshua 7:21).
How significant the order here I saw, I coveted, I took! So it was with Lot:
first he lifted up his eyes and beheld, and then he “chose him.” How
significant are the closing words of

Genesis 13:10:
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that
it was well watered everywhere…. Even as the garden of the Lord,
like the land of Egypt,”
which shows us that Lot was still attached to “Egypt” in heart. But how
true it is that “the Lord seeth not as man seeth” (

1 Samuel 16:7)! To the
worldly eye of Lot all the plain appeared “well watered and as the garden
of the Lord,” but to the holy eye of Jehovah the cities of the plain were
peopled by those who were “wicked and sinners before the Lord
exceedingly” (verse 13); “before the Lord,” shows us what it was that His
eyes dwelt upon. We consider next,
“Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed
eastward: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of
the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (verses 11, 12).
The various steps in the downward course of Lot are plainly marked out.
First, he “lifted up his eyes and beheld.”
Second, he “chose him all the plain of Jordan.”
Third, he “separated” himself from Abram..153
Fourth, he “dwelt in the cities of the plain.”
Fifth, he “pitched his tent toward Sodom.”
Sixth, he “dwelt in Sodom” (

Genesis 14:12).
Finally, we see him an alderman of Sodom, seated in its “gate”

Genesis 19:1) and his daughters wedded to men of Sodom.
Behold how great a fire a little matter kindleth. From a lifting up of the
eyes to behold the land and seek pasturage for his flocks, to becoming an
official in the city of wickedness! Like leprosy, sin has often a seemingly
small beginning, but how rapid its spread, how loathsome its issue, how
dreadful its end! Similar was the course of the Apostle Peter: the denial of
his Lord was no sudden, isolated act, but the sequel and climax of an
antecedent chain. There was first the boasting self-confidence, “Though all
shall be offended, yet will not I” (

Mark 14:29). Then there was the
“sleeping” in the garden when he should have been watching and praying

Mark 14:37). Then there was the following Christ “afar off”

Matthew 26:58). Then there was the seating of himself at the fire in the
presence of his Lord’s enemies (

Matthew 26:69). And then, amid these
evil associates, came the awful denial and cursing.
And what did Lot gain by his separation from Abram and sojourn in
Sodom? Nothing at all. Instead of gaining, he was the loser. The men of
Sodom were “wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” and Lot
was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. For that righteous
man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul
from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (

2 Peter 2:7, 8). Consider
In the first place notice how, in His faithfulness and grace, God had given
Lot a very definite warning. From

Genesis 14 we learn that in the battle
between the four kings with the five,
“they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their
victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s
son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed” (verses 11,
Yet though Lot lost all his goods and seems to have been in imminent
danger of losing his life but for the timely intervention of Abram with his
armed servants, nevertheless, this experience failed to teach Lot the evil of
being associated with the world, but he recovered his freedom and his
property only to return unto Sodom. Alas! what is man? Even God’s
providential dealings are insufficient to move his heart.
The contents of

Genesis 18 and 19 are so familiar to our readers that no
lengthy exposition is needed. The Lord Himself makes known to His
“friend” what He is about to do; but no such revelation was vouchsafed
Lot who was altogether out of communion with Jehovah. The “secret of
the Lord” is only with them that “fear Him.” The two angels who
accompanied the Lord to Abram’s tent, go forward to Sodom, the Lord
Himself remaining behind, and with Him Abram intercedes on behalf of the
righteous who may be in the doomed city.
The two angels found Lot sitting in the gate of Sodom and in response to
his request that they partake of his hospitality, said, “Nay, but we will abide
in the street all night.” Their reluctance to enter Lot’s dwelling — in
marked contrast with their fellowship with Abram — intimates the
condition of Lot’s soul. Observe, too, that it was “in the heat of the day”

Genesis 18:1) that they visited Abram; whereas, it was “even”

Genesis 19:1) when they appeared to his nephew. The utter meanness
and selfishness of Lot’s character was quickly exhibited in the
contemptible proposal to sacrifice his daughters to the men of Sodom in
order to secure his own preservation and peace (

Genesis 19:8). The
powerlessness of his testimony appeared in the response made by his
“sons-in-law” when he warned them that the Lord was about to destroy the
city — “he seemed as one that mocked” (

Genesis 19:14); his words had
now no weight because of his previous ways. The words
“while he lingered, the men (the angels) laid hold upon his hand”

Genesis 19:16)
show plainly where his heart was. The summary judgment which overtook
his wife and the fearful crime of his daughters was a terrible harvest from
his sowing to the flesh.
The deliverance of Lot was a remarkable instance of God’s care for His
own. Lot was living far below his privileges, and manifestly was out of
communion with the Lord, yet he was a “righteous man” (

2 Peter 2:7,.155
8) and therefore was he snatched as a brand from the burning. Blessed be
His name,
“He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself”

2 Timothy 2:13).
Just as a shelter was provided for Noah, just as Israel was protected from
the avenging angel, so with Lot. Said the angel to him,
“I cannot do anything till thou be come thither” (

Genesis 19:22).
We cannot leave this section without noticing the obvious connection
between Lot’s deliverance from Sodom and Abram’s intercession for him.
The particular word employed by Abram in his supplications was deeply
significant. Said he, “Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the
wicked?” (

Genesis 18:23, and compare verses 24, 25, 26, 28), which is
the very word which the Holy Spirit employs in

2 Peter 2:8! May we
not also see in Abram here a type of our blessed Lord? Lot was delivered
from the kings by Abram’s sword and from God’s judgment upon Sodom
by Abram’s supplications. And are not these the instruments (if we may so
speak) employed by our Savior! He delivers His own from the (defilements
of) the world by the Word — the sword — see

John 13, and when they
sin He acts as their Advocate with the Father (

1 John 2:1).
It only remains for us now to point out a few of the leading lessons
brought out in

Genesis 13 and 19. Let us notice:
Mysterious are the ways of Him with whom we have to do. The “strife”
which God permitted to arise between the herdmen of Abram and Lot was
designed for the carrying out of His own counsel. The declared purpose of
God was to separate Abram from the land of his birth and from his own
kinsmen, in order to educate him and his in the knowledge and obedience
of Jehovah. God called Abram “alone” (

Isaiah 51:2), yet at least two of
his relatives accompanied him when he left Ur of the Chaldees. But, in the
end, God’s purpose was realized. Terah, Abram’s father, died at Haran.
Lot accompanied him into the land of Canaan, but it is obvious that a
worldly spirit like his, together with his own separate and large
encampment imbued, no doubt, with the spirit of its chief and over which it
would be difficult if not impossible for Abram to exercise authority, could
not help forward the Divine purpose. In the separation of Lot from Abram,.156
then, we see the departure of the last of his kinsfolk, and now Abram is left
“alone” with God! Verily,
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel
of the Lord that shall stand” (

Proverbs 19:21).
Let us consider,
The proposal which Abram made to his nephew was exceedingly gracious
and beautiful. Abram was the senior, and the one to whom God had
promised to give the land (

Genesis 12:7), yet, he generously waived his
rights, and “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering,” he
forebore with Lot in love. Note carefully his words, “Is not the whole land
before thee” (

Genesis 13:9). Gladly did Abram surrender every claim
and forego every right to put a stop to this strife between “brethren.”
In the waiving of his rights Abram foreshadowed that One who was made,
according to the flesh, “the son of Abraham” (

Matthew 1:1). He who
was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God
voluntarily waived His rights and took upon Him the form of a servant. All
power in heaven and earth was His, yet He suffered Himself to be led as a
lamb to the slaughter, and though He had the right to summon twelve
legions of angels to come and do His bidding, He waived it and refused to
give the command. Though He did no sin, had no sin, was without sin, and
as such death had no claim upon Him, yet was He “made sin for us” and
became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Yes, He “waived
His rights” and He has left us an example that we should follow His steps.
We mention three without dwelling upon them at any length:
First, his choice of residence. Surely this needed lesson is writ large across
the story of Lot’s life. He preferred the “well-watered” plains above
Abram’s “altar.” He regarded temporal advantages only, and had no
regard for his spiritual welfare. Alas! how many believers are there now
who, when seeking a location for themselves and family follow his evil
example. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness ought to
regulate our every decision..157
Second, his yielding to the spirit of worldliness. Lot seems to be a type of
that class of Christians who aim to make the best of both worlds, who are
really occupied more with the things of earth than the things of heaven. Lot
was a man who sowed to the flesh, and of the flesh he reaped corruption.
Temporal prosperity was what he sought, but in the end he lost even his
worldly possessions. His life on earth was a wretched failure, made up
entirely of “wood, hay, stubble.” There was no witnessing for God and no
blessing of God upon his family. Lot is a concrete warning, a danger signal,
for all Christians who feel a tendency to be carried away by the things of
the world.
Third, his miserable end. Wretched, indeed, must have been the closing
days of Lot — cowering in a cave, stript of all his earthly possessions, his
sons-in-law destroyed in Sodom, his wife turned to a pillar of salt, and he
left face to face with the fruit of his own awful sin..158

Our last chapter was concerned with Abraham and Lot. We touched upon
the first part of

Genesis 13, which records the strife that came between
their herdmen, the prompt measures taken by the patriarch to put an end to
the friction, the generous offer which he made his nephew, and Lot’s
leaving Abram and journeying to Sodom. In this present paper we continue
our study of the career of the father of all that believe, resuming at the
point where we left him in our last.
“And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from
him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art
northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the
land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for
ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a
man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be
numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the
breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (

Genesis 13:14-17).
Abraham was now alone, and yet not alone, for the Lord was with him and
gracious was the revelation that He made of Himself. It was with a true
concern for God’s glory that Abram had suggested Lot’s separating from
him. “There was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the
herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in
the land” (verse 7). Abram could not endure the thought of “strife”
between brethren in the presence of the Lord’s enemies — would that
God’s children today were equally reluctant to bring reproach upon the
holy name they bear.
God did not allow His child to lose by his magnanimous offer to Lot,
made, as we have said, out of consideration for God’s glory. To Lot
Abram had said,
“Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee,
from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right
hand; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left..159
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan,” etc.
(verses 9, 10);
and now Jehovah appears to Abram and says, “Lift up now thine eyes and
look” (verse 14). O, what a contrast! Lot “lifted up his eyes” at the dictate
of worldly interests; Abram lifted up his to behold the gift of God. Thus
does our ever faithful God delight to honor those who honor Him. The
student will note there are three passages in Genesis where it is said that
Abram “lifted up his eyes.”
First, here in

Genesis 13:14, when he beheld “the land”;
Second, in

Genesis 18:2, when he beheld “three men,” one of
whom was the Lord Himself;
Third, in

Genesis 22:13, when he beheld the substitute — “a ram
caught in a thicket.”
Above we have said that Abram was now alone. At last the purpose of
God is realized. God “called him alone” (

Isaiah 51:2). He had said
“Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into
the land which I shall shew thee” (

Acts 7:3),
but to this command Abram had rendered but a tardy and partial
obedience. Both his father and nephew accompanied him as he left
Chaldea, and instead of journeying straight to Canaan, he stopped short at
Haran where he “dwelt” until the death of Terah (

Genesis 11:31, 32).
Yet even now the Divine command was not fully obeyed — into the land
of God’s call Abram came, Lot still with him. But now, at the point we
have reached, Lot has taken his departure and Abram (with Sarai) is left
alone with God. And is it not deeply significant that not until now did the
Lord say,
“For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy
seed for ever” (verse 15);
Observe carefully the ascending scale in God’s promises to Abram. In
Chaldea God promised to “shew” Abram the land (

Genesis 12:1). Then,
when Abram had actually entered it and arrived at Sichem the Lord
promised to “give” the land unto his seed — “And the Lord appeared unto
Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land (

Genesis 12:7). But
now — now that he is at last separated from the last of his “ kindred “ —.160
God promises to give “all the land” unto Abram himself. Furthermore, it is
to be noted that not until now does God say to Abram,
“Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth
of it” (verse 17),
which intimated that God would have Abram appropriate His gift. Abram
was to “feel at home” in the land as though the title deeds of it were
already in his hands. Do we not discover in all this a striking illustration of
an all important principle in God’s dealings with His own people. How
often our unbelief limits the outflow of Divine grace! An imperfect and
circumscribed obedience prevents our enjoying much that God has for us.
As a further illustration compare and contrast Caleb and the inheritance
which he obtained for “following the Lord fully” (

Numbers 14:24).
In the words
“Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth
of it” (verse 17)
another important truth is suggested — appropriation. It was as though
God had said to Abram,! have called you into this land, I have given it to
you and your seed, now enjoy it. He was to travel through it, to look upon
it as already his — his by faith, for he had God’s word for it. As another
has said, “He was to act towards it as if he were already in absolute
possession.” And is not this what God invites His people to do today? We,
too, have received a call to separate ourselves from the world. We, too,
have been begotten unto an inheritance, an inheritance which is
“incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in
heaven.” And now we, too, are bidden to “walk through the land in the
length of it and in the breadth of it.” In other words, we are called to the
exercise of faith; to look not at the things that are seen, but at the things
which are unseen; to set our affection upon things above, and not upon
things below. In brief, we are to make our own, to appropriate and enjoy
the things which God has promised us. It is unbelief which hinders us from
enjoying to the full what is already ours in the purpose of God. Mark that
word through the prophet Obadiah,
“But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be
holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions”
(verse 17)..161
In the Millennium Israel will fully “possess their possessions.” We say
“fully possess” for they have never done so in the past. And why? Because
of unbelief. Then let us fear, lest there be in us also an evil heart of
“Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of
Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord”

Genesis 13:18).
The connection between this statement and the immediate context is also
full of instruction. “Mamre” signifies fatness and “Hebron” means
fellowship. Notice the opening word “then”: it was not until Lot had left
him and Abram was fully in the will of the Lord that Hebron — fellowship
— is now mentioned for the first time! It is disobedience that hinders full
fellowship with Jehovah. And, note, too, that Abram “built there an altar
unto the Lord.” Fellowship resulted in worship! This is ever the order:
obedience, fatness of soul, fellowship, worship. Confirmatory of these
remarks, is it not significant that this very “Hebron” became the inheritance
and portion of Caleb who “followed the Lord fully! —
“Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of
Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day; because that he wholly
followed the Lord God of Israel” (

Joshua 14:14).

Genesis 14 opens with a brief account of the first war mentioned in
Scripture. It would be beside our purpose to pause and examine in detail
what is here recorded of the four and five kings,
our present purpose is
to note Abram’s connection and dealings with them. The outcome of the
conflict was the capture of Lot and his possessions (verse 12). As another
has said,
“He had laid up treasures for himself on earth, and the thieves had
broken through.”
One who had escaped brought intelligence to Abram that his nephew had
been captured.
It is beautiful to observe the effect of this intelligence upon our patriarch.
Abram was not indifferent to his nephew’s well-being. There was no root
of bitterness in him. There was no callous, “Well, this is none of my doing:
he must reap what he has sown.” Promptly he goes to the aid of the one in
distress. But note it was not in the energy of the flesh that he acted. It was.162
no mere tie of nature that prompted Abram here — “When Abram heard
that his brother (not his ‘nephew’) was taken captive.’’ A brother — a
spiritual brother — was in need, and so he
“armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred
and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan” (

Genesis 14:14).
And has this no voice for us today? Surely the spiritual application is
obvious. How often is a “brother” taken captive by the enemy, and the
word comes,
“Ye, which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted

Galatians 6:1).
But only too often the call falls upon ears that are dull of hearing. Only too
often, our prided separation from evil leads to independence and
indifference. Alas! that it should be so. How different from our blessed
Lord, who leaves the ninety and nine and goes after the sheep that has
strayed, and rests not until it is found and restored!
“The righteous are bold as a lion” (

Proverbs 28:1).
When the news came that Lot was a prisoner in the hands of a mighty
warrior, Abram showed no hesitation but immediately set out in pursuit of
the victorious army, and taking the initiative was quickly successful in
rescuing his nephew.
“And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night,
and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left
hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also
brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also,
and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after
his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and of the kings that
were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the kings’ dale”

Genesis 14:15-17).
It is just at this point that a very remarkable personage is brought before
us, namely, Melchizedek. Much has been said and written about him. Some
have thought he was Shem who was a contemporary of Abram’s for a
hundred years; but this cannot be, for we are distinctly informed
concerning Melchizedek that he was “without father, without mother”.163

Hebrews 7:3), which, as we shall see, means that Scripture is
absolutely silent concerning his genealogy. This then disposes of the Shem
theory, for we do know who his father was. Others have concluded that he
was Christ Himself, but this supposition is equally unscriptural for we are
told that Melchizedek is “made like unto the Son of God” and that Christ’s
priesthood is “after the similitude of Melchizedek” (

Hebrews 7:3, 15),
which could not be said if Melchizedek were Christ Himself. Still others
have supposed that he was some mysterious celestial being, but that is
emphatically negatived by

Hebrews 7:4, where Melchizedek is expressly
called a “man.”
In the words “made like unto the Son of God” (

Hebrews 7:3) we have
the key to the mystery which centers around Melchizedek. Melchizedek
was a type of Christ, and particularly a type of our Lord’s priesthood.
There are other points of resemblance which we shall consider below, but
the first point of analogy between Melchizedek and the Son of God singled
out by the Holy Spirit in

Hebrews 7 is that he is “without father,
without mother, without descendant, having neither beginning of days nor
end of life.” This does not mean that Melehizedek was a supernatural, a
divine being, but that he is presented to us in the Old Testament as without
father or mother, etc. In other words, the silence of the Old Testament
Scriptures concerning his parentage has a designed significance. The entire
omission of any reference to Melchizedek’s ancestry, birth or death, was
ordered by the Holy Spirit (who “moved” Moses both in what he inserted
and what he left out of the Genesis narrative) in order to present a perfect
type of the Lord Jesus. No information concerning the genealogy of
Melchizedek is recorded in Genesis, which is a book that abounds in
genealogies. This is an instance where speech is silvern and silence golden.
The silence was in order that there might be a nearer approximation
between the type and the glorious antitype.
Not only was Melehizedek a type of our Lord in the fact that he is
presented to us in Genesis as being “without father, without mother,” but
also in a number of other important particulars. Melchizedek was a priest
— “the priest of the Most High God” (

Genesis 14:18). But not only so,
he was a king — “King of Salem “ — and therefore a royal priest. In the
person of Melchizedek the offices of priest and king were combined, and
thus was he a notable type of our great High Priest who according to the
flesh was not of the tribe of Levi, but of the tribe of Judah, the royal tribe

Hebrews 7:14). Not only was Melchizedek a type of the royal.164
priesthood of Christ by virtue of his office as King of Salem (which means
“peace”) but his name also had a typical significance. “Melehizedek” means
“king of righteousness.” Here again there is a wonderful and blessed
bringing together of things which out of Christ are divorced. Not only did
Melchizedek combine in his person the offices of king and priest, but in his
titles he united righteousness and peace. Melchizedek was both king of
righteousness and king of peace and thus did he foreshadow the blessed
result of the cross work of our adorable Lord, for it was at the Cross that
“mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed
each other” (

Psalm 85:10).
Observe the order of mention in

Hebrews 7:2,
“to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by
interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that also King of
Salem, which is, King of Peace.”
This is ever God’s order. God cannot be at peace with guilty rebels until
the claims of His throne have been met. Only upon a righteous basis can
peace be established.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of
righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (

Isaiah 32:17).
This is unfolded at length in the Epistle to the Romans, and particularly in

Romans 3:21-26, God’s righteousness was “declared” at the Cross
where the Lord Jesus made propitiation and fully satisfied every demand of
the thrice holy God. There it is that the great “work of righteousness” was
accomplished, the effect of which is peace. As it is written,
“Having made peace through the blood of His Cross”

Colossians 1:20).
The benefits of this accrue to the believer through the channel of faith, for
“being justified (pronounced righteous) by faith we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (

Romans 5:1).
The same order is found again in

Romans 14:17 —
“For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness,
and peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit.”.165

Hebrews 7:4 attention is called to the greatness of this man
Melchizedek, his “greatness” being recognized and acknowledged by
Abraham who “gave him tithes.” In this also he is a type of the Lord Jesus
Christ, our “great High Priest” — the only Priest so denominated in the
Scriptures. The greatness of our Lord’s priesthood inheres in His intrinsic
glory which is in contrast with the feebleness of the perishable priests of
the Levitical order who could not save. Two things prominently
characterized the Levitical priests: first, they were personally unclean, and
therefore needed to “offer for their own sins” (

Hebrews 7:27); and
second, they were mortal, and therefore death put an end to their
ministrations. Now in contradistinction, not only is our great High Priest
sinless, but He is made “after the power of an endless life” (

7:16), and hence it is written concerning Christ,
“Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek”

Hebrews 7:21).
It is important to remark here that it is as risen and ascended that the Lord
Jesus has received the eternal excellency of the Melchizedek title. His
never-ending ministry of blessing dates its effectual beginning from the
finished work of the Cross. Here again we note the accuracy of our type,
for not only is the Genesis narrative silent concerning the origin of
Melchizedek, but it makes no mention of his death.
Finally, it is to be noted that Melchizedek is termed “priest of the Most
High God” (

Genesis 14:18), a title which looks beyond all national
relationships. Here is the final contrast between the two orders of
priesthood the Melchizedekian and the Aaronic. Aaron’s priestly ministry
never transcended the limits of Israel, and he was ever the priest of
Jehovah as the God of Israel. But Melchizedek was priest of Jehovah
under His more comprehensive title of the Most High God, “Possessor of
heaven and earth” (

Genesis 14:19), and therefore Melchizedek
foreshadowed the millennial glory of Christ when “He shall be a priest
upon His throne” (

Zechariah 6:13) and reign in righteousness and
peace. As it is written,
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David
a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall
be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby.166
He shall be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (

23:5, 6).
Then shall the Divine Melehizedek rule as King of Righteousness and King
of Peace. As it is written again,
“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His
government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of
David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with
judgment and with justice (righteousness) from henceforth even for
ever” (

Isaiah 9:6, 7).
That Melchizedek foreshadowed the millennial glory of Christ is further to
be seen from the occasion when he appeared before Abram. The typical
picture is wonderfully complete. Melchizedek met Abram as he was
returning from the slaughter of the kings, having rescued from them his
nephew Lot who foreshadows the Jewish remnant in the tribulation period.
Then it was that Melehizedek met Abram and blessed him (

14:19). Thus it will be when our Lord returns to usher in the Millennium.
He will overthrow the Beast and his forces in this same “King’s dale,”
deliver Israel out of their hands and bless the descendants of Abraham, and
just as Abram acknowledged the superiority of Melchizedek by paying him
tithes, so will Israel acknowledge their Divine Melchizedek and own Him
as their Priest and King.
It now only remains for us to consider here the immediate effects upon
Abram of the appearing of Melchizedek before him and the blessing he had
received from him.
“And the King of Sodom said unto Abram, give me the persons,
and take the goods to thyself” (

Genesis 14:21).
In the King of Sodom’s offer we may discover one of the “wiles” of the
devil for we are not ignorant of his “devices.” The world is only too ready
to offer God’s children its subsidies so as to bring them under obligation to
itself. But Abram was preeminently a man of faith and faith is “the victory
that overcometh the world” (

1 John 5:4).
“And Abram said to the King of Sodom, I have lifted up mine hand
unto the Lord, the Most High God, the Possessor of heaven and
That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet,.167
and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest
say I have made Abram rich. Save only that which the young men
have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner,
Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion”

Genesis 14:22-24).
What noble words were these! With quiet dignity our patriarch refuses to
be dependent in anywise upon the King of Sodom — what a contrast was
Balaam and the offer made him by Balak! Abram knew that in heaven he
had a “better and an enduring substance” (

Hebrews 10:34). The words,
“I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord” (compare

Deuteronomy 32:40)
signify a vow or solemn oath, and seem to show that when he started out
in pursuit of Lot’s captors he promised the Lord that if He would give him
success he would not enrich himself by his campaign; but it is beautiful to
note that he did not forget or overlook the claims of those who had
accompanied him and shared his perils. In the giving of tithes to
Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God, Abram acknowledged God’s
grace in giving him the victory..168

The connecting link between our present portion of Scripture and the one
which we took for the basis of meditation in our last chapter is found in the
opening words of

Genesis 15 — “After these things the Word of the
Lord came unto Abram in a vision.” Chedorlaomer, the King of Elam, had
united his forces to those of three other kings in a league of conquest.
Their military prowess seemed irresistible. The Rephaim, the Zuzim, the
Emim, the Horites, the Amalekites and the Amorites were each defeated in
turn (

Genesis 14:5-7). Five kings with their forces now combined and
went forth to engage the armies of Chedorlaomer, but they also were
overthrown, and in consequence the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were
sacked and Lot was taken prisoner. Then it was that Abram went forth at
the head of his three hundred and eighteen armed servants and by a
surprise night attack gained a signal victory. Chedorla-omer was slain, Lot
was delivered, and the booty taken from Sodom and Gomorrah was
And now came the reaction, mental and physical. Abram had good reason
to conclude that the remaining followers of the powerful King of Elam
would not abandon the enterprise which had only been frustrated by a
surprise attack at night — made by an insignificant force — but instead,
would return and avenge their reverse. In defeating Chedorlaomer and his
allies, Abram had made some bitter and influential foes. It was not likely
that they would rest content until the memory of their reverse had been
wiped out with blood. They who had been strong enough to capture the
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were too powerful to be set at defiance by
Abram and his little colony. Thus alarmed and apprehensive Abram now
receives a special word of reassurance: “After these things the Word of the
Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am thy
shield.” Thus in tender grace did Jehovah quiet the troubled heart of the
one whom He was pleased to call His “friend.”
But further. In the remaining part of this opening verse — “I am…. thy
exceeding great Reward” — we have another word which looks back to
the previous chapter; and a precious word it is. After Abram had defeated.169
Chedorlaomer, and after he had been blessed and refreshed by
Melehizedek, the King of Sodom offered to reward Abram by suggesting
he take the recovered “goods” unto himself (

Genesis 14:21). But he
who “looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is
God” declined to accept anything from this worldling, saying,
“I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, the
possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread
even to a shoelatehet, and that I will not take anything that is thine,
lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich”

Genesis 14:22, 23).
Noble reply! And now we behold the sequel. God never permits His own
to lose for honoring Him and seeking His glory. Abram had refused the
spoil of Sodom, but God more than makes it up to him. Just as when our
patriarch had shown his magnanimity to Lot by saying: “Is not the whole
land before thee…. if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right;
or if thou depart to the right hand then I will go to the left,” and the Lord
appeared unto Abram and said,
“Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art
northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward. For all
the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed
forever” (

Genesis 13:9, 14, 15);
so it was here. The refusal to be enriched by the king of Sodom is now
compensated, more than compensated by a revelation from God which
would greatly increase the joy of His servant. How important is the
principle which here receives such lovely exemplification! How much are
the Lord’s people losing today because of their acceptance of the world’s
favors! Unto how few can the Lord now reveal Himself as He did here to
“I am thy shield and thy exceeding great Reward.” We would fain tarry and
extract some of the sweetness of these words. This is a special promise
applicable to those who are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” It is
God’s word to those who “choose rather to suffer affliction with the
people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming
the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” for they
have “respect unto the recompense of the reward” (

Hebrews 11:25,
26). Unto such, God promises to be their Shield, their Defense, the One.170
behind whom faith shelters and trusts; as well as their Reward, their
exceeding great Reward. So it was with our blessed Lord Himself.
Refusing to accept from Satan the kingdoms of the world and their glory,
He could say,
“The Lord is the portion of Mine inheritance, and of My cup”

Psalm 16:5).
“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?
And Abram said, Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed; and, lo,
one born in my house is mine heir” (verses 2, 3).
In hearing the words, “I am thy Shield and thy exceeding great Reward,”
Abram’s mind seems to have turned toward his inheritance and the fact
that he had no seed of his own to enter into the promises of God. What
Abram longed for was a son, for he rightly judged that to go childless was
to lose the inheritance. In other words, the patriarch here recognizes that
heirship is based upon sonship, and thus we have foreshadowed a truth of
vital importance, a truth which is fully revealed in the Scriptures of the
New Testament. There we read,
“The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint
heirs with Christ” (

Romans 8:16, 17).
And again:
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to Himself…. in whom also we have obtained an
inheritance” (

Ephesians 1:5, 11).
We do not consider that in asking “What wilt thou give me,” etc., that
Abram was giving expression to unbelief. On the contrary we regard his
words as the language of faith. Observe there was no rebuke given him by
the Lord; instead, we are told,
“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. And He brought him forth abroad, and
said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to.171
number them; and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be”
(verses 4, 5).
It is to be noted that in

Genesis 13:15 God compared Abram’s seed to
the dust of the earth, but here, where Christ is contemplated (as well as a
numerous offspring), the word is, “Look now toward heaven,” and his
seed is likened to the “stars.”
And now we come to those words which have been so precious unto
“And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for
righteousness” (verse 6).
A full exposition of this verse would lead us far beyond the limits of our
present space, so we content ourselves with a few brief comments,
referring the reader to

Romans 4 for God’s own exposition.
Literally rendered our verse reads, “And he stayed himself upon the Lord;
and He counted it to him for righteousness.” At the time God promised
Abram that his heir should be one who came forth from his own bowels
Abram’s body was “as good as dead” (

Hebrews 11:12), nevertheless,
he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in
faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had
promised, He was able also to perform” (

Romans 4:20, 21). Abram
reasoned not about the natural impossibility that lay in the way of the
realization of the promise, but believed that God would act just as He had
said. God had spoken and that was enough. His own body might be dead
and Sarah long past the age of child-bearing, nevertheless he was fully
assured that God had power even to quicken the dead. And this faith was
reckoned or counted unto him for righteousness; not that faith is accepted
by God in lieu of righteousness as an equivalent for righteousness, else
would faith be a meritorious thing, but that faith is the recipient of that
righteousness by which we are justified. The force of the preposition is
“unto” rather than “instead of” — it was “counted to him unto
righteousness.” Abram’s case was a representative one. Today justification
(to be declared righteous) is by faith, but with this important difference that
whereas Abram believed God would give him a son through the quickening
of his body, we believe that God has given us His Son, and through His
death and quickening from the dead a Savior is ours through faith..172
Just here we would pause to consider what seems to have proven a real
difficulty to expositors and commentators. Was not Abram a “believer”
years before the point of time contemplated in

Genesis 15:6? Not a few
have suggested that prior to this incident Abram was in a condition similar
to that of Cornelius before Peter preached to him. But are we not expressly
told that it was “By faith” (

Hebrews 11:8) he had left Ur of the
Chaldees and went out “not knowing whither he went”! Yet. why are we
here told that “he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for
righteousness”? Surely the answer is not far to seek. It is true that in the
New Testament the Holy Spirit informs us that Abram was a believer when
he left Chaldea, but his faith is not there (i.e.,

Hebrews 11:8) mentioned
in connection with his justification. Instead, in the Epistles to the Romans
and Galatians the incident which the Holy Spirit singles out as the occasion
when Abram’s faith was counted for righteousness is the one in

15 now before us. And why? Because in

Genesis 15 Abram’s faith is
directly connected with God’s promise respecting his “seed,” which “seed”
was Christ (see

Galatians 3:16)! The faith which was “counted for
righteousness” was the faith which believed what God had said concerning
the promised Seed. It was this instance of Abram’s faith which the Holy
Spirit was pleased to select as the model for believing unto justification.
There is no justification apart from Christ —
“Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.
And by Him all that believe are justified from all things”

Acts 13:38, 39).
Therefore we say it was not that Abram here” believed God” for the first
time, but that here God was pleased to openly attest his righteousness for
the first time, and that for the reason stated above. Though Christians may
believe God with respect to the common concerns of this life, such faith,
while it evidences they have been justified is not the faith by which they
were justified — the faith which justifies has to do directly with the person
and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the character of Abram’s faith

Genesis 15; he believed the promise of God which pointed to Christ.
Hence it is in

Genesis 15 and not in

Genesis 12 we read, “And He
counted it to him for righteousness.” How perfect are the ways of God!
“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” (verse 7)..173
Abram now ventures to ask for a sign by which he may know that by his
posterity, he shall inherit the land.
“And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit
it?” (verse 8).
We do not regard this question from Abram as arising from unbelief, but
that having just been granted (verse 5) a sign or view of a numerous
offspring he now desires a further sign or pledge by way of explanation.
And now the Lord answers by putting Christ, in type, before him.
“And He said unto him, Take Me a heifer of three years old, and a
she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a
turtle dove, and a young pigeon. 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. And when the fowls came
down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away” (verses 9-11).
The typical picture is wonderfully complete. “Take Me,” observe, for the
sacrifice belongs to, is for God. It has been pointed out by another that
each of the three animals named here were tame ones, not wild and needing
to be captured by Abram; instead, they were the willing servants of man’s
need. Each one foreshadowed a distinctive aspect of Christ’s perfections
and work. The heifer of three years seems to have pointed to the freshness
of His vigor; the goat, gave the sin-offering aspect; the ram is the animal
that in the Levitical offerings was connected specially with consecration.
The birds told of One from Heaven. The “three years,” thrice repeated,
suggested perhaps the time of our Lord’s sacrifice, offered after “three
years” of service! Note that death passed upon them all, for without
shedding of blood is no remission and where no remission is there can be
no inheritance. The “dividing” of the animals indicated that this sacrifice
was to form the basis for a covenant (cf.

Jeremiah 34:18, 19). The
“driving away” of the fowls seems to have shown forth the energy of faith.
“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram;
and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. 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” (verses 12, 13).
A profound truth is here taught us in type. Abram now learns that the
inheritance can be reached only through suffering! His heirs would have to.174
pass through the furnace before they entered into that which God had
prepared for them. In the “deep sleep” and the “horror of great darkness”
Abram, as it were, entered in spirit into death, as that through which all his
seed would have to pass ere they experienced God’s deliverance after the
death of the Paschal Lamb. First the suffering, the four hundred years’
“affliction.” and then the inheritance. How this reminds us again of

Romans 8:17! “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs
with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified
together.” And again:
“We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of
God” (

Acts 14:22).
Thus it was with our blessed Lord — first the “sufferings” and then “the
glory.” We call attention to the wonderful and perfect order of the typical
teaching here: first the sacrifice (verse 9); second, “thy seed “ — sons
(verse 13); third, suffering — “affliction “ (verse 13); fourth, entering into
the inheritance — “come hither again” (verse 16). How complete the
typical picture!
“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram;
and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him” (verse 12).
By this deep sleep we learn how God was showing the patriarch,
symbolically, that not during his natural life would he inherit the land;
instead, he must go down into the grave and inherit it together with the
Promised Seed. In his awaking from this “deep sleep” Abram received a
veiled promise of resurrection from the dead and the horror of great
darkness as of the grave (cf.

Hebrews 2:15) from which he was recalled
again to the light of day. In a word, the way to blessing, to the inheritance,
was through death and resurrection.
“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. And also that nation, whom
they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out
with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace;
thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation
they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not
yet full” (verses 13-16)..175
These verses contain a sevenfold prophecy which received a literal and
complete fulfillment. It had reference to the sojourn of Abram’s
descendants in the land of Egypt, their bondage there, and their deliverance
and return to Canaan. We can do little more now than outline the divisions
of this compound prophecy.
First, Abram’s descendants were to be strangers in a land not theirs
(verse 13).
Second, in that strange land they were to “serve” (verse 13).
Third, they were to be “afflicted” four hundred years (verse 13) —
note that

Exodus 12:40 views the entire “sojourning” of the
children of Israel in Egypt. They “dwelt” in Egypt four hundred and
thirty years, but were “afflicted” for only four hundred years of that
Fourth, the nation whom Abram’s descendants “served” God would
“judge” (verse 14).
Fifth, Abram’s offspring were to come out of Egypt with “great
substance” (verse 14), cf.

Psalm 105:37.
Sixth, Abram himself was to be spared these afflictions — he should
die in peace and be buried in a good old age (verse 15).
Seventh, in the “fourth generation” Abram’s descendants would return
again to Canaan (verse 16).
We take it that our readers are sufficiently well acquainted with the book
of Exodus to know how wonderfully this prophecy was fulfilled, but we
would point out here how accurately the seventh item was realized. By

Exodus 6:16-26 we find that it was exactly in the “fourth
generation” that the children of Israel left Egypt and returned to Canaan. In
this particular example the first generation was Levi, the son of Jacob, who
entered Egypt at the time his father and brethren did (

Exodus 6:16).
The second generation was Kohath (

Exodus 6:16), who was a son of
Levi. The third generation was Amran, son of Kohath (

Exodus 6:18).
And the fourth generation brings us to Moses and Aaron, who were the
sons of Amram (

Exodus 6:20), and these were the ones who led Israel
out of Egypt!.176
“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” (verse 17).
Much is suggested here which we have to pass by. The “smoking furnace’’
and the “burning lamp” symbolized the two leading features of the history
of Abram’s descendants. For the “furnace” see

Jeremiah 11:3, 4, etc.;
for the “burning lamp” see

2 Samuel 22:29;

Psalm 119:105;

Isaiah 62:1, etc. Note a “smoking furnace and a burning lamp.” Did not
this teach Abram that in Israel’s sufferings God would be with them; and
that in all their afflictions, He would be afflicted, too?
“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” (verse 18).
The covenant which God here made with Abram was based upon death,
typically, the death of Christ. This covenant, based on sacrifice, was made
by the Lord Himself; it concerned the land; and was absolutely
unconditional. It has never yet been completely fulfilled. Note carefully its
wording — “Unto thy seed have I given this land.” Contrast these words

Genesis 13:15 — “For all the land which thou seest to thee wilt I
give it.” But now a sacrifice had been offered, blood had been shed, the
purchase price had been paid, and hence the change from “I will” to “I
In these articles we are not attempting complete expositions. They are little
more than “Notes” — “Gleanings” — and our prime endeavor is to
indicate some of the broad outlines of truth in the hope that our readers
will be led to fill in the details by their own personal studies. In concluding
this paper it deserves to be noted that

Genesis 15 is a chapter in which
quite a number of important terms and expressions occur for the first time.
The following is not a complete list, but includes some of the more
important examples. Here for the first time we find that notable expression,
“The word of the Lord came unto” (verse 1). Here is the first reference to
a “vision” (verse 1). Here for the first time we read the words “Fear not”
(verse 1), which, with their equivalent, “Be not afraid,” occur in Scriptures
almost one hundred and eighty times. Here is the first mention of God as a
“Shield” (verse 1). Here is the first occurrence of the Divine title “Adonai
Jehovah” — Lord God (verse 2). Here for the first time we find the words.177
“Believed,” “counted” or reckoned, and “righteousness.” May writer and
reader search the Scriptures daily and diligently so that each shall say,
“I rejoice at Thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil”

Psalm 119:162)..178

It is difficult to imagine a greater contrast than what is presented in our
present chapter from the one reviewed in our last article. In

Genesis 15
Abram is seen as the man of faith, in chapter 16 as the man of unbelief. In

Genesis 15 he “believed in the Lord,” in

Genesis 16 he “hearkened
to the voice of Sarai.” There he walks after the Spirit, here he acts in the
energy of the flesh. Sad inconsistency! But One could say, “I do always
these things that please Him” (

John 8:29).
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bare him no children; and she had a
handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said
unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from
bearing. I pray thee, go in unto my maid, it may be that I may
obtain children by her” (

Genesis 16:1, 2).
In this suggestion of Sarai’s we witness a fresh testing of Abram. Again
and again our patriarch was tried — tried, may we not say, at every point.
First, his faith had to overcome the ties of nature: God’s call was for him
to leave his country and his kindred. Then, shortly after he had actually
arrived in Canaan, his faith was tried by stress of circumstances — there
was a famine in the land. Next, he had to meet a trial respecting a brother:
Abram feared that the friction between his herdsmen and the herdsmen of
his nephew might lead to “strife” between brethren, and how he met this by
his magnanimous offer to Lot we have already seen in an earlier chapter.
Later, there was a testing of Abram’s courage, as well as his love for his
nephew. Lot had been captured by a powerful warrior, but Abram hastens
to his rescue and delivers him. Subsequently, there was a testing of his
cupidity. The King of Sodom offered to “reward” him for overcoming
Chedorlaomer. And now he is tested by a suggestion from his wife. Would
he take matters out of the hand of God and act in the energy of the flesh
with reference to the obtaining of a son and heir. Thus, at six different
points (to this stage in his history) was the character of Abram tested. We
might summarize them thus: There was the trying of the fervor of his faith
— did he love God more than home and kindred. There was the trying of
the sufficiency of his faith was he looking to the living God to supply all his.179
need, or was he depending on propitious circumstances? There was the
trying of the humility of his faith — would he assert his “rights,” or yield to
Lot? There was the trying of the boldness of his faith — would he dare
attempt the rescue of his nephew from the hands of a powerful warrior?
There was the trying of the dignity of his faith — would he bemean himself
by accepting honors from the King of Sodom? There was the trying of the
patience of his faith — would he wait for God to fulfill His word in His
own good time and way, or would he take matters into his own hand?
It is most instructive to note the setting of these various trials and
temptations. Arrived in the land Abram was faced with a famine, and Egypt
was at hand to lure the patriarch with its promise of relief from his anxiety.
After his departure from Egypt and return to the path of God’s will, the
very next thing we read of is the strife between the herdsmen. Again: no
sooner had Abram rescued Lot from his captors and been blessed by
Melehizedek than he was tempted to dishonor God and bemean himself by
a reward from the King of Sodom. And, immediately after Abram had
received the wonderful revelation and promise of God recorded in

Genesis 15, we read of this subtle temptation emanating from his wife.
It seems to be a general principle in the ways of God with His own to first
bless and enrich and then to test the recipient. Elisha ardently, desired to
receive Elijah’s mantle. His wish was granted; and the next thing we read
of him is the facing of Jordan — the mantle had to be used at once!
Solomon prayed for wisdom, and his prayer was heard, and at once his gift
was called into exercise by the case of the two mothers each claiming the
living child as hers. Thus it was, too, with our blessed Lord; no sooner had
the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove than we read,
“And immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”

Mark 1:12),
where He was tempted of the devil. It is highly necessary for us to take the
lesson to heart — it is when we have received some special mark of the
Lord’s favor, or immediately after we have enjoyed some unusual season
of communion with him, that we need most to be on our guard!
The evil suggestion that Sari made to Abram was a testing of the patience
of his faith. God had said to Abram,
“I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make
thy name great” (

Genesis 12:2)..180
He had said, further,
“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”

Genesis 15:5),
yet ten years had passed since the first of these promises and still Abram
was childless. When the Lord repeated His promise “Abram believed in the
Lord” (

Genesis 15:6), and now he was left to wait for the fulfillment of
it. But waiting is just what the natural heart finds it so hard to endure.
Rather than wait man prefers to take the management of his affairs into his
own hands and use human expediencies to give effect to the Divine
promise. It was thus with Jacob; the portion of the firstborn had been given
to him and not to Esau, but instead of waiting for God to secure the
inheritance for him, he sought to obtain it himself by his own dishonorable
scheming. It was the same with Moses; God had declared that the
descendants of Abram should be afflicted for 400 years in a strange
country, and but 360 years had passed when Moses saw an Egyptian
smiting a Hebrew, and taking matters into his own hands he smote and
slew the Egyptian. It is one thing to “commit’’ our way unto the Lord, but
it is quite another to trust also in Him,” and wait till He brings it to pass.
“And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai” (verse 2).
The father of mankind sinned by hearkening to his wife, and here the father
of the faithful follows his example. These things are recorded for our
learning. How often it is that a man’s foes are those of his own household!
How often those who are nearest to us by nature are snares and hindrances
in the spiritual life! Hence, how deeply important to heed the Divine
admonition and “Be not unequally yoked together.”
“And Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, after
Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to
her husband Abram to be his wife” (verse 3).

Galatians 4:22-26 is the inspired commentary upon the doctrinal
principles involved in this act and in Abram’s response to it. The
dispensational significance of Abram’s fall has often been expounded by
others so that it is unnecessary for us to dwell upon it here at any length. In
refusing to wait upon the Lord, and in summoning to his aid this Egyptian
maid for the fulfilling of the Divine promise, Abram took a step which only.181
“gendered to bondage,” just as now the believer does, if having begun in
the Spirit he seeks to be made perfect by the flesh.
The outcome of Abram’s yielding to the specious temptation from his wife
was quickly evidenced.
“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw
that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes”
(verse 4).
The consequence was just what might have been expected. The Egyptian
maid was elated at the honor (?) conferred upon her, and Sarai falls in her
estimation. And now, when it is too late, Sarai repents and complains to
her husband —
“And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee. I have given
my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived,
I was despised in her eyes; the Lord judge between me and thee”
(verse 5).
How true to human nature (fallen human nature) — to throw the blame of
wrong-doing upon another! Man ever seeks to shelve his responsibility and
charge either God or Satan with what he terms his “misfortunes.”
“But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to
her as it pleaseth thee” (verse 6).
Abram refuses to accept the responsibility of Sarai’s “wrong” and leaves
her to deal with the evil which was the fruitage of her own sowing. But
observe how one evil leads to another; in wronging his wife, Abram now
surrenders to her his position as head of the household.
“And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face”
(verse 6).
Was it to this Solomon had reference when he said,
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and
an angry woman” (

Proverbs 21:19)?
Hagar, too, had to learn that the way of the transgressor is hard.
“And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the
wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur” (verse 7)..182
What grace was this, Divine grace, for we need not stop to prove that the
“Angel of the Lord” (mentioned here for the first time) was God Himself in
theophanic manifestation. The place where He found this poor Egyptian
maid attracts our attention. It was “by a fountain of water in the
wilderness,” termed in verse 14 “the well.” This is the first time we read of
the “well” in Scripture. We pause to look at several other passages in the
Old Testament where the “well” is mentioned, for the purpose of noting
how beautifully they pointed to the One Who giveth the living water, “that
water of which those who drink shall never thirst” and which is in them a
well of water springing up into “everlasting life” (

John 4).
Ere turning to a few of those Scriptures, where the “well” is mentioned we
pause to note first what is said of it here in

Genesis 16. Three things are
to be observed concerning this “well.”
First, it was located in the “wilderness.”
Second, the well itself was “by the fountain” — mark the repetition of
these words in verse 7.
Third, it was at this well that God revealed Himself to Hagar.
Surely the symbols are easily interpreted. It is not amid the gaieties or the
luxuries of the world that Christ is to be found. It is not while the soul is
enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season” that the Savior is met with. It is
in the wilderness, that is, it is as we withdraw from the attractions of earth
and are in that state of soul which answers to the “wilderness” that the
Lord meets with the sinner, and where is it that the needy one finds the
Savior? Where, but “by the fountain of water” — type of the written
Word! Should these lines catch the eye of some sin-sick and troubled heart
that is earnestly seeking the Lord Jesus, turn, we beseech thee, away from
man, and “search the Scriptures,” for they are they which testify of Him.
Finally, note that it was here at the “well” that God was revealed —
“and she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou
God seest me; for she said, Have I also here looked after Him that
seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi — the well
of Him that liveth and seeth me” (verses 13, 14).
So Christ — of whom the “well” speaks — “He that hath seen Me hath
seen the Father.” It is in Him that God is fully revealed..183
The next Scripture in which the “well” is found is

Genesis 21:19, again
in connection with Hagar. “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well
of water.” How plain is the type!
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me
draw him” (

John 6:44).
And not only so, but none can see Christ with the eyes of the heart until
they are opened by God.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon
Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee (i.e.,
that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God), but My Father
which is in heaven” (

Matthew 16:17).
As it was here with Hagar — “God opened her eyes, and she saw a well”
— so also was it with Lydia,
“whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things
which were spoken of Paul” (

Acts 16:14),
and as it was with Lydia so is it with all who believe.
“Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the
people of the East. And he looked, and behold a well in the field,
and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that
well they watered the flocks” (

Genesis 29:1, 2).
Comment here is needless. The “well” is the place where the sheep were
watered and refreshed. So, again, with the antitype. Not only does our
Lord give life — His own life — but He refreshes our parched souls day
by day.
“And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the
Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give
them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well: sing ye
unto it” (

Numbers 21:16, 17).
What a word is this! It reminds us of

Genesis 22:8 compared with

Isaiah 53:7. In the former passage the promise is that “God will provide
Himself a lamb,” and in the latter, the Lamb is definitely identified “He was
led as a lamb to the slaughter.” And so here. The “well” is personified —
“Sing ye unto it”! Note, too, that the well was here made the gathering.184
center of Israel. O, may we, as we gather around our blessed Lord, “sing”
unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
“Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel, for they might
not be seen to come into the city; and a wench went and told them;
and they went and told King David. Nevertheless, a lad saw them,
and told Absalom; but they went both of them away quickly, and
came to a man’s house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court;
whither they went down. And the woman took and spread a
covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground corn thereon;
and the thing was not known” (

2 Samuel 17:17-19).
Thus the “well” was a place of protection for Jonathan and his servant.
They were securely hidden in the well. How this reminds us of that word,
“Your life is hid with Christ in God” (

Colossians 3:3).
Summarizing the typical teaching of the Scriptures we have little more than
glanced at, we learn:
First, that the “well” is to be found “by the fountain of water,” which, to
interpret, signifies, that Christ is to be found in the written Word.
Second, that it is at the well God revealed Himself, just as in Christ God is
now fully told out.
Third, it was not until God opened the eyes of Hagar, that she “saw” the
well. So it is not until the eyes of our heart are opened by God the Spirit
that we are enabled to see Christ as the One we need and as the Fairest
among ten thousand.
Fourth, that it is at the well the “sheep” are “watered.” So it is in
communion with Christ our souls are refreshed.
Fifth, that the well was the place where Israel were gathered together by
the Word of Jehovah through Moses. So Christ is now the appointed
Gathering-Center when we come together for worship.
Sixth, unto the well Israel were bidden to “sing.” So throughout time and
eternity our adorable Lord will be the Object and Subject of our praises.
Seventh, the well was the place where Jonathan and his servant found
protection from their enemies. So in Christ we find shelter from every foe
and refuge from every storm..185
“And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the
wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar,
Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And
she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of
the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself
under her hands” (verses 7-9).
“Grace reigns through righteousness.’’ It was grace that sought her, it was
righteousness that thus counselled her. Grace is never exercised at the
expense of righteousness. Grace upholds rather than ignores our
responsibilities toward God and toward our neighbor. The grace of God
that bringeth salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,
and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (

2:12). Note two things here in connection with Hagar. First, the angel of
the Lord addresses her as “Sarai’s maid,” thus disallowing her marriage (?)
with Abram; and second, she is bidden to “return” to her mistress. The day
would come when God Himself would open the door, and send Hagar out
of Abram’s house (

Genesis 21:12-14), but till then she must “submit”
herself to the authority of Sarai. For another thirteen years she must
patiently endure her lot and perform her duty. In the meantime, the Lord
cheers Hagar’s heart with a promise (see

Genesis 5:10). Is there a word
here for any of our readers? Is there one who has fled from the post of
duty? Then to such the Lord’s word is, “Return…. submit.” If we have
done wrong, no matter what the temptation or provocation may have been,
the only way to Divine blessing, to peace and happiness, is to retrace our
footsteps (as far as this is possible), in repentance and submission.
“And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with
child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because
the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his
hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him”
(verses 11, 12).
This prophecy seems to have had reference more to his posterity than to
Ishmael himself. It is well known how accurately its terms have been
fulfilled in the Arabs who, in all ages, have been a wild and warlike people,
and who, though surrounded by nations that have each been conquered in
turn, yet have themselves been unsubdued by the great Powers unto this
“And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou
God seest me; for she said, Have I also here looked after Him that
seeth me. Wherefore, the well was called, The well of Him that
liveth and seeth me” (verses 13, 14).
May the Lord Himself find us at the “well” as He did Hagar of old, and
may it be ours as it was hers to hear and see Him..187

We have reached another of the important crises in the history of our
patriarch and are to behold again the matchless grace of Jehovah in His
dealings with the father of all them that believe. Thirteen years had elapsed

Genesis 17:25) since Abram, in his impatient unbelief had
“hearkened to the voice of Sarah.” Significant number this! In Scripture
thirteen is invariably found in an evil connection signifying, as it does in the
language of numerics, unbelief, rebellion, apostasy. The first time this
numeral is met with in the Word is

Genesis 14:4, where we read,
“Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they
rebelled.” How closely Abram’s own experience resembled this! Abram
was seventy-five years of age when God’s call had come to leave home and
kindred and to tread the highway of faith, and for practically twelve years
he had endured as seeing Him who is invisible. But at the age of eighty-six

Genesis 17:1, ninety-nine, less the thirteen years for the age of Ishmael,

Genesis 17:25) Abram turned aside from the path of faith and resorted
to the devices of the flesh, hearkening to the suggestion of Sarah to obtain
a son by Hagar her Egyptian maid. And now another thirteen years pass,
during which time there is no mention of any appearing of the Lord unto
him. This interval is passed over in silence; it is a blank, a period of
spiritual barrenness; apparently a season which brought forth nothing but
wood, hay and stubble. Thus we find that the first two mention-ings of this
numeral thirteen are associated, respectively, with rebellion and impatient
unbelief in resorting to carnal efforts instead of waiting upon God. And it
will be found that thirteen is an evil number right through the Scriptures

1 Kings 7:1 and contrast

Genesis 6:38;

Esther 3:12, 13,
etc.). The same is true of instances where the numeral is not specifically
mentioned as, for example, the marching of Israel thirteen times around the
defiant Jericho; also the thirteen “judges” enumerated in Judges, which is
the book of apostasy (see

Genesis 21:25); so, too, of

Mark 7:21-23,
where the Lord specifies just thirteen of the evil characteristics and
products of the depraved heart of man; other exam-pies might be added
such as the fact that the term “Dragon” is found exactly thirteen times in
the apocalypse. Again, the same uniform evil significance of this numeral is.188
discovered in eases where multiples of thirteen occur in Scripture: thus
Jacob says to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a
hundred and thirty years (13 x 10): few and evil have the days of the years
of my life been” (

Genesis 47:9). In

Numbers 16, which records the
rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram and the visitation of God’s wrath
upon them and their followers, we find there perished 250 (

16:35) plus 14,700 (

Numbers 16:49) or 14,950 in all, which is 13 x
1,150. In Deuteronomy 14 there is a list of the unclean animals and birds
which the Israelites were forbidden to eat, and a careful count shows there
were just 26 or 13 x 2, which were prohibited (see verses 7-19). At the
hands of his unbelieving countrymen the Apostle Paul received “forty
stripes save one” (

2 Corinthians 11:24), or 39, that is 13 x 3. The
Epistle of Jude which treats of the apostasy of Christendom is the twenty-sixth
book of the New Testament. And so on. In the light of these
examples it is surely not without deep meaning that we learn there was an
interval of just thirteen years between the incident mentioned in

16 and that recorded in

Genesis 17, between Abram hearkening to the
voice of Sarah and the Lord’s appearing to him anew, and that this interval
is one of spiritual barrenness and is passed over in silence. Ere we turn and
consider the gracious revelation which the Lord made to Abram at the
close of this interval let us first ask and ponder an important question:
Why had Abram to wait all this while before the Lord appeared to him
again? Why must so many years drag their weary course before Jehovah
reveals Himself once more and makes promise of giving him Isaac? Is not
the answer to be found in

Romans 4:19?
“And being not weak in faith; he considered not his own body now
dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the
deadness of Sarah’s womb.”
God was about to act in grace, but ere grace can be displayed the creature
has first to come to the end of himself: ere divine power is put forth man
must learn his own impotency. Not till Israel were driven to desperation
and despair at the Red Sea did the word come, “Stand still and see the
salvation of the Lord.” So here. Not till Abram’s body was “dead” would
God fulfill His word and give him a son. God’s opportunity does not come
until man’s extremity is reached. This is a lesson we sorely need to take to
heart, for it is of great practical importance. It might be tersely expressed
thus: the Lord has a reason for all His delays. God not only does that.189
which is right and best but He always acts at the right and best time. Mark,
it was not until
“the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a
woman” (

Galatians 4:4).
Is not this the explanation of what is a sore problem to many hearts? We
mean, God’s delay in sending back His Son the second time. Like one of
old, we are often tempted to ask,
“Why is His chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels of His
chariots?” (

Judges 5:28).
Ah! here is the answer — the “fulness of time” has not yet arrived. God
has a wise and good reason for the delay. What that is we learn from

Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise (to send back His
Son — see verse 4), as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering
to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance.”
God’s delay in sending back His Son is due to His long-sufferance, not
willing that any should perish.
Let us repeat what we have said above and apply it to another perplexing
problem. God has a reason for His delays. Not until man comes to the end
of himself will God put forth His power. Not until man’s extremity is
reached does God’s opportunity arrive. Not until our own powers are
“dead” will God act in grace. What is the great lesson of

Psalm 107
but this?
“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no
city to dwell in: Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then
they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out
of their distresses…. Therefore He brought down their heart with
labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried
unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their
distresses…. They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business
in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders
in the deep. For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,
which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven,.190
they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of
trouble. They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, and
are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble,
and He bringeth them out of their distresses” (

Psalm 107:4-6,
12, 13, 23-28).
Ah! it is when we are at our “wit’s end,” when all our own devices have
failed and all our own efforts come to nought, that we “cry unto the Lord
in our trouble,” and “then” He bringeth us out of our distresses.
Beloved reader, apply now this principle to your own individual life. Are
you anxiously exercised over God’s delay? He has some wise purpose for
it. He had with Abram, and He has with you. From seventy-five — his age
when he left Haran — to one hundred — when Isaac was born — was a
long time to wait, but the sequel evidenced the Lord’s wisdom. God has
more than one reason for His delays. Often it is to test the faith of His
children, to develop their patience, to bring them to the end of themselves.
His delays are in order that when He does act His delivering power may be
more plainly evident, that what He does may be more deeply appreciated,
and that in consequence He may be more illustriously glorified.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord
appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God;
walk before Me, and be thou perfect” (

Genesis 17:1).
These words are to be regarded first as a reproof. It was as though the
Lord had said, “Have recourse no more to unbelieving expedients; keep
now to the path of uprightness, and leave Me to fulfill My promise in My
own good time and way.” This opening verse of

Genesis 17 needs to be
read in the light of God’s original promise to Abram to give him a “seed”

Genesis 13:15, 16) and the attempt made by our patriarch to obtain
fulfillment by his own efforts. What Abram needed to be reminded of was
God’s Almightiness. It was for want of considering this that he had had
recourse to crooked devices. Another lesson this which we do well to mark
— never to employ unlawful means in seeking to promote the cause of
God. How much the Lord’s servants need to heed this truth! Like Abram,
they are longing for seed, spiritual seed, but it comes not; and only too
often they resort to unworthy methods to produce seed of themselves,
arguing that the end justifies the means. Here is the effectual cure for all
inpatient Anxiety — to reckon on One who is all-gracious, all-powerful,
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord
appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God;
walk before Me, and be thou perfect” (

Genesis 17:1).
But again. These words must be regarded as a blessed exhibition of Divine
Love. It is written that “Love suffereth long, and is kind.” How this was
exemplified in God’s dealings with the patriarchs of old! How they tried
that love! How often they grieved it! How often they acted unworthily of
it! Yet, notwithstanding, as it was with the apostles so it was with the
patriarchs —
“Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to
the end” (

John 13:1).
How patiently God bore with Abram! It was love that “suffered long” with
Abram’s failings! It was love that persisted with him in spite of every check
and drawback. It was love that now met him and promised to grant the
desire of his heart, and in old age give him a son. And, Christian readers, is
it not Divine Love that still “suffers long” with each of us! Would we not
have perished long ago were it not that nothing is able to separate us from
the love of God in Christ Jesus? Ah, note the last three words. It is the love
of God in Christ Jesus. That love is a righteous love and not a sickly
sentimentality at the expense of holiness. In the epistle which tells us that
God is Love, we first read that “God is Light” (see

1 John 1:5; 4:8).
But to return to

Genesis 17:1.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to
Abram and said unto him, I am the Almighty God.” The revelation which
God here made of Himself was well suited to the occasion. This was the
first time that He revealed Himself as “the Almighty.” None but One who
possessed all power could meet Abram’s need at this time. Ninety and nine
years of age, his body dead; Sarah barren and long past the age of child-bearing
— how could they hope to have a son? But with God all things are
possible. And why? Because He is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. The
“Almighty” is a title which strikes terror into the hearts of the wicked, but
to the righteous it is a haven of rest.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into
it, and is safe” (

Proverbs 18:10).
The second time that the Lord revealed Himself as El Shaddai was
under circumstances very similar to those found in

Genesis 17:1.192
and context. “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came
out of Padam aram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy
name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but
Israel shall be thy name; and He called his name Israel. And God
said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation
and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out
of thy loins” (

Genesis 35:9-11).
It will be noted that when God revealed Himself as the Almighty to Abram,
He changed his name from Abram to Abraham; so here, He changes the
name of his grandson from Jacob to Israel. To Abram God said,
“And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will
multiply thee exceedingly…. and thou shalt be a father of many
nations” (

Genesis 17:2, 4);
to Jacob He said,
“Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall
be of thee” (

Genesis 35:11).
Again, we are told that God “appeared” to Abram (

Genesis 17:1),
literally “was seen to Abram,” and here in

Genesis 35:9 the same word
is used — this is the more striking for, excepting

Genesis 12:7, these
are the only occasions in Genesis where we read of God “appearing” to the
patriarchs, as though to emphasize the importance of this Divine title.
Finally, in noting the parallelisms between

Genesis 17 and 35, we may
observe that at the close of this Divine interview we read
“And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham”

Genesis 17:22)
and in

Genesis 35:13 we are told,
“And God went up from him in the place where He talked with
It is blessed to remember that this same divine title is found in the Church
“Wherefore come out from among them (as Abram did from
Chaldea), and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the
unclean thing (as Abram did with Hagar); and I will receive you,.193
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (

2 Corinthians 6:17, 18).
It is because our God and Father is the “Almighty” that “He is able also to
save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him” — Christ

Hebrews 7:25). It is because our God and Father is the “Almighty”
“He is able to succor them that are tempted” (

Hebrews 2:18).
It is because our God and Father is the “Almighty” that nothing
“shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord” (

Romans 8:39).
It is because our Savior is “Almighty” that He shall
“change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His
glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even
to subdue all things unto Himself” (

Philippians 3:21).
It is because our God is the
“Almighty” that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all
that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”

Ephesians 3:20).
It is because our Lord is “Almighty” that He “is able to keep us from
failing, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with
exceeding joy (

Jude 24).
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord
appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God;
walk before Me, and be thou perfect” (

Genesis 17:1).
We would call attention to four passages which refer to the walk of the
Lord’s people in which a different preposition is used. Here in

17:1 Abram is bidden to “walk before” Almighty God. The children of
Israel were exhorted to “walk after” the Lord:
“Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear Him, and keep
His commandments” (

Deuteronomy 13:4)..194
Of Enoch and Noah it is witnessed that they “walked with God”

Genesis 5:24; 6:9). But of those who are members of the Body of
Christ the word is,
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in
Him” (

Colossians 2:6).
To walk before is suggestive of a child running ahead and playing in the
presence of his father, conscious of his perfect security because he is just
behind. To walk after becomes a servant following his master. To walk
with indicates fellowship and friendship. To walk in denotes union. As to
how we are to walk in Christ, the Holy Spirit tells us in the words which
immediately follow the exhortation: “Rooted and built up in Him”

Colossians 2:7). We might summarize these varied aspects of the
believer’s walk as intimated by the four different prepositions thus: we
walk “before” God as children; we walk “after” Him as servants; we walk
“with” Him as His friends; we walk “in” Him as members of His body.
“Be thou perfect.” The careful reader will notice that the words “upright”
and “sincere” are supplied in the margin as alternatives for “perfect,” but it
seems to us there is no need for this, that the word in the text is a
legitimate rendering of the Hebrew “tamin.” The same word occurs in

Psalm 19:7: “The Law (Word) of the Lord is perfect, converting the
soul.” It is the same word which is translated forty-four times “without
blemish.” Then, did God really say to Abram, “Be thou perfect?’ He
certainly did. And how could He say anything less? What lower standard
than that of perfection can the Perfect One set before His creatures? Only
too often men whittle down the Word to make it square with their own
conceptions. All through the Scriptures, the standard of perfection is set
before us. The law required that Israel should love the Lord their God with
all their hearts. The Lord Jesus bade His disciples,
“Be ye therefore perfect as your Father which is in heaven is
perfect” (

Matthew 5:48).
And the teaching of the Epistles is all summed up in that Word,
“Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should
follow His steps” (

1 Peter 2:21).
Is not that the standard of perfection? Brethren, such is the standard set
before us. This is that which we are constantly to strive after. With nothing.195
short may we be satisfied. It is because such is the standard that none in the
flesh have ever realized it, that each and all must say with the apostle,
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect;
but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am
aprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which
are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I
press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus” (

Philippians 3:12-14).
Yet, nevertheless, the Word to us today is the same as that to Abram of
old: “Be thou perfect.” Does some one murmur, “An impossible standard!”
Then remember that it was El Shaddai who gave it. Who dares to talk of
“impossibilities” when the Almighty is our God? Has He not said “My
grace is sufficient for thee”? Then, do not charge Him with setting before
us an unattainable standard: rather let us charge ourselves with failure to
rest upon His Almighty arm, and confess with shame that the blame is ours
through not appropriating His all-sufficient grace.
“And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him”

Genesis 17:3).
It seems to us that this act of Abram in prostrating himself before the Lord
must be looked at in the light of his ways as recorded in the previous
chapter — his taking of matters into his own hands instead of leaving them
with God; his resorting to fleshly expediences instead of patiently waiting
for Him to act. And now that Jehovah condescends to reveal Himself again
to Abram, he is overwhelmed at such grace. Thus we regard Abram’s
falling on his face not so much due to confusion as to wonderment at the
divine favor shown him notwithstanding his unbelief.
We cannot now comment upon the remaining verses of the chapter, but in
closing would call attention to one other feature. It is to be noted that in
connection with the revelation of Himself as the “Almighty” the Lord God
made Abram a composite promise in which seven times He said “I will” —
“And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of
thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish My
covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their
generations, for an everlasting covenant to be a God unto thee and
to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed.196
after thee the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of
Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God….
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed: and thou
shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him
for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him…. But My
covenant will I establish with Isaac” (verses 6, 7, 8, 19, 21).
The relationship between this compound promise and the title of Deity
used on the occasion of its utterance is the pledge of its fulfillment. It is
because all power is at His disposal, it is because He is sufficient in
Himself, that the performing of all He has said is sure. What God says He
will do. So sure is the fulfillment that in verse 5 the Lord says, “for a father
of many nations have I made thee” (not “will I make thee”), just as in

Romans 8:30 it is “whom He justified them He also glorified,” and yet
in experience the glorification is yet future.
With the above seven “I wills” of God should be compared the seven “I
wills” of

Exodus 6:6-8,
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will
bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will
rid you of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out
arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to be a people,
and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord
your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the
Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the
which I did sware to give it to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; and
I will give it you for a heritage: I am the Lord.”
Our purpose in calling attention to this latter passage is that in

16 the Lord revealed Himself to Abram as the Almighty and followed the
revelation with a sevenfold promise, and here in

Exodus 6 He reveals
Himself as Jehovah (verse 3) and follows this revelation with another
sevenfold promise. Perfect are the ways and perfect is the Word of Him
with whom we have to do..197

In our last chapter we considered at some length the revelation which God
made of Himself to Abraham as the Almighty, together with the sevenfold
promise which accompanied this revelation, including, as it did, that
Abraham and Sarah should be given Isaac in their old age. In

18 we behold the Lord in full fellowship with the one He thrice terms His
“friend,” eating at his table, and making known his purpose concerning
Sodom; while at the close of the chapter Abraham is seen as an intercessor
before God. And now, in

Genesis 20, we are to witness a sad and
dramatic change. There is a return to the miserable policy which he
followed down in Egypt. Afraid that his life may be taken from him on
account of his wife, he causes her to pose as his sister, and only through a
direct interposition by God is she delivered from the effects of his sin.
“And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country
and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And
Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech,
King of Gerar, sent and took Sarah” (

Genesis 20:1, 2).
The contents of

Genesis 20 furnish a striking proof of the Divine
inspiration of the Scriptures. No fictitious historian would have recorded
this dark blot on the life of such an illustrious personage as Abraham. The
tendency of the human heart is ever toward hero worship, and the common
custom of biographers is to conceal the defects and blemishes in the careers
of the characters which they delineate, and this, had it been followed,
would naturally forbid the mention of such a sad fall in the life of one of the
most venerated names on the scroll of history. Ah! but herein the Bible
differs from all other books. The Holy Spirit has painted the portraits of
Scripture characters in the colors of nature and truth. He has given a
faithful picture of the human heart such as is common to all mankind.
At first sight it seems incredible that Abraham should have acted as
recorded here in

Genesis 20, but further reflection will convince any
honest Christian that the picture here drawn is only too true to life:.198
“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man”

Proverbs 27:19).
The remaining of the old nature in the believer, the occasional
manifestations of it in God-dishonoring activities, the awful backslidings
which God’s children have been subject to in all ages, and the reviewing of
our own sad departures from the path of faith and righteousness, are quite
enough to explain the deplorable and seemingly unaccountable conduct of
the father of all who believe. And if the reader knows nothing of such
departures and backslidings let him not boast of his faithfulness and
superior piety, rather let him ascribe all glory to the matchless grace of Him
that is able to keep us from falling.
Sad indeed, inexpressibly sad, was Abraham’s conduct. It was not the fall
of a young and inexperienced disciple, but the lapse of one who had long
walked the path of faith that here shows himself ready to sacrifice the
honor of his wife, and what is worse, give up the one who was the
depositary of all the promises.
“What then is man, and what hope for him except in God None,
surely. And it is to ground us well in this that we are given to see
the sad and terrible failures of these honored servants of God. Not
to discourage but to lead us to the Source of all comfort and
strength. Only in realized weakness do we find this. Only when
unable to do without God for a moment do we find what He is for
us moment by moment” (F. W. Grant).
What made the matter so much worse in Abraham’s ease was that it was
not a question of being surprised into a sudden fault. It was the recurrence
of an old sin. Long ago he had followed the same wicked course in Egypt,
where his duplicity had been discovered and from whence he was banished
in disgrace. But the experience profited him not. Some twenty or twenty-five
years had passed since then, and in the interval he had built an altar
unto the Lord, had vanquished Chedorlaomer, had been blessed by Mel-chizedek
the priest of the Most High God, had repulsed the offer of the
King of Sodom to be enriched at his hands, and had received wondrous
revelations and promises from God; yet now we see him leaving God out
of his reckoning, and ensnared by the fear of man, resorting to the most
shameful deception. How then shall we account for this? The explanation is
obvious: until the time referred to in

Genesis 20 Abraham had not been
in circumstances to call into exercise the evil that was in his heart..199
“The evil was not fully brought out — not confessed, not got rid of
— and the proof of this is, that the moment he again finds himself
in circumstances which could act upon his weak point, it is at once
made manifest that the weak point is there. The temptation through
which he passed in the matter of the King of Sodom was not by any
means calculated to touch this peculiar point; nor was anything that
occurred to him from the time that he came up out of Egypt until
he went down to Gerar calculated to touch it, for had it been
touched it would no doubt have exhibited itself.
“We can never know what is in our hearts until circumstances arise
to draw it out. Peter did not imagine he could deny his Lord, but
when he got into circumstances which were calculated to act upon
his peculiar weakness, he showed that his weakness was there.
“It required the protracted period of forty years in the wilderness to
teach the children of Israel ‘what was in their hearts’

Deuteronomy 8:2); and it is one of the grand results of the
course of discipline through which each child of God passes, to
lead him into a more profound knowledge of his own weakness and
nothingness. ‘We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we
should not trust in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead’

2 Corinthians 1:9). The more we are growing in the sense of
our infirmities, the more shall we see our need of clinging more
closely to Christ — drawing more largely upon His grace, and
entering more fully into the cleansing virtue and value of His
atoning blood. The Christian, at the opening of his course never
knows his own heart; indeed, he could not bear the full knowledge
of it; he would be overwhelmed thereby. ‘The Lord leads us not by
the way of the Philistines lest we should see war,’ and so be
plunged into despair. But He graciously leads us by a circuitous
route, in order that our apprehension of His grace may keep pace
with our growing self-knowledge” (C. H. M.).
As we have seen, it was stress of circumstances which revealed the state of
Abraham’s heart, as it is of ours. Though the wording of it might be
improved, we thoroughly agree with the sentiment of a preacher who long
ago said, “We possess no more religion than what we have in the time of
trouble.” It is comparatively easy to trust God while everything goes along
pleasantly, but the time of disappointment, of loss, of persecution, of.200
bereavement, is the time of testing; and then how often we fail! Here is
where the Lord Jesus is in such striking contrast from all others. Stress of
circumstances only served to display the perfections of His heart. When He
was a hungered, and tempted by Satan to make bread to supply His own
need, He lived by every word of God. When He sat by the well, worn with
His journey, He was not too weary to speak words of grace and life to the
poor Samaritan woman. When the cities in which His mightiest works had
been done rejected His message, He meekly submitted, saying
“Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight”

Matthew 11:23-26).
When He was reviled, He reviled not again. And in the supreme crisis, on
the cross, His perfections were fully displayed — praying for the
forgiveness of His enemies, speaking the word of acceptance to the
repentant thief, making provision for His widowed mother, yielding up His
spirit into the hands of the Father. Ah! our garments (symbols of conduct,
habits, ways) are at best, so much patchwork, but His were “without seam,
woven from the top throughout” (

John 19:23). Yes, in all things He has
the preeminence.
Light is thrown upon Abraham’s fall by the thirteenth verse of our chapter
— “And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s
house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto
me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.” It
is to be noted that this arrangement entered into by Abraham with his wife,
was made before they left Chaldea. It was therefore something which they
brought with them from the place of their birth! In other words, it was that
which was attached to the old man and, as we have seen, something which
had never been judged. Let us learn then from this, the vileness of the flesh,
the utter corruption of the old nature, the hideousness of the old man.
Truly there is need for us to “mortify” our members which are on the earth.
Plainly, the evil compact which Abraham made with Sarah was due to the
feebleness of his faith in God’s power to take care of them. And once
more, let not writer or reader sit in pharisaic judgment upon Abraham, but
see a picture of himself. Abraham did but illustrate what is all too sadly
common among the Lord’s people — that which might be termed the
inconsistency of faith. How often those who are not afraid to trust God
with their souls, are afraid to trust Him with regard to their bodies! How
often those who have the full assurance of faith in regard to eternal things,.201
are full of unbelief and fear when it comes to temporal things! We have
believed in the Lord and it has been counted unto us for righteousness; yet,
how often, like Abraham, in the matter of the practical concerns of our
daily life, we too, have more confidence in our own wisdom and scheming
than we have in the sufficiency of God.
And how did God act? Did He lose patience with Abraham, and cast off
one so fickle and inconsistent? Manifestly Abraham had dishonored the
Lord in acting as he did, in setting such an evil example before these
heathen (Philistines). Yet, behold the grace of Him with whom we have to
do. Instead of casting him off, God interposed and delivered Abraham and
his wife from the peril which menaced them. Not only did God not forsake
Abraham, but He would not abandon him to his foes. Ah! the gifts and
calling of God are “without repentance.” And why? Because they are
bestowed altogether without respect to any worthiness in the recipient, and
hence, because God’s gifts are free and we do nothing to merit them, we
can do nothing to demerit them.
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all Hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him,
Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast
taken; for she is a man’s wife” (

Genesis 20:3).
This statement may appear very commonplace to the casual reader the
mere narration of a detail lacking in importance. But the meditative mind
discovers here an exemplification of a truth of profound importance and
high value, though one that is now generally lost sight of. We refer to the
universality of God’s rule; the absolute control which he has over His
creatures; the ease with which He can move men to accomplish His will.
God has access to all minds and can impress them by a dream, an
affliction, or in any way He thinks proper. In the above case God used a
dream to instruct Abimelech, to show him the wrong he had unconsciously
done, and to point out to him his immediate duty. Abimelech was a
Philistine, and, so far as we know to the contrary, a heathen. He knew
nothing of the fact that Sarah was the one chosen to be the mother of the
Jewish race, and the one from whom, according to the flesh, the Messiah
was to come. Appearances seemed to show that Jehovah’s purpose was in.202
immediate danger of being foiled. But how simply God dealt with the
situation! By means of a dream, nothing more, Sarah is delivered, the
seeming hindrances to God’s purpose is removed, the situation is saved!
What we here desire to emphasize is the perfect ease with which God can
move men when He pleases. All this modern talk about man’s “freedom”
and man’s going his own way in defiance of God’s secret counsels leaves
God out entirely. To say that God wants to influence men but that men will
not let Him is to reduce the Almighty to a helpless spectator, full of
gracious intentions but lacking in power to make them good. But what
saith the Scriptures? Hear them: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the
Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will”

Proverbs 21:1). Yes, and so easily can He turn the king’s heart, that
when He pleases He needs employ nothing more than a “dream”!
“And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst
this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from
sinning against Me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her”

Genesis 20:6).
In these words we have (as so often in Scripture) an apparently incidental
statement which throws great light upon a difficult problem and which
positively refutes the proud reasoning of the philosophic theologians. How
often it has been said that in endowing Adam with the power of choice
God was unable to prevent his fall. But how untenable are such theorizings
in the face of the above passage! If God could “withhold” Abimelech from
sinning against Him, then had He pleased He could have done the same
with our first parents. Should it be asked why He did not “withhold” Adam
from sinning, the answer must be that He permitted sin to enter that
opportunity might be given to display His grace.
“Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his
servants, and told all these things in their ears and the men were
sore afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him,
What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that
thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast
done deeds unto me that ought not to be done”

Genesis 20:8, 9).
It is important to note that Abimelech recognized fornication as a “great
sin.” Unquestionably the heathen are aware of the criminality of many of
the sinful acts which they commit —.203
“their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the
meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another”

Romans 2:15).
A brief consideration of one other thought and our space is exhausted.
Notice how differently God looked at and spoke of Abraham from
Abimelech’s words concerning him — “Now therefore restore the man his
wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee and thou shalt live.” All
that Abimelech saw in our patriarch was a man guilty of barefaced
deception. But God looked at Abraham in Christ, and therefore speaks of
him as a “prophet” (one who has His mind), and makes Abimelech debtor
to his prayers! This is how God ever vindicates His own before the
unbelieving. It was a similar case to what He said through Balaam
concerning Israel at a later date
“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen
perverseness in Israel” (

Numbers 23:21).
In some such way as this is now being answered on high the charges of the
enemy who accuses the brethren before God day and night. Oh! blessed
fact, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
Jesus.” Will this encourage careless living? God forbid, “For sin shall not
have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”.204
It is to be feared that many who read the Old Testament, particularly its
earlier books, look upon these Scriptures as little more than historical
narratives, as simply containing a description of certain events that
happened in the far distant past, and that when they come to the record of
the lives of the patriarchs they discover nothing beyond a piece of ancient
biography. But surely this is very dishonoring to God. Is it not obvious that
when we relegate to a remote date in the past what we are told about
Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, etc., and see in the inspired record little or nothing
applicable to ourselves today, that we virtually and practically reduce
Genesis to a dead book? Suppose we express this in another way: If
Genesis is a part of “The Word of Life” (

Philippians 2:16), then it is a
living book, charged with vitality; a book which must have about it a
freshness which no other book, outside of the Sacred Canon, possesses; a
book which speaks to our day, which is pertinent and applicable to our
own times.
Let us now follow out another line of thought which will lead us to the
same point at which we arrived at the close of the preceding paragraph.
One truth which Scripture reveals about God is, that He changes not, for
He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Therefore, it follows
that, fundamentally, His ways are ever the same; that is to say, He deals
through all time with men, especially His own people, upon the same
principles. It is this which explains the well-known fact that so often
history repeats itself. Having stated the broad principle, let us now apply it.
If what we have just said is correct, should we not expect to find that
God’s dealings with Abraham forecast and foreshadow His dealings with
us? That, stripped of their incidental details, the experiences of Abraham
illustrate our experiences? Grant this, and we reach a similar conclusion (as
we anticipated) to the one expressed at the close of the preceding
paragraph. Let us now combine the two conceptions.
Because the Bible is a living book no portion of it is obsolete, and though
much that is recorded in it is ancient, yet none of it is antiquated. Because
the Bible is a living book, every portion of it has some message which is
applicable and appropriate to our own times. Because God changes not,
His ways of old are, fundamentally, His ways today. Hence, God’s dealings.205
with Abraham, in the general, foreshadow His dealings with us. Therefore,
to read most profitably the record of Abraham’s life, we must see in it a
portrayal of our own spiritual history. Before we attempt to particularize,
let us take one other starting point and lead up to the place where we here
leave off.
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the
promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of
the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is
the father of us all” (

Romans 4:16).
How is Abraham the “father” of us all? In what sense is he such? Not, of
course, literally, by procreation, but figuratively, by typification. Just as
naturally the son inherits certain traits from his father, just as there is a
resemblance between them, just as Adam “begat a son in his own likeness,
after his image” (

Genesis 5:3), so there is a resemblance and likeness
between Abraham and those who are “Abraham’s seed and heirs according
to the promise” (

Galatians 3:29). In a word, Abraham is to be regarded
as a sample believer. Thus there will be a close correspondence, in the
broad outline, between Abraham’s history and ours. And here, once more,
we reach the same point as at the close of each of the above paragraphs.
We are now prepared to test the accuracy of these conclusions and follow
them out in some detail.
I read, then, the life of Abraham as recorded in Genesis, not merely as a
piece of inspired history (though truly it is such), not as an obsolete
narrative of something which happened in the far distant past, but also, and
specially, as a portrayal of the experiences of Abraham’s children in all
ages, and as a description of God’s dealings with HIS own in all time. To
particularize: What was Abraham at the beginning? A lost sinner; one who
knew not God; an idolator. So were we:
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles…. that at
that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of
promise, haying no hope, and without God in the world”

Ephesians 2:11, 12).
What happened? The God of glory appeared unto him (

Acts 7:2). So it
was with us. He revealed Himself to us. What was the next thing? God’s
call to Abraham to separate himself from everything which pertained to his.206
old life. Such is God’s call to us — to separate ourselves from the world
and everything of it. Did Abraham obey? At first only imperfectly. Instead
of leaving his kindred as commanded, Terah his father and Lot his nephew
accompanied him as he left Chaldea. Has this no voice for us? Does it not
solemnly condemn Abraham’s “children”? Has not our response to God’s
call of separation been tardy and partial? To proceed: Soon after Abraham
arrived in Canaan painful circumstances try his faith — a “famine” arose.
How did this affect him? Did he make known his need to God and look to
Him to meet it? Ah, can we not supply the answer from our own sad
experience? Have we not turned to the world for help and deliverance in
the hour of emergency, as Abraham turned to Egypt? See Abraham again

Genesis 16. He is childless. God has promised that his seed should
inherit the land. But years have passed and Sarah is still barren. What does
Abraham do? Does he patiently wait upon God and go on waiting?
Suppose the Bible had not told us, could not our own experience supply
the answer once more? Abraham has recourse to fleshly means, and drags
in Hagar to assist God (?) in the furtherance of His purpose. And what was
the outcome? Did God lose patience? Well He might. But did He cast off
His erring child? Has He dealt thus with us? No, indeed, “If we believe not,
yet He abideth faithful” (

2 Timothy 2:13). We need not review
Abraham’s life any further. Do you not see now, dear reader, why Abraham
is termed the “father of us all”? Is not the saying of the world — “Like
father, like son” true here? But let us look at one other line in the picture
ere we leave it. Look at Abraham in

Genesis 22, offering up Isaac.
Does this apply to us? Is there anything in the experiences of Christians
today which corresponds with the scene enacted on Mount Moriah?
Surely, but note when this occurred — not at the beginning, but near the
close of Abraham’s pilgrimage. Ah! life’s discipline had not been in vain:
the fire had done its work, the gold had been refined. At the last Abraham
had reached the place where he is not only willing to give up Terah and Lot
at the call of God, but where he is ready to lay his Isaac upon the altar! In
other words, he resigns all to God, and places at His feet the dearest idol
of his heart. Grace had triumphed, for grace alone can bring the human
heart into entire submission to the Divine will. So will grace triumph with
us in the end. See, then, in Abraham’s up and down experiences, his trials,
his failures, a representation of yours. See in God’s patient dealings with
Abraham a portrayal of His dealings with you. See in the final triumph of
grace in Abraham the promise of its ultimate triumph in you, and thus will
Genesis be a living book by translating it into the present..207
Deeply important are the lessons to be learned from the life of Abraham,
and many are the precious truths which are seen illustrated in his character
and career. Having looked at him as a simple believer, let us next consider
him as a Man of Faith. In

Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, Abraham
is given striking prominence. Only once do we read “By faith Isaac,” and
only once do we read “By faith Jacob”; but three times the faith of
Abraham is mentioned (see verses 8, 9, 17). Probably it is no exaggeration
to say that Abraham’s faith was tried more severely, more repeatedly, and
more varisomely than that of any other human being. First, he was called
upon to leave the land of his birth, to separate himself from home and
kindred, and to set out on a long journey unto a land which God promised
to “show” him, and, we are told, “he went out not knowing whither he
went.” After his arrival in the new land he did not enter into occupation of
it, but instead, sojourned there as a stranger and pilgrim. All that he ever
owned in it was a burying-place. Dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, he
remained there well-nigh a century. Again, his faith was tested in
connection with God’s promise to give him a son by Sarah. His own body
“dead,” and his wife long past the age of child-bearing, nevertheless
“he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was
strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that,
what He had promised, He was able also to perform”

Romans 4:20, 21).
Finally, the supreme test came when he was bidden to offer up his son
Isaac, but,
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he
that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son….
accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead”

Hebrews 11:17, 19).
But did Abraham’s faith never waiver? Alas, it did. He was a man of like
passions to ourselves, and in him, too, there was an evil heart of unbelief.
The Spirit of God has faithfully portrayed the dark as well as the fair side,
and were it not that we are painfully conscious of the tragic history of our
own spiritual lives, we might well marvel at the strange mingling of faith
and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. By faith Abraham obeyed when
God called him to leave Chaldea; yes, but by unbelief he disobeyed in that
his father and nephew accompanied him in direct contravention of
Jehovah’s express command. By faith he left Chaldea, but by unbelief he.208
stopped short at Haran (

Genesis 11:31). By faith he entered the land of
promise, but as soon as a famine arose he forsook it and went down to
Egypt (

Genesis 12:10). By faith he returned and sojourned in the land
of promise, but by unbelief he took to himself the maid Hagar rather than
wait for God to put forth His power and give him a son by Sarah. By faith
he went forth against Chedorlaomer and his armies to rescue Lot, but later,
by unbelief he lied to Abimelech about his wife (

Genesis 20:21). What a
sad exemplification is all this of the two natures in the believer!
How terribly inconsistent are the lives of God’s saints! By faith Israel
crossed the Red Sea, but a little later, in unbelief, they feared they had been
brought into the wilderness to perish from hunger. With heart stayed upon
the Lord, David feared not to engage the mighty Goliath, yet the time came
when he fled from Saul. Filled with confidence in Jehovah, Elijah, single-handed,
faced the four hundred prophets of Baal, but within a few hours he
ran in terror from an angry woman. Peter was not afraid to step out on to
the sea, nor was he intimated in the presence of the Roman soldiers, but
drew his sword and smote off the ear of the high priest’s servant; yet, the
same night, he trembled before a maid and dared not to confess his Lord.
Oh! the God dishonoring ways of unbelief! Unbelief! Surely this is the sin
which doth so easily beset us.
Do not the above histories and their sequels bring out the marvelous and
gracious long-suffering of Him with whom we have to do? How patiently
God deals with His people! Israel did not perish with hunger in the
wilderness, even though they murmured against God; instead, they were
fed with “angel’s food” (

Psalm 78:25)! David was not slain by Saul,
even though he did flee from him; instead, he was afterwards exalted to the
throne of Israel! Elijah did not fall a victim to the wrath of Jezebel, though
his faith did fail him; instead, he was afterwards taken to heaven without
seeing death at all! Peter was not disowned because he denied his Lord,
nay, after his restoration, he had the signal honor of opening the door of
the kingdom both to the Jews and to the Gentiles! So it was with Abraham.
God did not abandon him when his faith faltered, but dealt gently and
patiently with him, leading him on step by step, disciplining him in the
school of experience, until by wondrous grace He enabled him to do by
faith on Mount Moriah that which was a type of Calvary itself!
The divine dealings with Abraham wonderfully demonstrated God’s
Sovereignty. A unique honor was conferred upon our patriarch, for he was.209
chosen by God to be the father of the chosen nation, that nation from
which, according to the flesh, Christ was to come. And mark how God’s
Sovereignty was displayed in the character of the one selected by Him.
There was nothing in Abraham by nature to commend him to Jehovah. By
descent he belonged to a family of idolaters. Ere he left Chaldea, in
response to God’s call, he entered into an evil compact with his wife

Genesis 12:7). As though to give special emphasis to their
unworthiness, God said to Israel,
“Look unto Abraham, your father, and unto Sarah that bore you:
for I called him alone — look unto the rock whence ye are hewn,
and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged” (

Isaiah 51:2,).
And Abraham, the father of us all, was a pattern or sample case. God’s
choice before the foundation of the world was not determined by any good
or merit foreseen in ourselves. Election itself is of “grace” (

11:5). It is all of grace from beginning to end, sovereign grace, gratuitous
grace, matchless grace.
Consider next Abraham as an object of God’s Love. The history of our
patriarch was one of strange vicissitudes. On no flowery beds of ease was
he permitted to luxuriate. Painful were the trials he was called upon to
endure. Again and again he passed through the waters and the fire, but
there was ever One by him that forsook him not. As the father of them that
believe, Abraham was, as we have seen, a representative believer. In kind
though not in character the experiences of Abraham are the same we meet
with. Faith has to be tried that it may work patience: the gold has to be put
in the crucible that it may be refined. God had one Son without sin, but
none without suffering and sorrow. Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. First, Abraham had to endure
the severance of nature’s ties; at the call of God he had to leave home and
kindred. And the word comes to us, too,
“He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of
Me” (

Matthew 10:37).
Called to leave the land of his birth, to be a stranger and pilgrim in a
foreign land, he was taught, as we are, that “Our citizenship is in heaven’’

Philippians 3:20). The “strife” which arose between the herdmen of
Abraham and Lot, necessitating the separation between our patriarch and
his nephew, illustrates the fact that the path of faith is ofttimes a lonesome.210
one, and that frequently we are obliged to walk apart from those loved by
the flesh. The years of waiting that Abraham experienced ere the longing of
his heart was gratified and a son was given him, exemplified that lesson, so
hard to learn, that we must wait only upon Him with our expectation from
Him. Finally, as Abraham was called upon to relinquish his Isaac and offer
to God his only son, so we are required to place our all at His disposal, and
in doing this we shall not be the losers any more than Abraham was. See,
then, the love of God exercised toward the father of all who believe; love
displayed in faithful chastening, and issuing in the peaceable fruit of
There are many facets to this precious jewel. We have noted how God’s
long-sufferance, His sovereignty, His love were manifested toward
Abraham; now observe His matchless grace. Is not this the only
appropriate word to use here? Was it not grace that made Abraham the
“friend of God”? Oh, wondrous condescension that should stoop so low
as to lay hold of a worm of the earth! Oh, matchless benignity that should
bring one of His own creatures into such intimate relationship with
Himself! Oh, undeserved and unmerited favor that made him “the friend of
God”! And mark how this friendship was exhibited. See how the Lord
makes known to His “friend” what shall happen to his descendants for a
long time (

Genesis 15:13-16). Mark, again, how He takes him into His
confidence and counsels respecting what He was about to do with Sodom

Genesis 18:17). Observe the Lord in intimate fellowship with
Abraham, eating and drinking at his board (

Genesis 18:8). Finally,
consider how marvelously God took him into the fellowship of His heart

Genesis 22). Probably no other human being ever entered so deeply
into the meaning and movements of the Father’s heart at Calvary as did
Abraham on Mount Moriah.
In the last place, let us look upon Abraham as a typical character. We do
not know of any Old Testament personage who was such a multifarious
type as was Abraham. First, he was a type of the Father. This is seen in his
desire for children (compare

Ephesians 1:5); in his making a “feast” at
the weaning of Isaac (compare

Matthew 22:2-4); in the offering up of
his only son Isaac (compare

John 3:16); in his sending for a bride for his
son (compare

Revelation 21:9); in appointing his son heir of all things

Genesis 25:5). Second, Abraham was a type of Christ. This is seen in
him leaving his father’s house at the call of God; in that he is the one in
whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed; in that he is the.211
kinsman — redeemer of Israel; in that he is the holder of headship of the
nations. Third, he is a type of the Church. This is seen, particularly, in that
he was a stranger and pilgrim in the earth. Observe that though he left his
home in Chaldea he did not find another in Canaan; instead, he was the
man of the tent. Note how this comes out toward the end of his life. When
he needed a burying-place he purchased it of the children of Heth

Genesis 23:3, 4). He preferred to buy it rather than receive it as a gift
from these worldlings. He would not be enriched by them any more than he
would be a debtor to and accept favors from the king of Sodom. The
stranger-ship of Abraham was also displayed in the seeking of a wife for
Isaac. He was a stranger in Canaan, so he sent to Haran! Thus, though he
tabernacled in Canaan, he was sharply distinguished from the people of the
land he was among them but not of them. Fourth, Abraham was a type of
Israel. This is seen in that he was the one to whom God gave Palestine; the
one with whom God entered into a covenant; the one who was divinely
preserved while dwelling in a strange country (

Genesis 20); the one
who, after a checkered career, was supernaturally quickened in old age,
and the one who was ultimately joined to the Gentiles (

Genesis 23).
May divine grace enable writer and reader to walk by faith and not by
sight, to live in complete separation from the world as strangers and
pilgrims, to render unto God a more prompt and unreserved obedience, to
submit to His will and hold all at His disposal, and then shall we find with
Abraham that the path of the just shineth more and more unto the perfect

The birth of Isaac marked a pivotal point in the outworking of God’s
eternal purpose. The coming of this son to Abraham and Sarah was the
second great step toward the fulfillment of Jehovah’s plan. This purpose
and plan was to have a people of His own, separate from the surrounding
nations; a people to whom should be entrusted the Holy Oracles, a people
of whom as concerning the flesh the Savior was to be born; a people who
should ultimately become the medium of blessing to all the earth. In the
realization of this plan and purpose the first great step was the selection of
Abram to be the father of the chosen nation, the call which separated him
from the idolatrous people among whom he lived, and the migration unto
the land which Jehovah promised to give him.
Some twenty-five years had now passed since Abram had left Ur of the
Chaldees, and during these years he had received promise from the Lord
that He would make of him a great nation (

Genesis 12:2) and that He
would make his seed as the dust of the earth (

Genesis 13:16). But years
went by and Abram remained childless: the promised seed had not been
given and Abram was exercised and perplexed.
“And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go
childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezar of Damascus?
And Abram said, Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed: and, lo,
one born in my house is mine heir” (

Genesis 15:2, 3).
To these questions the Lord returned answer,
“This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of
thine own bowels shall be thine heir” (

Genesis 15:4).
Another interval passed and yet no child appeared, and
“Sarai said unto Abram, Behold, now, the Lord hath restrained me
from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may
obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai,
and he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived”

Genesis 16:2, 4)..213
A further thirteen years dragged their weary course and
“God said unto Abraham, as for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call
her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her,
and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be
a mother of nations: Kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham
fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be
born unto him that is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is
ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael
might live before Thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear
thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac” (

Shortly after this the Lord, accompanied by two angels, appeared unto His
servant in the plains of Mamre and,
“they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold,
in the tent. And He said, I will certainly return unto thee according
to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And
Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now
Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased
to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah
laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have
pleasure, my lord being old also? And the Lord said unto Abraham,
Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child,
which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time
appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and
Sarah shall have a son” (

Genesis 18:9-14).
And now the appointed hour for the fulfillment of God’s promises to
Abraham and Sarah had struck, and we read,
“And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did unto
Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a
son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him”

Genesis 21:12).
Thus we reach, as we have said, the second stage in the accomplishment of
Jehovah’s purpose. The birth of Isaac marked an important crisis in
connection with the history of the chosen line, for not in Ishmael but in
Isaac was Abraham’s seed to be called (

Genesis 21:12)..214
Many are the important truths illustrated in the above Scriptures, and many
are the profitable lessons to be learned therefrom. We name a few of them
without attempting to enlarge. We see from the above that God is in no
hurry in the working out of His plans. Man may fret and fume, hurry and
bustle, but Jehovah has all eternity at His disposal and works leisurely and
with deliberation. Well for us to mark this attentively — “he that believeth
shall not make haste” (

Isaiah 28:16). Again, we note here God’s
Almightiness. Nothing can hinder or thwart the outworking of His
purpose. Abraham may be old, Sarah may be barren, but such trifles
present no difficulty to Him who is infinite in power. Abraham may seek to
obtain an heir through Hagar, but Jehovah’s plan cannot be foiled: Sarah’s
son shall be his heir, not Ishmael. Behold, too, the faithfulness of God.
The Lord had said Sarah shall have a son, and what He promised He
performed. His promise may seem unreasonable and impossible to the
carnal mind, but His word is sure. Learn, also, how faith is tried and
tested. This is in order to display its genuineness. A faith that is incapable
of enduring trial is no faith at all. A hard thing was promised to Abraham
“he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an
hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he
staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was
strong in faith, giving glory to God” (

Romans 4:19, 20).
Finally, note that God has a set time for the accomplishing of His will and
the fulfilling of His word. Nothing is left to chance. Nothing is contingent
on the creature. Everything is definitely fixed beforehand by God.
“For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at
the set time of which God had spoken to him” (

Genesis 21:2).
Mark how this is emphasized by repetition —
“But my covenant will! establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear
unto thee at this set time in the next year” (

Genesis 17:21);
“At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the
time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (

Genesis 18:14).
So also we read in another connection,.215
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall
speak” (

Habakkuk 2:3).

Galatians 4:4.
Isaac was the child of promise. The Lord took great interest in the birth of
this boy. More was said about him before his birth than about any other,
excepting only Abraham’s greater Son. God first made promise to
“As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah
shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of
her” (

Genesis 17:15, 16).
The response of the aged patriarch is recorded in the next verse — “Then
Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed.” Later, the promise was renewed
in the hearing of Sarah,
“And He said I will certainly return unto thee according to the time
of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son” (

Genesis 18:10).
Then we are told, “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, Shall I
of a surety bear a child, which am old?” How reason ever opposes the
promises of God. The “laughter” of Abraham was the laughter of
worshipful joy, that of Sarah was credulous unbelief. There is a laughter
which the Lord fills the mouth with, when, at some crisis, He comes to our
“When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like
them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our
tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, the Lord
hath done great things for them” (

Psalm 126:112).
But there is also the laughter of cynicism and unbelief. The former we are
not afraid to avow; the latter makes us, like Sarah, cowards and liars. But
are we not told
“Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive
seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because
she judged him faithful who had promised” (

Hebrews 11:11).
How shall we harmonize this with her laugh of unbelief? To the infidel this
would appear a contradiction, but the believer has no difficulty in.216
reconciling these two, for he knows from experience there is a continual
struggle going on in his heart between faith and unbelief, sometimes the
one and sometimes the other being uppermost. But is it not beautiful and
blessed to note that in the New Testament Sarah’s unbelief is passed over,
just as nothing is said there of Rahab’s deception (

Hebrews 11:31), or
of Job’s impatience (

James 5:11).
Isaac was the child of miracle. Sarah’s womb was “dead” (

4:19) and ere she could conceive a supernatural “strength” must be given
her (

Hebrews 11:11). In this, of course, we discover a foreshadowment
of the miraculous birth of the Lord Jesus — now, alas, so generally denied.
We are tempted to digress here but must refrain. Certain it is that the vital
importance of the virgin birth of our Savior cannot be overestimated. Well
did Sir Robert Anderson say,
“The whole Christian system depends upon the truth of the last
verse of Matthew one” (“The Coming Prince”).
Returning to the miraculous birth of Isaac, do we not see in it, as also in
the somewhat similar cases of Rachel, the mother of Samson, Hannah, and
Elisabeth, not only a foreshadowing of the supernatural birth of Christ, but
also the gracious way of God in preparing Israel to believe in it, facilitating
faith in the Divine incarnation. If God quickened a dead womb and caused
it to bear, why should it be thought a thing incredible if He made the virgin
give birth to the Child!
The birth of Christ was markedly foreshadowed by that of Isaac and this in
seven ways at least.
First, Isaac was the promised seed and son (

Genesis 17:16); so also
was Christ (

Genesis 3:15;

Isaiah 7:14).
Second, a lengthy interval occurred between God’s first promise to
Abraham and its realization. When we are told, “And the Lord visited
Sarah as he had said” (

Genesis 21:1), the immediate reference is to

Genesis 17:16 and

Genesis 18:14, but the remote reference was to
the original promise of

Genesis 12:7. So also was there a lengthy
interval between God’s promise to send Christ and the actual fulfillment of
Third, when Isaac’s birth was announced, his mother asked, “Shall I of a
surety bear a child, which am old?” (

Genesis 18:13), to which the.217
answer was returned, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” and the striking
analogy is seen in the fact that when the angel of the Lord made known
unto Mary that she was to be the mother of the Savior, she asked, “How
shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (

Luke 1:34), to which query
the answer was returned, “With God nothing shall be impossible’’

Luke 1:37): so that in each case God’s omnipotency was affirmed
following the annunciation of the birth of the child.
Fourth, Isaac’s name was specified before he was born — “And thou shalt
call his name Isaac” (

Genesis 17:19); compare with this the words of
the angel to Joseph before Christ was born — “And thou shalt call his
name Jesus” (

Matthew 1:21)!
Fifth, Isaac’s birth occurred at God’s appointed time (

Genesis 21:2)
“at the set time”; so also in connection with the Lord Jesus we read “But
when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a
woman” (

Galatians 4:4). Sixth, as we have seen above, Isaac’s birth
required a miracle to bring it about; so also was it with the incarnation of
Seventh, the name Isaac (given unto him by Abraham and not Sarah,

Genesis 21:3), which means laughter, declared him to be his father’s
delight; so also was the one born at Bethlehem — “this is My beloved Son
in whom I am well pleased.” Need we remark how strikingly this sevenfold
type evidences the Divine inspiration of Scripture, and demonstrates that
the book of Genesis — so much attacked by the critics — was written by
one” moved by the Holy Spirit.”
It has been noticed by others that in Abraham we have a striking
illustration of election, while in Isaac we get, typically, the precious truth
of sonship. Abraham was the one chosen and called by God; Isaac was the
one promised and born of God’s power. The historical order of Genesis is
thus the doctrinal order of the New Testament. Thus we read in

Ephesians 1:4, 5,
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of
the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him: in
love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
Isaac brings before us in type regeneration, and it is this which will now
engage our attention..218
The first point we would here dwell upon is that before Isaac was born the
power and activities of nature were made an end of. Abraham and Sarah
had come to the end of themselves. Abraham’s body was “dead,” and so
too was Sarah’s womb (

Romans 4:19). And in order for Isaac to be
born that which was dead must be quickened, quickened by God. This is a
very humbling truth; one which is thoroughly distasteful to man; one which
nothing but the grace of God will enable us to receive. The state of the
natural man is far worse than he imagines. It is not only that man is a
sinner, a sinner both by nature and by practice, but that he is “alienated
from the life of God” (

Ephesians 4:18). In a word the sinner is dead —
dead in trespasses and sins. As the father said of the prodigal,
“This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is
found” (

Luke 15:24).
That the natural man is dead in trespasses and sins is no mere figure of
speech; it is a solemn reality, an awful fact. It is ignorance and the denial of
this fact which lies at the root of so much of the false teaching of our day.
What the natural man needs first and foremost is not education or
reformation, but life. It is because the sinner is dead that he needs to be
born again. But how little this is pressed today! The unspeakably dreadful
state of the natural man is glossed over where it is not directly repudiated.
For the most part our preachers seem afraid to insist upon the utter ruin
and total depravity of human nature. This is a fatal defect in any preaching:
sinners will never be brought to see their need of a Savior until they realize
their lost condition, and they will never discover their lost condition until
they learn that they are dead in sin.
But what does Scripture mean when it says the sinner is “dead”? This is
something which seems absurd to the natural man. And to him it is absurd.
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because
they are spiritually discerned” (

1 Corinthians 2:14).
To the natural man it seems that he is very much alive. Yes, and Scripture
itself speaks of one that lives in pleasure as being “dead while she liveth”

1 Timothy 5:6). Herein lies the key to the meaning of that expression
employed by our Lord in His teaching upon the Good Samaritan.
Describing the condition of the natural man under the figure of one who
had fallen among thieves, who had stripped him of his raiment and left him.219
wounded by the wayside, the Savior termed him “half dead” (

10:30). Mark then the absolute accuracy of Christ’s words. The sinner is
“half dead”: he is alive manward, worldward, sinward, but he is dead
Godward! The sinner is alive naturally — physically, mentally, morally —
but he is dead spiritually. That is why the new birth is termed a “passing
from death unto life” (

John 5:24). And just as the deadness of Abraham
and Sarah — in their case natural deadness, for they but foreshadowed
spiritual truths had to be quickened by God before Isaac could be born, so
has the sinner to be quickened by God into newness of life before he can
become a son of God. And this leads us to say.
Second, before Isaac could be born God had to perform a miracle. As we
have said, Abraham’s body was “dead” and Sarah was long past the age of
child-bearing. How then could they have a son? Sarah laughed at the
mention of such a thing. But what was beyond the reach of nature’s
capacity was fully within the scope of Divine power.
“Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (

Genesis 18:14).
No, indeed.
“Ah, Lord God, behold! Thou hast made the heaven and the earth
by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too
hard for Thee” (

Jeremiah 32:17).
As it was with Isaac so it is with every Christian. Before any of us could be
born again God had to work a miracle. Make no mistake on this point;
regeneration is the direct result of the supernatural operation of God. This
needs to be stressed today, for regeneration has been so misrepresented by
modern evangelists that to the popular mind the “new birth” signifies
nothing more than a process of reformation. But the new birth is no mere
turning over of a new leaf and the endeavor to live a better life. The new
birth is very much more than going forward in a religious meeting and
taking the preacher’s hand; very much more than signing a card and
“joining the church.” The new birth is an act of God’s creative power, the
impartation of spiritual life, the communication to us of the Divine nature
Abraham and his wife — each of them nearly a hundred years old —
desiring a son — what could they do? Nothing! absolutely nothing. God
had to come in and work a miracle. And thus nature had nothing to glory
in. So it is with us. The natural man is not only a sinner, a lost sinner, but.220
he is a helpless sinner impotent, unable to do anything of himself. If help
comes it must come from outside of himself. He is, like Abraham and
Sarah, shut up to God.
Third, the coming of Isaac into Abraham’s household aroused opposition
and produced a conflict.
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had
borne unto Abraham, mocking” (

Genesis 21:9).
In the epistle to the Galatians we are shown the dispensational meaning
and application of this, and there we read,
“But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael) persecuted
him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now”

Galatians 4:29);
but it is with the individual application of this type that we are now
concerned. Ishmael exemplifies the one born after the flesh: Isaac the one
born after the Spirit. When Isaac was born the true character of Ishmael
was manifested; and so when we are born again and receive the new
nature, the old nature, the flesh, then comes out in its true colors.
Just as there were two sons in Abraham’s household, the one the product
of nature, the other the gift of God and the outworking of Divine power,
each standing for a totally different principle, so in the believer there are
two natures which are distinct and diverse. And just as there was a conflict
between Ishmael and Isaac, so the flesh in us lusteth against the spirit and
the spirit against the flesh (

Galatians 5:17).
It is of first importance that the Christian, especially the young Christian,
should be clear upon the two natures in the believer. The new birth is not
the improving of the old nature, but the receiving of a new; and the
receiving of the new nature does not in any wise improve the old. Not only
so, the old and the new natures within the believer are in open antagonism
the one to the other. We quote now from the works of one deeply
respected and to which we are much indebted: “Some there are who think
that regeneration is a certain change which the old nature undergoes; and,
moreover, that this change is gradual in its operation until, at length, the
whole man becomes transformed. That this idea is unsound, can be proved
by various quotations from the New Testament. For example: The carnal
mind is enmity against God. How can that which is thus spoken of ever.221
undergo any improvement? The apostle goes on to say, “It is not subject to
the law of God, neither indeed can be.” If it cannot be subject to the law
of God, how can it be improved? How can it undergo any change? Do
what you will with flesh, and it is flesh all the while. As Solomon says,
“Though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a
pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him” (

“There is no use seeking to make foolishness wise. You must
introduce heavenly wisdom into the heart that has been hitherto
only governed by folly” (C. H. M.).
Fourth, it is to be noted that it was the birth of Isaac which revealed the
true character of Ishmael. We know practically nothing of Ishmael’s life
before the birth of Isaac, but as soon as this child of promise made his
appearance the real nature of Hagar’s son was made manifest. He may
have been very quiet and orderly before, but as soon as the child of God’s
quickening-power came on the scene, Ishmael showed what he was by
persecuting and mocking him. Here again the type holds good. It is not
until the believer receives the new nature that he discovers the real
character of the old. It is not until we are born again we learn what a
horrible and vile thing the flesh is. And the discovery is a painful one: to
many it is quite unsettling. To those who have supposed that regeneration
is an improving of the old nature, the recognition of the awful depravity of
the flesh comes as a shock and often destroys all peace of soul, for the
young convert quickly concludes that, after all, he has not been born again.
The truth is that the recognition of the true character of the flesh and a
corresponding abhorrence of it, is one of the plainest evidences of our
regeneration, for the unregenerate man is blind to the vileness of the flesh.
The fact that I have within me a conflict between the natural and the
spiritual is the proof there are two natures present, and that I find the
Ishmael-nature “persecuting” the Isaac-nature is only to be expected. That
the Ishmael-nature appears to me to be growing worse only goes to prove
that I now have capacity to see its real character, just as the real character
of Ishmael was not revealed until Isaac was born.
Fifth, we read,
“And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as
God had commanded him” (

Genesis 21:4)..222
Our space is exhausted and we must be very brief on these last points. The
circumcising of Isaac, and later of the Israelites, was a foreshadowing of
our spiritual circumcision:
“And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality
and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision
made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh
by the circumcision of Christ” (

Colossians 2:10, 11).
Judicially we have been circumcised and God no longer looks at us in the
flesh but in Christ, for circumcision — typically and spiritually — is
separation from the flesh, and the eighth day brings us on to resurrection
ground in Christ. Compare

Colossians 3:9, etc.
“And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great
feast the same day that Isaac was weaned” (

Genesis 21:8).
Here again the type holds good. Isaac “grew” by feeding on his mother’s
milk. Thus, too, is it with the believer. By the new birth we are but spiritual
babes, and our growth is brought about by feeding on the milk of the
“As new-born babes, desires the sincere milk of the Word, that ye
may grow thereby” (

1 Peter 2:2).
We cannot now touch upon the significance of the “great feast” above.
“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had
borne unto Abraham mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham,
Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this
bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the
thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And
God said unto Abraham, let it not be grievous in thy sight because
of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath
said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be
called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation,
because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning,
and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar,.223
putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away”

Genesis 21:9-14).
At last the conflict is over. He who “persecuted” Isaac is now “cast out”

Galatians 4:29). So it will yet be with us. Judicially the life of the flesh
is already ended for us, but practically it is still here with us and in us. But
blessed be God what is true now judicially shall soon be true
experimentally also. When Christ returns for us, the flesh shall be put off
for ever, just as Elijah left behind him his earthly mantle. But mark how
accurate our type is: not till Isaac “grew” and was “weaned” was the
persecuting Ishmael cast out! Let this be our closing thought. Soon our
Ishmael shall be east out. Soon shall this vile body of ours be made like
unto the body of Christ’s glory (

Philippians 3:21). Soon shall the Savior
return and we shall be “like Him,” for we shall see Him as He is (

3:2). Blessed promise! Glorious prospect! Does not the presence of the vile
flesh within us now only serve to intensify the longing for our blessed
Lord’s return? Then let us continue to cry daily, “Come quickly. Even so,
come Lord Jesus.”.224

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (try)
Abraham” (

Genesis 20:1).
These words refer us back to the context, a context that is rich in typical
significance. The immediate context is the twenty-first chapter, where we
have recorded the Birth of Isaac — a remarkable type which, with what
follows it, needs to be viewed from two standpoints: its individual
application, and its dispensational application. In our last paper we
considered the former, here we shall deal briefly with the latter.
The birth of Isaac awakened the enmity of Ishmael, and in consequence
Sarah came to Abraham saying,
“Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this
bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac”

Genesis 21:10).
From the Epistle to the Galatians (

Galatians 4:22-31) we learn there
was a profound meaning to the act here requested by Sarah, that it
possessed a dispensational significance. It is to be noted first that Sarah
refers to the “inheritance” — the son of Hagar should not be “heir with
Isaac.” Now Isaac, as we have shown in our last, not only foreshadowed
the Lord Jesus in His miraculous birth, but also pointed forward to those
who now become the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. In a
word, Isaac stands for Divine sonship. Only the spiritual family of promise
answers to Isaac, and takes the title of “heirs of God and joint heirs with
Christ.” Israel, nationally, does not inherit with the church. Hence, as Isaac

Genesis 21 foreshadowed those who are members of the Body of
Christ, Ishmael stands for the Nation of Israel which is now “cast out”
during the time that God is visiting the Gentiles and taking from among
them a people for His name (

Acts 15:14). With this key in hand let us
turn to the second part of

Genesis 21 and note how the course of Israel
as a nation is pursued in the type.
1. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning and took bread and
a bottle of water, and gave unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder,.225
and the child, and sent her away, and she departed and wandered in
the wilderness of Beer-Sheba” (

Genesis 21:14).
First we note (and we shall be as brief as possible) that Hagar and her son
became wanderers in the wilderness. How true the picture. Such has been
Israel’s portion ever since she rejected Abraham’s greater Son, the Lord of
Glory. Throughout all these centuries, during which God has been building
the Church, the Jews have dwelt in the wilderness, and “wanderers” well
describes “the nation of the weary foot!”
2. “And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child
under one of the shrubs” (

Genesis 21:15).
In type, the Holy Spirit is here taken from Israel — the water was spent.
This it is which explains the tragic “veil” which is over the heart of the
Jews as they read the Scriptures (

2 Corinthians 3:15), for without the
Spirit none can understand or draw refreshment from the Word of God.
3. “And she went and sat her down over against him a good way
off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of
the child. And she sat over against him and lifted up her voice and
wept” (

Genesis 21:16).
We see here a foreshadowment of Jerusalem bemoaning her desolations,
and at this point the lamentations of Jeremiah are most appropriate to her
condition. O, how the above type anticipated the poor Jews “wailing”
before the gates of Jerusalem!
4. “And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God
called to Hagar out of heaven and said unto her, What aileth thee,
Hagar? Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he
is” (

Genesis 21:17).
And here is where hope begins. It is not until the Jew bewails his sins (see

Hosea 5:15, etc.), confesses his dreadful crime of crucifying the Son of
God, not until after much bitter humiliation they shall cry, “Blessed is He
that cometh in the name of the Lord” (

Matthew 23:39), that Jehovah
will take up again His covenant people.
5. “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she
went and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad drink”

Genesis 21:19)..226
In type the Spirit is given once more to Israel. Just as God here “opened
the eyes of Hagar,” so in a near-coming day will He open the eyes of the
Jews, and even during the days of the now rapidly approaching tribulation,
a pious remnant shall keep the testimony of God and wash their garments
in the blood of the Lamb (

Revelation 14:3, 4; 20:4).
6. “And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the
wilderness, and became an archer” (

Genesis 21:20).
Couple with this the promise of verse 18, “For I will make him a great
nation.” How accurate the type! Thus it will be with Israel in the
Millennium after God has taken into favor again the chosen race.
7. “And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran” (

Genesis 21:21).
Paran means “Beauty or Glory,” speaking in type of Palestine, the dwelling
place of Israel in the Millennium, when the wilderness shall be made to
blossom as the rose, for the curse now resting on the material creation shall
then be removed; and then the Shekinah Glory shall once more be in their
8. “And his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt”

Genesis 21:21).
In type this allies Israel with Egypt, and thus will it be during the
Millennium —
“In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria,
even a blessing in the midst of the land; whom the Lord of hosts
shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the
work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance” (

Isaiah 19:24,
9. “And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol
the chief captain of his host spoke unto Abraham saying, God is
with thee in all that thou doest” (

Genesis 21:22).
How this reminds us that in the Millennium the Gentile will seek out the
Jew, because conscious that Jehovah is once more in their midst! As it is
written, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, In those days it shall come to pass
that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall
take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, “We will go with you, for
we have heard that God is with you” (

Zechariah 8:23)..227
10. Note the close of this chapter: “And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-Sheba”

Genesis 21:33). This action of the patriarch was deeply
significant when viewed typically. It marked the change from strangership
to possession. Abraham, who stands figuratively as the federal head of the
nation plants a “grove” in Beer-Sheba, which means, “Well of the oath,”
for all is founded upon the Covenant, and thus takes possession of the
land, for the planting of a tree emblemizes settled and long continuance —
“They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and
another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people,
and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands”

Isaiah 64:22).
11. “And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-Sheba, and called there
on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (

Genesis 21:33).
Here Abraham calls not on Jehovah, nor on the Almighty, but on the Lord,
“the Everlasting God.” So will it be when the Kingdom comes in power
and glory. Instead of ceaseless change and decay in all around we see, as
now, there shall be fixity, permanence, peace and blessing, Then shall Israel
“Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end. The children
of Thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established
before Thee” (

Psalm 102:27, 28).
12. One more notice is given to this type and it completes the picture —
“These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their
towns and by their castles; twelve princes according to their
nations” (

Genesis 25:16).
In the Millennium the whole of the twelve tribes of Israel will be restored
and raised to princely dignity among the nations.
And now what follows this marvellous sketch of Israel’s course? — for
marvellous it surely is to the anointed eye. What follows? why, that
unparalleled foreshadowing of the Savior’s Death and Resurrection. And
why this linking of the two together? To show us, and later the Jews, that
Israel owes her Millennial blessedness, as we do our present and eternal
blessings, to the precious Sacrifice of the Lamb of God. But we must leave.228
the dispensational application of the type, and turn and consider once more
its individual application.
In our last article we pointed out how that in seven particulars the birth of
Isaac was a type of the Birth of the Lord Jesus. Now, we are to see how
the offering up of Isaac upon the altar pointed forward to the Cross of
This twenty-second chapter of Genesis has ever been a favorite one with
the saints of God, and our difficulty now is to single out for mention that in
it which will be most precious to our hearts and most profitable for our
walk. Ere examining it in detail it should be said that this is, we believe, the
only type in the Old Testament which distinctly intimated that God
required a human sacrifice. Here it was that God first revealed the
necessity for a human victim to expiate sin, for as it was man that had
sinned, it must be by man, and not by sacrifice of beasts, that Divine justice
would be satisfied.
1. “And He said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom
thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him
there for a burnt offering upon one
of the mountains which I will
tell thee of” (

Genesis 22:2).
This is one of the very few Old Testament types that brings before us not
only God the Son but also God the Father. Here, as nowhere else, are we
shown the Father’s heart. Here it is that we get such a wonderful
foreshadowment of the Divine side of Calvary. Oh! how the Spirit of God
lingers on the offering and the offerer, as if there must be a thorough
similitude in the type of the antitype — “thy son — thine only son — whom
thou lovest”! Here it is we learn, in type how that God “spared not His
own Son” (

Romans 8:32). Really, this is central in

Genesis 22. In
this chapter Abraham figures much more prominently than Isaac — Isaac is
shown simply (and yet how sweetly!) obeying his father’s will. It is the
affections of the father’s heart which are here displayed most
2. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass,
and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and
clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto
the place of which God had told him” (

Genesis 22:3)..229
Here we see in type the Father setting apart the Son for sacrifice. Just as
we find the passover-lamb was separated from the flock four days before it
was to be killed (

Exodus 12:3), so here Isaac is taken by Abraham three
days before he is to be offered upon the altar. This brings before us an
aspect of truth exceedingly precious, albeit deeply solemn. The seizure and
crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was something more than the frenzied act of
those who hated Him without a cause. The cross of Christ was according
to “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (

Acts 2:23).
Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and Jews only did “whatsoever” God’s
hand and counsel “determined before to be done” (

Acts 4:28). Christ
was the Lamb
“without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained
before the foundation of the world” (

1 Peter 1:20).
Yes, the Lord Jesus was marked out for sacrifice from all eternity. He was,
in the purpose of God, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”

Revelation 13:8). And note how this is suggested by our type,
“And Abraham rose up early in the morning” (

Genesis 22:3).
3. “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the
ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again
to you” (

Genesis 22:5).
Here we see in type that what took place on that mount of sacrifice was a
transaction between the Father and the Son ONLY. How jealously God
guarded these types! Nothing whatever is said of Sarah in this chapter
though she figures prominently in the one before and is mentioned in the
one succeeding. Abraham and Isaac must be alone. Up to the time the
appointed place enters their range of vision “two young men” (

22:3) accompany Isaac; but as they near the scene of sacrifice they are left
behind (

Genesis 22:5). Is it without a reason we are told of these two
men journeying with Abraham and Isaac just so far? We think not. Two is
the number of witness, but there is more in it than this. These two men
witnessed Isaac carrying the wood on his shoulder up the mountain, but
what took place between him and his father at the altar they were not
permitted to see. No; no human eye was to behold that. Look now at the
Anti-type. Do you not also see there “two men,” the two thieves who
followed Abraham’s greater son so far but who, like all the spectators of
that scene, were not permitted to behold what transpired between the.230
Father and the Son on the altar itself — the three hours of darkness
concealing from every human eye the Divine Transaction.
4. “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it
upon Isaac his son” (

Genesis 22:6).
This was no half grown boy (as pictures so often represent Isaac), but a
full-grown man who is here brought before us, one who could, had he so
wished, have easily resisted the aged patriarch. But instead of resisting,
Isaac quietly follows his father. There is no voice of protest raised to mar
the scene, but he acquiesces fully by carrying the wood on his own
shoulder. How this brings before us the Peerless One, gladly performing
the Father’s pleasure. There was no alienated will in Him that needed to be
brought into subjection: “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God,” was His
gladsome cry. “I delight to do Thy will” revealed the perfections of His
heart. Christ and the Father were of one accord. Note how beautifully this
is brought out in the type — “And they went both of them together:”
twice repeated. We need hardly say that Isaac carrying “the wood”
foreshadowed Christ bearing His cross.
5. “And he took the fire in his hand and a knife; and they went both
of them together” (

Genesis 22:6).
And he (Abraham) took the fire in his hand. Here, as everywhere in
Scripture, “fire” emblemizes Divine judgment. It expresses the energy of
Divine Holiness which ever burns against sin. It is the perfection of the
Divine nature which cannot tolerate that which is, evil. This was first
manifested by the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way
of the tree of life (

Genesis 3:24). And it will be finally and eternally
exhibited in the Lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. But here in
our type it pointed forward to that awful storm of Divine judgment which
burst upon the head of the Sin-Bearer as He hung upon the Cross, for there
it was that sin, our sin, Christian reader, was being dealt with. Just as
Isaac’s father took in his hand the fire and the knife, so the beloved Son
was “smitten of God, and afflicted” (

Isaiah 53:4).
6. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father and said, My father:
and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and
the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham
said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering:
So they went both of them together” (

Genesis 22:7, 8)..231
These words of Abraham have a double meaning. They tell us that God
was the One who should “provide” the “lamb,” and they also make known
the fact that the lamb was for Himself. God alone could supply that which
would satisfy Himself. Nothing of man could meet the Divine
requirements. If sacrifice for sin was ever to be found God Himself must
supply it. And mark, the “lamb” was not only provided by God but it was
also for God. Before blessing could flow forth to men the claims of Divine
holiness and justice must be met. It is true, blessedly true, that Christ died
for sinners, but He first died (and this is what we are in danger of
forgetting) for God, i.e., as the Holy Spirit expresses it through the apostle.
“to declare His righteousness…. that He might be just, and the
justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (

Romans 3:26).
Note how this comes out in our passage: it is not “God Himself will
provide a lamb,” but “God will provide Himself a lamb” — put this way,
abstractly, so as to take in both of these truths.
7. “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and
Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound
Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And
Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his
son. And the Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and
said, Abraham, Abraham, and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay
not Thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for
now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld
thy son, thine only son, from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes,
and looked, and beheld behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his
horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for
a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the
name of that place Jehovah-Jireh: as it is said to this day. In the
mount of the Lord it shall be seen” (

Genesis 22:9-14).
Here the type passes from Isaac to the ram offered up — “offered up in
his stead” — a beautiful fore-shadowment of Christ dying in the stead of
sinners who are, as Isaac was, already in the place of Death, “bound,”
unable to help themselves, with the knife of Divine justice suspended over
them. Here it was that the Gospel was “preached unto Abraham”

Galatians 3:8). Similarly in other scriptures we find this double type
(both Isaac and the ram) as in the sweet savor and the sin offerings, the.232
two goats on the Day of Atonement, the two birds at the cleansing of the
8. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he
that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of
whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called, accounting that
God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence
also he received him in a figure” (

Hebrews 11:17-19).
From this scripture we learn that

Genesis 22 presents to us in type not
only Christ offered upon the altar, but Christ raised again from the dead,
and that on the third day, too, for it was on “the third day” Abraham
received Isaac back again, for during the three days that elapsed from the
time Abraham received command from God to offer him up as a burnt
offering, his son was as good as dead to him. And now to complete this
wonderful picture, observe how

Genesis 22 anticipated, in type, the
Ascension of Christi It is very striking to note that after we read of Isaac
being laid upon the altar (from which Abraham received him back) nothing
further is said of him in

Genesis 22. Mark carefully the wording of
verse 19 — “So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up
and went together to Beer-Sheba.” Our type leaves Isaac up in the mount!
This article would not be complete did we say nothing about the
remarkable trial of Abraham’s faith and of the Divine grace which
sustained him, yet, a very brief word is all we now have space for.
The spiritual history of Abraham was marked by four great crises, each of
which involved the surrender of something which was naturally dear to
First, he was called on to separate himself from his native land and
kindred (

Genesis 12:1);
Second, he was called on to give up Lot (

Genesis 13:1-18);
Third, he had to abandon his cherished plan about Ishmael (

17:17, 18);
Fourth, God bade him offer up Isaac as a burnt offering.
The life of the believer is a series of tests, for only by discipline can
Christian character be developed. Frequently there is one supreme test, in
view of which all others are preparatory. So it was with Abraham. He had.233
been tested again and again, but never as here. God’s demand is, “Son,
give Me thine heart (

Proverbs 23:26). It is not our intellect, our talents,
our money, but our heart, God asks for first. When we have responded to
God’s requirement, He lays His hand on something especially near and
dear to us, to prove the genuineness of our response, for God requireth
truth in the inward parts and not merely on the lips. Thus He dealt with
Abraham. Let us consider now, The Time of Abraham’s Trial.
It was “after these things” that God did try Abraham; that is, it was after
the twenty-five years of waiting, after the promise of a seed had been
frequently repeated, after hope had been raised to the highest point, yea,
after it had been turned to enjoyment and Isaac had reached man’s estate.
Probably Abraham thought that when Isaac was born his trials were at an
end; if so, he was greatly mistaken. Let us look now at, The Nature of
Abraham’s Trial.
Abraham was bidden to take his son — and what? Deliver him to some
other hand to sacrifice? No: be thou thyself the priest; go, offer him up for
a burnt offering. This was a staggering request! When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, Abraham could have been well contented to have gone without
another son, but when Isaac was born and had entwined himself around the
father’s heart, to part with him thus must have been a fearful wrench. Add
to this, the three days’ journey, Isaac having to carry the wood and
Abraham the knife and fire up the mountainside, and above all, the cutting
question of the son asked in the simplicity of his heart, without knowing he
himself was to be the victim —
“Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt
offering?” (

Genesis 22:8)
— this would seem to be more than the human heart could bear. Yet, this
shock to Abraham’s natural affection was not the severest part of the trial.
What must it have been to his faith. It was not only that Isaac was his son,
but the promised seed, the one in whom all the great things spoken of the
seed were to be fulfilled. When he was called to give up his other son God
condescended to give him a reason for it, but here no reason was given. In
the former case, though Ishmael must go, it was because he was not the
child of promise (“in Isaac shall thy seed be called”), but if Isaac goes who
shall substitute for him? To offer up Isaac was to sacrifice the very object
of faith! Turn now and consider, Abraham’s Response..234
Mark his promptitude. There was no doubt or delay, and no reluctance or
hesitation; instead, he “rose up early in the morning.” There was no
opposition either from natural affection or unbelief, rather did he bow in
absolute submission to the will of God. Faith triumphed over natural
affection, over reason, and over self-will. Here was a most striking
demonstration of the efficacy of Divine grace which can subdue every
passion of the human heart and every imagination of the carnal mind,
bringing all into unrepining acquiescence to God. And what was the effect
of this trial upon Abraham? He was amply rewarded, for he discovered
something in God he never knew before, or at most knew imperfectly,
namely, that God was Jehovah-Jireh — the Lord who would provide. It is
only by passing through trials that we learn what God is — His grace, His
faithfulness, His sufficiency. May the Lord grant both writer and reader
more of that power of faith which, with open hand, takes every blessing
which God gives us, and with open hand gives back to Him, in the spirit of

In our last two articles we have been occupied more particularly with the
person of Isaac, now we are to review his history. It is noticeable that
though Isaac lived the longest of the four great patriarchs yet less is
recorded of him than of the others: some twelve chapters are devoted to
the biography of Abraham, and a similar number each to Jacob and Joseph,
but excepting for one or two brief mentionings, before and after, the
history of Isaac is condensed into a single chapter. Contrasting his
character with those of his father and son, we may remark that of Isaac
there is noted less of Abraham’s triumphs of faith and less of Jacob’s
As we have seen in our previous studies Isaac, typically, represents
sonship. In perfect consonance with this we may note how he was
appointed heir of all things. Said Eliazer to Bethuel,
“And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she
was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath” (

Observe how this is repeated for sake of emphasis in

Genesis 25:5 —
“And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.” In the type this pointed
first to Abraham’s greater Son,
“Whom He (God) hath appointed Heir of all things”

Hebrews 1:2).
But it is equally true of all those who are through faith the children of
Abraham and the children of God —
“And if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint-heirs with
Christ” (

Romans 8:17).
As with Isaac, so with us: all the wealth of the Father’s house is ours! But
Isaac not only represented the believer’s sonship and heirship, but he also
foreshadowed our heavenly calling. As is well known to most of our
readers, the land of Canaan typified the Heavenlies where is our citizenship

Philippians 3:20) and our spiritual warfare (

Ephesians 6:12). Hence.236
it was that Isaac alone of the patriarchs is never seen outside the Land.
This is the more noticeable and striking when we remember how that
Abraham, Jacob and Joseph each did leave the Land, for a time at least.
Having looked at Isaac mystically we shall now consider him morally. The
first thing we read about him after the remarkable scene pictured in

Genesis 22 is that
“Isaac came from the way of the well Lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the
south country. And Isaac went out to meditate (or pray) in the field
at the eventide” (

Genesis 24:62, 63).
This gives us a good insight into Isaac’s character. He was of the quiet and
retiring order. He had not the positive, active, aggressive disposition of his
eminent father, but was gentle and retiring and unresisting. In One only do
we find all the Divine graces and perfections.
Isaac was essentially the man of the well. Abraham was markedly the man
of the altar, Jacob specially the man of the tent but that which was most
prominent in connection with Isaac was the “well.” The first thing said of
Isaac after he was bound to the altar (

Genesis 22) is, “Isaac came from
the way of the well Lahai-roi” (

Genesis 24:62). This is very striking
coming as the next mention of Isaac after we have seen Christ typically
slain, resurrected and ascended (compare our last article on

22). Hence that which follows here in the type is the figure of the Holy
Spirit’s operations as succeeding Christ’s Ascension! But returning to
Isaac and the well. The next time he is referred to we are told,
“And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed
his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi”

Genesis 25:11).
And again we read,
“And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of
Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water
which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the
Philistines had stopped them” (

Genesis 26:18, 19).
For further references see

Genesis 26:20, 21, 22, 25. It is very striking
and significant that the name of Isaac is associated with “wells” just seven.237
times, not less, not more. Undoubtedly there is some important lesson to
be gathered from this.
A well differs from a cistern, in that it is the place of running water. What
a marvelous hint of the typical meaning of Isaac’s well is that found in

Genesis 26:19! — “And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found
there a well of springing water,” the margin gives, “of living water”!
Water is imperative for the maintenance of the natural life; so, too, is it
with the spiritual. The first need of the believer is the “living water,” that is,
the Spirit acting through the Word.
“The way that water ministers to life and growth is indeed a
beautiful type of the Spirit’s action. Without water a plant will die
in the midst of abundance of food in actual contact with its roots.
Its office is to make food to be assimilated by the organism, and to
give power to the system itself to take it up” (F. W. G)
The first well by which Isaac is seen is that of Lahai-roi (

Genesis 24:62;

Genesis 25:11), the meaning of which is, “Him that liveth and seeth me”

Genesis 16:14). It told of the unfailing care of the ever-living and
ever-present God. And where is such a “well” to be found to-day? Where
is it we are brought to realize the presence of this One? Where but in the
Holy Scriptures! The Word of God ministered to us by the power and
blessing of the Spirit is that which reveals to us the presence of God. The
“well,” then, typifies the place to which the son is brought — into the
presence of God. His remaining there, practically, depends upon his use of
and obedience to the Word.
We have just looked at Isaac by the Well of Lahai-roi; did he remain there?
What do you suppose is the answer, reader? Could you not supply it from
your own experience!
“And there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that
was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech, king
of the Philistines unto Gerar” (

Genesis 26:1).
Isaac’s departure from the well Lahai-roi to Gerar typifies the failure of
the son (the believer) to maintain his standing in the presence of God and
his enjoyment of Divine fellowship. But is it not blessed to read next,
“And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into
Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. Sojourn in this.238
land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee, for unto thee, and
unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the
oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father” (

Genesis 26:2, 3).
Apparently, Isaac was on his way to Egypt, like his father before him in
time of famine, and would have gone there had not the Lord appeared to
him and arrested his steps. In passing, we would remark that here we have
a striking illustration of the sovereign ways of God. To Isaac the Lord
appeared and stayed him from going down to Egypt, yet under precisely
similar circumstances He appeared not unto Abraham!
“And Isaac dwelt in Gerar” (

Genesis 26:6).
Gerar was the borderland midway between Canaan and Egypt. Note that
God had said to Isaac, “Sojourn in this land” (verse 3), but Isaac “dwelt”
there (verse 6), and that “a long time” (verse 8). Mark now the
consequence of Isaac settling down in Gerar — type of the believer out of
communion. He sinned there!
“And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is
my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men
of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to
look upon” (

Genesis 26:7).
Isaac thus repeated the sin of Abraham (

Genesis 20:1, 2). What are we
to learn from Isaac thus following the evil example of his father? From
others we select two thoughts. First, the readiness with which Isaac
followed in the way of Abraham suggests that it is much easier for children
to imitate the vices and weaknesses of their parents than it is to emulate
their virtues, and that the sins of the parents are frequently perpetuated in
their children. Solemn thought this! But, second, Abraham and Isaac were
men of vastly different temperament, yet each succumbed to the same
temptation. When famine arose each fled to man for help. When in the land
of Abimelech each was afraid to own his wife as such. Are we not to
gather from this that no matter what our natural temperament may be,
unless the grace of God supports and sustains us we shall inevitably fall!
What a warning!
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a
hundred-fold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great,
and went forward, and grew until he became very great”

Genesis 26:12, 13)..239
Most of the commentators have had difficulty with these verses and have
resorted to various ingenuities to explain this prosperity of Isaac while he
was out of communion with God. But the difficulty vanishes if we look at
the above statement in the light of

Genesis 5:3, where the Lord had
said, “I will bless thee” — a promise given before Isaac had practiced this
deception upon Abimelech. That this is the true interpretation appears from
the word “bless.” God had said, “I will bless thee” (verse 3), and

Genesis 5:12 records the fulfillment of God’s promise, for here we read,
“And the Lord blessed him.” The failure of Isaac between the time when
God made promise and its fulfillment only affords us a striking illustration
of that blessed word,” He is faithful that promised” (

Hebrews 10:23)!
Yes, blessed be His name, even “if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful:
He cannot deny Himself” (

2 Timothy 2:13).
Next we are told,
“And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much
mightier than we” (

Genesis 26:16).
Was not this God speaking to Isaac, speaking at a distance (through
Abimelech) and not yet directly!
“And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of
Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water,
which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the
Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; and he
called their names after the names by which his father had called
them” (

Genesis 26:17, 18).
In digging again these wells of Abraham which had been stopped up by the
Philistines, Isaac appears to typify Christ who, at the beginning of the New
Testament, dispensation re-opened the Well of Living Water which had,
virtually, been blocked up by the traditions and ceremonialism of the
“And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well
of springing water. And the herdsmen of Gerar did strive with
Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours…. And they digged
another well and strove for that also…. And he removed from
thence and digged an-other well” (

Genesis 26:19-22)..240
Again we would ask, Was not this “strife” God’s way of leading his child
back to Himself again! But note also the lovely moral trait seen here in
Isaac, namely, his nonresistance of evil. Instead of standing up for his
“rights,” instead of contending for the wells which he had dug, he quietly
“removed” to another place. In this he beautifully points out the path which
the Christian should follow:
“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God
endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye
be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye
do well, ye suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with
God” (

1 Peter 2:19, 20).
We need hardly remind the reader that the attitude displayed by Isaac, as
above, was that of the Savior who “when He was reviled, reviled not
“And he went up from thence to Beersheba” (

Genesis 26:23).
Mark here the topographical reference which symbolized Isaac’s moral
ascent and return to the place of communion, for “Beersheba” means the
Well of the Oath. In full accord with this behold the blessed sequel
“And the Lord appeared unto him the same night and said, I am the
God of Abraham thy father; fear not, for I am with thee, and will
bless thee, and multiply thy seed for My servant Abraham’s sake”

Genesis 26:24).
On the very night of Isaac’s return to Beersheba the Lord “appeared unto”
“And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the
Lord, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac digged a well”

Genesis 26:25).
Mark how the “altar” is mentioned before the “tent” — there was no
mention of any altar in Gerar! How striking, too, that next we read,
“Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahurzzath one of
his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army” (

Personal blessings from the Lord was not the only result of his return to
Beersheba. Abimelech seeks him out, not now to distress him (we no
longer read of any “striving” for this last well), but to ask a favor. And they
“We certainly saw that the Lord was with thee: and we said, Let
there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let
us make a covenant with thee” (

Genesis 26:28).
Now that our patriarch has entered again the path of God’s will, those who
formerly were his enemies seek him and bear witness to the presence of
God with him. An illustration is this that
“when a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies
to be at peace with him” (

Proverbs 16:7).
“And he (Isaac) made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And
they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and
Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace”

Genesis 26:30, 31).
Above we called attention to how meekly Isaac suffered wrong when the
Philistines strove for his wells, but here we may mark his failure to manifest
another grace which ought always to accompany meekness. There is a
meekness which is according to nature, but usually this degenerates into
weakness. The meekness which is of the Spirit will not set aside the
requirements of righteousness, but will maintain the claims of God. And
here Isaac failed. To forgive is Christian, but with that there must be
faithfulness in its season.
“If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent,
forgive him” (

Luke 17:3).
Abimelech had clearly wronged him, but instead of dealing with
Abimelech’s conscience, Isaac made him a “feast.” This was amiable, no
doubt, but it was not upholding the claims of righteousness. Contrast the
conduct of Abraham under similar circumstances —
“And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water,
which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away”

Genesis 21:25)!.242
“And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith, the
daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon
the Hittite: which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah”

Genesis 26:34, 35).
This is sad, and points a solemn warning to us. Marriage is a momentous
undertaking, and for one of the Lord’s people to unite with a worlding is to
court disaster as well as to dishonor Christ. Jehovah’s instructions to Israel
were very pointed: under no circumstances must they marry a Canaanite

Deuteronomy 7:3). In the times covered by the book of Genesis,
though apparently no divine law had been given respecting it, yet the mind
of God was clearly understood. This is evident from the care which
Abraham took to secure Isaac a wife from among his own people

Genesis 24), thus did he prevent Isaac from marrying a daughter of
Canaan. But Isaac was careless about this matter. He failed to watch over
his children so as to anticipate mischief. Esau married a daughter of the
Hittites. God could not say of Isaac as he had of his father,
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his
household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord”

Genesis 18:19).
However, that Isaac had within him a righteous soul to be “vexed” is clear
from the words,
“which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah”

Genesis 26:35).
We reserve for our next article a detailed examination of

Genesis 27.
Suffice it now to refer barely to the incident which is well known to our
readers. Isaac was one hundred and forty years old and was fearful that
death might soon overtake him. He therefore prepares to perform the last
religious act of a patriarchal priest and bestow blessing upon his sons. But
mark how that instead of seeking guidance from God in prayer his mind is
occupied with a feast of venison. Not only so, but he seeks to reverse the
expressed will of God and bestow upon Esau what the Lord had reserved
for Jacob. But whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. Isaac acts
in the energy of the flesh, and Rebekah and Jacob deal with him on the
same low level. And here the history of Isaac terminates! After charging
Jacob not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan (

Genesis 28:1)
he disappears from the scene and nothing further is recorded of him save.243
his death and burial (

Genesis 35:27-29). As another has said, “instead
of wearing out, Isaac rusted out,” rusted out as a vessel no longer fit for
the master’s use.
“Was Isaac, I ask, a vessel marred on the wheel? Was he a vessel
laid aside as not fit for the Master’s use? or at least not fit for it any
longer? His history seems to tell us this. Abraham had not been
such an one. All the distinguishing features of ‘the stranger here,’
all the proper fruits of that energy that quickened him at the outset,
were borne in him and by him to the very end. We have looked at
this already in the walk of Abraham. Abraham’s leaf did not wither.
He brought forth fruit in old age. So was it with Moses, with
David, and with Paul. They die with their harness on, at the plough
or in the battle. Mistakes and more than mistakes they made by the
way, or in their cause, or at their work; but they are never laid
aside. Moses is counselling the camp near the banks of the Jordan;
David is ordering the conditions of the Kingdom, and putting it (in
its beauty and strength) into the hand of Solomon; Paul has his
armor on, his loins girded. When, as I may say, the time of their
departure was at hand, the Master, as we may read in

Luke 12,
found them ‘so doing,’ as servants should be found. But thus was it
not with Isaac. Isaac is laid aside. For forty long years we know
nothing of him; he had been, as it were, decaying away and
wasting. The vessel was rusting till it rusted out.
“There is surely meaning in all this, meaning for our admonition.
And yet — such is the fruitfulness and instruction of the testimonies
of God — there are others in Scripture, of other generations, who
have still more solemn lessons and warnings for us. It is humbling
to be laid aside as no longer fit for use; but it is sad to be left
merely to recover ourselves, and it is terrible to remain to defile
ourselves. And illustrations of all this moral variety we get in the
testimonies of God. Jacob, in his closing days in Egypt, is not as a
vessel laid aside, but he is there recovering himself. I know there
are some truly precious things connected with him during those
seventeen years that he spent in that land, and we could not spare
the lesson which the Spirit reads to us out of the life of Jacob in
Egypt. But still, the moral of it is this — a saint, who had been
under holy discipline, recovering himself, and yielding fruit, meet
for recovery. And when we think of it a little, that is but a poor.244
thing. But Solomon is a still worse case, He lives to defile himself;
sad and terrible to tell it. This was neither Isaac nor Jacob — it was
not a saint simply laid aside, nor a saint left to recover himself.
Isaac was, in the great moral sense, blameless to the end, and
Jacob’s last days were his best days; but of Solomon we read, ‘It
came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away
his heart after other gods,’ and this has made the writing over his
name, the tablet to his memory, equivocal, and hard to be
deciphered to this day.
“Such lessons do Isaac and Jacob and Solomon, in these ways, read
for us, beloved — such are the minute and various instructions left
for our souls in the fruitful and living pages of the oracles of God.
They give us to see, in the house of God, vessels fit for use and
kept in use even to the end — vessels laid aside, to rust out rather
than to wear out — vessels whose best service is to get themselves
clean again — and vessels whose dishonor it is, at the end of their
service, to contract some fresh defilement.” (J. G. Bellett, “The

Let us look at the two sons who were to receive the blessing. They are first
brought before us in

Genesis 25:20-26 —
“And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the
daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-Aran, the sister to Laban
the Syrian. And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she
was barren and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his
wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and
she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the
Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb,
and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and
the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder
shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were
fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came
out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name
Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold
on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was
three-score years old when she bare them.”
We reserve our comments on this passage until our next article on Jacob,
and pass on now to the well-known incident of Esau selling his birthright.
“And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the
field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved
Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was
faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same
red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said,
Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright
do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto
him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau
bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up,
and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (

There is far more beneath the surface here (as in all Scripture) than meets
the eye at first glance. Esau and Jacob are to be considered as
representative characters. Esau typifies the unbeliever, Jacob the man of
faith. Every line in the brief sketch that is here given of their characters is
profoundly significant.
Esau was “a cunning hunter” (verse 27). The “hunter” tells of the roving,
daring, restless nature that is a stranger to peace. A glance at the
concordance will show that the word “hunter” is invariably found in an evil
connection (cf.

1 Samuel 24:11;

Job 10:16;

Psalm 140:11;

Proverbs 6:26;

Micah 7:2;

Ezekiel 13:18). “Search” is the
antithesis, the good word, the term used when God is seeking His own.
Only two men in Scripture are specifically termed “hunters,’’ namely,
Nimrod and Esau, and they have much in common. The fact that Esau is
thus linked together with Nimrod, the rebel, reveals his true character.
Next we are told that Esau was “a man of the field” (verse 27). In the light

Matthew 13:38 — “The field is the world” — it is not difficult to
discern the spiritual truth illustrated in the person of Esau. He was,
typically, a man of the world. In sharp contrast from what we are told of
Esau two things are said of Jacob: — he was “a plain man; dwelling in
tents” (verse 27). The Hebrew for “plain” is “tam,” which is translated in
other passages “perfect,” “upright,” “undefiled.” The reference is to his
character. The “dwelling in tents” denotes that he was a stranger and
pilgrim in this scene; having here no abiding city, but seeking one to come.
“And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field and he was faint.”
Here again the contrast between the two sons of Isaac is sharp and
instructive. Jacob was occupied with the affairs of the house, cooking a
meal, and enjoying his portion,
whereas Esau was again connected with
the “field” and is “faint.” Remembering what we have seen above,
namely, that Esau is to be viewed as a representative character, a man of
the world, this next line in the picture is highly suggestive. Esau returns
from the field without his venison, hungry and faint. Such is ever the case
with the worldling. There is nothing to be found in the “field” which can
satisfy, or, to drop the figure, the world affords nothing that is able to meet
man’s spiritual needs, for be it noted, that man in contrast from the beasts,
is essentially a spiritual being. No; over all the systems of this poor world it
is written “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.” It cannot
be otherwise. How can a world into which sin has entered, which is away.247
from God, and which “lieth in the Wicked One” furnish anything which
can truly meet the need of the heart that, consciously or unconsciously,
ever panteth after God! Esau’s experience was but that of Solomon at a
later date, and of many another since — vanity and vexation of spirit is the
only portion for those who seek contentment “under the sun.” So it is
now. Only the Jacobs — the objects of God’s grace — possess that which
appeases the hunger of the inner man.
“And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage
for I am faint.” It is a pity that the translators of our noble King James
Version should have obscured the meaning here by inserting in italics the
word “pottage.” As it so frequently the ease the words in italics, put in to
convey a better sense, only hide the real sense. So it is here. In

5:29 the word “pottage” is employed by the Holy Spirit to denote the
portion which Jacob enjoyed. But here in

Genesis 5:30 what Esau really
says is “Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red,” and this was all he said.
He was ignorant of even the name of that which was Jacob’s. No doubt he
was thoroughly versed in the terms of the chase, but of the things of the
house, of the portion of God’s chosen, he knew not —
“Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not”

1 John 3:1).
“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright,” etc. (verse 31).
Here Jacob offers to buy from Esau what was his by the free bounty of
God. A word now concerning this “birthright.” The birthright was a most
cherished possession in those days. It consisted of the excellency of dignity
and power, usually a double portion (see

Genesis 49:3 and

Deuteronomy 21:17). In connection with the family of Abraham there
was a peculiar blessing attached to the birthright: it was spiritual as well as
temporal in its nature.
“The birthright was a spiritual heritage. It gave the right of being
the priest of the family or clan. It carried with it the privilege of
being the depository and communicator of the Divine secrets. It
constituted a link in the line of descent by which the Messiah was to
be born into the world.” (F. B. M.)
Esau reveals his true character by saying “Behold, I am going to die: and
what profit shall this birthright do to me?” These words show what a low
estimate he placed upon “the blessing of Abraham.” This birthright he.248
contemptuously termed it. We think, too, that in the light of the
surrounding circumstances Esau’s utterance here explains the word of the
Holy Spirit in

Hebrews 12:16 —
“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for
one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”
Surely Esau did not mean he would die of hunger unless he ate immediately
of the pottage, for that is scarcely conceivable when he had access to all
the provisions in Isaac’s house. Rather does it seem to us that what he
intended was, that in a little time at most, he would be dead, and then of
what account would the promises of God to Abraham and his seed be to
him — I cannot live on promises, give me something to eat and drink, for
to-morrow I die, seems to be the force of his words.
The next time Esau is mentioned is at the close of

Genesis 26: there we
read “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the
daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the
Hittite: which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” We cannot
do better than quote from Mr. Grant: —
“This is the natural sequel of a profanity which could esteem the
birthright at the value of a mess of pottage. These forty years are a
significant hint to us of a completed probation, In his two wives,
married at once, he refuses at once the example and counsel of his
father, and by his union with Ca-naanitish women disregarded the
Divine sentence, and shows unmistakably the innermost recesses of
the heart.”
We are now ready to look at the sad scene which

Genesis 27 presents
to us.
“And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were
dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said
unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he
said, Behold now, I am old,! know not the day of my death: Now
therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow,
and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me
savory meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that
my soul may bless thee before I die” (

Genesis 27:1-4)..249
Why was it that Isaac desired to partake of venison from Esau before
blessing him? Does not

Genesis 25:28 answer the question — “And
Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison.” In view of this
statement it would seem, then, that Isaac desired to enkindle or intensify
his affections for Esau, so that he might bless him with all his heart. But
surely Isaac’s eyes were “dim” spiritually as well as physically. Let us not
forget that what we read here at the beginning of

Genesis 27 follows
immediately after the record of Esau marrying the two heathen wives. Thus
it will be seen that Isaac’s wrong in being partial to Esau was greatly
aggravated by treating so lightly his son’s affront to the glory of Jehovah
— and all for a meal of venison! Alas, what a terrible thing is the flesh with
its “affections and lusts” even in a believer, yea, more terrible than in an
unbeliever. But worst of all, Isaac’s partiality toward Esau was a plain
disregard of God’s word to Rebekah that Esau should “serve” Jacob

Genesis 25:23). By comparing

Hebrews 11:20 with

10:7 it is certain that Isaac had himself” heard” this.
“And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son…. and
Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son…. Now therefore, my son, obey
my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the
flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I
will make them savory meat for thy father, such as he loveth: And
thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may
bless thee before his death” (verses 6-10).
How like Sarah before her, who, in a similar “evil hour” imagined that she
could give effect to the Divine promise by fleshly expediences (

16:2). As another has suggested “they both acted on that God dishonoring
proverb that ‘The Lord helps those who help themselves,’“ whereas the
truth is, the Lord helps those who have come to the end of themselves. If
Rebekah really had confidence in the Divine promise she might well have
followed tranquilly the path of duty, assured that in due time God would
Himself bring His word to pass.
“And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother
is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: My father peradventure will
feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a
curse upon me, and not a blessing” (verses 11, 12).
How the character of Jacob comes out here! He reveals his native
shrewdness and foresight, but instead of shrinking back in horror from the.250
sin, he appears to have been occupied only with what might prove its
unpleasant consequences.
“And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son:
only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And he went and
fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made
savory meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly
raiment of her eldest son, Esau, which were with her in the house,
and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of
the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his
neck: And she gave the savory meat and the bread, which she had
prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob” (verses 13-17).
It is difficult to say who was most to blame, Jacob or his mother. Rebekah
was the one to whom God had directly made known His purpose
respecting her two sons, and, be it noted, the wife of Isaac was no heathen
but, instead, one who knew the Lord — cf. “She went to enquire of the
Lord” (

Genesis 25:22). Her course was plain: she should have trusted
the Lord to bring to nought the carnal design of Isaac, but she took the
way of the flesh, plotted against her husband, and taught her son to deceive
his father. Yet in condemning Rebekah we are reminded of

Romans 2:1,
“Therefore thou are inexcusable O man, whosoever thou art that
judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself;
for thou that judgest doest the same things.”
We refrain from quoting at length the verses that follow. Jacob complies
with his mother’s suggestion, and adds sin to sin. First he impersonates his
brother, tells lies to his father, and ends by going the awful length of
bringing in the name of the Lord God (verse 20). To what fearful lengths
will sin quickly lead us once we take the first wrong step! A similar
progression in evil is seen (by way of implication) in

Psalm 1:1: the one
who “walks” in the consel of the ungodly will soon be found “standing” in
the way of sinners, and then it will not be long ere he is discovered
“sitting” in the seat of the scornful.
At first suspicious, Isaac’s fears were allayed by his son’s duplicity, and the
blessing was given,
“and he came near and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his
raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as
the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed: Therefore God.251
give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and
plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow
down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons
bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and
blessed be he that blesseth thee” (verses 27-29).
It is to be noted that the “blessing” which Jacob here receives from the lips
of his father was far below the blessed string of promises which he received
directly from God when wholly cast upon His grace (see

Genesis 28:13-
We need not tarry long on the pathetic sequel. No sooner had Jacob left his
father’s presence than Esau comes in with his venison and says, “let my
father arise and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.” Then
it is that Isaac discovers the deception that has been practiced upon him,
and he “trembled very exceedingly.” Esau learns of his brother’s duplicity,
and with a great and exceeding bitter cry says, “Bless me, even me also, O
my father,” only to hear Isaac say, “Thy brother came with subtlety, and
hath taken away thy blessing behold I have made him thy lord.” Esau
renews his request saying, “Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless
me, even me, also.” Then it was that Isaac uttered that prophecy that
received such a striking fulfillment in the centuries that followed —
“Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the
dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and
shalt serve thy brother: and it shall come to pass when thou shalt
have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy
neck” (verses 39, 40).
For Esau “serving his brother” see

2 Samuel 8:14 (David was a
descendant of Jacob); and for “thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck”

2 Chronicles 21:8.
Above we have noticed that when Isaac discovered that he had blessed
Jacob instead of Esau he “trembled very exceedingly.” This was the turning
point in the incident, the point where, for the first time, light breaks in on
this dark scene. It was horror which was awakened in his soul as he now
fully realized that he had been pitting himself against the expressed mind of
Jehovah. It is beautiful to notice that instead of “cursing” Jacob (as his son
had feared, see

Genesis 5:12) now that Isaac discovers how God had
graciously overruled his wrong doing, he bowed in self-judgment, and.252
“trembled with a great trembling greatly” (margin). Then it was that faith
found expression in the words “And he shall be blest” (verse 33). He knew
now that God had been securing what He had declared before the sons
were born. It is this which the Spirit seizes on in

Hebrews 11:20,
“By faith Isaac blest Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
Many are the lessons illustrated and exemplified in the above incident. We
can do little more than name a few of the most important.
1. How many to-day are, like Esau, bartering Divine privileges for
carnal gratification.
2. Beware of doing evil that good may come. What shame and sorrow
they do make for themselves who in their zeal for good do not scruple
to use wrong means. Thus it was with Rebekah and Jacob.
3. Let us seek grace to prevent natural affections overriding love for
God and His revealed will.
4. Remember the unchanging law of Sowing and Reaping.
How striking to observe that it was Rebekah, not Isaac, who sent her
beloved child away! She it was who led him into grievous sin, and she it
was whom God caused to be the instrument of his exile. She, poor thing,
suggested that he find refuge in the home of Laban her brother for “some
days.” Little did she imagine that her favorite child would have to remain
there for twenty years, and that never again should she behold him in the
flesh. Ah! the mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small,
and we might add “surely.” And during those long years Jacob was to be
cheated by Laban as he had cheated Isaac.
5. Learn the utter futility of seeking to foil God:
“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of
God that showeth mercy” (

Romans 9:16);
neither Isaac’s “willing” nor Esau’s “running” could defeat the purpose
of Jehovah.
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel
of the Lord that shall stand” (

Proverbs 19:21).
Man proposes but God disposes..253
Finally, have we not here, deeply hidden, a beautiful picture of the Gospel.
Jacob found acceptance with his father and received his blessing because he
sheltered behind the name of the father’s firstborn, beloved son, and was
clothed with his garments which diffused to Isaac an excellent odor. In like
manner, we as sinners, find acceptance before God and receive His blessing
as we shelter behind the name of His beloved Firstborn, and as we are
clothed with the robe of righteousness which we receive from Him thus
coming before the Father in the merits of His Son who
“hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a
sweet smelling savor” (

Ephesians 5:2)..254

Jacob and his experiences may be viewed from two chief viewpoints: as a
picture of the believer, and as a type of the Jewish nation. We shall take up
the latter first. As to Jacob foreshadowing the history of the Jews we may
note, among others, the following analogies:
1. Jacob was markedly the object of God’s election:

Romans 9:10. So,
too, was the Jewish nation. See

Deuteronomy 6:7; 10:15;

Amos 3:2.
2. Jacob was loved before he was born,

Romans 9:11-13. Of the Jewish
nation it is written,
“Thus saith the Lord, the people which were left of the sword
found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause
him to rest, the Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I
have loved thee with an everlasting love” (

Jeremiah 31:2, 3).
3. Jacob was altogether lacking in natural attractiveness. This is singularly
true of the Jewish people.
4. Jacob was the one from whom the Twelve Tribes directly sprang.
5. Jacob is the one after whom the Jewish race is most frequently called.

Isaiah 2:5, etc.
6. Jacob was the one whom God declared should be “served,”


Genesis 27:29. Of the Jews the prophetic scriptures affirm,
“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up Mine hand to the
Gentiles, and set up My standard to the people, and they shall bring
thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their
shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens
thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face to
the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet” (

Isaiah 49:22, 23).
And again it is written of Israel,.255
“And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the
Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters,
and upon mules” (

Isaiah 66:20).
7. Jacob was the one to whom God gave the earthly inheritance,

Genesis 27:28;

Genesis 28:13. So, too, the Jews.
8. Jacob suffered a determined effort to be robbed of his inheritance,

Genesis 27: Isaac and Esau. So have the Jews.
9. Jacob valued the blessing of God, but sought it in carnal ways, totally
opposed to faith,

Genesis 26:27. So it is written of the Jews,
“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not
according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s
righteousness, and going about to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the
righteousness of God” (

Romans 10:2, 3).
10. Jacob was exiled from the land as the result of his sin,

Genesis 28:5.
So have the Jews been.
11. Jacob spent much of his life as a wandering exile from the land; such
has been the history of his descendants
12. Jacob was distinctly the wanderer among the patriarchs, and as such a
type of the wandering Jew!
13. Jacob experienced, as such, the sore chastenings of a righteous God.
So, too, the Jews.
14. Jacob had no “altar” in the land of his exile: thus also is it written of the
Jews, “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and
without a prince, and without a sacrifice” (

Hosea 3:4).
15. Jacob set his heart upon the land while exiled from it. His yearning for
home is strikingly expressed in his words to Laban:
“Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my
country,” (

Genesis 30:25).
How we behold the same yearning among the Zionists today, as they
appeal to American and British statesmen to make it possible for them to
return in safety to Palestine!.256
16. Jacob was unjustly dealt with in the land of exile,

Genesis 29:23;

Genesis 31:41, 42.
17. Jacob developed into a crafty schemer and used subtle devices to
secure earthly riches,

Genesis 30:37, 43.
18. Jacob while in exile receives promise from God that he shall return
unto the promised land,

Genesis 28:15.
19. Jacob received no further revelation from God during all the years of
his exile, until at length bidden by Him to return,

Genesis 31:3.
20. Jacob was graciously preserved by God in the land of his exile and was
the object of His ceaseless providential care.
21. Jacob became wealthy while in the land of exile,

Genesis 30:43.
22. Jacob, because of this, had stirred up against him the enmity of those
among whom he sojourned,

Genesis 31:1.
23. Jacob ultimately returned to the land bearing with him the riches of the

Genesis 31:18.
24. Jacob is seen at the end blessing the Gentiles (

Genesis 47:7), and
acting as God’s prophet,

Genesis 49. In all these respects Jacob was a
striking type of the Jew.
We shall next look at Jacob as a picture of the believer. It is intensely
interesting to mark how each of the patriarchs foreshadowed some distinct
truth in the believer. In Abraham we see the truth of Divine sovereignty,
and the life of faith; in Isaac Divine sonship, and the life of submission; in
Jacob Divine grace, and the life of conflict. In Abraham, election; in Isaac,
the new birth; in Jacob, the manifestation of the two natures. Thus we find
the order of these Old Testament biographies foreshadowed accurately
what is now fully revealed in the New Testament. Again, we may remark
further that, typically, Jacob is the servant. This is ever the Divine order.
Abraham, the chosen object of God’s sovereign purpose, necessarily comes
first, then Isaac, the son born supernaturally, the heir of the father’s house,
followed by Jacob, the servant. It is needful to call special attention to this
order to-day, though we cannot here enlarge upon it. Man would place
sonship at the end of a long life of service, but God places it at the
beginning. Man says, Serve God in order to become His son; but God
says, You must first be My son in order to serve Me acceptably. The.257
apostle Paul expressed this order when he said: “Whose I am, and whom I
serve” (

Acts 27:23). How carefully this order is guarded in our type
appears further in the fact that before Jacob commenced his service at
Padan-aram he first tarried at Bethel, which means “the House of God” —
we must first enter God’s household before we can serve Him! That Jacob
does, typically, represent service is clear from,

Hosea 12:12, where we
are told,
“And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a
wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.”
The history of this we get in

Genesis 29 and 30. As a servant with
Laban, Jacob was singularly faithful. Here is his own challenge, “These
twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not
cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which
was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand
didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was,
in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night.”
There is still another way in which this progressive order in the typical
foreshadowings of the three great patriarchs comes out. This has been
forcefully set forth by Mr. F. W. Grant who, when commenting on the
words of the Lord to Moses at the burning bush — “say unto the children
of Israel, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob
sent me unto you” — says,
“In Abraham we find manifested the type of the Father, and in Isaac
admittedly that of the Son, in Jacob-Israel we find a type and
pattern of the Spirit’s work which is again and again dwelt on and
expanded in the after-scriptures. Balaam’s words as to the people,
using this double — this natural and this scriptural name, are surely
as true of the nation’s ancestors. ‘It shall be said of Jacob, and of
Israel, what hath God wrought?’ What God hath wrought is surely
what in the one now before us we are called in an especial way to
acknowledge and glory in. For Jacob’s God is He whom we still
know as accomplishing in us by almighty power the purposes of
sovereign grace.”
While it is true that each of the three great patriarchs exemplified in his
own person some fundamental truth of Divine revelation, yet it is to be
particularly noted that each succeeding individual carried forward what had.258
gone before, so that nothing was lost. In Abraham we behold the truth of
election God’s singling of him out from all the people on the earth; yet in
Isaac the same truth is manifested, as is evident from the passing by of
Ishmael and God’s declaration that “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.”
Isaac represents the truth of Divine sonship, born supernaturally by the
intervention of God’s power. Now in Jacob both of these truths, with
important additions, are also to be observed. Even more notably than in the
eases of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob is the object of God’s sovereign choice:
“Jacob gives occasion to the exercise of God’s sovereignty as to
the twin children of Isaac and Rebekah. ‘For they being not yet
born, nor having done any good or bad, that the purpose of God
according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that
calls, it was said to their mother, the elder shall serve the younger.’
It had been shown before in casting out the bond-woman and her
son; but so it was now far more emphatically in Jacob chosen, not
Esau. No flesh shall glory in His sight; in Jehovah certainly, as it
ought to be. Is man only to think and talk of his rights? Sinful man!
Has God alone no rights? Is He to be a mere registrar of man’s
wrongs? Oh! his wrongs, not rights: this is the truth, as no believer
should forget from the dawn of a vital work in his soul!” (“Jacob,”
by W. Kelly).
As the above truth is now so much controverted we subjoin a further
quotation from the pen of one who is regarded as one of the leading
orthodox teachers of our day:
“In all this we see the marvel and glory of the Divine sovereignty.
Why the younger son should have been chosen instead of the elder
we do not know. It is, however, very striking to find the same
principle exercised on several other occasions. It is pretty certain
that Abraham was not the eldest son of Terah. We know that Isaac
was the younger son of Abraham, and that Joseph was not the
eldest son of Jacob. All this goes to emphasize the simple fact that
the order of nature is not necessarily the order of grace. All
through, God decided to display the sovereignty of His grace as
contrasted with that which was merely natural in human life. The
great problem of Divine sovereignty is of course insoluable by the
human intellect. It has to be accepted as a simple fact. It should,
however, be observed that it is not merely a fact in regard to things.259
spiritual; it is found also in nature in connection with human
temperaments and races. All history is full of illustrations of the
Divine choice, as we may see from such examples as Cyrus and
Pharaoh. Divine election is a fact, whether we can understand it or
not (italics ours). God’s purposes are as certain as they are often
inscrutable, and it is perfectly evident from the case of Esau and
Jacob that the Divine choice of men is entirely independent of their
merits or of any pre-vision of their merits or attainments

Romans 9:11). It is in connection with this subject that we see
the real force of St. Paul’s striking words when he speaks of God
as acting ‘according to the good pleasure of His will’

Ephesians 1:5), and although we are bound to confess the
‘mystery of His will’ (

Ephesians 1:9), we are also certain that
He works all things ‘after the counsel of His will’ (

1:11 — italics not ours). There is nothing arbitrary about God and
His ways and our truest wisdom when we cannot understand His
reasons is to rest quietly and trustfully, saying, ‘Even so, Father, for
so it seemeth good in thy sight.’ ‘In His Will is our peace’” (Dr.
Griffith-Thomas, Commentary on Genesis).
Not only is the Divine sovereignty illustrated in Jacob, as in Abraham, but
we also see typified in him the truth of regeneration (as in the case of
Isaac) inasmuch as nature was set aside, and only in answer to prayer and
by Divine intervention was Rebekah enabled to bear Jacob: see

That which is most prominent in the Divine dealings with Jacob was the
matchless grace of God, shown to one so unworthy, the marvellous
patience exercised toward one so slow of heart to believe, the changeless
love which unweariedly followed him through all his varied course, the
faithfulness which no unfaithfulness on Jacob’s part could change, and the
power of God which effectively preserved and delivered him through
numerous dangers and which, in the end, caused the spirit to triumph over
the flesh, transforming the worm Jacob into Israel the prince of God. How
these Divine perfections were displayed will be discovered as we turn our
attention to the various scenes in which the Holy Spirit has portrayed our
patriarch. We turn now to look briefly at Jacob in

Genesis 28.
In our last article we dwelt upon Jacob deceiving his father, now we see
how quickly he began to suffer for his wrongdoing!.260
“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and said unto him, Thou
shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to
Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take
thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban, thy mother’s
brother” (

Genesis 28:1, 2).
Jacob is sent away from home, to which he returns not for many years. In
our studies upon Isaac we have seen how he foreshadowed those who
belong to the heavenly calling, whereas, as we have pointed out above,
Jacob typified the people of the earthly calling. This comes out in many
incidental details. Isaac was forbidden to leave Canaan (type of the
Heavenlies) —

Genesis 24:5, 6 — and his bride was brought to him,
but Jacob is sent forth out of Canaan to the house of his mother’s father in
quest of a wife, and thus was signified the evident contrast between Isaac
and Jacob, and Jacob’s earthly place and relationship.
“And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night,
because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place,
and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the
top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God
ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above
it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God
of Isaac; the land whereon thy liest to thee will I give it, and to thy
seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and thou shalt
spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to
the south; and in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth
be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all
places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land;
for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken
to thee of” (

Genesis 28:10-15).
There is much here that might be dwelt upon with profit to our souls, but
we can do little more than mention one or two things.
Here we behold the marvellous grace of God, which delights to single out
as its objects the most unlikely and unworthy subjects. Here was Jacob a
fugitive from his father’s house, fleeing from his brother’s wrath, with
probably no thought of God in his mind. As we behold him there on the
bare ground with nothing but the stones for his pillow, enshrouded by the.261
darkness of night, asleep — symbol of death — we obtain a striking and
true picture of man in his natural state. Man is never so helpless as when
asleep, and it was while he was in this condition that God appeared unto
him! What had Jacob done to deserve this high honor? What was there in
him to merit this wondrous privilege? Nothing; absolutely nothing. It was
God in grace which now met him for the first time and here gave to him
and his seed the land whereon he lay. Such is ever His way. He pleases to
choose the foolish and vile things of this world: He selects those who have
nothing and gives them everything: He singles out those who deserve
naught but judgment, and bestows on them nothing but blessing. But note
— and mark it particularly — the recipient of the Divine favors must first
take his place in the dust, as Jacob here did (on the naked earth) before
God will bless him.
And under what similitude did the Lord now reveal Himself to the worm
Jacob? Jacob beheld in his dream a ladder set up on the earth, whose top
reached unto heaven, and from above it the voice of God addressed him.
Fortunately we are not left to our own speculations to determine the
signification of this:

John 1:51 interprets it for us. We say fortunately,
for if we could not point to

John 1:51 in proof of what we advance,
some of our readers might charge us with indulging in a wild flight of the
imagination. The “ladder” pointed to Christ Himself, the One who spanned
the infinite gulf which separated heaven from earth, and who has in His
own person provided a Way whereby we may draw near to God. That the
“ladder” reached from earth to heaven, told of the complete provision
which Divine grace has made for sinners. Right down to where the fugitive
lay, the ladder came, and right up to God Himself the “ladder” reached!
In His address to Jacob, the Lord now repeated the promises which He had
made before to Abraham and Isaac, with the additional assurance that He
would be with him, preserving him wherever he went, and ultimately
bringing him back to the land. In perfect harmony with the fact that Jacob
represented the earthly people we may observe here that God declares
Jacob’s seed shall be “as the dust of the earth,” but no reference is made to
“the stars of heaven!”
The sequel to this vision may be told in few words. Jacob awoke and was
afraid, saying, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house
of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (verse 17). Next, he took the stone
on which his head had rested and poured oil upon it. Then he changed the.262
name of the place from Luz to Bethel. It is instructive to note this change
of name, Luz — its original name, signifies “separation,” while Bethel, its
new name, means “the house of God.” Is it not beautiful to mark the
typical force of this? God calls us to separate from the world, but in
leaving the world we enter His house!
“Never do we part from ought at His call, but He far more than
makes it up to us with His own smile” (W. Lincoln).
Finally, we are told,
“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will
keep me in this way that! go, and will give me bread to eat, and
raiment to put on, so that! come again to my father’s house in
peace; then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone, which! have
set for a pillar, shall be God’s house, and of all that Thou shalt give
me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee” (

Genesis 28:20-22).
How true to life this is! It was not only characteristic of Jacob personally,
but typical of us representatively. Jacob/ailed to rise to the level of God’s
grace and was filled with fear instead of peace, and expressed human
legality by speaking of what he will do. Oh, how often we follow in his
steps! Instead of resting in the goodness of God and appropriating His free
grace, like Jacob, we bargain and enter into conditions and stipulations.
May the God of Grace enlarge our hearts to receive His grace, and may He
empower us to magnify His grace by refusing to defile it with any of our
own wretched additions..263

In our last article we followed Jacob as he left his father’s house and
commenced his long journey to Padan-aram where lived Laban, his
mother’s brother. On his first night out from Beersheba he lit upon a
certain place and making a pillar of the stones lay down to sleep. Then it
was that he dreamed, and in the dream the Lord appeared unto him,
probably for the first time in his life, and after promising to give him the
land whereon he lay and to make his seed as numerous as the dust of the
earth and a blessing to all families, he received the comforting assurance
that God would be with him, would keep him in all places whither he went,
and ultimately bring him back again to the land given to him and his
fathers. In the morning Jacob arose, poured oil on the stone pillar, and
named the place Bethel, which means “The House of God.”
The effect of this experience on Jacob is briefly but graphically signified in
the opening words of

Genesis 29, where we read, “Then Jacob lifted up
his feet, and came into the land of the people of the East” (marginal
rendering). The heaviness with which he must have left home had now
gone. Assured of the abiding presence and protection of Jehovah, he went
on his way light-heartedly. It deserves to be noted that the journey which
Jacob had scarcely begun the previous day was an arduous and difficult
one. From Beersheba, Isaac’s dwelling-place, to Padan-Aram, his
destination, was a distance of something like five hundred miles, and when
we remember that he was on foot and alone we can the better appreciate
the blessed grace of Jehovah which met the lonely fugitive the first night,
and gave him the comforting promise that He was with him and would
keep him in all places whither he went (

Genesis 28:15). Little wonder,
then, that now Jacob goes forth so confidently and cheerfully. As a Jewish
commentator remarks, “His heart lifted up his feet.” And, reader, do not
we need to be reminded that our Lord has promised, “Lo, I am with you
always, even unto the end”? If our hearts drew from this cheering and
inspiring promise the comfort and incentive it is designed to convey should
not we “lift up” our feet as we journey through this world? Oh! it is
unbelief, failure to rest upon the “exceeding great and precious promises”.264
of our God, and forgetfulness that He is ever by our side, that makes our
feet leaden and causes us to drag along so wearily.
The remainder of the long journey seems to have passed without further
incident, for the next thing we read of is that Jacob had actually come into
that land which he sought. And here we find a striking proof that the Lord
was with him indeed, for he was guided to a well where he met none other
than the daughter of the very man with whom he was going to make his
home! It was not by chance that Jacob lit upon that well in the field, nor
was it by accident that Rachel came to that well just when she did. There
are no chance-happenings or accidents in a world that is governed by God.
It was not by chance that the Ishmaelites passed by when the brethren of
Joseph were plotting his death, nor was it an accident they were journeying
down to Egypt. It was not by chance that Pharoh’s daughter went down to
the river to bathe, and that one of her attendants discovered there the infant
Moses in the ark of bullrushes. It was not by chance that upon a certain
night, critical in the history of Israel, that Ahasuerus was unable to sleep
and that he should arise and read the state-records which contained an
entry of how Mordecai had foiled an attempt on the King’s life, which led,
in turn, to the saving of Mordecai’s life. So, we say, it was not by chance
that Jacob now met Rachel. No; we repeat, there cannot be any chance-happenings
in a world that is governed by God, still less can there be any
accidents in the lives of those He is constantly “with.” My reader, there are
no chance-happenings, no chance-meetings, no chance delays, no chance
losses, no chance anythings in our lives. All is of Divine appointment.
But while we have called attention to God’s faithfulness in guiding Jacob
to the well where he met Rachel, we must not ignore Jacob’s personal
failure, a noticeable failure of omission. As he had come so near to the end
of his journey and had almost arrived at his destination we would have
thought, as he reached this well, that now was the time for him to very
definitely commit himself into the hands of God, especially in view of the
fact that he was engaged in the important and momentous undertaking of
seeking a wife. Years before, when the servant of Abraham was upon a
similar mission, seeking a wife for Isaac, when he arrived at a well we are
told that
“he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray Thee, send me
good speed this day” (

Genesis 24:12)..265
But here in connection with Jacob we read of no prayer for Divine
guidance and blessing, instead, we find him interrogating the Haran
“And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were
three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered
the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. And
thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from
the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again
upon the well’s mouth in his place. And Jacob said unto them, My
brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he
said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said,
We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said,
He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the
sheep” (

Genesis 29:2-6).
Without doubt there is a spiritual meaning to each detail here. It cannot be
without some good reason that the Spirit of God has told us this was in a
field, that there were three flocks of sheep lying by it, and that there was a
great stone upon the well’s mouth. But we confess we discern not their
significance, and where spiritual vision be dim it is idle, or worse, to
“Behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.” At mention of
Rachel, Jacob acted in a thoroughly characteristic manner:
“And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle
should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed
them” (

Genesis 29:7).
Jacob’s design is evident; he sought to send the shepherds away, so that he
might be alone when he met Rachel. But his design was foiled, “and while
he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept
them.” And then follows a touching description of the meeting between
Jacob and this young woman who was to become his wife.
“And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of
Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s
brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s
mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And
Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob
told Raehel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was.266
Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father” (

Genesis 29:10-
These verses shed an interesting light on Jacob’s natural character.
Rachel’s appearance awakened within him all the warmth of natural
feeling. He courteously rolled away the stone, watered the sheep, kissed
Rachel and burst into tears. The remembrance of home and the relationship
of his mother to Rachel overpowered him — note the threefold reference
to his mother in verse 10:
“When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s
brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob
went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered
the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.”
Jacob, then, was no cold, calculating stoic, but was of a warm disposition,
and everything that revived the memory of his mother went to his heart.
What a lovely human touch this gives to the picture! Nothing is trivial with
“And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his
sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed
him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these
things. And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my
flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month” (

29:13, 14).
The plan of Jacob’s mother seemed to be working very well. Everything
appeared to be running very smoothly. Esau had been left behind at a safe
distance, the long journey from Beersheba to Padan-aram had been
covered without harm, little or no difficulty had been experienced in
locating his mother’s brother. Rachel had shown no resentment at Jacob’s
affectionate greeting, and now Laban himself had accorded the fugitive a
warm welcome, and for a whole month nothing seems to have broken their
serenity. And what of God? What of His moral government! What of the
law of retribution? Was Jacob to suffer nothing for his wrong doing? Was
the deception he had practiced upon Isaac to escape unnoticed? Would it,
in his case, fail to appear that “the way of the transgressor is hard”?

Proverbs 13:15). Ah! be not deceived; God is not mocked. Sometimes
the actions of God’s government may appear to move slowly, but sooner.267
or later they are sure. Often-times this is overlooked. Men take too short a
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”

Ecclesiastes 8:11).
It is in the sequel that God is vindicated. History in fragments denies God,
but history as a whole is seen to be His story. Look at the cruel Egyptian
task-masters and at the helpless Hebrews. They cried to Heaven, and for
years it seemed as though Heaven was deaf. But the sequel showed God
had seen and heard, and in the sequel His righteous government was
vindicated. We have had striking illustrations of this abiding principle in the
history of our own times. A few years ago we were horrified by the
Belgian atrocities on the Congo, and equally so by the cruel inhumanities
practiced by the Russians upon the Jews. But behold the sequel — mark
Belgium and Russia today! Yes, the way of the transgressor is hard, and so
Jacob found it in the sequel.
“And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother,
shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? Tell me, what shall
thy wages be?” (

Genesis 29:15).
Here was the first cloud on Jacob’s horizon, and the first appearing of the
Divine rod of chastisement. Here, too, was a most striking example of the
law of righteous retribution. Jacob was about to begin reaping that which
he had sown. Perhaps this is not apparent on the surface, so we tarry to
explain. It will be remembered that the end before Jacob and his mother in
their scheming and lying was that he should secure from Isaac the blessing
which was the portion of the first born. What this blessing was we know
from the words of the Lord to Rebekah before her sons were born, words
which expressly declared that Jacob should receive the first-born’s portion
— “the elder shall serve the younger” (

Genesis 25:23). That, then,
upon which Jacob had set his heart, and that which he had sought to obtain
from Isaac by a wicked device, was the position of dignity and honor.
Instead of serving he wanted to be served. How striking, then, to note that
the very first word spoken by Laban after Jacob had enjoyed the hospitality
of his house for a month, concerned that of service! How significant that
Jacob should have fallen into the hands of a crafty schemer! Laban was
glad to receive Jacob into his household, but even though his nephew he
did not intend that he should remain on indefinitely as a guest. No, he.268
meant to profit by Jacob’s presence, and so seeks to strike a bargain, lets
Jacob know that if he remained with him it must be in the capacity of a
servant, and so raises the question of “wages.” This must have been a
bitter portion for Jacob and a painful blow to his pride. He was beginning
to learn that the way of the transgressor is hard.
But what follows is even more remarkable:
“And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah,
and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender-eyed;
but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. And Jacob loved
Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy
younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to
thee, than that! should give her to another man: abide with me. And
Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but
a few days, for the love he had to her. And Jacob said unto Laban,
Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto
her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and
made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah
his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And
Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an
handmaid. And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold it was
Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me?
did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou
beguiled me? And Laban said, It must not be so done in our
country, to give the younger before the first-born. Fulfil her week,
and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve
with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her
week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also”

Genesis 29:16-28).
The quotation is a lengthy one hut it was necessary to give it in full so that
the reader might be able to follow our remarks upon it. In the preceding
paragraph we have seen how that the first lesson God was now teaching
Jacob was that of humble submission — if he had refused to submit to God
then he must submit to “serve” a human master. Here, in this quotation, we
discover the second lesson that Jacob must learn was to respect the rights
of the first-born! This was just what Jacob had disregarded in connection
with Esau, so that which he had ignored concerning his brother he must
bow to in connection with his wife. In the third place, mark how God was.269
correcting the impatience of our patriarch. It was because he had refused
to wait God’s time for the fulfillment of His promise (as per

25:23) that he had involved himself in so much trouble, and had to leave
home and flee from Esau; how fitting then he should now be obliged to
wait seven years before he could obtain Rachel, and that he should be
made to serve a further seven years for her after they were married!
In drawing this article to a close we would seek to expand briefly what
seems to us to be the outstanding principle in the scripture we have just
examined, namely, the principle of Divine retribution.
“Even as I have seen, they that plough iniquity, and sow
wickedness, reap the same” (

Job 4:8).
In Laban’s treatment of Jacob we see the deceiver deceived! This principle
that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap is writ large across
the pages of Holy Scripture and is strikingly, nay marvelously, illustrated
again and again. Pharaoh, King of Egypt, gave orders that every son of the
Hebrews should be drowned (

Exodus 1:22), and so in the end he was
drowned (

Exodus 14:28). Korah caused a cleft in the Congregation of
Israel (

Numbers 16:2, 3), and so God made a cleft in the earth to
swallow him (

Numbers 16:30). Again, we read of one Adoni-bezek that
he fled,
“and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs
and his great toes. And Adoni-bezek said, Three score and ten
kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered
their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited
me!” (

Judges 1:6, 7).
Wicked Ahab caused Naboth to be slain and the dogs came and licked up
his blood (

1 Kings 21:19), accordingly we read that when Ahab died he
was buried in Samaria,
“And one washed the chariot (in which he had been slain) in the
pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood”

1 Kings 22:38).
King Asa caused the prophet to be placed in “the house of the stocks”

2 Chronicles 16:10 R. V.), and accordingly we read later that God
punished him by a disease in his feet (

1 Kings 15:23). Haman prepared
a gallows for Mordecai, but was hanged upon it himself (

Esther 7:10)..270
Saul of Tarsus stood by and consented to the stoning of Stephen, and later
we read that at Lystra the Jews stoned Paul (

Acts 14:19) — this is the
more noticeable because Barnabas who was with him escaped!
But the most striking example of what men term “poetic justice” is the ease
of Jacob himself. First, he deceived his father and was, in turn, deceived by
his father-in-law: Jacob came the younger for the elder to deceive Isaac,
and has the elder daughter of Laban given instead of the younger for a
wife. Second, we may mark the same principle at work in Jacob’s wife. In
deceiving Jacob in the matter of Leah, Laban tricked Rachel; later we find
Rachel tricking Laban (

Genesis 31:35). Again, we note how a
mercenary spirit actuated Jacob in buying the birthright from Esau for a
mess of pottage; the sequel to this was the mercenary spirit in Laban which
caused him to change Jacob’s wages ten times (see

Genesis 31:41).
Finally we may remark, what is most striking of all, that Jacob deceived
Isaac by allowing his mother to cover his hands and neck with “the skins of
the kids of the goats” (

Genesis 27:16), and later Jacob’s sons deceived
him by dipping the coat of Joseph in the blood of “a kid of the goats”

Genesis 37:31) and making him believe an evil beast had devoured
him: note, too, that Jacob deceived Isaac in regard to his favorite son
(Esau), and so was Jacob deceived in regard to his favorite son (Joseph).
While it is true that very often the connection between evil-doing and its
evil consequences is not so apparent as in the above examples,
nevertheless, God has given us, and still gives us, sufficient proof so as to
provide us with solemn warnings of the fact that He is not mocked, that He
does observe the ways of men, that He hates sin wherever it is found, and
that His righteous government requires that “every transgression and
disobedience” shall receive “a just recompense of reward” (

2:2). This “just recompense of reward” is visited upon His own children
here in this world, not sent in anger but in love, not in judgment but
directed to the conscience and heart so as to bring them to judge
themselves for their evil doing. With the wicked it is often otherwise.
Frequently they flourish here as a green bay tree, but at the Great White
Throne the books shall be opened and every one of them shall be “judged
according to their works.”
Should one who is out of Christ, a lost sinner, have read this article, let it
be unto him as a voice crying “Flee from the wrath to come;” flee to the
Lord Jesus, the Savior, the only Refuge, who came into this world to save.271
sinners. And, let the Christian reader learn anew the exceeding sinfulness of
sin, and earnestly seek grace to enable him to crucify the flesh with its
affections and lusts so that he may “sow to the Spirit,” then shall he “of the
Spirit reap life everlasting.”.272

GENESIS 29, 30
Jacob’s stay at Padan-Aram was a lengthy one, much longer than he
imagined when he first went there, so little do any of us know what the
immediate future holds for us. We move to some place expecting to settle
there, and lo, in a short time, God calls us to strike our tents and move to
another region. Or, we go to a place thinking it is only for a transient visit,
but remain there many years. So it was with Jacob. How blessed to
remember, “My times are in Thy hand” (

Psalm 31:15).
A somewhat lengthy account is given describing Jacob’s sojourn in Laban’s
home. It is not our aim to expound in detail this section of Genesis — abler
pens have done that; rather shall we proffer a few general remarks upon
some of the outstanding features which are of special interest and
The thirtieth chapter of Genesis is not pleasant reading, yet is it, like every
other in the Old Testament, recorded for our learning. No reflecting
Christian mind can read through this chapter without being disgusted with
the fruitage and consequences of polygamy as therein described. The
domestic discords, the envies and jealousies between Jacob’s several wives,
forcibly illustrate and demonstrate the wisdom and goodness of God’s law
that each man should have his own wife, as well as each woman her own
husband. Example is better than precept, and in

Genesis 30 the Holy
Spirit sets before us an example of what a plurality of wives must
necessarily result in — discord, jealousy and hatred. Let us thank God,
then, for giving to us His written precepts to regulate the marriage
relationship, the observance of which is necessary not only for the
protection of the purity of the home but for its peace and happiness as well.
Though the strifes and jealousies of Jacob’s wives were indeed distressing
and disgusting yet, we must not attribute their desire for children, or the
devices they resorted to in order to obtain them, to mere carnal motives.
Had there been nothing more than this the Holy Spirit would not have
condescended to record them. There can be little doubt that the daughters
of Laban were influenced by the promises of God to Abraham, on whose
posterity were entailed the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah.273
Himself, in the fullness of time, was to descend. It was faith in these
promises which made every pious woman of those times desirous of being
a mother, and that explains why we read so often of Hebrew women
praying so earnestly for this honor.
In the previous article we dwelt at some length on the law of retribution as
it was exemplified in the history of Jacob. In an unmistakable and striking
manner it is shown again and again in the inspired narrative how that he
reaped just what he had sown. Yet it must be borne in mind that in dealing
retributively with Jacob God was not acting in wrath but in love, holy love
it is true, for Divine love is never exercised at the expense of holiness.
Thus, in this evident retribution God was speaking to our Patriarch’s
conscience and heart. A further illustration of the righteousness of God’s
governmental dealings is here seen, in that, now Jacob had obtained
Laban’s first-born daughter his desire was thwarted she was barren. As
another has remarked,
“God would have His servant Jacob learn more deeply in his own
wounded affections the vileness of self-seeking deceit, and hence
He permitted what He would use for chastening and good in the
end.” (W. K.)
That which occupies the most prominent place in the passage we are now
considering is the account there given of the birth and naming of Jacob’s
twelve sons by his different wives. Here the record is quite full and explicit.
Not only is the name of each child given, but in every instance we are told
the meaning of the name and that which occasioned the selection of it. This
would lead us to conclude there is some important lesson or lessons to be
learned here. This chapter traces the stream back to its source and shows
us the beginnings of the twelve Patriarchs from which the twelve-tribed
Nation sprang. Then, would not this cause us to suspect that the meaning
of the names of these twelve Patriarchs and that which occasioned the
selection of each name, here so carefully preserved, must be closely
connected with the early history of the Hebrew Nation? Our suspicion
becomes a certainty when we note the order in which the twelve Patriarchs
were born, for the circumstances which gave rise to their several names
correspond exactly with the order of the history of the Children of Israel.
Others before us have written much upon the twelve Patriarchs, the typical
significance of their names, and the order in which they are mentioned. It
has been pointed out how that the Gospel and the history of a sinner saved.274
by grace is here found in veiled form. For example: Reuben, Jacob’s first-born,
means, See, a Son! This is just what God says to us through the
Gospel: to the Son of His love we are invited to look — “Behold the lamb
of God.” Then comes Simeon whose name signifies Hearing and this
points to the reception of the Gospel by faith, for faith cometh by hearing,
and the promise is, “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Next in order is Levi,
and his name means Joined, telling of the blessed Union by which the Holy
Spirit makes us one with the Son through the hearing of the Word. In
Judah, which means Praise, we have manifested the Divine life in the
believer, expressed in joyous gratitude for the riches of grace which are
now his in Christ. Dan means Judgment, and this tells of how the believer
uncompromisingly passes sentence upon himself, not only for what he has
done but because of what he is, and thus he reckons himself to have died
unto sin. Naphtali means Wrestling and speaks of that earnestness in prayer
which is the very breath of the new life. Next is Gad which means a Troop
or Company, speaking, perhaps of the believer in fellowship with the
Lord’s people, and Jacob’s eighth son announces the effect of Christian
fellowship, for Asher means Happy. Issachar means Hire, and speaks of
service, and Zebulon which signifies Dwelling reminds us that we are to
“occupy” till Christ comes; while Joseph which means Adding tells of the
reward which He will bestow on those who have served diligently and
occupied faithfully. Benjamin, the last of Jacob’s sons, means Son of my
right hand, again speaking directly of Christ, and so the circle ends where
it begins — with our blessed Lord, for He is” The First and the Last.”
There is, then, a typical significance behind the meaning of the names of
Jacob’s twelve sons, and we believe there is also a prophetic significance
behind the carefully preserved record of the words used by the mothers
upon the naming of their sons, a significance which must be apparent to all,
once it is pointed out. In view of the fact that the Hebrew nation became
known as the children of Israel, it is to be expected that we should look
closely at the children of Jacob, from whom the nation took its name. And
further, in view of the fact that

Genesis 29, 30 records the early history
of Jacob’s twelve sons, we should expect to find their history in some way
corresponds with the early history of the Nation descended from them.
Such is indeed the case, as we shall now endeavor to set before the reader.
What we have written above in connection with the typical significance of
the names of Jacob’s twelve sons is no doubt, with perhaps slight
variations, well known to our readers. But it is to be noted that in addition.275
to the naming of the twelve Patriarchs,

Genesis 29 and 30 records the
circumstances which gave rise to the selection of their respective names,
for in each case a reason is given why they received the names they did,
yet, so far as we are aware, little or no attention at all has been paid to this
feature. We are fully satisfied, however, that the words uttered by the
respective mothers of these twelve sons on the occasion of their births, is
not without some special significance, and it behooves us to enquire
prayerfully into the Spirit’s purpose in so carefully preserving a record of
Jacob’s first son was born to him by Leah, and was named Reuben, and
upon giving her son this name she said, “Surely the Lord hath looked upon
my affliction” (

Genesis 29:32). The second son was also borne by Leah
and was named Simeon, and her reason for thus naming him was as
“Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated”

Genesis 29:33).
The striking resemblance between these two utterances and what is
recorded in Exodus in connection with the sufferings of Israel in Egypt is
at once apparent.
First, we read that “God looked upon the Children of Israel” (

2:25). Then, unto Moses He said,
“I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt”

Exodus 3:7).
Then, corresponding with the words of Leah when Simeon was born, He
adds, “And have heard their cry” (

Exodus 3:7). It is surely something
more than a mere coincidence that at the birth of Israel’s first two sons
their mother should have spoken of “affliction,” which she said the Lord
hath “looked upon” and “heard,” and that these identical words should be
found in the passage which describes the first stage in the national history
of the Children of Israel who were then “hated” and “afflicted” by the cruel
Egyptians. When the Lord told Moses He had seen the “affliction” of His
people Israel and had “heard” their cry, did He not have in mind the very
words which Leah had uttered long years before!
Jacob’s third son was named Levi, and at his birth his mother said,.276
“This time will my husband be joined to me” (

Genesis 29:34).
Again these words of the mother point us forward to the beginning of
Israel’s national history. When was it that Jehovah was “joined” to Israel,
and became her “husband”? It was on the eve of their leaving Egypt on the
night of the Passover when the lamb was slain and its blood shed and
sprinkled. Then it was Jehovah was “joined” to His people — just as now
God is joined to us and becomes one with us only in Christ: it is in the
Lamb slain, now glorified, that God and the believing sinner meet. And
then it was that Jehovah entered into covenant relationship with the chosen
Nation, and became their “Husband.’’ Note how this very word is used in
Jeremiah, and mark how this reference points back to the Passover night:
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new
covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah:
Not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day
that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of
Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband
unto them, saith the Lord” (

Jeremiah 31:31, 32).
Jacob’s fourth son was Judah, and upon his birth the mother said, “Now
will I praise the Lord” (

Genesis 29:35). As Leah’s words at Levi’s birth
point us back to the Passover, so her words at Judah’s birth carry us
forward to the crossing of the Red Sea, where Israel celebrated Jehovah’s
victory over their foes in song and praised the Lord for their wondrous
deliverance. Then it was that, for the first time, Israel sang:
“Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like
Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

Exodus 15:11.)
Mark, too, that the Psalmist when referring back to this momentous event
“And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them
left. Then believed they His words: they sang His praise”

Psalm 106:11, 12).
Next comes Dan, and upon his birth Rachel said, “God hath judged me”

Genesis 30:6). If the line of interpretation and application we are now
working out be correct, then these words of Rachel, following those of
Leah at the birth of Judah, which as we have seen carry us, prophetically,.277
to the Red Sea, will bear upon the early experiences of Israel in their
Wilderness wanderings. Such, indeed, we believe to be the case. Do not
the above words of Rachel, “God hath judged me,” point us to the
displeasure and “wrath” of God against Israel when, in response to their
“murmuring” He sent the “quails,” and when again they provoked His
wrath at the waters of Massah and Merribah?
At the birth of Jacob’s sixth son Rachel exclaimed,
“With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have
prevailed” (

Genesis 30:8).
How strikingly this corresponds with Israel’s history! The very next thing
we read of after that God “judged” Israel for their sin at Merribah was their
conflict or “wrestling” with Amalek, and again be it particularly noted that
the self-same word used by Rachel at the birth of Napthali is used in
describing the “wrestling” between Israel and Amalek, for in

17:11 we read,
“And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel
prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”
Surely it is something more than mere coincidence that the very word used
by the mother of Napthali should occur twice in the verse which records
that in Israel’s history which her words prophetically anticipated; the more
so, that it agrees so accurately with the order of events in Israel’s history.
The utterances of the mother of the seventh and eighth sons of Jacob may
be coupled together, as may also those connected with the birth of his ninth
and tenth sons. At the birth of Gad it was said, “A troop cometh”

Genesis 30:11), which perfectly agrees with the order of Israel’s
history, for after the Wilderness had been left behind and the Jordan
crossed, a “troop” indeed “came” to meet Israel, the seven nations of the
Canaanites seeking to oppose their occupation of the promised land. The
words of the mother of Asher, the next son, “Happy am I” (

30:13), tell of Israel’s joy following the overthrow of their foes. Then, the
words of Leah at the birth of Jacob’s ninth and tenth sons, namely “God,
hath given me my hire” (

Genesis 30:18), and “God hath endued me
with a good dowry” (

Genesis 30:20), tell of Israel’s occupation of the
goodly inheritance with which Jehovah had “endowed” them. Then, just as
there was a break or interval before the last two sons were born, and just
as these two completed Jacob’s family, and realized his long cherished.278
desire, inasmuch as they were born to him by his beloved Rachel, so her
words, “The Lord shall add to me another son” (

Genesis 30:24), and
“The son of my sorrow” changed by the father to “Son of my right hand”

Genesis 35:18), would point to the completion of Israel’s history as an
undivided nation and the realization of their long cherished desire, in the
giving to them a King, even David, to whom was “added” only one
“other,” namely, Solomon; and the double sentence uttered at Benjamin’s
birth was surely appropriate as a prophetic intimation of Solomon’s course
so bright, yet so dark — for while in his reign the Kingdom attained its
highest dignity and glory (the position signified by the “right hand”), yet,
nevertheless, from the time of Solomon’s coronation began Israel’s
sorrowful decline and apostasy.
Thus we have sought to show how the utterances of the mothers of
Jacob’s twelve sons were so many prophetic intimations of the course of
the history of the Nation which descended from them, and that the order of
the sayings of these mothers corresponds with the order of Israel’s history,
outlining that history from its beginning in Egypt until the end of the
undivided Kingdom in the days of Solomon, for it was then the history of
Israel as a nation terminated, the ten tribes going into captivity, from which
they have never returned, almost immediately after.
To complete the study of this hidden but wonderful prophecy, particular
attention should be paid to the way in which Jacob’s sons were grouped
under their different mothers, for this also corresponds exactly with the
grouping of the outstanding events in Israel’s history. The first four sons
were all borne by Leah, and her utterances all pointed forward to one
group of incidents, namely, Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and the
Egyptians. The fifth and sixth sons were borne by a different mother,
namely, Bilhah, and her utterances pointed to a distinct series of events in
Israel’s history, namely, to their experiences in the Wilderness. The seventh
and eighth sons were borne by Zilpah, and the ninth and tenth by Leah, and
their utterances, closely connected yet distinct, pointed, prophetically, to
Israel’s occupation and enjoyment of Canaan. The eleventh and twelfth
sons were separated from all the others, being borne by Rachael, and so
also that to which her words at their births pointed forward to, was also
clearly separated from the early events of Israel’s history, carrying us on to
the establishment of the Kingdom in the days of David and Solomon..279
In drawing this article to a close, one or two reflections upon the ground
we have covered will, perhaps, be in place:
First, What a striking proof of the Divine inspiration of Scripture is here
furnished! Probably no uninspired writer would have taken the trouble to
inform us of the words used by those mothers in the naming of their boys
— where can be found in all the volumes of secular history one that
records the reason why the parent gave a certain name to his or her child?
But there was a good and sufficient reason why the words of Jacob’s wives
should be preserved — un-known to themselves their lips were guided by
God, and the Holy Spirit has recorded their utterances because they carried
with them a hidden, but real, prophetic significance; and in that recording
of them, and their perfect agreement with the outstanding events in the
history of Israel, in which, though centuries afterward, these prophetic
utterances received such striking fulfillment, we have an unmistakable
proof of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures.
Second, What an object lesson is there here for us that nothing in Scripture
is trivial or meaningless! It is to be feared that many of us dishonor God’s
Word by the unworthy thoughts which we entertain about it. We are free
to acknowledge that much in the Bible is sublime and Divine, yet there is
not a little in it in which we can see no beauty or value. But that is due to
the dimness of our vision and not in anywise to any imperfection in the
Word. “All Scripture” is given by inspiration of God, the proper nouns as
much as the common nouns, the genealogical lists equally as much as the
lovely lyrics of the Psalmist. Who would have thought that there was
anything of significance in the meaning of the names of Jacob’s sons? Who
would have supposed that it was of first importance that we should note
the order in which they were born! Who would have imagined there was a
wondrous prophecy beneath the words used by the mothers on the
occasion of them naming their sons? Who! Each and all of us ought to
have done so. Once we settle it for good and all that there is nothing in the
Bible which is trivial and meaningless, once we are assured that everything
in Scripture, each word, has a significance and value, then we shall
prayerfully ponder every section, and expect to find “hid treasures”

Proverbs 2:4) in every list of names, and according unto our faith so it
will be unto us.
Third, What a remarkable illustration and demonstration of the absolute
Sovereignty of God is found here in

Genesis 29 and 30! What a proof.280
that God does rule and overule! What a showing forth of the fact that even
in our smallest actions we are controlled by the Most High! All
unconsciously to themselves, these wives of Jacob in naming their babies
and in stating the reasons for these names, were outlining the Gospel of
God’s Grace and were prophetically foreshadowing the early history of the
Nation which descended from their sons. If then these women, in the
naming of their sons and in the utterances which fell from their lips at that
time were unknown to themselves, guided by God, then, verily, God is
Sovereign indeed. And so affirms His Word, for OF HIM, and through
Him, and to Him, are all things.” (

Romans 11:36.).281

Before Jacob had ever set foot in Padan-Aram Jehovah, the God of
Abraham and the God of Isaac, had said to him,
“Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither
thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not
leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”

Genesis 28:15.)
And now the time had drawn near when our patriarch was to return to the
promised land. He was not to spend the remainder of his days in his uncle’s
household; God had a different purpose than that for him, and all things
were made to work together for the furtherance of that purpose. But not
until God’s hour was ripe must Jacob leave Padan-Aram. Some little while
before God’s time had come, Jacob assayed to leave:
“And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob
said unto Laban, send me away, that I may go unto mine own
place, and to my country.” (

Genesis 30:25.)
Apparently Laban was reluctant to grant this request, and so offered to
raise his wages as an inducement for Jacob to remain with him,
“And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in
thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord
hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy wages,
and I will give it.” (

Genesis 30:27,28.)
Ere proceeding with the narrative the above words of Laban deserve to be
noticed. This was a remarkable confession of Jacob’s uncle — “The Lord
hath blessed me for thy sake.” Laban was not blessed for his own sake, nor
on account of any good deeds he had done; but he was blessed “for the
sake” of another. Was not God here setting forth under a figure the method
or principle by which He was going to bless sinners, namely, for the sake of
another who was dear to Him? Do not these words of Laban anticipate the
Gospel? and point forward to the present time when we read “God for
Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (

Ephesians 4:32), and again in

John 2:12 “your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” Yes, this is
the blessed truth foreshadowed in

Genesis 30:27: God blessed Laban
for Jacob’s sake. So again we read in

Genesis 39:15 concerning
Potiphar, “The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake.” And
again we have another beautiful illustration of this same precious fact and
truth in

2 Samuel 9:1:
“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul,
that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake.”
Reader, have you apprehended this saving truth? That for which we are
accepted and saved by God is, not any work of righteousness which we
have done, nor even for our believing — necessary though that be — but
simply and solely for Christ’s sake.
The sequel would seem to show that Jacob accepted Laban’s offer, and
decided to prolong his stay. Instead, however, of leaving himself at the
mercy of his grasping and deceitful uncle, who had already “changed his
wages ten times” (see

Genesis 31:7), Jacob determined to outwit the
one whom he had now served for upwards of twenty years by suggesting a
plan which left him master of the situation, and promised to greatly enrich
him. (See

Genesis 30:31-42.) Much has been written concerning this
device of Jacob to get the better of Laban and at the same time secure for
himself that which he had really earned, and varied have been the opinions
expressed. One thing seems clear: unless God had prospered it Jacob’s plan
had failed, for something more than sticks from which a part of the bark
had been removed was needed to make the cattle bear “ringstreaked,
speckled, and spotted” young ones. (

Genesis 30:39.)
The outcome of Jacob’s device is stated in the last verse of

Genesis 30:
“And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and
maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.”
This intimates that some little time must have elapsed since our patriarch
suggested (

Genesis 30:25) leaving his uncle. Now that prosperity
smiled upon him Jacob was, apparently, well satisfied to remain where he
was, for though Laban was no longer as friendly as hitherto, and though
Laban’s sons were openly jealous of him (

Genesis 31:1, 2) we hear no
more about Jacob being anxious to depart. But, as we have said, God’s
time for him to leave had almost arrived; and so we read,.283
“And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers,
and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” (

Genesis 31:3.)
God timed this word to Jacob most graciously. The opening verses of

Genesis 31 show there was not a little envy and evilmindedness at work
in the family against him. Not only were Laban’s sons murmuring at
Jacob’s prosperity, but their father was plainly of the same mind and bore
an unkindly demeanor toward his nephew — “And Jacob beheld the
countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before.” The
Lord had promised to be with Jacob, and to keep him in all places whither
he went, and he now makes good His word. Like a watchful friend at hand,
He observes his treatment and bids him depart. As another has well said,
“If Jacob had removed from mere personal resentment, or as
stimulated only by a sense of injury, he might have sinned against
God, though not against Laban. But when it was said to him
‘Return unto the land of thy fathers and to thy kindred, and I will
be with thee,’ his way was plain before him. In all our removals, it
becomes us to act as that we may hope for the Divine presence and
blessing to attend us; else, though we may flee from one trouble,
we shall fall into many, and be less able to endure them.” (Andrew
“And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers,
and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” (

Genesis 31:3.)
What a showing forth of God’s wondrous grace was this! In all that is told
us about Jacob during the twenty years he spent at Padan-Aram there was
not a word which intimates he had any dealings with God during that time.
There is no mention of any “altar,” no reference to prayer, nothing to
distinguish him from a thorough worldling. It needs to be remembered that
the “altar” speaks not only of sacrifice but of communion too. The altar
pointed forward to Christ, and it is only in Him that God and the redeemed
sinner meet and commune together. Jacob, then, had no altar in Padan-Aram
because he was out of communion with Jehovah.
“Although God in His faithfulness be with us, we are not always
with Him.” (J. N.D.)
But if Jacob had forgotten the Lord, Jehovah had not forgotten him; and
now that Jacob begins to be in real need the Lord spoke the suited word.
Yet mark the other side..284
Having been warned of God to depart, Jacob sends for his wives into the
field, where he might converse with them freely on the subject, without
danger of being overheard. (See

Genesis 31:4-13.) The reasons he
names for leaving were partly the treatment of Laban, and partly the
intimations of God — “I see your father’s countenance that it is not
toward me as before.” Mr. Fuller’s practical observations on these words
are so good we cannot refrain from quoting them:
“It is wisely ordered that the countenance should, in most cases, be
an index to the heart; else there would be much more deception in
the world than there is. We gather more of men’s disposition
toward us from their looks than their words; and domestic
happiness is more influenced by the one than by the other. Sullen
silence is often more intolerable than contention itself, because the
latter, painful as it is, affords opportunity for mutual explanation.
But while Jacob had to complain at Laban’s cloudy countenance he
could add, ‘The God of my father hath been with me.’ God’s smiles
are the best support under man’s frowns; if we walk in the light of
His countenance we need not fear what man can do unto us.”
Having talked the matter over with his wives, and obtained their consent to
accompany him, the next thing was to prepare for their departure. Had
Laban known what was in his nephew’s mind there is reason to fear he
would have objected, perhaps have used force to detain him, or at least
deprived him of the greater part of his possessions. Acting with his usual
caution, Jacob waited until Laban was a three days’ journey away from
home, absent at a sheep-shearing. Taking advantage of this, Jacob,
accompanied by his wives, his children, and his flocks, “stole away
unawares to Laban.” (

Genesis 31:20.) How little there was of Divine
guidance and of faith in Jehovah in this stealth! Not of him could it be said
“For ye shall not go out with haste, nor by flight; for the Lord will
go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward.”

Isaiah 52:12.)
That the Holy Spirit was not here leading is made still more evident by
what is told us in verse 19: “And Rachel had stolen the teraphim that were
her father’s.” It may be of interest to some of our readers if we here digress
again and contemplate these teraphim in the light of other scriptures..285
Scholars tell us that the word “teraphim” may be traced to a Syrian root
which means “to enquire.”
This explains the reason why Rachel took
with her these family “gods” when her husband stole away surreptitiously
from her home — it was to prevent her father from “enquiring” of these
idol “oracles” and thus discovering the direction in which they had gone.
Mark that Laban calls these teraphim his “gods.” (

Genesis 31:30.) The
next reference to the “teraphim” in Scripture confirms the idea that they
were used for oracular consultation. In

Judges 17:5 we read:
“And the man Micah had a house of gods, and made an ephod, and
teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons who became his priest”;
next we are told
“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that
which was right in his own eyes” and “Micah consecrated the
Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house
of Micah.” (Verse 6, 12.)
Then, in the chapter that follows, we read of the tribe of Dan seeking an
inheritance to dwell in, and sending out spies to search out the land; and
they came to
“the house of Micah (who had the teraphim) and said to his priest,
Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our
way which we go shall be prosperous.” (

Judges 18:6.)
That it was of the “teraphim” they wished him to enquire, and not of the
Lord, is clear from what follows, for when the spies returned to their tribe
and made their report (which was adopted), the tribe on going forth to
secure their inheritance carefully saw to it that Micah’s “priest” with his
“graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim” accompanied them, so
that we are told he became their “priest.” (See

Genesis 18:8-20.) Next
we read in

1 Samuel 19:13:
“And Michal took a teraphim and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow
of goat’s hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.”
This scripture not only reveals the sad fact that Saul’s daughter was an
idolator and practiced necromancy, but also intimates that by this time the
“teraphim” were fashioned after the human form — hence Michal’s
selection of one of these to appear like the figure of her sleeping husband..286
Ezekiel 21:21 also makes it clear that the “teraphim” were used for
oracular consultation — ‘‘The king of Babylon.. consulted with teraphim.”
Later scriptures indicate that after Israel had apostatized from Jehovah they
turned to the “teraphim” more and more
“For the teraphim have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a
lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain.”

Zechariah 10:2.)
Hence it was in pronouncing sentence on recreant Israel, God said: “For
the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a
prince, and without a sacrifice, and without a teraphim.” What a terrible
analogy to all this we behold in our own day! Just as in olden time Israel
turned from Jehovah to the “teraphim” of the heathen, so today, now that
Christendom has apostatized, men on all sides are turning away from the
Holy Scriptures which are the Oracles of God, and are giving heed to
seducing spirits and the deceptions of Satan.
That Laban harbored in his home these “teraphim” shows that the idolatry
of Babylonia still clung to his family, notwithstanding he had some
knowledge of the true God. (See

Genesis 31:53.) Laban appears to
have been a man much after the order of those of whom it is written: “They
sware by the Lord and by Malehom” (a heathen god). (

Zephaniah 1:5.)
This strange contradiction in Laban’s religious life appears to throw light
upon a passage and person that has long puzzled Bible students. We refer
to Balaam. This mysterious prophet seems to have been a heathen
soothsayer, and yet it is evident he also had some dealings with Jehovah. If
Balaam was a descendant of Laban this would account for this religious
anomoly. Now in

Numbers 23:7 we learn that Balaam came from
“Aram,” which may possibly be identical with Padan-Aram where Laban
dwelt. Balaam prophesied only some 280 years after Jacob’s departure
from Laban’s home, and may then have been an old man, at any rate in
those days 280 years covered only about two generations. The Targum of
Jonathan on

Numbers 27:5, and the Targum on

1 Chronicles 1:44
make Balaam to be Laban himself; and others say he was the son of Boor,
the son of Laban. Bearing in mind that Laban employed the “teraphim” as
his “gods,” if Balaam were one of his descendants then it would explain
why he did not utterly disown Jehovah while yet practicing the
abominations of the heathen..287
To return to the narrative. It was not long after Jacob’s stealthy departure
that Laban heard of what had taken place, and gathering together what
was, no doubt, a considerable force, he immediately set out in pursuit. But
on the night before he overtook Jacob’s party, God appeared to him in a
dream, and warned him against even speaking to Jacob “good or bad.”
Thus did Jehovah, once again, make good His original promise to our
patriarch and manifest His preserving Presence with Jacob. The measure in
which Laban respected the word of God is seen in the charges he brought
against Jacob when they met the next day. We refrain from commenting on
the lengthy colloquy between Jacob and his uncle. Though considerable
feeling was evidenced by both parties, the interview terminated happily,
and the final leave-taking was quite affecting. But it is remarkable that at
the close of their interview each man revealed himself and his true
condition of heart. It is by the seemingly little things that our characters are
shown —
“By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt
be condemned.” (

Matthew 12:37.)
So it was here. When Jacob took a stone and” set it up for a pillar” to be a
witness of the covenant made between them (

Genesis 31:44-46) Laban
called it “Jegar-sahadutha” which is Chaldean for “heap of witness,” thus
speaking in the language of heathendom; whereas, Jacob termed it
“Galeed” which was Hebrew for “heap of witness.” Only the true believer
can speak the language of God’s people; of the worldling, the godless
idolator, it must be said of him as the maid said of Peter when he was
denying his Lord, “Thy speech betrayeth thee.” (

Matthew 26:73.)
The closing verses of our chapter present briefly another beautiful typical
picture: “Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his
brethern to eat bread; and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the
mount. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his
daughters, and blessed them; and Laban departed and returned unto his
place.” First a covenant of peace was proposed, then it was ratified by a
sacrifice, and last it was commemorated by a feast. So it was in Egypt. God
made promise to Moses, then the lamb was slain, and then the people
feasted upon his roasted flesh. Thus it is with us. God entered into a
covenant of peace before the foundation of the world, in the fullness of
time the great Sacrifice was offered and accepted, and this is now
commemorated at the” feast” of the Lord’s Supper. (

1 Corinthians 5:8.).288
Note, too, it was not Laban the elder, but Jacob his nephew who “offered
sacrifice upon the mount.”
One practical observation on the circumstance of Jacob leaving Padan-Aram
and we conclude. It has been suggested by Dr. Griffith-Thomas that
this incident supplies us with valuable principles for regulating the believer
in his daily life when in doubt concerning the will of God. How often one is
puzzled to know whether God would have us take a certain course or not.
How may I be sure of God’s will concerning some issue which confronts
me? An important question; one that is frequently met with, and one which
must find answer in the Word alone. Surely God has not left us without
something definite for our guidance. Not that we must always look for a
passage of Scripture whose terms are absolutely identical with our own
situation, but rather must we search for some passage which sets forth
some clearly defined principles which are suited to meet our case. Such
indeed we find here in

Genesis 31.
Jacob was in a strange land. He had been there for twenty years, yet he
knew he was not to spend the remainder of his days there. God had assured
him he should return to Canaan. How much longer then was he to tarry at
Padan-Aram? When was he to start out for his old home? How could he be
sure when God’s time for him to move had arrived? Pressing questions
these. Note how the answer to them is found here in three things: first, a
definite desire sprang up in Jacob’s heart to return home — this is evident

Genesis 30:25. But this in itself was not sufficient to warrant a
move, so Jacob must wait a while longer. Second, circumstances became
such that a move seemed the wise thing; the jealousy of Laban and his sons
made his continued stay there intolerable. (

Genesis 31:1, 2.) This was
ordered of God who makes all things “work together” for the good of His
own people. But still something more was needed ere Jacob was justified in
leaving. So, in the third place there was a clear word from God —
“The Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers.”

Genesis 31:3.)
It is not always that God gives us a manifestation of these three principles,
but whenever they do combine and are evident we may be sure of His will
in any given circumstance.
First, a definite conviction in our hearts that God desires us to take a
certain course or do a certain thing..289
Second, the path He would have us take being indicated by outward
circumstances, which make it (humanly) possible or expedient we should
do it. Then, third, after definitely waiting on God for it, some special word
from the Scriptures which is suited to our case and which by the Spirit
bringing it manifestly to our notice (while waiting for guidance) is plainly a
message from God to our individual heart. Thus may we be assured of
God’s will for us. The most important thing is to wait on God. Tell Him
your perplexity, ask Him to prevent you from making any mistake, cry
earnestly to Him to make “plain His way before your face” (

Psalm 5:8),
and then “wait patiently” till He does so. Remember that “whatsoever is
not of faith is sin.” (

Romans 4:23.) If you are sincere and patient, and
pray in faith, then, in His own good time and way, He will most certainly
answer, either by removing the conviction or desire from your heart, and
arranging your circumstances in such a manner that your way is blocked —
and then you will know His time for you to move has not arrived — or, by
deepening your conviction, so ordering your circumstances as that the way
is opened up without your doing anything yourself, and by speaking
definitely through His written Word. “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust
also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (

Psalm 37:5.) The meek will
He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way.” (

25:9.) “He that believeth shall not make haste.” May writer and reader be
permitted by Divine grace to enjoy that blessed peace that comes from
knowing we are in the will that “good and perfect and acceptable will” —
of God..290

In our last article we contemplated Jacob, in obedience to the word of the
Lord who bade him
“return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred, and I will
be with thee” (

Genesis 31:3),
as then leaving Padan-Aram and starting out for Canaan. We also paid
some attention to Laban’s pursuit of our patriarch, and of the affectionate
leave-taking which eventually ensued. Here we are to consider another
important incident which befell Jacob by the way.
“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.”

Genesis 32:1.)
Jacob was now in the path of obedience and therefore God favored him
with another revelation to strengthen his faith and inspire him with courage
for what lay before him — the meeting with Esau and his four hundred
men. While in the path of obedience we must expect to encounter that
which will test our faith, and not the least of such trials will be that to all
outward appearances God Himself is against us; yet as we start out along
any path He has appointed, God in His grace, usually encourages us with a
plain revelation from Himself, a token of His approval, a strengthener to
faith; and at the end we find the path of the just is as the shining light that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day. So it proved with Jacob.
“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.” The word
“met” here suggests a beautiful thought. It is not that the angels
“appeared” to him, but they “met” him. Jacob is returning from his long
exile, returning to the land given to his fathers (and later to himself) by
Jehovah. These angels then came forward to greet him, as it were. God
sent these messengers of His in advance to welcome his servant home, and
to express to him His goodwill. On his journey out from Canaan to Padan-Aram
the Lord Himself met Jacob and gave him a vision of the angels; and
here, now that he is on his way back from Padan-Aram to Canaan, the
angels met him, followed immediately afterwards by the Lord appearing to
“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And
when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host; and he called the
name of that place Mahanaim,” (

Genesis 32:1, 2.)
Once again we note how timely are God’s interventions. Jacob had just
escaped from one company of his enemies (Laban and his brethren —

Genesis 31:22, 23), and another was now advancing to meet him,
namely, Esau with his four hundred men. But at this juncture God’s host
made its appearance, as though to show him to whom he owed his recent
escape, and as if to further assure him that He who had delivered, did
deliver, and he might safely trust would deliver him. It is to be remarked
that the angels (

Genesis 32:1) which appeared on this occasion were
termed by Jacob “God’s host” in the singular number, but from the name
which Jacob gave to the place Mahanaim — it is evident they were divided
into two companies, for Mahanaim signifies two hosts. It would seem, then,
there was one host of these “angels” of God, but divided into two
companies, probably encompassing him both before and behind. Was not
this God’s provision for the two hosts of Jacob’s adversaries, which at the
same time, and no doubt with the same violent designs, were coming
against him! The one had already been sent back without striking a blow
(Laban and his company), and the other should yet also be. While this was
not expressly revealed to Jacob, nevertheless, this host of angels before
him, as well as the one behind, was most evidently a comforting assurance
from God that He was with His child and would preserve him
whithersoever he went. How it reminds us of the experience of the
Children of Israel in the wilder-hess, centuries later, when the Pillar of
Cloud went before them by day, and the Pillar of Fire protected their rear
by night.
“And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau, his brother, unto
the land of Self, the country of Edom. And he commanded them,
saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob
saith thus, I have sojurned with Laban, and stayed there until now;
and I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and men-servants, and women-servants;
and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy
sight.” (

Genesis 32:3-5.)
As yet Jacob had heard nothing of his brother Esau, save that he was now
settled in the land of Seir; but recalling the past, remembering the angry
threat of the man, he was plainly apprehensive of the consequences of.292
meeting him again. He, therefore, decided to send messengers before him.
much as an army which is marching through an enemy’s country sends on
spies in advance. These messengers were evidently instructed to sound
Esau (for they returned to Jacob with their report), and if needs be to
appease his anger. These messengers were carefully instructed what they
should say to Esau, how they should conduct themselves in his presence,
and the impression they must aim to make upon him — all designed to
conciliate. While they were coached to say nothing but what was strictly
true, nevertheless, the craftiness of Jacob comes out plainly in the words
he puts into the mouths of his messengers:
“And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my
lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with
Laban, and staved there until now; and I have oxen, and agnes,
flocks, and men servants, and women servants; and I have sent to
tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.”

Genesis 32:4, 5.)
Jacob does not insist on the fulfillment of the blessing which he had
obtained from his father. Isaac had said, “Be lord over thy brother, and let
thy mother’s sons bow down to thee.” But here Jacob refuses to press the
claim of his precedency, and instead of requiring that Esau should “bow
down” unto him, he refers to Esau as “his lord” and takes the place of a
servant”! Note, too, nothing is said of the reason why he had fled to
Padan-Aram — all reference to his outwitting of Esau is carefully passed
over — instead, he naively says, “I have sojourned (not found refuge) with
Laban, and stayed there until now,” Once again be it remarked, Jacob
would have Esau plainly to understand that he had not come to claim the
double portion, nor even to seek a division of their father’s inheritance —
he had no need for this, for God had given him plenty of this world’s
goods. How plainly the native shrewdness of our patriarch comes out in all
this needs not be argued.
“And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy
brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred
men with him.” (

Genesis 32:6.)
It would seem from the sequel that the messengers sent out by Jacob never
delivered their message, but only went far enough to discover that Esau
was advancing toward them accompanied by four hundred men — to them,
no doubt, with hostile intentions. It must have come upon Jacob as a.293
terrible shock to learn that his brother was already acquainted with his
movements. It could only be about a fortnight at most since Jacob had left
his uncle’s farm, and as his journey had been conducted with all possible
secrecy (in order to escape from Laban), how could Esau have learned of it
at all? Was his thirst for revenge upon his brother so great that he had had
him watched all these years? Was there some spy of his in the employ of
Laban, who had now secretly communicated with Esau? Someone must
have informed him, and the fact that Esau was now advancing upon him
was disquieting news indeed. “Then Jacob was greatly afraid and
distressed” (

Genesis 32:7) — a guilty conscience needs no accusing.
“And he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and
herds, and the camels, into two bands; and said, If Esau come to
the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left
shall escape.” (

Genesis 32:7, 8.)
There seemed no time to be lost, so Jacob acted promptly, and with
accustomed shrewdness. First he divided his people and his flocks into two
bands, so that if Esau came up with one and smote it, the other at least
might escape. Second he betook himself to prayer. Ere condemning Jacob
here, let us examine our own hearts and remember our own ways. How
often we come to God only as a last resort! How often we scheme and
plan, and not until afterwards do we cry unto God. Alas, how often we act
on the principles of that God-dishonoring proverb that “God helps those
who help themselves” — as though anybody was sufficient to “help
himself” without God first helping him! The truth is rather, and how
blessed, that God is ever ready to help those who have learned by sad
experience that they are quite unable to “help themselves.” His promise is
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He
increaseth strength.” (

Isaiah 40:29.)
There is not a little in the prayer of Jacob which is worthy of close
attention, the more so as it was a prevailing prayer, and that it is the first
recorded real prayer in the Bible.
“And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my
father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy
country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; I am not
worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which
thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over.294
this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray
thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear
him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the
children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy
seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for
multitude.” (

Genesis 32:9-12.)
First the God to whom he prayed. He approached God not merely as God
the Creator, but as “the God of his father Abraham and the God of his
father Isaac.” It was God in Covenant relationship. This was laying hold of
the Divine faithfulness; it was the prayer of faith. It means much to
approach God thus; to appeal to Him on the ground of a sure and
established relationship. We come before God not as the God of our
forefathers, but as the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
therefore our “God and Father.” It is as we plead this relationship He is
pleased to bless us.
Second, Jacob cast himself on the sure Word of Jehovah, pleading before
Him His promise. He humbly reminded the Lord how He had said, “Return
unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee.” Here
again we do well to learn from Jacob. The Scriptures contain many
promises given to believers in general, and it is our individual privilege to
plead them before God in particular, the more so when, like our patriarch,
we encounter difficulties and opposition in the way wherein He has
directed us to walk. Jacob pleaded a definite promise; so must we. In

Corinthians 12:9 we read, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Come to the
Throne of Grace at the beginning of each day, reverently and believingly
remind the Lord of this declaration of His, and then say with one of old,
“Do as Thou hast said.” (

2 Samuel 7:25.) Again, we read in

Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all your need.” Tell the Lord of
this in the hour of emergency, and say, Lord “Do as Thou hast said.”
Third, Jacob fully acknowledged his own utter lack of desert. He
confessed that the Lord was in no wise his debtor. He took a lowly place
before the Most High. He owned that “he was not worthy of the least of all
God’s mercies.” Mark this well, dear reader, for very little teaching is
heard in these days that leads to self-abasement. It has become a rarity to
hear a saint of God confessing his unworthiness. There is so much said
about living on a high plane of spirituality, so much Laodicean boasting,
that many are afraid to acknowledge before other believers that they are.295
“not worthy of the least of God’s mercies.” One sometimes wonders if this
is the chief reason why so few of us have any real power in prayer today.
Certain it is that we must get down into the dust before God if we would
receive His blessing. We must come before Him as empty-handed
supplicants, if He is to fill us. We must own our ill deserts, and be ready to
receive from Him on the ground of grace alone if we are to have our
prayers answered.
Finally, notice the motive which actuated Jacob in presenting the petition
he did. That for which he made request was expressed as follows: “Deliver
me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I
fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the
children.” At first glance it would appear that our patriarch was moved by
nothing higher than the natural affections of the human heart. It would
seem that this was the petition of a kind husband and a tender father. But
as we re-read this request of Jacob in the light of the closing words of his
prayer, we shall discover he was prompted by a far worthier and higher
motive. He at once added “And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and
make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for
multitude.” In this conclusion to the prayer we may see not only a further
pleading of God’s promise, but an eye to God’s glory. Jehovah had
promised to make Jacob’s seed as the sand of the sea, but if his wife and
children were slain how then could God’s promise be fulfilled! Now it is
natural, and by no means wrong, for us to be deeply concerned over the
salvation of our loved ones; but our chief concern must center itself not in
the well-being of those who are united to us by the ties of blood or intimate
friendship, but for the glory of God. “Whatsoever ye do (in prayer, as in
everything else) do all to the glory of God” — to this everything else must
be subordinated. Here, then, is a searching test: Why am I so anxious to
see certain ones saved? — simply because they are near and dear to me f or
that God may be glorified and Christ magnified in their salvation? May
Divine grace purge us of selfishness and purify our motives in prayer. And
may God use these few words and cause both writer and reader to cry,
with ever increasing fervor, “Lord, teach us to pray.”.296

In our last article we contemplated Jacob as he continued on his way home
from Padan-Aram where he had lived as an exile for so long. As Jacob
went on his way “the angels of God met him,” apparently in two distinct
companies or “hosts,” probably one of them to his rear and the other
before him. It was suggested that there was a symbolic meaning to this
ordering of the angels; that as God had just delivered our patriarch from
Laban and his company, who were now left behind, so would he deliver
him from Esau and his company which were ahead of him. After the angels
had disappeared, Jacob sent out messengers to meet Esau, to pacify him
with friendly overtures, and thus prepare for their meeting. Shortly
afterwards these messengers returned to Jacob bringing with them the
discomforting news that Esau was advancing, accompanied by no less than
four hundred men. Jacob was “greatly afraid and distressed,” and after
dividing his party and possessions into two bands, he at once betook
himself to earnest prayer. We considered this prayer at some length, and
sought to point out some of its striking and suggestive features. It was a
prayer of faith, and one which, in its general principles, we do well to copy.
What followed Jacob’s prayer is now to engage our attention. A striking
contrast is immediately presented to our notice, a contrast which seems
unthinkable but for the sad fact that it is so often repeated in our own
experiences. Jacob at once turns from the exercise of faith to the
manifestation of unbelief, from prayer to scheming, from God to his own
fleshly devises.
“And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came
to his hand a present for Esau his brother.” (

Genesis 32:13.)
There was nothing inherently wrong in thus sending a present to his
advancing brother; it was the motive which actuated him which is
censurable, and which is “written for our admonition.” (

1 Corinthians
10:11.) In the verses which follow the Holy Spirit lays bare for us the heart
of Jacob, that we may the better become acquainted with our own deceitful
and wicked hearts. Had Jacob’s motive been a righteous and praiseworthy
one there was no need for him to have been at so much care and trouble in.297
arranging his present for Esau. First he divided his extravagant present into
three parts, or droves (for it consisted of cattle), putting a space between
each and thus spreading them out to the best advantage, with the obvious
intention of making as great an impression as possible upon his brother.
Next, he commanded the servants who were entrusted with the care of his
present, that when they should meet Esau and he enquired who these
flocks and herds belonged to, they should say, “these be thy servant’s
Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau.” Clearly, the message
which Jacob sent to Esau was utterly beneath the dignity of a child of God;
such fawning phrases as “my lord Esau” and “thy servant Jacob” tell their
own sad tale. This obsequious servility before a man of the world
evidenced the state of his heart. Clearly, Jacob was afraid of Esau, and was
no longer exercising confidence in God. Finally, Jacob’s real design is
made still more evident when we note his own soliloquizing —
“For he said I will appease him with the present that goeth before
me, and afterward I will see his face; preadventure he will accept of
me.” (

Genesis 32:20.)
Instead of trusting in the Lord to work in him a spirit of conciliation, he
undertook himself to propitiate Esau — “I” will appease him. But mark
carefully, dear reader, that after all his scheming and devising he could say
only “peradventure he will accept of me!” So it is still; after all our fleshly
efforts have been put forth there is no confidence begotten thereby,
nothing but an uncertain “peradventure” for our pains. How different from
the way of faith, and the calm but certain assurance which is the blessed
fruit of resting on the Divine promise and trusting God to undertake for
Ere proceeding further we would pause to consider a pertinent and
pressing question which naturally arises out of what we have seen above:
How was it possible for Jacob to turn to fleshly scheming and efforts of his
own to appease Esau when just before he had prayer with such
earnestness? to God, and had not failed to plead the Divine promises? Was
Jacob after all an un-believer? Surely not — God’s dealings with him
previously dispel the idea. Had he then “fallen from grace” and become an
unbeliever? And again we must reject any such suggestion, for the
Scriptures are plain and explicit on the point that one who has been born
again cannot be unborn — an unfaithful and unworthy child of God I may
be, but I am still His child, nevertheless. The gifts and calling of God are.298
“without repentance” — “without change of mind.” (

Romans 11:29.)
Once a sinner has been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light,
and once God has given to him light and salvation, he never undoes that
calling or withdraws His gift, for the sinner did nothing whatever of himself
to merit God’s gift, and he can do nothing to demerit it. The basis on
which God bestows His gifts is not that of works and human desert, but
that of sovereign grace alone. This does not argue that we shall therefore
be careless and free to sin as much as we want, for that would only go to
prove that we had never received God’s “gift” of salvation; rather shall we
become more careful and have a greater hatred of sin, not because we are
afraid of the consequences of wrong doing, but because we are desirious of
showing our deep gratitude to God, by a life which is pleasing to Him, in
return for His abounding mercy and goodness to us.
But this still leaves unanswered our question concerning Jacob. Jacob was
a believer in God — a careful study of his prayer as recorded in

32:9-12 evidences that. But though Jacob was a believer there still
remained the “flesh,” the old evil nature in him. And to this he gave way.
The flesh is ever unbelieving, and where it is not constantly judged breaks
forth in God-dishonoring activities. The clearest exemplification and
demonstration of the two natures in the believer is to be seen in the history
of Jacob recorded faithfully by the Holy Spirit not for our emulation but for
our “warning.” The same two natures are in every child of God today, the
spiritual and the carnal, the one which believes God and the other which
disbelieves. It is because of this we need to cry daily, “Lord, I believe; help
Thou mine unbelief.” (

Mark 9:24.)
“So went the present over before him; and himself lodged that night
in the company. And he rose up that night, and took his two wives,
and his two women-servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over
the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook,
and sent over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there
wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” (

This passage introduces us to a most important crisis in the life of Jacob.
The book of Genesis presents our patriarch in two characters, as he is
exhibited to us as Jacob and as Israel; the one looking at the natural man,
and the other at the spiritual man, the one telling of how Divine grace
found him and the other of what Divine grace made him — this will.299
become clearer as we continue these studies, if the Lord will. We are now
to consider the memorable occasion when Jacob formally received his new
name of Israel, when he who was rightly termed “the supplanter” became
known as “God commands.”
The circumstances under which Jacob formally received his new name are
worthy of the closest attention. He was, as we have seen, in great distress.
News had come to hand that Esau, accompanied by four hundred men, was
on the way to meet him. That for which he had labored so hard and so long
to obtain in Padan-Aram seemed about to be wrested from his hands; his
wives and his children appeared to be in imminent danger, and his own life
in peril. As a precautionary measure he had sent his family over the brook
and now he was left alone more desolate than when twenty
years before he had left his father’s house. Night had fallen, when suddenly
a mysterious stranger appeared, and in the darkness grappled with him. All
through the night this strange conflict continued.
“And Jacob was left alone.” In this sentence we have the first key to the
incident we are now considering. On these words it has been well said,
“To be left alone with God is the only true way of arriving at a just
knowledge of ourselves and our ways. We can never get a true
estimate of nature and all its actings until we have weighed them in
the balances of the sanctuary, and there we may ascertain their real
worth. No matter what we may think about ourselves, nor yet what
man may think about us, the great question is, What does God
think about us? And the answer to this question can only be learned
when we are ‘left alone.’ Away from the world, away from self,
away from all the thoughts, reasonings, imaginings, and emotions
of mere nature, and ‘alone with God,’ — thus, and thus alone, can
we get a correct judgment about ourselves.” (C. H. M.)
“And there wrestled a man with him.” In

Hosea 12:4 this “man” is
termed “the angel”; that is, we take it; “the Angel of the Covenant,” or, in
other words, the Lord Jesus Himself in theophanic manifestation. It was
the same One who appeared unto Abraham just before the destruction of
Sodom. In

Genesis 18:2 we read of “three men,” but later in the chapter
one of them is spoken of as” the Lord.” (

Genesis 5:13.) So here in

Genesis 32, at the close of the conflict between this “Man” and our
patriarch, Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have
seen God face to face.” (

Genesis 32:30.).300
“And there wrestled a Man with him.” Note we are not told that Jacob
wrestled with the mysterious Visitor, but “there wrestled a Man with him,”
that is, with Jacob. This incident has often been referred to as an
illustration and example of a saint’s power in prayer, but such a thought is
wide of the mark. Jacob was not wrestling with this Man to obtain a
blessing, instead, the Man was wrestling with Jacob to gain some object
from him. As to what this object is the best of the commentators are agreed
— it was to reduce Jacob to a sense of his nothingness, to cause him to see
what a poor, helpless and worthless creature he was; it was to teach us
through him the all important lesson that in recognized weakness lies our
“And there wrestled a Man with him till the breaking of the day.” From
dark till dawn the mysterious conflict continued. There are those who have
taken exception to the view set forth above, and who argue that if it was
God who was wrestling with Jacob for the purpose of bringing him to a
sense of his impotency He would have taken a shorter cut and arrived at
the designed end much quicker. But such an objection loses sight of the
wondrous patience which God ever exercises toward His own. He is “long
suffering to usward.” Long does He bear with our fleshly struggling, but in
the end He accomplishes His purpose and grace triumphs. The delay only
serves to provide opportunity for Him to display His infinite forbearance.
“And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the
hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint as He
wrestled with him.” This shows us how quickly and how easily God could,
when it so pleased Him, bring to an end Jacob’s resistance and reduce him
to helplessness; all He had to do was but to “touch the hollow of his
thigh,” and in a moment Jacob’s power to continue wrestling was gone!
And here we get the second key to the incident. Jacob was now brought to
the end of his own resources. One swift stroke from the Divine hand and
he was rendered utterly powerless. And this is the purpose God has before
Him in His dealings with us. One of the principal designs of our gracious
heavenly Father in the ordering of our path, in the appointing of our
testings and trials, in the discipline of His love, is to bring us to the end of
ourselves, to show us our own powerlessness, to teach us to have no
confidence in the flesh, that His strength may be perfected in our conscious
and realized weakness..301
“And He said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will
not let thee go, except thou bless me.” (

Genesis 32:26.)
Here is the third key which unlocks to us the precious contents of our
narrative. Here we see the object of the Heavenly Wrestler accomplished.
No longer could Jacob wrestle; all he could do was cling. The mysterious
Stranger brought Jacob to the point where he had to lean his entire weight
on Him! Hitherto Jacob had sought to order his own life, planning,
scheming and devising; but now he was “left alone” he is shown what a
perfectly helpless creature he was in himself.
“The seat of his strength being touched, he learnt to say, ‘I will not
let Thee go’ — ‘other refuge have I none; clings my helpless soul
to Thee.’ This was a new era in the history of the supplanting,
planning, Jacob. Up to this point he had held fast by his own ways
and means, but now he is brought to say ‘I will not let thee go.’“
But mark carefully, it was not until “the hollow of his thigh was
touched” that Jacob said this; and, it is not until we fully realize our
own helplessness and nothingness that we are brought to cling to
God and really seek His blessing, for note, not only did Jacob say “I
will not let Thee go,” but he added “except Thou bless me.”
“And He said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And
He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as
a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast
prevailed.” (Genesis

Genesis 32:27, 28.)
We cannot but feel that these verses have been generally misunderstood by
most of the commentators. Why should the Divine Wrestler ask our
patriarch his name, if not to emphasize and press upon the conscience of
Jacob the force of it, namely, supplanter or contender. And in the new
name here given him, it seems to us Jacob received a rebuke, though its
meaning also well sums up the central teaching of this incident which
describes the occasion when he received it. But what is the significance of
“Israel,” his new name? The marginal reading of the R. V. gives “God
striveth” which we believe conveys the real thought, though, “God
commandeth” would probably be a happier alternative. One who was a
profound Hebrew scholar tells us that “names compounded with ‘El’ have
that of the nominative when the other part of the name is a verb as here.
Out of some forty Hebrew names compounded with ‘El’ or ‘Jah,’ God is
always the Doer of what the verb means. Thus, Hiel=God liveth;.302
Daniel=God judgeth; Gabriel=God is my strength.” Israel would, therefore,
be “God commandeth.” Does not this furnish a most appropriate
significance to the name of the Nation which were and will be again the
center of God’s governmental dealings on earth — Israel, “God
“And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel;
for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast
prevailed.” (

Genesis 32:28.)
“As a prince” — as a deposer, orderer (see the various renderings of the
Hebrew word: rendered “ruler” thirty-three times); used not to dignify but
to reproach. “Hast thou power” — hast thou contended (the Hebrew
cognate is translated “rebellion,” “revolt,” etc.); Jacob had contended with
Esau in the womb and thus got his name “Jacob.” And long had Jacob,
“the orderer” of his life contended “with God and with men.” “And hast
prevailed” or succeeded. To quote from the Companion Bible: “He had
contended for the birthright and had succeeded. (

Genesis 25:29-34.) He
had contended for the blessing and succeeded. (27.) He had contended
with Laban and succeeded. (31.) He had contended with ‘men’ and
succeeded. Now he contended with God (the Wrestler), and fails. Hence
his new name was changed to Israel, God commands, to teach him the
greatly needed lesson of dependance upon God.” Jacob had arranged
everything for meeting and appeasing his brother Esau. Now, God is going
to take him in hand and order all things for him. To learn this lesson, and
take this low place before God, Jacob must be humbled. He must be lamed
as to his own strength, and made to limp. Jacob’s new name was to be
henceforth the constant reminder to him that he had learned, and was never
to forget this lesson; that it was not he who was to order and arrange his
affairs, but God; and his new name, Israel, henceforth to be, him, that “God
commandeth.” As Jacob he had” prevailed,” but now as Israel God would
command and prevail.
In the above incident then — together with its setting and sequel — we
have a most striking and typical picture of the “flesh” in a believer, its
vitality and incurability, God’s marvelous forbearance toward it and
dealings with it and victory over it.
First, in choosing and arranging the present for Esau we see the
character and activities of the “flesh” — devising and scheming..303
Second, in Jacob’s experience we are shown the worthlessness and
helplessness of the “flesh.”
Third, we learn that our nothingness can be discovered only as we get
“alone” with God.
Fourth, in the Man coming to wrestle with Jacob we see God
subduing the “flesh” in the believer, and in the prolongation of the
wrestle all through the night we have more than a hint of the patience
He exercises and the slowness of His process — for only gradually is
the “flesh” subdued.
Fifth, in the touching of the hollow of Jacob’s thigh we are enabled to
discern the method God pursues, namely, the bringing us to a vivid
realization of our utter helplessness.
Sixth, in the clinging of Jacob to the God-man we discover that it is
not until He has written the sentence of death on our members that we
shall cast ourselves unreservedly on the Lord.
Seventh, in the fact that Jacob’s name was now changed to Israel we
learn that it is only after we have discovered our nothingness and
helplessness that we are willing and ready for God to command and
order our lives for us.
Eighth, in the words, “and He blessed him there,” we learn that when
God “commands’’ blessing follows.
Ninth, behold the lovely sequel —
“And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him.”

Genesis 32:31.)
Does not this define or rather describe (symbolically) the spiritual
nature of the “blessing!”
Tenth, note how accurate is the picture —
“The sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore
the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is
upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day; because He touched the
hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.” (

32:31, 32.).304
The sinew only “shrank,” it was not removed. Nor is the “flesh”
eradicated from the believer!
Many are the important lessons taught in the Scripture we have been
examining, but for lack of space we can but barely name some of them:
(1) It is natural to the “flesh” to plan and scheme and to desire the
ordering of our lives.
(2) The mind of the flesh deems itself fully competent to order our life.
(3) But God in His faithfulness and love determines to correct this habit
in His child.
(4) Long does He bear with our self-confidence and self-sufficiency,
but He must and will bring us to the end of ourselves.
(5) To accomplish this He lays His hand on us, and makes us conscious
of our utter helplessness.
(6) This He does by “withering’’ us in the seat of our creature strength,
and by writing the sentence of death on our flesh.
(7) As the result we learn to cling to Him in our weakness, and seek
His “blessing.”
(8) What a lesson is this! The “flesh” cannot be subdued, but must be
“withered” in the very sinew of its power — “because the carnal mind
is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither
indeed can be.”
(9) That which hinders us in our growth in grace is not so much our
spiritual weakness as it is confidence in our natural strength!
(10) Not until these truths are apprehended shall we cease to be
“contenders,” and shall we gladly take our place as clay in the hands of
the Potter, happy for Him to “command” and order our lives for us.
(11) Then will it be with us, as with Jacob — “And He blessed him
(12) And so will the sequel, too, prove true of us — “The sun rose
upon him,” for” the path of the just shineth more and more unto the
perfect day.”.305

“And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came,
and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto
Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put
the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her
children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed
over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times,
until he came near to his brother.” (

Genesis 33:1-3.)
Here again we meet with one of those strange and sudden transitions in this
living narrative of our patriarch’s history. Truth is stranger than fiction, it is
said, and no doubt this is so, but certainly truth is more accurate than
fiction. In the Epistle of James the one who is a hearer of the Word and not
a doer is said to be “like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass”

James 1:24.) There is no other book in the whole range and realm of
literature which so marvelously uncovers the innermost recesses of the
human heart, and so faithfully delineates its workings. In the biographical
portions of Scripture the Holy Spirit, as everywhere, paints human nature
in the colors of truth. An uninspired writer would have followed Jacob’s
wondrous experience at Peniel by a walk which was henceforth flawless.
But not so the Holy Spirit. He has recorded just what did happen, and
shows us Jacob distrusting God and yielding to the fear of man. Thus it is
all through. Abraham in faith-obedience to the call of God went out “not
knowing whither he went,” but after his arrival in Canaan, when a famine
arose, he seeks refuge in Egypt. Elijah displays unexampled courage on
Mr. Carmel, as alone he confronted the four hundred priests of Baal; but
the next we hear of him he is fleeing from Jezebel! David dares to meet
Goliath, but later, he runs away from Saul And thus we have recorded the
sad inconsistencies of the noblest of God’s saints. So it was again here with
Jacob: what a change from clinging to the Divine Wrestler to prostrating
himself before Esau!
There is a lesson and warning for each of us here which we do well to take
to heart. It is one thing to be privileged with a special visitation from or
manifestation of God to us, but it is quite another to live in the power of it..306
Jacob’s experience at this point reminds us of the favored disciples who
were with Christ in “the holy mount.” They were deeply impressed with
what they saw and heard, and Peter, acting as spokesman, said, “Lord, it is
good for us to be here.” But observe the sequel. Next day a father brought
his lunatic son to the disciples, but “they could not cure him,” (Luke) and
when they asked the Lord the cause of their failure He said, “Because of
your unbelief.” Is not the juxtaposition of these two scenes — the
Transfiguration witnessed by the disciples, and their failure in the presence
of need — intended to teach us the lesson that unless faith remains active
we shall cease to live in the power of the Vision of Glory. Such is also the
lesson we learn from Jacob’s failure following immediately the visitation
from God from Peniel. Ah, there was but One who could say “I do always
those things that please Him.” (

John 8:29.)
Let us mark for our instruction just wherein Jacob failed. He failed to use
in faith the blessedness of his new name. The lessons which the all-night
wrestle ought to have taught him were the worthlessness and futility of all
his own efforts; that instead of putting confidence in the flesh, he needed to
cling to God; and in the new name he received — Israel, God commands
— he should have learned that God is the Orderer of our lives and can well
be trusted to undertake for us at every point. But O, how slow we are to
appropriate and live in the blessedness of the meaning of the new names
which God has given us “Saint!” “Son!” “Heir!” How little we live our
daily lives under the comfort, the inspiration, the strength, the elevation,
which such titles ought to bring to us and produce from us. Instead of
trusting God to manage Esau for him Jacob at once resorts to his old
devisings and subtleties.
Hardly had Jacob passed over the brook Jabbok and regained his family
when, lifting up his eyes, he beheld his brother approaching accompanied
by four hundred men. To flee was impossible; so at once he took whatever
precautionary measures were possible under the circumstances. He had just
sufficient time before Esau came up to arrange his family, placing his
different children with their respective mothers, and putting those in the
rear that he had the most love for. This shows that though outwardly he
appeared to treat Esau with confidence, nevertheless, he was secretly afraid
of him. He was obliged, however, to put the best face he could upon it, and
goes out at the head of his company to meet his brother — “And he passed
over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he
came near to his brother.” This betokened the fact that Jacob was ready to.307
take the place of complete submission to his elder brother. His action
reveals plainly the real state of Jacob’s heart, he was anxious to impress
upon Esau that he intended to make no claim of preeminence but rather
was willing to be subordinate to him. This will be even more apparent
when we attend to the words he used on this occasion.
“And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his
neck, and kissed him” (

Genesis 33:4.)
It seems to us that most of the commentators have missed the point of this.
Instead of discovering here the power, goodness, and faithfulness of God,
they see only the magnanimity of Esau. Personally we have no doubt that
had Esau been left to himself his reception of his erring brother would have
been very different from what it was. But he was not left to himself. Jacob
had prayed earnestly to God and had pleaded His promise. And now, He in
whose hands is the king’s heart and who “turneth it whithersoever He will”

Proverbs 21:1), inclined the fierce and envious heart of Esau to deal
kindly with Jacob. Mark it: and he “fell on his neck and kissed him!” Is not
the hand of God further to be seen in the fact that Jacob’s wives and
children all uniformly “bowed” too, to Esau —
“Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they
bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and
bowed themselves; and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and
they bowed themselves.” (

Genesis 33:6-7.)
“And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met?
And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.”

Genesis 33:8.)
Esau desired to know the meaning of those droves of cattle which had been
sent on to him earlier as a present. Jacob’s answer is quite frank, but it
shows what it was in which he placed his confidence he was depending on
his present, rather than upon God, to conciliate his brother. Note, too, as in
verse 5 he had spoken of himself to his brother as “thy servant,” so here,
he terms Esau “my lord.” Such obsequious cringing ill-became a child of
God in the presence of a man of the world. The excessive deference shown
to the brother he had wronged evidenced a servile fear: the fawning
obloquy was manifestly designed to imply that he was fully prepared to
acknowledge Esau’s seniority and superiority..308
“And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast
unto thyself.” (

Genesis 33:9.)
Whether we are to admire these words of Esau or not is not easy to
determine. They may have been the language of independency, or they
may, which is more likely, have expressed the generosity of his heart. Esau
was no pauper; in any case, no such present from Jacob was needed to heal
the breach between them. Such was the plain implication of Esau’s words,
and in them we are shown the futility and needlessness of Jacob’s
scheming. Jacob had devoted much thought to the problem how he could
best propitiate the brother whose anger he feared, and had gone to much
expense and trouble to this end. But it accomplised nothing! It was all
labor lost as the sequel shows. God had “appeased” Esau, just as before He
had quietened Laban! How much better then had Jacob just been “still” and
trusted in the Lord to act for him. Let us seek grace to learn this important
lesson, that not only are all our fleshly plannings and efforts dis. honoring
to God, and that they are quite uncalled for and unnecessary, but also that
in the end God sets them aside as they accomplish NOTHING.
Jacob was not satisfied with the generous words of his brother, and
proceeded to press his present upon him, urging him to receive it as a
token of good-will. “And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found
grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; for therefore I have
seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased
with me.” (verse 10.) The receiving of a present at the hands of another has
always been regarded as a pledge of amity and good-will. None will receive
a present from the hand of an enemy. The same principle underlies God’s
dealings with us. He will receive no offering from His sinful creatures until
they are reconciled to Him by faith in the Atonement of His Son. Let the
reader make no mistake upon this score. The Lord God will receive
nothing from your hands until you have first received from His hands,
received the Savior which His love has provided for sinners. Many there
are who suppose they must first bring something to God in order to win
His favor. But no matter how beautiful their offering may be, no matter
what self-sacrifice it has entailed, if Christ is still rejected God will not
accept it. To offer God your own works while continuing to despise Christ
is but to insult Him and to walk in the way of Cain. The teaching of
Scripture on this point is most emphatic — “The sacrifice of the wicked is
an abomination to the Lord.” (

Proverbs 15:8.).309
Jacob continues to press his suit. To have his present accepted would be
proof to him that his brother no longer bore him any ill-will. Hence, he
continues to assure him how highly his favor was regarded, yea, to have
seen his face, was, he says, “as though I had seen the face of God.” Finally,
he adds
“take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God
hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” (verse
In the end, he prevailed upon Esau to accept his present — “And he urged
him, and he took it.”
“And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go
before thee. And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the
children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with
me; and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant; and I will
lead on softly; according as the cattle that goeth before me and the
children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.”

Genesis 33:12-14.)
If there can be any question raised as to Jacob’s secret fears when he met
his brother, what we read of in these verses surely settles the point. The old
Jacob is here very evident. Now that his brother had accepted his present,
he was only too anxious for them to separate again. Esau suggests they
resume the journey in each other’s company. But this was not what Jacob
wanted. Old memories might revive in Esau’s mind, and when that time
came Jacob wished to be far away. However, he could not afford to offend
his brother, so Jacob, at once, begins to frame excuses as to why they
should journey separately. Then Esau suggested that some of his own
company should stay behind with Jacob — “And Esau said, Let me now
leave with thee some of the folk that are with me.” This was probably to
afford protection for Jacob and his herds while passing through a wild and
dangerous country. But Jacob seems to have suspected some unfriendly
design lay behind Esau’s offer, and so he declined it — “What needeth it?
Let me find grace in the sight of my lord.”
The sequel is indeed a sad and humbling one. Not only was Jacob
distrustful of his brother but he lied unto him. Jacob had said “let my lord, I.310
pray thee, pass over before his servant…. until I come unto my lord unto
Seir.” (verse 14.) But after Esau had taken his departure we read,
“And Jacob journeyed to Succoth and built him a house, and made
booths for his cattle.” (verse 17.)
Instead of making for Self, the appointed meeting-place, he journeyed in
another direction entirely. Even after the unexpected cordiality which Esau
had displayed, Jacob would not believe that God had permanently subdued
his brother’s enmity; therefore did he mistrust Esau, refusing his offer of
protection, and sought to avoid another meeting by a deliberate untruth.
Alas, what is man! How true it is “that every man at his best state is
altogether vanity.” (

Psalm 39:5.)
Jacob’s unbelief explains why his journey back to the Land was delayed,
for instead of pressing on home he settled down in Succoth. Not only so,
but we are told that
“Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of
Canaan, when he came from Padan-Aram; and pitched his tent
before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had
spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s
father, for a hundred pieces of money.” (

Genesis 33:18-19.)
And this in the very face of God’s word
“return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred, and I will
be with thee.” (

Genesis 31:3.)
But he had to pay a dear price for his unbelief and disobedience. Divine
retribution did not sleep. We have only to read what happened to his family
while Jacob abode at Shechem to discover how, once more, Jacob was
called upon to reap that which he had sown — Jacob’s sojourn in Succoth
was followed by the ruining of his only daughter!
Little light seems to have been given as yet upon the closing verse of our
chapter —
“And he erected there an altar, and called it God the God of Israel.”

Genesis 33:20.)
That this was an act of faith on the part of Jacob cannot be doubted, but as
to how high his faith rose the best of the expositors are not agreed. When.311
Jacob denominated this altar “God the God of Israel” was he losing sight
of Jehovah’s convenant relationship with Abraham and his seed, and
thinking of God merely as his God! Or, was he appropriating to himself his
new name of Israel! Whichever view be the true one it should be carefully
noted that in the very next word our patriarch received from the Lord it
concerned the “altar” and intimated that God was not pleased with the altar
he had erected in Succoth —
“and God said unto Jacob, arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there,
and make there an altar unto God.” (

Genesis 35:1.)
But this belongs to our next Genesis study. In the meantime may Divine
grace open our eyes fully to see the wickedness, as well as the vanity of
placing any confidence in our fleshly devisings and bring us to trust the
Lord with all our heart..312

In our last article we closed with Jacob parting from Esau and failing to
keep his word and rejoin his brother at Seir. We pass over the sad record
of the intervening chapter, asking our readers to turn to it for themselves.
After passing through the grievous experiences narrated in

Genesis 34,
we might well have supposed that Jacob had been in a hurry to leave
Shechem — yet, whither would he flee! Laban he had no desire to meet
again. Esau he wished to avoid. And now from the Shechemites also he
was anxious to get away. But whither should he go? Poor Jacob! He must
have been in a grand quandary. Ah, but man’s extremities are God’s
opportunities, and so it was shown to be here. Once more God appeared to
him, and said,
“Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar
unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fledest from the face
of Esau thy brother.” (

Genesis 35:1.)
In studying the above passage we have arrived at the conclusion that God’s
word to Jacob on this occasion was one of admonition. The reference to
him “fleeing” from the face of Esau, takes us back, of course, to the time
when Jacob first fled from home fearful of his brother’s anger at the
deception practiced on him in winning from their father the coveted
blessing. On the first night out the Lord had appeared to our patriarch in a
dream in which He promised to keep him in all places whither he went, and
to bring him again into the land and unto his kindred. When Jacob awoke
he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place” (

Genesis 28:16), and rising up
early in the morning he took the stone on which his head had rested during
the night and set it up for a pillar, pouring oil on the top of it, and calling
the name of the place Bethel, which means “House of God.” And there, we
are told,
“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will
keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and
raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in
peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have
set for a pillar, shall be God’s house.” (

Genesis 28:20-22.).313
Probably thirty years at least had passed since Jacob had had that vision of
the” ladder,” and now God reminds him of the pledge which our patriarch
had failed to redeem. God here addressed Himself to Jacob’s conscience,
with respect to his neglect in performing his vow. God had performed His
part, but Jacob had failed. God had preserved him whithersoever he had
journeyed, and had brought him back safely to the land of Canaan; but now
that Jacob had been in the land at least seven years (for in less time than
this Simeon and Levi could not have reached man’s estate —

34:25), yet, he had not gone up to Bethel.
That God’s word to Jacob recorded in

Genesis 35:1, was a reproof is
further evidenced by the immediate effect which it had upon him. Not only
had Jacob failed to go to Bethel, but, what was worse, while Jehovah had
been his personal God, his household was defiled by idols. Rebekah’s
stolen “teraphim” had proven a snare to the family. At the time Laban
overtook them Jacob seems to have known nothing about these gods; later,
however, he was evidently aware of their presence, but not until aroused
by the Lord appearing to him did he exert his parental authority and have
them put away. It is striking to note that though God Himself said nothing,
directly, about the “teraphim” yet, the immediate effect of His words was
to stir Jacob’s conscience about them
“Then Jacob said unto his household and to all that were with him,
Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and
change your garments” (

Genesis 35:2.)
These words show that Jacob was aware of the corrupt practices of his
family, and had only too long connived at them.
There is good reason to believe that the troubles into which Jacob fell at
Shechem were due immediately to his failure in this very particular, and
had he gone directly to Bethel his household had been purged the more
promptly of the “strange gods” that were in it, and his children had escaped
the taint which these of necessity must impart. Furthermore, had he gone
sooner to Bethel his children would have been kept out of the way of
temptation (

Genesis 34:1), and then the impure and bloody conduct of
which they were guilty had been prevented. Mark, too, how this second
verse of

Genesis 35 illustrates the awful spread of the leprosy of sin. At
first the teraphim were hidden by Rachel. and none of the family except her
seem to have known of them: but now Jacob had to command his”
household” and “all that were with him” to “put away the strange gods”.314
which were among them. The moral is evident: spiritual neglect and trifling
with temptation can issue only in evil and disaster. Let us not neglect
God’s House, nor delay to keep His commandments.
“And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an
altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and
was with me in the way that I went” (

Genesis 35:3).
Jacob not only commands his household to put away their idols, but seeks
to impress them with his own sentiments, and urges them all to accompany
him to Bethel. His reciting to them how that God had “answered him in the
day of his distress” not only argued the propriety of the step he was urging
upon them, but would excite a hope that God might disperse the cloud
which now hung on them on account of the late lamentable transactions in
“And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their
hand, and all their ear-rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid
them under the oak which was by Shechem” (

Genesis 35:4).
It is pleasing to observe the readiness with which his family acceded to
Jacob’s command. They not only gave up their “gods” but their “ear-rings”
also. These, too, were frequently converted to the use of idolatrous
practices, as is evident not only from the example of Aaron who made the
calf out of the “golden ear-rings” (

Exodus 32:2), but from

2:13 as well — “And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she
burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her ear-rings and her
jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat Me, saith the Lord.” That
Jacob buried the teraphim and ear-rings, instead of attempting to convert
them to a more honorable use, teaches us that the things of Satan must not
be employed in the service of God, and that we need to forsake even the
appearance of evil. There can be no doubt that in the readiness with which
the family acted in response to Jacob’s command we are to see the hand of
the Lord. In fact the power of God is evident at every point in this incident:
the immediate effect of God’s word to Jacob to go to Bethel (the effect on
his conscience, evidenced by the prompt purging of his household); the
unanimous response of his family; and further, what we read of in verse 5
all demonstrate this — “and they journeyed; and the terror of God was
upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after
the sons of Jacob.”.315
In the scripture last quoted we find a striking illustration of the sovereign
control which God exercises over and upon men, even upon those who are
not His people. Evidently the Shechemites were so enraged against Jacob
and his family that had not God put forth His power they had promptly
avenged the wrong done them. But not a hand can be raised against any of
the Lord’s people without His direct permission, and even when our
enemies are incensed against us, all God does is to put His “terror” upon
them and they are impotent. How true it is that
“the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water:
He turneth it whithersoever He will” (

Proverbs 21:1).
And God is still the same: living, ruling, almighty. There is no doubt in the
writer’s mind that in the authenticated reports of “the Angels at Mons” we
see in the terror which caused the German cavalry to turn about and flee
from the outnumbered English a modern example of what we read of in

Genesis 35:5 —
“And the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about
them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.”
“So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is,
Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there
an altar, and called the place El-Bethel; because there God
appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother”

Genesis 35:6, 7).
It is significant that Bethel is here first called by its original name, “Luz”
which means “departure.” From God Jacob had departed for (as previously
pointed out) Jacob built no “altar” during all the years he sojourned in
Padan-Aram, and only now does he return to God, to the “house of God,”
to the altar of God, and in order to do this he must needs retrace his steps
and return to the place from which he had “departed.” So it was with
Abraham before him, for after he left Egypt (whither he had gone in
unbelief) we read,
“And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto
the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel
and Ai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the
first” (

Genesis 13:3, 4).
And so it has to be with us..316
“But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried beneath
Bethel under an oak, and the name of it was called Allon-Bachuth.
And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-Aram
and blessed him” (

Genesis 35:8, 9).
In principle these two verses are inseparably connected. No mention is
made of Deborah in the sacred narrative from the time Jacob left his
father’s house until the time when he had now returned to Bethel. The
departure and the return of Jacob are thus linked together for us by the
mention of Deborah “Rebekah’s nurse.” The same thing is seen again in
the verse which follows. “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he
came out of Padan-Aram.” God had appeared to him just before he entered
Padan-Aram, and He now appeared “again” when he came out of Padan-Aram.
All the years spent with Laban were lost, as were also those lived in
Succoth and Shechem. The twenty years he served with his father-in-law
were so much “wood, hay and stubble.” We find another illustration of this
same sad principle in Hebrew 11:29-30, where we read, first, “by faith
Israel passed through the Red Sea,” and the next thing we read is, “by
faith the walls of Jericho fell down.” The forty years wandering in the
wilderness in unbelief is passed over! Nothing of “faith” was to be found in
that period of Israel’s history. The forty years was so much lost time! Ah,
my reader, when our records are reviewed at the Judgment-seat of Christ
methinks there will be similar tragic blanks in most, possibly all, of our
The sequel of Jacob’s return to Bethel is very beautiful, but we cannot here
dwell much upon the details. God appeared unto Jacob again, reaffirmed
that he should be called by his new name Israel, revealed Himself as the
“Almighty” or “All-Sufficient One,” bade him to be “fruitful and multiply,”
assuring him that “a nation and a company of nations should be of him, and
kings should come out of his loins;” and, finally, ratifying the gift of the
land unto his fathers, unto himself, and unto his sons (

Genesis 35:11,
That Jacob was now fully restored to communion with God is seen from
the fact that he now once more “set up a pillar” in the place where he had
talked with God and poured oil theron (

Genesis 35:14, and cf.

Genesis 28:18).
Next, we are told “And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a
little way to come to Ephrath.” How significant and how beautiful is the.317
moral order here: Ephrath is Bethlehem (verse 19), and Bethlehem signifies
“House of Bread.” Note carefully the words, “There is but a little way (i.e.
from Bethel) to come to Ephrath.” Yes, it is but a short distance from the
place where the soul is restored to communion with God to the place
where nourishment and satisfaction of heart are to be found!
“And Rachael died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is
Bethlehem” (

Genesis 35:19).
Thus the leading link of Jacob’s life at Padan-Aram was now severed! The
“teraphim” had been “hid under the oak” (verse 4), Deborah (the link with
his old unregenerate life) had also been “buried under an oak” (verse 8),
and now Rachael is “buried.” Death is written large across this scene. And
we too must have “the sentence of death” written on our members if we
would walk in full communion with God and dwell in the house of bread.
And is it not lovely to mark that from the dying Rachael there came forth
Benjamin ‘‘the Son of the right hand!”
Having considered some of the moral lessons which the 35th chapter of
Genesis inculcates, we would in closing point out how that once again we
have here another of those marvelous typical pictures in which this first
book of Scripture abounds; this time a dispensational foreshadowment of
the coming restoration of Israel.
1. Just as Jacob left the house of God (Bethel —

Genesis 28) for the
land of exile, so has the Nation which had descended from him.
2. Just as God said to Jacob “Arise, go up to Bethel,” return to the place of
Divine communion and privilege, so will He yet call to Israel.
3. Just as the immediate effect upon Jacob of God’s “call” was to purge his
house from idolatry and to issue in a change of his ways (emblemized by
“changing of garments” —

Genesis 35:2), so the Nation will yet be
purged from their final idolatry (in connection with Antichrist) and be
changed in their ways and walk.
4. Just as Jacob acknowledged that God had “answered him in the day of
his distress” (

Genesis 35:3), so will Israel when He responds to their
cry in the great Tribulation..318
5. Just as the “terror of God” fell upon the Shechemites (

Genesis 35:5),
so will His terror fall once more upon the Gentiles when He resumes His
dealings with His covenant people.
6. Just as when Jacob returned to Bethel he built another “altar,” so will
Israel once more worship God acceptably when they are restored to His
7. Just as now the link with Jacob’s past was severed (the death of
Rebekah —

Genesis 35:8), so will Israel die to their past life.
8. Just as God now appeared unto Jacob “again,” so will He, in the coming
day, manifest Himself to Israel as of old.
9. Just as God then said “Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but
Israel shall be thy name” (

Genesis 35:10), so his descendants shall no
more be called Jews, but as Israel shall they be known.
10. Just as God now for the first time discovered unto Jacob his name
“Almighty,” so on Israel’s restoration will the Messiah be revealed as “the
wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God.”
11. Just as national prosperity was here assured unto Jacob — “be fruitful
and multiply, a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee”

Genesis 35:11 — so shall the prosperity and blessings promised through
the prophets become theirs.
12. Just as God here said unto Jacob “the land which I gave Abraham and
Isaac, to thee will I give it and to thy seed after thee” (

Genesis 35:12),
so will He say to the restored nation.
13. Just as Jacob poured oil on the pillar he erected at Bethel, so will God
pour the Holy Spirit upon Israel and upon all flesh.
14. Just as Jacob found Bethel to be but a little way from Bethlehem, so
shall Israel at last find the Bread of Life once they have had their second
15. Just as Benjamin now took his place in Jacob’s household, so will the
true Benjamin — “Son of his mother’s sorrow, but also of his father’s right
hand” — take His rightful place among redeemed Israel. There are other
points in this typical picture which we leave for the reader to search out for
himself. Surely as the Christian ponders the wondrous and blessed future.319
which yet awaits the Israel of God he cannot do less than heed that earnest
word —
“Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give Him
no rest, till He establish, until He make Jerusalem a praise in the
earth” (

Isaiah 62:6, 7)!.320

It is not easy to decide which of the two is the more wonderful and blessed
— the grace of God which has given the believer a perfect standing in
Christ, or the grace which ever bears with the believer who fails so
miserably in making his state correspond with his standing. Which is the
more remarkable that, judicially, my sins are all put away forever, or, that
in His governmental dealings God treats so leniently with my sins as a
saint? Though it is true we reap as we sow, it also remains true concerning
believers that God
“hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to
our iniquities” (

Psalm 103:10).
That is a marvelous word which is found in

Numbers 23:21, a word that
has been of untold comfort to many of the saints — “He hath not beheld
iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel.” These words
were spoken by God through the mouth of Balaam, spoken of that very
people who so frequently were wayward and filled with murmuring. Mark,
the prophet does not say that iniquity and perverseness were not in Jacob.
That would not give the believer confidence, which is the very thing God
desires to give. It could never assure my poor heart to be told there was no
sin in me for, alas I know too well there is. What I am to rest in is the
wondrous fact that God sees no sin on me — that gives the conscience
peace. God saw no perverseness and iniquity on Israel because He looked
at them as under the Blood of the Lamb. And why is it that God sees no sin
on believers? It is because
“the Lord hath laid on Him (on Christ) the iniquities of us all”

Isaiah 53:6).
In view of this, what a walk ought to be ours. Surely we can do nothing
now which would displease the One who has dealt so wondrously toward
us. Surely we ought now to render a ready and joyful obedience to Him
who has done so much for us. Surely we ought to abstain even from every
appearance of evil. And yet that word “ought” condemns us, for it implies
our failure. I would not say to one who was fulfilling his duty, You ought.321
to do so and so. Should I say to any one, You ought to do this, the plain
inference is that he is not doing it. How wondrous then, how heart-affecting,
is the patience of grace which bears with our failures, with our
base ingratitude, with our Christ-dishonoring ways! And so we say again, it
is difficult to determine which is the more amazing: whether the love which
hath washed us from our sins, or the love which loves us “to the end”
despite our unloveliness.
These are the reflections suggested by a review of Jacob’s history. As we
have followed the Holy Spirit’s record of Jacob’s life we have marvelled
again and again at the matchless patience of God in His dealings with one
so intractable and unworthy. Surely none but the “God of all grace” (

Peter 5:10) would have borne with such an one so long. Ah! such is
equally true of the reader and of the writer. The only way in which it is
possible to account for God’s dealings with you and with me, these many
years, is the fathomless and matchless grace of our God. Truly He is “long
suffering to usward” (

2 Peter 3:9).
Not only is it affecting to trace the dealings of God through the changing
scenes of Jacob’s life, but it is also beautiful to mark the triumphs of Divine
grace as these are exemplified in his closing days. The path of the just
“shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (

Proverbs 4:18). And
plainly is this manifested in the case of our patriarch. So feeble were the
manifestations of the Divine life in Jacob in his early and middle life, so
much did he walk in the energy of the flesh, that it is difficult to determine
exactly when his spiritual life really began. But as he draws near the end of
his earthly pilgrimage it becomes increasingly evident in him as in us that
“though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed
day by day” (

2 Corinthians 4:16).
The sunset of Jacob’s life reveals the triumph of God’s mighty grace and
the marvelous transforming effects of His power which works upon
material that seemed so unpromising. It is to some of the fruits of the
Divine life in Jacob that we would now direct attention.
And what is it which produces these fruits? One answer to the question is
found in

Hebrews 12
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint
when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He
chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth…. Now no.322
chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peacable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (

12:5, 6, 11).
Do not these scriptures furnish a key to the closing scenes in the life of our
patriarch! How plainly we may discern God’s chastening hand upon him.
First there is the death of the faithful nurse Deborah (

Genesis 35:8), and
this is followed almost immediately by the decease of his beloved Rachel

Genesis 35:19), next we read that his eldest son “went and lay with
Bilhah his father’s concubine” (

Genesis 35:22), and then Isaac dies

Genesis 35:29). Poor Jacob! sorrows came upon him thick and fast,
but the hand of Divine chastisement is soon to fall still heavier. Jacob is
touched now in his tenderest spot — Joseph, his favorite son, is taken from
him, and mourned for as dead. This was indeed a severe blow, for we read
“And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and
mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his
daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted;
and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son
mourning. Thus his father wept for him” (

Genesis 37:34-35).
How are these afflictions to be viewed? As marks of the Divine anger? As
judgment from God? Surely not. Not so does God act toward His own.
Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. Even afflictions are among his love-gifts,
sent in faithfulness, sent for our blessings, sent to exercise our hearts,
sent to wean our affections from things of earth, sent to cast us more upon
God that we may learn, experimentally, His sufficiency. The losses which
Jacob suffered and the trials he was called upon to meet were among the
“all things” which worked together for his good.
But not immediately did God’s disciplinary dealings with our patriarch
yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness — that comes “afterward”

Hebrews 12:11). At first, we see only the resistance of the flesh. When
Jacob’s sons returned from Egypt Simeon was not with them, and what
was worse, they informed their father that the lord of Egypt’s granaries
required them to bring Benjamin with them when they came back again.
Listen to the petulent outburst from Jacob’s lips when he hears these
“And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved:
Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away:
all these things are against me” (

Genesis 42:36).
Poor Jacob! He is looking at the things that are seen, rather than at the
things unseen. He is walking by sight rather than by faith. It does not seem
to have occurred to him that God might have a wise purpose in all these
events. He judged by ‘feeble sense.’ But ere undertaking to pass sentence
upon Jacob let us remember that word in

Romans 2:1,
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that
judgeth: for wherein thou judgeth another, thou condemneth
thyself; for thou that judgeth doest the same things.”
Not long, however, does Jacob continue in such a state of mind. The next
thing recorded of him reveals a better spirit:
“And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when
they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt,
their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food”

Genesis 43:1-2).
The relief which had been obtained by the first journey to Egypt of Jacob’s
sons and the corn they had brought back was soon exhausted. The famine
was yet “sore in the land.” Jacob bids his sons “Go again, buy us a little
food.” Does not this word “little” evidence the beneficent effects of God’s
disciplinary dealings with him? Unbelief and avarice would have wished for
much food so as to hoard against a prolongation of the famine. But Jacob
is contented with “little.” No longer do we see him, as aforetime, selfish
and greedy; instead, he is desirous that others, whose stores were running
low, should have a part as well as himself; and, so far as the unknown
future was concerned, he would trust God.
But now a difficulty presented itself. Jacob’s sons could not go down to
Egypt unless Benjamin accompanied them, and this was the last thing his
father desired. A struggle ensued in the breast of our patriarch; the
affections of the father are pitted against the calls of hunger. To allay
Jacob’s fears, Judah offers to stand as surety for his younger brother. And
Jacob yielded, though not without a measure of reluctance. Yet, it is sweet
to notice the manner in which the aged patriarch acquiesced. It was not the
sullen consent of one that yielded to an inexorable fate when, in heart, he
rebelled against it. No, he yielded in a manner worthy of a man of God..324
After arranging that every possible means should be employed to conciliate
the lord of Egypt, he committed the whole issue to God.
“Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: And
God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that He may send
away your other brother, and Benjamin: If I be bereaved of my
children, I am bereaved” (

Genesis 43:13, 14.)
Note how Jacob speaks of God — “God Almighty,” or “God, the
Sufficient One.” This was the name under which Abraham was blessed

Genesis 17:1). This was the name used by Isaac in blessing Jacob,
“God Almighty bless thee,” etc., (

Genesis 28:3). In using this name
here, then, Jacob rests on the covenant promise and blessing, and thus we
see that his prayer was a prayer of faith. Note further, his confidence in
God’s sovereign power, seen in his request that God would so move upon
the man at the head of Egypt that he would be made willing to send
Jacob’s sons away. Finally, mark here his spirit of resignation — “If I be
bereaved, I am bereaved.”
Is it not lovely to mark the sequel. Jacob committed Benjamin into the
hands of God, and he was returned safely to his father. When God deals
with His saints He usually touches them in their tenderest parts. If there be
one object around which the heart has entwined itself more than any other
and which is likely to be God’s rival, this it is of which we must be
deprived. But if, when it is taken from us, we humbly resign it into God’s
hands, it is not unusual for Him to return it. Thus Abraham on giving up
Isaac, received him again; so David, on giving himself up to God to do as
seemed Him best, was preserved in the midst of peril; and so, in the present
ease of Benjamin, who later was returned to Jacob.
When Jacob’s sons returned home they brought with them a strange talc
Joseph was yet alive, in fact governor over all the land of Egypt. Little
wonder that at first Jacob refused to believe his sons, for the news seemed
too good to be true. But we read
“And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto
them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry
him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. And Israel said, It is
enough; Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I
die” (

Genesis 45:27, 28)..325
It is beautiful to note the change here from Jacob to Israel, especially as
this is carried on into the next verse,
“And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to
Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac”

Genesis 46:1).
Thus, the first thing recorded of Jacob after his long journey to Egypt had
begun, was the offering of sacrifices to God. Long years of discipline in the
school of experience had, at last, taught him to put God first; ere he goes
forward to see Joseph he tarries to worship the God of his father Isaac!
Beautiful, too, is it to note that here God met him for the seventh and last
recorded time (see

Genesis 28:13;


32:1; 24;

35:1, 9),
and said,
“Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And He said, I am God, the
God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there
make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt;
and I will also surely bring thee up again; and Joseph shall put his
hand upon thine eyes” (

Genesis 46:2-4).
Arrived in Egypt, restored to Joseph the aged patriarch is brought before
“And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before
Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh” (

Genesis 47:7).
The aged and feeble patriarch stands before the monarch of the mightiest
empire of the world. And what dignity now marks Jacob! What a contrast
from the day when he bowed himself seven times before Esau! There is no
cringing and fawning here. Jacob carries himself as a child of God. He was
a son of the King of kings, and ambassador of the Most High. Brief is the
record, yet how much the words suggest when we remember that “the less
is blessed of the better” (

Hebrews 7:7). Note, further,
“And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, the days of the years of my
pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years” (

Genesis 49:7).
At last Jacob has learned that his home is not here, that he is but a stranger
and sojourner on earth. He sees now that life is but a journey, with a
starting point and a goal — the starting point, regeneration; the goal,
heavenly glory..326

Hebrews 11:21 we read,
“By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of
Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
It is striking to observe that here the Holy Spirit passes by the feebler
struggles of Jacob’s faith and goes on to mention the brightness of its
setting glory, as it beautified the closing scenes of this vessel of God’s
choice. Two distinct acts of Jacob are here singled out: the former is
recorded in

Genesis 48, the latter in

Genesis 47:31. Into the
probable reasons for this reversal of the historical order we cannot now
enter, but a brief word concerning these two manifestations of faith will be
in place.
“And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph,
and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee,
thy hand upon my thigh and deal kindly and truly with me: bury me not, I
pray thee, in Egypt: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me
out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place. And he said, I will do as
thou hast said. And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And
Israel bowed himself on the top of his staff.” It is exceedingly beautiful to
notice this act of worship and what occasioned it. There is more here than
meets the eye at first glance. This was no mere sentimental whim of the
aged patriarch. God had promised, many years before, to give to Jacob and
to his seed the land of Canaan, and now His promise is “embraced,” Jacob
had never possessed the land, and now he is about to die in a strange
country. But he knows God’s word cannot fail, and his faith looks forward
to resurrection. At last the easily besetting sin (unbelief) is laid aside, and
faith triumphs. Having secured from Joseph the assurance that he should
not be buried in Egypt, but that his remains should be carried up out of
Egypt and placed in the sepulcher of his fathers, Jacob “worshipped
(bowing himself) on the top of his staff.” It was a blessed exhibition of
faith, and of his confidence in God, that He would do all that He had said
and perform all that He had promised.
The second act of Jacob to which the Holy Spirit calls at. tention in

Hebrews 11 is recorded in

Genesis 48. All through this chapter we
may see how God was now in all Jacob’s thoughts, and how His promises
were the stay of his heart. He recounts to Joseph how God had appeared to
him at Luz (

Genesis 48:3) and how He had promised to give the land of
Canaan to him and his seed for an everlasting possession. He spoke of God.327
as the One who “fed me all my life long unto this day” (

Genesis 48:15),
and as the One “which redeemed me from all evil,” which was only another
way of acknowledging that “goodness and mercy” had “followed” him “all
the days of his life.”
Jacob was now about to die, and he wishes to bless the two sons of Joseph.
Joseph had his own desires and wishes on this subject, and his desire was
that Manasseh, the firstborn, should receive the blessing. Accordingly, he
placed Manasseh at Jacob’s left hand and Ephraim at his right, so that
Jacob’s right hand might rest on the head of Manasseh and his left on
Ephraim. But though Jacob’s natural eyesight was dim, his spiritual
discernment was not. Deliberately, Jacob crossed his hands “guiding his
hands wittingly” (

Genesis 48:14), or, as the Hebrew reads, literally, “he
made his hands to understand.” Note it is expressly said that “Israel” did
this: it was the new man that was acting, not the old man, “Jacob.” And
“by faith” he blessed both the sons of Joseph. Truly, it was not by sight or
reason. What was more unlikely than that these two young Egyptian
princes, for this is virtually what they were, should ever forsake Egypt, the
land of their birth, and migrate to Canaan! How unlikely, too, that each
should become a separate tribe. And how improbable that the younger
should be exalted above the elder, both in importance and number, and
should become “a multitude of peoples” (

Genesis 48:19). How
impossible for him to foresee (by any human deduction) that long centuries
afterwards Ephraim should become representative of the kingdom of
“Israel,” as distinct from “Judah.” But he had heard God, rested on His
word, and believed in the sure fulfillment of His promise. What a grand
display of faith! Nature’s eyes might be dim, but faith’s vision was sharp: in
his bodily weakness the strength of faith was perfected.
After blessing Joseph’s sons, Jacob turns to their father and says,
“Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto
the land of your fathers” (

Genesis 48:21).
How utterly unlikely this appeared! Joseph was now thoroughly established
and settled in Egypt. But no longer is Jacob walking by sight. Firm indeed
was his confidence, and with an unshaken faith he grasps firmly the
promises of God (that his seed should enter Canaan), and speaks out of a
heart filled with assurance..328
The final scene (portrayed in

Genesis 49) presents a fitting climax, and
demonstrates the power of God’s grace. The whole family is gathered
about the dying patriarch, and one by one he blesses them. All through his
earlier and mid life, Jacob was occupied solely with himself; but at the end,
he is occupied solely with others! In days gone by, he was mainly
concerned with planning about things present; but now (see

49:1), he has thought for nothing but things future! One word here is
deeply instructive: “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord” (

49:18). At the beginning of his life “waiting” was something quite foreign
to his nature: instead of waiting for God to secure for him the promised
birth right, he sought to obtain it for himself. And so it was, too, in the
matter of his wages from Laban. But now the hardest lesson of all has been
learned. Grace has now taught him how to wait. He who had begun a good
work in Jacob performed and completed it. In the end grace triumphed. At
eveningtide it was light. May God deepen His work of grace in the writer
and reader so that we may
“lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and run with patience the race that is set before us”

Hebrews 12:1)..329

We have at last reached the closing scene in Jacob’s life. Here and there we
have beheld the light of heaven shining on and through our patriarch, but
only too often the clouds of earth have obscured it. The struggle between
the flesh and the spirit in him was fierce and protracted, but as the end
drew near the triumphs of grace, and the faith which overcomes the world,
were more and more manifest.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the scene presented to us in

Genesis 49. Long years before, God had promised to give the land of
Palestine to Abraham and his descendants. This promise had been
confirmed to Isaac, and renewed to Jacob. But, up to this time, there had
been no visible signs that the promise was about to be made good.
Abraham and Isaac had been but “strangers and pilgrims” in Canaan, owing
none of it save a burying-ground for their dead, and this they had
purchased. Jacob, too, had “dwelt in tabernacles (tents) with Abraham and
Isaac.” (

Hebrews 11:9.) And now Jacob is dying — dying not in the
promised land, but many miles away from it. In a strange country, in
Egypt, our partiarch prepares to leave this earthly scene; but despite the
feebleness of nature, the vigor of his faith was strikingly manifested.
Jacob summoned to his bedside each of his twelve sons, and proceeded to
utter one of the. most striking predictions to be found in all the Old
Testament. Like most prophecies, this one of our dying patriarch has, at
least, a double fulfillment. In its ultimate accomplishment it looks forward
to the fortunes of the Twelve Tribes in “the last days” (

Genesis 49:1);
that is, it contemplates their several conditions and positions as they will be
in the End-time, namely, during the Seventieth Week of Daniel and on into
the millennium (cf.

Jeremiah 23:19, 29;

Isaiah 2:2 for the “last days”
of Israel). Concerning the final fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy we cannot
now write; instead, we shall note how strikingly the past history of the
descendants of Jacob’s twelve sons has corresponded with their father’s
dying utterance:
“Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and
hearken unto Israel your father. Reuben, thou art my first-born, my.330
might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity,
and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, thou shalt not
excel, because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed, then defilest
thou it; he went up to my couch.” (

Genesis 49:2-4.)
Three things are here said of Reuben:
First, as the first-born son of Jacob, the place of “excellency,” the
position of dignity, was his natural birthright.
Second, this position of preeminency had been forfeited through his sin
in defiling his father’s bed, and Jacob here foretells that the tribe which
is to descend from Reuben “Shalt not excel.”
Third, Jacob also predicted that this tribe should be “unstable as
water,” which is a figurative expression taken from the passing away of
water which had dried up like a summer stream. We shall now refer to
several passages in the Old Testament which treat of Reuben, showing
how the fortunes of this tribe verified the words of the dying patriarch.
Let us turn first to

1 Chronicles 5:1, 2:
“Now the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the
firstborn); but, for as much as he defiled his father’s bed his
birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel; and
the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah
prevailed above his brethren, and of him (viz., of Judah, instead of
Reuben as it ought to-have been) came the Chief Ruler (i.e.,
Christ); but the birthright was Joseph’s.”
In this striking passage the “birthright” refers, of course, to the position of
excellency, and this, as Jacob declared it should be, was taken away from
Reuben and given to the sons of Joseph (they receiving the double or
“first-born’s” portion); and Judah, not Reuben, becoming the royal tribe
from which Messiah sprang, and thus “prevailing” above his brethren.
Verily, then, Reuben did not “excel.”
Second, as we trace the fortunes of this tribe through the Old Testament it
will be found that in nothing did they “excel.” From this tribe came no
judge, no king, and no prophet. This tribe (together with Gad) settled
down on the wilderness side of the Jordan, saying, “Bring us not over.331
Jordan.” (

Numbers 32:5.) From this same scripture it appears that the
tribe of Reuben was, even then, but a cattle loving one —
“now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very
great multitude of cattle; and when they saw the land of Jazer and
the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle….
came and spoke unto Moses and Eleazar the priest saying…. the
country which the Lord smote before the congregation of Israel, is
a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle. Wherefore, said they,
if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy
servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.”

Numbers 32:1-5.)
With this agrees

Judges 5:15, 16:
“For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of
the flocks. For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings
of heart.”
When the land was divided among the tribes in the days of Joshua, the
portion allotted to Reuben served, again, to fulfill the prophecy of Jacob —
it was the southernmost and smallest on the east of Jordan.
Third, this tribe was to be “unstable as water,” it was to dry up like a
stream in summer; it was, in other words, to enjoy no numerical
superiority. In harmony with this was the prophecy of Moses concerning
Reuben — “Let Reuben live, and not die; and (or “but”) let his men be
few.” Note, that at the first numbering of the tribes, Reuben had 46,500
men able to go forth to war (

Numbers 1:21), but when next they were
numbered they showed a slight decrease — 43,730. (

Numbers 26:7.)
This is the more noteworthy because most of the other tribes registered an
increase. Remark, too, that Reuben was among those who stood on
Matthew Ebal to “curse,” not among those who stood on Matthew
Gerizim to “bless.” (See

Deuteronomy 27:12, 13.) In

1 Chronicles
26:31, 32, we read:
“In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and
there were found among them mighty men of valor at Jazer of
Gilead. And his brethren, men of valor, were two thousand and
seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the.332
Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every
matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.”
It is also deeply significant to discover that when Jehovah commenced to
inflict His judgments upon Israel we are told,
“In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short; and Hazael smote
them in all the coasts of Israel; from Jordan eastward, all the land of
Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from
Arser, which is by the River Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.”

2 Kings 10:32, 33.)
Thus it will be found throughout; at no point did Reuben “excel” — his
dignity and glory completely dried up!
“Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their
habitations. O my Soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their
assembly, mine honor, be not thou united; for in their anger they
slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Cursed
be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel; I
will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (

What a proof are these verses of the Divine Inspiration of the scriptures!
Had Moses been left to himself he surely would have left out this portion
of Jacob’s prophecy, seeing that he was himself a descendant of the tribe of
Simeon and Levi are here linked together and are termed “instruments of
cruelty.” The historic reference is, no doubt, to

Genesis 34:25, where
we read: “And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that
two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each
man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.” It
would seem from the fact that Simeon’s name is here mentioned first that
he was the leader in that wickedness. It is not unlikely that Simeon was
also the one who took the lead in the conspiracy to get rid of Joseph, for
Simeon was the one whom Joseph “bound” (

Genesis 42:24) ere he sent
his brethern back to Jacob. It is highly interesting to notice how that the
later references to this tribe correspond in character with what we know of
their ancestor. For example: When Judah went up to secure his portion in
Canaan, he called upon Simeon to help him (

Judges 1:3), as if
summoning to his aid the men who possessed the old fierceness of their.333
progenitor. “And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me
into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go
with thee into thy lot — so Simeon went with him.” And so again, we read

1 Chronicles 4:42, 43:
“And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men,
went to Mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah,
and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi. And they smote the rest
of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this
Concerning Levi it is interesting to note that when Moses came down from
the mount and saw Israel worshipping the calf, that when he said, “Who is
on the Lord’s side?” we read,
“All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him, and
he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every
man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate
throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every
man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the Children
of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the
people that day about three thousand men.” (

Exodus 32:27, 28.)
Beautiful is it, also, to learn how similar devotion to the Lord and boldness
in acting for Him cancelled Jacob’s “curse” and secured Jehovah’s blessing.

Numbers 25:6-13 we are told:
“And, behold, one of the Children of Israel came and brought unto
his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the
sight of all the congregation of the Children of Israel, who were
weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And
when Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw
it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in
his hand; and went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust
both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through
her belly. So the plague was stayed from the Children of Israel. And
those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. And
the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the
son of Aaron the priest, hath turned My wrath away from the
Children of Israel, while he was zealous for My sake among them,
that I consumed not the Children of Israel in My jealousy..334
Wherefore say, behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace; and
he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an
everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and
made an atonement for the Children of Israel.”
Thus the “curse” on Levi was revoked. Levi was first joined to Simeon in
cruelty, but after, he was joined to the Lord in grace!
That which is most prominent, however, in Jacob’s prophecy concerning
the tribes of Simeon and Levi is that they were to be “divided” and
“scattered” in Israel. (See

Genesis 49:7.) And most literally and
remarkably was this fulfilled. When the land was divided in the days of
Joshua, we learn that Simeon received not a separate territory in Canaan,
but obtained his portion within the allotment of Judah (see

Joshua 19:1-
8): thus the Simeonites were necessarily “scattered,” being dispersed
among the cities of Judah. So it was with the Levites also; their portion
was the forty-eight cities which were scattered throughout the inheritance
of the other tribes. (See

Numbers 35:8;

Joshua 14:4, and

21.) Thus, while each of the other tribes had a separate portion which
enabled them to be congregated together, the descendants of Simeon and
Levi were “divided” and “scattered.” Exactly as Jacob had, centuries
before, declared they should be!
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall
be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow
down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son,
thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an
old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from
Judah nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and
unto Him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto
the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his
garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes
shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” (

This part of Jacob’s prophecy concerning Judah finds its ultimate
fulfillment in Christ. With it should be coupled
1 Chronicles 5:2: “Judah
prevailed above his brethren, and of him is the Chief Ruler,” a “Prince”; the
Hebrew word here is “Nagid” and is the same term which is translated
“Messiah the Prince” in

Daniel 9:24. It was from this tribe our Lord
came. Returning now to the words of Jacob..335
First, we are told of Judah: “Through art he whom thy brethren shall
praise.” The word here for “praise” is always used of praise or worship
which is offered to God! Christ is the One who shall yet receive the praise
and worship of His “brethren” according to the flesh, namely, Israel.
Second, of Judah, Jacob said.
“Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s
children shall bow down before thee.” (

Genesis 49:8.)
So, again, Christ is the One who shall yet have dominion over Israel and
subdue their enemies. This dominion of the tribe of Judah commenced in
the days of David, who was the first king from that tribe; and it was during
his reign that Judah’s hand was “in the neck of” their “enemies.”
Third, the destinies of the tribe of Judah is here contemplated under the
figure of a “lion,” which at once reminds us of

Revelation 5:5, where
the Lord Jesus is expressly denominated “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”
In dealing with the destinies of the tribe of Judah under the figure of a
“lion,” it is to be observed that this tribe’s history is contemplated under
three distinct stages, according to the growth or age of the lion. First, we
have “a lion’s whelp,” then “a lion,” lastly “an old lion” — the gradual
growth in power of this tribe being here set forth. We would suggest that
this looks at the tribe of Judah first from the days of Joshua up to the time
of Saul; then we have the full grown lion in the days of the fierce warrior
David; lastly, from Solomon’s reign and onwards we have the “old lion.”
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah; nor a lawgiver from
between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the
gathering of the people be.” (

Genesis 49:10.)
This calls for a separate word. The Hebrew term for “scepter” here is
translated “tribe” in verses 16 and 28 of this same chapter — according to
its usage in scripture it signifies the tribal-rod or staff of office which
belonged to any tribe and was the ensign of authority. This part of Jacob’s
prophecy, then, intimated that the tribal-rod should not depart from Judah
until a certain eminent Personage had come; in other words, that Judah
should retain both its tribal distinctness and separate authority until Shiloh,
the Messiah, had appeared. And most remarkably was this prophecy
fulfilled. The separate Kingdom of Israel (the Ten Tribes) was destroyed at
an early date, but Judah was still in the land when Messiah came..336
It is further to be noted that Jacob declared of Judah that there should not
depart from this tribe “a lawgiver until Shiloh.” It is a striking fact that
after Shiloh had come the legal authority vested in this tribe disappeared, as
is evident from

John 18:31:
“Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye Him, and judge Him
according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him: It is not
lawful for us to put any man to death.”
What a remarkable confession this was! It was an admission that they were
no longer their own governors, but instead, under the dominion of a
foreign power. He that has the power to condemn an offender to death is
the governor or “lawgiver” of a country. It is “not lawful for us” said
Caiaphas and his associates-you, the Roman governor, alone, can pass
sentence of death on Jesus of Nazareth. By their own admission

Genesis 49:10 had received its fulfillment. No longer had they a
“lawgiver” of their own stock! By their “words” they were “condemned.”

Matthew 12:37.) The “scepter” had departed, the “lawgiver” had
disappeared, therefore — Shiloh must have come.
“Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” looks forward to Christ’s
second coming, as also do the words that follow:
“Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice
vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood
of grapes. His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with
milk.” (

Genesis 49:11, 12.)
The reference here seems to be a double one: first to the tribe of Judah,
second to Christ Himself. Judah’s portion in the land was the vine-growing
district in the South. (See

2 Chronicles 26:9, 10.) Note, too, in

of Solomon 1:14 that we read of “the vineyards of Engedi” and in

Joshua 25:62 we learn that “Engedi” was one of the cities of Judah;
note further

Joshua 15:55 that Carmel was also included in Judah’s
portion. The application of

Genesis 49:11, 12, to our Lord may be seen
by comparing

Isaiah 63:1-3: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with
dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling
in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to
save. Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like Him
that treadeth in the winefat? — compare above ‘he washed his garments in
wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes’ — I have trodden the.337
winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread
them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be
sprinkled upon my garments.”
“Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a
haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.” (

In blessing his children Jacob here passes from his fourth to his tenth son.
Why should he do this? Everything in scripture is perfect. Not only is its
every word Divinely inspired, but the very arrangement of its words also
evidences the handiwork of the Holy Spirit. God is a God of order, and
every diligent student discovers this everywhere in His word. When
blessing his fourth son we found that the words of our dying patriarch
manifestly looked forward to Christ Himself, who, according to the flesh,
sprang from this tribe of Judah. Hence, because of the close connection of
our Lord with the land of Zebulun during the days of His earthly sojourn,
these two tribes are here placed in juxtaposition. Having spoken of the
tribe of which our Lord was born, we have next mentioned the tribe in
whose territory He lived for thirty years. This is, we believe, the main
reason why the tenth son of Jacob is placed immediately after the fourth.
The part played by the tribe of Zebulun in the history of the nation of Israel
was not a conspicuous one, but though referred to but rarely as a tribe,
each time they do come before us it is in a highly honorable connection.
First, we read of them in

Judges 5, where Deborah celebrates in song
Israel’s victory over Jabin and Sisera, and recounts the parts taken by the
different tribes. Of Zebulun and Naphtali she says, “Zebulun and Naphtali
were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of
the field.” (Verses 18.) Again, in

1 Chronicles 12, where we have
enumerated those who “Came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of
Saul to him” (verse 33), concerning Zebulun we read, “Of Zebulun, such as
went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty
thousand, which could keep rank, they were not of double heart.” And
again, in this same chapter,
“Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and
Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and
on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of raisins, and wine,.338
and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in
Israel.” (

1 Chronicles 12:40.)
Jacob’s prophecy concerning the tribe, which was to spring from his tenth
son, referred, mainly, to the position they were to occupy in the land of
Canaan, and also to the character of the people themselves. Moses’
prophecy concerning the twelve tribes, recorded in

Deuteronomy 33, is
very similar to that of Jacob’s with respect to Zebulun:
“And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out (i.e., to
sea); and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the
mountain (i,e, Zion); there they shall offer sacrifices of
righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and
of treasures hid in the sand.” (Verses 18, 19.)
The character of Zebulun as here outlined by Jacob is very different from
that of Judah, who is pictured as dwelling, more or less, apart from the
other tribes — as a lion “gone up from the prey;” very different, too, from
Issachar, here referred to as an ass crouching down in lazy sloth. (See
verses 14, 15.) Zebulun was to be a commercial and seafaring tribe. When
Jacob said of Zebulun, “his border shall be unto Zidion,” which was in
Phoenica, he implied that it would take part in Phoenican commerce.
The portion which fell to the tribe of Zebulun (

Joshua 19:10, 11),
together with that of the tribe of Naphtali which joined theirs, became
known as “Galilee of the Gentiles.’’ (See

Matthew 4:15.) These
Galileans were to be an energetic, enterprising people, who were to mingle
freely with the nations. The prophecy of Moses concerning Zebulun, to
which we have already referred, clearly establishes this fact (see

Deuteronomy 33:18, 19), and, plainly looked forward to New
Testament times, when the men of Galilee took such a prominent part as
the first heralds of the Cross. Note that Moses said, “Rejoice Zebulun, in
thy going out.” Is it not remarkable that no less than eleven out of the
twelve apostles of Christ were men of Galilee — Judas alone being an
exception! How beautiful are the next prophetic words of Moses in this
“They shall call the people unto the mountain: there they shall offer
sacrifices of righteousness!” (

Deuteronomy 33:19.)
One other word concerning Jacob’s prophecy about Zebulun. Of this tribe
he said, “He shall be for a haven of ships.” Galilee was to provide a refuge,.339
a harbor, a place where the storm-tossed ships might anchor at rest. And
here it was that Joseph and Mary, with the Christ Child, found a “haven”
after their return from Egypt! Here it was the Lord Jesus dwelt until the
beginning of His public ministry. And note, too,

John 12:1,
“After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk
in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him.”
Galilee was still a “haven” to Him!
“Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And
he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and he
bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.”

Genesis 49:14, 15.)
Upon these verses the writer has but little light. It is difficult to determine
the precise force and significance of the several statements that Jacob made
here concerning his fifth son; nor is it easy to trace the fulfillment of them
in the record of the tribe which sprang from him. One thing is clear,
however: to compare a man (or a tribe) to an “ass” is, today, a figure of
reproach, but it was not so in Jacob’s time. In Israel, the ass was not
looked upon with contempt; instead, it was an honorable animal. Not only
was it a useful beast of burden, but people of rank rode on them. (See

Judges 10:4; 12:14.) Until the days of Solomon Israel had no horses,
being forbidden by Jehovah to rear them (see

Deuteronomy 17:16); but
asses were as common and as useful among them as horses are now among
us. The “ass” was a reminder to Israel that they were a peculiar (separated)
people, whose trust was to be in the Lord and not in horses and chariots,
which were the confidence of the other nations of antiquity.
“Issachar is termed by Jacob a “strong ass,” and the fulfillment of this
portion of Jacob’s prophecy is clearly discovered in the subsequent history
of this tribe. In

Numbers 26, where we have recorded the second
numbering of those among the tribes which were able to go forth to war,
we find that only Judah and Dan out of the twelve tribes were numerically
stronger than Issachar, and Dan had but one hundred fighting men more
than Issachar. Again, in the days of the Kings, the tribe of Issachar had
become stronger still, for while in

Numbers 26:25, we read that the
number of their men able to go forth to war were 64,300, in

Chronicles 7:5 we are told,
“And the brethren among all the families of Issachar were valiant
men of might, reckoned in all by the genealogies 87,000!”.340

“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel Dan shall
be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse’s
heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for Thy
salvation, O Lord.” (

Genesis 49:16-18.)
With this prophecy of Jacob concerning the tribe of Dan should be
compared that of Moses, recorded in

Deuteronomy 33:22,
“And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from
It is to be seen that both predicted evil of that tribe, around which there
seems to be a cloud of mystery.
The first thing that Scripture records of Dan is his low birth. (See

Genesis 30:1-6.) Next, he is brought before us in

Genesis 37:2,
though he is not there directly mentioned by name. It is highly significant
that of the four sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, Dan was the oldest, being at that
time twenty years of age, and so, most likely, the ringleader in the “evil”
which Joseph reported to their father. Next, in

Genesis 46, reference is
made to the children of Jacob’s sons: the descendants of Reuben, Simeon,
Levi, and the others, being specifically named in order. But when Dan is
reached, the names of his sons are not given; instead, they are simply called
by the tribal name — Hushim or Shuham. (See

Genesis 46:23.) This is
the more striking, because in

Numbers 26 we meet with the same thing
again: the children born to each of Jacob’s twelve sons are carefully
enumerated until Dan is reached, and then, as in

Genesis 46, his
descendants are not named, simply the tribal title being given. (See

Numbers 26:42.) This concealment of the names of Dan’s children is
the first indication of that silent “blotting out” of his name, which meets us
in the total omission of this tribe from the genealogies recorded in

Chronicles 2 to 10, as well as in

Revelation 7, where, again, no mention
is made of any being “sealed” out of the tribe of Daniel There seems to
have been an unwillingness on the part of the Holy Spirit to even mention
this tribe by name. In cases where the names of all the tribes are given,.341
Dan is generally far down, often last of all, in the list. For example, we read

Numbers 10:25,
“And the standard of the camp of the children of Dan set forward,
which was the rearward of all the camps throughout their hosts.”
Again, Dan was the last of the tribes to receive his inheritance when Joshua
divided up the land — “This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of
Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages. When they
had made an end of dividing the land for inheritance by their coasts, the
children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua.” (

Joshua 19:47-49.)
Note again that in

1 Chronicles 27:16-22, where all the tribes are
referred to, Dan is mentioned last!
Putting together the several prophecies of Jacob and Moses we find two
traits met in Dan — treachery “a serpent by the way, an adder in the path”;
and cruelty: “Dan is a lion’s whelp; he shall leap from Bashan.” In

Judges 18 the Holy Spirit has recorded at length how these predictions
received their first fulfillment. The attack of this tribe on Laish was
serpentile in its cunning and lionlike in its cruel execution. Then it was that
Dan leaped from Bashan, and from the slopes of Mount Hermon (which
was in the territory of this tribe) like a young lion and like an adder
springing on its prey. From

Judges 18:30 we learn that Dan was the
first of the tribes to fall into Idolatry. Apparently they remained in this
awful condition right until the days of Jeroboam, for we find that when this
apostate king set up his two golden calves, saying, “Behold thy gods, O
Israel,” he set up one in Bethel and “the other put he in Dan.” (

1 Kings
12:28, 29.) And, as late as the time of Jehu these two golden calves were
still standing, and it is a significant and solemn fact that though there was a
great reformation in his day, so that the prophets and worshippers of Baal
were slain and the images were burned and the house of Baal was broken
down, yet we are told,
“Howbeit, from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made
Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden
calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.” (

2 Kings
One other item in Jacob’s prophecy concerning this tribe remains to be
noticed — “Dan shall judge his people.” This received a partial fulfillment
in the days of Samson — though we doubt not that its final fulfillment.342
awaits the time of the great tribulation.

Joshua 19:41 informs us that
among the towns allotted to this tribe were Zorah and Eshtaol. Compare
with this

Judges 13:2, which tells us that the parents of Samson
belonged to the tribe of Dan and had their home in Zorah. How remarkably
the prophecies of Jacob and Moses combined in the person of Samson (one
of Israel’s “judges”) is apparent on the surface. Serpent-like methods and
the lion’s strength characterized each step in his strange career. How
Samson “bit,” as it were, “the horse’s heels” in his death!
It is to be noted that after Jacob had completed his prophecy concerning
Dan, and ere he took up the next tribe, that he said, “I have waited for Thy
salvation, O Lord.” (

Genesis 49:18.) This is very striking and
significant, coming in just where it does. Having spoken of Dan as “a
serpent by the way,” the Holy Spirit seems to have brought to his mind the
words spoken by God to that old Serpent the Devil, recorded in

Genesis 3:15. The eye of the dying patriarch looks beyond the
“Serpent” to the one who shall yet “bruise his head,” and therefore does he
say, “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.” No doubt these very words
will yet be appropriated in a coming day by the godly remnant among the
Jews. If, as it has been generally held by prophetic students, both ancient
and modern, both among Jews and Gentiles, that the Anti-Christ will spring
from this tribe of Dan, the ancient prophecy of Jacob concerning the
descendants of this son will then receive its final fulfillment. Then, in a
supreme manner, will Dan (in the person of the Anti-Christ) “judge” and
rule over “his people,” i.e., Israel; then, will Dan be a “serpent in the way”
and “an adder in the path,” then will he treacherously and cruelly “bite the
horse’s heels.” And then, too, will that faithful company, who refuse to
worship the Beast or receive his “mark,” cry, “I have waited for Thy
salvation, O Lord?’
“Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the
last.” (

Genesis 49:19.)
The Hebrew word for troop here signifies a marauding or plundering
troop. The cognate to this word is rendered “companies” in

2 Kings 5:2
— “And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away
captive out of the land of Israel a little maid.” The same word is translated
“bands” in

2 Kings 24:2 — “And the Lord sent against him bands of the
Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands
of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it,.343
according to the Word of the Lord, which He spake by His servants, the
prophets.” When, therefore, Jacob said of this tribe, “Gad, a troop shall
overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last,” the reference seems to be
to alternate defeat and victory. This tribe was to be in a constant state of
warfare, leading like the Bedouin Arabs a wandering, wild, and unsettled
existence. One wonders whether the (slangy) expression “Gad about” may
not have its origin in the character of this tribe.”
We may notice, once more, how closely parallel with this prediction of
Jacob is the prophecy of Moses concerning this tribe:
“And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth
as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he
provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the
lawgiver, was he seated.” (

Deuteronomy 33:20, 21.)
The first part of this prophecy emphasizes the unsettled and warlike
character of Gad. The second statement that Gad “provided the first part
(of the inheritance) for himself,” has reference to the fact that this tribe
sought and obtained as their portion the land on the east side of the Jordan,
and this before Canaan was divided among the tribes in the days of Joshua.
This portion of Gad’s became known as “the land of Gilead.” (See

Deuteronomy 3:12-15.) Note, further, that Moses said, “Blessed be he
that enlargeth Gad.” The fulfillment of this may be seen by a reference to

1 Chronicles 5:16, where we read that the children of Gad dwelt in “all
the suburbs of Sharon.” Note that in

Joshua 13:24-28 no mention is
made of Sharon: their border was thus “enlarged!”
The position that Gad occupied was a precarious one. Being cut off from
that of the other tribes, they were more or less isolated. They were open,
constantly, to the attacks from the desert bands or troops, such as the
Ammonites and Midianites, and consequently, they lived in a continual
state of warfare. Jacob’s words were being repeatedly fulfilled. Gad
suffered severely from their lack of faith and enterprise in asking for the
territory they did. Their choice was almost as bad as Lot’s, and proved as
disastrous, for they were among the first tribes that were carried into
captivity. (See

1 Chronicles 5:26.)
For particular illustrations of the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy we may
note the following: “And it came to pass in process of time, that the
children of Ammon made war against Israel.” Note now, the portion of.344
Israel which they assailed: “And it was so, that when the children of
Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch
Jephthah out of the land of Tob: and they said unto Jephthah, Come, and
be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.. Then
Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him captain
over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.
And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon,
saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to
fight in my land? (

Judges 11:4-6, 11, 12.)
“Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against
Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a
covenant with us, and we will serve thee.” (

1 Samuel 11:1.)
But in the End-time Gad “shall overcome.” It is to this, we believe, that

Jeremiah 49:1-2, refers:
“Concerning the Ammonites thus saith the Lord; hath Israel no
sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his
people dwell in his cities? Therefore, behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of
the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters
shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that
were his heirs, said the Lord.”
And again in

Zephaniah 2:8-9,
“I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the
children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached My people, and
magnified themselves against their border. Therefore, as I live, saith
the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as
Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the
breeding of nettles and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation: the
residue of My people shall spoil them, and the remnant of My
people shall possess them.”
“Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal
dainties” (

Genesis 49:20).
Asher’s descendants, in common with the tribes of Zebulun, Naphtali and
Issachar, were settled in the northern part of Palestine, which was called by
the general name of “Galilee of the Gentiles,” which name was perfectly.345
appropriate to Asher, for from first to last this was a half Gentile tribe.
Asher’s territory lay in the extreme north of Palestine between Mount
Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea, and included within its borders the
celebrated cities of Tyre and Sidon (See

Joshua 19:24-31). The portion
of this tribe was better known by its Grecian name of Phoenicia, which
means “land of the palms,” so designated because of the luxuriant palms
which abounded there. It was to this land, preeminently rich and beautiful,
Jacob’s prediction looked.
“Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield ROYAL dainties.”
Let us turn now to a few Scriptures which furnish illustrations of the
repeated fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy.
“And Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, and cedar
trees and carpenters and masons, and they built David a house”

2 Samuel 5:11).
This city of Tyre was, as pointed out above, within the territory of the tribe
of Asher (

Joshua 19:29), and here we learn how the king of Tyre
yielded or provided “royal dainties” by furnishing both material and
workmen for building a house for king David.
We behold a repetition of this in the days of Solomon. In

1 Kings 5 we
“And Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his servants unto Solomon, for he
had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father:
for Hiram was ever a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram,
saying, Thou knowest how that David, my father, could not build a
house unto the name of the Lord his God, for the wars which were
about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of
his feet. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every
side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And,
behold, I purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord my
God, as the Lord spake unto David, my father, saying, Thy son,
whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build a house
unto my name. Now, therefore, command thou that they hew me
cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy
servants; and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to
all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among
us any that can skill to hew timbers like unto the Sidonians. And it.346
same to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he
rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath
given unto David a wise son over this great people. And Hiram sent
to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou
sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of
cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants shall bring them
down from Lebanon unto the sea, and I will convey them by sea in
floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause
them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou
shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household. So
Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his
desire” (

1 Kings 5:1-10).
Thus again do we see how Asher “yielded royal dainties.”
Jacob also said: “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat.” Is it not striking to
discover that in the time of famine in the days of Elijah that God sent his
prophet to the widow in Zarephath, saying:
“Behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee”

1 Kings 17:9).
Note Zarephath was in Sidon (see

Luke 4:26) and Sidon was in Asher’s
territory (

Joshua 19:28).

2 Chronicles 30, we have another illustration, along a different line,
of how Asher yielded “royal dainties.” It was at the time of a great
religious revival in Israel. King Hezekiah “sent to all Israel and Judah, and
wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the
house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of
Israel” (

2 Chronicles 30:1). Then we are told, “So the posts passed
from city to city, through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even unto
Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them” (

Chronicles 30:10). But in marked and blessed contrast from this we read:
“Nevertheless, divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun
humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem” (

2 Chronicles
The New Testament supplies us with two more illustrations. In

Luke 2
we learn of how one who belonged to this Tribe of Asher yielded a most
blessed “dainty” to Israel’s new-born King, even the Lord Jesus. For when.347
His parents brought the Child Jesus into the Temple, following the
beautiful Song of Simeon, we read,
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel,
of the Tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, and had lived with an
husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow of
about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the
Temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord,
and spake of Him to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem”

Luke 2:36-38).
Finally, note in

Acts 27 we are told that when the apostle Paul was
being carried prisoner to Rome, that when the ship reached Sidon (which
was in the borders of Asher) that “Julius courteously entreated Paul, and
gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself” (

Acts 27:3).
Thus, once more, do we read of “bread” out of Asher.
“Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words”

Genesis 49:21).
The word Naphtali means “wrestling” (see

Genesis 30:8). “Naphtali is a
hind let loose”; it was as though Jacob said, Naphtali is as a deer caught in
the toils of the hunters, hemmed in by them, but by his struggles she
escapes from their snares. Naphtali would be a hind “let loose.” This
expression has a double meaning. In the Hebrew the word signifies, first,
“sent” or “sent forth,” just as a stag driven from its covert goes forth,
scattering her pursuers. But the word also means “let loose” or “let go.” It
is the term used of Noah when he “sent forth” the raven and the dove from
the ark; as also of the priest, when at the cleansing of the leper, he let go or
let loose the living bird. The word expresses the joy of an animal which has
been made captive and, in its recovered liberty, bounds forth in gladness,
just as we have often seen a dog jumping for joy after it has been
unchained. Jacob, then, pictures Naphtali rejoicing as a freed hind. Then he
foretells the joy which the Tribe shall express after its escape — “goodly
words” he shall give forth. After it regains its liberty, the Tribe shall sing a
Song of Praise.
The striking fulfillment of this prediction by our dying patriarch is seen in
the victory of Barak, the great hero of this Tribe (see

Judges 4:6), who,
sent forth as a hind from its cover in the mountains of Galilee, came down.348
Mount Tabor to face on foot the hosts of Sisera with his nine hundred
chariots of iron. Barak, like a hind let loose, was at first timid of
responding to Deborah’s call. He had not dared to go forth with his little
handful of men unless Deborah had sent for him and assured him of
success. Read through

Judges 4, and note the hindlike swiftness of his
onslaught down the slopes of Tabor. It is significant that the name “Barak”
means “lightning,” and, like lightning he burst as a storm on the startled
hosts of Sisera, which were scattered by the hand of God at his unexpected
approach. (Note

Judges 4:14.) “So Barak went down from Mount
Tabor, and ten thousand men after him,” not “with him” — he running
ahead of all!
The battle was not of Barak’s choosing, rather was it forced upon him by
Deborah. He was literally “sent forth” into the valley. (Note “sent” in

Judges 5:15.) In the heights of Tabor, Barak and his men were beyond
the reach of Sisera’s cavalry and chariots. But down in the valley, on foot,
they would be like a herd of defenseless deer, unarmed, without either
spear or shield, for attack or defense. (See

Judges 5:8.) In the
defenselessness of Naphtali — deserted by their brethren (see

5:15-18) — hemmed in by the hosts of the Canaanites, they were indeed a
picture of helplessness. Nevertheless, the hand of the oppressor was
broken. God interposed, and Naphtali was “set free,” and the exuberance
of their consequent joy found expression in the Song of Deborah and
Barak recorded in

Judges 5. There were the “goodly words” which
Jacob had foretold. Thus Naphtali was a hind “let loose” in the double
sense — “sent forth” by Deborah and “set free” from the yoke of the
Canaanites by God!
But if this Tribe is interesting to us from its Old Testament association, it
has far deeper interest for us from its New Testament connections. Zebulun
and Naphtali were closely linked together, yet each had a separate interest.
The land of Zebulun provided a “haven” of rest for the Lord Jesus during
the first thirty years that He tabernacled among men; but it was in the
bounds of Naphtali in the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazin, and
other places, that He went about doing good and ministering the Word of
Life. In His preaching of the Gospel to the poor were the “goodly words”
of which Jacob spoke!
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose
branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him,.349
and shot at him, and hated him. But his bow abode in strength, and
the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty
God of Jacob (from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel);
even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the
Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of
the womb. The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the
blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the
everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the
crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren”

Genesis 49:22-26).
These words of Jacob concerning Joseph are to be divided into two parts:
what is said in

Genesis 49:22-24 is mainly retrospective; what is
recorded in

Genesis 49:25, 26 is prospective. This appears from the
change of tense: in the first part the verbs are in the past tense, in the
second part they are in the future. As Jacob reviews the past he mentions
three things in connection with his favorite son.

Genesis 49:22 seems to
view Joseph as a youth in his father’s house, as an object of beauty, of
tender care, and as well pleasing to his father’s heart — all pictures under
the beautiful figure of a “fruitful bough by a well.” Next, Jacob refers to
the bitter enmity and fierce hatred which were directed against him — the
archers sorely grieved him; they shot at him their cruel arrows, they vented
upon him their unreasonable spite. But through it all Joseph was Divinely
sustained. The arms of the Eternal God were beneath him, and the Angel of
the Lord encamped round about him. “His hands were made strong by the
hands of the mighty God of Jacob.”
Some have experienced difficulty with the wording of

Genesis 49:24;
even the translators do not appear to have been clear upon it. Inserting the
word “is” in italics the verse as it stands in the Authorized Version reads as
though it were a prediction concerning Christ. But many other plain
Scriptures show that this is a mistake. The Messiah was not “from” the
Tribe of Joseph, but came of the Tribe of Judah, just as Messianic
prophecy declared He should. The little word “is” in italics should be
omitted, and the verse punctuated thus — “His hands were made strong by
the hands of the Mighty (One) of Jacob, from thence the Shepherd, the
Stone of Israel.” It was “from thence,” i.e., from the Shepherd and Stone
of Israel, came all of Joseph’s strength and blessing..350
The prominent feature about this prophecy concerning Joseph is
fruitfulness, and this received its fulfillment in the double Tribe which
sprang from him — Ephraim and Manasseh, like two branches out of the
parent stem. Joseph received a double portion in the land, viz., the
firstborn’s “birthright,” this being transferred to him from Reuben. (See

1 Chronicles 5:1, 2.) So, too, shall it be in the Millennium. Concerning
the coming Kingdom, of which Ezekiel’s closing chapters treat, we read:
“Thus saith the Lord God, This shall be the border, whereby ye
shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph
shall have two portions” (

Ezekiel 47:13).
It is noteworthy that “Ephraira” means “fruitfulness,” and of Manasseh
Jacob had predicted, “Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the
earth.” Finally, it should be pointed out that Joshua was from one of the
tribes which sprang from Joseph (

Numbers 13:8), and in him Jacob’s
prophecy concerning his favorite son received its main fulfillment.
“Benjamin shall raven as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the
prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil” (

Genesis 49:27).
What a striking evidence is this of the complete setting aside of the natural
man by God! Surely it is clear that had Jacob followed the inclinations of
his heart he would not have said this of Benjamin, his youngest and dearly
loved son! But this divine prediction was unmistakably fulfilled as the
Scriptures which bear upon this tribe plainly show.
Benjamin is here likened to a “wolf,” which is noted for its swiftness and
ferocity. Benjamin was the fiercest and most warlike of the tribes. For
illustrations, note the following passages;

Judges 19:16;

2 Samuel
2:15, 16:
“Then there arose and went over by number, twelve of Benjamin,
which pertained to Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, and twelve of the
servants of David. And they caught every one his fellow by the
head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down
together.” (See also

1 Chronicles 8:40;

1 Chronicles 12:2;

2 Chronicles 17:17.)
The heroes of this tribe were marked by fierceness and wolf-like treachery.
Ehud was of this tribe. (Read

Judges 3:15-22.) King Saul was a
Benjaminite. (Read

1 Samuel 22:17-20.) Mark the wolf seizing the.351
helpless sheep as recorded in

2 Samuel 4:1-6. Saul of Tarsus, who first
persecuted the Church, was also of this Tribe (

Romans 11:1).
In closing our study of this remarkable prophecy from the dying Jacob, let
us mark how everything good which he severally predicted of his sons
finds its realization in the Lord Jesus.
1. The prophecy concerning Reuben (

Genesis 44:3) reminds us of the
Excellency and Dignity of Christ’s person: He is the “Firstborn,” in whom
is “the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.”
2. The prophecy concerning Simeon and Levi (

Genesis 49:5-7) may
well speak to us of Christ on the Cross: then it was that “instruments of
cruelty” were used against Him; Jacob says: “O my soul, come not thou
into their secret” — he would have nothing to do with them: so on the
Cross, Christ was forsaken by God and man; a “curse” is here pronounced
by Jacob upon them, as Christ, on the Cross, was “made a Curse for us.”
3. The prophecy concerning Simeon and Levi anticipated our Lord’s
Priesthood, for Levi became the priestly Tribe.
4. The prophecy concerning Judah (

Genesis 49:8-12) pictures our
Lord’s Kingship.
5. The prophecy concerning Zebulun (

Genesis 49:13) looks at Christ as
the great Refuge and Haven of Rest.
6. The prophecy concerning Issachar (

Genesis 49:14, 15) prefigures His
lowly Service.
7. The prophecy concerning Dan (

Genesis 49:16-18) views Him as the
8. The prophecy concerning Gad (

Genesis 49:19) announces His
triumphant Resurrection.
9. The prophecy concerning Asher (

Genesis 49:20) looks at Him as the
Bread of Life, the One who satisfies the hearts of His own.
10. The prophecy concerning Naphtali (

Genesis 49:21) regards His as
God’s perfect Prophet, giving forth “goodly words.”
11. The prophecy concerning Joseph (

Genesis 49:22-26) forecasts His
Millennial reign.
12. The prophecy concerning Benjamin (

Genesis 49:27) depicts Him as
the terrible Warrior (Cf.

Isaiah 63:1-3)..352

In the first of our articles upon Jacob we called attention to the fact that
each of the great Israelitish patriarchs illustrated some basic spiritual truth
and that the chronological order of their lives agrees with the doctrinal
order of truth. In Abraham we have illustrated the doctrine of election, for
he was singled out by God from all the heathen and chosen to be the head
of the Jewish nation. In Isaac we have foreshadowed the doctrine of Divine
sonship: Abram’s firstborn, Ishmael, represents the man born after the
flesh, the old nature; but Isaac, born by the miraculous power of God, tells
of the new man, the spiritual nature. In Jacob we see exemplified the
conflict between the two natures in the believer, and also God’s gracious
discipline which issued, slowly but surely, in the triumph of the spirit over
the flesh. Joseph, typically, speaks to us of heirship preceded by
“suffering,” and points forward to the time when the sons and heirs shall
reign together with Christ. There is thus a beautiful moral order in the
several leading truths illustrated and personified by these men. And it
should be observed that here, as in everything which pertains to God’s
Word, its orderliness evidences its Divine Authorship; everything is in its
proper place.
Joseph, then, speaks of heirship and, as another has beautifully expressed
“And consistently with this, in Joseph, we get suffering before
glories…. For while discipline attaches to us as children, sufferings
go before us as heirs; and this gives us the distinction between
Jacob and Joseph. It is discipline we see in Jacob, discipline leading
him as a child, under the hand of the Father of his spirit, to a
participation of God’s holiness. It is sufferings, martyr-sufferings,
sufferings for righteousness, we see in Joseph, marking his path to
glories. And this is the crowning thing! and thus it comes as the
closing thing, in this wondrous book of Genesis — after this
manner perfect in its structure, as it is truthful in its records. One
moral after another is studied, one secret after another is revealed,
in the artless family scenes which constitute its materials, and in.353
them we learn our calling, the sources and the issues of our history,
from our election to our inheritance” (Mr. J. G. Bellett).
Joseph is the last of the saints which occupies a prominent position in
Genesis. In all there are seven — Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Joseph. More space is devoted to the last of these seven than to any
of the others. There are several reasons for this which appear on the
surface. In the first place, the history of Joseph is the chief link which
connects Exodus with Genesis; the earlier chapters of Exodus being
unintelligible without the last ten chapters of Genesis. It is Joseph’s life
which explains the remarkable development of the Hebrews from a mere
handful of wandering shepherds to a numerous and settled colony in Egypt.
But no doubt the chief reason why the life of Joseph is described with such
fullness of detail is because almost everything in it typified something in
connection with Christ. But more of this later.
“Joseph was the elder son of Rachel (

Genesis 30:24).
Of his early life nothing is recorded. He could not have been more than five
or six years old when his father left Mesopotamia. He was therefore the
child of Jacob’s later life, and escaped all the sad experiences associated
with the earlier years at Haran. He comes before us in this chapter

Genesis 37) at the age of seventeen. His companions were his half-brothers,
the grown-up sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. From all that we have
hitherto seen of them they must have been utterly unfit companions for
such a youth. Jacob’s elder sons had, naturally, been affected by the life in
Haran, by the jealousy at home, and by the scheming between Laban and
Jacob. They had been brought up under the influence of the old Jacob,
while Joseph had been the companion of the changed Jacob or ‘Israel.’
There are few people more unfitted for influence over younger brothers
than elder brothers of bad character.” (Dr. G. Thomas.)
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph being seven. teen years
old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with
the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives:
and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel
loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of
his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his
brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren,
they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him”

Genesis 37:2-4)..354
There are perhaps few portions of Holy Writ with which we are more
familiar than the one now before us. From earliest childhood many of us
have listened to this beautiful but pathetic narrative. The aged patriarch, his
favorite son, the coat of many colors, Joseph’s dreams, the envious
brothers, their wicked conduct — all so true to life have been indelibly
impressed upon our memories since we first learned them on our mother’s
knee, or from the lips of our Sunday School teacher. Many are the lessons
which may be drawn, and pointed are the warnings which are found here.
But we shall pass from these to something deeper and even more precious.
As we read thoughtfully the books of the Old Testament our study of them
is but superficial if they fail to show us that in divers ways and by various
means God was preparing the way for the coming of His Son. The central
purpose in the Divine Incarnation, the great outstanding object in the life
and death of the Lord Jesus, were prefigured beforehand, and ought to
have been rendered familiar to the minds of men. Among the means thus
used of God was the history of different persons through whom the life and
character of Christ were to a remarkable degree made manifest beforehand.
Thus Adam represented His Headship, Abel His Death, Noah His Work in
providing a refuge for His people, Melchizedek pointed to Him as priest,
Moses as prophet, David as King. But the fullest and most striking of all
these typical personage was Joseph, for between his history and that of
Christ we may trace fully a hundred points of analogy! Others before us
have written upon this captivating theme, and from their writings we shall
draw freely in the course of these papers on the typical significance of
Joseph’s history.
In the verses quoted above from

Genesis 37 there are seven points in
which Joseph prefigured Christ, each of which is worthy of our attention,
namely, the meaning of his name, the nature of his occupation, his
opposition to evil, his father’s love, his relation to his father’s age, his coat
of many colors, and the hatred of his brethren. Let us consider each of
these in turn:
1. The Meaning of his Name. It is most significant that our patriarch had
two names — Joseph, and Zaphnath-paaneah (

Genesis 41:45) which the
rabbins translate “Revealer of secrets.” This latter name was given to him
by Pharaoh in acknowledgment of the Divine wisdom which was in him.
Thus, Joseph may be said to be his human name and Zaphnath-paaneah his
Divine name. So, also, the one whom Joseph foreshadowed has a double.355
name — “Jesus” being His human name, “Christ” signifying “the
Anointed” of God, or, again, we have his double name in “Son of Man”
which speaks of His humanity, and “Son of God” which tells of His Deity.
Let us note how the meaning of Joseph’s names were typical in their
“Joseph” means adding (see

Genesis 30:24). The first Adam was the
great subtractor, the last Adam is the great Adder: through the one, men
became lost; by the other, all who believe are saved. Christ is the One who
“adds” to Heaven’s inhabitants. It was to this end that He came to this
earth, tabernacled among men for more than thirty years, and then died on
the Cross:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the
ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much
fruit” (

John 12:24).
The ultimate result of His Death will be “much fruit,” and at His return this
will be gathered into the Heavenly garner (

John 14:3).
But Joseph’s second name means “Revealer of secrets.” This was a most
appropriate name. Revealer of secrets Joseph ever was, not merely as an
interpreter of dreams, but in every scene of his life, in every relation he
sustained — when with his brethren in Potiphar’s household, in prison, or
before Pharaoh — his words and his works ever tested those with whom
he had to do, making manifest their secret condition. How strikingly this
foreshadowed Christ, of whom it was said in the days of His infancy,
“Behold this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in
Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against…. that the
thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (

Luke 2:34, 35).
In the incident now before us Joseph is seen as the Revealer of secrets in a
double way. First, he revealed his father’s heart, for he is here seen as the
special object on which Jacob’s affections were centered. Second, he
revealed the hearts of his brethren by making manifest their wicked
“hatred.” In like manner, our blessed Savior revealed the Father’s heart,
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which
is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him”

John 1:18)..356
And in like manner, the Lord Jesus also revealed what was in the hearts of
men. One of the most striking and prominent features presented in the four
Gospels is the fact that everywhere He went the Lord Jesus exposed all. He
made manifest the secret condition of all with whom He came into contact.
He was truly “the Light of the world,” shining in “a dark place” —
detecting, displaying, uncovering, bringing to light the hidden things of
darkness. Well, then, was Joseph named the one who added, and the one
that revealed.
2. By Occupation Joseph was a Shepherd, “feeding the flock.” This is one
of the prominent lines which is found running through several of the Old
Testament typical personages. Abel, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, were
each of them “shepherds,” and a close study of what is recorded of each
one in this particular relation will reveal that each pointed forward to some
separate and distinctive aspect of our Lord’s Shepherdhood. No figure of
Christ is more beautiful than this: our favorite Psalm (the twenty-third)
presents Him in this character. One of our earliest conceptions of the
Savior, as children, was as the Good Shepherd. The figure suggests His
watchful care, His unwearied devotion, His tender solicitude, His blessed
patience, His protecting grace, His matchless love in giving His life for the
sheep. Above, Joseph is seen “feeding the flock,” pointing to the earthly
ministry of Christ who, sent unto “the lost sheep of the House of Israel,”
spent Himself in tending the needs of others.
3. His Opposition to Evil. “And Joseph brought unto his father their evil
report.” It is truly pathetic to find how this action of Joseph has been made
an occasion for debate, some arguing that in doing what he did Joseph
acted wrongly; others defending him. But it is not as a tale bearer that
Joseph is here viewed, rather is he seen as the truth-speaker. Not by
cowardly silence would he be the accomplice of their evil-doing. And here
too we may discern a clear foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ. We
will quote but one verse, but it is sufficient to establish the type:
“The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it
that the works thereof are evil” (

John 7:7).
4. His Father’s Love. “Israel loved Joseph more than all his brethren.” This
is one of the lines which stands out most distinctly in this lovely Old
Testament picture. How Jacob loved Joseph! His mark of special esteem in
making for him the coat of many colors: his unconsolsble grief when he
believed that Joseph had been devoured by beasts; his taking of that long.357
journey into Egypt that he might again look upon his favorite son ere death
overtook him — all tell out the deep love of Jacob for Joseph. And how all
this speaks to us of the Father’s love for His only begotten Son! Through
Solomon the Spirit of prophecy, speaking of the relation which existed
between the Father and the Son in a past eternity, said, “The Lord
possessed Me in the beginning of His way before His works of old;” and
“Then I was by Him, as One brought up with Him, and I was daily
His delight, rejoicing always before Him” (

Proverbs 8:22, 30).
How sweetly was this illustrated by Jacob’s love for Joseph! Again, when
the Son of God became incarnate, and was about to begin His public
ministry, the heavens were opened and the Voice of the Father was heard
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”

Matthew 3:17).
So, also, when His public ministry neared its close, once more the Father’s
Voice was heard, upon the Mount of Transfiguration, saying,
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him”

Matthew 17:5).
The Son, too, affirmed the Father’s love for Himself —
“Therefore doth My Father love me, because I lay down My life,
that I might take it again” (

John 10:17).
And when the Son had finished the Work given Him to do, when He had
laid down His life and had risen again from the dead, the Father displayed
His love by removing Him from the scenes of His sufferings and shame,
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a
name which is above every name” (

Philippians 2:9).
And not only did God highly exalt His blessed Son, but He also seated Him
upon His own throne (

Revelation 3:21), that during these centuries
when the Church is being built Christ might be near to the Father!
5. His Relation to his father’s Age. “He was the son of his old age.” No
line in this picture is without its own meaning — how could it be, when
none other than the Spirit of God drew it! Every word here is profoundly.358
significant. We quote from the words of another: “Old age, translated into
spiritual language and applied to God, signifies ‘eternity.’ Jesus Christ was
the Son of God’s eternity. From all eternity He was God’s Son. He was
not derived, He was eternally begotten; He is God of God, very God of
very God, equal with, and of the same substance as, the Father.” As the
opening verse of John’s Gospel declares,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and
the Word was God.” And again, in His high-priestly prayer the
Lord Jesus said, “And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine
own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world
was” (

John 17:5).
The Lord Jesus Christ is no creature, He is Creator (

John 1:3); He is no
mere emanation of Deity, He is the One in whom dwelleth “all the fullness
of the Godhead bodily” (

Colossians 2:9). He is far more than a
manifestation of God, He is Himself “God manifest in the flesh” (

Timothy 3:16). He is not a person who had His beginning in time, but is
Eternal in His being; as the true rendering of

Micah 5:2 declares, the
One who was born in Bethlehem of Judea was none other than He “whose
goings forth have been from of old, from the days of Eternity.” Christ then
was, in the language of our type “the Son of (His Father’s) old age” — the
eternal Son of God.
6. His Coat of Many Colors. Thus far the interpreting of the type has been
simple, but here, we encounter that which is not quite so easy. How
gracious of God for providing us with help on this point! We are not left to
our own imaginations to guess at the meaning of the many colored coat.
No; guesswork is not only vain, but altogether needless in regard to God’s
blessed Word. Scripture is its own interpreter. In

Judges 5:30, we read,
“Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a
damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colors, a prey of divers colors of
needlework, of divers colors on both sides, meet for the necks of them that
take the spoil?” Here we learn that such garments were to be worn as a
mark of distinction. Again in

2 Samuel 13:18 we read,
“And she had a garment of divers colors upon her: for with such
robes were the King’s daughters that were virgins apparelled.”
Here again we get the same thought: This was the attire of unmarried
princesses; it was a mark of honor, singling out the wearer as one of noble.359
birth. This, no doubt, was Jacob’s object to distinguish Joseph (born of
Rachel) from his half brothers (born of the slave-wives).
How appropriate was this as an adumbration of Christ! He, too, was
marked off from all His brethren according to the flesh, marked off as one
of noble birth, marked off by outward signs of peculiar distinction and
honor. It is blessed to behold what care and pains God took to manifest
this coat of many colors, in connection with His blessed Son. The
“virgin’s” Babe was distinguished from all others born by the Angelic Song
o’er Bethlehem’s plains — none other was ever welcomed thus by the
Heavenly hosts! So, too, the “star” that appeared to the wise men gave
evidence of the Heavenly Origin of the new-born King. At His baptism we
see again the many-colored coat: multitudes presented themselves to John
at the river Jordan and were baptized of him; but when the Christ of God
came up out of the waters, the Heavens were opened and the Spirit of God
descended upon Him in the form of a dove, thus distinguishing Christ from
all others! Behold again the coat of many colors in

John 12. In

13 the feet of the disciples (pointing to their walk) are defiled, and need to
be washed with water (type of Word); but in the previous chapter (for in all
things Christ must have the pre-eminence) we see the feet of our blessed
Lord, not washed with water (for there was no defilement in Him), but
anointed with precious ointment, the fragrance of which filled the house,
telling that the walk of Him (as well as His blessed person) was a sweet
smelling savor to the Father. Thus again was Christ distinguished from and
elevated above all others. So, too, at the Cross, the distinguishing coat of
many colors may be seen. In death, as everywhere, His uniqueness was
manifested. He died as none other ever died or could: He “laid down His
life.” And the uniqueness of His death was divinely attested in the
supernatural phenomena that accompanied it: the three hours darkness, the
quaking of the earth, and the rending of the veil. The “many colors” of the
coat also speak to us of Christ’s varied glories and infinite perfections.
7. The Hatred of his Brethren. “They hated him and could not speak
peaceably to him.” It was Jacob’s love which brought out the heart’s
enmity of these men. Joseph then, made manifest both his father’s love and
his brethren’s hatred. So when Christ came to the earth He did these two
things. He revealed the Father’s heart and He exposed man’s enmity. And
one of two things always followed: either men hated Him for exposing
them, or they accepted such exposure and took refuge in the Grace which
He revealed. When Christ exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees they.360
hated Him; but when He exposed to the woman at the well her sinful life
and condition, she welcomed it, and availed herself of God’s grace. So it is
now: those who hear the truth of God faithfully preached, the lost and
guilty condition of the natural man fearlessly proclaimed, either they hate
it, and seek to hide behind the filthy rags of their own self-righteousness, or
they come out into the light, bow to God’s verdict, and casting themselves
in the dust before Him as Hell-deserving sinners, believe in the Savior
which the Gospel makes known. In which class are you found, dear reader?
Are you, like the brethren of Joseph who hated the son of the father’s love,
“despising and rejecting” Christ? Friend, make no mistake here. You either
love or you hate the Lord Jesus Christ! and it is written,
“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be accursed”

1 Corinthians 16:22).
O heed now this solemn admonition of God,
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when
His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their
trust in Him” (

Psalm 2:12).
Before we turn to consider the special subject of this article we must first
notice three or four points in the first eleven verses of

Genesis 37
which, through lack of space, we omitted from our last.
“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his breth-ten: and
they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray
you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were
binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood
upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood around about, and made
obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou
indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?
And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and
said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun
and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he
told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him,
and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed! Shall
I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down
ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his
father observed the saying” (verses 5-11)..361
Continuing our numeration we may note:
8. Joseph is hated because of his Words. There are two lines which are,
perhaps, made more prominent than others in this first typical picture: the
love of Jacob for his son, and the hatred of the brethren. Three times over
within the compass of these few verses reference is made to the “hatred” of
Joseph’s brethren. In verse 4 we read, “they hated him, and could not
speak peaceably unto him.” Again, in verse 5 we are told, “and they hated
him yet the more.” And again in verse 8: “And they hated him yet the more
for his dreams and for his words.” It will be seen from these references
there was a twofold occasion for their wicked enmity. First, they hated
Joseph’s person, because of Jacob’s special love for him; second, they
hated him because of “his words.” They hated him because of what he
was, and also because of what he said. Thus it was, too, with the One
whom Joseph typified.
As we turn to the four Gospels it will be found that those who were our
Lord’s brethren according to the flesh hated Him in this same twofold way.
They hated Him because He was the beloved Son of the Father, and they
also hated Him because of His teaching. As illustrations of the former we
may note the following passages:
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not
only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His
Father, making Himself equal with God” (

John 5:18).
“The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the Bread
which came down from heaven” (

John 6:41).
“I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to
stone Him” (

John 10:30, 31).
Such was their wicked hostility against His person. And it was just the
same, too, in regard to His teaching:
“And all they in the synagogue when they heard these things, were
filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and
led Him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that
they might east Him down headlong” (

Luke 4:28, 29).
“The world cannot hate you: but Me it hateth, because I testify of
it, that the works thereof are evil” (

John 7:7)..362
“But now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth,
which I have heard of God” (

John 8:40).
9. Joseph was to enjoy a remarkable future. These dreams of Joseph
intimated that this favored son of Jacob was the subject of high destinies:
they were Divine announcements of his future exaltation. There can be
little doubt that Jacob and his sons perceived that these dreams were
prophetic, otherwise the brethren would have regarded them as “idle tales,”
instead of being angered by them. Note, too, that “his father observed the
saying” (verse 11).
So, too, of the Antitype. A remarkable future was promised to the One
who first appeared in lowliness and shame. Concerning the Child that was
to be born unto Israel, the Son given, it was pre-announced:
“The government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be
called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting
Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and
peace there shall be no end” (

Isaiah 9:6, 7).
To his mother the angel declared,
“Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son,
and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called
the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the
throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the House of
Jacob for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (

That Joseph’s Antitype was to enjoy a remarkable future was thus
intimated beforehand.
10. Joseph foretold his future Sovereignty. It is worthy of notice that the
two recorded dreams of Joseph contemplated a double sovereignty: the
first dream concerned “the field,” which pointed to the earthly dominion of
our Lord; but the second dream was occupied with the sun, the moon and
the stars, and tells, in type, of the Heavenly dominion of Christ, for all
power (or authority) has been given to Him in heaven and on earth.
Joseph’s announcement of his future exaltation only served to fan the fires
of enmity, and gave intensity to his brethren’s hatred. And so it was with
the Savior. The more our Lord unfolded the glory of His person, the more.363
He spoke of His future exaltation, the more did the Jews — His brethren
according to the flesh — hate Him. The climax of this is to be seen in

Matthew 26:64:
“Nevertheless, I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of
Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of
Here was the announcement of His future sovereignty, and mark the
immediate effects of His words on those that heard Him: “Then the high
priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy.”
11. Joseph was envied by his brethren. “When his brethren saw that their
father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him” (verse 4). In
these words are found the key to what followed. That which was the prime
cause of the brethren’s hatred was envy: as verse 11 tells us, “And his
brethren envied him.” They were jealous of the partiality shown by Jacob
to their half-brother. This is a sin which has characterized human nature all
down the ages: the difference between envy and covetousness is this — we
envy persons, we covet things.
Here, too the type holds good. Christ was “envied” by those who were His
brethren, according to the flesh. This comes out in His parable of the
Wicked Husbandman,
“Having yet therefore one son, His well-beloved, He sent Him also
last unto them, saying, They will reverence My Son. But those
husbandmen said among themselves, This is the Heir; come, let us
kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours” (

Mark 12:6, 7).
“For this cause the people also met Him, for that they heard that He
had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among
themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world
is gone after Him” (

John 12:18, 19).
How that utterance manifested the jealousy of their hearts! But even
plainer is the testimony of

Matthew 27:17, 18, for there the very word
“envy” is found, “Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said
unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which
is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him.” In our
next we shall consider, Joseph betrayed by his brethren..364

“And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock In Shechem. And
Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in
Shechem? Come, I will send thee unto them. And he said to him,
Here am I” (

Genesis 37:12, 13).
12. Joseph sent forth by his father. The verses just quoted above introduce
to us the second of these marvelous typical scenes in which Joseph
shadows forth the Lord Jesus. Here the brethren of Joseph are seen away
from their father. Jacob says to his beloved son, “Come, and I will send
thee unto them.” How this reveals the heart of Jacob to us. He was not
indifferent to their welfare. Absent from the father’s house as they were,
Jacob is concerned for the welfare of these brethren of Joseph. He,
therefore, proposes to send his well beloved son on an errand of mercy,
seeking their good. And is it not beautiful to mark the promptness of
Joseph’s response! There was no hesitancy, no unwillingness, no proffering
of excuses, but a blessed readiness to do his father’s will, “Here am I.”
One cannot read of what passed here between Jacob and Joseph without
seeing that behind the historical narrative we are carried back to a point
before time began, into the eternal counsels of the Godhead, and that we
are permitted to learn something of what passed between the Father and
the Son in the remote past. As the Lord God with Divine omniscience
foresaw the fall of man, and the alienation of the race from Himself, out of
the marvelous grace of His heart, He proposed that His beloved Son
should go forth on a mission of mercy, seeking those who were away from
the Father’s House. Hence we read so often of the Son being sent by the
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and
sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (

1 John 4:10).
And blessed it is to know that the Beloved of the Father came forth on His
errand of love, freely, willingly, gladly. Like Joseph, He, too, promptly
responded, “Here am I.” As it is written of Him in

Hebrews 10:7,.365
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of
Me) to do Thy will, O God.”
13. Joseph seeks the welfare of his brethren.
“And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with
thy brethren, and well with the flocks, and bring me word again”

Genesis 37:14).
Joseph could not have been ignorant of his brethren’s “envy”; he must have
known how they “hated” him; and in view of this, one had not been
surprised to find him unwilling to depart on such a thankless errand. But
with gracious magnanimity and filial fear he stood ready to depart on the
proposed mission.
Two things are to be particularly observed here as bringing out the striking
accuracy of this type:
First, Joseph is sent forth with a definite object before him — to seek his
brethren. When we turn to the Gospels we find the correspondence is
perfect. When the Beloved of the Father visited this world, His earthly
mission was restricted to His brethren according to the flesh. As we read in

John 1:11, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not”:
His “own” here refers to His own people, the Jews. Again, in

15:24, it is recorded that the Lord Jesus Himself expressly declared, “I am
not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” And again, in

Romans 15:8, we are told,
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a Minister of the Circumcision for
the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”
In the second place, observe the character of Joseph’s mission: said
Jacob,” Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren.” He was
sent not to censure them, but to inquire after their welfare. So, again, it
was with the Lord Jesus Christ. As we read in

John 3:17,
“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through Him might be saved.”
14. Joseph was sent forth from the vale of Hebron:
“So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to
Shechem” (

Genesis 37:14)..366
There is no line in this lovely picture, drawn by the Spirit of God, which is
without its own distinctive significance. We quote here from the well
chosen words of Mr. C. Knapp:
“Hebron means fellowship or communion. The vale suggests quiet
peacefulness and rest. It was intended, I believe, to point them
forward (and point us back) to the fellowship of the Son with the
Father in heaven’s eternal calm and peace previous to His entrance,
at His incarnation, into this scene of sin and toil and sorrow’’ (A
Fruitful Bough).
The peaceful vale of Hebron, then, was the place where Joseph dwelt in
happy fellowship with his father; there he was at home, known, loved,
understood. But from this he was sent to a place characterized by strife and
blood-shed-ding, unto those who appreciated him not, yea, to those who
envied and hated him. Faintly but accurately this tells of the love-passing-knowledge
which caused the Lord of Glory to leave His Home above and
descend to a hostile realm where they hated Him without a cause.
15. Joseph came to Shechem (

Genesis 37:14). The word “Shechem”
means “Shoulder,” being taken from
“the position of the place on the ‘saddle’ or ‘shoulder’ of the
heights which divide the waters there that flow to the
Mediterranean on the west and to the Jordan on the east” (Smith’s
Bible Dictionary).
The meaning of this name conforms strictly to the Antitype. The
“shoulder” speaks of burden-bearing and suggests the thought of service
and subjection. The moral meaning of the term is Divinely defined for us in
this very book of Genesis — “and bowed his shoulder to bear and become
a servant unto tribute” (

Genesis 49:15). How striking it is to read, then,
that on leaving his father in the vale of Hebron, Joseph came to Shechem.
How marvelously this foreshadowed the place which the Lord of Glory
took! Leaving His peaceful place on high, and coming down to this scene
of sin and suffering. He took the Servant’s place, the place of submission
and subjection. As we read in

Philippians 2:6, 7,
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him
the form of a servant.”.367
And again in

Galatians 4:4,
“When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son,
made of a woman, made under the law.”
Verily, “Shechem” was the place that the Beloved of the Father came to.
Moreover, is it not significant that Shechem has been mentioned before in
the Genesis narrative — see

Genesis 34:25-30 — especially when we
note what occurred there. Shechem was the p]ace of sin and sorrow, of
evil passions and blood-shedding. Little wonder that Jacob was anxious
about his sons in such a place, and that he sent Joseph to them there to
inquire after their welfare. And how what we read of in

Genesis 34 well
depicts in terse but solemn summary the history of this earth. How aptly
and how accurately the scene there portrayed exhibited the character of the
place into which the Lord Jesus came. The place which lie took was that of
the Servant; the scene into which He came was one of sin and strife and
16. Joseph now became a Wanderer in the field.
“And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in
the field: and the man asked him: saying, What seekest thou? And
he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed
their flocks” (

Genesis 37:15, 16).
In His interpretation of the Parable of the Tares, the Lord Jesus said, “the
field is the world” (

Matthew 13:38). Like Joseph, the Beloved of the
Father became a Wanderer, a homeless Stranger in this world. The foxes
had holes, and the birds of the air had their nests, but the Son of man had
not where to lay his head. What a touching word is that in John’s Gospel,
“And every man went unto his own house: Jesus went unto the
Mount of Olives” (

John 7:53; 8:1).
Every other man had his own house to which he could go, but the Lord
Jesus, the homeless Wanderer here, must retire to the bleak mountain side.
O my soul, bow in wonderment before that matchless grace which causes
thy Savior who, though lie was rich, yet He for our sakes became poor,
that we through His poverty might be rich!
17. Joseph seeks until he finds his brethren..368
“And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say,
Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren and found
them in Dotham” (

Genesis 37:17).
When Joseph arrived at Shechem he found his brethren gone; they were
not there.
“Now is his chance to return to Hebron if his heart is not wholly in
his mission, Here he has given him a good excuse for turning back
and giving up the undertaking. But no; he has no thought of turning
back, or giving up the work given him of his father to do” (Mr. K.).
Thus it was with that blessed One whom Joseph foreshadowed. From start
to finish we find Him prompted by unswerving devotion to His Father and
unwearied love toward His lost sheep, continuing the painful search until
He found them. No seeming failure in His mission, no lack of appreciation
in those to whom He ministered, daunted Him. Man might despise and
reject Him, those nearest might deem Him “beside Himself”; Peter might
cry, “Spare Thyself,” yet none of these things turned Him aside from going
about His Father’s business! A work had been given Him to do, and He
would not rest till it was “finished.”
“And Joseph went after his brethren.” How these words gather up into a
brief sentence the whole story recorded in the four Gospels! As the
Redeemer went about from place to place, one end only was in view — He
was going after His brethren. He enters the synagogue and reads from the
prophet Isaiah, and with what object? That His brethren might be reached.
He walks by the Sea of Galilee, seeking out those who should walk with
Him for a season. He must needs go through Samaria we read; and why?
Be cause there were some of His “brethren” in that place. Yes, the Son of
man came to seek and to save that which was lost. And, my Christian
reader, of what do these words remind you, “Joseph went after his
brethren?” Ah, how patiently and untiringly that One of whom Joseph was
but a type “went after” you! How many years His unwearied love pursued
you; pursued you over the mountains of unbelief and across the precipices
of sin! All praise to His marvelous grace.
“And found them in Dothan.” Dr. Haldeman tells us that “Dothan” signifies
“Law or Custom.” “And it was there Jesus found His brethren, dwelling
under the bondage of the Law, and slaves to mere religious formalism.”
Yes, the Law of Jehovah had degenerated into the “customs” of the.369
Pharisees, “Laying aside the commandments of God, ye hold the traditions
of men” (

Mark 9:8), was our Lord’s charge against them.
18. Joseph conspired against.
“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto
them, they conspired against him to slay him” (

Genesis 37:18).
The hatred of the brethren found opportunity in the love that sought them.
It is striking to notice how that a conspiracy was formed against Joseph
“before he drew near unto them.” How this reminds us of what happened
during the days of our Savior’s infancy. No sooner was He born into this
world than the enmity of the carnal mind against God displayed itself! A
horrible “conspiracy” was hatched by Herod in the attempt to slay the
newly born Savior. This was in the days when He was “afar off.” Thirty
years before He presented Himself publicly to the Jews. The same thing is
found again and again during the days of His public ministry.
“Then the Pharisees went out and held a council again Him, how
they might destroy Him” (

Matthew 12:14),
may be cited as a sample.
19. Joseph’s words disbelieved.
“And they said one to another, Behold this dreamer cometh. Come
now, therefore, and let us slay him, and east him into some pit, and
we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see
what will become of his dreams” (

Genesis 37:19, 20).
The prophetic announcement of Joseph seemed unto his brethren as idle
tales. They not only hated him, but they refused to believe what he had
said. Their scepticism comes out plainly in the wicked proposal, “Let us
slay him…. and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” Thus it was
with the Christ of God. After He had been nailed to the cross, “they that
passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that
destroyed the temple and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be
the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise, also the chief priests
mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; Himself
He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from
the cross, And we will believe Him “ — which was an admission that they.370
did not believe. The Jews believed Him not. His teaching was nothing more
to them than empty dreams. So, too, after His death and burial.
“The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying,
Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive,
After three days I will rise again. Command therefore, that the
sepulcher be made sure” (

Matthew 27).
When the stone was sealed and the watch was set, the sceptical Pharisees
were but saying in effect, “We shall see what will become of His dreams.”
And is it any different now in modern Christendom? How do men and
women today treat the words of the Faithful and True Witness? Do those
who listen to the Gospel give credence to what they hear? Do they set to
their seal that God is true? Do they really believe as true the Lord’s own
words, “He that believeth not is condemned already” (

John 3:18)? Ah,
unsaved reader, dost thou believe that, that even now the condemnation of
a Holy God is resting upon thee? You do not have to wait until the last
great day; you do not have to wait until the judgment of the great white
throne. No; God’s condemnation rest upon thee now. Unspeakably solemn
is this. And there is but one way of deliverance. There was but one way of
escape for Noah and his family from the flood, and that was to seek refuge
in the Ark. And there is but one way of escape from God’s condemnation
for you, and that is, to flee to Christ, who was Himself condemned in the
stead of all who believe on Him. Again: He who was truth incarnate
“He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of
God abideth on him” (

John 3:36).
O unsaved friend, if you really believed these words of Him who cannot lie
you would not delay another moment. You would not dare to procrastinate
any longer. Even now, you would east yourself at His feet, just as you are,
as a poor needy and guilty sinner, receiving Him by faith as your own
Savior. Treat not, we beseech you, these words of the Son of God as idle
tales, but believe them to the saving of your soul.
20. Joseph is insulted.
“And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren,
that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors
that was on him” (

Genesis 37:23)..371
How this brings out the wicked hatred of these men for the one who had
come seeking only their welfare. Like beasts of prey they immediately
spring upon him. It was not enough to injure him; they must insult him too.
They put him to an open shame by stripping him of his coat of many
colors. And how solemnly this agrees with the Antitype. In a similar
manner the Lord of Glory was dealt with. He, too, was insulted, and put to
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common
hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they
stripped Him” (

Matthew 27:27, 28).
The same horrible ignominy is witnessed again at the Cross:
“Then the soldiers when they had crucified Jesus, took His
garments” (

John 19:23).
21. Joseph is cast into a pit.
“And they took him, and cast him into a pit; and the pit was empty,
there was no water in it” (

Genesis 37:24).
We quote now from Dr. Haldeman:
“The pit wherein is no water, is another name for Hades, the
underworld, the abode of the disembodied dead: of all the dead
before the resurrection of Christ. ‘The pit wherein is no water’

Zechariah 9:11). ‘For as Jonah was three days and three nights
in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three
nights in the heart of the earth’ (

Matthew 12:40). It was here
our Lord, as to His Soul, abode between death and resurrection.”
22. Joseph was taken out of the pit, alive, in his body. “And they lifted up
Joseph out of the pit” (

Genesis 37:28).
“The actual order of the occurrence is that Joseph was first east
into the pit and then sold; but the moral order of the type is not
deranged by the fact; it is in the light of the Anti-typical history that
we make the type to be verified, as well as to verify it. The lifting
out of the pit is one of those Divine anticipations of the resurrection
scattered all through the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi”
(Dr. H.)..372
23. Joseph’s brethren mingle Hypocrisy with their Hatred.
“And they sat down to eat bread…. And Judah said unto his
brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his
blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our
hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh”

Genesis 37:27).
First, notice the opening words of verse 25, “And they sat down to eat
bread,” and this, while Joseph was helpless in the pit! How this reminds us

Matthew 27:35, 36 — “And they crucified Him….. And sitting down
they watched Him there!”
But mark now this hypocrisy: “Come, and let us sell him to the
Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him.” The parallel to this is
found in

John 18:
“Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment; and
it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall,
lest they should be defiled” (verse 28).
Such deceptions will men practice upon themselves. And again, how
remarkable, in this connection, are the words found in

John 18:31:
“Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye Him and judge Him according
to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for
us to put any man to death!”
24. Joseph is sold.
“They drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to
the Ishmaelites” (

Genesis 37:28).
Is it not exceedingly striking to note that from among the twelve sons of
Jacob Judah should be the one to make this horrible bargain, just as from
the twelve apostles Judas (the Anglecized form of the Greek equivalent)
was the one to sell the Lord!
25. Joseph’s blood-sprinkled coat is presented to his father. “And they
took Joseph’s coat and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the
blood; and they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their
father.” “The anticipation of the type is selfevident. The blood of Jesus.373
Christ as the blood of a scapegoat, a sin offering, was presented to the
Father” (Dr. H.). In our next, D. V., we shall consider Joseph in Egypt..374

GENESIS 39, 40

Genesis 37 closes with an account of Jacob’s sons selling their brother
Joseph unto the Midianites, and they, in turn selling him into Egypt. This
speaks, in type, of Christ being rejected by Israel, and delivered unto the
Gentiles. From the time that the Jewish leaders delivered their Messiah into
the hands of Pilate they have, as a nation, had no further dealings with
Him; and God, too, has turned from them to the Gentiles. Hence it is that
there is an important turn in our type at this stage. Joseph is now seen in
the hands of the Gentiles. But before we are told what happened to Joseph
in Egypt, the Holy Spirit traces for us, in typical outline, the history of the
Jews, while the antitypical Joseph is absent from the land. This is found in

Genesis 38.
It is remarkable that

Genesis 38 records the history of Judah, for long
before the Messiah was rejected by the Jews, Israel (the ten tribes) had
ceased to have a separate history. Here, then, Judah foreshadows the
history of the Jews since their rejection of Christ.
“And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose
name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in to her”

Genesis 38:2).
How striking this is! “Canaanite” signifies “the merchantman,” and
“Shuah” means “riches.” How plainly the meaning of these names give us
the leading characteristics of the Jews during the centuries from the Cross!
No longer are they the settled husbandmen and quiet shephards as of old;
but, instead, travelling merchants. And “riches” has been their great
pursuit. Three sons were born to Judah by Shuah, and the “Numerical
Bible” suggests as the meaning of their names: “Er” — enmity; “Onan” —
iniquity; “Shelah” — sprout. Deep]y significant, too, are these names.
“Enmity” against Christ is what has marked the Jews all through the
centuries of this Christian era. “Iniquity” surely fits this avaricious people,
the average merchant of whom is noted for dishonesty, lying and cheating.
While “sprout” well describes the feeble life of this nation, so marvellously
preserved by God through innumerable trials and persecutions. The chapter
terminates with the sordid story of Tamar, the closing portions of which.375
obviously foreshadowing the end-time conditions of the Jews. In the time
of her travail “twins were in her womb” (

Genesis 38:27). So in the
tribulation period there shall be two companies in Israel. The first,
appropriately named “Pharez,” which means “breach,” speaking of the
majority of the nation who will break completely with God and receive and
worship the Antichrist. The second, “Zerah,” that had the “scarlet thread”
upon his hand (

Genesis 38:30), pointing to the godly remnant who will
be saved, as was Rahab of old by the “scarlet cord.” But we must turn now

Genesis 39.

Genesis 39 is more than a continuation of what has been before us in

Genesis 37, being separated, as it is, from that chapter by what is
recorded in 38. Genesis in 39 is really a new beginning in the type, taking
us back to the Incarnation, and tracing the experiences of the Lord Jesus
from another angle. Continuing our enumeration (see previous article), we
may observe:
26. Joseph becomes a Servant.
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar an officer
of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, brought him out of
the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither

Genesis 39:1).
What a contrast from being the beloved son in his father’s house to the
degradation of slavery in Egypt! But this was as nothing compared with the
voluntary self-humiliation of the Lord Jesus. He who was in the form of
God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, made Himself of no
reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant (

Philippians 2:6,
7). “Bond-slave” expresses the force of the original better than “servant.”
It is to this the prophetic language of

Psalm 40 refers. There we hear
the Lord Jesus saying, “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; Mine
ears hast Thou digged; burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not
required. Then said I, lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of
Me. I delight to do Thy will, O My God.” These words carry us back to

Exodus 21:5, 6.
“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and
my children; I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him
unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the.376
door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl,
and he shall serve him for ever.”
The Lord Jesus was the Speaker of that prophecy in

Psalm 40, and the
fulfiller of this type in

Exodus 21. He was the One who took the
Servant place, and voluntarily entered into the degradation of slavery. And
it is this which Joseph here so strikingly typified.
27. Joseph was a Prosperous Servant.
“And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man, and
he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw
that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did
to prosper in his hand” (

Genesis 39:2, 3).
Observe, particularly, it is here said, the Lord made all that Joseph did “to
prosper in his hand.” How these words remind us of two prophetic
scriptures which speak of the perfect Servant of Jehovah. The first is the
opening Psalm, which brings before us the “Blessed Man,” the Man who
walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seat of the scornful; the Man whose delight was in the Law of
the Lord, and in whose Law He did meditate day and night; the Man of
whom God said,
“And He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that
bringeth forth His fruit in His Season; His leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever He doeth shall prosper” (

Psalm 1:3).
Manifestly, this spoke, specifically, of the Lord Jesus, in whom, alone, the
terms of the opening verses of this Psalm were fully realized. The second
scripture is found in that matchless fifty-third of Isaiah (every sentence of
which referred to the Son of God incarnate, and to Him, expressly, as
Jehovah’s “Servant,” see

Genesis 52:13), we read, “The pleasure of the
Lord shall prosper in His hand.” How marvellously accurate the type! Of
Joseph it is recorded,
“The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand”

Genesis 39:3).
Of Christ it is said,
“The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand”

Isaiah 53:10)..377
28. Joseph’s master was well pleased with him.
“And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he
made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into
his hand” (

Genesis 39:4).
How could it be otherwise? Joseph was entirely different from any other
servant that Potiphar ever had. The fear of God was upon him; the Lord
was with him, prospering him; and he served his master faithfully. So it was
with the One whom Joseph foreshadowed. The Lord Jesus was entirely
different from any other servant God ever had. The fear of the Lord was
upon Him (see

Isaiah 11:2). And so faithfully did He serve God, He
could say, “I do always those things that please Him” (

John 8:29).
29. Joseph, the servant, was made a blessing to others.
“And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer
in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the
Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord
was upon all that he had in the house and in the field” (

So, too, the Father entrusted to the Son all the interests of the Godhead the
manifestation of the Divine character, the glorifying of God’s name, and
the vindication of His throne. And what has been the outcome of the
Beloved of the Father taking the Servant place, and assuming and
discharging these onerous responsibilities? Has not the Lord “blessed” the
antitypical “Egyptian’s house,” for the sake of that One whom Joseph
foreshadowed? Clearly, the “Egyptian’s house” symbolized the world, and
how bountifully has the world been blessed for Christ’s sake!
30. Joseph was a goodly person.
“And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored”

Genesis 39:6).
How carefully has the Holy Spirit here guarded the type! We must always
distinguish between the person and the place which he occupies. Joseph
had entered into the degradation of slavery. He was no longer at his own
disposal, but subject to the will of another. He was no longer dwelling in
his father’s house in Canaan, but instead, was a bond slave in an Egyptian’s
house. Such was his position. But concerning his person we are told,.378
“Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored.” So, too, the Son of God
took a lowly place, the place of humiliation and shame, the place of
submission and servitude. Yet, how zealously did the Father see to it that
the glory of His person was guarded! No sooner was He laid in the manger
(the place He took), than God sent the angels to announce to the
Bethlehem shepherds that the One born (the person) was none other than
“Christ, the Lord.” A little later, the wise men from the East prostrate
themselves before the young child in worship. As soon as He comes forth
to enter (the place of) His public ministry — serving others, instead of
being served — God causes one to go before Him and testify that he was
not worthy to stoop down and unloose the shoe-latchet of the (person) of
the Lamb of God.
So, too, on the Cross, where, supremely, God’s Servant was seen in the
place of shame, God caused Him to be owned as “the Son of God”

Matthew 27:54)! Truly, was He a “goodly person, and well favored.”
31. Joseph was sorely tempted, yet sinned not.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast
her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused
and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not
what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he
hath to my hand. There is none greater in this house than I; neither
hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his
wife; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
And it came to pass as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he
hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came
to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his
business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left
his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (

It is surely not without design that the Holy Spirit has placed in
juxtaposition the account of the unchastity of Judah in

Genesis 38 with
the chastity of Joseph here in

Genesis 39. And how significant that the
un-faithfulness of the one is placed before the faithfulness of the other!
Joseph’s temptation foreshadowed the temptation of the Lord Jesus, the
last Adam, and His faithfulness in refusing the evil solicitations of Satan,
which was in marked contrast from the failure of the first Adam, before.379
Him. The marvellous accuracy of our type may be further seen by
observing that Joseph’s temptation is here divided into three distinct parts
(as was that of our Lord), see

Genesis 39:7, 10, 12. So, again, it should
be remarked, that Joseph was tempted not in Canaan, by his brethren, but
in Egypt (symbol of the world), by the wife of a captain of Pharaoh’s
guard. And the temptation suffered by the Lord Jesus emanated, not from
His brethren according to the flesh, but from Satan, “the prince of this
Beautiful is it to mark how Joseph resisted the repeated temptation —
“How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” This is the
more striking if we link up this utterance of Joseph’s with

105:19, “The Word of the Lord tried him.” So it was by the same Word
that the Savior repulsed the Enemy. But notice here one point in contrast:
“And he (Joseph) left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out”

Genesis 39:12). So, the Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, enjoined him
to “Flee youthful lusts” (

2 Timothy 2:22). How different with the
Perfect One! He said, “Get thee hence, Satan” (

Matthew 4:10), and we
read, “Then the Devil leaveth HIM.” In all things He has the pre-eminence.
32. Joseph was falsely accused.
“And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And
she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew
servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock
me. And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he
left his garment with me, and fled out” (

Genesis 39:16-18).
There was no ground whatever for a true charge to be brought against
Joseph, so an unjust one was preferred. So it was, too, with Him who was
“holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” His enemies “the chief
priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus,
to put Him to death. But found none.” Yet, at the last, “came two false
witnesses” (

Matthew 16:59, 60), who bore untruthful testimony against
33. Joseph attempted no defense.
“And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife,
which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant
to me: that his wrath was kindled” (

Genesis 39:19),.380
though notice, it does not add, “against Joseph.” In

Genesis 37, we
beheld Joseph’s passive submission to the wrong done him by his heartless
brethren. So here, when falsely and foully accused by this Egyptian woman,
he attempts no self-vindication; not a word of appeal is made; nor is there
any murmuring against the cruel injustice done him, as he is cast into
prison. There was no recrimination; nothing but a quiet enduring of the
wrong. When Joseph was reviled, like the Savior, he reviled not again. And
how all this reminds us of what we read in

Isaiah 53:7, with its recorded
fulfillment in the Gospels, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He
opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a
sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth!”
34. Joseph was cast into prison.
“And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a
place where the king’s prisoners were bound; and he was there in
the prison” (

Genesis 39:20).
“Taking the garment that Joseph had left behind him in his flight,
she used it as a proof of his guilt, and first to the servants, and then
to her husband. She made out a case against the Hebrew slave. The
way she spoke of her husband to the servants (verse 14) shows the
true character of the woman, and perhaps also the terms of her
married life; while the fact that Potiphar only placed Joseph in
prison instead of commanding him to be put to death is another
indication of the state of affairs. For appearance’ sake Potiphar
must take some action, but the precise action taken tells its own
tale. He evidently did not credit her story” (Dr. G. Thomas).
Just as Joseph, though completely innocent, was unrighteously cast into
prison, so our Lord was unjustly sentenced to death by one who owned
repeatedly, “I find no fault in Him.” And how striking is the parallel
between the acts of Potiphar and Pilate. It is evident that Potiphar did not
believe the accusation which his wife brought against Joseph — had he
really done so, as has been pointed out, he would have ordered his Hebrew
slave put to death. But to save appearances he had Joseph cast into prison.
Now mark the close parallel in Pilate. He, too, it is evident, did not believe
in the guilt of our Lord or why have been so reluctant to give his consent
for Him to be crucified? He, too, knew the character of those who accused
the Savior. But, for the sake of appearances — as an officer of the Roman.381
Empire, against the One who was charged with being a rebel against
Caesar, for political expediency — he passed sentence.
35. Joseph thus suffered at the hands of the Gentiles. Not only was Joseph
envied and hated by his own brethren, and sold by them into the hands of
the Gentiles, but he was also treated unfairly by the Gentiles too, and
unjustly cast into prison. So it was with his Antitype,
“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered
together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth
against thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod
and Pontius Pilate. with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were
gathered together” (

Acts 4:26, 27).
36. Joseph, the innocent one, suffered severely.
In Stephen’s speech we find a statement which bears this out. Said he,
“And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt,”
and then, referring to his experiences after he had become a slave,
he adds, “but God was with him, and delivered him out of all his
afflictions” (

Acts 7:9, 10).
How much, we wonder, is covered by these words! What indignities, trials
and pains, was he called on to suffer? In

Psalm 105 there is another
word more specific,” He (God) sent a man before them, even Joseph, who
was sold for a servant: whose feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in
iron” (verses 17, 18). How these references remind us of that Blessed One,
who was mocked and spat upon, scourged and crowned with thorns, and
nailed to the cruel tree!
37. Joseph won the respect of his jailor.
“But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave
him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (

Is not the antitype of this found in the fact that the Roman centurion, the
one who had charge of the Crucifixion of the Savior, cried,” Certainly this
was a Righteous Man” (

Luke 23:47). Thus did God give His Son favor
in the sight of this Roman who corresponded with Joseph’s jailor.
38. Joseph was numbered with transgressors..382
“And it came to pass that after these things, that the butler of the
king of Egypt, and his baker had offended their lord the king of
Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against
the chief of the butlers and against the chief of the bakers. And he
put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the
prison, the place where Joseph was bound” (

Genesis 40:1-3).
What a marvellous line is this in our typical picture. Joseph was not alone
in the place of shame and suffering. Nor was the Lord Jesus as He hung on
the heights of Calvary. And just as there were two malefactors crucified
with Him, so two offenders were in the prison with Joseph! But the analogy
extends ever further than this.
39. Joseph was the means of blessing to one, but the pronouncer of
judgment on the other.
His fellow prisoners had each of them a dream, and in interpreting them,
Joseph declared that the butler should be delivered from prison, but to the
baker he said,
“Within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and
shall hang thee on a tree, and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off
thee” (

Genesis 40:19).
It is not without good reason that the Holy Spirit has seen fit to record the
details of these dreams. Connected with the spared one, the butler, we read
of “the cup” into which the grapes were pressed (

Genesis 49:10-12),
suggesting to us the precious Blood of the Lamb, by which all who believe
are delivered. Connected with the one who was not delivered, the baker,
were baskets full of bakemeats (

Genesis 40:16, 17), suggesting human
labors, the works of man’s hands, which are powerless to deliver the
sinner, or justify him before God: for all such there is only the “Curse,”
referred to here by the baker being “hanged on a tree” (cf.

3:13). So it was at the Cross: the one thief went to Paradise; the other to
40. Joseph evidenced his knowledge of the future.
In interpreting their dreams, Joseph foretold the future destiny of the butler
and the baker. But observe that in doing this he was careful to ascribe the
glory to Another, saying, “Do not interpretations belong to God?”.383

Genesis 40:8). So the One whom Joseph foreshadowed, again and
again, made known what should come to pass in the future, yet did he say,
“For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me,
He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should
speak” (

John 12:49).
41. Joseph’s predictions came true.
“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday,
that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head
of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And
he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave
the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. But he hanged the chief baker: as
Joseph had interpreted to them” (

Genesis 40:20-22).
Just as Joseph had interpreted so it came to pass. So shall it be with every
word of the Son of God, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His words
shall not pass away. And O, unsaved reader, just as the solemn
announcement of Joseph concerning the baker was actually fulfilled, so
shall these words of the Lord Jesus be found true — “he that believeth not
shall be damned!”
42. Joseph desired to be Remembered.
Said Joseph to the butler, “But think on me when it shall be well with thee”

Genesis 40:14). So, in connection with the Supper, the Savior has said,
“This do in remembrance of Me.”
As we admire these lovely typical pictures, like the queen of Sheba, there is
no more strength left in us, and we can only bow our heads and say, “How
precious are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of

Our present chapter opens by presenting to us the king of Egypt dreaming
two dreams, and awaking with his spirit troubled. The court magicians and
wise men were summoned, and Pharaoh told them his dreams, but “there
was none that could interpret them to Pharaoh.” Then it was that the chief
butler recalled his experience in prison. He remembers how he had a
dream, and that a Hebrew slave had interpreted aright its significance. He
recounts this now to the king, and Pharaoh sends at once for Joseph, who
explains to him the meaning of his own dreams. There are several
important truths which here receive a striking exemplification:
First, we are shown that
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of waters.
He turneth it whithersoever He will” (

Proverbs 21:1).
It was no accident that Pharaoh dreamed as he did, and when he did. God’s
time had come for Joseph to be delivered from prison and exalted to a
position of high honor and responsibility, and these dreams were but the
instrument employed by God to accomplish this end. Similarly, He used,
long afterwards, the sleeplessness of another king to lead to the deliverance
of Mordecai and his fellows. This truth has been expressed so forcefully
and ably by C. H. M. in his “Notes on Genesis,” we cannot refrain from
quoting him:
“The most trivial and the most important, the most likely and the most
unlikely circumstances are made to minister to the development of God’s
purposes. In chapter 39 Satan uses Potiphar’s wife, and in chapter 40 he
uses Pharaoh’s chief butler. The former he used to put Joseph into the
dungeon; and the latter he used to keep him there, through his ungrateful
negligence; but all in vain. God was behind the scenes. His finger was
guiding all the springs of the vast machine of circumstances, and when the
due time was come, he brought forth the man of His purpose, and set his
feet in a large room. Now, this is ever God’s prerogative. He is above all,
and can use all for the accomplishment of His grand and unsearchable
designs. It is sweet to be able thus to trace our Father’s hand and counsel.385
in everything. Sweet to know that all sorts of agents are at His sovereign
disposal; angels, men and devils — all are under His omnipotent hand, and
all are made to carry out His purposes” (p. 307: italics are ours). How
rarely one finds such faith-strengthening sentiments such as these set forth,
plainly, by writers of today!
Second, we are shown in the early part of

Genesis 41 how that the
wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. As it is well known, Egypt
stands in Scripture as a figure of this world. In Joseph’s time, the land of
the Pharaoh’s was the center of learning and culture, the proud leader of
the ancient civilizations. But the people were idolaters. They knew not
God, and only in His light can we see light. Apart from Him, all is
darkness, morally and spiritually. So we see it in the chapter before us. The
magicians were impotent, the wise men displayed their ignorance, and
Pharaoh was made to feel the powerlessness of all human resources and the
worthlessness of all human wisdom.
Third, the man of God was the only one that had true wisdom and light.
How true it is that “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him!”
These dreams of Pharaoh had a prophetic significance: They respected the
future of Egypt (typically, the world), and no Gentile, as such, had
intelligence in the purpose of God respecting the earth. God was pleased to
make known His counsels to a Gentile, as here, a Jew had to be called,
each time, as interpreter. It was thus with Nebuchadnezzar. The wise men
of Chaldea were as helpless as the magicians of Egypt; Daniel, alone, had
understanding. So, too, with Belshazzar and all his companions the aged
prophet had to be called in to decipher the message upon the wall. Well
would it be if leaders of the world today turned to the inspired writings of
the Hebrew prophets of the things which must shortly come to pass.
Fourth: That “all things work together for good to them that love God, to
them who are the called according to His purpose,” is writ large across our
lesson. And well for us if we take this to heart. But the trouble is, we grow
so impatient under the process, while God is taking the tangled threads of
our lives and making them “work together for good.” We become so
occupied with present circumstances that hope is no longer exercised, and
the brighter and better future is blotted from our view. Let us bear in mind
that Scripture declares,
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof”

Ecclesiastes 7:8)..386
Be of good cheer, faint heart; sorrow may endure for a night, but joy
cometh in the morning. So it was with Joseph. For a season he suffered
wrongfully, but at the last God vindicated and rewarded him. Remember
Joseph then, troubled reader, and “let patience have her perfect work.” But
we must turn from these moralizings and consider the typical bearings of
our chapter. We continue our previous enumeration.
43. Joseph, in due time, was delivered from prison. Joseph had been
rejected by his brethren, and treated unjustly and cruelly by the Egyptians.
Through no fault of his own he had been cast into prison. But God did not
suffer him to end his days there. The place of shame and suffering was to
be exchanged for one of high dignity and glory. The throne was to supplant
the dungeon. And now that God’s time for this had arrived, nothing could
hinder the accomplishment of His purpose. So it was with our blessed
Lord. Israel might despise and reject Him, wicked hands might take and
crucify Him, the powers of darkness might rage against Him; His lifeless
body might be taken down and laid in the tomb, the sepulcher sealed and a
watch set, but “it was not possible that He should be holden of death”

Acts 2:24). No; on the third day, He rose again in triumph o’er the
grave, leaving the cerements of death behind Him. How beautifully this
was prefigured in the case of Joseph.
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily
out of the dungeon; and he shaved himself, and changed his
raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh” (

Genesis 41:14).

John 20:6, 7!
44. Joseph was delivered from prison by the hand of God. It is evident
that, apart from Divine intervention, Joseph had been suffered to languish
in the dungeon to the end of his days. It was only the coming in of God —
Pharaoh’s troubled spirit, the failure of the magicians’ to interpret his
dream, the butler’s sudden recollection of the Hebrew interpreter-that
brought about his release. Joseph himself recognized this, as is clear from
his words to his brethren, at a later date:
“And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the
earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was
not you who sent me hither, but God: and He hath made me a
father to Pharaoh, and Lord of all his house, and ruler throughout
all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say.387
unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all
Egypt” (

Genesis 45:7-9).
So it was with the Savior in being delivered from the prison of the tomb:
“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death”

Acts 2:24).
“This Jesus hath God raised up” (

Acts 2:32).
“Him God raised up the third day, and showed Him openly”

Acts 10:40).
45. Joseph is seen now as the Revealer of secrets.
Like the butler and baker before him, Pharaoh now recounted to Joseph
the dreams which had so troubled his spirit, and which the “wise men”
were unable to interpret. It is beautiful to mark the modesty of Joseph on
this occasion,
“And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall
give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (

Genesis 41:16).
So, in a much higher sense, the Lord Jesus said,
“I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me”

John 17:8).
And again,
“As the Father hath taught Me, I speak these things”

John 8:28).
Once more,
“For I have not spoken of Myself: but the Father which sent Me,
He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should
speak” (

John 12:49).
Having listened to the king’s dream, Joseph said:
“God hath showed Pharaoh what He is about to do”

Genesis 41:25),
and then he made known the meaning of the dreams. How close is the
parallel between this and what we read of in the opening verse of the.388
Apocalypse! Just as God made known to the Egyptians, through Joseph,
what He was “about to do,” so has He now made known to us, through
Jesus Christ, the things He will shortly do in this world. The parallel is
perfect: said Joseph, “What God is about to do He showeth unto Pharaoh”

Genesis 41:28), and the Apocalypse, we are told, is “the revelation of
Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him to show unto His servants things
which must shortly come to pass.”
46. Joseph warned of a coming danger, and urged his hearers to make
suitable provision to meet it.
Joseph was no honied-mouthed “optimist,” who spake only smooth and
pleasant things. He fearlessly told the truth. He shunned not to declare the
whole counsel of God. He declared that, following the season of Divine
blessing and privilege, there would come a time of famine, a famine which
should consume the land, and be “very grievous.” And in view of this, he
warned them to make ready and be prepared. So also was Christ the
faithful and true Witness. He made known the fact that death does not end
all, that there is a life to come. He warned those who trusted in their
earthly possessions and who boasted of how they were going to enjoy
them, that their souls would be “required” of them, and that at short notice.
He lifted the veil which hides the unseen, and gave His hearers a view of
the sufferings of the damned in Hell. He spake often of that place where
their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, and where there is
weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. He counselled men to make
provision against the future. He bade men to prepare for that which lies
ahead of all — a face to face meeting with God.
47. Joseph appeared next as the Wonderful Counsellor. Having
interpreted to Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams, Joseph then undertook
to advise the king as to the wisest course to follow in order to meet the
approaching emergency, and provide for the future. There were to be
seven years of plenty, which was to be followed by seven years of famine.
Joseph, therefore, counselled the king to store up the corn during the time
of plenty, against the need which would arise when the season of scarcity
should come upon them. Thus did Joseph manifest the wisdom given to
him by God, and display his immeasurable superiority over all the wise men
of Egypt. Again the analogy is perfect. Christ, too, has been exhibited as
“the Wonderful Counsellor,’’ the One sent by God with a message to tell
men how to prepare for the future, and make sure their eternal interests..389
He is the One “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge” (

Colossians 2:3).
48. Joseph’s counsel commended itself to Pharaoh and his officers.
“And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of
all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find
such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And
Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all
this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art” (

Pharaoh recognized that the wisdom manifested by this Hebrew slave had
its source not in occult magic, but in the Spirit of God. Joseph had spoken
with a discretion and wisdom far different from that possessed by the court
philosophers, and this was freely owned by the king and his servants. So,
too, the words of the Lord Jesus made a profound impression upon those
who heard Him.
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the
people were astonished at His doctrine. For He taught them as One
having authority, and not as the scribes” (

Matthew 7:28, 29).
“And when He was come into His own country, He taught them in
their synagogues, insomuch that they were astonished, and said,
Whence hath this man this wisdom?” (

Matthew 13:54).
Just as Pharaoh and his servants were struck by the wisdom in Joseph. So
here, those who listened to the Lord Jesus marvelled at His wisdom. And
just as Pharaoh confessed,
“Can we find such a one as this is?.. there is none so discreet and
wise,” so the auditors of Christ acknowledged, “Never man spake
like this Man” (

John 7:46)!
49. Joseph is duly exalted, and set over all Egypt.
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed
thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou
shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my
people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou”

Genesis 41:39, 40)..390
What a blessed change this was: from shame to glory, from the dungeon to
the place of rule, from being a slave in fetters to being elevated high above
all, Pharaoh alone being excepted. This was a grand reward for his
previous fidelity, and a fitting recognition of his worth. And how
beautifully this speaks to us of the One whom Joseph foreshadowed! He
was here in humiliation and shame, but He is here so no longer. God has
highly exalted Him. He is
“gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and
authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (

1 Peter
50. Joseph was seated on the throne of another.
How marvellously accurate is the type. Joseph was not seated upon his
own throne; he was not in the place of rule over his brethren. Though he
was placed over Pharaoh’s house, and according to his word was all Egypt
to be ruled yet, “in the Throne” Pharaoh was greater than Joseph. So we
read in

Revelation 3:21, that the ascended Christ has said,
“to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with He in My Throne,
even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His
“Today our Lord Jesus Christ shares the throne of the Father as
Joseph shared the throne of Pharaoh. As Joseph ruled over
Pharaoh’s house with his word, so today our Lord Jesus Christ
rules over the Father’s household, the household of faith, the
Church, by and through His Word. And today, while the Lord Jesus
Christ is on the throne of His Father, He is not on His own throne.
Read the passage just quoted in Revelation again, and it will be
seen that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself makes a distinction
between His own throne and the Father’s throne, and promises
reward to the overcomer, not on the Father’s throne, but on His
own; and we know, according to the promise of the angel made to
Mary, and the covenant made to David, and the title He wears as
the King of Israel, ‘the Son of David, the Son of Abraham,’ that
His throne is at Jerusalem, ‘the city of the great King.’ On His
Father’s throne He sits today as the Rejected Man, the Rejected
Jew” (Dr. Haldeman).
51. Joseph was exalted to the throne because of his personal worth..391
“All this is typical of the present exaltation of Christ Jesus the Lord.
He who was once the Crucified is now the Glorified. He whom men
once put upon a gibbet, has been placed by God upon His throne.
Joseph was given his place of exaltation in Egypt purely on the
ground of his personal worth and actual service rendered by him to
the country and kingdom of Egypt” (Mr. Knapp).
And what a lovely parallel to this we find in

Philippians 2 — yet as far
as our Lord excelled Joseph in personal worth and service, so far is His
exaltation the higher —
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him
the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And
being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God
also hath highly exalted Him” (

Philippians 2:6-9).
52. Joseph was invested with such insignia as became his new position.
“And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon
Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a
gold chain about his neck” (

Genesis 40:42).
And thus we read of the Antitype:
“Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince, and a
Savior” (

Acts 5:31).
And again,
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for
the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor”

Hebrews 2:9).
Compare, too, the description of our glorified Lord as given in

Revelation 1. There we behold Him,
“clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the
breasts with a golden girdle” (

Genesis 5:13).
53. Joseph’s authority and glory are publicly owned..392
“And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and
they cried before him, Bow the knee; and he made him ruler over
all the land of Egypt” (

Genesis 41:43).
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jews who had condemned and
crucified the Savior,
“Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly, that God
hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and
Christ” (

Acts 2:36).
And it is the part of wisdom, dear reader, to recognize and own this. Have
you recognized the exalted dignity of Christ, and by faith seen that the One
who died on Calvary’s Cross is now seated on the right hand of the
Majesty on high? Have you submitted to His Lordship, so that you live
now only to please Him? Have you “bowed the knee” before Him? If not,
O, may Divine grace constrain you to do so without further delay,
voluntarily and gladly, that you may not be among the great crowd who
shall, in the coming Day, be compelled to do so; for God has sworn,
“that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in
heaven and things in earth and things under the earth”

Philippians 2:10).
54. Joseph received from Pharaoh a new name.
“And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah”

Genesis 41:45),
which signifies, according to its Egyptian meaning, “the Savior of the
world.” So, to quote once more from

Philippians 2, we read,
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him the
Name which is above every name… Jesus” (

Philippians 2:9, 10).
This name He bore while on earth, but at that time it was held as pledge
and promise,
“Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from
their sins” (

Matthew 1:21)
said the angel. But He could not “save His people from their sins” until He
had borne them in His own body on the tree, until He had risen from the
dead, until He returned to heaven and sent forth the Holy Spirit to apply.393
the benefits and virtues of His finished work. But when He ascended on
high He became Savior in fact. God exalted Him with His right hand “to be
a Prince and a Savior” (

Acts 5:31), and therefore did God Himself then
give to His beloved Son the Name which is above every name, even the
Name of “Jesus,” which means the Savior; just as after the period of his
shame was over, and Joseph had been exalted by Pharaoh, he, then,
received the name which signifies “the Savior of the world!”
Reader, have you an interest, a personal one, in the value and saving
efficacy of that Name which is above every name? If not, receive Him now
as your own Savior. If by grace, you have, then bow before Him in
adoration and praise..394

55. Joseph has a wife given to him.
“And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah (the
Egyptian meaning of which is ‘Savior of the world’); and he gave
him to wife Asenath, the daughter of Potipharah priest of On”

Genesis 40:45).
It is with some hesitation and much reluctance that at this point the writer
finds himself differing from other students and commentators. Many whom
we respect highly have regarded Asenath as here prefiguring the Church.
Their principal reason for doing this is because Joseph’s wife was a
Gentile. But while allowing the force of this, we feel that it is more than
counterbalanced by another point which makes against it. Believing that
everything in this inspired narrative has a definite meaning and typical
value, and that each verse has been put into its present place by the Holy
Spirit, we are confronted with what is, to us, an insuperable difficulty if
Asenath prefigures the Church, namely, the fact that in the very next verse
which follows the mention of Pharaoh giving a wife to Joseph, we are told,
“And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh
king of Egypt” (

Genesis 41:46).
Had this statement followed immediately after

Genesis 41:14, which
records Joseph being brought out of prison to appear before Pharaoh, and
after this we had been told Joseph received his wife, we should be obliged
to regard Asenath as a type of the Church; but as it is, we believe the
typical application must be sought elsewhere, as we shall now proceed to
point out.
The Holy Spirit has here (we are assured, with definite design) made
mention of Joseph having a wife before his “age” is referred to, and before
his life’s work began. That the age of Joseph at the time his real work
started, pointed to the age of the Lord Jesus when His public ministry
commenced, is too obvious to admit of dispute. The fact, then, that the
Holy Spirit speaks of Joseph’s wife before the mention of him being thirty
years of age, suggests to the writer that the typical significance of Asenath.395
must be sought at some point of time before the Lord Jesus entered upon
His life’s mission. And that, of course, takes us back to Old Testament
times. And there, we do learn of Jehovah (the Lord Jesus) possessing a
“wife,” even Israel. From the various Scriptures which bring this out we
select two verses from

Jeremiah 3. There, God’s prophet, when
expostulating with His wayward people, said,
“Turn, O backsliding children, said the Lord; for I am married unto
you” (

Jeremiah 3:14);
“Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so
have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, saith the
Lord” (

Jeremiah 3:20).
But against this it will be objected, How could Asenath, the Egyptian, wife
of Joseph, typify Israel, the wife of Jehovah? Formidable as this objection
appears at first sight, it is, nevertheless, capable of easy solution. The
difficulty disappears if we go back to the time when Israel first became
Jehovah’s wife. Upon this point the Scriptures are very explicit. In

Ezekiel 16, where the prophet is outlining the sad history of Israel, and
where he says, “How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou
doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; in that
thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest
thine high place in every street; and hast not been as a harlot, in that thou
scornest hire. But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh
strangers instead of her husband;” here, at the outset, the prophet declares,
“Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem, Thy birth and thy nativity is of
the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite”

Ezekiel 16:3). Here, then, we learn the origin (the moral origin, no
doubt) of Israel, and how fittingly did Asenath, the Gentile, prefigure
Jehovah’s wife at that time! It was not until after Israel was redeemed from
Egypt’s bondage and corruption that they became separated from all other
nations. If further confirmation be necessary it is found in

Jeremiah 2:2,
“Go cry in the ears of Jerusalem, thus saith the Lord; I remember
thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when
thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not
Israel, then, became Jehovah’s in Egypt, when redeemed by blood, and
after by power..396
The issue from Joseph’s marriage appears to us to fit in with the
interpretation suggested above much better than with the common
application of the type of Asenath to the Church. “Unto Joseph were born
two sons” (

Genesis 41:50), and does not this correspond with the
history of Israel after she became Jehovah!s wife? Was not the issue of that
union the two kingdoms in the days of Rehoboam, and does not the
meaning of the names of Joseph’s two sons well describe the two
kingdoms which, ultimately, issued from Israel? “Joseph called the name of
the first born Manasseh” (

Genesis 41:51), which signifies “Forgetting,”
and was it not that which, peculiarly, characterized the ten-tribed kingdom!
“The name of the second called he Ephraim” (

Genesis 41:52), which
means “Fruitful,” and such was Judah, from whom the Lord Jesus came!
56. Joseph’s marriage was arranged by Pharaoh.
How perfectly this agrees with what we read of in

Matthew 22:2!
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a
marriage for His Son.”
The fact that Asenath is mentioned before we are told that Joseph was
thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh and began his life’s work
(type of Christ as He began His public ministry), and that the birth and
naming of his sons occurred afterward, suggests (as is so often the case,
both in types and prophecies) that there is here a double foreshadowment.
This Gentile wife of Joseph points backward, first, to Israel’s condition
before Jehovah separated her from all other peoples and took her unto
Himself; and, second, the type seems to point forward to the time when the
Lord shall resume His dealings with her, see

Jeremiah 31:31-34;

Ezekiel 16:62, 63;

Hosea 2:19-23;

Isaiah 54:5-8
). Then, too,
shall the names of Joseph’s two sons be found to possess a double
significance, for God’s will “forget” Israel’s past, and Israel shall then, as
never before, be found “fruitful.”
57. Joseph was thirty years old when he began his life’s work.
“And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh
king of Egypt” (

Genesis 41:46).
Every line in this wondrous picture has its own beauty and value. There is
nothing here without profound significance. The Holy Spirit has a definite
design in telling us what was Joseph’s age when his public service began..397
He was thirty years old. How perfectly does type and antitype correspond!

Luke 3:23 we read, “And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty
years of age.” This was the age of the Lord Jesus when He commenced
His public ministry, as it was Joseph’s when he began his life’s work.
58. Joseph went forth on his mission from Pharaoh’s presence.
“And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh
king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh”

Genesis 41:46).
In this chapter Pharaoh — as the one who ruled Egypt, who delighted in
the excellences of Joseph, who set Joseph over all his house, but who
retained the position of supremacy as to the throne — pre-figured God the
Father. Viewed in this light, how blessed is the typical force of the last-made
quotation. It was from Pharaoh’s “presence” Joseph began his life’s
work! How marvellously this corresponds, again, with what we read in

Luke 3! The words which immediately precede the mention of the Lord
being thirty years old when His public service began, are the well-known
utterance of the Father at the time of His baptism, “Thou art My beloved
Son; in Thee I am well pleased” (

Luke 3:22). So little is told us about
the Savior before His active ministry began. The years spent at Nazareth,
save for that one brief statement which covered the period of His boyhood,
are passed over in silence. But as He came up out of the waters of baptism,
the Father bore public testimony to the perfect life which His Son had lived
here on earth, for, without doubt, the words, “In Thee I am well pleased,”
not only affirmed the excellency of Christ’s person, but witnessed to the
Father’s approval of the thirty years which His incarnate Son had spent in
obscurity. That which we desire to call attention to here is, just as Joseph
went forth to his work from Pharaoh’s “presence,” so the Lord Jesus
started out on His public service from the Father’s presence, there
manifested at the Jordan!
59. Joseph’s service was an active and itinerent one.
“And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went
throughout all the land of Egypt” (

Genesis 41:46).
Joseph was no idler. He did not betray Pharaoh’s confidence in him, but
faithfully discharged his duty. He did not remain in the place of ease and
comfort, but “went throughout all the land of Egypt.” How well these.398
words remind us of what we read in the Gospels concerning that One
whom Joseph foreshadowed. Of Him we read,
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of
sickness” (

Matthew 4:23).
And again,
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages”

Matthew 9:35).
60. Joseph’s exaltation was followed by a season of plenty.
“And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by
handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which
were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the
food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in
the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very
much, until he left numbering; for it was without number”

Genesis 41:47-49).
Concerning the typical meaning of these verses we quote from Mr. Knapp:
“These seven years of great abundance picture, if they do not
typify, the present dispensation of grace in which it is our happy lot
to live. ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of
salvation’ (

2 Corinthians 6:2). There were seven years, not of
plenty merely, but of ‘great plenty.’ And during those years, we
read ‘the earth brought forth by handfuls.’ It was a time of
extraordinary abundance. And there was never a day like the one in
which we live. Never before the present dispensation did God send
His messengers out into all the world to proclaim to every sinner a
free and a full salvation through faith in the name of His own
exalted Son. There never was a time of such ‘abundance,’ such
‘great plenty,’ at any former period of God’s dealings with the
earth. And it is a remarkable fact, which I have not seen previously
noted, that of all the distinct dispensations of time referred to in
Scripture, the present is by far the longest. And oh, what a tale of
grace this tells! God is indeed ‘long suffering to usward, not willing
that any should perish.’”.399
We doubt not that the saved of this dispensation are far in excess of any
previous one. How few were saved during the centuries which passed from
the days of Abel up to the Flood! How few appear to have been saved
during the times of the patriarchs! How few among Israel, from the days of
Joshua onwards, gave evidence of being born again! How few seem to
have been saved during the public ministry of Christ — but a hundred and
twenty were found in the upper room waiting for the Holy Spirit. How
evident it is, then, that in contrast from all that has preceded, the earth is
now bringing forth “in abundance”! It is the “much fruit” (

John 12:24)
which our Lord declared should issue from His death.
61. Joseph’s exaltation was also followed by a period of famine.
“And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of
Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come,
according as Joseph had said; and the dearth was in all lands; but in
all the land of Egypt there was bread” (

Genesis 41:53, 54).
Just as the “seven years” — a complete period — pointed to the present
interval of Grace, during which the great spiritual harvest is being
garnered, so the “seven years” of famine (another complete period) look
onward to that which shall follow the present dispensation. After the going
forth of the Gospel of God’s grace has accomplished its Divine purpose,
and “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (

Romans 11:25), the Holy
Spirit will depart out of the world, and there shall come that season which
Scripture denominates “the great tribulation.” Many are the passages which
refer to that season. It is termed “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (

30:7), for then will be the season of Israel’s darkest hour. It was to this
Daniel referred when he said,
“There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was
a nation even to that same time” (

Daniel 12:1).
Concerning this same period the Lord Jesus spake, when He said,
“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the
beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither
shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no
flesh should be saved” (

Mark 13:19, 20).
It will be the time when Satan is east down to the earth, when the
Antichrist shall be here in full power, and when the storm of God’s.400
judgment shall burst upon the world. Morally and spiritually, it will be a
time of “famine,” and, like that which typified it in the days of Joseph, it
shall be” very grievous” (

Genesis 41:31). Moreover, the sphere
encompassed by God’s sore judgments in that day will be no local one, but
just as we are told that the dearth of old was not confined to Egypt, but
that “the famine was over the face of all the earth” (

Genesis 41:56), so

Revelation 3:10 we are told, the “Hour of Temptation” comes upon
“all the world, to try them which dwell upon the earth.” It was of this
same period that Amos prophesied,
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a
famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but
of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander, from sea
to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro
to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (

Amos 8:11,
At present the world is enjoying the years of plenty, and how little it
believes in the coming time of “famine,” now so near at hand! Be warned
then, dear reader, and
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while
He is near” (

Isaiah 55:6);
for, if you are left on earth for the coming Day of Wrath, it shall be said,
“the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”

Jeremiah 8:20).
62. Joseph is now seen dispensing bread to a perishing world.
“And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to
Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go
unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do” (

Genesis 41:55).
“It was a wonderful thing that the despised and rejected Jew should
be the passport to the favor of Pharaoh; a wonderful thing that the
rejected Jew should be exalted into the place of a Savior for a
famine-smitten world; it was a wonderful thing that this rejected
Jew should be the only Savior for that starving world. Equally true
and wonderful is it today that Jesus the rejected Jew is the passport
to the favor of God; that He is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life,’.401
and that ‘no man cometh unto the Father but by Him’; wonderful
that this rejected Christ should be exalted into a Savior for a
famine-smitten world; wonderful that this rejected Christ is the
alone Savior for a starving world.
“Joseph was sent by his father to his brethren that he might be a
blessing unto them, and they refused; then God turned their sin so
that while it should remain as a judgment to them, it might become
a blessing to others. In sending His Son to fulfill the promises made
to the fathers, God would have brought covenant and numberless
blessings to Israel; they refused, and God has made use of their
blindness and sin to turn salvation to others. He has made the very
sin and blindness of the people to be the occasion of grace and
mercy to the whole world. ‘ Through their fall salvation is come
unto the Gentiles’ (

Romans 11:11).” — Dr. H.
63. Joseph alone dispensed the Bread of Life.
It is beautiful to observe here how Pharaoh directed all who cried to him
for bread to go unto Joseph:
“And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to
Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians: Go
unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do” (

Genesis 41:55).
May we not say this was the Gospel for Egypt, the good news that Joseph
was the appointed Savior, the glad tidings that whosoever was hungry
might go to Joseph and obtain relief. How perfectly this foreshadowed the
present Gospel of God’s grace! When a guilty and convicted sinner, with a
great hunger in his soul, cries unto God, what is His response? Why, does
He not refer all such to the person of His blessed Son! Only in Christ is
salvation to be found, for
“neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other
Name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved”

Acts 4:12).
Just as of old Pharaoh said to the Egyptians, “Go unto Joseph: what he
saith to you, do,” so, upon the Mount of Transfiguration the Father said to
the disciples of Christ,.402
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him”

Matthew 17:5),
and this is what He is still saying to men.
64. Joseph became a Savior to all peoples.
“And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn;
because that the famine was so sore in all lands”

Genesis 41:57).
Joseph was raised up by God to meet a world-wide need. The “dearth” was
in “all lands” (

Genesis 41:54). But God, through Joseph, made ample
provision to supply the wants of all. There was nothing provincial about
the bounties which Joseph dispensed, he readily gave to each alike, no
matter whether it was the Egyptians, his own brothers, or strangers from
distant lands, all were fed. And how blessed to know this is equally true of
the Antitype! God’s Savior for sinners is no provincial one. He is for both
Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, old and young, men
and women — all, alike, may find in Him that which can satisfy their
deepest need, the Gospel is for every creature, and its terms are,
“Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
And just as peoples from “all countries came to Joseph,” so those who will
sing the new song in heaven shall proclaim,
“Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof;
for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with Thy blood
men of every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation”

Revelation 5:9).
65. Joseph had illimitable resources to meet the need of all.
“And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until
he left numbering; for it was without number” (

Genesis 41:49).
How abundant was God’s provision! He provided with no niggardly hand.
There was to be amply sufficient for every one that applied for the
alleviation of his need. And how this reminds us of those blessed
expressions which we meet with so frequently in the Epistles! There we
read of” the riches of His grace” (

Ephesians 1:7), yea, “the exceeding
riches of His grace” (

Ephesians 2:7). There we read of God being “rich
in mercy” (

Ephesians 2:4), and, again, of His “abundant mercy” (

Peter 1:3). There we read of “the unsearchable riches of Christ”

Ephesians 3:8), for “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead
bodily” (

Colossians 2:9). And again we are told, “The same Lord over
all is rich unto all that call upon Him” (

Romans 10:12).
Thank God, the Savior He has provided for us is possessed of illimitable
resources. There is no shortness or strainness in Him. There is infinite
value in that precious blood which He shed upon the Cross to make an
atonement for sin. There is infinite pity in His heart toward sinners. There
is infinite readiness and willingness on His part to receive all who will
come to Him. There is infinite power in His arm to deliver and keep that
which is committed unto Him. There is no sinner so depraved that Christ’s
blood cannot cleanse him. There is no sinner so bound by the fetters of
Satan that Christ cannot free him. There is no sinner so weary and
despondent that Christ cannot satisfy him. The promise of the Savior
Himself is,
“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest” (

Matthew 11:28).
O, sin-sick soul, put Him to the test for yourself, and see. Come to Christ
just as you are, in all your wretchedness and need, and He will gladly
receive you, blot out all your iniquities, and put a new song into your
mouth. May God, in His grace, cause some despondent ones to prove for
themselves the infinite sufficiency of His Son..404
Since we left

Genesis 37-38 nothing more has been heard of the family
of Jacob. Joseph is the one upon whom the Holy Spirit has concentrated
attention. In

Genesis 37 we saw how Joseph was sent by his father on
an errand of mercy to his brethren, inquiring after their welfare; that Joseph
came unto them and they received him not; that, instead, they envied and
hated him, and sold him into the hands of the Gentiles. Then, we have
followed his career in Egypt, and have seen how that the Egyptians, too,
treated him badly, casting him into the place of shame and humiliation.
Also, we have seen how God vindicated His faithful servant, bringing him
out of prison-house and making him governor of all Egypt. Finally, we
have learned how that Joseph’s exaltation was followed by a season of
plenty, when the earth brought forth abundantly, and how this in turn, was
followed by a grievous famine, when Joseph came before us as the
dispenser of bread to a perishing humanity. But during all this time the
brethren of Joseph faded from view, but now, in the time of famine they
come to the front again.
All of this is deeply significant, and perfect in its typical application. Joseph
foreshadowed the Beloved of the Father, sent to His brethren according to
the flesh, seeking their welfare. But they despised and rejected Him. They
sold Him, and delivered Him up to the Gentiles. The Gentiles unjustly
condemned Him to death, and following the crucifixion, His body was
placed in the prison of the tomb. In due time God delivered Him, and
exalted Him to His own right hand. Following the ascension, Christ has
been presented as the Savior of the world, the Bread of Life for a perishing
humanity. During this dispensation the Jew is set aside: it is out from the
Gentiles God is now taking a people for His name. But soon this
dispensation shall have run its appointed course and then shall come the
tribulation period when, following the removal of the Holy Spirit from the
earth, there shall be a grievous time of spiritual famine. It is during this
tribulation period that God shall resume His dealings with the Jews — the
brethren of Christ according to the flesh. Hence, true to the and-type,
Joseph’s brethren figure prominently in the closing chapters of Genesis.
Continuing our previous enumeration we shall now follow the experiences
of the brethren from the time they rejected Joseph..405
66. Joseph’s brethren are driven out of their own land. In

Genesis 37
the sons of Jacob are seen delivering up Joseph into the hands of the
Gentiles, and nothing more is heard of them till we come to

Genesis 42.
And what do we read concerning them there! This:
“Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said
unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said,
Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down
thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. And
the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the
famine was in the land of Canaan” (

Genesis 42:1-3, 5).
Canaan was smitten by the scourge of God. It was eaten up by a famine.
Jacob and his family were in danger of dying, and the pangs of hunger
drove the brethren of Joseph out of their land, and compelled them to
journey down to Egypt — symbol of the world. This was a prophecy in
action, a prophecy that received its tragic fulfillment two thousand years
later. Just as a few years after his brethren had rejected Joseph, they were
forced by a famine (sent from God) to leave their land and go down to
Egypt, so a few years after the Jews had rejected Christ and delivered Him
up to the Gentiles, God’s judgment descended upon them, and the Romans
drove them from their land, and dispersed them throughout the world.
67. Joseph was unknown and unrecognized by his brethren.
“And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that
sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brethren came, and
bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him” (

42:6, 8).
Joseph had been exalted over all the house of Pharaoh, but Jacob knew it
not. All these years he thought that Joseph was dead. And now his family is
suffering from the famine, the scourge of God, and his sons, driven out of
Canaan by the pangs of hunger, and going down to Egypt, they know not
the one who was now governor of the land. So it has been with Jacob’s
descendants ever since the time they rejected their Messiah. They received
not the love of the truth, and for this cause God has sent them strong
delusion that they should believe a lie. They know not that God raised the
Lord Jesus: they believe He is dead, and through all the long centuries of.406
the Christian era a veil has been over their hearts, and the beginning of the
tribulation period will find them still ignorant of the exaltation and glory of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
68. Joseph, however, saw and knew his brethren.
“And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them”

Genesis 42:7).
Yes, Joseph “saw” his brethren, his eye was upon them, even though they
knew him not. So the eye of the Lord Jesus has been upon the Jews all
through the long night of their rejection. Hear His words (as Jehovah)
through Jeremiah the prophet,
“For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My
face, neither is their iniquity hid from Mine ‘Eyes’“ (

So, too, through Hosea, He said,
“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me” (

Genesis 5:3).
69. Joseph punished his brethren.
“And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself
strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them…. and he put them
all together into ward three days” (

Genesis 42:7, 17).
We quote here from the impressive words of Dr. Haldeman:
“Joseph was the cause of their troubles now. Joseph was punishing
them for their past dealing with himself. The secret of all Judah’s
suffering during the past centuries is to be found in the fact that the
rejected Messiah has been dealing ‘roughly’ with them. He has been
punishing them, making use of their wilfulness and the cupidity of
the nations, but, all the same, punishing them. ‘My God will cast
them away, because they do not hearken unto Him: and they shall
be wanderers among the nations’ (

Hosea 9:17). ‘For I say unto
you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He
that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ (

Matthew 23:38, 39)
‘That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the
earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of
Zecharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and.407
the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon
this generation (nation)’ (

Matthew 23:35, 36). Nothing can
account for the unparalleled suffering of this people, but the
judgment and discipline of the Lord.”
70. Joseph made known to them a way of deliverance through
“And he put them all together into ward three days. And Joseph
said unto them the third day, this do, and live, for I fear God. If ye
be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your
prison; go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses…. And he
took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes”

Genesis 42:17-19, 24).
Once more we quote from Dr. Haldeman’s splendid article on Joseph:
“On the third day he caused Simeon to be bound in the place of his
brethren, and declared that by this means they might all be
delivered, in the third day era, that is to say, on the resurrection
side of the grave. On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter
presented our Lord Jesus Christ as the risen one whom God had
exalted to be a Prince and a Savior unto Israel, declaring that if the
latter should repent of their evil and sin toward Him whom He had
sent to be Messiah and King, He would accept His death as the
substitution for the judgment due them; that He would save them
and send His Son again to be both Messiah and Savior.”
71. Joseph made provision for his brethren while they were in a strange
“Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to
restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them
provision for the way; and thus did he unto them” (

Although they knew not Joseph, and although he spoke roughly unto his
brethren and punished them by casting them into prison, nevertheless, his
judgments were tempered with mercy. Joseph would not suffer his brethren
to perish by the way. They were here in a strange land, and he ministered
unto their need. So it has been throughout this dispensation. Side by side
with the fact that the Jews have been severely punished by God, so that.408
they have suffered as no other nation, has been their miraculous
preservation. God has sustained them during all the long centuries that they
have been absent from their own land. God has provided for them by the
way, as Joseph did for his erring brethren. Thus has God fulfilled His
promises of old.
“For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a
full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not
make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure, and I will
not leave thee altogether unpunished” (

Jeremiah 30:11).
And again;
“Thus saith the Lord God; although I have cast them far off among
the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the
countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries
where they shall come” (

Ezekiel 11:16).
72. Joseph was made known to his brethren at the second time.
This was emphasized by Stephen in his parting message to Israel;
“And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren”

Acts 7:13).
At their first visit, though Joseph knew his brethren, they knew not him. It
was on the occasion of their second visit to Egypt that Joseph revealed
himself to them. How marvelously accurate the type! The first time the
Lord Jesus was seen by His brethren after the flesh, they knew Him not,
but when they see Him the second time He shall be known by them.
It is significant that the Holy Spirit has singled out this highly important
point, and has repeated it, again and again, in other types. It was thus with
Moses and Israel.
“And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that
he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he
spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he
looked this way and that way, and when he saw that, there was no
man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (

2:11, 12)..409
And how did his brethren appreciate his intervention on their behalf? They
despised him; they said, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us”

Exodus 2:14). They said, in effect, as Israel said of Christ, “We will
not have this Man to reign over us” (

Luke 19:14). But the second time
(after a long interval, during which Moses was hid from them) that he
appeared unto them, they accepted him as their Leader.
It was thus with Joshua and Israel. The first time that Joshua appeared
before the Nation was as one of the two “spies” who brought to them a
favorable report of the land, and counselled his brethren to go up and
possess it. But Israel rejected his message (

Numbers 13). It was not
until long after when Joshua came before the people, publicly, for the
second time, that they accepted him as their Leader, and were conducted
by him into their inheritance.
The same principle is illustrated, again, in the history of David. David was
sent by his father seeking the welfare of his brethren;
“And Jesse said unto David his son, take now for thy brethren an
ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the
camp to thy brethren. And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain
of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their
pledge” (

1 Samuel 17:17-18).
But when he reached them, they resented his kindness, and their “anger
was kindled against David” (See

1 Samuel 17:28), and it was not until
years later that they, together with all Israel, owned him as their King.
Each of these was a type of the Lord Jesus. The first time He appeared to
Israel they received Him not; but at His second advent they shall accept
Him as their Leader and King.
73. Joseph’s brethren confess their Guilt in the sight of God.
“And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? What shall we
speak? or how shall we clear ourselves! God hath found out the
iniquity of thy servants” (

Genesis 44:16).
There are several striking verses in the prophets which throw light upon
the antitypical significance of this point.
“And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into
the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up Mine.410
hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your
ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye
shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye
have committed” (

Ezekiel 20:42, 43).
And again,
“I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their
offense, and seek My face; in their affliction they will seek me
early” (

Hosea 5:15).
So it was with Joseph; he did not reveal himself to his brethren until they
had acknowledged their “iniquity.” And so will Israel have to turn to God
in real and deep penitence before He sends His Son back to them (see

Acts 3:19, 20).
74. Joseph’s brethren were also, at first, troubled in his presence.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet
live? And his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled
at his presence” (

Genesis 45:3).
How perfectly does antitype correspond with type! When Israel shall first
gaze upon their rejected Messiah, we are told,
“And they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they
shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be
in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first born”

Zechariah 12:10).
As Israel shall learn then the awfulness of their sin in rejecting and
crucifying their Messiah, they shall be “troubled” indeed.
75. Joseph acted toward his brethren in marvelous grace.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you.
And they came near, And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom
ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with
yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you
to preserve life…. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept
upon them, and after that his brethren talked with him” (

45:4, 5, 15).
So shall it be when Israel is reconciled to Christ;.411
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness”

Zechariah 13:1).
Then shall Christ say to Israel,
“For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies
will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a
moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee,
saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (

Isaiah 54:7, 8).
76. Joseph was revealed as a Man of Compassion.
“And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself
known unto his brethren, And he wept aloud” (

Genesis 45:1-2).
Seven times over we read of Joseph weeping. He wept when he listened to
his brethren confessing their guilt (

Genesis 42:24). He wept when he
beheld Benjamin (

Genesis 43:30). He wept when he made himself
known to his brethren (

Genesis 45:1-2.). He wept when his brethren
were reconciled to him (

Genesis 45:15). He wept over his father Jacob
Genesis (

Genesis 46:29). He wept at the death of his father (

50:1). And he wept when, later, his brethren questioned his love for them

Genesis 50:15-17). How all this reminds us of the tenderheartedness of
the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom we read so often, He was “moved with
compassion,” and twice that He “wept” — once at the graveside of
Lazarus, and later over Jerusalem.
1 Joseph revealed himself to Judah and his brethren, before he was made
known to the rest of Jacob’s household.
So, too, we are told in

Zechariah 12:7,
“The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first.”
78. Joseph then sends for Jacob.
“In Scripture, Judah stands for Judah and Benjamin considered
together. You will note that it is Judah and Benjamin who are made
prominent in the revelation of Joseph. Jacob in prophetic language
signifies the Ten Tribes. Sending for Jacob and his household, in
typical language, is sending for the Ten Tribes of Israel. Precisely
as the type brings Judah before the self-disclosed Joseph, and then.412
Jacob is brought into the land in the presence of Joseph, so the
scriptures clearly teach us that after the Lord comes to repentant
Judah and is received by them at Jerusalem, He will send for the
remaining household of Jacob, for the lost and wandering tribes of
Israel, to come into the land to own and greet him. ‘And they shall
bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all
nations’ (

Isaiah 66:20)” — Dr. Haldeman.
79. Joseph’s brethren go forth to proclaim his glory.
“Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, thus saith thy
son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt; come down unto
me, tarry not…. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in
Egypt” (

Genesis 45:9, 13).
In like manner, after Israel has been reconciles to Christ, they shall go forth
to tell of the glories of their King:
“And I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to
Tarshish, Pul and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to
the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen
My glory, and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles”

Isaiah 66:19).
And again:
“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a
dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not
for man” (

Micah 5:7).
80. Joseph makes ready his chariot and goes forth to meet Jacob.
“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Jacob his
father” (

Genesis 46:29).
Says Dr. Haldeman,
“This is really the epiphany of Joseph. He reveals himself in
splendor and Kingliness to his people. He meets Judah in Goshen
first and then meets his father, the household of Jacob. This is a
representation of the truth as we have already seen it. It is the
coming of Christ in His glory to meet Judah first, and then all
Israel. Our attention is specially drawn to his appearing to the.413
people in chariots of glory. So of the greater Joseph we read, ‘For,
behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a
whirlwind’ (

Isaiah 66:15).”
81. Joseph settles his brethren in a land of their own.
“And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen;
and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied
exceedingly” (

Genesis 47:27).
Goshen was the best part of the land of Egypt (symbol of the world). As
Pharaoh had said,
“The land of Egypt is before thee, in the best of the land make thy
father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell”

Genesis 47:6).
So Palestine, when restored to its pristine beauty and fertility, shall be “the
best land” in all the earth; and there, in the Millennium, shall Israel have
“possessions” and “multiply exceedingly.”
82. Joseph’s brethren prostrate themselves before him as the
Representative of God.
“And his brethren also went and fell before his face; and they said,
Behold we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not;
for (am) I in the place of God?” (

Genesis 50:18, 19).
The prophetic dream of Joseph is realized. The brethren own Joseph’s
supremacy, and take the place of servants before him. So in the coming
Day, all Israel shall fall down before the Lord Jesus Christ, and say,
“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us;
this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and
rejoice in His salvation” (

Isaiah 25:9).
We close at the point from which we started. Joseph signifies “Addition,”
and Addition is Increase, and “increase” is the very word used by the Holy
Spirit to describe the dominant characteristic of the Kingdom of Him
whom Joseph so wondrously foreshadowed.
“Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no
end, upon the throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it
and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth
even for ever” (

Isaiah 9:7)..414
We have grouped together again the last nine chapters of Genesis, which
treat principally of Joseph and his brethren, and have singled out from them
the most prominent and significant of their typical teachings. In our last
article, we contemplated the dispensational bearings of the type, and this
is, no doubt, its primary application. But there is also a secondary one, one
which we may term the evangelical, and it is this we shall now consider.
Joseph here strikingly prefigures Christ as the Savior of sinners, while his
brethren accurately portray the natural condition of the ungodly, and in the
experiences through which they passed as their reconciliation with Joseph
was finally effected, we have a lovely Gospel representation of the unsaved
being brought from death unto life. Continuing our previous enumeration,
83. Joseph’s brethren dwelt in a land wherein was no corn.
They dwelt in Canaan, and we are told, “the famine was in the land of
Canaan” (

Genesis 42:5). There was nothing there to sustain them. To
continue where they were meant death, therefore did Jacob bid his sons go
down to Egypt and buy from there “that we may live, and not die”

Genesis 42:2). Such is the condition which obtains in the place where
the ungodly dwell. Alienated from the life of God, they are living in a
world which is smitten with a Spiritual famine, in a world which furnishes
no food for the Soul. The experience of every unregenerate person is that
of the Prodigal Son — there is nothing for him but the husks which the
swine feed upon.
84. Joseph’s brethren wished to pay for what they received.
“And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt”

Genesis 42:3).
It is striking to observe the prominence of this feature here. The word
“buy” occurs no less than five times in the first ten verses of this chapter.
Clearly, they had no other thought of securing the needed food than by
purchasing it. Such is ever the conception of the natural man. His own
mind never rises to the level of receiving a gift from God. He supposes that.415
he must earn God’s approval, win God’s favor, and merit God’s
acceptance of him. It was thus with Naaman, when he went to the prophet
of God, to be healed of his leprosy. This was the Prodigal’s conception —
“make me as one of thy hired servants,” that is, as one who worked for
what he received. So it was here with Joseph’s brethren. And so it is still
with every natural man.
85. Joseph’s brethren assume a self-righteous attitude as they come before
the lord of Egypt.
When they appeared before Joseph he tested them. He “spoke roughly
unto them” (

Genesis 42:7). He said,
“Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come”

Genesis 42:9).
And what was their response? They answered him,
“Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all
one man’s sons; we are true men; thy servants are no spies”

Genesis 42:10, 11).
It is thus when God begins His work with the sinner. He wounds before He
heals, He wounds in order that He may heal. By His Spirit He speaks
“roughly.” He sends forth the arrow of conviction. He speaks that which
condemns the natural man. And what is the sinner’s first response? He
resents this “rough” speaking. He repudiates the accusations brought
against him. He denies that he is totally depraved and “dead in trespasses
and sins.” He attempts to vindicate himself. He is self-righteous. He boasts
that he is a “true man”!
86. Joseph’s brethren were cast into prison for three days.
“And he put them all together into ward three days”

Genesis 42:17).
This was not unjust, nor was it harsh treatment. It was exactly what they
deserved. Joseph was putting these men into their proper place, the place
of shame and condemnation. It is thus God deals with the lost. The sinner
must be made to realize what is his just due. He must be taught that he
deserves nothing but punishment. He must be shown that the place of
condemnation and shame is where he, by right, belongs. He must be abased
before he can be exalted..416
87. Joseph’s brethren were now smitten in their Conscience.
“And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our
brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought
us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us”

Genesis 42:21).
Notice they said this “one to another,” not yet were their consciences
active in the presence of God! The analogy holds good in the experience of
the unregenerate. As God’s work goes forward in the soul, conscience
becomes active, there is deep “distress,” and there is an acknowledgment
of sin, but at this stage the awakened and troubled one has not yet come to
the point where he will take the place of a lost sinner before God.
88. Joseph makes it known that deliverance is by Grace.
“Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to
restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them
provision for the way: and thus did he unto them” (

What a lovely touch to the picture is this! The Bread of Life cannot be
purchased. It must be accepted as a free gift, if it is received at all. The
terms of the Gospel are “without money, and without price.” And how
beautifully was this shown forth here, when Joseph, as the type of Christ,
orders the money to be restored to those who came to “buy the corn.”
Clearly, this was a foreshadowing of the blessed truth,
“By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast”

Ephesians 2:8, 9).
89. Joseph’s brethren now enjoy a brief respite.
“And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence”

Genesis 42:26).
They had been brought out of prison, the desired corn was obtained, and
they were returning home. Their minds were now at rest, and we may well
conclude that their recently disturbed consciences were quiet again. But
not yet had they been brought into their true rest. Not yet had they been
reconciled to Joseph. Only temporary relief had been obtained after all.
Deeper exercises lie before them. And how strikingly this prefigures the.417
experiences of the awakened sinner! After the first season of conviction is
over, after one has first learned that salvation is by grace and not by works,
there generally follows a season of relief, a temporary and false peace is
enjoyed, before the sinner is truly and savingly brought into the presence of
90. Joseph’s brethren soon had their superficial peace disturbed.
“And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in
the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s
mouth. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored, and
lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart faded them, and they were
afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto
us!” (

Genesis 42:27, 28).
How true to life again! The type is easily interpreted. God will not allow
the awakened soul to rest until it rests upon Christ alone. And, so, He
causes the experiences of the way to dispel the false peace. What do we
read of next!
“And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when
they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt,
their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food”

Genesis 43:1, 2).
And again, the analogy is easily traced. The hunger of the Soul becomes
more acute in the one with whom the Spirit of God is dealing; the sense of
need is deepened; the “famine” conditions of this poor world are felt more
keenly. And there is no relief to be obtained until, once more, he comes
into the presence of the true Governor of Egypt.
91. Joseph’s brethren continued to manifest a legal spirit.
“And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do
this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry
down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices and
myrrh, nuts and almonds…. And the men took that present, and
they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin, and rose up,
and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph” (

43:11, 15)..418
How like the soul that has begun to be exercised before God! Uneasy in
conscience, and discerning more and more the vanity of the world, the
sinner redoubles his efforts to please God. He turns over a new leaf and
seeks harder than ever to win God’s approval. How little these men knew
Joseph — what did he, as Governor over all Egypt, want with their
presents! And how little, as yet, the newly awakened soul, knows Christ!
Joseph said, “These men shall dine with me at noon” (

Genesis 43:16).
So, too, Christ is the One who has spread the feast. The word of the
Gospel is, “Come for all things are now ready” (

Luke 14:17). Christ is
the Provider; the poor sinner is but the receiver.
92. Joseph’s brethren are now made happy again.
“And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright,
and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled
one at another. And he took and sent messes unto them from
before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of
theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him” (

43:33, 34).
Ah, what is man! Not yet had sin been told out. Not yet had a right
relationship been established. Nevertheless, they could be “merry.” A
superficial observer would have concluded that all was now well. It
reminds us of the stony ground in the parable of the Sower — he
“heareth the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not
root in himself” (

Matthew 13:20, 21).
It is greatly to be feared that there are many such to-day. God’s saving
work goes much deeper than producing evanescent emotions.
93. Joseph is determined to bring his brethren out into the fight.
“And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the
men’s sacks with food as much as they can carry, and put every
man’s money in his sack’s mouth. And put my cup in the sack’s
mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according
to the word that Joseph had spoken” (

Genesis 44:1, 2).
There could be no settled or real fellowship between Joseph and his
brethren until the wrong had been righted. There could be no communion
of heart until full confession of guilt had been made. And this is the goal.419
God has in view. He desires to bring us into fellowship with Himself. But
He is holy, and sin must be confessed and put away, before we can be
reconciled to Him.
94. Joseph’s brethren, at last, take their true place before God.
They had been in the presence of Joseph, though they knew him not; they
had been “merry” before him, and they were now going on their way light-heartedly.
Joseph, then, sent his “steward” after them, saying,
“Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say
unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?”

Genesis 44:4).
In like manner, the Lord sends His Holy Spirit to follow up His work in the
heart of the awakened soul. The “steward” brought back the brethren into
the presence of Joseph once more. Thus, too, does the Holy Spirit bring
the convicted sinner back into the presence of God. And mark the sequel
“And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord! what shall we
speak! or how shall we clear ourselves! GOD hath found out the
iniquity of thy servants” (

Genesis 44:16).
How blessed is this! What a change from their earlier attitude before him,
when they affirmed they were “true men”! Now, they give up all attempt
to clear themselves, and take the place of guilty ones before Joseph,
acknowledging that God had “found out” their “iniquity.” This is the goal
Joseph has had before him all the way through. And this is the design of the
Spirit’s work in the sinner. Not till he ceases to vindicate himself, not till he
comes out into the light, not till he owns he is guilty, and unable to “clear
himself,” can he be blest. Once the sinner acknowledges before God that he
is undone, lost, it will not be long till Christ is revealed to him as the One
who can fully meet his deep, deep need. So it was with Joseph and his
95. Joseph made himself known to his brethren.
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood
by him, and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And
there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known
unto his brethren” (

Genesis 45:1)..420
How blessed to note the opening word here — “Then.” Now that his
brethren had acknowledged their guilt, there was no delay. That which had
hindered Joseph from revealing himself sooner was now gone.
Notice, particularly, that as Joseph made himself known unto his brethren
he cried, “Cause every man to go out from me.” Thus it is when Christ
reveals Himself to the self-confessed and needy sinner. None must come
between the needy soul and the Redeemer. Away, then, ye priests, who
pose as mediators. Away, ye ritualists who would interpose your
ordinances as conditions of salvation. Away, all ye human interferers, who
would get the poor sinner occupied with any but Christ alone. Let “every
man go out.”
96. Joseph invites his brethren to come near to him.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you.
And they came near” (

Genesis 45:4).
Unspeakably blessed is this. There is no aloofness here. All distance is
(lone away with. So, too, in marvelous grace, the Savior bids the poor
trembling sinner “Come near” unto Himself. Joseph did more. He
proclaimed in their ears a wondrous message; he said,
“God hath sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the
earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance”

Genesis 45:7).
“It is a great salvation, mark. It is not the limited, partial, mean
salvation that some men would make it out to be saving only those
who help to save themselves, or saving them for a time, and
allowing them to lapse and be lost again. Oh no, thank God, it is a
salvation worthy of Himself, and such a salvation as only could
result from that finished, faultless work of Christ on the Cross. And
what but a great salvation could avail for sinners such as we? We
are all of us great sinners; our guilt was great, our need was great,
and nothing but a great salvation could be of any use to us. I hope
you have it, friend. Don’t neglect it. ‘How shall we escape,’ the
Spirit asks, ‘if we neglect so great salvation?’ (

Hebrews 2:3)”
(Mr. Knapp).
97. Joseph tells his brethren of full provision made for them..421
He said,
“And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near
unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy
flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast. And there will I
nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and
thy household, and all that thou hast come to poverty” (

45:10, 11).
How this tells out, in type, what is in the heart of our blessed Savior! He
desires His redeemed to be near to Himself! He is to be no Stranger to
them now. Moreover, He promises to sustain them — “there will I nourish
thee” said Joseph, and the promise to all who believe is,
“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory
by Christ Jesus” (

Philippians 4:19).
98. Joseph gives proof that he is fully reconciled to his brethren.
“Moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them, and
after that his brethren talked with him” (

Genesis 45:15).
The “kiss” betokened the fact they were forgiven. It speaks, too, of love.
Thus was the Prodigal greeted after he returned from the far country and
owned himself as a sinner. Notice, it was Joseph who kissed them, and not
the brethren who kissed Joseph. So, also, it was the Father who kissed the
Prodigal. God always takes the initiative, at every point. How blessed, too,
the words which follow, “and after that his brethren talked with him.”
Their fears were all gone now. Reconciled to Joseph, they could now enjoy
his fellowship and converse with him. So it is with the saved sinner and his
99. Joseph’s joy was shared by others.
“And the fame thereof, was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying,
Joseph’s brethren are come, and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his
servants” (

Genesis 45:16).
“This is the Old Testament fifteenth of Luke. Sinners are received
and reconciled; the lost is found; it is, as it were, ‘life from the
dead’ with souls. ‘And there is joy in the presence of God.’ God
and the angels, like Pharaoh and his servants, rejoice when sinners
are brought to repentance. There is joy all around. Joseph rejoices;.422
his brethren rejoice; Pharaoh rejoices; his servants rejoice” (Mr.
100. Joseph’s brethren now go forth seeking others.
Joseph gave to his brethren an honorable commission. He had said to them,
“Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy
son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto
me, tarry not…. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt,
and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my
father hither” (

Genesis 45:9, 13).
So, too, in marvelous grace, the Lord commissions those whom He saves.
He bids them go forth seeking others who know Him not. Joseph bade his
brethren tell Jacob that he was alive, that God had made him “lord of all
Egypt,” and they were to tell of his “glory.” In like manner, believers are
sent forth to tell of a Savior that is alive for evermore; of a Savior whom
God hath made “both Lord and Christ”; of a Savior, who has been
crowned with “glory and honor.” Notice that twice over Joseph bade his
brethren to make “haste” in their going forth (verses 9, 13). So with us:
there is to be no tardiness. The King’s business “requireth haste.” The time
is short, and precious souls are perishing all around.
101. Joseph gives his brethren a word of admonition they go forth.
“So he sent his brethren away, and they departed and he said unto
them, See that ye fall not out by the way” (

Genesis 45:24).
And how much we need this word of exhortation. The flesh is still in us.
The Devil seeks to stir up a spirit of rivalry and jealousy. But says the
“The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all”

2 Timothy 2:24).
If each of us were to heed this, there would be no “falling out by the way”!
We leave the reader to trace out for himself the typical application of the
sequel. Joseph’s brethren were faithful to the commission given them. They
did not invent a message of their own as they approached Jacob. They had
no need to do so. Joseph had told them what to say; their business was to
repeat the words of Egypt’s “governor.” And God owned their message..423
The end for which it was designed was achieved. Jacob and his household
— seventy souls in all — went down to Egypt and were royally received
by Joseph. So, too, we do not have to invent our message. We are sent
forth to “preach the Word,” and as we are faithful to our calling, God will
reward us, for He has promised that His Word” shall not return unto Him
void.” Let us be encouraged then by this example of the first Old
Testament evangelists, and go forth into a famine-stricken world telling of
One who is mighty to save, leaving the measure of our success to the
sovereign will of Him who alone giveth the increase. Thus shall we have a
share in discharging our honorable commission of giving the Gospel to
every creature, thus shall we glorify God, and thus shall we be bringing
nearer that glad Day when the One whom Joseph foreshadowed shall
return to this earth, and, taking the government upon His shoulder, shall
reign in righteousness and peace..424
(Note in

Revelation 20 after the unsaved are resurrected, they are still
termed “dead” —