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55 master. And her brother and her mother said, Let the dame
sel abide with us (a few] days, at the least ten ; after that she 56 shall go. And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the
LORD hath prospered my way: send me away that I may go 37 to my master. And they said, We will call the damsel, and 58 inquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said
unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And, having an high
opinion of the piety of Abraham's family, from what she had seen 59 in his servant, she said, I will go. And they sent away Re
bekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and 60 his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her,
Thou (art] our sister, be thou [the mother) of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. Probably Eliezer had told them there was such a promise
made to Abraham and his seed, and here they turn it into a 61 prayer and a blessing. And Rebekah arose, and her damsels,
and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man : and
the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi ; for he 63 dwelt in the south country. And Isaac went out to meditate
in the field at the even tide, to converse with God and himself by pious thoughts and ejaculations, and fervant prayer : and he
lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold the camels (were] 64 coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she 65 saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she [had] said un
to the servant, What man [is] this that walketh in the field to
meet us? And the servant (had) said, It [is] my master : 66 therefore she took a veil, and covered herself. And the ser67 vant told Isaac all things that he had done. And Isaac
brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and by the solemnity of marriage she became his wife ; and he loved her : and Isaac was comforted after his mother's [death] which was about three years before, and for which he still grieved. This was very suitable to Isaac's characier, the seems to have been as blameless a person as any we read of,
1. TXTE see what great blessings good servants are to a
VV family ; and servants may here see what they ought to be. Abraham was so well convinced of Eliezer's piety and fidelity, that he trusted him with this most important concern, for he was old, and could not go on the business himself. Here is a good example to servants. This man was eminent for piety ; he abounded in prayer and devotion, called upon God in every step he took, and praised him for every mercy he received. He was much acquainted with the methods of Providence ; joined with pleasure, undoubtedly, in the religious exercises of Abra
ham's family, and carried his religion with him wherever he went. He delivered his master's orders with all fidelity and diligence, and with a great deal of prudence and caution : he did his business with dispatch ; he minded it more than his meat or drink ; he would not eat till he had told his errand. He regarded his master's profit and comfort, more than his own pleasure. He knew his master would be anxious to know what success he met with, and that affairs wanted him at home ; he was therefore in haste to return. Let servants learn from this example, first, to serve their master in heaven, by prayer and devotion ; and to show all good fidelity to their masters on earth, by being diligent in their business, and not trifling over their work, or staying unnecessarily on their errands. Let them all remember that they have a master in heaven, to whom they are accountable for that part of their behaviour which their earthly masters cannot see. Thus they will adorn the religion they profess, and be a credit and comfort to the families where they live. If we desire to have such servants, we should do as Abraham did ; command our children and household to keep the way of the Lord, and to do justice and judgment.
2. Let us be excited, by the example of Isaac, to give our. selves to prayer and meditation. Isaac did not go into the field to amuse himself, but to converse with God and his own heart. Like him, let us often retire from the world, and leave its company and cares behind us. Let us examine our hearts ; set God before us ; and remember in our private walks and chambers, that we are not alone, for God is with us. Let our walks in the fields be improved to such purposes ; there we see the beauties of creation, and the goodness of God. After the business of the day, it is delightful to refresh ourselves with pious meditations, and to take a review of God's goodness and dealings with us. Thus we shall be likely to meet with mercies and comforts in our walks, as Isaac did ; and shall be training up for that world, where they neither marry nor are given in marriage.
CHAP. XXV. 1-18.
Alterations in families of distinction are much taken notice of, and
the common topic of conversation. Here are several particulars relating to Abraham's family worthy of our attention ; namely, his second marriage; the distribution of his goods ; his deatA and burial ; and some account of the descendants of Ishmael. I THEN again, after Sarah's death, and Isaac's marriage,
1 Abraham, wanting a companion in his old age, took a wife, called a concubine, and her name (was) Keturah. She
was born in his house, and perhaps the chief of his maid servants. 2 And she bare him six sons, namely, Zimran, and Jokshan, 3 and Medan, and Midian,* and Ishbak, and Shuah.t And
Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan 4 were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons
of Midian were five ; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these [were] the children of Kea
turah. 5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac, as being his 6 only heir, and the child of promise. But unto the sons of Ha
gar and Keturah,ll the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, money and goods, and sent them away from Isaac his soli, while he yet lived, eastward, untó the east country, * that they might not interfere with him or claim the
land. y And these [are] the days of the years of Abraham's life
which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years ; his 8 latter days were spent in silence and peace. Then Abrahan
gave up the ghost, yielded his spirit calmly and cheerfully to God, and died in a good old age, that is, in an holy old age, free from the calamities and infirmities which often attend that
period, an old man and full (of years ;t] and was gathered to 9 his people, to his pious ancestors in the other world. And his
sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah,
in the field of. Ephron the son of Zoar the Hittite, which [is] FO before Mamre ;! The field which Abraham purchased of the
* The father of the Midianites, of whom we read chap. xxxvi. 35. Isa. X. 26.
of These children settled in Arabia and Syria, and became the heads of families or tribes. Job probably descended from some of them, as Bildad seems to have done from Shuah.
We read afterward of the five kings of Midian ; so that probably a small kingdom rose from each of these.
Though Sarah was dead when he married Keturah, yet it seems she was but a half Wife, because her children did not inherit.
That is, Arabia, which lay east of Canaan. Hence they are sometimes called chil. dren of the east. All the rest was given to Isaac, agreeable to the marriage settlement with Rebekah.
+ Full of days. Samar. Pent.
Ishmael seems to have had a great respect for his father, and perhaps often saw kim; and now at least, if not before, Isaac and he were reconcilede
Sons of Heth : there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his
wife. 11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God
blessed his son Isaac, applying and confirming to him the promises made to Abraham ; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi ; near the place where the Lord appeared to Hagar when
she fled from Sarah. 12 Now these [are] the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's
son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare un13 to Abraham : And these [are] the names of the sons of Ish
mael, by their names, according to their generations : the
firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth ;* and Kedar,t and Adbeel, 14 and Mibsam, And Mishma, and Dumah, from whom came the 15 Idumeans, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, from whom Eliphaz, 16 Job's friend, came, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah : These
[are) the sons of Ishmael, and these [are] their names, by
their towns, and by their castles ; twelve princes according to 07 their nations. And these [are) the years of the life of Ish
mael, an hundred and thirty and seven years ; and he gave
up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people, 18 And they, Ishmaels sons, dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that
[is] before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria, almost across the north part of Arabia : [and] he died in the presence of all his brethren ; the original is, he fell, that is, his lot fell, in the sridst of his brethren, as tke angel foretold to Hagar,
REFLECTIONS. 1. THE death of Abraham may convince us of a future
1 state. He was an eminently pious and good man ; a friend of God, and his peculiar favourite ; and, according to our Lord's reasoning, the covenant made with him extended to spiritual and eternal blessings. When God promised that he would be a God to Abrahan, it intimated, that he was to live for ever in a future state ; and that both soul and body were to be happy there. We can never think that so good a man as Abraham was lost in the cave ; no ; his desire to be buried there, spoke his hope and expectation, not only that his seed should possess the earthly Canaan, but that he should possess an heavenly one. So Paul interprets it, of seeking a better country, that is, an heav. enly. The faith of this patriarch was remarkable ; he looked to things unseen and eternal ; and firmly believed that God had provided for him a better city. His removal from this world, after so many appearances of God to him and for him, after the
• Hence Arabia is often called by the ancients, Nabatea.
Twelve heads of houses or tribes ; and they continued so till near four hundred years after Christ. Thus the promise made to Hagar, that her sed should 404 bc numbered for Ultitude, vas fulfilled.
covenant so firmly established, and so many promises made, lead us to conclude, that he went to dwell with God, in that state where all his pious servants shall be happy with him, and where he was gathered to his own people. Let us firmly believe in a future state, which is so much more clearly revealed in the gospel, and give all diligence to prepare for it. It is called Abraham's bosom, because he was so intimate a friend of the most High, and therefore admitted to peculiar nearness to God; and our Lord tells us, that many shall come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of their heavenly Father. .
2. We learn that there is very little in worldly grandeur. Isaac lived obscurely in tents, a solitary pastoral life, and yet was the friend of God and the heir of heaven ; while Ishmael had a large and spacious country, numerous descendants, towns and castles, and his sons were all princes. One would be ready to conclude, Surely this is the heir of the promise. But when we judge by appearance, we generally judge falsely ; wot many wise, not many noble and mighty are called. It is so now : the best men often fare worst as to temporal things. It was so formerly, under a more equal providence ! no wonder it should be so now, when we are called to live by faith and not by sight ; and are to wait for our good things till hereafter. While Ishmael was so great, and made such a figure among the nations, Isaac and his family were little, and lived retired and obscure ; but yet, to him were the best blessings promised ; in his seed was the covenant established ; while Ishmael, with all his wealth and power, was a stranger to the covenant of promise. Thus many, even now, have their riches and honours, while they are enemies of God and children of disobedience. On the contrary, holy souls, who live in retirement, in order that they may converse with God and their own hearts, have most ease and comfort ; and the thoughts of having God for their God, is a noble source of joy, and a spring of unutterable delight. Shall we then foolishly choose or wish for our portion to be among the princes and lords of the earth, and envy their grandeur and power, when we see that those are happiest who want these things ? Shall we seeķ to be rich and great, when so many better blessings are promised to us ? Let us not act so stupid a part; but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousne88, and other things, all other important blessing3 shall be added to us : that, like Isaac, we may dwell comfortably in the communion of God's church and people, and be preparing for the heavenly Canaan, where Isaac has his residence, and all the holy people of old their eternal dwelling: