Ver. 1. Fear not. He might naturally be under some apprehensions, lest the four kings should attempt to be revenged upon him.
--- Reward, since thou hast so generously despised earthly riches. H.
--- Abram was not asleep, but saw a vision of exterior objects. v. 5.
Ver. 2. I shall go. To what purpose should I heap up riches, since I have no son to inherit them? Abram knew that God had promised him a numerous posterity; but he was not apprized how this was to be verified, and whether he was to adopt some other for his son and heir. Therefore, he asks modestly, how he out to understand the promise.
--- And the son, &c. Heb. is differently rendered, "and the steward of my house, this Eliezer of Damascus." We know not whether Eliezer or Damascus be the proper name. The Sept. have "the son of Mesech, my handmaid, this Eliezer of Damascus." Most people suppose, that Damascus was the son of Eliezer, the steward. The sentence is left unfinished, and must be supplied from the following verse, shall be my heir. The son of the steward, filius procurationis, may mean the steward himself, as the son of perdition denotes the person lost. C.
Ver. 6. Reputed by God, who cannot judge wrong; so that Abram increased in justice by this act of faith, believing that his wife, now advanced in years, would have a child; from whom others should spring, more numerous than the stars of heaven. H.
--- This faith was accompanied and followed by many other acts of virtue. S. Jam. ii. 22. W.
Ver. 8. Whereby, &c. Thus the blessed Virgin asked, how shall this be done? Lu. i. 34. without the smallest degree of unbelief. Abram wished to know, by what signs he should be declared the lawful owner of the land. H.
Ver. 9. Three years, when these animals have obtained a perfect age.
Ver. 12. A deep sleep, or ecstasy, like that of Adam. G. ii. 21, wherein God revealed to him the oppression of his posterity in Egypt, which filled him with such horror (M.) as we experience when something frightful comes upon us suddenly in the dark. This darkness represents the dismal situation of Joseph, confined in a dungeon; and of the Hebrews condemned to hard labour, in making bricks, and obliged to hide their male children, for fear of their being discovered, and slain. Before these unhappy days commenced, the posterity of Abram were exposed to great oppression among the Chanaanites, nor could they in any sense be said to possess the land of promise, for above 400 years after this prophetic sleep. H.
Ver. 13. Strangers, and under bondage, &c. This prediction may be dated from the persecution of Isaac by Ismael, A. 2112, till the Jews left Egypt, 2513. In Exodus xii. and S. Paul, 430 years are mentioned; but they probably began when Abram went first into Egypt, 2084. Nicholas Abram and Tournemine say, the Hebrews remained in Egypt full 430 years. from the captivity of Joseph; and reject the addition of the Sept. which adds, "they and their fathers dwelt in Egypt, and in Chanaan." On these points, we may expect to find chronologists at variance.
Ver. 14. Judge and punish the Egyptians, overwhelming them in the Red sea, &c. H.
Ver. 16. Fourth, &c. after the 400 years are finished; during which period of time, God was pleased to bear with those wicked nations; whose iniquity chiefly consisted in idolatry, oppression of the poor and strangers, forbidden marriages of kindred, and abominable lusts. Levit. xviii. Deut. vi. and xii. M.
Ver. 17. A lamp, or symbol of the Divinity, passing, as Abram also did, between the divided beasts, to ratify the covenant. See Jer. xxxiv. 18.
Ver. 18. Of Egypt, a branch of the Nile, not far from Pelusium. This was to be the southern limit, and the Euphrates the northern; the two other boundaries are given, Num. xxxiv.
--- Perhaps Solomon's empire extended so far. At least, the Jews would have enjoyed these territories, if they had been faithful. M.
Ver. 19. Cineans, in Arabia, of which nation was Jethro. They were permitted to dwell in the tribe of Juda, and served the Hebrews.
--- Cenezites, who probably inhabited the mountains of Juda.
--- Cedmonites, or eastern people, as their name shews. Cadmus was of this nation, of the race of the Heveans, dwelling in the environs of mount Hermon, whence his wife was called Hermione. He was, perhaps, one of those who fled at the approach of Josue; and was said to have sowed dragons' teeth, to people his city of Thebes in Beotia, from an allusion to the name of the Hevites, which signifies serpents. C.
--- The eleven nations here mentioned were not all subdued; on account of the sins of the Hebrews. M.