(Calvin, Genesis 1. part 19)

greater account of obedience than of sacrifice, (1 Sam. 15: 22.)
Wherefores our life will then be rightly constituted, when we depend upon
the word of God, and undertake nothing except at his command. And it is
to be observed, that the question is not here concerning some one
particular work, but concerning the general principle of living piously
and uprightly. For the subject treated of, is the vocation of Abram which
is a common pattern of the life of all the faithful. We are not indeed
all indiscriminately commanded to desert our country; this point, I
grant, is special in the case of Abram; but generally, it is God's will
that all should be in subjection to his word, and should seek the law,
for the regulation of their life, at his mouth, lest they should be
carried away by their own will, or by the maxims of men. Therefore by the
example of Abram, entire self-renunciation is enjoined, that we may live
and die to God alone.

5. "The souls that they had gotten in Haran." Souls signify male and
female servants. And this is the first mention of servitude; whence it
appears, that not long after the deluge the wickedness of man caused
liberty which by nature, was common to all, to perish with respect to a
great part of mankind. Whence servitude originated is not easy to
determine, unless according to the opinion which has commonly prevailed
it arose from wars; because the conquerors compelled those whom they took
in battle to serve them; and hence the name of bondsman is derived. But
whether they who were first slaves had been subjugated by the laws of
war, or had been reduced to this state by want, it is indeed certain,
that the order of nature was violently infringed; because men were
created for the purpose of cultivating mutual society between each other.
And although it is advantageous that some should preside over others, yet
an equality, as among brethren ought to have been retained. However,
although slavery is contrary to that right government which is most
desirable, and in its commencement was not without fault; it does not, on
this account, follow, that the use of it, which was afterwards received
by custom, and excused by necessity, is unlawful. Abram therefore might
possess both servants bought with money, and slaves born in his house.
For that common saying, 'What has not prevailed from the beginning cannot
be rendered valid by length of time,' admits (as is well known) of some
exceptions; and we shall have an example in point in the forty-eighth

6. "And Abram passed through the land." Here Moses shows that Abram did
not immediately, on his entering into the land, find a habitation in
which he might rest. For the expression "passed through," and the
position of the place (Sichem) to which he passed, show that the length
of his journey had been great. Sichem is not far from Mount Gerizim,
which is towards the desert of the Southern region. Wherefore, it is just
as Moses had said, that the faith of Abram was again tried, when God
suffered him as a wanderer to traverse the whole land, before he gave him
any fixed abode. How hard would it seems when God had promised to be his
Protector, that not even a little corner is assigned him on which he may
set his foot? But he is compelled to wander in a circuitous route, in
order that he may the better exercise self denial. The word "elon" is by
some translated an oak forest, by some a valley; others take it for the
proper name of a place. I do not doubt that Moreh is the proper name of
the place; but I explain Elon to mean a plain, or an oak, not that it was
a single tree, but the singular is put for the plural number; and this
latter interpretation I most approve.
  "And the Canaanite was then in the land." This clause concerning the
Canaanite is not added without reason; because it was no slight
temptation to be cast among that perfidious and wicked nation, destitute
of all humanity. What could the holy man then think, but that he was
betrayed into the hands of these most abandoned men, by whom he might
soon be murdered; or else that he would have to spend a disturbed and
miserable life amid continual injuries and troubles? But it was
profitable for him to be accustomed, by such discipline, to cherish a
better hope. For if he had been kindly and courteously received in the
land of Canaan, he would have hoped for nothing better than to spend his
life there as a guest. But now God raises his thoughts higher in order
that he may conclude, that at some future time, the inhabitants being
destroyed, he shall be the lord and heir of the land. Besides, he is
admonished, by the continual want of repose, to look up towards heaven.
For since the inheritance of the land was specially promised to himself,
and would only belong to his descendants, for his sake; it follows, that
the land, in which he was so ill and inhumanly treated, was not set
before him as his ultimate aim, but that heaven itself was proposed to
him as his final resting-place.

7. "And the Lord appeared unto Abram." He now relates that Abram was not
left entirely destitute, but that God stretched forth his hand to help
him. We must, however, mark, with what kind of assistance God succours
him in his temptations. He offers him his bare word, and in such a way,
indeed, that Abram might deem himself exposed to ridicule. For God
declares he will give the land to his seed: but where is the seed, or
where the hope of seed; seeing that he is childless and old, and his wife
is barren? This was therefore an insipid consolation to the flesh. But
faith has a different taste; the property of which is, to hold all the
senses of the pious so bound by reverence to the word, that a single
promise of God is quite sufficient. Meanwhile, although God truly
alleviates and mitigates the evils which his servants endure, he does it
only so far as is expedient for them, without indulging the desire of the
flesh. Let us hence learn, that this single remedy ought to be sufficient
for us in our sufferings: that God so speaks to us in his word, as to
cause our minds to perceive him to be propitious; and let us not give the
reins to the importunate desires of our flesh. God himself will not fail
on his part; but will, by the manifestation of his favour, raise us when
we are cast down.
  "And there builded he an altar." This altar was a token of gratitude.
As soon as God appeared to him he raised an altar: to what end? That he
might call upon the name of the Lord. We see, therefore, that he was
intent upon giving of thanks; and that an altar was built by him in
memory of kindness received. Should any one ask, whether he could not
worship God without an altar? I answer, that the inward worship of the
heart is not sufficient unless external profession before men be added.
Religion has truly its appropriate seat in the heart; but from this root,
public confession afterwards arises, as its fruit. For we are created to
this end, that we may offer soul and body unto God. The Canaanites had
their religion; they had also altars for sacrifices: but Abram, that he
might not involve himself in their superstitions, erects a domestic
altar, on which he may offer sacrifice; as if he had resolved to place a
royal throne for God within his house. But because the worship of God is
spiritual, and all ceremonies which have no right and lawful end, are not
only vain and worthless in themselves, but also corrupt the true worship
of God by their counterfeited and fallacious appearance; we must
carefully observe what Moses says, that the altar was erected for the
purpose of calling upon God. The altar then is the external form of
divine worship; but invocation is its substance and truth. This mark
easily distinguishes pure worshippers from hypocrites, who are far too
liberal in outward pomp, but wish their religion to terminate in bare
ceremonies. Thus all their religion is vague, being directed to no
certain end. Their ultimate intention, indeed, is (as they confusedly
speak) to worship God: but piety approaches nearer to God; and therefore
does not trifle with external figures, but has respect to the truth and
the substance of religion. On the whole, ceremonies are no otherwise
acceptable to God, than as they have reference to the spiritual worship
of God.
  To invoke the name of God, or to invoke in his name, admits of a
twofold exposition; namely, either to pray to God, or to celebrate his
name with praises. But because prayer and thanksgiving are things
conjoined, I willingly include both. We have before said, in the fourth
chapter, that the whole worship of God was not improperly described, by
the figure synecdoch, under this particular expression; because God
esteems no duty of piety more highly, and accounts no sacrifice more
acceptable, than the invocation of his name, as is declared in Psalm 50:
23, and Psalm 51: 19. As often, therefore, as the word altar occurs, let
the sacrifices also come into our mind; for from the beginning, God would
have mankind informed, that there could be no access to himself without
sacrifice. Therefore Abram, from the general doctrine of religion, opened
for himself a celestial sanctuary, by sacrifices, that he might rightly
worship God. But we know that God was never appeased by the blood of
beasts. Wherefore it follows, that the faith of Abram was directed to the
blood of Christ.
  It may seem, however, absurd, that Abram built himself an altar, at his
own pleasure, though he was neither a priest, nor had any express command
from God. I answer, that Moses removes this scruple in the context: for
Abram is not said to have made an altar simply to God, but to God who had
appeared unto him. The altar therefore had its foundation in that
revelation; and ought not to be separated from that of which it formed
but a part and an appendage. Superstition fabricates for itself such a
God as it pleases and then invents for him various kinds of worship; just
as the Papists, at this days most proudly boast that they worship God,
when they are only trifling with their foolish pageantry. But the piety
of Abram is commended, because, having erected an altar, he worshipped
God who had been manifested to him. And although Moses declares the
design with which Abram built the altar, when he relates that he there
called upon God, he yet, at the same time, intimates, that such a service
was pleasing to God: for this language implies the approval of the Holy
Spirit, who thereby pronounces that he had rightly called upon God.
Others, indeed confidently boasted that they worshipped God; but God, in
praising Abram only, rejects all the rites of the heathen as a vile
profanation of his name.

8. "And he removed from thence." When we hear that Abram moved from the
place where he had built an altar to God, we ought not to doubt that he
was, by some necessity, compelled to do so. He there found the
inhabitants unpropitious; and therefore transfers his tabernacle
elsewhere. But if Abram bore his continual wanderings patiently, our
fastidiousness is utterly inexcusable, when we murmur against God, if he
does not grant us a quiet nest. Certainly, when Christ has opened heaven
to us, and daily invites us thither to dwell with himself; we should not
take it amiss, if he chooses that we should be strangers in the world.
The sum of the passage is this, that Abram was without a settled
residence: which title Paul assigns to Christians, (1 Cor. 4: 11.)
Moreover, there is a manifest prolepsis in the word Bethel; for Moses
gives the place this name, to accommodate his discourse to the men of his
own age.
  "And there he builded an altar." Moses commends in Abram his unwearied
devotedness to piety: for by these words, he intimates, that whatever
place he visited, he there exercised himself in the external worship of
God; both that he might have no religious rites in common with the
wicked, and that he might retain his family in sincere piety. And it is
probable, that, from this cause, he would be the object of no little
enmity; because there is nothing which more enrages the wicked, than
religion different from their own, in which they conceive themselves to
be not only despised, but altogether condemned as blind. And we know that
the Canaanites were cruel and proud, and too ready to avenge insults.
This was perhaps the reason of Abram's frequent removals: that his
neighbours regarded the altars which he built, as a reproach to
themselves. It ought indeed to be referred to the wonderful favour of
God, that he was not often stoned. Nevertheless, since the holy man knows
that he is justly required to bear testimony that he has a God peculiarly
his own, whom he must not, by dissimulation, virtually deny, he therefore
does not hesitate to prefer the glory of God to his own life.

9. "And Abram journeyed." This was the third removal of the holy man
within a short period, after he seemed to have found some kind of abode.
It is certain that he did not voluntarily, and for his own gratification,
run hither and thither, (as light-minded persons are wont to do:) but
there were certain necessities which drove him forth, in order to teach
him, by continual habit, that he was not only a stranger, but a wretched
wanderer in the land of which he was the lord. Yet no common fruit was
the result of so many changes; because he endeavoured, as much as in him
lay, to dedicate to God, every part of the land to which he had access,
and perfumed it with the odour of his faith.

10. "And there was a famine in the land." A much more severe temptation
is now recorded, by which the faith of Abram is tried to the quick. For
he is not only led around through various windings of the country, but is
driven into exile, from the land which God had given to him and to his
posterity. It is to be observed, that Chaldea was exceedingly fertile;
having been, from this cause, accustomed to opulence, he came to Charran,
where, it is conjectured, he lived commodiously enough, since it is clear
he had an increase of servants and of wealth. But now being expelled by
hunger from that land, where, in reliance on the word of God, he had
promised himself a happy life, supplied with all abundance of good
things, what must have been his thoughts, had he not been well fortified
against the devices of Satan? His faith would have been overturned a
hundred times. And we know, that whenever our expectation is frustrated,
and things do not succeed according to our wishes, our flesh soon harps
on this string, 'God has deceived thee.' But Moses shows, in a few words,
with what firmness Abram sustained this vehement assault. He does not
indeed magnificently proclaim his constancy in verbose eulogies; but, by
one little word, he sufficiently demonstrates, that it was great even to
a miracle, when he says, that he "went down into Egypt to sojourn there."
For he intimates, that Abram, nevertheless, retained in his mind
possession of the land promised unto him; although, being ejected from it
by hunger, he fled elsewhere, for the sake of obtaining food. And let us
be instructed by this example, that the servants of God must contend
against many obstacles, that they may finish the course of their
vocation. For we must always recall to memory, that Abram is not to be
regarded as an individual member of the body of the faithful, but as the
common father of them all; so that all should form themselves to the
imitation of his example. Therefore, since the condition of the present
life is unstable, and obnoxious to innumerable changes; let us remember,
that, whithersoever we may be driven by famine, and by the rage of war,
and by other vicissitudes which occasionally happen beyond our
expectation, we must yet hold our right course; and that, though our
bodies may be carried hither and thither, our faith ought to stand
unshaken. Moreover, it is not surprising, when the Canaanites sustained
life with difficulty, that Abram should be compelled privately to consult
for himself. For he had not a single acre of land; and he had to deal
with a cruel and most wicked people, who would rather a hundred times
have suffered him to perish with hunger, than they would have brought him
assistance in his difficulty. Such circumstances amplify the praise of
Abram's faith and fortitude: first, because, when destitute of food for
the body. he feeds himself upon the sole promise of God; and then,
because he is not to be torn away by any violence, except for a short
time, from the place where he was commanded to dwell. In this respect he
is very unlike many, who are hurried away, by every slight occasion, to
desert their proper calling.

11. "He said unto Sarai his wife." He now relates the counsel which Abram
took for the preservation of his life when he was approaching Egypt. Andy
since this place is like a rock, on which many strike; it is proper that
we should soberly and reverently consider how far Abram was deserving of
excuse, and how he was to be blamed. First, there seems to be something
of falsehood, mixed with the dissimulations which he persuades his wife
to practice. And although afterwards he makes the excuse, that he had not
lied nor feigned anything that was untrue: in this certainly he was
greatly culpable that it was not owing to his care that his wife was not
prostituted. For when he dissembles the fact, that she was his wife, he
deprives her chastity of its legitimate defense. And hence certain
perverse cavilers take occasion to object, that the holy patriarch was a
pander to his own wife; and that, for the purpose of craftily taking care
of himself, he spared neither her modesty nor his own honour. But it is
easy to refute this virulent abuse; because, it may indeed be inferred,
that Abram had far higher ends in view, seeing that in other things, he
was endued with a magnanimity so great. Again, how did it happen, that he
rather sought to go into Egypt than to Charran, or into his own country,
unless that in his journeying, he had God before his eyes, and the divine
promise firmly rooted in his mind? Since, therefore, he never allowed his
senses to swerve from the word of God, we may even thence gather the
reason, why he so greatly feared for his own life, as to attempt the
preservation of it from one danger, by incurring a still greater.
Undoubtedly he would have chosen to die a hundred times, rather than thus
to ruin the character of his wife, and to be deprived of the society of
her whom alone he loved. But while he reflected that the hope of
salvation was centred in himself, that he was the fountain of the Church
of Gods that unless he lived, the benediction promised to him, and to his
seed, was vain; he did not estimate his own life according to the private
affection of the flesh; but inasmuch as he did not wish the effect of the
divine vocation to perish through his death, he was so affected with
concern for the preservation of his own life, that he overlooked every
thing besides. So far, then, he deserves praise, that, having in view a
lawful end of living, he was prepared to purchase life at any price. But
in devising this indirect method, by which he subjected his wife to the
peril of adultery, he seems to be by no means excusable. If he was
solicitous about his own life, which he might justly be, yet he ought to
have cast his care upon God. The providence of God, I grant, does not
indeed preclude the faithful from caring for themselves; but let them do
it in such a way, that they may not overstep their prescribed bounds.
Hence it follows, that Abram's end was right, but he erred in the way
itself; for so it often happens to us, that even while we are tending
towards God, yet, by our thoughtlessness in catching at unlawful means,
we swerve from his word. And this, especially, is wont to take place in
affairs of difficulty; because, while no way of escape appears, we are
easily led astray into various circuitous paths. Therefore, although they
are rash judges, who entirely condemn this deed of Abram, yet the special
fault is not to be denied, namely, that he, trembling at the approach of
death, did not commit the issue of the danger to God, instead of sinfully
betraying the modesty of his wife. Wherefore, by this example, we are
admonished, that, in involved and doubtful matters, we must seek the
spirit of counsel and of prudence from the Lord; and must also cultivate
sobriety, that we may not attempt anything rashly without the authority
of his word.
  "I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon." It is asked whence
had Sarai this beauty, seeing she was an old woman? For though we grant
that she previously had excelled in elegance of form, certainly years had
detracted from her gracefulness; and we know how much the wrinkles of old
age disfigure the best and most beautiful faces. In the first place, I
answer, there is no doubt that there was then greater vivacity in the
human race than there is now; we also know, that vigour sustains the
personal appearance. Again, her sterility availed to preserve her beauty,
and to keep her whole habit of body entire; for there is nothing which
more debilitates females than frequent parturition. I do not however
doubt, that the perfection of her form was the special gift of God; but
why he would not suffer the beauty of the holy woman to be so soon worn
down by age, we know not; unless it were, that the loveliness of that
form was intended to be the cause of great and severe anxiety to her
husband. Common experience also teaches us, that they who are not content
with a regular and moderate degree of comeliness, find, to their great
loss, at what a cost immoderate beauty is purchased.

12. "Therefore it shall come to pass, that when the Egyptians shall see
thee, &c." It may seem that Abram was unjust to the Egyptians, in
suspecting evil of them, from whom he had yet received no injury. And,
since charity truly is not suspicious; he may appear to deal unfairly, in
not only charging them with lust, but also in suspecting them of murder.
I answer, that the holy man did, not without reason, fear for himself
from that nation, concerning which he had heard many unfavourable
reports. And already he had, in other places, experienced so much of the
wickedness of men, that he might justly apprehend everything from the
profane despisers of God. He does not however pronounce anything
absolutely concerning the Egyptians; but, wishing to bring his wife to
his own opinion, he gives her timely warning of what might happen. And
God, while he commands us to abstain from malicious and sinister
judgments, yet allows to be on our guard against unknown persons; and
this may take place without any injury to the brethren. Yet I do not deny
that this trepidation of Abram exceeded all bounds and that an
unreasonable anxiety caused him to involve himself in another fault, as
we have already stated.

15. "And commended her before Pharaoh." Although Abram had sinned by
fearing too much and too soon, yet the event teaches, that he had not
feared without cause: for his wife was taken from him and brought to the
king. At first Moses speaks generally of the Egyptians, afterwards he
mentions the courtiers; by which course he intimates, that the rumour of
Sara's beauty was everywhere spread abroad; but that it was more eagerly
received by the courtiers who indulge themselves in greater license.
Whereas he adds, that they told the king; we hence infer, how ancient is
that corruption which now prevails immeasurably in the courts of kings.
For as all things there are full of blandishments and flatteries, so the
nobles principally apply their minds to introduce, from time to time,
what may be gratifying to royalty. Therefore we see, that whosoever among
them desires to rise high in favour, is addicted not only to servile
batteries, but also to pandering for their master's lusts.
  "And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house." Since she was carried
off, and dwelt for some time in the palace, many suppose that she was
corrupted by the king. For it is not credible, that a lustful man, when
he had her in his power, should have spared her modesty. This, truly,
Abram had richly deserved, who had neither relied upon the grace of God,
nor had committed the chastity of his wife to His faithfulness and care;
but the plague which immediately followed, sufficiently proves that the
Lord was mindful of her; and hence we may conclude, that she remained
uninjured. And although, in this place, Moses says nothing expressly on
the subject, yet, from a comparison with a similar subsequent history, we
conjecture, that the guardianship of God was not wanting to Abram at this
time also. When he was in similar danger, (Gen. 20: 1,) God did not
suffer her to be violated by the king of Gerar; shall we then suppose
that she was now exposed to Pharaoh's lust? Would God have thought more
about subjecting her, who had been once dishonoured, to a second
disgrace, than about preserving her, who had hitherto lived uprightly and
chastely? Further, if God showed himself so propitious to Abram, as to
rescue his wife whom he exposed a second time to infamy; how is it
possible that He should have failed to obviate the previous danger?
Perhaps, also, greater integrity still flourished in that age; so that
the lusts of kings were not so unrestrained as they afterwards became.
Moreover, when Moses adds, that Abram was kindly treated for Sarai's
sake; we hence conclude, that she was honorably entertained by Pharaoh,
and was not dealt with as a harlot. When, therefore, Moses says, that she
was brought into the king's palace; I do not understand this to have been
for any other purpose, than that the kings by a solemn rite, might take
her as his wife.

17. "And the Lord plagued Pharaoh." If Moses had simply related, that God
had punished the king for having committed adultery, it would not so
obviously appear that he had taken care of Sarai's chastity; but when he
plainly declares that the house of the king was plagued because of Sarai,
Abram's wife, all doubt is, in my judgment, removed; because God, on
behalf of his servant, interposed his mighty hand in time, lest Sarai
should be violated. And here we have a remarkable instance of the
solicitude with which God protects his servants, by undertaking their
cause against the most powerful monarchs; as this and similar histories
show, which are referred to in Psalm 105 verse 12-15:--'When they were
but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it. When they
went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; he
suffered no man to do them wrong; yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.' From which
passage also a confirmation of the opinion just given may be derived. For
if God reproved Pharaoh, that he should do Abram no harm; it follows,
that he preserved Sarai's honour uninjured. Instructed by such examples,
we may also learn, that however the world may hold us in contempt, on
account of the smallness of our number, and our weakness; we are yet so
precious in the sight of God, that he will, for our sake, declare himself
an enemy to kings, and even to the whole world. Let us know, that we are
covered by his protection, in order that the lust and violence of those
who are more powerful, may not oppress us. But it is asked, whether
Pharaoh was justly punished, seeing that he neither intended, by guile
nor by force, to gain possession of another man's wife? I answer, that
the actions of men are not always to be estimated according to our
judgment, but are rather to be weighed in the balances of God; for it
often happens, that the Lord will find in us what he may justly punish,
while we seem to ourselves to be free from fault, and while we absolve
ourselves from all guilt. Let kings rather learn, from this history, to
bridle their own power, and moderately to use their authority; and,
lastly, to impose a voluntary law of moderation upon themselves. For,
although no fault openly appears in Pharaoh; yet, since he has no
faithful monitor among men, who dares to repress his licentiousness, the
Lord chastises him from heaven. As to his family, it was indeed innocent;
but the Lord has always just causes, though hidden from us, why he should
smite with his rod those who seem to merit no such rebuke. That he spared
his servant Abram, ought to be ascribed to his paternal indulgence.

18. "And Pharaoh called Abram." Pharaoh justly expostulates with Abram,
who was chiefly in fault. No answer on the part of Abram is here
recorded; and perhaps he assented to the just and true reprehension. It
is, however, possible that the exculpation was omitted by Moses; whose
design was to give an example of the Divine providence in preserving
Abram, and vindicating his marriage relation. But, although Abram knew
that he was suffering the due punishment of his folly, or of his
unreasonable caution; He, nevertheless, relapsed, as we shall see in its
proper place, a second time into the same fault.

20. "And Pharaoh commanded his men." In giving commandment that Abram
should have a safe-conduct out of the kingdom, Pharaoh might seem to have
done it, for the sake of providing against danger; because Abram had
stirred up the odium of the nation against himself, as against one who
had brought thither the scourge of God along with him; but as this
conjecture has little solidity, I give the more simple interpretation,
that leave of departure was granted to Abram with the addition of a
guard, lest he should be exposed to violence. For we know how proud and
cruel the Egyptians were; and how obnoxious Abram was to envy, because
having there become suddenly rich, he would seem to be carrying spoil
away with him.

Chapter XIII.

1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had,
and Lot with him, into the south.
2 And Abram [was] very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
3 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;
4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and
there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
6 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.
7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the
herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then
in the land.
8 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 [be]
9 [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.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that
it [was] well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and
Gomorrah, [even] as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as
thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east:
and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of
the plain, and pitched [his] tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom [were] wicked and sinners before the LORD
14 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:
15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy
seed for ever.
16 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.
17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of
it; for I will give it unto thee.
18 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.

1. "And Abram went up out of Egypt." In the commencement of the chapter,
Moses commemorates the goodness of God in protecting Abram; whence it
came to pass, that he not only returned in safety, but took with him
great wealth. This circumstance is also to be noticed, that when he was
leaving Egypt, abounding in cattle and treasures, he was allowed to
pursue his journey in peace; for it is surprising that the Egyptians
would suffer what Abram had acquired among them, to be transferred
elsewhere. Moses next shows that riches proved no sufficient obstacle to
prevent Abram from having respect continually to his proposed end, and
from moving towards it with unremitting pace. We know how greatly even a
moderate share of wealth, hinders many from raising their heads towards
heaven; while they who really possess abundance, not only lie torpid in
indolence, but are entirely buried in the earth. Wherefore, Moses places
the virtue of Abram in contrast with the common vice of others; when he
relates that he was not to be prevented by any impediments, from seeking
again the land of Canaan. For he might (like many others) have been able
to flatter himself with some fair pretext: such as, that since God, from
whom he had received extraordinary blessings, had been favourable and
kind to him in Egypt, it was right for him to remain there. But he does
not forget what had been divinely commanded him; and, therefore, as one
unfettered, he hastens to the place whither he is called. Wherefore, the
rich are deprived of all excuse, if they are so rooted in the earth, that
they do not attend the call of God. Two extremes, however, are here to be
guarded against. Many place angelical perfection in poverty; as if it
were impossible to cultivate piety and to serve God, unless riches are
cast away. Few indeed imitate Crates the Theban, who cast his treasures
into the sea; because he did not think that he could be saved unless they

(continued in part 20...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01/cvgn1-19.txt