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Q. When was this promise again renewed?
A. Shortly after, when Jehovah* and two angels, in the likeness of men appeared to him.
Q. How did he receive the strangers?
A. He caused them to wash their feet, and rest themselves under the tree, while he and Sarah procured them some refreshment.
Q. What communication was made to him at this time?
A. As he accompanied his guests, to bring them on their way, the Lord revealed to him his design of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.
Q. To what did this discovery lead him?
A. To endeavour to avert the judgment by intercession; and accordingly he obtained a promise, that if ten righteous men were found in Sodom, the city should not be destroyed.
Q. Who received the angels at Sodom?
Q. What counsel did they give him?
A. Assuring him that they were sent by the Almighty to destroy the city, they advised him to assemble his relatives and flee. But when Lot spake to his sons-inlaw, he seemed unto them as one that mocked.
Q. Did Lot leave the place forthwith?
A. No he lingered, unwilling to depart; but the
*This was the Lord Jesus, the only begotten Son, who declared the Father. See John i. 18. viii. 56-58,
+ Heb. xiii. 2.
angels laid hold on him, his wife, and daughters, (the Lord being merciful to them) and drew them out of the city, which, together with the other cities, was destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven. Their site is now occupied by the Asphaltite Lake, or Dead Sea.
2. What catastrophe befel Lot's wife?
A. Contrary to an express injunction, venturing to look back, she was turned into a pillar of salt.* As for Lot, he fled, with his daughters, to Zoar, which was
* Mr. Horne, from the description of the country given by travellers, and the account given by Moses, considers the devoted cities to have been destroyed by an eruption of some adjacent volcano. "The quantities of sulphur, pumice, and ashes, poured by the volcano to an immense height in the air, and falling from that elevation, might, with strict propriety, be said to have been rained from heaven. In allusion to this catastrophe, God is said to rain on the wicked hot ashes, fire, and brimstone. Psalm xi. 6.” He conceives, therefore, that Lot's wife, "looking with a wistful eye towards Sodom,-was surrounded, ere she was aware, by the lava, which rising and swelling, at length reached her, and [while the volcanic effluvia deprived her of life] incrustated her where she stood; so that being, as it were, embalmed by the salso-bituminous mass, she became a conspicuous beacon and admonitory example to future generations. The power of this asphaltic substance in preserving from corruption is evident, from its being employed by the Egyptians for embalming their mummies. She is said to have been converted into a pillar of salt, on account of the quantity of that substance which appeared in the crust, and its abundance in those regions is notorious, both from sacred and profane history: so much so, that the lake which now fills the caverns made by the earthquake, has, among other names, that of "the salt sea."-Introd. to Crit. Study, &c. Vol. iii.
spared for his sake; but shortly after they took up their abode in a cave in the mountains.
Q. Had Lot any children after this event?
A. Yes he had two sons, Moab and Ammon, whose descendants were the most inveterate enemies of the children of Israel.
Q. Where did Abraham sojourn after this?
A. In Gerar, where Abimelech the king, believing, from Abraham's report, that Sarah was his sister, sent and took her into his house; whence, however, she was delivered by the interposition of Providence.
A. M. 2108.
Q. What happened in Abraham's family B. C. 1896. in his hundredth year ?
A. Sarah bare a son, as the Lord had promised; and Abraham called his name Isaac.
Q. What happened when Isaac was weaned?
A. Ishmael, then sixteen or seventeen years of age, was seen mocking, which so incensed Sarah, that she demanded the immediate dismissal of him and his mother.
Q. What became of Ishmael?
A. He dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer; and his mother caused him to marry an Egyptian woman.
Q. How many sons had he?
A. Twelve; who became heads of tribes.
Q. What took place at Beersheba ?
A. Abimelech, king of Gerar, made a covenant with
Q. To what place had the patriarch recourse for devotional purposes?
A. To a grove, which he planted expressly for religious uses.*
Q. To what severe trial was Abraham subjected? A. The Lord commanded him to offer up Isaac for a burnt offering on Mount Moriah.†
Q. Did Abraham hesitate to obey?
A. No; he yielded implicit obedience to the Divine will. And the Lord, having proved the faith of Abraham, sent an angel to arrest his design.
Q. What promise was made to Abraham on this account?
A. The angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son : that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed
Except the worship in Eden, Abraham's is the first instance recorded of worshipping in a grove; and it was, no doubt, a continuation of the primitive practice, which became very general. The consecrated groves of the pagan world became ultimately notorious for obscene and sanguinary rites. In those of the Celts and Scandinavians, numbers of human victims were immolated to appease their angry gods. The groves of Mona, or Anglesea, and of Upsal, in Sweden, were pre-eminently the scenes of these execrable ceremonies. + Hebrews xi. 17—19.
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
A. M. 2144.
B. C. 1860.
Q. What occurred in Isaac's thirty
seventh year ?
A. Sarah died, and was buried at Kirjath Arba*, in a cave, in the field of Machpelah, which Abraham purchased† of the children of Heth.
A. M. 2147.
Q. What important measure did AbraB. C. 1857. ham undertake after Sarah's death? A. He sent Eliezer, his steward, to Mesopotamia, to negociate a marriage for Isaac, then forty years old. In this the Lord having prospered Eliezer, he brought back Rebekah to his young master.‡
Q. What merits observation in the conduct of the steward?
* Also called Hebron,
+ This sale of land, the first transfer of the kind on record, is memorable for the truly noble generosity of the contracting parties. See Gen. xxiii.
‡ In the East, much drudgery devolves on women-as the grinding of corn, the feeding of flocks, the drawing of water, &c. Gen. xxiv. 13. xxix. 9. Exod. ii. 16. Job. xxxi. 10. In the last of these employments Rebekah was found occupied by Eliezer.
The ceremonies common to Oriental nuptials, were, no doubt, observed in the marriage of Isaac. The retinue that accom. panied Eliezer, Gen. xxiv. 10, 32. the precious gifts that he carried with him, v. 22, 53. the returning procession, consisting of Rebekah, her nurse, and damsels, Eliezer and his men, v. 59-61. and the coming of the bridegroom, v. 62-64. are circumstances indicative of the pomp with which this affair was conducted. That the songs and music usual on such occasions were wanting, is hardly probable.