|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:14-18 Those are best prepared for the visits of Divine grace, whose spirits are calm, and not ruffled with passion. God will abundantly make up in spiritual peace, what we lose for preserving neighbourly peace. When our relations are separated from us, yet God is not. Observe also the promises with which God now comforted and enriched Abram. Of two things he assures him; a good land, and a numerous issue to enjoy it. The prospects seen by faith are more rich and beautiful than those we see around us. God bade him walk through the land, not to think of fixing in it, but expect to be always unsettled, and walking through it to a better Canaan. He built an altar, in token of his thankfulness to God. When God meets us with gracious promises, he expects that we should attend him with humble praises. In outward difficulties, it is very profitable for the true believer to mediate on the glorious inheritance which the Lord has for him at the last.
Verse 18. - Then - literally, and, acting immediately as the heavenly voice directed - Abram removed - or rather pitched (cf. ver. 12) - his tent, and dwelt - settled down, made the central point of his subsequent abode in Canaan (Wordsworth) - in the plane - בְּאֵלֹנֵי = oaks (Gesenius) or terebinths Celsins); vide Genesis 12:6 - of Mamre - an Amorite chieftain who afterwards became the friend and ally of Abram (Genesis 14:13, 24), and to whom probably the grove belonged - which is in Hebron - twenty-two miles south of Jerusalem on the way to Beersheba, a town of great antiquity, having been built seven years before Zoan, in Egypt (Numbers 13:22). As it is elsewhere styled Kirjath-arba, or the city of Arba (Genesis 23:2; Genesis 35:27), and appears to have been so called until the conquest (Joshua 14:15), the occurrence of the name Hebron is regarded as a trace of post-Mosaic authorship (Clericus, et alii); but it is more probable that Hebron was the original name of the city, and that it received the appellation Kirjath-arba on the arrival in the country of Arba the Anakite, perhaps during the sojourn of Jacob's descendants in Egypt (Rosenmüller, Bantugarten, Hengstenberg, Keil, Kurtz). The place is called by modern Arabs El Khalil, the friend of God. And built there an altar unto the Lord.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Abram removed his tent,.... From the mountain between Bethel and Hai, Genesis 13:3,
and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, or "in the oaks of Mamre" (e); in a grove of oaks there, as being shady and pleasant to dwell among or under, and not through any superstitious regard to such trees and places where they grew; which has obtained since among the Heathens, and particularly among the Druids, who have their name from thence. Indeed such superstitions might take their rise from hence, being improved and abused to such purposes; and both Jerom (f) and Sozomen (g) speak of the oak of Abram being there in the times of Constantine, and greatly resorted to, and had in great veneration; and they and others make mention of a turpentine tree, which it is pretended sprung from a walking stick of one of the angels that appeared to Abram at this place, greatly regarded in a superstitious way by all sorts of persons: this plain or grove of oaks, here spoken of, was called after a man whose name was Mamre, an Amorite, a friend and confederate of Abram:
which is in Hebron; or near it, an ancient city built seven years before Zoan or Tanis in Egypt, Numbers 13:22; it was first called Kirjath Arbab, but, in the times of Moses, Hebron, Genesis 23:2. The place they call the Turpentine, from the tree that grows there, according to Sozomen (h), was fifteen furlongs distant from Hebron to the south; but Josephus (i) says it was but six furlongs, or three quarters of a mile; who speaking of Hebron says,"the inhabitants of it say, that it is not only more ancient than the cities of that country, but than Memphis in Egypt, and is reckoned to be of 2300 years standing: they report, that it was the habitation of Abram, the ancestor of the Jews, after he came out of Mesopotamia, and that from hence his children descended into Egypt, whose monuments are now shown in this little city, made of beautiful marble, and elegantly wrought; and there is shown, six furlongs from it, a large turpentine tree, which they say remained from the creation to that time.''A certain traveller (j) tells us, that the valley of Mamre was about half a mile from old Hebron; from Bethel, whence Abram removed to Mamre, according to Sir Walter Raleigh (k), was about twenty four miles; but Bunting (l) makes it thirty two:
and built there an altar unto the Lord; and gave thanks for the prevention of strife between Lot and him, and for the renewal of the grant of the land of Canaan to him and his seed; and performed all acts of religious worship, which the building of an altar is expressive of.
(e) "juxta quercetum Mamre", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Montanus; so Ainsworth. (f) De loc. Heb. fol. 87. E. tom. 3.((g) Eccles. Hist. l. 2. c. 4. p. 447. (h) lbid. (i) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 7. (j) Baumgarten. Peregrinatio, l. 2. c. 4. p. 79. (k) History of the World, par. 1. B. 2. sect. 3. p. 132. (l) Travels, p. 57.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. the plain of Mamre … built … an altar—the renewal of the promise was acknowledged by Abram by a fresh tribute of devout gratitude.
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