|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-4 Abram was very rich: he was very heavy, so the Hebrew word is; for riches are a burden; and they that will be rich, do but load themselves with thick clay, Hab 2:6. There is a burden of care in getting riches, fear in keeping them, temptation in using them, guilt in abusing them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account at last to be given up about them. Yet God in his providence sometimes makes good men rich men, and thus God's blessing made Abram rich without sorrow, Pr 10:22. Though it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven, yet in some cases it may be, Mr 10:23,24. Nay, outward prosperity, if well managed, is an ornament to piety, and an opportunity for doing more good. Abram removed to Beth-el. His altar was gone, so that he could not offer sacrifice; but he called on the name of the Lord. You may as soon find a living man without breath as one of God's people without prayer.
Verses 3, 4. - And he went on his journeys. Literally, in his journeyings or stations!cf. Genesis 11:2; Exodus 17:1; Numbers 10:6, 12). The renderings καὶ ἐπορεύθη ὅθεν η΅λθεν (LXX.) and reversus est per iter quo venerat (Vulgate) imply without warrant that he used the same camping grounds in his ascent which he had previously occupied in his descent. From the south even to Bethel (vide Genesis 12:8), unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning. Before his emigration into Egypt, i.e. not to Shechem, the site of his first altar, where probably he had not encamped for any length of time, if at all, but to a spot between Bethel and Ai (the exact situation being more minutely described as) unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first. After entering the promised land. In reality it was the second altar he had erected (vide Genesis 12:7, 8). And there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Professed the true and pure worship of God (Calvin); preached and taught his family and Canaanitish neighbors the true religion (Luther). Vide Genesis 12:8; Genesis 4:26.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he went on in his journeys from the south,.... He took the same tour, went the same road, stopping at the same resting places, as when he went down to Egypt; having learned, as Jarchi observes, the way of the earth, that a man should not change his host. Though some, as Ben Gersom, understand it of his taking his journeys as were suitable for his cattle, as they were able to bear them, and not overdrive them, lest he should kill them, but made short stages, and frequently stopped and rested. And thus he went on through the southern part of the land, until he came
even to Bethel; as it was afterwards called, though now Luz, Genesis 28:19.
unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning; when he first came into the land of Canaan, to a mountain
between Bethel and Hai; afterwards called Mount Ephraim, and was four miles from Jerusalem on the north (t); see Genesis 12:8.
(t) Bunting's Travels, &c. p. 59.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. went on his journeys—His progress would be by slow marches and frequent encampments as Abram had to regulate his movements by the prospect of water and pasturage.
unto the place … between Beth-el and Hai—"a conspicuous hill—its topmost summit resting on the rocky slopes below, and distinguished by its olive groves—offering a natural base for the altar and a fitting shade for the tent of the patriarch" [Stanley].
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