Genesis 11:28
And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Haran died before his father.—Heb., in the presence of his father. This is the first recorded instance of a premature death caused by natural decay.

In Ur of the Chaldees.Ur-Casdim. A flood of light has been thrown upon this town by the translation of the cuneiform inscriptions, and we may regard it as certain that Ur is now represented by the mounds of the city of Mugheir. When first we read of this city, it was inhabited by a population of Accadians, a Turanian race, sprang probably from an early offshoot of the family of Japheth; but in course of time it was conquered by men of the Semitic family, who from thence overran the whole of Shinar, or Babylonia, and expelled from it the descendants of Cush. Mr. Sayce (Chald. Gen. p. 20) puts this conquest at some very uncertain date, two or three thousand years before Christ; but the establishment of a powerful monarchy under a king named Lig-Bagas, and the consolidation under his sway of several petty kingdoms, into which Chaldea had been previously split up, he places with some confidence at 3,000 years before the Christian era (ibid., p. 24). Now, there are in our museums inscribed bricks and engraved cylinders actually from the library of Lig-Bagas, and we learn that the Accadian literature was still older; for many of the works found at Agané are translations from it: and thus all those difficulties as to the antiquity of the art of syllabic writing which used to exist when men had nothing better to judge by than Egyptian picture-writing have passed away. Abraham migrated from a town which was then a famous seat of learning, and where even the ordinary transactions of life were recorded on tablets of terra-cotta. Very probably, therefore, he carried with him bricks and cylinders inscribed with these ancient records. We are no longer, therefore, surprised at the striking similarity between the narratives in the Book of Genesis prior to the migration of Abraham and those preserved in the cuneiform inscriptions. But the believer in inspiration cannot fail to be struck also at their dissimilarity. The cuneiform inscriptions are polytheistic, acknowledging twelve superior gods, and of gods inferior a countless multitude. The Semitic race is accused of adding to these a number of goddesses, chief among whom were Beltis, the wife of Bel, and Istar, the planet Venus. Of all this there is no trace in the Biblical records; nor is there in the whole Chaldean literature anything so grand and Divine as the thoughts expressed in the opening words of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

As Ur is an Accadian word, we must reject all Semitic interpretations of its meaning; we must further add that Mr. Rawlinson gives reasons for believing that its early importance was due to its being a great maritime emporium (Anc. Mon., i. 27). It was, we read, a walled town, and the great port for the commerce of the Persian Gulf, while round it lay a marvellously rich country, said to be the original home of the wheat-plant, and famous for its dates and other fruits. Its being called Ur-Casdim, “Ur of the Chaldees,” shows that they had already won it from the Accadians when Terah dwelt there. Its subsequent name, Mugheir, probably means “mother of bitumen”—that is, producer of it.

11:27-32 Here begins the story of Abram, whose name is famous in both Testaments. Even the children of Eber had become worshippers of false gods. Those who are through grace, heirs of the land of promise, ought to remember what was the land of their birth; what was their corrupt and sinful state by nature. Abram's brethren were, Nahor, out of whose family both Isaac and Jacob had their wives; and Haran, the father of Lot, who died before his father. Children cannot be sure that they shall outlive their parents. Haran died in Ur, before the happy removal of the family out of that idolatrous country. It concerns us to hasten out of our natural state, lest death surprise us in it. We here read of Abram's departure out of Ur of the Chaldees, with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and the rest of his family, in obedience to the call of God. This chapter leaves them about mid-way between Ur and Canaan, where they dwelt till Terah's death. Many reach to Charran, and yet fall short of Canaan; they are not far from the kingdom of God, and yet never come thither.And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah. - There is reason to believe that Haran was the oldest son of Terah. Though mentioned in the third place, like Japheth the oldest son of Noah, yet, like Japheth, also, his descendants are recounted first. He is the father of Lot, Milkah, and Iskah. His brother Nahor marries his daughter Milkah. If Iskah be the same as Sarai, Haran her father must have been some years older than Abram, as Abram was only ten years older than Sarai; and hence her father, if younger than Abram, must have been only eight or nine when she was born, which is impossible. Hence, those who take Iskah to be Sarai, must regard Abram as younger than Haran.

In the land of his birth. - The migration of Terah, therefore, did not take place until after the death of Haran. At all events, his three grandchildren, Lot, Milkah, and Iskah, were born before he commenced his journey. Still further, Milkah was married to Nahor for some time before that event. Hence, allowing thirty years for a generation, we have a period of sixty years and upwards from the birth of Haran to the marriage of his daughter. But if we take seventy years for a generation, which is far below the average of the Samaritan or the Septuagint, we have one hundred and forty years, which will carry us beyond the death of Terah, whether we reckon his age at one hundred and forty-five with the Samaritan, or at two hundred and five with the other texts. This gives another presumption in favor of the Hebrew average for a generation.

In Ur of the Kasdim. - The Kasdim, Cardi, Kurds, or Chaldees are not to be found in the table of nations. They have been generally supposed to be Shemites. This is favored by the residence of Abram among them, by the name Kesed, being a family name among his kindred Genesis 22:22, and by the language commonly called Chaldee, which is a species of Aramaic. But among the settlers of the country, the descendants of Ham probably prevailed in early times. Nimrod, the founder of the Babylonian Empire, was a Kushite. The ancient Babylonish language, Rawlinson (Chaldaea) finds to be a special dialect, having affinities with the Shemitic, Arian, Turanian, and Hamitic tongues. The Chaldees were spread over a great extent of surface; but their most celebrated seat was Chaldaea proper, or the land of Shinar. The inhabitants of this country seem to have been of mixed descent, being bound together by political rather than family ties.

Nimrod, their center of union, was a despot rather than a patriarch. The tongue of the Kaldees, whether pure or mixed, and whether Shemitic or not, is possibly distinct from the Aramaic, in which they addressed Nebuchadnezzar in the time of Daniel Dan 1:4; Daniel 2:4. The Kaldin at length lost their nationality, and merged into the caste or class of learned men or astrologers, into which a man might be admitted, not merely by being a Kaldai by birth, but by acquiring the language and learning of the Kasdim Daniel 1:4; Daniel 5:11. The seats of Chaldee learning were Borsippa (Birs Nimrud), Ur, Babylon, and Sepharvaim (Sippara, Mosaib). Ur or Hur has been found by antiquarian research (see Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies) in the heap of ruins called Mugheir, "the bitumened." This site lies now on the right side of the Frat; but the territory to which it belongs is mainly on the left. And Abram coming from it would naturally cross into Mesopotamia on his way to Haran. Orfa, the other supposed site of Ur, seems to be too near Haran. It is not above twenty or twenty-five miles distant, which would not be more than one day's journey.

28. Ur—now Orfa; that is, "light," or "fire." Its name probably derived from its being devoted to the rites of fire-worship. Terah and his family were equally infected with that idolatry as the rest of the inhabitants (Jos 24:15). i.e. In the presence and during the life of his father.

And Haran died before his father Terah,.... In his father's presence, before his face, in his life time, as Jarchi; he seeing him, as Aben Ezra: it does not so much respect the time of his death, that it was before his father, though that is true, as the place where he died, his father being present there at the time this was:

in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees; Ur, which Ben Melech renders a valley, was the place of his birth, as it was of Abram's; it was in Mesopotamia, that part of it next to Assyria being called the land of the Chaldeans; hence these are spoken of as the same by Stephen, Acts 7:2 mention is made by Pliny (b), of a place in those parts called Ura, which seems to be the same with this: Eupolemus (c) says,"that Abram was born at Camarine, a city of Babylon, some call Urie, and is interpreted a city of the Chaldeans;''now Camarine is from "Camar", to heat or burn, and Ur signifies fire, so that both words are of the same signification: Josephus (d) says, that Haran died among the Chaldeans, in a city called Ur of the Chaldees, where, he adds, his grave is shown to this day: the Jews (e) have a fable concerning the death of Haran; they say that Terah was not only an idolater, but a maker and seller of images; and that one day going abroad, he left his son Abraham in the shop to sell them, who, during his father's absence, broke them all to pieces, except one; upon which, when Terah returned and found what was done, he had him before Nimrod, who ordered him to be cast into a burning furnace, and he should see whether the God he worshipped would come and save him; and while he was in it, they asked his brother Haran in whom he believed? he answered, if Abraham overcomes, he would believe in his God, but if not, in Nimrod; wherefore they cast him into the furnace, and he was burnt; and with respect to this it is said, "and Haran died before the face of Terah his father"; but Abraham came out safe before the eyes of them all.

(b) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 24. (c) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 17. p. 418. (d) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 5. (e) Shalshalet, fol. 2. 1, 2. Jarchi in loc.

And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. This and the following verse are taken from J, and commence the personal history of the patriarch.

Haran died] This may indicate a tradition that the hill people, or families who joined the main body of the Terahites, lost their separate existence and became completely merged in the house of Terah.

The grave of Haran was shewn in the days of Josephus (Ant. i. 151).

in the presence of his father] i.e. while his father Terah was still alive.

in the land of his nativity] To these words is appended the explanation, “in Ur of the Chaldees,” very possibly added as a gloss by a later hand, as in Genesis 15:7. Abram in Genesis 24:4; Genesis 24:7; Genesis 24:10 refers to Haran, or Aram naharaim, as the land of his nativity; and that region is generally treated as the home of the ancestors of the Israelites. It is clear, however, that, beside the tradition which ascribed the origin of Israel to Mesopotamia, there was also another which derived them ultimately from S. Babylonia. See Genesis 11:31.

Verse 28. - And Haran died before his father. Literally, upon the face of his father; ἐνώπιον τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ (LXX); while his father was alive (Munster, Luther, Calvin, Rosenmüller); perhaps also in his father s presence (Keil, Lange), though the Jewish fable may be discarded that Terah, at this time an 'idolater, accused his sons to Nimrod, who cast them into a furnace for refusing to worship the fire-god, and that Haran perished in the flames in his father s sight. The decease of Haran is the first recorded instance of the natural death of a son before his father. In the land of his nativity. Ἐν τῇ γῇ ῇ ἐγεννήθη (LXX.). In Ur of the Chaldees. Ur Kasdim (Genesis 11:31; 15:7; Nehemiah 9:7). The Kasdim - formerly believed to have been Shemites on account of

(1) Abram's settlement among them,

(2) the preservation of the name Kesed among his kindred (Genesis 22:22),

(3) the close affinity to a Shemite tongue of the language known to modern philologists as Chaldee, an Arameean dialect differing but slightly from the Syriac (Heeren), and

(4) the supposed identity or intimate connection of the Babylonians with the Assyrians (Niebuhr) - are now, with greater probability, and certainly with closer adherence to Biblical history (Genesis 10:8-12), regarded as having been a Hamite race (Rawlinson, Smith); an opinion which receives confirmation from

(1) the statement of Homer ('Odyss. ,' 1:23, 24), that the Ethiopians were divided and dwelt at the ends of the earth, towards the setting and the rising sun, i.e., according to Strabo, on both sides of the Arabian Gulf;

(2) the primitive traditions

(a) of the Greeks, who regarded Memnon, King of Ethiopia, as the founder of Susa (Herod., 5:54), and the son of a Cissian woman (Strabo, 15:3, § 2;

(b) of the Nilotic Ethiopians, who claimed him as one of their monarchs; and

(c) of the Egyptians, who identified him with their King Amunoph III., whose statue became known as the vocal Memnon (vide Rawlinson's 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. p. 48);

(3) the testimony of Moses of Chorene ('History of Armenia,' 1:6), who connects in the closest way Babylonia, Egypt, and Ethiopia Proper, identifying Belus, King of Babylon, with Nimrod, and making him the son of Mizraim, or the grandson of Cush; and

(4) the monumental history of Babylonia, which shows the language of the earliest inscriptions, according to Rawlinson "differing greatly from the later Babylonian," to have been that of a Turanian people (cf. 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 3). The term Ur has been explained to be identical with It, a city (Rawlinson); the Zend Vare, a fortress (Gesenius); Ur, the light country, i.e. the land of the sun-rising (Furst); and even Ur, <[Vol 1/Genesis/173]PGBR> fire, with special reference to the legendary furnace already referred to (Talmudists). Whether a district (LXX., Lange, Kalisch) or a city (Josephus, Eusebius, Onkelos, Drnsius, Keil, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'), its exact site is uncertain. Rival claimants for the honor of representing it have appeared in

(1) a Persian fortress (Persicum Castellum) of the name of Ur, mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus (75. 100. 8) as lying between Nisibis and the Tigris (Bochart, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Delitzsch);

(2) the modern Orfah, the Edsssa of the Greeks, situated "on one of the bare, rugged spurs which descend from the mountains of Armenia into the Assyrian plains" (Stanley's 'Jewish Church,' 1:7); and

(3) Hur, the most important of the early capitals of Chaldaea, now the ruins of Mugheir, at no great distance from the mouth, and six miles to the west, of the Euphrates (Rawlinson's 'Ancient Monarchies,' 1:15, 16; Smith's 'Assyrian Discoveries,' 12:233; 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 9). Yet none of them is quite exempt from difficulty. A military fort, to take the first-named location, does not appear a suitable or likely place for a nomade horde to settle in; while the second has been reckoned too near Charran, the first place of encampment of the emigrants; and the third, besides being exceedingly remote from Charran, scarcely harmonises with Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrim (Acts 7:2). Unless, therefore, Stephen meant Chaldsea when he said Mesopotamia (Dykes), and Abraham could speak of Northern Mesopotamia as his country (Genesis 24:4), when in reality he belonged to Southern Babylonia, the identification of Ur of the Chaldees with the Mugheir ruin though regarded with most favor by archaeologists, will continue to be doubtful; while, if the clan march commenced at Edessa, it will always require an effort to account for their coming to a halt so soon after starting and so near home; and the Nisibis station, though apparently more suitable than either in respect of distance, will remain encumbered with its own peculiar difficulties. It would seem, therefore, as if the exact situation of the patriarchal town or country must be left undetermined until further light can be obtained. Genesis 11:28The genealogical data in Genesis 11:27-32 prepare the way for the history of the patriarchs. The heading, "These are the generations of Terah," belongs not merely to Genesis 11:27-32, but to the whole of the following account of Abram, since it corresponds to "the generations" of Ishmael and of Isaac in Genesis 25:12 and Genesis 25:19. Of the three sons of Terah, who are mentioned again in Genesis 11:27 to complete the plan of the different Toledoth, such genealogical notices are given as are of importance to the history of Abram and his family. According to the regular plan of Genesis, the fact that Haran the youngest son of Terah begat Lot, is mentioned first of all, because the latter went with Abram to Canaan; and then the fact that he died before his father Terah, because the link which would have connected Lot with his native land was broken in consequence. "Before his father," פּני על lit., upon the face of his father, so that he saw and survived his death. Ur of the Chaldees is to be sought either in the "Ur nomine persicum castellum" of Ammian (25, 8), between Hatra and Nisibis, near Arrapachitis, or in Orhoi, Armenian Urrhai, the old name for Edessa, the modern Urfa. - Genesis 11:29. Abram and Nahor took wives from their kindred. Abram married Sarai, his half-sister (Genesis 20:12), of whom it is already related, in anticipation of what follows, that she was barren. Nahor married Milcah, the daughter of his brother Haran, who bore to him Bethuel, the father of Rebekah (Genesis 22:22-23). The reason why Iscah is mentioned is doubtful. For the rabbinical notion, that Iscah is another name for Sarai, is irreconcilable with Genesis 20:12, where Abram calls Sarai his sister, daughter of his father, though not of his mother; on the other hand, the circumstance that Sarai is introduced in Genesis 11:31 merely as the daughter-in-law of Terah, may be explained on the ground that she left Ur, not as his daughter, but as the wife of his son Abram. A better hypothesis is that of Ewald, that Iscah is mentioned because she was the wife of Lot; but this is pure conjecture. According to Genesis 11:31, Terah already prepared to leave Ur of the Chaldees with Abram and Lot, and to remove to Canaan. In the phrase "they went forth with them," the subject cannot be the unmentioned members of the family, such as Nahor and his children; though Nahor must also have gone to Haran, since it is called in Genesis 24:10 the city of Nahor. For if he accompanied them at this time, there is no perceptible reason why he should not have been mentioned along with the rest. The nominative to the verb must be Lot and Sarai, who went with Terah and Abram; so that although Terah is placed at the head, Abram must have taken an active part in the removal, or the resolution to remove. This does not, however, necessitate the conclusion, that he had already been called by God in Ur. Nor does Genesis 15:7 require any such assumption. For it is not stated there that God called Abram in Ur, but only that He brought him out. But the simple fact of removing from Ur might also be called a leading out, as a work of divine superintendence and guidance, without a special call from God. It was in Haran that Abram first received the divine call to go to Canaan (Genesis 12:1-4), when he left not only his country and kindred, but also his father's house. Terah did not carry out his intention to proceed to Canaan, but remained in Haran, in his native country Mesopotamia, probably because he found there what he was going to look for in the land of Canaan. Haran, more properly Charan, חרן, is a place in north-western Mesopotamia, the ruins of which may still be seen, a full day's journey to the south of Edessa (Gr. Κάῤῥαι, Lat. Carrae), where Crassus fell when defeated by the Parthians. It was a leading settlement of the Ssabians, who had a temple there dedicated to the moon, which they traced back to Abraham. There Terah died at the age of 205, or sixty years after the departure of Abram for Canaan; for, according to Genesis 11:26, Terah was seventy years old when Abram was born, and Abram was seventy-five years old when he arrived in Canaan. When Stephen, therefore, placed the removal of Abram from Haran to Canaan after the death of his father, he merely inferred this from the fact, that the call of Abram (Genesis 12) was not mentioned till after the death of Terah had been noticed, taking the order of the narrative as the order of events; whereas, according to the plan of Genesis, the death of Terah is introduced here, because Abram never met with his father again after leaving Haran, and there was consequently nothing more to be related concerning him.

Character of the Patriarchal History

The dispersion of the descendants of the sons of Noah, who had now grown into numerous families, was necessarily followed on the one hand by the rise of a variety of nations, differing in language, manners, and customs, and more and more estranged from one another; and on the other by the expansion of the germs of idolatry, contained in the different attitudes of these nations towards God, into the polytheistic religions of heathenism, in which the glory of the immortal God was changed into an image made like to mortal man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things (Romans 1:23 cf. Wis. 13-15). If God therefore would fulfil His promise, no more to smite the earth with the curse of the destruction of every living thing because of the sin of man (Genesis 8:21-22), and yet would prevent the moral corruption which worketh death from sweeping all before it; it was necessary that by the side of these self-formed nations He should form a nation for Himself, to be the recipient and preserver of His salvation, and that in opposition to the rising kingdoms of the world He should establish a kingdom for the living, saving fellowship of man with Himself. The foundation for this was laid by God in the call and separation of Abram from his people and his country, to make him, by special guidance, the father of a nation from which the salvation of the world should come. With the choice of Abram and revelation of God to man assumed a select character, inasmuch as God manifested Himself henceforth to Abram and his posterity alone as the author of salvation and the guide to true life; whilst other nations were left to follow their own course according to the powers conferred upon them, in order that they might learn that in their way, and without fellowship with the living God, it was impossible to find peace to the soul, and the true blessedness of life (cf. Acts 17:27). But this exclusiveness contained from the very first the germ of universalism. Abram was called, that through him all the families of the earth might be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). Hence the new form which the divine guidance of the human race assumed in the call of Abram was connected with the general development of the world, - in the one hand, by the fact that Abram belonged to the family of Shem, which Jehovah had blessed, and on the other, by his not being called alone, but as a married man with his wife. But whilst, regarded in this light, the continuity of the divine revelation was guaranteed, as well as the plan of human development established in the creation itself, the call of Abram introduced so far the commencement of a new period, that to carry out the designs of God their very foundations required to be renewed. Although, for example, the knowledge and worship of the true God had been preserved in the families of Shem in a purer form than among the remaining descendants of Noah, even in the house of Terah and worship of God was corrupted by idolatry (Joshua 24:2-3); and although Abram was to become the father of the nation which God was about to form, yet his wife was barren, and therefore, in the way of nature, a new family could not be expected to spring from him.

As a perfectly new beginning, therefore, the patriarchal history assumed the form of a family history, in which the grace of God prepared the ground for the coming Israel. For the nation was to grow out of the family, and in the lives of the patriarchs its character was to be determined and its development foreshadowed. The early history consists of three stages, which are indicated by the three patriarchs, peculiarly so called, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and in the sons of Jacob the unity of the chosen family was expanded into the twelve immediate fathers of the nation. In the triple number of the patriarchs, the divine election of the nation on the one hand, and the entire formation of the character and guidance of the life of Israel on the other, were to attain to their fullest typical manifestation. These two were the pivots, upon which all the divine revelations made to the patriarchs, and all the guidance they received, were made to turn. The revelations consisted almost exclusively of promises; and so far as these promises were fulfilled in the lives of the patriarchs, the fulfilments themselves were predictions and pledges of the ultimate and complete fulfilment, reserved for a distant, or for the most remote futurity. And the guidance vouchsafed had for its object the calling forth of faith in response to the promise, which should maintain itself amidst all the changes of this earthly life. "A faith, which laid hold of the word of promise, and on the strength of that word gave up the visible and present for the invisible and future, was the fundamental characteristic of the patriarchs" (Delitzsch). This faith Abram manifested and sustained by great sacrifices, by enduring patience, and by self-denying by great sacrifices, by enduring patience, and by self-denying obedience of such a kind, that he thereby became the father of believers (πατὴρ πάντων τῶν πιστευόντων, Romans 4:11). Isaac also was strong in patience and hope; and Jacob wrestled in faith amidst painful circumstances of various kinds, until he had secured the blessing of the promise. "Abraham was a man of faith that works; Isaac, of faith that endures; Jacob, of faith that wrestles" (Baumgarten). - Thus, walking in faith, the patriarchs were types of faith for all the families that should spring from them, and be blessed through them, and ancestors of a nation which God had resolved to form according to the election of His grace. For the election of God was not restricted to the separation of Abram from the family of Shem, to be the father of the nation which was destined to be the vehicle of salvation; it was also manifest in the exclusion of Ishmael, whom Abram had begotten by the will of man, through Hagar the handmaid of his wife, for the purpose of securing the promised seed, and in the new life imparted to the womb of the barren Sarai, and her consequent conception and birth of Isaac, the son of promise. And lastly, it appeared still more manifestly in the twin sons born by Rebekah to Isaac, of whom the first-born, Esau, was rejected, and the younger, Jacob, chosen to be the heir of the promise; and this choice, which was announced before their birth, was maintained in spite of Isaac's plans, or that Jacob, and not Esau, received the blessing of the promise. - All this occurred as a type for the future, that Israel might know and lay to heart the fact, that bodily descent from Abraham did not make a man a child of God, but that they alone were children of God who laid hold of the divine promise in faith, and walked in the steps of their forefather's faith (cf. Romans 9:6-13).

If we fix our eyes upon the method of the divine revelation, we find a new beginning in this respect, that as soon as Abram is called, we read of the appearing of God. It is true that from the very beginning God had manifested Himself visibly to men; but in the olden time we read nothing of appearances, because before the flood God had not withdrawn His presence from the earth. Even to Noah He revealed Himself before the flood as one who was present on the earth. But when He had established a covenant with him after the flood, and thereby had assured the continuance of the earth and of the human race, the direct manifestations ceased, for God withdrew His visible presence from the world; so that it was from heaven that the judgment fell upon the tower of Babel, and even the call to Abram in his home in Haran was issued through His word, that is to say, no doubt, through an inward monition. But as soon as Abram had gone to Canaan, in obedience to the call of God, Jehovah appeared to him there (Genesis 12:7). These appearances, which were constantly repeated from that time forward, must have taken place from heaven; for we read that Jehovah, after speaking with Abram and the other patriarchs, "went away" (Genesis 18:33), or "went up" (Genesis 17:22; Genesis 35:13); and the patriarchs saw them, sometimes while in a waking condition, in a form discernible to the bodily senses, sometimes in visions, in a state of mental ecstasy, and at other times in the form of a dream (Genesis 28:12.). On the form in which God appeared, in most instances, nothing is related. But in Genesis 18:1. it is stated that three men came to Abram, one of whom is introduced as Jehovah, whilst the other two are called angels (Genesis 19:1). Beside this, we frequently read of appearances of the "angel of Jehovah" (Genesis 16:7; Genesis 22:11, etc.), or of "Elohim," and the "angel of Elohim" (Genesis 21:17; Genesis 31:11, etc.), which were repeated throughout the whole of the Old Testament, and even occurred, though only in vision, in the case of the prophet Zechariah. The appearances of the angel of Jehovah (or Elohim) cannot have been essentially different from those of Jehovah (or Elohim) Himself; for Jacob describes the appearances of Jehovah at Bethel (Genesis 28:13.) as an appearance of "the angel of Elohim," and of "the God of Bethel" (Genesis 31:11, Genesis 31:13); and in his blessing on the sons of Joseph (Genesis 48:15-16), "The God (Elohim) before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God (Elohim) which fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads," he places the angel of God on a perfect equality with God, not only regarding Him as the Being to whom he has been indebted for protection all his life long, but entreating from Him a blessing upon his descendants.

The question arises, therefore, whether the angel of Jehovah, or of God, was God Himself in one particular phase of His self-manifestation, or a created angel of whom God made use as the organ of His self-revelation.

(Note: In the old Jewish synagogue the Angel of Jehovah was regarded as the Shechinah, the indwelling of God in the world, i.e., the only Mediator between God and the world, who bears in the Jewish theology the name Metatron. The early Church regarded Him as the Logos, the second person of the Deity; and only a few of the fathers, such as Augustine and Jerome, thought of a created angel (vid., Hengstenberg, Christol. vol. 3, app.). This view was adopted by many Romish theologians, by the Socinians, Arminians, and others, and has been defended recently by Hoffmann, whom Delitzsch, Kurtz, and others follow. But the opinion of the early Church has been vindicated most thoroughly by Hengstenberg in his Christology.)

The former appears to us to be the only scriptural view. For the essential unity of the Angel of Jehovah with Jehovah Himself follows indisputably from the following facts. In the first place, the Angel of God identifies Himself with Jehovah and Elohim, by attributing to Himself divine attributes and performing divine works: e.g., Genesis 22:12, "Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me" (i.e., hast been willing to offer him up as a burnt sacrifice to God); again (to Hagar) Genesis 16:10, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude;" Genesis 21, "I will make him a great nation,"-the very words used by Elohim in Genesis 17:20 with reference to Ishmael, and by Jehovah in Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:4-5, with regard to Isaac; also Exodus 3:6., "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob: I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry, and I am come down to deliver them" (cf. Judges 2:1). In addition to this, He performs miracles, consuming with fire the offering placed before Him by Gideon, and the sacrifice prepared by Manoah, and ascending to haven in the flame of the burnt-offering (Judges 6:21; Judges 13:19-20).

Secondly, the Angel of God was recognised as God by those to whom He appeared, on the one hand by their addressing Him as Adonai (i.e., the Lord God; Judges 6:15), declaring that they had seen God, and fearing that they should die (Genesis 16:13; Exodus 3:6; Judges 6:22-23; Judges 13:22), and on the other hand by their paying Him divine honour, offering sacrifices which He accepted, and worshipping Him (Judges 6:20; Judges 13:19-20, cf. Genesis 2:5). The force of these facts has been met by the assertion, that the ambassador perfectly represents the person of the sender; and evidence of this is adduced not only from Grecian literature, but from the Old Testament also, where the addresses of the prophets often glide imperceptibly into the words of Jehovah, whose instrument they are. But even if the address in Genesis 22:16, where the oath of the Angel of Jehovah is accompanied by the words, "saith the Lord," and the words and deeds of the Angel of God in certain other cases, might be explained in this way, a created angel sent by God could never say, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," or by the acceptance of sacrifices and adoration, encourage the presentation of divine honours to himself. How utterly irreconcilable this fact is with the opinion that the Angel of Jehovah was a created angel, is conclusively proved by Revelation 22:9, which is generally regarded as perfectly corresponding to the account of the "Angel of Jehovah" of the Old Testament. The angel of God, who shows the sacred seer the heavenly Jerusalem, and who is supposed to say, "Behold, I come quickly" (Revelation 22:7), and "I am Alpha and Omega" (Revelation 22:13), refuses in the most decided way the worship which John is about to present, and exclaims, "See I am thy fellow-servant: worship God."

Thirdly, the Angel of Jehovah is also identified with Jehovah by the sacred writers themselves, who call the Angel Jehovah without the least reserve (cf. Exodus 3:2 and Exodus 3:4, Judges 6:12 and Judges 6:14-16, but especially Exodus 14:19, where the Angel of Jehovah goes before the host of the Israelites, just as Jehovah is said to do in Exodus 13:21). - On the other hand, the objection is raised, that ἄγγελος κυρίου in the New Testament, which is confessedly the Greek rendering of יהוה מלאך, is always a created angel, and for that reason cannot be the uncreated Logos or Son of God, since the latter could not possibly have announced His own birth to the shepherds at Bethlehem. But this important difference has been overlooked, that according to Greek usage, ἄγγελος κυρίου denotes an (any) angel of the Lord, whereas according to the rules of the Hebrew language יהוה מלאך means the angel of the Lord; that in the New Testament the angel who appears is always described as ἄγγελος κυρίου without the article, and the definite article is only introduced in the further course of the narrative to denote the angel whose appearance has been already mentioned, whereas in the Old Testament it is always "the Angel of Jehovah" who appears, and whenever the appearance of a created angel is referred to, he is introduced first of all as "an angel" (vid., 1 Kings 19:5 and 1 Kings 19:7).

(Note: The force of this difference cannot be set aside by the objection that the New Testament writers follow the usage of the Septuagint, where יהוה מלאך is rendered ἄγγελος κυρίου. For neither in the New Testament nor in the Alex. version of the Old is ἄγγελος κυρίου used as a proper name; it is a simple appellative, as is apparent from the fact that in every instance, in which further reference is made to an angel who has appeared, he is called ὀ ἄγγελος, with or without κυρίου. All that the Septuagint rendering proves, is that the translators supposed "the angel of the Lord" to be a created angel; but it by no means follows that their supposition is correct.)

At the same time, it does not follow from this use of the expression Maleach Jehovah, that the (particular) angel of Jehovah was essentially one with God, or that Maleach Jehovah always has the same signification; for in Malachi 2:7 the priest is called Maleach Jehovah, i.e., the messenger of the Lord. Who the messenger or angel of Jehovah was, must be determined in each particular instance from the connection of the passage; and where the context furnishes no criterion, it must remain undecided. Consequently such passages as Psalm 34:7; Psalm 35:5-6, etc., where the angel of Jehovah is not more particularly described, or Numbers 20:16, where the general term angel is intentionally employed, or Acts 7:30; Galatians 3:19, and Hebrews 2:2, where the words are general and indefinite, furnish no evidence that the Angel of Jehovah, who proclaimed Himself in His appearances as one with God, was not in reality equal with God, unless we are to adopt as the rule for interpreting Scripture the inverted principle, that clear and definite statements are to be explained by those that are indefinite and obscure.

In attempting now to determine the connection between the appearance of the Angel of Jehovah (or Elohim) and the appearance of Jehovah or Elohim Himself, and to fix the precise meaning of the expression Maleach Jehovah, we cannot make use, as recent opponents of the old Church view have done, of the manifestation of God in Genesis 18 and 19, and the allusion to the great prince Michael in Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1; just because neither the appearance of Jehovah in the former instance, nor that of the archangel Michael in the latter, is represented as an appearance of the Angel of Jehovah. We must confine ourselves to the passages in which "the Angel of Jehovah" is actually referred to. We will examine these, first of all, for the purpose of obtaining a clear conception of the form in which the Angel of Jehovah appeared. Genesis 16, where He is mentioned for the first time, contains no distinct statement as to His shape, but produces on the whole the impression that He appeared to Hagar in a human form, or one resembling that of man; since it was not till after His departure that she drew the inference from His words, that Jehovah had spoken with her. He came in the same form to Gideon, and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah with a staff in His hand (Judges 6:11 and Judges 6:21); also to Manoah's wife, for she took Him to be a man of God, i.e., a prophet, whose appearance was like that of the Angel of Jehovah (Judges 13:6); and lastly, to Manoah himself, who did not recognise Him at first, but discovered afterwards, from the miracle which He wrought before his eyes, and from His miraculous ascent in the flame of the altar, that He was the Angel of Jehovah (Judges 13:9-20). In other cases He revealed Himself merely by calling and speaking from heaven, without those who heard His voice perceiving any form at all; e.g., to Hagar, in Genesis 21:17., and to Abraham, Genesis 22:11. On the other hand, He appeared to Moses (Exodus 3:2) in a flame of fire, speaking to him from the burning bush, and to the people of Israel in a pillar of cloud and fire (Exodus 14:19, cf. Exodus 13:21.), without any angelic form being visible in either case. Balaam He met in a human or angelic form, with a drawn sword in His hand (Numbers 22:22-23). David saw Him by the threshing-floor of Araunah, standing between heaven and earth, with the sword drawn in His hand and stretched out over Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 21:16); and He appeared to Zechariah in a vision as a rider upon a red horse (Zechariah 1:9.). - From these varying forms of appearance it is evident that the opinion that the Angel of the Lord was a real angel, a divine manifestation, "not in the disguise of angel, but through the actual appearance of an angel," is not in harmony with all the statements of the Bible. The form of the Angel of Jehovah, which was discernible by the senses, varied according to the purpose of the appearance; and, apart from Genesis 21:17 and Genesis 22:11, we have a sufficient proof that it was not a real angelic appearance, or the appearance of a created angel, in the fact that in two instances it was not really an angel at all, but a flame of fire and a shining cloud which formed the earthly substratum of the revelation of God in the Angel of Jehovah (Exodus 3:2; Exodus 14:19), unless indeed we are to regard natural phenomena as angels, without any scriptural warrant for doing so.

(Note: The only passage that could be adduced in support of this, viz., Psalm 104:4, does not prove that God makes natural objects, winds and flaming fire, into forms in which heavenly spirits appear, or that He creates spirits out of them. Even if we render this passage, with Delitzsch, "making His messengers of winds, His servants of flaming fire," the allusion, as Delitzsch himself observes, is not to the creation of angels; nor can the meaning be, that God gives wind and fire to His angels as the material of their appearance, and as it were of their self-incorporation. For עה, constructed with two accusatives, the second of which expresses the materia ex qua, is never met with in this sense, not even in 2 Chronicles 4:18-22. For the greater part of the temple furniture summed up in this passage, of which it is stated that Solomon made them of gold, was composed of pure gold; and if some of the things were merely covered with gold, the writer might easily apply the same expression to this, because he had already given a more minute account of their construction (e.g., Genesis 3:7). But we neither regard this rendering of the psalm as in harmony with the context, nor assent to the assertion that עשׂה with a double accusative, in the sense of making into anything, is ungrammatical.)<

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