Genesis 18:5
And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort you your hearts; after that you shall pass on: for therefore are you come to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Comfort ye your hearts.—Heb., strengthen ye, the original meaning of comfort, a word formed from the Latin fortis = strong, brave. The heart in Hebrew is the sum total of all the powers, mental and bodily, of the whole man.

After that ye shall pass on.—Coming at noon, the travellers after rest and refreshment would continue their journey. It is quite plain that Abraham still regarded them as passing wayfarers.

Therefore . . . —Abraham thus suggests that his tent was pitched near to the route on purpose that he might exercise that hospitality which was and continues to be the sacred duty of an Arab sheik.

18:1-8 Abraham was waiting to entertain any weary traveller, for inns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thus sitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenly beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the covenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates, where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares, Heb 13:2; nay, the Lord of angels himself; as we always do, when for his sake we entertain the least of his brethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are great ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lord vouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit he stands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, he deigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides a rich feast, of which we partake with him, Re 3:20.O Lord. - Abraham uses the word אדני 'adonāy denoting one having authority, whether divine or not. This the Masorites mark as sacred, and apply the vowel points proper to the word when it signifies God. These men in some way represent God; for "the Lord" on this occasion appeared unto Abraham Genesis 18:1. The number is in this respect notable. Abraham addresses himself first to one person Genesis 18:3, then to more than one Genesis 18:4-5. It is stated that "'they' said, So do Genesis 18:5, 'they' did eat Genesis 18:8, ' they' said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife" Genesis 18:9. Then the singular number is resumed in the phrase "'and he said'" Genesis 18:10, and at length, "The Lord said unto Abraham" Genesis 18:13, and then, "and he said" Genesis 18:15. Then we are told "'the men' rose up, and Abraham went with them" Genesis 18:16. Then we have "The Lord said" twice Genesis 18:17, Genesis 18:20. And lastly, it is said Genesis 18:22 "'the men' turned their faces and went toward Sodom, and Abraham was yet standing before the Lord." From this it appears that of the three men one, at all events, was the Lord, who, when the other two went toward Sodom, remained with Abraham while he made his intercession for Sodom, and afterward he also went his way. The other two will come before us again in the next chapter. Meanwhile, we have here the first explicit instance of the Lord appearing as man to man, and holding familiar conversation with him.

The narrative affords a pleasing instance of the primitive manners of the East. The hospitality of the pastoral tribes was spontaneous and unreserved. The washing of the feet, which were partly at least uncovered in walking, the reclining under the tree, and the offer of refreshment, are indicative of an unchanging rural simplicity. The phrases "a little water, a morsel of bread," flow from a thoughtful courtesy. "Therefore are ye come." In the course of events it has so fallen out, in order that you might be refreshed. The brief reply is a frank and unaffected acceptance of the hospitable invitation.

5. for therefore are ye come—No questions were asked. But Abraham knew their object by the course they took—approaching directly in front of the chief sheik's tent, which is always distinguishable from the rest and thus showing their wish to be his guests. Therefore are ye come to your servant; not that he saith or thought that this was their design, but an effect of Divine Providence. The meaning is, Therefore hath God directed you this way, that I might have an occasion of performing my duty to you, which I cheerfully embrace. And I will fetch a morsel of bread,.... A piece or a loaf of bread, as De Dieu shows the word signifies; bread being put for all the necessaries of life:

and comfort ye your hearts; eat to refresh your spirits and renew your strength, that ye may be able to pursue your journey: and

after that ye shall pass on your way; I will retard you no longer:

for therefore are ye come to your servant; not that he thought they came this way on purpose to take some refreshment with him, but so it was ordered by the providence of God; and since it was, he desires that they would accept of his invitation:

and they said, so do as thou hast said; they agreed to it, that water should be fetched to wash their feet, and food for them to eat.

And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye {d} come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

(d) As sent by God that I should do my duty to you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. a morsel of bread] Cf. Jdg 19:5. With true Oriental subservience of speech Abraham gives this description of the generous entertainment which he intends to provide. For this modesty of speech as a formula of courtesy, cf. Genesis 13:9, Genesis 23:11; 2 Samuel 24:22-23.

comfort ye your heart] As in Jdg 19:5; Jdg 19:8; lit. “support your heart,” Lat. confortate cor vestrum. The English word “comfort,” derived from the Lat., originally had the meaning of “strengthen.” The Heb. word here used is found in Psalm 104:15, “bread that strengthened man’s heart.”

forasmuch as] Marg. for therefore: cf. Genesis 19:8, Genesis 33:10 (J). Abraham graciously assumes that the strangers have only honoured him with a visit, in order to allow him to provide for their refreshment and entertainment on their journey.Verse 5. - And I will fetch a morsel of bread, - a modest description of what proved a sumptuous repast (vide Vers. 6, 8) - and comfort ye your hearts; - literally, strengthen or support them, i.e. by eating and drinking (Judges 19:5; 1 Kings 21:7) - after that ye shall pass on: for therefore - כִּי־עַל־כֵּן introduces the ground of what has already been stated, something like quando quidem, forasmuch as (Ewald, 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 353), since, or because (Kalisch), and not = עַל־כֵּש־כִּי, for this cause that (Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 155), or "because for this purpose" (Keil) - are ye come to (literally, have ye passed before) thy servant. The patriarch's meaning is not that they had come with the design of receiving his gifts (LXX., A.V.), but either that, unconsciously to them, God had ordered their journey so as to give him this opportunity (Calvin, Bush, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Keil), or perhaps simply that since they had passed by his tent they should suffer him to accord them entertainment (Kalisch, Rosenmüller). And they said, So do, as thou but said. Therefore we must believe that Abraham washed the men's feet, and they did eat (Ver. 8). Here is a mystery (Wordsworth). When God had finished His address and ascended again, Abraham immediately fulfilled the covenant duty enjoined upon him, by circumcision himself on that very day, along with all the male members of his house. Because Ishmael was 13 years old when he was circumcised, the Arabs even now defer circumcision to a much later period than the Jews, generally till between the ages of 5 and 13, and frequently even till the 13th year.
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