Genesis 18:7
And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
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Genesis 18:7. Abraham ran to the herd — In the several particulars here mentioned, we have a lively picture of the hospitality, simplicity, benevolence, and liberality of these ancient patriarchs. How different was their manner of life from the refinement and modish formality of the higher classes in modern times!

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.Abraham hastened. - The unvarying customs of Eastern pastoral life here come up before us. There is plenty of flour and of live cattle. But the cakes have to be kneaded and baked on the hearth, and the calf has to be killed and dressed. Abraham personally gives directions, Sarah personally attends to the baking, and the boy or lad - that is, the domestic servant whose business it is - kills and dresses the meat. Abraham himself attends upon his guests. "Three seahs." About three pecks, and therefore a superabundant supply for three guests. An omer, or three tenths of a seah, was considered sufficient for one man for a day Exodus 16:16. But Abraham had a numerous household, and plentifulness was the character of primitive hospitality. "Hearth cakes," baked among the coals. "Butter" - seemingly any preparation of milk, cream, curds, or butter, all of which are used in the East.7. Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf—Animal food is never provided, except for visitors of a superior rank when a kid or lamb is killed. A calf is still a higher stretch of hospitality, and it would probably be cooked as is usually done when haste is required—either by roasting it whole or by cutting it up into small pieces and broiling them on skewers over the fire. It is always eaten along with boiled corn swimming in butter or melted fat, into which every morsel of meat, laid upon a piece of bread, is dipped, before being conveyed by the fingers to the mouth. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Abraham ran unto the herd,.... While Sarah and her maids were kneading the dough and making the cakes:

and fetched a calf tender and good; a fine fat calf, which was reckoned very delicious food, and much in use with the ancients (q) and generally made a part in any grand entertainment, and was accounted fit for a king, see 1 Samuel 28:24,

and gave it unto a young man: one of his servants, to kill and dress as soon as possible; Jarchi says this was Ishmael, whom he trained up to such service:

and he hasted to dress it; the young man made all the haste he could to get it ready, according to the orders of Abraham.

(q) --Orpheus de lapidibus, ver. 63.

And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
7. fetched a calf] We must remember that meat is rarely eaten by the tent-dwelling nomads. The killing of an animal for a repast indicated a desire to do special honour to a guest.

Verse 7. - And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, - the greatness of the honor done to the strangers was evinced by the personal activity of the patriarch, and the offering of animal food, which was not a common article of consumption among Orientals - and gave it unto a young man; - i.e. the servant in attendance (cf. Genesis 14:24) - and he hasted to dress it. Genesis 18:7When the three men had accepted the hospitable invitation, Abraham, just like a Bedouin sheikh of the present day, directed his wife to take three seahs (374 cubic inches each) of fine meal, and back cakes of it as quickly as possible (עגּות round unleavened cakes baked upon hot stones); he also had a tender calf killed, and sent for milk and butter, or curdled milk, and thus prepared a bountiful and savoury meal, of which the guests partook. The eating of material food on the part of these heavenly beings was not in appearance only, but was really eating; an act which may be attributed to the corporeality assumed, and is to be regarded as analogous to the eating on the part of the risen and glorified Christ (Luke 24:41.), although the miracle still remains physiologically incomprehensible.
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