Genesis 21:33
And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.
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(33) And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba.—Heb., a tamarisk tree. Under a noble tree of this kind, which grows to a great size in hot countries, Saul held his court at Gibeah, and under another his bones were laid at Jabesh (1Samuel 22:6; 1Samuel 31:13).

And called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.—Heb., on the name of Jehovah, El ‘olam (comp. Genesis 4:26). In Genesis 14:22, Abraham claimed for Jehovah that he was El ‘elyon, the supreme God; in Genesis 17:1, Jehovah reveals Himself as El shaddai, the almighty God; and now Abraham claims for Him the attribute of eternity. As he advanced in holiness, Abraham also grew in knowledge of the manifold nature of the Deity, and we also more clearly understand why the Hebrews called God, not El, but Elohim. In the plural appellation all the Divine attributes were combined. El might be ‘elyon, or shaddai, or ‘olam; Elohim was all in one.

Genesis 21:33. And Abraham planted a grove — For a shade to his tent, or perhaps an orchard of fruit-trees; and there, though we cannot say he settled, for God would have him while he lived to be a stranger and a pilgrim, yet he sojourned many days. And called there on the name of the Lord — Probably in the grove he planted, which was his oratory, or house of prayer: he kept up public worship, in which, probably, some of his neighbours joined with him. Men should not only retain their goodness wherever they go, but do all they can to propagate it, and make others good. The everlasting God — Though God had made himself known to Abraham as his God in particular, yet he forgets not to give glory to him as the Lord of all, the everlasting God, who was before all worlds, and will be when time and days shall be no more.

21:22-34 Abimelech felt sure that the promises of God would be fulfilled to Abraham. It is wise to connect ourselves with those who are blessed of God; and we ought to requite kindness to those who have been kind to us. Wells of water are scarce and valuable in eastern countries. Abraham took care to have his title to the well allowed, to prevent disputes in future. No more can be expected from an honest man than that he be ready to do right, as soon as he knows he has done wrong. Abraham, being now in a good neighbourhood, stayed a great while there. There he made, not only a constant practice, but an open profession of his religion. There he called on the name of the Lord, as the everlasting God; probably in the grove he planted, which was his place of prayer. Abraham kept up public worship, in which his neighbours might join. Good men should do all they can to make others so. Wherever we sojourn, we must neither neglect nor be ashamed of the worship of Jehovah.Returned unto the land of the Philistines. - Beer-sheba was on the borders of the land of the Philistines. Going therefore to Gerar, they returned into that land. In the transactions with Hagar and with Abimelek, the name God is employed, because the relation of the Supreme Being with these parties is more general or less intimate than with the heir of promise. The same name, however, is used in reference to Abraham and Sarah, who stand in a twofold relation to him as the Eternal Potentate, and the Author of being and blessing. Hence, the chapter begins and ends with Yahweh, the proper name of God in communion with man. "Eshel is a field under tillage" in the Septuagint, and a tree in Onkelos. It is therefore well translated a grove in the King James Version, though it is rendered "the tamarisk" by many. The planting of a grove implies that Abraham now felt he had a resting-place in the land, in consequence of his treaty with Abimelek. He calls upon the name of the Lord with the significant surname of the God of perpetuity, the eternal, unchangeable God. This marks him as the "sure and able" performer of his promise, as the everlasting vindicator of the faith of treaties, and as the infallible source of the believer's rest and peace. Accordingly, Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days.

- Abraham Was Tested

2. מריה morı̂yâh, "Moriah"; Samaritan: מוראה môr'âh; "Septuagint," ὑψηλή hupsēlē, Onkelos, "worship." Some take the word to be a simple derivative, as the Septuagint and Onkelos, meaning "vision, high, worship." It might mean "rebellious." Others regard it as a compound of יה yâh, "Jah, a name of God," and מראה mı̂r'eh, "shown," מורה môreh, "teacher," or מורא môrā', "fear."

14. יראה yı̂r'ēh, "Jireh, will provide."

16, נאם ne'um, ῥῆμα rēma, "dictum, oracle; related: speak low."

21. בוּז bûz, "Buz, scoffing." קמוּאל qemû'ēl, "Qemuel, gathered of God."

22. חזו chăzô, "Chazo, vision." פלדשׁ pı̂ldâsh, "Pildash, steelman? wanderer?" ידלף yı̂dlâp, "Jidlaph; related: trickle, weep." בתוּאל betû'ēl, "Bethuel, dwelling of God."

23. רבקה rı̂bqâh, "Ribqah, noose."

24. ראוּמה re'ûmâh, "Reumah, exalted." טבה ṭebach, "Tebach, slaughter." גחם gacham, "Gacham, brand." תחשׁ tachash, "Tachash, badger or seal." <מעכה ma‛ăkâh, "Ma'akah; related: press, crush."

The grand crisis, the crowning event in the history of Abraham, now takes place. Every needful preparation has been made for it. He has been called to a high and singular destiny. With expectant acquiescence he has obeyed the call. By the delay in the fulfillment of the promise, he has been taught to believe in the Lord on his simple word. Hence, as one born again, he has been taken into covenant with God. He has been commanded to walk in holiness, and circumcised in token of his possessing the faith which purifieth the heart. He has become the intercessor and the prophet. And he has at length become the parent of the child of promise. He has now something of unspeakable worth, by which his spiritual character may be thoroughly tested. Since the hour in which he believed in the Lord, the features of his resemblance to God have been shining more and more through the darkness of his fallen nature - freedom of resolve, holiness of walk, interposing benevolence, and paternal affection. The last prepares the way for the highest point of moral likeness.

Verse 1-19

God tests Abraham's unreserved obedience to his will. "The God." The true, eternal, and only God, not any tempter to evil, such as the serpent or his own thoughts. "Tempted Abraham." To tempt is originally to try, prove, put to the test. It belongs to the dignity of a moral being to be put to a moral probation. Such assaying of the will and conscience is worthy both of God the assayer, and of man the assayed. "Thine only one." The only one born of Sarah, and heir of the promise. "Whom thou lovest." An only child gathers round it all the affections of the parent's heart. "The land of Moriah." This term, though applied in 2 Chronicles 3:1 to the mount on which the temple of Solomon was built, is here the name of a country, containing, it may be, a range of mountains or other notable place to which it was especially appropriated. Its formation and meaning are very doubtful, and there is nothing in the context to lend us any aid in its explanation. It was evidently known to Abraham before he set out on his present journey. It is not to be identified with Moreh in Genesis 12:6, as the two names occur in the same document, and, being different in form, they naturally denote different things. Moreh is probably the name of a man. Moriah probably refers to some event that had occurred in the land, or some characteristic of its inhabitants. If a derivative, like בריה porı̂yâh, "fruitful," it may mean the land of the rebellious, a name not inapposite to any district inhabited by the Kenaanites, who were disposed to rebellion themselves Genesis 14:4, or met with rebellion from the previous inhabitants. If a compound of the divine name, Jah, whatever be the other element, it affords an interesting trace of the manifestation and worship of the true God under the name of Jab at some antecedent period. The land of Moriah comprehended within its range the population to which Melkizedec ministered as priest.

And offer him for a burnt-offering. - Abraham must have felt the outward inconsistency between the sacrifice of his son, and the promise that in him should his seed be called. But in the triumph of faith he accounted that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. On no other principle can the prompt, mute, unquestioning obedience of Abraham be explained. Human sacrifice may have been not unknown; but this in no way met the special difficulty of the promise. The existence of such a custom might seem to have smoothed away the difficulty of a parent offering the sacrifice of a son. But the moral difficulty of human sacrifice is not so removed. The only solution of this, is what the ease itself actually presents; namely, the divine command. It is evident that the absolute Creator has by right entire control over his creatures. He is no doubt bound by his eternal rectitude to do no wrong to his moral creatures. But the creature in the present case has forfeited the life that was given, by sin. And, moreover, we cannot deny that the Almighty may, for a fit moral purpose, direct the sacrifice of a holy being, who should eventually receive a due recompense for such a degree of voluntary obedience. This takes away the moral difficulty, either as to God who commands, or Abraham who obeys. Without the divine command, it is needless to say that it was not lawful for Abraham to slay his son.

Upon one of the hills of which I will tell thee. - This form of expression dearly shows that Moriah was not at that time the name of the particular hill on which the sacrifice was to be offered. It was the general designation of the country in which was the range of hills on one of which the solemn transaction was to take place. "And Abraham rose up early in the morning." There is no hesitation or lingering in the patriarch. If this has to be done, let it be done at once.

33. Abraham planted a grove—Hebrew, "of tamarisks," in which sacrificial worship was offered, as in a roofless temple. Abraham planted a grove, not so much for shade, which yet was pleasant and necessary in these hot regions, as for religious use, that he might retire thither from the noise of worldly business, and freely converse with his Maker. Which practice of his was afterwards abused to superstition and idolatry, for which reason groves were commanded to be cut down. See Deu 12:3 16:21.

Called there on the name of the Lord. He thankfully acknowledging God’s great goodness in giving him the favour and friendship of so great and worthy a prince and neighbour.

And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba,.... The Jewish writers (w) are divided about the use of this grove, as Jarchi relates; one says it was for a paradise or orchard, to produce fruits out of it for travellers and for entertainment; another says it was for an inn to entertain strangers in; it rather was for a shade, to shelter from the sun in those sultry and hot countries; and perhaps for a religious use, and to be an oratory, as the following words seem to suggest: in the midst of it very likely Abraham built an altar, and sacrificed to the Lord; hence might come the superstitious use of groves among the Heathens; and, when they came to be abused to idolatrous purposes, they were forbidden by the law of Moses, which before were lawful. And, though the name of Abraham is not in the text, there is no doubt but he is designed, and was the planter of the grove, and which is expressed in the Septuagint version, as it is supplied by us. What sort of trees this grove consisted of cannot with certainty be said, very probably the oak. R. Jonah (x) thinks it may be the tree which in Arabic they call "ethel", and is a tree like that which is called tamarisk in general it signifies any tree, and especially large trees (y):

and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God; who, is from everlasting to everlasting, or "the God of the world" (z), the Creator and upholder of it, and the preserver of all creatures in it; him Abraham invoked in this place, prayed unto him, and gave him thanks for all the mercies he had received from him.

(w) In T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1.((x) Apud Kimchi, Sepher Shorash. rad. (y) Vid. R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 72. 1.((z) "Dei seculi", Pagninus, Hontanus, Calvin; so Ainsworth.

And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and {n} called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

(n) That is, he worshipped God in all points of true religion.

33. a tamarisk tree] The tamarix syriaca. The Heb. word êshel puzzled the versions; LXX ἄρουραν, Lat. nemus. Tradition probably connected a famous tamarisk, close to the seven sacred springs, with the site of the sanctuary of Beer-sheba; cf. Genesis 26:23-25. See, also, for “tamarisk tree,” 1 Samuel 22:6; 1 Samuel 31:13.

the Everlasting God] Heb. El-Ôlâm. See notes on Genesis 14:18, Genesis 17:1. “The God of Ages,” the name which Abraham here identifies in thought and worship with Jehovah. God does not change, though the defective knowledge of Him in early ages makes way in later time for the fuller Revelation to the Chosen Family.

Verse 33. - And Abraham planted - as a sign of his peaceful occupation of the soil (Calvin); as a memorial of the transaction about the well ('Speaker's Commentary'); or simply as a shade for his tent (Rosenmüller); scarcely as an oratory (Bush, Kalisch) - a grove - the אֵשֶׁל - wood, plantation (Targum, Vulgate, Samaritan, Kimchi); a field, ἄρουραν (LXX.) - was probably the Tamarix Africanae (Gesenius, Furst, Delitzsch, Rosenmüller, Kalisch), which, besides being common in Egypt and Petraea, is mid to have been found growing near the ancient Beersheba - in Beersheba, and called there (not beneath the tree or in the grove, but in the place) on the name of the Lord, - Jehovah (vide Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:4) - the everlasting God - literally, the God of eternity (LXX., Vulgate, Onkelos); not in contrast to heathen deities, who are born and die (Clericus), but "as the everlasting Vindicator of the faith of treaties, and as the infallible Source of the believer's rest and peace" (Murphy). Genesis 21:33Here Abraham planted a tamarisk and called upon the name of the Lord (vid., Genesis 4:26), the everlasting God. Jehovah is called the everlasting God, as the eternally true, with respect to the eternal covenant, which He established with Abraham (Genesis 17:7). The planting of this long-lived tree, with its hard wood, and its long, narrow, thickly clustered, evergreen leaves, was to be a type of the ever-enduring grace of the faithful covenant God.
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