And Abram passed through the land to the place of Sichem, to the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.…
We here enter upon the more special history of Divine appearances. Hitherto the word is described simply as a word - "The Lord said;" now we connect with the word distinct appearances. The plain of Moreh will be ever memorable as the first scene of such revelations. The altar which Abram erected was to the Lord who appeared unto him, i.e. in commemoration of the vision. Thus the long line of theophanies commences. The great lesson of this record is the worship of man proceeding from the gracious revelation of God. True religion is not a spontaneous product of man's nature, but rather a response to God's grace. He appears; the believer to whom the vision is vouchsafed raises an altar not "to the unknown God," but to the God who has appeared to him. Another point in the record is the connection of the promise with the revelation. The Lord appeared, and when he appeared he gave his word of promise: "Unto thy seed will I give this land." Are we not reminded thus early in the history of religion that for its maintenance there is required not only a revelation to the mind and heart by the Spirit, but also a seat of its institutions and community? Religion without a people of God dwelling in the land of privilege, and bound together by the sacred bonds of a Divine fellowship, is no true religion at all. Abram builds altars at the various stages of his pilgrimage, still going south. Although we are not told of a distinct vouchsafement of God in connection with every altar, we may well suppose, especially as the "mountain" is specified, that the altars marked out not mere resting-places, but the scenes of special communion with Jehovah. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.