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In this Chapter, we have the account of another revelation of the divine will, which God was pleased to make to Abraham. The subject of the conversation is also recorded, and the hospitable manner in which the Patriarch received the messengers. A renewal of the divine promise, concerning a son by Sarah, is now made, and the time fixed for its accomplishment. The purposes of God relating to the destruction of Sodom, are made known to Abraham; and the Patriarch's intercession for the salvation of the place, is also taken notice of in this Chapter.
Genesis 18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
In what manner the Lord appeared is not said, but the Reader is enabled to form an idea by what follows. See Judges 13:21; Judges 13:21 .
And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
That is a sweet precept of the Holy Ghost by the Apostle, and founded, no doubt, on this circumstance. Hebrews 13:2 .
And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
I beg the Reader to remark with me, the change of person in this verse to the former. There the appearance was spoken of as three men. Here Abraham addresses but one, and calls him Lord. Compare this with Genesis 18:12 , then read Genesis 18:15 ; and compare that again with John 5:22 . Let the Reader duly consider that feature of character peculiarly belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ; and let him determine (for I don't presume) whether this be not the Christ?
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
Washing the feet in Eastern countries, was part of the courtesy shewn, to travellers. Hence 1 Timothy 5:10 ; Luke 7:44 .
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.
Observe Abraham's liberality and hospitality. Isaiah 32:8 ; Hebrews 13:2 .
And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
Here the speaker is expressly called Jehovah; so in Genesis 18:17 and following verses.
Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
Isaiah 57:11 . What mercy that she was not instantly struck dead! Reader! hath not the same mercy been yours also, in the numberless instances of your unbelief?
Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Reader! do not overlook what the Holy Ghost hath caused to be marked so often, the cause why so much grace was shewn to Abraham; even for that promised seed, the Lord Jesus.
The letter H added to both the names, Abram and Sarai, has been thought, not only to imply this wonderful encrease, as above mentioned, (see Genesis 17:0 ) but also, being a radical letter in the sacred name jah, or Jehovah, it has been thought to intimate a nearer relation in the covenant of grace.
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Precious testimony to Abraham's character, as a Parent and a Master! How true is what St. Paul saith, Titus 3:8 .
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
Observe! Sin is said to cry for judgment.
I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
This is spoken of after the manner of men. See Genesis 11:5 .
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
A striking verse to point out the immense distinction of character between two of the men which accompanied the third, and the Lord of whom it is said, that Abraham stood yet before him. See Genesis 19:1 .
The following is the first form of prayer recorded in the Bible, and observe it is all along in the style of intercession. Was not Abraham here, a type of the blessed Jesus? Luke 13:9 .
And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
I would not interrupt the Reader with either references or remarks, through the whole of this sweet prayer, and now only at the end of it, beg the Reader to determine, how it was the communion broke off, since God was so gracious and Abraham so successful: Did the patriarch conclude, that if less than Ten righteous persons were in Sodom, the place ought not to have been saved: or, was it that the decree having gone forth, God restrained prayer in his servant? See Jeremiah 7:16 and Jeremiah 11:14 . But what a delightful consideration it is, that though Abraham gave over interceding, Jesus never doth. And though Abraham could not find ten, nor even one righteous man in Sodom to save that city from destruction; yet Jehovah himself hath found One in the Sodom of our earth, for whose sake he hath spared, and will everlastingly spare, his redeemed. Yes! the Lord hath laid help upon One that is mighty, whose name is Wonderful. Jesus hath been found tabernacling in our nature, by whose perfect obedience and death, he hath magnified the divine law, and made it honourable, and hath brought in an everlasting righteousness, which is unto all, and upon all, that believe. Oh! blessed be God for Jesus Christ!
How sweet were those days of primitive simplicity, when men were in the habit of enjoying intercourse of friendship with Angels. And if (as there seems great reason to suppose), one of those celestial visitors which called on Abraham, was indeed the Son of God, in an human form; what a charming evidence doth it give of favour and condescension on the part of God, and of happiness on the part of man.
But stop, my soul! pause over the thought, and remark with suitable joy and thankfulness, the far happier state of the Church in the present hour, among those highly favoured saints unto whom the Lord Jesus manifests himself, otherwise than he doth to the world Since those days of Abraham, the Son of God hath come down, not merely in the form, but really and truly man, and dwelt among us. And his gracious visits have been, not as in the earlier ages when his name was secret, but to everyone unto whom his blessed Spirit hath made him known, and they have seen his glory: the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
In beholding the patriarch Abraham drawing near and pleading with God for Sodom, who can forbear to call to mind that precious character of the Lord Jesus; or overlook that gracious Intercessor with God for his people, whom the Father heareth alway. My soul! never, I charge thee, forget thy Jesus, in this his High-Priestly office. Only for thy comfort recollect, that though Abraham's mediation was not successful, such can never be the issue of the Redeemer's pleading. He ever liveth to make intercession. And oh! the blessedness of that assurance: he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17