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American Standard Version with Notes

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An * beside a note indicates it was taken from a bible student source.

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Genesis Chapter Fifteen


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50



1. After these things the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward.

THESE words were addressed to the "father of the faithful," and as a heritage they descend to his children—to all those who are of the faith of Abraham (Gal. 3:7Rom. 4:16), whether of the fleshly or the spiritual seed. Abram had entered into covenant relationship with God. God had called him to separate himself from his native country and kindred and friends to follow the course of his providential leadings toward an unknown land. And Abram, in full reliance on the promise of God, had obediently severed the familiar social and business ties, and, with his wife and family and father and nephew who shared his faith and obedience to God, started on his pilgrimage to the unknown land.  And having entered the land and received the promise—"All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever," etc.—though he was not then permitted to own a foot of it, he wandered up and down in it as a pilgrim and stranger, encountering difficulties, too, in coming in contact with the godless inhabitants of the land and with the Egyptians, yet always believing that what God had promised he was able and willing also to perform in his own good time and way. R1905

It was directly after his experience in the delivery of Lot and the defeat of Chedorlaomer, and while Abraham was evidently feeling somewhat disheartened or discouraged, that the Lord again manifested himself to him. We do not know the cause of the discouragement, but may infer that he realized that in his attack upon, and defeat of the army and the military [R2853 : page 248] forces behind it, he had probably incurred a displeasure which could not be wiped out by anything short of the destruction of his own camp. As ever, Abraham was peaceably disposed; and the battle he had just won implied the straining of his whole nature. He had done what he considered to be his duty in the interest of justice, and especially in the defense of his own ward, Lot; but now that the excitement was past the reaction set in, and with it certain gloomy feelings and forebodings. So also some of the Lord's people today have moments in which for various reasons the flame of faith and hope smokes, and darkens the eyes of their understanding and the clearness of their perception of the divine character and plan; but if they still hold firmly by faith to the hands of divine providence they will find, as Abraham did, that even the trials and difficulties and discouragements of life will be overruled for good to them.

It was while Abraham was downcast that the Lord appeared to him in vision and said to him, in the language of our Golden Text, "Fear not Abraham: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Apparently this was the great lesson that God was teaching him and which he was learning by the experience permitted, much better than had the Lord not delayed some of the promised favors. Abraham was now 84 years old; and, altho wealthy and highly favored of the Lord, he was a pilgrim and a stranger, away from kindred and home through his respect to the divine call and promise. He had no children to cheer and enliven and comfort his home, and even his nephew, Lot, whom he had not detained unwillingly, had preferred the companionship of the wicked and had left him, and even when rescued from his enemies, at the cost of danger and sacrifice, he had not appreciated the matter fully, and still preferred the strangers.

No wonder poor Abraham felt as tho his life, passing quickly by, was a comparative failure—no wonder he felt discouraged. How the words of the vision must have brought new thoughts, new sentiments to his heart; God was his shield—to protect him, to guard him from the anger and power of all the kings of earth and their armies, and able and willing to make all things work together for his good. What a comfort was in this thought. How it reminds us that God is our shield also; our protector from every evil thing and power. The thought is beautifully expressed in one of our hymns:—

"Shield of my soul, tho tempests rage,
And 'gainst me hosts of foes engage,
My refuge and my fortress thou;
Before thee every foe must bow."R1905

In our present lesson we have one of these repetitions of the covenant with some peculiar features. (V. 1.) In a vision the Lord assured him that he should not fear, that his God would be his shield and his exceeding great reward. Quite probably a fear had come to Abraham, in connection with the deliverance of his nephew Lot, that the kings whom he had ignominiously defeated would return better prepared, better on guard, and wreak their vengeance upon him, and that thus he might be interrupting, interfering, with the [R3944 : page 57] promise God had made that he and his posterity should inherit the land of Canaan. The declaration, "I am thy shield," would set at rest any doubts or fears along this line, as we elsewhere read, "When he giveth quietness who then can make trouble?" If the Lord would shield him how then could all the kings of earth do him harm or interrupt the divine program for blessing him and his posterity? The other statement is also worthy of notice: "I am thy exceeding great reward." Already he was the recipient of God's favors, rewards for his faith and obedience, and the promises also were in the line of rewards. But the statement here made went beyond all this and enumerates a still higher, grander truth, namely, that as Abraham had given himself fully to God, the latter now declares that in a sense he would give himself to Abraham, he would be his reward—to have his friendship, his fellowship, his love, his care, would be the highest and best reward that could possibly be given to Abraham for his fidelity. R3944

2. And Abram said, O Lord Jehovah, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?


From Strong's 461, eliezer, God is Help.

The stewart of Abraham's house. Although his name is not mentioned, he was undoubtably the one sent by Abraham to seek a wife for his son Isaac.  (Genesis 24)

2. The son of Becher, and grandson of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 7:8)

3. A son of Moses, born in Midian (Exodus 18:41 Chronicles 23:15, 17). He remained with his mother, brother, and grandfather when Moses returned to Egypt. (Exodus 18:4). When Jethro learned Moses had left Egypt, they returned to Moses.

4. A priest who blew the trumpet before the ark when it was brought to Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles 15:24)

5. A son of Zichri, who was a chief of the Reubenites under David. (1 Chronicles 27:16)

6. A prophet, son of Dodavahu of Mareshah, in the time of Jehoshaphat who prophesied the destruction of the ships which Jehochaphat, king of Judah, built, because he had done so in cooperation with Ahaziah, king of Israel(2 Chronicles 20:37)

7. A messenger Ezra sent to Iddo, the chief at Casiphia, with the request for ministers for the Temple (Ezra 8:16)

8. A priest and descendant of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, who took a foreign wife in the time of Ezra. (Ezra 10:18)

9. A Levite who married a foreign wife. (Ezra 10:23)

10. The son of Hiram who took a foreign wife. (Ezra 10:31)

11. An ancestor of Jesus. (Luke 3:29)


But that which taxed Abram's faith most was that, as the years rolled by, not only was the promise of the land delayed, but also the promised heirs who should inherit it; for not even one heir had yet come.

It was in one of these seasons of discouragement—though not of despair, for Abram never relaxed his faith, but trusted and hoped still when in darkness and perplexity—that God in a vision graciously encouraged his fainting heart with the above words of cheer and hope—"Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward." Then Abram was permitted to inquire into the mysterious ways of God and received the renewed assurance that the promise had not been forgotten, and that his hope would certainly be realized. R1905

Abraham's servant, Eliezer, was elected to be a type of the holy Spirit, whose mission it should be to invite the Church, and to assist her, and ultimately to bring her and the virgins, her companions, to Isaac. F171


3. And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.




4. And, behold, the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This man shall not be thine heir; But he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

The latter part of the message is no less striking: the fact that, nor flocks nor herds nor servants nor children nor friends, were to be the prize upon which his heart should be set; but that God himself was to be his reward;—the having of God for a friend and counselor and guide was to be esteemed far beyond every earthly interest and blessing. And so it is also with the Church of the Gospel age. We may have blessings or adversities or both, as respects the present life. We have promises which pertain to the life that now is and also to that which is to come; but all of these together are inferior, subordinate to the one great thought that God, the great Creator is ours,—our Father, our God, our Friend.

Undoubtedly Abraham's heart was comforted by this message; and yet his reason was still operative, and hence his inquiry of the Lord, How can you bless me and fulfil to me your gracious promises, seeing that I go childless—seeing that my servant Eliezer and his children are the only heirs apparent for my estate? Is [R2854 : page 248] it wonderful, Lord, that I should feel discouraged, seeing that apparently the most indispensable part of your promise is unfulfilled for now fourteen years, and that Sarah and myself are growing old; and that even my nephew, Lot, who might have perpetuated the family and been the heir of my estate, cares not for me and has gone from me? 

The Lord was not displeased to have Abraham use his reason in this manner, for it was not a reasoning of skepticism or doubt as respected the divine power, but merely the proper questioning of faith as to how the promises on which he had left his home could be fulfilled; and a request for guidance in understanding. And so may we inquire of the Lord respecting his gracious promises. Indeed, he invites us to reason, saying, "Come, let us reason together." In Abraham's case the Lord merely repeated and amplified previous statements to the effect that he should have a child of his own who should be his heir; and leading him out from his dwelling in the starry night, he assured him that his children would yet be multitudinous as the stars of heaven. This feature of the promise evidently applies to the spiritual Seed—the Christ, the elect of God, Head and body, as explained by the Apostle. (Gal. 3:291 Pet. 1:2.) The other expressions,—"as the dust of the earth," and "as the sands of the sea," represent, not the natural children of Abraham, but the whole number of the human family who, under the blessing of the spiritual Seed, during the Millennium, shall ultimately attain to the faithand obedience of Abraham, and full human restitution and the Lord's reward for these—life everlasting.—Rom. 11:12,15,32.

The record is that Abraham believed on the Lord—his faith in God triumphed over every obstacle and rested securely, confidently;—his doubts and fears fleeing away. The faith of Abraham is the particular point [R2854 : page 249] of his character prominently set before us in the Scriptures for the encouragement of our faith, for our example. Abraham was not perfect, even as others of our race are imperfect,—"There is none righteous, no, not one." (Rom. 3:10.) But we are told that God so highly esteemed Abraham's faith that he counted it as making up for his natural blemishes and imperfections. "It was counted [reckoned] to him for righteousness." (Rom. 4:3.) He had faith in what God had told him, and, as James (2:22) points out, he manifested his faith by his general conduct. We of the Gospel age are also justified by faith—righteousness is reckoned to us through the exercise of faith—but not faith in the same promises.

God does not promise us earthly children nor an earthly inheritance in the land of Palestine as he did promise to Abraham; hence we are not to have faith in the same things. As the Apostle says, God has given unto us "exceeding great and precious promises"—promises much greater than those given to Abraham: heavenly, instead of earthly promises. We are to believe the promises given to us and to act upon them as implicitly as Abraham believed the promises given to him and acted upon them. The promises made to Abraham were attested by the Lord's word and by his oath, and similarly, tho on a still higher plane, the Lord has made known to us, has attested to us, his love and power, and his willingness to perform for us all the good things promised. R2853


5. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Only of late have Bible students discerned that Abraham is to have two seeds, exclusive of the Ishmaelites of the Law, or Hagar Covenant. "Thy Seed shall be as the stars of heaven, and as the sands of the seashore." The stars of heaven fitly picture to us a glorified Christ and His Church, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, changed from human nature to Divine nature, from earthly conditions to heavenly conditions. These are the heirs of Galatians 3:29, and are referred to by St. Paul again when he says, "As star differeth from star in glory, so is the resurrection of THE dead."—1 Corinthians 15:41,42. R5177 

But God's glorious Plan will only begin its accomplishment in the glorification of the Church. All the families of the earth, like the sands of the seashore, will be privileged to come into relationship with God under Messiah's Kingdom. All who will then knowingly and wilfully reject the Divine arrangement will be cut off in the Second Death. But all who then will accept the terms of Messiah's Kingdom and become obedient thereto will be gradually brought to perfection, and because of faith and obedience become identified with God and become the earthly, or human seed of Abraham, blessed with human perfection and everlasting life in an earthly Eden.

Undoubtedly Abraham's heart was comforted by this message; and yet his reason was still operative, and hence his inquiry of the Lord, How can you bless me and fulfil to me your gracious promises, seeing that I go childless—seeing that my servant Eliezer and his children are the only heirs apparent for my estate? Is[R2854 : page 248] it wonderful, Lord, that I should feel discouraged, seeing that apparently the most indispensable part of your promise is unfulfilled for now fourteen years, and that Sarah and myself are growing old; and that even my nephew, Lot, who might have perpetuated the family and been the heir of my estate, cares not for me and has gone from me? The Lord was not displeased to have Abraham use his reason in this manner, for it was not a reasoning of skepticism or doubt as respected the divine power, but merely the proper questioning of faith as to how the promises on which he had left his home could be fulfilled; and a request for guidance in understanding. And so may we inquire of the Lord respecting his gracious promises. Indeed, he invites us to reason, saying, "Come, let us reason together." In Abraham's case the Lord merely repeated and amplified previous statements to the effect that he should have a child of his own who should be his heir; and leading him out from his dwelling in the starry night, he assured him that his children would yet be multitudinous as the stars of heaven. This feature of the promise evidently applies to the spiritual Seed—the Christ, the elect of God, Head and body, as explained by the Apostle. (Gal. 3:291 Pet. 1:2.) The other expressions,—"as the dust of the earth," and "as the sands of the sea," represent, not the natural children of Abraham, but the whole number of the human family who, under the blessing of the spiritual Seed, during the Millennium, shall ultimately attain to the faithand obedience of Abraham, and full human restitution and the Lord's reward for these—life everlasting.—Rom. 11:12,15,32. R2853


6. And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.

he Scriptures state that Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness. (Gen. 15:6.) God must have had some dealings with Abraham [R5207 : page 92] before he believed or there would have been nothing for Abraham to believe. Evidently God had had some communication with him before faith and trust could have brought him into even a tacitly justified condition.

Abraham sought to be as nearly perfect in conduct as possible, and to do those things which are pleasing to God. After he had manifested his desire to be obedient, God said, If you will prove your faith by leaving your native land and risking the loss of your present earthly comforts and of the home of your childhood, I will make a Covenant with you. Abraham believed God.As soon as opportunity was afforded, Abraham left Chaldea and journeyed to Haran. Later, God made him certain promises on condition that he would go into the land of Canaan. After he had entered Canaan, God said, "All the land which thou canst see will I give unto thee and to thy seed after thee." (Gen. 13:15.) Abraham was called "The Friend of God." (James 2:23.) St. Paul tells us that God preached the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."—Galatians 3:8Genesis 12:3. R5206

God had promised to make a definite covenant with Abram before he left his native land, Haran. (Gen. 12:1-4.) He actually made that covenant after Abram had complied with the conditions and come into the land of Canaan. (Gen. 12:6,7.) And now, in the words of this lesson, we find God encouraging Abram's faith by amplifying and explaining that covenant, and counseling him to continue to keep his heart in the proper attitude to receive such favors, saying, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will perform my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly."

The covenant was to give all "the land of Canaan" to Abram and to his seed for an everlasting possession. The terms of the covenant clearly indicate an earthly inheritance, an inheritance of that which Abram actually saw with his natural eyes. And Abraham (for his name was here changed as a confirmation of the covenant) [R1617 : page 45] believed the word of the Lord, and never relaxed his faith, even to his dying day; for, says Paul, he "died in faith, not having received the promises; but, having seen them afar off, he was persuaded of them and embraced them" (Heb. 11:13), although, during his past life, as Stephen said, "God gave him none inheritance in the land; no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child."—Acts 7:5.

That was indeed a remarkable covenant, and a wonderful manifestation of the favor of God toward his faithful servant Abraham; and it was a remarkable faith on the part of Abraham which was able to grasp and appreciate a promise whose realization must be beyond the floods of death; and extending to a posterity so numerous as to be beyond all hope of reckoning.

But, great as was Abraham's faith, there was a feature of that covenant of which it was impossible for him to have the slightest conception; for it was to have both a literal and an anti-typical fulfilment. This we are enabled to see from subsequent divine revelations through the Apostle Paul, who shows that the seed of Abraham was to be understood in two senses: that there was to be a natural seed, an Israel after the flesh (1 Cor. 10:18), and a spiritual seed, "which seed is Christ" (Head and body): "and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's [antitypical] seed and heirs of the [antitypical] promise" (Gal. 3:7,29), which includes a much more glorious inheritance than the earthly possessions of the fleshly seed, rich indeed though their portion will be; for Christ is the heir of all things, and those who are Christ's are heirs together with him of all things. All things are yours, for ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's, who created all things by and for his well beloved Son.—Heb. 1:2Rom. 8:171 Cor. 3:21-23Col. 1:16.

A hint of this double significance of the promise to Abraham was given for our benefit in the illustrations which God gave of his numerous posterity. They were to be as the sand by the sea-shore and as the stars of heaven (Gen. 22:17)—the former an apt illustration of the fleshly, and the latter of the spiritual seed. R1617 


7. And he said unto him, I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

We have already referred to the fact that God agreed to make a covenant with Abraham while he was still living in the land of Chaldea, and that the covenant itself was consummated and made applicable to Abraham from the time that he set his foot upon the land of promise in obedience to the divine call. But for his encouraging and the strengthening of his already great faith, God repeated this promise over and over in different terms. (See Gen. 12:1-313:14-1715:1,5,1817:1-1018:1921:1222:16-18.) There was in fact but one covenant, but various statements of it. R3944


8. And he said, O Lord Jehovah, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?


The Covenant of God to Abraham. This covenant seems to comprehend and include a blessing on the natural fleshly descendants, as well as upon the higher, spiritual, Seed, "which Seed is Christ; and if ye be Christ's (body), then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to (this) promise." If this thought be borne in mind, it will assist us in grasping the full meaning of this Covenant. The spiritual seed is called the "blessing seed" and "stars of heaven." It is prophesied that "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever." (Dan. 12:3.) And Jesus calls himself "the bright and morning star." This thought seems to have had more weight and meaning with the ancients, who looked up to the stars with superstitious reverence, believing that they controlled the destinies both of nations and of men. So probably this portion of the covenant represented by stars signifies heavenly rulers—Christ and his Bride.The natural descendants are probably meant when mention is made of "a great nation" possessing "this land"—Canaan—said to be as [R4370 : page 109] the "sand of the sea." This represents an earthly people as plainly as the stars do the heavenly. Let us read the covenant and see that it contains these two elements, and recognizes both natural and spiritual Israel. (Gen. 12:2,313:14-1615:18, and 22:16-18). Paul assures us that "the seed" referred to in this covenant is Christ. (Gal. 3:16.) Fleshly Israel lost this, the cream or choicest part of the covenant—the spiritual. As Paul says (Rom. 11:7): "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it." But the losing of this better part does not cut them off entirely from having a part in that covenant. "For brethren, that you may not be conceited with yourselves" (thinking that all of God's favor and covenant are taken from them and given to you), "I wish you not to be ignorant of this secret: that hardness in some measure has happened to Israel till the fulness of the Gentiles may come in" (i.e., until the bride selected from the Gentiles has been completed). "And then all Israel will be saved, as it has been written, The Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob," and "This is THE COVENANT WITH THEM FROM ME, when I shall take away their sins."—Rom. 11:25—"Diaglott." R4370

9. And he said unto him, Take me a heifer three years old, and a she-goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon.

DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—The other day, having read the 15th chapter of Genesis, the 9th verse seemed to suggest that the years mentioned had some meaning, and, doing a little figuring, here is the result. In the 8th verse Abraham asked some proof that he should inherit the land promised him in the seventh verse. In verse 9 the Lord said to Abraham, "Take me an heifer three years old, and a she goat three years old, and a ram three years old, a turtle dove and a young pigeon." Now a bird is usually considered young up to one year old. So I figured three years each for the heifer, goat and ram—nine years—and one year each for the birds, eleven years in all. Eleven prophetic years of 360 days each equals 3,960. A day for a year gives us 3,960 years. On page 42, Vol. II., of the DAWNS we have the chronology as

From the Covenant to the giving of the Law...... 430 years
To the division of Canaan....................... 46 "
Period of the Judges............................ 450 "
" Kings............................. 513 "
" " Desolation........................ 70 "
Thence to A.D. 1................................ 536 "
Total from the Covenant to A.D. 1...............2045 "

2045 taken from the 3960 years leaves 1915 years from A.D. 1, which seems to be the proof Abraham asked of the Lord whereby he should know that he would inherit the land. This seems at least to be a remarkable coincidence.

Wishing you God's rich blessing, I remain yours in the blessed Redeemer,

GEO. MATTHEWS,—Ohio. R3956

10. And he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each half over against the other: but the birds divided he not.



11. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.


12. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him.


13. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

This distinction between affliction and the bondage of the Israelites (the former including the latter, but not confined to it) throws light upon the difficulty which is often experienced respecting the period of 400 years here mentioned. The actual bondage in Egypt was of comparatively short duration (one-half of 430 years); but the affliction of the seed of Abraham commenced in his son, Isaac. The interval between Isaac's birth and the Exodus was 405 years; and if we place the predicted affliction of the seed to commence in Isaac's 5th year, when he would begin to feel the effects of Ishmael's mockery, we then have the afflictions enduring 400 years, and including in the last period of it the bondage. What is said (Exod. 12:40) about the sojourning of the people 430 years before the Exodus presents no difficulty in the way of this solution, but rather confirms it; because it is evident from Gal. 3:17, that this period of 430 years is to be reckoned from the giving of the promise to Abraham, which was first done 25 years before the birth of Isaac. This corresponds exactly, and was the whole period of sojourn, including the other two periods, which are more actually characterized as, first, the period of affliction, and finally, the period of actual slavery.

I remain, Yours in the Kingdom hope, JAMES HAY,—England.

14. and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

RETRIBUTION seems to be a law more easily discerned in national than in individual affairs. "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after" (1 Tim. 5:24); but, since nations will have no resurrection as nations, it is but justice that the reaping as well as the sowing should always come in "this present evil world [age]."When God foretold to Abraham Israel's bondage and oppression in Egypt, he added, "And also that nation whom they shall serve, I will judge." (Gen. 15:14.) And only from this standpoint of retribution can we proper. And in this we seem to have an illustration of a general law whose operation can only be clearly discerned through the glass of history which takes in the sweep of centuries—the Law of Retribution. r2305


15. But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.




16. And in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.


"The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof." He, therefore, had the right to give Canaan to the descendants of Abraham without giving a reason why to any creature. He had a right to give it when and how and to whom he pleased. He does, however, condescend to inform us that in blotting out these many little nations of Palestine, descendants of Noah's grandson Canaan, he did so not along arbitrary lines, but along lines of justice. These Canaanites (also known as Hittites, and by various other tribal names, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Jebusites and Amorites) were not ignorant savages, but quite civilized peoples who, after the manner of the Sodomites, had gone into great excesses of licentious idolatry. In Abraham's time God foresaw where their course would lead them, but he delayed to bring the promised seed of Abraham into their land for a time, because as we read, "the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet come to the full."—Gen. 15:16.

These people were to be destroyed by the Israelites for two reasons; first, to have permitted them to live and to become incorporated with the Israelites in the land, by intermarriage, etc., would have been injurious to the seed of Abraham which God intended to develop, and of which he designed to make types of spiritual Israel. Furthermore, in the type which the Lord was making on a large scale, these Canaanites or Amorites represented the weaknesses and imperfections of the fallen nature. They symbolized sin; and their destruction by the Israelites prefigured the destruction of sin, the blotting out of the blemishes of sin, and the gradual uplifting of God's people in the antitype of Canaan—in the Millennial Kingdom.

The chief difficulty in most minds, in connection with this slaughtering of the inhabitants of Canaan lies in the unscriptural thought, brought into Christian creeds during the dark ages, that the apparent death of an individual is really his entrance into more abundant life, either under pleasurable or tormenting conditions. And since these Canaanites were declared to be disapproved of God, the general thought respecting them is that while the Israelites killed them and took possession of their property, they, without further opportunity, were thrown at once under the control of devils and into an eternity of flaming torture. There is nothing of this kind connected with the Bible narrative. It is all the addition of human imagination, built upon numerous fantastic speculations of the dark ages. According to the Scriptures, death is really death, and these Canaanites, when slain by the sword of Israel, became unconscious, and will remain so until the Lord's time shall come for their awakening from the sleep of death. They shall come forth in the Millennial morning, as our Lord's word indicates—"All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth."—John 5:28,29.

They will not come forth as saints to the resurrection of life, the First Resurrection; but as members of the world in general, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, they will come forth to the judgment-resurrection; that is, to the gradual raising up that will be instituted during the Millennial age, a raising up of all who will be obedient to the judgments, the disciplines, the corrections in righteousness, which will be then brought to bear upon the whole world of mankind by the great Judge, our Lord Jesus, and by the Royal Priesthood, the Church, his assistant judges, of whom the Apostle says, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?"—I Cor. 6:2,3.

In view of this, then, we can readily see that no injustice was done to the Canaanites by the Lord's decree, and that so far as they were concerned they suffered no more than, if as much as if some pestilence or famine or other common disaster had come upon them. They suffered the death-penalty, as all the human family suffer it, and our confident hope respecting them and all mankind is built upon the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to redeem all from the curse or sentence of death which came upon all through father Adam's disobedience;—and that he who redeemed the world is shortly to bless all the families of the earth with a gracious opportunity to come back into harmony with God, back to human perfection. And when we realize that the call of the church in the present time is for association in this work, it gives a meaning to the trials and difficulties which constitute part of our instructions in that great work; and it also gives the Royal Priesthood a hope toward God which overbalances all the trials of the present time. R3084

In connection with the destruction of the Canaanitish nations (the Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, etc.), we are told that the Lord would not bring Israel into their land, but left his people in Egypt (where they learned valuable lessons in humility), because the iniquity of the Canaanites was not yet come to the full. (Gen. 15:16.) Each nation, seemingly, was permitted to go only so far in sin and there was stopped. And the stopping of sin furnished repeated illustrations, types, suggestions, and outline hints of God's general plan for the final destruction of evil and the permanent establishment of righteousness in the world. Thus the due time for Israel's release from the bondage of Egypt (which fitly typified the bondage of Sin) was also the due time for a chastisement of Egypt, and the [R1779 : page 57] Lord made use of the opportunity to show his power both for the deliverance of his covenant people and for the overcoming of all opposition. Hence he "raised up"to the throne of Egypt that member of the royal family who was most bold and defiant, and who would resist God's plan the most and the longest, in order to make of him and his army a type of Satan and his evil servants ever seeking to enslave and hold in bondage those who desire to make a covenant with God. The deliverance of the one class by God's power and the overthrow of the other class were not only in harmony with principles of righteousness then, but they were also exemplifications of a fuller work of division and separation to be made in God's due time between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.—Mal. 3:18.

So, too, the entrance of Canaan by Israel and the overthrow of the Canaanites, whose iniquity was come to the full, was not only a righteous act, but it was also a type of how, when the real land of promise (the earth—during the Millennial age) is reached, all the old sinful ways and institutions must be eradicated; and these things are typical also of the case of the Christ of to-day,—of how, when he by faith leaves the world, Egypt, and enters into possession of God's promises, he must wage a war of extermination against the old sinful propensities of his fallen nature.

When thinking of God's course in permitting sin for a time, we should remember that the heart of fallen man is prone to sin—malice, envy, pride, strife, hatred, lasciviousness, and that the sinful propensities are ever ready to take advantage of any opportunity. That God has permitted opportunities for evil is, therefore, true; but that he inspiressinful thoughts, desires and deeds is utterly false. R1776

17. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces.



God at once gave Abraham his oath in confirmation of the promise. By a peculiar method God bound himself to Abraham by what is termed the "covenant of blood." A full description of it is given in the lesson: a heifer of three years, a she-goat of three years, a ram of three years, a turtle dove and a young pigeon were sacrificed, and the Lord represented himself as passing between the parts of these sacrificed animals, and was thus swearing by a covenant or sacrifice of life-blood to the promise he had given. The Lord was represented by a lamp of fire.

18. In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. God made promise to him, saying, "In thy Seed all the families of the earth shall he blessed." Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, had twelve sons, who became the head of the twelve tribes of Israel, or Jews. God made a covenant with His people, saying to them: "If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation" (Exo. 19:5,6). For more than eighteen centuries God's dealings were with this people exclusively, as he said through His prophet, "Ye only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). Time after time [Page Q793] God reiterated His promise that the Messiah should come to them, and when Jesus came the masses of the Jews were not heeding God's promises: being led by the Clergy class, themselves negligent of the promises, therefore blind, as Jesus said, "Blind leaders of the blind," they rejected Jesus Christ and were cast off from God's favor (Matt. 23:37-39). The words of our Lord clearly imply that God's favor will again return to this people; He said, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." The Apostles point out that God there began to turn his favor to the Gentiles, and when the requisite number have been selected from among these to constitute the Kingdom class, as promised, then God's favor will again be shown to the Jews as a people (See Rom. 11:1-5 and 25-28). Q792


19. the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite,


From Strong's 7017, Qeni or Qini, from 7014, Qayin, cain; Abraim Publications, from the noun קן (qen), nest, or קין (qyn), spear, from the verb קין (qyn), to forge or put together.

A tribe who lives in the desert between southern Israel and Sinai. Jethro, Mose's father-in-law, was a kenite (Judges 1:16). He is called a Midianite in Numbers 10:29. They were metallurgist. They accompanied Israel in their march through the wilderness as far as Jericho. (Judges 1:16) They sustained good relations with the Israelites. (Judges 4:11, 17-21; 1 Samuel 27:1030:29). The Rechabites belonged to this tribe (1 Chronicles 2:55) Jeremiah reports they were nomads. (Jeremiah 35:7-10) When Saul was about to attack the Amalekites he warned them to break their assoication with the tribe. (1 Samuel 15:6) They are mentioned for the last time in Scripture in 1 Samuel 27:10.

Kenites; Kenite Map



From Strong's 7074, Qenizzi, 7073, from Qenaz, unknown; Abraim Publications, from the verb קנז (qanaz), to hunt or snare.

An people of Canaan, whose land God promised to the descendants of Abraham. (Genesis 15:19) They lost their distinctive name before the time of Joshua.



From Strong's 6935, qadmoni, easterners, from 6924, qedem, aforetime, front, east, formally.

A people in the time of Abraham who inhabited the eastern part of Israel.


20. and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim,


From Strong's 2850, chitti, from 2845, cheth, unknown; Abraim Publications, from the noun חתת (hatat), terror.

Descendants of Heth, Genesis 10:15, a warlike Canaanite tribe who inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates and Damascus. They were a strong nation,rivals of the Egyptian and Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as the dominant race to the north of Galilee. Abraham, bought from Ephron the Hittite, the field and the cave of Machpelah. Essau took two of his wives from the Hittites. They were associated with the Amorites (Numbers 13:29). They were subdued but not exterminated by the Israelites. (Genesis (26:3436:2)




21. and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite. Map location of Canaanite Tribes