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from Charran, passed through the north part of Canaan, thence to 'Sichem, and the plain of Moriah; where finding no place to inhabit, he departed thence to Bethel and Hai; and so from nation to nation, to discover and find out some fit habitation; from whence again, as it is written in Genesis xii. 9. he went forth, going and journeying towards the south, and always unsettled. By occasion of which wandering to and fro, some say the Egyptians gave him and his the name of m Hebræi. Further, to prove that he had not formerly been in the country, we may note, that ere he came to Bethel and Hai, and at his first entrance into Canaan, God appeared unto him, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land, shewing it him as unto a stranger therein, and as a land to him unknown. For Abraham, without any other provident care for himself, believed in the word of the living God, neither sending before, nor coming first to discover it; but being arrived he received a second promise from God, that he would give those countries unto him and his seed to inhabit and inherit.
Lastly, What should move any man to think, that Moses would have omitted any such double journey of Abraham's, seeing he setteth down all his passages elsewhere, long and short? As when he moved from Sichem, and seated between Hai and Bethel, the distance being but twenty miles; and when he moved thence to the valley of Mamre, being but twenty-four miles; and when he left Mamre, and sat down at Gerar, being less than six miles; no, Moses passed over all the times of the first age with the greater brevity, to hasten him to the story of Abraham; shutting up all between the creation and the flood in six chapters, which age lasted 1656 years; but he bestoweth on the story of Abraham fourteen chapters, beginning with his birth in the eleventh, and ending with his death in the five and twentieth; and this time endured but 175 years. It hath therefore no face of truth, that Moses forgot or neglected any thing concerning Abraham's travels or other actions; or that he would set down those small removes of
five miles, and omit those of three hundred. For such a journey in going and coming would have ministered some variety of matter or accident worthy the inserting and adding to Abraham's story.
The answer to another of the objections proposed, shewing that it was not unlikely that Terah should beget Abraham in his 130th year.
NOW touching the objection, where it is said, that it was very unlikely that Terah should beget Abraham in his 130th year, seeing Abraham himself thought it a wonder to have a son at an hundred; this is hardly worth the answering. This wonder is indeed miscast and mistaken, Abraham having respect only to Sarah his wife, when he spake of their many years. For when the angel said unto Abraham in his tent door at Mamre, Lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son, it followeth in the next verse, Now Abraham and Sarah were old and stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women; therefore Sarah laughed, &c.
So then, in that it is said, it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women, it appeareth that the wonder was wrought on her, and not on Abraham. For Abraham, by his second wife Keturah, had many sons after Sarah's death, as Zimron, Jockshan, Medan, Midian, Ishback, and Shuah; and the eldest of these was born thirty-seven years after Isaac, and the youngest forty years after. What strangeness then, that Terah, being 130 years old, should beget Abraham, will they say, may be gathered from this supposed despair of Abraham at 100 years? for Sarah died in the year of the world 2145, and Isaac was born in the year 2109, and Abraham did not marry n Keturah till Sarah was buried. So if we deduct the number of 2109 out of 2145, there remaineth thirty-six; and therefore if Abraham begat five sons thirty-six years after this supposed
"Origen. Homil. 11. in Gen. Aug. de Civit. Dei, l. 16. c. 34. Cajetan. et
Perer. in Gen.
wonder, and when Abraham was 137 years old, it is not strange that his father Terah should beget Abraham at 130. And if Boaz, Obed, and Jesse, who lived so many years and ages after Abraham, begat sons at 100 years, or near it, it cannot be marvelled at, that Terah begat Abraham at 130, and Abraham others at the same age, and seven years after.
The answer to two more of the objections; shewing that we may have certainty of Abraham's age from the scripture, though we make not Abraham the eldest son; and that there was great cause, why in the story of Abraham his two brethren should be respected.
IT followeth now to speak something to the objection, which brings Abraham's age altogether in doubt, except we allow him to be the eldest son of Terah, and born when Terah was seventy years old. For Abraham's age being made uncertain, all succeeding times are thereby without any perfect rule or knowledge.
But this proposition, That we cannot be certain of Abraham's age, unless we make him the eldest son, is false. For it is plain in the scriptures, that when Terah was 205, which was the year of his death, then was Abraham seventy-five. And if you ask, how I can judge of times, either preceding or succeeding, by knowing that Abraham departed Haran at that age; I answer, that St. Stephen hath told us, that Abraham's departure followed the death of his father Terah: and Terah died at 205; so as the seventyfifth year of Abraham was the 205th year of Terah; which known, there can be no error in the account of times succeeding. Now to come to the objection, where it is said, That Moses had no respect unto Nachor and Haran, because they were out of the church, but to Abraham only, with whom God established the covenant, and of whom Christ descended according to the flesh, &c. I answer, that Moses, for many great and necessary causes, had respect of Nachor and Haran. For the succession of God's church is not witnessed by Abraham alone, but by the issues of Nahor and Haran, were they idolaters or other
wise. For Nahor was the father of Bethuel, and Bethuel of Rebecca, the mother of Israel; and Haran was the parent of Lot, Sarah, and Milcah; and Sarah was mother to Isaac, and grandmother to Jacob; Milcah also the wife of Nahor, and mother of Bethuel, was Jacob's great grandmother; and the age of Sarah, the daughter of Haran, is especially noted, in that it pleased God to give her a son at ninety years, and when by nature she could not have conceived. And therefore, though it were not in regard of themselves, yet because both Nahor and Abraham married the daughters of their brother Haran; and because Isaac married Rebecca the grandchild of Nahor; and Jacob, Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban, the grandchild also of Nahor; it was not superfluous in Moses to give light of these men's times and ages. And though sometimes they worshipped strange gods, as it is Joshua xxiv. 2. yet I see no cause to think that they still continued idolaters. For they believed and obeyed the calling of Abraham, leaving their natural country and city of Ur in Chaldea, as Abraham did, and removed thence all, except Haran, who died before his father Terah, ere they left Chaldea; but Lot, his son, followed Abraham in Canaan; and Sarah, the sister of Lot, Abraham married. Nahor also, who remained at Charran, gave his sons' daughters to Isaac and Jacob, his own kinsmen; he himself having also married in his own family, not thinking it pleasing unto God to mix themselves with strangers and idolaters. And that these men at length believed in the God of Abraham, it can no way be doubted. For when Laban had seen the servant of Abraham standing at the well beside Charran, he invited him to his father's house in this manner; oCome in, thou blessed of Jehovah, &c. And when this servant of Abraham's demanded an answer as touching Rebecca, then answered Laban and Bethuel, and said, P This thing is proceeded of Jehovah; meaning that it was the will of the true God it should be so; wherein he acknowledged God's providence. Likewise in the following verse it is written,
Take, go, that she may be thy master's son's wife, even as Jehovah hath said. This their often using of the name of Jehovah, which is the proper name of the true God, is a sign that they had the knowledge of him.
Now although it be the opinion of St. Chrysostom, and some later writers, as Cajetan, Oleaster, Musculus, Calvin, Mercer, and others, that Laban was an idolater, because he retained certain idols or household gods, which Rachel stole from him; yet that he believed in the true God, it cannot be denied. For he acknowledgeth the God of Abraham and of Nahor, and he called Abraham's servant, blessed of Jehovah, as aforesaid. So as for myself, I dare not avow that these men were out of the church, who sure I am were not out of the faith.
That the naming of Abraham first of the three brethren, Gen. xi. 26. doth not prove that he was the eldest; together with divers reasons proving that Abraham was not the eldest son of Terah.
TO the main objection, which I answer last, because it seemeth of most strength, by which those that strive to shorten the times, endeavour to prove, that Abraham was the eldest son of Terah, and born in the seventieth year of Terah's life; grounding themselves first and chiefly on this place of the scripture, 9 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abraham, Nahor, and Haran; to this I say, that although Abraham in this verse be first named, yet the same is no proof at all that he was the eldest and first-born son of Terah. For it is no necessary consequence, that the first named in scriptures was therefore eldest in blood and birth, neither doth it appear that it pleased God to make especial choice of the first sons in nature and time; for Seth was not the first-born of Adam, nor Isaac of Abraham, nor Jacob of Isaac, nor Juaah and Joseph of Jacob, nor David the eldest son of Jesse, nor Solomon of David, as is formerly remembered.
But it is written of Noah, Noah was five hundred years
9 Gen. xi. 26.