IT was a pleasant land wherein they sojourned. Across the lowland hills the limestone, white and hard, broke into outcrops everywhere, yet there was verdure and water aplenty. Terebinth trees and evergreen oaks nestled in clusters and provided shade and refuge.

As spring approached the gentle slopes were covered in a cascade of purple sage, crimson poppies, and white chamomile. Even amongst the crevices in the limestone, pink cyclamen found room to flourish, for this was the season when the flowers appeared on the earth, and the time of singing had come. 1

The flocks and herds of Abraham found tender grass and the herbs of the mountains to graze upon, and place in the peaceful pasturage where they might bring forth their young.

And within the encampment of the patriarch, the springtide of new life had brought forth the greatest blessing of all. For Sarah, miraculously revived and renewed had conceived, and even now was tasting the pleasure and happiness of quickening life within her.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 7

1 For so the song delightfully describes the approach of spring (Song of Solomon 2: 12). 

1 And Yahweh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

Abraham seems to have been taught representatively, that the son of the woman was to be in his origin a son of power, that is, of God, and not of the will of man; he was taught this representatively by the case of Isaac. Isaac was as much a Son of Power as Adam and Jesus, in relation to the flesh.

Had there been no preternatural interposition of Spirit power, there would have been no Adam, Isaac, nor Jesus. Now Isaac was a type of Christ; for Moses writes that Ail-Shaddai said to Abraham,

"in Isaac shall be chosen for thee a seed."

Isaac in his generation, or circumstance of his begettal; and in his figurative sacrifice and resurrection, was the representative of the Christ to his father Abraham; by which he was taught:

That Christ the Son of Woman, was to be of preternatural paternity; and therefore, Son of Power or God; and to descend from Isaac; That he was to be killed as a sacrifice; and

That he was to be raised from the dead.

These things were expressed, and implied in the representation; so that, had the question been put to Abraham, 

"What thinketh thou of the Christ? Whose Son is he?" 

He would have replied: "He shall be Son of God."


2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which Elohim had spoken to him.

The months of her childbearing brought a change within the encampment. Sarah would always be the mistress of the household, even when age had lined her face through the passage of time. But now the glow of happiness mantled her with that pure and precious beauty which is God's special endowment upon her that is great with child.

In some inscrutable way the wonder and the mystery of "how the bones do grow in the womb" was revealed in the softened and shining countenance of Abraham's wife. A lifetime of barrenness had been transformed into the promise of fruitfulness. The whole household was astir with the expectation of it, and great was the rejoicing when the time came for her to be delivered.

On a day she would never forget, Sarah brought forth her firstborn son, and Abraham breathed a prayer of special thanksgiving. Isaac, the son of their love and the focus of their hope, had been born. It was no accident that the child was born at this moment in their lives.

The terrible crisis in Gerar had brought forth the climax of faith in both their hearts, and with it the glorious answer of God, that He would return unto them at the set time. Just as He had promised by the mouth of His angel, the Lord had indeed visited Sarah, and had done all that He had promised.

It is not God's power that is lacking to make things possible in our lives, but our inability to believe in Him, and to open ourselves up to the fulness of His promises. When we do, we bring forth fruit to His honour and our joy.

Sarah believed with all her heart, and because she did there was "a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord". 2 The events of the past few months had convinced her that the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God of all things could indeed accomplish that which He had purposed." 3

Not every barren wife is blessed with the answer of children. The sovereign wisdom of the Almighty works upon each of us according to our circumstances and His will for the developing of our character.

Yet Sarah had reason to hope beyond most, that a child might come. For unto them both had the promise been made that God's blessings would flow through a son, the promised seed, and he moreover to be the child of their union and none other.

This then was her moment of special joy. All the heartache, all the bitterness, all the grief of untold years, was assuaged in this instant of indescribable happiness. The anguish of barrenness and the sorrow of childbearing were alike remembered no more for

"joy that a man is born into the world". 4

The apparent deferring of the promise had sorely tested both Abraham and Sarah. They had carried this burden with them for many years, and had felt its weight to the point where it had become unbearable.

They had both suffered from grief and doubt, as the march of life made the possibility of its fulfilment less and less likely. Yet strangely, the more remote the possibility lay, the greater and greater was the detail unfolded of what would be accomplished through the seed to come.

And when Isaac was finally born, he came at the set time that God had intended all along, and there was no delay. It is a lesson for the saints of all ages. Our view of the Lord's purposes, so constrained by the shortness of our own expectations, feels delay where there is none in the divine estimation.

There is wisdom when we finally realise this and bow before God's own timetable, resting on Him to bring it to conclusion. In like manner Zion, (whose destiny is encompassed in Sarah's own story), will be favoured with restoration at the set time of God's sovereign appointment, and there will be no delay. 5

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Heirs Together Ch 7

7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

Gone forever was Sarah's laughter of unbelief concerning Isaac. Instead, she lovingly made allusion to her son's special name to indicate her laughter now of pure joy and gladness at God's goodness unto her. 8 Caught up in the greatness of this thought, she sang a song of wonder and happiness that this intervention of God had brought into her life.

But she also apprehended that her joy would be shared, and that in the fulness of time a multitude would laugh with her in fellowship of the happiness that this divine blessing entailed. Matters that lay beyond this day were wrapped up in this moment. 9 But she dimly understood that the story of her son reached ahead, and her song was prophetic of those future things which lie unfolded only to the Father's eyes.

The wonder of his birth must have filled Sarah with an outpouring of deep rejoicing. As she held him in her arms she could be forgiven for focusing all her delighted attention upon the details of her child.

How blessed to behold the perfection of his tiny features, to discern the first signs of family likeness, to count each little set of fingers and toes, to feel the warmth and softness of his little frame, to cradle his small head carefully and hold him safe. He was such a precious little bundle of joy. And having waited for so many years, it was entirely natural that she should be devoted to cherishing her treasured boy.

But she didn't just see Isaac. Her mind had clearly gone beyond the babe in her arms. Sarah understood that the basis upon, which Isaac was born was the principle by which others also would come into being, literally so in his case by miraculous intervention, but they by the operation of divine power in their lives after the principle of faith. Her mind was exalted to range right forward into the future.

The promise which had so recently been given, that nations and kings of people would be of her, 10 she now understood as having the hope of fulfilment through the birth of this child. She saw that her son, precious though he was this son of her love, was but the foundation seed of a whole multitude that should follow. 11

Sarah was no ordinary woman. Smitten once with doubt and fear in her own incapacity, she ascended now to heavenly places, and her hymn of thanksgiving revealed not just a mother's love filled to overflowing, but a heart full of spiritual insight that embraced others within her own hope. How special was this woman whose thoughts were so enlarged, that she pondered within her heart the fulness of God's purpose rather than her own.

8 The literal sense of the passage is, "God hath made me to tsechoq so that all who hear will tsachaq with me". Isaac, yitschaq, is derived from the same root.

9 Both prophet and prophetess would speak inspired utterances based upon Sarah's own inspired words. Cp. "God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6), and "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her" (Isaiah 66:10); and "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour ... for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed (makarizo - happy)" (Luke 1:47,48).

10 Genesis 17:16.

11 This is indeed the very comment of the apostle in Hebrews 11:11.

Rotherham: "By faith even Sarah herself received power for founding a seed". The implication is not only that Isaac was this foundation, but that Sarah herself knew it.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Heirs Together Ch 7

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

The mocking taunt of Ishmael

Ishmael was seventeen now, and it was not difficult to grasp the reason for his mockery. For many years he had been his father's firstborn, the beginning of many sons who roamed the encampment and considered their position secure. But at this feast that celebrated the first stage in the journey of Isaac's life, it was borne upon Ishmael with great force that his pre-eminence was ended.

This youngest son, who was the object of the household's rejoicing, was a threat to his position and a blow to his pride. He did not share the family joy, and being at an age where his behaviour so often outran his self-control, he decided to taunt the boy with something hateful and hurtful.

When the feasting was over, he found a moment to spite Isaac with the idea that he was not really Abraham's son. 13 It wasn't an argument of detail or logic, for Isaac would not have understood. It was a jibe, a saying that could be repeated over and over, simple enough, short enough, sharp enough for a small child to hear and be hurt. 14

He thought that his little shaft of cruelty had been delivered in secret, but he counted not on a mother and her love, and the uncanny ability she had to see alL with the prescience that could only come from having 'eyes in the back of her head'. Sarah had seen, and Sarah had heard all that he had done. She was swift to move.

"And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian. which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." (Genesis 21: 9,10.

Hagar had grievously vexed Sarah for many years now. How easy it would have been to respond in petty spitefulness and jealous revenge. But Sarah was moved by higher principles. Not for nothing was she to be known as the 'mother of the faithful'. Now that her faith had triumphed and Isaac was born, her spiritual perception had soared beyond Abraham's. With far greater clarity than he did she see the spiritual needs of the family, and how best they might be met.

13 See Chapter 9 - "Teaching in the temple", where the Biblical basis for this idea is expanded.

14 In fact the word for Ishmael's mocking is tsachaq, the very word used for Sarah's own laughter in Genesis 21:6. In Ishmael's mouth however, it was the laughter of derision intended to hurt. That it was directed against Isaac is evident from the response of Sarah that follows.

Following hard on the heels of the episode in Abimelech's household, the primary point of the mocking was doubtless that Isaac was no special gift from God, but the son of an illicit union with a Gentile.

Bro Roger Lewis - Abraham and Sarah Ch 7

10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out [garash] this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

Cast out = drive out (forcefully). The law of divorcement not appointed until Moses law Deut 24.

Abraham sent her away (shalach) v14. This was not hardeness of heart - Elohim told him to do it. He dealt as kindly as the situation allowed in the circumstances, grieving the departure of his son Ismael v11. It was not garash (the harsher form of putting her away) as Sarah invoked.

Cast out the scorner and strife shall cease

She was not for one moment concerned that Ishmael might yet displace Isaac. 15 She knew the promise of God, and had pondered all these things in her heart for long enough to know that Isaac's part was assured. Sarah's strength of feeling was not motivated by human passion, but by a matter of principle and a matter of practice which both led to the same conclusion.

As to the matter of principle she was clear. Isaac was the chosen seed by the determinate counsel of God and by the intervention of the Spirit. Anyone who did not believe this could have no part of the Abrahamic promise, nor belong to the Abrahamic household. Denial of the true son and heir was a denial of his father, and there was no room for a different view within the household on this most fundamental of all truths.

In the life of this child ran the hope of the promise as the offspring of his father, and no aspersion on this truth would be tolerated. If Ishmael denied Isaac's position, then his relationship with Abraham must also be sundered. 16

The matter of practice was even more profound. Sarah knew with certainty that to raise their son in an atmosphere of godliness required complete harmony within the household of faith.

For a family that was to be governed by a reverence for holy matters, and an admiration of things divine, one evil above all others would threaten. The spirit of scornfulness is the essence of all that is hateful in the thinking of the flesh. Its tone of contempt damages spiritual life, and blasts the tender fruit of spiritual thought until it withers.

The scorner is disdainful, mocking, disparaging, and it is impossible to bind a household in godly ways when such a spirit challenges and diminishes the principles that are the bedrock of the family. Sarah showed a better grasp of the practical reality of raising their son in a way where the truth could flourish in his heart from the earliest moment. She knew without hesitation what must be done. Ishmael must be cast out for the household to prosper.

Many of Abraham and Sarah's offspring have pondered the crisis of this moment in the patriarchal story. Families can be destroyed when the spirit of scorn for the truth or rebellion is permitted to remain amongst them. Parents alone have the privilege to lay the spiritual foundations and guiding principles of their household.

Sometimes, however, a son or daughter whose spirit cavils at those foundations, have been kept within the home, their contrary attitude unhindered and unchecked. Yet left unchallenged, it will only do damage to the siblings of the family.

Wisdom of course will always seek to find a way. But the ultimate objective for all our households is that the truth might prosper amongst us, and that our offspring might grow up within an atmosphere that supports the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Where that spirit and intent is compromised, God's counsel still holds true:

"cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out". 17

15 Note carefully Sarah's words in Genesis 21:10. At best Ishmael might have hoped to be an heir with Isaac, but never instead of him. God's previous intimation had made that clear (17:20,21).

16 The principle is clearly set forth in the memorable words of 1 John 2:23: "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father."

17 Proverbs 22:10.

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out

This counsel is at variance with a world that advocates unconditional love. Yet God, who is full of compassion and boundless in mercy, will not forgive the spirit of obstinate pride, which refuses to bow before His commandments or hearken to His counsels. In the end those who deny the purpose of God in their lives have no claim to endless mercy, and find that there are always conditions attached to the Father's loving kindness, since all things are subordinate to His grand purpose and not theirs.

The love of the Father, generous towards all His children, will forgive them whenever they repent, and seek afresh to honour Him. But His love does not extend to allowing His offspring perpetually to set aside His principles. In the end He holds His children accountable to display the family likeness, else they are not His, and cannot presume upon His love. Abraham's household was to be governed by the same principle, which commanded his children to obedience of the way of the Lord. 18

Ishmael then must be removed, and not just Ishmael but his mother also. Sarah had judged aright. 19 It wasn't just Ishmael that was to blame. His mother, Hagar, undermined the family principles and values at every step. Despite her place within the encampment, she remained in heart and in spirit an Egyptian through and through. 20 Ishmael's mocking was doubtless the result of spiteful education by Hagar, who could not accept that her own child would not hold primacy in the family.

This son manifested the spirit of his mother, but not that of his father. He was born into Abraham's household, and yet was never touched with the goodness and wonder of the truth, which loomed so large in his father's life. It was as if he had never known the way of the Lord. His mother was largely to blame, for it was her influence that resulted in this unsatisfactory outcome.

It is a thing of evil when someone who has known the way of righteousness not only turns from it, but transmits all their feelings of hostility to their offspring. This lad revealed all the bitterness, all the animosity, and all the rancour of his mother. Both of them would be harmful to the nurture of Isaac in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Both of them must be sent away. Sarah was clear in her thinking and true in her heart, and her utterance was the speaking forth of the divine testimony.

18 Genesis 18:19.

19 Note Sarah's words, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son" (Genesis 21:10).

20 Why else does the record so pointedly describe her as "Hagar the Egyptian" at this vital moment (Genesis 21:9)? And why also does the record subsequently note that she procured a wife for her son "out of Egypt" (Genesis 21:21), unless to indicate that she had never changed her thinking from the profane and heathen ways of Egypt and its gods, from whence she had come (16:1)?

11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

From which we learn that a thing may be of God and yet very unwelcome to the beloved of God for whose benefit it is devised. This will help every godly man to entertain a comforting reservation with regard to every evil circumstance-a reservation to this effect:

"Well I do not see the object of this, but God is wiser than man; let the will of God prevail."

The commonest and most distressing domestic incident may be the hand of God in our affairs, if those affairs are committed to him in prayer and obedience.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."

Here are two points: first, for Abraham's sake, Ishmael was favoured [v13]. The righteous are a blessing to all connected with them, because God regards their connections for their sakes. This principle constantly appears throughout the whole Scriptures. Lot was saved for Abraham's sake (Gen. 19:20); Rahab's family for her sake (Joshua 6:25); the kings of Judah for David's sake, even when David was long dead (1 Kings 11:12; 2 Kings 8:19; 19:34).

On this principle, Sodom would have been saved if there had been ten righteous men in it (Gen. 18:32). On this principle the Lord's people are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13). On this principle, too, we are forgiven and saved for Christ's sake, if we conform to what is required of us (Eph. 4:32; Acts 13:38-39).

Ways of Providence Ch 3

12 And Elohim said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Why could they not live together in peace? Because peace can only be built on one foundation -- Divine truth.

Was Sarah right or wrong in her demand? We know that Hagar had no proper place in the inner circle of that household. She was an Egyptian and a bondwoman. This was a chosen family, through whom God was not only commencing to work out a great plan, but was portraying in allegory the whole cycle of that plan -- the bond and the free -- the Flesh and the Spirit.

And Hagar had commenced the enmity by openly despising Sarah. Hagar and Ishmael showed cruel enmity against Sarah and her son, the true seed. They were not a good element in the household. Paul says Ishmael persecuted Isaac. He that was after the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit.

It was necessary that Hagar and Ishmael should go. The whole affair had been a sad error. God instructs Abraham to do as Sarah desires. We must conclude that in principle Sarah was correct, and that this was the only possible solution. Sarah had suffered much from the matter, although it is true the original error was hers.

it is the handling of the case that may seem unnecessarily hard. It appears that Hagar is divorced and thrust out to wander in the wilderness with a small child, and with scanty provisions.

But is this the correct picture? In the first place, God Himself expressly took over and guaranteed the care of Ishmael. He told Abraham to send him away, and promised that He would make a great nation of him. And Ishmael was not, as it might appear, a small helpless child, but was about seventeen years old.

And there is no reason to suppose that Hagar did not have a definite destination and was not properly supplied to reach there. We can take it as a practical certainty that Abraham would make such provision, not only from his own general nature, but from his particular feeling for his son. Every impulse of Abraham under the circumstances would be to reduce the hardship attendant upon this final parting. But in God's purpose, Hagar lost her way, that certain things might be revealed to her.

And so finally, after many trials, the long-promised seed has come, the unfortunate and long-suffered barrier of Hagar between Abraham and Sarah has been removed, and it begins to appear that the long testing and development of Abraham's faith and character is coming to an end.

Bro Growcott - Shall a child be born

Abraham and the spirit of sacrifice

The decision, however, was not so clear for Abraham. Ishmael was his son, the beginning of his strength, and the thought of sending him away from the household tore his heart. He knew that the right of the firstborn had passed to Isaac, and delighted in the promise, but sending another son away altogether was a matter too hard for Abraham's large and generous heart.

Surely there must be some other way, some other accommodation to their circumstance? There was not, but it would take the interposition of heaven to endorse his wife's wise words, and to make it clear that Sarah had spoken the truth of God in her counsel. 21

...Tender though God's remonstrance with the patriarch was, at no time did he acknowledge Ishmael as Abraham's son. He was the lad, whom God would protect, and he was his seed who would be made a nation, but he was not Abraham's son through whom the promises ran.

Abraham could not escape the meaning of the discourse. This one upon whom his bowels did yearn, and whom he would fain remember still, was in the succinct summary of God _ the son of the bondwoman. He would never be anything else. The watchful care of the Almighty would ensure his eventual increase, but not as the heir of all that Abraham had.

There was nothing wrong with Abraham holding fatherly feelings for his son. But our parental feelings ought never to override divine principles, or overlook a spirit within our children that dishonours God and sets aside His statutes. Indeed, a consequence of the promise and its proper outworking now demanded that Abraham provide the right environment for the spiritual growth and development of his true son, even if it meant the removal of Ishmael in the process.

There was no escape from Sarah's appeal, or from God's endorsement of her words. So, rising up early in the morning, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away, provisioned with food and water, and subject to the providential hand of God.

He watched them until the shimmering waves of the distant horizon, and the tears in his own eyes, took their forms and blurred them until they vanished, and his petition ascended that God might bless the lad 22 and his mother in their wanderings. He knew that Ishmael would not die. His casting out would result in exile from the household, but not his untimely death. God Himself had promised the safety of the child, and his ultimate nationhood. 23

Besides, the wilderness into which they now wandered was not far from where Hagar herselfhad travelled of her own free will, on an earlier expedition. 24

Despite the privations of the way, God did indeed sustain both child and mother, and the destiny promised to him was realised. But even then the answer of heaven came not for the weeping of Hagar, but because of the voice of the lad. It was the lad and not his mother which occasioned this providential care, as God remained faithful to all that He had promised.

And there was in this action of sending away Ishmael the spirit of sacrifice on Abraham's part towards his wife. He owed this offering to her in response to her entreaty. It was a heavier burden on him to acquiesce, for Ishmael was his child but not Sarah's. This sending away for her sake came not without cost to the man of God, but was rendered thereby more precious for its difficulty. 25

Sarah's words had been an appeal, not an order, which Abraham could decline to uphold if he chose. But God had also endorsed Sarah's words and bidden his cooperation, and Abraham's humility of spirit allowed him to hear and do what his wife had asked, to perceive her intention and understand her spirit.

All her focus lay upon the great truth, which the angel had so unequivocally declared, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called". This must be their primary and overwhelming consideration, and she knew it with all the depth of her being. Abraham heard her, and a united decision was made. Blessing would come of it.

21 Perhaps the greatest endorsement of Sarah's wisdom in all that she said comes from' the inspired apostolic comment, "Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son" Galatians 4:30). If Sarah's words were themselves deemed to be Scripture, we might also reasonably conclude that the spirit with which she uttered them was also consistent with the divine mind.

22 Notice how pointed and pervasive this epithet is in the story (Genesis 21:12,17-20).

23 A truth thrice affirmed (Genesis 17:20; 21:13,18).

24 The wilderness of Beersheba of Genesis 21:14 was presumably not greatly distant from the wilderness between Bered and Kadesh of 16:14.

25 1 Chronicles 21:24; Isaiah 61:8.

13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

If we follow the history of Ishmael's descendants, we find them become a nation, and a nation that has played a very important part in history; but we do not find on the face of that history anything that would apparently answer to the idea that Ishmael's national development was a divine work.

Read as merely natural men read it, it would appear a perfectly natural affair throughout-that is an affair left to chance; but here we have the certainty before us that it was not an affair of chance. It was a matter divinely regulated and fostered for Abraham's sake, whence arises the conclusion that affairs of human action may be perfectly natural and uninfluenced on the face of them (like Abimelech's abstention), and yet be the subject of divine manipulation.

It is merely a question whether the affair comes within the range of divine manipulation, and not a question of appearance. The question is determinable first by the other question whether a divine purpose has been declared, as in the case of prophecy; or, secondly, whether the Lord's people are involved, by prayer or otherwise.

Ways of Providence Ch 3

16 And she [Hagar] went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

Since the expulsion of Israel by the Romans, Jerusalem and her children are in the situation of Hagar and her son, while wandering in the wilderness of Beersheba. She is divorced from the Lord as Hagar was from Abraham, and "being desolate, she sits upon the ground", and bewails her widowhood (Isaiah 3:26).

But, there is to be "a restitution of all things." Jerusalem is to become a free woman as Sarah was; and to take her stand in the midst of the earth, as 

"the city whose architect and builder is God." 

She will then

 "remember the reproach of her widowhood no more. For her Maker will be her Husband; the Lord of Hosts is His name; and her Redeemer the Holy One of Israel (even Jesus) the God of the whole earth shall He be called''.

She will then be the metropolis of the world, and her citizens, or children, will be more numerous than those she rejoiced in under the law, as a married wife. The period of her glory will have arrived; the twelve tribes be again the united, peaceful, and joyous, inhabitants of the land; the "greater than Solomon," their King; and His city, "the heavenly Jerusalem," which "is free, and the mother of us all."

Elpis Israel 2.2.

32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

The literal expresses what was done in the institution and confirmation of promises. The promises to be fulfilled were stated; animals were then slain and divided, or "cut up", and separated into two parcels, between which the parties concerned passed. The words of the promise were then sworn to, and the parties of the first and second parts, sitting down together, "cut up the meat provided, or eat it in a sacrifice; not as a priestly offering but as an immolation by private persons, at their own cost."

Thus the victim slain and the promise made and confirmed being elements of the same transaction, came each of them to be styled berith, "an eating," or covenant. In illustration of this exposition, see Gen. 15:9-18; 21:22-32; 26:26-30; 31:43-54.

Phanerosis - Angelic Supervision of World events

34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

How long he continued there may be learned from the following considerations. In his speech before the Sanhedrin, Stephen says,

"When Abraham's father was dead, he removed him into this land wherein ye dwell"

(Acts 7:4);

that is, he returned from Philistia to

"Hebron in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 23:1, 2).

Now Terah, Abraham's father, was seventy years old when Abraham was born; so that when Isaac was born at Beer-sheba, Terah was a 170. But Terah lived 205 years, and then died at Haran ; and it was after his death that Abraham removed to Hebron where Sarah died aged 127. Now she died two years after Terah; so that it was in this two years that Abraham left Philistia.

But Stephen says, it was when Terah died he moved to Canaan, which makes the "many days" he sojourned in the Philistines' land, 35 years from the birth of Isaac. This simple statement of facts removes a difficulty which has puzzled chronologers exceedingly. Moses says Terah died in Haran aged 205 (Gen. 11:32); and Stephen is made to say that Abraham removed from Haran to Canaan when Terah died, thereby making Sarah a resident of the country only two years!

This is the fault of the English version, which renders KAKEITHEN, "from thence" instead of afterwards, as it ought to be.

"Abraham," said Stephen, "dwelt in Haran , and afterwards. How long after? "When his father was dead, he removed him. Where from? From Beer-sheba of the Philistines. Where to? To Hebron "in this land wherein ye dwell." 

Thus Moses and Stephen agree.

Elpis Israel 2.2.