not be again destroyed by a flood (Gen. ix. 8-17).
The sons of Noah that went forth of the ark with him were
Shem, Ham, and Japlieth, and from them the whole human race is
descended. Noah began his new life as a husbandman in the land
of Armenia. Having planted a vineyard, as he was one day drink-
ing of the wine, he made himself drunk in his tent probably from
ignorance of its properties and lay exposed in the presence of his
sons. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw and told his father's shamo
to Shem and Japheth, who hastened to conceal it even from their
own sight, turning away their eyes as they covered him with a
mantle. On coming to himself, and learning the conduct of Ham,
he pronounced upon his race a curse, and upon the other two sons
a blessing. " Cursed be Canaan ;" a servant of servants shall he
be unto his brethren." And he said, "Blessed be the Lord God
of Shem ; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Ja-
plieth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan shall
be his servant" (Gen. ix. 18-27). The subsequent history of Ca-
8 Ilara's youngest son.
nnan shows in the clearest possible manner the fulfillment of the
curse. The blessing upon Shem was fulfilled in that history of the
chosen race, Ms descendants, which forms the especial subject of
the Old Testament. The blessing upon Japheth,. the ancestor of
the great European nations, is illustrated in their subjugation of
Asia and Africa, and especially by the wide-spread diffusion of their
religion. The very name of Japheth means enlargement.
Noah lived for three hundred and fifty years after the Flood, an(i
vas nine hundred and fifty years old when he died (B.C. 1998).
NOTE ON NOAH'S ARK.
THE ark was to be made of gopher
(i. e., cypress) wood, a kind of tim-
ber which, both for its lightness and
Us durability, was employed by the
Phoenicians for building their vessels.
The planks of the ark, after being
put together, were to be protected by
a coating of pitch, or rather bitumen,
which was to be laid on both inside
and outside, as the most effectual
means of making it water-tight. The
ark was to consist of a number of
"rooms" or "nests," i.e., compart-
ments, with a view, no doubt, to the
convenient distribution of the differ-
ent animals and their food. These
were to be arranged in three tiers,
one above another; "with lower,
second, and third (stories) shalt thou
make it." Means were also to be pro-
vided for letting light into the ark.
The words "a window shalt .thon
make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt
thon finish it above " seem to imply
a sky-light, or series of sky-lights, a
cubit wide, running the whole length
of the ark, with a single compart-
ment which could be opened at will.
There was to be a door placed in the
side of the ark. Of the shape of the
ark nothing is said; but its dimeu-
sions are given. It was to be 300 cu-
bits in length, 50 in breadth, and 30
in height. Taking 21 inches for the
cubit, the ark would be 525 feet in
length, 87 feet C inches in breadth,
and 52 feet C inches in height. This
is very considerably larger than the
largest British man-of-war. It should
be remembered that this huge struc-
ture was only intended to float on
the water, and was not, in the proper
sense of the word, a ship. It had
neither mast, sail, nor rudder ; it was,
in fact, nothing but an enormous
floating house, or oblong box rather.
Two objects only were aimed at in its
construction : the one that it should
have ample stowage, and the other
that it should be able to keep staad*
upon the water (Gen. vu 14-92).
Temple of Birs-Ximrud
FROM THE DKI.UGE TO THK DKATH OF ABRAHAM. B.C. 2348-1822.
THK history of tlic next four hundred years, from the Deluge to
the Call of Abraham, has two principal features of interest: the
general peopling of the earth by the descendants of Shem, Hani,
and Japhcth, and the special notices that are given us of the descent
of the chosen race from Shem down to Abraham.
In the outline of the population of the world given in Gen. x.,
two facts are prominent: that the highlands of Armenia, where
Noah came forth out of the ark, formed the primitive seat of man-
kind, and that the nations wa/e divided into three races, the off-
spring of the three sons of Noah. The dispersion of these nations
rrom this region to their subsequent abodes only began a consider-
30 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. II
able time after the Deluge. It was in the days of Peleg, the fifth
from Noah, that the earth was divided (Gen. x. 25). Under the
pressure of necessity, the great body of Noah's offspring left the
rugged highlands of Armenia in search of a better soil and climate.
"The whole earth was as yet of one language and of one speech,"
when, "as they journeyed eastward, they found a plain in the land
of Shinar (Babylonia), and dwelt there." Soon the idea sprung up
:n their minds of founding a universal empire, with a mighty city
ler its capital. " Come, said they, let us build us a city and a
citadel with its top (reaching) to heaven." But God saw the dan-
ger of their scheme, and defeated their design by confounding their
language, so that they could not understand one another's speech.
" So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of
all the earth ; and they left off to build the city" (Gen. xi. 1-8).
This event probably took place about the end of the third century
after the flood. The different peoples thus scattered were the three
races by whom the world was afterwards overspread, and who quick-
ly lost the remembrance of their common origin. 3
From the confusion of tongues the city was called Babel (confu-
sion) (Gen. xi. 9), and at a later period became famous under the
Greek name of Babylon. The ruins which form the Birs-Nimrud,
or " Mound of Nitnrod " (at the ancient Borsippa, near Babylon),
bear an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, telling how he restored an
older building on the same site, the sun-dried clay of which had
been dispersed by the earthquake and the thunder "since the re-
mote time" when " people had abandoned it. without order erjircss-
iny their rvords." Nimrod, the son of Gush, who founded tlie first
great military despotism, made Babel his capital ; he built also
three other cities in the plain of Shinar namely, Ercch, Accad, and
Calneh. Thence he extended his empire northward along the
course of the Tigris over Assyria, and founded Nineveh, with three
other cities (Gen. x. 8-11).
The names of the descendants of Shem to the tenth generation
were Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Semg, Nnhor, and Terah s
who was the father of Abraham, Nahor, and Haran (Gen. xi. 20).
The world soon relapsed into idolatry and profaneness after the
Deluge. Accordingly, God selected out of the race of Shem a
FAMILY from which the promised seed of the woman was in the
fullness of time to spring, and which should meanwhile preserve
the knowledge and worship of Himself. The patriarch whom God
made the head of this chosen family was born only two years after
the death of Noah (B.C. 199G). His name AH-RAM (father of cle-
1 See Note "Oil the Dispersion of the Nations," at the nd of this
B.C.2848-182. CALL OF ABRAHAM. 31
vatiori) was prophetic of his calling to be the ancestor of a race
chosen for an exalted destiny. Terah, his father, was the ninth of
the patriarchs from Shem and the nineteenth from Adam, and it ap.
pears from Josh. xxiv. 2 that he was an idolater. His genealogy,
which the subsequent history requires to be most clearly understood,
is as follows :
GKXKALOGY OF THE FAMILY OF TERAH, FATHER OF ABRAHAM
Haran. Milcah=Nahor. (By Hagar.) ABRAM=Sarai (aft. Sarah).
| | I (aft. Abraham). |
Lot Mil'cah, Sn'rai Bethuel. Ishmael. ISAAC=Rebekau.
C5y his two m. her or Ifcah, J |
daughters), uncle m. her [ i | i
J Nahor. uncle Laban. Rebekah, Esau or Edom. JACOB.
| Abram. | married |
Ammon. Moab. Leah ISAAC. Twelve
and Rachel, sons and
the wives one
of Jacob. daughter.
The first call of God came to Abram while he was still living in
the house of his father, in the land called Urof the Chaldces, "when
he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran" (Gen. xi. 28 ;
Neliern. ix. 7; Acts vii. 2). He was upward of seventy years of age
when Terah removed from the land of his nativity to go into the
land of Canaan (Gen. xi. 31). He went forth accompanied by his
son Abram, Sarai, Abram's wife, and Lot his grandson, and took up
his residence in Haran, more properly called in the New Testament -
Charran (Acts vii. 4), east of the Euphrates. Here Terah died,'
after a residence of some years (Gen. xii. f>), aged two hundred and
five years. All we know of their original abode is that it was be-
yond the Euphrates, in some part of Mesopotamia.
Nahor, Tcrah's eldest son, settled in Haran, attracted probably
by tli3 fertility of the country ; but Abram, immediately on his
father's death (B.C. 1921), proceeded on his journey towards the
land of Canaan, with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. He went
out from his country and from his kindred into a land that God
promised to show him (Gen. xii. 1), " not knowing whither he went "
(Heb. xi. 8). This was the first great proof he gave of that un-
wavering faith in God which gained him the title of the Father of
the Faithful (Rom. iv. 11). He was now seventy-five years old, and
this is the period usually assigned to the CAI,I, OF ABRAHAM. God
then promised him, " I will make of thee a great nation, and I will
32 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAV. II.
bless theej and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
The last words contain a promise of the Messiah.
Abram had now to leave Mesopotamia, and to cross the " Great
River," the Euphrates. Hence the Canaanites gave him the name
of the "Hebrew" the man who had crossed the river. Passing
through the Great Syrian desert, and tarrying probably for a little
while at Damascus, at length he crossed the Jordan, and entered
'.he beautiful valley of Moreh, which lies between the mountains of
Ebal and Gerizim, where the city of Shcchem was not long after
founded. Here he made his first encampment in the land of Ca-
naan. God appeared to him again, and said, "Unto thy seed will
I give this land." Here he built the first of those altars to the
Lord, which the patriarchs erected wherever they pitched their
tents. Thus Sichem became his Jirst halting -place in the Holy
Land. His second was still farther south, near a mountain on the
east of a place then called Luz, afterwards named by Jacob BKTHEL.
The pressure of famine at length drove him out of the Promised
Land into Egypt, and for a while his faith failed. Fearing that the
Egyptians might kill him to obtain possession of his wife, who was
" a fair woman to look upon," he caused Sarai to pass for his sister.
He had not been long there before the king took her into his house.,
and, for her sake, heaped extraordinary favors upon her pretended
brother. Warned of his mistake by plagues sent upon him and his
household, the king restored Sarai to Abram, and, after a rebuke
for his deceit, he sent him out of Egypt, with all that he had (Gen.
xii. 10-20). Abram then returned with Sarai and Lot to his old
encampment near Bethel, where he again "called on the name of
the Lord" (Gen. xiii. 4).
Both Abram and Lot were very rich in flocks and herds, and as
the land they lived in was insufficient to furnish pasture for the
cattle of both, contentions began to arise between their hcrdmen.
Abram therefore said unto Lot, " Let there be no strife, I pray thee,
between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy hcrdmen ;
for we be brethren." He then gave him his choice of the whole
country that lay before him. Lot chose the fertile plain of Sodom
and Gomorrah, watered by the river Jordan, and journeyed east,
leaving his uncle on the barren hills of Bethel. After his separa-
tion from Lot, Abram received his reward in a third blessing and
promise from God, who said to him, "Lift tip now thine eyes, and
look from the place where thou art northward, and southward,
and eastward, and westward : for all the land which thou seest, to
thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy
ivted as the dust of the earth " (Gen. xiii. 14-lt!).
Lot pitched his tent near Sodom, not caring for the fact that
B.C. 2348-1 822. BLESSING OF MELCHIZEDEK. S3
the men of Sodom were " sinners before the Lord exceedingly."
Abram now removed to the oaks of Mamre near Hebron,, and there
built an altar unto the Lord. This became his usual abode. Tho
plain of the Lower Jordan was then occupied by five cities Sodom,
Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela, which were tributary to
Chedorlaomer, king of Elam. In the thirteenth year of their sub-
jection, they revolted against Chedorlaomer, who marched against
ihem with three allied kings, and in the battle that ensued the five
kings were defeated. The conquerors then proceeded to ravage
tho cities of the plain, and Lot and his family were among the
number of the captives. When the news was brought to Abram,
he took "his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred
and eighteen," sallied forth from Mamre, and overtook the victors
at Dan (Laish). Dividing his band, he fell upon Chedorlaomer
and his allies by night, pursued their routed forces to Hobah, north
of Damascus, and rescued Lot and his family, with all the spoil
(Gen. xiv. 1-16).
On the return of Abram from this expedition, he was met by
Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of the most high God, who
" brought forth bread and wine and blessed him," and said, "Bless-
ed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth "
(Gen. xiv. 18, 19). And Abram gave him tithes of all the spoil.
Who this Canaanite was, crossing for a moment the path of Abram
and then disappearing as suddenly as he came, is a question in.
volved in great mystery. He appears to have been a person of
higher spiritual rank than the Father of the Faithful, and in the
Epistle to the Hebrews he is regarded in his priestly office as a type
of Christ (Heb. vii. 17.) Abram then returned to his tent at
Mamre, and Lot went back to Sodom.
About this time, apparently, Abram's faith began again to waver.
His heart grew faint with the thought of promises long unfulfilled,
and hopes unrealized. He said, "Lord God, what wilt thou give
me, seeing I go childless?" (Gen. xv. 2.) To all appearance, his
house-born servant, Eliezer of Damascus, would be his heir. He,
said the Lord, shall not be thine heir, but a son of thine own.
'"Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to
number them : and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And ho
believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness"
(Gen. xv. 5, 6). Though Abram was now eighty-five years old, and
Sarah turned of seventy -four, yet he was told that he should have
a son in his old age; and " he staggered not at the promise of God
through unbelief, but was fully persuaded that what He had prom
ised He was able also to perform " (Rom. iv. 20, 21). This prorr
i)C, that his own son should be his heir, God vouchsafed to confirm
34 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. IL
and to ratify by a sign and by a covenant. On the same day, Abrara
was directed to offer a special sacrifice, and he remained near the
altar to drive away the fowls from the victims. When the sun be-
gan to go down, "a deep sleep, and lo! horror and great darkness
fell upon him." Then it was that God revealed His intentions to
him more plainly than He had yet done. " Know," He says, " of
a surety that thy seed shall be a stronger in a land that is not
theirs, and shall be afflicted four hundred years. That nation
whom they shall serve will I judge, and afterward shall they come
out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in
peace ; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.'' After this vision,
Abram saw a smoking furnace and a burning lamp pass between the
severed parts of the victims sacrificed to ratify the new covenant
between God and him. The Lord then added, " Unto thy seed
have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river,
the river Euphrates " (Gen. xv. 18). At a later period, when this
covenant was renewed, the sign of circumcision was added thereto.
Sarai, being considered barren, gave Abram her handmaid Ha-
gar, an Egyptian, for his concubine, and she bore him a son. But,
before the child was born, the insolence of Hagar provoked the
jealousy of Sarai, who treated her handmaid so hardly that she fled
away into the desert which lies between the land of Canaan and
Egypt. Here the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of
water, and, while bidding her to return and submit to her mistress,
he encouraged her by the promise of a numerous offspring. "Be-
hold," he says, "thou shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name
ISHMAEL " (that is, God shall hear) and he foretold his character
and destiny in words which to this day describe the Bedouin Arabs
who are descended from him : " He will be a wild man ; his hand
will be against every man, and every man's hand against him, and
he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren," that is, to the east
of the kindred tribes sprung from Abraham.
The birth of Ishmael took place when Abram was eighty-six
years old (B.C. 1910) ; but he had to wait fourteen years longer be-
fore the true child of promise was born. In Abram's ninety-ninth
fear, the Lord appeared to him by the name of " the Almighty
God," and renewed His former covenant with him, changing his
name from AB-RAM (exalted father) to AB-HAHAM (father of a mul-
titude), and appointing the rite of circumcision as a sign of the
covenant between Himself and Abraham and his posterity. " I
will be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee " (Gen. xvii. 1-
7). Abraham was then commanded to circumcise all the males
of his family, and in future the rite was to be performed on chil-
dren <&ight 'lays after their birth, and on slaves when they were
B.C. 2348-1822. BIRTH OF ISAAC FORETOLD. 35
purchased. And God said unto Abraham, "As for Sarai thy wife,
thou shalt not call her name Sarai (my /trincess), but, Sarah (prin-
cess) shall her name be." God then told him that she should beai
him a son, who should be named ISAAC (laughter), because Abra-
ham had laughed for joy and Sarai from incredulity, when the an-
nonncement was made to him. On the same day Abraham, witb
his son Ishmael, and all the males in his house, were circumcised.
Shortly after this, Abraham was honored with a still more re-
markable visitation. As he was one day sitting at his tent dooi
under the oak of Mamre, he beheld afar off three men, and when
he saw them he ran to meet them. Bowing himself towards the
ground, he said, " My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight,
pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let a little water,
I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves un-
der the tree. And I will fetch a morsel to comfort your hearts ;
after that ye shall pass on. And they said, So do, as thou hast
said " (Gen. xviii. 3-5). While the three heavenly guests were eat-
ing, he stood by them under the tree, and they said unto him,
Where is Sarah thy wife ? In my tent, he replied. One of them
then informed the patriarch that within a year Sarah should have
a son. Sarah, who was sitting just inside the tent, heard what
passed, and laughed to herself incredulously. After rebuking Sa-
rah for her want of faith, and repeating the promise, two of the
angels went on in advance towards Sodom, and "Abraham was left
standing alone with the Lord." This last was, no doubt, the "An-
gel Jehovah," the "Word of God" through whom God spake to
the fathers ; the other two were perhaps attendant angels. As
Abraham brought them on their way, the Lord told him that be-
cause "the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah was great, and their sin
very grievous," he was about to destroy them for their wickedness.
Then follows that wondrous pleading in which he who was "but
dust and ashes" took upon himself to speak with God, and obtained
a promise that the guilty cities should be pardoned, if but fifty ;
then if forty-five ; and so on down to, if only ten righteous men
were found in them. "The Lord then went on his way, and Abra-
ham returned to his place " (Gen. xviii. 6-33).
Towards evening, the two angels came to Sodom. Lot was then
sitting at the gate of the city, and he rose up to meet them, and
invited them to tarry with him all night. At first they declined
his invitation, but at length yielded, and entered with him into his
house, where " he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread,
and they did eat." But before they lay down the house was be-
sieged by the men of the city for wicked purposes. The angels
having smitten the men at the door of the house with blindness, said
36 SCRIPTURE HISTORY. CHAP. II.
to Lot, "Whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this
place, because the cry ef them is waxen great before the face of the
Lord, and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it." Lot told his sons-
in-law of the impending destruction of the place, but they despised
his warning. He himself, with his wife and two daughters, was re-
luctantly dragged from the devoted city ; and in answer to his en.
treaties that one of the five cities might be preserved as his abode,
because it was hut a little one, he was allowed to take refuge in
Bela, thence called Zoar, that is, little. His wife, looking back
from behind him, became a piHar of salt. When Abraham arose
early in the morning, and looked towards Sodom and Gomorrah,
"lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."
God, however, when he destroyed the cities of the plain, remember-
ed Abraham, and on his account Lot was saved. The plain in
which these cities stood, hitherto fruitful "as the Garden of Jeho-
vah," became henceforth a scene of perfect desolation (Gen. xix.).
After a long residence at Mamre, Abraham once more set forth
upon his wanderings, and, " turning toward the south country, he
sojourned in Gerar " (Gen. xx. 1), a place in the land of the Phi-
listines. Here the deceit which he had formerly put upon Pha-
raoh, by calling Sarah his sister, was acted again, and with the like
result. Sarah was carried off by Abimelech, king of Gerar, who
thought that she was unmarried and the patriarch's sister. Dis-
covering his mistake, having been warned thereof by God in a
dream, he restored her to her husband, and gave him valuable
presents. A dispute subsequently arose between Abraham and
Abimelech respecting a well in the neighborhood. This led to a
treaty between them, whence the well was called " Beer-sheba," or
the well of the oath, "because there they swore both of them"
(Gen. xxi. 31). At this place Abraham and his descendants dwelt
for a long time. It was situated on the borders of the Desert, and
continued till the latest times to be the southern boundary of the
It was during his abode at Beer-sheba that Sarah "bare Abra-
ham a son in his old age," when he himself was a hundred years
aid (Gen. xxi. 5). The child was named Isaac. At the great
feast made in celebration of the weaning, Sarah saw Ishmael, the
son of Hagar the Egyptian, mocking. " Cast out this bondwoman
and her son," she said to Abraham, " for the son of this bondwom-
an shall not be heir with my son Isaac." Her request was very
grievous to the patriarch ; but, comforted by God's renewed prom-
ise that of Ishmael he would make a nation, he gave Hagar some
bread and a bottle of water, and sent her away with the child; and
they departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
B.C. 2348-1822. ISAAC TO BE SACRIFICED. 37
Here her supply of water was quickly spent, and as it seemed that
her boy must soon die of thirst, she laid him down under the shade
of one of the desert shrubs, and went and sat down a good way off
from him, and wept aloud. "Let me not see the death of the
child," she said. The cries of the lad and of his mother were
heard in heaven, and the angel of God, calling to her " What aileth
thee, Hagar? fear not," renewed the promise already thrice given,
" I will make him a great nation ;" and God opened her eyes and
she saw a well of water. And God was with the lad ; and he grew,
and dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and became an archer ; and
when he was of a suitable age, his mother took him a wife out of
the land of Egypt (Gen. xxi. 9-21).
Henceforward the history of Abraham is intertwined with that