Bible Notes: Genesis 9-14

Genesis 9-14
In Chapter 9, we find (ver. 3) life given for food, and government placed in measure in the hands of man (ver 6). We also have the bow in the cloud, (for the bow without the cloud, see Rev. 4) the sign of God's covenant. We then have the first mention of the sin of drunkenness (ever since such a terrible scourge to our race) and Noah falling in the midst of the blessings with which he was surrounded.
Ver. 26 may be read, " Blessed of the Lord God is Shem; God shall enlarge Japheth, but He shall dwell in the tents of Shem."
We find first Shem, in whose family the covenant was to be established, and God to be in relationship as Jehovah, next Ham the servant, and last, though eldest and proudest, the Gentile Japheth.
In the details in Chapter 10 Japheth is given first.
In Chapter 10 we find seventy nations, viz: Japheth 14; Ham 30; Shem 26; in accordance with Deut. 32:88When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (Deuteronomy 32:8),for Israel numbered at first seventy souls, See Gen. 46:2727And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten. (Genesis 46:27). The seventy disciples sent out by Christ the second time may refer to the preaching to these seventy nations before the millennium, just as the twelve sent out previously refer to the twelve tribes of Israel. We also see power established in Nimrod, the center of whose kingdom was founded in Babylon. See Mic. 5:66And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. (Micah 5:6). Thus the place of judgment becomes the seat of t he appointed power, but there was no common center or rallying-point for the human race. This center should have been in God, but men. having turned their backs on him, seek (Chapter 11) to make one for themselves. Babel was not built, as imagined, to escape from another deluge, but as a center apart from God This God could not allow. Hence " let us build " becomes and they left off to build;" " let us make a name " results in the name being called Babel-confusion; while the fear of being " scattered abroad " results in " the Lord scattered them abroad."
11:9. This was overcome in grace at Pentecost.
11:29. "Iscah" here is probably "Sarah." We have here also the rapid shortening of men's ages.
At the close of this chapter too, idolatry, comes in (Josh. 24:22And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. (Joshua 24:2)). Man had been disobedient, murderous, full of corruption and violence, drunken and apostate, but not until now do we definitely arrive at the fearful evil of idolatry. Satan, seizing the idea of God in men's minds, placed an idol before them and so men worshipped devils under the idea they were God. For those idols were demons (1 Cor. 10:2020But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20). see Deut. 32:1717They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. (Deuteronomy 32:17)). Here it had even contaminated Shem's family so that the earth, as such, had not only entirely departed from God, but set up Satan in His place, and thus man's very religion and worship now most deeply corrupted him. From chapter 12 a new order of things begins-the calling by God out from all this fearful evil of a people for Himself.
From this twelfth chapter we have unfolded in detail the way in which God called a solitary man out from the rest of the world; and 140w he became the head of an elect nation destined throughout the long course of the world's ages never again to mingle on equal terms with the rest of the world's stream. We have seen the earth re-peopled by nations after the deluge, and we have also seen them scattered abroad over the face of all the earth, and further even in the family of Shem already given up to idolatry (Josh. 24:22And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. (Joshua 24:2).) From this point therefore there is a marked change in God's dealings. He called out a man, and in him a people who are to be entirely separate from the world at large, unto God. God's voice here came to Abraham summoning him to leave his country and '1 his kindred and his father's house, and to enter on a life of faith, resting solely on the word and promises of God.
Speaking in rather more detail, we may notice the threefold call and the threefold blessing. If Abram is called to give up his nationality, God will make of him a great nation, if his family, it is that all families may be blessed through him, and if he gives up his descent and name, God will begin a new line in him and make his name great. God is never our debtor. We are all aware how in his first step in this new path Abram broke down, but we may not stay to do more than suggest the valuable lessons that may be learned from a comparison of 11:31; 12:5 and Acts 7- At first Abram only broke one of the 3 links, that of his country; in verse 5 he breaks with his relations gradually; but not until 13:11 is he clear of the last link with his father's house.
And now when Abraham arrives in Canaan, he gets possession of nothing, for all must still be of faith, and when in the promised land itself, he has but his altar and his tent, touching expressions of his links with heaven and with earth. The grand moral effect of this on Abram's soul is detailed for us in Heb. 11 His eyes are lifted from earth to heaven, and he sees by faith the better country. So with us, though we come into the church here below, there is no possession yet, nothing but the path and energy of faith, and the heavenly place before us.
God called Abram by His glory (Acts 7) into the path of faith, and when there further reveals His ways (ver 7),producing communion and worship. The rest of the chapter is a history of Abram's personal events of faith, his path in Egypt being marked by foolish subterfuges of his own devising instead of confidence in God's power. How often our faith thus breaks down in trying details, when suddenly presented, though strong enough to sustain us as to our general path.
From ver. 8 to 13:4 Abram had no altar. Indeed it is not possible to walk in our own ways, and at the same time to be in communion with God.
In chapter 13 we see that sooner or later the difference must show itself between the true believer, who walks by faith and the believer (true it may be) who rests on another's faith, not his own. The worldly-minded believer, Lot, still clung to the ease at least of the world, and when once he acts for himself he shows his true tastes. He lifts up his eyes, moved by his own will, and sees what seems Canaan, but which was soon to be the scene of God's judgments. It was like Egypt (the world) though not bearing its name, and Lot seeks thus to combine the heavenly calling with a worldly career-a path that can bring only chastening on every true believer who makes the same attempt. Abram, on the contrary, does not lift his eyes till told to do so by God, and gets the promise of God renewed, and dwells in Hebron (friendship or society) in communion with God. Observe Lot had a tent, but never an altar, Abraham had both; the force of this we shall see further on.
The battle in chapter 14, followed by the appearance of the royal priest Melchizedek, doubtless foreshadows the great final battle of the kings of the earth against the Lamb (see Dan. 2 and vii. and Rev. 17), subsequent to which He who is after the order of Melchizedek will come forth with blessing to Israel, typified here doubtless by Abraham.
The four great Gentile kingdoms will all, as we know, be represented in the battle, hence the significance of Amraphel king of Shinar, i.e. Babylon, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam (Heb. form of Persia) Arioch, king of Ellasar (Sept. Hellas, Greece) Tidal, king of nations (Rome, mistress of the ro subkingdoms of Christendom.) In Melchizedek (righteousness) king of Salem (peace) we see, as we have said, the One in whom alone "righteousness and peace have kissed each other" Psa. 85:1010Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalm 85:10). Separate and indeed contrary until the cross, (for righteousness demanded from man could never bring peace)' there both met. Divine righteousness being then satisfied in Christ, peace is proclaimed through Him to all. Melchizedek as a priest is without beginning of days, or end of life, without father and without mother (Heb. 7) therein contrasting with the Aaronic priesthood, which depended solely on genealogical sequence; hence he was fitted to foreshadow the eternal priesthood of his great Antitype. The deep moral lesson to be learned from the fate of one whose tent outside Sodom had already been changed for a house in it, are too obvious to need pointing out. Well for us if in danger (as we surely all are in measure of following in Lot's footsteps), we take to heart the solemn warning as to the result of a Christian leaving a life of faith for the ease and This favor of this world.