on Genesis 25 :11
God blessed his son Isaac - The peculiar blessings and influences by which Abraham had been distinguished now rested upon Isaac; but how little do we hear in him of the work of faith, the patience of hope, and the labor of love! Only one Abraham and one Christ ever appeared among men; there have been some successful imitators, there should have been many.
on Genesis 25 :11
This verse is an appendix to the history of Abraham, stating that the blessing of God, which he had enjoyed until his death, now descended upon his son Isaac, who abode at Beer-lahai-roi. The general name "God" is here employed, because the blessing of God denotes the material and temporal prosperity which had attended Abraham, in comparison with other men of his day. Of the spiritual and eternal blessings connected with Yahweh, the proper name of the Author of being and blessing, we shall hear in due time.
The section now completed contains the seventh of the documents commencing with the formula, "these are the generations." It begins in the eleventh chapter and ends in the twenty-fifth, and therefore contains a greater number of chapters and amount of matter than the whole of the preceding narrative. This is as it should be in a record of the ways of God with man. In the former sections, things anterior and external to man come out into the foreground; they lie at the basis of his being, his mental and moral birth. In the present section, things internal to man and flowing from him are brought into view. These are coincident with the growth of his spiritual nature. The latter are no less momentous than the former for the true and full development of his faculties and capacities.
In the former sections the absolute being of God is assumed; the beginning of the heavens and the earth asserted. The reconstruction of skies and land and the creation of a new series of plants and animals are recorded. This new creation is completed by the creating of man in the image of God and after his likeness. The placing of man in a garden of fruit trees prepared for his sustenance and gratification; the primeval command, with its first lessons in language, physics, ethics, and theology; the second lesson in speaking when the animals are named; and the separation of man into the male and the female, are followed by the institutions of wedlock and the Sabbath, the fountain-heads of sociality with man and God, the foreshadows of the second and first tables of the law. The fall of man in the second lesson of ethics; the sentence of the Judge, containing in its very bosom the intimation of mercy; the act of fratricide, followed by the general corruption of the whole race; the notices of Sheth, of calling on the name of Yahweh begun at the birth of Enosh, of Henok who walked with God, and of Noah who found grace in his sight; the flood sweeping away the corruption of man while saving righteous Noah; and the confusion of tongues, defeating the ambition of man, while preparing for the replenishing of the earth and the liberties of men - these complete the chain of prominent facts that are to be seen standing in the background of man's history. These are all moments, potent elements in the memory of man, foundation-stones of his history and philosophy. They cannot be surmounted or ignored without absurdity or criminality.
In the section now completed the sacred writer descends from the general to the special, from the distant to the near, from the class to the individual. He dissects the soul of a man, and discloses to our view the whole process of the spiritual life from the newborn babe to the perfect man. Out of the womb of that restless selfish race, from whom nothing is willingly restrained which they have imagined to do, comes forth Abram, with all the lineaments of their moral image upon him. The Lord calls him to himself, his mercy, his blessing, and his service. He obeys the call. That is the moment of his new birth. The acceptance of the divine call is the tangible fact that evinces a new nature. Henceforth he is a disciple, having yet much to learn before he becomes a master, in the school of heaven. From this time forward the spiritual predominates in Abram; very little of the carnal appears.
Two sides of his mental character present themselves in alternate passages, which may be called the physical and the metaphysical, or the things of the body and the things of the soul. In the former only the carnal or old corrupt nature sometimes appears; in the latter, the new nature advances from stage to stage of spiritual growth unto perfection. His entrance into the land of promise is followed by his descent into Egypt, his generous forbearance in parting with Lot, his valorous conduct in rescuing him, and his dignified demeanor toward Melkizedec and the king of Sodom. The second stage of its spiritual development now presents itself to our view; on receiving the promise, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward, he believes in the Lord, who counts it to him for righteousness, and enters into covenant with him. This is the first fruit of the new birth, and it is followed by the birth of Ishmael. On hearing the authoritative announcement, I am God Almighty; walk before me and be perfect, he performs the first act of that obedience which is the keystone of repentance, by receiving the sign of covenant, and proceeds to the high functions of holding communion and making intercession with God. These spiritual acts are followed by the destruction of the cities of the Jordan vale, with the preservation of Lot, the sojourning in Gerar, the birth of Isaac, and the league with Abimelek. The last great act of the spiritual life of Abraham is the surrender of his only son to the will of God, and this again is followed by the death and burial of Sarah, the marriage of Isaac, and the second marriage of Abraham.
It is manifest that every movement in the physical and ethical history of Abraham is fraught with instruction of the deepest interest for the heirs of immortality. The leading points in spiritual experience are here laid before us. The susceptibilities and activities of a soul born of the Spirit are unfolded to our view. These are lessons for eternity. Every descendant of Abraham, every collateral branch of his family, every contemporary eye or ear-witness, might have profited in the things of eternity by all this precious treasury of spiritual knowledge. Many of the Gentiles still had, and all might have had, a knowledge of the covenant with Noah, and a share in its promised blessings. This would not have precluded, but only promoted, the mission of Abraham to be the father of the seed in whom all the families of man should effectually be blessed. And in the meantime it would have caused to be circulated to the ends of the earth that new revelation of spiritual experience which was displayed in the life of Abraham for the perfecting of the saints.
on Genesis 25 :11
25:11 And God blessed Isaac - The blessing of Abraham did not die with him, but survived to all the children of the promise. But Moses presently digresseth from the story of Isaac, to give a short account of Ishmael, for as much as he also was a son of Abraham; and God had made some promises concerning him, which it was requisite we should know the accomplishment of. He had twelve sons, twelve princes they are called, Ge 25:16, heads of families, which, in process of time, became nations, numerous and very considerable. They peopled a very large continent that lay between Egypt and Assyria, called Arabia. The names of his twelve sons are recorded: Midian and Kedar we oft read of in scripture. And his posterity had not only tents in the fields wherein they grew rich in times of peace, but they had towns and castles, Ge 25:16, where in they fortified themselves in time of war. Their number and strength was the fruit of the promise made to Hagar concerning Ishmael, Ge 16:10. and to Abraham, Ge 17:20 21:13.