1 Chronicles 1-3: The Genealogy of the Messiah, the Son of God

We now come to the books of Chronicles, recording the history of mankind from Genesis 1 to the return from the exile in Assyria and Babylon.  The books bear a cohesive tone compared to that taken by the various authors such as Moses and the narrators of the subsequent books from Joshua up to 2 Kings, being more priestly than the Deuteronomist style taken in the books of Kings.  As such, we find many gems here which reveal much of what was not spoken of in the previous Old Testament books, taking us closer to understanding the Messianic plan of God imprinted in creation (Genesis 1-2) and prophesied verbally in Genesis 3:15.

 

So 1 Chronicles 1 can be listed as such (categorized by Adam Clarke):

 

  • The genealogy of Adam to Noah, v.1-3.
  • Of Noah to Abraham, v.4-27.
  • The sons of Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, v.28.
  • The sons of Ishmael, v.29-31.
  • The sons of Keturah, v.32, 33.
  • The sons of Esau, v.34-42.
  • A list of the kings of Edom, v.43-50.
  • A list of the dukes of Edom, v.51-54.

 

It is quite interesting why the Chronicler decided to categorise chapter 1 into the genealogy from the son of God, Adam (c.f. Luke 3:23-38), to the son of the blood covenant, Noah (c.f. Genesis 6-8), from Noah to his three sons, the three fathers of the nations of the world (c.f. Genesis 9), and then from Japheth first, then to Ham, then to Shem.  It is not coincidental that the purpose of the Chronicler is to talk first about those outside of Israel, before moving to the ancestor of Israel through Abraham, up to Shem – the last of the sons of Noah to be described.  We are thus reminded of the important gospel truth of the world before Israel, the world before the law through Moses, when the Gentiles either called upon the Name of the Lord or reigned as kings and chiefs in idolatry (Genesis 4:26; c.f. v.43) long before Israel was established as a Christian nation, as a nation with its own anointed king – the people of Seir (Genesis 36), who take no part in the promised Messiah and are not mentioned in any significant respect in the rest of Scripture.

 

Instead, Israel is only spoken of in chapter 2 (c.f. Galatians 3, the promise of God made to Abraham before the era of the law marking Israel apart from other nations), a reminder once again that Adam is the first son of God; Israel came but after Adam (c.f. Exodus 4:22, Israel as firstborn like Adam), but Israel as a nation was never the second Adam.  Christ was (1 Corinthians 15:45).  Israel, in fact, never stood outside of the shadow of Adam (c.f. Hebrews 7:10) for only Christ stood outside as the new Adam under whom we reign as co-heirs.

 

Thus, we turn from individuals in chapter 1, to fathers of the anointed nation Israel, in chapter 2 – as categorized by Adam Clarke:

 

 

 

 

  • The twelve sons of Jacob, v.1, 2.
  • The posterity of Judah down to David, v.3-15.
  • The posterity of the children of Jesse and Caleb, v.16-55.

 

 

As was clear in 1 and 2 Kings, so it is also clear that the Chronicler is moving from Adam to David – from the first son of God, to the son of God after His own heart.  This is the David who slew Goliath, hailing from the prince of the sons of Judah Nahshon, the 7th son of Jesse.  Thus we see the list of children born to him in Hebron (v.1-4), and those born to him in Jerusalem (v.5-9), Solomon being one of those born in the promised city of peace, making the natural logical step to describe the regal line of Solomon in v.10-24.

 

After the description of Jesse and Caleb’s descendants, we go through the list of kings (in particular chapter 3:10-17, which describes all the kings in 1 and 2 Kings).  Note, in particular, Adam Clarke’s commentary on the final king Anani in 1 Chronicles 3:24:

 

“This is the King Messiah who is to be revealed.”-T. Jarchi says the same, and refers to Da 7:13: Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds (ananey) of heaven. For this application of the word he gives a fanciful reason, not worthy to be repeated. The Syriac and Arabic omit several names in this table, and make only twenty-three verses in the chapter: but such differences are frequent in the books of Chronicles.”

 

And as commented on by Matthew Henry:

 

“The last person named in this chapter is Anani, of whom bishop Patrick says that the Targum adds these words, He is the king Messiah, who is to be revealed, and some of the Jewish writers give this reason, because it is said (Dan. vii. 13), the son of man came gnim gnanani–with the clouds of heaven. The reason indeed is very foreign and far-fetched; but that learned man thinks it may be made use of as an evidence that their minds were always full of the thoughts of the Messiah and that they expected it would not be very long after the days of Zerubbabel before the set time of his approach would come.”

 

Indeed, Matthew Henry marks an important focus of these Old Testament writers, that they should have “minds… always full of the thoughts of the Messiah”.  Thus ends our foci on chapters 1 to 3 of 1 Chronicles, which speaks of individuals moving to the appointed nation and king; and the subsequent times to turn us to specific tribes under the leadership of such a king, modeling the gospel truth of the salvation of Gentiles before Israelites (Galatians 3).  This is also the position taken by the synoptic gospel authors Matthew and Luke, focusing on the genealogy of the promised seed, from Adam to Japheth (1 Chronicles 1:1-4), from Shem, the promised line of the Semites to Abraham (1 Chronicles 1:17-24), from Abraham to Jacob (1 Chronicles 1:28-34), from Jacob to David (1 Chronicles 2:1-15), and from David to Solomon (1 Chronicles 3:1-10), and finally from Solomon to Shealtiel (1 Chronicles 3:10-17), after which the genealogy is covered by Matthew and Luke to bring us to the promised Messiah.  So also, the author of Chronicles framed the opening of the books in the same manner as the synoptic gospels, to show that the promised line shall come through those especially highlighted, at the beginning and end of each of these three opening chapters.

 

 

1 Chronicles 1-3: The Genealogy of the Messiah, the Son of God

2 Samuel 3: Abner and Nabal

The ‘long war’ spoken of, is this war of the end-times.  The Christian church grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul, the continual epitome of old Israel, became weaker and weaker (v.1).  Is this not the picture of the present day, that Israel (though the nation is re-established on the geographical map) has a long way to go before many are called to join the house of David?  While the gospel has gone out to the Gentiles and other worthless men who are now hiding under the banner of Jesus?

It is no surprise that v.2-5 is therefore a return to a genealogical account of David because it contrasts the birthing of new sons in the house of David against the death of Saul’s family, save for a few daughters such as Milcah and the son Ish-bosheth and a grandson Mephibosheth (c.f. chapter 4).  In the dwindling house of Saul, the head of this house is symbolically Ish-bosheth; but Abner is the real mediator between the two houses.  It is clear that there could be no procreation of this old Israel and that they must join with the house of David if they were to continue to exist.  In comparison to the richness of the wives and sons by David’s side, Abner and Ish-bosheth quarrel over a rumour of Saul’s concubine being disloyal, and fear and adultery rules in this house where the king is subdued by the army commander (v.11); where the head fears the body.  Yet, one thing is for certain – the looming fulfillment of the prophecy that David will be king (v.10) which has been burnt into Abner’s heart.  This shameful man Ish-bosheth must turn from this accusation of adultery and move onto the inevitable truth that the house of Saul must fail; and that like Abner, choose to surrender and follow the new head David.

Yet, it is in v.12-16 that we learn truly why the genealogical account was given in v.2-5:  because Milcah was David’s first wife.  Because Milcah is Saul’s daughter; and it is by Milcah that David is (by implication) to become the potential heir to the throne besides Jonathan and his other brothers.  And it is in God’s economy and irony that Saul’s own prophetic words are fulfilled (1 Samuel 18:21), but not for the good of Saul but for the pleasure of the Father in heaven.  Milcah is no snare and has not proven to be the catalyst for David’s rise to the throne; rather, it is David who initiated this fulfillment of the first marriage to honour the house of Saul just as Abner has been doing in lieu of Saul’s death.

Thus, it is by circumcision that the old enemy, the Philistines, is exchanged as a bridal price for Saul’s daughter (v.14), as Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho states:

“The command of circumcision, again, bidding [them] always circumcise the children on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision, by which we are circumcised from deceit and iniquity through Him who rose from the dead on the first day after the Sabbath, [namely through] our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first day after the Sabbath, remaining the first of all the days, is called, however, the eighth, according to the number of all the days of the cycle, and [yet] remains the first.”

And in this chapter we see the transfer of the bride to the true first head, God delivering (Paltiel) Milcah from the hands of the false husband who is the son of Laish, the ancient name of the tribe of Dan, the prophesied symbolic serpent (Genesis 49:17) rejected from the book of Revelation; of Abner declaring that his hand shall be with David to bring over all Israel to him (v.12), further declaring the long foretold prophecy of David as the true king of Israel (v.17-19) finally admitting that David is the true Messiah and not some king of the physical lineage of Saul’s.  Will this be the picture of Israel in the end-days, that they will no longer call Christ an imposter-Messiah but finally accept that the prophecies, shadows, sacraments and types of the Old Testament all point definitively to this God-man upon which the physical lineage of the kings are removed in favour of the priestly line of Melchizedek (Psalm 110)?

The joint fact that Abner had conferred with the elders of Israel privately and thereafter in v.20-21 had a feast with David (c.f. Exodus 24; Matthew 22 – the wedding feast typified by David’s reunification with Michal) upon his re-uniting with Michal is more than simply a message of the church uniting in new creation to finally see the Father and the Son face-to-face (v.13).  It is a message of the restoration of Israel under the banner of Christ; it is the message of the long-war whereupon the elect nation Israel will not be replaced by the Gentiles, but will submit to the true God alongside them (Revelation 21:12).

The transparency of Abner’s dealings with the elders of Israel depict a man who has finally accepted the fulfillment of Yahweh’s prophecy in Jesus Christ typified in David; yet Joab’s murder of Abner is not fuelled by love for his enemy but fuelled by wrath and blindness (v.25).  It is therefore interesting what pronouncement David makes over Joab’s house in v.29: “May it fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father’s house, and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge or who is leprous or who holds a spindle or who falls by the sword or who lacks bread!”  What a seemingly extreme curse in light of Asahel’s death (v.30)!  Yet, as we have looked at the last chapter that Asahel’s pursuit of Abner is more typical of the son of Zeruiah than the son of Mary (c.f. v.39), so David’s pronouncement is on this ‘missing father’ of these sons who take upon the matronymic label; instead, David’s pronouncement is not merely on some physical father but on the spiritual father of these sons – this spiritual father being Satan (John 8:44), who had used Joab to prevent the unity of the Israelite and the Gentile church which has been the subject of the end-times since Christ’s ascension (c.f. Acts 2, which shows the momentous act of the Gentiles speaking in tongues, and book of Ephesians which both focus on the addition of Gentiles to the church of Israel).

Thus, the burial of Abner at Hebron (v.32) is a mirror to the birth of David’s sons also at Hebron (v.2-5); just as the burial of Asahel at Bethlehem is a mirror of the birth of David in Bethlehem; just as the death of Michal’s second marriage to be replaced by the first love under David’s banner (1 Samuel 18:28).

“He speaks as one boasting that Abner did not fool himself out of his life: “Died Abner as a fool dies? No, he did not, not as a criminal, a traitor or felon, that forfeits his life into the hands of public justice; his hands were not pinioned, nor his feet fettered, as those of malefactors are: Abner falls not before just men, by a judicial sentence; but as a man, an innocent man, falleth before wicked men, thieves and robbers, so fellest thou.” Died Abner as Nabal died? so the Septuagint reads it. Nabal died as he lived, like himself, like a sot; but Abner’s fate was such as might have been the fate of the wisest and best man in the world. Abner did not throw away his life as Asahel did, who wilfully ran upon the spear, after fair warning, but he was struck by surprise. Note, It is a sad thing to die like a fool, as those do that in any way shorten their own days, and much more those that make no provision for another world.” – Matthew Henry

In David’s poetic cry Abner’s death is compared to the death and sacrifice of the Christ; upon his death are the Israelites and the Gentiles united.  Though this typology is imperfect for Abner is at fault for Asahel’s death (though made in self-defence), the poetry speaks of the contrast between Abner and Nabal; the former repenting of his treatment of David and willing to unite Israel under David, against the latter refusing to repent and leading to God’s punishment of death.

Further, in David’s fasting he uses a similar phrase as Abner had done in his heated conversation with Ish-bosheth – “God do so to me and more also” to identify that both men are of the same agenda.  Both men, though from different houses, have set in their mind matters of peace and mediation between the two houses, united under the prophecy of Yahweh’s anointing of David as the very centre of unity.  Abner is no mere army commander, but a prince and a great man (v.38) with whom he had made a covenant with (v.13) rather than directly with Ish-bosheth himself (c.f. v.14 where Ish-bosheth was asked to deliver Michal but nothing was stated about the covenant which he offered to make with Abner).  Though Asahel is buried in Bethlehem as a mark of the end of his ministry without mourning, the death of Abner in Hebron is marked with true mourning and fasting; where peace was achieved in chapter 2v.17 but denied by Asahel’s pursuit upon which he died a warrior’s death (Matthew 26:52), true peace was indeed achieved in this chapter (v.23) but again denied by the hands of a son of Zeruiah whereupon the curse is on the father of these sons and a blessing is proclaimed on the house of Abner – the house of Saul, with whom David managed to make a covenant with before Abner’s passing away.

2 Samuel 3: Abner and Nabal

Book of Ruth

The book of Judges ended on a low note, and the book of Ruth does not open optimistically either.  Yet, what we find throughout the book is a tale of redemption in Jesus Christ; although this is the first book where it seems that God is silent, it is in fact entirely underpinned by the gospel story of redemption from famine.  It is fittingly quiet on the LORD’s direct communion with Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, yet it is drenched with symbolism, places, names and types which explains to the reader God’s dedication of the recapitulation of the body of Christ through the ordained salvation method of through His Anointed Son.

It is a book which many mistake to have been included purely to chronicle the events of the following books which speak of the kingship of Saul and David; yet if we were to simply look at Ruth as a story of a ‘humble and meek’ woman who was used by God to display the glory of Christ coming through humility, coming through a despised Moabite, then the message will be sorely saturated and much of what the Spirit wishes to communicate to the Spirit-filled reader will be lost.  Both Antiochene and Alexandrian interpretations of this book are still subject to Christ’s words in John 5:39, that all Scripture testifies to him in several layers beyond that of mere prophecy or chronology.

Ruth 1:  Israel in Slavery

Ruth thus begins with a famine during the time of the judges, and this pattern of fullness-famine-fullness is explored several times throughout the previous books:  the leadership of Joseph and the blessings given to Israel in Egypt, leading to the widespread enslavement of the Israelites, culminating in the great Exodus to Canaan; the giving of Abraham’s wife to a king in both Genesis 12 and 20, a type of captivity over Abraham’s wife, the bride and the church, only for the wife to be returned to her lord, her husband, with greater blessings than what they have begun with; and the grander scheme of Eden, where Adam and Eve were but spiritual infants in the garden of Eden:

“Thus the enkrateia tradition could hold the state of Adam before the formation of Eve, or the supposed virginal condition of the protoplasts, to be the ideal after which to aspire, even seeing its perfection as entirely derivative of a pre-sexuality or a-sexuality.  Here is the danger in misinterpreting Irenaeus as a restorationst, for Irenaeus saw the innocence of Eden as a state of immaturity, the growth from which would necessarily include marriage, the basis of the blessing of increase [referencing Against All Heresies Book III and Genesis 1:27-8]” – Michael Reeves in his unpublished doctorate thesis “The Glory of God – The Christological Anthropology of Irenaeus of Lyons and Karl Barth”

This theology of maturation, not to be confused with a type of Darwinist theology, takes us to realise that Naomi has to experience her death, her own baptism in Christ, so that she can also experience the resurrection – restoration to Eden – and ascension, going beyond Eden, so that we mature beyond the template of Eden which is only a shadow and type of New Creation.  So this should teach us of the handing over of power to Satan in the fall but only for him to be crushed by Christ who takes the maturing church, including Adam and Eve, to the greater New Jerusalem.

Famine to Glory

This is reflected in the geographical movement of Elimelech and his family, including his wife Naomi, his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, and their respective Moabite wives (Elimelech’s daughters-in-law) Orpah and Ruth.  V.1-5 begins with Elimelech leaving Bethlehem with his Israelite family because of a famine, and his sons finding Moabite wives in Moab, a direct correlation to the period of the latter chapters of Genesis where Jacob and his eleven sons found themselves in foreign land – Egypt, because of a great famine.  Yet, upon receiving news that the LORD had “visited his people and given them food” they return to Judah where there is the house of bread, Bethlehem.

Note how the centrality of Old Testament evangelism is honed in on Israel as light to the nations; Israel is his people, by default implying at this time that Moab is not.  Thus, the movement of Elimelech’s family from Bethlehem to Moab and back to Judah is meant to be a parallel to Abraham’s movement from Canaan to Egypt and back to Canaan (Genesis 12-13).  So also Naomi’s name is changed similarly, from Sweetness to Bitterness, from having two sons and a husband taken from her (v.5) to the Almighty dealing bitterly with her (v.20), though three chapters later she will receive even greater blessings than when she had as Naomi, a glory greater than Eden.  “I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (v.21)  These are the words of a half gospel; of Christ who died and did not resurrect, of Israel in slavery and there being no exodus – but Christ is indeed alive, and Israel is indeed saved.

The Offspring in Bethlehem

Throughout this entire episode, we should not assume that Elimelech is a sinner; contrarily, we receive only a neutral narrative which explains that he, alongside his two Israelite sons, had died in foreign land.  It is in this context that we can see the similarities between Elimelech, Jacob and Israel in the wilderness.  All three parties have died prior to entering Canaan; all three knew that the Israelites were the chosen people, that restoration would come firstly to Israel and bless the nations surrounding her.  And yet, what is so important about the story of Elimelech, who is named “my God is king”, is that he is like those Israelites of the previous generations who called Yahweh his king.  Any one of the Israelites could be the direct forefather of Jesus Christ, the one offspring in Galatians 3:16-19, and yet it would seem that Elimelech’s line is finished in v.5.  Naomi is thus only left with her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Naomi.

What is important to realise is that Elimelech’s line is of course restored through Boaz and Ruth’s marriage; this effectively gives the inheritance back into the line of Mahlon, Elimelech’s son, the sick one – whose name is revived only through Israel, God’s chosen people especially in Bethlehem.

If read independently, this is also an allusion to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, for The Offspring was born not in Moab, not in Egypt, not in the wilderness, but in the House of Bread for He is our Bread of life (John 6:48).  However, if read in context of the book of Ruth being sandwiched between Judges and 1 Samuel, we can see how the message becomes more poignant; the continual refrain of rest and slavery in Judges with the book ending on slavery means that the immediate rest should come not in Saul, nor David, nor Solomon, but in the offspring of Elimelech who died outside of Israel like Jacob, whose name perpetuated not in Moab but in Israel, though he was buried in Moab (c.f. Genesis 49:29-30; 50:5).

Therefore, where we see Orpah leave upon Naomi’s pleading in v.11-14, we can also see how Elimelech’s line is essentially stopped there.  Scripture does not mention again what happens to Orpah or Elimelech’s line through Orpah, but it appears that she heeded Naomi’s advice to find a new husband in Moab (v.8).  Orpah went to find a husband, witnessing the LORD allegedly abandoning Naomi, and even if she were to find a husband, no longer would her line of descendants proclaim like Elimelech that “God is King”.  This is the importance of seeing the difference Orpah’s progeny and Ruth’s; the former submitted to silence as if it is not important anymore, but Ruth’s being the highlight for the progeny extended through Israel and not in Moab.

Orpah shall find her husband by the blessing of her gods (v.15) who haven’t abandoned her like Yahweh has allegedly done with Naomi; Orpah shall be connected to the other husbands, to the other Baalim.  Yet, Ruth will go where Naomi will go, lodge where Naomi will lodge, Naomi’s people being Ruth’s people – the first picture of the Gentiles taking shelter under the Israelite wings, of Japheth joining the tent of Shem (v.15-18, Genesis 9:27).  This therefore appropriately occurs during the barley harvest (v.22), a time akin to the Pentecost the festival of harvest when the Spirit was given to the Gentiles, the church of Israel becoming once again a world-wide church which the church prior to Moses typified, and here prophesied as through the joining of Ruth to Naomi, of Ruth to Boaz, of Elimelech’s line restored and glorified with the addition of this Gentile – of Israel’s glory shared with the Gentiles together.

Ruth 2:  Incarnation

Boaz the Redeemer

The story does not beat around the bush, and immediately takes us from the desolation and wilderness of chapter 1 to fulfilling the true meaning of this barley harvest in chapter 2.  This is found in Boaz, incidentally a name used for one of Solomon’s brazen pillars in the temple porch (2 Chronicles 3:15).   He is indeed a pillar of faith, a cornerstone of Christian history, a type of Christ-the-Redeemer and the Israelite husband to his soon-to-be wife, a Gentile, Ruth.

Yet, whilst the focus of the chapter is on Boaz, we first see the eagerness of the Gentile, of the despised Moabite which may still be fresh in the minds of the Israelites since the conflict of Ehud and Eglon in Judges 3-4.  V.2-3 of chapter 2 in particular points us to the same principle of the Gentile who approached Christ (Matthew 15:27) as we see Ruth gleaning the Israelite field, the field which belongs to Boaz the type of Christ.  In this field bought by Christ (Matthew 13:44-46), the field being the world, the great pearl is the church and Ruth is this great pearl in Boaz’ eyes which he would have to sacrifice his own estate for (c.f. chapter 4v.6).

Immediately, we are taken to Boaz’ proclamation – “the LORD be with you” (Yahweh imachem, LORD with you) – and indeed, Boaz is with Ruth, as Christ is with the Gentile and Israelite church in this field, the world.  This man from Bethlehem is proclaiming and typifying the truth of Immanuel, God with us, and the narrative of v.8-18 taking us deep inside the mind of Christ as if He is directly speaking through Boaz.  This is a breath-taking speech, a type of wedding proposal:

8Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10Then(G) she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should(H) take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11But Boaz answered her,(I) “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12(J) The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13Then she said,(K) “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

14And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until(L) she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

17So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah[b] of barley. 18And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over(M) after being satisfied.

Christ is our LORD who takes notice of the foreigner (v.10; Acts 26:23; Romans 3:29, 11:11-25); who knows by the Spirit of the troubles of Ruth (v.11; c.f. Luke 10 parable of the Samaritan); who provides refuge under the banner of the “God of Israel” and not the Baalim of Moab as Orpah has run after; who eats with his bride (Exodus 24; Matthew 26:26) and has communion with her by the bread and the wine (v.14) – continually reminding His angels and His Church (v.15; c.f. Deuteronomy 4:26; 1 Samuel 12:5; Job 16:19; Hebrews 12:1) and Israelites to welcome her into the House of God.

Ruth in the Race of Faith

V.20 is thus a turning point for Naomi, a type of exodus for her as she begins to understand that she no longer has to call herself Mara as the LORD has not forsaken the living or the dead.  It is interesting how in the same verse, Naomi does not mention the closest redeemer who Boaz knew about (according to the kinsman-redeemer mandate of Leviticus ??), but her consistent focus on Boaz tells us that his actions typify Christ more than that of the closest redeemer who does not even glorify Christ through his duty of redeemer.  Yet, v.21-23 remains the current commandment concerning Ruth’s status in this field as she is protected from being assaulted by staying until the end of the harvest by the encouragement and upholding of her Israelite sisters; just as Hebrews 3 (?) taught us that we are to keep running in this race of faith by the Spirit and Christ the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), protected from the attack of Satan (1 Corinthians 10:13) as we stand inside the field of Boaz as Christ’s precious pearl (Matthew 13:46).

Ruth 3:  From Death to Ascension

Many people tend to look at the third chapter of Ruth and frown upon Ruth taking initiative for her action like that of a prostitute.  However, this is to read too much of an assumption into Ruth’s actions, for we need to remember that Boaz is the one who offered protection to Ruth; he is the first who extended compassion to this despised Moabite, like Christ who loved us before we loved him (Romans 5:10).

Upon this, Ruth is but hoping to prepare herself as a viable bride for Boaz to marry, and the entire preparation process is akin to the process of the Shulamite bride of the Song of Songs (Song of Songs 4) both analogies pointing to the washing and anointing of the church presented holy and blameless before her bridegroom on the great Wedding Day.

Christ and the Church

This is especially interesting given that Ruth is led by her mother-in-law (v.1-6), a Christian and an Israelite, giving godly advice to Ruth.  This is by no means a whoring of Ruth; contrarily, it is a deep theology of man and wife, of Christ and the Church.  It is in the sleeping of Adam that the church, Eve, was born – which is but a typifying of Christ who had to sleep in the earth and rise again for the global Church to be truly born:

“…Adam was put to sleep. We remember that it is said of believers that
they fall asleep, rather than that they die. Why? Because whenever
death is mentioned sin is there in the background. In Genesis 3 sin
entered into the world and death through sin, but Adam’s sleep
preceded that. So the type of the Lord Jesus here is not like other
types in the Old Testament. In relation to sin and atonement there is
a lamb or a bullock slain ; but here Adam was not slain, but only put
to sleep to awake again. Thus he prefigures a death that is not on
account of sin, but that has in view increase in resurrection. Then
too we must note that Eve was not created as a separate entity by a
separate creation, parallel to that of Adam. Adam slept, and Eve was
created out of Adam. That is God’s method with the Church. God’s
‘second Man’ has awakened from His’sleep’and His Church is created in
Him and of Him, to draw her life from Him and to display that
resurrection life.

God has a Son who is known to be the only begotten, and God is seeking
that the only begotten Son should have brethren. From the position of
only begotten He will become the first begotten, and instead of the
Son alone God will have many sons. One grain of wheat has died and
many grains will spring up. The first grain was once the only grain ;
now it is changed to be the first grain of many. The Lord Jesus laid
down His life, and that life emerged in many lives. These are the
Biblical figures we have used hitherto in our study to express this
truth. Now, in the figure just considered, the singular takes the
place of the plural. The outcome of the Cross is a single person: a
Bride for the Son. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for
it…
” – Watchman Nee, “The Normal Christian Life” Chapter 11

Ruth thus approached Boaz deep in the night and uncovering and laying by his feet as a sign of submission to Boaz her potential Head (Genesis 49:10; Exodus 3:5 – the taking off of the sandals as a sign of submission; Exodus 4:25; Joshua 3:13; Psalm 8:6, 58:10; Hebrews 2:8), with Ruth in particular seeing Boaz as akin to how Moses saw Christ (Exodus 19:4; Psalm 36:7) by her language – “I am Ruth, your servant.  Spread your wings [corners of a garment in the ESV footnote] over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  This call for salvation is typical of the church yearning for God (c.f. Job 19:25; Psalm 57:1, 61:4).  The ESV footnote which looks at wings as alternatively the “corners of a garment” only calls me back to Isaiah 61 where Christ clothes us with the garment of righteousness, and Ruth understands that the decision of salvation and redemption comes through Boaz alone and not by her own efforts.  V.10 is as if Christ himself is blessing Ruth and condemning Orpah, that Ruth would go for a godly man rather than a husband of other gods; that Ruth would cling onto Christ as the end of chapter 2 intimated through her perseverance in the harvest, rather than be distracted by the lust of her eyes.

V.13 thus is a beckoning for the Church to remain, and that in the morning Christ would redeem us.  We are thus still in the night, wandering in the wilderness already saved from Moab, from Egypt, from slavery – and moving towards Canaan, towards Bethlehem of Judah, towards New Creation .  Yet, it is still spiritual night, and though Christ arrived as light had entered darkness (John 1), Christ’s return is the great Resurrection Day as Boaz proclaims that the Redeemer will redeem Ruth in the morning.  Yet, it is not the treacherous false kinsman-redeemer (chapter 4v.6) which Satan masquerades as, but Christ who is the only one entitled to be one with the Church as Adam and Eve and Boaz and Ruth.

However, these things are yet to be given, and just as God gave us the Holy Spirit as a deposit of this truth to come, so also Boaz grants Ruth this deposit through the symbolism of barley during this period of harvest (v.15) typical of the Pentecost.  The mother-in-law may ask Ruth to learn how the matter turns out, but we know that with the barley harvest in our heart, with the Spirit testifying to Christ and He the Father, the morning will come with the arrival of the true Kinsman-Redeemer.  Christ and His Father are working to this day (v.18, John 5:17), and will not have the long Sabbath Rest until the matter is settled once and for all (2 Peter 3:9).

Ruth 4:  His return on the Wedding Day

So twelve men gather before the gate of the city, and one of them the closest kinsman-redeemer; yet, instead of redeeming his kinsman, he looked only to the property of Naomi.  He would rather have her parcel of land (v.3) without responsibility, literally a free gift.  With this kinsman-redeemer, he has no intention of perpetuating the name of Elimelech and like Satan who is equally condemned to the pit, he has no power in perpetuating the name of Elimelech let alone the desire to help anyone perpetuate their name.  Yet, it is under Boaz the type of Christ that we all have new names which will perpetuate in New Creation (c.f. Revelation 2:17), rather than under the false pretence of this unnamed kinsman-redeemer who has failed to understand the spirit of the Levitical (?) law.

Cloud of Witnesses

This is where we see the self-sacrificial and costly nature of salvation – that Christ would endanger his own inheritance and his estate by conjoining Himself to the Church, so that Christ and Church would have such a union so that we are essentially standing with Him in the communion of the Holy Trinity:

Being born of the Spirit describes a work of the Spirit in the Christian, which Goodwin sees as analogous to the conception of the human nature of Christ.  This new birth is not the ‘begetting’ of a nature that is the very same as the nature of the Spirit Himself, that is, it is not a communication of the Godhead to us making us “God of God”.  Just as the two natures of Christ are not confused or mixed, so the Spirit does not become the new nature.  Neither is this new nature a spark of the divine life put within, because we are only creatures and can only ever be creatures”. – Paul Blackham in his unpublished doctoral thesis “The Pneumatology of Thomas Goodwin”

It is Christ who took on our flesh, and was emptied so that we are made full (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21); that He would be Mara so that we can be restored beyond Naomi.

The physical emblem of this is stored in the explanation behind “the custom in former times” (v.7) which concerns redeeming and exchanging, much like the great exchange of our sins with His righteousness in Luther’s terms:

“In this is displayed the delightful sight, not only of communion, but of a prosperous warfare, of victory, salvation, and redemption. For, since Christ is God and man, and is such a Person as neither has sinned, nor dies, nor is condemned, nay, cannot sin, die, or be condemned, and since His righteousness, life, and salvation are invincible, eternal, and almighty,–when I say, such a Person, by the wedding-ring of faith, takes a share in the sins, death, and hell of His wife, nay, makes them His own, and deals with them no otherwise than as if they were His, and as if He Himself had sinned; and when He suffers, dies, and descends to hell, that He may overcome all things, and since sin, death, and hell cannot swallow Him up, they must needs be swallowed up by Him in stupendous conflict. For His righteousness rises above the sins of all men; His life is more powerful than all death; His salvation is more unconquerable than all hell.

Thus the believing soul, by the pledge of its faith in Christ, becomes free from all sin, fearless of death, safe from hell, and endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of its Husband Christ. Thus He presents to Himself a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word; that is, by faith in the word of life, righteousness, and salvation. Thus He betrothes her unto Himself “in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies” (Hosea ii. 19, 20).

Who then can value highly enough these royal nuptials? Who can comprehend the riches of the glory of this grace? Christ, that rich and pious Husband, takes as a wife a needy and impious harlot, redeeming her from all her evils and supplying her with all His good things. It is impossible now that her sins should destroy her, since they have been laid upon Christ and swallowed up in Him, and since she has in her Husband Christ a righteousness which she may claim as her own, and which she can set up with confidence against all her sins, against death and hell, saying, “If I have sinned, my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned; all mine is His, and all His is mine,” as it is written, “My beloved is mine, and I am His” (Cant. ii. 16). This is what Paul says: “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” victory over sin and death, as he says, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor. xv. 56, 57).” – Martin Luther’s “The Freedom of the Christian”

Thus the sandal of the redeemer is given to Boaz (v.9-11), so that all may be placed under the footstool of Christ (Luke 20:43):

9Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to(H) Chilion and to Mahlon. 10Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife,(I) to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”

Such is the nature of Christ’s proclamation of His marriage to us; He announces it to the clouds of witnesses, be they angels, the Spirit, the creatures, the groaning earth or even those being held in the pit (1 Peter 3:19) – these are the witnesses awaiting the revelation of the glory of the sons of God (Deuteronomy 4:26; 1 Samuel 12:5; Job 16:19; Romans 8:19-23; Hebrews 12:1) that the line of Spiritual Israel has perpetuated into New Jerusalem, that the name of the dead – be that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Gideon or even you – will be preserved eternally in the New Kingdom, so that none of our inheritance is cut off as long as we are grafted into Christ and allow us to stand righteous at the gate of the new heaven and earth (Revelation 22:14).

Thus, just as Justin Martyr saw Leah and Rachel as respectively the Old Church of Israel and the New Global Church with Japheth in the tents of Shem (Genesis 9:27), so also the elders saw Ruth as akin to Rachel and Leah in the typifying of the building up the house of Israel (v.11-12) into an international Church, for it is indeed through Ruth’s story that we see a restoration of God’s people not to the idyllic template of Eden, but to the real glory of Christ Who is greater than Eden, and transcends the barriers of the nations.

The spiritual insight of the House of Perez (v.12) in fact draws several parallels between Genesis 38 and the story of Ruth (taken from http://the48files.blogspot.com/2008/04/judah-and-tamar-retold.html and my commentary on Genesis 38):

Gen 38

Ruth

Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite

Elimelech moved away from his people to Moab

Judah and his son marry a Canaanite

Mahlon and Chilion marry Moabites

Judah’s two sons die

Elimelech and his two sons die

Judah and Onan act unfaithfully as kinsman-redeemer

Boaz acts faithfully as kinsman-redeemer, the un-named redeemer of Ruth 4 does not act faithfully

Tamar faithfully seeks to continue the line

Ruth faithfully seeks to continue the line

Tamar offers herself as a prostitute to Judah

Ruth seeks to seduce Boaz in a way which could almost be considered entrapment

Judah dishonourable and seduced by Tamar

Boaz is honourable in his conduct to Ruth

Tamar is included in the people of Israel and is an ancestor of Boaz, David and Jesus

Ruth is included in the people of Israel and is an ancestor of David and Jesus

Like Tamar, Ruth is an outsider who was brought within the House of Israel – and in fact they are huge contributors to the line of David down to Christ, fulfilling the prophecy of Japheth and Shem – a picture of the Gentiles and Israelites joining together against the spiritual Canaanites which include many of the physical church of Israel.

Restorer of Life in the House of Perez

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife, and Boaz did this upon his return in the morning, that on the first meeting he gave her the deposit of the barley, and that on his second return he is waiting to be married to her – so our Christ who gave us the Spirit in His incarnation would return to enable us the full intimacy of marital union.

Such is the new glory given to Naomi, that Obed the grandfather of David is greater to her than “seven sons” – exceeding the period of joy that she had with her family in Edenic times and she is restored beyond Mara, beyond Naomi.  Like a model of Genesis 3, the Seed is to come, the Seed who is the redeemer whose name shall be renowned in Israel!  The focus of this blessing and prophecy is thus on Obed – “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to HIM” [my emphasis, v.15].  The immediate comment that David is borne of Obed shows us that Christ, in the line of David, is actually the true meaning of this restorer and nourisher of life, the redeemer whose name shall be renowned in true Israel.

Naomi is one of the few remnants left of Israel in the wilderness, just like Joshua and Caleb, and their names are upheld through their progeny as those two leaders nursed Israel into the great chosen nation.  Indeed, a son is born to Naomi, not Mara – and this is such a direct contrast to the bitterness by the end of the book of Judges, that it is so fitting for us to see the familial love entirely restored from Obed to Ruth, from Ruth to Naomi (v.15), from Ruth to Boaz, from Boaz to Ruth – this flow of love stemming from the fountain of the Trinity passing on to all who had experienced such pain of being once outcast and now restored to greater wonders.  Ruth the Moabite is no longer distinguishable as a daughter-in-law, as she is considered truly the family of the Israelites (Ruth 2:2, 2:8, 2:22; 3:1, 3:10, 3:11, 3:16, 3:18), the inheritance of Israel given to her just as Christ has used Israel to give it to all of us today.  The narrative’s focus is that she is indeed the daughter-in-law, but Ruth is according to Naomi’s choice of words truly her daughter, and Orpah truly standing outside of this Church of Christ.

The Book of Ruth therefore ends by taking us back to the house of Perez, reminding us of the glory given to Tamar of the offspring coming by her line down through Ruth (Galatians 3:16-19).  Here we see this important house recorded:  Perez who breached the family of Israel as being of mixed heritage, initially enclosed in Hezron but leading to exaltation through Ram, being one of the prince’s people through Amminadab, with Nahshon the enchanter being the brother-in-law of Aaron by his sister Elisheba (Exodus 6:23), and Salmon who – like Judah and Boaz – married women of non-Israelite blood (Rahab, c.f. Matthew 1:5), leading to the swiftness of Boaz to the salvation of Ruth resulting in the service of Obed, finally ascending to the wealth of Jesse the Bethlehemite (1 Samuel 16:1, 18; 17:58) which were cared for by David, the well-beloved Son of Man as one of the greatest types of Christ.

From this genealogy at the end of the book, we are given the context of the prophecy concerning the restorer of life in chapter 4:12, 4:15 – culminating in King David.  Obed was merely the passage to this restorer, as was Perez; and as the next book tells of the story of the true king David toppling the faithless king Saul, it is in the narrative of 1 and 2 Samuel that we find one of the longest drawn out typologies of Christ in the Old Testament, He who became our close Kinsman in order to complete the work of the Redeemer.

Book of Ruth

Exodus 4-6: First to the Jews, then to the Gentiles

1.  The Signs of the Covenant (Exodus 4)

2.  Increased Suffering – 1st round to the Jews  (Exodus 5)

3.  Preparing for Battle – 2nd round to the Egyptians  (Exodus 6)

1.  The Signs of the Covenant (Exodus 4)

Moses is now given powerful signs which the LORD gives to give him strength to evangelise/preach to the Pharoah.  Three of which relate to the preaching to the Pharoah:

(a)  Staff which becomes a serpent  (v.3)

(b)  Dead to living flesh (v.6)

(c)  Water of the Nile into blood  (v.9)

One of which relates to circumcision:

(d)  Zipporah taking a flint and cutting off her son’s foreskin and touches Moses’ feet with it (v.25-26)

These signs will become even more apparent as we delve further into Exodus, but let’s see why the signs must happen from (a) to (c) in that particular order, and why these three particular signs (in the same way we will explain in later entries the reason for the 10 plagues and why those ten in particular).

Firstly, the staff which becomes a serpent – just like the bronze serpent which the Israelites looked upon to cure them of their bites.  This staff later swallows up the snakes which the Pharoah’s magicians conjure, and it is deadly; but remember, even God is sovereign over this snake.  And is the bronze snake there for the Israelites to observe and to adore (Numbers 21)?  Did Moses suddenly succumb to the temptations of relying on this serpent-idol?  No of course not.  The very fact that this snake is essentially a staff, that even finds it being in this staff, shows God’s sovereignty over the snake.  The bronze snake, also, is not a reminder that we look to the Snake for comfort; rather, we look to the bronze snake and remember that it is an idol, prophesied in Genesis 3 that this snake will have its head destroyed.  No doubt, the sovereignty over the snake is the true message of Christ’s salvation over Lucifer, the fallen morning star.  This is what Martyr has to say about the brazen snake:


“For tell me, was it not God who commanded by Moses that no image or likeness of anything which was in heaven above or which was on the earth should be made, and yet who caused the brazen serpent to be made by Moses in the wilderness, and set it up for a sign by which those bitten by serpents were saved? Yet is He free from unrighteousness. For by this, as I previously remarked, He proclaimed the mystery, by which He declared that He would break the power of the serpent which occasioned the transgression of Adam, and [would bring] to them that believe on Him [who was foreshadowed] by this sign, i.e., Him who was to be crucified, salvation from the fangs of the serpent, which are wicked deeds, idolatries, and other unrighteous acts. Unless the matter be so understood, give me a reason why Moses set up the brazen serpent for a sign, and bade those that were bitten gaze at it, and the wounded were healed; and this, too, when he had himself commanded that no likeness of anything whatsoever should be made.”

“But you, expounding these things in a low [and earthly] manner, impute much weakness to God, if you thus listen to them merely, and do not investigate the force of the words spoken. Since even Moses would in this way be considered a transgressor: for he enjoined that no likeness of anything in heaven, or on earth, or in the sea, be made; and then he himself made a brazen serpent and set it on a standard, and bade those who were bitten look at it: and they were saved when they looked at it. Will the serpent, then, which (I have already said) God had in the beginning cursed and cut off by the great sword, as Isaiah says, be understood as having preserved at that time the people?

For the second sign, the sign of dead to living flesh, this is prophecying directly to the new flesh which we will inherit as an inwardly new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and an outwardly new body (Ezekiel 37:1-14).  Leprosy is an outward sign of the sickness of the heart, and this rotting of the flesh prophecies to the eternal rotting of not only our flesh but our soul in the pit; and God’s ability to renew the flesh is the re-creation we look forward to on the Resurrection Day.

Finally, the water to blood – this also undoubtedly preaches the necessity of the blood of Christ to wash our sins, the preaching of the water turned into wine; can normal water wash us?  Can normal water save us?  Or is the blood of Christ the true blood can can wash us, that Christ’s blood will fill the Nile and that the word of God will fill the brims of the earth (Psalm 72:19)!

Now, to the sign of circumcision.  Why was Zipporah so afraid of Moses’ failure to circumcise his own son?

To begin with, this is a character-building experience for Moses to not over-spiritualise the gospel and fail to complete the sacraments.  He himself was most likely circumcised before being put in the ark, being born in the tribe of Levites.  If Moses was going to be the man to tell the Israelites about the Law, then he must take the law entirely seriously.  The Angel (v.24 – “the LORD met him and sought to put him to death”) was very angry with Moses because of this failure to circumcise his son.  Did Moses forget Genesis 17?

At least Zipporah did not.  Apostle Paul understood the truth of taking the sacraments seriously (1 Corinthians 11:29-32), so why shouldn’t Moses?  Zipporah, his Gentile wife, had at least a Christian understanding of the sacraments.  She immediately circumcised his son, and touched the LORD’s feet with her son’s foreskin.  When this sign of blood is given to the Angel, Christ, He does not kill Moses.  Zipporah then worships Christ as her “Bridegroom of Blood”.  The ESV among other reliable translations seem to translate this with some misconceptions, because the Hebrew does not say “Moses’ feet” in v.25 – it simply says “his” feet.  If you follow the context, v.25-26 – “Zipporah took a flint and cut of her son’s foreskin and touched his feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone.”  The grammatical syntax doesn’t really make sense if you say that Zipporah cut the son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it, because v. 26 refers the “he” to Christ, not Moses.  The point of Zipporah touching Christ’s feet is to enable Christ to let Moses alone – that is why v.25 goes on to v.26.  Any other translation (even offered by ESV/NIV etc) will fail to make sense of these two verses.

Zipporah’s theology is rich here – she actually understands the Second person to be the bridegroom of blood, in effect putting herself before Christ as the bride of blood.  She understands the Second Person’s role in the Trinity, and understands her role in relation to the Second Person’s blood covenant.  She is no daughter of a priest of foreign religion; she is the daughter of a Christian priest, and wife to a Christian husband who is struggling with his understanding of the sacraments.

2.  Increased Suffering – 1st round to the Jews  (Exodus 5)

After understanding the signs of the covenant, what will Moses and Aaron do with them?  By the end of chapter 4, we see that Moses and Aaron had performed the signs in the sight of the people (v. 30) – and the people believed! (v. 31); and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people, they bowed their heads and worshipped.  So Moses and Aaron visited the Jews first, before visiting the Gentiles.  They had visited the elders first.

Then, they visit The Elder of the Gentiles – the Pharoah.  Of course, unlike the Pharoah in Joseph’s time, this one doesn’t know God (v.2 – “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?  I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go”).  The Pharoah not only forgot the LORD’s favour with the Pharoah (Genesis 47:20-27); Perhaps he is jealous of their possession of Goshen (Genesis 47:5-6).  And look at the response of the Israelites; look at the response of the people in Chapter 5v.21 – “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharoah and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us”.  What an utter lack of trust and faith; what a quick turn from their initial belief of the signs at the end of chapter 4, and a drastic change within a short period.

This will be a foretelling of the description of the Israelites at large – they will keep thirsting for manna, for food and water, for physical fulfillment, for kings, for sensual pleasures, for their own definition of good and evil, for their own definition of justice… but there will only be a few, a remnant, who will remember Christ and his signs of the covenant, the sacraments which point to his work on the cross.  And the picture of chapter 4 and 5 is an immediate prototype of the picture shown in Christ’s work in the gospels – he and his disciples had approached the Jews first, and many were healed, and many saw signs – but many renounced their initial belief, and Christ had died on the cross with more enemies than friends – “may the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of the Pharoah”.  Indeed, the Jews then said the same thing, under the rule of Herod and Pilate.  Where were Christ’s supporters when they saw the signs?

3.  Preparing for Battle – 2nd round to the Egyptians  (Exodus 6)

Which is why the gospel must go out to the Gentiles so the Jews will be jealous of them (Romans 11:11) – so that the Jews can be released from the bondage of a foreign nation, when the foreign nation comes to terms with Christ! Thus chapter 6 begins:  “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharoah; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his hand” – and this preaching to the Gentile nation will be coupled with God’s faithfulness to Moses’ forefathers, which he summarised in v. 3-8.  Moses re-iterated God’s faithfulness again to the Israelites, but because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery, they did not listen.  Surely, they should not have looked to themselves for confidence in the LORD; they should look to the LORD for confidence in the LORD!

In any case, the gospel has gone to the Jews and now must go to the Gentiles which is why we naturally move to v.10-11.

At this point, there is a v. short interlude where the genealogy of Moses and Aaron are explained.  This interlude is fitting; because thus begins the next segment of the story in Exodus, where Moses and Aaron go head to head with the Pharoah; and how fitting it is that the LORD chooses the physical and spiritual Israelites to fight the pagan king of Egypt?  Just a small thing to note in v.3 – “but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them”.  This betrays the theology of the translators, very much due to the modern sway of progressive revelation.  But the Hebrew doesn’t say that – the Hebrew actually says “but by my name the Lord did I not make myself known to them?”  This explains why I have previously been saying in my commentary in Genesis that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that the LORD had already revealed his name (Jehovah) to them, even as early as the first few chapters of Genesis when they were already calling upon the name of the LORD.  The NIV footnote of Exodus 6:3 shows the more accurate Hebrew translation which is quite essential to staying true to accurate theology.

Here is my rendition of the genealogy table.  Moses and Aaron are now prepared to say the very words of God himself – which we leave for the next entry – but the partnership between the two will soon fade out, as Moses begins to understand God better and better throughout the span of Exodus.

Exodus 4-6: First to the Jews, then to the Gentiles

Genesis 24-26: The virgin bride of Christ

1.  “It is not good for man to be alone”: Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24)

2.  Abraham, Keturah, Isaac and Ishmael (Genesis 25:1-28 )

3.  Jacob and Esau – birthright = stew? (Genesis 25:19-34)

4.  Isaac and the Philistines (Genesis 26:1-33)

5.  Esau and the Hittites (Genesis 26:34-35)

1.  “It is not good for man to be alone”: Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24)

v.2 – Abraham’s servant, “the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had” is told to swear by the LORD, God of heaven and earth (note, not only the God of Abraham!), that he is to take a wife from his country and his kindred.  What kindred would that be?  The Hebrews!  And there shall the chief servant take a wife for his son Isaac.

This is an amazing prophecy to the work of the Great Commission.  The gospel is presented in a short few verses (v.2-4).  To make things simpler:

(a)  Abraham = The Father

(b)  Isaac = The Son, the Bridegroom

(c)  Chief Servant = The evangelist, steward of the earth

(d)  Wife = The bride

Let’s work through these representations.  In Genesis 22 we saw Abraham sacrifice Isaac, and that it is a direct parallel to his sacrifice of Christ himself.  Does the typology end there?  Absolutely not.  Here, the chief servant of the Son’s Father asks the chief servant of his house to find Isaac, his only beloved Son, a wife.  And yes – that is much of our mission in life today.  To serve our Master, our Father, by finding more men and women to add to the bride.  And many things are taught in Genesis 24.

Firstly, we swear by the LORD that we will not take a wife from the adulterous Canaanites.  What I mean here is that the Canaanites are not lovers of LORD Jehovah, Yahweh, Adonai, Abba… rather, they are lovers of their own idols of their own makings.  Such is the definition of spiritual adultery – and as represented by the Canaanites.  Thus, it isn’t merely a case of Abraham seeking a physical family – he is seeking a spiritual family to build up God’s kingdom.  So, in everything we do in our evangelism, we are seeking to find a Christian bride, a bride who loves Christ and who will honour Christ.  A spiritual Canaanite simply will not do, but completely contradict the point of evangelism.  Hence the odd statement from the servant: “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follower me to this land.  Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” (v.5)

Charles Spurgeon has this to say:

“If she will not come to Isaac, shall Isaac go down to her?  This is the suggestion of the present hour:  if the world will not come to Jesus, shall Jesus tone down his teachings to the world?  In other words, if the world will not rise to the church, shall not the church go down to the world?  Instead of bidding men to be converted, and come out from among sinners, and be separate from them, let us join with the ungodly world, enter into union with it, and so pervade it with our influence by allowing it to influence us.  Let us have a Christian world”.

Thus, though the steward be prudent, there is a sense of fear.  “What if the gospel will fail?”  “What if no one will believe the report?”  “What if the bride is unwilling?”  These are all statements of insecurity – but Abraham’s response is exactly that of the response of the Father when he sends us to find more to add to the Son’s bride; his response is “See to it that you do not take my son back there (v.6)”.  He maintains that his Son stay put.  It is for the wife to come to the Son, because the work is complete.  The promise has already been made.  Although the promise hasn’t been fulfilled, it is de facto completed.  “To your offspring I will give this land’, he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there”.  (v.7)

This isn’t just some hasty statement – Abraham is saying that the promise will be fulfilled – and that Jesus, God’s chief Sent One, will be before the servant, the evangelist.  In the same way should we regard evangelism – it is not ‘ours’ to control, however eloquent we might be.  It is by the power of the Angel, by the power of the Spirit, that anyone can come to join as the bride of Christ.

Here, the chief servant goes to find the wife – not blindly, but with the sense given to him by the instruction of Abraham.  He seeks first the instruction of the LORD as well – “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham”.  He asks for a sign, he asks for confirmation.  “Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink'”.  In the same way should we ask for confirmation and not to rush into the open and preach like a mad-man.  Indeed, Paul confirms that he is sent from the LORD, as do all the evangelists.  The shipwreck is there to stop him, when the LORD wanted him to go elsewhere.

Then, in v. 22-30, the chief servant Eleazar of Damascus prepares the gift of inheritance.  Gold ring and two bracelets for Rebekah’s arms weighing ten gold shekels, after understanding that her heart is open.  How does he know?  Because of the fulfilled promises – that she is from the line of Shem, the line of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.  She gave Eleazar a drink and watered his ten camels.  Now she is given the possession of the inheritance – but that is merely a foretaste, a firstfruit, of the marriage to come.  Like the dove which took an olive leaf (Genesis 8:11), like a king’s signet ring (Esther 8:8), is it a foretaste of the true communion with the High King, the Father.  This ring represents the Holy Spirit, the gift of inheritance; the bracelets are adornments of righteousness which we receive by Christ’s blood (Job 29:14).

Yet, if the woman refuses?  Then the chief servant shall be clear from this his oath: only bring not his son to the woman.  If we therefore faithfully preach the gospel without watering it down, then even though numbers have not been added to the saved, it is fine – we can keep enduring, but we have stood firm.  The blood is not on our hands (Ezekiel 3:20).

And what of the significance of a virgin woman?  For he is to be the bride’s First Love (Revelation 2:4), as the bride is Christ’s first love – and in Him will Rebekah become “thousands of ten thousands, and may [her] offspring possess the gate of those who hate Him” (Genesis 24:60).  This proclamation shows the forward looking nature of the Arameans then – they remembered God’s covenant with Adam (Genesis 3:15), with Seth, with Noah, with Abraham.  She may cover herself with a wedding veil (v.65), whilst still wearing the ring and bracelets of inheritance and righteousness, but that veil will only be temporary, until the day it is torn completely apart on the great Wedding Day between the Son and his Bride.  For now, the veil will last as we are still merely engaged to Christ.

“So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (v. 67).  It is not good for man to be alone.  And what an awesome picture of evangelism and marriage to cure Isaac of his loneliness, which is not good.  So, it is also not good for Jesus to be alone – and the Father and the Spirit have been working hard since Day 7 of creation to build up the church and body of Christ.

2.  Abraham, Keturah, Isaac and Ishmael (Genesis 25:1-28 )

Abraham took another wife – and by now, despite being over 100 years old (and that he had previously had serious difficulties bearing children), he is bearing many.  The sons of Midian will later lead to Jethro, the priest whom Moses will meet, and his very father-in-law.  Yet, the sons of his concubines he merely gave gifts, but sent them away from Isaac to the eastward to the east country.  Abraham is working hard to maintain the Israelite line without corruptions, that the sons of concubines may not be related to the Promised Son.

Here is a table which I prepared for easy reference of the genealogy in this chapter, the new sons of Abraham, and the sons of Ishmael.

So, what’s interesting is that Ishmael returns to bury Abraham!  However, we don’t know where he came from and how he heard the knews.  That appears unimportant – what is starking is his uninvolvement besides the burial.  His name is mentioned, and then instantly forgotten – for after the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son (v.11).  Could Moses have added another line…”and Ishmael as well” to v.11?  There is a very good reason he is omitted, because he is not part of the chosen line.  What we finally hear about him is that God has fulfilled his promise to him – that 12 princes have come from his line.  But, like the Kenite genealogy, his people settled from Havilah to Shur, opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria.  Unlike Abraham, Sarah, and later Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob… Ishmael’s line settled not in Canaan,  he was however gathered to his people eventually in Assyria.  Like Lot, he chose to settle with the world, and not with the LORD, and it is no surprise that we find the Assyrians later becoming enemies of the LORD.

3.  Jacob and Esau – birthright = stew? (Genesis 25:29- Genesis 26:33)

It seems that Jacob and Esau have had their personality predicted from birth.  “Two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you shall be divided”.  Essentially, speaking of the Israelites (as Jacob shall later be renamed Israel after his struggle with the Angel of the Lord, Jesus) vs. the Edomites as to even reward an entire book speaking of the judgment against Esau’s line:

10(M) Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
shame shall cover you,
(N) and you shall be cut off forever.
11(O) On the day that you stood aloof,
(P) on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
(Q) and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
12(R) But do not gloat over the day of your brother
in the day of his misfortune;
(S) do not rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their ruin;
(T) do not boast[e]
in the day of distress.
13(U) Do not enter the gate of my people
in the day of their calamity;
(V) do not gloat over his disaster
in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
in the day of his calamity.
14(W) Do not stand at the crossroads
to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
in the day of distress. (Obadiah 1:10-14)

And here we have two nations – one labelled “red”, the Edomites, because of his desire for red stew.  Another called “Jacob”, meaning “he takes by the heel” or “he cheats”.  What a way to describe two nations!  One that is cheating, full of struggle; another that desires food and short-term fulfillment over the long-term promise!  Esau’s desire for red stew even preceded that of his birthright!  “I am about to die” (v.32) he says!  Like Eve was about to die if she didn’t eat the fruit from the tree of good and evil?  Like Judas was about to die if he didn’t betray Jesus?  Like Balaam was about to die if he didn’t curse Israel?  Such is the mindset of the sinner… “I am about to die”.  It is a statement not of desperation – it is simply whining!  And yet, despite Jacob’s questionable methods, he planned far ahead.  He wanted the birthright.  He didn’t want to die, physically and even in the long-term – spiritually.  Yet, Edom wanted to live now, live fast… and die not only young, but die forever.  A stew for his birthright – quite clearly, “he despised his birthright”.

4.  Isaac and the Philistines (Genesis 26:1-33)

Isaac settled in Gerar, because the LORD told him so.  He didn’t go with his ‘rationale’ – he didn’t go with good foresight in planning (though that may be helpful in certain situations).  But he went there, simply because the LORD said so.  What great reverence!

Unfortunately, he feared the men of the place and lied about his wife being his sister, much like his father.  And to the same people like his father!  What is most interesting however is that this chapter maps out in far more detail about Isaac’s life than Abraham’s time with Abimelech in Genesis 20.  We have the Philistines:

(a) envying him (v.14) – an emotion expressed by filling up Abraham’s servants’ dug-out wells with earth.  Abraham respons by encamping in the Valley of Gerar and digs the wells again, giving them the names his father had given them previously.

(b) contending with him (v.20) – that the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen over the water which Isaac had found.  Yet Isaac is gracious once more; he leaves to another land, digs another well, and named that well Rehoboth (meaning broad place/room) rather than Sitnah (meaning enmity).  We can tell that Isaac is a man very much unlike Jacob and Esau who struggle against one another.  Rather, Isaac is gracious and seems to be looking to the LORD over everything.  Such is the stark contrast between the Philistines who contend with Isaac for something as a personal gain; but Isaac relinquishes it, just to be equally blessed but to give thanks to the LORD exclusively for that blessing.

(c) admiring him (v.28-29) – “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace.  You are now the blessed of the LORD”.  What sarcasm from the Philistines!  They want to keep face; but they must admit that they admire Isaac, because he is the “blessed of the LORD”.  The problem, however, is that a Christian may misread this history and say that you can only be blessed after such trials.  NO.  read v.3 – “I will be with you and will bless you”, and v. 4 – “…And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”.  This is more of God’s promises – one-sided promises.  He establishes this covenant which he later fulfills by himself.  Though it is through the word of the Philistines that his ‘blessedness’ is established, Isaac is by no means perfect.  We saw that in his fear of the people of Gerar when he said his wife is merely his sister.  Yet, like Abraham, he has faith in Christ, the truly blessed man – the only one who is blessed and can bless others.  It is important to note that Isaac depended not on himself, for Jesus appeared to him twice in this chapter, firstly before he set off as a wandering pilgrim, inevitably meeting enemies and insecurities (v.2); and secondly in the midst of his difficulties in v.24-25.

The oath between Philistines and Isaac is interesting.  It doesn’t last.  We see that more clearly when Samson fought the Philistines in the book of Judges.  Yet, God’s promises, his oath to us, lasts.  There may be water in the well of oath now, but that water can be easily filled with earth again by the Philistines.  But God’s oaths are never-failing.

5.  Esau and the Hittites (Genesis 26:34-35)

Finally, we end on a solemn note with Esau marrying a Hittite.  Such is the pain and trouble which Isaac’s father had tried to prevent.  And yet, such is the case when a Christian marries a non-Christian.  Contradictions, compromises and troubles are inevitable – not only that, but it is a clear misrepresentation of the gospel.  Can you see Jesus being preached when Christ comes to the world and marries his adulterous church?  Or can you see Jesus being preached when the church, his bride, conforms to him single-heartedly after his initiative work on the cross before the foundations of creation?  (Revelation 13:8 )

Genesis 24-26: The virgin bride of Christ

Genesis 12-14: Blueprint of the Future

Before moving on to Chapter 12, some interesting things to note.

Haran, one of Terah’s sons, is the father of Lot – yet he died in the presence of his father in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans.  Abram took a wife called Sarai, whereas Nahor, Terah’s other son, took Milcah, who is the daughter of Haran.

Another table isn’t so necessary now, but just to make things clear:

Terah bore –> Abram/Nahor/Haran (d. in Ur)

Haran bore –> Milcah/Iscah/Lot

Abram married Sarai

Nahor married Milcah, Haran’s daughter (i.e. his niece).

Therefore, we have a family of three generations – Terah, with his son Abram and his daughter-in-law Sarai, and Lot his grandson — all together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan.  They then settled in Haran, where Terah died.  Meanwhile, Nahor, Milcah and Iscah are unaccounted for.  But we will come back to Nahor and Milcah (Genesis 22), but Iscah we will not hear about againt throughout Scripture.

My question – why were they going to Canaan?  Another thing is of course the self-explanatory nature of Scripture.  It is assumed that we know that Ur of the Chaldeans, the kindred of Haran.  What we do know, briefly, is that history teaches Chaldea will become a Hellenistic part of Babylonia, in connection with Babylon, and within Scripture will they become enemies of God’s chosen people (2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 22:25).  How odd, that Haran was a kinsmen of future Babylonians who would later hold Israel captive?

What I find most interesting is what Moses and the Israelites would have been thinking when they were listening to this story because they, also, are brought out of what they believed to be their ‘home’ land (Egypt) into the ‘foreign’ Promised Land (Canaan).  However, how odd things are — Abraham was already going to Canaan in the past.  Why the ‘repeat’ of history per se?  Surely the (physical) promised land of Canaan is the final dwelling place for the Israelites?  What happened between Abraham and Moses, the latter who is guiding the nation to Canaan AGAIN in the history of God’s chosen people?

I will hope to cover that in just a moment.  Meanwhile, onto Genesis 12.

1.  Significance of the locations

2.  The Angel of the Lord

3.  Pharaoh and Abimelech

4.  Abram and Lot separate

5.  Abram ‘saves’ Lot

6.  Melchizedek

7.  A mirror of the future – blueprint of the Old Testament

1.  Significance of the locations (Genesis 12 in general)

After the dispersion of the nations, God is now speaking of the fathers of the nations in which the Mosaic Israelites have been facing for a while.

(a)  Chaldea – the ‘home’ country from which Abraham hailed from (Gen 12:1-2: “Now the LORD (had) said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing”).  I’ve already spoken of Chaldea’s future in the above paragraphs.

(b)  Canaan – where Abraham eventually arrived (Gen 12v. 5-6) – whereupon in Gen 12v. 7 God makes a promise that to his offspring he will give this land.  I’m positive Moses is thrilled to hear this.

(c)  Bethel and Ai – the former being the place where Jacob gives an offering to the Father after struggling with Christ in Genesis 35:1 – “God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there.  Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau”.  The latter, Ai, is where Israel would eventually be defeated.  Some geography is offered concerning Ai in Joshua 7:2 – “Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.”  And the men went up and spied out Ai.”

(d)  Negeb – which is in Canaan

2.  The Angel of the LORD (Genesis 12:1-9)

Is this is the first time God conversed with men?  Of course not… but which “God” are we speaking of?  Let’s do a quick recap of everything up to Genesis 12.  It would help to understand why and how it is that people can ‘see’ God, when no one has ever ‘seen’ Him.  Who is “Him”?

Genesis 1 & 2 – the Creator God, I would say, is the Father in Heaven, who speaks to Adam and the Woman.

Genesis 3:8 – the ‘sound’ (voice) of the LORD God walking in the garden.  We established that this ‘voice’ is Jesus.

Genesis 4:6 – who is speaking to Cain?  v. 16 – “the presence of the LORD”.  Philo, rather, translates this as the FACE of the Lord.  Who is the face?  Jesus Christ, the visible of the invisible (Colossians 1).

Genesis 6:13 – God said to Noah — which God?

Genesis 7:1 – then the LORD said to Noah — who?

Genesis 9:1 – God blessed Noah — why the constant exchange between ‘God’ and LORD?

Genesis 9:8, 12-17 – God said to Noah and to his sons – back to “God” again

Genesis 12:1 – the Lord said to Abram – back to LORD again

Genesis 12:7 – the Lord APPEARED to him — this is a first we hear of the LORD explicitly appearing to anyone.  Again, and unsurprisingly, Abram builds an altar.  Why?  Because his ancestor Noah (Gen 8:20) had also done so.  This is mentioned again in v.7b – “So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had APPEARED to him”.

Can we assume that everytime the LORD or God speaks to men, that it is necessarily Jesus?

3.  Pharaoh and Abimelech, and the future re-produced? (Genesis 12:10-20)

What happens here in Genesis 12:10-20 is repeated again in Genesis 20.  Is there any meaning behind Abraham insisting on saying that his wife is his sister?  Yes – it is to display Abraham’s absolute weakness as a person who has ‘faith’ in God.  In some sense, we should find solace in that, because the LORD had already proclaimed the promise to him back in Genesis 12:1-3.  Was it because of Abraham’s righteousness?  Of course not.  His ‘faith’ in God was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).  But even Abraham has weak faith!  All the better – faith is not a type of works in itself.  Even we are expected to fluctuate – yet, we are also called to persist by the work of the Spirit.  Let us heed God’s call when He indeed speaks to us, and not rely on cheap grace (Psalm 95:7-11).

Now what is most interesting is what happens in this chapter.  It is almost as if the future is somewhat shown here!  Firstly, God pulls out a Chaldean into Canaan almost immediately.  Then he backtracks Abraham to Bethel where Jacob will later give his offering after struggling with Christ.  Then he backtracks Abraham further to Egypt, in a time of famine (think Joseph!).  Then there are huge plagues (Exodus territory) because of Sarai (Chapter 12v.7) whereupon he leaves Egypt and goes to Negeb (we know Negeb is in Canaan – c.f. Numbers 33:40, and Abraham had already been trying to get there in Genesis 12:9).

When he reaches Negeb, he journeys even further BACK to Bethel, to the altar between Bethel and Ai and calls upon the name of the LORD there.  This is kind of like saying Abraham, this is the land in which you will own, but not yet.  Not yet.

Let’s sum up so far:

(a)  He comes from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan

–(b)  He built an altar near Shechem, to the oak of Moreh

—(c)  He pitches a tent on the east of Bethel between Bethel (on the west) and Ai (on the east)

—-(d)  He goes toward the Negeb (but not reaching there yet)

—–(e)  He went to Egypt to sojourn during the famine

—–(e)  He leaves Egypt because of his silly mistake

—-(d)  He returns to Negeb

—(c)  He goes back to Bethel to the place where he pitched the tent

–(b)  Then to the place where he built the altar at the first

(a)  He calls upon the name of the LORD (Chapter 13v.4) – yet now, Lot leaves Abram because of strife between Abram’s herdsmen of his livestock, and Lot’s herdsmen of his own livestock.  Instead, Lot sees the Jordan Valley, well watered like the GARDEN of the LORD, and like EGYPT, in the direction of Zoar.  We will later see Lot turning on his word, fearing to live in Zoar again (Genesis 19:30).

4.  Abram and Lot separate (Genesis 13:1-18 )

How weird it is that Lot desires the very things which God later takes away from him.  The Garden of the LORD, which has been taken away from Adam and Eve.  Egypt, which has been ‘taken away’ from the Israelites and from the Pharoah.  Zoar, which later Lot desires never to live there again.  Again, note — Lot journeys EAST, according to his own will and what caught the desire of his eye (Genesis 3:6 – a repeat of Eve’s sin).  Not only that, but Lot, being a clan member of Haran and Shem, could have taken part of this gift of Canaan (Genesis 9:26-27).  He was even so wise enough, after hearing God pronounce the blessing on Abram in Chapter 12:1-2, as to go ‘with him’ (Chapter 12:4).  Rather, now, he desires to establish his own livelihood.  However, we see that Lot still lives in a ‘tent’, but among cities as far as Sodom (Genesis 13:12).  Even God himself says it clearly – “the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD”.  Sodom, unsurprisingly, is where the Canaanites, the ‘cursed’ race, dwells.  Lot is a perfect example of a Christian who, having tasted the goodness of partaking in the church in his time of weakness, decides to leave the chosen remnant because he has ‘found better pastures’ as it were.  So he chose the ‘obvious’ worldly choice – a land which mock-represents the Garden of Eden.  Of course, it is nothing like it.

The irony then, in Chapter 13:14 for the LORD to announce to Abram almost immediately “after Lot had separated from him”, that from the place where Abram is, “northward/southward/eastward/westward”, all that he sees – will be given to his offspring forever.  An amazing claim from an amazing God.  The offspring will be so much as the ‘dust’ of the earth – just as God repeats that the offspring will be as much as the ‘stars’ in the sky (Genesis 15:5).  Again, a hint of Christological natural theology from God himself, for we are physical creatures needing physical things to help our understanding of the invisible God – the only physical thing which only represents God in the Highest being Jesus Christ himself.

5.  Abram ‘saves’ Lot (Genesis 14:1-16)

What is immediately noticeable is the number of locations referred to here – let’s class them into groups.

Group A

Shinar, Ellasar, Elam, Goiim, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Bela/Zoar – all of which joined forces.

Group B

Chedorlaomer (king of Elam) was the leader of Group A, which Group A eventually rebelled against after serving Chedorlaomer for 12 years, and rebelled in the 13th year.

Group C

Rephaim (in Ashteroth-karnaim), Zuzim in Ham, Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, Horites )in Seir as far as El-paran), Amalekites in Kadesh/En-mishpat, Amorites in Hazazon-tamar

Group D

Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Bela/Zoar

Group E

Elam, Goiim, Shinar, Ellasar

Now let’s clarify.  We are introduced to Group A — then introduced to the leader of Group A which is Group B (the one king of Elam).  However, Group B defeats group C when the rest of A rebels against B.  Then, from v.8-12 in chapter 14, group D offshoots from group A, and fights against group E.  Thus, the final battle of 5 kings against four, is between Group D and Group E – at the Valley of Siddim where there are ‘bitumen pits’.  It appears that Sodom and Gomorrah lost, many falling into the bitumen pits, while (it is assumed) the fewer number of kings, Group E, was victorious.  Not much is mentioned of Admah, Zeboiim, or Bela.

Then we see an Amorite called Mamre, from the line of Canaan – who is an ALLY of Abram. Let’s now make an extra group.

Group F

Mamre, Eshcol, Aner, Abram, 318 men

He fought as far as Dan, dividing his forces against them by night and defeated them.  We are speaking of Group F – all 322 men – who defeated Group E, among whom is the king Chedorlaomer, the ex-leader of Group A.  Here we have what seems like true covenant hope, between Jews and Gentiles – Abraham the Hebrew with 3 Gentiles/Canaanites.  This, compared with the next verses in Chapter 14 shows the difference between a ‘treaty’ and true brotherhood between two different races/nations.

6.  Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-24)

What we have in the rest of chapter 14 is a juxtaposition of the treaty from a pagan and warring nation (Sodom) and the blessing, rather than mere ‘treaty’, from the king of Salem – a place that surely does not exist.  Hebrews 7:1 refers to him as the king of Salem, aka the king of peace.  Psalm 76:1-3 has this to say:

1In Judah God is(C) known;
his name is great in Israel.
2His(D) abode has been established in(E) Salem,
his(F) dwelling place in Zion.
3There he(G) broke the flashing arrows,
the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.
Selah

Indeed, these are SELAH moments!  How can there be two places where God dwells, Zion and Salem?  Are they pointing to the same places, or are they symbolic of the true new creation kingdom to come?  Paul Blackham calls him the ‘king of rightousness’, rather than merely ‘peace’ (the name, Melchizedek, itself connotes this interpretation).  He is a priest of the God Most High.  How odd it is, that there is a priestly line when the Levitical line has not even been established yet?  This Melchizedek, who even blesses Abraham, is superior to Abraham the father of the chosen nation (Hebrews 7:4-10)!  Not only that, but the descendants in the LOINS of Abraham have been blessed and has given tithes to Melchizedek!  We see Melchizedek elsewhere in Scripture.

Psalm 110:

1(A) The LORD(Father) says to my Lord(Jesus):
(B) “Sit at my right hand,
(C) until I make your enemies your(D) footstool.”

2The LORD(Father) sends forth(E) from Zion
(F) your mighty scepter.
(G) Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3(H) Your people will(I) offer themselves freely
on the day of your(J) power,[a]
in(K) holy garments;[b]
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.[c]
4(L) The LORD(Father) has(M) sworn
and will(N) not change his mind,
(O)You are(P) a priest(Q) forever
after the order of(R) Melchizedek
.”

5The Lord(Jesus) is at your(S) right hand;
he will(T) shatter kings on(U) the day of his wrath.
6He will(V) execute judgment among the nations,
(W) filling them with corpses;
he will(X) shatter chiefs[d]
over the wide earth.
7He will(Y) drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

If Psalm 110 hasn’t already sealed the deal, with the intra-Trinitarian conversation between the two Lords, the LORD saying to David’s Lord that the latter Lord will be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, here is a little extra topping for those who must rely on the New Testament to understand the truths which the OT saints held:

Hebrews 7:15-28:

15This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is witnessed of him,

(M) “You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”

18For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside(N) because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for(O) the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand,(P) a better hope is introduced, through which(Q) we draw near to God.

20And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

(R) “The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.'”

22This makes Jesus the guarantor of(S) a better covenant.

23The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues(T) forever. 25Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[b](U) those who draw near to God(V) through him, since he always lives(W) to make intercession for them.

26For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest,(X) holy, innocent, unstained,(Y) separated from sinners, and(Z) exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily,(AA) first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this(AB) once for all when he offered up himself. 28For the law appoints men(AC) in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made(AD) perfect forever.

Just to clarify – does this mean that Melchizedek is some ‘randomer’ who just slipped in and out of the New Testament like that?  Or is Melchizedek a ‘blueprint’ of the greater King to come?  Melchizedek who has no human ancestor or descendant?  I think something is at play here.  We are not looking at merely a real king of Salem who is a type of Christ.  Everything about him is mysterious – his genealogy, his kingdom, the place in which he rules — all of it has a divine ring to it.  He is not a type.  He IS Christ himself, in the various forms of the Sent One which he partook before he incarnated as THE Messiah, in fulfillment and progress of his actions as the Angel prior to the events in Nazareth.  Now I understand it says you are a priest forever ‘after’ the order of Melchizedek, but this does not necessarily negate the divinity of the person ‘masquerading’ as Melchizedek; rather, Jesus now fulfills the personage of the High Priest, just as he fulfills the personage of the Angel (again himself) who struggled with Jacob, just as he fulfills the personage of the Angel who fought with Joshua, just as he fulfills the personage of the Angel who guided Israel to Canaan.  Can we, therefore, say that Jesus is ‘after the order’ of Melchizedek, and the Angel of the Lord?  Surely, we can.  Does this mean they are different people?  Surely, we cannot, unless we propose that Melchizedek and the Angel are again, only TYPES of Christ.  I don’t know why you want to say that though, unless you want to heretically assume there are more than Three Persons claiming divinity.

7.  Mirror of the future – the blueprint of the Old Testament

What I find extremely odd is – why take Abraham to all those places?  Why the famine?  Why go through all these familiar locations?  Why did Lot go to Sodom, and why did Abraham save him from Sodom?  Why did Lot RETURN to Sodom?  Why the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?

With the (tens of) thousands of biblical archaeologists, Old Testament scholars who look on the actual, physical events, I still however believe in a God who is the Most High, the Creator of Heaven and Earth – and no doubt we have twice seen him provide a blueprint for the Garden of Eden, and the Ark, and no doubt later for the Tabernacle.  I think we can say the same about him about the plan he has for the events in this world.

What kind of plan am I saying?  What we see in these chapters, is a blue print of the rest of the events in the Old Testament.

Let’s work through this together:

(a)  Abraham aiming to reach Negeb = to receive the promises of Genesis 12/15 (reconfirmation of covenant with Adam).  I think this is literally speaking of the period of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob until Joseph. (Genesis 12:9)

(b)  Abraham entering and leaving Egypt, on account of the famine, sojourning there but leaving because of plagues = Covers the events of Joseph to the great Exodus (Genesis 12:10-20)

(c)  Finally reaching Negeb in Canaan = Israelites reaching Canaan (finally!) (Genesis 13:1-18 )

(d)  Separation of the brothers = Israel and Judah, though they are technically still ‘one nation’. (Genesis 13:8-13).. though it is noted that Abraham is Lot’s uncle, not his brother

(e)  5 kings against 4 = Judah involved unnecessarily in battles with pagans (book of kings/judges) (Genesis 14:1-16)

(f)   Abraham goes to the aid of Lot = Israel and Judah will help each other throughout these wars, though the numbers for both is small and weak compared with other nations.  But they will not be living together as ‘one nation’ but separated into two kingdoms.  Perhaps something here to reflect the friendship between Abraham and Mamre, as it is with Joshua and Rahab? (Genesis 14:13-16)

(g)  Appearance of Melchizedek = many times will Israel/Judah be offered an opportunity to ‘truce’ with other nations, but the LORD will always be the best truce and the Angel will keep reminding them of their true peace found in God the Highest.  (Genesis 14:17-24)

(h)  Isaac’s birth promised = prophecy of the coming Son re-confirmed (Genesis 17:15-19)

(i)   Lot and Sodom, the destruction of Sodom, Abraham intercedes by remininding God of the covenant, and The Angel of the Lord helps = Judah held captive in Babylon (due to continual spiritual compromises of the nation Israel) – resulting in the destruction of Babylon, Daniel interceding by remembering the covenant and the promises, and The Angel of the Lord helps (in the furnace) (Genesis 19)

(j)   Isaac’s birth = The Son incarnate (synoptic gospels begin here) (Genesis 21)

What say you?  I think this is a close-to-accurate portrayal of the future events prior to the true witness of Isaac’s birth (and of course Isaac’s sacrifice, which mirrors that of God sacrificing his firstborn Son on the cross).  I think some more things can be said about Ishmael’s birth, about Abraham saving Lot (twice), about the introduction of the sacrament of circumcision.

Now, why this blueprint?  No doubt, I am positive this is one of the methods through which the major and minor prophets achieved their Spirit-inspired prophecies concerning the future events of their kingdom to come.  God has warned them, through this story of Abraham.  Yet, they will still fall into their sins – Israel will make treaty with pagan nations; the nation will continue to be the spiritual prostitute and God knows that history will continually repeat itself, just as every Christian will continue to be a spiritually compromising prostitute.  But Christ will marry us nonetheless.  He will remind us, through the Angel, through Melchizedek, of the blessing we have already received.  The gift of true peace, the gift of true righteousness, the salvation by the Angel.  We need only remember the victory won.

Genesis 12-14: Blueprint of the Future