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mony, contracted accordingly (Gen. xxvi.) [PHI- | father). There are several persons of this name, LISTINES]. all of whom are also called AMINADAB-the letters band m being very frequently interchanged in Hebrew.

1. ABINADAB, one of the eight sons of Jesse, and one of the three who followed Saul to the war with the Philistines (1 Sam. xvi. 8).

2. ABINADAB, one of Saul's sons, who was slain at the battle of Gilboa (1 Sam. xxxi. 2).

3. ABINADAB, the Levite of Kirjath-jearim, in whose house, which was on a hill, the Ark o the Covenant was deposited, after being brought back from the land of the Philistines. It was committed to the special charge of his son Eleazer; and remained there seventy years, until i was removed by David (1 Sam. vii. 1, 2; 1 Chron. xiii. 7) [ARK].

1. ABIRAM (father of altitude, i. e. high. one of the family-chiefs of the tribe of Reube who, with Dathan and On of the same tribe. joined Korah, of the tribe of Levi, in a copiracy against Aaron and Moses (Num. xvi.` [AARON].

2. ABIRAM, eldest son of Hiel the Bethelit (1 Kings xvi. 34) [HIEL; JERICHO].

ABISHAG (father of error, a beautiful your woman of Shunam, in the tribe of Issachar, wh was chosen by the servants of David to be intro duced into the royal harem, for the specia purpose of ministering to him, and cherishing him in his old age. She became his wife; bu the marriage was never consummated. Some time after the death of David, Adonijah, his eldest son, persuaded Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, to extreat the king that Abishag might be given to him in marriage. But as rights and privileges peculiarly real were associated with the control and possession of the harem of the deceased kings, Solomon detected in this application a fresh a piration to the throne, which he visited with death (1 Kings i. 1-4; ii. 18-25 [ADONIJAH].



3. ABIMELECH, a son of Gideon, by a concubine-wife, a native of Shechem, where her family had considerable influence. Through that influence Abimelech was proclaimed king after the death of his father, who had himself refused that honour, when tendered to him, both for himself and his children (Judg. viii. 22-24). In a short time, a considerable part of Israel seems to have recognised his rule. One of the first acts of his reign was to destroy his brothers, seventy in number, being the first example of a system of barbarous state policy of which there have been frequent instances in the East. Only one, the youngest, named Jotham, escaped; and he had the boldness to make his appearance on Mount Gerizim, where the Shechemites were assembled for some public purpose, and rebuke them in his famous parable of the trees choosing a king [JOTHAM; PARABLE]. In three years the Shechemites found ample cause to repent of what they had done. They eventually revolted during Abimelech's absence, and caused ambuscade to be laid in the mountains, with the design of destroying him on his return. But Zebul, his governor in Shechem, contrived to apprise him of these circumstances, so that he was enabled to avoid the snare laid for him; and, having hastily assembled some troops, appeared unexpectedly before Shechem. The people of that place had meanwhile secured the assistance of one Gaal and his followers [GAAL], who marched out to give Abimelech battle. He was defeated, and returned into the town; and his inefficiency and misconduct in the action had been so manifest, that the people were induced by Zebul to expel him and his followers. The people still ventured out to the labours of the field; which being told Abimelech, who was at Arumah, he laid an ambuscade in four bodies in the neighbourhood; and when the men came forth in the morning, two of the ambushed parties rose against them, while the other two seized the city gates to prevent their return. Afterwards the whole force united against the city, which, being now deprived of its mo.t ficient inhabitants, was easily taken, and completely destroyed by the exasperated victor, The fortress, however, still remained; but the occupants, deeming it untenable, withdrew to the temple of Baal-Berith, which stood in a more commanding situation. This building Abimelech set on fire and destroyed, with the thousand men who were in it. Afterwards Abimelech went to reduce Thebez, which had also revolted. The town was taken with little difficulty, and the people withdrew into the citadel. Here Abimelech resorted to his favourite operation, and while heading a party to burn down the gate, he was struck on the head by a large stone cast down by a woman from the wall above. Perceiving that he had received a death-blow, he directed his armour-bearer to thrust him through with his sword, lest it should be said that he fell by a woman's hand (Judg. ix.). Vainly did Abimelech seek to avoid this disgrace; for the fact of his death by the hand of a woman was long after associated with his memory (2 Sam. xi. 21). ABIN'ADAB (Jather of nobleness, or noble

ABISHA'I (father of gifts, a nephew of David by his sister Zeruiah, and brother of Joal and Asahel. The three brothers devoted themselves zealously to the interests of their uncle during his wa derings. Though David hac more reliance upon the talents of Joab, he appears to have given more of his private confidence to Abishai, whom we find near his person on several critical occasions. He alone accompanied David to the camp of Saul (1 Sam. xxvi. 5-9). He fled with him beyond the Jordan from Absalom, and commanded one of three divisions of the army which crushed that rebellion (2 Sam. xvii. 2). He rescued David when in imminent peril of his life from a giant named Ishbi-benob (2 Sam. xxi. 15-17), and was also the chief of the three mighties, whe performed the chivalrous exploit of breaking through the host of the Philistines to procure David a draught of water f om the well of his native Bethlehem (2 Sam. xxiii. 14-17). Among the exploits of this hero it is mentioned that h withstood 300 men and slew them with hi spear: but the occasion of this adventure, and the time and mamer of his death, are equally unknown.

ABISHU'A (full er of safety), the son of Phinehas, and fourth high-priest of the Jews (1 Chron. vi. 50). The commencement and



duration of his pontificate are uncertain, but the latter is inferred, from circumstances, to have included the period in which Ehud was judge, and probably the preceding period of servitude to Eglon of Moab. He is called Abiezer by Josephus (Antiq. v. 11. 5).

ABLUTION, the ceremonial washing, whereby, as a symbol of purification from uncleanness, a person was considered-1. to be cleansed from the taint of an inferior and less pure condition, and initiated into a higher and purer state (Lev. viii. 6); 2. to be cleansed from the soil of common life, and fitted for special acts of religious service (Exod. xxx. 17-21); 3. to be cleansed from defilements contracted by particular acts or circumstances, and restored to the privileges of ordinary life (Lev. xii.-xv.); 4. as absolving or purifying himself, or declaring himself absolved and purified, from the guilt of a particular act (Deut. xxi. 1-9). We do not meet with any such ablutions in patriarchal times: but under the Mosaical dispensation they all occur.



(being the son of his uncle Ner), and the com mander-in-chief of his army. After the death of Saul (B.c. 1058), Abner's experience and character for ability and decision enabled him to uphold the interests of his family for seven years; and while David reigned in Hebron over Judah, Ishbosheth, a surviving son of Saul, was, by Abner's influence, made king over the ten tribes, and reigned in Mahanaim, beyond Jordan. A sort of desultory warfare arose between the rival monarchs, in which the advantage appears to have been always on the side of David. In an engagement fought at Gibeon, the forces of Ishbosheth were beaten. Abner, their general, fled for his life, but was closely pursued by Asahel, the brother of Joab and Abishai. Abner, dreading a blood-feud with Joab, entreated Asahel, but in vain, to desist from the pursuit ; and finding that his life was in danger, he at length ran his pursuer through the body (2 Sam. ii. 8-32). This, according to the law of honour which still prevails in the East, put a strife of blood between Joab and Abner [BLOODREVENGE].


After the rise of the sect of the Pharisees, the practice of ablution was carried to such excess, As time went on, Abner, probably rendered from the affectation of excessive purity, that it arrogant and presumptuous by the conviction is repeatedly brought under our notice in the that he was the only remaining prop of the New Testament through the severe animad- house of Saul, took to his own harem a woman versions of our Saviour on the consummate hy- who had been a concubine-wife of Saul. This pocrisy involved in this fastidious attention to act, from the ideas connected with the harem of the external types of moral purity, while the a deceased king, was not only a great improheart was left unclean. All the practices there priety, but was open to the suspicion of a poliexposed come under the head of purification tical design, which Abner may very possibly from uncleanness;-the acts involving which have entertained. A mild rebuke from Ishbowere made so numerous that persons of the sheth, however, enraged him so much, that he stricter sect could scarcely move without con- immediately declared his intention henceforth tracting some involuntary pollution. For this to abandon his cause and to devote himself to reason they never entered their houses without the interests of David. Accordingly after exablution, from the strong probability that they plaining his views to the elders of the tribes had unknowingly contracted some defilement in which still adhered to the house of Saul, he rethe streets; and they were especially careful paired to Hebron with authority to make certain never to eat without washing the hands (Mark overtures to David on their behalf. He was vii. 1-5), because they were peculiarly liable to received with great attention and respect; and be defiled; and as unclean hands were held to David even thought it prudent to promise that communicate uncleanness to all food (excepting he should still have the chief command of the fruit) which they touched, it was deemed that armies, when the desired union of the two there was no security against eating unclean kingdoms took place. Joab, David's general, food but by always washing the hands cere- happened to be absent at the time, but he remonially before touching any meat. The Israel- turned to Hebron just as Abner had left it. He ites, who, like other Orientals, fed with their speedily understood what had passed; and his fingers, washed their hands before meals, for dread of the superior influence which such a the sake of cleanliness [WASHING]. But these, man as Abner might establish with David, customary washings were distinct from the cere- quickened his remembrance of the vengeance monial ablutions. It was the latter which the which his brother's blood required. Unknown Pharisees judged to be so necessary. When to the king, but apparently in his name, he sent therefore some of that sect remarked that our a message after Abner to call him back; and as Lord's disciples ate with unwashen hands', he returned, Joab met him at the gate, and, Mark vii. 2), it is not to be understood literally leading him aside, as if to confer privately with that they did not at all wash their hands, but him, suddenly thrust his sword into his body that they did not plunge them ceremonially ac-, (B.c. 1048). The lamentations of David, the cording to their own practice. In at least an public mourning which he ordered, and the equal degree the Pharisees multiplied the cere- funeral honours which were paid to the remains monial pollutions which required the ablution of Abner, the king himself following the bier as of inanimate objects-cups and pots, brazen chief mourner, exonerated him in public opinior vessels and tables; the rules given in the law from having been privy to this assassination. (Lev. vi. 28; xi. 32-36; xv. 23) being extended As for Joab, his privilege as a blood-avenger to these multiplied contaminations. Articles of must to a great extent have justified his earthenware which were of little value were to treacherous act in the opinion of the people; and be broken; and those of metal and wood were that, together with his influence with the army, to be scoured and rinsed with water. screened him from punishment (2 Sam. iii. 6-39). ABOMINATION. This word describes gene


ABNER (father of light), the cousin of Saul


rally any object of detestation or disgust (Lev. xviii. 22; Deut. vii. 25); and is applied to an impure or detestable action (Ezek. xxii. 11; xxxiii. 26; Mal. ii. 11, &c.); to any thing causing a ceremonial pollution (Gen. xliii. 32; xlvi. 34; Deut. xiv. 3); but more especially to idols (Lev. xviii. 22; xx. 13; Deut. vii. 26; 1 Kings xi. 5, 7; 2 Kings xxiii. 13); and also to food offered to idols (Zech. ix. 7); and to filth of every kind (Nahum iii. 6). Especial attention has been drawn to two or three of the texts in which the word occurs, on account of their peculiar interest or difficulty. The first is Gen. xliii. 32: The Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.' The primary reason of this seems to have been that the cow, which was a sacred animal in Egypt, was eaten by the Jews and most other nations, and therefore the Egyptians considered themselves ceremonially defiled if they ate with any strangers.


The second passage is Gen. xlvi. 34. Joseph is telling his brethren how to conduct themselves when introduced to the king of Egypt; and he instructs them that when asked concerning their occupation they should answer: Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we and also our fathers. And the reason is added: "That ye may dwell in the land of Goshen,—for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.' In the former instance they were an abomination' as strangers, with whom the Egyptians could not eat; here they are a further abomination as nomade shepherds, whom the Egyptians held in peculiar abhorrence. For this aversion two reasons are given one is the grievous oppression which the inhabitants of Lower and Middle Egypt had suffered from a tribe of nomade shepherds, to whom they had for many years been subject, who had only of late been expelled. The other reason, not necessarily superseding the former, but rather strengthening it, is, that the Egyptians, as a settled and civilized people, detested the lawless and predatory habits of the wandering shepherd tribes, which then, as now, bounded the valley of the Nile, and occupied the Arabias.

The third marked use of this word again occurs in Egypt. The king tells the Israelites to offer to their god the sacrifices which they desired, without going to the desert for that purpose. To which Moses objects, that they should have to sacrifice to the Lord' the abomination of the Egyptians,' who would thereby be highly exasperated against them (Exod. viii. 25, 26). Å reference back to the first explanation shows that this abomination' was the cow, the only animal which all the Egyptians agreed in holding sacred; whereas, in the great sacrifice which the Hebrews proposed to hold, not only would heifers be offered, but the people would feast upon their flesh.

THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. In Dan. ix. 27, literally, the abomination of the desolater,' which, without doubt, means the idol or idolatrous apparatus which the desolater of Jerusalem should establish in the holy place. This appears to have been a prediction of the pollution of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, who caused an idolatrous altar to be built on the altar of burntofferings, whereon unclean things were offered


to Jupiter Olympius, to whom the temple itself was dedicated. The phrase is quoted by Jesus (Matt. xxiv. 15), and is applied by him to what was to take place at the advance of the Romans against Jerusalem. They who saw the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place' were enjoined to flee to the mountains.' And this may with probability be referred to the advance of the Roman army against the city with their image-crowned standards, to which idolatrous honours were paid, and which the Jews regarded as idols. The unexpected retreat and discomfiture of the Roman forces afforded such as were mindful of our Saviour's prophecy an opportunity of obeying the injunction which it contained. Those however who suppose that 'the holy place' of the text must be the temple itself, may find the accomplishment of the prediction in the fact that, when the city had been taken by the Romans, and the holy house destroyed, the soldiers brought their standards in due form to the temple, set them up over the eastern gate, and offered sacrifice to them, for almost the entire religion of the Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensigns, swearing by the ensigns, and in preferring the ensigns before all the other gods.

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1. Roman Standards.

Nor was this the last appearance of 'the abomination of desolation, in the holy place:' for, not only did Hadrian, with studied insult to the Jews, set up the figure of a boar over the Bethlehem gate of the city which rose upon the site and ruins of Jerusalem; but he erected a temple to Jupiter upon the very site of the Jewish temple, and caused an image of himself to be set up in the part which answered to the sanctuary. This was a consummation of all the abominations which the iniquities of the Jews brought upon their holy place.

AB'RAHAM (father of a multitude), the

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founder of the Hebrew nation. Up to Gen. xvii.
, 5, he is uniformly called ABRAM (father of
levation, or high father); and this was his ori-
ginal name; but the extended form, which it
always afterwards hears, was given to make it
ignificant of the promise of a numerous posterity
which was at the same time made to him.



of its depopulation, it afforded ample pastureground for the wandering pastors. In their eyes Abraham must have appeared one of that class. In Mesopotamia, though the family had been pastoral, they had dwelt in towns and houses, and had sent out their flocks and herds unde. the care of shepherds. But the migratory life Abraham was a native of Chaldea, and de- to which Abraham had now been called, comcended, through Heber, in the ninth genera-pelled him to take to the tent-dwelling form o' ion, from Shem the son of Noah. His father pastoral life. The rich pastures in that part of was Terah, who had two other sons, Nahor and the country tempted Abraham to form his firs Haran. Haran died prematurely before his encampment in the vale of Moreh, which lie father, leaving a son Lot, and two daughters, between the mountains of Ebal and Gerizin Milcah and Iscah. Lot attached himself to his Here the strong faith which had brought th uncle Abraham; Milcah became the wife of her childless man thus far from his home was reuncle Nahor; and Iscah, who was also called warded by the grand promise from God :— Sarai, became the wife of Abraham (Gen. ix. will make of thee a great nation, and I will bles 26-29) [SARAH]. thee and make thy name great, and thou shal be a blessing; and I will bless them that bles thee, and curse them that curse thee: and i thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed Although he is, by way of eminence, named (Gen. xii. 2, 3). It was further promised tha irst, it appears probable that he was the young- to his posterity should be given the rich heritag st of Terah's sons, and born by a second wife, of that beautiful country into which he ha when his father was 130 years old. Terah was come (v. 7). The implied condition on his pai eventy years old when the eldest son was born was, that he should publicly profess the worship Gen. xi. 32; xii. 4; xx. 12); and that eldest of the true God, and accordingly he built ther on appears to have been Haran, from the fact an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him hat his brothers married his daughters, and that He soon after removed to the district betwee is daughter Sarai was only ten years younger Bethel and Ai, where he also built an altar t han his brother Abraham (Gen. xvii. 17). that JEHOVAH' whom the world was the. Abraham was 60 years old when the family hastening to forget. His farther removals tende quitted their native city of Ur, and went and southward, until at length a famine in Palestin ibode in Charran. The reason for this move- compelled him to withdraw into Egypt, where nent does not appear in the Old Testament; but corn abounded. Here his apprehension that the t is mentioned in Acts vii. 2-4: The God of beauty of his wife Sarai might bring him into glory appeared to our father Abraham while he danger with the dusky Egyptians, overcame hi was (at Ur of the Chaldees) in Mesopotamia, faith and rectitude, and he gave out that she wa fore he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him, his sister. As he had feared, the beauty of the Depart from thy land, and from thy kindred, fair stranger excited the admiration of the Egyp nd come hither to a land which I will shew tians, and at length reached the ears of the king. hee. Then departing from the land of the who forthwith exercised his regal right of call Chaldees, he dwelt in Charran.' This first calling her to his harem, and to this Abraham, apnot recorded, but only implied in Gen. xii.: pearing as only her brother, could offer ind it is distinguished by several pointed cir- resistance. As, however, the king had no inumstances from the second, which alone is there tention to act harshly in the exercise of his prinentioned. Accordingly Abraham departed, vilege, he loaded Abraham with valuable gifts and his family, including his aged father, re- suited to his condition, consisting chiefly of slaves noved with him. They proceeded not at once and cattle. These presents could not have been o the land of Canaan, but they came to Charran, refused by him without an insult which, under and tarried at that convenient station for fifteen all the circumstances, the king did not deserve years, until Terah died, at the age of 205 years. A grievous disease inflicted on Pharaoh and his Being free from his filial duties, Abraham, now household relieved Sarai from her danger, by 5 years of age, received a second and more revealing to the king that she was a married pointed call to pursue his destination: Depart woman; on which he sent for Abraham, and, rom thy land, and from thy kindred, and from after rebuking him for his conduct, restored his hy father's house, unto the land which I will wife to him, and recommended him to withdraw hew thee' (Gen. xii. 1). This second call re- from the country. He accordingly returned to mired the patriarch to isolate himself, not only the land of Canaan, much richer than when he rom his country, but from his family. He left it in cattle, in silver, and in gold' (Gen. however took with him his nephew Lot, whom, xii. 8; xiii. 2). having no children of his own, he appears to have regarded as his heir, and then went forth not knowing whither he went' (Heb. xi. 8), but trusting implicitly to the Divine guidance.

When Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan, he found it occupied by the Canaanites in large number of small independent, commuities, which cultivated the districts around their everal towns. The country was however but hinly peopled; and, as in the more recent times

Lot also had much increased his possessions: and soon after their return to their previous station near Bethel, the disputes between their respective shepherds about water and pasturage soon taught them that they had better separate. The recent promise of posterity to Abraham himself, although his wife had been accounted barren, probably tended also in some degree to weaken the tie by which the uncle and nephew had hitherto been united. The subject was

Abraham was born A.M. 2008, B.C. 1996 (Hales,
A.M. 3258, B.C. 2153), in Ur of the Chaldees'
Gen. xi. 28).





broached by Abraham, who generously conceded | the confirmation of a solemn covenant onto Lot the choice of pasture-grounds. Lot chose tracted, as nearly as might be, after the manthe well-watered plain in which Sodom and other ner of men' [COVENANT] between him and God. towns were situated, and removed thither [Lor]. It was now that he first understood that his proImmediately afterwards the patriarch was mised posterity were to grow up into a nation cheered and encouraged by a more distinct and under foreign bondage; and that, in 400 years formal reiteration of the promises which had been after (or, strictly, 405 years, counting from the previously made to him, of the occupation of the birth of Isaac to the Exode), they should come land in which he lived by a posterity numerous forth from that bondage as a nation, to take as the dust. Not long after, he removed to the possession of the land in which he sojourned pleasant valley of Mamre, in the neighbourhood (Gen. xv.). of Hebron (then called Arba), and pitched his tent under a terebinth tree (Gen. xiii.).


After ten years' residence in Canaan (B.C. 1913), Sarai, being then 75 years old, and having long been accounted barren, chose to put hei own interpretation upon the promised blessing of a progeny to Abraham, and persuaded him to take her woman slave Hagar, an Egyptian, as a secondary or concubine wife, with the view that whatever child might proceed from this union should be accounted her own [HAGAR]. The son who was born to Abraham by Hagar, and whe received the name of Ishmael [ISHMAEL], was accordingly brought up as the heir of his father and of the promises (Gen. xvi.). Thirteen years after (B.c. 1900), when Abraham was 99 years old, he was favoured with still more explicit declarations of the Divine purposes. He was reminded that the promise to him was that he should be the father of many nations; and to indicate this intention his name was now changed (as before described) from Abram to Abraham. The Divine Being then solemnly renewed the covenant to be a God to him and to the race that should spring from him; and in token of that covenant directed that he and his should receive in their flesh the sign of circumcision [CIRCUMCISION]. Abundant blessings were promised to Ishmael; but it was then first announced, in distinct terms, that the heir of the special promises was not yet born, and that the barren Sarai, then 90 years old, should twelve months thence be his mother. Then also her was changed from Sarai to Sarah (the princess); and to commemorate the laughter with which the prostrate patriarch received such strange tidings, it was directed that the name of Isaac (laughing) should be given to the future child. The very same day, in obedience to the Divine ordinance, Abraham himself, his son Ishmael, and his house-born and purchased slaves were all circumcised (Gen. xvii.).

It appears that fourteen years before this time the south and east of Palestine had been invaded by a king called Chedorlaomer, from beyond the Euphrates, who brought several of the small disunited states of those quarters under tribute. Among them were the five cities of the Plain of Sodom, to which Lot had withdrawn. This burden was borne impatiently by these states, and they at length withheld their tribute. This brought upon them a ravaging visitation from Chedorlaomer and four other (perhaps tributary) kings, who scoured the whole country east of the Jordan, and ended by defeating the kings of the plain, plundering their towns, and carrying the people away as slaves. Lot was among the sufferers. When this came to the ears of Abraham, he immediately armed such of his slaves as were fit for war, in number 318, and being joined by the friendly Amoritish chiefs, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, pursued the retiring invaders. They were overtaken near the springs of the Jordan; and their camp being attacked on opposite sides by night, they were thrown into disorder, and fled. Abraham and his men pursued them as far as the neighbourhood of Damascus, and then returned with all the men and goods which had been taken away. When the victors had reached 'the king's dale' on their return, they were met by several of the native princes, among whom was Melchizedek, king of Salem, which is gene-name rally supposed to have been Jerusalem. He was one of the few native princes, if not the only one, who retained the knowledge and worship of the Most High God,' whom Abraham served. This circumstance created a peculiar relation between the king and the patriarch, which the former recognised by bringing forth bread and wine,' and probably other refreshments to Abraham, and which the latter acknowledged by presenting to Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils. By strict right, founded on the war usages which still subsist in Arabia, the recovered goods became the property of Abraham, and not of those to whom they originally belonged. This was acknowledged by the king of Sodom, who met the victors in the valley near Salem. He said, 'Give me the persons, and keep the goods to thyself. But with becoming pride and disinterestedness Abraham answered, I have lifted up mine hand [i. e. I have sworn] unto Jehovah, the most high God, that I will not take from a thread even to a sandal-thong, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say. I have made Abram rich' (Gen. xiv.).

Soon after his return to Mamre the faith of Abraham was rewarded and encouraged, not only by a more distinct and detailed repetition of the promises formerly made to him, but by

Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent door during the heat of the day, he saw three travellers approaching, and hastened to meet them, and hospitably pressed upon them refreshment and rest. They assented, and under the shade of a terebinth tree partook of the abundant fare which the patriarch and his wife provided. From the manner in which one of the strangers spoke, Abraham soon gathered that his visitants were no other than the Lord himself and two attendant angels in human form. The promise of a son by Sarah was renewed; and when Sarah herself, who overheard this within the tent, laughed inwardly at the tidings, which, on account of her great age, she at first disbelieved, she incurred the striking rebuke, Is any thing too hard for Jehovah?' The strangers then addressed themselves to their journey, and Abraham walked some way with them. The two angels went forward in the di

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