Genesis 15:16 MEANING

Genesis 15:16
(16) The fourth generation.--Heb., dor. (See Note on Genesis 6:9.) As the four generations are identical with the four centuries of Genesis 15:13, we have here an undesigned testimony to the long duration of human life. So Abram was 100 years old when Isaac was born, and Isaac was 60 at the birth of his children, and Jacob 64 years of age at his marriage. But the word dor had probably come down from a remote antiquity, and, like the Latin word seculum, signified a century.

The iniquity of the Amorites.--As the chief and leading tribe, they are used here for all the Canaanite nations. We learn from this declaration that the Canaanites were not extirpated by any wilful decree to make room for Israel, but as an act of justice, like that which, because of their moral depravity, overwhelmed the Sethites with a flood. So, subsequently, Israel and Judah had each to bear a punishment in accordance with their sinfulness; and so, throughout the history of the world, whenever nations settle down in vice and corruption, the decay of their institutions follows upon that of their morals, and they either waste away or give place to some more manly race of conquerors. The conquest of Canaan by Israel was parallel to that of the enervated Roman empire of the West by the Germans; only we see the preparation for it. and God's purpose explained; and we also see that if the Amorites had not made the scale of justice weigh down heavily, they would not have been deprived of their country.

Verse 16. - But in the fourth generation, - τετάρτη δὲ γενεᾷ (LXX.); but, more correctly, the fourth generation, calculating 100 years to a generation. "Caleb was the fourth from Judah, and Moses from Levi, and so doubtless many others" (Bush). Drs. Oort and Kuenen, reckoning four generations as a far shorter space of time than four centuries, detect a contradiction between this verse and Ver. 13, and an evidence of the free use which the ancient and uncritical Israelitish author made of his materials ('Bible for Young People,' vol. 1. p. 158). On the import of דּור vide Genesis 6:9 - they shall come hither again (literally, shall return hither): for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. Literally, for not completed the iniquity of the Amorites (vide Genesis 14:7; here put for the entire population! until then (the same word as "hither, which is its usual signification).

15:12-16 A deep sleep fell upon Abram; with this sleep a horror of great darkness fell upon him: a sudden change. The children of light do not always walk in the light. Several things were then foretold. 1. The suffering state of Abram's seed for a long time. They shall be strangers. The heirs of heaven are strangers on earth. They shall be servants; but Canaanites serve under a curse, the Hebrews under a blessing. They shall be suffers. Those that are blessed and beloved of God, are often sorely afflicted by wicked men. 2. The judgment of the enemies of Abram's seed. Though God may allow persecutors and oppressors to trample upon his people a great while, he will certainly reckon with them at last. 3. That great event, the deliverance of Abram's seed out of Egypt, is here foretold. 4. Their happy settlement in Canaan. They shall come hither again. The measure of sin fills gradually. Some people's measure of sin fills slowly. The knowledge of future events would seldom add to our comfort. In the most favoured families, and most happy lives, there are so many afflictions, that it is merciful in God to conceal what will befall us and ours.And in the fourth generation they shall come hither again,.... The seed of Abram were in the land of Canaan before their descent into Egypt; and it is here predicted and promised, that they should come thither again, as they did, in the fourth generation of those that descended thither; for Moses and Aaron were the fourth from Levi, or Eleazar from Kohath, and Caleb from Judah; or rather this was in the fourth age or century from the birth of Isaac, when the four hundred were up before mentioned, men living at that time about an hundred years: Grotius interprets this of the fourth generation of the Amorites, because of what follows:

for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full; and therefore as yet would not be turned out of the land, and the seed of Abram could not till then inherit it: wicked people have a measure of iniquity to fill up, which is known of God; some are longer, some are quicker in filling it up, during which time God waits patiently and bears with them; but, when it is completed, he stays no longer, but takes vengeance on them, Matthew 23:32. The Amorites were only one of the nations of the Canaanites, but were a very strong and powerful one, and are put for them all, and are the rather mentioned, because Abram at this time dwelt among them; and it seems as if there were some good men among them, such as the confederates of Abram might be, and they were not arrived to that depth of wickedness they afterwards would and did, and which brought on their ruin, and so made way for the posterity of Abram to inherit their land. Ben Melech interprets it of the punishment of the sin of the Amorites, the time for that was not come to dispossess them of their land.

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