1月6日-God's Covenant with Abram

创世记15-17章:

第一部分:上帝与亚伯兰立约-God's Covenant with Abram:创世记15章[Gen.15] ;
第二部分:从夏甲生以实玛利-Birth of Ishmael Through Hagar:创世记16章[Gen.16];
第三部分:名字和割礼作为立约的记号-Names and Circumcision as Signs of Covenant:创世记17章[Gen.17]。

上帝与亚伯兰立约-God's Covenant with Abram

With the passing of time Abram begins to be concerned that he and Sarai still have no children. How can his offspring inherit the land if there are no children? Must the inheritance come only through the children of his headservant, Eliezer, whom he could adopt in order to preserve his line of inheritance? Abram is genuinely puzzled. So God reassures Abram that he himself will have children, who in turn will multiply exceedingly. When God also restates his earlier promise that Abram’s descendants would inherit the land, Abram asks God for a sign that his promise is true. God graciously overlooks Abram’s insecurity and instructs Abram to prepare for a covenant after the manner in which agreements are commonly sealed during this time. By the prevailing custom the covenanting parties pass between the split carcasses of animals which have been specially killed for the ceremony, as if the covenantors are saying, “This same fate be to all my herds and flocks should I not keep my promise.” God’s passage through the pieces of slain animals comes in the appearance of a blazing torch, whereupon the promise is sealed. Interestingly, God alone passes through the carcasses, indicating the unique one-sidedness of this covenant. Just before this covenanting takes place, God appears to Abram in his sleep and tells him that his descendants will serve as slaves in a foreign land before returning to possess the land of Canaan. Subsequent text bears out the detailed accuracy of God’s prophetic vision to Abram when the Hebrew nation is later enslaved in Egypt for some 400 years. Perhaps the most significant statement at this point in the record of Abram is the fact that, when God promises Abram children, Abram believes God. As will soon be evident, Abram is still not so sure that children will come through himself and Sarai, but never again will he fail to trust that by God’s power he will somehow have offspring. As the account of God’s covenanting with Abram begins, God may also be addressing Abram’s fear of revenge from the Eastern kings whom Abram has recently defeated.

经文:《创世记》

[15:1] 这事以后,耶和华在异象中有话对亚伯兰说:「亚伯兰,你不要惧怕!我是你的盾牌,必大大地赏赐你。」

[15:2] 亚伯兰说:「主耶和华啊,我既无子,你还赐我甚么呢?并且要承受我家业的是大马士革人以利以谢。」

[15:3] 亚伯兰又说:「你没有给我儿子;那生在我家中的人就是我的后嗣。」

[15:4] 耶和华又有话对他说:「这人必不成为你的后嗣;你本身所生的才成为你的后嗣。」

[15:5] 於是领他走到外边,说:「你向天观看,数算众星,能数得过来吗?」又对他说:「你的后裔将要如此。」

[15:6] 亚伯兰信耶和华,耶和华就以此为他的义。

[15:7] 耶和华又对他说:「我是耶和华,曾领你出了迦勒底的吾珥,为要将这地赐你为业。」

[15:8] 亚伯兰说:「主耶和华啊,我怎能知道必得这地为业呢?」

[15:9] 他说:「你为我取一只三年的母牛,一只三年的母山羊,一只三年的公绵羊,一只斑鸠,一只雏鸽。」

[15:10] 亚伯兰就取了这些来,每样劈开,分成两半,一半对著一半地摆列,只有鸟没有劈开。

[15:11] 有鸷鸟下来,落在那死畜的肉上,亚伯兰就把它吓飞了。

[15:12] 日头正落的时候,亚伯兰沉沉地睡了;忽然有惊人的大黑暗落在他身上。

[15:13] 耶和华对亚伯兰说:「你要的确知道,你的后裔必寄居别人的地,又服事那地的人;那地的人要苦待他们四百年。

[15:14] 并且他们所要服事的那国,我要惩罚,后来他们必带著许多财物从那里出来。

[15:15] 但你要享大寿数,平平安安地归到你列祖那里,被人埋葬。

[15:16] 到了第四代,他们必回到此地,因为亚摩利人的罪孽还没有满盈。」

[15:17] 日落天黑,不料有冒烟的炉并烧著的火把从那些肉块中经过。

[15:18] 当那日,耶和华与亚伯兰立约,说:「我已赐给你的后裔,从埃及河直到幼发拉底大河之地,

[15:19] 就是基尼人、基尼洗人、甲摩尼人、

[15:20] 赫人、比利洗人、利乏音人、

[15:21] 亚摩利人、迦南人、革迦撒人、耶布斯人之地。」

从夏甲生以实玛利-Birth of Ishmael Through Hagar

Almost ten years have passed since God renewed his promise that Abram would have children. Although both Abram and Sarai continue to believe that it will happen, Sarai apparently begins to wonder if the promise specifically includes her as the mother of Abram’s offspring. Despite her faith in the promise, Sarai finally convinces herself that she is not a part of God’s plan and comes up with an idea to help make the promise come true. She suggests that Abram take as a secondary wife her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. By the custom of the times it is altogether proper, even if somewhat personally humiliating, for a woman of Sarai’s position to give her servant to her husband for the purpose of bearing children. Children born under such an arrangement may inherit as natural children. Therefore, when viewed from a strictly human perspective, Sarai’s suggestion is both unselfish and ostensibly designed to bring about God’s promise to Abram. With Hagar’s pregnancy, however, it soon becomes clear that the plan is fraught with problems. Pride, jealousy, and alienation of affections naturally arise in such a mixture of relationships, and in the end Hagar runs away from her mistress. However, Hagar is instructed to return and be submissive. God promises Hagar that the descendants of her son, Ishmael, will be countless, but prophesies that Ishmael and his offspring will be characterized by hostility, particularly against his brothers. (It is noteworthy that in centuries to follow there will be conflict in the Middle East between the Arabs, who descend from Ishmael, and the Jews, who are descendants from Ishmael’s stepbrother, a son soon to be born.)

经文:《创世记》

[16:1] 亚伯兰的妻子撒莱不给他生儿女。撒莱有一个使女,名叫夏甲,是埃及人。

[16:2] 撒莱对亚伯兰说:「耶和华使我不能生育。求你和我的使女同房,或者我可以因她得孩子(得孩子:原文是被建立)」。亚伯兰听从了撒莱的话。

[16:3] 於是亚伯兰的妻子撒莱将使女埃及人夏甲给了丈夫为妾;那时亚伯兰在迦南已经住了十年。

[16:4] 亚伯兰与夏甲同房,夏甲就怀了孕;她见自己有孕,就小看她的主母。

[16:5] 撒莱对亚伯兰说:「我因你受屈。我将我的使女放在你怀中,她见自己有了孕,就小看我。愿耶和华在你我中间判断。」

[16:6] 亚伯兰对撒莱说:「使女在你手下,你可以随意待她。」撒莱苦待她,她就从撒莱面前逃走了。

[16:7] 耶和华的使者在旷野书珥路上的水泉旁遇见她,

[16:8] 对她说:「撒莱的使女夏甲,你从哪里来?要往哪里去?」夏甲说:「我从我的主母撒莱面前逃出来。」

[16:9] 耶和华的使者对她说:「你回到你主母那里,服在她手下」;

[16:10] 又说:「我必使你的后裔极其繁多,甚至不可胜数」;

[16:11] 并说:「你如今怀孕要生一个儿子,可以给他起名叫以实玛利(就是神听见的意思),因为耶和华听见了你的苦情。

[16:12] 他为人必像野驴。他的手要攻打人,人的手也要攻打他;他必住在众弟兄的东边。」

[16:13] 夏甲就称那对她说话的耶和华为「看顾人的神」。因而说:「在这里我也看见那看顾我的吗?」

[16:14] 所以这井名叫庇耳・拉海・莱。这井正在加低斯和巴列中间。

[16:15] 后来夏甲给亚伯兰生了一个儿子;亚伯兰给他起名叫以实玛利。

[16:16] 夏甲给亚伯兰生以实玛利的时候,亚伯兰年八十六岁。

名字和割礼作为立约的记号-Names and Circumcision as Signs of Covenant

The Genesis record is silent as to what events transpire over the next few years. However, the door to history is once again opened some 13 years after Ishmael’s birth. At this time God appears once again to Abram in order to restate his promises and to confirm his prior covenant with Abram. Two signs are given to mark the occasion. The first involves the changing of Abram’s and Sarai’s names. Whereas “Abram” has meant exalted father, his new name, “Abraham,” signifies the father of many. And whereas “Sarai” has meant princess, God adds a dignity befitting a princess who is the mother of many in making the slight change to “Sarah.” A happy part of God’s appearance to Abraham is the surprise announcement that Sarah herself will bear the son of promise. Abraham’s response to that announcement has been viewed by many to be one of skepticism in which Abraham pleads with God to let Ishmael, instead, be the honored son. However, the text seems to indicate quite to the contrary—that in fact Abraham laughs in joyous amazement that after all these years he and Sarah will actually have a child of their own just as promised, despite the increasing human odds against it. Even the son’s name, “Isaac” (which means “he laughs”), will memorialize this outburst of Abraham’s happiness. Although Abraham is overjoyed at the prospect of fathering a son through Sarah, nevertheless it is obvious that Abraham has become attached to his son Ishmael. Therefore Abraham asks that Ishmael be able to share in God’s blessings. God assures Abraham that Ishmael, as well as Isaac, will have many descendants, but makes it clear that it will be through Isaac’s lineage that the covenant will be honored. As a second sign of God’s covenant with his chosen people, God institutes the rite of circumcision for all the males in Abraham’s household, including servants and others not naturally a part of the family by birth. With this inclusion of those who are not direct descendants of Abraham there is even now a striking affirmation of God’s promise to bless “all peoples on earth.” The rite of circumcision is not itself a novel practice in these times. Evidence points to such a custom among Ethiopians, Syrians, Phoenicians, and even some Egyptians. However, in those societies the rite is normally associated with the child’s coming of age at puberty and being accepted into the community. The circumcision commanded by God is distinct in that it takes place in early infancy and is imbued with great religious significance. The act of cutting off the male foreskin is not to be thought of as merely, or even primarily, hygienic. Rather, this symbolic ritual represents consecration and dedication as well as spiritual purity. Circumcision of the young males is to be a sign of God’s covenant with all of the descendants of Abraham, both male and female, and a reminder of the obligation of righteousness therein. Perhaps most importantly, circumcision foreshadows the purity of lineage through which all the world will someday be blessed.

Smith, F. LaGard. The Daily Bible® - In Chronological Order (NIV®) . Harvest House Publishers. Kindle 版本.

经文:《创世记》

[17:1] 亚伯兰年九十九岁的时候,耶和华向他显现,对他说:「我是全能的神。你当在我面前作完全人,

[17:2] 我就与你立约,使你的后裔极其繁多。」

[17:3] 亚伯兰俯伏在地;神又对他说:

[17:4] 「我与你立约:你要作多国的父。

[17:5] 从此以后,你的名不再叫亚伯兰,要叫亚伯拉罕,因为我已立你作多国的父。

[17:6] 我必使你的后裔极其繁多;国度从你而立,君王从你而出。

[17:7] 我要与你并你世世代代的后裔坚立我的约,作永远的约,是要作你和你后裔的神。

[17:8] 我要将你现在寄居的地,就是迦南全地,赐给你和你的后裔永远为业,我也必作他们的神。」

[17:9] 神又对亚伯拉罕说:「你和你的后裔必世世代代遵守我的约。

[17:10] 你们所有的男子都要受割礼;这就是我与你并你的后裔所立的约,是你们所当遵守的。

[17:11] 你们都要受割礼(原文是割阳皮;14,23,24,25节同);这是我与你们立约的证据。

[17:12] 你们世世代代的男子,无论是家里生的,是在你后裔之外用银子从外人买的,生下来第八日,都要受割礼。

[17:13] 你家里生的和你用银子买的,都必须受割礼。这样,我的约就立在你们肉体上作永远的约。

[17:14] 但不受割礼的男子必从民中剪除,因他背了我的约。」

[17:15] 神又对亚伯拉罕说:「你的妻子撒莱不可再叫撒莱,她的名要叫撒拉。

[17:16] 我必赐福给她,也要使你从她得一个儿子。我要赐福给她,她也要作多国之母;必有百姓的君王从她而出。」

[17:17] 亚伯拉罕就俯伏在地喜笑,心里说:「一百岁的人还能得孩子吗?撒拉已经九十岁了,还能生养吗?」

[17:18] 亚伯拉罕对神说:「但愿以实玛利活在你面前。」

[17:19] 神说:「不然,你妻子撒拉要给你生一个儿子,你要给他起名叫以撒。我要与他坚定所立的约,作他后裔永远的约。

[17:20] 至於以实玛利,我也应允你:我必赐福给他,使他昌盛,极其繁多。他必生十二个族长;我也要使他成为大国。

[17:21] 到明年这时节,撒拉必给你生以撒,我要与他坚定所立的约。」

[17:22] 神和亚伯拉罕说完了话,就离开他上升去了。

[17:23] 正当那日,亚伯拉罕遵著神的命,给他的儿子以实玛利和家里的一切男子,无论是在家里生的,是用银子买的,都行了割礼。

[17:24] 亚伯拉罕受割礼的时候年九十九岁。

[17:25] 他儿子以实玛利受割礼的时候年十三岁。

[17:26] 正当那日,亚伯拉罕和他儿子以实玛利一同受了割礼。

[17:27] 家里所有的人,无论是在家里生的,是用银子从外人买的,也都一同受了割礼。

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