Genesis 18:6
And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
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(6) Three measures.—Heb. three seahs, the seah being a little more than a peck. It is still usual on the arrival of a stranger to make this hasty preparation for his entertainment, the ordinary meal even of a wealthy sheik consisting of flour and some camels’ milk boiled together. Cakes such as those here described, baked amid the embers on the hot hearth-stone, are considered a delicacy (1Kings 19:6). Flesh is seldom eaten; but if a traveller arrives, sweet milk and rice are added to the meal, and if he be a person of distinction a lamb or kid is killed. Abraham’s calf, “tender and good,” shows that he regarded his visitors as persons of more than ordinary high rank; and the quantity of food cooked seems to show that the three travellers had numerous attendants. The calf would be cut into small portions, and a meal like this is, we are told, got ready in a very short time.

18:1-8 Abraham was waiting to entertain any weary traveller, for inns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thus sitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenly beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the covenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates, where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares, Heb 13:2; nay, the Lord of angels himself; as we always do, when for his sake we entertain the least of his brethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are great ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lord vouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit he stands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, he deigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides a rich feast, of which we partake with him, Re 3:20.Abraham hastened. - The unvarying customs of Eastern pastoral life here come up before us. There is plenty of flour and of live cattle. But the cakes have to be kneaded and baked on the hearth, and the calf has to be killed and dressed. Abraham personally gives directions, Sarah personally attends to the baking, and the boy or lad - that is, the domestic servant whose business it is - kills and dresses the meat. Abraham himself attends upon his guests. "Three seahs." About three pecks, and therefore a superabundant supply for three guests. An omer, or three tenths of a seah, was considered sufficient for one man for a day Exodus 16:16. But Abraham had a numerous household, and plentifulness was the character of primitive hospitality. "Hearth cakes," baked among the coals. "Butter" - seemingly any preparation of milk, cream, curds, or butter, all of which are used in the East.6. Abraham hastened … unto Sarah … make cakes upon the hearth—Bread is baked daily, no more than is required for family use, and always by the women, commonly the wife. It is a short process. Flour mixed with water is made into dough, and being rolled out into cakes, it is placed on the earthen floor, previously heated by a fire. The fire being removed, the cakes are laid on the ground, and being covered over with hot embers, are soon baked, and eaten the moment they are taken off. Three measures, containing each the third part of an ephah. See Exodus 16:36.

Upon the hearth; upon the coals, or in the warm cinders, or in an oven. He had doubtless other bread ready, but he would have new bread for them, which he thought most grateful.

And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah,.... In order to acquaint her with his guests, and to give proper instructions for providing food for them; and this he hasted to do, being hearty in the entertainment of them, and that he might not keep them too long from their journey:

and said, to Sarah his wife:

make ready quickly three measures of fine meal; which was ready sifted from the bran, and was the finest flour that was in the house, and only wanted to be mixed and kneaded and made up into cakes; and he ordered three measures or seahs of them, each of which held more than our peck, and all three made an ephah or bushel, being willing to have enough, and to make a generous entertainment for them; this he enjoined Sarah to do, but not of herself, but by her maids, and no doubt, for quicker dispatch, she might assist herself, wherefore it follows:

knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth; after the fine flour was made dough and kneaded, it was made into round cakes, and these were put upon an hearth made hot, and then covered with hot embers, by which means they were soon baked and fit to eat; this was done "upon hot stones" (n); and a traveller (o) into those parts some years ago reports, that, passing through the deserts of Arabia, when they chose to eat new bread, instead of, or for want of biscuits, they made a paste of flour and water, and wrought it into broad cakes about the thickness of a finger, and put them in a hot place on the ground, heated on purpose by fire, and covered them with ashes and coals, and turned them several times until they were enough, and that these cakes were savoury and good to eat: some of the Arabians, he says: have in their tents stones or copper plates, made on purpose to bake them, and gives (p) an instance of a woman they met with in a country lying between Mesopotamia and Media, making such cakes for them in the same manner.

(n) Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 34. col. 328. (o) Rauwolff's Travels, par. 2. ch. 4. p. 120. (p) Ib. c. 9. p. 163.

And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
6. into the tent unto Sarah] Sarah does not appear before the strangers. She is occupied with the baking. Abraham and his servant are responsible for the selection and killing of a calf, the cooking of the meat, and the procuring of butter and milk from the herd. A meal in which meat is provided is a rarity in a Bedouin’s life, and is the sign of the offering of hospitality.

three measures of fine meal] A “measure” is a seah, or one-third of an ephah. The amount, therefore, represented by three seahs was one ephah. It is the same quantity mentioned by our Lord in Matthew 13:33, “the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal.” The seah contained nearly a peck and a half.

fine meal] Two words are here used, ḳemaḥ and sôleth, meaning “meal,” “fine flour.”

cakes] These would be baked on flat hot stones placed in the clay oven, or in the hot ashes which were sometimes heaped up over them; hence LXX ἐγκρυφίαι, Lat. panes subcinericii. Cf. 1 Kings 19:6.

Verse 6. - And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures. Hebrew, three seahs, a seah being a third of an ephah, and containing 374 cubic inches each (Keil); a third of a bushel (Kalisch) - of fine meal, - literally, of flour, fine flour; σεμίδαλις (LXX.); the first term when alone denoting flour of ordinary quality (cf. Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 5:11; Numbers 7:13) - knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth - i.e. "round unleavened cakes baked upon hot stones" (Keil). Genesis 18:6When the three men had accepted the hospitable invitation, Abraham, just like a Bedouin sheikh of the present day, directed his wife to take three seahs (374 cubic inches each) of fine meal, and back cakes of it as quickly as possible (עגּות round unleavened cakes baked upon hot stones); he also had a tender calf killed, and sent for milk and butter, or curdled milk, and thus prepared a bountiful and savoury meal, of which the guests partook. The eating of material food on the part of these heavenly beings was not in appearance only, but was really eating; an act which may be attributed to the corporeality assumed, and is to be regarded as analogous to the eating on the part of the risen and glorified Christ (Luke 24:41.), although the miracle still remains physiologically incomprehensible.
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