This is the account of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad.
These are the generations of Shem.I. THE LINE IN WHICH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD WAS PRESERVED.
II. THE DIRECTION OF THE STREAM OF HISTORY TOWARDS THE MESSIAH. "God calmly and resolutely proceeds with His purpose of mercy. In the accomplishment of this eternal purpose He moves with all the solemn grandeur of long suffering patience. One day is with Him as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Out of Adam's three sons He selects one to be the progenitor of the seed of the woman. Out of Noah's three sons He again selects one. And now out of Terah's three is one to be selected. Among the children of this one He will choose a second one, and among his a third one before He reaches the holy family. Doubtless this gradual mode of proceeding is in keeping with the hereditary training of the holy nation, and the due adjustment of the Divine measures for at length bringing the fulness of the Gentiles in the covenant of everlasting peace."
III. THE GRADUAL, NARROWING OF HUMAN LIFE. "In the manifold weakenings of the highest life endurance, in the genealogy of them, there are, nevertheless, distinctly observable a number of abrupt breaks —
1. From Shem to Arphaxad, or from 600 years to 438;
2. From Eber to Peleg, or from 464 years to 239.
3. From Serug to Nahor, or from 230 years to 148; beyond which last, again, there extend the lives of Terah, with his 205, and of Abraham, with his 175 years. Farther on we have Isaac with 180 years, Jacob 147, and Joseph 110. So gradually does the human term of life approach the limit set by the Psalmist (Psalm 90:10). Moses reached the age of 120 years. The deadly efficacy goes on still in the bodily sphere, although the counter working of salvation has commenced in the spiritual."
(T. H. Leale.)
1. To point where the Church of God was after the flood.
2. To show God's providence in singling out some generations in the world for His Church, these and not others.
3. To make known to us the state of the Church either for truth or for corruption at this time.
4. To continue to us the right chronology of the world, not for speculation only, but for pious practice to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
5. To make us better understand some passages of the prophets mentioning these persons or their conditions.
6. To show us the true line of Christ, and to confirm the New Testament given by Him. Every generation in the Church from the flood is but to bring Christ nearer.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. God chooseth what generations and families He pleaseth to pitch His Church in them.
3. A family God may choose out of the world to set His name upon them, when the world is passed by; a few or little remnant God reserveth.
4. Every generation in the Church from the flood is but to bring Christ nearer.
5. Times are appointed for the birth of everyone in the Church for His work (ver. 10).
6. Length of days, etc., God giveth to His chief witnesses, as Shem was to Isaac's days; much work he had to do in that compass of time.
7. The eminentest in the Church, may have many children degenerate from it. More care should be used to keep them closer to God (ver. 11).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
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