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by Dr. John Thomas
How long he continued there may be learned from the following considerations.
In his speech before the Sanhedrim, Stephen says: "When Abraham's father was dead, he removed him into this land wherein ye dwell"; that is, he returned from Philistia to "Hebron in the land of Canaan".
Now Terah, Abraham's father, was seventy years old when Abraham was born; so that when Isaac was born at Beer-sheba, Terah was a hundred and seventy.
But Terah lived two hundred and five years, and then died at Haran; and it was after his death that Abraham removed to Hebron, where Sarah died, aged one hundred and twenty-seven.
Now she died two years after Terah; so that it was in this two years that Abraham left Philistia.
But Stephen says it was when Terah died he moved to Canaan, which makes the "many days" he sojourned in the Philistine's land thirty-five years from the birth of Isaac.
This simple statement of facts removes a difficulty which has puzzled chronologists exceedingly.
Moses says Terah died in Haran aged two hundred and five; and Stephen is made to say that Abraham removed from Haran to Canaan when Terah died, thereby making Sarah a resident of the country only two years!
This is the fault of the English version, which renders cajcei`pen, "from thence" instead of afterwards, as it ought to be.
"Abraham," said Stephen, "dwelt in Haran; and afterwards" -- How long after? -- "When his father was dead, he removed him" -- Where from?
From Beer-sheba of the Philistines.
To Hebron "in this land wherein ye dwell".
Thus Moses and Stephen agree.
Now, at some time while Abraham was sojourning in the land of the Philistines, God appeared to him for the purpose of putting his faith to the proof; and of giving him in the person of Isaac, a lively representation of what was to befall his seed, the Christ, then in the loins of Isaac, before he should be exalted to inherit Canaan and the world.
The trial was a very severe one.
He was commanded to take Isaac, "his only son whom he loved," into the land of Moriah; and "offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains," which God should point out.
Moriah was itself a mountain upon which Solomon afterwards built the temple; and the land, or region, around, is celebrated by the mounts, afterwards called Zion, Olivet, and Calvary.
The mountain chosen of God is not named; I can only therefore express my opinion that it was Calvary.
It took him till "the third day" to arrive at the place, a distance of forty miles in a straight line from Beersheba.
This will not be surprising when it is remembered, that he rode upon an ass, accompanied by two young men, beside Isaac, who conveyed the wood, and other necessaries for the journey.
Their progress was therefore slow.
"On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off".