History of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob

The history of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob : embellished with cuts; to which is added an account of Jonah's mission to the Ninevites  (1840s) 


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Sarah promised a Son.

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Hagar being urned to Abram's house, soon bore a son, who was called Ishmael. Thirteen years after, God appeared to Abraham to renew his covenant, and instituted circumcision as a token of the covenant, and promised him a son who should be the father of many kings. Abraham laughed to think that Sarah, ninety years old, should bear. A while after, as Abraham was sitting in the tent door he saw three men coming, and as his charity suffered none to pass without a refreshment, he ran to meet them. After they had eaten, they asked for Sarah, when the men, (who were angels) assured him that she would bear a son. Sarah overheard what was said, and laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old, shall I have pleasure—my Lord being old also. The angels reproved Sarah for laughing, which she denied: they stated nothing was too hard for the Lord. They then rose up, and Abraham with them went on their way.

Lot entertains two Angels at Sodom.

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After God’s promise to Abraham, that Sarah, would shortly bear him a son, he was warned that Sodom was to be destroyed. Lot, seeing two angels coming to Sodom, ran to meet them, and entreated them to lodge with him. The angels at first refused, but Lot earnestly pressed them to come in. The men of Sodom surrounded the house, and demanded of Lot to deliver up the men, that they might satisfy their lust with them. He resisted them with all his powers, but still they insisted. Lot, pierced with sorrow, was on the point of delivering them up, had not the angels put forth their hand, and pulled him in; and having shut the door, they smote the men that were without with blindness: yet with all this it reclaimed not their fury; for they still sought to satisfy themselves, and they laboured hard to find the door to effect their purpose.

Lot and his Two Daughters.

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The angel having warned Lot of his danger of remaining among the Sodomites, hastened him to depart from the city with his wife and two daughters that they might not be consumed. They laid hold of him by the hand, ordering him to escape, and not to look behind him. Lot requested leave of the angels to retire to Zoar; and he had no sooner entered Zoar, than the Lord rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah from heaven. Lot's wife, alarmed at a sudden noise, looking back became a pillar of salt. Lot, affrighted, went up and dwelt in a mountain, his two daughters imagining that they and their father were the only remains of the inhabitants of the earth, thought it their duty not to suffer the generation of men to perish, made their father drink wine, and did not stop to commit incest in hopes of being mothers; and though we cannot think on that action without horror, yet there innocence did much lesson the guilt of it.

Abimelech afflicted by God.

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Abraham being obliged, soon after the overthrow of Sodom, to quit his former abode, came to Gerar, where he was exposed to some danger by the king of that city, on account of his wife, as he had been by the king of Egypt. Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah, who called herself Abraham’s sister, as she had done in Egypt. But God, who was the protector of Sarah’s chastity, threatened that prince in the night-time, telling him he was a dead man if he offered to touch Sarah, for she was Abraham’s wife. Abimelech was horror-struck at having nearly committed so great a crime, and terrified by the threats of God, called all his officers and servants together, as also Abraham, and reproved him sharply for concealing the truth, to make him and his kingdom guilty of so great a sin. Abraham replied, that they were both of one father but different mothers.

Hagar and Ishmael cast out.

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God fulfilled his promise to Sarah, and she brought forth a son in her old age. Abraham called him Isaac, and circumcised him the eight day. Sarah suckled him herself, though a great princess; and when the time of weaning Isaac was come, Abraham made a great feast to express his joy. In the mean time, while Sarah had so much reason to rejoice, Hagar’s son became cause of great trouble to her. This lad, disappointed in his hopes by the birth of Isaac, could not endure to see his father and mother delight so much in him, and began to behave himself abusively towards him. Sarah foresaw the fatal consequences of this hatred, and entreated Abraham to cast out the bond-woman and her son. This request greatly afflicted Abraham, but God advised him to do as Sarah had said. They were forthwith cast out; but an angel appeared and spoke comfortably to them in the wilderness, assuring her, her son would be the father of a great nation.

Abraham offereth up Isaac.

Isaac being now arrived at the age of twenty-seven,
God, to try Abraham, commands him to take his
son, whom he loved, and offer him up upon a moun-
tain. He remembered he had received his son
from God, and his great faith stifled all the thoughts
which did arise in him about the divine promises so
often repeated to him, that from the very Isaac
whom he was now about to offer, his posterity should
be multiplied as the stars of heaven. Accordingly
he rises early in the morning, and takes Isaac his
son, and two servants, cleaves the wood for the
burnt-offering, and binding Isaac his son, laid him
on the alter, and stretching forth his hand, took the
knife to slay him. God, seeing constancy in the
father, stops his hand by an angel from heaven
Hereupon Abraham, seeing a ram caught in a
thicket by the horns, offered him up to God instead
of his son, and returned to his house.

The Death and Burial of Sarah.

Isaac being slayed by his parents by the com-
mand of him who first bestowed him, he was the
comfort of his mother in her old age, who, being
arrived at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven
years, died. Abraham haying wept over her some
time, considers of providing a burying place for her.
He addresses the children of Heth, stating he was
a stranger, and that he wished a burying place to
bury the dead, out of his sight, which was kindly
granted, requesting him to take choice of all their
sepulchres. Abraham, who would, not be beholden
to any man, entreated them to sell him a field
which had a double cave, but they wanted him to
accept of it as a free gift. But Abraham was im-
moveable, and forced Eph on to tell him that the
field was worth four hundred shekels of silver, which
Abraham paid him, and there he buried Sarah.

Isaac's Marriage with Rebekah

Abraham being old, and thinking to take a wife
for his son Isaac, resolves not to allow him to marry
any of the daughters of the Canaanites; but des
patches Eliezer his steward to Mesopotamia to take
a wife for his Son. Being come near the city of
Nahor, he prayed that God would direct him to the
person he had allotted to be his master’s son’s wife, by
this token, that the damsel he should ask to draw
water for himself and his camels, should do it
frankly. Rebekah came, and Eliezer ran to meet
her, and desired water to drink, which she readily
gave him, and hasted to draw for his camels. This
faithful servant, satisfied that she was the person,
presents her with many presents, when she ran
home to her brother, who instantly ran to meet
Abraham’s servant, brought him home, and set
down meat before him but would eat none till he
got an answer to his business. A favourable answer
being given, he prepared to return home.

Esau sells his Birthright to Jacob.

After the happy consummating of Isaac’s marriage
with Rebekah, Abraham lived many years, till at
length transported to that better and heavenly
country; having spent one hundred and seventy-
five years in the exercise of holy virtues and graces.
God, after his death, multiplied his blessings on
Isaac his son. But they had been twenty years
married without having any children, when Isaac
prayed the Lord for his wife’s sake for children, and
he was heard, and Rebekah was delivered of male
twins. The Divine oracle stated that the elder
should serve the younger. When these two children
were grown up, Jacob, the youngest, on a time sod
lentil pottage, and Esau, returning from hunting,
extremely hungry, with greediness desired,this pot-
tage, which Jacob perceiving, would not, part with
it till he had promised to sell him his birthright in
consideration thereof, to which Esa

Isaac blessing Jacob instead of Esau

Esau having sold Jacob his birthright, Rebekah,
who had a tender love for Jacob, ratified the right
by a holy piece of craft. Isaac being sensible of
his great age, and willing to bless his children ere
he died, called Esau his eldest, whom he loved, to
him, to hunt some venison, and make savoury meat
that he might bless him. Rebekah told Jacob to
fetch two kids that she might make savoury meat
to Isaac. She then dressed Jacob in Esau’s dross
and put the skins of the kids upon his hands and
smooth of his neck, that his father might suppose
him to be Esau, which had the desired effect; for
he received his father’s blessing by this deception.
Scarcely had he made an end of blessing Jacob,
when Esau came in from hunting, prepares his
savoury meat, brings it to his father, and desires
him to eat that he might bless him. The holy
patriarch; perceiving the deception, trembled, and
Esau cryed bitterly. Isaac, moved with his cries,
blesseth him also, but subjects him to Jacob.

Jacob’s Mystical Ladder.

The anger of Esau against Jacob was too visible
to be hid from Rebekah ; and the tender love she
had for Jacob caused her to send him away for a
time, though grieved to let him out of her sight.
To reconcile her husband Isaac to it, she spoke of
his marriage—how grieving it would be if her son
Jacob would marry any of the daughters of the land
of Canaan, as Esau had done against their wish.
Jacob was sent away, more like a fugitive than the
son of a rich person. Being overtaken by night,
he was obliged to take up his lodgings upon the
earth, with no softer pillow than stone. Here he
dreamed that he saw a ladder, the top of which
reached to heaven, and the angels of God ascend-
ing and descending upon it. He was the Lord
above it, who encouraged him to proceed on his
journey, and promised that his seed should be as
the dew of the earth, as in him should all nations
of the earth be blessed.

Jacob serveth for Rachel and Leah.

Jacob assured by the vision of the Divine pro-
tection, went cheerfully on his way to Haran, and
meeting some shepherds hear a well, which had a
great stone at the mouth thereof, asked them
whither they knew one Laban, a grandchild of
Nahor They answered, yes; and that Rachel his
daughter's coming thither with his sheep. Jacob
no sooner Saw her, then he went and rolled the stone
from the mouth of the well, watered his sheep,
kissed her, and made himself known to her. She
ran with the tidings to her father Who came forth,
kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob
told him of his brothers fury, Stating that he wish-
ed to serve him; to which Laban agreed that
Jacob should serve him seven years for Rachael,
which term he finished ; but Leah was falsely put
into Jacob’s bed, which displeased Jacob; but
Laban appeased him by promising him Rachel at
the end of other seven, which he also completed.

Jacob’s return to his birth-place.

The blessings that God so plentifully showered
down, upon Jacob excited Laban’s envy, so that he
perceived it prudent to leave Mesopotamia. For
this purpose he calls his two wives, and tells them
of his design. Which they approving of, he went off
privately, taking family and possessions. Laban,
informed of their sudden departure, and missing
some of his idols, pursues them seven days. As
soon as he overtook them he reproached Jacob for
stealing his daughters ; and however right it might
be to return to his country ; it was very unjust to
steal the idols. Jacob declared his ignorance of
any such thing, whereupon Laban examined his
Whole effects, and at last enters Rachel’s tent; but
before his coming she hid them in the camel’s fur-
niture, and sat upon them ; and desired her father
not to take it ill that she did not rise, as she was
unwell. Laban, forced to return without them,
made a covenant with Jacob, after which they lov-
ingly took leave of each other.

Jacob wrestleth with an Angel.

Jacob having thus escaped the hands of Laban,
began to think how he might escape those of Esau,
whereupon he sent messengers before him that he
might find grace in his sight. Upon there return
they declared that he was at the head, of four hun-
dred men coming to meet Jacob, which filled him
with extreme fear. Jacob, to soften his brother’s
heart, prepared great presents to him, left orders
for his wives and children to pass over the brook
Jabbok by night, while he remained on the other
side. He betakes himself to prayer for a happy
meeting with his brother, when an angel appeared
unto him, and wrestled with him until day, when
the angel touched the hollow of his thigh, and
caused him to halt, and gave him the new name of
Israel, with the assurance that he had nothing to
fear from men, and in particular from his brother

Jacob’s sons kill all the people of Shechem.

When Jacob Was returned from Mesopotamia, a
city of the Shechemites, an accident happened which
caused him a great deal of sorrow. Dinah being
gone abroad to See the daughters of the land, their
King took her by force, and ravished her; but
desired to get her to wife. Jacob was grieved at
his daughter’s defilement; and his sons, dissembling
their rage, requested the Shechemites to be circum-
cised, that the mutual intercourse they proposed
should take place. They consented and on the
third day, when their pain was most sensible, Simeon
and Levi took their swords' and came apon them,
and slew all the males, without sparing the king
himself or his son, whose unlawful lust caused this
bloodshed. The rest of Jacob’s sons pillaged the
city, and carried all the' spoil along with them,
taking all their little Ones and their wives captives.
Jacob was extremely troubled at this, their revenge.




JONAH was the son of Amittai, a prophet of Gath-
heper in Galilee. Some Jews would have him to
be the son of the widow of Sarepta, raised to life by
Elijah, but the distance of time renders it almost
impossible nor is it a whit more certain that he
was the son of the Shunamite restored to life by
Elisha, or the young prophet who anointed Jehu.
It is certain, that he predicted that God would
restore to the Hebrews, the cities which the Syrians
had taken from them during the reigns of Ahab,
Jehoram, John, and Jehoahaz, 2 Kings, xiv. 25.
He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of
Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the
word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by
the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai
the prophet which was of Gath-hepher. We have
also the book of Jonah, where God ordered him to
go to Nineveh and warn the inhabitants of their
approaching destruction.


Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and built by
Asshur the son of Shem Genesis, x. II, "Out of
that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh."
It was one of the largest cities in the world. In
Jonah’s time it was a city of three day’s journey, or
would require him three days to go through it,
proclaiming its overthrow. It then had about one
hundred and twenty thousand infants in it, whom we
cannot suppose above the eighth or tenth part of its
inhabitants: one learned writer says it was sixty
miles in circumference ; and another writer says it
was larger than Babylon. It was surrounded by a
wall about two hundred feet high, and so thick,
that three-chariots abreast might have been driven
along the top; on the wall were built one thousand
five hundred towers, each two hundred feet higher
than the wall; this city was very early noted for
the Wealth, idolatry, and Whoredom.
Fearing that the Lord might forbear punishing
them if they repented, and, so seemingly tarnish
his honour, Jonah shipped himself at Joppa for
Tarshish, when a storm quickly pursued the ship
wherein he was. The heathen mariners awaked him,
and required him to call on his God for deliverance,
Lots being cast to discern for whose sake the, storm
arose, the lot fell on Jonah; who with shame con-
fessed his guilt to the mariners, and desired them
to cast him into the sea, that the: storm might be
stayed, which with reluctance, they were at last
obliged to do ; whereon the Storm immediately ceased.
A large fish swallowed up Jonah, and retained him
safe in her belly for three days. There he earnestly
prayed to the; Lord, at whose command the fish
Vomited him alive on dry land. His orders to warn
the Ninevites Of there approaching destruction were
immediately renewed, and all obedient, he hasted to
that vast city, he travelled into it above a days jour-
ney denouncing judgment, if they did not repent with-


in forty days. When the inhabitants heard this,
they were greatly afflicted; a fast of three days both
for man and beast was appointed, and they cried
mightily, to God for the preventing of this stroke ;
he heard their prayers, and long delayed their ruin.
Displeased with the divine mercy, Jonah angrily
wished to die, rather than live and see his prediction
unfulfilled. While he sat without the city, waiting
for his desired view of Nineveh’s ruin, God caused
a gourd quickly to spring up to overshadow him
from the scorching heat of the sun, but next day,
a worm having bitten its root, it suddenly withered.
The scorching sun and blasting wind vehemently
beating on Jonah, he fainted and angrily wished to
die, and averred to God himself, that he was right in
doing so. The. Lord bid him think, if he had pity on
the short-lived gourd, was there not far more reason
for his and their maker to pity the penitent inhabi-
tants of Nineveh?
Nineveh at last was destroyed about one hundred
years after Jonah. The Medes and Persians had
several times laid siege, to it, but were diverted by
various accidents ; but after the massacre of the
Tartars in Media, they repeated the siege, Cyaxares
and Nebuchadnezzar being the commanders: after
they had lain, before it three years, the river Tigrus
or Sycus, being exceedingly swollen, washed away
two and a half miles of the wall; when the waters ass-
uaging the besiegers rushed into the city, and mur-
dered the inhabitants, who lay buried in their drunk-
eness, occasioned by an advantage which they had
just before gained over the enemy. When the king,
whose name we suppose was Sardanapalus, heard the
city was taken, it is said, he shut up himself, family,
and wealth to the value of about twenty-five thou-
sand millions sterling, in the palace, and then set
fire to it, and destroyed all that was in it, and it was
fifteen days before the flames were quenched


It is hard to say what was the gourd that covered
Jonah’s head at Nineveh : Jerome says, it was a
small shrub, which, in the sandy places of Canaan,
grows up in a few days to a considerable height, and
with its large leaves forms an agreeable shade. It
is now generally thought to be the Palma Christi,
which is somewhat like a lily, with large smooth and
black spotted leaves; one kind of it grows to the
height of a fig-tree; and whose branches and trunk are
hollow as a reed ; there is also the wild gourd, which
creeps along the surface of the earth, as those of cu-
cumbers; its fruit is of the size and form of an orange,
containing a light substance, but so excessively bitter
that it has been called the gall of the earth.
I have now given you a short account of the
History of Jonah, which could be greatly enlarged
if space would permit—also the command given by
God to preach at Nineveh—Jonah’s disobedience to
that command—the pursuit and arrest of him for
that disobedience by a storm, in which he was asleep
the discovery of him and his disobedience to be
- the cause of the storm—the casting of him into the
sea, for the stilling of the storm—the miraculous
preservation of his life there in the belly of a fish,
which was his preservation for further services. We
have also Jonah’s praying unto God : in; his prayer
we have, the great distress and danger he was in—
the despair he was thereby almost reduced to — the
encouragement he took to himself in this deplorable
condition-the assurance he had of God’s favour to
him — the warning and instruction: he gives to
others — the praise and; glory of all given to. God—
his deliverance out of-the belly of the fish — and his
coming safe and sound upon: dry land again - his
mission renewed—and the command a second time
given him to go preach at Nineveh — his message to
Nineveh faithfully delivered, by which its speedy
overthrow was threatened — the repentance humilia-


tion, and reformation of the Ninevites hereupon —
God’s gracious revocation of the sentence passed
upon them, and the preventing of the ruin threatened;
We have also Jonah’s repining at God's mercy to
Nineveh, and the fret he was in about it — the gen-
tile reproof God gave him for it, Jonah’s discontent
at the withering of the gourd, and justifying of
himself in that discontent—God’s improving of it
for his conviction, that he ought not to be angry at
the sparing of Nineveh, Man’s badness and God’s
goodness serve here for a foil to each other, that the
former may appear the more exceeding sinful, and
the latter the more exceeding gracious.
From all this we may learn, First, that though
God may suffer his people to fall into sin, yet he
will, not suffer them to lie still in it, but will take a
course effectually to show them their error, and to
bring them to themselves, and to their right mind
again. We have reason to hope that Jonah, after
this, was well reconciled to the sparing of Nineveh,
and was as well pleased with it, as ever he had been
Second, that God will justify himself in the
methods of his grace toward repenting returning
sinners, as well as in the course his justice takes with
them that persist in there rebellion, though there are
these that murmur at the mercy of God, because
they do not understand it, (for his thoughts and
ways therein are as far above ours as heaven is above
the earth) yet he will make it evident that therein
he acts like himself, and will be justified when he
speaks. See what pains he takes with Jonah, to
convince him that it was very fit that Nineveh
should be spared. Jonah had said, I do well to be
merciful and proves it; and it is a
great encouragement to poor sinners to hope that
they shall find mercy with him; that he is so really


to justify himself in showing mercy, And to triumph
all those whom he makes the monuments of it, against
those who is evil because he is good; such, mur-
derers shall be made to understand this doctrine,
that how narrow soever their souls and their prin-
ciples are, and how willing soever they are to en-
gross divine grace to themselves, and those of their
own way, their is one Lord over all, that is rich in
mercy to all that call on him, and in every nation,
Nineveh as well as in Israel, he that fears God, and
works righteousness, is accepted of him, and he that
repents and turns from his evil way shall find' mercy
with him.
Did not the fate of this prophet, typify our Savi-
or’s being cast into the raging sea of divine wrath;
lying a part of three days in tho grave ; his glori-
ous resurrection from the dead; and the publication of
his gospel to multitudes of perishing sinners that
We cannot close more fitly, perhaps than by ex-
citing a few lines from the powerful summing up
the poet Young.
What am I ? and from whence ?—I nothing know,
but what I am: and since I am, conclude
something eternal: had there e’er been nought,
nought still had been : eternal there must be.
but what eternal ?—Why not human race ?
and Adam's ancestors without an end ?
That’s hard to be conceiv’d. Yet grant it true,
hence earth and these bright orbs Eternal too?
Grant matter was eternal, still these orbs
would want some other father ; — much design
seen in all their motions, all their makes :
sign implies intelligence, and art;
That can’t be from themselves, or man ; that art
man scarce can comprehend, could man bestow !
The motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
not through vast masses of enormous weight!


Who bade brute matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms and gave it wings to fly?
Has matter innate motion? then each atom,
asserting it's indisputable right.
To dance would form an universe of dust:
Has matter none? Then whence these glorious forms
And boundless flights from shapeless, and repos'd
Has matter more than motion?-has it thought,
Judgement and genius?- is it deeply learn'd
In mathematics? Has it fram'd such laws,
Which but to guess a Newton made immortal?-
If so, how can each sage atom laughs at me,
Who thinks a clod inferior to a man!
If art to form and counsel to conduct,
And that with greater far than human skill,
Resides not in each block - a Godhead reigns -
And if a God there is that God how great!"


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.