The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 27 of 159
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The "sojourning" of the children of Israel dates back beyond the birth of Jacob's
twelve sons, and includes the pilgrimage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From the call of
Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees he became a "sojourner", and all his children were
sojourners too. Incidentally Exod. 12: says that they "dwelt in Egypt", but this did not
alter the fact that they were sojourners and away from the land of promise. Gal. 3: 17
gives the same period time, namely 430 years, as covering the time that elapsed from the
promise given to Abraham in Gen. 15: until the giving of the law from Mount Sinai,
which took place soon after the exodus from Egypt.
There is another period connected with the same event (the exodus) that starts from
another point, and covers a period of 400 years. This prophetic utterance is given in
Gen. 15: 13-16, and it will be seen that not only did God speak of a definite period of
time, but of the chief features that led up to the exodus. Let us enumerate them:--
"Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs
(and shall serve them and they shall afflict them) 400 years.
And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge;
And afterward shall they come out with great substance.
In the fourth generation they shall come hither again,
For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full."
How are we to account for the fact that Gen. 15: speak of a period of 400 years,
whereas Gal. 3: 17 speaks of the same events as occupying 430 years? At the time of
writing this article, the writer endorsed the explanation of The Companion Bible which
makes the 400 years commence with the recognition of Isaac as the seed when Isaac was
5 years old. Since writing, however, a beloved fellow-helper has suggested a much
simpler explanation which we gladly give in his own words.
"This explanation (referring to that of The Companion Bible and also our own), I have
always personally regarded as unsatisfactory. Surely Isaac was `recognized as the Seed'
before his birth--`In Isaac shall thy seed be called'. Surely the point is that Gen. 12: 4
tells us that Abraham was seventy-five when he left Haran (not Ur), where he had
remained till the death of Terah. But Stephen (Acts 7: 1) says that the glorious God
appeared to Abraham while he was still in Ur, before he went to live in Haran. If we
reckon that the sojourning began (as Stephen implies) when Abraham left Ur, the five
years are accounted for by the sojourn in Haran. Thus:--
Departure from Ur . . .
Death of Terah and departure from Haran . . Abram
Birth of Isaac . . .
Abraham 100
Sojourning of Seed . . .
Total: Sojourning until Exodus . . .
We are grateful for this explanation and commend it to our readers.