(1) What is the meaning of the expression, “I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of the Chaldaeans to give thee this land for an inheritance?” (#Ge 15:7). As the literal statement is plain enough, we need only consider the inner meaning, which was meant to be interpreted in this manner. The law of the Chaldaeans taken symbolically is mathematical speculation, one part of which is recognised to be astronomy, which the Chaldaeans study with great industry and with great success. Therefore God is here honouring the wise man with a gift; in the first place, by taking men out of the sect of the astrologers, that is to say, away from the hallucinations of the Chaldaeans, which, as they are difficult to detect and refute, are found to be the cause of great evils and wickedness, since they ascribe the attributes of the Creator to created things, and persuade men to worship and to venerate the works of the world as God. In the second place, God honours him by granting to him the wisdom which bears fruit, which he has here symbolically called the earth; but the Father of the universe shows that wisdom and virtue are invariable and immutable, since it is not consistent with his character that God should show to any one that which can undergo any variation or change, for that which is shown by the being who is immutable and consistent must be so too; but that which is liable to change, as being incessantly in the habit of suffering variation, admits of no proper or divine demonstration.
(2) Why does he say, “Lord, by what shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (#Ge 15:8). He here is seeking a sign for a ratification of the promise; but two things only are described deserving of study; one that which is an affection of the mind, namely, the belief in God according to his literal word; the other a being borne on with the most exceeding desire not to be left in want of some signs, by which the hearer may feel, to the conviction of his outer senses, a confirmation of the promise: and to him who has given the promise he offers worthy veneration by the appellation, “Lord.” For by this title he says, I know thee to be the Lord and prince of all things, who art also able to do all things, and there is no disability with thee. But in truth, if I have already given credence to thy promise, still I nevertheless wish to obtain speedily if not a completion of it, yet at all events some evident signs by which its consummation may be indicated; in truth I am thy creature, and even if I were to arrive at the highest degree of excellence, I am not always able to restrain the violence of my desire, so as not, when I have seen or heard anything good, to be contented with obtaining it slowly and not immediately; therefore I entreat that thou wilt give me some means of knowledge, by which I may comprehend those future events.