And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go
As if he should say, what signifies what thou givest me of temporal blessings, if thou withholdest from me the blessing of a child; from whom it might be hoped and believed would spring the promised Messiah, in whom all nations of the earth shall be blessed. All my wealth and riches, victories and honours, are of no avail to me, while I am deprived of this favour; and since I am advanced in years, and going the way of all the earth; or out of the world, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it, and which is the sense of the word in many places, see ( Joshua 23:14 ) ( Luke 22:22 ) . Should I depart from hence childless, as I am like to do, what pleasure can I take in them, and comfort from them, when I have none to inherit them?
and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus;
who was his head servant, perhaps the same with him in ( Genesis 24:2 ) called the eldest servant of his house, who had the care of it, of providing food for it, and supplying with it, and giving to everyone their portion in due season. Some render it, "the son of leaving my house" F25; to whom he left the care of his house, and should leave the administration of all things in it after his death, making him heir should he die childless; and so it may be supplied, "he Eliezer of Damascus is" or "shall be my heir". Strange and various are the fancies of the Jewish writers concerning this Eliezer; the Targum of Jonathan on ( Genesis 14:14 ) calls him the son of Nimrod; others say he was the grandson of Nimrod, and others, a servant of his, who gave him to Abram for a servant; and when Isaac married Rebekah he was made free, and through Abram's influence became a king, and was Og king of Bashan F26; and others say he was Canaan the son of Ham F1; and others again, that he was Lot, who was very desirous of being Abram's heir F2: but with neither of these wilt this description of him agree, who is said to be of Damascus; either he was born there, or his parents, one or other, were from thence, who very probably were Abram's servants; and this Eliezer was born in his house, as seems from ( Genesis 15:3 ) : or the words may be rendered Damascus Eliezer F3, that is, Damascus the son of Eliezer; so that Eliezer was his father's name, and Damascus the proper name of this servant: and some say Damascus was built by him, and had its name from him, which is not likely, since we read of it before, and it is ascribed to another builder, (See Gill on Genesis 14:15). Indeed Justin F4 says it had its name from a king of it, so called; but who, according to him, was much more ancient than Abram, whom he also makes to be a king of Damascus: after King Damascus, he says, was Azelus, then Adores, and Abram and Israel were kings in that place. And Nicolas of Damascus F5 relates, that Abram reigned at Damascus, when with an army he came out of the land of Chaldea, beyond Babylon; and that the name of Abram was still famous in the region of Damascus, and a certain village was shown, called Abram's habitation: and the Jewish writers say F6, that the servants of Abram built Damascus, and he reigned over it: that Abram lived there some time seems reasonable from this Eliezer, who was born in his house, being called Eliezer of Damascus; for which no other reason can well be assigned than his being born there, which must be therefore when Abram dwelt there, since he was born in his house; and this might be the foundation of the above traditions.
F25 (ytyb qvm Nb) "is cui relinquetur domus mea", Junius & Tremellius; Heb. "filius derelictionis domus meae", Piscator; so Joseph Kimchi and Abendana.
F26 Pirke Eliezer, c. 16.
F1 Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 2. 1.
F2 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 43. fol. 39. 1.
F3 (rzeyla qvmd) "Damascus Eliezer", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius.
F4 E Trogo, l. 36. c. 2.
F5 Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 90. c. 16. p. 417.
F6 Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 77. 1.