And [Abraham] planted a grove in Beersheba
The Jewish writers F23 are divided about the use of this grove, as Jarchi relates; one says it was for a paradise or orchard, to produce fruits out of it for travellers and for entertainment; another says it was for an inn to entertain strangers in; it rather was for a shade, to shelter from the sun in those sultry and hot countries; and perhaps for a religious use, and to be an oratory, as the following words seem to suggest: in the midst of it very likely Abraham built an altar, and sacrificed to the Lord; hence might come the superstitious use of groves among the Heathens; and, when they came to be abused to idolatrous purposes, they were forbidden by the law of Moses, which before were lawful. And, though the name of Abraham is not in the text, there is no doubt but he is designed, and was the planter of the grove, and which is expressed in the Septuagint version, as it is supplied by us. What sort of trees this grove consisted of cannot with certainty be said, very probably the oak. R. Jonah F24 thinks it may be the tree which in Arabic they call "ethel", and is a tree like that which is called tamarisk in general it signifies any tree, and especially large trees F25; and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God;
who, is from everlasting to everlasting, or "the God of the world" F26, the Creator and upholder of it, and the preserver of all creatures in it; him Abraham invoked in this place, prayed unto him, and gave him thanks for all the mercies he had received from him.
F23 In T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1.
F24 Apud Kimchi, Sepher Shorash. rad. (lva) .
F25 Vid. R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 72. 1.
F26 (Mlwe la) "Dei seculi", Pagninus, Hontanus, Calvin; so Ainsworth.