Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Ronald E. Heine; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY XI
On the fact that Abraham took Cetura as a wife
and that Isaac dwelt at the well of vision

THE HOLY APOSTLE ALWAYS OFFERS US OPPORTUNITIES for spiritual understanding and shows the zealous signs by which one may recognize in all things that "the Law is spiritual."1 Though few, these signs are, nevertheless, necessary.

He says, discussing Abraham and Sara in a certain passage: "Not weakened in faith,"Scripture says, "he considered his own body dead, since he was almost a hundred years old, and Sara's womb dead."2 This man, therefore, whom Paul says to have been dead in his body at the age of one hundred and to have begotten Isaac more by the power of his faith than by the fertility of his body, Scripture now relates has taken a wife named Cetura and has begotten more sons from her when he seems to have been about one hundred thirty-seven years old.3 For Sara his wife is recorded to have been ten years younger than he. Since Sara died in her one-hundred and twenty- seventh year, it shows that Abraham was more than one hundred thirty-seven years old when he took Cetura as his wife.

What then? Are we to suppose that inducements of the flesh have flourished in so great a partriarch at that time? And shall he who is said to have been dead long ago in his natural impulses now be supposed to have been revived for passion? Or, as we have already often said, do the marriages of the patriarchs indicate something mystical and sacred, as also he suggests who said of wisdom: "I decided to take her as my wife"?4

____________________
1
Cf. Rom 7.14.
2
Rom 4.19.
3
Cf. Gn 25.1f.
4
Cf. Wis 8.9.

-168-

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