Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) 2004
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Table Of Contents:
|Genesis 13:1-2||Genesis 13:12-13|
|Genesis 13:3-4||Genesis 13:14-15|
|Genesis 13:5-7||Genesis 13:16|
|Genesis 13:8-9||Genesis 13:17|
|Genesis 13:10||Genesis 13:18|
GENESIS 13:1-13 (The Separation of Lot)
13:1-2 Abram (later renamed Abraham, 17:5) had to leave Egypt when Pharaoh rebuked him for outrageous behavior and told him to get out (12:19). Abraham’s nephew Lot (11:31) and his wife and daughters (19:15, 26) also had their own sheep and cows and tents. And the two families came back together into the Negeb, the area south of Beersheba (12:9).
13:3-4 The large caravan traveled by stages (as in 12:9) back to Bethel, where Abraham had previously built an altar (12:8), and from where he had set out on his disastrous journey into Egypt. This reminds us that when we have taken a wrong turn God takes us back to where we went wrong.
13: 8-9 Abraham had been promised that his own offspring would eventually occupy the land (12:6), but he had adopted Lot after his father died (11:27-28) and he graciously gave Lot the choice of where he would live.
13:10 Lot chose the Jordan Valley, which reminded him of the land irrigated by the River Nile in Egypt, from which they had just returned. He could not guess that the area would soon be devastated by the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (19:27-28).
13:11 This resulted in the first separation of Arab tribes to the east of the Jordan. Descended from Lot, the Moabites and Ammonites (19:36-38) would later occupy the area east of the Dead Sea, and those tribes would be absorbed by war or intermarriage into the Bene Ishmael, the Arab tribes descended from Ishmael..
13:12-13 Lot began by pitching the tents for his family just outside the gates of the city of Sodom, but he soon built a house there for his family (19:1-2). The New Testament tells us that Lot was “greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless in the city (2 Peter 2:7). The people of the city were so corrupt and full of injustice that the LORD said “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave is their sin” (18:20). But Lot did not distance himself or his family from this corruption (19:1, 14)
13:14-15 After Lot had moved away, Abraham looked down from a mountain (perhaps the present location of Masada) above the Jordan Valley. Perhaps he regretted giving Lot the richly irrigated land he could see below him. But the LORD told him to look upwards and outwards, and he promised that Abraham’s offspring would one day have all the land which was visible from where he was standing. This promise was repeated after the birth of Ishmael (17:8).
Note: For 14 years Ishmael remained as the sole heir of the land promised to Abraham (16:16, 21:5). But after the birth of Isaac Sarah persuaded Abraham to disinherit Ishmael and send him and his mother Hagar away to the east (21:10-14). In Arabia Ishmael had twelve sons who became the first Sheikhs of the Arab nation (25:12-18).
In the next generation Isaac’s firstborn son Esau was tricked into selling his birthright to his brother Jacob (25:29-34). Isaac was given the promise that his descendants would one day occupy the land promised to Abraham (26:3). But Esau had excluded himself from the family inheritance, and Isaac passed the promise to his son Jacob when he blessed him before he died (28:3-4). Esau moved away into what is now the border between Jordan and Arabia, and his descendants became the Edomite branch of the Arab nation (28:9, 32:3, 33:16, 36:1-43).
13:16 The promise that Abraham’s offspring would be as innumerable as “the dust of the earth”(13:16) and the stars in the night sky (15:5) applies to both Arabs and Jews (16:10; 17:20; 22:17; 26:4, 28:3, 14). And in fact the Arab nation (mainly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrein, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco) has become far more numerous than their Jewish cousins.
13:17 Having seen the extent of the land that God had promised (13:14), Abraham is now told to walk through its length and breadth. But the land was not ready for occupation (15:16), and the Jewish people would first be enslaved in Egypt before returning to live there.
Note: The land that Abraham was promised was described as from Dan in the foothills of Lebanon to Beersheba in the south (Judges 20:1, 1 Samuel 3:20). On the west it was bounded by the Mediterranean and on the east by the Jordan south of the Sea of Galilee. The River Jordan was a great river from the point of view of the Jewish people and it was named as parat (meaning the overflowing river, Joshua 3:15). This term was also used for the Euphrates in Mesopotamia.. But it is totally misleading to translate parat as the Euphrates to describe the eastern boundary of the promised land (as in NRSV Genesis 15:18, Deuteronomy 1:7; 11:24; Joshua 1:4; 1 Chronicles 5:9; 18:3; and perhaps Jeremiah 13:4-7; 46:2; 51:63. The Plain of Megiddo was near the Jordan River (2 Kings 23:29), and so nowhere near the Euphrates). What Moses saw from Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27; 4:22, 26) certainly did not stretch to the Euphrates which was 400 miles away. And the Jews have never claimed that huge territory 400 miles across Syria to the north.
13:18 Abraham then settled by the oaks of Mamre (14:13), located the north side of the present city of Hebron (30 km, 19 miles south of Jerusalem). When Sarah died the cave of Machpelah (23:1-2) became the site of the family burial ground (23:17-19) and Abraham was buried there (25:9-10), as were Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob (49:29-32; 50:12-13). As in other places, Abraham built an altar for his family to gather for a sacrificial meal, and the fat and entrails went up in smoke as a sign of their prayers ascending to God (as in 8:20-21; 12:7; 13:4,18). Isaac settled and died there (35:27-29). And Hebron was later the place where David was anointed King over the house of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-4, 11).
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