The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 13

Gen 13:1

Ct Gen 12:10: Abraham never left Promised Land again. One excursion into Egypt was enough (Gen 24:6).

NEGEV: "South" in AV.

AND LOT WENT WITH HIM: Implying reluctance on Lot's part.

Gen 13:2

The first mention of riches in the Bible: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1Ti 6:10). Abraham's wealth came mainly from Pharaoh (Gen 12:16). This new-found wealth leads to competition and stress, and finally to separation with Lot (see Pro 10:22).

Gen 13:3

Bethel is the 2nd-most mentioned city/place in the Bible.

WHERE HIS TENT HAD BEEN EARLIER (AT THE BEGINNING): A fresh start. Back to the place where he had settled before going down to Egypt. A pilgrimage with a purpose: restoration to a former way of life.

Gen 13:5

In Gen, 3 pairs: (1) Abraham and Lot, (2) Isaac and Ishmael, and (3) Jacob and Esau. "But the closer the relationship between these pairs, the less the spiritual likeness shows":
Also consider the later subjugation of their seeds to that of Israel and Christ.

LOT... ALSO HAD FLOCKS... HERDS... TENTS: But no silver or gold (sig redemption faith), as did Abraham (v 2).

Gen 13:6

THE LAND COULD NOT SUPPORT (BEAR) THEM... TOGETHER: Prob the Land had not fully recovered from the effects of the drought of Gen 12:6.

Gen 13:7

This commences the decline of Lot. Since Abraham appeals to Lot, it is obvious he holds him responsible (v 8).

CANAANITES AND PERIZZITES... IN THE LAND: Thus it was to the great advantage of Abraham and Lot to strengthen themselves in unity, and not to quarrel.

PERIZZITES: "Haperizziy" = "village dwellers": Gen 15:20n. Nomads who occupied rural settlements and sought for pasture (competition for Abraham).

Gen 13:8

Here is put into practice the Bible teaching of submission to one another (Eph 5:21; 1Pe 5:5; Gal 5:20; 1Co 3:3; 2Ti 2:24; Jam 3:16; Luk 22:24-26. "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel" (Pro 20:3). "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Pro 15:1).

FOR WE ARE BROTHERS: Bre should dwell together in unity (Psa 133), esp in the presence of the "Canaanites". "Here was the dominant factor which must guide and influence all relationships between Abraham and Lot. By comparison nothing else mattered. Before this overruling bond of brotherhood all else was unimportant. They were near of kin; they had traveled a thousand miles together, together they had shared the hostility of a new land and the special dangers of Egypt. And were they now to squabble over something which only the blessing of God had brought? We be brethren! A thousand times since Abraham, and another thousand times since God revived Abraham's Faith in these last days, men have become blind to this truth and its deep eternal obligations. Many a wrangle about trivialities of mundane level and many a bickering about spiritual truth of massive unimportance would have been still-born if only this simple wholesome truth had been written in larger capitals in home and ecclesia" (WAbr 30,31).

Gen 13:10

LOT LOOKED UP: "Lot" = "born with a veil". Ct v 14: Lot lifted up his own eyes, looked for self, and saw a natural sight (cp Gen 3:6; Jer 7:21; 1Jo 2:6). Abraham was told to lift up his eyes, looked through God's eyes, and saw a spiritual sight: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad" (Joh 8:56). The eye of faith: see Heb 11:3,13; 2Co 4:18.

PLAIN: "Kikkar" = "circle", the Jordan valley.

LIKE THE GARDEN OF THE LORD: Jordan was watered by a 4-fold flow, as was Eden (Gen 2:10,11). Regularly overflowing its banks -- as did the Nile?

TOWARD ZOAR: This should have been a warning!

Gen 13:11

PLAIN: "Kikkar" = "circle", the Jordan valley.

TOWARD THE EAST: East to Jericho, then south to Sodom.

THE TWO MEN PARTED COMPANY: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another" (Heb 10:25). Lot left Bethel ("the house of El"). Lot left the Land again.

Gen 13:12

Abram trusted God for His needs, even though that meant that he received what appeared to be an unjust settlement from the hand of man.

NEAR (TOWARD) SODOM: "As far as Sodom" (RV): cp Gen 14:12.

Gen 13:13

WICKED: "Breakers of law".

SINNING: "Chattah" = "to miss the mark".

There's an old story about a man who tried to save the city of Sodom from destruction by warning the citizens. But the people ignored him. One day someone asked, "Why bother everyone? You can't change them." "Maybe I can't," the man replied, "but I still shout and scream to prevent them from changing me!"

Gen 13:14

As soon as Abraham showed his meekness in settling the dispute with Lot, God gave him the promise: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Mat 5:5). Abraham, the "friend of God" and the "father of the faithful".

LIFT UP YOUR EYES: Abraham lifts up his eyes 3 times: to behold the Land (here), the 3 angels (Gen 18:2), and the sacrificial ram (Gen 22:13).

NORTH... SOUTH... EAST... WEST: Abraham's destiny to be realized on the earth. In Gen we hear God telling Abraham (cp v 28 here) that He will give him the land in all directions, as far as he can see, as an eternal inheritance. Abraham is promised all the land, "north, south, east and west"... AND a great multiplying of his seed! Notice how this is echoed in the NT, when Jesus says: "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God" (Luk 13:28,29). But in the gospels, Jesus seems to "interpret" this promise (ie, the east, west, north, south allusion) to mean -- not only 'your borders will be extended in all directions', but especially 'people (Gentiles!) will come to you (and God's kingdom) from all directions'! Two different (but related) ways to fulfill the promises to Abraham: (1) the expansion of Abraham's "territories" outward, and/or (2) the people of those territories coming inward, to Abraham and His God! Either way, the same result.

Gen 13:15

ALL THE LAND: Actually includes the whole earth: Rom 4:13.

AND YOUR OFFSPRING (THY SEED): "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is Christ" (Gal 3:16). See Lesson, "Seed" in RSV.

Gen 13:16

THE DUST OF THE EARTH: Of Christ, the singular seed -- as dust of the earth in his mortal state (Gal 4:4; Rom 8:3; Phi 2:7; Heb 2:11-14). Ct Gen 15:5: seed as stars. Thus dust/stars = earthly or natural or mortal / heavenly or spiritual immortal.

Gen 13:17

"Consider the Land as already belonging to you."

I AM GIVING IT TO YOU: Impl resurrection. "Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death" (Heb 11:19). This promise is kept alive even after the death of Abraham: Exo 6:8; Deu 30:22; 34:1-4; 1Ch 16:15-18. But the Promises are not fulfilled during Abraham's life: Heb 11:8-13,39; Act 7:5.

Gen 13:18

TREES: "Elon". Rt "strength" or "oak". The Heb is consistently translated "tree(s)" in NIV, but "plain" in Gen 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; Deu 11:30. Cp also Jdg 4:11; 9:6,37; 1Sa 10:3.

MAMRE: "Vigor" or "power".

HEBRON: Hebron ("fellowship") becomes the possession of him who follows God fully -- Caleb (Jos 14:14). Hebron is called Arba, or Kiriath-arba, until after Moses (Jdg 1:10). "K-arba" = "city of the four" (cp Rev 21:16).

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