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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 13

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-4


Verses 1-4:

On his expulsion from Egypt, Abram returned to the Land of Canaan. He first travelled through the south part of the Land, thence to the central highlands and the place he had first camped on is arrival from Haran. There between Bethel and Hai, he renewed his vows to Jehovah.

Abram’s wealth had increased greatly. This wealth consisted of silver and gold, as well as "cattle," mikneh (from kana, to acquire by purchase). This term may apply to slaves as well as to livestock, as slaves were considered chattel in the same sense as livestock.

Verses 5-13

Verses 5-13:

Lot reaped the benefits of God’s covenant with Abram, "I will bless them that bless thee" (Ge 12:3). His wealth increased along with that of his uncle. So numerous were the herds of both Abram and Lot that the land was unable to sustain them both. This was due in part to the ravages of the drought which caused them to go to Egypt and from which the land was not fully recovered, and in part because of their herds.

There appears to have been no conflict between Abram and Lot. But there arose strife and dissension between their servants, possibly over water and glazing rights. The situation was further complicated by the fact that the land was already occupied, by the Canaanites and the Perizzites. The Canaanites were city-dwellers, dwelling primarily in the lowlands. The Perizzites were highlanders, dwelling in the hills and woods and the open country in contrast to the Canaanites. Some identify them as wandering nomads, remnants of a Semitic people who were displaced by the Hamite invaders.

The conflict distressed Abram. He proposed a solution: separation. From the plateau where Bethel was located, Abram and Lot had a wide view of the land. To the right were the rugged hills. To the left lay the pleasant, fertile plains of the southern Jordan valley. The glamorous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah offered exciting possibilities. The lush, well-watered grassy plains offered ideal grazing for Lot’s livestock. Lot chose the left, the plains of Jordan in the region of Sodom. This is the same area covered today by the Dead Sea.

Chapter 19 details the sinful character of Sodom and Gomorrah.

They were sinners "before the Lord," literally, "before the face of Jehovah." None may hide sin from the all-seeing eye of God, see Nu 32:23; Ps 139:7-12; Jer 23:24; Heb 4:13.

Verses 14-18

Verses 14-18:

Following the departure of Lot, Jehovah spoke to Abram, to reaffirm the land-grant portion of His covenant, and to comfort him in the sorrow caused by Lot’s leaving. On the mountain peaks between Bethel and Hai (Ai) one has a commanding view of almost the entire Land. To the north lie the hills dividing Judaea from the rich plains of Samaria. To the south one may see as far as the Hebron range of hills. To the east are visible the mountains of Moab and the fertile crescent to which Lot had departed. To the west lies the Mediterranean sea-coast, with its prospects of foreign commerce. As far as the eye could see, all this territory is included in the Divine land-grant.

There is no conflict between this promise, and Stephen’s statement of Ac 7:5 (q.v.). Abram lived out his life as a nomadic chieftain, in peace among the inhabitants of the Land. The only part of this territory he could claim as his own was the burial-plot he purchased for his beloved wife, Ge 28:17-20. But Abram’s descendants did occupy this territory under Joshua. The full realization of the entire land-grant is yet to come, however, and will be realized during the coming reign of the Messiah, Lu 1:32, 33.

The promise of a "seed" is renewed. This promise relates to the earthly or physical seed, in the figure of the "dust."

Some time after this, Abram moved from the hills of Bethel to the plain, elon (terebinth or oak), of Mamre - an Amorite chieftain who became a friend and ally of Abram.

Hebron lies twenty-two miles south of Jerusalem on the road to Beersheba. It is an ancient town, pre-dating even Zoan of Egypt (Nu 13:22). It is also known as Kirjath-arba (Ge 22:3; 25:7; Jos 14:15), or the "city of Arba," likely because it became the dwelling of Arba the Anakite.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Genesis 13". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/genesis-13.html. 1985.
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