Recommended!
If you haven't seen it already, I would recommend "The Chosen"! The first episode of Season 2 can be viewed by clicking here!

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Genesis 13:10

Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord , like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.
New American Standard Version
    Jump to:
  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. Coffman Commentaries on the Bible
  3. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  4. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  5. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  6. James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
  7. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
  8. John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
  9. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  10. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  11. Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
  12. F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary
  13. Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
  14. G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible
  15. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
  16. Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
  17. Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
  18. Geneva Study Bible
  19. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  20. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
  21. The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
  22. Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
  23. John Trapp Complete Commentary
  24. Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary
  25. Kingcomments on the Whole Bible
  26. The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann
  27. Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical
  28. L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
  29. Wells of Living Water Commentary
  30. Wells of Living Water Commentary
  31. Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture
  32. Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible
  33. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
  34. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible
  35. C. H. Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch
  36. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
  37. Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
  38. Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
  39. Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
  40. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  41. Sermon Bible Commentary
  42. Sermon Bible Commentary
  43. Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
  44. The Biblical Illustrator
  45. The Biblical Illustrator
  46. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
  47. Expositor's Bible Commentary
  48. The Pulpit Commentaries
  49. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  50. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  51. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
  52. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Covetousness;   Egypt;   Gomorrah;   Jordan;   Lot;   Sodom;   Zoar;   Scofield Reference Index - Faith;   Thompson Chain Reference - Blindness-Vision;   Canaan, Land of;   Earthly;   Jordan;   Lot;   Temptation;   Vision;   Yielding to Temptation;   Zoar;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Agriculture or Husbandry;   Egypt;   Gardens;   Jordan, the River;   Tents;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Gardens;   Sea;   Sodom;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Lot;   Sodom;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abraham;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Meekness;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gomorrah;   Jordan;   Plain;   Sodom;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Bela;   Bethel;   Ciccar;   Egypt;   Gomorrah;   Jordan;   Palestine;   Plains;   Region Round about;   Sea, the Salt;   Sodom;   Zoar;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Garden;   Genesis;   Jericho;   Lot;   Mizraim;   Sodom and Gomorrah;   Zair;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bethel;   Eden, Garden of;   Jordan;   Plain;   Plain, Cities of the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Joram;   Nazareth ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Garden, Gardener;   Jordan ;   Zoar ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Lot;   Sodom;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Egypt;   Lot;   Sodom;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Lot;   Sod'om;   Zo'ar;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Omorrah;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ciccar;   Circle;   Cities of the Plain;   Dead Sea, the;   Eye;   Garden;   Land;   Lot (1);   Palestine;   Paradise;   Plain;   Siddim, Vale of;   Zoan;   Zoar;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Baruch, Apocalypse of (Greek);   Egypt;   Fall of Man;   Jordan, the;   Kikkar;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 16;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar - There is an obscurity in this verse which Houbigant has removed by the following translation: Ea autem, priusquam Sodomam Gornorrhamque Do minus delerit, erat, qua itur Segor, tota irrigua, quasi hortus Domini, et quasi terra Aegypti. "But before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was, as thou goest to Zoar, well watered, like the garden of the Lord, and like the land of Egypt." As paradise was watered by the four neighboring streams, and as Egypt was watered by the annual overflowing of the Nile; so were the plains of the Jordan, and all the land on the way to Zoar, well watered and fertilized by the overflowing of the Jordan.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/genesis-13.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the Plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar."

"Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld ..." Willis pointed out that the apostasy of Lot began right here and that it consisted of the following steps:

  1. He looked upon the attraction of the fertile pasture lands toward Sodom;

  2. He chose it as his home (Genesis 13:11) and moved his home into the close vicinity of it (Genesis 13:13);

  3. He "dwelt in Sodom" (Genesis 14:12); and

  4. He acknowledged the men of Sodom as his "brothers" (Genesis 19:7) and offered them his daughters to be used sexually as they wished;

  5. He "sat in the gate of Sodom" (Genesis 19:1), indicating his acceptance of a post of responsibility there; and

  6. "Finally, he `lingered,' even after the mercy of God had offered an opportunity to escape."[10]

This progressive, step by step amalgamation of a man with a wicked society, exemplified by Lot's example here, is also visible in Psalms 1:1:

"Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor standeth in the way of sinners,
Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers."

"Beheld all the Plain of the Jordan ..." The objection that it would have been impossible for Lot to have seen "all the Plain" from any vantage point near Bethel is a ridiculous quibble. Actually, there is a vantage point near Bethel, mentioned thus: "The Burg Beitin a few minutes southeast of the village, is described as one of the great viewpoints of Palestine."[11] The place affords an extraordinarily extensive view of the whole lower course of the Jordan and of the northern end of the Dead Sea.

"Before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah ..." This is a reference to an area around the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, which was fertile and well watered before the disaster, but which was apparently inundated afterward. There is nothing here to suggest, as alleged, that the writer thought the Dead Sea did not exist until after Sodom and Gomorrah perished. Simpson's notion that, "The author believed that the Dead Sea had not come into existence at that time,"[12] is unacceptable. However, there was a very significant change in the level of it, resulting in the inundation of the land along the southeastern shore, where, as Willis observed, "It is now generally believed that the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Zoar lie beneath the waters of the Dead Sea on the eastern side of its southern portion."[13]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/genesis-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

- Abram and Lot Separate

7. פרזי perı̂zı̂y Perizzi, “descendant of Paraz.” פרז pārāz “leader,” or inhabitant of the plain or open country.

10. ככר kı̂kar “circle, border, vale, cake, talent;” related: “bow, bend, go round, dance.” ירדן yardēn Jardan, “descending.” Usually with the article in prose. צער tso‛ar Tso‹ar, “smallness.”

18. ממרא mamrē' Mamre, “fat, strong, ruler.” חברון chebrôn Chebron, “conjunction, confederacy.”

Lot has been hitherto kept in association with Abram by the ties of kinmanship. But it becomes gradually manifest that he has an independent interest, and is no longer disposed to follow the fortunes of the chosen of God. In the natural course of things, this under-feeling comes to the surface. Their serfs come into collision; and as Abram makes no claim of authority over Lot, he offers him the choice of a dwelling-place in the land. This issues in a peaceable separation, in which Abram appears to great advantage. The chosen of the Lord is now in the course of providence isolated from all associations of kindred. He stands alone, in a strange land. He again obeys the summons to survey the land promised to him and his seed in perpetuity.

Genesis 13:1-4

Went up out of Mizraim. - Egypt is a low-lying valley, out of which the traveler ascends into Arabia Petraea and the hill-country of Kenaan. Abram returns, a wiser and a better man. When called to leave his native land, he had immediately obeyed. Such obedience evinced the existence of the new power of godliness in his breast. But he gets beyond the land of promise into a land of carnality, and out of the way of truth into a way of deceit. Such a course betrays the struggle between moral good and evil which has begun within him. This discovery humbles and vexes him. Self-condemnation and repentance are at work within him. We do not know that all these feelings rise into consciousness, but we have no doubt that their result, in a subdued, sobered, chastened spirit, is here, and will soon manifest itself.

And Lot with him. - Lot accompanied him into Egypt, because he comes with him out of it. The south is so called in respect, not to Egypt, but to the land of promise. It acquired this title before the times of the patriarch, among the Hebrew-speaking tribes inhabiting it. The great riches of Abram consist in cattle and the precious metals. The former is the chief form of wealth in the East. Abram‘s flocks are mentioned in preparation for the following occurrence. He advances north to the place between Bethel and Ai, and perhaps still further, according to Genesis 13:4, to the place of Shekem, where he built the first altar in the land. He now calls on the name of the Lord. The process of contrition in a new heart, has come to its right issue in confession and supplication. The sense of acceptance with God, which he had before experienced in these places of meeting with God, he has now recovered. The spirit of adoption, therefore, speaks within him.

Genesis 13:5-7

The collision. Lot now also abounded in the wealth of the East. The two opulent sheiks (elders, heads of houses) cannot dwell together anymore. Their serfs come to strife. The carnal temper comes out among their dependents. Such disputes were unavoidable in the circumstances. Neither party had any title to the land. Landed property was not yet clearly defined or secured by law. The land therefore was in common - wherever anybody availed himself of the best spot for grazing that he could find unoccupied. We can easily understand what facilities and temptations this would offer for the strong to overbear the weak. We meet with many incidental notices of such oppression Genesis 21:25; Genesis 26:15-22; Exodus 2:16-19. The folly and impropriety of quarreling among kinsmen about pasture grounds on the present occasion is enhanced by the circumstance that Abram and Lot are mere strangers among the Kenaanites and the Perizzites, the settled occupants of the country.

Custom had no doubt already given the possessor a prior claim. Abram and Lot were there merely on sufferance, because the country was thinly populated, and many fertile spots were still unoccupied. The Perizzite is generally associated with, and invariably distinguished from, the Kenaanite Genesis 15:20; Genesis 34:30; Exodus 3:8, Exodus 3:17. This tribe is not found among the descendants of Kenaan in the table of nations. They stand side by side with them, and seem therefore not to be a subject, but an independent race. They may have been a Shemite clan, roaming over the land before the arrival of the Hamites. They seem to have been by name and custom rather wanderers or nomads than dwellers in the plain or in the villages. They dwelt in the mountains of Judah and Ephraim Judges 1:4; Joshua 17:15. They are noticed even so late as in the time of Ezra Ezra 9:1. The presence of two powerful tribes, independent of each other, was favorable to the quiet and peaceful residence of Abram and Lot, but not certainly to their living at feud with each other.

Genesis 13:8-9

The strife among the underlings does not alienate their masters. Abram appeals to the obligations of brotherhood. He proposes to obviate any further difference by yielding to Lot the choice of all the land. The heavenly principle of forbearance evidently holds the supremacy in Abram‘s breast. He walks in the moral atmosphere of the sermon on the mount Matthew 5:28-42.

Genesis 13:10-13

Lot accepts the offer of his noble-hearted kinsman. He cannot do otherwise, as he is the companion, while his uncle is the principal. He willingly concedes to Abram his present position, and, after a lingering attendance on his kinsman, retires to take the ground of self-dependence. Outward and earthly motives prevail with him in the selection of his new abode. He is charmed by the well-watered lowlands bordering on the Jordan and its affluents. He is here less liable to a periodical famine, and he roams with his serfs and herds in the direction of Sodom. This town and Amorah (Gomorrah), were still flourishing at the time of Lot‘s arrival. The country in which they stood was of extraordinary beauty and fertility. The River Jordan, one of the sources of which is at Panium, after flowing through the waters of Merom, or the lake Semechonitis (Huleh), falls into the Sea of Galilee or Kinnereth, which is six hundred and fifty-three feet below the level of the Mediterranean, and thence descends into the basin of the Salt Sea, which is now thirteen hundred and sixteen feet beneath the same level, by a winding course of about two hundred miles, over twenty-seven threatening rapids.

This river may well be called the Descender. We do not know on what part of the border of Jordan Lot looked down from the heights about Shekem or Ai, as the country underwent a great change at a later period. But its appearance was then so attractive as to bear comparison with the garden of the Lord and the land of Egypt. The garden of Eden still dwelt in the recollections of men. The fertility of Egypt had been recently witnessed by the two kinsmen. It was a valley fertilized by the overflowing of the Nile, as this valley was by the Jordan and its tributary streams. “As thou goest unto Zoar.” The origin of this name is given in Genesis 19:20-22. It lay probably to the south of the Salt Sea, in the wady Kerak. “And Lot journeyed east” מקדם mı̂qedem From the hill-country of Shekem or Ai the Jordan lay to the east.

Genesis 13:12

The men of Sodom were wicked. - The higher blessing of good society, then, was missing in the choice of Lot. It is probable he was a single man when he parted from Abram, and therefore that he married a woman of Sodom. He has in that case fallen into the snare of matching, or, at all events, mingling with the ungodly. This was the damning sin of the antediluvians Genesis 6:1-7. “Sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Their country was as the garden of the Lord. But the beauty of the landscape and the superabundance of the luxuries it afforded, did not abate the sinful disposition of the inhabitants. Their moral corruption only broke forth into greater vileness of lust, and more daring defiance of heaven. They sinned “exceedingly and before the Lord.” Lot had fallen into the very vortex of vice and blasphemy.

Genesis 13:14-18

The man chosen of God now stands alone. He has evinced an humble and self-renouncing spirit. This presents a suitable occasion for the Lord to draw near and speak to His servant. His works are re-assuring. The Lord was not yet done with showing him the land. He therefore calls upon him to look northward and southward and eastward and westward. He then promises again to give all the land which he saw, as far as his eye could reach, to him and to his seed forever. Abram is here regarded as the head of a chosen seed, and hence, the bestowment of this fair territory on the race is an actual grant of it to the head of the race. The term “forever,” for a perpetual possession, means as long as the order of things to which it belongs lasts. The holder of a promise has his duties to perform, and the neglect of these really cancels the obligation to perpetuate the covenant. This is a plain point of equity between parties to a covenant, and regulates all that depends on the personal acts of the covenanter. Thirdly, He announces that He will make his seed “as the dust of the earth.” This multitude of seed, even when we take the ordinary sense which the form of expression bears in popular use, far transcends the productive powers of the promised land in its utmost extent. Yet to Abram, who was accustomed to the petty tribes that then roved over the pastures of Mesopotamia and Palestine, this disproportion would not be apparent. A people who should fill the land of Canaan, would seem to him innumerable. But we see that the promise begins already to enlarge itself beyond the bounds of the natural seed of Abram. He is again enjoined to walk over his inheritance, and contemplate it in all its length and breadth, with the reiterated assurance that it will be his.

Genesis 13:18

Abram obeys the voice of heaven. He moves his tent from the northern station, where he had parted with Lot, and encamps by the oaks of Mamre, an Amorite sheik. He loves the open country, as he is a stranger, and deals in flocks and herds. The oaks, otherwise rendered by Onkelos and the Vulgate “plains of Mamre,” are said to be in Hebron, a place and town about twenty miles south of Jerusalem, on the way to Beersheba. It is a town of great antiquity, having been built seven years before Zoan (Tanis) in Egypt Numbers 13:22. It was sometimes called Mamre in Abram‘s time, from his confederate of that name. It was also named Kiriath Arba, the city of Arba, a great man among the Anakim Joshua 15:13-14. But upon being taken by Kaleb it recovered the name of Hebron. It is now el-Khulil (the friend, that is, of God; a designation of Abram). The variety of name indicates variety of masters; first, a Shemite it may be, then the Amorites, then the Hittites Genesis 23, then the Anakim, then Judah, and lastly the Muslims.

A third altar is here built by Abram. His wandering course requires a varying place of worship. It is the Omnipresent One whom he adores. The previous visits of the Lord had completed the restoration of his inward peace, security, and liberty of access to God, which had been disturbed by his descent to Egypt, and the temptation that had overcome him there. He feels himself again at peace with God, and his fortitude is renewed. He grows in spiritual knowledge and practice under the great Teacher.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/genesis-13.html. 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

well watered. Great contrast with Palestine after the famine; and likeness to the fertility of Egypt.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

Sodom = flaming, burning.

Gomorrah = people of fear: already mixed up in the sins of the Nephilim. 2 Peter 2:4. Jude 1:6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/genesis-13.html. 1909-1922.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.And Lot lifted up his eyes. As the equity of Abram was worthy of no little praise; so the inconsideration of Lot, which Moses here describes, is deserving of censure. He ought rather to have contended with his uncle for the palm of modesty; and this the very order of nature suggested; but just as if he had been, in every respect, the superior, he usurps for himself the better portion; and makes choice of that region which seemed the more fertile and agreeable. And indeed it necessarily follows, that whosoever is too eagerly intent upon his own advantage, is wanting in humanity towards others. There can be no doubt that this injustice would pierce the mind of Abram; but he silently bore it, lest by any means, he should give occasion of new offense. And thus ought we entirely to act, whenever we perceive those with whom we are connected, to be not sufficiently mindful of their duty: otherwise there will be no end of tumults. When the neighboring plain of Sodom is compared to the paradise of God, many interpreters explain it as simply meaning, that it was excellent, and in the highest degree fertile; because the Hebrews call anything excellent, divine. I however think, that the place where Adam resided at the beginning, is pointed out. For Moses does not propose a general similitude, but says, ‘that region was watered;’ just as he related the same thing respecting the first abode of man; namely, that a river, divided into four parts, watered it; he also adds the same thing respecting a part of Egypt. Whence it more clearly appears, that in one particular only, this place is compared with two others.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/genesis-13.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE WORLDLY CHOICE

‘And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where.… Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan.’

Genesis 13:10-11

The lesson to be gained from the history of Abraham and Lot is obviously this: that nothing but a clear apprehension of things unseen, a simple trust in God’s promises, and the greatness of mind thence arising, can make us act above the world—indifferent, or almost so, to its comforts, enjoyments, and friendships; or, in other words, that its goods corrupt the common run even of religious men who possess them.

I. Abraham and Lot had given up this world at the word of God, but a more difficult trial remained.—Though never easy, yet it is easier to set our hearts on religion or to take some one decided step, which throws us out of our line of life and in a manner forces upon us what we should naturally shrink from, than to possess in good measure the goods of this world and yet love God supremely. The wealth which Lot had hitherto enjoyed had been given him as a pledge of God’s favour, and had its chief value as coming from Him. But surely he forgot this, and esteemed it for its own sake, when he allowed himself to be attracted by the riches and beauty of a guilty and devoted country.

II. God is so merciful that He suffers not His favoured servants to wander from Him without repeated warnings.—Lot had chosen the habitation of sinners; still he was not left to himself. A calamity was sent to warn and chasten him: he and his property fell into the hands of the five kings. This was an opportunity of breaking off his connection with the people of Sodom, but he did not take it as such.

III. The gain of this world is but transitory; faith reaps a late but lasting recompense.—Soon the angels of God descended to fulfil in one and the same mission a double purpose: to take from Lot his earthly portion, and to prepare for the accomplishment of the everlasting blessings promised to Abraham; to destroy Sodom, while they foretold the approaching birth of Isaac.

Illustration

‘As in the simple pastoral age of Abram and Lot, so in this modern complex age, the relation between riches and righteousness remains a great question to be prayerfully considered and settled in accordance with God’s word. Not money but the love of money is the root of all evil. It is a serious question, however, whether the inordinate love of money, either for its own sake or more often for that ‘success’ which it seems to bring, is not becoming the peculiar fault and folly of this period. Abram and Lot are still making their choice, though nowadays they speak English; and Sodom with its glittering prizes and its seductive Vanity Fairs still attracts the morally unstable and earthly minded. The choice must be made between God and mammon.’

SECOND OUTLINE

The way in which Lot’s character develops, as shown by his history, is an impressive illustration of a wrong choice.

Show how Lot came to emigrate from Ur (Genesis 11:31), and to come into Canaan (Genesis 12:4). You find in his history these three facts, which have a special meaning for every young person looking forward to independent life:

I. A choice is necessary of place, aim, occupation. Up to this time Lot had made no independent choice. He had gone with his uncle, and had become rich by keeping the same position as though he were a son in Abram’s house. But the crisis came, and with a man’s responsibilities he had to choose a man’s life.

Think of the different ways in which life-choices are made. Sometimes it is the result of studied prayerful consideration of fitness, of greatest usefulness, of determinatiom to do worthy service at any cost. Oftener circumstances seem to settle it. The lad needs work, opportunity is offered, the first step opens the door to another, till the man finds his place and work decided, and hardly knows that he has made a choice. But in every case the man himself has made the decisions which fix his life and destiny. All his past life enters into his choice. What Lot is will decide where he will go; and what Lot is, he has been deciding by hourly choices through all the years.

II. An opportunity is open for good or evil choice. It was unrestricted on the moral side. Lot might have sought Abram’s good first, as Abram sought Lot’s good. He might have looked for a place to build an altar instead of a place to feed his cattle, and might have found both. But he had the opportunity to ignore religion, kinship, courtesy, gratitude, and he chose it. What was in him expressed itself. In Haran, in his journeyings, in Egypt, he had been preparing for his choice.

Many complain that in these days youths have no chance in life. As a rule, they never had greater ranges of choice than now. When a lad compares his possessions with those of his playmates, wishing he could add theirs to his: when a girl frets because her companions, whose parents are richer than hers, wear more fashionable dresses than she, both are preparing to make Lot’s choice. When a young man thinks much of what he can do with what he has to make others nobler and happier, he is preparing to make Abram’s choice.

III. A selfish choice has its consequences. Lot chose the best fields, and was willing to take with them the worst associations. In consequence he so shrivelled up his soul that only force could save his life by separating him from his wealth. His children became so dead to all sense of danger from living in sin, that, when he pleaded with them to save themselves, he seemed to them as ‘one that mocked.’ His wife became a monument to remind him of her sin. His children who remained with him disgraced him. Lot threw away his generosity, Abram enriched his. When Lot had lost everything, Abram fought for him, and won back for him his wealth. When Lot was in peril for his life, Abram wrestled in prayer for him, and prevailed. Which was gaining the most royal character?

Urge young people to choose the place, home, business, associations, that will most help them to serve God and their fellow-men. If then they can best serve God with wealth, He will give it to them. In any case they will have the blessing of His approval, of noble manhood or womanhood, and of everlasting life.

Illustration

(1) ‘The lesson is rich in practical teaching. Wealth does not necessarily mean happiness. It commonly increases care and multiplies envy. Most certain is it, that wealth as the sole end of life ruins existence. Men grow hard. They lose their power to enjoy friendship, nature, art, literature. They lose their spirituality. Ignoring God, they grow careless about goodness, and plunge themselves and their children into society that tempts to evil, and frequently drags them down to sensuality and crime.’

(2) ‘“Put God first and fee second,” is Ruskin’s advice. To do the former is to be a friend of God, to do the latter is to be a friend of the devil. No young man will do his best work, and make a success of life, who is always looking out for his own advantage. If we serve God we can trust Him. He will look after us. If we serve others as in God’s sight, they too will come to honour us. Though sometimes the friendship of men must be sacrificed, if we are to retain the friendship of God. To choose a friend may be to choose a destiny.’

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/genesis-13.html. 1876.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Thirteenth chapter of the book of Genesis. In chapter twelve, we find that Abraham had gone down into Egypt because of the famine. And there as the result of a lack of faith and trust in God to take care of him, he had Sarai pass herself off as his sister. But God brought a plague upon the Egyptians because the Pharaoh had more or less taken her into his harem and he rebuked Abraham for the deception and ordered his men to allow Abraham to travel freely. And so now Abraham is returning from Egypt in chapter thirteen.

He went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south ( Genesis 13:1 ).

That would be into the south part of the land of Canaan into the area of Beersheba, Kadesh, Barnea, Hebron there in the southern part.

And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold ( Genesis 13:2 ).

So God had blessed Abraham in a material way, "rich in cattle, silver, gold."

And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai ( Genesis 13:3 );

So when Abraham first came into the land, his first stop was at Shechem, and then he came back towards the Jordan River at a high point. This is the highest point in the Jerusalem range of mountains, which begins actually in the area of Samaria and goes almost to Beersheba. Just before you get to Beersheba, you, the Jerusalem mountains sort of fade out. But this is the highest point and there is this mountain between the city of Bethel and Hai, the mountain in which he had just a tremendous view of the entire land. Abraham, when he first came there, was able to see the entire land, and there he built an altar unto the Lord and worshipped the Lord, and now he returned again to this spot of Bethel.

The place is actually sort of a significant place. It was near Bethel there that Jacob was fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau, and he used a pillow of a rock, and he had a dream and the awareness of the presence of God. And there God made the covenant with Jacob, and said, "I am going to be with you whithersoever you go. I"m going to bless you. I"m going to prosper you and I"m going to bring you back into this land". And Jacob sort of made his deal with God and said, "If You"ll be with me, if You"ll bless me and prosper me, I"ll give you a tenth of everything I get".

And so Jacob made his deal with God and he left from the place of Bethel. Later on in Jacob"s career, God said to him, "I am the God of Bethel" ( Genesis 31:13 ). And the Lord commanded him to return to Bethel. It was at Bethel that Jacob first became conscious of God, and God then challenged him to return to that place, really, of your first consciousness; more or less as Jesus called upon the church of Ephesus to return to their first love, that place where you first met God or you first became conscious of God.

And it seems that God seeks to call us back to that place of our beginning, the beginning of our faith, the beginning of our devotion, the beginning of that excitement of knowing God and walking with God. Sometimes we begin to take things for granted. Our Christian experience begins to sort of just become a prosaic kind of a thing. I just, you know, go along with it and I lose the excitement.

God said to Israel at one time where is the excitement of the espousal? You know, when I first called you out and upon all the people with holiness unto the Lord. In other words, the consciousness of the people was a God-consciousness. They were so aware of the presence of God and they were so excited in the things of God. And God is saying, where is the excitement of that espousal when I first drew you out of Egypt and all of you were aware and conscious of Me?

And we see movements of God"s spirit such as we are experiencing here. And it"s so exciting just the work of the Lord and the excitement of everyone just being, you know, turned on for Jesus and just, you know, we realize His presence, His power. We see His work. And there is that beauty of the excitement of God"s work in our midst. It"s always a sad and tragic day when that excitement begins to wane a bit and we begin to take for granted those things that at one time were so special and important and exciting to us. God help us that we will never take for granted His goodness, His grace and the blessings that we"ve experienced. I pray that that excitement shall never diminish. But each day we"ll be excited with the presence of God and with the work and the power of His Spirit within our lives. That we"ll never lose that just overawed kind of an experience that God is working in our midst. God is demonstrating His love and His power. That we"ll always have that fresh relationship with Jesus Christ.

And so Abraham returned to Bethel, the place where he had built an altar and offered a sacrifice unto God and God had first promised to him the whole land that was before him.

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had his flocks, and his herds, and his tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for the substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there developed a strife between the herdsmen of Abram"s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot"s cattle: the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled in the land ( Genesis 13:5-7 ).

And so here there began to be a division between Lot and Abraham. Lot was Abraham"s nephew but Lot"s father Haran died very early. And Lot was left as an orphan. And so Abraham more or less adopted, inasmuch as he did not have any children of his own up to this point. He had more or less adopted Lot and raised Lot. So Lot was really like a son to Abraham and journeyed with him. But now they had both become very prosperous, the hand of the Lord"s blessing upon their lives.

And you remember Abraham had about three hundred menservants that he could arm for battle, gives you a size idea of the size of the multitude that was going with Abraham and Lot was probably just about in the equal position. And so because the land just wasn"t big enough to-for all of them to graze their cattle and sheep together, and strife began to rise up between the servants of Lot and the servants of Abraham.

Abraham called Lot.

And he said unto him, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: and if you will take the left hand, I will go to the right; if you"ll depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest to Zoar ( Genesis 13:8-10 ).

So at that time, of course, it was not too long after the flood. The great African rift was probably somehow related to the flood. As we mentioned, there was a whole change in the geographical surface of the earth at the time of the flood. And in the beginning, the Dead Sea was formed actually, because there was no outlet for the Jordan River. And in the beginning there would not have been the high salt content which has been leached out of the soil through the years. And because there is no outlet for the Dead Sea, all of the mineral salt content has just continued to build up over the millennia so that today, of course, there is not possible that anything can live in the Dead Sea. But at that time, there was probably not the high concentration of salts that we have today. And before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, it was all well watered and it was a place of really lush vegetation.

Of course, you"re in a deep depression, twelve hundred feet below sea level, almost thirteen hundred feet below sea level there at the surface of the Dead Sea and the weather is tropical-type weather; gets very hot in the summertime and stays quite mild in the wintertime. Usually in the wintertime it"s in the seventies, high seventies, low eighties, can get up into the nineties even during the wintertime down there. And so it"s great for growing tropical kind of foods-papaya, mango, and of the tropical types of foods. And of course, all kinds of vegetation, citrus fruits and so forth grow very profusely down there around Jericho today, where they have a good water supply, fresh water supply.

So it is interesting because you"re in such a deep rift, so low that there are springs that just come out of the mountains and flow then on into the valley. And before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, much more it was like the garden of the Lord. It was like the Garden of Eden. So Lot looked down at that lush tropical area and he chose to move down in that direction.

And Lot chose all of the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves one from the other. And Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and he pitched his tent toward Sodom ( Genesis 13:11-12 ).

This was, you might say, sort of the beginning of the backsliding of Lot. First of all, his choice was a fleshly choice. He really didn"t consider Abraham and Abraham"s needs. But looking to himself first, he chose the plain of Jordan and then he pitched his tent toward Sodom. And next time we find him, he is sitting in the gates of Sodom, or actually he"s living in Sodom because he"s captured as he lives in Sodom. So the beginning, pitching toward Sodom, attracted somehow by this wicked city.

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly ( Genesis 13:13 ).

It"s a very wicked place and yet Lot seemed to be somehow attracted by it. There does seem to be a certain type of an attraction to sin. Satan does make it look very attracting. "There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" ( Proverbs 14:12 ). You want to look down the road and find out where it leads to. Sin can be very exciting. Sin can be very thrilling. It would be wrong to say that it isn"t. It can be very pleasurable, but it eventuates in death. The wise man will look down and see where is the road leading. It might be a fun road to travel. It might be filled with allurement, excitement, but where is the path leading me?

My ambition is to someday ride the rapids either in the Grand Canyon or up in Idaho. I just would love to get on a raft and go down the rapids. I think it would be a-I"m just looking forward to someday doing that, either now or in the millennium but someday I"m going to ride the rapids. But there are rapids that I have no desire to ride and those are the rapids above Niagara Falls. Now I don"t doubt, but what they"re just as exciting as the Grand Canyon or any other rapids you might ride, but I don"t like where it is. So you go down; wee, fun, exciting, thrill, thrill. But man, the roar of the falls is getting louder. You"re heading for destruction. And so the person in the path of sin, excitement, thrilling, but you"re heading towards destruction. "The end thereof are the ways of death."

Lot was attracted. He pitched his tent toward Sodom; this exceedingly wicked and sinful city even before Lot ever got there. "And Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, he pitched his tent."

And then the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him ( Genesis 13:14 ),

It was probably a difficult experience. Lot had become like a son to Abraham. He was close. He loved him and parting is never an easy experience. You see Lot taking off, and it"s always harder to be the one that"s left. It"s always easier, I think, to go than to be the one that"s left behind. And to see them going always gives you sort of an empty, sinking feeling as they sort of disappear over the hill, you know. And I can imagine for Abraham it was a-here he"d been traveling for years together now, for probably something like fifty years they"ve been together, close. And now, he sees Lot taking off and there has to be an ache in the heart, a lump in the throat. And so the LORD comes to comfort Abraham. "And the LORD said unto Abraham after that Lot was departed from him."

Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, southward, eastward, westward: For all the land which you see, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever ( Genesis 13:14-15 ).

God"s promise to Abraham; from the area there at between Bethel and Hai, this mountain peak, looking towards the north you see the area of Samaria. You can look clear on up and see Mount Hermon on a clear day. And he wasn"t bothered with smog in those days. Looking towards the east, you see the mountains of Moab. Looking towards the south, you see the area of Jerusalem, the southern ranges of Jerusalem, mountains clear on down to the area of Beersheba. Looking towards the west you see the Sharon plains and the Mediterranean. And so God said just look to the north, the south, the east, the west. Just as far as you can see, Abraham, I"m going to give you this land to you and to your seed. And God was going to give it to him forever.

But Jimmy Carter"s going to take away part of it from him. What"s that make him? I get in trouble with these remarks. I"ll get a dozen letters tomorrow, but they just come out. I"d have to apologize to people. I guess I"m too open. I just say what"s in my mind. But anyhow

And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered ( Genesis 13:16 ).

Now God promised, Hey, I"m going to multiply your seed like the dust of the earth. Now later on, we will get to it this evening a little later on. God said to Abraham in chapter fifteen, "Look up into the heavens and I am going to make your seed like the stars of the sky innumerable" ( Genesis 15:5 ). Hey, that"s an interesting, interesting thing because modern science in that day thought that there were six thousand one hundred and twenty-six stars. They didn"t think they were innumerable. Many of the ancient people had counted the stars. And up until the time of Galileo, we didn"t realize that there were so many stars out there in the universe.

But now, they estimate the number of stars to be just so vast that you really can"t count them all. There are billions of galaxies like our Milky Way galaxy, and there are billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Someone has estimated that there might be as many as ten to the twenty-fifth power stars. But it"s also interesting they"ve estimated that if you would take the amount of sand in a cubic inch, and take the volume of the earth, there"s probably ten to the twenty-fifth grains of sand that make up the earth.

So when God"s saying I"m going to make your seed as the sands of the sea or as the dust of the earth, and then as the stars of heaven, they"re probably sort of an equal number here. But the interesting thing is God said the whole idea is that they"ll be innumerable. You won"t be able to count them.

Now God"s promise was that you can"t count them and David"s sin was what? He tried to count them. He took a census. God didn"t want a census taken of His people because God"s promise is they"re going to be innumerable as the sands of the sea. You"re not going to be able to count them. David"s sin was in taking a census and counting the people and it brought God"s judgment against Israel because of David"s sin in counting the people. So since then, they didn"t take census in Israel, but everyone had to put a shekel into the temple treasury and then they"d count the shekels.

But the Orthodox Jew to the present day will not count off in a group. If you"re in a group and you"re playing party games, you"ve got a number in the group; an Orthodox Jew will not be numbered. And so they"ll say, "You"re not one, not two, not three, not four, not five". You can always figure out ways to get around things, you know. So we"re not really not numbering because you"re not one and you"re not two. But the promise of God is the dust of the earth cannot be counted or numbered, so the descendants that I am going to give unto thee.

Now the Lord said

Arise, and walk through the land through the length and the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD ( Genesis 13:17-18 ).

So Abraham moved from the place about twenty miles north of Jerusalem or twelve, fifteen miles north of Jerusalem actually to a place approximately twenty-two miles south of Jerusalem, still on the Jerusalem hills or the mountains of Jerusalem they call them, down now south of the valley of Eshcol. Now Eshcol was a place with a beautiful stream and well-watered and the grapes in the area of Eshcol were just phenomenal. They still are today. Some of the most delicious grapes ever had in our life came from the valley of Eshcol and right near of course is adjacent to the area of Hebron.

When Joshua and Caleb came spying out the land some four hundred years later in order to prove to the people that the land was a very fertile land, they picked a cluster of grapes that was so big that they had to carry it in a staff between them. And they took back this huge cluster of grapes to show the people, hey, this land is really fertile. This is great.

So Abraham moved south, plains of Mamre which are near Hebron some twenty miles or so south from Jerusalem.

"

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/genesis-13.html. 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible


The Return of Abraham from Egypt, and his Separation from Lot

1. Into the south] see on Genesis 12:9.

5, 6. There was not sufficient pasturage and water (especially after the recent famine and drought) for the two encampments with their flocks and herds, which doubtless numbered many thousands.

7. The Perizzite] 'dweller in open villages.' It is thought by some that they were the original inhabitants of the country who had been subdued by Canaanite invaders. The words dwelled then in the land indicate that the writer lived long after the conquest of Canaan.

8, 9. Abraham's offer was marked by a generosity towards his nephew, and a readiness to leave his own future entirely in God's hands, which called forth at once the divine approval: see Genesis 13:14-17.

10. If they were standing on the 'mountain east of Bethel' (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3), Lot would look eastward over the fertile Ghôr or Jordan valley, whilst in all other directions only the barren limestone hills of Judea would be visible. Garden of the Lord] Eden. As thou comest unto] i.e. in the direction of. Zoar] Zoar was a city near the Dead Sea: see on Genesis 14:3. But the Syriac text reads 'Zoan,' i.e. Tanis, a city in the Nile Delta.

11-13. Lot's choice showed that he cared chiefly for worldly prosperity; the evil reputation of his neighbours did not affect his decision, which proved af atal one: see Genesis 14, 19. The sacred narrative now becomes confined to the history of Abraham and his direct descendants.

12. Land of Canaan] see on Numbers 13:21.

14-17. The promises of Genesis 12 are confirmed to Abraham, only more fully and definitely.

18. Plain] RM 'terebinths'; see on Genesis 12:6. Mamre] an Amorite chief. It is evident from Genesis 14:13 that Abraham now settled down among this community of Amorites, and entered into a confederacy with them.

Hebron] an ancient city 20 m. S. of Jerusalem, earlier called Kirjath-Arba, Genesis 23:2. From its connexion with Abraham it soon came to be regarded as a holy place. Joshua appointed it to be one of the six cities of refuge, and assigned it to the Levites. For 7 years it was the seat of David's kingdom (2 Samuel 5:1-5). It is now called el-Khalil, 'the friend,' after Abraham, 'the friend of God' (Isaiah 41:8). Hard by is the cave of Machpelah where the patriarchs were buried.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/genesis-13.html. 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

In offering Lot either the "left" or the "right" ( Genesis 13:9) Abram was evidently suggesting that he and Lot partition the Promised Land; he would take one part and his nephew the other (cf. Genesis 22:3-10). Important to our appreciation of Abram"s offer is knowledge of the fact that the Hebrews, as well as other ancient peoples, were eastern oriented (as contrasted with northern oriented, as we are). Abram and Lot were probably looking east when Abram made his suggestion ( Genesis 13:9). Thus "Lot lifted up his eyes and saw the valley of the Jordan" ( Genesis 13:10), which was to the east of where they stood (perhaps on Mt. Asor, the highest point in that part of Canaan, and only a short walk from both Bethel and Ai). Thus when Abram offered Lot what was on his left he was referring to northern Canaan, the area around Shechem (cf. Genesis 12:6; Genesis 33:18 to Genesis 34:31; Genesis 37:12-17) as far south as Bethel and Ai. The other choice was what was on their right: southern Canaan including Hebron and the Negev (cf. Genesis 13:6; Genesis 13:9; Genesis 13:1; Genesis 13:18; Genesis 20:1; et al.). Both men had previously lived in both regions.

Moses" description of the Jordan valley as being similar to Egypt ( Genesis 13:10) should have warned the Israelite readers of Genesis against desiring to return to Egypt (cf. Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:5; Numbers 14:2-3).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/genesis-13.html. 2012.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) The plain of Jordan.—This word, Ciccar, literally means the circuit, or, as it is translated in St. Matthew 3:5, “the region round about Jordan,” and, according to Mr. Conder (Tent Work, ii., p. 14), is the proper name of the Jordan valley, and especially of the plain of Jericho. It is now called the Gnor, or depression, and is one of the most remarkable districts in the world, being a deep crack or fissure, with chalk rocks upon the western and sandstone on the eastern side, over which lies limestone, geologically of the age of our green-sand formation. It is thus what is technically called by miners a fault, the formations on the two sides having been displaced by some tremendous convulsion of nature. Most of the valley lies below the level of the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee being, by Mr. Conder’s observations, about 682 feet below it, and the Dead Sea no less than 1,292 feet. As the watershed to the south rises to a level of 200 feet above the Mediterranean, al) egress for the waters is thereby cut off, and there are numerous proofs that at some distant period the whole valley, about 150 miles in length, was a succession of large lakes. But even in Abram’s days the Jordan poured down a far larger volume of water than at present; for by the loss of its forests the climate of Palestine has become much more dry than of old, and regions once fertile are now barren. And as the supply of water has become less than that lost by evaporation, the Dead Sea has gradually receded, and left around it arid wastes covered over with incrustations of salt.

As the garden of the Lord.—Mr. Palmer (Desert of the Exodus. p. 465) describes the fertility of the Jordan valley as follows:—“Although the immediate vicinity of the Dead Sea is barren enough, the Ghor, or deep depression at the northern and southern extremities, teems with life and vegetation; and even where the cliffs rise sheer up from the water’s edge, streams of fresh water dash down the ravines, and bring the verdure with them almost to the Salt Sea’s brink.” The same writer (p. 480) has also shown conclusively, with Mr. Grove, Dr. Tristram, and others, that Sodom and Gomorrha were at the northern end of the lake, and not, as was previously supposed, at the southern. For the Ciccar is strictly the part of the Ghor near Jericho, and as the Dead Sea is forty-six miles in length, its southern extremity was far away out of sight. Moreover, Lot was standing some miles away to the north-west, on the high ground between Beth-el and Ai, whence “the northern end of the Dead Sea, and the barren tract which extends from the oasis of Jericho to it and the Jordan, are distinctly visible” (Dr. Tristram, Sunday at Home, 1872, p. 215). This “barren tract” was once the Ciccar, and the traces of ancient irrigation and aqueducts attest its former fertility. It was upon this district, “well watered everywhere,” that Lot gazed so covetously, and its richness is indicated by a double comparison: for, first, it was like Jehovah’s garden in Eden, watered by its four rivers; and next, it was like Egypt, rendered fertile by artificial means.

As thou comest unto Zoar.—This makes no sense whatsoever. No person on the route to Egypt could possibly take Zoar in his way; and of the five cities of the plain this was the least like Paradise. The Syriac has preserved the right reading, namely, Zoan. This city, however, was called Zor, or Zar, by the Egyptians (Records of the Past, viii. 147), and was situated on the eastern side of the Tanaitic branch of the Nile, at the head of a fertile plain, called “the field of Zoan” in Psalms 78:12. Through this rich and well-watered region Lot had lately travelled in Abram’s company, and the luxuriant vegetation there made it not unworthy to be compared with Paradise.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/genesis-13.html. 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Genesis 13:10-11

The lesson to be gained from the history of Abraham and Lot is obviously this—that nothing but a clear apprehension of things unseen, a simple trust in God"s promises, and the greatness of mind thence arising, can make us act above the world—indifferent, or almost Song of Solomon, to its comforts, enjoyments, and friendships, or in other words, that its goods corrupt the common run even of religious men who possess them.... Could we not easily persuade ourselves to support Antichrist, I will not say at home, but at least abroad, rather than we should lose one portion of the freights which "the ships of Tarshish bring us".... Surely, if we are to be saved, it is not by keeping ourselves just above the line of reprobation, and living without any anxiety and struggle to serve God with a perfect heart. No one, surely, can be a Christian who makes his worldly interests his chief end of action.

—J. H. Newman.

Lot"s Choice

Genesis 13:11

In the story of patriarchal times we see how the possession of property brought with it new social problems for the primitive family. In this case the difficulty began not with the principals, but with their retainers. Before the difficulty struck the masters, the servants were at war. Jealousy about respective rights, and emulation to secure the better bargain crept in. Abram with his calm wisdom saw that it would be better to avoid all such unseemly quarrels by voluntarily separating. Abram with generous disinterestedness offers Lot his choice. "If thou wilt take the left hand then I will go to the right; or if thou wilt take the right hand then I will go to the left." It was quite like Abram to do this, in keeping with his noble nature.

I. The presence of moral greatness either raises us or dwarfs us, either prompts us to rise to the occasion or tempts us to take advantage of it. Lot lost his choice of meeting Abram"s generosity. Worldly advantage was the first element in his choice. He judged according to the world"s judgment; he judged by the eye. His heart was allured by the beauty and fertility of the plain. On the other side the gain was limited and hardly won.

II. Now the power of the temptation to Lot, as it is the power of it to us, was that the good of the one alternative was present, while the good of the other seemed distant. The one could be had at sight; the other only through faith. The seduction of the world is that it is here, palpable, to be had now. To exercise self-control for the sake of a future blessing, to put off a present good for a prospective good needs strength of character and will, and, above all, faith.

III. Faith is the refusal of the small for the sake of the large. Worldly wisdom is not wisdom; it is folly, the blind grasping at what is within reach. Lot thought he was doing a wise thing in making the choice he did, but a share in the wealth of Sodom was a pitiful substitute for a place in Abram"s company and a share in Abram"s thoughts and faith. And the end was a ruined home, a desolate life, and a broken heart.

—H. Black, Edinburgh Sermons, p33.

References.—XIII:11.—G. A. Towler, From Heart to Heart, p1. XIII:11-14.—C. Perren, Revival Sermons, p242.

Abraham and Lot—A Contrast

Genesis 13:12

Abraham"s life is characterized throughout by great simplicity of motive. He is a man called of God, and true to the heavenly vision—a "pilgrim of the invisible," as Robertson of Brighton called him, laying by. his faith and high surrender of himself the foundation of a kingdom from which the prophet and the psalmist and the apostle and our Lord Himself were to come. You get a glimpse into the inner soul of Abraham in this chapter. When it comes to a quarrel between his servants and Lot"s, and the younger man is scheming how he can promote his own interests by striking a good bargain, Abraham betrays on the whole subject a lofty indifference. He is so sure about God that he feels it matters very little whether he goes to the right hand or to the left. He does not need to stoop to any mean or grasping course to get what God has promised him. And although in this difference with Lot, as the older man and the leader of the enterprise, he might have claimed the first choice, he instead surrenders it.

I. In God"s Company.—I find then that acting as he did Abraham got the best of both worlds. For one thing when he left Lot he went in God"s company. As always when a man does right, even at a sacrifice, he saw the heavens opened and heard God speaking. And then in making this lofty unselfish choice, Abraham discovered that he had not lost his inheritance, but rather come to the gate of it. Abraham sought heavenly riches and lo! the wealth of the world lay at his feet.

II. The Divided Heart.—Lot is the type of a Prayer of Manasseh, who tried in a very mistaken use of the phrase, to make the best of both worlds, and in the end got the good out of neither. You see him at every point trying to serve two masters, fearing God and yet pitching his tent towards Sodom. If you were to sum Lot up you might say he was an unsuccessful religious Prayer of Manasseh, and an unsuccessful worldling, neither satisfied on the one side of his being nor the other. Lot"s was a dissatisfied life; let me try to make the statement good. For on the one side his religion was spoiled by his worldliness. When you see him in Sodom he is sitting in the gate to dispense hospitality, perhaps to administer justice. He vexes his righteous soul at the depravity that goes on about him. He is looked upon by the lawless Sodomites as in some ways a moral censor; for you remember they say, "This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge". But you feel at once that Lot differs from Abraham in that he did not make religious principle the guiding star of his life. Right feeling, for instance, should have prompted him to refuse Abraham"s generous offer of the first choice. But he did not refuse to take an unfair advantage of his kinsman. Then he pitched his tent towards Sodom, risking for worldly gear the defilement of his family.

III. A Life of Double Failure.—Then on the other side Lot"s worldliness was spoiled by his religion. Another man might have let go the reins, and surrendered himself with wholehearted zest to the sordid and vicious life of Sodom. But Lot could not do that. And why? Because following him like a spectre was the memory of the days that were gone, the uplifting communion with Abraham and with God. And so he remained in Sodom, not entering into its life, uneasy and disturbed, vexing his righteous soul from day to day but without the moral courage to leave the city, till he was thrust out by the mercy of heaven "saved yet so as by fire".

—J. McColl, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxxiv. p170.

References.—XIII:12.—W. J. Dawson, The Comrade of Christ, p243. XIII:12-13.—R. C. Trench, Sermons New and Old, p258. XIII:18-20.—J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (2Series), p22. C. Stanford, Symbols of Christ, p3. XIII.—P. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p39. XIV:13.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Genesis, p93. XIV:15, 16.—J. Budgen, Parochial Sermons, vol. ii. p285. XIV:17-24.—Spurgeon, Sermon, vol. xliii. No2523; ibid, vol. xlix. No2814.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/genesis-13.html. 1910.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

ABRAM AND LOT PART

Genesis 13:1-13

The patriarch, like a restored backslider, made his way back to the old spot, on the highlands of Bethel, where his first tent and altar had stood. Through his wanderings hitherto there had been a depressing element of worldliness in his camp, through the presence of Lot, who, like many more, was swept along by his uncle’s religion, but had little of his own. Feeling that separation was inevitable, and that God would surely care for him, Abram offered Lot his choice. See Psalms 16:5. The younger man chose according to the sight of his eyes. In his judgment he gained the world-but see 2 Peter 2:7-8. The world is full of Lots-shallow, impulsive, doomed to be revealed by their choice and end. “Let there be no strife!” Blessed are the peacemakers! Wherever the interests of peace can be conserved through the sacrifice of your own interests, be prepared to forfeit the advantage, but stand like a rock when God’s truth is in balance.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/genesis-13.html. 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

CHAPTER 13 The Return from Egypt and Separation from Lot

1. Back to Bethel (Genesis 13:1-4)

2. The strife (Genesis 13:5-7)

3. The separation. Lot in Sodom (Genesis 13:8-13)

4. The third communication of Jehovah (Genesis 13:14-18)

Abram is graciously brought back. Abram could not have remained in Egypt forever. So the believer who has wandered away from the Lord will be restored. How precious the altar at Bethel must have been to him. Dispensationally Abram’s going down to Egypt foreshadows the going down of his posterity.

Lot’s character is brought out in his selfish choice. He had not so much followed the Lord as he followed Abram. He is Self-centered, and unlike Abram looking to the things unseen, he is occupied with the things which are seen, with the earth and earthly possession. Lot is a type of the world-bordering, carnally minded, professing Christian. He lifts up his eyes and beholds a well-watered plain, beautiful as the garden of the Lord. He chooses all the plain of Jordan and pitched his tent toward Sodom. That Sodom and Gomorrah were fast ripening for the day of burning and destruction, that the men in Sodom were wicked and sinners well known in the day when Lot made his choice, is not taken into consideration by him. There was no prayer, no consultation with the Lord from the side of Lot. His eyes behold only the beautiful and well-watered Plain; there must have been a feverish haste to make his decision. Nor did Lot go at once into Sodom. He nears Sodom gradually. Perhaps at first he had no thought of having fellowship with the wicked men of Sodom, but he got there all the same. All is written for our learning. Decline begins gradually, but always leads into the world.

And Abram gazed too over the fertile plains. Some time after he looked again. “And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace” (Genesis 19:28). Was Abram sorry then for his choice? Do not look upon the fairness of the world; remember a little while longer and wrath and judgment will be poured upon the world now under condemnation.

Another communication and promise is received by Abram from Jehovah.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/genesis-13.html. 1913-1922.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Thus, delivered by the divine intervention, Abram set his face again toward the line of the divine purpose and returned to Bethel. In this act is seen the victory of faith over failure.

It was at this crisis that the separation came between Abram and Lot. The occasion was strife between herdsmen, but the reason is to be found in the differing principles governing the lives of the two men. Abram was following God. Lot had been following Abram; and while in the deepest desire of his life he was loyal to God, the lack of direct communion seems to have resulted in clouding his vision and lowering his ideals. In the hour of crisis he made his own choice and it was the choice of a man attempting to compromise. The conflict of desire within him is seen in the phrases, 'like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt." If these two things could be made contributory, then success was ensured by all the standards of human measurement.

Abram is seen in direct contrast to Lot in every way. Lot chose for himself. God chose for Abram. Lot chose by sight; "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld." Abram, by faith, chose not to choose; and now Jehovah brought him into the place of sight on the basis of faith: "Lift up now thine eyes." Lot, having chose, obtained, and yet did not possess. Abram, trusting God, received from Him the title deeds to all the land, even including that which Lot had chosen for himself.

Abram immediately moved his tent and built his altar. In this connection the strength of faith is most clearly seen. Dependent on the promise of a seed to be as the dust of the earth, which at this time must have appeared to be contrary to all the probabilities of Nature, he took possession of the land by faith.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/genesis-13.html. 1857-84.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Lot lifted up his eyes,.... He immediately fell in with Abram's proposal, but had not the ingenuity to return back the choice to Abram which he gave him, but took the advantage of it; nor did he show any uneasiness or unwillingness to part from Abram, though so near a relation, and so wise and good a man, and by whose means greatly he had obtained his riches; but without giving himself any concern about this, he at once cast about in his mind where to make his choice; he considered within himself which was the best part of the country, and most convenient for his flocks and herds, and where he was most likely to increase his substance; for this phrase chiefly has respect to the eyes of the understanding, he made use of, consulted with himself with his rational powers what was fittest to be done; unless we can suppose him situated on some considerable eminence, from whence he could have a view of the whole country he made choice of, as follows:

and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where; a large plain, full of rich pasturage, which had its name from the river Jordan, which by various windings and turnings ran through it, and which at harvest time overflowed its banks, and greatly contributed to the richness of the soil:

before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah: as he afterwards did by fire from heaven, and then that part of the plain on which those cities stood was turned into a sulphurous lake:

even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt; as any most excellent garden that is full of plants and trees, well watered, and well cultivated, and taken care of; as things most excellent are sometimes expressed by having the name of God, or the Lord, added to them, as the "cedars of God", &c. or as the garden of Eden, which was planted by the Lord, abounding with all kind of trees, and was well watered by a river running through it: and some think that the plain of Jordan, and the parts thereabout, were the real garden of Eden; wherefore one learnedF23Nic. Abram. Pharus Ver. Test. p. 59. man takes the "as" here not to be a note of similitude, but of reality, and not merely comparative but causal, giving a reason why it was so watered, being the garden God; so that the plain was not like unto, but really was the garden of Eden: and another observesF24Texelii Phoenix, l. 3. c. 7. p. 262. , that the words should be rendered, "so was the garden of the Lord, as the land of Egypt", and that the repetition of the similitude only makes one comparison, and not two; not that the plain of Jordan is first compared with the garden of the Lord, and then with the land of Egypt; but the plain of Jordan, or garden of the Lord, is only compared with the land of Egypt; and with that undoubtedly it is compared, it being once a year overflowed by the river Jordan, as the land of Egypt was with the Nile, and was a most delightful and fruitful spot like that:

as thou comest unto Zoar; which is not to be connected with the land of Egypt, for Zoar was at a great distance from Egypt, but with the plain of Jordan, well watered everywhere till you come to Zoar, at the skirts of it, and which is by an anticipation called Zoar; for at this time, when Abram and Lot parted, it was called Bela, and afterwards, on another account, had the name of Zoar; see Genesis 14:2.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/genesis-13.html. 1999.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

The Separation of Abraham and Lot - gives the account of Abraham and Lot separating themselves from one another in the land of Canaan because of the size of their flocks and herds. Although the faith of Abraham was not yet mature, his heart with right with God. This story reveals Abraham's faith in God in the area of divine provision. He entrusts himself into God's divine care and providence, which is an important step to take in believing the promises that God would soon give him.

Genesis 13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, Hebrews, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.

Genesis 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.

Genesis 13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;

Genesis 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Genesis 13:4 — "and there Abram called on the name of the LORD" - Comments- The ancient world was polytheistic, worshipping many gods. The author of Genesis is making it clear by this statement that Abraham was serving the one true and living God "Jehovah."

Comments- Abraham Returns to Bethel - In Genesis 13:3-4 Abraham comes out of Egypt and returns to Bethel. Why would he journey back to this city? Most likely it was because this was the last place where God spoke to him. In other words, it was the last place where he knew he was in God's will for his life, since he very likely doubted it was God's will for him to enter Egypt. Song of Solomon, in Bethel Abraham believed he would be heard by the Lord and granted spiritual guidance and direction. There he "called upon the name of the Lord."

In our lives we too must evaluate our spiritual journeys, and return to the places where we knew we were last in God's will. For example, when I graduated from college in June 1979 I rededicated my life back to the Lord after being out of church and running with the worldly crowds by moving back to my hometown and joining the church where I grew up. This was the place where I was able to get back on the spiritual journey for my life. For each one of us, the physical location may be different, but the principle is the same.

Genesis 13:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

Genesis 13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

Genesis 13:7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram"s cattle and the herdmen of Lot"s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

Genesis 13:7 — "and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land" - Comments- Although Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, the statement, "and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land," ( Genesis 13:7) appears to be one of several editorial notes believed to have been inserted during the time of the final compilation of the Old Testament Scriptures, which many scholars believe took place during the time of Ezra the scribe after the Babylonian captivity. Obviously, the Canaanites were living in the land during the lifetime of Moses, since Israel had not gone in to possess the Promised Land.

We find the Perizzite coupled with the Canaanite again in Genesis 34:30 and Judges 1:4.

Genesis 34:30, "And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house."

Judges 1:4, "And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men."

Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.
Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/genesis-13.html. 2013.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Lot Chooses His Own Lot - In Lot chooses the plain of Jordon. Having been given the opportunity to choose his portion of land, Lot took what appeared to be the best. The narrative plot of this passage of Scripture introduces irony by comparing Sodom and Gomorrah to the Garden of Eden. Lot believed he was choosing prosperity, not knowing this will cause much loss and grief in his life. It will cost him the life of his wife and all but two of his children, of whom will bear his descendants. The irony of this narrative is that this was a place of destruction, and not prosperity.

This story reveals Lot's lack of judgment and righteous before God. Lot had not learned to depend upon the Lord as Abraham had now learned. Therefore, he made his decision by sight and not by faith ( 2 Corinthians 5:7). Now, he will encounter grief and vexation of spirit the rest of his life ( 2 Peter 2:7-8). This story foreshadows impending judgment upon Lot's poor decision.

2 Corinthians 5:7, "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)"

, "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)"

Abraham trusted the Lord God to place him wherever Lot did not choose. Note the wisdom of Abraham in this situation.

Lot is figurative of a believer who suffers the loss of all things on the Day of Judgment, yet he himself is saved ( ).

, "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man"s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man"s work of what sort it is. If any man"s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man"s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

The Bible says that God considered Lot to be a righteous man ( 2 Peter 2:7).

2 Peter 2:7, "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:"

Yet, in his decision to choose the pleasant land of the plain of Jordan, he eventually suffered all loss. This chapter shows that he was a wealthy man. But, when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, he lost everything that he possessed, save his soul only. In contrast, Abraham put his trust in God"s divine intervention in his life ( ).

, "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

He is an example of a believer who is faithful and obedient to serve the Lord, and who does not seek the goods of this world. The rewards of this type of believer will be great. Both of these types of believers will go to heaven. One will receive great rewards, while the other will have few, if any, rewards.

Genesis 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

Genesis 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Genesis 13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Genesis 13:13Comments- We have a reference to Sodom in 2 Peter 2:7, "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:"

Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.
Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/genesis-13.html. 2013.

Geneva Study Bible

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it [was] well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, [even] as the g garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

(g) Which was in Eden, (Genesis 2:10).
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/genesis-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Lot lifted up his eyes — Travellers say that from the top of this hill, a little “to the east of Beth-el” [Genesis 12:8 ], they can see the Jordan, the broad meadows on either bank, and the waving line of verdure which marks the course of the stream.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/genesis-13.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

And there was a strife. Strife from similar causes frequently breaks out among the Arabs in Mesopotamia, as well as in Syria; and this is a reason which is often heard for changing the situation of their encampments-namely, that the herdsmen have had a quarrel. Abram's character appears here in a most amiable light. Having a strong sense of religion, he was afraid of doing anything that might tend to injure its character or bring discredit on its name, and he rightly judged that such unhappy effects would be produced if two persons whom nature and grace had so closely connected should come to a rupture.

The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in the land. The Canaanite dwelt chiefly in the Phoenician towns in the west; but were scattered in early times throughout the whole country. The Perizzite denoted the inhabitants of open country villages (see the note at Genesis 12:6; 1 Samuel 6:18). The two terms probably indicate the urban and rural populations respectively (Negeb).

Verse 8. Abram said unto Lot, let there be no strife ... between me and thee ... Waiving his right to dictate, he gave the freedom of choice to Lot. The conduct of Abram was not only disinterested and peaceable, but generous and condescending in an extraordinary degree, exemplifying the Scipture precepts, Matthew 6:33; Romans 12:10-11; Philippians 2:4.

Verse 10. Lot lifted up his eyes. Travellers describe that from the top of this hill (see the note at Genesis 13:3.), a little to 'the east of Beth-el,' they can see the Jordan, the broad meadows on either bank, and the waving line of verdure which marks the course of the stream. It is a curious instance of the use of this phrase, "lifted up his eyes," for Lot must have looked down upon the plain of Jordan lying below.

All the plain of Jordan, [Hebrew, kikar (Hebrew #3603) and hakikaar (Hebrew #3603), Genesis 13:12; Septuagint, teen (Greek #3588) perichooron (Greek #4066)], (cf. Matthew 3:5). The Greek means: the circle or circuit space, the tract of country along the Jordan. 'The plain thus chosen was situated in, or at least included, the tract then on the south of the Dead Sea, and now covered by the shallow southern bay of that sea' (Robinson). There were copious springs, which have not yet entirely disappeared, and many small streams which issued from the mountains, east and west, so that there was abundance of sweet water in the plain (namely, of Siddim, Genesis 14:3), lying to the south of the lake, which thus, from the almost tropical climate, exhibited a rich luxuriance of vegetation.

As thou comest unto Zoar. - [Septuagint Zogora]. Lot was looking in the direction; but the little town itself was beyond the range of vision. Our translation, as the original text, clearly asserts that, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, there was a state of wholesome irrigation which did not exist after that destruction. Any understanding whatever leads to the conclusion that the historian, speaking of the choice which Lot made of the country of his after residence, had based that choice upon an irrigation of the land, and a corresponding beauty and fertility which, in the writer's mind, caused it to resemble a garden of the Lord (Eden). Its previous state was that of the Delta in Egypt, where the waters were distributed in rills, or little artificial channels through the fields.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/genesis-13.html. 1871-8.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Abram and Lot

Genesis 13:1

This is the first time, is it not, that a rich man is mentioned in the Bible. I do not remember that we have yet seen that great division of human society which is known by the names of "rich" and "poor." Now there is a rich man before us, and we shall see what rich men do when they are put to it. A wonderful thing it Isaiah, by the way, that some men should be rich and others poor they live on the same earth, they need the same comforts, yet one man seems to have everything and another to have nothing. Behind all this there must be a secret. It certainly looks like an unnatural state of things; yet we know that if all men had exactly the same today, in less than six months we should find ourselves very much where we are now.

In the text we learn that Abram was "very rich," and that Lot "had flocks, and herds, and tents." You will say, then, that this must have been a very happy company of travellers; they must be Song of Solomon, for they have come out at God"s call, they are walking in God"s way, and they have flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and every comfort that can be named. But even here a strife arose! "Their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together." Things got mixed. The cattle ran together so that sometimes the herdmen could not tell which was which; the count was always wrong at night; and the noise got louder and louder as the herdmen became fretful and suspicious. It was a quarrel in the kitchen, as we should say nowadays. The masters seemed to get along fairly well with each other, but the servants were at open war. Small credit to the masters, perhaps! They had everything nice; the lentil soup and the smoking kid were punctually set before them, and mayhap the wine-flagon was not wanting. But noise travels upward. It gets somehow from the kitchen into the parlour. It was so in this case. Abram heard of the vulgar quarrel and was the first to speak. He spake as became an elder and a millionaire: "Lot," said he "you, must see to it that my peace be not broken; you must lay the lash on the backs of these rough men of yours and keep them in check; I will not stand any noise; the lips that speak above a whisper shall be shut by a strong hand; you and your men must all mind what you are at, or I will scourge you all to within an inch of your lives." And when the lordly voice ceased there was great fear amongst those who had heard its solemn thunder!

Now it so happens that the exact contrary of this is true. Abram was older than Lot, and richer than Lot, and yet he took no high airs upon him, but spoke with the meekness of great strength and ripe wisdom. His words would make a beautiful motto today for the kitchen, for the parlour, for the factory, for the Church: "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then, I will go to the left." And instantly Lot arose, and said: "No, mine uncle, this shall never be; I am the younger; I am but a follower; without thee I cannot stand; if we must part, the choice shall be thine, and what thou dost leave I will take." A beautiful speech for a young man to make: quiet and also great, and full of tender pathos; but, unhappily, never made by Lot! This is what Lot really did; listen: "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan." And as Lot stole out alone to take another look, he said to himself, ""It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good"; if these rattle-pated herdmen had not come to high words this good luck never would have been mine." And he looked round with the air of a rich lord, and hoped that all quarrels would end as well.

Brave Abram! we say as we read his words. He walked by faith and not by sight. Certainly his foot slipped in Egypt, but he is strong now, and he looks every inch a king as he stoops before Lot. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation." It is beautiful to see strength stoop to weakness, but a very hard thing for strength to do.

There is a clause in the story that has much meaning in it which would be useful to us: "And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land." No doubt their flocks helped to lessen the pasture which had already suffered from want of water, but I wonder whether we are not entitled to say that Abram did not want these strangers to hear any quarrelling amongst the Lord"s people. As if he had said: "They are pagans; they are to be sent away from this land; they know not our God; but if we fight and bicker, and if we assail and devour one another, they must think evil of our religion, and they may secretly despise our God. Let us not shame our call and our destiny before the worshippers of idols." This Isaiah, at all events, a lesson which, we may learn and put in force today. The world overhears the Church, and if we scold and fret, and throw hard words at one another, the world may mock us and say how mighty must their God be who cannot still the noise of their vanity and pride. My brethren, the Canaanite and the Perizzite are still in the land! The mocker has come across the threshold of the Church that he may find food for bitter mirth; his ear is set, if haply he can hear one note of discord which he will maliciously magnify into a great uproar. Let us give none occasion to the enemy to blaspheme. Let us forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, and let mercy triumph over the letter of the law.

Now let us look for a moment at Lot"s choice. The well-watered plain of Jordan is a great prize for any Prayer of Manasseh, and Lot has made sure of it His estate is large, and is favoured by the sun and the clouds. Is there, then, any drawback? Read: "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." A great estate, but bad neighbours! Material glory, but moral shame! Noble landscapes, but mean men! But Lot did just what men are doing today. He made choice of a home, without making any inquiry as to the religious state of the neighbourhood. Men do not care how poor the Church Isaiah, if the farm be good. They will give up the most inspiring ministry in the world for ten feet more garden, or a paddock to feed an ass in. They will tell you that the house is roomy, the garden is large, the air is balmy, the district is genteel, and if you ask them what religious teaching they will have there, they tell you they really do not know, but must inquire! They will take away six children into a moral desert for the sake of a garden to play in: they will leave Paul or Apollos for six feet of greenhouse! Others again fix their tent where they can get the best food for the heart"s life; and they sacrifice a summer-house that they may now and again get a peep of heaven.

Abram will need some comfort now that Lot has gone. He will want some one to speak to. He will be lonely and dull. Many a strange talk they had at eventide as the great eastern stars came trooping forth from their hiding, and shone like lamps of silver on the crags and the green plains. Oh, the sight! Every star a veiled sun, and the broad moon like the shield of a king waiting peacefully for the fight, yet loathing war. And the two men spoke softly. They lived in a holy church; every wind a sweet hymn, every hill an altar set apart, every star a flaming minister of God. But now Abram is left alone, and he will need more than nature can give him; for nature becomes monotonous, and at last a mockery and a pain. So the Lord came to him and spoke to Abram in his mother-tongue: "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever: and I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." A sweet word to speak to a dull heart, and a wonderful way of making up loss to a man who has done a brave deed and said good-bye to a friend he loved. God gives land. God gives children. God sends our bread day by day. We think that he looks at us only in church; we forget that he filleth our mouths with good things, and makes our basket rich with all kinds of store. Lot chose for himself. He took things into his own hands, and put himself at the head of his own affairs. What became of his management we shall see presently. He asked no blessing; will the feast choke him? he sought no advice; will his wisdom mock him and torment him bitterly? He snatched at good luck; will he fall into a pit which he did not see? O, my soul, make no model of this fool for thine own guidance. Perhaps his honour is but for a moment. Commit thy way unto the Lord, and choose nothing for thyself. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths. O rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Seek not high things for thyself, nor take thy life into thine own keeping. O, my soul, I charge thee, live in the secret of Christ"s love. Walk in the way of the Lord seek him always with eager heart, and whether the road be long or short, rugged or plain, it will lead thee into the city where the angels are, and the firstborn and the loved ones who left thee long ago.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/genesis-13.html. 1885-95.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 13:2. Very rich. Here is another proof of God’s fidelity in fulfilling his promises to Abraham. This has often been the lot of faithful men.

Genesis 13:9. Separate thyself. Generous actions excite generous sentiments. “Aristippus being angry with Æshines sent for him, and said, You are aware that I, as the elder, might exercise a compulsive power. True, replied Æshines, I am indeed the cause of the quarrel, and you are the author of friendship.”

Genesis 13:10. The garden of the Lord. Augustine thinks this text a full proof that Eden was not a spiritual, but a real terrestrial abode. Isaiah 41:3. Lot chose the plain irrigated by the Jordan; and having little regard to religion in this instance, he lost all he had by disastrous events. He should have left the choice to his uncle, and counselled with the Lord.

Genesis 13:18. Plain of Mamre. Hebrews אלוןailon is rendered δρυς oak, by the LXX. So chap. 12., the oak, grove, or holt of Moreh. So 9:6; the oak of the pillar which was in Sichem. Jerome does not appear to be supported in rendering this word “plain,” though followed by many versions. Mamre, the name of some Amorite, as Genesis 14:24, who had given his name to the country, as was the ancient custom of men. Psalms 49:11.

REFLECTIONS.

Abraham, after the famine was over, hasted out of Egypt to the land of his pilgrimage; and his first object was, to go to the place of the altar, and thank the Lord for his preservation. Devotion, after deliverance from great afflictions, is peculiarly seasonable, and a debt we owe to God. In the quarrel which happened between the herdsmen, Abraham acted towards Lot a condescending and generous part. When disputes arise between religious families, they are often so intemperately conducted as to occasion injury to their souls, and scandal to the cause of God. When envy and selfish passions are suffered to prevail, they destroy union of spirit and concord in the church. But when those evils do arise, they may, on the contrary, be so managed as to reflect very great honour on the christian character. Let them, like Abraham, make disinterested and liberal proposals, or refer the dispute to arbitration; and by acting ingenuously the souls of good men will, after an explanation, become the more united.

Abraham after becoming rich was not the less pious. He was neither haughty in spirit, nor extravagant in equipage, nor voluptuous in living. He still retained his simplicity of life. What a pattern for men whom providence has prospered in the world!

As guardian to Lot, his character is equally high. He received the dying charge of Haran, and executed it as unto God, who ever lives the orphan’s father, and the orphan’s friend. All tutors and guardians have here a perfect model for imitation.

But did Lot err? Was he his own master before he had acquired discretion? Was he attracted merely by the rich pasturage of the Jordan; and did he in the time of danger, instead of trusting in the promise, seek refuge in Sodom? Ah, worldly prudence may serve our interests for the moment; but it is often followed with disappointment and shame. One false step may be the total ruin of a whole family.

After Lot’s separation, the Lord once more met Abraham in sacrifice, and renewed the covenant, promising also that as the dust of the earth, and as the stars of heaven are innumerable, so he would make his posterity. It is thus that christian families, before and after remarkable changes in their houses, should meet with God at the throne of grace in extraordinary devotion. The Lord will accept their offering, and crown it with new promises and abundant blessings.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/genesis-13.html. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it [was] well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, [even] as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

Ver. 10. And Lot lifted up his eyes.] This was "the lust of the eye" St John speaketh of, [1 John 2:16] as he afterwards fell into "the lust of the flesh," [Genesis 19:33] (a) his incestuous posterity into "the pride of life." We have heard of the pride of Moab, and the ambition of Ammon,. [Jeremiah 48:1-47; Jeremiah 49:1-39] Lot might not be suffered so much as to look at Sodom while it was burning, as Abram might. God knew his weakness, and so prevented the temptation. He should have had the good manners to let his uncle choose first; but the dust of covetousness had put out his eyes, that he saw not what beseemed him for the present, as afterwards he did, when God so crossed him [Psalms 66:12] in that which he chose, and so blessed Abram in that which was left him. [Psalms 107:33; Psalms 107:35] Lot was a good man, but this, το της φιλοχρημοτιας νοσημα, somewhat obscured his virtues. (b)

That it was well watered everywhere,] and so fruitful. Hence the inhabitants, through abuse of their plenty, became wholly drowned in fleshly delights. It faring with them in this respect, as with the inhabitants of Oenoe, (c) a dry island besides Athens, who bestowed much labour to draw into it a river to water it, and make it more fruitful. But, when all the passages were opened, and the receptacles prepared, the water came in so plentifully, that it overflowed all, and at the first tide, drowned the island, and all the people. "They that will be rich," saith the apostle, - that are resolved to rise in the world, by what means it matters not, these, - "fall into temptation and a snare," as Lot, (that is the least evil can come of it), "and into many foolish and noisome lusts," as his neighbours the Sodomites did, "which" desperately "drown (d) men in" double "destruction". [1 Timothy 6:9]

Like the land of Egypt.] Which was called of old, publicum orbis horreum the world’s great granary. A country so fair and fertile, that the Egyptians were wont to boast, they could feed all men, and feast all the gods, without any sensible diminution of their provision.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-13.html. 1865-1868.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Lot chose what was apparently the best portion of the land, the whole district of the Jordan, or the valley on both sides of the Jordan from the Lake of Gennesareth to what was then the vale of Siddim. For previous to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, this whole country was well watered, “ as the garden of Jehovah, ” the garden planted by Jehovah in paradise, and “ as Egypt, ” the land rendered so fertile by the overflowing of the Nile, “ in the direction of Zoar .” Abram therefore remained in the land of Canaan, whilst Lot settled in the cities of the plain of the Jordan, and tented (pitched his tents) as far as Sodom. In anticipation of the succeeding history (Gen 19), it is mentioned here (Genesis 13:13), that the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked, and sinful before Jehovah .

Copyright Statement
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/genesis-13.html. 1854-1889.

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

The Choice of Lot

Abram, the eldest of the two and also the uncle of Lot, gives Lot the first choice. Abram is not standing on his right. Lot does not take the humblest place, but accepts this offer with both hands. We are informed about his considerations. He looks at everything according to his own advantage, which choice gives him the most benefit. With him it is about an immediate pleasure. With Lot, there is no future-oriented thinking. He is the man who lives for here and now. His heart follows his eyes, just like with Eve.

Lot sees the valley of the Jordan as if it is a paradise. But, it says, it also looks like the land of Egypt. Lot has joined Abram in his deviation to Egypt. He who relies on the faith of another person will fall into the mistakes of that other person. Abram learned lessons from his deviation to Egypt. Lot does not show that he has learned lessons from his deviation. The valley reminds him of Egypt. It seems that he has been overwhelmed by what he saw. That is why he chooses the valley of the Jordan.

A sideways lesson is that the deviation of Abram has caused Lot to get the taste of Egypt. Parents should take that lesson to heart. If they deviate and love the world for some time, but are then restored by God's grace and give up the world again, it may be that their children have gotten the taste of the world and stay in it.

Lot then moves to live close to Sodom, as it were under the smoke of the city, a smelly smoke. The wickedness of that city is indicated, as a preparation for the history in Genesis 19. All men are sinners. But there is a difference in wickedness (cf. Rev 20:12). God says of the people in Sodom that they are "wicked and sinners exceedingly". They are it proverbial (Isa 3:9; Eze 16:49), but Lot seems to be insensitive to it. The way down has been taken by him. Later he lives in Sodom, in a house – the tent has disappeared – and is even part of the city council – he is in the gate.

He settles in the city where God's judgment comes. He helps them to build it up, because he sees a future for it. But he loses everything, it all perishes in judgment. He does save his body, but he ends his life in the darkness of a cave and in acts that arouse disgust. He lets himself be led drunk and begets Israel's enduring enemies with his own daughters.

A practical application can be made when we face the choice of changing jobs, moving, or which school we let the children go to. So what are our considerations, the criteria of assessment? Do we have an eye for the moral and religious atmosphere that prevails somewhere? Do we think forward-looking, that is to say that we look beyond life on earth? Do we have in mind the spiritual well-being of our family, or only the social well-being?

Copyright Statement
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.
Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 13:10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kng/genesis-13.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Lot's Choice; the Separation

v. 10. And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Lot selfishly took advantage of Abram in accepting his offer. He made a careful survey and calculation, and the valley of the Jordan appealed to him, since from the Sea of Galilee down to the Vale of Siddim (later the Dead Sea) it was richly watered, like Paradise, the garden of Jehovah, or like Egypt, whose soil was so rich on account of the annual overflow of the Nile. As far as Zoar, in fact, at the far southeastern side of the valley, the land seemed to be unequaled for richness.

v. 11. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves the one from the other.

v. 12. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan; and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. In spite of the fact that Lot acted so selfishly, Abram's policy resulted in their separating peacefully, like brothers. Lot departed toward the east with his possessions and tented, that is, he journeyed by easy stages, with ever new encampments, until he reached Sodom, where he made his home, while Abram remained in Canaan proper. Lot's choice may have given evidence of keen business ability, as well as a very selfish disposition, but it certainly was a dangerous choice.

v. 13. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. This remark, which ascribes to the inhabitants of Sodom a wickedness in unusual measure, even in the midst of heathendom, not only prepares for the later story of the city's fate, Genesis 19, but it also throws some light upon the character of Lot, who chose this city for his home. He may have been one with Abraham in faith till now, but apparently avarice had taken hold of his heart, causing him to disregard the great moral dangers of a notoriously wicked city for his children, only for the sake of greater gain. From this time forth the worldly thoughts and inclinations strove in his heart with his faith and reverence for the true God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/genesis-13.html. 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

             SECOND SECTION

Abram as a witness for God in Canaan, and his self-denying separation from Lot. The New Promise of God. His altar in Hain (oaks) Mamre

  Genesis 13:1-18

1And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south [of Canaan]. 2And Abram was very rich, in cattle [possessions], in silver, and in gold 3 And he went on his journeys [nomadic departures, stations] from the south, even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4Unto the place of the altar which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called upon the name of the Lord 5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks [small cattle], and herds [large cattle], and tents 6 And the land was not able to bear [support] them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle, and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then [as owners, settlers, ישֵׁכ] in the land 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren [men, brethren]. 9Is not the whole land before thee [open to thy choice]? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. If thou wilt take the left hand [land], then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

10And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain [literally, circle] of Jordan [the down-flowing, descending = Rhein], that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom [burning] and Gomorrah [submersion], even as the garden of the Lord [paradise, in Eden with its stream], like the land of Egypt, as [until] thou comest to Zoar [smallness, the little one]. 11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east [מִקֶּדֶם, from the east, Septuagint and Vulgate incorrect]: and they separated themselves the one from the other 12 Abram dwelled in the land [province] of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain [the circle], and pitched his tent toward Sodom [until it stood at Sodom]. 13But the men [people] of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

14And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes and look [out] from the place where thou art northward [to Lebanon], and southward [the desert], and eastward [to Perea], and westwards [the sea]. 15For all the land which thou [thus] seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever [to eternity]. 16And I will make [have determined] thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre [fatness, strength: name of the owner], which is in Hebron [connection, confederacy], and built there an altar unto the Lord.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. The Return of Abram from Egypt, and the introduction of the Separation from Lot ( Genesis 13:1-9). Into the south.—Abram returned with Lot, whose migration with him to Egypt is thus presupposed, to Canaan, not as in Luther’s version, to the south, but northwards to the southern part of Palestine, to the region of Hebron and Bethlehem, from which he had gone to Egypt. The נֶגֶכ is a term which had obviously attained geographically a fixed usage among the Israelites, and points out the southern region of Palestine. But the pasture-ground in this region seems to have been insufficient for Lot and himself at the same time. Besides his treasures in gold and silver he had grown rich in the possession of herds, especially through the large presents of Pharaoh.[FN1] Hence he removes further, by slow and easy stages, to the earlier pasture-grounds between Bethel and Hai. Here, where he had earlier built an altar, he again sets up the worship of Jehovah with his family. This worship is itself also a preaching of Jehovah for the heathen. But even here the pasture-land was not broad enough, since Lot also was rich in herds, and the Canaanite and Perizzite then held the greater part of that region in their possession. These Perizzites are referred to, because they were those with whom Abram and Lot came most frequently into contact, and were their rivals. “The Perizzites, who do not appear in the genealogical lists of the Canaanitish tribes, but only in the geographical enumeration of the inhabitants of the land ( Genesis 15:20; Exodus 3:8; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 11:3), and whom we find in different parts of Canaan, are inhabitants of the lowlands, who devote themselves to agriculture and grazing ( Ezekiel 38:11; ZeGen Genesis 2:4; Deuteronomy 3:5; 1 Samuel 6:18). The Perizzites, as the author intimates, were in possession of the best pastures; those only remained to Lot and Abram, which they had despised.” Hengstenberg. Schröder conjectures that the Canaanites here designate the inhabitants of the cities in contrast with the Perizzites who dwelt in the open country. But the name designates, beyond question, not only a mode of life, but a peculiar people, and they are brought into notice here, because they were thickly crowded in the region of Bethel, with Abram. Gerlach: “Perizzites, probably dwellers in perazoth, open courts, or villages, inhabitants of the country, in distinction from those who dwelt in cities.” But then the greater portion of the Canaanites would have been Perizzites, from whom still Gerlach distinguishes the Canaanites. They appear to have been nomads. In Genesis 34:30, they appear in Sichem; in Joshua 11:3, between the Jebusites and Hittites, upon the mountains. Against the interpretation, inhabitants of the open country, see Keil, p137, who distinguishes the form הַפְּרִזִי and הַפְּרָזִי ( Deuteronomy 3:5), inhabitants of the low or flatlands.[FN2]Let there be no strife between me and thee.—The strife between the herdsmen, would soon issue in a strife between their masters, if these should quietly or willingly permit the disorder. It is possible that Lot’s restless, uneasy temper, had already betrayed itself in the open strife of his servants. The position of the words of Abram, between me and thee, standing before the allusion to the herdsmen, would seem to intimate something of this kind.—We are brethren (brother men). The law controversies, which, although sometimes allowable between strangers, are yet in all ways to be avoided, ought not to have place between brethren. Here kindred, piety, and affection, should make the utmost concessions easy. In his humility Abram places himself on an equality with Lot, calls him brother, although he was his nephew, and owed to him the duty of a son. Indeed, he so far takes the subordinate place, that he yields to him the choice of the best portions of the land.—If thou wilt take the left hand.—The word of Abram has passed into a proverbial watchword of the peace-loving and yielding temper, in all such cases when a distinction and separation in the circumstances becomes necessary.

2. Lot’s Choice, and the Separation( Genesis 13:10-13). The bold, unblushing, self-seeking features in Lot’s character come clearly into view here. He raises his eyes, and with unrestrained greediness chooses what seems to him the best. The circuit of the Jordan, i. e. the region of the Jordan (named simply הַכִּכָּר), includes the deep valley of the Jordan (the Ghor), from the Sea of Tiberias to the Dead Sea. The whole valley, until we reach the Red Sea, is the Arabah, which takes its name from the region here mentioned. It is the vale of Siddim ( Genesis 14:3), the present region of the Dead Sea, which is here intended. That the lower valley of the Jordan was peculiarly well-watered, and a rich pasture-region, is expressed by a twofold comparison; it was as Paradise, and as the land of Egypt. The lower plain of the Jordan was glorious as the vanished glory of Paradise, or as the rich plains of the Nile in Egypt, which were still fresh in the memory of Lot. For the Jordan and its valley, compare the Bible Dictionories, geographical works, and books of travels.[FN3]As thou comest to Zoar.—At the southeast of the Dead Sea (Ghor el Szaphia).—And they separated themselves, the one (a brother) from the other.—The separation was brotherly in a good and evil sense; good in the mind and thought of Abram, and as to its peaceful form, but evil in so far as the nephew acts as a privileged brother, and chooses the best of the land.—And Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan.—The opposition here is not, as Knobel thinks, between Canaan and the lower valley of the Jordan, but between the land of Canaan in which Abram remained, and the plain rich in cities—(אֶרֶץ must be emphasized in opposition to עָרֵי). This also forms a distinct feature in Lot’s character. Abram remained in the retirement of his oaks, from which Lot removed further and further toward the cities of the valley, and indeed to those most renowned; he soon has his pastures in the neighborhood of Sodom, and his dwelling in Sodom itself. In Sodom, even, we find him in the most frequented place—at the gate. While there is no doubt that he left Mesopotamia in the characteristic faith of Abram, yet the prominence of the worldly thought and inclination is revealed in him, through these facts, although he on the whole preserves in the very heart of his disposition and thought, the essential features of faith and reverence for God. “Sodom must have lain at the southwesterly end of the Dead Sea. The allusion to the pillar of salt points to this location ( Genesis 19:26), and its name is still preserved there in the present Usdum. The near vicinity of Zoar ( Genesis 19:20), which must be sought in the Ghor el Szaphia (see Genesis 19:22) and the general nature of the southern part of the Dead Sea, are in favor of this location.” Knobel. It is true, that the kindred of the Israelitish tribes left Palestine ( Genesis 21:14; Genesis 25:6; Genesis 25:18; Genesis 36:6), but it by no means follows, as Knobel holds, that the writer brings this into prominence from special and interested motives, for the same writer records also the journeyings of the Israelites into Egypt.—But the men of Sodom.—We shall learn more fully the wickedness of the Sodomites in the 19 th ch. It is referred to here, in order to show that Lot had chosen foolishly when he thought that he was choosing the best portion, and in order to make way for the history of the punishment which came upon Sodom, in which Lot also must suffer for his folly.[FN4]

3. The Renewal and Enlargement of the Promise of the Land of Canaan, with which Abram’s new act of self-denial was rewarded, and his settlement in the groves (oaks) of Mamre, in Hebron( Genesis 13:14-18).—Lift up now thine eyes and look.—After the departure of Lot, Jehovah commanded Abram now also to lift up his eyes, in pious faith, as Lot had raised his eyes in impious and shameless self-seeking. Since Bethel was about central in the land, and lay high upon a mountain ( Genesis 12:8; Genesis 35:1, etc.), this direction is evidently historical;[FN5] probably Abram could look far and wide over the land in all directions from this place.—Northwards (towards the midnight), etc.—The designation of the four-quarters of the heavens (com. Genesis 28:14).—And I will make thy seed.[FN6] As the land should be great for the people, thy posterity, so thy people shall be numerous, or innumerable for the land. The seed of Abram are compared with the dust of the earth, with reference to its being innumerable. At a later point, the one hyperbole falls into two: “as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the sea-shore” ( Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17).—Arise, etc. “The free passage through the land, should serve to animate his faith, and be a sign for his descendants of the symbolic seizure and possession of the land. The command is not to be understood as a literal direction; Abram could view the land promised to him, at his pleasure.”—Then Abram removed his tent.[FN7] “The oak-grove of Mamre lay in Hebron, and is often mentioned as the residence of the patriarchs ( Genesis 14:13; Genesis 14:18; Genesis 35:27). It had its name from the Amorite Mamre, a confederate with Abram ( Genesis 14:13; Genesis 14:24), as the valley northerly from Hebron holds its name, Eschol, from a brother of Mamre” ( Numbers 13:23). Knobel. According to Knobel, the later custom of sacrificing to Jehovah at Hebron ( 2 Samuel 15:7), is dated back to the times in Genesis. Still, he can neither deny the migrations, nor the piety of Abram. As to the circumstance that, according to Joshua 15:13, Hebron at an earlier date was called Kirjath-arba,[FN8] see the Introduction. For the founding of Hebron, see Numbers 13:23. Bunsen: “This remarkable narrative bears upon its face every evidence of historical truth, and is most fitly assigned to a time soon after2900 years before Christ.”

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. In the history of Abram we must distinguish throughout the providence of God, and the conduct of the patriarch. In the previous chapter the providence of God preserves in safety the promise to Abram, since it preserves Sarah inviolate. In this a new confirmation of the promise appears in the separation from Lot. The conduct of Abram is in both cases marked by a renunciation of self, grounded in faith. As the previous chapter portrays the self-renunciation of Abram in reference to his country, and his father’s house, in regard to a fixed settlement in Canaan, and to his connubial blessedness, so here we meet a like renunciation as to the relative position of Lot, and as to the best parts of Palestine itself. For this new act of self-denial is twofold. With the separation of Lot, leaving out of view now the society and assistance which Abram might have had in him, and which was renounced, his former patriarchal dependence upon Abram ceases, and with the residence of Lot and his family in the best of the land, there might arise a serious prejudice to the claims of the descendants of Abram to the land. But in regard to this also he trusts God, and in this case, without any exaggerated or over-hasty confidence, such as appeared in the exposure of Sarah.[FN9]

2. Abram returns to the place of his altar in Bethel. In like manner Christian settlements, towns, and villages, cluster around their churches.

3. The wealth of Abram is referred to by the early writers as an example that even rich people may be pious, and also that the pious may be rich. And indeed, without any contradiction to the word of Christ ( Matthew 19:24), for Christ himself explains that word more fully in the 26 th verse, by the thought, that through the grace of God, one could be freed from the influence of his wealth, and enabled in humility to use it as a moral good for the glory of God. The writing of Clemens Alex, Τίς σωζόμενος πλούσιος, is in place here. Moreover, the danger of riches appears prominently here, in the very first case in which riches, as such, are mentioned. His riches were, in some measure, a tax to Abram, since he could not find room for his herds, and his possessions threatened to involve him in hostility with his nephew. It is here also, as always, tainted with a want; the want in this case of sufficient pasturage, and the necessity for the separation of Abram and Lot. But for Lot, indeed, his wealth becomes a temptation, which he does not resist in any creditable way.

4. The germinal divisions of masters ofttimes reveal themselves clearly in the strifes of their servants and dependents. Even the wives are often in open hostility while their husbands are still at peace. Abram teaches us how to observe these symptoms in the right way. His proposal to separate arises from his love of peace, not from any selfish regard to his own interests.[FN10]

5. A law-suit is always doubtful or hazardous, although often necessary. Law-suits between brethren are to be avoided with double care and earnestness. How beautiful it is for brethren to dwell together in unity ( Psalm 133:1); but a peaceful separation is also beautiful, if it prevents a dwelling together in strife and hatred. This holds true also in spiritual things. Abram must avoid with special watchfulness giving an offence to the Canaanites.[FN11]

6. “Wilt thou to the left hand,” etc. An eternal shining example, and a watchword of the peace-loving, magnanimous, self-denying character which is the fruit of faith.[FN12]

7. The character of Lot. Its light side must not be overlooked. He had left Mesopotamia and his father’s house, cleaving to Abram and his faith, and up to this time had remained true to him in all his march through the land, to Egypt and back. Still, the return from the rich land of Egypt may have awakened in him thoughts similar to those which wrought with many of the Israelites, who murmured against Moses. At all events, the lower valley of the Jordan appears to him specially desirable, because it bears such a resemblance to Egypt. And in the way and manner, violating both modesty and piety, in which he chose this province, and regardless of religious prudence, yielded himself to the attractions of Sodom; the shaded and darker features of his character, the want of sincerity, delicacy, and that freedom from the world which became a pilgrim, are clearly seen. He is still, however, a man who can perceive the angels, and protect them as his guests. In comparison with the Sodomites he is righteous.

8. Lot makes the worst choice, while he thinks that he has chosen well. For his worldly-mindedness, the sin in his choice,[FN13] he was first punished through the plundering of his house, and his captivity in the war of the kings, which followed soon after his choice, and then through his fearful flight from Sodom, and the losses, misfortunes and crimes which were connected with it. Thus, the want of regard to true piety, the selfishness, the carelessness as to the snares of the world, must ever be punished. And indeed, it is just when one thinks, that in his own wilful and sinful ways, he has attained his highest wishes, he finds himself ensnared in the retributions of divine righteousness, which rules over him and works with solemn irony.

9. We must distinguish clearly the times of the revelation and manifestation of Jehovah in the life of Abram, from the times in which he conceals himself from view, which may be regarded as the times of the elevation and sinking of the faith of Abram. He enjoys the first manifestation of God after the first proof of his faith, his migration to Canaan. On the contrary, there is no intimation of any revelation of God on his return from Egypt. But after Abram’s noble act of faith towards Lot, he again receives a new promise in a new word of the Lord. Then again, after his march for the rescue of Lot ( Genesis 15:1). From his connection with Hagar, thirteen years elapse without any mention of a divine Revelation, and the revelation which then follows ( Genesis 17:1 ff.) wears the form of a renewal of the covenant ( Genesis 15). But now, after Abram had obeyed the command as to circumcision, he enjoys the fullest manifestation of God, with the most express and definite promise ( Genesis 18:1 ff.). Thus after his intercessory prayer for Sodom, he is rewarded by the appearance of the angels for Lot, and Lot’s salvation ( Genesis 19:29). After the events at Gerar, and his deportment there ( Genesis 20), the quiet and ordinary course of life is only broken by the birth of Isaac, and then follows the great trial of his faith, which he heroically endured, and receives the seal of his faith. From this introductory completion of his life, it unfolds itself in the calm coming and going of the evening of his days. But the promises of God always correspond to the acts and conduct of faith which Abram had shown.

10. Lift up thine eyes and look ( Genesis 13:14). A glorious antithesis to the word: And Lot lifted up his eyes. The selfish choice brings disgrace and destruction, the choice according to the counsel and wisdom of God secures blessing and salvation.[FN14]

11. “This is the third theocratic promise, including both the first ( Genesis 12:1-3) and the second ( Genesis 12:7).” Knobel. But it has also, like the preceding, its own specific character. The first promise relates to the person of Abram; in him and in his name are embraced all promised blessings. In the second a seed was more definitely promised to Abram, and also the land of Canaan for the seed. But here, in opposition to the narrow limits in which he is with his herds, and to the pre-occupation of the best parts of the land by Lot, there is promised to him the whole land in its extension towards the four quarters of heaven, and to the boundless territory, an innumerable seed. It should be observed that the whole fulness of the divine promise, is first unreservedly declared to Abram, after the separation from Lot.[FN15] Lot has taken beforehand his part of the good things. His choice appears as a mild or partial example of the choice of Esau (the choice of the lentile-pottage).

12. The Holy land: an allegory of Paradise, a symbol of heaven, a type (germ) of the sanctified and glorified earth.

13. For the primitive, consecrated Hebron, and the oak-grove Mamre, see the dictionaries, geographical hand-books, and books of travels, and also the Bible-work, Book of Joshua.

14. Starke (the Freiberg Bible): “This is the first time that silver and gold are mentioned since the flood, and we may infer, therefore, that mining for these metals must have been practised.” (Reflections upon Tubal-Cain).

15. The declaration that the Canaanites and Perizzites were then in the land, like the allusion to the Canaanites, Genesis 12:6, furnishes no ground for the inference, according to Spinoza, that the passages were first written when there were no longer any Canaanites and Perizzites in the land. For the first passage says plainly, that it was on account of the Canaanites that Abram felt it necessary to go through the land to Sichem; and here again, that owing to their presence, he and Lot found themselves straitened for pasture-ground, and were compelled to separate.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

See Doctrinal and Ethical paragraphs. The happy exodus of Abram from Egypt, a prophecy or type of the glorious Exodus of the children of Israel.—Abram’s return to the altar in Bethel.—The house of God the consecration of the home.—Abram and Lot.—The love of peace characteristic of the believer.—The scandal of kindred and family strifes.—The eager watchfulness of servants.—The true separation for the sake of peace.—The watchword of Abram in its typical significance.—The blessing of a spirit of concession.—The character of Lot in its lighter and darker aspects.—Lot’s choice: 1. In its fair promise; 2. in its evil results.—The third promise of God to Abram.—The peril of the worldly life, and the blessing of retirement: Lot in the gate of Sodom, Abram in the oak-grove of Mamre.—How quickly the paradise of Lot’s choice lay in the terrible depths of the Dead Sea.—How firm the promise of the eternal possession of the Holy land to Abram’s seed: 1. The conditional character of the promise with reference to his natural descendants (the Arabians in Palestine are still his natural sons); 2. its unconditional character for his believing children ( Matthew 5:5).

Starke: Abram and Lot feared God; they were related, and fellow-travellers. Poverty, hunger, and toilsome journeys to and fro, could not bring about any strifes, but the abundance of temporal possessions had nearly accomplished it, when Abram saw and marked the cunning of the devil. If this could happen to holy men like these, we may easily, see how far Satan may carry those whose hearts cling to this world’s goods.—Lange, Genesis 13:2 : It is one thing to be rich, and quite another to desire riches, and bend all one’s energies and efforts to that end. It is not the former, but the latter, which is in opposition to true faith, and the divine blessing ( Sirach 31:1).

Genesis 13:7. The devil is wont to sow tares, misunderstandings, and divisions, even between pious men and believers ( Psalm 133:1).

Genesis 13:8-9. What a beautiful example of humility and the love of peace! The elder yields to the younger.—Whoever will be a son of Abram, must strive to win his neighbor by love, but never seek to prevail by violence.

Genesis 13:13. It is commonly (often) true, that the people are more depraved in those parts of the land which are more rich and fruitful ( Psalm 106:24-29).—A good land seldom bears pious people, and we cannot endure prosperous days with safety ( Ezekiel 16:49).—Osiander, upon Genesis 13:18 : Religious worship at the first and last.—Lisco: In this history, the principal thing is the grace of God towards the chosen race, the divine providence, through which circumstances are so arranged as to separate from this race one who was not a constituent portion of it. Under this providence Lot freely concedes all his claims to the land of promise, to which the plain of Jordan no longer belonged (certainly not the plain of Sodom, after its submersion). This interpretation is manifestly correct from the account Genesis 13:14-15, that the new promise of the land of Canaan was given to Abram after the departure of Lot.

Genesis 13:16. Includes not barely the natural but also the spiritual descendants—the children of Abram by faith ( Jeremiah 33:22).[FN16]

Genesis 13:17. This journey should be a type of the possession which took place much later under Joshua.—Gerlach upon Genesis 13:2. The outward earthly blessing was, to this man of faith, a pledge of the spiritual and invisible.—Passavant: 1 John 2:15; Matthew 5:5; Matthew 5:9; Matthew 6:33.—Indeed, if we only assert our just right and possessions, harshly and firmly, there is no praise nor reward from God, no promise—no pleasant bow of peace; we have our reward, blessing and peace therein.—Schröder: From all these notices in reference to Canaan, it is clear that everything in this chapter bears upon the land of promise.—Calvin: If no Canaanites surround us, we still live in the midst of enemies, while we live in this world.—Luther: To the service of God, and the preaching of religion, and faith towards God ( Genesis 13:4), there is added now a most beautiful and glorious example of love to our neighbor, and of patience.—Abram’s generous and magnanimous spirit comes out all the more clearly, through the directly opposite conduct of Lot ( Genesis 13:10).—Because Lot had in eye only the beauty of the land, he had no eye for the far higher, inward beauty of Abram’s character.—Schwenke: In his faith, Abram had placed a low estimate upon the world and its good things, and found a much richer blessing.—Heuser: Abram in his disturbed relation with Lot: 1. The disturbance; 2. the way in which Abram removed it; 3. the thought which gave him strength for his work.[FN17]


Footnotes:

FN#1 - Genesis 13:5. To Lot also there were flocks. The blessing upon Abram overran and flowed over upon Lot. Jacobus, p237.—A. G.]

FN#2 - Keil adds, as of still greater force, the use of the name, now with the Canaanites, and now with the other tribes of Canaan, who obviously derive their names from their ancestors, or the head of their tribe.—A. G.]

FN#3 - Stanley: “Sinai and Palestine;” Jacobus: “Notes.”—A. G.]

FN#4 - This is one of the numerous passages which prove the unity of Genesis.—A. G.]

FN#5 - Stanley describes the hill as the highest of a succession of eminences, from which Abram and Lot could take the wide survey of the land on the right hand and on the left, such as can be enjoyed from no other point in the neighborhood.—A. G.]

FN#6 - “The promise of the land for a possession is עַד עוֹלָם. The divine promise is unchangeable. As the seed of Abram should have an eternal existence before God, so also Canaan is the eternal possession of this seed. But this does not avail for the natural descendants of Abram as such, or his seed according to the flesh, but for the true spiritual seed, who receive the promise by faith, and hold it in believing hearts. This promise, therefore, neither prevents the exclusion of the unbelieving seed from the land of Canaan, nor secures to the Jews a return to the earthly Palestine, after their conversion. Through Christ the promise is raised from its temporal form to its real nature; through him the whole earth becomes a Canaan.” Keil.—“Quum terrain sæculum, promittitur, non simpliciter notatur perpetuitas; sed quæ finem accepit Christi adventu.” Calvin.—A G.]

FN#7 - “Dwelt, settled down, made it the central point of his subsequent abode in Canaan.” Wordsworth.—A. G.]

FN#8 - “Its earliest name was Hebron, but it was later called Kirjath-arba by the sons of Anak. When the Israelites came into the possession of the land, they restored the original patriarchal name.” Baumgarten, p178. Also, Hengstenberg’s Beiträge, ii. p187 ff.; and Kurtz: “History of the Old Covenant,” p169.—A. G.]

FN#9 - “Abram went up out of Egypt. In the history of Abram, the father of Isaac, the type and pattern of the true Israelites, we see prophetic glimpses of the history of his posterity. Abram went out of Egypt very rich in cattle, silver, and gold. Abram had his Exodus from Egypt into Canaan, and it was a prefiguration of theirs, Exodus 12:35; Exodus 12:38, which in time prefigures the pilgrimage of the church through the world to the heavenly Canaan. Is not the life of Abram, as presented in the Pentateuch, so wonderfully preadjusted to the circumstances and necessities of all the Israel of God, a silent proof of its genuineness and inspiration?” Wordsworth.—A. G.]

FN#10 - The heavenly principle of forbearance evidently holds the supremacy in Abram’s breast. He walks in the moral atmosphere of the Sermon on the Mount ( Matthew 6:28-34). Murphy.—A. G.]

[“The practical nature of Abram’s religion was most strikingly developed here. His conduct was marked by humility, condescension, and generosity.” Bush: the natural fruits of his faith.—A. G.]

FN#11 - The presence of those powerful tribes is mentioned to show why Abram and Lot were so straitened as to pasturage, to signalize the impropriety and danger of their quarrelling among themselves, and to show that Abram felt that the eyes of these idolaters were upon him, and that any misstep on his part, as the representative of Jehovah, would be an occasion of stumbling to them.—A. G.]

FN#12 - “Abram could have claimed the exclusive possession on the higher ground of the Divine promise and plan. But this exclusiveness is not the spirit of our holy religion.” Jacobus, p239.—A. G.]

FN#13 - Murphy suggests that he was a single man when he parted from Abram, and therefore that he married a woman of Sodom, and thus involved himself in the sin of the Antediluvians, Genesis 6:1-7.—A. G.]

FN#14 - “Thus he who sought this world lost it; and he who was willing to give up anything for the honor of God and religion, found it.” Fuller; see Bush, p219.—A. G.]

FN#15 - “Abram has now obtained a permanent resting-place in the land, but not a foot-breadth belongs to him. His household is smaller in number than at first. He is old and childless, and yet his seed shall be as the dust of the earth. All around him is his, and he is only one among the thousands—but ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι παρ’ ἐλπίδα.” Delitzsch.—A. G.]

FN#16 - See also in confirmation the Epistle to the Hebrews, Genesis 11:10; Genesis 11:16, where the apostle points to the true and highest sense of the land promised. The spiritual seed require a heavenly inheritance, and the heavenly inheritance implies a spiritual seed.—A. G.]

FN#17 - The whole chapter remarkable, as it presents to us the workings of faith in the domestic and ordinary life, in the common transactions between man and Prayer of Manasseh, and affords us an opportunity of observing how far his daily life was in unison with that higher character with which the inspired writers have invested him. Bush, 210.—A G.]

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/genesis-13.html. 1857-84.

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

RECOVERY

At last Abram "went up," leaving Egypt behind and coming into the south of the land of Canaan. Again Lot is mentioned as accompanying his uncle Abram. But Abram had been greatly enriched in Egypt (v.2), and Lot also had been prospered. There are two distinct lessons here. Typically speaking, God will use even the history of our failure to result in spiritual blessing. Such is His sovereign grace. But on the other hand, literally speaking, temporal blessings do not mean spiritual prosperity.

But the grace of God leads Abram back to Bethel, "the house of God" (v.2). If we are to be properly restored after failure, we must return to the place from which we departed, and here it is emphasized that it was the place he had first pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai, the place of decision to leave behind his former life in favor of the interests of God. Besides this, further emphasis is given it as "the place of the altar," where he had given God the positive honor that belongs to Him. Here for the first time since his leaving that place do we read that he "called upon the name of the Lord" (v.4). Compare Chapter 13:8. Does this not tell us that we are not having true communion with God if we are away from His place

SEPARATION BETWEEN ABRAM AND LOT

Now the wealth of both Abram and Lot raises a serious problem. Their possessions were too great to allow them to subsist comfortably together. Quarreling began between their herdsmen (v.7). At the same time it is noted that "the Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land." Is this not told us because they would be observers, and likely to mock at the friction between brethren, specially those who were believers in the living God? If believers today have quarrels, the world is quick to ridicule the testimony of the Lord rather than to be impressed by it.

Abram did not want to continue any such friction: he would not make this an issue with his nephew, but instead asked him that there should be no conflict between them or between their herdsmen, for they were brethren (v.8). He saw only one solution to the problem, that they should separate from one another (v.9). Lot had been in a good measure dependent on Abram's leading, and should have by this time learned to have such wisdom as to depend on the Lord for himself. But though he had not really learned this, it was time that he must be on his own.

His lack of faith is seen immediately when Abram offers him the opportunity to take the first choice as to where he wanted to dwell. Instead of his depending on the Lord, and therefore rightly giving the first choice to his uncle, "he lifted up his eyes" (v.10), but not high enough! He had no idea of asking the Lord's guidance. What tragic mistakes we can make by following such and example! He is guided only by what his eyes saw. The plain of Jordan was well watered everywhere -- though it is added "before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah." So indeed the world has been greatly blessed by God, but in spite of this the ominous shadow of coming judgment hangs over it!

Lot sees that it was "like the garden of the Lord," that is, Eden. Thus today, many people are deceived by what appears to be a virtual return to paradise in spite of God's having forbidden the possibility of this (Genesis 3:24) because of man's sin. Also, the plain appeared to Lot "like the land of Egypt." He had learned by his uncle's taking him down to Egypt that the world can be an appealing place to the eye. He had not been properly recovered from the mistake of his experience there.

Abram was willing to leave the choice with God as to where he should go: Lot was not. He chose for himself, and embarked on a downward course toward the east (the direction from which they had originally come). Abram dwelt in the more rugged areas of Canaan, reminding us of the rigorous exercise of the trials of faith through which the Lord sees fit to lead a believer who purposes to walk with Him. This is not an easy path, but it is by all means the most happy path, for the Lord is there to encourage and strengthen faith for whatever needs may arise.

Lot chose to settle "in the cities of the plain," drifting toward Sodom (v.12). He wanted the easiest circumstances, and of course in Sodom he found the people who love the easiest circumstances, those who were "wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord." If we seek only to please ourselves, we shall soon find company who have the same unwholesome inclinations. But it is unbelievers who throw themselves unreservedly into this kind of a life. Lot, as a believer, did have reservations, but allowed himself to settle among those with no such reservations. Thus it will be for a Christian who is only half hearted as regards his testimony for the Lord Jesus. Peter tells us concerning Lot, "that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds" (2 Peter 2:8).

ABRAM ENCOURAGED AND STRENGTHENED

Now that Lord had chosen for himself what he wanted, the Lord tells Abram "lift up you eyes" (v.14). This is just what Lot had done (v.10), but he had limited his sight to what appealed to him. God tells Abram to look to the north, south, east and west, for He would give Abram and his descendants all the land that he saw. How much broader is God's view than that of our natural selfishness! For the believer is told today, "all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come -- all are yours. And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). All is ours, but we do not have the headache of maintaining it. The Lord Himself is our capable custodian of it! And we are His!

More than this, God would increase Abram's descendants "as the dust of the earth" (v.16). The man of faith will always prove fruitful in the end. It may seem otherwise to us because of the long delay, as it did to Abram, but God's promise was absolute: it could not possibly fail. At this time God only speaks of "the dust of the earth," for He infers only an earthly people, primarily Israel, though later (Genesis 15:5). He tells Abram his seed would be as the stars of heaven, involving the great number called "sons of Abraham," whose inheritance is in heaven, as Galations 3:7 tells us, "Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham."

On that occasion (Genesis 15:15) Abram was told that he would not personally have part in an earthly inheritance, but would go to his fathers and "be buried in a good old age". Also Hebrews 11:10 tells us, "he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God." Verse 16 further describes the city as "a heavenly one."

Therefore the Lord tells Abram, "Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and he breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee" (v.17). He was not to settle down and take possession of any part of the land, but pass through all of it, as Stephen says in Acts 7:5 : "God gave him no inheritance in it not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him."

HIS THIRD ALTAR

Abram moves on then to dwell "by the terebinth (or oak) trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron," and there built his third altar to the Lord. Mamre means "fatness" and Hebron "communion." This appropriately follows the second altar, which was that of decision (between Bethel and Ai ch.12:8). True decision to put God's interests first will lead to fatness, that is, spiritual prosperity, which is found in communion with the Lord. This is therefore the altar of communion, for communion with God is based upon the truth of the person of the Lord Jesus (the altar), and involving also His sacrifice, for this was the purpose of the altar. There is no approaching God without this.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/genesis-13.html. 1897-1910.

Wells of Living Water Commentary

Abram and Lot

Genesis 13:1-14

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

Let us bring before you the "as" and "so" of the Lord's Return. The days of Lot are likened unto the days of the Coming of the Son of Man.

Our Lord did not hesitate to reach back into the historical, distant past, and then look forward to the prophetical, distant future, and say, "as" and "so."

He knew the details of the days of Lot, for He was there. He knew the details of the day of His Coming, for He lives in one eternal "now," and He is there. That which is "misty" to man is "clear sky" to Him.

In the days of Lot the wickedness of man had come to the full, and the judgments of God, with miraculous power, fell upon man to his utter undoing.

In the days of the Coming of the Son of Man, the world will be ripe in its iniquity and sin; and the judgments of God will again fall in miraculous power.

The judgments of God in those days will be followed in close parallel in the day of Christ's Return to the Mount of Olives. The comparisons of those days of Lot, with the times of the ending of this age, are too many for the space of our study.

With bowed head, we marvel at the majesty of the Lord's vision, as He spoke this "as" and "so." His words went across the whole opinion of man. He dared to say what unregenerate man had never dared or cared to say. The world wants smooth words, and flattering words, words of optimism, and of the "upward trend." Christ spoke words to the contrary.

The world wants us to prophesy "success," Christ prophesied "failure." The Lord even brought the success of the ministrations of the Spirit, and of the Church, in this day of grace, into seeming disrepute. He was, however, in fact, not speaking of the Spirit's failure, nor of the Church's collapse, He was only showing that man, even under such benign privileges, would prove himself altogether corrupted.

The wonder of wonders is that the nineteen hundred years that have passed since our Lord reached back to the days of Lot, and said, "As," and then looked down to the days of His Coming again, and said "so," have proved that the Lord's words were true. The "so" of our day is even now fast running into the mold of the "as" of that early historic day. It is now as it was then. Our conclusion is that we are drawing very near to the days of the Coming of the Son of Man.

Just this one word more. Let no man become discouraged or shaken in his faith by means of the present apostasy, and the prevailing world-wickedness of men. The present day, with all of its sin and sorrow, should only settle, strengthen, and establish faith, for Christ's own prophecy has become history; His "as" has become "so," even as He said.

I. ABRAM WAS VERY RICH (Genesis 13:2 )

There are some who imagine that being rich is impossible for real saints. How then about Abram? It is the love of money which is the root of all evil. They who will be rich pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

1. The bane of wealth. The bane of wealth is to love money, and to set one's affection upon it. He who loves his money will make money for money's sake. He will hoard his riches, gloat upon his wealth, and, in every way prove himself miserly. No matter what the need of others may be, he will hoard all he has, and close his ears to every cry of the poor. He will lay his treasures up for himself.

2. The blessing of riches. In the first place, Abram did not obtain his riches through worldly means. It was God who increased his store. When the king of Sodom wanted to enrich Abram, the Patriarch said, "I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich."

Again, Abram never counted himself more than a mere tent dweller. He had much of this world's riches, yet he never set his heart on such things. He lived looking for a City whose Builder and Maker is God. At any moment Abram was ready to let go all that he possessed that he might enter into that richer inheritance above.

One other thing, we are sure that Abram used his goods to help others. His spirit of fairness to his nephew Lot is so plainly seen in today's study, as he gave Lot the first choice of the land, that we believe this same spirit marked his whole career.

II. LOT ALSO WAS RICH (Genesis 13:5 )

Why did Christ say, "As in the days of Lot," and not "as in the days of Abraham?" The Lord was giving a picture of world-end conditions. He said that those conditions would be like the days of Lot. Not like Lot, alone, but like the days of Lot.

1. Lot's day was a day of eating and drinking, buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage. This, some one may say, is the case of all days. True; however, there was something in these very things that distinguishes them. All may eat and drink, all may buy and sell, all may marry and give in marriage, but the ideals that govern these necessary marks of daily living are distinct in different people. Some there are who do good and needed things in a wrong way. They abuse their rightful privileges.

It is all right to eat and drink, it is all wrong to be intemperate, and given to surfeiting. It is all right to marry and to give in marriage, but it is all wrong to be given over to licentiousness and lewdness, and to marry out of the will of the Lord.

It is all right to buy and sell, but it is all wrong to be given over to the love of money, and to heap up treasures for the satisfying of the lustings of the flesh.

Abram did all of these things but he did none of them as Lot did them. Abram sent Eliezar a long way, back to Haran to get a wife for Isaac. Abram was rich, he did not enrich himself on the king of Sodom or the Sodomites.

Lot married his daughters into the fast life of Sodom, and he sought to dwell in Sodom in order to enrich himself with Sodom's money.

The "days of Lot" were days of sinful shame and lusting. Into that method of living and thinking Lot soon became engulfed. His family also became engulfed with him, and so deeply so, that two of his daughters and their husbands were lost in the overthrow of Sodom, while his wife turned back and became a pillar of salt.

III. THEY COULD NOT DWELL TOGETHER (Genesis 13:6 )

Abram was rich in cattle. Lot also, who went with him, had flocks and herds and tents. The time came when there was strife between Abram's herdsmen and Lot's herdsmen. Then, they were forced to separate.

Abram said unto Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee * * for we be brethren," In all of this there is a tremendous lesson for us. If two groups cannot agree, and they yet be brethren, let them separate in peace. Striving among saints is very grievous to the Lord, and its fruit is contention, bitterness, and evil words.

In our day we have seen groups of saints who had no vital differences about them, separating from one another simply because they could not agree on some method of operation. If they had merely separated in peace it would not have been so bad, however, they who had been in sweet fellowship immediately after their separation began to malign one another. Why do saints not follow the beautiful spirit which marked Abram's separation from Lot? They separated to avoid strife and not to engender it. Together they could not walk in peace, apart, they could and did maintain a true fraternity.

IV. ABRAM'S CORDIALITY TOWARD LOT (Genesis 13:9 )

When the time of separation came, Abram said unto Lot, "Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Whatever else may be said this action on the part of Abram was magnanimous. Abram showed nothing at all by way of avarice or of self-seeking. He simply gave his nephew Lot a full sweep of everything, Abram was the senior and he was also the superior. It was Lot who had gone with Abram, not Abram with Lot. Abram could rightfully have taken the first choice; he could even have commanded Lot to have gone to the left, or to the right. He rather gave Lot the place of precedence, and of choice.

Abram was sincerely more concerned with the things of Lot than with his own things. Should not our greatest joy be to prove a blessing to others? Should we forever be thinking of self, living for self, and laying up treasures for self? God forbid.

Jesus Christ went about doing good. When He left Heaven, He left in behalf of others. When He lived, He lived for others. When He died, He died for others. Most remarkable of all, the "others" for whom He lived, to whom He came, and for whom He died, were "enemies." For a good man some would dare to die, but Christ commended His love, in that, while we were yet sinners, He died for us.

The Apostle Paul followed in the footsteps of his Lord. He, also, went about in the interest of others. He yielded up all that the world might have given him, that he might give his best to men.

V. LOT'S SELF-SEEKING (Genesis 13:10-11 )

With a free hand before him, Lot, in the spirit of self-consideration and self-advantage, lifted up his eyes. He did not say unto his uncle Abram, "Take thou the choicest of the land." He chose the best for himself. This was all in direct contrast to the spirit that dominated Abram.

The true character of Lot now began to exert itself. He beheld that the plain of the Jordan was well-watered everywhere, so he chose all the plain, and journeyed East. He journeyed into a land that seemed to him to be the garden of the Lord. As he parted that day from Abram, and took up his march he went as he believed into a land of fatness. He felt that prosperity and power were his. No doubt, Lot thought that with the wonderful pastures for his cattle and with Sodom and Gomorrah as the market for their sale, he would soon eclipse his uncle in. riches.

In all of this Lot went contrary to the spirit of his Heavenly Master. God has said, "Seekest thou great things for thyself, seek them not." Again, God has said, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

He who lives for self-glory or riches will surely come to poverty. He who seeketh his own will sooner or later succumb under the power of selfishness.

Lot did not seek Divine guidance. He was his own guide. He thought that he could see a long way off, but he was in fact shortsighted. Had Lot gone to God, God would no doubt have told him that while the land he chose seemed a goodly land, yet, it would lead him to poverty instead of plenty, and to sorrow instead of song.

It is not in a man to direct his own steps. The difficulty with us is that we are shortsighted and cannot see afar off. We know not what a day may bring forth. We know not what obstacles lie before us. Let us ask God to make our choices.

VI. PITCHING TOWARD SODOM (Genesis 13:12 )

How significant are the words, "Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom"! The goal of Lot's ambition was Sodom. The cities of the plain were only steppingstones toward his ideal.

As Lot moved his way toward Sodom, he was steadily pressing toward an ideal which to him seemed the greatest good in life.

He and his wife, no doubt, talked over the wonderful hour when they could reach Sodom, a city which stood for the climax of world dominion and power. Their dream was not only to dwell in Sodom, but to wield the power of plenty and position among its people. Lot sought human greatness and human authority.

It was not a matter of one day, but of weeks and months before Lot attained his ideal. We would ask every young person to ponder the path which they are now treading, and to lift their eyes toward the city of their dreams. Remember, they that will be rich pierce themselves through with many sorrows. Remember, that those who love the world and the things which are in it cannot truly love the Father.

How the words ring out, "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." Perhaps, as Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, he was thinking not so much of the villainy of the Sodomites as of his own wealth and attainments.

When wealth, however, is secured at the cost of spiritual life and contact, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing. When, becoming rich is dependent upon becoming mixed and mingled with the wicked and with sinners, riches had better be foregone.

There is something more valuable than money. There is something more profitable than success that something is the favor of the Lord with peace and joy of heart.

VII. ABRAM'S RICH REWARD (Genesis 13:14 )

It was just after Lot had separated himself from Abram and had started on his way toward Sodom; it was just after Abram had told Lot that the whole land lay before him, and that he, Lot, could take his choice it was then that the Lord appeared unto Abram.

To Abram the Lord said, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever."

Surely it is better to let God direct one's life. The Lord has said, "The liberal soul shall be made fat," and God certainly enriched Abram.

When the Lord said to Abram, "All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it," He included the very land which Abram had just given to Lot.

The sorrow in Lot's choice was that Lot was to attain to a height of glory and honor and power, with riches, only to fall. He got, only to lose. He builded for a fire. He laid up store where moth and rust corrupt.

"With Abram it was different. That which God gave to Abram was by Divine decree secured unto Abram's sons, yea, God gave the land unto Abram and his seed forever. The wily Turk and the roaming Arab are usurpers today in the land of Palestine. They may hold certain deeds to certain properties in and around Jerusalem, but in the archives of Heaven, the deeds are made out granting that land unto Abram and to his seed forever.

As we stand thirty-five hundred years down the stream of time, since God told Abram that the land was his forever, what do we see? We see the Children of Israel, Abram's seed, once more turning their faces toward the promised land. They are about to inherit every foot of ground that God ever gave to Abram.

How much better, therefore, was Abram's choice than Lot's! Lot chose soil and "land and lost it. Abram chose God and as a result he got soil as an everlasting possession.

AN ILLUSTRATION

Abram's riches in grace were made ripe in trials and testings.

Mr. Spurgeon said:

"' Fruit that hath but little sun can never be ripe.' We have had practical proof of this, for during the year 1879, there being a scant measure of sunshine, the fruit was never properly ripened, and was therefore destitute of flavor and sweetness. Whatever might be its outward appearance, the berry was insipid and altogether unlike what the sun would have made it had he smiled upon the swelling fruit.

Thus, without communion with God, no soul can develop its graces, neither can those graces become what they should be. No measure of care or effort can make up for the light of the Father's face; neither can attendance upon means of grace nor the use of religious exercises supply the lack. Fellowship with God we must have, or the essential honey of love will be deficient, the bloom of joy will be wanting, the aroma of zeal and earnestness will be missed. We may have the virtues by name, and we may exhibit some feeble, insipid imitation of them, but the secret savor and mystic richness of grace will not be in us unless we abide in the full light of Divine love.

Lord, evermore be as the sun unto our souls, that we may be as fruit fully ripe, attaining to all the perfection and maturity of which our nature is capable."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/genesis-13.html.

Wells of Living Water Commentary

Where Lookest Thou

Genesis 13:8-11 ; Genesis 18:20-22 ; Genesis 19:25-28

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

Our Scripture today presents four looks toward Sodom. 1. There was the look of Lot, or the look of worldly advantage. 2. There was the look of the Lord, or the look of coming judgment. 3. There was the look of Lot's wife, or the look of folly and of pride. 4. There was the look of Abraham, or the look of compassionate submission. Let us examine these four looks, one at a time.

1. The look of Lot. There had been a strife betwixt Abraham's herdsmen, and the herdsmen of Lot. Abraham realized that the time for separation had come.

There are some who may feel that Lot had a keen business vision, and that he could see a dollar a long way off. We agree, but we add that Lot's vision was circumscribed by his own personal advantage, and that, in reality, he was blinded and could not see afar.

2. The look of the Lord. This was the look of judgment. The Lord saw everything that Lot saw, but he saw more than Lot saw. The Lord beheld in Sodom a city that reeked with sin. He beheld the wreckage that would come to Lot and his family by reason of Lot's foolish choice.

"The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him." Those same eyes, however, look in judgment upon all whose heart wanders from the Lord.

3. The look of Lot's wife. As they fled from Sodom, Lot's wife turned, and looked back. We can hardly wonder at her folly. Everything she loved was in Sodom. She had left the daughters, who had married Sodomites, and her sons-in-law behind her. She had left her friends of fashion and of pomp behind her. She had left her beautiful home and its luxuries behind her. She had left more than all of this she had left the affections of her own heart behind her.

When Lot's wife looked toward Sodom, she looked toward her treasures, and toward those things which were dearer to her than life. Let us fear lest we, too, become entangled again in a yoke of bondage, and begin to long after the "flesh pots of Egypt," and thus look back.

4. The look of Abraham. Abraham had prayed earnestly for Lot. The result of Abraham's prayer was that Lot and his two daughters were saved. God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out.

I. PRAYER, AND THE UPWARD LOOK (2 Chronicles 20:12 )

Moab and Ammon came against Jehoshaphat to battle. They were a great multitude, and Jehoshaphat was afraid. Then Jehoshaphat prayed unto the Lord and said, "O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee."

In answer to Jehoshaphat's prayer, the enemy was overthrown. We need to place our eyes upon God. God has said, "Fret not thyself because of evil doers." To the contrary, we must learn to "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." When everything seems against us, it is only God's opportunity to show His strength. Sometimes, in earnest prayer, we need to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

"Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Habakkuk came to the place where the fig tree did not blossom, neither was there fruit in the vine; the labour of the olive failed, and the fields yielded no meat; the flock was cut off from the fold, and no herd was found in the stall: yet, the Prophet said, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

It was the clinging prayer of Jacob that made him a victor. It is when we come to the end of ourselves, and lift up our face with beseeching unto God, that He comes to our help.

God has said, "My grace is sufficient for thee." It is sufficient everywhere. What we must do is to lift up our eyes unto the Lord, and get in touch with His power. We will. always find that there is a larger balance to the credit of faith when we draw upon Heavenly resources.

II. SERVICE, THE OUTWARD LOOK (John 4:35-36 )

The Lord told the disciples to lift up their eyes, and to look, for the fields were white unto the harvest. When our eyes were upon the fields for service, His eyes would be upon us for blessing. When the Children of Israel faced the land of Canaan, God told them to enter in, and to possess the land. Then, said God, "I will be with thee."

We fail to receive from God, because we refuse to undertake for God. He who sits still, and never ventures, in faith, will find God waiting for him to step out, instead of working for Him.

The eyes of the Lord are looking for men ready to leave father, mother, brother, sister, houses and lands, that they may go forth to reap.

Do you see the ripened fields? Do you hear the voice of God saying, "Who will go and reap?" God grant that you may say, "Here am I, Lord, send me."

When the Lord commanded Joshua, saying, "Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people," there was no time for fear, no time to weigh the difficulties of the wilderness. What mattered if there were difficulties ahead; God had commanded, "Go!" They dared not hesitate.

The Lord told Philip to go in the road which was desert. Immediately Philip arose and went. Can we not even now hear the voice of God saying to us, even as He said to Israel of old, "Go forward"?

The Lord Himself has promised, "I will be with thee." We must not cease to go until we have preached the Gospel to every creature; until every stock of ripened grain has been harvested home.

If barriers lie across our way, they will disappear before our march of faith.

'Tis the voice of the Master, "Press forward today,

The fields are all ripened with grain";

'Tis the voice of the servant, 'I'll haste to obey,

Not counting the cost, but the gain."

III. CONFLICT, THE INWARD LOOK (Romans 7:18-24 )

When we look within and view our human heart, in its sinful estate, we are crushed, even to despair. Paul said, "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Do you marvel that Paul then cried, "O wretched man that I am"? The vision of his own sinful self was enough to cause him to bemoan himself.

It is always true that when we look within and see the contumely of our old man, we are disturbed and disheartened. What then shall we do? Let us reckon the old man as dead. Let us refuse to listen to its voice, to walk in its ways, or to fulfil its desires.

On the contrary, let us look away to the Holy Spirit, remembering that He, likewise, dwells within. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. If we walk in the Spirit, our moans of despair will be changed into paeans of victory. Instead of self-condemnation, we will have "no condemnation." Instead of the works of the flesh being made manifest, we will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

The believer must guard against being overwhelmed by introspection. He must remember that Jesus Christ is stronger than self, that the Holy Spirit will give deliverance from the dominion of the self-life.

It is unwise for the Christian to boast in the flesh, or to walk by the flesh, or to pamper the flesh. Paul said, "I die daily." There is only one place for the self-life and that is on the Cross, to be crucified with Christ. It we live the life of victory, we must not walk by the old man, but by the new man.

Christ has said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself." In the Christian experience Christ must be All, and in all, and the old man nothing at all.

IV. RETROSPECTION, THE BACKWARD LOOK (2 Timothy 4:8 )

As Paul looked backward over a fruitful ministry, and a faithful life, he could say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Here is a retrospective that was worth the while.

We need to look backward now and then, not with the spirit of boastfulness, but with the spirit of honest contemplation.

At the end of every day it will profit us to study what has been done, and said, and thought. Thus we can profit by our mistakes, and increase our victories. The first will cause us to be more careful; and the second will bring us encouragement by the way.

In retrospection, however, we must never be overwhelmed or discouraged by reason of our failure; nor, must we be satisfied with our successes. We must watch against resting upon our past accomplishments. We should use what God has done through us in the past, as an incentive to renewed and enlarged undertakings in the future.

If we would make our final retrospective, at the close of life's day, a cause for thanksgiving and praise, we must be very careful to fill in each day, as it passes, with faithful service; with fidelity to the faith; and with holy living.

When the Lord Jesus approached the end of His earthly ministry, He said, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do."

V. THE PERSPECTIVE, THE ONWARD LOOK (Habakkuk 2:3 )

We like the word spoken by Habakkuk: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time * * though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

As we look at present world-conditions we are disheartened. We are walking through a valley of the shadow of death. Sin and sorrow are wreaking out misery everywhere. Satan is renewing every effort against the race.

The Word of God promises no relief. Unto the end wars are determined. Evil men are to wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Iniquity will abound. God paints no roseate picture of the last days. He tells us, rather, that "perilous times shall come."

What Habakkuk saw, however, was a vision that looked on far beyond the present hour, far beyond the hour of Jacob's trouble. We know that Habakkuk saw the overthrow of Israel, and the cup of sorrow which she must drink; but he saw also the Lord coming, with His glory covering the Heavens, and he saw the earth full of His praise. He saw Christ coming in judgment against the nations that had despoiled Israel. He saw the sun and moon standing still as the Lord's arrows went forth. He saw the Lord marching through the land in indignation, threshing the heathen in His anger. Then, he saw the salvation of God's people, with the head of the house of the wicked cut down.

We need a similar vision. We would not be blind to the day of wrath that is about to fall upon the earth, but we would see also another day, a day of peace, a day when men shall beat the swords into plowshares, and the spears into pruninghooks; a day when Christ shall reign in righteousness.

If we see nothing but the present hour, heading up in the reign and rule of the antichrist, we will become discouraged; but, if we see beyond that hour, the day of "the Lord seated upon His throne," we will become encouraged and full of blessed anticipation.

VI. DISCOURAGEMENT, THE DOWNWARD LOOK (Genesis 4:5-6 )

Sin had entered into the Garden, and man had been expelled therefrom. Cain and Abel had been born with the ravages of sin upon them. Abel had placed his faith in the blood of a sacrifice, which anticipated the Cross of Christ. Cain had rejected the atonement, and had placed his faith in a bloodless sacrifice art ethical conception.

In jealousy Cain rose up and slew his brother. When Cain had seen that God accepted Abel and rejected himself, he was wroth, and his countenance fell. The result of sin is always a downcast look a fallen countenance.

God made man an "uplooker." He placed his head on the top of him. He gave him as his realm of his contemplation and vision, the things which were high and holy. Sin changed man's perspective; it turned his face from the skies, where God rules; to the earth, where man dwells.

The sinner looks at the things seen, not at the things unseen; he centers his affections upon the things of the earth, not upon the things of the sky.

Saints are "uplookers" and not "downlookers." We are looking for that Blessed Hope, and the Glorious Appearing of our Lord. We are building our treasures in Heaven, not upon the earth. We are strangers and pilgrims, journeying toward a City, whose Builder and Maker is God.

The man who, Cain-like, has his countenance downcast, and is living for this present world, is blind and cannot see afar off. The god of this world hath veiled his eyes lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of God should shine in upon him and convert him.

VII. ENCOURAGEMENT, THE GOD-WARD LOOK (2 Kings 6:17 )

Gehazi must have trembled with fear as he saw the enemy closing in upon Elisha, Then it was that the Prophet prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see." What Gehazi saw was the mountain full of God's horses and chariots, giving protection to His Prophet.

We need the vision which God gave to Gehazi. We need to see all Heaven working in our behalf. When this is before us, we will lift up the hands that hang down and find strength for our feeble knees.

Instead of looking at our emergencies, we should look beyond them, and above them to God's provision and power. When the Children of Israel saw the mountains on one side, the sea before them, and Pharaoh's hosts coming upon them and closing them in, they needed to look away to God.

The hosts of the Lord are an innumerable multitude, and they are all working in our behalf. The Lord, Himself, has placed at our disposal all of the power invested in Him, as He sits enthroned above.

Retreat should never be found in the Christian's vocabulary. We should not even try to go around our difficulties. We should press through them.

The ten spies came back, saying, "We saw giants." Joshua and Caleb said, "Let us go up at once" they saw God.

There are giants at every turn. They are in our family life; they are in our business careers; they are in our spiritual walk; they are everywhere. If we see the powers of God around us, we will say, "They be bread for us; we will eat them up." Without the opening of our eyes, and the faith which the vision of God instills, we will be eaten up by our enemies.

Our God is a God of infinite power. Our battle, therefore, is a battle with a sure conquest at its close. We will prove more than victors, through Him who loved us. We may experience a continuous fight, but we will have a glorious conclusion.

AN ILLUSTRATION

BIRDS ON THE WING

"Birds are seldom taken in their flight; the more we are upon the wing of Heavenly thoughts the more we escape snares." "O that we would remember this, and never tarry long on the ground lest the fowler ensnare us. We need to be much taken up with Divine things, rising in thought above these temporal matters, or else the world will entangle us, and we shall be like birds held with limed twigs, or encompassed in a net. Holy meditation can scarcely be overdone; in this age we fear it never is. We are too worldly, and think too much of the fleeting trifles of time, and so the enemy gets an advantage of us, and takes a shot at us. O for more wing and more use of the flight we have! Communion with Jesus is not only sweet in itself, but it has a preserving power by bearing us aloft, above gun-shot of the enemy. Thoughts of Heaven prevent discontent with our present lot, delight in God drives away love to the world, and joy in our Lord Jesus expels pride and carnal pleasure: thus we escape from many evils by rising above them.

Up, then, my heart. Up from the weedy ditches and briery hedges of the world into the clear atmosphere of Heaven. There where the dews of grace are born, and the sun of righteousness is Lord paramount, and the blessed wind of the Spirit blows from the everlasting hills, thou wilt find rest on the wing, and sing for joy where thine enemies cannot even see thee."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/genesis-13.html.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Genesis

THE IMPORTANCE OF A CHOICE

Genesis 13:1 - Genesis 13:13.

The main lesson of this section is the wisdom of seeking spiritual rather than temporal good. That is illustrated on both sides. Prosperity attends Abram and Lot while they think more of obeying God than of flocks and herds. Lot makes a mistake, as far as this world is concerned, when he chooses his place of abode for the sake of its material advantages. But the introductory verses [Genesis 13:1 - Genesis 13:4] suggest a question, and seem to teach an important lesson. Was Abram right in so soon leaving the land to which God had led him, and going down to Egypt? Was that not taking the bit between his teeth? He had been commanded to go to Canaan; should he not have stopped there-famine or no famine-till the same authority commanded him to leave the land? If God had put him there, should he not have trusted God to keep him alive in famine? The narrative seems to imply that his going to Egypt was a failure of faith. It gives no hint of a divine voice leading him thither. We do not hear that he builded any altar beside his tent there, as he had done in the happier days of life by trust. His stay resulted in peril and in something very like lying, for which he had to bear the disgrace of being rebuked by an idolater, and having no word of excuse to offer. The great lesson of the whole section, and indeed of Abram’s whole life, receives fresh illustration from the story thus understood, which preaches loudly that trust is safety and wellbeing, and that it is always sin and always folly to leave Canaan, where God has put us, even if there be a famine, and to go down into Egypt, even if its harvests be abundant.

But another lesson is also taught. After the interruption of the Egyptian journey, Abram had to begin all his Canaan life over again. Very emphatically the narrative puts it, that he went to ‘the place where his tent had been at the beginning,’ to the altar which he had made at the first. Yes! that is the only place for a man who has faltered and gone aside from the course of obedience. He must begin over again. The backsliding Christian has to resort anew to the place of the penitent, and to come to Christ, as he did at first for pardon. It is a solemn thought that years of obedience and heroisms of self-surrender, may be so annihilated by some act of self-seeking distrust that the whole career has, as it were, to be begun anew from the very starting-point. It is a blessed thought that, however far and long we may have wandered, we can always return to the place where we were at the beginning, and there call on the name of the Lord.

Note how we are taught here the great truth for the Old Testament, that outward prosperity follows most surely those who do not seek for it. Abram’s wealth has increased, and his companion, Lot, has shared in the prosperity. It is because he ‘went with Abram’ that he ‘had flocks, and herds, and tents.’ Of course, the connection between despising the world and possessing it is not thus close in New Testament times. But even now, one often sees that the men who will be rich fall into a pit of poverty, and that a heart set on higher things, which counts earthly advantages second and not first, wins a sufficiency of these most surely. Foxlike cunning, and wolf-like rapacity, and Devil-like selfishness, which make up a large portion of what the world calls ‘great business capacity,’ do not always secure the prize. But the real possession of earth and all its wealth depends to-day, as much as ever it did in Abram’s times, on seeking ‘first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.’ Only when we are Christ’s are all things ours. They are ours, not by the vulgar way of what the world calls ownership, but in proportion as we use them to the highest ends of helping us to grow in wisdom and Christ-likeness, in the measure in which we subordinate them to heavenly good, in the degree in which we employ them as means of serving Christ. We can see the Pleiades best by not looking directly at, but somewhat away from, them; and just as pleasure, if made the direct object of life, ceases to be pleasure, so the world’s goods, if taken for our chief aim, cease to yield even the imperfect good which they can bestow.

But now we have to look at the two dim figures which the remainder of this story presents to us, and which shine there, in that far-off past, types and instances of the two great classes into which men are divided,-Abram, the man of faith; Lot, the man of sense.

Mark the conduct of the man of faith. Why should he, who has God’s promise that all the land is his, squabble with his kinsman about pasture and wells? The herdsmen naturally would come to high words and blows, especially as the available land was diminished by the claims of the ‘Canaanite and Perizzite.’ But the direct effect of Abram’s faith was to make him feel that the matter in dispute was too small to warrant a quarrel. A soul truly living in the contemplation of the future, and filled with God’s promises, will never be eager to insist on its rights, or to stand on its dignity, and will take too accurate a measure of the worth of things temporal to get into a heat about them. The clash of conflicting interests, and the bad blood bred by them, seem infinitely small, when we are up on the height of communion with God. An acre or two more or less of grass land does not look all-important, when our vision of the city which hath foundations is clear. So an elevated calm and ‘sweet reasonableness’ will mark the man who truly lives by faith, and he will seek after the things that make for peace. Abram could fight, as Old Testament morality permitted, when occasion arose, as Lot found out to his advantage before long. But he would not strive about such trifles.

May we not venture to apply his words to churches and sects? They too, if they have faith strong and dominant, will not easily fall out with one another about intrusions on each other’s territory, especially in the presence, as at this day, of the common foe. When the Canaanite and the Perizzite are in the land, and Unbelief in militant forms is arrayed against us, it is more than folly, it is sin, for brethren to be turning their weapons against each other. The common foe should make them stand shoulder to shoulder. Abram’s faith led, too, to the noble generosity of his proposal. The elder and superior gives the younger and inferior the right of option, and is quite willing to take Lot’s leavings. Right or left-it mattered not to him; God would be with him, whichever way he went; and the glorious Beyond, for which he lived, blazed too bright before his inward sight to let him be very solicitous where he was. ‘I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ It does not matter much what accommodation we have on ship-board, when the voyage is so short. If our thoughts are stretching across the sea to the landing at home, and the welcome there, we shall not fight with our fellow-passengers about our cabins or places at the table. And notice what rest comes when faith thus dwindles the worth of the momentary arrangements here. The less of our energies are consumed in asserting ourselves, and scrambling for our rights, and cutting in before other people, so as to get the best places for ourselves, the more we shall have to spare for better things; and the more we live in the future, and leave God to order our ways, the more shall our souls be wrapped in perfect peace. Mark the conduct of the man of sense. We can fancy the two standing on the barren hills by Bethel, from one of which, as travellers tell us, there is precisely the view which Lot saw. He lifted up his greedy eyes, and there, at his feet, lay that strange Jordan valley with its almost tropical richness, its dark lines of foliage telling of abundant water, the palm-trees of Jericho perhaps, and the glittering cities. Up there among the hills there was little to tempt,-rocks and scanty herbage; down below, it was like the lost Eden, or the Egypt from which they had but lately come.

What need for hesitation? True, the men of the plain were ‘wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly,’ as the chapter says with grim emphasis. But Lot evidently never thought about that. He knew it, though, and ought to have thought about it. It was his sin that he was guided in his choice only by considerations of temporal advantage. Put his action into words, and it says, ‘Grass for my sheep is more to me than fellowship with God, and a good conscience.’ No doubt he would have had salves enough. ‘I do not need to become like them, though I live among them.’ ‘A man must look after his own interests.’ ‘I can serve God down there as well as up here.’ Perhaps he even thought that he might be a missionary among these sinners. But at bottom he did not seek first the kingdom of God, but the other things.

We have seldom the choice put before us so dramatically and sharply; but it is as really presented to each. There is the shameless cynicism of the men who avowedly only ask the question, ‘Will it pay?’ But there are subtler forms which affect us all. It is the standing temptation of Englishmen to apply a money standard to everything, to adopt courses of action of which the only recommendation is that they promote getting on in the world. Men who call themselves Christians select schools for their children, or professions for their boys, or marriages for their daughters, down in Sodom, because it will give them a lift in life which they would not get up in the starved pastures at Bethel, with nobody but Abram and his like to associate with. If the earnestness with which men pursue an end is to be taken as any measure of its importance in their eyes, it certainly does not look much as if modern average Christians did believe that it was of more moment to be united to God, and to be growing like Him, than to secure a good large share of earthly possessions. Tried by the test of conduct, their faith in getting on is a great deal deeper than their faith in getting up. But if our religion does not make us put the world beneath our feet, and count all things but loss that we may win Christ, we had better ask ourselves whether our religion is any better than Lot’s, which was second-hand, and was much more imitation of Abram than obedience to God.

Lot teaches us that material good may tempt and conquer, even after it has once been overcome. His early life had been heroic; in his young enthusiasm, he had thrown in his portion with Abram in his great venture. He had not been thinking of his flocks when he left Haran. Probably, as I have just said, he was a good deal galvanised into imitation; but still, he had chosen the better part. But now he has tired of a pilgrim’s life. There are men who cut down the thorns, and in whom the seed is sown; but thorns are tenacious of life, and quick growing, and so they spread over the field and choke the seed. It is easier to take some one bold step than to keep true through life to its spirit. Youth contemns, but too often middle-age worships, worldly success. The world tightens its grasp as we grow older, and Lot and Demas teach us that it is hard to keep for a lifetime on the heights. Faith, strong and ever renewed by communion, can do it; nothing else can.

Lot’s history teaches what comes of setting the world first, and God’s kingdom second. For one thing, the association with it is sure to get closer. Lot began with choosing the plain; then he crept a little nearer, and pitched his tent ‘towards’ Sodom; next time we hear of him, he is living in the city, and mixed up inextricably with its people. The first false step leads on to connections unforeseen, from which the man would have shrunk in horror, if he had been told that he would make them. Once on the incline, time and gravity will settle how far down we go. We shall see, in subsequent sections, how far Lot’s own moral character suffered from his choice. But we may so far anticipate the future narrative as to point out that it affords a plain instance of the great truth that the sure way to lose the world as well as our own souls, is to make it our first object. He would have been safe if he had stopped up among the hills. The shadowy Eastern kings who swooped down on the plain would never have ventured up there. But when we choose the world for our portion, we lay ourselves open to the full weight of all the blows which change and fortune can inflict, and come voluntarily down from an impregnable fastness to the undefended open.

Nor is this all; but at the last, when the fiery rain bursts on the doomed city, Lot has to leave all the wealth for which he has sacrificed conscience and peace, and escapes with bare life; he suffers loss even if he himself is ‘saved as dragged through the fire.’ The world passeth away and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. The riches which wax not old, and need not to be left when we leave all things besides, are surely the treasures which the calmest reason dictates should be our chief aim. God is the true portion of the soul; if we have Him, we have all. So, let us seek Him first, and, with Him, all else is ours.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/genesis-13.html.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Lot's Removal to Sodom. B. C. 1917.

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

We have here the choice that Lot made when he parted from Abram. Upon this occasion, one would have expected, 1. That he should have expressed an unwillingness to part from Abram, and that, at least, he should have done it with reluctancy. 2. That he should have been so civil as to have remitted the choice back again to Abram. But we find not any instance of deference or respect to his uncle in the whole management. Abram having offered him the choice, without compliment he accepted it, and made his election. Passion and selfishness make men rude. Now, in the choice which Lot made, we may observe,

I. How much he had an eye to the goodness of the land. He beheld all the plain of Jordan, the flat country in which Sodom stood, that it was admirably well watered every where (and perhaps the strife had been about water, which made him particularly fond of that convenience), and so Lot chose all that plain, Genesis 13:10,11. That valley, which was like the garden of Eden itself, now yielded him a most pleasant prospect. It was, in his eye, beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth and therefore he doubted not but that it would yield him a comfortable settlement, and that in such a fruitful soil he should certainly thrive, and grow very rich: and this was all he looked at. But what came of it? Why, the next news we hear of him is that he is in the briars among them, he and his carried captive. While he lived among them, he vexed his righteous soul with their conversation, and never had a good day with them, till, at last, God fired the town over his head, and forced him to the mountain for safety who chose the plain for wealth and pleasure. Note, Sensual choices are sinful choices, and seldom speed well. Those who in choosing relations, callings, dwellings, or settlements are guided and governed by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, or the pride of life, and consult not the interests of their souls and their religion, cannot expect God's presence with them, nor his blessing upon them, but are commonly disappointed even in that which they principally aimed at, and miss of that which they promised themselves satisfaction in. In all our choices this principle should overrule us, That that is best for us which is best for our souls.

II. How little he considered the wickedness of the inhabitants: But the men of Sodom were wicked, Genesis 13:13. Note, 1. Though all are sinners, yet some are greater sinners than others. The men of Sodom were sinners of the first magnitude, sinners before the Lord, that is, impudent daring sinners they were so to a proverb. Hence we read of those that declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not, Isaiah 3:9. 2. That some sinners are the worse for living in a good land. So the Sodomites were: for this was the iniquity of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness and all these were supported by the great plenty their country afforded, Ezekiel 16:49. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them. 3. That God often gives great plenty to great sinners. Filthy Sodomites dwell in a city, in a fruitful plain, while faithful Abram and his pious family dwell in tents upon the barren mountains. 4. When wickedness has come to the height, ruin is not far off. Abounding sins are sure presages of approaching judgments. Now Lot's coming to dwell among the Sodomites may be considered, (1.) As a great mercy to them, and a likely means of bringing them to repentance for now they had a prophet among them and a preacher of righteousness, and, if they had hearkened to him, they might have been reformed, and the ruin prevented. Note, God sends preachers, before he sends destroyers for he is not willing that any should perish. (2.) As a great affliction to Lot, who was not only grieved to see their wickedness (2 Peter 2:7,8), but was molested and persecuted by them, because he would not do as they did. Note, It has often been the vexatious lot of good men to live among wicked neighbours, to sojourn in Mesech (Psalm 120:5), and it cannot but be the more grievous, if, as Lot here, they have brought it upon themselves by an unadvised choice.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/genesis-13.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Abram having offered Lot the choice, he at once accepted it. Passion and selfishness make men rude. Lot looked to the goodness of the land; therefore he doubted not that in such a fruitful soil he should certainly thrive. But what came of it? Those who, in choosing relations, callings, dwellings, or settlements, are guided and governed by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life, cannot expect God's presence or blessing. They are commonly disappointed even in that which they principally aim at. In all our choices this principle should rule, That is best for us, which is best for our souls. Lot little considered the badness of the inhabitants. The men of Sodom were impudent, daring sinners. This was the iniquity of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness, Ezekiel 16:49. God often gives great plenty to great sinners. It has often been the vexatious lot of good men to live among wicked neighbours; and it must be the more grievous, if, as Lot here, they have brought it upon themselves by a wrong choice.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/genesis-13.html. 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The plain of Jordan, a great plain so called, because there the pleasant river Jordan divided itself into divers little streams or rivulets, which having no visible outlet into the sea, by degrees, and in several places, insinuated themselves into the earth, which made it very fruitful and excellent for Lot’s purpose. But this lovely plain was afterwards transformed by Divine vengeance into a filthy lake or dead sea, Genesis 19:24.

Even as the garden of the Lord; i.e. either,

1. Like that famous garden of Eden which God himself planted, Genesis 2:8. The like comparison we meet with Isaiah 51:3 Ezekiel 28:13 Ezekiel 31:8. Or,

2. Like some excellent garden; for excellent things are thus expressed, as, the host of God, 1 Chronicles 12:22, i.e. a great host; cedars of God, Psalms 80:10.

Like the land of Egypt, a land of eminent fertility by the influence of that great river Nilus, anciently celebrated as the granary of other countries. See Ezekiel 31:1-18.

Unto Zoar, i.e. to Bela, Genesis 14:2, afterwards called Zoar, Genesis 19:22, and here so called by a prolepsis. But these words are not to be joined with the words immediately going before, as if Egypt was commended for its fertility in that part of it from which men go to Zoar, but with the more remote words, and the sense is, as the words of the text are transplaced and rendered by some, that the plain of Jordan was (before the Lord destroyed it and its cities Sodom and Gomorrah) watered every where, even to Zoar; or, even until thou comest, i.e. till a man come, to Zoar, i.e. all the way which leads from the place where Abram then was to Zoar. And such transpositions are not unusual, as we shall see hereafter.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/genesis-13.html. 1685.

C. H. Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch

The opening of this chapter presents to us a subject of immense interest to the heart, namely, the true character of divine restoration. When the child of God has, in any way, declined in his spiritual condition, and lost his communion, he is in great danger, when conscience begins to work, of failing in the apprehension of divine grace, and of stopping short of the proper mark of divine restoration. Now, we know that God does everything in a way entirely worthy of Himself. Whether He creates, redeems, converts, restores, or provides, He can only act like Himself. What is worthy of Himself is, ever and only, His standard of action. This is unspeakably happy for us, inasmuch as we would ever seek to "limit the Holy One of Israel;" and in nothing are we so prone to limit Him as in His restoring grace. In the case now before us, we see that Abraham was not only delivered out of Egypt, but brought back" unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning,..... unto the place of the altar which he had made there at the first: and there Abraham called on the name of the Lord." Nothing can satisfy God, in reference to a wanderer or backslider, but his being entirely restored. We, in the self-righteousness of our hearts, might imagine that such an one should take a lower place than that which he had formerly occupied; and so he should, were it a question of his merit or his character; but, inasmuch as it is, altogether, a question of grace, it is God's prerogative to fix the standard of restoration; and His standard is set forth in the following passage "If thou wilt return, O Israel, return to me." It is thus that God restores, and it would be unworthy of Himself to do anything else. He will either not restore at all, or else restore, in such a way, as to magnify and glorify the riches of His grace. Thus, when the leper was brought back, he was actually conducted "to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." When the prodigal returned, he was set down at the table with the father. When Peter was restored, he was able to stand before the men of Israel and say, "ye denied the Holy One, and the Just" — the very thing which he had done himself, under the most aggravated circumstances. In all these cases, and many more which might be adduced, we see the perfectness of God's restoration. He always brings the soul back to Himself, in the full power of grace, and the full confidence of faith. "If thou wilt return, return lo me." "Abraham came unto the place where his tent had been

at the beginning.

Then, as to the moral effect of divine restoration, it is most deeply practical. If legalism gets its answer in the character of the restoration, antinomianism gets its answer in the effect thereof. The restored soul will have a very deep and keen sense of the evil from which it has been delivered, and this will be evidenced by a jealous, prayerful, holy, and circumspect spirit. We are not restored in order that we may, the more lightly, go and sin again, but rather that we may "go and sin no more." The deeper my sense of the grace of divine restoration, the deeper will be my sense of the holiness of it also. This principle is taught and established throughout all scripture?; but especially in two well-known passages, namely, Psalms 23:3, and 1 John 1:9; "He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." And, again, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The proper path for a divinely-restored soul, is "the path of righteousness." In other words, having tasted divine grace, we walk in righteousness. To talk of grace, while walking in unrighteousness, is, as the apostle says, to turn "the grace of our God into lasciviousness." If grace reigned through righteousness unto eternal life," it also manifests itself in righteousness, in the outflow of that life. The grace that forgives us our sins, cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Those things must never be separated. When taken together, they furnish a triumphant answer to the legalism and antinomianism of the human heart.

But there was a deeper trial for Abraham's heart than even the famine, namely, that arising from the company of one who, evidently, was not walking in the energy of personal faith, nor in the realisation of personal responsibility. It seems plain that Lot was, from the very beginning, borne onward rather by Abraham's influence and example, than by his own faith in God. This is a very common case. If we look down along the history of the people of God, we can easily see how that, in every great movement produced by the Spirit of God, certain individuals have attached themselves thereto who were not personally participators of the power which had produced the movement. Such persons go on for a time, either as a dead weight upon the testimony. or an active hindrance to it. Thus, in Abraham's case, the Lord called him to leave his kindred; but he brought his kindred with him. Terah retarded him in his movement, until death took him out of the way. Lot followed him somewhat further, until "the lusts of other things" overpowered him, and he entirely broke down.

The same thing is observable in the great movement of Israel out of Egypt. "A mixed multitude" followed them, and caused much defilement, weakness, and sorrow, for we read, in Numbers 11:1-35, "the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, who shall give us flesh to eat." So also, in the early days of the Church; and not only so, but in every revival which has taken place therein, down to the present day, many have been acted upon by various influences, which, not being divine, proved evanescent; and the persons so acted upon, sooner or later, gave way, and found their proper level. Nothing will endure but that which is of God. I must realise the link between me and the living God. I must know myself as one called of Him into the position which I occupy, else I shall have no stability, and exhibit no consistency therein. It will not do for us to follow in the track of other people, merely because it is their track. God will graciously give each a path to walk in, a sphere to move in, and a responsibility to fulfil; and we are bound to know our calling and the functions thereof, that, by His grace ministered to our souls daily, we may work therein effectually, to His glory. It matters not what our measure may be, provided it be what God hath dealt to us. We may have "five talents," or we may have but "one;" still if we use the "one," with our eye fixed on the Master, we shall just be as sure to hear from His gracious lips the words, "well done," as if we had used the "five." This is encouraging. Paul, Peter, James, and John had each his peculiar measure, his special ministry; and so with all; none needs to interfere with another. A carpenter has a saw and a plane, a hammer and a chisel, and he uses each as he needs it. Nothing can be more worthless than imitation. If, in the natural world, we look at the various orders of creation, we see no imitation. ALL have their proper sphere, their proper functions. And if it be thus in the natural world, how much more in the spiritual. The field is wide enough for all. In every house there are vessels of various sizes and various shapes. The master wants them all.

Let us, therefore, my beloved reader, search and see whether we are walking under a divine or a human influence; whether our faith stands in the wisdom of man, or in the power of God; whether we are doing things because others have done them, or because the Lord has called us to do them; whether we are merely propped up by the example and influence of our fellow, or sustained by personal faith in God. These are serious inquiries. It is, no doubt, a happy privilege to enjoy the fellowship of our brethren; but if we are propped up by them, we shall soon make shipwreck. So also, if we go beyond our measure, our action will be strained and unsightly, uneasy and unnatural. It is very easy to see when a man is working in his place, and according to his measure. ALL affectation, assumption, and imitation, is contemptible in the extreme. Hence, though we cannot be great, let us be honest; and though we cannot be brilliant, let us be genuine. If a person goes beyond his depth, without knowing how to swim, he will surely flounder. If a vessel put out to sea, without being sea-worthy and in trim, it will surely be beaten back into harbour, or lost. Lot left "Ur of the Chaldees," but he fell in the plains of Sodom. The call of God had not reached his heart, nor the inheritance of God filled his vision. Solemn thought! may we ponder it deeply? Blessed be God, there is a path for each of His servants, along which shines the light of His approving countenance, and to walk therein should be our chief joy. His approval is enough for the heart that knows Him. True, we may not always be able to command the approval and concurrence of our brethren; we may frequently be misunderstood; but we cannot help these things. "The day" will set all this to rights, and the loyal heart can contentedly wait for that day, knowing that then "every man shall have praise of God."

But it may be well to examine, more particularly, what it was that caused Lot to turn aside off the path of public testimony. There is a crisis in every man's history, at which it will, assuredly, be made manifest on what ground he is resting, by what motives he is actuated, and by what objects he is animated. Thus it was with Lot. He did not die at Charran; but he fell at Sodom. The ostensible cause of his fall was the strife between his herdmen and those of Abraham; but the fact is, when one is not really walking with a single eye and purified affections, he will easily find a stone to stumble over. If he does not find it at one time, he will at another. If he does not find it here, he will find it there. In one sense, it makes little matter as to what may be the apparent cause of turning aside; the real cause lies underneath, far away, it may be, from common observation, in the hidden chambers of the heart's affections and desires, where the world in some shape or form, has been sought after. The strife between the herdmen might have been easily settled without spiritual damage to either Abraham or Lot. To the former, indeed, it only afforded an occasion for exhibiting the beautiful power of faith, and the moral elevation, the heavenly vantage ground, on which faith ever sets the possessor thereof. But to the latter, it was an occasion for exhibiting the thorough worldliness of his heart. The strife no more produced the worldliness in Lot than it produced the faith in Abraham; it only manifested, in the case of each, what was really there.

Thus it is always: controversies and divisions arise in the Church of God, and many are stumbled thereby, and driven back into the world, in one way or another. They then lay the blame on the controversy and division, whereas the truth is, that these things were only the means of developing the real condition of the soul, and the bent of the heart. The world was in the heart, and would be reached by some route or another; nor is there much of moral excellency exhibited in blaming men and things, when the root of the matter lies within. It is not that controversy and division are not to be deeply deplored: assuredly they are. To see brethren contending in the very presence of "the Canaanite and the Perizzite is truly lamentable and humiliating. Our language should ever be, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee..... for we are brethren." Still, why did not Abraham make choice of Sodom? Why did not the strife drive him into the world? Why was it not an occasion of stumbling to him? Because he looked at it from God's point of view. No doubt, he had a heart that could be attracted by "well-watered plains," just as powerfully as Lot's heart; but then he did not allow his own heart to choose. He first let Lot take his choice, and then left God to choose for him. This was heavenly wisdom. This is what faith ever does: it allows God to fix its inheritance, as it also allows Him to make it good. It is always satisfied with the portion which God gives. It can say, the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." It matters not where "the lines" fall; for, in the judgement of faith, they always "fall in pleasant places," just because God casts them there.

The man of faith can easily afford to allow the man of sight to take his choice. Because, "If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." What beautiful disinterestedness and moral elevation we have here! and yet what security! It is certain that, let nature range where it will, let it take its most comprehensive grasp, its boldest and highest flight, there is never the slightest danger of its laying its hand upon faith's treasure. It will seek its portion in quite an opposite direction. Faith lays up its treasure in a place which nature would never dream of examining; and, as to its approaching thereto, it could not if it would; and it would not if it could. Hence, therefore, faith is perfectly safe, as well as beautifully disinterested, in allowing nature to take its choice.

What, then, did Lot choose, when he got his choice. He chose Sodom. The very place that was about to be judged. But how was this? Why select such a spot? Because he looked at the outward appearance, and not at the intrinsic character and future destiny. The intrinsic character was "wicked." Its future destiny was "judgement" — to be destroyed by "fire and brimstone out of heaven." But, it may be said, "Lot knew nothing of all this." Perhaps not, nor Abraham either; but God did; and had Lot allowed God to "choose his inheritance for him," He, certainly, would not have chosen a spot that He Himself was about to destroy. He did not, however. He judged for himself. Sodom suited him, though it did not suit God. His eye rested on the "well-watered plains," and his heart was attracted by them. "He pitched his tent toward Sodom." Such is nature's choice! "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." Lot forsook Abraham for the same reason. He left the place of testimony, and got into the place of judgement.

"And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will give it, and to thy Seed for ever." The strife" and "separation," so far from damaging Abraham's spiritual condition, rather brought out, in full relief, his heavenly principles, and strengthened, in his soul, the life of faith. Moreover, it cleared the prospect for him, and delivered him from the company of one who could only prove a dead weight. Thus it worked for good, and yielded a harvest of blessing. It is, at once, most solemn, and yet most encouraging, to bear in mind that, in the long run, men find their proper level. Men who run unsent, break down, in one way or another, and find their way back to that which they profess to have left. On the other hand, those who are called of God, and lean on Him, are, by His grace, sustained. "Their path is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." The thought of this should keep us humble, watchful, and prayerful. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall," for, truly, "there are first that shall be last, and there are last that shall be first." "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved," is a principle which, whatever be its specific application, has a wide moral bearing. Many a vessel has sailed out of harbour, in gallant style, with all its canvass spread, amid cheering and shouting, and with many fair promises of a first-rate passage; but, alas! storms, waves, shoals, rocks, and quicksands, have changed the aspect of things; and the voyage that commenced with hope, has ended in disaster. I am, here, only referring to the path of service and testimony, and, by no means, to the question of a man's eternal acceptance in Christ. This latter, blessed be God, does not, in any wise, rest with ourselves, but with Him who has said, "I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." But, do we not know, that many Christians set out on some special course of service or testimony, under the impression that they are called of God thereto, and, after a time, they break down? Unquestionably. And, further, very many set out in the profession of some special principle of action, respecting which they have not been divinely taught, or the consequences of which they have not maturely considered in the presence of God, and, as a necessary result, they themselves have been found, after a time, in the open violation of those very principles. ALL this is deplorable, and should be carefully avoided. It tends to weaken the faith of God's elect, and causes the enemies of the truth to speak reproachfully. Each one should receive his call and his commission directly from the Master Himself. ALL whom Christ calls into any special service, He will, infallibly, maintain therein, for He never sent any one a warfare at his own charges. But if we run unsent, we shall not only be left to learn our folly, but to exhibit it.

Yet, it is not that any one should set himself up as the impersonation of any principle, or as an example of any special character of service or testimony. God forbid. This would be the most egregious folly, and empty conceit. It is a teacher's business to set forth Gods Word; and it is a servant's business to set forth the Master's will; but while all this is fully understood and admitted, we must ever remember the deep need there is of counting the cost, ere we undertake to build a tower, or go forth to war. Were this more seriously attended to, there would be far less confusion and failure in our midst. Abraham was called of God from Ur to Canaan, and, hence, God led him forth on the way. When Abraham tarried at Charran, God waited for him; when he went down into Egypt, He restored him; when he needed guidance, He guided him; when there was a strife and a separation, He took care of him; so that Abraham had only to say, "Oh, how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men." He lost nothing by the strife. He had his tent and his altar before; and he had his tent and his altar afterwards. "Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord." Lot might choose Sodom; but as for Abraham, he sought and found his all in God. There was no altar in Sodom. Alas! all who travel in that direction are in quest of something quite different from that. It is never the worship of God, but the love of the world, that leads them thither. And even though they should attain their object, what is it? How does it end? Just thus, "He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". C. H. Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/nfp/genesis-13.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the Circle of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.’

Lot carries out his research carefully (he could not do this by literally just ‘looking up’). He travelled around and weighed up the opportunities. And as he stood in the hills and looked down over the Jordan and its surrounds and saw how well-watered and fruitful the plain was, the Circle of Jordan, with the Jordan running through it, and fed by other rivers, he was impressed. Later this area would become spoiled by salt and bitumen, but at this time it was fair to look at and enticing. He did not take anything else into consideration, especially the fact that he was leaving Canaan the land of promise.

“As you go to Zoar”, that is in the direction of Zoar, which is at the tip of the Dead Sea as it is after the destruction of the cities.

There is a link in this verse with Genesis 2, 3, for it is ‘like the garden of Yahweh’ with its great lifegiving river; also with Genesis 19, where we learn of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and with the land of Egypt, watered by the Nile, and fruitful. The reference to Egypt refers us back to the previous chapter. They have just seen the wonder of that land abundantly watered by so great a river. Here is a land that appears its equal.

The other two references show that this chapter is to be seen in a wider setting. The land that Lot covets is almost a return to Eden, thus the writer knows about Eden, but there is the ominous shadow of temptation because of the two evil cities. It is beautiful, but there is sin in the land. And Lot does not realise it, for he is not specifically under the protection of Yahweh or thoughtful about His covenants. He thinks only in terms of increasing wealth.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/genesis-13.html. 2013.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 13. The Separation of Abraham and Lot.—In the main from J, as is shown by the frequent mention of Yahweh, the reference to the garden of Yahweh, the preparation for the story of Sodom's overthrow in the mention of its exceeding sinfulness, and the phraseology. But Genesis 13:11 b - Genesis 13:12 a ("and they . . . the Plain") belongs to P, which characteristically avoids all explanation of the separation as due to strife; it was occasioned rather by their abounding wealth. Wellhausen regards Genesis 13:14-17 as an insertion on the ground that J does not represent Yahweh as speaking to Abraham except in a theophany (but cf. Genesis 12:1-3); or make Abraham half a nomad as Genesis 13:17 does; nor can the whole land be seen from Bethel; we have also a similar promise in Genesis 13:15, but fuller and much more solemn, with no indication that the promise in our chapter had already been given. If Genesis 13:14-17 is removed Genesis 13:18 connects immediately with Genesis 13:12 b, Genesis 13:13, which it should naturally follow. The addition, assuming it to be such, was probably made to supply a firmer basis for Abraham's right to Canaan. In the rest of the chapter this is based on Lot's choice of the Jordan Valley. Abraham is thus left with Canaan, and when Sodom is destroyed, Lot has to betake himself to the mountains. To the later writer this explanation presumably seemed not religious enough. The historical circumstances which lie behind the story are probably the fortunes of the settlers who were the ancestors of the Hebrews and Edomites on the one hand, and the Moabites and Ammonites on the other.

From the Negeb, Abraham and Lot return by stages to Bethel. But owing to the abundance of the flocks and herds difficulties arose between their herdsmen as to pasturage and water, the situation being complicated by the fact that the land was not otherwise unoccupied, but inhabited by the Canaanites and Perizzites. Abraham deals with it in a conciliatory spirit, and instead of insisting on his rights as senior and chief, offers Lot his choice of pasturage, since separation is inevitable. Lot, instead of imitating his uncle's magnanimity, chooses the well-watered basin of the lower Jordan Valley, fertile as Eden or Egypt, and the whole of it; but with the moral perils of contact with Sodom. To Abraham Yahweh makes a promise of the land for himself and his descendants. So while Lot camped in the neighbourhood of Sodom, Abraham had to take the poorer land, and dwelt by the terebinths in Mamre, here said to be in Hebron.

Genesis 13:7. Perizzite: possibly the name of a people, but perhaps the dwellers in hamlets as distinguished from the dwellers in cities.

Genesis 13:10. Plain of Jordan: the circle (mg.) of Jordan was the wide valley on the W. of the Jordan from about 25 miles N. of the Dead Sea down to, and apparently in the judgment of the narrator including what is now the Dead Sea itself (pp. 32f.). Zoar was in the neighbourhood of Sodom, and probably the cities of the Plain were on the S. of the Dead Sea. The meaning is that the district was "well watered as thou goest to Zoar," i.e. the writer thought of the Dead Sea as covering what in Abraham's time was fertile land, and as coming into existence and submerging this land when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. The Syr., however, reads Zoan, i.e. Tanis; if correctly, the inference just drawn would not necessarily hold good, though the reference to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah implies that the character of the country changed after the catastrophe. The Heb. text should probably be retained.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/genesis-13.html. 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Gen . Jordan] The first reference to this river—the only one in the country which flows through the entire summer.—Plain of Jordan] Lit. the circle of Jordan—the environs. "He saw not, indeed, the tropical fertility and copious streams along its course. But he knew of its fame as the garden of Eden, as of the valley of the Nile. No crust of salt, no volcanic convulsions had as yet blasted its verdure, or touched the secure civilisation of the early Phœnician settlements which had struck root within its deep abyss" (Stanley).—Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah] The face of the country was altered by the destruction of these cities.—Garden of the Lord] Heb. Garden of Jehovah, i.e., Eden.—Like the land of Egypt as thou comest unto Zoar] Houbigant translates, "Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was all, as thou goest to Zoar, well watered, even as the garden of the Lord, and as the land of Egypt." The name of the city at this time was Bela, and was called Zoar by anticipation.—

Gen . Journeyed east] By this we might suppose that he took the "right hand," according to the offer (Gen 13:9); but the Hebrews, in naming the points of the compass, supposed the face to be turned towards sun-rising; and the right hand would be the south.—And they separated themselves one from the other] Heb. A man from his brother.—

Gen . Land of Canaan] That portion of Palestine between the Jordan and the Mediterranean sea, excluding the valley of the Jordan.—Pitched his tent toward Sodom] He advanced towards it till he came near, but was probably prevented from entering by the well-known character of its inhabitants.—

Gen . Wicked sinners before the Lord exceedingly] Onkelos reads, "But the men of Sodom were unrighteous with their riches, and most vile in their bodies before the Lord exceedingly."—

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Gen

A WORLDLY CHOICE

The character of Lot, though it has many faults, has a bright side. He was unquestionably a "righteous" man, in whom conscience had been awakened to a sense of what was pure and just, for he "was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked." He, too, had left his father's house, and clave to Abram in his faith during all their wanderings through the land, and in the journey to Egypt and the return. But Lot's besetting sin was worldliness. This great evil lies as a dark shade upon his character and spreads itself throughout the whole of his history. It is probable that the worldly spirit grew stronger within him during his sojourn amidst the luxury and pride of Egypt, for those forms of temptation are the most dangerous which answer to our dispositions. In accordance with the prevailing fault in his character we find that Lot makes a worldly choice. That such was its nature is clear from the following facts—

I. It was determined by external advantages. "He lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt" (Gen ). The beauty and luxuriance of the place have become proverbial. It drew together vast numbers of men who had grown rich upon its productions, and built themselves into prosperous nations. Here was a strong temptation to such a man as Lot, whose chief desire was to increase his wealth, little heeding how he might thereby place his spiritual character in peril. The best and purest motives were weak in him. He was guided by no spiritual principle, and therefore shaped his course by external advantages. Such conduct is condemned by religion.

1. External advantages are not the chief end of life. Lot was guided in his choice by the beauty of the country, the richness of the pasturage, and the prosperity of the inhabitants. It is not wrong to employ means for increasing our wealth, or to take delight in the natural beauties of the world. Religion does not oblige us to seek the leanest pastures and to content ourselves with desolation and barrenness. But when we make worldly profit, comfort, and external beauty our chief aim, we sin against God—we miss what is the great end of life. Wealth is not the one thing needful; and he cannot be a religious man who makes this his great aim in life, having no regard to what is of far higher importance, the peace of his conscience arising from a sense of duty done towards God and man. The chief end of life is to glorify God, and to prepare our souls for the future state. All else should be subordinated to this. We are placed here, not to serve our own selfish interests at any cost, but to do our duty and to look for our place and reward from God.

2. External advantages are not the true happiness of life. True happiness is the very life of life, which all human experience teaches us does not consist in the abundance of the things which a man possesseth. How many are unhappy in the midst of outward splendour and the means of enjoyment! Some faults of disposition, the selfishness which has grown up with increasing wealth, or a sad burden resting upon the conscience, have dulled all enjoyment, and things that were made to give delight languish in the eye. The greatest happiness in life is found in doing deeds of kindness and good will to others, and in serving God. He who, for the sake of growing rich, refuses to follow that course of life which is most in accordance with his natural ability and tastes, and where he could be most useful to his fellow-men, cannot expect to have any real happiness. He is out of frame with his circumstances, and true enjoyment is impossible. Peace of conscience, too, must be considered. If that makes a void in the heart, all the good things in this world cannot fill it up. How little does the true joy of life depend upon what is outward! Good men, even in the midst of privation and suffering, have felt a peace above all earthly dignities.

3. External advantages, when considered by themselves, tend to corrupt the soul. If we choose our path in life by these and not from higher motives, we nourish our selfishness, we weaken the moral principle, and our spiritual sensibility becomes dull. We come under the influence of a base materialism, which tends to efface the true glory of life and to degrade man to the level of the brute.

II. It was ungenerous. With a noble generosity, Abram offered to Lot his choice of the whole land. If Lot's finer feelings had not been blunted by his selfishness, he would have passed the compliment to Abram, and declined the offer. But he grasps eagerly at the chance of wealth. In his own opinion he may have regarded himself as a shrewd man, one who would not let the main chance slip out of any weak compliance with the claims of his moral nature. But it showed a mean spirit to take advantage thus of the generosity of a friend. There are many such who take delight in generous natures only for the sake of what they can gain. Lot ought to have caught the spirit of his kinsman, and to have answered in the same dignified and noble manner. But he had too mean a soul for this. Such selfish men are the most unsatisfactory of friends. They fail us in the hour of trial. Such intense worldliness unfits men for all the duties of friendship.

III. It showed too little regard for spiritual interests. "The men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." As this is mentioned in connection with Lot's choice, it is most likely that he was aware of the fact. The wickedness of this people was known to him, yet he determines to run the risk. The sins of the people of Sodom were of more than common vileness and grossness, and they were nourished to that moral rankness by the very luxuriance of the soil, which formed so attractive a feature in the eyes of Lot. The prophet Ezekiel tells us how the vices of Sodom were to be traced to three causes—"pride, fulness of head, and abundance of idleness" (Eze ). All these evils were fully known to Lot when he made his choice; yet, blinded by the love of gain, he rushed into their midst. How great the evil to which he was exposing himself!

1. The loss of religious privileges. No worship of God was established in Sodom. No faith which had any claim to be called a religion was possible in the midst of such sensuality. It was a dangerous experiment to enter a community having no religious privileges, and where there was not even the chance of introducing them. It must be a hardy plant of piety which can thrive in such a soil. Lot may have quieted his conscience by the thought that he could be a means of blessing to the inhabitants of Sodom. But his selfishness, which would only have been increased by his dwelling among such people, would have enfeebled every effort to do good. No man intent only on worldly gain can be a missionary.

2. The contagion of evil example. The moral atmosphere of Sodom was so tainted as to expose weak virtue to the risk of the foulest infection. Dangerous it was even to the strong. He who goes into such a society without a sufficient call of duty and great strength of principle, runs the risk of being himself turned to ungodliness.

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES

Gen . If Lot had possessed a higher moral instinct he would have replied to Abram's proposal at once. He would have no need to look round upon the land. His was the cautious deliberation of a selfish man, who was determined to secure his own profit.

Lot judged by sight and sense, according to the world's judgment. The worldly man is under the tyranny of appearances.

But how does young Lot conduct himself on this occasion? He did not, nor could he object to the generous proposal that was made to him; nor did he choose Abram's situation, which though lovely in the one to offer, would have been very unlovely in the other to have accepted. In the choice he made he appears to have regarded temporal advantages only, and entirely to have overlooked the danger of his situation with regard to religion. "He lifted up his eyes, and beheld a well-watered plain;" and on this he fixed his choice, though it led him to take up his abode in Sodom. He viewed it, as we should say, merely with a grazier's eye. He had better have been in a wilderness than there. Yet many professors of religion, in choosing situations for themselves, and for their children, continue to follow his example. We shall perceive in the sequel of this story what kind of harvest his well-watered plain produced him.—(Fuller.)

The grasping worldly spirit is associated with meanness of soul, which blunts the perceptions of moral beauty.

No outward conditions, however fair and promising, will prove a paradise for a man as long as he makes it his highest good to seek his own profit. Selfishness will at length eat out the very core of his happiness. There is only one supreme good for man. To remove from the region of the means of grace for the purpose of carrying God's truth to those who are in darkness is to be commended, and he who undertakes that work in a right spirit will find that God can make rivers to spring up in the desert. But he who wilfully leaves behind him the outward privileges of religion for the sake of gain exposes his soul to great peril. The loss of the outward ordinances of religion is not easily compensated.

He can hardly be supposed to have been ignorant of the character of the people of Sodom, for they declared their sin in the most open and unblushing manner, as if in defiance of heaven and earth; nor could he but have been aware of the tendency of evil communications to corrupt good manners. But as he seems to have left them without regret, so it would appear that he approached Sodom without fear. What benefits he was likely to lose—what dangers to incur by the step, seem not to have entered his mind. His earthly prosperity was all that engaged his thoughts, and whether the welfare of his soul was promoted or impeded he did not care. This conduct no one hesitates to condemn, yet how many are there that practically pursue the same heedless and perilous course in their great movements in life! With the single view of bettering their worldly condition they often turn their backs upon the means of grace, and, reckless of consequences, plant themselves and their families in places where Sabbaths and sanctuaries are unknown, and where they are constantly exposed to the most pernicious influences. Alas, at how dear a price are such worldly advantages purchased! Well will it be for them if their goodly plains and fields do not finally yield such a harvest of sorrow as was gathered by hapless Lot.—(Bush.)

In the most marked features of his sin, Lot is punished.

1. For his worldly-mindedness. He failed to gain that which he had set his heart on, for in the battle with the kings he suffered the loss of all his property. "They took Lot and his goods." In the destruction of Sodom he had to leave all behind, and to flee for his life.

2. For his ungenerous conduct towards Abram he is brought under frequent obligations to him. Abram rescued him from the captivity of war, and made intercession for the city where he dwelt. He was a friend to him in his poverty.

3. For his disregard of the interests of his soul, the tone of his religious character became lowered. His moral principle was weakened by the pernicious atmosphere of ungodliness around him. Both himself and his family followed religion with but a languid interest—with so weak a devotion that they were overmastered by the influences of the world. So it comes to pass that men are punished in those very things from which they expected the highest worldly advantage. This is the solemn irony of Providence.

The memory of the Garden of Eden had not yet perished from among men. All nations have had their traditions of a Golden Age, some lost Paradise.

Gen . The selfish spirit is prompt to secure its own ends. Lot begins to choose at once, and without delay proceeds to take possession of his rich portion.

How vile is the sin of covetousness, which so dulls the conscience as to permit a man to enjoy what he has gained by an ungracious action!

The words "all the plain" seem to hint at the grasping disposition of Lot. Nothing less than this will satisfy him. This lust of land, the inordinate desire to add "house to house and lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth," has given birth to deeds of tyranny and oppression.

It was better that Abram and Lot should part, for events were pointing to a possible separation in heart. It is well to secure peace, even at some pain and inconvenience to ourselves.

As nature, affection, religion, affliction, all conspired to unite them, no doubt the prospect of separation was a severe trial to the feelings of Abram; but it was a friendly parting, and whatever blank was made by it in his happiness, it was speedily and abundantly compensated by renewed manifestations of favour from that Almighty Friend "who sticketh closer than a brother."—(Bush).

Thus, for awhile, is the path of faith more lonely. The true believer is more than ever cast on God. The Lots "choose" according to the sight of their eyes, and so, by degrees, get from communion with the godly to communion with the godless. Unlike souls, sooner or later, must separate. If there be not one spirit, no bond or arrangement can keep men long together. Each is gravitating to his place by a law which none can gainsay—dust to dust, and the spirit to God who is a spirit. Let us not forget the steps of Lot. First "he saw;" then "he chose;" then "he journeyed from the east," like some before him; then "he pitched towards Sodom;" then "he dwelt there." In a word, he walked by sight, then by self-will, then away from the light, then towards the unclean world, at last to make his home in it. This is the path of Lots in every age. And such, though "righteous" and "saved," are only "saved so as by fire."—(Jukes: Types of Genesis.)

Gen . The children of faith are content with their promised portion. Their present temporal condition does not disturb their hope and confidence in God.

It is possible, after all, that Lot's principle fault lay in pitching his tent in the place he did. If he could have lived on the plain, and preserved a sufficient distance from that infamous place, there might have been nothing the matter; but perhaps he did not like to live alone, and therefore "dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent towards Sodom." The love of society, like all other natural principles, may prove a blessing or a curse; and we may see by this example the danger of leaving religious connections; for as man feels it not good to be alone, if he forego these, he will be in a manner impelled by his inclinations to take up with others of a contrary description.—(Fuller.)

He who sets his face towards the tents of sin will soon become the victim of the dangerous fascination of the enchanted ground, and unless the grace of God prevails over his weakness, be drawn onwards, step by step, to his destruction.

How dangerous it is to commit ourselves to a course of sin, even where the motions of it are scarcely perceptible! This is like venturing on the outer edge of the whirlpool, until we are carried faster and faster through the giddy round and at last swallowed up in the terrible vortex!

Now that the covenant head has fairly a footing in the promised land in his own covenant right, let us look back from this point at the covenant thread in the history of the nations and persons. We find the general table of nations in Genesis 10, leaving us with Shem's line, so as to trace the covenant lineage. And in Genesis 11 accordingly, after the narration of the event which led to the dispersion of nations and peopling of the earth, Shem's line is resumed so as to trace it to Terah, where we are introduced to Abram, the covenant head. Accordingly, of the sons of Terah, we find Lot and his posterity dropped, and Abram left alone in the list, as he in whom the promises descend—the conveyancer of blessings to all the nations.—(Jacobus.)

Gen . The greatest depravity is often found amongst the inhabitants of the most fertile lands. Such is the ingratitude of human nature that where the gifts of God are most lavish there men most forget Him.

It is one of the moral dangers of prosperity that men become so satisfied with this present world that they think they have no need of God.

We may purchase worldly prosperity too dearly.

1. If it nourishes our selfishness and pride.

2. If it deprives of the benefit of religious ordinances.

3. If it exposes us to the contagion of evil examples.

4. If the spirit of the world so increases upon us that we forget God and our duty.

As a bar of iron has its breaking strain, so for every man there is a certain strength of temptation which his moral nature is not able to withstand. It is dangerous for us willingly to expose ourselves to the power of evil acting with its greatest force.

The grace of God will support a man in the ordinary temptations of life, but to rush into the midst of the most tainted atmosphere of sin is daring presumption.

"Sinners before the Lord exceedingly." Men are to be estimated as they stand in the sight of God. Crime has reference to the evils inflicted upon society, but sin has reference to man's moral accountability to God.

The higher blessings of good society were wanting in the choice of Lot. It is probable he was a single man when he parted from Abram; and, therefore, that he married a woman of Sodom. He has in that case fallen into the snare of matching, or, at all events, mingling with the ungodly. This was the damning sin of the antediluvians (Gen ). Sinners before the Lord exceedingly. Their country was as the garden of the Lord. But the beauty of the landscape, and the superabundance of the luxuries it afforded, did not abate the sinful disposition of the inhabitants. Their moral corruption only broke forth into greater vileness of lust, and more daring defiance of heaven. They sinned exceedingly, and before the Lord. Lot has fallen into the very vortex of vice and blasphemy—(Murphy).

It is an awful character which is here given of Lot's new neighbours. All men are sinners; but they were "wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." When Abram went to a new place it was usual for him to rear an altar to the Lord; but there is no mention of anything like this when Lot settled in or near to Sodom—(Fuller).

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY THE

REV. WM. ADAMSON

Abram and Lot! Gen . We have here—I. The Contention, which was

(1) unseemly,

(2) untimely, and

(3) unnecessary. II. The Consolation, which was

(1) unbounded,

(2) undoubted, and

(3) unearthly. Or, we have here—I. The Churlishness of the herdsmen. II. The Selfishness of Lot. III. The Unselfishness of Abram, and IV. The Graciousness of God. Or, we have here—I. The Return of Abram,

(1) forgiven and

(2) favoured. II. The Request of Abram,

(1) forbearing, and

(2) foregoing. III. The Reward of Abram (l) forgetting the earthly and

(2) foreshadowing the heavenly inheritance. The Lesson-Links or Truth-Thoughts are—

1. Wealth means

(1) strife,

(2) sorrow, and

(3) separation.

2. Abram manifests

(1) faith,

(2) forbearance, and

(3) forgetfulness of self.

3. Worldly love means

(1) stupidity,

(2) suffering, and

(3) sinfulness.

4. God manifests

(1) favour,

(2) fulness, and

(3) faithfulness to Abram.

"The pilgrim's step in vain,

Seeks Eden's sacred ground!

But in Hope's heav'nly joys again,

An Eden may be found."—Bowring.

Returns and Reviews! Gen .

(1) The poet has immortalised the Swiss patriot's sentiments on returning to the Alpine crags and peaks after strange and perilous experiences in exile. The historian has inscribed on the tablet of Church history the devout emotions of Arnaud on his return from danger and exile to the Vaudois Valleys. The litterateur has depicted on the page of his tale the joyful sensations of the emigrant, returning in safety and wealth to the home from which he had gone forth in peril and poverty.

(2) Abram had been driven by famine into the fruitful fields of Egypt, where he had narrowly escaped reaping death as the fruit of his fears and folly. God had in His wise and merciful Providence brought him back again to Hebron. He, therefore, calls on the name of the Lord. He, no doubt, received with thankfulness the Lord's intimations of mercy as connected with his previous sojourn; and he, doubtless, acknowledged with gratitude God's loving interposition with Pharaoh in his behalf.

(3) It is well to go back in review of old spots and past experiences in order to call up instrumentally thereby, says Doudney, the gracious acts, interposing goodness, and boundless benefits of our covenant-God in Christ. The light so shining upon the past prompts us to take down our harp from the willows, and to sing—

"His love in times past forbids me to think,

He'll leave me at last in trouble to sink."

Flocks and Herds! Gen .

(1) In a very old Egyptian tomb near the Pyramids the flocks and herds of the principal occupant are pourtrayed. The numbers of them are told as 800 oxen, 200 cows, 2,000 goats, and 1,000 sheep. Job at first had 7,000 sheep, 500 yoke of oxen, 3,000 camels, etc. We can thus form some idea of the number and magnitude of the patriarchal flocks and herds.

(2) At the present day these are no exaggeration, however startling the figures sound. In an Australian sheep-run one grazier has nearly 20,000 sheep. Not long ago an American sheepowner had as many as 9,000 browsing on the heights of Omaha, so that when a traveller looked forth at daybreak the mountains seemed like waves of the sea. In Zululand the flocks and herds of Cetewayo were immense.

"Abram's well was fann'd by the breeze,

Whose murmur invited to sleep;

His altar was shaded with trees,

And his hills were white over with sheep."—Shenstone.

Patriarchal Wealth! Gen .

(1) Dr. Russell tells us that the people of Aleppo are supplied with the greater part of their butter, cheese, and flesh by the Arabs, Rushmans, or Turcomans, who travel about the country with their flocks and herds, as the patriarchs did of old. Before America became so thickly peopled, its primitive white patriarchs wandered with flocks over the richly-clothed savannahs and prairies. Having collected vast stores of cheese, honey, skins, etc., they would repair to the townships and dispose of them.

(2) The Hebrew patriarchs no doubt supplied the cities of Canaan in like manner. Hamor, in Gen, expressly speaks of the patriarchs thus trading with his princes and people. La Rogue says that in the time of Pliny the riches both of the Parthians and Romans were melted down by the Arabs, who thus amassed large treasures of the precious metals. This probably explains how Abraham was rich, not only in cattle, but in silver and gold. Not that Abram trusted in his riches.

"Oh! give me the riches that fade not, nor fly!

A treasure up yonder! a home in the sky!

Where beautiful things in their beauty still stay,

And where riches ne'er fly from the blessed away."—Hunter.

Communion! Gen .

(1) Watson says, that he knows of no pleasure so rich—no pleasure so hallowing in its influences, and no pleasure so constant in its supply of solace and strength, as that which springs from the true and spiritual worship of God. Pleasant as the cool water brooks are to a thirsty hart, so pleasant is it for the soul to live in communion with God.

(2) Rutherford wrote to his friend from the prison of Aberdeen, "The king dineth with his prisoners, and his spikenard casteth a smell; he hath led me to such a pitch and degree of joyful communion with himself as I never before knew." This reminds us of Trapp's quaint speech, that a good Christian is ever praying or praising: he drives a constant trade betwixt earth and heaven.

(3) Abram built his altar while the Canaanites looked on. He lifted up a testimony for God, and God honoured him; so that Abimelech was constrained to say, "God is with thee in all that thou doest." Reader, in Greenland, the salutation of a visitor, when the door is opened, is this, "Is God in this house?" Remember that the home which has no family altar has no Divine delight.

"'Tis that which makes my treasure,

'Tis that which brings my gain;

Converting woe to pleasure,

And reaping joy for pain."—Guyon.

Lot's Survey! Gen, etc.

(1) Apparently the two patriarchs stood on a lofty summit, from which a wide survey could be obtained. To the east, says Stanley, would rise in the foreground the jagged range of the hills above Jericho, and in the distance the dark wall of Moab. Between them would lie the Valley of the Jordan, its course marked by the tract of forest in which its rushing stream is enveloped. Down to this valley would be a long and deep ravine, the main line of communication by which it is approached from the central hills of Palestine—a ravine rich with wine, olive, and fig. In the south and west Lot's view would command a survey of the bleak hills of Judea, varied by the heights crowned with what were afterwards the cities of Benjamin.

(2) An American writer, anxious to give a local impression of Lot's prospect, says that it was like standing at the Catskill Mountain House, and looking down through a broad cleft in the hills to the Hudson Valley below. But there is one element to be introduced into the calculation, viz., the remarkable transparency of the Syrian sky. In that country the air is so exceedingly clear, the light so very bright, and the atmosphere is so free from vapours that the optic vision pierces a great distance with absolute ease. Thus Lot could see the whole country, as Moses afterwards did from Mount Pizgah.

"To Lot, who look'd from upper air,

O'er all th' enchanted regions there,

How beauteous must have been the glow,

The life, the sparkling far below."—Moore.

Lot Leaving! Gen .

(1) Of some of those who followed the Master whithersoever He went up and down Judea and Galilee, we know that it is written, they left Him, and went their way. It was with sad heart that the Apostle of the Gentiles announced the lapse of one of His chosen companions: "Demas hath forsaken me—having loved this present world." And it was with tear-filled eye that one of Europe's noble Reformers told to his flock that his trusted fellow-soldier had yielded to the attractions of wealth.

(2) Lot's first days were bright with hope, as the near kinsman of Abram. Together they left Chaldea,—entered Canaan. But though the school of piety, in which he was trained, was most pure, Lot went astray. Caring only about this world's wealth, Lot sees the lovely plains of Sodom, and decides to go away. Of him, the patriarch might sadly whisper to his own heart, "Lot hath forsaken me, having loved this present world."

"Seek not the world!

'Tis a vain show at best;

Bow not before its idol shrine; in God

Find thou thy joy and rest."—Bonar.

Lot's Lot! Gen .

(1) A rough shell may hold a pearl, remarks Law. There may be silver amongst much dross. Life may exist within the stem, when leaves are seared and branches dry. The spring may yet be deep, while waters trickle scantily. A spark may live beneath much rubbish.

(2) So many heirs of glory live ingloriously. Heaven is their purchased rest, but their footsteps seem to be downward. In their hearts there is incorruptible seed, but sorry weeds are intermixed. They are translated into the kingdom of grace, but still the flesh is weak.

(3) Such is the gloomy preface to Lot's story. Yet the Holy Spirit, who by the pen of Moses records his tottering walk, by Peter's lips announces him as "just." Thrice in short compass, a glorious title enshrines him among the saved. The voice of truth proclaims him righteous: 2Pe .

"For his clothing is the Sun—

The bright Sun of Righteousness;

He hath put salvation on—

Jesus is his beauteous dress."—Wesley.

Godless Gain! Gen .

(1) A godly man in a rural village in Suffolk, where for generations the people had been highly favoured with a succession of earnest "winners of souls" to Christ, tempted by the offer of higher wages and greater scope in London, left his home and took up his residence in an ungodly neighbourhood in the East-end. But the higher wages and greater scope were very quickly outweighed by the corruption of his children, etc.

(2) Even religious men, says Robertson, sometimes settle in a foreign country, notoriously licentious, merely that they may increase their wealth. But very soon they find to their cost that God has terrible modes of retribution. In the choice of homes, of friends, and in alliances, he who selects according to the desires of the flesh lays up in store for himself many troubles and anxieties. Such was Lot's experience.

(3) How frequently, remarks Blunt, have men found that their greatest disquietudes and troubles have been the fruits of their own selfish selectings. Often that "vale of Siddim," which they have most anxiously coveted, has been the wellspring from whence has flowed the bitter waters of sorrow and distress. Far better, if God tries us by putting a blank paper into our hands, to fill in our free choice, humbly refer the choice back to Him and say,

"Thy way, not mine, O Lord,

However dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand,

Choose out the path for me."—Bonar.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/genesis-13.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

See the cause of this mistaken choice, 1 John 2:16; Ezekiel 16:49.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/genesis-13.html. 1828.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 13:10. Lot beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered — Lot seems to have had nothing in view but his temporal convenience and advantage. His flocks and herds were already too numerous, and his substance too great; and yet he wishes them to be still more enlarged, and therefore makes choice of this fertile and pleasant spot. He does not inquire into the character of the inhabitants, nor consider what sort of society he should find there; nor does he appear to express any reluctance at leaving Abram’s family, and losing the benefit of his conversation, counsel, and instructions. God, however, in the course of his providence, disappointed his views and expectations, and he soon had cause to repent of his choice.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/genesis-13.html. 1857.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Genesis 13:10-11

The lesson to be gained from the history of Abraham and Lot is obviously this: that nothing but a clear apprehension of things unseen, a simple trust in God's promises, and the greatness of mind thence arising, can make us act above the world—indifferent, or almost so, to its comforts, enjoyments, and friendships; or, in other words, that its goods corrupt the common run even of religious men who possess them.

I. Abraham and Lot had given up this world at the word of God, but a more difficult trial remained. Though never easy, yet it is easier to set our hearts on religion or to take some one decided step, which throws us out of our line of life and in a manner forces upon us what we should naturally shrink from, than to possess in good measure the goods of this world and yet love God supremely. The wealth which Lot had hitherto enjoyed had been given him as a pledge of God's favour, and had its chief value as coming from Him. But surely he forgot this, and esteemed it for its own sake, when he allowed himself to be attracted by the riches and beauty of a guilty and devoted country.

II. God is so merciful that He suffers not His favoured servants to wander from Him without repeated warnings. Lot had chosen the habitation of sinners; still he was not left to himself. A calamity was sent to warn and chasten him: he and his property fell into the hands of the five kings. This was an opportunity of breaking off his connection with the people of Sodom, but he did not take it as such.

III. The gain of this world is but transitory; faith reaps a late but lasting recompense. Soon the angels of God descended to fulfil in one and the same mission a double purpose: to take from Lot his earthly portion, and to prepare for the accomplishment of the everlasting blessings promised to Abraham; to destroy Sodom, while they foretold the approaching birth of Isaac.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. iii., p. 1.


References: Genesis 13:10-12.—Old Testament Outlines, p. 8. Genesis 13:11Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 27, vol. xx., p. 80. Genesis 13:12.—R. Redpath, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 287. Genesis 13:12, Genesis 13:13.—R. C. Trench, Sermons, New and Old, p. 258.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/genesis-13.html.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Genesis 13:10-13

That Lot was a good man in the ground of his character there is no reason to doubt. But good men have their besetting sins. Lot's was worldliness, and it cost him dear.

I. Consider some features of the choice which Lot made. (1) Worldly advantage was the chief element in determining his place in life. The volcanic fires, slumbering beneath, made the plain of Sodom so fertile that its riches had become proverbial; and the Jordan, which has now so short a course to the Dead Sea, then wandered through the plain, like the rivers of Eden. Let's eye regarded neither the dangers sleeping beneath, nor the light of God above, but only the corn and wine and verdant pastures. (2) Lot's choice betrayed a want of generosity. Abraham gave to Lot the selection of place, and had Lot been capable of appreciating his generosity he would have declined to avail himself of the offer. But he grasped at it eagerly and took the richest side. Such men are the most unsatisfactory of friends, paining us constantly by their selfishness, and failing us in the hour of need. (3) Lot's choice showed disregard of religious privileges. The sins of the men of Sodom were of a peculiarly gross and inhuman kind; had Lot's religion been warm and bright he would not have ventured among them. He may have excused himself to his conscience by saying that he was going to do good, but when he left Sodom he could not count a single convert.

II. Consider the consequences of Lot's choice. (1) As he made worldly advantage his chief aim, he failed in gaining it.

Twice he lost his entire possessions; he left Sodom poorer than he entered it. He was stripped of the labours of years, and dared not even look behind on the ruin of his hopes. (2) As Lot failed in generosity to Abraham, he was repeatedly brought under the weightiest obligations to him. He took an unfair advantage of Abraham, but ere many years had passed he owed all he had—family, property, liberty—to Abraham's courageous interposition. (3) Lot's disregard of spiritual privileges brought on him a bitter entail of sin and shame. His own religious character suffered from his sojourn in Sodom. This alone can account for the grievous termination of his history. His life remains as a warning against the spirit of worldliness. Both worlds frequently slip from the grasp in the miserable attempt to gain the false glitter of the present.

J. Ker, Sermons, p. 70.


Reference: Genesis 13:10-13.—M. Nicholson, Communion with Heaven, p. 171.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/genesis-13.html.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 21

SEPARATION OF ABRAM AND LOT

Genesis 13:8-11. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan.

WEALTH is almost universally considered as a source of happiness, and in that view is most eagerly desired. That it may conduce to our happiness in some respects, especially when it is improved for the relief of our fellow-creatures, we admit: but it is much oftener a source of trouble and vexation than of satisfaction and comfort. “If goods increase, (says Solomon,) they are increased that eat them [Note: Ecclesiastes 5:11.].” A multitude of servants augments our care. Their disagreements among themselves, or disputes with the servants of others, frequently become an occasion of disquietude to ourselves. The envy also and jealousy that are excited in the breasts of others, operate yet further to the disturbance of our peace. In how many families have contentions arisen from this source! How many who have spent years together in love and harmony, have been distracted by feuds and animosities as soon as ever they were called to share the property that has been bequeathed them! Even piety itself cannot always prevent that discord, which the pride or covetousness of others is forward to excite. Abram and Lot had lived together in perfect amity, while their circumstances were such as to preclude any jarring of interests; but when their opulence increased, occasions of jealousy arose; their servants, espousing too warmly their respective interests, quarrelled among themselves; and it became expedient at last, on account of the difficulty of finding pasturage for such numerous flocks and herds, and for the sake of preventing more serious disputes, that a separation should take place between them. The manner in which this separation was effected will afford us much instruction, while we consider,

I. The proposal of Abram—

His conduct on this occasion was indeed such as became his exalted character. It was,

1. Conciliatory—

[Abram well knew the value and blessedness of peace. He knew that “the beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water;” the breach, however small at first, being quickly widened by the stream that rushes through it, and speedily defying all the efforts of man to prevent an inundation. He had learned that valuable lesson, “To leave off contention before it be meddled with [Note: Proverbs 17:14.] ;” knowing that when it is once begun, no man can tell when or how it shall terminate. Hence he was desirous of promoting peace between the herdmen, and more especially between himself and Lot. The consideration of the relation subsisting between himself and Lot, rendered the idea of contention still more hateful in his eyes; “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.” How amiable was this spirit, how engaging was this address! and how happy would the world be, if all were thus studious to prevent contention, and to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace!”]

2. Condescending—

[Abram, as standing in the superior relation of an Uncle, and as being the person peculiarly called of God, while Lot was only a Nephew and an attendant, might well have claimed the deference and submission that were due to him. But, instead of arrogating to himself any authority or asserting his own rights, he was ready to act the part of an inferior; rightly

Judging, that condescension is the truest honour, and that to e the servant of all is to imitate most nearly the character of our blessed Lord [Note: Matthew 20:26-28.]. Accordingly the proposal came from him, that, since circumstances imperiously required a separation, they should separate in a manner that became their holy profession. How many angry disputes, and bitter quarrels, and bloody wars might be avoided, if the contending parties, instead of proudly requiring the first advances from each other, would strive who should be foremost in making proposals for peace!]

3. Generous—

[Common justice required that the partition of land should be such as to secure to Abram equal advantages with Lot. But Abram waved his rights, and cheerfully conceded to his Nephew whatever portion he chose to take. Though he could not but know that there was a great difference between the lands on either side of him, the one being far more fertile and better watered than the other, he desired Lot to occupy whichever he preferred, and to leave the other to him. What a noble, disinterested, generous mind did this manifest! Would to God that such an indifference about carnal interests were more prevalent in the world, and especially among the professors of religion! This would shew a becoming deadness to the world: it would give an evidence, that our hearts were set on things above, and not on things below: it would illustrate, more strongly and convincingly than ten thousand words, the efficacy of faith, and the excellence of true religion.]

Admirable as was the example of Abram, we observe a perfect contrast to it in,

II. The choice of Lot—

Whether Lot was at that time a converted man, we cannot say: it is certain that twenty years after this he was a truly righteous man, and a most distinguished favourite of Heaven [Note: 2 Peter 2:7-8.]: and it is not improbable that the change of heart which he experienced, arose from the troubles which his present choice entailed upon him. But without determining his general character, it is very plain that his conduct in the present instance argued,

1. Too great a concern about his temporal interests—

[As far as the history informs us, we have no reason to think that Lot felt any reluctance in parting with Abram. He had now an opportunity of gratifying his covetous desires; and he seems to have embraced it with greediness and joy. If he had not been blinded by selfishness, he would have returned the compliment to Abram, and given him his choice: or, if he had accepted Abram’s offer, he would at least have endeavoured to make an equitable division of the lands, so that each might have his proper portion of the more fertile country. But instead of this, he surveyed with pleasure the well-watered plains of Jordan, which were beautiful and fruitful like Eden of old, and took the whole of them for himself; regardless what difficulties his Uncle might experience; and intent only on his own interests. Who does not see the meanness and illiberality of this conduct? Who does not see that worldliness and covetousness were the governing principles of his heart? If the man who requested our Lord to interpose in order to obtain for him his proper share of his father’s inheritance, needed that caution, “Take heed and beware of covetousness,” much more did the choice of Lot betray a very undue concern about his temporal interests, and a selfishness that was deeply reprehensible.]

2. Too little regard to the interests of his soul—

[Lot could not but know the character of the people of Sodom; for they declared their sin before all, and without the least reserve: and he ought to have considered what a tendency there is in “evil communications to corrupt good manners.” But as he left Abram without regret, so he went to dwell in Sodom without fear. What benefits he was losing, and what dangers he was about to rush into, he little thought of: his earthly prosperity was all that occupied his mind: and whether the welfare of his soul were forwarded or impeded, he did not care. This conduct every one must blame: yet how many are there who pursue the same heedless and pernicious course! How many for the sake of temporal advantage will leave the places where their souls are nourished with the bread of life, and take up their abode where there is an incessant “famine of the word!” How many will form their connexions even for life upon no better principle than this! Well will it be for them, if the troubles which they bring upon themselves, operate, as they did on Lot, to bring them to repentance.]

Let us learn from hence,

1. To guard against the love of this world—

[It is not without reason that St. John says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him [Note: 1 John 2:15-16.].” We see in the instance before us what unhappy dispositions the love of this world generated, and what unworthy conduct it produced. Indeed the folly as well as sinfulness of this disposition is strongly illustrated in the present case: for Lot had enjoyed his portion but a little time before he was plundered of all that he possessed, and himself and family were carried into captivity [Note: Genesis 14:12.]: and, after his restoration to liberty and opulence, he at last was forced to flee for his life, and to leave all his property, and part also of his family, to be destroyed by fire from heaven [Note: Genesis 19:14; Genesis 19:17; Genesis 19:25-26.]. Thus shall a love of this world be recompensed to all. If God have designs of mercy towards them, he will either take away from them the objects of their idolatrous regard, or embitter to them the possessions in which they have sought delight. Let us then be on our guard against that “love of money which is the root of all evil; which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows: for they that would be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition [Note: 1 Timothy 6:9-10.].”]

2. To cultivate an affectionate and self-denying spirit—

[If we look no further than this present life, the exercise of love and self-denial has greatly the advantage of selfishness, even when it is most successful. Let us compare the feelings of Abram and of Lot on this occasion: how refined, how enviable were those of Abram in comparison of Lot’s! Give to Lot all the joy of successful covetousness, and conceive him_to be filled with exultation at the portion he had gained, and at his prospects of increasing opulence: suppose, on the other hand, Abram impressed with thankfulness to God for having enabled him to sacrifice his own interests rather than contend about them, and for having disposed his mind to generosity and love: which of these two had the more solid happiness? No man who has any just notions of happiness, can entertain a doubt. What then we admire in another, let us cultivate in ourselves: and what we cannot but acknowledge to be highly virtuous and laudable, let us labour to attain, let us endeavour to preserve in constant exercise. “Let us be kindly affectioned one to another in brotherly love, in honour preferring one another [Note: Romans 12:10.].” Let us “look not on our own things only, but rather and principally on the things of others [Note: Philippians 2:4-5.].” Thus “walking in the steps of our father Abraham,” we shall approve ourselves his children; yea, we shall resemble that greatest of all patterns, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many [Note: Matthew 20:26-28.].” And as Abram was immediately visited by God, and refreshed with more assured prospects of the promised land [Note: 4–17.], so shall every one who denies himself for God, be recompensed with present consolations, and eternal joys [Note: Luke 14:14.].]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/genesis-13.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

LOT’S SEPARATION FROM ABRAM

Genesis 13:1-18

ABRAM left Egypt thinking meanly of himself, highly of God. This humble frame of mind is disclosed in the route he chooses; he went straight back "unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, unto the altar which he had made there at the first." With a childlike simplicity he seems to own that his visit to Egypt had been a mistake. He had gone there supposing that he was thrown upon his own resources, and that, in order to keep himself and his dependants alive, he must have recourse to craft and dishonesty. By retracing his steps and returning to the altar at Bethel, he seems to acknowledge that he should have remained there through the famine in dependence on God.

Whoever has attempted a similar practical repentance, visible to his own household and affecting their place of abode or daily occupations, will know how to estimate the candour and courage of Abram. To own that some distinctly marked portion of our life, upon which we entered with great confidence in our own wisdom and capacity, has come to nothing and has betrayed us into reprehensible conduct, is mortifying indeed. To admit that we have erred and to repair our error by returning to our old way and practice, is what few of us have the courage to do. If we have entered on some branch of business or gone into some attractive speculation, or if we have altered our demeanour towards some friend, and if we are finding that we are thereby tempted to doubleness, to equivocation, to injustice, our only hope lies in a candid and straightforward repentance, in a manly and open return to the state of things that existed in happier days and which we should never have abandoned. Sometimes we are aware that a blight began to fall on our spiritual life from a particular date, and we can easily and distinctly trace an unhealthy habit of spirit to a well-marked passage in our outward career; but we shrink from the sacrifice and shame involved in a thoroughgoing restoration of the old state of things. We are always so ready to fancy we have done enough, if we get one heartfelt word of confession uttered; so ready, if we merely turn our faces towards God, to think our restoration complete. Let us make a point of getting through mere beginnings of repentance, mere intention to recover God’s favour and a sound condition of life, and let us return and return till we bow at God’s very altar again, and know that His hand is laid upon us in blessing as at the first.

Out of Egypt Abram brought vastly increased wealth. Each time he encamped, quite a town of black tents quickly rose round the spot where his fixed spear gave the signal for halting. And along with him there journeyed his nephew, apparently of almost equal, or at least considerable wealth; not dependent on Abram, nor even a partner with him, for "Lot also had flocks and herds and tents." So rapidly was their substance increasing that no sooner did they become stationary than they found that the land was not able to furnish them with sufficient pasture. The Canaanite and the Perizzite would not allow them unlimited pasture in the neighbourhood of Bethel; and as the inevitable result of this the rival shepherds, eager to secure the best pasture for their own flocks and the best wells for their own cattle and camels, came to high words and probably to blows about their respective rights.

To both Abram and Lot it must have occurred that this competition between relatives was unseemly, and that some arrangement must be come to. And when at last some unusually blunt quarrel took place in presence of the chiefs, Abram divulges to Lot the scheme which had suggested itself to him. This state of things, he says, must come to an end; it is unseemly, unwise, and unrighteous. And as they walk on out of the circle of tents to discuss the matter without interruption, they come to a rising ground where the wide prospect brings them naturally to a pause. Abram looking north and south and seeing with the trained eye of a large flock-master that there was abundant pasture for both. turns to Lot with a final proposal: "Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Thus early did wealth produce quarrelling among relatives. The men who had shared one another’s fortunes while comparatively poor, no sooner become wealthy than they have to separate. Abram prevented quarrel by separation. "Let us," he says, "come to an understanding. And rather than be separate in heart, let us be separate in habitation." It is always a sorrowful time in family history when it comes to this, that those who have had a common purse and have not been careful to know what exactly is theirs and what belongs to the other members of the family, have at last to make a division and to be as precise and documentary as if dealing with strangers. It is always painful to be compelled to own that law can be more trusted than love. and that legal forms are a surer barrier against quarrelling than brotherly kindness. It is a confession we are sometimes compelled to make, but never without a mixture of regret and shame.

As yet the character of Lot has not been exhibited, and we can only calculate from the relation he bears to Abram what his answer to the proposal will probably be. We know that Abram has been the making of his nephew, and that the land belongs to Abram; and we should expect that in common decency Lot would set aside the generous offer of. his uncle and demand that he only should determine the matter. "It is not for me to make choice in a land which is wholly yours. My future does not carry in it the import of yours. It is a small matter what kind of subsistence I secure or where I find it. Choose for yourself, and allot to me what is right." We see here what a safeguard of happiness in life right feeling is. To be in right and pleasant relations with the persons around us will save us from error and sin even when conscience and judgment give no certain decision. The heart which feels gratitude is beyond the need of being schooled and compelled to do justly. To the man who is affectionately disposed it is superfluous to insist upon the rights of other persons. The instinct which tells a man what is due to others and makes him sensitive to their wrongs will preserve him from many an ignominious action which would degrade his whole life. But such instinct was a-wanting in Lot. His character, though in some respects admirable, had none of the generosity of Abram’s in it. He had allowed himself on countless previous occasions to take advantage of Abram’s unselfishness. Generosity is not always infectious; often it encourages selfishness in child, relative, or neighbour. And so Lot, instead of rivalling, traded on his uncle’s magnanimity; and chose him all the plains of Jordan because in his eye it was the richest part of the land.

This choice of Sodom as a dwelling-place was the great mistake of Lot’s life. He is the type of that very large class of men who have but one rule for determining them at the turning points of life. He was swayed solely by the consideration of worldly advantage. He has nothing deep, nothing high in him. He recognises no duty to Abram, no gratitude, no modesty; he has no perception of spiritual relations, no sense that God should have something to say in the partition of the land. Lot may be acquitted of a good deal which at first sight one is prompted to lay to his charge, but he cannot be acquitted of showing an eagerness to better himself, regardless of all considerations but the promise of wealth afforded by the fertility of the Jordan valley. He saw a quick though dangerous road to wealth. There seemed a certainty of success in his earthly calling, a risk only of moral disaster. He shut his eyes to the risk that he might grasp the wealth; and so doing, ruined both himself and his family.

The situation is one which is ceaselessly repeated. To men in business or in the cultivation of literature or art, or in one of the professions, there are presented opportunities of attaining a better position by cultivating the friendship or identifying oneself with the practice of men whose society is not in itself desirable. Society is made up of little circles, each of which has its own monopoly of some social or commercial or political advantage, and its own characteristic tone and enjoyments and customs. And if a man will not join one of these circles and accommodate himself to the mode of carrying on business and to the style of living it has identified with itself, he must forego the advantages which entrance to that circle would secure for him. As clearly as Lot saw that the well-watered plain stretching away under the sunshine was the right place to exercise his vocation as a flock-master, so do we see that associated with such and such persons and recognised as one of them, we shall be able more effectively than in any other position to use whatever natural gifts we have, and win the recognition and the profit these gifts seem to warrant. There is but one drawback. "The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." There is a tone you do not like; you hesitate to identify yourself with men who live solely and with cynical frankness only for gain; whose every sentence betrays the contemptible narrowness of soul to which worldliness condemns men; who live for money and who glory in their shame.

The very nature of the world in which we live makes such temptation universal. And to yield is common and fatal. We persuade ourselves we need not enter into close relations with the persons we propose to have business connections with. Lot would have been horrified, that day he made his choice, had it been told him his daughters would marry men of Sodom. But the swimmer who ventures into the outer circle of the whirlpool finds that his own resolve not to go further presents a very weak resistance to the water’s inevitable suction. We fancy perhaps that to refuse the companionship of any class of men is pharisaic; that we have no business to condemn the attitude towards the Church, or the morality, or the style of living adopted by any class of men among us. This is the mere cant of liberalism. We do not condemn persons who suffer from smallpox, but a smallpox hospital would be about the last place we should choose for a residence. Or possibly we imagine we shall be able to carry some better influences into the society we enter. A vain imagination; the motive for choosing the society has already sapped our power for good.

Many of the errors of worldly men only reveal their most disastrous consequences in the second generation. Like some virulent diseases they have a period of incubation. Lot’s family grew up in a very different atmosphere from that which had nourished his own youth in Abram’s tents. An adult and robust Englishman can withstand the climate of India: but his children who are born in it cannot. And the position in society which has been gained in middle life by the carefully and hardily trained child of a God-fearing household may not very visibly damage his own character, but may yet be absolutely fatal to the morality of his children. Lot may have persuaded himself he chose the dangerous prosperity of Sodom mainly for the sake of his children; but in point of fact he had better have seen them die of starvation in the most barren and parched desolation. And the parent who disregards conscience and chooses wealth or position, fancying that thus he benefits his children, will find to his life-long sorrow that he has entangled them in unimagined temptations.

But the man who makes Lot’s choice not only does a great injury to his children, but cuts himself off from all that is best in life. We are safe to say that after leaving Abram’s tents Lot never again enjoyed unconstrainedly happy days. The men born and brought up in Sodom were possibly happy after their kind and in their fashion; but Lot was not. His soul was daily vexed. Many a time while hearing the talk of the men his daughters had married, must Lot have gone out with a sore heart, and looked to the distant hills that hid the tents of Abram, and longed for an hour of the company he used to enjoy. And the society to which you are tempted to join yourself may not be unhappy, but you can take no surer means of beclouding, embittering, and ruining your whole life than by joining it. You cannot forget the thoughts you once had, the friendships you once delighted in, the hopes that shed brightness through all your life. You cannot blot out the ideal that once you cherished as the most animating element of your life. Every day there will be that rising in your mind which is in the sharpest contrast to the thoughts of those with whom you are associated. You will despise them for their shallow, worldly ideas and ways; but you will despise yourself still more, being conscious that what they are through ignorance and upbringing, you are in virtue of your own foolish and mean choice. There is that in you which rebels against the superficial and external measure by which they judge things, and yet you have deliberately chosen these as your associates, and can only think with heart-broken regret of the high thoughts that once visited you and the hopes you have now no means of fulfilling. Your life is taken out of your own hands; you find yourself in bondage to the circumstances you have chosen; and you are learning in bitterness, disappointment, and shame, that indeed "a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." To determine your life solely by the prospect of worldly success is to risk the loss of the best things in life. To sacrifice friendship or conscience to success in your calling is to sacrifice what is best to what is lowest, and to bind yourself to the highest human happiness. For happily the essential elements of the highest happiness are as open to the poor as to the rich, to the unsuccessful as to the successful-love of wife and children, congenial and educating friendships, the knowledge of what the best men have done and the wisest men have said; the pleasure and impulse, the sentiments and beliefs which result from our knowledge of the heroic deeds done from year to year among men; the enlivening influence of examples that tell on all men alike, young and old, rich and poor; the insight and strength of character that are won in the hard wrestle with life; the growing consciousness that God is in human life, that He is ours and that we are His-these things and all that makes human life of value are universal as air and sunshine, but must be missed by those who make the world their object.

Though in point of fact Lot cut himself off by his choice from direct participation in the special inheritance to which Abram was called by God, it might perhaps be too much to say that his choice of the valley of Jordan was an explicit renunciation of the special blessedness of those who find their joy in responding to God’s call and doing His work in the world. It might also be extravagant to say that his choice of the richest land was prompted by the feeling that he was not included in the promise to Abram, and might as well make the most of his present opportunities. But it is certain that Abram’s generosity to Lot arose out of his sense that in God he himself had abundant possession. In Egypt he had learned that in order to secure all that is worth having a man need never resort to duplicity, trickery, bold lying. He now learns that in order to enter on his own God-provided lot, he need shut no other man out of his. He is taught that to acknowledge amply the rights of other men is the surest road to the enjoyment of his own rights. He is taught that there is room in God’s plan for every man to follow his most generous impulses and the highest views of life that visit him.

It was Abram’s simple belief that God’s promise was meant and was substantial, that made him indifferent as to what Lot might choose. His faith was judged in this scene, and was proved to be sound. This man, whose very calling it was to own this land, could freely allow Lot to choose the best of it. Why? Because he has learned that it is not by any plan of his own he is to come into possession; that God Who promised is to give him the land in His own way, and that his part is to act uprightly, mercifully, like God. Wherever there is faith, the same results will appear. He who believes that God is pledged to provide for him cannot be greedy, anxious, covetous; can only be liberal, even magnanimous. Any one can thus test his own faith. If he does not find that what God promises weighs substantially when put in the scales with gold: if he does not find that the accomplishment of God’s purpose with him in the world is to him the most valuable thing, and actually compels him to think lightly of worldly position and ordinary success; if he does not find that in point of fact the gains which content a man of the world shrivel and lose interest, he may feel tolerably certain he has no faith and is not counting as certain what God has promised.

It is commonly observed that wealth pursues the men who part with it most freely. Abram had this experience. No sooner had he allowed Lot to choose his portion than God gave him assurance that the whole would be his. It is "the meek" who "inherit the earth." Not only have they, in their very losses and while suffering wrong at the hands of their fellows, a purer joy than those who wrong them; but they know themselves heirs of God with the certainty of enjoying all His possessions that can avail for their advantage. Declining to devote themselves as living sacrifices to business they hold their soul at leisure for what brings truest happiness, for friendship, for knowledge, for charity. Even in this life they may be said to inherit the earth, for all its richest fruits are theirs-the ground may belong to other men, but the beauty of the landscape is theirs without burden-and ever and anon they hear such words as were now uttered to Abram. They alone are inclined or able to receive renewed assurances that God is mindful of His promise and will abundantly bless them. It is they who are in no haste to be rich, and are content to abide in the retired hill-country where they can freely assemble round God’s altar; it is they who seek first the kingdom of God and make sure of that, whatever else they put in hazard, to whom God’s encouragements come. You wonder at the certainty with which others speak of hearing God’s voice and that so seldom you have the joy of knowing that God is directing and encouraging you. Why should you wonder, if you very well know that your attention is directed mainly to the world, that your heart trembles and thrills with all the fluctuations of your earthly hopes, that you wait for news and listen to every hint that can affect your position in life? Can you wonder that an ear trained to be so sensitive to the near earthly sounds, should quite have lost the range of heavenly voices?

Of the assurance here given him Abram was probably much in need when Lot had withdrawn with his flocks and servants. When the warmth of feeling cooled and allowed the somewhat unpleasant facts of the case to press upon his mind; and when he heard his shepherds murmuring that, after all the strife they had maintained for their master’s rights, he should have weakly yielded these to Lot; and when he reflected, as now he inevitably would reflect, how selfish and ungrateful Lot had shown himself to be, he must have been tempted to think be had possibly made a mistake in dealing so generously with such a man. This reflection on himself might naturally grow into a reflection upon God, Who might have been expected so to order matters as to give the best country to the best man. All such reflections are precluded by the renewed grant he now receives of the whole land.

It is always as difficult to govern our heart wisely after as before making a sacrifice. It is as difficult to keep the will decided as to make the original decision; and it is more difficult to think affectionately of those for whom the sacrifice has been made, when the change in their condition and our own is actually accomplished. There is a natural reaction after a generous action which is not always sufficiently resisted. And when we see that those who refuse to make any sacrifices are more prosperous and less ruffled in spirit than ourselves we are tempted to take matters into our own hand, and, without waiting upon God, to use the world’s quick ways. At such times we find how difficult it is to hold an advanced position, and how much unbelief mingles with the sincerest faith, and what vile dregs of selfishness sully the clearest generosity: we find our need of God and of those encouragements and assistances He can impart to the soul. Happy are we if we receive them and are enabled thereby to be constant in the good we have begun; for all sacrifice is good begun. And as Abram saw, when the cities of the plain were destroyed, how kindly God had guided him; so when our history is complete, we shall have no inclination to grumble at any passage of our life which we entered by generosity and faith in God, but shall see how tenderly God has held us back from much that our soul has been ardently desiring, and which we thought would be the making of us.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Genesis 13:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/genesis-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Genesis 13:10-12

Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan

Abraham and Lot

The lesson to be gained from the history of Abraham and Lot is obviously this: that nothing but a clear apprehension of things unseen, a simple trust in God’s promises, and the greatness of mind thence arising, can make us act above the world--indifferent, or almost so, to its comforts, enjoyments, and friendships; or, in other words, that its goods corrupt the common run of religious men who possess them.

I. ABRAHAM AND LOT HAD GIVEN UP THIS WORLD AT THE WORD OF GOD, BUT A MORE DIFFICULT TRIAL REMAINED. Though never easy, yet it is easier to set our hearts on religion or to take some one decided step, which throws us out of our line of life and in a manner forces upon us what we should naturally shrink from, than to possess in good measure the goods of this world and yet love God supremely. The wealth which Lot had hitherto enjoyed had been given him as a pledge of God’s favour, and had its chief value as coming from Him. But surely he forgot this, and esteemed it for its own sake, when he allowed himself to be attracted by the riches and beauty of a guilty and devoted country.

II. GOD IS SO MERCIFUL THAT HE SUFFERS NOT HIS FAVOURED SERVANTS TO WANDER FROM HIM WITHOUT REPEATED WARNINGS. Lot had chosen the habitation of sinners; still he was not left to himself. A calamity was sent to warn and chasten him: he and his property fell into the hands of the five kings. This was an opportunity of breaking off his connection with the people of Sodom, but he did not take it as such.

III. THE GAIN OF THIS WORLD IS BUT TRANSITORY FAITH REAPS A LATE BUT LASTING RECOMPENSE. (J. H. Newman, D. D.)

A worldly choice and its consequences

That Lot was a good man in the ground of his character there is no reason to doubt. But good men have their besetting sins. Lot’s was worldliness, and it cost him dear.

1. CONSIDER SOME FEATURES OF THE CHOICE WHICH LOT MADE.

1. Worldly advantage was the chief element in determining his place in life. The volcanic fires, slumbering beneath, made the plain of Sodom so fertile that its riches had become proverbial; and the Jordan, which has now so short a course to the Dead Sea, then wandered through the plain, like the rivers of Eden. Lot’s eye regarded neither the dangers sleeping beneath nor the light of God above, but only the corn and wine and verdant pastures.

2. Lot’s choice betrayed a want of generosity. Abraham gave to Lot the selection of place, and had Lot been capable of appreciating his generosity he would have declined to avail himself of the offer. But he grasped at it eagerly and took the richest side. Such men are the most unsatisfactory of friends, paining us constantly by their selfishness, and failing us in the hour of need.

3. Lot’s choice showed disregard of religious privileges. The sins of the men of Sodom were of a peculiarly gross and inhuman kind; had Lot’s religion been warm and bright he would not have ventured among them. He may have excused himself to his conscience by saying that he was going to do good, but when he left Sodom he could not count a single convert.

II. CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOT’S CHOICE.

1. As he made worldly advantage his chief aim, he failed in gaining it. Twice he lost his entire possessions; he left Sodom poorer than he entered it. He was stripped of the labours of years, and dared not even look behind on the ruin of his hopes.

2. As Lot failed in generosity to Abraham, he was repeatedly brought under the weightiest obligations to him. He took an unfair advantage of Abraham, but ere many years had passed he owed all he had--family, property, liberty--to Abraham’s courageous interposition.

3. Lot’s disregard of spiritual privileges brought on him a bitter entail of sin and shame. His own religious character suffered from his sojourn in Sodom. This alone can account for the grievous termination of his history. His life remains as a warning against the spirit of worldliness. Both worlds frequently slip from the grasp in the miserable attempt to gain the false glitter of the present. (J. Ker, D. D.)

Lot’s choice

I. THERE ARE DECISIVE MOMENTS IN ALL LIVES. There are hours when character is fixed as by some powerful mordant, and thenceforth the writing is indelible. There are minutes in which destiny is determined, as one may step to this side or to that of the sharp crest of a hill. These are the times in which we make the choices on which our future lives depend. It is such a time in the life of the still youthful Lot that we are to consider. Such times come surely to us all,--not once alone, perhaps, though perhaps only once,--from the decisions of which henceforth we do not swerve. More often a few such opportunities come to a life, and they come chiefly in its youth.

II. CHOICE IS BOTH THE EXPRESSION OF CHARACTER AND ITS DETERMINATION. So Lot shows what was in him, as Abram reveals his character in the choice.

1. Abram looks to the Lord, and Lot looks to the land. It is the contrast of the prayerful with the worldly spirit.

2. Abram showed himself to be a man of peace. Lot let the quarrelling go on;--who knows but he may profit by it in the end?

3. Abram was generous beyond the demands of ordinary liberality. He gave up the rights of his seniority, of family headship; chose to give up his choice, and let the younger man take what seemed to him best. And Lot took it--thinking only of his own interests.

4. Abram was the faithful friend. The friend of God is always the friend of man as well. Prosperity in this case, as in so many others, tested their friendship and fidelity more than adversity. Poverty and loneliness might bring them close together. While Abram was growing very rich, and Lot, the junior partner, was catching the overflow and coming to the possibility of self-support, he would by no means leave his advantage. But now that he has come to independence and can get no more out of his association with his older friend, but rather lose by it, he is quite ready to sever the connection.

III. THE FOLLY OF A WORLDLY CHOICE. The man who leaves out God, God’s purpose for us and God’s calling, is never wise and never comes to true success. The man who makes his decisions on the mere ground of worldly advantage is never sure and never safe. The example we are studying is striking in this regard. It is shown, whether you consider it as a mere natural succession of causes and effects or as a matter of supernatural awards. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. The principles taught, and the example set, by the Lord Jesus Christ do not seem at first sight to be well adapted to present success. The unpractical character of other-worldliness is often contemptuously set over against the evils of this-worldliness. But it is a great mistake. The principles of Christ are exactly adapted to this world and to this life, not to a shallow and disappointing success, but to the real attainment of all which in this world is best and most enduring. Every Abram who gives up all to follow God, God takes in hand and guides more safely than he could have gone alone. (G. M. Boynton.)

Abram and Lot

I. This story shows HOW RICHES ENGENDER STRIFE. Oftener a cause of jealousy and estrangement than of increased attachment and magnanimity.

II. THIS STORY SHOWS ON WHAT FRIVOLOUS GROUNDS MEN BECOME ESTRANGED. For the sake of some small advantage they fling away the hearts whose love is more precious than gold; or they make them suffer from their ill-humour and their peevishness, until it can be borne no longer. A friendship that has been tested by years of experience and the strongest proofs of affection, is sometimes quenched by the merest trifle.

III. This story shows HOW A GOOD MAN AVOIDS IMPENDING STRIFE. Not by standing stiffly upon his rights, but by timely concession.

IV. This story shows THE SPIRITUAL PERILS OF SELFISHNESS.

V. This story also shows THE REWARD OF PIETY (Genesis 13:14-17). God gave Abram for a perpetual possession the land on which he gazed from the eminence of Bethel. He gave him His own friendship in the place of Lot’s, for whose departure he sorrowed. He made him also, then a childless old man, hopeless of any posterity to bear his name, and who had hoped, perhaps, that Lot would be to him in place of a son--God made him, in anticipation, the father of a great multitude that could not be numbered. Thus his reward for his integrity and piety was exceeding great. Choosing God and the land where God was found, he derived from this world and its life the best it affords. It is ever so. He who chooses God for his portion, has also the best of His gifts. (A. H. Currier.)

A worldly choice

I. IT WAS DETERMINED BY EXTERNAL ADVANTAGES.

1. External advantages are not the chief end of life.

2. External advantages are not the true happiness of life.

3. External advantages, when considered by themselves, tend to corrupt the soul.

II. IT WAS UNGENEROUS.

III. IT SNOWED TOO LITTLE REGARD FOR SPIRITUAL INTERESTS. (T. H.Leale.)

The character of Lot

I. BEFORE HE TOOK UP HIS ABODE AT SODOM. It appears that he was influenced by the same grace to leave his idolatrous country, and to share with Abraham the difficulties of a pilgrim’s life, that he might follow the guidance and join in the worship of the true God. We, therefore, find him a fellow traveller with Abraham (Genesis 12:4), and the Lord blessed him with an abundant increase of His substance. But how seldom does increasing wealth produce increasing happiness! He separates from Abraham; and what a wretched change does he make! “He pitched his tent toward Sodom.” By what motive was he influenced? Let us beware of the love of money, which is the root of all evil: “They that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare.”

II. DURING HIS RESIDENCE IN SODOM. Preserved from the general contagion. A bold reprover of abominations. But one circumstance in this history is very remarkable. The very end for which Lot was induced to fix his residence at Sodom, was entirely defeated. Alas! how can we expect to prosper, when the love of gain is our principle? The Lord will, in mercy, disappoint His children, and bring them into trials to preserve them from apostacy. Behold Lot a stranger to comfort in Sodom. Grieved with observing the conduct of the wicked, as well as hated and persecuted by them! And what would avail him the fruitfulness of the soil?

III. AFTER HIS DEPARTURE FROM SODOM. He who was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked, fell into the most abominable wickedness indeed. This proves two things--

1. When we do stand, it is by the power of God alone: to Him therefore we must ascribe all the excellence and perseverance of His people. Even Paul, in his most advanced state, is nothing: “Not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

2. When we are not upheld by Him, no place is secure; and any temptation, how small soever, is enough to overcome as. What other expedient, then, is left us, but,

Lot’s choice

I. HIS CHOICE.

II. HIS MOTIVE.

1. Not the expectation of better religious advantages.

2. Not the hope of benefiting others.

3. Evidently to advance his worldly interests.

III. WHAT HE GAINED. fit home in Sodom.

IV. WHAT HE LOST.

1. The helpful influence of Christian fellowship.

2. Moral tone in character--evidently on the downgrade.

3. His happiness.

4. His property; first in war, then by fire.

5. All of his adherents, and part of his own family, in the final destruction of Sodom. (The Homiletic Review.)

Abram’s generosity and Lot’s selfishness

I. THE GENEROUS OFFER.

1. Abram was a peace maker.

2. Abram was unselfish.

3. Abram was patient.

II. THE SELFISH CHOICE.

1. Lot was self-seeking.

2. Lot was worldly-minded.

3. Lot was hasty in his choice.

III. THE LARGE BLESSING. (W. S. Smith, B. D.)

Lot’s unwise choice

1. Good men may be too hasty and solicitous for worldly advantage--as Lot.

2. The lust of the eye, covetous desire may misguide gracious souls sometimes in their choice.

3. Pleasant fruitful possessions on earth are apt to take up too much the care of the saints.

4. The pleasantest habitations are not always the best: if God grow angry.

5. God spares not to destroy the choicest places where sin abounds (Genesis 13:10).

6. Good men may be too selfish. He offers not Abram the choice.

7. God’s own left to their choice, may choose and possess the worst portion.

8. Brethren may be parted by choice of distinct portions, when ordered by God to higher ends (Genesis 13:11). (G. Hughes, B. D.)

Lessons

1. Grace makes a soul sit down contented with its promised portion. So did Abram.

2. The promised portion with all its inconveniences, is better than the most pleasant with sin.

3. Good souls may sometimes sit down with content in large and pleasant places without God.

4. Saints sometimes may meet with an hell, where they look for a paradise; so did Lot.

5. It is a soul blemish, for God’s servants to covet fruitful places, though never so sinful (Genesis 13:12).

6. Fruitful places are apt to have the foulest sinners.

7. The excess and height of sin is in obstinate opposition to Jehovah.

8. Jehovah will make known such to be sinners to the purpose and brand them, as here Sodom is notorious to all ages (Genesis 13:13). (G. Hughes, B. D.)

Christian worldliness

In the expression “Christian worldliness” there may be considered by some to be a formal contradiction in terms. But it is the plain epitaph written over the historical grave of one of the best known and worst reputed characters in the Scriptures.

1. To begin with, LET US ACCEPT THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THIS KINSMAN OF ABRAM WAS AN OLD TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN. A “righteous man” dwelling in Sodom is so palpably out of place in our conception of propriety that he needs the word offered in extenuation, namely, that, day after day, he vexed his righteous soul with the unlawful deeds he beheld around him. We must never forget that the question of his piety as an orthodox believer in God is settled for us (2 Peter 2:7-8). But now, with all this generous notion of him, it muss be calmly acknowledged that Lot was a very poor Christian.

2. In the second place, find an instant explanation of the failure; LOT WAS A MERCENARY CHRISTIAN. The very earliest inquiry is, How did he come to be in Sodom at all? We must remember that Lot did not go to Sodom directly, nor even at once. Men do not ever plunge into evil; they glide, they slide, or they drift. Lot only pitched his tent “towards” Sodom. He went close enough to hear how prices were ranging from day to day; he had a market for all he had to barter; there was gossip among his neighbours; oh, it was a good, nice place, not so very wicked, and always so lively! This is the way of the world, and that is the way of worldly believers now in the New Testament church. They make compromises with a very easy conscience. They do not go straight into wrong; they “pitch their tents towards” it. “Men fall,” said Guizot, “on the side toward which they lean.”

3. Observe, in the third place, THAT LOT WAS SOON EVIDENCED AS A BACKSLIDING CHRISTIAN. How do we know this? We notice that wherever Abram went in that wandering life of his, he set up an altar the first thing he did, and a regular service of worship made him known as a follower of Jehovah. A careful search will fail to reveal that Lot ever did anything to cause remark in this direction. The story of the life of that group of sons and sons-in-law is just downward, downward, as they grew depraved more and more in tastes, capabilities, and principles. First, they “walked in the counsel of the ungodly”; next, they were found to “stand in the way of sinners”; then they began to “sit in the seat of the scornful.” And the one great commonplace lesson for us to learn is this: even a believer who neglects his religious duty is moving forward in sin.

4. But pass on; for we need, in the fourth place, to look at LOT AS A SERIOUSLY UNHAPPY CHRISTIAN. He “vexed his righteous soul” there from day to day, in seeing and hearing the unlawful deeds of those indescribably vicious people; he detested their “filthy conversation.” Now, I know you will give me full sympathy when I say I am really glad this patriarch had a miserable time. I wish it had been worse. It is the only evidence we get of his sincerity as a child of God.

5. Once more; you are ready, in the fifth place, to find in this man LOT A MOST INEFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN. When you discover how worldly a man has become, you are not at all surprised to see that his religious usefulness is destroyed. So slight was the influence of this patriarch over those who knew him best, that even when he had received a visit from the angels sent from God in heaven, and came forth trembling and frightened to tell them that the city was soon to be destroyed, they jeered at him for a coward, and laughed at him for a fool. It was clear to them that the less he said about his interviews with God, the safer it would be for his credit; they thought he was joking.

6. It is somewhat cheering now, in the sixth place, to look upon Lot as A TRULY SAVED CHRISTIAN. And yet we are forced to go over into the New

Testament passage to get our proof; read again the text of Peter. This shows, not only that Lot was saved, but that his salvation, so graciously achieved, was of so narrow a sort that it could be given as one of the extreme examples of Divine mercy towards the undeserving; and that it must be taken in connection with the fact that all the inhabitants of the wicked city, out of which he was so hurriedly rushed, were “turned into ashes.” Furthermore, this passage shows that, while “the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly,” He knows how also “to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” One thing is absolutely clear; he never could have been saved in Sodom. The turning point in his career was reached when Sodom was set on fire. (C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

The importance of a choice

We have seldom the choice put before us so dramatically and sharply; but it is as really presented to each. There is the shameless cynicism of the men who avowedly only ask the question, “Will it pay?” But there are subtler forms which affect us all. It is the standing temptation of Americans and Englishmen alike to apply a money standard to everything, to adopt courses of action of which the only recommendation is that they promote getting on in the world. Men who call themselves Christians select schools for their children, or professions for their boys, or marriages for their daughters, down in Sodom, because it will give them a lift in life which they would not get up in the starved pastures at Bethel, with nobody but Abram and his like to associate with. If the earnestness with which men pursue an end is to be taken as any measure of its importance in their eyes, it certainly does not look much as if modern average Christians did believe that it was of more moment to be united to God, and to be growing like Him, than to secure a good big share of earthly possessions. Tried by the test of conduct, their faith in getting on is a great deal deeper than their faith in getting up. But if our religion does not make us put the world beneath our feet, and count all things but loss that we may win Christ, we had better ask ourselves whether our religion is any better than Lot’s, which was second hand, and was much more imitation of Abram than obedience to God. Let teaches us that material good may tempt and conquer, even after it has been overcome. His early life had been heroic; in his young enthusiasm, he had thrown in his portion with Abram in his great venture. He had not been thinking of his flocks when he left Haran. Probably, as I have just said, he was a good deal galvanized into imitation; but still, he had chosen the better part. But now he has tired of a pilgrim’s life. There are men who cut down the thorns, and have the seed sown; but thorns are tenacious of life, and quick growing, and so they spread over the field and choke the seed. It is easier to take some one bold step, than to keep true through life to its spirit. Youth contemns, but too often middle-age worships, worldly success. The world tightens its grasp as we grow older, and Lot and Demas teach us that it is hard to keep for a lifetime on the heights. Faith, strong and over renewed by communion, can do it; nothing else can. Lot’s history teaches what comes of setting the world first, and God’s kingdom second. For one thing, the association with it is sure to get closer. Lot began with choosing the plain; then he crept a little nearer, and pitched his tent “towards” Sodom; next time we hear of him he is living in the city, and mixed up inextricably with its people. The first false step leads on to connections unforeseen, from which the man would have shrunk in horror, if he had been told he would make them. Once on the incline, time and gravity will settle how far down we go. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Abraham and Lot

1. Mark, on the one hand, the self-sacrifice manifested by Abraham, and, on the other, the selfishness by which Lot was characterized.

2. But, as another point of contrast, notice how Abraham took a long look forward, while Lot chose simply for the immediate future. “He that believeth shall not make haste.” “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

3. Note, finally, the contrast in the after career of the two men. From this point on, there is evident a gradual process of deterioration in Lot. “Toward Sodom” soon became “in Sodom.” In Sodom soon developed into matrimonial alliances between the members of his family and the Sodomites. Then last of all, and worst of all, his own moral nature was hardened; the womanhood of his daughters was dishonoured; and the closing incidents of his life were such that we gladly draw a veil over their enormity, and sigh to think that, after so fair a morning, his sun went down behind so dark a cloud. But while Lot deteriorated, Abraham advanced. That which marked Lot’s point of departure from the right course was a milestone that indicated new progress in Abraham. The decision which he made over this dispute was another step in that upward ladder of self-conquest on the topmost round of which he stood when he laid Isaac upon the altar. It was an important decision for both, yet it was all over a very ordinary and everyday occurrence. We are continually having to make similar decisions in our common lives, and always we are tested by them. It is a very solemn question how we have stood such tests; and if we want to stand them as Abraham did, we must be partakers of Abraham’s faith; for that faith, as we have seen, animated the patriarch, not only in such great things as the leaving of his country and the sacrifice of his son, but also the actions of his life in his intercourse with his fellow men, (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Lot’s choice

I. A CHOICE WITHOUT CONSULTING GOD.

II. A CHOICE WHICH DEPRIVED HIM OF A GOOD MAN’S COMPANY. Every worldly-minded man forfeits--

1. The sympathy of good men.

2. The assistance of the good.

III. A CHOICE ANTAGONISTIC TO THE GOOD MORAL TRAINING OF HIS FAMILY. Moral culture ought to be of greater importance in our estimation than wealth.

1. Because it is of higher value.

2. Because it elevates the man.

3. Because its beneficial results are more certain.

IV. A CHOICE WHICH EXPOSED HIM TO MANY DANGERS.

1. The danger of his sympathy with the good being narrowed.

2. The danger of looking upon sin in a false light.

3. The danger of losing his own soul. (Homilist.)

Lot

I. THE EVIL WHICH FOLLOWS AN ILL-ADVISED STEP.

1. That there are constantly before us opportunities of selection.

2. That that is not the most advantageous which at first sight appears so.

3. That any course entered upon without consulting the guiding of Providence is likely to lead us astray.

II. THE NATURAL TENDENCY OF AN UNRENEWED HEART. Looking to what is pleasant.

III. THE MERCY OR DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Lot brought trouble on himself, but God did not desert him.

IV. THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF PIETY: WITH SIN. (Homilist.)

Avarice

Avarice has ruined more men than prodigality. (Colton.)

Avarice hindered in mercy

It is sometimes of God’s mercy that men in the eager pursuit of worldly aggrandisement are baffled; for they are very like a train going down an inclined plane--putting on the brake is not pleasant, but it keeps the car on the track. (H. W. Beecher.)

Lessons from Lot

I. THE EVILS WHICH MAY FOLLOW FROM ONE WRONG STEP IN LIFE. There are certain matters in relation to which our determinations must have special importance.

1. The choice of a place of residence.

2. The choice of a trade or profession. “What is likely to be the moral and spiritual effect of this pursuit on me?”

3. The choice of a life partner.

II. THE STEALTHY INSIDIOUSNESS OF SIN. There is a wide difference between the happy household that used to join with Abram’s in sacrifice at the Bethel altar and that which we read of in Sodom on the night before the destruction of that city. That divergence was not caused by any single volcanic upheaval of passion, but by gradual defection. We have the key to it in the question addressed by Lot to the angel, when, asking to be allowed to flee into Zoar, he said, “Is it not a little one?” Depend upon it, that was not the first time Lot reasoned in such a way. Most likely he did so on the very occasion of this first fatal choice. He saw Sodom in the plain, but he said within himself, “I need not go into the city, I can always keep myself secluded,” and promising this to himself he pitched toward Sodom. But after a time he became accustomed to the men of the place. He saw many advantages in the protection of their walls, as compared with his defenceless nomad life. Thus the temptation to go into the city, which he would at first have repelled from him with scorn, was entertained, and concerning it also the old argument was used--“No doubt the city is wicked, but I need not mingle with the inhabitants, and when I come to balance the matter I must not let a little thing like that prejudice blind me to my own interests”; and in this way he went into Sodom. In a similar manner he came to allow intermarriages between the families of the city and his own. All this illustrates the deceitfulness of sin. No one ever became very wicked all at once. The descent of the road that leadeth to destruction is made in single steps, and these not on a clear and well-marked staircase, but on an incline which seems to be but little out of the horizontal line. Be on your guard against the first temptation, and whenever an evil pleads with you, saying, “Am I not a little one?”

III. THE NECESSITY OF WATCHFULNESS AGAINST SIN THROUGHOUT ONE’S EARTHLY LIFE. Every time of life has its peculiar dangers. There are, as medical men will attest, certain critical ages at which the bodily constitution seems to pass through a severe ordeal, so that it either yields in death, or comes out unharmed; and what the issue shall be depends, under God, very much on what the person’s daily habits have been. If he have been what is called a fast, free liver, there is little likelihood that he will weather the storm; but if he have been moderate in all things, there is the greater probability that he will round the cape. Now it is similar in spiritual life. There are seasons of greater danger than others to the best interests of the soul. Youth is a perilous season, but the noon and afternoon of life are beset with dangers as great as its morning, and our only safety lies in perpetual vigilance. It is pitiful to think how often character deteriorates in later life. You cannot read of Noah without reflecting that the glorious reputation of a long career may be thrown into shadow at the last by a besetting sin. You cannot study the life of David without remarking how the purity of his character is eclipsed by the darkness of a sin which was that, not of a youth, but of a man past the meridian of his age. Ye men of middle life, and you who are verging toward old age, be on your guard. Remember Lot! and beware of allowing your conscience to be blunted with iniquity. Above all, beware of that seductive sin which is the parent of so many more--intemperance. (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Lot’s loss

Lot lost--

1. The society of his best friend.

2. His intense hatred toward wickedness.

3. A due regard for the spiritual welfare of his family.

4. Religious influence over men.

5. His property.

6. Influence over his own children.

7. His children.

8. His wife.

9. His good name. (John A. Ewalt.)

Lot’s lot

A rough shell may hold a pearl, remarks Dean Law. There may be silver amongst much dross. Life may exist within the stem when leaves are seared and branches dry. The spring may yet be deep, while waters trickle scantily. A spark may live beneath much rubbish. So many heirs of glory live ingloriously. Heaven is their purchased rest, but their footsteps seem to be downward. In their hearts there is incorruptible seed, but sorry weeds are intermixed. They are translated into the kingdom of grace, but still the flesh is weak. (W. Adamson.)

Godless gain

1. A godly man in a rural village in Suffolk, where for generations the people had been highly favoured with a succession of earnest “winners of souls” to Christ, tempted by the offer of higher wages and greater scope in London, left his home and took up his residence in an ungodly neighbourhood in the East End. But the higher wages and greater scope were very quickly outweighed by the corruption of his children, etc.

2. Even religious men, says Robertson, sometimes settle in a foreign country, notoriously licentious, merely that they may increase their wealth. But very soon they find to their cost that God has terrible modes of retribution. In the choice of homes, of friends, and in alliances, he who selects according to the desires of the flesh lays up in store for himself many troubles and anxieties. Such was Lot’s experience.

3. How frequently, remarks Blunt, have men found that their greatest disquietudes and troubles have been the fruits of their own selfish selectings. Often that “vale of Siddim” which they have most anxiously coveted, has been the wellspring from whence has flowed the bitter waters of sorrow and distress. Far better, if God tries us by putting a blank paper into our hands, to fill in our free choice, humbly to refer the choice back to Him. (W. Adamson.)

A commendable choice

Mahomet, the false prophet, on viewing the pleasurable and delicious situation of Damascus, would not enter the city, but turned away from it with this exclamation: “There is but one paradise for man; and I am determined to have mine in the other world.” Mutatis mutandis--“making the necessary changes” of our position--how becoming for a Christian is such language in time of temptation. (Bishop Horne.)

The great mistake of Lot’s life

He is the type of that very large class of men who have but one rule for determining them at the turning points of life. He was swayed solely by the consideration of worldly advantage. He has nothing deep, nothing high in him. He recognizes no duty to Abram, no gratitude, no modesty; he has no perception of spiritual relations, no sense that God should have something to say in the partition of the land. Lot may be acquitted of a good deal which at first sight one is prompted to lay to his charge, but he cannot be acquitted of showing an eagerness to better himself, regardless of all considerations but the promise of wealth afforded by the fertility of the Jordan valley. He saw a quick though dangerous road to wealth. There seemed a certainty of success in his earthly calling, a risk only of moral disaster. He shut his eyes to the risk that he might grasp the wealth; and so doing, ruined both himself and his family. The situation is one which is ceaselessly repeated. To men in business or in the cultivation of literature or art, or in one of the professions, there are presented opportunities of attaining a better position by cultivating the friendship or identifying oneself with the practice of men whose society is not in itself desirable. We fancy perhaps that to refuse the companionship of any class of men is pharisaic; that we have no business to condemn the attitude towards the Church, or the morality, or the style of living adopted by any class of men among us. This is the mere cant of liberalism. We do not condemn persons who suffer from smallpox, but a smallpox hospital would be about the last place we should choose for a residence. Or possibly we imagine we shall be able to carry some better influences into the society we enter. A vain imagination; the motive for choosing the society has already sapped our power for good. Many of the errors of worldly men only reveal their most disastrous consequences in the second generation. Like some virulent diseases they have a period of incubation. Lot’s family grew up in a very different atmosphere from that which had nourished his own youth in Abram’s tents. An adult and robust Englishman can withstand the climate of India; but his children who are born in it cannot. And the position in society which has been gained in middle life by the carefully and hardily trained child of a God-fearing household, may not very visibly damage his own character, but may yet be absolutely fatal to the morality of his children. Lot may have persuaded himself he chose the dangerous prosperity of Sodom mainly for the sake of his children; but in point of fact he had better have seen them die of starvation in the most barren and parched desolation. And the parent who disregards conscience and chooses wealth or position, fancying that thus he benefits his children, will find to his life-long sorrow that he has entangled them in unimagined temptations. But the man who makes Lot’s choice not only does a great injury to his children, but cuts himself off from all that is best in life. We are safe to say that after leaving Abram’s tents Lot never again enjoyed unconstrainedly happy days. The men born and brought up in Sodom were possibly happy after their kind and in their fashion; but Lot was not. His soul was daily vexed. You cannot forget the thoughts you once had, the friendships you once delighted in, the hopes that shed brightness through all your life. You cannot blot out the ideal that once you cherished as the most animating element of your life. Every day there will be that rising in your mind which is in the sharpest contrast to the thoughts of those with whom you are associated. You will despise them for their shallow, worldly ideas and ways; but you will despise yourself still more, being conscious that what they are through ignorance and upbringing, you are in virtue of your own foolish and mean choice. There is that in you which rebels against the superficial and external measure by which they judge things, and yet you have deliberately chosen these as your associates, and can only think with heart-broken regret of the high thoughts that once visited you and the hopes you have now no means of fulfilling. (M. Dods, D. D.)

Lot the self-seeker

I. LOT’S EARLY YEARS were spent in Ur of Chaldea, northeast of Damascus. His father, Haran, died while he was yet a youth of tender years, and he was placed in the family of his uncle Abraham, who appears ever to have acted towards him the part of an affectionate father; while Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is supposed to have been the sister of Lot. To have been the foster son and companion of so royal a man as Abraham was a privilege which ought to have left a stamp of distinction on the young man that no after-years could efface.

II. Let us look at LOT’S CHOICE in its nature and results, and learn the character and end of the self-seeker; remembering, meanwhile, the representative character of Lot, and gathering lessons of wisdom from the ashes of his ruined hopes.

1. First, then, there was in that choice, as there ever is in the conduct of the self-seeker, a disregard of delicate moral obligations and the interests of others involved.

2. But in this choice of Lot was also a disregard of his own highest interests. He seems not to have paused to consider the effect of his decision upon his own character and future well-being. The material good in that tempting scene blinded his eyes to every other good, and to the dangers of the choice. It is related in ancient history that the inhabitants of Oenoe, a town upon a dry island in the vicinity of Athens, bestowed much labour to draw into it a river to water it and make it more fruitful. But when the work was completed and the passages were all opened, the water came rushing in so furiously that it overflowed the whole island and drowned all the people. So, in the accomplishment of their ambitious ends, men do not pause to consider contingent results: and when the channels of desire are fully open and the long looked for tide of prosperity rises, lo! its streams come rushing in with a fearful, fatal force, whelming the soul in ruin and destruction.

3. Lot may have flattered himself that he had made a capital choice; let us see what it involved.

Pitching our tents towards Sodom

Alypius, a friend of St. Augustine, had a great horror of the bloody combats of gladiators, one of the favourite amusements of that age. Being urged by his companions to be a spectator of these brutal sports, he obstinately refused, and they drew him to the amphitheatre against his will. All took their seats, and the games began. Alypius resolutely shut his eyes that he might not witness the horrible spectacle. “Would to God,” said Augustine, “he had also stopped his ears!” Hearing a piercing cry, curiosity got the better of him, and he incautiously opened his eyes to see what had happened. One of the gladiators had received a dreadful wound; but no sooner had Alypius discovered the bloody stream issuing from the wretch’s side, than his finer sensibilities were blunted, and he joined in the shouts and exclamations of the noisy mob about him. From that moment he was a changed man--changed for the worse; not only attending such sports himself, but urging others to do likewise. Very trifling circumstances show the bent and bias of our minds. A feather, floating on the breeze, may indicate the direction of the wind which is to determine the fate of a squadron, and involve the downfall of an empire. Something closely allied to this may be observed in the moral world. Traits of character, and prevailing tendencies of mind and heart, are distinctly marked by actions which, in themselves, are the merest trifles. When the sacred penman tells us that after Lot’s unwise separation from Abraham he “pitched his tent toward Sodom,” we discover much more in the simple statement than appears on the surface. It would be simply absurd to pass a sweeping censure upon the world, and its pursuits and pleasures; for these, within lawful limits, are well and right. No one in his senses, however, will deny that there is such a sin as worldliness, and it is one which all consistent Christians will strive to keep clear of. Worldliness, be it remembered, is determined by the spirit of our lives, rather than by the objects which occupy us. There may be much apparent conformity to the world, without any real violation of the Divine law or neglect of duty. The Lord Mayor of London, who, while presiding over the festivities of Guildhall, withdrew long enough from the scene of gaiety and splendour that he might attend family worship in his own house, was an example of a good man living in the world without yielding to evil influences or forgetting his higher obligations to God. Our daily papers often contain advertisements like this: “Wanted, a boy to attend bar!” It might as well read, “Wanted, a boy to be ruined, body and soul.” Let the bright, earnest lad, standing on the threshold of life, shun such tempting offers as this! Even the innocent pleasures of the world, if found amongst evil associations are not as the waters of the Nile, leaving, when they are gone, the germs of fertility and beauty to bud and blossom, and causing the heart to rejoice; but like those unwholesome streams, polluted by the washings of poisonous minerals, depositing the seeds of disease and death for all who taste them. It may be a question of life, or death, with us--the life, or death, of the soul--whether, in any of these ways, we have pitched our tent toward Sodom. (J. N. Norton, D. D.)

Lot’s choice

The well-watered plain of Jordan is a great prize for any man, and Lot has made sure of it. His estate is large, and is favoured by the sun and the clouds. Is there, then, any drawback? Read: “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” A great estate, but bad neighbours! Material glory, but moral shame! Noble landscapes, but mean men! But Lot did just what men are doing today. He made choice of a home, without making any inquiry as to the religious state of the neighbourhood. Men do not care how poor the Church is, if the farm be good. They will give up the most inspiring ministry in the world for ten feet more garden, or a paddock to feed an ass in. They will tell you that the house is roomy, the garden is large, the air is balmy, the district is genteel, and if you ask them what religious teaching they will have there, they tell you they really do not know, but must inquire! They will take away six children into a moral desert for the sake of a garden to play in: they will leave Paul or Apollos for six feet of greenhouse! Others again fix their tent where they can get the best food for the heart’s life; and they sacrifice a summer house that they may now and again get a peep of heaven. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Self-choice

Lot chose for himself. He took things into his own hands, and put himself at the head of his own affairs. What became of his management we shall see presently. He asked no blessing; will the feast choke him? He sought no advice; will his wisdom mock him and torment him bitterly? He snatched at good luck; will he fall into a pit which he did not see? O my soul, make no model of this fool for thine own guidance. Perhaps his honour is but for a moment. Commit thy way unto the Lord, and choose nothing for thyself. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths. Oh rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Seek not high things for thyself, nor take thy life into thine own keeping. O my soul, I charge thee live in the secret of Christ’s love. Walk in the way of the Lord: seek Him always with eager heart, and whether the road be long or short, rugged or plain, it will lead thee into the city where the angels are, and the Firstborn, and the loved ones who left thee long ago. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Riches or heaven?

Mrs. Jameson gives a very pretty apologue relating to St. John, which is sometimes included in a series of subjects from his life. Two young men, who had sold all their possessions to follow him, afterwards repented. He, perceiving their thoughts, sent them to gather pebbles and faggots, and on their return changed these into money and ingots of gold, saying to them, “Take back your riches, and enjoy them on earth, as you regret having exchanged them for heaven!” This story is represented on one of the windows of the cathedral at Bourges. The two young men stand before St. John, with a heap of gold on one side and a heap of stones and faggots on the other.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Genesis 13:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/genesis-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Genesis 13:10. And Lot lifted up, &c.— This verse has much perplexed the Commentators, especially as it stands in our version: where the words as thou comest unto Zoar are joined to the land AEgypt, when the first inspection of a map will shew, that they cannot refer to the land of AEgypt.

Houbigant therefore translates it thus: Then Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan: but before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was all, as thou goest to Zoar, well watered, even as the garden of the Lord, and as the land of AEgypt. Le Clerc gives a very similar translation; But Lot lifting up his eyes, beheld all the plain of Jordan, when the Lord had not yet destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, as thou goest to Zoar, and saw it all to be well watered like the paradise of Jehovah, or the land of AEgypt. The whole difficulty vanishes, if you only unite the last clause, as thou comest unto Zoar, with well watered, &c. and read, before the Lord, &c. in a parenthesis: he beheld the plain "that it was well watered every where from the entrance [or beginning of the plain] at Zoar, (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah,) even as well watered as the garden of Eden, or the land of AEgypt, fertilized as it was by the Nile."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/genesis-13.html. 1801-1803.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

LOT’S SEPARATION FROM ABRAM

Genesis 13:1-18

ABRAM left Egypt thinking meanly of himself, highly of God. This humble frame of mind is disclosed in the route he chooses; he went straight back "unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, unto the altar which he had made there at the first." With a childlike simplicity he seems to own that his visit to Egypt had been a mistake. He had gone there supposing that he was thrown upon his own resources, and that, in order to keep himself and his dependants alive, he must have recourse to craft and dishonesty. By retracing his steps and returning to the altar at Bethel, he seems to acknowledge that he should have remained there through the famine in dependence on God.

Whoever has attempted a similar practical repentance, visible to his own household and affecting their place of abode or daily occupations, will know how to estimate the candour and courage of Abram. To own that some distinctly marked portion of our life, upon which we entered with great confidence in our own wisdom and capacity, has come to nothing and has betrayed us into reprehensible conduct, is mortifying indeed. To admit that we have erred and to repair our error by returning to our old way and practice, is what few of us have the courage to do. If we have entered on some branch of business or gone into some attractive speculation, or if we have altered our demeanour towards some friend, and if we are finding that we are thereby tempted to doubleness, to equivocation, to injustice, our only hope lies in a candid and straightforward repentance, in a manly and open return to the state of things that existed in happier days and which we should never have abandoned. Sometimes we are aware that a blight began to fall on our spiritual life from a particular date, and we can easily and distinctly trace an unhealthy habit of spirit to a well-marked passage in our outward career; but we shrink from the sacrifice and shame involved in a thoroughgoing restoration of the old state of things. We are always so ready to fancy we have done enough, if we get one heartfelt word of confession uttered; so ready, if we merely turn our faces towards God, to think our restoration complete. Let us make a point of getting through mere beginnings of repentance, mere intention to recover God’s favour and a sound condition of life, and let us return and return till we bow at God’s very altar again, and know that His hand is laid upon us in blessing as at the first.

Out of Egypt Abram brought vastly increased wealth. Each time he encamped, quite a town of black tents quickly rose round the spot where his fixed spear gave the signal for halting. And along with him there journeyed his nephew, apparently of almost equal, or at least considerable wealth; not dependent on Abram, nor even a partner with him, for "Lot also had flocks and herds and tents." So rapidly was their substance increasing that no sooner did they become stationary than they found that the land was not able to furnish them with sufficient pasture. The Canaanite and the Perizzite would not allow them unlimited pasture in the neighbourhood of Bethel; and as the inevitable result of this the rival shepherds, eager to secure the best pasture for their own flocks and the best wells for their own cattle and camels, came to high words and probably to blows about their respective rights.

To both Abram and Lot it must have occurred that this competition between relatives was unseemly, and that some arrangement must be come to. And when at last some unusually blunt quarrel took place in presence of the chiefs, Abram divulges to Lot the scheme which had suggested itself to him. This state of things, he says, must come to an end; it is unseemly, unwise, and unrighteous. And as they walk on out of the circle of tents to discuss the matter without interruption, they come to a rising ground where the wide prospect brings them naturally to a pause. Abram looking north and south and seeing with the trained eye of a large flock-master that there was abundant pasture for both. turns to Lot with a final proposal: "Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Thus early did wealth produce quarrelling among relatives. The men who had shared one another’s fortunes while comparatively poor, no sooner become wealthy than they have to separate. Abram prevented quarrel by separation. "Let us," he says, "come to an understanding. And rather than be separate in heart, let us be separate in habitation." It is always a sorrowful time in family history when it comes to this, that those who have had a common purse and have not been careful to know what exactly is theirs and what belongs to the other members of the family, have at last to make a division and to be as precise and documentary as if dealing with strangers. It is always painful to be compelled to own that law can be more trusted than love. and that legal forms are a surer barrier against quarrelling than brotherly kindness. It is a confession we are sometimes compelled to make, but never without a mixture of regret and shame.

As yet the character of Lot has not been exhibited, and we can only calculate from the relation he bears to Abram what his answer to the proposal will probably be. We know that Abram has been the making of his nephew, and that the land belongs to Abram; and we should expect that in common decency Lot would set aside the generous offer of. his uncle and demand that he only should determine the matter. "It is not for me to make choice in a land which is wholly yours. My future does not carry in it the import of yours. It is a small matter what kind of subsistence I secure or where I find it. Choose for yourself, and allot to me what is right." We see here what a safeguard of happiness in life right feeling is. To be in right and pleasant relations with the persons around us will save us from error and sin even when conscience and judgment give no certain decision. The heart which feels gratitude is beyond the need of being schooled and compelled to do justly. To the man who is affectionately disposed it is superfluous to insist upon the rights of other persons. The instinct which tells a man what is due to others and makes him sensitive to their wrongs will preserve him from many an ignominious action which would degrade his whole life. But such instinct was a-wanting in Lot. His character, though in some respects admirable, had none of the generosity of Abram’s in it. He had allowed himself on countless previous occasions to take advantage of Abram’s unselfishness. Generosity is not always infectious; often it encourages selfishness in child, relative, or neighbour. And so Lot, instead of rivalling, traded on his uncle’s magnanimity; and chose him all the plains of Jordan because in his eye it was the richest part of the land.

This choice of Sodom as a dwelling-place was the great mistake of Lot’s life. He is the type of that very large class of men who have but one rule for determining them at the turning points of life. He was swayed solely by the consideration of worldly advantage. He has nothing deep, nothing high in him. He recognises no duty to Abram, no gratitude, no modesty; he has no perception of spiritual relations, no sense that God should have something to say in the partition of the land. Lot may be acquitted of a good deal which at first sight one is prompted to lay to his charge, but he cannot be acquitted of showing an eagerness to better himself, regardless of all considerations but the promise of wealth afforded by the fertility of the Jordan valley. He saw a quick though dangerous road to wealth. There seemed a certainty of success in his earthly calling, a risk only of moral disaster. He shut his eyes to the risk that he might grasp the wealth; and so doing, ruined both himself and his family.

The situation is one which is ceaselessly repeated. To men in business or in the cultivation of literature or art, or in one of the professions, there are presented opportunities of attaining a better position by cultivating the friendship or identifying oneself with the practice of men whose society is not in itself desirable. Society is made up of little circles, each of which has its own monopoly of some social or commercial or political advantage, and its own characteristic tone and enjoyments and customs. And if a man will not join one of these circles and accommodate himself to the mode of carrying on business and to the style of living it has identified with itself, he must forego the advantages which entrance to that circle would secure for him. As clearly as Lot saw that the well-watered plain stretching away under the sunshine was the right place to exercise his vocation as a flock-master, so do we see that associated with such and such persons and recognised as one of them, we shall be able more effectively than in any other position to use whatever natural gifts we have, and win the recognition and the profit these gifts seem to warrant. There is but one drawback. "The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." There is a tone you do not like; you hesitate to identify yourself with men who live solely and with cynical frankness only for gain; whose every sentence betrays the contemptible narrowness of soul to which worldliness condemns men; who live for money and who glory in their shame.

The very nature of the world in which we live makes such temptation universal. And to yield is common and fatal. We persuade ourselves we need not enter into close relations with the persons we propose to have business connections with. Lot would have been horrified, that day he made his choice, had it been told him his daughters would marry men of Sodom. But the swimmer who ventures into the outer circle of the whirlpool finds that his own resolve not to go further presents a very weak resistance to the water’s inevitable suction. We fancy perhaps that to refuse the companionship of any class of men is pharisaic; that we have no business to condemn the attitude towards the Church, or the morality, or the style of living adopted by any class of men among us. This is the mere cant of liberalism. We do not condemn persons who suffer from smallpox, but a smallpox hospital would be about the last place we should choose for a residence. Or possibly we imagine we shall be able to carry some better influences into the society we enter. A vain imagination; the motive for choosing the society has already sapped our power for good.

Many of the errors of worldly men only reveal their most disastrous consequences in the second generation. Like some virulent diseases they have a period of incubation. Lot’s family grew up in a very different atmosphere from that which had nourished his own youth in Abram’s tents. An adult and robust Englishman can withstand the climate of India: but his children who are born in it cannot. And the position in society which has been gained in middle life by the carefully and hardily trained child of a God-fearing household may not very visibly damage his own character, but may yet be absolutely fatal to the morality of his children. Lot may have persuaded himself he chose the dangerous prosperity of Sodom mainly for the sake of his children; but in point of fact he had better have seen them die of starvation in the most barren and parched desolation. And the parent who disregards conscience and chooses wealth or position, fancying that thus he benefits his children, will find to his life-long sorrow that he has entangled them in unimagined temptations.

But the man who makes Lot’s choice not only does a great injury to his children, but cuts himself off from all that is best in life. We are safe to say that after leaving Abram’s tents Lot never again enjoyed unconstrainedly happy days. The men born and brought up in Sodom were possibly happy after their kind and in their fashion; but Lot was not. His soul was daily vexed. Many a time while hearing the talk of the men his daughters had married, must Lot have gone out with a sore heart, and looked to the distant hills that hid the tents of Abram, and longed for an hour of the company he used to enjoy. And the society to which you are tempted to join yourself may not be unhappy, but you can take no surer means of beclouding, embittering, and ruining your whole life than by joining it. You cannot forget the thoughts you once had, the friendships you once delighted in, the hopes that shed brightness through all your life. You cannot blot out the ideal that once you cherished as the most animating element of your life. Every day there will be that rising in your mind which is in the sharpest contrast to the thoughts of those with whom you are associated. You will despise them for their shallow, worldly ideas and ways; but you will despise yourself still more, being conscious that what they are through ignorance and upbringing, you are in virtue of your own foolish and mean choice. There is that in you which rebels against the superficial and external measure by which they judge things, and yet you have deliberately chosen these as your associates, and can only think with heart-broken regret of the high thoughts that once visited you and the hopes you have now no means of fulfilling. Your life is taken out of your own hands; you find yourself in bondage to the circumstances you have chosen; and you are learning in bitterness, disappointment, and shame, that indeed "a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." To determine your life solely by the prospect of worldly success is to risk the loss of the best things in life. To sacrifice friendship or conscience to success in your calling is to sacrifice what is best to what is lowest, and to bind yourself to the highest human happiness. For happily the essential elements of the highest happiness are as open to the poor as to the rich, to the unsuccessful as to the successful-love of wife and children, congenial and educating friendships, the knowledge of what the best men have done and the wisest men have said; the pleasure and impulse, the sentiments and beliefs which result from our knowledge of the heroic deeds done from year to year among men; the enlivening influence of examples that tell on all men alike, young and old, rich and poor; the insight and strength of character that are won in the hard wrestle with life; the growing consciousness that God is in human life, that He is ours and that we are His-these things and all that makes human life of value are universal as air and sunshine, but must be missed by those who make the world their object.

Though in point of fact Lot cut himself off by his choice from direct participation in the special inheritance to which Abram was called by God, it might perhaps be too much to say that his choice of the valley of Jordan was an explicit renunciation of the special blessedness of those who find their joy in responding to God’s call and doing His work in the world. It might also be extravagant to say that his choice of the richest land was prompted by the feeling that he was not included in the promise to Abram, and might as well make the most of his present opportunities. But it is certain that Abram’s generosity to Lot arose out of his sense that in God he himself had abundant possession. In Egypt he had learned that in order to secure all that is worth having a man need never resort to duplicity, trickery, bold lying. He now learns that in order to enter on his own God-provided lot, he need shut no other man out of his. He is taught that to acknowledge amply the rights of other men is the surest road to the enjoyment of his own rights. He is taught that there is room in God’s plan for every man to follow his most generous impulses and the highest views of life that visit him.

It was Abram’s simple belief that God’s promise was meant and was substantial, that made him indifferent as to what Lot might choose. His faith was judged in this scene, and was proved to be sound. This man, whose very calling it was to own this land, could freely allow Lot to choose the best of it. Why? Because he has learned that it is not by any plan of his own he is to come into possession; that God Who promised is to give him the land in His own way, and that his part is to act uprightly, mercifully, like God. Wherever there is faith, the same results will appear. He who believes that God is pledged to provide for him cannot be greedy, anxious, covetous; can only be liberal, even magnanimous. Any one can thus test his own faith. If he does not find that what God promises weighs substantially when put in the scales with gold: if he does not find that the accomplishment of God’s purpose with him in the world is to him the most valuable thing, and actually compels him to think lightly of worldly position and ordinary success; if he does not find that in point of fact the gains which content a man of the world shrivel and lose interest, he may feel tolerably certain he has no faith and is not counting as certain what God has promised.

It is commonly observed that wealth pursues the men who part with it most freely. Abram had this experience. No sooner had he allowed Lot to choose his portion than God gave him assurance that the whole would be his. It is "the meek" who "inherit the earth." Not only have they, in their very losses and while suffering wrong at the hands of their fellows, a purer joy than those who wrong them; but they know themselves heirs of God with the certainty of enjoying all His possessions that can avail for their advantage. Declining to devote themselves as living sacrifices to business they hold their soul at leisure for what brings truest happiness, for friendship, for knowledge, for charity. Even in this life they may be said to inherit the earth, for all its richest fruits are theirs-the ground may belong to other men, but the beauty of the landscape is theirs without burden-and ever and anon they hear such words as were now uttered to Abram. They alone are inclined or able to receive renewed assurances that God is mindful of His promise and will abundantly bless them. It is they who are in no haste to be rich, and are content to abide in the retired hill-country where they can freely assemble round God’s altar; it is they who seek first the kingdom of God and make sure of that, whatever else they put in hazard, to whom God’s encouragements come. You wonder at the certainty with which others speak of hearing God’s voice and that so seldom you have the joy of knowing that God is directing and encouraging you. Why should you wonder, if you very well know that your attention is directed mainly to the world, that your heart trembles and thrills with all the fluctuations of your earthly hopes, that you wait for news and listen to every hint that can affect your position in life? Can you wonder that an ear trained to be so sensitive to the near earthly sounds, should quite have lost the range of heavenly voices?

Of the assurance here given him Abram was probably much in need when Lot had withdrawn with his flocks and servants. When the warmth of feeling cooled and allowed the somewhat unpleasant facts of the case to press upon his mind; and when he heard his shepherds murmuring that, after all the strife they had maintained for their master’s rights, he should have weakly yielded these to Lot; and when he reflected, as now he inevitably would reflect, how selfish and ungrateful Lot had shown himself to be, he must have been tempted to think be had possibly made a mistake in dealing so generously with such a man. This reflection on himself might naturally grow into a reflection upon God, Who might have been expected so to order matters as to give the best country to the best man. All such reflections are precluded by the renewed grant he now receives of the whole land.

It is always as difficult to govern our heart wisely after as before making a sacrifice. It is as difficult to keep the will decided as to make the original decision; and it is more difficult to think affectionately of those for whom the sacrifice has been made, when the change in their condition and our own is actually accomplished. There is a natural reaction after a generous action which is not always sufficiently resisted. And when we see that those who refuse to make any sacrifices are more prosperous and less ruffled in spirit than ourselves we are tempted to take matters into our own hand, and, without waiting upon God, to use the world’s quick ways. At such times we find how difficult it is to hold an advanced position, and how much unbelief mingles with the sincerest faith, and what vile dregs of selfishness sully the clearest generosity: we find our need of God and of those encouragements and assistances He can impart to the soul. Happy are we if we receive them and are enabled thereby to be constant in the good we have begun; for all sacrifice is good begun. And as Abram saw, when the cities of the plain were destroyed, how kindly God had guided him; so when our history is complete, we shall have no inclination to grumble at any passage of our life which we entered by generosity and faith in God, but shall see how tenderly God has held us back from much that our soul has been ardently desiring, and which we thought would be the making of us.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/genesis-13.html.

The Pulpit Commentaries

EXPOSITION

Genesis 13:10

And Lot lifted up his eyes. Circumspexit; with a look of eager, lustful greed (cf. Genesis 3:6). The same expression is afterwards used of Abram (Genesis 13:14), where perhaps also the element of satisfaction, though in a good sense, is designed to be included. And beheld all the plain. Literally, all the circle, or surrounding region ( כִּכָּר, from כָּרַר, to move in a circle; cf. arrondissement, Fr.; kreis or bezirk, Ger.); περίχωρος (LXX; Matthew 3:5); now called El Ghor, the low country (Gesenius). Of Jordan. Compounded of Jordan, the names of the two river sources (Josephus, Jerome); but, according to modern etymologists, derived from יָרַד, to go down, and signifying the Descender, like the German Rhine, from rinnen, to run. The largest river of Palestine, rising at the foot of Antilibanus, and passing, in its course of 200 miles, over twenty-seven rapids, it pours its waters first into the lake of Merom, and then into the sea of Galilee, 653 feet, and finally into the Lacus Asphaltites, 1316 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. It is now called Esh-Sheri'ah, i.e. the ford, as having been of old crossed by the Israelites (Gesenius). That it was well-watered everywhere. Not by canals and trenches, as old interpreters imagined, but by copious streams along its course, descending chiefly from the mountains of Moab. Before the Lord destroyed—the same word is used for the destruction of all flesh in what is styled the Elohistic account of the Deluge—Sodom and Gomorrha (vide Genesis 14:2). Even as the garden of the Lord. Paradise in Eden, with its four streams (Genesis if. 10; Calvin, Lange, Keil); though by some this is deemed unsatisfactory (Quarry), and the phrase taken as—hortus amaenissimus (Rosenmüller), and in particular Mesopotamia, which was a land of rare re. cundity. Like the land of Egypt—which was irrigated by the Nile and by canals from it as well as by machines (Deuteronomy 11:10, Deuteronomy 11:11)—as thou comest unto Zoar—at the south-east corner of the Dead Sea (vide Genesis 14:3).

Genesis 13:11

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan. Allured by its beauty and fertility, and heedless of other or higher considerations. And Lot journeyed east, מִקֶּדֶס = versus orientem (cf. Genesis 11:2). And they separated themselves the one from the other. Literally, a man from his brother.

Genesis 13:12

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan. Strictly so called; in its larger sense Canaan included the circle of the Jordan. And Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain. Being desirous of a permanent settlement within the gates, or at least in the immediate neighborhood, of the wealthy cities of the laud; in contrast to his uncle, who remained a wanderer throughout its borders, sojourning as in a strange country (Hebrews 11:9). And (with this purpose in contemplation), he pitched his tent toward (i.e. in the direction of, and as far as to) Sodom.

Genesis 13:13

But (literally, and) the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners their wickedness is more specifically detailed in Genesis 19:1-38; q.v.)—before the Lord—literally, to Jehovah = before the face of Jehovah; ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ (LXX.), vide Genesis 10:9; an aggravation of the wickedness of the Sodomites—exceedingly. Their vileness was restrained neither in quantity nor quality. As it passed all height in arrogance; so it burst all bounds in prevalence.

HOMILETICS

Genesis 13:10

The choice of Lot.

I. THE EXCELLENCE OF LOT'S CHOICE.

1. Beautiful. Viewed from the Bethel plateau, at the moment perhaps gilded with the shimmering radiance of the morning sun, the Jordan circle was a scene of enchanting loveliness; and in yielding to the fascinations of the gorgeous panorama that spread itself out on the distant horizon it cannot be affirmed that Lot committed sin. The Almighty Maker of the universe loves beauty, as his works attest (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and hath implanted the like instinct in the soul of man. Hence, so far from being a signal of depravity, the capacity of admiring and appreciating mere physical and external grace and symmetry betokens a nature not yet completely disempowered by sin; and so far from its being wrong to surround oneself with objects that are pleasing to the eye, it is rather incumbent so to do, provided always it can be accomplished without sin.

2. Productive. As there is no sin in having elegant mansions, fair gardens, and fine pictures to look upon, so neither is there evil in desiring fertile fields instead of barren rocks to cultivate. Sentenced to eat bread in the sweat of his brow, the Christian is not thereby required to prefer a tract of moorland to a farm of rich alluvial soil. Monkish asceticism may enjoin such self-mortification on its devotees; Christianity invites men to enjoy the good things which have been freely given to them by God. The well-watered fields of the Jordan circle were as open to the choice of Lot as were the bleak Judaean hills.

3. Suggestive. Already it had recalled to his memory the luxuriant plains of Egypt which he had lately visited, and to his imagination the resplendent Eden of man's primeval days; and doubtless it was such a region as could scarcely fail to inspire a devout mind with lofty thoughts, pure emotions, and holy aspirations, so leading the entranced worshipper from nature up to nature's God. Since the human soul cannot choose but be insensibly affected for good or evil by its material as well as moral environment, it is well, when Divine providence gives us the election, that we select for our abodes scenes and places that shall elevate and refine rather than deteriorate and depress.

II. THE DRAWBACKS OF LOT'S CHOICE.

1. Bad neighbors. The inhabitants of the Jordanic Pentapolis were sinners of an aggravated type. And while it may not be possible to avoid all contact with wicked men (1 Corinthians 5:10), it becomes God's people to keep as far aloof as possible from the ungodly; and especially from transgressors like the Sodomites. Mingling with and marrying into the families of the ungodly ruined the antediluvian world. The chief injury clone to the Church of Christ arises from a throwing down of the wall of separation between it and the world. Separation from and nonconformity to the world, and much more the wicked portion of it, is the duty of believers (Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 6:17).

2. Moral contamination. Though Lot was a good man, his piety would not prevent the gradual deterioration of his nature through the evil influence of his neighbors. There is a contagion, for good or evil, in example which is well nigh irresistible. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but the companion of fools shall be destroyed."

3. Bitter sorrow. Precisely in proportion to the eminence of his religious character would this be inevitable. The immoralities and infidelities of the Sodomites would plunge him into grief, if they did not cause "rivers of water" to run down his eyes. And so it eventually came to pass (2 Peter 2:8).

III. THE SINFULNESS OF LOT'S CHOICE.

1. Avaricious in its origin. Thus it was a sin against God. Had no drawbacks attended it, had it in all other respects been commendable and prudent, the lust of cupidity out of which it sprang would have condemned it. Few things are more frequently and emphatically reprehended in the word of God than the inordinate desire of possession (Luke 12:15; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; Hebrews 13:5).

2. Selfish in its character. Thus, besides being a sin against God, it was an offence against his uncle. Had Abram and Lot stood upon a platform of equality, religious principle should have dictated to Lot the propriety of either returning the right of choice to Abram, or himself selecting what he believed to be the inferior quarter (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3); but Abram was Lot's superior in age, and therefore entitled to take precedence of one who was younger; Lot's uncle, and, in virtue of that relationship, deserving of his nephew's honor; Lot's guardian and benefactor, and, as a consequence, worthy of acknowledgment and gratitude at the hands of one whom he had enriched; and, what was more important for the settlement of the question, the actual heir and owner of the land, to whom accordingly belonged the prerogative of claiming not its fattest portion only, but its entire domain. All these considerations rendered Lot's choice offensive in the extreme.

3. Dangerous in its issues. As such it was a sin against himself as well as against God. Even though evil should not come of it, it was not open to Lot, as a good man, to establish himself where injury to his spiritual interests was possible. That he did not reckon the moral bearings of his choice was an aggravation rather than an extenuation of his sin. He had time to calculate the chances of material prosperity; he should also have counted up the moral hazards before he elected to drive his flocks and herds to Sodom.

Lessons:—

1. All is not gold that glitters; hence the supreme unwisdom of judging either things or persons according to appearance.

2. In every man's lot there is a crook; hence the propriety of moderating our desires concerning everything.

3. It is possible to pay too dear a price for material prosperity. "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

4. It is a poor outcome of piety which prefers self-interest to the claims either of affection or religion; the man who loves himself better than his neighbor is still devoid of the spirit of Christ

5. In the long run the spirit of selfishness is certain to overreach itself and accomplish its own ruin.

HOMILIES BY W. ROBERTS

Genesis 13:10-13

The choice of Lot.

I. WHAT LOT TOOK INTO ACCOUNT.

1. His own worldly circumstances; and,

2. The suitability of the Jordan circle to advance them.

II. WHAT LOT DID NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.

1. The reverence due to his uncle.

2. The greater right which Abram had to the soil of Canaan.

3. The danger, in parting with Abram, of separating himself from Abram's God.

4. The risk of damage to his spiritual interests in settling in the Jordan circle.

Learn—

1. That while it may be right, in life's actions, to take our worldly interests into account, it is wrong and dangerous to take nothing else.

2. That no amount of purely worldly advantage can either justify or recompense the disregard of the higher interests of the soul.

3. That though good men may oftentimes find reasons for neglecting the soul's interests, they cannot do so with impunity.—W.

Genesis 13:10, Genesis 13:13

Sodom and the Sodomites, or the place and the people.

1. The physical beauty of the Jordan valley.

2. The moral corruption of its inhabitants.

Lessons:—

1. The weakness of nature as a moral educator.

2. The true design of nature as a moral educator.—W.

Genesis 13:11

The parting off friends.

I. The SADNESS Of this parting. It was a parting—

1. Of kinsmen (men, brethren).

2. Of kinsmen in a foreign land.

3. Of kinsmen by their own hand.

II. The CAUSE of this parting.

1. The difficulty of finding sustenance together.

2. The danger of collision if they kept together.

III. The MANNER of this parting.

1. After prayer.

2. In peace.

3. With magnanimity on the part of Abram.

4. With meanness on that of Lot.

Lessons:—

1. It is sad when brethren cannot dwell together in unity.

2. It is better that brethren should separate than quarrel.—W.

HOMILIES BY J.F. MONTGOMERY

Genesis 13:11

Lot's unwise choice.

"Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan." To Lot no doubt this seemed but a matter of prudence, a, choice of pastures, yet it stamped his after life. He was a godly man. We miss the point if we think of him as careless. The lesson is for God's people. At first guided by his uncle, but time came when he must act alone. Pastures of Bethel not sufficient. Strife between the herdsmen. God uses little things to work his will. In every life times when choice must be made. Perhaps definite and distinct, e.g. leaving home, or choice of a profession; perhaps less marked, as in the choice of friends and associates, or the habits imperceptibly formed. We must be thus tried; needful for our training (James 1:12). A sevenfold blessing "to him that overcometh" (Revelation 2:1-29; Revelation 3:1-22.).

I. EVIL OF LOT'S CHOICE. He chose the best pasture. Why should he not? The fault lay in the motive, the want of spiritual thought in a secular matter. He broke no positive law, but looked only to worldly good. The evil of Sodom was disregarded. No prayer for guidance; no thought how he could best serve God (cf. James 1:14).

II. EFFECT OF LOT'S CHOICE.

1. No real happiness. His soul vexed (2 Peter 2:8). His life; fretting at evil which he had not resolution to escape from.

2. Real injury. His character enervated. From dwelling in plain came into the city; formed connections there. Irresolute and lingering when warned to flee. His prayer for himself only. Was saved "as by fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15). We are tried daily, in the valley or on the mountain. We cannot avoid trials; not good for us if we could. The one way of safety: "Seek first the kingdom of God." There is an evil terribly widespread—of seeking first the world; thinking not to neglect God, but putting Christianity into corners of the life. What saith the world? Haste to be rich, or great; take thine ease; assert thyself; be high-spirited. And the customs of society and much of education repeat the lesson. But what saith Christ? Look unto me. Not at stated times, but always. The cause of much dispeace, of many spiritual sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10), is want of thoroughness in taking Christ as our guide. Lot was preserved. Will any say, "I ask no more"? "Remember Lot's wife." How narrow the line between his hesitation and her looking back! The grain may sprout through thorns (Matthew 13:22), but the thorns are ever growing.—M.

HOMILIES BY W. ROBERTS

Genesis 13:12

Going to Sodom.

I. How IT MAY HAVE LOOKED TO LOT.

1. As a matter of business it was good.

2. In its moral aspects the step was dangerous. But—

3. Doubtless at first Lot did not intend entering the city. And perhaps—

4. Lot may have justified his doubtful conduct by hoping that he would have opportunities of doing good to the Sodomites.

II. How IT MUST HAVE LOOKED TO THE SODOMITES. It must have—

1. Surprised them to see a good man like Lot coming to a neighborhood so bad.

2. Led them to think adversely of a religion that preferred worldly advantage to spiritual interest.

3. Rendered them impervious to any influence for good from Lot's example.

Lessons:—

1. It is perilous to go towards Sodom if one wants to keep out of Sodom.

2. It is useless preaching to Sodomites while gathering wealth in Sodom. W.

Going towards Sodom.

1. An inviting journey.

2. A gradual journey.

3. A sinful journey.

4. A dangerous journey.—W.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/genesis-13.html. 1897.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
and beheld
3:6; 6:2; Numbers 32:1-42; 1 John 2:15,16
the plain
19:17,24,25; Deuteronomy 34:3; 1 Kings 7:46; Psalms 107:34; 1 John 2:15
the garden
2:9,10; Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8; Joel 2:3
Zoar
14:2,8; 19:20,22-30; Deuteronomy 34:3; Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:34; Instead of "Zoar," which was situated at the extremity of the plain of Jordan, the Syriac reads "Zoan," which was situated in the south of Egypt, and in a well-watered country.
Reciprocal: Genesis 2:8 - a garden;  Genesis 10:19 - as thou comest;  Genesis 13:14 - Lift;  Genesis 19:30 - Zoar;  Genesis 25:18 - as thou;  Numbers 24:6 - as gardens;  Numbers 32:19 - we will;  Numbers 34:12 - the salt sea;  Deuteronomy 3:17 - the sea;  Judges 6:4 - till thou come;  Job 40:23 - Jordan;  Proverbs 24:1 - neither;  Proverbs 28:22 - and;  Ezekiel 16:49 - fulness;  Ezekiel 36:35 - like the;  Ezekiel 47:18 - Jordan;  Habakkuk 2:9 - that coveteth an evil covetousness;  Matthew 13:22 - the care;  1 Timothy 6:9 - they

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/genesis-13.html.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

The garden of the Lord — That is, paradise.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/genesis-13.html. 1765.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

SEPARATION OF ABRAM AND LOT, 5-13.

The time has come to separate Abram and his household more fully from kindred and connexions which he cannot “command.” Genesis 18:19. His father’s house in far-off Chaldea was tainted with idolatry, and he was to be removed from its power, and so Jehovah ordered him thence. But the love of kindred is strong, and Terah, his father, accompanied him as far as Haran. There he dwelt and died, and Abram resumed his journey westward. Lot, his brother’s son, still clings to him, but his earthly love and selfishness, as now to be exhibited, made him an unfit companion for the father of the chosen seed, and in the providence of God a peaceable separation is effected.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-13.html. 1874-1909.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Lot’ beheld all the plain of Jordan ככר, here rendered plain, means the region around, or circuit; η περιχωρος, Matthew 3:5. “At the time when Abram and Lot looked down from the mountain of Beth-el on the deep descent beneath them, and Lot chose for himself the circle of the Jordan, that circle was different from any thing that we now see.

It was well watered everywhere’ as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt — And this description is filled out in detail by subsequent allusions. It is described as a deep valley, distinguished from the surrounding desert by its fertile fields. If any credence is to be attached to the geological conclusions of the last fifty years, there must have been already a lake at its extremity, such as that which terminates the course of the Barada at Damascus, or of the Kouik at Aleppo. Then, as now, it must have received in some form or other the fresh streams of the Jordan, of the Arnon, of En-gedi, of Callirrhoe, and at the southern end, as Dr. Robinson has observed, more living brooks than are to be found in all the rest of Palestine. On the banks of one or some of these streams there seems to have been an oasis, or collection of oases, like that which is still, from the same causes, to be found on a smaller scale in the groves of En-gedi and of Jericho, and in the plain of Gennesareth, or, on a larger scale, in the paradise of Damascus. Along the edge of this lake or valley Gentile and Jewish records combine in placing the earliest seat of Phoenician civilization. Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, are (with Lasha [probably Laish] by the sources of the Jordan, and Sidon on the seashore) mentioned as the first settlements of the Canaanites. Genesis 10:19. When Lot descended from Beth-el, ‘the cities of the round’ of the Jordan formed a nucleus of civilized life before any city, except Hebron, had sprung up in Central Palestine.” — STANLEY: Sinai and Palestine, p. 281. The mention of the garden of the Lord shows how the traditions of Eden still lingered in the thoughts of men, and Lot’s recent sojourn in the valley of the Nile would naturally prompt the comparison of the well-watered Jordan valley to the land of Egypt. The words, as thou comest unto Zoar, are not to be connected, grammatically, with land of Egypt, but with plain of Jordan, from which they are separated by the intervening description of the Jordan plain.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 13:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-13.html. 1874-1909.