Genesis 13:1-12, Part 2
Greetings everyone! God’s blessings of joy and peace to each of you in our Lord Jesus, and welcome to Tuesday’s edition of EDiBS. It’s great to have you along today, and as we continue our study in the book of Genesis I pray that you’re continuing to find God’s Word speaking to your heart in a powerful way. This portion of the Scriptures is a bit different than much of what we study due to its heavy focus on the history and development of God’s chosen people, but that doesn’t in the least mean that it’s bereft of benefit to us. On the contrary, the history-focused books, especially in the Old Testament, show us the blessing and promise of our Savior in a manner that helps to anchor our faith in an especially meaningful way. That’s one of God’s good gifts to us here in Genesis, and that’s something we always want to have in our minds as we move from chapter to chapter. To that end, let’s pray and begin today.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for your great love for us, and we are mindful that it was through your perfect life, your sacrificial death, and your miraculous return to life that we were brought forgiveness, peace, and new life. Help us to live in the reality of your grace today, and may our study time today in your Word be a fruitful time for each one of us. In your precious name we pray, amen.
As we get started today, the first 13 verses of Genesis 13 have given us a big-picture view of Abram, Lot, and their parting of ways in Canaan. Yet before we move on from that passage to see what happens next, there are a few issues in the text for us to get under our belts, things that will help us now and especially help us a little bit down the line as we continue to study. Our focus this session: Of people, of places, and of the pitching of tents.
Genesis 13:1-12, Part 2
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. 3From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord . 5Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7And quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. 8So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left." 10Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord , like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
I used to have a dog with a very highly developed sense of taste. As with many pets, she was used to one particular brand of food, and any time I tried to change it on her she’d rebel and refuse to eat whatever new thing I’d bought for her at the store. But to be fair, the only reason I tried new food in the first place was because of what she did with her regular offering, which consisted of four different shapes in four different colors, signifying four supposedly different flavors. Now - all of that food was good. But no matter what I did to try and get her to eat all of it together, the first thing she’d do with each newly poured serving would be to pick out the dark brown pieces of kibble and drop them on the floor next to her bowl. Only when every last one of them was removed would she start in on the light brown, red, and orange’ish pieces that remained. Those she would happily gobble down, leaving comfortably full as she moved forward with the rest of her day.
I bring up my persnickety, choosy canine and her eating habits today for a reason: as we come back to the opening section of Genesis 13 one final time, we have our own bowl of sorts to consider. Make no mistake: all of the food is good! Unlike my dog, there’s no reason for us to discard any of it. There are, however, a few things we want to focus on in the meal before us at present, because once we’ve finished, we’ll be set to leave the table comfortably full and ready to move forward in our study. Specifically, I want to draw your attention to three verses in the text, and because what I’m going to share is brief and to the point, the best way to use what we cover today is as an addendum to what we covered in our time together yesterday.
The first of the three verses is verse 7, in particular the second part of the verse where we’re told about the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Here’s the verse in full:
7And quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
The comment to make with respect to this part of the passage is simply this: when it’s explained to us that the Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at the time when Abram and Lot were struggling over adequate space to coexist, it give us as readers one of two things (or perhaps both) to grab onto. First, historically speaking it’s an anchor point. It gives us a general time period for the events taking place — one with which, admittedly, the original readers would have been more intimately familiar than we are today. Second, this comment in the text may also be providing a partial explanation as to why the land couldn’t hold all of Abram’s and Lot’s holdings at once. With the Canaanites and Perizzites living in and using the land at the same time, things may have been even more tight and resources more scarce. At any rate, it’s good for us to think through the nuts and bolts, because it helps us to put ourselves in their shoes as we consider the choices they were making.
The second verse we want to single out today is verse 10, again, in particular the second half. Verse 10 in full reads,
10Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord , like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Why point out this verse today? Not so much to provide commentary on Lot’s choice to go east and settle on the plain of the Jordan, but to signpost and make note of what is said about Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, in one sense this is a historical marker for the reader, helping to place this event into its proper setting. Much more important, however, is the fact that we’re being told why the land Lot is going to is well-watered and fertile: it’s because it has not yet been subjected to the horrific desolation it will suffer when Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. Later on, Genesis will make clear for us that when the Lord destroyed those two cities, the impact went far beyond their walls. Crops and livestock could no longer be sustained in the region — and this verse gives us the first hint of how things would be different there in the aftermath.
Finally — and I’ll mention this as our wrap-up for the day because I already alluded to it in our last session — I just want to point out what’s shared with us in verse 12:
12Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
What’s significant here? That when Lot entered the plain of the Jordan, he chose to live among the cities there, and specifically, that he pitched his tents near Sodom. Remember the creeping I mentioned in our time together yesterday? Here’s where it starts….and before it ends, we’ll see that Lot will end up leaving his tents behind altogether, setting them aside to take up residence in Sodom itself. There’s a pull there — and unfortunately, it’s one that will ultimately bring disaster. We’ll definitely be talking about it as it comes to pass.
With that, I think our bowl is empty for this session, everyone! I’m glad you came along today, and I hope you’ll be taking away some good food for thought as we close. Tomorrow we’ll be finishing out our look at this 13th chapter of Genesis, and I hope you’ll make plans to join in as we study together. God bless you richly in Christ as you go about your day, and I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon. Take care!