A Daily Genesis

Genesis 13:1-11a

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:1-2 . . From Egypt, Abram went up into the Negeb, with his wife and all that he possessed, together with Lot. Now Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold.[/B]

The word for "rich" is from [I]kabad[/I] (kaw-bad') which means: to be heavy, i.e. in either a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses); viz: which is why, I guess, we call the rich "loaded"

So the rich are not only wealthy, but weighted down too. It was a piece of cake for Abram to pull up stakes and move around wherever God wanted before he got so wealthy. Now it will be an undertaking especially without power tools and mechanized conveyances.

[B][SIZE=1]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] Though it's not stated, I think it's probably pretty safe to assume that Lot enjoyed the very same privileged status in Egypt that his uncle Abram did due to their mutual relationship to Sarai; so that Lot came up out of Egypt a very prosperous cattle baron.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:3-7a . . And he proceeded by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been formerly, between Bethel and Ai, the site of the altar that he had built there at first; and there Abram invoked the Lord by name.

. . . Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them staying together; for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together. And there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and those of Lot's cattle.[/B]

Grazing land can support only so many head of cattle per acre, and the land was just recently recovering from a famine. Lot's drovers were squabbling with Abram's over available grass; and probably the available water too. If those men had barbed wire in that day, I'm sure they would have strung it. Then the shootin' would have really started up!
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:7b . .The Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land.[/B]

How do you suppose Abram's and Lot's squabbling looked to the pagans? When God's people can't get along, outsiders become disgusted with them and they sure won't be influenced for God in a good way when Yhvh's people are fighting amongst themselves like that.

Years ago, when I was a young welder just starting out on my own, I rented a small room in a daylight basement from a man who was the senior pastor of a medium-sized Seventh Day Adventist church in the Portland Oregon area. He and his wife radiated the luster of polished spirituality whenever I spoke with them out in the yard, but in my location under the floor of the house, I could overhear their bitter quarrels upstairs behind closed doors. Was I favorably inclined to attend his church? No.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:8-9a . . Abram said to Lot: Let there be no strife between you and me, between my herdsmen and yours, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you?[/B]

Palestine was still pretty much a wild frontier in the 20th century BC. Actually very little of it was private property. And what with no Bureau of Land Management, the land out west from Ur was pretty much up for grabs to anyone who had the moxie to take it. Abram and Lot remind me very much of early day American pioneers and cattle barons.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:9b . . Let us separate.[/B]

It wasn't an easy thing for Abram to be firm with his kin, and it was a weakness in his spiritual life from day-one. He and Sarai were supposed to leave their kin and come to Canaan alone. He wasn't supposed to take along a nephew. But Abram just couldn't leave Lot behind. So now he and Lot are separating with bad blood between them. And Lot's future is very uncertain down in that God-less country away from his uncle Abram's patronage.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:9c . . if you go north, I will go south; and if you go south, I will go north.[/B]

Even though there was some bad blood now between Abram and Lot, the old boy remained a gracious man. Being the senior of the two, Abram could have claimed first dibs on the land. But he waived the privileges of rank, and gave his nephew the choice. But, in point of fact, Abram made Lot a promise that he could in no way guarantee to honor; because it was God who ultimately dictated where Abram was to dwell in the land.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:10 . . Lot looked about him and saw how well watered was the whole plain of the Jordan, all of it-- this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah --all the way to Zoar, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.[/B]

The Jordan Valley slopes southward like a ramp from an altitude of roughly 685 feet below sea level at the Sea of Galilee to an elevation of 1,384 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea. Water was Lot's primary concern and there was plenty of it down there in that valley 4,000 years ago. Along with overflow from the Sea of Galilee, was an abundance of wadis and streams draining into the Jordan Valley from the highlands.

In its heyday, the Jordan poured about 1[B].[/B]3 billion cubic feet of water per year into the Dead Sea. Today-- due to dams, diversions, and pumping --only about 2 or 3 percent of those ancient billions reach the sea. In the last century alone, the Sea's level declined 80 feet in just the sixty years between 1939 and 1999.

In Abram's day, the Jordan Valley in the region between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee was well watered, fertile, and very appealing to a cattle baron like Lot. It had some pretty good jungles too: home to lots of fierce lions at one time.

[B][SIZE=1]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] The Israel of today is just a dried up husk of its former environmental glory. For example: Israel's lions, now extinct, once inhabited forests (Jer 5:6) mountain caves (Nahum 2:12) and the Jordan Valley (Jer 49:19). Israel's bears (2Kgs 2:24) were eradicated in the early 20th century. The closest kin to the bears that once roamed wild there are the Syrian brown bears kept in the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

What the world sees today in Palestine little resembles the land of milk and honey into which Joshua brought Yhvh's people some 3,500 years ago; and there's their own breaches of the covenant to thank for it.

"Even all nations shall say: Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?

Then men shall say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book" (Deut 29:24-27)

A menu of the curses is on public display at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:11a . . So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward.[/B]

Today a descent down to Jericho from Bethel (modern Beitin) would be close to a 4,000 foot drop in elevation. Whooee! That'll sure make your ears pop!

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