A Daily Genesis

Genesis 13:18

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:18a . . And Abram moved his tent, and came to dwell at the terebinths of Mamre, which are in Hebron;[/B]

Hebron (Hevron) itself is today a city of over 70,000 people located about 20 miles south of Jerusalem at an elevation of 3,050 feet above sea level. Hebron is sacred in Jewish history; but a very dangerous place to live today what with all the Palestinian troubles going on in Israel.

The word for "terebinths" is [I]'elown[/I] (ay-lone') which means: an oak, or other strong tree. Oaks, especially the very old large ones, were important meeting places. Near where I live in Oregon, there's a site called Five Oaks, named after the five oak trees that once thrived there. In pre white man days, local native Americans met at those trees for pow-wows.

Mamre, an Amorite named up ahead in Gen 14:24, was one of Abram's allies. The oaks of Mamre were apparently named after him; who some believe was a local sheik or a chieftain.

In Abram's day; Canaan was thinly populated. It was in fact a land of no law and no order. The inhabitants lived in a state of constant readiness. The widely scattered townships were veritable islands in the middle of nowhere; and vulnerable to daring attacks by the desert nomads. Suddenly, and when least expected, those predatory nomads sprang upon unwary people with indiscriminate butchery, carrying off cattle and crops. It was probably for that very reason that Abram was allied with Mamre.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 13:18b . . and he built an altar there to the Lord.[/B]

Abram's altars testify to the fact that his worship wasn't restricted to a special location. Later; Israel's covenanted law would do that very thing; but Abram wasn't under its jurisdiction so he was at liberty to sacrifice wherever it pleased him. This is an important Bible axiom; viz: law cannot be broken where it doesn't exist. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, Gal 3:17)

[B][SIZE=1]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] It was in the interests of trade that Egypt, in 3000 BC, was the first great power to stretch out its tentacles towards Canaan. A hard diorite tablet, listing the details of a ship's cargo of timber for Pharaoh Snefru, is stored in the museum at Palermo. Its date is 2700 BC. Dense woods covered the slopes of Lebanon then. The excellent wood from its cedars and meru (a kind of conifer) were just what the Pharaohs needed for their elaborate building schemes.

Five hundred years prior to Abram's day, there was already a flourishing import and export trade on the Canaanite coast. Egypt exchanged gold and spices from Nubia, copper and turquoise from the mines at Sinai, and linen and ivory for silver from Taurus, leather goods from Byblos, and painted vases from Crete.

In the great Phoenician dye works, well to do Egyptians had their robes dyed purple. For their society women, they bought lapis-lazuli blue-- eyelids dyed blue were all the rage --and stibium, a cosmetic which was highly prized by the ladies for touching up their eyelashes.

The coastal communities of Canaan presented a picture of cosmopolitan life which was busy, prosperous, and even luxurious; but just a few miles inland lay a world of glaring contrast. Bedouin attacks, insurrections, and feuds between towns were common.

A much more profitable enterprise than pillaging villages in malicious and barbaric fashion, was to hold them hostage; kind of like the plight of the villagers in the movie[B]:[/B] "The Magnificent Seven". To avoid being murdered and ravaged, the villagers gave the lion's share of their Gross National Product to the bullies. It was just that sort of scenario that resulted in the capture of the cities of the Plain while Lot was living down there among them.

Aside[B]:[/B] though I would not care to live in Abram's day; I can't help but envy some of his advantages.

There was no light pollution, no air pollution, no water pollution, no soil pollution, and no aquifer pollution. All his fruits and vegetables, all of them, were 100% organic. Nobody fattened pigs and cows with genetically modified grains-- overcrowded and standing ankle deep in their own droppings --in an intrinsically unsanitary concentrated animal feeding operation; so there was no E[B].[/B]coli 0157[B]:[/B]H7 to fear. All livestock was grass-fed outdoors on open pasture lands, which produces a medically, and nutritionally, superior grade of meat compared to grain.

It's now believed among health experts that the current generation of America's little children won't, on average, live as long as they should, and the reason for that is just simply nutrition. Though American kids today have an abundance of relatively cheap foods to choose from; they're not the same quality as the foods that people from my generation grew up on. Though modern foods suffice to fill children's tummies; they're hurting the little ones' chances of survival to a ripe old age.

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