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.
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(11) Lot journeyed east.—This is the word translated “eastward” in Genesis 2:8, and “from the east” in Genesis 11:2. Here it can only mean towards the east.

13:10-13 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, Eze 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.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.

11. Then Lot chose him all the plain—a choice excellent from a worldly point of view, but most inexpedient for his best interests. He seems, though a good man, to have been too much under the influence of a selfish and covetous spirit: and how many, alas! imperil the good of their souls for the prospect of worldly advantage. Lot journeyed east; Heb. from the east, or eastward, as the Hebrew particle min is sometimes used: see Genesis 2:8 2 Samuel 2:2, compared with 1 Chronicles 13:6. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan,.... Because of its good pasturage, and because of the plenty of water there; the want of both which was the inconvenience he had laboured under, and had occasioned the strife between his and Abram's servants:

and Lot journeyed east, or "eastward"; for the plain of Jordan, and that part of the land on which Sodom and Gomorrah stood, were to the east of Bethel: the phrase is by some rendered "from the east" (y), and the particle used most commonly so signifies; and Jarchi observes, that he journeyed from east to west; and Aben Ezra says, that Sodom was at the west of Bethel, in which he is most certainly wrong, for it was most clearly in the eastern part of the land; wherefore others, that follow this version, interpret it, that he went from the east of Bethel, or he went into that country situated at the east with respect to the land of Canaan; but it is best to render it as we do, east or eastward, to or towards the east (z):

and they separated themselves the one from the other; that is, Abram and Lot, they parted good friends by consent; and the one went with his family, flocks, and herds, to one place, and settled there; and the other in another place, and so further animosities and contentions were prevented.

(y) "ab Oriente", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Schmidt. (z) "Orientem versus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Cartwrightus.

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the {h} one from the other.

(h) This was done by God's providence, that only Abram and his seed might dwell in the land of Canaan.

11. So Lot chose] This verse points onward both to the catastrophe in 19 and to the dwelling-place of the Moabites and Ammonites. Lot’s selection (a) disregarded the rights of Abram his senior; (b) was based on the material attractions of the country; (c) ignored the characteristics of the people of the land (Genesis 13:13). Its importance lay in its symbolical resignation of any claim upon the land of Palestine by the Moabites and Ammonites.

and Lot journeyed east] This is the account according to J. The next two clauses are from P: they repeat the same thought and interrupt the sentence. The words in Genesis 13:12 “and moved his tent as far as Sodom” continue the sentence “journeyed east,” and follow very awkwardly after the words “dwelled in the cities of the Plain.” This is a rare instance of unskilful combination of the two strata of tradition.

13 (J). the men of Sodom] The mention of the wickedness of the people is here emphasized in reference to (a) the selfish choice of Lot (Genesis 13:11); (b) the coming story of the overthrow of the cities of the Plain (19); (c) the immediate assurance to Abram of Jehovah’s blessing outweighing all earthly privileges.

sinners against the Lord] i.e. by immorality, not idolatry. Jehovah’s supremacy over the heathen world is here implied, as in Genesis 12:10-20 in connexion with Egypt, and in Genesis 10:10 in the mention of Nimrod.

14–17 (J). The promise of the land to Abram and his seed (Genesis 12:7) is renewed with more minute description, (a) as to the extent of the country (Genesis 13:14-15); (b) as to the infinite number of his descendants (Genesis 13:16).Verse 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. But as Abram was very rich (כּבד, lit., weighty) in possessions (מקנה, cattle and slaves), and Lot also had flocks, and herds, and tents אהלים for אהלים, Ges. 93, 6, 3) for his men, of whom there must have been many therefore, the land did not bear them when dwelling together (נשׁא, masculine at the commencement of the sentence, as is often the case when the verb precedes the subject, vid., Ges. 147), i.e., the land did not furnish space enough for the numerous herd to graze. Consequently disputes arose between the two parties of herdsmen. The difficulty was increased by the fact that the Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land, so that the space was very contracted. The Perizzites, who are mentioned here and in Genesis 34:30; Judges 1:4, along with the Canaanites, and who are placed in the other lists of the inhabitants of Canaan among the different Canaanitish tribes (Genesis 15:20; Exodus 3:8, Exodus 3:17, etc.), are not mentioned among the descendants of Canaan (Genesis 10:15-17), and may therefore, like the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, and Rephaim (Genesis 15:19-21), not have been descendants of Ham at all. The common explanation of the name Perizzite as equivalent to פּרזות ארץ ישׁב "inhabitant of the level ground" (Ezekiel 38:11), is at variance not only with the form of the word, the inhabitant of the level ground being called הפּרזי (Deuteronomy 3:5), but with the fact of their combination sometimes with the Canaanites, sometimes with the other tribes of Canaan, whose names were derived from their founders. Moreover, to explain the term "Canaanite," as denoting "the civilised inhabitants of towns," or "the trading Phoenicians," is just as arbitrary as if we were to regard the Kenites, Kenizzites, and the other tribes mentioned Genesis 15:19. along with the Canaanites, as all alike traders or inhabitants of towns. The origin of the name Perizzite is involved in obscurity, like that of the Kenites and other tribes settled in Canaan that were not descended from Ham. But we may infer from the frequency with which they are mentioned in connection with the Hamitic inhabitants of Canaan, that they were widely dispersed among the latter. Vid., Genesis 15:19-21.
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