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;
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Genesis 13:3

These are the two first acts of Abram in the land of Canaan.

1. All life should blend earthly and heavenly.

They are not to be separated. Religion should run through everything and take the whole of life for its field. Where we cannot carry it is no place for us. It is a shame that heathenism should be more penetrated by its religion than Christendom is.

2. The family should be a church.

Domestic religion. New Testament households. Abram a priest. The decay of family religion, worship, and instruction.

3. The service to God should be more costly than to ourselves.

Pitching a tent cheaper than building an altar. Give God the best. We build ourselves ceiled houses and the ark dwells in curtains. Pagans build elaborate temples, but their houses are hovels. Too many Christians do the opposite.

4. Building for God lasts, for selves perishes.

A tent is stricken, and no trace remains but embers. The stones of Jacob’s altar may be standing yet. The Parthenon of Athens remains: where are the hovels of the people? ‘He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.’ Permanent results of transitory deeds.

Genesis 13:3. He went on to Beth-el — Because there he had formerly had an altar, and although the altar had fallen down, as being probably built of earth, or had been taken down by Abram, lest it should be polluted by the idolatrous Canaanites; yet he came to the place of the altar, either to revive the remembrance of the communion he had had with God at that place, or perhaps to pay the vows he had there made to God, when he undertook his journey into Egypt. And there Abram, prevented by no legal restraints, deterred by no pains or penalties, or insurrection of the inhabitants, although idolaters, “called on the name of the Lord,” worshipped God by prayer and thanksgiving, by offering sacrifices, and instructing his family, Genesis 18:19.

13:1-4 Abram was very rich: he was very heavy, so the Hebrew word is; for riches are a burden; and they that will be rich, do but load themselves with thick clay, Hab 2:6. There is a burden of care in getting riches, fear in keeping them, temptation in using them, guilt in abusing them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account at last to be given up about them. Yet God in his providence sometimes makes good men rich men, and thus God's blessing made Abram rich without sorrow, Pr 10:22. Though it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven, yet in some cases it may be, Mr 10:23,24. Nay, outward prosperity, if well managed, is an ornament to piety, and an opportunity for doing more good. Abram removed to Beth-el. His altar was gone, so that he could not offer sacrifice; but he called on the name of the Lord. You may as soon find a living man without breath as one of God's people without prayer. - 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.

3. went on his journeys—His progress would be by slow marches and frequent encampments as Abram had to regulate his movements by the prospect of water and pasturage.

unto the place … between Beth-el and Hai—"a conspicuous hill—its topmost summit resting on the rocky slopes below, and distinguished by its olive groves—offering a natural base for the altar and a fitting shade for the tent of the patriarch" [Stanley].

He went on his journey, or rather, according to his journeys, which he took as he came, going in the same road, and resting in the same place, of which he had experience.

And he went on in his journeys from the south,.... He took the same tour, went the same road, stopping at the same resting places, as when he went down to Egypt; having learned, as Jarchi observes, the way of the earth, that a man should not change his host. Though some, as Ben Gersom, understand it of his taking his journeys as were suitable for his cattle, as they were able to bear them, and not overdrive them, lest he should kill them, but made short stages, and frequently stopped and rested. And thus he went on through the southern part of the land, until he came

even to Bethel; as it was afterwards called, though now Luz, Genesis 28:19.

unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning; when he first came into the land of Canaan, to a mountain

between Bethel and Hai; afterwards called Mount Ephraim, and was four miles from Jerusalem on the north (t); see Genesis 12:8.

(t) Bunting's Travels, &c. p. 59.

And he went on his journeys from the south even to {b} Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;

(b) He calls the place by the name which was later given to it, Ge 23:19.

Verses 3, 4. - And he went on his journeys. Literally, in his journeyings or stations!cf. Genesis 11:2; Exodus 17:1; Numbers 10:6, 12). The renderings καὶ ἐπορεύθη ὅθεν η΅λθεν (LXX.) and reversus est per iter quo venerat (Vulgate) imply without warrant that he used the same camping grounds in his ascent which he had previously occupied in his descent. From the south even to Bethel (vide Genesis 12:8), unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning. Before his emigration into Egypt, i.e. not to Shechem, the site of his first altar, where probably he had not encamped for any length of time, if at all, but to a spot between Bethel and Ai (the exact situation being more minutely described as) unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first. After entering the promised land. In reality it was the second altar he had erected (vide Genesis 12:7, 8). And there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Professed the true and pure worship of God (Calvin); preached and taught his family and Canaanitish neighbors the true religion (Luther). Vide Genesis 12:8; Genesis 4:26. Genesis 13:3Abram, having returned from Egypt to the south of Canaan with his wife and property uninjured, through the gracious protection of God, proceeded with Lot למסּעיו "according to his journeys" (lit., with the repeated breaking up of his camp, required by a nomad life; on נסע to break up a tent, to remove, see Exodus 12:37) into the neighbourhood of Bethel and Ai, where he had previously encamped and built an altar (Genesis 12:8), that he might there call upon the name of the Lord again. That ויּקרא (Genesis 13:4) is not a continuation of the relative clause, but a resumption of the main sentence, and therefore corresponds with ויּלך (Genesis 13:3), "he went...and called upon the name of the Lord there," has been correctly concluded by Delitzsch from the repetition of the subject Abram.
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