Genesis 13:9
Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
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13:5-9 Riches not only afford matter for strife, and are the things most commonly striven about; but they also stir up a spirit of contention, by making people proud and covetous. Mine and thine are the great make-bates of the world. Poverty and labour, wants and wanderings, could not separate Abram and Lot; but riches did so. Bad servants often make a great deal of mischief in families and among neighbours, by their pride and passion, lying, slandering, and talebearing. What made the quarrel worse was, that the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in the land. The quarrels of professors are the reproach of religion, and give occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. It is best to keep the peace, that it be not broken; but the next best is, if differences do happen, with all speed to quench the fire that is broken out. The attempt to stay this strife was made by Abram, although he was the elder and the greater man. Abram shows himself to be a man of cool spirit, that had the command of his passion, and knew how to turn away wrath by a soft answer. Those that would keep the peace, must never render railing for railing. And of a condescending spirit; he was willing to beseech even his inferior to be at peace. Whatever others are for, the people of God must be for peace. Abram's plea for peace was very powerful. Let the people of the land contend about trifles; but let not us fall out, who know better things, and look for a better country. Professors of religion should be most careful to avoid contention. Many profess to be for peace who will do nothing towards it: not so Abram. When God condescends to beseech us to be reconciled, we may well beseech one another. Though God had promised Abram to give this land to his seed, yet he offered an equal or better share to Lot, who had not an equal right; and he will not, under the protection of God's promise, act hardly to his kinsman. It is noble to be willing to yield for peace' sake.The strife among the underlings does not alienate their masters. Abram appeals to the obligations of brotherhood. He proposes to obviate any further difference by yielding to Lot the choice of all the land. The heavenly principle of forbearance evidently holds the supremacy in Abram's breast. He walks in the moral atmosphere of the sermon on the mount Matthew 5:28-42.7. And there was a strife—Abraham's character appears here in a most amiable light. Having a strong sense of religion, he was afraid of doing anything that might tend to injure its character or bring discredit on its name, and he rightly judged that such unhappy effects would be produced if two persons whom nature and grace had so closely connected should come to a rupture [Ge 13:8]. Waiving his right to dictate, he gave the freedom of choice to Lot. The conduct of Abraham was not only disinterested and peaceable, but generous and condescending in an extraordinary degree, exemplifying the Scripture precepts (Mt 6:32; Ro 12:10, 11; Php 2:4). Is not the whole land before thee? i.e. open to thy view, and free to choose which part thou pleasest, as thou canst agree with the owners: I give thee full power to choose before me. See a like phrase, Genesis 20:15 34:10,21 47:6.

Thou wilt take: this and the following supplement are easily gathered both from the words of this and Genesis 13:11, and from the nature of the thing. And the Hebrew language being a concise or short language, such supplements are frequently necessary, and very usual. Compare 2 Chronicles 10:11, with 1 Kings 12:11 2 Samuel 23:8, with 1 Chronicles 11:11.

Is not the whole land before thee?.... Signifying, that though there were not room and convenience for them both in that part of the country in which they were, yet there were in other parts; and though the land was given to Abram, he did not desire Lot to depart out of it; nay, he sets it all before him to choose what part he would dwell in, which was great condescension in him:

separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; not that he was weary of his company and fellowship with him, but, as things were circumstanced, a separation was necessary for the subsistence of their herds and flocks, and for the peace and comfort of their respective families; nor did he desire him to go out of the land, or be so far from him, that he could be of no advantage to him; but though separate, yet so near him as to give him help and assistance, as there might be occasion for it, and as there was some time after, which appears from the history of the following chapter.

If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left; or as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan are,"if thou wilt go to the north, I will go to the south, or if thou wilt go to the south, I will go to the north:''for when a man stands with his face to the east, the principal part, the north is on his left hand, and the south on his right; and this was an usual way of speaking in the eastern countries; but they were not, as Grotius observes, Aristotelians, who make the east the right hand, and the west the left. This was an instance of the peaceable disposition of Abram, and of his humility and condescension to give his nephew leave, who was in all respects inferior to him, to make his choice, to go which way he would, and take what part of the country he pleased.

Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt {f} take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

(f) Abram resigns his own right to buy peace.

9. the whole land, &c.] Abram’s offer is made with the elaborate profuseness and courtesy characteristic of an Oriental bargain: cf. Genesis 23:11-16; 2 Samuel 24:21-24.

Verse 9. - Is not the whole land before thee? The Bethel plateau commands an extensive view of Palestine (vide on ver. 10). Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. Thus giving Lot the choice of the country. If thou wilt take the left hand (literally, if to the left hand (sc. thou wilt go), the Hebrew term being in the accusative after a verb of motion (Kalisch, p. 344) - then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

CHAPTER 13:10-13 Genesis 13:9To put an end to the strife between their herdsmen, Abram proposed to Lot that they should separate, as strife was unseemly between אחים אנשׁים, men who stood in the relation of brethren, and left him to choose his ground. "If thou to the left, I will turn to the right; and if thou to the right, I will turn to the left." Although Abram was the older, and the leader of the company, he was magnanimous enough to leave the choice to his nephew, who was the younger, in the confident assurance that the Lord would so direct the decision, that His promise would be fulfilled.
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