And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
Verse 1. - And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife. A special mercy that either of them returned, considering the sin they had committed and the peril in which they had been placed. And all that he had. Referring principally to the souls, "domestiei" (Peele), acquired in Haran (Genesis 12:5, 16), his material wealth being mentioned afterwards. And Lot (who does not appear in the preceding paragraph, no part of which relates to him, but is now reintroduced into the narrative, the present portion of the story being connected with his fortunes) with him into the south (sc. of Canaan, vide Genesis 12:9).
And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Verse 2. - And Abram was very rich. Literally, weighty; used in the sense of abundance (Exodus 12:38; 1 Kings 10:2; 2 Kings 6:14). In cattle. Mikneh, from kana, to acquire by purchase, may apply to slaves as well as cattle (cf. Genesis 17:12, 13, 23). In silver and gold. Mentioned for the first time in Scripture; implying an acquaintance among the Egyptians with the operations of mining and the processes of refining the precious metals. Cf. the instructions of Amenemhat I., which speak of that monarch, belonging to the twelfth dynasty, as having built for himself a palace adorned with gold (vide 'Records of the Past,' vol. 2. p. 14).
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;
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.
Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
Verses 5, 6. - And Lot also (literally, and also to Lot), who went with Abram (literally, going with Abram), had (were) flocks and herds and tents. The uncle's prosperity overflowed upon the nephew. Rosenmüller includes in the tents the domestics and servants, qui in tentoriis degebant (cf. 1 Chronicles 4:41). And the land was not able to bear them. Literally, did not bear, i.e. support their households and flocks. That they should dwell together. In consequence partly of the scarce pasturage, the land probably having not yet sufficiently recovered from the drought, but chiefly because of their increasing wealth. For their substance (vide Genesis 12:5) was great, so that they could not (literally, and they were not able to) dwell together.
And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
Verse 7. - And there was a strife (originating doubtless in the scarcity of pasture, and having for its object the possession of the best wells and most fertile grounds) between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite - the lowlander (vide Genesis 9:22; 12:6) - and the Perizzite - the highlander, or dweller in the hills and woods of Palestine (Josephus, Bochart); in the open country and in villages, as opposed to the Canaanites, who occupied walled towns (Kalisch, Wordsworth; a tribe of wandering nomads (Murphy), the origin of whose name is lost in obscurity (Keil), who, though not mentioned in Genesis 10, are commonly introduced with the Canaanites (Genesis 15:20; Genesis 34:30; Exodus 3:8, 17), as dividing the land between them, and are probably to be regarded as the remnant of an early Shemite race displaced by the Hamite invaders of Palestine. Their introduction here is neither a sign of post-Mosaic authorship nor an interpolation, but an explanation of the difficulty of finding pasture - the land was occupied (vide Genesis 12:6) - dwelt then in the land.
And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
Verse 8. - And Abram said unto Lot. Perceiving probably that Lot's face was not towards him as usual, and being desirous to avert the danger of collision between his nephew and himself. Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and (i.e. either identifying himself and his nephew with their subordinates, or fearing that the strife of their subordinates might spread to themselves, hence, as) between my herd-men and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Literally, men brethren (cf. Genesis 11:27, 31; Exodus 2:13; Psalm 133:1). Abram and Lot were kinsmen by nature, by relationship, and by faith (vide Genesis 11:31; 2 Peter 2:7).
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.
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.
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
Verse 10. - And Lot lifted up his eyes. Circumspexit; with a look of eager, lustful greed (cf. Genesis 3:6). The same expression is afterwards used of Abram (ver. 14), where perhaps also the element of satisfaction, though in a good sense, is designed to be included. And beheld all the plain. Literally, all the circle, or surrounding region (כִּכָּר, from כָּרַר, to move in a circle; cf. arrondissement, Fr.; kreis or bezirk, Ger.); ΠΑΡΙ´ΞΩΡΟΣ (LXX., Matthew 3:5); now called El Ghor, the low country (Gesenius). Of Jordan. Compounded of Jordan, the names of the two river sources (Josephus, Jerome); but, according to modern etymologists, derived from יָרַד, to go down, and signifying the Descender, like the German Rhine, from tin-hen, to run. The largest river of Palestine, rising at the foot of Antilibanus, and passing, in its course of 200 miles, over twenty-seven rapids, it pours its waters first into the lake of Merom, and then into the sea of Galilee, 653 feet, and finally into the Lacus Asphaltites, 1316 feet below the level of the Mediterranean (cf. Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' Genesis 7. p. 282). It is now called Esh-Sheri'ah, i.e. the ford, as having been of old crossed by the Israelites (Gesenius). That it was well-watered everywhere. Not by canals and trenches, as old interpreters imagined, but by copious streams along its course, descending chiefly from the mountains of Moab. Before the Lord destroyed - the same word is used for the destruction of all flesh in what is styled the Elohistic account of the Deluge (Genesis 6:13, 17; Genesis 9:11, 15; cf. ' Quarry on Genesis,' p. 423) - Sodom and Gomorrha (vide Genesis 14:2). Even as the garden of the Lord. Paradise in Eden, with its four streams (Genesis if. 10; Calvin, Lange, Keil); though by some this is deemed unsatisfactory (Quarry), and the phrase taken as - hortus amae-nissimus (Rosenmüller), and in particular Mesopotamia, which was a land of rare re. cundity (Grotius, Junius). Like the land of Egypt - which was irrigated by the Nile and by canals from it as well as by machines (Deuteronomy 11:10, 11) - as thou comest unto Zoar - at the south-east corner of the Dead Sea (vide Genesis 14:3).
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
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.
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Verse 12. - Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan. Strictly so called; in its larger sense Canaan included the circle of the Jordan. And Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain. Being desirous of a permanent settlement within the gates, or at least in the immediate neighborhood, of the wealthy cities of the laud; in contrast to his uncle, who remained a wanderer throughout its borders, sojourning as in a strange country (Hebrews 11:9). And (with this purpose in contemplation), he pitched his tent toward (i.e. in the direction of, and as far as to) Sodom.
But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Verse 13. - But (literally, and) the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners their wickedness is more specifically detailed in Genesis 19, q.v.) - before the Lord - literally, to Jehovah = before the face of Jehovah; ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ (LXX.), vide Genesis 10:9; an aggravation of the wickedness of the Sodomites - exceedingly. Their vileness was restrained neither in quantity nor quality. As it passed all height in arrogance., so it burst all bounds in prevalence.
And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
Verses 14, 15. - And the Lord said - speaking probably with an articulate voice; the third occasion on which the patriarch was directly addressed by God. The narrative, however, does not affirm that there was any actual theophany - unto Abram - who could readily recognize the voice which had twice already spoken to him. After that Lot was separated from him. Thus God approved that separation (Peele), and administered consolation to the troubled heart of the patriarch (Calvin), though Divine revelations are rather wont to be made to minds already quiet and sedate (Lyra). Lift up now thine eyes. Perhaps a studied reference to the act of Lot, which Moses describes in similar language (ver. 10), and possibly designed to suggest the greater satisfaction which would be imparted to the soul of Abram by the survey about to be made. And look from the place where thou art. Between Bethel and Ai, on cue of the mountain peaks (cf. Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3), from which a commanding view of almost the entire country could be obtained. Northward - towards "the hills which divide Judaea from the rich plains of Samaria" - and southward - as far as to the Hebron range - and eastward - in the direction of the dark mountain wall of Moab, down through the rich ravine which leads from the central hills of Palestine to the valley of the Jordan, and across that very "circle" into which Lot has already departed with his flocks - and westward - literally, towards the sea. Cf. on the view from the stony but fertile plateau between Bethel and Ai, Stanley's ' Sinai and Palestine,' Genesis 4. p. 218. For all the land which thou seest - i.e. the entire country, a part being put for the whole - to thee will I give it. To avoid an apparent conflict between this Divine declaration and the words of Stephen (Acts 7:5), it is proposed by some to read the next clause as epexegetic of the present (Ainsworth, Bush); but the land was really given to Abram as a nomade chief, in the sense that he peacefully lived for many years, grew old, and died within its borders (Clericus, Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary'), while it was assigned to his descendants only because it had been first donated to him. And to thy seed. Not his bodily posterity alone, to whom the terrestrial Canaan was given, but also and chiefly his spiritual family, to whom was made over that better country, even an heavenly, of which the land of promise was a type. Forever. 'Adh 'olam (vide on Genesis 9:16) = = in perpetuity; i.e.
(1) to the close of that clam or period which was already measured out in the secret counsels of Jehovah for the duration of the seed of Abraham as a people, "quum terra in seculum promittitur, non simpliciter notatur. perpetuitas, sed quae finem accepit in Christo" (Calvin); and
(2) unto eternity, in so far as it was a promise of a spiritual inheritance to Abraham's believing children. Thus as the promise did not preclude the expulsion of unbelieving Israel from the land, so neither does it guarantee to existing Jews a return to the earthly Paradise (Keil).
For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Verse 16. - And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth. "As the land shall be great for thy people, thy posterity, so thy people shall be great or innumerable for the land" (Lunge). Afterwards the seed of Abram is likened to the stars of heaven for multitude (Genesis 15:5). So that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Verse 17. - Arise. According to a common mode of Oriental speech, pleonastically affixed to verbs of going, going forward, and of setting about anything with impulse (Gesenius, p. 727; cf. Genesis 22:3; Job 1:20). Walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it. To be understood not as a literal direction, but as an intimation that he might leisurely survey his inheritance with the calm assurance that it was his. For I will give it unto thee.
Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
Verse 18. - Then - literally, and, acting immediately as the heavenly voice directed - Abram removed - or rather pitched (cf. ver. 12) - his tent, and dwelt - settled down, made the central point of his subsequent abode in Canaan (Wordsworth) - in the plane - בְּאֵלֹנֵי = oaks (Gesenius) or terebinths Celsins); vide Genesis 12:6 - of Mamre - an Amorite chieftain who afterwards became the friend and ally of Abram (Genesis 14:13, 24), and to whom probably the grove belonged - which is in Hebron - twenty-two miles south of Jerusalem on the way to Beersheba, a town of great antiquity, having been built seven years before Zoan, in Egypt (Numbers 13:22). As it is elsewhere styled Kirjath-arba, or the city of Arba (Genesis 23:2; Genesis 35:27), and appears to have been so called until the conquest (Joshua 14:15), the occurrence of the name Hebron is regarded as a trace of post-Mosaic authorship (Clericus, et alii); but it is more probable that Hebron was the original name of the city, and that it received the appellation Kirjath-arba on the arrival in the country of Arba the Anakite, perhaps during the sojourn of Jacob's descendants in Egypt (Rosenmüller, Bantugarten, Hengstenberg, Keil, Kurtz). The place is called by modern Arabs El Khalil, the friend of God. And built there an altar unto the Lord.