Genesis 13:18

18 So Abram moved his tent and went to live beside the oaks of Mamre at Hebron,[a] where he built an altar to the Lord.

Genesis 13:18 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 13:18

Then Abram removed [his] tent
From the mountain between Bethel and Hai, ( Genesis 13:3 ) ; and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre,
or "in the oaks of Mamre" {e}; in a grove of oaks there, as being shady and pleasant to dwell among or under, and not through any superstitious regard to such trees and places where they grew; which has obtained since among the Heathens, and particularly among the Druids, who have their name from thence. Indeed such superstitions might take their rise from hence, being improved and abused to such purposes; and both Jerom F6 and Sozomen F7 speak of the oak of Abram being there in the times of Constantine, and greatly resorted to, and had in great veneration; and they and others make mention of a turpentine tree, which it is pretended sprung from a walking stick of one of the angels that appeared to Abram at this place, greatly regarded in a superstitious way by all sorts of persons: this plain or grove of oaks, here spoken of, was called after a man whose name was Mamre, an Amorite, a friend and confederate of Abram: which [is] in Hebron;
or near it, an ancient city built seven years before Zoan or Tanis in Egypt, ( Numbers 13:22 ) ; it was first called Kirjath Arbab, but, in the times of Moses, Hebron, ( Genesis 23:2 ) . The place they call the Turpentine, from the tree that grows there, according to Sozomen F8, was fifteen furlongs distant from Hebron to the south; but Josephus F9 says it was but six furlongs, or three quarters of a mile; who speaking of Hebron says,

``the inhabitants of it say, that it is not only more ancient than the cities of that country, but than Memphis in Egypt, and is reckoned to be of 2300 years standing: they report, that it was the habitation of Abram, the ancestor of the Jews, after he came out of Mesopotamia, and that from hence his children descended into Egypt, whose monuments are now shown in this little city, made of beautiful marble, and elegantly wrought; and there is shown, six furlongs from it, a large turpentine tree, which they say remained from the creation to that time.''
A certain traveller F10 tells us, that the valley of Mamre was about half a mile from old Hebron; from Bethel, whence Abram removed to Mamre, according to Sir Walter Raleigh F11, was about twenty four miles; but Bunting F12 makes it thirty two: and built there an altar unto the Lord;
and gave thanks for the prevention of strife between Lot and him, and for the renewal of the grant of the land of Canaan to him and his seed; and performed all acts of religious worship, which the building of an altar is expressive of.

F5 (armm ynlab) "juxta quercetum Mamre", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Montanus; so Ainsworth.
F6 De loc. Heb. fol. 87. E. tom. 3.
F7 Eccles. Hist. l. 2. c. 4. p. 447.
F8 lbid.
F9 De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 7.
F10 Baumgarten. Peregrinatio, l. 2. c. 4. p. 79.
F11 History of the World, par. 1. B. 2. sect. 3. p. 132.
F12 Travels, p. 57.

Genesis 13:18 In-Context

16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if one could count the dust of the earth, then your offspring could be counted.
17 Get up and walk from one end of the land to the other, for I will give it to you."
18 So Abram moved his tent and went to live beside the oaks of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Gn 14:13; 18:1; 23:17-19
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