Genesis 13

Abram and Lot

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to 1the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him.
2 Now Abram was 2very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold.
3 He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where * his tent had been at the beginning, 3between Bethel and Ai,
4 to the place of the 4altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
5 Now 5Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.
6 And 6the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, 7for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together.
7 8And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. Now 9the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.
8 10So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.
9 "Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left."
10 Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the 11valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere -this was before the LORD 12destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah -like 13the garden of the LORD, 14like the land of Egypt as you go to 15Zoar.
11 So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other.
12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in 16the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.
13 Now 17the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and 18sinners against the LORD.
14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "19Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where * you are, 20northward and southward and eastward and westward;
15 21for all the land which you see, 22I will give it to you and to your descendants forever *.
16 "I will make your descendants 23as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.
17 "Arise, 24walk about the land through its length and breadth; for 25I will give it to you."
18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the 26oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built 27an altar to the LORD.

Genesis 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Abram returns out of Egypt with great riches. (1-4) Strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. Abram gives Lot his choice of the country. (5-9) Lot chooses to dwell at Sodom. (10-13) God renews his promise to Abram, who removes to Hebron. (14-18)

Verses 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, ( Habakkuk 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, ( Proverbs 10:22 ) . Though it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven, yet in some cases it may be, ( mark 10:23 mark 10:24 ) . 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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, ( Ezekiel 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.

Verses 14-18 Those are best prepared for the visits of Divine grace, whose spirits are calm, and not ruffled with passion. God will abundantly make up in spiritual peace, what we lose for preserving neighbourly peace. When our relations are separated from us, yet God is not. Observe also the promises with which God now comforted and enriched Abram. Of two things he assures him; a good land, and a numerous issue to enjoy it. The prospects seen by faith are more rich and beautiful than those we see around us. God bade him walk through the land, not to think of fixing in it, but expect to be always unsettled, and walking through it to a better Canaan. He built an altar, in token of his thankfulness to God. When God meets us with gracious promises, he expects that we should attend him with humble praises. In outward difficulties, it is very profitable for the true believer to mediate on the glorious inheritance which the Lord has for him at the last.

Cross References 27

  • 1. Genesis 12:9
  • 2. Genesis 24:35
  • 3. Genesis 12:8
  • 4. Genesis 12:7, 8
  • 5. Genesis 12:5
  • 6. Genesis 36:7
  • 7. Genesis 12:5, 16; Genesis 13:2
  • 8. Genesis 26:20
  • 9. Genesis 12:6; Genesis 15:20, 21
  • 10. Proverbs 15:18; Proverbs 20:3
  • 11. Genesis 19:17-29; Deuteronomy 34:3
  • 12. Genesis 19:24
  • 13. Genesis 2:8, 10
  • 14. Genesis 47:6
  • 15. Genesis 14:2, 8; Genesis 19:22; Deuteronomy 34:3
  • 16. Genesis 14:2; Genesis 19:24, 25, 29
  • 17. Genesis 18:20; Ezekiel 16:49
  • 18. Genesis 39:9; Numbers 32:23; 2 Peter 2:7, 8
  • 19. Deuteronomy 3:27; Deuteronomy 34:1-4; Isaiah 49:18
  • 20. Genesis 28:14
  • 21. Genesis 12:7
  • 22. Genesis 13:17; Genesis 15:7; Genesis 17:8; 2 Chronicles 20:7; Acts 7:5
  • 23. Genesis 16:10; Genesis 28:14; Numbers 23:10
  • 24. Numbers 13:17-24
  • 25. Genesis 13:15
  • 26. Genesis 14:13
  • 27. Genesis 8:20; Genesis 12:7, 8

Footnotes 15

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 13

This chapter gives an account of the return of Abram from Egypt to the land of Canaan, and to the same place in it he had been before, Ge 13:1-4 and of a strife between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot, and the occasion of it, Ge 13:5-7 which was composed by the prudent proposal of Abram, Ge 13:8,9 upon which they parted; Abram continued in Canaan, and Lot chose the plain of Jordan, and dwelt near Sodom, a place infamous for wickedness, Ge 13:10-13 after which the Lord renewed to Abram the grant of the land of Canaan to him, and to his seed, Ge 13:14-17 and then he removed to the plain of Mamre in Hebron, and there set up the worship of God, Ge 13:18.

Genesis 13 Commentaries