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Genesis 13-15

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Genesis Chapter 13

"So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into The Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on The Name of The Lord." (Genesis 13:1-4 RSV)

River Abraham's time in Egypt had been profitable; the family group came out with far more than they had when they went in. But their prosperity soon caused conflict within the family.

"And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelt in the land." (Genesis 13:5-7 RSV)

The obvious solution was for them to part company in order to freely range over more of the land before them. Abraham gave his nephew Lot first choice. Unfortunately, for Lot, although then well-watered, he chose the area of the soon to be incinerated city of Sodom (see also Sodomites and Where Is "Sodom" Today?).

"Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that The Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of The Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in The Land Of Canaan, while Lot dwelt among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against The Lord." (Genesis 13:8-13 RSV)

Abraham then made his choice - Hebron (see The Tombs Of Hebron).

"So Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to The Lord." (Genesis 13:18 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 14

Lot's arrival in Sodom was at a time when the local kings were at war in the area of the Valley of Siddim.

Valley of Siddim

"In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, The Salt Sea)." (Genesis 14:1-3 RSV)

Unfortunately for Lot, again, he was captured at Sodom when the city fell to the opposing forces.

"Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of Bitumen pits; and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the mountain. So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way; they also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed." (Genesis 14:8-12 RSV)

Abraham by then had become a "king" in the local sense, with both the autonomy and the manpower to make war (see Abraham At War).

"Then one who had escaped came, and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram. When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his goods, and the women and the people." (Genesis 14:13-16 RSV)

Upon his return from battle, Abraham gave thanks to The Lord (see "Jehovah" and Abraham) at Jerusalem (see the Fact Finder question below).

"After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything." (Genesis 14:17-20 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 15

The Lord then announced to childless Abraham and Sarah that they would not only become parents, but "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be."


"After these things the word of The Lord came to Abram in a vision, "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord God, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir." And behold, the word of The Lord came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And he believed The Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:1-6 RSV)

The Lord also provided to Abraham a prophecy about the Exodus, not only long before Abraham's Israelite descendants had entered Egypt, but before they were ever born.

"Then The Lord said to Abram, "Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions." (Genesis 15:13-14 RSV)

Fact Finder: (a) Who was Melchizedek as recorded in Genesis 14:18? (b) What is said about Melchizedek and Jesus Christ in the New Testament?
(a) See Melchizedek
(b) Hebrews 5:7-10, 6:20, 7:1-28

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