As chapter 12 ended, Abram and his family had been expelled from Egypt because of his shameful attempt to deceive the Pharaoh. In spite of his conduct in Egypt, Abram returned to Canaan as a very wealthy man, with many flocks and herds and both male and female servants (see Genesis 12:16). God had kept his promise to bless Abram (12:2) and this promise was being kept, even though Abram had done nothing to deserve God’s rich blessings. It is clear that God was being gracious to Abram.
We do not know whether the famine was over or not as Abram’s family returned to Canaan, but they traveled north to the places where they had pitched their tents before. We read in verses 3-4 that the family returned to the middle of Canaan where Abram had previously built an altar and confessed his faith.
READ GENESIS 13:1-4 阅读创13:1-4
/1. What was Abram’s purpose in building an altar and proclaiming the name of the Lord (vs. 4)?
READ GENESIS 13:5-13 阅读创13:5-13
Verse 7 reminds us that the land of Canaan was still occupied by the Canaanites, and so Abram’s group and Lot’s group had only the less desirable part of the land (the part not already occupied by the Canaanites) as grazing land for their large flocks and herds. Though Canaan was a land “flowing with milk and honey,” with a fertile soil that would support life, there was simply not enough space for both groups to provide ample grazing for their animals. On the surface, that may seem to be the reason for the separation. However, there was something else happening through this event.
God had previously separated Abram from most of his relatives, but his nephew Lot had remained part of his traveling group. Lot may have been an orphan, the son of Abram’s brother Haran who had died in Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:28), and it seems that Abram and Sarai had committed to caring for Lot and keeping him as part of their family. But the Lord had promised that Abram and Sarai would have a family of their own, and so now the Lord would arrange for Abram to also separate from Lot and his family.
And there was another part of God’s promise to Abram (“To your offspring I will give this land” – Genesis 12:7) that was involved in this story.
/2. Agree or disagree: Since the Lord had promised the land of Canaan to Abram and his offspring (12:7), it was not a good thing that Abram would offer to give it to Lot.
Our text describes the place to which Lot and his group re-located. It was in the direction of the “plain of the Jordan … toward Zoar” (v. 10). In verse 12 we read that eventually Lot and his group settled near the city of Sodom, a city that would eventually place his family in great trouble.
There are two possible locations for the city of Sodom. For many years, most Bible scholars believed that the best possible location was at the southeastern end of the Dead Sea. But recently some archaeologists have suggested that the preferred location was at the northeastern end of the Dead Sea because that location was closer to the Jordan River.
A solution to this situation is that it is possible that Lot’s group first moved toward the area where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, and then migrated further south toward Zoar, which was at the southern end of the Dead Sea. That theory would fit with the location of Sodom and Gomorrah closer to the southeastern end of the Dead Sea.
No matter which location we choose, the important fact is that Lot’s group located at the far edge of Canaan, and eventually outside of the borders of Canaan altogether. That would leave the entire land of Canaan to the offspring of Abram.
Later (Genesis 19:37–38) we learn that Lot became the ancestor of the Ammonites and the Moabites. Abram almost handed over the Promised Land to the same people who, in the author’s own day (e.g., Numbers 22–25) and throughout Israel’s subsequent history (Deuteronomy 23:3–6; Ezra 9:1), were the primary obstacle to the fulfillment of the promise.
/3. What do we learn from the fact that Lot chose to relocate to the east, leaving the land of Canaan for Abram and his family?
In verses 10-13, Moses mentions what we will read about in chapter 19 – the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the great wickedness within those cities. Did Lot realize the spiritual danger that would come upon him and his family when he pitched his tents near Sodom? We don’t know. But we do know that eventually he ended up living not just near the city, but within the gates of the evil city itself.
READ GENESIS 13:14-18 阅读创13:14-18
/7. Why did God renew and expand his promise to give Abram’s offspring the land of Canaan? (vs. 14-16)
/9. Agree or Disagree? In verse 15, God promised that Abram’s descendants would be entitled to possess the land of Canaan for all time. (see Deuteronomy 28:63, 10:17-18) (Explain your answer)
/10. How did Abram give proof/evidence that he believed God’s promise? (vs. 17-18)
/11. Identify at least three things we might do to show that we believe God’s promise that He will give us full possession of the promised land of heaven in the future.