Monday, March 25, 2013

Genesis 13 & 14: Abram Saves Lot

Check out today's episode

Abram and Lot Separate (ch. 13 v. 1-18)

Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold, and Lot also had flocks, herds, and tents. The land could not support them both and there was strife between them. Abram didn't like this fact, and decided the best way to fix it would be to separate, he told Lot to choose a direction to spread out and he would go in the opposite direction.

Abram and Lot get along, but they are getting in each other's way a bunch. So Abram looks at the situation and finds a simple solution to the problem. Seems good to me.

Guzik reminds us that Abram actually disobeyed God by bringing Lot along in the first place. He links this to the strife between the two of them.

Lot settled near Sodom and Abram settled in the land of Canaan. The Sodomites were wicked, great sinners against the lord. And the land of Canaan was currently had Canaanites and Perizzites dwelling there.

It makes me wonder why they chose these places. Lot decided to settle down near a bunch of sinners and Abram decided to settle in a land which is already filled with two different groups of people. Perhaps it is like this everywhere (or at least everywhere decent). Maybe there are people everywhere, and in particular sinners everywhere. *shrug*

A second time, God has promised the land of Canaan to Abram even though there are already people in the land. This time he specifically says that he will give his offspring the land forever. He also says that his offspring will be uncountable.

Once again, how is this fair to the people already there?

Abram Rescues Lot (ch. 14 v. 1-16)

There was a bunch of war in the area where Lot had settled down and at some point he got taken along with a bunch of other people. Abram heard word of this and took 318 trained men and was able to save Lot along with others.

Sounds good, Abram is basically a hero here right? Heard a member of his family was in trouble and went and saved him.

Map found here
Abram Blessed by Melchizedek (ch. 14 v. 17-24)

Malchizedek (who apparently also benefited from Abram's victory) blessed Abram. Abram then told him he could have a tenth of everything. He replied that he would take people, but for Abram to keep the goods for himself. Abram replied that God told him not to take anything from the king, otherwise he would be able to claim to have made Abram rich.

I'm a little confused by the 10% thing and then the "I won't take a single thing". Perhaps it was 10% of everything Abram had? Whatever, the heart of the matter is Abram doesn't want to take anything from the king and it seems that Abram has set the terms in such a way that was either fair, or if anything in favor of the king. It actually seems like pretty good diplomacy here, Abram got what he was actually after, the safety of his nephew, and he was fair (or more than fair) to his neighboring lands. If they have dealings in the future you would expect them to go well.

There's only one aspect of this that seems a little off to me, he told the king of Sodom that he doesn't want to take anything so the king can't claim to have made him rich in the future. Put yourself in the king's shoes there, do you feel a little insulted? I'm actually not sure myself, but this angle did occur to me. Perhaps he would just laugh it off, or perhaps he would even say "you're right, I would use that as leverage on you in the future" and he would respect him for being shrewd. Who knows.

Very minor point, but interesting, from Guzik here. He says that Abram is not supposed to let another man claim he has made Abram rich because the credit is supposed to go 100% toward God.

What was good about today's reading?
Abram dealt with a few difficult situations in a pretty reasonable way. But I already mentioned that didn't I? I think this whole "find the good and put it in green" thing is a bad idea, when I come across good I highlight it along the way, and I really do try to give the benefit of the doubt as much as I can. I think it is a good idea for me to keep trying to make sure to find any good parts I can and bring them up (and please, call me out on it if I miss something), but I don't like the way this is going. No more of this green text.

For the verses of note page:


Genesis 14:22-24 Share the spoils of war

"But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.' I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me."


Genesis 14:14 Go to extreme measures to help family

"When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan."

--Interpersonal Conflict--

Genesis 13:9 Abram prevents further conflict with Lot

"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."


Genesis 13:12,15 God promises other people's land to Abram, agian

"Abram settled in the land of Canaan...for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever."


  1. "Once again, how is this fair to the people already there?"

    It's quite obvious the people "already there" still don't think it was fair and that's why the Palestinians and Israelites are still aiming rockets and missiles at each other across the disputed border quite often. I think God messed up big time giving somebody's else land away.

    1. yup, you've really zeroed in on the heart of this issue. In fact, in my opinion this is a great example of one of the huge evils of religion. When people think God is on their side they can't be swayed. If people are fighting over land for any other reason there is always the possibility of making some kind of a deal, whether that be sharing the land, or one side paying the other side off to go away or whatever. At some point one side might just decide the land isn't worth the trouble and leave. But if both sides think God gave them the land where will it end?

    2. Well... maybe if the ancient Jews had captured a couple hundred slaves to row them across the ocean in a big ark and bribed the Native Americans with a lot of wine and cheap beads, and invented a repeating rifle...perhaps we would be living in "The Promised Land" instead of America...:)


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