What does Genesis 13 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
In chapter 12, Abram—the man later named renamed Abraham—lied about Sarai being his wife, out of fear. As a result, God afflicted Pharaoh's household with a plague for taking Sarai. Pharaoh allowed Abram to keep the dowry he'd paid, but sent them away as soon as he realized what had happened. As a result, Abram returned to the land of Canaan with much greater wealth than he'd had before. Pharaoh had given to Abram many animals and servants, adding to Abram's growing possessions.

In fact, both Abram and his nephew Lot have such large herds that their herdsman begin to fight over the limited resources in the area around Bethel where they have settled. Abram suggests they split up instead of quarreling. Abram offers Lot the first choice of where to settle. Lot chooses the fertile lands along the Jordan river, near the town of Sodom, already famous for its wickedness. Lot's choice to live physically near (and eventually in) Sodom will cost him dearly.

After they part company, the Lord once more speaks to Abram, reaffirming and expanding on His promises. Abram and his descendants will possess all the land he can see, and those descendants will become so abundant as to be like the dust of the earth: uncountable. God promises all of this in spite of the fact that Abram, in his mid-70s, is still childless and possesses none of the land of Canaan for himself.

God instructs Abram to walk the width and length of the land, apparently as a way of taking possession of it. Abram settles south of Bethel near the town of Hebron. Specifically, he sets his tents near the great trees of an Amorite man called Mamre. Abram builds an altar to the Lord in his new home and continues to worship God there.
Verse Context:
Genesis 13:1–13 describes Abram's generosity to his nephew Lot, offering Lot the choice of where to settle his large herds. Lot chooses the fertile lands along the well-watered Jordan, near the city of Sodom. Abram settles near Hebron after hearing from the Lord once more that he and his uncountable descendants will one day possess all the land he can see.
Genesis 13:14–18 shows Abram settling in Hebron, after offering his nephew Lot the first choice of which area to establish his family. Lot chose to live in the lush—but depraved—region of Sodom. Abram chooses to live on the general region of Canaan. Abram once again hears a promise from God: that he and his uncountable descendants will one day possess all the land he can see.
Chapter Summary:
Both Abram and his nephew Lot have grown so wealthy in animals that they cannot occupy the same area together. They split up. At Abram's gracious offer to choose which land to take for himself, Lot elects to live on the well-watered plains of Jordan near Sodom. After the Lord speaks to Abram, reaffirming and expanding on His promises, Abram settles near Hebron, near the great trees of an Amorite man called Mamre. Abram builds an altar to the Lord there and continues to worship Yahweh.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 12 ended with Abram and his large company being kicked out of Egypt by an angry Pharaoh. Back in Canaan, Abram and his nephew Lot are forced to split up due to the large size of their herds. Lot's choice to live near the wicked city of Sodom will have grave implications in coming chapters. God reaffirms and expands on His promises to Abram, who settles near Hebron, building another altar to the Lord and worshiping God there.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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