What does Genesis 13:12 mean?
ESV: Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.
NIV: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
NASB: Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the vicinity of the Jordan, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.
CSB: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities on the plain and set up his tent near Sodom.
NLT: So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain.
KJV: Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
NKJV: Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
Verse Commentary:
In the previous verse, Abram and Lot parted company to keep the peace between their servants. They had both grown too wealthy in animals and servants to possess the same area of land together. In a gracious, generous gesture, Abram offered Lot first pick of the available land.

Lot moved to the east, to the plain along the Jordan river near Sodom. Abram lived, more generally, in the land of Canaan. In the following verses, we will see Abram move more specifically to the area around Hebron.

Lot's choice of land was not necessarily wrong—the territory he selected was fertile and a good pick for his family's future success. However, the culture of Sodom was already known for wickedness (Genesis 13:13), and Lot knew it. However, he seems not to have grasped the dangers of living so close to it. Lot's unwise choice to pitch his tents near Sodom will become critical. Lot will go from living near Sodom, to living in Sodom, and it will cost him dearly (Genesis 19).
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.
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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