What does Genesis 13:17 mean?
ESV: Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
NIV: Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.'
NASB: Arise, walk about in the land through its length and width; for I will give it to you.'
CSB: Get up and walk around the land, through its length and width, for I will give it to you."
NLT: Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.'
KJV: Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Verse Commentary:
In the previous verses, the Lord reaffirmed and expanded on his promises to Abram. Abram and his descendants would possess all the land he could see forever, and those descendants would be so numerous as to be uncountable. The analogy of "dust" speaks to man's creation by God (Genesis 2:7), as well as the immense number of descendants. Unlike sand, which could possibly can be counted by grains, "dust" is baffling to attempt to "count." In both a spiritual and physical sense, Abram's descendants will be unimaginably numerous (Romans 9:7–9; Galatians 3:7).

Now God instructs Abram to walk throughout both the length and the breadth of the land. Apparently, this was so that Abram could take possession of the land God had given to him, even if his descendants would not fully occupy or possess the land for many years to come. This process would have been the equivalent of measuring the land; in ancient times, taking the measure of something was a sign of ownership.
Verse Context:
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.
Accessed 4/17/2024 10:06:17 PM
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Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.