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Verses 1-18

The Return of Abraham from Egypt, and his Separation from Lot

1. Into the south] see on Genesis 12:9.

5, 6. There was not sufficient pasturage and water (especially after the recent famine and drought) for the two encampments with their flocks and herds, which doubtless numbered many thousands.

7. The Perizzite] ’dweller in open villages.’ It is thought by some that they were the original inhabitants of the country who had been subdued by Canaanite invaders. The words dwelled then in the land indicate that the writer lived long after the conquest of Canaan.

8, 9. Abraham’s offer was marked by a generosity towards his nephew, and a readiness to leave his own future entirely in God’s hands, which called forth at once the divine approval: see Genesis 13:14-17.

10. If they were standing on the ’mountain east of Bethel’ (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3), Lot would look eastward over the fertile Ghôr or Jordan valley, whilst in all other directions only the barren limestone hills of Judea would be visible. Garden of the Lord] Eden. As thou comest unto] i.e. in the direction of. Zoar] Zoar was a city near the Dead Sea: see on Genesis 14:3. But the Syriac text reads ’Zoan,’ i.e. Tanis, a city in the Nile Delta.

11-13. Lot’s choice showed that he cared chiefly for worldly prosperity; the evil reputation of his neighbours did not affect his decision, which proved af atal one: see Genesis 14, 19. The sacred narrative now becomes confined to the history of Abraham and his direct descendants.

12. Land of Canaan] see on Numbers 13:21.

14-17. The promises of Genesis 12 are confirmed to Abraham, only more fully and definitely.

18. Plain] RM ’terebinths’; see on Genesis 12:6. Mamre] an Amorite chief. It is evident from Genesis 14:13 that Abraham now settled down among this community of Amorites, and entered into a confederacy with them.

Hebron] an ancient city 20 m. S. of Jerusalem, earlier called Kirjath-Arba, Genesis 23:2. From its connexion with Abraham it soon came to be regarded as a holy place. Joshua appointed it to be one of the six cities of refuge, and assigned it to the Levites. For 7 years it was the seat of David’s kingdom (2 Samuel 5:1-5). It is now called el-Khalil, ’the friend,’ after Abraham, ’the friend of God’ (Isaiah 41:8). Hard by is the cave of Machpelah where the patriarchs were buried.

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