parting ways

Genesis 13

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

 10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.
Trouble in the ranks. Squeezed in and squabbling. Lot’s accompanying of Abram has implied a strong bond between them, and because they are family Abram does not want any disunity or quarrelling between them. The fact that they are close relatives is important – and their relationship to each other matters.  In order to soothe the squabbling, Abram suggests an allocation of space.  Let’s part ways.

The choice of left and right is placed in Lot’s hands.  Abram’s willingness to put Lot first in this matter seems again to imply that Lot is valued highly by his uncle.  
Lot chooses the lush plain of the Jordan – compared to the garden of the LORD – a beautiful fertile land. Like the land of Egypt – a river plain less reliant on rainfall as other areas.
So Lot heads East, like Adam and Eve, like Cain,like the settlers of Babel, but Abram settles in Canaan.
Sodom and Gomorrah – their reputation precedes them – we are told here of their future destruction. Here and now we are told unequivocally that the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against Yahweh. They have set themselves in enmity with Yahweh, and it is ominous that Lot should choose this place to pitch his tents. Does Lot know of this reputation before he makes his choice? Or is it something he discovers later?

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