Notes for Gen 13:1LEB

Or "the South [country]" (also in v. 3).


Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.


Heb "And Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all which was his, and Lot with him, to the Negev."


Notes for Gen 13:2LEB

Heb "heavy."


This parenthetical clause, introduced by the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated "now"), provides information necessary to the point of the story.


Notes for Gen 13:3LEB

Heb "on his journeys"; the verb and noun combination means to pick up the tents and move from camp to camp.


The words "he returned" are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Heb "where his tent had been."


Notes for Gen 13:4LEB

Heb "to the place of the altar which he had made there in the beginning" (cf. Gen 12:7–8LEB).


Heb "he called in the name of the Elohim." The expression refers to worshiping the Elohim through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26LEB; Gen 12:8LEB; Gen 21:33LEB; Gen 26:25LEB). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.


Notes for Gen 13:5LEB

Heb "was going."


The Hebrew idiom is "to Lot…there was," the preposition here expressing possession.


Notes for Gen 13:6LEB

The potential nuance for the perfect tense is necessary here, and supported by the parallel clause that actually uses "to be able."


The infinitive construct לָשֶׁבֶת (lashevet, from יָשַׁב, yashav) explains what it was that the land could not support: "the land could not support them to live side by side." See further J. C. de Moor, "Lexical Remarks Concerning Yahad and Yahdaw," VT 7 (1957): 350-55.


The same infinitive occurs here, serving as the object of the verb.


Notes for Gen 13:7LEB

The Hebrew term רִיב (riv) means "strife, conflict, quarreling." In later texts it has the meaning of "legal controversy, dispute." See B. Gemser, "The rîb – or Controversy – Pattern in Hebrew Mentality," Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East [VTSup], 120–37.


Since the quarreling was between the herdsmen, the dispute was no doubt over water and vegetation for the animals.


This parenthetical clause, introduced with the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated "now"), again provides critical information. It tells in part why the land cannot sustain these two bedouins, and it also hints of the danger of weakening the family by inner strife.


Notes for Gen 13:8LEB

Heb "men, brothers [are] we." Here "brothers" describes the closeness of the relationship, but could be misunderstood if taken literally, since Abram was Lot’s uncle.


Notes for Gen 13:9LEB

The words "you go" have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons both times in this verse.


Notes for Gen 13:10LEB

Heb "lifted up his eyes and saw." The expression draws attention to the act of looking, indicating that Lot took a good look. It also calls attention to the importance of what was seen.


Or "plain"; Heb "circle."The words "he noticed" are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Obliterated. The use of the term "destroy" (שַׁחֵת, shakhet) is reminiscent of the Noahic flood (Gen 6:13). Both at the flood and in Sodom the place was obliterated by catastrophe and only one family survived (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 2:178).


This short temporal clause (preposition + Piel infinitive construct + subjective genitive + direct object) is strategically placed in the middle of the lavish descriptions to sound an ominous note. The entire clause is parenthetical in nature. Most English translations place the clause at the end of v. 10 for stylistic reasons.


The narrative places emphasis on what Lot saw so that the reader can appreciate how it aroused his desire for the best land. It makes allusion to the garden of the Elohim and to the land of Egypt for comparison. Just as the tree in the garden of Eden had awakened Eve’s desire, so the fertile valley attracted Lot. And just as certain memories of Egypt would cause the Israelites to want to turn back and abandon the trek to the promised land, so Lot headed for the good life.


Notes for Gen 13:11LEB

Heb "Lot traveled." The proper name has not been repeated in the translation at this point for stylistic reasons.


Heb "a man from upon his brother."


Separated from each other. For a discussion of the significance of this event, see L. R. Helyer, "The Separation of Abram and Lot: Its Significance in the Patriarchal Narratives," JSOT 26 (1983): 77-88.


Notes for Gen 13:12LEB

Or "the cities of the plain"; Heb "[the cities of] the circle," referring to the "circle" or oval area of the Jordan Valley.


Notes for Gen 13:13LEB

Here is another significant parenthetical clause in the story, signaled by the vav (וו) disjunctive (translated "now") on the noun at the beginning of the clause.


Heb "men." However, this is generic in sense; it is unlikely that only the male residents of Sodom were sinners.


Heb "wicked and sinners against the Elohim exceedingly." The description of the sinfulness of the Sodomites is very emphatic. First, two nouns are used to form a hendiadys: "wicked and sinners" means "wicked sinners," the first word becoming adjectival. The text is saying these were no ordinary sinners; they were wicked sinners, the type that cause pain for others. Then to this phrase is added "against the Elohim," stressing their violation of the laws of heaven and their culpability. Finally, to this is added מְאֹד (od, "exceedingly," translated here as "extremely").


Notes for Gen 13:14LEB

Heb "and the Elohim said to Abram after Lot separated himself from with him." The disjunctive clause at the beginning of the verse signals a new scene.


Heb "lift up your eyes and see."


Look. Earlier Lot "looked up" (v. 10), but here Abram is told by Elohim to do so. The repetition of the expression (Heb "lift up the eyes") here underscores how the Elohim will have the last word and actually do for Abram what Abram did for Lot – give him the land. It seems to be one of the ways that Elohim rewards faith.


Notes for Gen 13:15LEB

Heb "for all the land which you see to you I will give it and to your descendants."


Notes for Gen 13:16LEB

The translation "can be counted" (potential imperfect) is suggested by the use of יוּכַל (yukhal, "is able") in the preceding clause.


Notes for Gen 13:17LEB

The connective "and" is not present in the Hebrew text; it has been supplied for purposes of English style.


The Hitpael form הִתְהַלֵּךְ (hithallekh) means "to walk about"; it also can carry the ideas of moving about, traversing, going back and forth, or living in an area. It here has the connotation of traversing the land to survey it, to look it over.


Heb "the land to its length and to its breadth." This phrase has not been included in the translation because it is somewhat redundant (see the note on the word "throughout" in this verse).


Notes for Gen 13:18LEB

Heb "he came and lived."


Or "terebinths."