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Genesis Per Day

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by WebersHome, May 8, 2017.

  1. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States

    Genesis 11:30-31

    Gen 11:30 . . Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.

    This is the very first recorded incident of a human reproductive malfunction. Other than the reduction in longevity; the human body seems to have been running on all eight cylinders up to this point. But who was the problem; was it Abram or Sarai? It was Sarai because Abram later engendered a child by one of Sarai's servant girls.

    One of the first horrors the human family witnessed was Abel's death. No one had ever seen a human being dead before. And now this. A woman who couldn't conceive. It must have been stunning and unbelievable. All the women in history up to this point were cranking out babies like rabbits and mice.

    But this was double bad for Sarai. Not only could she not have a family of her own, but you know how the tabloids feed on unusual events. Well . . this was one for the books. Sarai, in her day, was a true freak of nature. Everyone would point at her and whisper in hushed tones: Look! There she is! That's the one we saw on 20/20.

    She must have felt terribly inferior, and you can just imagine what that did to her self esteem too. Sarai was a gorgeous piece of work, but her womb had no more life in it than a stack of 8x11 Xerox paper.

    I'm a man; so how can I possibly understand Sarai's personal grief? Only another barren woman can understand what Sarai must have felt. There are women who don't care about children. But Sarai doesn't strike me as one of those. And even if she didn't care for children, it would have still been a comfort in her mind to know that at least she could have some if she wanted to.

    "There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not; "It is enough" -- the grave; the barren womb, the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire." (Prov 30:15-16)

    Gen 11:31a . .Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan;

    Ur's ruins are located approximately midway between the modern city of Baghdad Iraq, and the head of the Persian Gulf, south of the Euphrates River, on the edge of the Al Hajarah Desert. The site of Ur is known today as Tall al Muqayyar.

    In antiquity, the Euphrates River flowed near the city walls; and thus Ur was favorably located for the development of commerce and for attaining political dominance. The biblical name "Ur of the Chaldees" refers to the Chaldeans, who settled in the area about 900 BC. By the 4th century BC, the city was practically forgotten, possibly as a result of a shift in the course of the Euphrates River.

    Water played an important role in the location of ancient civilizations. The Sahara desert, for example, was once a pluvial region with lakes. When geological forces caused the loss of rainfall and surface water, the Sahara became the dry waste it's famed for today and consequently its inhabitants had to relocate.

    Ur was enclosed by oval walls thirty feet high, which protected not only the city, but two harbors as well. Sir Leonard Woolley discovered that the inhabitants benefited from well-planned streets, and houses with high standards of sanitation. They appear to have been constructed to remain cool in the hot summers and some may have been two-storied. House walls adjoined the streets. Homes featured an inner courtyard onto which their rooms faced; just like Judah's home in the Charlton Heston movie Ben Hur.

    Gen 11:31b . . but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.

    According to Gen 12:1, God took an interest in Abram while he was in Ur, before he left with Terah to travel to Haran. After sharing his vision with Terah, the dad quite possibly became interested in a new life himself, having recently lost a son. The land where he then lived held bad memories and, probably not wanting to lose touch with any more of his family if Abram were to move away, he suggested that they all travel together; which is a perfectly good idea considering the dangers they were likely to encounter en route.

    But the dad didn't have the heart for it really. The old gentleman decided to settle in Haran instead of going all the way to Canaan like the original plan called for.

    From Ur, Canaan is dead west and just about the same distance as Haran. But instead of going directly to Canaan, they went north, following the trade routes. I think I would have too. Terah's family was a lot safer going from town to town along the fertile crescent. It would take longer to get to Canaan, but they would be in better shape upon arrival.

    There are some who like to keep their foot on the gas and push on through when they travel. But that is very tiring. It's far better to stop often, eat, and rest before moving on. The towns along the northern route could provide them with needed supplies for the journey too.

    But Haran (modern Charran or Haraan) is too far out of the way really. It's clear up in Urfa Turkey on the trade route to Nineveh. Terah could have turned south a lot sooner and gone on down to Canaan via Damascus. But I think that by then, he'd lost interest in Canaan and decided that Haran was the place for him. And Abram, probably not wanting to leave his dad alone there, stayed on too.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
  2. Gabriel Anton

    Gabriel Anton Exitus Acta Probat Acta Non Verba Deus Vult 11:18

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  3. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 11:32

    Gen 11:32 . .The days of Terah came to 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.

    Terah lived a relatively long life for his day. His son Abram only lived to 175.

    But I sometimes wonder if Terah didn't cut his life short by staying in Haran. Did he forget about God's call to Abram to go to Canaan?

    Actually, Terah didn't worship Noah's god, rather, other gods; pagan gods. So it's only natural that he wouldn't take Yhvh's call seriously. Noah's god wanted Abram to live down in Canaan. But because of his dad, Abram didn't go there. How sad that parents can actually be a hindrance to their children following God whole heartedly.

    My own dad was a very bad influence upon my spiritual life. It wasn't until after I moved out, and he passed away, that my association with God really took off and went somewhere. He used to get so upset with me for taking the Bible too seriously; even blaming it for keeping me from getting ahead in life. And he constantly pressured me to marry women who were of a different religion than my own.

  4. Gabriel Anton

    Gabriel Anton Exitus Acta Probat Acta Non Verba Deus Vult 11:18

    #27 - Bookmark.

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  5. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 12:1-3a

    Gen 12:1. .The Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you.

    Stephen said Abram was still living in Ur, and hadn't moved up to Haran yet when God called him to leave his kin (Acts 7:2-3). There's no record of any interaction with God all the while that Abram lived in Haran. Yhvh was silent, and waiting for Abram to get with the program and do as He said-- leave his kin and head on out to a country of God's choosing. When he finally departed, Abram was not yet informed of his precise destination. (Heb 11:8)

    The Lord made several promises to Abram at this time.

    Gen 12:2a . . I will make of you a great nation,

    Greatness is arbitrary. Some say numbers best represent greatness, while others feel that accomplishments, prosperity, health, and contributions to mankind define greatness. In that last aspect; no other nation on earth has contributed more to the benefit of mankind than the people of Israel. It is through them that sinful men of all nations may obtain a full ransom from the wrath of God. Israel is also destined to become the seat of world power, economic prosperity, and the center for religious studies.

    Gen 12:2b . . And I will bless you;

    Abram became a very wealthy man; with enough male servants to field a respectable army. He also enjoyed long life and good health; and the admiration of his neighbors.

    Gen 12:2c . . I will make your name great,

    Nobody is more famous than Abram. Even people who never heard of George Washington, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or Genghis Khan, know about Abram. He is connected to the three most prominent religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And his name is always held in the very highest regard. Abram isn't known for nefarious deeds nor bloody conquests. He is known as the friend of God, and as a role model for all decent God-fearing people everywhere all over the world.

    Gen 12:2d . . And you shall be a blessing.

    There are some people that the world is well rid of like conceited entertainers, neighbors from hell, thin skinned defensive people with raging tempers, habitual liars, cry babies, people who falsify information, sully reputations, ruthless businessmen, con and scam artists, unscrupulous lawyers, crooked cops and dishonest politicians, insurance frauds, Wall Street sociopaths, managers on a power trip, hackers, and the like.

    But Abram was none of those. He was a very gracious, honorable man; the kind of guy you would thank God for. But most of all, Abram is the progenitor of Messiah-- the savior of the world.

    "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt 1:1)

    Messiah is the one who makes it possible for sinners to escape the judgment of God. You can't be a better blessing than that.

    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so cared for the world that he donated His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him." (John 3:14-17)

    NOTE: The reference to Moses' serpent is located at Num 21:4-9

    Just as Moses' people were spared certain death by doing no more nor less than looking to Moses' serpent; so believers today are spared certain death in the reservoir of brimstone depicted at Rev 20:11-15 by doing no more nor less than looking to Christ's crucifixion.

    Gen 12:3a . . I will bless those who bless you, and curse him that curses you;

    That curse works both ways; viz: it prevents God from cursing Abram. This is very important because were God to curse Abram, for any reason, any at all; He would have to level a curse right back at Himself.

    God as much as granted Abram immunity from any, and all, of the curses listed at Ex 34:6-7, Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1 69 that God is obligated to slam Yhvh's people with for breaching the covenant that they agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

    Modern Judaism insists that Deut 29:14-15 retroactively binds Abraham to the covenant. But Deut 5:2-3 clearly exempts him.

  6. Gabriel Anton

    Gabriel Anton Exitus Acta Probat Acta Non Verba Deus Vult 11:18

    #28 - Bookmark.

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  7. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 12:3b-6

    Gen 12:3b . . And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

    The Hebrew word translated "in you" is a bit ambiguous. It can also mean "through you" and/or "by means of you".

    Abram eventually found out that the above prediction concerned a great grandson of his.

    "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad." (John 8:56-57)

    The "blessing" in focus is no doubt the one below.

    "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be spared through Him. (John 3:16-17)

    "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

    Gen 12:4a . . Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him,

    Although Abram didn't "went forth" exactly when God told him to; he finally did; and that's what counts. Jonah didn't "went forth" when he was told to go either, but God prepared a large fish to persuade him to stop fooling around and get a move on; and he finally complied.

    Gen 12:4b . . and Lot went with him.

    That was an err on Abram's part. He was told to leave his native land and to leave his father's house. He wasn't supposed to take any relatives along with him: and Lot wasn't a child; he was a grown man capable of operating a ranch on his own so it's not like Abram would have abandoned Lot an orphan.

    Gen 12:4c . . Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

    That hardly seems like a sensible age to reinvent one's self and begin a new life; but Abram was relatively young yet in his own day, and still had 100 years of life left to go.

    To give a perspective on just how long 100 years is: from today in 2017; it would be only three years after the sinking of the Titanic, one before the end of WW1, six years before Poncho Villa's demise, and two years till the ratification of the 18th Amendment-- horse and buggy were common in New York City, and Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp were still alive.

    I was born in 1944. The average life expectancy of a man born that year is roughly 62. Abram lived to the ripe old age of 175 (Gen 25:7-8). So, at the time of his migration to Canaan, Abram was about the equivalent of me at 26.

    Abram's wife Sarai was even perkier. She was nine years younger than Abram (cf. Gen 17:1 and Gen 17:17). But Sarai only lived to 127; forty eight years less than her husband (Gen 23:1). The average life expectancy of a woman born in 1944 is about 67 years. So Sarai would have been the equivalent of a female version of me at 25 when they migrated to Canaan had she survived to her husband's ripe old age of 175. Precisely why Sarai's life was cut short is unknown; but I think it's okay to assume it was just natural causes.

    Gen 12:5 . . Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan; and they arrived there.

    I'm pretty sure Sarai anticipated this move. Abram had probably been talking about it ever since God appeared to him in Ur so I seriously doubt it disrupted her life like a bolt out of the blue.

    From Haran (Haraan Turkey) it's well over 400 miles south to the West Bank in Palestine. You can imagine the difficulty of making such a trip what with no automobiles, no trains, no buses, no taxi cabs, no airplanes, no paved-surface highways, and no graded roads. It was all trails and dirt paths; and all on foot, or on the back of an animal, or in a cart pulled by an animal.

    People traveled like that for millennia before powered conveyances were invented and became widespread. Practically all modern means of travel were invented in the 20th century AD.

    In only just the last 120 years or so of Man's existence has there been airplanes and horseless carriages. Man went from the Wright Brothers to the moon in just sixty-six years.

    The previous thousands of years before Karl Benz's production of gasoline-powered motorwagens; people were very slow moving, and travel was arduous, inconvenient, and totally earth-bound. In those days, a pioneer's greatest obstacle to migration was distance.

    It's significant that Abram wasn't required to dispose of his worldly goods in order to follow God. Abram later became an exceedingly rich man and God never once asked him to give it all away to charity.

    Riches are bad only if they have such a hold upon a person that they must compromise their integrity to hang on to it. For that person, it's better to be poor. But it would be wrong to impose poverty upon everyone because not everyone is consumed with survival, avarice, and greed.

    Gen 12:6 . . Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

    The Canaanites were Canaan's descendants-- Noah's bad-apple grandson.

    The Canaanites probably didn't have complete control of the land at this time, merely a presence, same as Abram. But they were definitely in progress of getting control. By the time Joshua invaded, roughly four hundred years later, Canaan's clan was pretty well rooted in Palestine.

    Abram's welfare wasn't improved by coming out west to Canaan. His home town Ur was a modern city with decent accommodations. But out on the frontier, it was rugged. Palestine in that day was no Utopia. It was more like the conditions which faced our own early day American pioneers and settlers. There were communities scattered here and there, but for the most part, it was wild, wooly, and untamed.

    Abram, now paying attention to God, is going where he's told and moving in all the right directions. The next two moves are preceded by altars; upon which, we can safely assume, were offered the traditional Noah-style burnt offering. Altar sites were hot-spots; viz: locations for making wireless contact with God; sort of like what the Temple at Jerusalem became in later years.

  8. Gabriel Anton

    Gabriel Anton Exitus Acta Probat Acta Non Verba Deus Vult 11:18

    #29 - Bookmark.

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  9. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 12:7-9

    Gen 12:7a . .The Lord appeared to Abram

    Exactly how or in what form God appeared to Abram isn't said. God's appearances aren't always visual. Sometimes an appearance is merely an audible voice; or a dream, an angel, a burning bush, a breeze, a column of smoke, or even an eerie glow.

    Gen 12:7b . . and said: I will assign this land to your heirs.

    This is the very first instance of a Divine promise made to Abram regarding ownership of Palestine; and it probably bounced right off his skull like a sonar ping. But later on, God will repeat that promise again and again until it finally sinks in. Repetition is, after all, a proven learning aid.

    Gen 12:7c-8 . . And he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar to the Lord and invoked the Lord by name.

    Eusebius Onomasticon, placed Bethel twelve Roman miles north from Jerusalem, on the road to Neapolis. The site today is represented by the modern town of Beitin, a village which stands on a knoll east of the road to Nablus; roughly 2½ miles northeast of Ramallah El-Bira.

    Ai hasn't really been pinpointed yet but is identified either with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Deir Dibwan or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north.

    This is only the second time in Scripture where it's said human beings called upon God by a name. The first was Gen 4:26. What name might Abram have used to invoke God? The name Yhvh was well known by this time, and Abram addressed God by it on numerous occasions (e.g. Gen 13:4, 14:22, 15:8, 21:33, and 24:3).

    God's demeanor towards Abram was sometimes that of an officer in wartime who doesn't tell his troops in advance the location of their next bivouac. Instead he orders them to march in a certain direction, only later telling them when to stop and set up camp. So Abram went in the direction he was commanded to go; not really knowing his destination or the why. For the time being, Abram didn't need to know the why-- he only needed to know which way.

    Free now from the harmful influence of his dad's pagan idolatry, Abram revived the religion of his sacred ancestors and began calling upon God the same way they did; and he got his travel orders that way too. Each time he worshipped at the altars, God told him what to do, where to go next; and sometimes even shared some personal data along with His big plans for Abram's future.

    Abram was doing pretty much what Adam did in the garden; meeting with God in the cool of the day; so to speak. Only Abram did it differently because he was a sinful being, whereas, in the beginning, Adam wasn't; so he didn't need an altar, at first.

    Gen 12:9 . .Then Abram journeyed by stages toward the Negev.

    "Negev" is from negeb (neh'-gheb) and means: to be parched; the south (from its drought); specifically, the Negev or southern district of Judah; occasionally Egypt (as south to Palestine). The Negev is generally considered as beginning south of Dhahiriya; which is right in between Hevron and Be'ér Sheva; and as stretching south in a series of rolling hills until the actual wilderness begins, a distance of perhaps 70 miles.

    To the east, the Negev is bounded by the Dead Sea and the Arabah, and to the west the boundaries are generally Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. It's a land of scanty springs and sparse rainfall. The character of its soil is a transition from the fertility of Canaan to the wilderness of the desert-- essentially a pastoral land, where grazing is plentiful in the early months and where camels and goats can survive, even through the long summer drought.

    Today, as through most periods of history, the Negev is a land for the nomad rather than the settled inhabitant, although abundant ruins in many spots testify to better physical conditions at some periods. The east and west directions of the valleys, the general dryness, and the character of the inhabitants, have always made it a more or less isolated region without thoroughfare.

    The great routes passed along the coast to the west or up the Arabah to the east. Against all who would lead an army up from the south, this southern frontier of Judah presented a tough obstacle in the old days. The Negev is slated for a make-over when the Jews return to their homeland.

    "The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of The Lord, the excellency of our God." (Isa 35:1-2)

    "Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow." (Isa 35:6-7)

    Lebanon's glory of old was timber; especially cedars (1Kng 4:33). Sharon was known for its flowers (Song 2:1) and Carmel for its orchards (Isa 33:9). How God will get timber, flowers, and orchards to flourish in the Negev should be interesting.

  10. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 12:10-13

    Gen 12:10 . .There was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

    Famines were usually the result of things like low humidity, lack of rain, and/or plagues of insects and plant diseases.

    Abram fully intended to return to Canaan just as soon as the famine ended. The move to Egypt was a temporary expedient, rather than the result of irrational panic. Famine might seem to some as an excuse for Abram to return to Haran. But Abram wasn't retreating. His destiny did not lie in Haran. It lay in Palestine-- period! --no going back.

    I've heard more than one commentator say that Abram was out of God's will when he left Canaan and moved to Egypt. It is really impossible to know that for sure. Compare Gen 46:2-4 where God instructed Jacob to migrate to Egypt during a severe famine.

    So, I'm inclined to give Abram the benefit of the doubt. Back at Shechem, Abram began the practice of erecting altars and calling on grandpa Noah's god. Each time he moved, he built a new altar. And each time he did that, God gave him new travel orders. Since the text doesn't suggest otherwise; it should be okay to assume Abram went down to Egypt under the very same divine guidance as the other places he moved to.

    Gen 12:11 . . As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai: I know what a beautiful woman you are.

    Abram was about nine years older than Sarai; so she was over 66 years-old when this event occurred because according to Gen 12:4, Abram was seventy-five when they left Haran. Sarai was amazing. Even at 66+ years she drew admiring glances.

    Abram's acknowledgement of Sarai's beauty appears to have been somewhat out of the ordinary; but that's no surprise. After a number of years of marriage, it isn't uncommon for men to take their wives for granted; and to stop taking notice of them after a while.

    Gen 12:12 . . If the Egyptians see you, and think "She is his wife" they will kill me and let you live.

    Egypt had an active presence up in and around Canaan prior to Abram's day and perhaps the conduct of their frontier consulates was somewhat less than honorable at times. So of course the people of Canaan would quite naturally assume all Egyptians were pigs just like many people today assume that all Muslims are vicious because of the Muslim terrorists who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center.

    Gen 12:13 . . I beseech you; say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may remain alive thanks to you.

    Abram didn't have to entreat Sarai to go along with his scheme. According to Gen 18:12 and 1Pet 3:6, she regarded her husband's position above her own.

    This scene is useful for exemplifying the gracious nature of this amazing man of God. Though he was a king in his own home, Abram wasn't a callous despot like Kim Jong Un and/or Robert Mugabe who care little for either the feelings or the welfare of their citizens.

    Abram was shrewd. He was not only concerned about saving his skin, but also about taking advantage of his being Sarai's kin; and actually that part of it did work out pretty well. However, I would have to scold him on this point because his conduct reveals a lack of confidence in God's promises back in Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 12:7.

    He has to be kept alive to engender heirs so God can make good on His promise to give them the land of Canaan. No one could kill Abram at this point; not even a Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Not even The Almighty God Himself could kill Abram at this point because it was too late for that.

    God passed His word back at Shechem that he would make of Abram a great nation and He can't go back on it without seriously compromising His own integrity. Some people might be inclined to call that a character weakness; but to those of us relying upon God to honor His word, His integrity is the very basis of our confidence. God's promises-- especially His unconditional promises --are not only human-proof; but God-proof too.

  11. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 12:14-20

    Gen 12:14 . .When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw how very beautiful the woman was.

    When men talk about a woman's beauty, they're not talking about the sterling character of a woman like Ruth; no, they're talking about the physical attributes of a woman like Queen Vashti in the book of Esther. (cf. Gen 6:1-2)

    How did the Egyptians see Sarai was a looker? Well, the dress code for women in her day was nothing like the totally unflattering burqas that Islam imposes upon women in the Mid East.

    Depicted in a wall painting in the tomb of an Egyptian nobleman named Khnum-hotpe, at Beni-Hasen on the Nile river, dating from about 1900 BC, is a Semitic troupe passing customs to enter Egypt. The women are wearing form-fitting, highly colored, sleeveless wrap-around dresses whose hems stop at mid calf. Their décolletage swoops from the left shoulder to just under the opposite armpit, leaving that side's shoulder completely bare.

    Their hair-- fastened by a thin white ribbon around the forehead and covered with neither a shawl, nor a scarf, nor a hijab --falls loosely over bosoms and shoulders, and there are stylish little curls just in front of the ears. Adorning their feet are dark brown, half-length boots. In attire like that, a woman filled out in all the right places would be very easy to notice.

    Gen 12:15a . . Pharaoh's courtiers saw her and praised her to Pharaoh,

    Webster's has a couple of definitions for "courtiers". They are people in attendance at a royal court; and they are also people who practice flattery. Apparently Pharaoh's toadies kept their eyes out for appealing women to add to their sovereign's harem; and thus gain for themselves his favor and approval.

    Their sighting of Sarai wasn't just happenstance. Entry into Egypt in those days was tightly controlled and the only way in was past specified check points. At one time in Egypt's past, there existed a long chain of forts, watchtowers, and strong points designed to watch over immigration and possible invasions by the Sand People from the east. The "wall" stretched north and south across the desert approximately along the same path as today's Suez Canal. Each check point was manned by armed soldiers accompanied by officials of the Egyptian government; sort of like the customs agents and border patrols of the modern world today.

    Gen 12:15b . . and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace.

    Not good. A woman in the harems of that day would never have a home of her own nor freedom to travel. Never would she be allowed to pursue romance nor to associate with her friends and relatives ever again.

    Gen 12:16 . . And because of her, it went well with Abram; he acquired sheep, oxen, jack donkeys, male and female slaves, jenny donkeys, and camels.

    Life is much better when you're connected. Because of Sarai, Abram was a bit of a celebrity and thus treated very well.

    So Abram is getting rich. After all, his sister is in the White House. You think anyone is going to cheat him or make him pay full price for goods and services? No way. If anything, people were more than willing to give him lots of expensive gifts and deep discounts, hoping to remain in Pharaoh's good graces by doing so.

    But what's going on in Pharaoh's boudoir at night? There is just no way Abram could block that out of his mind. If only he had believed God's promise, Sarai's honor wouldn't be in such immediate danger of compromise. Abram could have swaggered into Egypt totally fearless of Pharaoh and his country; and kept his wife within her own camp, safe and snug among her own people.

    Gen 12:17 . . But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his household with mighty plagues on account of Sarai, the wife of Abram.

    I, for one, don't blame Pharaoh for any of that. It was totally Abram's fault. Pharaoh and his courtiers were duped into thinking Sarai was available. How could they have known she was spoken for?

    Our hero didn't tell the Egyptians about his adventures with The Lord. All he could think about was how to survive and stay alive. ¡Error! If he had instead been a faithful witness for God, rather than looking out for his own skin, I think things would have gone much better for Abram and Sarai down there in Egypt.

    But now they will be forcibly deported; in shame and disgrace. So, instead of being a positive influence for their god, they became a very bad one. God's people are supposed to believe in their god, and reflect that confidence to others; and at the very least they ought to be honest. And God's people should never be reluctant to tell others about their religion even if those others appear to be pagan heathens.

    Gen 12:18-20 . . Pharaoh sent for Abram and said: What is this you have done to me! Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say "She is my sister" so that I took her as my wife? Now, here is your wife; take her and begone! And Pharaoh put men in charge of him, and they sent him off with his wife and all that he possessed.

    One can scarcely blame Mr. Pharaoh for blowing his top. Nobody likes to be duped, especially monarchs.

    Just exactly how Pharaoh found out that Sarai was Abram's wife is not said. Probably the very same way King Abimelech discovered the truth about her in a later incident. Here's how that will go when we get there later on. (Gen 20:1-7)

    From a totally humanistic point of view, it would appear that God is terribly unfair. I mean, after all, Pharaoh and Abimelech couldn't possibly have known that Sarai was married, especially when both she and her husband were telling people otherwise. But these incidents are valuable to reveal that sin is just a wee bit more complicated than Man's inadequate little sense of right and wrong is able to fully comprehend.

    Well anyway; as the texts says: Abram acquired female slaves during this brief stopover in Egypt; and quite possibly one of their names was-- you guessed it --Ms. Hagar: the mother of Ishmael, the father of the Arab world; from whence ultimately came Muhammad and the religion of Islam. Just goes to show that chaos theory may not be 100% right, but it isn't 100% wrong either.

  12. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 13:1-9

    Gen 13:1-2 . . From Egypt, Abram went up into the Negeb, with his wife and all that he possessed, together with Lot. Now Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold.

    The word for "rich" is from kabad (kaw-bad') which means: to be heavy, i.e. in either a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses); viz: which is why, I guess, we call the rich "loaded"

    So the rich are not only wealthy, but weighted down too. It was a piece of cake for Abram to pull up stakes and move around wherever God wanted before he got so wealthy. Now it will be an undertaking especially without power tools and mechanized conveyances.

    NOTE: Though it's not stated, I think it's probably pretty safe to assume that Lot enjoyed the very same privileged status in Egypt that his uncle Abram did due to their mutual relationship to Sarai; so that Lot came up out of Egypt a very prosperous cattle baron.

    Gen 13:3-7a . . And he proceeded by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been formerly, between Bethel and Ai, the site of the altar that he had built there at first; and there Abram invoked the Lord by name.

    . . . Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them staying together; for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together. And there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and those of Lot's cattle.

    Grazing land can support only so many head of cattle per acre, and the land was just recently recovering from a famine. Lot's drovers were squabbling with Abram's over available grass; and probably the available water too. If those men had barbed wire in that day, I'm sure they would have strung it. Then the shootin' would have really started up!

    Gen 13:7b . .The Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land.

    How do you suppose Abram's and Lot's squabbling looked to the pagans? When God's people can't get along, outsiders become disgusted with them and they sure won't be influenced for God in a good way when Yhvh's people are fighting amongst themselves like that.

    Years ago, when I was a young welder just starting out on my own, I rented a small room in a daylight basement from a man who was the senior pastor of a medium-sized Seventh Day Adventist church in the Portland Oregon area. He and his wife radiated the luster of polished spirituality whenever I spoke with them out in the yard, but in my location under the floor of the house, I could overhear their bitter quarrels upstairs behind closed doors. Was I favorably inclined to attend his church? No.

    Gen 13:8-9a . . Abram said to Lot: Let there be no strife between you and me, between my herdsmen and yours, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you?

    Palestine was still pretty much a wild frontier in the 20th century BC. Actually very little of it was private property. And what with no Bureau of Land Management, the land out west from Ur was pretty much up for grabs to anyone who had the moxie to take it. Abram and Lot remind me very much of early day American pioneers and cattle barons.

    Gen 13:9b . . Let us separate.

    It wasn't an easy thing for Abram to be firm with his kin, and it was a weakness in his spiritual life from day-one. He and Sarai were supposed to leave their kin and come to Canaan alone. He wasn't supposed to take along a nephew. But Abram just couldn't leave Lot behind. So now he and Lot are separating with bad blood between them. And Lot's future is very uncertain down in that God-less country away from his uncle Abram's patronage.

    Gen 13:9c . . if you go north, I will go south; and if you go south, I will go north.

    Even though there was some bad blood now between Abram and Lot, the old boy remained a gracious man. Being the senior of the two, Abram could have claimed first dibs on the land. But he waived the privileges of rank, and gave his nephew the choice. But, in point of fact, Abram made Lot a promise that he could in no way guarantee to honor; because it was God who ultimately dictated where Abram was to dwell in the land.

  13. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 13:10-11

    Gen 13:10 . . Lot looked about him and saw how well watered was the whole plain of the Jordan, all of it-- this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah --all the way to Zoar, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.

    The Jordan Valley slopes southward like a ramp from an altitude of roughly 685 feet below sea level at the Sea of Galilee to an elevation of 1,384 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea. Water was Lot's primary concern and there was plenty of it down there in that valley 4,000 years ago. Along with overflow from the Sea of Galilee, was an abundance of wadis and streams draining into the Jordan Valley from the highlands.

    In its heyday, the Jordan poured about 1.3 billion cubic feet of water per year into the Dead Sea. Today-- due to dams, diversions, and pumping --only about 2 or 3 percent of those ancient billions reach the sea. In the last century alone, the Sea's level declined 80 feet in just the sixty years between 1939 and 1999.

    Eighty feet may not seem like much depth, but when it's considered that the surface area of the Dead Sea is roughly 235 square miles; we're looking at something like 3.56 cubic miles of water. If all that water were to be packed into a single cube, it's sides would be 1.527 miles in length, i.e. 8,062 feet. There are currently no man-made structures on earth that tall.

    In Abram's day, the Jordan Valley in the region between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee was well watered, fertile, and very appealing to a cattle baron like Lot. It had some pretty good jungles too: home to lots of fierce lions at one time.

    NOTE: The Israel of today is just a dried up husk of its former environmental glory. For example: Israel's lions, now extinct, once inhabited forests (Jer 5:6) mountain caves (Nahum 2:12) and the Jordan Valley (Jer 49:19). Israel's bears (2Kgs 2:24) were eradicated in the early 20th century. The closest kin to the bears that once roamed wild there are the Syrian brown bears kept in the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

    What the world sees today in Palestine little resembles the land of milk and honey into which Joshua brought Yhvh's people some 3,500 years ago; and there's their own breaches of the covenant to thank for it.

    "Even all nations shall say: Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?

    . . .Then men shall say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book" (Deut 29:24-27)

    A menu of the curses is on public display at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

    Gen 13:11a . . So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward.

    Today a descent down to Jericho from Bethel (modern Beitin) would be close to a 4,000 foot drop in elevation. Whooee! That'll sure make your ears pop!

    Gen 13:11b . .Thus they parted from each other;

    To me, it would have made better horse sense in a foreign land to consolidate their holdings-- sort of an Abraham & Lot Inc. --instead of maintaining two separate independent enterprises. But I guess Lot had ambitions and wanted to be his own man.

    Either Lot had more mettle than uncle Abram; or was just downright reckless because he had the moxie to go off on his own into a totally strange region with absolutely no assurance that God would travel with him.

    Explorers like Columbus, Cortez, Balboa, and Magellan have that kind of nerve: they're strong, arrogant, and confident. But I don't think Abram ever was like that. I seriously doubt he would have left Haran at all had not God called him to it. I believe it was only the assurance of divine patronage that gave Abram the courage to travel far from home in that day.

  14. WebersHome

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    Genesis 13:12-13

    Gen 13:12a . . Abram remained in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the Plain,

    Cities in that day didn't in any way resemble the huge sprawling metropolises of the present. We would no doubt regard them as little more than fortified hamlets. Some of the cities of the plain were Sodom, Admah, Zeboiim, Gomorrah, and Bela; which is Zoar. Jericho was in existence then too and no doubt a major population center in that region.

    Gen 13:12b . . pitching his tents near Sodom.

    Logistically that was a pretty sensible arrangement. By living amongst those cities, Lot had a ready market for his livestock; and a source of goods and services he could use out on the ranch. There was something special about Sodom that magnetized him though because he eventually moved his family into town.

    I think Mrs. Lot may have had a little something to do with that. Not too many women enjoy rough-country living out in the middle of nowhere. Most prefer being near the conveniences of neighbors, shopping, and services.

    Gen 13:13 . . Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked sinners against the Lord.

    The precise location of ancient Sodom is uncertain. Some feel it was sited at the south end of the Dead Sea; but it's difficult to know for sure. According to Gen 14:1-3, the communities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar were situated in an area of the Jordan Valley the Bible labels "the vale of Siddim; which is the salt sea". Meaning of course that it was the salt sea when somebody wrote that section but wasn't always inundated in the ancient past.

    The Hebrew word for Siddim means flats; viz: a flood plain; for example river valleys; which are of course subject to seasonal flooding. Personally, if it were me; I would have emplaced my community at the north end of the vale rather than south since the north end was the better location for a ready supply of fresh water from the Jordan River for homes and farming.

    The author's choice of words is curious. The flatlanders weren't just sinners; they were "very wicked" sinners; and not just very wicked sinners, but very wicked sinners "against" the Lord; which suggests outright insolence, impudence, and defiance; viz: standing up to God and asserting one's independence.

    NOTE: Everything in Genesis occurred quite a few years prior to the institution of the Ten Commandments so God couldn't prosecute the vale's people for breaking any one specific law as per the covenant that Yhvh' people agreed upon with God in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He actually came down on them for pretty much the same reason He came down on the antediluvians: for ignoring Him.

    "And Yhvh said: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever (Gen 6:3a)

    "And this is the condemnation: light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

    John 3:19 is pretty much a blanket indictment that God can use any time He wishes to justify coming down on people.

    How could the people of the vale be adjudged defiant if they had no clue God disapproved their lifestyle? Well; it's interesting that we today tend to count only published men like Isaiah and Jeremiah as prophets. But God has had numbers of prophets out and about in the ancient world whose names we've never heard of.

    For example: at 1Kgs 19:14, Elijah complained that he was one man alone standing for God in Israel; but unknown to him, Obadiah had hidden a hundred prophets in a cave. (1Kgs 18:4 and 18:13)

    Abram is listed as a prophet (Gen 20:7). And in point to fact, God has had prophets out and about ever since Abel (Luke 11:50-51). But the most notable prophet in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah was a priest named Melchizedek. (Gen 14:18-20. According to Mal 2:7, priests aren't just for rituals; but also for teaching.

    Malachi labels priests Yhvh's "messengers" which is from the very same Hebrew word for angels; which tells me we should never assume that the word "angel" eo ipso indicates a celestial emissary. It could just as easily be a human agent on a divine mission.

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  15. WebersHome

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    Genesis 13:14-17

    Gen 13:14-15 . . And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had parted from him: Raise your eyes and look out from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west, for I give all the land that you see to you and your offspring forever.

    Oh the irony of it! If Lot went off only to the Jordan Valley to stake a claim for his own progeny, then he didn't go far enough away because from Abram's vantage he could see eastward clear across the Jordan valley and over into Moab (the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan) and far past the five cities of the Plain. So Abram, and his progeny, were promised eternal ownership of not only the highlands of Canaan, but in addition, also the whole Jordan Valley where Lot moved-- and beyond.

    Gen 13:16 . . I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, then your offspring too can be counted.

    I just hope Abram remembers what God said the next time he feels inclined to fib in order to save his skin. Will he never catch on that he cannot die until God makes good on the promises regarding his progeny?

    Abram's biological progeny descend not only from Isaac, but also from Ishmael and the other boys too. But his progeny shouldn't be construed to be exactly equal to the number of bits of dust that make up the earth's soil. The expression is a common Old Testament colloquialism for very large quantities (e.g. Gen 41:49, Josh 11:4, Judg 7:12, 1Sam 13:5, 2Sam 17:11, 1Kgs 4:29, Job 29:18, Ps 78:27; et al).

    The meaning is that they would simply become too numerous to count. Later God will liken the number of Abram's offspring to the sand at the beach. Same thing there too-- not the precise number of grains, but a number so great that any attempt to count them would be futile; and the stars too.

    Abram lived somewhere in the neighborhood of the 20th century BC; roughly five hundred years after completion of the Pyramid of Khafre at Giza. So Abram lived about 4,000 years ago. Millions and millions of Abram's kin have lived and died since then. And it's not over yet, not by a long sea mile.

    NOTE: Not only were civilizations in Egypt great at this time, but elsewhere too; for example the ancient city of Harappa that was once located in the Indus River Valley of northwest India: a site now located in Pakistan. Harappa was a fairly large city of something like 23,500 people; and still in its heyday during the time of Abram. And the Maya, famous for their apocalyptic calendar; were blooming in and around what is now the Yucatán Peninsula. By the time of Abram, people had really spread out from the tower of Babel; and world development was happening by leaps and bounds.

    In Messiah's future millennial kingdom, Abram's people will multiply exceedingly because they will all enjoy very long life spans and engender large families. The Bible says that a man of 100 years age in Israel will be regarded as a mere child in that era. (Isa 65:20)

    Abram's offspring truly cannot be tallied; not now or ever. Only The Almighty could ever get the number right because all the souls belonging to Abram, among both the dead and the living, have become so numerous.

    Gen 13:17 . . Up, walk about the land, through its length and its breadth, for I give it to you.

    It's notable that God said: I give it to you. The land was Abram's possession right then and there and no one can ever take it away from him. Not even Almighty God can take it away from Abram now because once The Lord gives His word, He is bound to it like a ball and chain (Rom 11:28-29). That should be a comfort to Yhvh's people, throughout all the ages, that once God gives His word on something, He has to make good on it.

    "May your steadfast love reach me, O Lord, your deliverance, as you have promised. I shall have an answer for those who taunt me, for I have put my trust in your word." (Ps 119:41-42)

    Although Abram lacked sovereign control over his real estate at the time, it was his possession nevertheless.

  16. WebersHome

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    Genesis 13:18

    Gen 13:18a . . And Abram moved his tent, and came to dwell at the terebinths of Mamre, which are in Hebron;

    Hebron (Hevron) itself is today a city of over 70,000 people located about 20 miles south of Jerusalem at an elevation of 3,050 feet above sea level. Hebron is sacred in Jewish history; but a very dangerous place to live today what with all the Palestinian troubles going on in Israel.

    The word for "terebinths" is 'elown (ay-lone') which means: an oak, or other strong tree. Oaks, especially the very old large ones, were important meeting places. Near where I live in Oregon, there's a site called Five Oaks, named after the five oak trees that once thrived there. In pre white man days, local native Americans met at those trees for pow-wows.

    Mamre, an Amorite named up ahead in Gen 14:24, was one of Abram's allies. The oaks of Mamre were apparently named after him; who some believe was a local sheik or a chieftain.

    In Abram's day; Canaan was thinly populated. It was in fact a land of no law and no order. The inhabitants lived in a state of constant readiness. The widely scattered townships were veritable islands in the middle of nowhere; and vulnerable to daring attacks by the desert nomads. Suddenly, and when least expected, those predatory nomads sprang upon unwary people with indiscriminate butchery, carrying off cattle and crops. It was probably for that very reason that Abram was allied with Mamre.

    Gen 13:18b . . and he built an altar there to the Lord.

    Abram's altars testify to the fact that his worship wasn't restricted to a special location. Later; Israel's covenanted law would do that very thing; but Abram wasn't under its jurisdiction so he was at liberty to sacrifice wherever it pleased him. This is an important Bible axiom; viz: law cannot be broken where it doesn't exist. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, Gal 3:17)

    NOTE: It was in the interests of trade that Egypt, in 3000 BC, was the first great power to stretch out its tentacles towards Canaan. A hard diorite tablet, listing the details of a ship's cargo of timber for Pharaoh Snefru, is stored in the museum at Palermo. Its date is 2700 BC. Dense woods covered the slopes of Lebanon then. The excellent wood from its cedars and meru (a kind of conifer) were just what the Pharaohs needed for their elaborate building schemes.

    Five hundred years prior to Abram's day, there was already a flourishing import and export trade on the Canaanite coast. Egypt exchanged gold and spices from Nubia, copper and turquoise from the mines at Sinai, and linen and ivory for silver from Taurus, leather goods from Byblos, and painted vases from Crete. In the great Phoenician dye works, well to do Egyptians had their robes dyed purple. For their society women, they bought lapis-lazuli blue— eyelids dyed blue were all the rage —and stibium, a cosmetic which was highly prized by the ladies for touching up their eyelashes.

    The coastal communities of Canaan presented a picture of cosmopolitan life which was busy, prosperous, and even luxurious; but just a few miles inland lay a world of glaring contrast. Bedouin attacks, insurrections, and feuds between towns were common.

    A much more profitable enterprise than pillaging villages in malicious and barbaric fashion, was to hold them hostage; kind of like the plight of the villagers in the movie: The Magnificent Seven. To avoid being murdered and ravaged, the villagers gave the lion's share of their Gross National Product to the bullies. It was just that sort of scenario that resulted in the capture of the cities of the Plain while Lot was living down there among them.

    Aside: though I would not care to live in Abram's day; I can't help but envy some of his advantages. There was no light pollution, no air pollution, no water pollution, no soil pollution, and no aquifer pollution. All his fruits and vegetables, all of them, were 100% organic-- none of them were treated with fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, or chemical fertilizers.

    Nobody fattened pigs, sheep, fowl, and cows with genetically modified grains-- overcrowded and standing ankle deep in their own droppings --in an intrinsically unsanitary concentrated animal feeding operation; so there was no E.coli 0157:H7 to fear. All livestock was grass-fed outdoors on open pasture lands, which produces a medically, and nutritionally, superior grade of meat compared to grain. The cattle themselves were healthier too and had no need of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick in nasty, dirty feed lots.

    NOTE: Most kinds of cattle are herbivores, i.e. they are not designed to subsist on grain. If they are fed too much grain for too long a time, cattle develop digestive and intestinal problems; possibly even death. However, seeing as how grain fattens cattle faster than roughage, grain is the preferred fodder in feed lots where cows are on their final steps to the slaughter.

  17. WebersHome

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    Genesis 14:1-3

    Gen 14:1 . . Now, when King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of nations.

    Shinar was the whole of Babylonia; Ellasar was the leading tribe in its southern part; and Elam was the original kingdom of Persia.

    The Hebrew word for "nations" is gowy (go'-ee) a word wielded by some Jews as a racial epithet to indicate non-Jewish peoples. But gowy isn't really all that specific. The people of Israel are called gowy at Gen 18:18, and Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, is called a gowy at Gen 25:23. Gowy really just simply indicates a massing; e.g. a herd of animals and/or a horde of locusts; which when extended, indicates a particular people; e.g. Iroquois, Maya, Inuit, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, and/or Arabs, et al.

    Mr. Tidal was probably the chief of a large confederacy consisting of mongrel, multi racial people; possibly a tribal area in northeastern Babylonia. America is a perfect example of Tidal's confederacy because it's a melting pot of assimilation, intermarriage, and diverse races, cultures, languages, and nationalities. The only true Americans in America are its indigenous peoples. Everybody else is either an immigrant or the posterity of an immigrant.

    At one time, Amraphel was thought to be Hammurabi; the great king of Babylon. But it's now widely agreed that Hammurabi didn't arrive on the scene until many years later. The other kings remain a mystery too, having not yet been archaeologically identified.

    Gen 14:2 . . made war on King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar,

    None of these men were "kings" in the fashion that we today think of royalty. They were more like mayors, sheiks, or chieftains. And they didn't actually have extensive realms; nor very much jurisdiction beyond the very community each one dominated.

    Canaanite cities weren't really serious municipalities; but rather more like fortified hamlets-- much like the strategic villages in Viet Nam; except that just about all Canaanite towns were enclosed within stone walls made of rough boulders about six feet in diameter. Archaeologists call this type of wall a Cyclops wall. The boulder walls were usually combined with an escarpment and reinforced with earthen revetments.

    Canaanite towns doubled as forts; places of refuge in time of danger, whether from sudden attack by nomadic bands or from civil wars among the Canaanites themselves. Towering perimeter walls invariably enclosed small areas, not much bigger than Ste. Peter's Square in Rome. Each of these town-forts had a water supply, but weren't really suitable for housing large populations in permanent homes.

    Inside the walls lived only the chieftain, the aristocracy, wealthy merchants, and even sometimes Egyptian representatives. The rest of the inhabitants of the township-- the ranchers and farmers, the vassals and the servants and the serfs-- lived outside the walls; often in tents or simple mud hogans or wattle huts. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived in tents; viz: pavilions.

    In Tell el-Hesi, probably Eglon, the town proper was just over an acre. In Tell es-Safi, formerly Gath, it was twelve acres. In Tell el-Zakariyah, formerly Megiddo, the same amount. Gezer, on the road from Jerusalem to Jaffa, occupied just over twenty acres. Even in the more built up area of Jericho, the inner fortified wall, the Acropolis proper, enclosed a space of little more than five acres; yet Jericho was an important city and one of the strongest fortresses in the country.

    So the five cities of the Plain were nothing to brag about-- well, maybe in their day they might have been notable enough amongst their contemporaries.

    Gen 14:3 . . all the latter joined forces at the Valley of Siddim, now the Salt Sea.

    In its early history; the valley was home to the Sedom Lagoon. In those days, water from the Red Sea was able to ebb in and out of the lagoon because the region hasn't always been land-locked like it is today. At one time the earth's crust south of the valley was lower; allowing the Jordan River an outlet; but over time, tectonic forces altered the region resulting in the river, and the lagoon, losing access to the waters of the Mediterranean.

  18. WebersHome

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    Genesis 14:4a

    Gen 14:4a . .Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer,

    Apparently El Ched was the instigator behind the extortion scheme holding Sodom and its neighbors economically hostage. The other kings who came along with him to Canaan were just reinforcements to back his play. You have to wonder how The Ched ever found the Valley of Siddim in the first place and what in the world motivated him to travel so far from home.

    Ched's home turf, Elam, is a well-known tract, partly mountainous, whose western boundary, starting on the northeast side of the Persian Gulf, practically followed the course of the lower Tigris. It was bounded on the north by Media, on the east by Persia and on the west by Babylonia. The Assyro-Babylonians called the tract Elamtu, expressed ideographically by the Sumerian characters for Nimma or Numma, which seems to have been its name in that language. As Numma, or Elam, apparently mean height, or the like, these names were probably applied to it on account of its mountainous nature.

    Another name by which it was known in early times was Ashshan-- or Anshan --or Anzan, (Anzhan) --one of its ancient cities. The great capital of the tract, however, was Susa (Shushan), whence its Greek name of Susiana, interchanging with Elymais, from the semitic Elam. Shushan is famous for its stories of Esther and Nehemiah.

    The modern-day city of Ahvaz Iran is a pretty good locator for the region of Elam. If you have a map handy you can readily see just how far The Ched traveled to reach the Jordan Valley. Even if he came straight over by helicopter, it's at least 780 miles.

    It's amazing the distances that conquerors traveled on foot and the backs of animals in ancient times. Hannibal crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps, with elephants no less, to attack northern Italy. But even just getting to the far sides of those mountain ranges from Carthage was itself an arduous journey sans mechanical conveyances It's no surprise then that the Second Punic War lasted nigh unto seventeen years.

    In the past; it took armies a long time just to get to the battlefields before they even did any fighting. Invaders from China thought nothing of skirting the Himalayas and entering India via the Khyber Pass in order to conduct campaigns in the Ganges River Valley. I really have to wonder sometimes how commanders kept their armies from becoming discouraged by all that travel and by all that time away from home.

    That situation actually befell Alexander the Great. After eight years and 17,000 miles, his weary army refused to campaign anymore in India and mutinied at the Hyphasis River (today's Beas). Abandoning his ambition to conquer lands and peoples more distant to the east of Greece than any man before him, including his father Philip, the young commander had no choice but to turn back.

  19. WebersHome

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    Genesis 14:4b-12

    Gen 14:4b . . and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

    El Ched wouldn't get wind of that right away of course. There was no email, no radio, no sat-com, no land line, no snail mail, no cells, nor television, nor telegraph, nor aircraft, nor motorized conveyances in that day so it would take some time for an overland caravan to return and tell him how the federation of five towns in the Valley refused to cough up their payments.

    Meanwhile the local sheiks had some time to prepare themselves for attack while The Ched organized an expeditionary force.

    Gen 14:5-7 . . In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim at Ham, the Emim at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

    . . . On their way back they came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and subdued all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazazon-tamar.

    Ched took no chances that any nearby clans would come to the aid of the Valley people. So before launching his attack against the Federation, he first subdued everyone in the region roundabout who might be sympathetic to their cause. The Ched was a very shrewd commander.

    Dr.Nelson Glueck, a leading Palestine archaeologist, has this to say about El Ched's conquest:

    "A punitive expedition developed into an orgy of annihilation. I found that every village in their path had been plundered and left in ruins, and the countryside laid waste. The population had been wiped out or led away into captivity. For hundreds of years thereafter, the entire area was like an abandoned cemetery, hideously unkempt, with all its monuments shattered and strewn in pieces on the ground."

    The invasion first crushed all the sheiks north, east, and then west of the Dead Sea before it reached the communities of Siddim, against whom the invasion had been mounted in the first place. The purpose was no doubt to eliminate the possibility of an attack from the rear while Ched was occupied fighting the Federation.

    Dr.Glueck identifies Ashtaroth Karnaim, where The Ched encountered the Rephaim, as two adjacent cities in southern Syria, Tell Ashtarah and Sheikh Sa'ad, which was called Carnaim in New Testament times. The name Ashtarah comes from the name of the Greek moon goddess Astarte , equivalent to the Babylonian god Ishtar and the Canaanite goddess of sensual love Ashtaroth, whose worship was one of the sources of gross immorality among the Canaanites.

    After defeating the Rephaim, Ched smashed the Horites in Mount Seir-- a mountainous region somewhat to the southeast of the Dead Sea --Esau's future turf. Then he went to El-Paran, in the southern wilderness, and then returned to Kadesh, on the western side of the Dead Sea where he crushed the people in a region that would later belong to the Amelekites. He also defeated a contingent of the Amorites, who were very probably the dominant tribe in Canaan at that time.

    Some identify Hazazon-tamar as En-Gedi. If this identification is correct, then Hazazon may be Wady Husasah, northwest of 'Ain Jidy.

    Another suggestion, which certainly seems very likely true, is that Hazazon-tamar is the Thamara of Eusebius, Onomasticon (85:3; 210:86), the Thamaro, of Ptol. xvi. 3. The ruin Kurnub, 20 miles west-southwest of the south end of the Dead Sea-- on the road from Hebron to Elath-- is supposed to mark this site. My maps aren't too detailed in that area but Karnub seems to be in a region triangulated by Dimona, Arad, and Be'er Sheva.

    Anyway, after thus neutralizing all who might stand in his way, Ched's confederated army then turned its full attention to the five communities in the Plain. And woe and behold, Abram's nephew Lot was right smack in the middle of it all.

    Gen 14:8-9 . .Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, went forth and engaged them in battle in the Valley of Siddim: King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar-- four kings against those five.

    That was probably a wise move. If each town had remained behind its own walls, defending against El Ched individually on its own, he could have conquered them very easily one at a time. By combining their forces, and meeting him in the open, they stood a much better chance. But valley dwellers were no match for a seasoned expeditionary force. The men from Babylonia were battle-honed veterans.

    Gen 14:10 . .The Valley of Siddim was full of slime pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and fell into them while the rest fled to a mountain.

    The Hebrew word translated "slime pits" is be'er (be-ayr') which is everywhere but maybe three places translated "well" as in water wells and/or cisterns. Some Bibles translate it "bitumen pit" but bitumen and slime are interpretations rather than translations. The pits apparently were natural features in the valley; viz: random sink holes.

    NOTE: The level of the Dead Sea dropped a record five feet in 2012; and in the years between 1939 and 1999 it dropped eighty feet. The Sea's shrinkage has been a major problem for decades, with it's shoreline retreating as much as a mile in some spots. The process destabilizes the ground surrounding it, causing massive sink holes that have actually devoured whole villages.

    The Hebrew word for "fell" is very ambiguous and could just as easily be translated "got down". Compare Gen 17:3 where Abraham fell on his face. In other words: the chieftains of Sodom and Gomorrah jumped down into some of those naturally-occurring pits like Army fox holes for cover and concealment.

    Gen 14:11-12 . . The invaders seized all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, and his possessions, and departed; for he had settled in Sodom.

    Talk about riches to rags! Lot went from a prosperous cattle baron to a slave in sixty minutes (so to speak).

    The word for "provisions" is 'okel (o'-kel) which means: food. Victuals were an important spoil of war in those days when supply lines were totally nonexistent. There were no heavy-drops from cargo planes, nor helicopters to ferry in MRE's, medicine, FNG's, ammo, potable water, and things of that nature. When El Ched's army needed re-supply, they had to take it from their vanquished-- ergo: they were highly motivated; because if they wanted to eat, then they had to fight; and they had to win.

  20. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 14:13-15a

    Gen 14:13a . . A refugee brought the news to Abram

    It was a trek from Sodom to Abram's camp. He was way up in Mamre; and a goodly portion of it uphill-- very uphill. At any rate, news of Sodom's overthrow meant that Lot was captured; or maybe even dead. One way or the other, Abram had to find out if his nephew was still alive-- kind of like John Wayne looking for his two nieces in The Searchers.

    Gen 14:13b . . the Hebrew,

    This is very first appearance of the word "Hebrew", which is 'Ibriy (ib-ree') and means: an Eberite; viz: a descendant of Eber. It can also mean "the other side" which implies that Abram may have been known as one who came from the other side of the Euphrates river-- sort of like Mexican, Central, and South American immigrants who cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. But more likely he was called Eberite because of his family's lineage. Eber was first mentioned back in Gen 10:21.

    NOTE: Hebrews weren't Jews in Abram's day; no they were Gentiles. It was Abram's eventual progeny who became Jews-- specifically people genetically and/or religiously associated with Judah: Jacob's fourth son: patriarch of the Messianic tribe (Gen 49:8-12, Heb 7:14).

    The word for "Jew" is yehuwdiy (yeh-hoo-dee') which means Judah-ite; and doesn't appear in the Bible until 2Kgs 16:6; many, many years after the Exodus.

    Gen 14:13c . . who was dwelling at the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, kinsman of Eshkol and Aner, these being Abram's allies.

    Abram had become a shrewd sheik. The best way to survive on the frontier is to team up-- especially with someone that all the others know and fear. That way most everyone will leave you alone because they don't want to deal with your friends. The terebinths (oaks) belonged to Mamre, a well known Amorite in that region. His kin, Eshkol and Aner, were Abram's friends too.

    That tactic pays off in many of America's penal systems too. First thing a new inmate has to do is join a gang or otherwise he'll be prey for all of them.

    Gen 14:14a . .When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he mustered his retainers, born into his household, numbering three hundred and eighteen,

    The word for "retainers" is chaniyk (kaw-neek') which means: initiated; i.e. practiced. This is the one and only place in the entire Old Testament where chaniyk is located so it's difficult to know precisely what Genesis means by it; but seeing as how the retainers' origin is mentioned, chaniyk probably refers to their unusual degree of loyalty (cf. John 10:30). In other words: it's my guess those men comprised Abram's personal body guards; viz: his retinue-- a sort of ancient Secret Service.

    Abram was their sheik by birth, rather than by conscription. So these particular men weren't mercenaries; but rather more like his very own sons. They were men of deep gratitude for their master's providence; and every one of them, to a man, were more than willing to die for him.

    Though Abram was by nature a man of peace, he was prepared to fight in the event it became necessary. In the wild untamed land of Palestine 4,000+ years ago, men without mettle didn't survive very long. And even today, it's still true that a strong man armed, keeps his goods. (cf. Luke 11:21)

    They numbered 318. If we assume that each one was married, then the number of persons doubles to 736. If each man had at least one child, then the number triples to 954. A plausible scenario is that Sheik Abram's camp was a community of at least 1,000 people-- a fair sized town. When this man broke camp, it was a serious caravan.

    Gen 14:14b . . and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

    At this early date, there was neither a region, nor a town, in Canaan colonized and named after Jacob's son Dan. There wasn't even one in Moses' day. It wasn't until Joshua 19:40-48 that Dan's tribe received their portion of Canaan. So Dan's name could very well be a later editorial insertion.

    It's unthinkable that Abram would leave his camp and his wife, and all the women and children unprotected while he and his warriors traveled miles from home. So it's reasonable to expect that some of his Amorite allies remained behind to reinforce Abram's camp while he was out of town.

    Gen 14:15a . . At night, he and his servants deployed against them and defeated them;

    Not too shabby for a former city slicker. Abram, no doubt coached by Mamre, employed excellent Bedouin guerrilla tactics against a well-armed, seasoned foe of superior numbers. After his scouts located The Ched's caravan, Abram dogged him, waiting for an opportunity to attack in circumstances to his advantage. When the time came, he did it under cover of darkness, rather than in daylight; and came at them from more than one direction, which would help to create confusion, chaos, and panic amidst Ched's army.

    El Ched's men were probably laid back, stuffed full of stolen food and sleepy with booze; and proud of themselves for their victories; totally unsuspecting anyone remaining in Canaan would have the moxie to take them on. Having no flares, nor Claymores, nor barbed wire, mines, nor flashlights, night vision capability, nor motion detectors, or early warning systems of any kind; Ched's forces were easily surprised and routed.