Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. went up . . . south--Palestine being a highland
country, the entrance from Egypt by its southern boundary is a
2. very rich--compared with the pastoral tribes to which Abraham
belonged. An Arab sheik is considered rich who has a hundred or two
hundred tents, from sixty to a hundred camels, a thousand sheep and
goats respectively. And Abram being very rich, must have far exceeded
that amount of pastoral property. "Gold and silver" being rare among
these peoples, his probably arose from the sale of his produce in
3. went on his journeys--His progress would be by slow marches
and frequent encampments as Abram had to regulate his movements by the
prospect of water and pasturage.
unto the place . . . between Beth-el and Hai--"a
conspicuous hill--its topmost summit resting on the rocky slopes below,
and distinguished by its olive groves--offering a natural base for the
altar and a fitting shade for the tent of the patriarch" [STANLEY].
4. there Abram called on the name of the Lord--He felt a strong
desire to reanimate his faith and piety on the scene of his former
worship: it might be to express humility and penitence for his
misconduct in Egypt or thankfulness for deliverance from perils--to
embrace the first opportunity on returning to Canaan of leading his
family to renew allegiance to God and offer the typical sacrifices
which pointed to the blessings of the promise.
7. And there was a strife--Abraham's character appears here in a
most amiable light. Having a strong sense of religion, he was afraid of
doing anything that might tend to injure its character or bring
discredit on its name, and he rightly judged that such unhappy effects
would be produced if two persons whom nature and grace had so closely
connected should come to a rupture
Waiving his right to dictate, he gave the freedom of choice to Lot. The
conduct of Abraham was not only disinterested and peaceable, but
generous and condescending in an extraordinary degree, exemplifying the
Ro 12:10, 11;
10. Lot lifted up his eyes--Travellers say that from the top of
this hill, a little "to the east of Beth-el"
they can see the Jordan, the broad meadows on either bank, and the
waving line of verdure which marks the course of the stream.
11. Then Lot chose him all the plain--a choice excellent from a
worldly point of view, but most inexpedient for his best interests. He
seems, though a good man, to have been too much under the influence of
a selfish and covetous spirit: and how many, alas! imperil the good of
their souls for the prospect of worldly advantage.
14, 15. Lift up now thine eyes . . . all the land which
thou seest--So extensive a survey of the country, in all
directions, can be obtained from no other point in the
neighborhood; and those plains and hills, then lying desolate before
the eyes of the solitary patriarch, were to be peopled with a mighty
nation "like the dust of the earth in number," as they were in
18. the plain of Mamre . . . built . . . an
altar--the renewal of the promise was acknowledged by Abram by a
fresh tribute of devout gratitude.