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Thread: This Way To Genesis

  1. #101
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    Genesis 11:6-25

    Gen 11:6 . . and Yhvh said: If, as one people with one language for
    all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing that they may
    propose to do will be out of their reach.

    I don't think Yhvh objected to the people's unity per se. I mean, after all; it's
    Christ's wish that his church be unified (John 17:1-26, 1Cor 1:10). I think
    what He objected to was the direction that humanity's unity was taking; and
    it was no doubt similar to the direction depicted below.

    "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the
    earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against Yhvh and
    against His anointed. Let us break their chains-- they say --and throw off
    their fetters." (Ps 2:1-3)

    To whom was Yhvh speaking when He spoke those words? Well; there's
    been a lot of theory and speculation in that regard. Apparently Yhvh has
    associates and companions; which we might label courtiers and/or
    bureaucrats. They're the competent behind-the scenes "gophers" that keep
    government business running smoothly. I think that God rather enjoys
    delegating a great deal of His business to trusted underlings rather than
    doing it all Himself.

    Gen 11:7 . . Let us, then, go down and confound their speech there,
    so that they shall not understand one another's speech.

    "let us" is the language of Gen 1:26 when God created man. Exactly who
    accompanied Yhvh on this mission isn't stated; but it's difficult to imagine
    Him traveling solo without an entourage of some sort. (cf. Gen 28:12 and
    Matt 25:31)

    Gen 11:8 . .Thus the Lord scattered them from there over the face
    of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

    The language barrier was only a temporary delay because later on the city of
    Babylon was eventually built. But at this point in time, the world had no
    choice. It was just impossible to continue. Incidentally; the entire world has
    never again been unified in a singular endeavor like it was on that tower.

    Gen 11:9 . .That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord
    confounded the speech of the whole earth; and from there the Lord
    scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

    In time, men did branch out and colonize the whole planet. But barely
    anything is said in the Bible about the world in the years between Babel and
    Abraham. On the pages of scripture, it seems but a brief interlude, but in
    reality, it's truly a millenniums-wide quantum leap when taking into
    consideration the ice ages and regions that today are now deserts (e.g.
    Sahara) which were once pluvial with abundant water resources and arable
    soil able to support developing civilizations.

    Relative to the grand scheme of things; Abraham was practically a modern
    man though he lived something like 4,000 years ago. But 4,000 years is
    merely a tick-tock on the earth's geological clock that's been ticking for
    something like 4.5 billion years. If we let 4.5 billion years represent 24
    hours, then 4,000 years is about equal to .0768 second. That amount of
    time is somewhere in the neighborhood of half of what the human eye takes
    to complete a blink.

    According to the January 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine,
    human artifacts as old as 100,000 years have been discovered in a cave
    located on the southern tip of Africa. Those years represent just under two
    seconds on the earth's 24-hour geological clock.

    Gen 11:10a . .This is the line of Shem.

    Well; that's pretty much about it for the other brothers. From now on, the
    Bible will direct its focus mainly upon Shem's line. But not all. Just specific
    ones that are connected to Abraham's covenant; and ultimately to Messiah.

    Noah was a pretty simple kind of guy. He probably tore apart the ark for its
    wood and built a home, and barns, and whittled fence posts and split rails to
    corral his livestock. The rest of the ark's lumber he could distribute to his
    sons and grandchildren for their own ranches after setting aside enough
    firewood for many years to come.

    He more than likely stayed pretty close to where the ark went aground and
    remained behind when the others migrated out west. After all, if Noah could
    raise food right where he was, plus his grapes, then why move away? He'd
    seen it all anyway and lived the adventure of a lifetime.

    Gen 11:10b . . Shem was 100 years old when he begot Arpachshad,
    two years after the Flood.

    That would make Shem about 97 years old when the flood began.

    Gen 11:11 . . After the birth of Arpachshad, Shem lived 500 years
    and begot sons and daughters.

    Each of the patriarchs probably had at least as many daughters as well as
    sons even though girls' names are rarely listed in the record.

    Gen 11:12-25 . .When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he begot
    Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Arpachshad lived 403 years and
    begot sons and daughters . .When Nahor had lived 29 years, he
    begot Terah. After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and
    begot sons and daughters.

    Included in the genealogy of Gen 11:12-25 was a man named Eber. His
    name carries on to this day in a people well known as Hebrews; for the Old
    Testament word for Hebrew is 'Ibriy (ib-ree'); which means an Eberite; viz:
    a descendant of Eber.

    At that point in time, the human life span was beginning to decrease.

    Noah lived 950 years (about the same as his antediluvian forebears), but
    Shem lived only 600. It became even worse by the time of Nahor; who only
    lived to 148. Today, even the healthiest among us begins to decline as early
    as our mid thirties; with an average life expectancy of not even 80. This
    problem has baffled scientists for years and no one seems to know yet just
    why our body cells age and deteriorate so fast. Whoever solves that problem
    will get very rich from it, that's for sure.

    NOTE: Love will endure forever, but speaking in unknown languages will all
    disappear (1Cor 13:8)

    God introduced tongues during the Tower Of Babel incident to break up
    world unification. Apparently it was God's judgment that world unification in
    those days was not a good thing. Well; the language barrier remains in place
    today; so I'm assuming that world unification in our day is still not a good

    In other words: today's world is an imperfect world. But according to 2Pet
    3:1-13 and the 21st chapter of Revelation, a new world order is on its way;
    a perfect world that can be trusted with unification so there will be no need
    for a control measure to thwart global rebellions against God and all that He
    stands for.

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  2. #102
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    Genesis 11:26-29

    Gen 11:26-27 . .When Terah had lived 70 years, he begot Abram,
    Nahor, and Haran. Now this is the line of Terah: Terah begot Abram,
    Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot.

    By the time of Terah, Shem's line had slipped away and no longer
    worshipped Yhvh in spite of their solid spiritual heritage.

    "Then Joshua said to all the people: Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel;
    "In olden times, your forefathers-- Terah, father of Abraham and father of
    Nahor --lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods." (Josh 24:2

    Because their dad worshipped other gods, the two brothers, Abram and
    Nahor, grew up as idolaters until Noah's god stepped in and broke the chain:
    appearing to Abram, and instructing him to leave his relatives, and get out
    of Ur.

    One has to wonder what happened with Terah. His grandfathers Shem and
    Noah actually came off the ark and saw the Flood for themselves but that
    was waaaaay back when. Time has a way of turning history into legend; and
    anon into myth, folklore, and superstition.

    NOTE: One of the problems associated with the credibility of the Flood is
    finding evidence for it; and a significant portion of that problem is related to
    the Flood's duration. The actual downpour lasted a mere forty days; and the
    standing water was gone within a year; which just isn't enough time. It
    takes water millennia to erode permanent features in the earth's lithosphere.

    And on top of that, once the rain stopped, the Flood's waters were
    essentially static like a lake or a swimming pool. In order to cause erosion of
    any significance, water has to move; as a river or a stream, or as waves
    along the sea shore; not stand still.

    When I was a kid, the presence of sea shells and fossils way up on the sides
    and tops of mountains was thought to be evidence of the Flood, but now we
    know that they got up there by tectonic forces rather than by the Flood.

    You know it hasn't been all that long ago that people began putting some
    faith in continental drift. It's been barely a century since German
    meteorologist Alfred Wegner proposed that Earth's dry land had once been a
    single continent then gradually began separating. He was soundly mocked
    and dismissed by his contemporary scientific community.

    Not anymore they don't. Now pretty near all the geological scientists are in
    agreement that the earth's prominent mountain ranges were produced by
    the grinding, colliding, buckling, and subduction of massive sections of the
    earth's crust.

    Gen 11:28 . . Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terah, in his
    native land, Ur of the Chaldeans.

    The Grim Reaper cares not for the age of its victims, whether young or
    whether old. Haran died before his dad. Many a parent has buried their
    children before they even had a chance to live.

    You know, anybody can die; it's not all that difficult; and people don't have
    to be old nor do they have to be especially intelligent. Even the young, the
    inexperienced, and the stupid do it all the time.

    "For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered: in days to
    come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die." (Ecc

    "For the time of mischance comes to all. And a man cannot even know his
    time. As fishes are enmeshed in a fatal net, and as birds are trapped in a
    snare, so men are caught at the time of calamity, when it comes upon them
    without warning." (Ecc 9:10-12)

    "Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets: do they live for ever?"
    (Zech 1:5)

    Gen 11:29 . . Abram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name
    of Abram's wife being Sarai and that of Nahor's wife Milcah, the
    daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.

    Nahor married a niece; the daughter of his brother Haran. And Abram,
    according to Gen 20:12, married a half sister; the daughter of his father
    Terah. Such close marriages were later forbidden in Israel's covenanted law.

    But as Genesis has shown all along, at this early date close marriages were
    neither forbidden nor particularly dangerous from a genetic point of view,
    and so were not uncommon. Adam's family married among themselves; and
    so did Noah's. They really had no choice about it. There just weren't any
    other people available for spouses at the time.

    Close inbreeding was neither a sin nor a problem in those days. But it sure is
    now. You wouldn't dare engender children with a sister or a brother or a
    niece nowadays. The risk of birth defects is just too high. It's notable that as
    longevity decreased, so did the margin of safety in marrying relatives. The
    quality of the human body was seriously deteriorating.

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  3. #103
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    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

    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

    "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." (Pro 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

    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

    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 Ninevah. 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.

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  4. #104
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    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
    associating with 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

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  5. #105
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    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.

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  6. #106
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    Genesis 12:3b-6

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

    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

    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

    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

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

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    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

    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.

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

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    Genesis 12:13-20

    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.

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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 had that kind of
    nerve; they were 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.

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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

    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.

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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

    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.

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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.

    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

    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

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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

    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.

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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

    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.

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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

    . . . 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

    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.

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    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

    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

    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

    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.

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  19. #119
    Senior Member WebersHome's Avatar
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    Genesis 14:15b-17

    Gen 14:15b . . and he pursued them as far as Hobah,

    Unfortunately this is the only place in the entire Old Testament where Hobah
    is mentioned; and archaeologists have had no luck so far in discovering its
    exact location.

    Gen 14:15c . .which is north of Damascus.

    Many, many years later, in 1918, the Hejaz Arab Army led by T.E Laurence
    (Laurence of Arabia) would fight the Turks in this very region and drive them
    out of Damascus.

    Ol' Abram sure didn't want those guys to forget Canaan none too soon. It
    wasn't enough to beat them at Dan; no, he ran them all the way out of the
    country. The survivors of the invading army no doubt straggled back to their
    homelands as best they could, amazed at this sudden, unexpected
    humiliating end to what had been up till then a mighty wave of victory and

    No mention of this battle has ever yet been found on any of the Babylonian
    or Elamite inscriptions-- which is understandable. Ancient kings were
    accustomed to boast only about their victories since defeat usually left them
    dead or in slavery.

    Gen 14:16 . . He brought back all the possessions; he also brought
    back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, and the women and the
    rest of the people.

    If Abram had left the Federation's people in enemy hands and rescued only
    his nephew, no one would have faulted him for it. They were, after all, total
    strangers and had nothing in common with either Abram or Abram's religion;
    being "very wicked sinners against the Lord." But that would have been a
    terribly ignoble show of charity; not to mention downright politically stupid in
    a land where you needed all the friends you could get.

    It's easy to imagine the tremendous amount of respect this campaign won
    for Abram in the eyes of all the Canaanites. He was a great sheik in that
    land, no doubt about it now. Abram beat a Babylonian army.

    That was an impressive accomplishment; and a testimony to his cunning, his
    dependability, and to his courage under fire. Everyone in Canaan knew now
    that Abram wasn't a man to be trifled with. He's a perfect example of the old
    proverb: Walk softly, and carry a big stick. Abram was no bully, yet didn't
    allow others to bully him. Now if only he would quit lying to people about his
    relationship to Sarai.

    NOTE: US President Theodore Roosevelt is famous for his comment about
    walking softly, but the way he went about obtaining the Panama Canal zone
    was not what I would call "soft".

    Gen 14:17 . .When he returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and
    the kings with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the
    Valley of Shaveh, which is the Valley of the King.

    The location of the Shaveh Valley is a total mystery; this being the only
    place in the entire Old Testament where it's mentioned. "Shaveh" is a
    transliteration of Shaveh (shaw-vay') which means: plain or level or equal.

    Some feel that the Shaveh Valley was some sort of neutral zone, like a
    Geneva Switzerland; where rival sheiks could meet and talk turkey without
    fear of reprisal or assassination. The Valley of the King is thought to be a
    special location where kingships were publicly bestowed upon individuals--
    which, if true, would imply that Abram may have been offered an
    opportunity to rule a portion of Canaan.

    It's not unusual for victorious military commanders to be politically popular.
    General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the USA's 34th president, was one of those;
    and so was the great Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh. (had the British not
    reneged on their commitment to support Tecumseh's hard-won coalition of
    eastern tribes, the United States east of the Mississippi river might be half
    its size today)

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  20. #120
    Senior Member WebersHome's Avatar
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    Genesis 14:18

    Gen 14:18a . . And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread
    and wine;

    Melchizedek's name is Malkiy-Tsedeq (mal-kee-tseh'-dek) which means:
    king of right or possibly just simply righteous king; in contrast to the
    wickedness which was the stock in trade of Bera, king of Sodom. I tend to
    think that King Mel was a widely-accepted circuit judge in that region; a sort
    of one-man Supreme Court in his day like Samuel was in his.

    "Salem"-- an early name of Jerusalem --is from Shalem (shaw-lame') which
    means: peaceful.

    Some make a big deal out of the bread and wine; relating it to the elements
    of the Christian Eucharist. However, the word for "bread" is lechem (lekh'
    em) which isn't strictly limited to bakery products. It just means food (for
    man or beast), especially bread, or grain (for making it).

    A good example of the ambiguity of lechem is the feast that Joseph ordered
    prepared for his brothers. (Gen 43:25-31)

    The "bread" Joseph ordered wasn't a basket of Focaccia al rosmarino; it was
    a whole banquet. In contrast, the bread that the Lord broke at his last
    passover was the koiné Greek word artos (ar'-tos) which always, and every
    time; specifically indicates nothing else but bakery products.

    There's really nothing especially symbolic about the wine either; it was a
    common dinner beverage introduced to the post Flood world by none other
    than grampa Noah. (Gen 9:20-21)

    Mel's catering service probably brought enough food and drink for Abram's
    entire detachment. They certainly deserved to be feted for their efforts, not
    just the old boy himself. Mel's feast was a celebration; no doubt instigated
    by Mel, but participated in by the whole region as a gesture of deep
    gratitude to Abram and his men for ridding Canaan of that awful Ched
    person. In other words: I think that what we're looking at here is a fiesta.

    The wine that Mel brought to this event was capable of making everybody
    quite drunk if they imbibed an amount beyond their tolerance. The word is
    yayin (yah'-yin) which means: to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by
    implication, intoxication. It's the very same word used of the beverage that
    hammered gramps in chapter nine.

    Mel was not only a political figure in that region; but a religious figure as

    Gen 14:18b . . he was a priest of God Most High.

    "Most High" is a brand new superlative for God at this point in Genesis. It's
    'elyown (el-yone') which means: an elevation, i.e. lofty. As a title it means:
    the Supreme, or the Very Highest.

    We might have thought that Abram's camp comprised the only God-fearing
    people in all of Canaan. But surprise of surprises. There was another man in
    the land who was a God-fearing sheik just like Abram. But Mel went one
    better. This man was not just a sheik, but also a priest of the Supreme God;
    and he holds the honor of being the very first official priest of God in the
    entire Bible; many years before Aaron.

    Abram was a prophet, a great sheik, and a great man of God; and although
    he did the part of a priest for his clan-- as did Job, Noah, and others-- he
    was never really an official priest nor was he ever really a true king. So Mel
    easily outranked Abram. (cf. Heb 7:4-7)

    True priests are mediators between God and Man; and in that capacity, have
    the authority and the wherewithal to effect a reconciliation between the two
    whenever there's a breakdown in diplomatic relations. Priests also have a
    knowledge of God; which they have a sacred duty to dispense to their
    constituents. (Mal 2:7)

    The Bible is completely silent about Mel's origin. It doesn't list his genealogy;
    no, not even so much as his mother and father; which is very unusual
    because Aaronic priests have to prove their lineage before being permitted
    to take office. So that, in reality, a priest like Mel doesn't have to be related
    to Aaron, nor does he even have to be particularly Jewish; nor any other
    specific ethnic for that matter. He just has to be a human being.

    However, humanness doesn't eo ipso qualify someone for the office of
    Melchizedekian priest because it's an appointment rather than a career
    track. (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:4-6)

    Mel was definitely a Gentile because Abram (himself also a Gentile, from the
    region of Iraq) had yet to engender Isaac; the father of Jacob, who was to
    become the progenitor of the twelve tribes of the people of Israel; viz: the
    Jews. So; though Christ was a Jew, a number of his ancestors weren't.

    NOTE: The most important thing to note about Mel is that he was a priest
    prior to the institution of Israel's covenanted law. Therefore, since Bible law
    isn't retroactive-- viz: doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction (Deut 5:2-4,
    Gal 3:17) --then Mel's constituents weren't obligated to comply with the
    Commandments; ergo: the Commandments cannot be used to prosecute
    them in heaven's court of law (cf. Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13).

    This rather outstanding advantage carries over to Christ's constituents too
    because the Lord's priesthood is patterned after Mel's. (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:4-6)

    Another thing to note about Mel's priesthood is that according to the letter to
    Hebrews; it's a high-priest priesthood; which means that only one man at a
    time can hold the office.

    That right there totally invalidates Mormonism's order of Melchizedek. It also
    invalidates Mormonism's Aaronic order too because Aaron's is also a high
    priest priesthood. In other words: the high priest's priesthood doesn't
    consist of a panel of priests like the nine justices comprising the US Supreme
    Court. No, the high-priest's priesthood is a one-man show.

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