An Atheist Reads the Bible

A godless heathen’s religious experience

Genesis 13

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 22, 2008

Abram and Lot Separate

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.
2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

Isn’t prostitution great? For the pimp at least.

3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier
4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.
5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.
6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.

Somehow I’m failing to muster much sympathy for these characters.

7 And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

The seeming non-sequitur here is a reminder that this land Abram’s just claimed as his own by divine right actually belonged to the Canaanites, who are being punished because Noah liked to get pissed naked.

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

So Abram pointed out that god had given them the whole land, they might as well make use of it. After all, that’s some prime real estate there and at a much lower price even than Manhattan Island.

10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

I feel Moses is jumping ahead of himself here with the Sodom and Gomorrah references.

11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company:
12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom
13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

This really is rather unsubtle writing. I’m sure it would be much more effective to keep a few surprises in the plotline. It might actually keep people reading!

14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west.
15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring for ever.

Amazing, isn’t it, that one little quote from a work of fiction could cause so much pain and suffering in the Middle East hundreds of years after it was written.

16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.
17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.
18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.

OK, said god, now Lot’s gone you can have the rest of this land. Don’t worry about all those people living on it, just let them know I told you it’s yours and I’ll dish out a few smitings if necessary.

And Abram built another altar. Very imaginative. Not difficult to tell where he’s been.

One Response to “Genesis 13”

  1. lucaskopadt said

    Oh, it gets better. Wait ’til you see what Lot does next.

    Interesting blog.


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