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Genesis 13:10-13

Context

13:10 Lot looked up and saw 1  the whole region 2  of the Jordan. He noticed 3  that all of it was well-watered (before the Lord obliterated 4  Sodom and Gomorrah) 5  like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, 6  all the way to Zoar. 13:11 Lot chose for himself the whole region of the Jordan and traveled 7  toward the east.

So the relatives separated from each other. 8  13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, but Lot settled among the cities of the Jordan plain 9  and pitched his tents next to Sodom. 13:13 (Now 10  the people 11  of Sodom were extremely wicked rebels against the Lord.) 12 

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

2 tn Or “plain”; Heb “circle.”

3 tn The words “he noticed” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

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

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

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

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

8 tn Heb “a man from upon his brother.”

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

9 tn Or “the cities of the plain”; Heb “[the cities of] the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

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

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

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



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