||Abram headed northward to the Negev along with his wife and all that was his, including Lot.
||Abram was very rich, with livestock, silver and gold.
||He continued on his travels, from the Negev toward Bethel, until [he came to] the place where he originally had his tent, between Bethel and Ai,
||the site of the altar that he had built there at first. Abram called in God's name.
||Lot, who accompanied Abram, also had sheep, cattle and tents.
||The land could not support them living together; their wealth was so great that they could not stay together.
||Friction developed between the herdsmen of Abram's flocks and those of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizites were then living in the land.
||Abram said to Lot, 'Let's not have friction between me and you, and between my herdsmen and yours. After all, we're brothers.
||All the land is before you. Why not separate from me? If you [go to] the left, I will go to the right; if to the right, I will take the left.'
||Lot looked up and saw that the entire Jordan Plain, all the way to Tzoar had plenty of water. (This was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) It was like God's own garden, like the land of Egypt.
||Lot chose for himself the entire Jordan Plain. He headed eastward, and the two separated.
||Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot dwelt in the cities of the Plain, having migrated as far as Sodom.
||But the people of Sodom were very wicked, and they sinned against God.
||After Lot left him, God said to Abram, 'Raise your eyes, and, from the place where you are now [standing], look to the north, to the south, to the east, and to the west.
||For all the land that you see, I will give to you and to your offspring forever.
||I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; if a man will be able to count [all] the grains of dust in the world, then your offspring also will be countable.
||Rise, walk the land, through its length and breadth, for I will give it [all] to you.'
||Abram moved on. He came and settled in the Plains of Mamre, in Hebron, and there he built an altar to God.
Literally, 'went up.'
This is the first mention of this nation, which is later mentioned together with the other Canaanite nations (see Genesis 15:20; Exodus 3:8, 3:17, 23:23, etc.). They most probably lived between Bethel and Shechem (cf. Genesis 34:30), especially around Bezek (Khirbet Ibzik) (Judges 1:4). They lived near the Amorite, Hittite and Yebusite (Joshua 11:3), as well as in the forests near the Rephaim (Joshua 17:15). Some say that they were called Perizim because they lived in unwalled cities (Perazoth) (Kesseth HaSofer).
The Hebrew word na makes an imperative into a request rather than a demand. It is often translated as 'Please,' or 'if you would,' but here we translate it as 'why not.' In many places, we leave it untranslated.
Kikarin Hebrew, literally a flat cake or circle of Jordan. This was a flat oval area in what is now the southern part of the Dead Sea. See Genesis 19:25. It seems that the Jordan then had underground channels through which it could flow, so the water did not collect in the area. See Targum Yonathan on Genesis 14:3.
A city originally known as Bela, associated with Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 14:2). Also see Genesis 19:22, Deuteronomy 34:3. According to tradition, Tzoar was settled later than the other four cities (Shabbath 10b; Rashi on 19:20). From the context, it would seem that Tzoar was the southernmost of these cities, possibly on the southern bank of what is now the Dead Sea. (see Josephus, Wars 4:8:4).
According to context, this phrase fits here. However, the verse literally ends, 'Like the land of Egypt, as one comes to Tzoar.' Accordingly, this 'Tzoar' may not be the one associated with Sodom, but an ancient Egyptian frontier fortress.
|Sodom and Gomorrah|
See Genesis 19:24. Also see Genesis 10:19.
(The verse literally says, 'from the east,' but from the context, this must be interpreted as 'eastward,' since the Jordan is to the east of Bethel (Radak. See Rashi; Ibn Ezra).
|cities of the Plain|
Sodom and its associated cities.
Literally, 'having moved his tents' (Radak, Sherashim). Others translate it, 'pitching his tents until Sodom,' or 'setting up his tents near Sodom.' See Genesis 10:19.
|were very wicked and...|
(Ralbag; Septuagint). Or, 'were very evil and sinful to God' (following cantellation). 'This was the sin of your sister Sodom: pride, lots of bread, and the careless ease that she and her sattelites had. She did not support the poor and those in need' (Ezekiel 16:49).
Literally, 'moved his tents.' See Genesis 13:12.
Eloney Mamre in Hebrew. Others translate it, 'Terebinths of Mamre.' See note on Genesis 12:6. Josephus states that it was by an oak called Ogyges (Ancient One) (Antiquities 1:10:4; Wars 4:9:7).
An Amorite who was Abram's ally (Genesis 14:13). This area was later known as Kiryath HaArba (Genesis 35:27).
A well known city, some 18 miles west of the Dead Sea, not very far from Sodom. This would mean that Abram migrated some 28 miles southward from Bethel.