Today, I am reading and commenting on Genesis 12-15.
Today’s passage continues with God calling Abram to continue the journey which he had begun with his father. At God’s calling Abram once more set out for Canaan. Abram traveled to the Negev, which is largely suitable only for nomadic herders even today. It is worth noting that while Abram was in the Negev a famine came on the region similar to the one which would later send Jacob and his sons to Egypt…and this famine sends Abram there. I will not write much about Abram’s stay in Egypt except to note that he was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him in order to take his over 65 year old wife. Something those of you who think an older woman cannot be beautiful should keep in mind.
I am always struck by the story of Abram rescuing Lot. First the backstory. Kedorlaomer, king of Elam, had been collecting tribute from Sodom and Gomorrah and several other cities for 12 years when they decided to stop paying. After a year of what I assume to be negotiations, but was perhaps just Kedorlaomer gathering his allies, Kedorlaomer loots the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, enslaving some of the people. Among those enslaved is Lot. When Abram receives word that his nephew has been taken as a spoil of war, he gathers his men and his allies and sets out after him. Now, Kedorlaomer and his allies each had the might of a city-state to draw upon. Abram and his allies did not. Nevertheless Abraham is able to defeat Kedorlaomer and retrieve the people and goods which had been looted from Sodom and Gomorrah. Or to put it another way, Abram was a “power” in the regional geopolitical circumstances of his day. This is something we need to keep in mind as we read the rest of the Book of Genesis.