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929 Project: Genesis 13 – a chilling foreshadowing

July 31, 2018

Genesis 13 is a chilling read.  It foreshadows the horrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Even if somehow the reader does not know what will happen, the text explicitly references it:

וישא לוט את עיניו וירא את כל ככר הירדן כי כלה משקה לפני שחת חי את סדם ואת עמרה כגן חי כארץ מצרים באכה צער

Lot looked about him and saw how well watered was the whole plain of the Jordan, all of it —t his 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. (NJPS)

At the same time, the text reminds us that the land that Abram and Lot are to divide is already populated.  Genesis 13:7b:

והכנעני והפרזי אז ישב בארץ

[A]nd the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. (KJV)

Robert Alter notes in HB-A:

This second notation of the indigenous population of Canaan, at the moment of friction between the two immigrants from Mesopotamia, suggests that they can scarcely afford such divisiveness when they are surrounded by potential enemies.  (In the next episode, Abram will be obliged to bring military aid to his nephew.)  There may also be a hint of irony in their dividing up a land here that already has inhabitants.

In light of what happens in the next chapter – as well as in the book of Joshua, this too is a chilling foreshadowing.

Here is more information about this series; and here is a table of abbreviations and acronyms.  Posts are backdated to match with 929 reading dates.

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