Bible Commentaries
Genesis 13

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Genesis 13:2. Very rich. Here is another proof of God’s fidelity in fulfilling his promises to Abraham. This has often been the lot of faithful men.

Genesis 13:9. Separate thyself. Generous actions excite generous sentiments. “Aristippus being angry with Æshines sent for him, and said, You are aware that I, as the elder, might exercise a compulsive power. True, replied Æshines, I am indeed the cause of the quarrel, and you are the author of friendship.”

Genesis 13:10. The garden of the Lord. Augustine thinks this text a full proof that Eden was not a spiritual, but a real terrestrial abode. Isaiah 41:3. Lot chose the plain irrigated by the Jordan; and having little regard to religion in this instance, he lost all he had by disastrous events. He should have left the choice to his uncle, and counselled with the Lord.

Genesis 13:18. Plain of Mamre. Hebrews אלון ailon is rendered δρυς oak, by the LXX. So chap. 12., the oak, grove, or holt of Moreh. So Judges 9:6; the oak of the pillar which was in Sichem. Jerome does not appear to be supported in rendering this word “plain,” though followed by many versions. Mamre, the name of some Amorite, as Genesis 14:24, who had given his name to the country, as was the ancient custom of men. Psalms 49:11.


Abraham, after the famine was over, hasted out of Egypt to the land of his pilgrimage; and his first object was, to go to the place of the altar, and thank the Lord for his preservation. Devotion, after deliverance from great afflictions, is peculiarly seasonable, and a debt we owe to God. In the quarrel which happened between the herdsmen, Abraham acted towards Lot a condescending and generous part. When disputes arise between religious families, they are often so intemperately conducted as to occasion injury to their souls, and scandal to the cause of God. When envy and selfish passions are suffered to prevail, they destroy union of spirit and concord in the church. But when those evils do arise, they may, on the contrary, be so managed as to reflect very great honour on the christian character. Let them, like Abraham, make disinterested and liberal proposals, or refer the dispute to arbitration; and by acting ingenuously the souls of good men will, after an explanation, become the more united.

Abraham after becoming rich was not the less pious. He was neither haughty in spirit, nor extravagant in equipage, nor voluptuous in living. He still retained his simplicity of life. What a pattern for men whom providence has prospered in the world!

As guardian to Lot, his character is equally high. He received the dying charge of Haran, and executed it as unto God, who ever lives the orphan’s father, and the orphan’s friend. All tutors and guardians have here a perfect model for imitation.

But did Lot err? Was he his own master before he had acquired discretion? Was he attracted merely by the rich pasturage of the Jordan; and did he in the time of danger, instead of trusting in the promise, seek refuge in Sodom? Ah, worldly prudence may serve our interests for the moment; but it is often followed with disappointment and shame. One false step may be the total ruin of a whole family.

After Lot’s separation, the Lord once more met Abraham in sacrifice, and renewed the covenant, promising also that as the dust of the earth, and as the stars of heaven are innumerable, so he would make his posterity. It is thus that christian families, before and after remarkable changes in their houses, should meet with God at the throne of grace in extraordinary devotion. The Lord will accept their offering, and crown it with new promises and abundant blessings.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 13". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.