So, Abram, his wife Sarai, nephew Lot, and their households, packed everything they owned and left Egypt. They headed back north toward the Negev desert. 2 Abram was very well off -- rich in livestock, silver, and gold. 3-4 His entourage camped along the way, as they had done when they passed that way traveling south. They passed through the Negev and up to the sacred place near Bethel. That is, they stopped at the spot between Bethel and Ai where Abram had first pitched his tent and earlier built an altar. He again worshiped the Lord there.
5 Now Lot, who was sojourning alongside Abram, was also well heeled -- loaded with his own flocks, cattle, and tents. 6 Together their assets were so great that there wasn’t enough pastureland to support both Abram and Lot. They needed to put some distance between the two operations 7 because the shepherds working for Abram and those working for Lot were constantly quarreling with each other. On top of that there were still Canaanites and Perizzites living off the same land.
8 Abram said to Lot, “We’re close relatives! We can’t allow our herders to continue quarreling. 9 I mean, look at all the land out there in front of us. Let’s split-up. Choose where you’d like to be and I’ll move our operation in the opposite direction. If you choose to go north, I’ll go south; and if you choose to go south, I’ll go north.”
10 Lot looked around and took note of the vast Jordan Valley. It had plenty of water and reminded him of what the Garden of the Lord must have been like. The whole stretch down to Zoar was as lush as Egypt. (Of course, this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah).
11 So Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley. He then set out toward the east, and they put some distance between each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot settled near the cities of the valley, pitching his tent close to Sodom. 13 That was perhaps not the smartest thing -- more about that later. But for now -- let’s just say that the Sodomites were EVIL people -- scorning the Lord with their blatant sin.
14 After Lot left, the Lord again spoke to Abram, “You’re at a vantage point where you can see to the north, south, east, and west. 15 All that land you see out there, I hereby give it to you and your descendants. It’s yours forever. 16 Furthermore, I’m going to give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. They will be as numerous as the dust of the earth. Who can count all the gritty grains of dust on the planet! 17 Get up and walk the territory -- the length and breadth of the land. I want you to see what I am giving to you.”
18 Abram once again pulled up his tent pegs -- traveling this time to the sacred Oaks of Mamre near Hebron. That’s where he settled. And Abram built an altar to the Lord there.