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13. Abram and Lot Separate

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 2And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

5And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

14And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.

16. And I will make thy seed as the dust. Omitting those subtleties, by means of which others argue about nothing, I simply explain the words to signify, that the seed of Abram is compared to the dust, because of its immense multitude; and truly the sense of the term is to be sought for only in Moses’ own words. It was, however, necessary to be here added, that God would raise up for him a seed, of which he was hitherto destitute. And we see that God always keeps him under the restraint of his own word; and will have him dependent upon his own lips. Abram is commanded to look at the dust; but when he turns his eyes upon his own family, what similitude is there between his solitariness and the countless particles of dust? This authority the Lord therefore requires us to attribute to his own word, that it alone should be sufficient for us. It may also give occasion to ridicule, that God commands Abram to travel till he should have examined the whole land. To what purpose shall he do this, except that he may more clearly perceive himself to be a stranger; and that, being exhausted by continual and fruitless disquietude, he may despair of any stable and permanent possession? For how shall he persuade himself that he is lord of that land in which he is scarcely permitted to drink water, although he has with great labor dug the wells? But these are the exercises of faith, in order that it may perceive, in the word, those things which are far off, and which are hidden from carnal sense. For faith is the beholding of absent things, (Hebrews 11:1,) and it has the word as a mirror, in which it may discover the hidden grace of God. And the condition of the pious, at this days is not dissimilar: for since they are hated by all, are exposed to contempt and reproach, wander without a home, are sometimes driven hither and thither, and suffer from nakedness and poverty, it is nevertheless their duty to lay hold on the inheritance which is promised. Let us therefore walk through the world, as persons debarred from all repose, who have no other resource than the mirror of the word.


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