“So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made the first altar. There Abram called on the name of Yahweh.”
Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold, so they all returned to the place of the altar between Bethel and Ai. Obviously, it did not take 40 years.
“Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together. For their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram’s livestock and the herders of Lot’s livestock. At that time, the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.”
Lot also had flocks, herds, and tents. The land, however, could not support both of them because of their great possessions. The livestock herders of Abram and Lot did not get along in this land of the Canaanites and the Perizzites, who were like the Canaanites, but more warlike, who always appear in any list of enemies.
“Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders. We are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right. Or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
Abram said let’s separate. You go right or left and I will go the other way, so that we do not have any strife between our families and our herders. Here were two rich guys splitting up the land without concern for the local people.
“Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. This was before Yahweh had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against Yahweh.”
Lot decides to go east to the plain of Jordan, a fertile land like the garden of Yahweh and the Egyptian Nile valley, in the direction of Zoar, southeast of the Dead Sea. Sodom, which was north of the Dead Sea, had great sinners. There is no indication of what their sins were, but they were wicked. Abram, however, settled in Canaan. We will see how this is going to work out.
“Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward. For all the land that you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your offspring descendants like the dust of the earth. So that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring descendants also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’ So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron. There he built an altar to Yahweh.”
After they were separated, Yahweh said to Abram, all the land that you can see in any direction, east, west, north, and south, is yours and your descendants. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, unable to be counted. Abram then moved his tent and settled at the Oaks of Mamre, Hebron, and built a third altar there. Hebron is further south of Jerusalem while Shechem is north. Both Shechem and Hebron had oaks nearby.