1313 The people of Sodom were very wicked and offended YHWH. 14 And YHWH said to Abram, after Lot left, “Raise your eyes where you are and look to the north, south, east, and west. 15 I will give you and your seed, all the land you see—forever. 16 I will make your descendants like the dust of earth; only someone who could count dust particles could count all your seed. 17 Rise, walk through this land’s length and breadth. I give it to you.”
18 Abram journeyed with his tent and came to settle by the Terebinths of Mamre, by Hebron, and built an altar for sacrifice to YHWH.
The land of Jordan’s Plain looked good and healthy. Yet, Sodom was already a known problem—a snake in the garden, as it were. This little descriptor will grow into a significant episode in Chapter 19.
Abram had said to Lot, “You go one way, and I’ll go another.” As Lot makes his choice and leaves, Abram looks around to the four directions as G*D commends Abram to this place, as far as the eye can see. [Note: There is no seeing of the indigenous people on the land. Dominion will re-enter the story, for humans always seem to have someone they can curse/blame.]
While Lot travels, Abram puts down roots by walking the fence-line of his horizon. Like an animal marking their territory, Abram, using a common legal ritual, claims an area (length x width) on which he and his seed will multiply.
The first simile for Abram’s becoming fruitful and multiplying is that of dust. From dust have all ’adams come. To dust shall all ’adams go. Between times, all ’adams multiply, like dust to more dust in every place.
As Abram traveled by stages to Canaan, to Egypt and back again, so, now, Abram traveled by stages throughout the land promised by his G*D—finally coming to settle near Hebron by the Terebinths of Mamre. Some translations use a more familiar reference to a grove of Oaks. The trees in question show up in many places through Hebrew scripture. The first reference is in the last chapter, near Shechem—the Terebinth of Moreh. We will find Terebinth where angels visit and battles shake the ground (Goliath and David).
It is at this grove of trees where people had found wisdom (knowledge of good and not-good) that will lead us back to Sodom. For this echo of Exile and Flood, we await Chapter 18.