Genesis 13

Abram and the Promised Land

The Way of Shur

Then Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev (Genesis 13:1)

It seems likely that Abram returned to the Negev by the same route he had taken earlier, the Way of Shur. This photo shows the approximate location of the Way of Shur where it passes the modern Egyptian-Israeli border. It is a desert route, and travelers are dependent on reaching the occasional oasis to secure water.

Abram's Wealth

Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold (Genesis 13:2).

Silver was often carried in the form of jewelry or useful items such as utensils. When it was used as money, its value was determined by its weight, so even randomly cut pieces (hacksilver) were useful in trade. This hoard of silver and bronze objects was photographed at the Israel Museum.


He continued traveling, moving from the Negev as far as Bethel (Genesis 13:3).

The route taken by Abram from the Negev to Bethel would have been along the central ridge route. The distance from Beersheba to Bethel by this route is about 60 miles (100 km). Along the way, Abram would have passed towns that are now well-known to readers of the Hebrew Bible, including Hebron, Bethlehem, and Salem (Jerusalem). The cluster of buildings on the hill in the background of this photo is Beitin, a candidate for ancient Bethel. This American Colony photograph was taken between 1900 and 1920.

Wilderness Altar

To the place of the altar, which he had made there formerly (Genesis 13:4).

The twelve standing stones in this photo have been interpreted as an altar. They are located, together with some other interesting features, in the desert on the west side of Har Karkom in southern Israel. Dating such structures is notoriously difficult, but regardless of the date, this may be a close approximation of the kind of altar Abram would have built while he lived between Bethel and Ai.

Spring Water

The land could not support both of them dwelling together (Genesis 13:6).

The two resources for which the herds of Abram and Lot would have competed were water and forage. The spring shown here, Ein Samiya, is located about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Bethel, and it is quite possible that the herds or flocks of these two men made use of this water source at some point as they grazed.

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