1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
Having been kicked out of Egypt by Pharaoh, Abram takes his wife, his ill-gotten dowry and Lot south.
2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
No surprise there, he duped Pharaoh into buying his 'sister', only to reveal that she was in fact his wife and then got her back and kept the dowry.
3 And 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;
So he travels north (from the south)
4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had make there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
...back to the altar he built in the mountains (the second of two altars built). Abram calls out to the LORD, is he expecting an answer? I suspect he is, after all, God made a personal appearance there before.
5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
Lot is also rich. I have no idea why, he must have done some business in Egypt.
6 And 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.
"This town ain't big enough for the both of us!" - Lot and Abram both being rich men can't coexist in this land.
7 And 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.
Both Abram and Lot are Shemites (descended from Shem) so I imagine the canaanites and Perizzites are their respective herdsmen.
8 And 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.
Abram suggests a parting of ways.
*Spoiler Alert* Look away now if you don't want to know the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah before we get to that part of the story
10 And 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.
Lot looked down into the plains of Jordan and saw that they were ideal. I suppose the reference to the yet-to-happen destruction is only there so that the reader doesn't say "well I've looked upon Jordan and all I saw was scrub, sand and sorrow.". The Narrator can then say "Ahh... but this was before the LORD destroyed sodom and Gommorrah".
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Lot left to set up his own town... with blackjack... and hookers!
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.`
At this point I have to begin wondering about the age of the euphemism 'pitching a tent'. For millennia men have covered 'themselves' with clothing of some sort or other and it can't have been beyond their notice the similarity between the shape that 'giving rise' gives rise to and the shape of their pole-supported dwellings. I only mention this because Lot is said to be living in the cities and one doesn't usually pitch a tent when living in the city, one might however 'pitch a tent' (Wink) for a goodly number of reasons.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Do we yet know precisely what being a sinner or being wicked actually constitutes in the eyes of the LORD? SO far he's punished honesty, curiosity, inadvertently witnessing nudity and unknowingly marrying someone's wife. He's rewarded murder, he's massacred the entire planet, he's made people slaves. I really don't know what "wicked and sinners" means in this verse.
14 And 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:
God commands Abram to look around.
15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
Didn't he already give this land to Abram's seed before he went into Egypt and ripped off the Pharaoh?
16 And 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.
God will make Abram's seed as numerous as motes of dust. I don't think the global population has even approached the number of motes of dust in my keyboard yet. One might say that if this is a prophesy then there can be no apocalypse until Abram's seed are as numerous as motes of dust on the planet earth.
17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
OK, Abram is encouraged to walk through the land given to him.
18 Then 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.
Abram moves to Hebron and builds yet another Altar.
- Abram and Lot have amassed servants to the extent that their population is too great to coexist in a huge expanse of land.
- God decrees that Abram's seed will be as numerous as dust of the earth, now I don't have official figures but that has to be a number at least in the hundreds of quintillions (a nineteen-digit integer). That is going to take a very long time to achieve.
- The euphemism 'pitching a tent' may be thousands of years old (but then again, it might not)