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Monday, December 24, 2018
The Books of the Law
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.
Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are.
When the Egyptians see you, they will say, `This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live.
Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."
When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman.
And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.
He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.
But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai.
So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife?
Why did you say, `She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!"
Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.
Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier
and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.
But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.
And quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.
Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left."
Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company:
Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.
The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west.
All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.
I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.
Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."
So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.
At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim
went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).
All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea ).
For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim
and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert.
Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar.
Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim
against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar--four kings against five.
Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.
The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.
They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.
One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram.
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.
He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,
and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself."
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath
that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, `I made Abram rich.'
I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me--to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share."
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. "
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."
He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?"
So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon."
Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.
Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.
But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.
You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.
In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."
When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--
the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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