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Abram and Lot Separate
13Â So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned.Â 2Â (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.)Â 3Â From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before.Â 4Â This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped theÂ LordÂ again.
5Â Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents.Â 6Â But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together.Â 7Â So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
8Â Finally Abram said to Lot, â€œLetâ€™s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives!9Â The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then Iâ€™ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then Iâ€™ll go to the left.â€
10Â Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of theÂ LordÂ or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before theÂ LordÂ destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)Â 11Â Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram.Â 12Â So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain.Â 13Â But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against theÂ Lord.
14Â After Lot had gone, theÂ LordÂ said to Abram, â€œLook as far as you can see in every directionâ€”north and south, east and west.Â 15Â I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendantsÂ as a permanent possession.Â 16Â And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!Â 17Â Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.â€
18Â So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to theÂ Lord.
Abram Rescues Lot
14Â About this time war broke out in the region. King Amraphel of Babylonia,Â King Arioch of Ellasar, King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of GoiimÂ 2Â fought against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (also called Zoar).
3Â This second group of kings joined forces in Siddim Valley (that is, the valley of the Dead Sea).Â 4Â For twelve years they had been subject to King Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him.
5Â One year later Kedorlaomer and his allies arrived and defeated the Rephaites at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites at Ham, the Emites at Shaveh-kiriathaim,Â 6Â and the Horites at Mount Seir, as far as El-paran at the edge of the wilderness.Â 7Â Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (now called Kadesh) and conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites living in Hazazon-tamar.
8Â Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea.Â 9Â They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasarâ€”four kings against five.Â 10Â As it happened, the valley of the Dead Sea was filled with tar pits. And as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits, while the rest escaped into the mountains.Â 11Â The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies.Â 12Â They also captured Lotâ€”Abramâ€™s nephew who lived in Sodomâ€”and carried off everything he owned.
13Â But one of Lotâ€™s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abramâ€™s allies.
14Â When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomerâ€™s army until he caught up with them at Dan.Â 15Â There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomerâ€™s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.Â 16Â Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.
Melchizedek Blesses Abram
17Â After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the Kingâ€™s Valley).
18Â And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High,Â brought Abram some bread and wine.Â 19Â Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:
â€œBlessed be Abram by God Most High,
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.
21Â The king of Sodom said to Abram, â€œGive back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.â€
22Â Abram replied to the king of Sodom, â€œI solemnly swear to theÂ Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,Â 23Â that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, â€˜I am the one who made Abram rich.â€™Â 24Â I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my alliesâ€”Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.â€
TheÂ Lordâ€™s Covenant Promise to Abram
15Â Some time later, theÂ LordÂ spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, â€œDo not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.â€
2Â But Abram replied, â€œO SovereignÂ Lord, what good are all your blessings when I donâ€™t even have a son? Since youâ€™ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.Â 3Â You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.â€
4Â Then theÂ LordÂ said to him, â€œNo, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.â€5Â Then theÂ LordÂ took Abram outside and said to him, â€œLook up into the sky and count the stars if you can. Thatâ€™s how many descendants you will have!â€
6Â And Abram believed theÂ Lord, and theÂ LordÂ counted him as righteous because of his faith.
7Â Then theÂ LordÂ told him, â€œI am theÂ LordÂ who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.â€
8Â But Abram replied, â€œO SovereignÂ Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?â€
9Â TheÂ LordÂ told him, â€œBring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.â€Â 10Â So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half.Â 11Â Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.
12Â As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him.Â 13Â Then theÂ Lordsaid to Abram, â€œYou can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.Â 14Â But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.15Â (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.)Â 16Â After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.â€
17Â After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.Â 18Â So theÂ LordÂ made a covenant with Abram that day and said, â€œI have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of EgyptÂ to the great Euphrates Riverâ€”Â 19Â the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,Â 20Â Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,Â 21Â Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.â€
The Sermon on the Mount
5Â One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him,Â 2Â and he began to teach them.
3Â â€œGod blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
11Â â€œGod blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about youÂ and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.Â 12Â Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Teaching about Salt and Light
13Â â€œYou are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14Â â€œYou are the light of the worldâ€”like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.Â 15Â No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.Â 16Â In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Teaching about the Law
17Â â€œDonâ€™t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.Â 18Â I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of Godâ€™s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.Â 19Â So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys Godâ€™s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
20Â â€œBut I warn youâ€”unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Teaching about Anger
21Â â€œYou have heard that our ancestors were told, â€˜You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.â€™22Â But I say, if you are even angry with someone,Â you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,Â you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,Â you are in danger of the fires of hell.
23Â â€œSo if you are presenting a sacrificeÂ at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,Â 24Â leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
25Â â€œWhen you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison.Â 26Â And if that happens, you surely wonâ€™t be free again until you have paid the last penny.