The Tower of Babel
11[1-4] At this time all the people of the world spoke the same language and spoke the same way. As the people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. Then they said to one another, “Come, help! Let’s make bricks and bake them hard with fire.” (They used bricks for stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, help! Let’s build a city for ourselves with a high tower that reaches into the sky. We will make ourselves famous and not be scattered all over the world.”
[5-9] But Yahweh came down to look at the city and the tower that the people built. And Yahweh said, “Look! The people are all together, and they all speak the same language. Look what they have dreamed of doing. Now, nothing will be too hard for them of whatever they want to do! Come, let’s go down and give the people different languages, so they won’t be able to understand each other.” So, Yahweh scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where Yahweh gave the people different languages and scattered them all over the world.
The Lineage from Shem to Abram
[10-11] This is the story of Shem’s family. Two years after the great flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he had Arphaxad. After the birth of Arphaxad, Shem lived another 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
[12-13] When Arphaxad was 35 years old, he had Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Arphaxad lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
[14-15] When Shelah was 30 years old, he had Eber. After the birth of Eber, Shelah lived another 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
[16-17] When Eber was 34 years old, he had Peleg. After the birth of Peleg, Eber lived another 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
[18-19] When Peleg was 30 years old, he had Reu. After the birth of Reu, Peleg lived another 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
[20-21] When Reu was 32 years old, he had Serug. After the birth of Serug, Reu lived another 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
[22-23] When Serug was 30 years old, he had Nahor. After the birth of Nahor, Serug lived another 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
[24-25] When Nahor was 29 years old, he had Terah. After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived another 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
The Family of Terah
[26-28] When Terah was 70 years old, he had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. This is the story of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his birth, while his father, Terah, was still living.
[29-30] Abram and Nahor both married wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. (Milcah and her sister Iscah were daughters of Nahor’s brother Haran.) But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children.
[31-32] One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot ( Haran’s child) and left from Ur of the Chaldeans, going toward the land of Canaan. They stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died there in Haran.
The Call of Abram
12[1-3] Yahweh had said to Abram, “Leave your land, your family, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I’ll show you. I’ll make you into a great nation. I’ll bless you and make your name well known, and you’ll be a blessing to others. I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you badly. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”
[4-6] So Abram left as Yahweh had said, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and everything they owned, and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran, and left for the land of Canaan. When they got to Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. They stopped at the oak of Moreh. At that time, the Canaanites still lived there.
[7-9]Then Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, “I’ll give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to Yahweh, who had appeared to him. Then, Abram left from there and went towards a mountain at the east of Bethel and set up his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar to Yahweh, and preached in the name of Yahweh. Then Abram continued moving south little by little toward the Negev desert.
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
[10-13] Then there was a severe famine in the land of Canaan, so Abram left to go to Egypt, to stay while the famine was so great. As they came to Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they’ll say, ‘This is his wife’ and they’ll kill me and keep you alive. So please tell them you are my sister, so that It’ll be well with me because of you and I’ll live for your sake.”
[14-16] So when Abram went in to Egypt, the Egyptians saw how beautiful Sarai was. When the palace officials saw her, they told Pharaoh about her, and Sarai was taken into his palace. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her, sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, camels, and male and female servants.
[17-20] But Yahweh sent terrible diseases upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and asked, “What have you done to me?” “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She’s my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Look, here’s your wife back. Take her and go!” So Pharaoh ordered some of his men to lead them out, and he sent Abram away, along with his wife and everything he owned.
Abram and Lot Separate
13[1-4] So Abram left Egypt, going south into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot, and everything that they owned. (Abram was very rich in tame animals, silver, and gold.) From the Negev, they continued going toward Bethel, and they set up their tents where they started out between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he preached in the name of Yahweh again.
[5-7] Lot, who was going with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds, so that they were unable to keep on living together. Then, fights broke out between those who kept the animals of Abram and Lot. (And the Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
[8-9] Finally Abram said to Lot, “Please don’t let trouble come between us or those who keep our animals. We are family! Isn’t the whole countryside open to you? Please, separate from me. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you want the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
[10-13] So 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 Yahweh or the land of Egypt. (This was before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them and left from his uncle Abram. 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. But the people of this area were very evil and always sinning in the sight of Yahweh.
[14-18] After Lot had gone, Yahweh said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction, north, south, east, and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants forever. And I’ll give you as many descendants as the dust of the earth, so that they can’t be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to Yahweh.
Abram Rescues Lot
14[1-3] About this time war broke out in the land. King Amraphel of Babylonia, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 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). This second group of kings joined forces in Siddim Valley (that is, the valley of the Dead Sea).
[4-9] For twelve years they had been subject to King Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him. One year later Kedorlaomer and his allies got there and defeated the Rephaites at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites at Ham, the Emites at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites at Mount Seir, as far as El-paran at the edge of the countryside. Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (now called Kadesh) and took control over all the land of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites living in Hazazon-tamar. Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea. They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar, these four kings against five.
[10-12] It so happened that 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. The invaders then took valuables from Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the prizes of war and the food supplies. They also captured Lot, Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom, and carried off everything he owned.
[13-16] But one of Lot’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 Abram’s allies. When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he got the 318 trained men who had been born into his household ready to fight. Then he chased Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram got back everything that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with everything he owned and all the women and other captives.
Melchizedek Blesses Abram
[17-20] As Abram was going home 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 King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had gotten back.
[21-24] The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself everything else you took back.” Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to Yahweh, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth that I won’t take so much as a single thread or the lace of a sandal from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ I’ll accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”
Yahweh’s Promise to Abram
15[1-6] A while later, Yahweh spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I’ll protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram said, “O God Most High, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You’ve given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Then Yahweh said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you’ll have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then Yahweh took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you’ll have!” And Abram believed Yahweh, and Yahweh counted him as good because of his faith.
[7-11]Then Yahweh told him, “I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your own.” But Abram said, “O God Most High, how can I be sure that I’ll actually get it?” So Yahweh told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” So Abram gave all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; but he didn’t cut the birds in half. Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.
[12-16] As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. Then Yahweh said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they’ll be under enemy control for 400 years. But I’ll punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they’ll come away with great wealth. (As for you, you’ll die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will come back here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites have not increased so much that I must destroy them yet.”
[17-21] After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So Yahweh made a promise with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River, the land that is now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”