Lesson 22: Genesis 13–14
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“Lesson 22: Genesis 13–14,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 22,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 22

Genesis 13–14


Abram and his nephew Lot returned with their families from Egypt to the land of Canaan. When strife developed between Abram’s and Lot’s herdmen, Abram acted as a peacemaker between them. Abram and Lot parted ways, and Lot’s family was captured by an invading army while living in Sodom. Abram rescued Lot and his family from captivity and, upon returning home, received a blessing from the great high priest Melchizedek.

Note: Before class, place a small, inconspicuous length of thread on your clothing. You will refer to this thread later in the lesson.

Suggestions for Teaching

Genesis 13:1–18

Abram offers a peaceful solution to the strife between his herdmen and Lot’s herdmen

Display a delicious treat, and ask who wants it. Invite two students who express interest in the treat to come to the front of the class. Divide the treat into unequal portions, and allow them to decide who gets which piece.

  • How could a situation like this cause conflict in a family?

Explain that in today’s lesson, we will see how Abram responded when conflict and disagreement arose in his family. Invite students to look for principles from Abram’s example that can help them avoid or resolve conflict in their relationships with their families and others. You may want to remind students that Abram is the prophet whose name was later changed to Abraham (see Genesis 17:5, 15).

Summarize Genesis 13:1–4 by explaining that Abram and Lot left Egypt with all their flocks and possessions and journeyed back to the land of Canaan, where they settled together.

Invite a student to read Genesis 13:5–7 aloud, and ask the class to look for a disagreement that arose when Abram and Lot arrived in Canaan.

  • What was the disagreement? (The servants of Lot quarreled with the servants of Abram over land and water for their flocks and herds.)

  • What do you think would be a good solution to this situation?

Invite a student to read Genesis 13:8–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Abram suggested they do to resolve the problem.

  • What did Abram suggest?

  • What do Abram’s actions teach us about being a peacemaker? (Students may identify a variety of truths, but you may want to emphasize the following: Being a peacemaker may require us to place others’ interests above our own.)

  • Who do you know that, like Abram, is good at putting others’ interests above his or her own?

Invite a student to read Genesis 13:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to identify where Lot chose to dwell. Ask them to report what they find.

Point out that Lot chose to dwell in the more fertile, well-watered area known as the plain of Jordan.

Explain that after Lot chose where he would dwell, he and Abram took their families and parted ways. Invite a student to read Genesis 13:12–13, and ask students to look for what Lot did when he got to his new place of dwelling.

  • What did Lot do when he arrived at his new dwelling place? (He “pitched his tent toward Sodom.” You may want to explain that one meaning of the word toward is “by” or “near.”)

Write the names Sodom and Gomorrah on the board, and ask the students what they know about these places. Explain that these two cities were located in the plain of Jordan and have become synonymous with evil and immorality because of the wickedness of their people.

Summarize Genesis 13:14–17 by explaining that after Lot departed with his family, the Lord promised Abram all the land that he could see as an inheritance for his posterity. Abram then traveled with his family to the land of Canaan. Invite students to read Genesis 13:18 silently, looking for what Abram did when he arrived at his new dwelling place.

  • What did Abram do when he arrived in Hebron (in the land of Canaan)? (He built an altar to worship God.)

  • What can we learn from Abram’s decision to build an altar when he arrived in Hebron?

Genesis 14:1–12

Lot is captured while living in Sodom

Ask students to think about all the decisions they have had to make so far this week. Invite several students to name some of these decisions. Write their responses on the board.

  • Which of these decisions would you say are important? Which would you categorize as small or insignificant?

After students respond, remind them of the choice that Lot made in Genesis 13:12. (He pitched his tent toward Sodom.)

  • What do you think might have been some of the potential consequences of Lot’s decision to live near Sodom?

Summarize Genesis 14:1–10 by explaining that four local kings united their forces, attacked several cities (including Sodom and Gomorrah), and took their inhabitants captive.

Invite a student to read Genesis 14:11–12 aloud, and ask students to look for who was captured when Sodom was attacked and conquered.

  • According to Genesis 14:12, where were Lot and his family living? (Point out that Lot and his family had gone from merely pitching his tent toward Sodom, as recorded in Genesis 13:12, to actually living in Sodom.)

  • What does this account teach us about some of the decisions we make? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: Seemingly small choices can lead to large consequences. In Lot’s case, his decision to pitch his tent toward Sodom led to serious consequences.)

Ask students to think about some seemingly small decisions they may face that could lead to serious consequences.

Testify that much like Lot’s decision regarding where to pitch his tent, the decisions we make on a daily basis can have enormous consequences.

Genesis 14:13–24

Abram rescues Lot and meets Melchizedek and the king of Sodom upon his return

Summarize Genesis 14:13–16 by explaining that when Abram learned of Lot’s capture, he gathered and armed his servants and pursued the armies. He caught up with them, and during the ensuing battle, Abram and his allies freed the captives.

Invite a student to read Genesis 14:17–18 aloud, and ask the students to look for who came out to meet Abram. Invite students to report what they find.

Invite a student to read Genesis 14:18–21 aloud, and ask the class to look for what each of these kings offered Abram. (Verse 17 in the Joseph Smith Translation adds that Melchizedek “brake bread and blest it; and he blest the wine, he being the priest of the most high God” [in Genesis 14:18, footnote d].)

McConkie, Bruce R.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote that this event “may well have … prefigured [the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper], some two thousand years before its formal institution among men … when Jesus and his apostolic witnesses celebrated the feast of the Passover during the week [of the Atonement and Crucifixion]” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 384).

  • What did Melchizedek offer Abram? (A blessing.) Did he accept it? What did Abram give Melchizedek? (Tithes.)

  • What did the king of Sodom offer Abram? (All the goods or spoils of the people of Sodom that had been taken by their enemies.)

Invite a student to read Genesis 14:22–23 aloud, and ask the class to look for Abram’s response to the king of Sodom.

  • How would you summarize Abram’s response to the king of Sodom?

Ask the class if anyone has noticed anything about your clothing. Hold up the thread that you placed on your clothing before class, and ask the class if a little thread is really that big of a deal.

  • Why do you think Abram would not accept even a “thread” (or small reward) from the king of Sodom?

  • How might accepting a thread from the wicked king be like giving in to small temptations?

Ask students what lesson they learn from Abram’s interaction with the king of Sodom. (Students may use different words, but they should express the following principle: Resisting evil influences, regardless of how small, helps us stay true to God and free from sin.)

To help students better understand this principle, invite them to finish the following phrases:

  • Your friend says he or she is going to copy math homework from a friend only once. To resist evil influences, you should …

  • A family member chooses to watch an inappropriate television program or movie. To resist evil influences, you should …

Ask students to ponder what sins or temptations the adversary may be trying to convince them are not very serious. Invite them to set a goal for how they will resist and turn away from those sins or temptations.

Genesis 14:25–40 (Joseph Smith Translation)

Melchizedek blesses Abram

Ask students if they know why the Melchizedek Priesthood is called by that name. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 107:2–3 aloud. Ask students to look for why the Melchizedek Priesthood is named for Melchizedek and what this priesthood was called before Melchizedek’s day.

Invite the class to look again at Genesis 14:18–20 and list everything we learn about Melchizedek from these verses. Write this information on the board. Point out that the biblical account doesn’t give us very much information about this “great high priest” (D&C 107:2).

Explain that the Joseph Smith Translation gives us much more information about who Melchizedek was and what he did. Help students find Genesis 14:25–40 in the Joseph Smith Translation (in the appendix of the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible), or prepare copies of this passage for each student.

Divide the class in half. Ask one side to read Genesis 14:25–31 in the Joseph Smith Translation and the other side to read Genesis 14:32–40 in the Joseph Smith Translation. You may want to suggest that they mark what their assigned verses teach about Melchizedek.

  • Based on what you learned about Melchizedek, why do you think it is appropriate to call the priesthood after his name?

Explain that in addition to teaching more about the high priest Melchizedek, these verses also teach about the priesthood that was named after him. Invite a student to read aloud Genesis 14:30–31 in the Joseph Smith Translation, and ask students to listen for what the power of the priesthood can do. (You may have to explain that the phrase “ordained after this order” refers to those who have been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood.)

  • What does the Melchizedek Priesthood give worthy men the power to do? (Help students understand the following truth: The Melchizedek Priesthood gives men the authority to act in God’s name.)

As time allows, invite students to share how they have been blessed by a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder.

Commentary and Background Information

Genesis 13:12. Lot “pitched his tent toward Sodom”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said this concerning the decision Lot made to pitch his tent toward Sodom:

“Separating evil from our lives has become even more essential since our homes are wired to bring much of what the Lord has condemned into our own living rooms if we are not vigilant. One of the most difficult challenges in our lives is to be in the world but not of the world (see John 15:19) [see L. Tom Perry, ‘In the World,’ Ensign, May 1988, 13–15]. Gospel doctrine makes it clear that we must live in this world to achieve our eternal destination. We must be tried and tested and found worthy of a greater kingdom (see 2 Nephi 2:11; D&C 101:78). We must do as Abraham did when he pitched his tent and built ‘an altar unto the Lord’ (Genesis 13:18) and not do as Lot did when he ‘pitched his tent toward Sodom’ (Genesis 13:12)” (“In the World but Not of the World,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 53).

Genesis 14:1–12. Small decisions can have large consequences

President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that small decisions can have large consequences:

“I heard one of my brethren tell of a recent visit he made to a prison. There he noticed a young man, handsome in appearance and intelligent in his ways.

“My brother said to the prison official, ‘What is that young man doing in here?’

“The reply was that one evening he had taken his mother’s car, had obtained some beer and drunk it, and then, out of control of himself, he drove the car down the sidewalk and killed two girls.

“I do not know how long he will be in prison, but I do know that he will never entirely get over his feelings concerning the act that put him there. On such small hinges turn the gates of our lives. Little mistakes, which seem so unimportant in their beginnings, determine the eternal courses we follow” (“The Quest for Excellence,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 2).

President Thomas S. Monson taught:

“It has been said by one, years ago, that history turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. Our lives will depend upon the decisions which we make—for decisions determine destiny” (“Decisions Determine Destiny,” New Era, Nov. 1979, 4).

Genesis 14:13–24. Abram would not have anything in common with Sodom

“Of the property belonging to the king of Sodom, which he had taken from the enemy, Abram would not keep the smallest part, because he would not have anything in common with Sodom. On the other hand, he accepted from Salem’s priest and king, Melchizedek, not only bread and wine for the invigoration of the exhausted warriors, but a priestly blessing also, and gave him in return the tenth of all his booty [possessions], as a sign that he acknowledged this king as a priest of the living God, and submitted to his royal priesthood. In this self-subordination of Abram to Melchizedek there was the practical prediction of a royal priesthood which is higher than the priesthood entrusted to Abram’s descendants, the sons of Levi, and foreshadowed in the noble form of Melchizedek, who blessed as king and priest the patriarch whom God had called to be a blessing to all the families of the earth” (C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, 10 vols. [n.d.; repr., 1975], 1:1:208).

Genesis 14:18. What was the bread and wine that Melchizedek blessed?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained what was likely taking place on this occasion:

“The sacrament of the Lord’s supper is an ordinance of salvation in which all the faithful must participate if they are to live and reign with him. It may well have been prefigured, some two thousand years before its formal institution among men, when ‘Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine; and he brake bread and blest it, and he blest the wine, he being the priest of the most high God. And he gave to Abram.’ (JST, Gen. 14:17–18). … [The sacrament] had its beginning as an authorized ordinance and as a required rite when Jesus and his apostolic witnesses celebrated the feast of the Passover during the week of our Lord’s passion” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 384).

Genesis 14:18–19 (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:30–31 [in the Bible appendix]). The blessings and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood pertain to both men and women

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that both men and women exercise priesthood authority when they perform their assigned duties:

“Priesthood keys direct women as well as men, and priesthood ordinances and priesthood authority pertain to women as well as men. …

“We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.

“Whoever exercises priesthood authority should forget about their rights and concentrate on their responsibilities” (“The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 49, 51).