“Unit 5: Day 2, Genesis 13–14,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 5: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
Abram and his nephew Lot returned with their families from Egypt to the land of Canaan. When trouble developed between Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen, Abram acted as a peacemaker between them. The two families 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 he received a blessing from the great high priest Melchizedek.
Imagine that a mother shows her two children a delicious treat that they both want. After the children express their interest, the mother cuts the treat into unequal portions and allows the two children to decide who gets which piece. How could a situation like this cause conflict in a family?
In Genesis 13 you will learn how Abram responded when conflict and disagreement arose in his family. (It may be helpful to know that Abram is the prophet whose name was later changed to Abraham). Abram and his nephew Lot left Egypt with all their flocks and possessions and journeyed back to the land of Canaan, where they settled together (see Genesis 13:1–4).
Read Genesis 13:5–7, looking for what disagreement arose once they were settled.
What do you think would have been a good solution to this situation?
Read Genesis 13:8–9, looking for what Abram suggested they do to resolve the problem.
Ponder what Abram’s example teaches us about maintaining peace. Using his example, complete the following principle: Being a peacemaker may require us to place others’ interests above . Consider writing this principle in your scriptures near Genesis 13:8–9.
Read Genesis 13:10–11, looking for where Lot chose to dwell and what that land was like.
If you were Abram, how might you have felt when Lot chose the better location?
Sometimes placing others’ interests ahead of your own can be difficult.
- Think about someone you know who, like Abram, is especially good at putting others’ interests above his or her own. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What have you seen this person do to put others’ interests ahead of his or her own?
What can you learn from this person’s example?
- In your scripture study journal, list two or three situations in your life in which placing others’ interests above your own may contribute to more peaceful conditions. Look for opportunities in the future to be a peacemaker.
Sodom and its neighboring cities were located in the plain of Jordan. They were full of a corrupt people who were evil and immoral.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What could Lot’s pitching his tent “toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12) mean?
What are some ways in which youth today might be “pitching their tents” toward evil influences and immorality?
In Genesis 13:14–17 we learn that the Lord promised Abram all the land that he could see as an inheritance for his posterity. Read Genesis 13:18, looking for where Abram placed his tent and what he built when he arrived there.
How were Abram’s choices different from Lot’s choices?
As you continue your study of Genesis, watch for the serious consequences of Lot’s choice to pitch his tent “toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12).
In Genesis 14:1–12 we learn about one consequence Lot and his family experienced because of his decision to live in Sodom. Four kings united their forces and attacked several cities, including Sodom and Gomorrah, taking their goods and some of the inhabitants captive.
Read Genesis 14:11–12, looking for who was among those captured when Sodom was attacked.
Notice that by this time, Lot and his family were living in Sodom. Consider the following question: In what way was Lot’s choice to pitch his tent toward Sodom related to his capture?
One of the lessons we can learn from Lot is that seemingly small choices can lead to large consequences.
President Gordon B. Hinckley shared an experience that illustrates the truth that small choices can lead to serious 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).
In Genesis 14:13–16 we discover that when Abram learned of Lot’s capture, he gathered and armed his servants and pursued the armies that had attacked Sodom. He caught up with them, and during the ensuing battle, Abram and his servants rescued the people who had been taken captive and returned the property that had been stolen. Upon Abram’s return from the battle, the king of Sodom came out to meet him. Melchizedek, king of Salem, also met with Abram.
Read Genesis 14:17–21, looking for what Melchizedek offered Abram and what the king of Sodom offered Abram.
The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies that Melchizedek “brake bread and blest it; and he blest the wine, he being the priest of the most high God” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:17 [in Genesis 14:18, footnote d]). The ancient patriarchs lived the fulness of the gospel, and this scripture teaches us that the ordinance of the sacrament was administered by Melchizedek.
The king of Sodom offered Abram all of the goods the armies had stolen. Read Genesis 14:22–23, looking for Abram’s response to the king.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think Abram did not accept anything that the king of Sodom offered him?
What lesson do you learn from Abram’s interaction with the king of Sodom?
Abram told the king of Sodom, “I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord” (Genesis 14:22). This means Abram had declared his loyalty to Jehovah and wanted nothing to do with the wickedness of Sodom.
Another principle we learn from Abram is that resisting evil influences, regardless of how small, helps us stay true to God and free from sin.
Consider how you would respond in the following situations:
Your friend asks to copy your math homework just this once.
A family member chooses to watch an inappropriate television program or movie and invites you to watch it too.
A friend of the opposite gender invites you over to his or her house when the parents are gone.
Ponder what sins or temptations the adversary may be trying to convince you are not very serious. Set a goal for how you will resist and turn away from these sins or temptations.
Do you know why the Melchizedek Priesthood is called by that name? Read Doctrine and Covenants 107:2–3, looking for why the Melchizedek Priesthood is named for Melchizedek and what this priesthood was called before Melchizedek’s day.
The Joseph Smith Translation gives us much more information about who Melchizedek was and what he did. Locate 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 in the Guide to the Scriptures). Read Genesis 14:25–40 in the Joseph Smith Translation, and mark what these verses teach about Melchizedek.
Based on what you learned about Melchizedek, why do you think it is appropriate we call the priesthood after his name?
In addition to teaching more about the high priest Melchizedek, these verses also teach about the priesthood that was named after him. Read Genesis 14:30–31 in the Joseph Smith Translation aloud, and notice what the power of the priesthood can do. (It may be helpful to know that the phrase “ordained after this order” refers to those who have been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood).
From these verses we learn that the Melchizedek Priesthood gives men the authority to act in God’s name.
Ponder how your life has been blessed by a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Genesis 13–14 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: