Welcome to the Daily Bible Chapter. My name is James Leroy Wilson and I invite you to join me as we discover new insights and new perspectives from a very old book.
After Abram was kicked out of Egypt, he “preached in the name of Jehovah” (YLT) or “called on the name of the LORD” (NRSV). It seems Abram learned his lesson from Egypt, where he sought security in Pharaoh instead of the LORD.
Abram and his nephew Lot are tremendously wealthy, which leads to conflict among their herdsmen. Abram chooses to separate from Lot, letting Lot choose which land he prefers to settle. Lot chooses a fertile area near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In verse 11, the YLT makes note that “Lot journeyeth from the east, and they are parted — a man from his companion” whereas the NRSV simply says “thus they separated from each other.” The YLT implies that the relationship between Abram and Lot was close, and the separation was far sadder for both than the NRSV suggests.
In verse 13, both versions call the men of Sodom “sinners” against the Jehovah/The LORD.
A variation of the word “sin” appears just once before in the book, Genesis 4:7. The NRSV says (this is the LORD talking to Cain): “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (See my take on Genesis 4.)
It’s not clear what is meant by “sin.” Cain murdered Abel, but that wasn’t the sin. Jealousy seemed to have been the motive for the murder, but that wasn’t the sin either. Cain’s sin seemed to predate his fruit offering to the LORD, for which the LORD had “no regard”, and must have been a sin in consciousness which prevented him from “doing well.”
Sin, it seems, lies in consciousness. Jealousy and murder (in Cain’s case) and “wickendness” (in Sodom) were manifestations of it.
My assumption is that sin is having an inner knowing, or intuition of what’s right and choosing to ignore it.
(Photo credit: TyshkunVictor)