Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. – Genesis 13:8-11
This splitting of Abram and Lot sets the scene for the upcoming blessings bestowed upon Abram and the destruction of Sodom. Far from being just a simple setup passage however, there are multiple imageries that come out of the text that stand out within the context of Genesis.
The first is “strife.” Though not the word used to describe the situation, the familiarity of God’s blessed people fighting amongst themselves in reminiscent of Cain and Abel (Gen 4:2-8) as well as Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:21-25). Here Abram sees the “whole land” and offers it to Lot. It is worth noting that the Lord would then do the same things to Abram (Gen 13:15-17). What is taken away, or in this case given to make peace, is restored by the promises of God.
The second image is the description of the land which Lot chose. It is pleasant to the eye. It is a reminder of the original location of man with “the garden of the Lord.” It is with this in mind that Paul spoke of the “inhabitants of the whole earth” reaching and seeking God (Acts 17:25-26). Paul is not speaking in terms of salvation but instead the beauty of the original creation and garden of God. These things were and are pleasing to God’s creation. Though like Eve (Gen 3:6), they were the source of Lot’s fall into the wickedness of Sodom.