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DEEP THOUGHTS: COVENANT CALCULATIONS
Regarding Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz’s “Promise and justice” on Parashat Lech Lecha (November 4): All scholars are aware that the Torah was not written in exact chronological order, yet many offer comments as if all was in historical order.
That Abraham was commanded “lech lecha” at age 75 we all accept, but that the timing of the Covenant of the Parts (brit bein habetarim) took place after that must be questioned because Abraham was 70 at that juncture, 430 years before the exodus from Egypt.
In the Talmud (Tractate Shabbat 10b), we are told that Sodom existed for 52 years; in the first half, the Sodomites were subservient to King Kadarleomer, and they were free for 26 years. Those last 26 years ended when Abraham was 99, at the time that Sodom was destroyed, meaning those last 26 years of freedom began when Abraham overcame the four kings in a war, when Abraham was 73 (99 minus 26).
The subservient years of the Sodomites are carefully outlined in the Torah, “Twelve years they were enslaved, (then) 13 years they rebelled, the 14th year Kadarleomer and his coalition of four kings battled the people of Sodom.”
I think that the cause of the mutiny might have begun when Lot left his uncle, Abraham, and went to settle in Sodom. He was probably the one who organized that mutiny, so 14 years before the battle of the four kings against the five kings, Abraham was 59 (73 minus 14). Therefore, Abraham might have first arrived in Canaan when he was 58.
During that time, while Lot was still living with Abraham, they went down to Egypt due to a famine in the land.
So his arrival in the Land of Canaan for the third time occurred when he was 75.