While living in Ur of Chaldea, Abraham - then called "Abram" - heeded the Lord's commandment to leave the land of his fathers and go "unto a land that I will shew thee." There, the Lord promised that He would "make of thee a great nation, . . ." (See Gen. 12:1-3.)
Demonstrating obedience, Abraham left the land of Chaldea, and took with him Sarah, his wife; his father, and Lot, his brother's son, and all who would follow him into Haran."We do not know just where Haran was," wrote President Joseph Fielding Smith in The Way to Perfection. "It was a settlement made by Abraham and named after the father of Lot, who had died in Ur before the journey from that place began. In Haran, Abraham and his household remained for some time, and then took up their travel still toward the south and west to go into the land of Canaan.
"In the land of Haran Abraham's father died, still believing in his idolatry. When Abraham and Lot came into the land of Canaan, they found the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites and other petty nations there. Perhaps Abraham wondered what the Lord would do to these people for they were beginning to overrun the land. Moreover he was told that his people were not to mix with these inhabitants. The Lord said that the children of Abraham should go into Egypt where they would remain until they had become strong and then when the iniquity of the Amorite was full, Abraham's seed should come out of Egypt to possess the land."
Genesis 13 begins with Abraham and his family returning to Canaan from Egypt. Abraham "was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." (v. 2.) Lot also "had flocks, and herds, and tents." (v. 5.) The land was not able to sustain all of Abraham's great family; eventually "there was strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle." (v. 7.) Abraham proposed that they separate. Lot chose "the plain of Jordan," which was "well watered every where . . . even as the garden of the LORD" (v. 10-11) while Abraham "dwelled in the land of Canaan." (v. 12.)
The "plain of Jordan" included the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were overrun in battle. Lot and his goods were captured. Abraham, learning of Lot's captivity, "armed his trained servants" (numbering 318), and pursued Lot's captors, "smote them" and "brought again . . . Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." (See Gen. 14:1-16.)