This interpretation differs from that offered by Nelson Glueck (The River Jordan [New York: McGraw Hill, 1968], pp. 80–81). Glueck was impressed with archaeological finds of settlements along the sides of the Jordan Valley. He concluded that the Jordan Valley “may also have been the richest and most prized part of the Land of Promise,” and that Lot “was certainly right in his appreciation of the Jordan Valley.”

On the other hand, the geographer George Adam Smith concluded: “Although there is so much fertility, the stretches of sour soil, unhealthy jungle, obtrusive marl, and parched hillsides out of reach of the streams, justify the Hebrew name of Arabah or Desert. In the New Testament also the Valley is called a Wilderness” (The Historical Geography of the Holy Land [London: Collins, 1966], pp. 311–312).

In biblical times, agriculture was practiced only at the sides of the valley, in places where small streams or springs issued, not along most of the valley floor, and never along the river floodplain. In any case, the Jordan is so incommensurate with the Nile or Euphrates that the Bible could not have intended a straightforward comparison. Further, Lot’s intemperate character suggests that he did, in fact, make a hasty and foolish choice.