“From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.” ‭‭Gen.‬ ‭13:3-4‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Does it mean ‘the altar that he built first earliest Or ‘the altar that he built formerly?

1 Answer 1


former refers to something which is no longer the case.

The cafeteria was formerly the school's auditorium.

When you build something, it is built. It can never be formerly built. Even if it should be destroyed, it will always have been built.

You could say something like this:

This is where we formerly built houses. But rising sea levels have required that new construction be located farther back on higher ground.

The practice of building houses so close to the water's edge has been discontinued.

  • So it means the altar that he built the first one?
    – user69637
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 15:55
  • It might not have been the first altar he ever built, but there was no altar built earlier by him at that specific place.
    – TimR
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 16:08

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