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Genesis Twelve

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:

out of thy country. The call of Abram marks a critical turning point in history. Heretofore God's covenant with mankind (Genesis 9:8-17) applied to all men alike. With the confusion of tongues at Babel, distinct nations necessarily began to develop. Though the Noahic covenant is everlasting, it was now necessary for this to be supplemented (not replaced) by a special relation with a particular nation through which the promised Seed of the Woman (Genesis 3:15) would eventually enter the human race to redeem lost mankind.

Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Genesis 12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

Genesis 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

appeared. This is the first mention of an actual “appearance” of God to men (that is, a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ). Note that God's promise to give Abram the land of Canaan was unconditional. Abram had already met the only condition; that of leaving his homeland to go to Canaan as God commanded him.

Genesis 12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

Genesis 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Genesis 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

Genesis 12:12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

they will kill me. A papyrus document from ancient Egypt does indeed tell of a pharaoh who had a beautiful woman brought to his court after murdering her husband, which would indicate that Abram's concern was realistic.

Genesis 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

my sister. Sarai was Abram's half-sister (Genesis 20:12), so this was not an outright lie. Abram's faith was still weak. He should have stayed in Canaan in spite of the famine. Having gone into Egypt, he should have been open and consistent in his testimony, and so should Sarai. Instead, they compromised, following human reason instead of God's Word. God protected them in spite of it, but they lost their testimony with the Egyptians, whom they might otherwise have led back to God.

Genesis 12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

Genesis 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

Genesis 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

she asses, and camels. Contrary to the opinions of many cultural evolutionists, modern research has confirmed that all these animals had been domesticated and used well before the time of Abraham.

Genesis 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

Genesis 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

Genesis 12:19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

Genesis 12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.