(Gen 12:1 NASB) Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;
Gen 12:1: Keep in mind that the Abram did not choose Elohim. Elohim chose Abram. Elohim is going to bless Abram and Abram responds to Elohim in faithfulness and obedience. Abram is described as the “friend” of Elohim. (2 Chron. 20:7).
(Gen 12:2 NASB) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;
(Gen 12:3 NASB) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Gen 12:3: Elohim’s blessing to Abram is at least three-fold:
1. Elohim promises wealth and fame to him and promises to make his name great. Plus he would be a source of blessing for others. In fact, the verb in the final phrase of v. 2 is grammatically an imperative. Abram is instructed to be a blessing. Therefore, his call was from the outset a missionary mandate encompassing all people.
2. Abram would be protected by Elohim.
3. Abram’s blessing would extend to his descendants (v. 7; lit. “seed”), who would be an instrument of spiritual blessing to all the families of the earth (v. 3). This “Seed” is Yeshua Messiah who provides salvation for all peoples (Gal. 3:16). A major characteristic of the covenant is that it is unconditional. Generations of Abram’s descendants from time to time would default and fail, but ultimately Elohim iss committed to achieving these goals.
(Gen 12:4 NASB) So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Gen 12:4: Abram departed as Elohim instructed him. It is interesting that Lot appears to be voluntarily participating in this huge step of faithfulness also. Abram was not a young man when he did this. He was 75 years old. We are not told how old Lot is at this time.
The journey that Abram is going to take is at least 1500 miles (see map).
(Gen 12:5 NASB) And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
Gen 12:5: Abram was not a poor man. He had apparently amassed much wealth in Haran. His wifes name was Sarai (Saw-rah’ee).
(Gen 12:6 NASB) And Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land.
Gen 12:6: The “site of Shechem” and the “oak of Moreh” were probably sacred sites. Where there is a sacred site, there would be wells, water, and food. This was a nomadic part of the world, so it is likely that these places were common stopping places.
This tree of Moreh was probably some big tree with sacred associations. If it was an oak tree, it could have been as old as 400 years since that is how long ago the flood had occurred.
The Canaanites were in the land even then. But that did not stop Abram from obedience to Elohim.
(Gen 12:7 NASB) And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
Gen 12:7: Abram is distinguishing himself as a descendant of Seth and Noah by calling upon the name of Elohim and building an altar (Gen 4:26, 8:20). Noah had probably died just a few years previous.
The land is given to Abram and his heirs (Gal. 3:27-28, 4:28). We will be inheriting that land when Yeshua returns (Ezek. 37:11-14).
(Gen 12:8 NASB) Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
Gen 12:8: Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai and built another altar. Abram was told to proclaim the name of Elohim and he did it everywhere he went. He left altars that probably told of Him in these places.
(Gen 12:9 NASB) And Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev.
(Gen 12:10 NASB) Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.
Gen 12:10: Famine in that land was and is common in that area. Famines there are recorded in the days of Isaac and in the days of Joseph also.
(Gen 12:11 NASB) And it came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman;
(Gen 12:12 NASB) and it will come about when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.
(Gen 12:13 NASB) “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.”
Gen 12:13: Sarai was probably a very beautiful woman even though she was 65 years old. The life spans were still much longer than they are today. She died when she was 127 and Abraham died when he was 175. She probably had the physical maturity that a woman much younger than that today. Her beauty is spoken of in the writings of Josephus also.
The Egyptians respected marriage. They would have killed Abram before they took his wife and put her in Pharaoh’s harem. This was a half-truth on Abram’s part (Gen. 20:12).
(Gen 12:14 NASB) And it came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.
(Gen 12:15 NASB) And Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
(Gen 12:16 NASB) Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.
Gen 12:16: Just as Abram predicted, when they came into Egypt, they took Sarai and brought her to Pharaoh.
(Gen 12:17 NASB) But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.
Gen 12:17: The Hebrew word for “plagues” here can mean more than just to afflict or plague. It can also refer to sexual plagues and impotency. Pharaoh was not a happy king.
(Gen 12:18 NASB) Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?
(Gen 12:19 NASB) “Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.”
Gen 12:19: Pharaoh was mystified as to what caused his “problems.” He probably quizzed Sarai and she fessed up. She probably also mentioned that if he was a good Pharaoh, maybe the Elohim of Abram would “fix his little problem….”
Abram does not give an excuse for his behavior. For all we know, Abram was silent and did not respond. Regardless, Pharaoh was glad to get rid of them both.
(Gen 12:20 NASB) And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.
Gen 12:20: It would appear that Pharaoh provided armed escorts for them both to leave so they would not be brought back.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas