Genesis chapter 12 marks the beginning of the story of Abram, who later becomes known as Abraham. In this chapter, God calls Abram to leave his homeland and journey to a new land that God will show him. Abram follows God’s command, and the events that follow set the stage for the rest of Abram’s story and the story of God’s people.
Verse 1: “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.'”
In this verse, we see God calling Abram to leave his homeland and journey to a new land that God would show him. This was a significant calling, as leaving his family and familiar surroundings would have been a difficult and uncertain step for Abram to take.
Verse 2: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
God promises Abram that He will bless him and make him a great nation. God also tells Abram that he will be a blessing to others.
Verse 3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
In this verse, we see God promising to bless those who bless Abram and to curse those who curse him. Additionally, God promises that through Abram, all peoples on earth will be blessed.
Verse 4: “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.”
This verse shows us that Abram obediently followed God’s call and journeyed to the land God would show him. Abram was 75 years old at this time, and his nephew Lot accompanied him.
Verse 5: “He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.”
Abram, Sarai, Lot, and their possessions set out from Harran and journeyed to the land of Canaan. They arrived there safely.
Verse 6: “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.”
In this verse, we see Abram continuing to journey through the land God had called him to. He traveled to the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. We also learn that at this time, the Canaanites were living in the land.
Verse 7: “The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.”
God appears to Abram and reiterates His promise to give the land to Abram’s offspring. In response, Abram builds an altar to the Lord.
Verse 8: “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.”
Abram continues his journey and pitches his tent in the hills east of Bethel. There he builds another altar to the Lord and calls on His name.
Verse 9: “Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.”
In this verse, we see Abram continuing on his journey toward the Negev.
Verse 10: “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.”
Due to a severe famine in the land, Abram and his household travel to Egypt to live there for a while.
Verse 10: “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.”
This verse sets the scene for the events that follow. There is a famine in the land where Abram and his family are living, so they decide to go to Egypt to find food and shelter.
Verse 11-13: “When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, ‘I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.'”
Abram is worried that if the Egyptians see how beautiful his wife Sarai is, they will want to kill him in order to take her. So he tells her to pretend to be his sister instead of his wife in order to protect himself. This decision will have consequences later on in the story.
Verse 14-15: “When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.”
Abram’s plan works, but not in the way he intended. The Egyptians do indeed see how beautiful Sarai is, and she is taken into Pharaoh’s house. This puts both Sarai and Abram in a dangerous situation.
Verse 16: “And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.”
Pharaoh treats Abram well because of Sarai, giving him many gifts of livestock and servants.
Verse 17: “But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.”
God intervenes in the situation by sending plagues to Pharaoh and his household because they have taken Sarai, who is actually Abram’s wife.
Verse 18-19: “So Pharaoh called Abram and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 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.'”
Pharaoh realizes that he has been deceived by Abram and confronts him. He demands to know why Abram did not tell him the truth about Sarai being his wife. He returns Sarai to Abram and tells them to leave Egypt.
Verse 20: “And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.”
Pharaoh not only returns Sarai to Abram, but also allows him to leave Egypt with all of the gifts he had given him, as well as all of his own possessions.