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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 12

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-9

11:27-15:21 ABRAM’S ENTRY INTO THE PROMISED LAND

Abram obeys God’s call (11:27-12:9)

From the nations of the world God now chose one man through whom he would build a new nation, which, in turn, would be the means of bringing his blessing to the whole world (see 12:2-3). God’s chosen man, Abram (later called Abraham), lived originally in the idolatrous city of Ur in ancient Babylonia. Although others in his family worshipped idols (Joshua 24:2), Abram worshipped the one true God and obeyed him when told to move out of Ur. With his wife Sarai (later called Sarah), his father Terah, and his nephew Lot, he travelled north-west through the Mesopotamian valley to the town of Haran, where he settled temporarily (11:27-32; Acts 7:2-4).

Some time later Abram and Sarai, along with Lot, moved at God’s direction south into Canaan. Abram believed that God would give him a better dwelling place, even though he did not know exactly where he was to go. He believed also that God would make him the father of a great nation, even though his wife had not been able to have children (12:1-5; Hebrews 11:8-12). At that time the Canaanites lived in the land, but Abram firmly believed that one day his descendants would live there instead. He openly expressed his faith in God by building altars in the very places where the Canaanites were then living (6-9).


Verses 10-20


Journey to Egypt and return (12:10-13:18)

A long drought in Canaan must have caused Abram to wonder just how reliable this promised land was. In the end he journeyed to Egypt in search of better pastures (10).
Fearing that the Egyptians would kill him in order to take his beautiful wife, he preserved himself by saying she was his sister. This was half true, because Sarai was a daughter of Terah by another wife (see 20:12); but Abram and Sarai did wrong in telling only half the truth in order to hide the full truth (11-16). Even the Egyptian king whom Abram had deceived was more open and straightforward than Abram. Without delay he drove Abram from Egypt in disgrace (17-20).
Abram and his household returned to Canaan (13:1). Throughout these events he and Lot had preserved their flocks and herds, and even increased their wealth (cf. 12:5,16). In fact, they owned so many animals that the place they had moved to (near the northern tip of the Dead Sea) was not able to support them both and trouble arose between them (2-7).
In contrast to his behaviour in Egypt, Abram acted with generosity and faith. He allowed Lot first choice of the pasture lands available, agreeing to accept for himself whatever remained. No doubt he trusted God to look after him in the land God had promised him. Lot chose the fertile lands east of the Dead Sea (8-13).
God responded to Abram’s faith by renewing his promise to make Abram’s descendants into a great nation and give them Canaan for a homeland. Abram then moved to the pasture lands west of the Dead Sea and settled at Hebron (14-18).


Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 12". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/genesis-12.html. 2005.
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