Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024
the Second Week of Lent
There are 33 days til Easter!
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day and support a great cause!
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
Genesis 12

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

1. Terah and Abram’s obedience 11:27-12:9

All that Moses wrote in this pericope (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 12:9) deals with Abram and his future in the Promised Land. Abram obeyed the Lord’s command to relocate to a land that God would give to him and his descedants with the promise that he would become a blessing to the rest of the world. Abram’s example of obedience is a model for all believers to forsake all else to obtain the promised blessings of God and to serve Him by becoming a blessing to others.

"Within the book of Genesis no section is more significant than Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 12:9." [Note: Wenham, Genesis 1-15, p. 281.]

Verse 1

This section begins with a waw disjunctive in the Hebrew text translated "Now" in the NASB. It introduces an independent circumstantial clause (cf. Genesis 1:2). Probably the revelation in view happened in Ur. The NIV captures this with the translation "The Lord had said to Abram." So the beginning of chapter 12 flashes back to something that happened in Ur even though chapter 11 ends with Abram in Haran. Stephen’s statement in Acts 7:2 supports this interpretation. Stephen quoted the Septuagint translation of this verse in Acts 7:3.

God called Abram to leave his homeland and to proceed to a different country. That Abram’s family chose to accompany him does not imply an act of disobedience on Abram’s part. God did not forbid others from accompanying Abram. The focus of God’s command was that Abram should uproot himself and follow His leading.

"One detail we do need to note here is the conditional element in the covenant program with Abram. It was not until after the death of his father (Genesis 11:32) that Abram began to realize anything of the promise God had given to him, for only after his father’s death did God take him into the land (Genesis 12:4) and there reaffirm the original promise to him (Genesis 12:7).

"It is important, therefore, to observe the relationship of obedience to this covenant program. Whether or not God would institute a covenant program with Abram depended on Abram’s act of obedience in leaving the land. Once this act was accomplished, however, and Abram did obey God, God instituted an irrevocable, unconditional program." [Note: Pentecost, p. 60. See also Robert B. Chisholm Jr., "Evidence from Genesis," in A Case for Premillennialism: A New Consensus, p. 54.]

". . . in what sense is the Abrahamic covenant [ch. 15] unconditional? The point here, which has often been misunderstood, is that while the fulfillment of any particular generation of Israel depended on obedience to God, the ultimate possession of the land is promised unconditionally to Israel even though she does not deserve it. Scripture prophesies that a godly remnant of Israel will be the ultimate possessors of the land at the second coming (Ezekiel 20:33-38)." [Note: Walvoord, p. 191.]

Verses 1-3

God’s word 12:1-3

Verses 1-9

The divine promises 12:1-9

"These verses are of fundamental importance for the theology of Genesis, for they serve to bind together the primeval history and the later patriarchal history and look beyond it to the subsequent history of the nation." [Note: Wenham, Genesis 1-15, p. 274.]

"Whereas chapters 1-11 generally portray man’s rebellion, chapters 12-50 detail God’s bringing man into a place of blessing." [Note: Ross, "Genesis," p. 25.]

". . . this is the central passage of the Book of Genesis." [Note: Ibid., p. 47.]

God’s revelation to Abram in these verses explains why his family left Ur (Genesis 11:31).

". . . by placing the call of Abraham after the dispersion of the nations at Babylon (Genesis 11:1-9), the author intends to picture Abraham’s call as God’s gift of salvation in the midst of judgment." [Note: Sailhamer, The Pentateuch . . ., p. 139.]

"The primeval history thus explains the significance of the patriarchal story: though apparently of little consequence in the world of their day, the patriarchs are in fact men through whom the world will be redeemed. The God who revealed himself to them was no mere tribal deity but the creator of the whole universe." [Note: Wenham, Genesis 1-15, pp. li-lii.]

The fourth dispensation, the dispensation of promise, extended from Abram’s call to the giving of the Mosaic Law at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19-24). Man’s stewardship rested on God’s promises to Abram, which appear first in Genesis 12:1-3 but receive confirmation and enlargement in Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:1-7; Genesis 17:1-8; Genesis 17:15-19; Genesis 22:16-18; Genesis 26:2-5; Genesis 26:24; Genesis 28:13-15; Genesis 31:13; and Genesis 35:9-12. Individual blessing depended on individual obedience (Genesis 12:1; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:5). God unconditionally promised blessing through Abram’s descendants to the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:2; Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 17:7-8), to the church through Christ (Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:28-29), and to the Gentile nations (Genesis 12:3). Individuals (e.g., Pharaoh, Genesis 12:17; Abimelech, Genesis 20:3; Genesis 20:17) and nations (e.g., Egypt, chs. 47-50; Exodus 1-15) that proved favorable toward Abram’s seed would experience divine blessing, but those that proved hostile would experience divine cursing (Genesis 12:3; cf. Matthew 25:31-46). Christians are called upon to trust God as Abram did and so enter into the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant, which covenant inaugurated the dispensation of promise (Romans 4:11; Romans 4:16; Romans 4:23-25; Galatians 3:6-9). God’s promises to Abram and his descendants did not end with the giving of the Mosaic Law (Galatians 3:17; cf. Exodus 32:13; Exodus 33:1-3; Leviticus 23:10; Leviticus 25:2; Leviticus 26:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-23; Deuteronomy 8:1-18; Joshua 1:2; Joshua 1:11; Joshua 24:13; Acts 7:17; Romans 9:4). However as a test of Israel’s stewardship of divine truth, the dispensation of promise was superseded, not annulled, by the dispensation of law (Exodus 19:3-8).

Verses 2-3

Abram had only a promise from God. We see his faith in his willingness to obey God strictly in the confidence that what God had promised He would perform (Hebrews 11:8). This divine promise was the seed from which the Abrahamic Covenant grew (ch. 15). The promise here included few details; it was only a general promise of descendants (Genesis 12:2) and influence (Genesis 12:2-3). The Hebrew text says, "be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2), not "you shall be a blessing." This was a command rather than a prediction. However as Abram blessed others he would become a blessing (i.e., enriched, as in enriched uranium or plutonium). God would make his life more rich and powerful, and he would enrich the lives of others.

"The promises that this glorious God gave to Abram fall into three categories (Genesis 12:2-3). First there were personal promises given to Abram. God said, ’I will bless you; I will make your name great.’ Then there were national promises given to this childless man. ’I will make you into a great nation.’ And finally there were universal promises that were to come through Abram. ’You will be a blessing . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’" [Note: Pentecost, pp. 51-52. See Z. Weisman, "National Consciousness in the Patriarchal Promises," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 31 (February 1985):55-73.]

"Five times in Genesis 12:2-3 Abraham is said to be ’blessed’ or a ’blessing’ to others. This harks back to the first great blessing of mankind at creation (Genesis 1:28) and its renewal after the flood (Genesis 9:1). Moreover, Abraham is to become ’a great nation,’ comparable presumably to the seventy nations listed in Genesis 10. His name will also be ’great,’ whereas the men of Babel who tried to make themselves ’a name’ were frustrated (Genesis 11:4-9)." [Note: Wenham, Genesis 1-15, p. 282.]

Three nuances of blessing include prosperity (Genesis 13:2; Genesis 13:5; Genesis 14:22-23; Genesis 24:35; Genesis 26:12-13; Genesis 30:43; Genesis 32:3-21), potency or fertility (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 28:14; Genesis 35:11) and victory (Genesis 1:22; cf. Genesis 22:17).

The Hebrew words translated "curse" in Genesis 12:3 are significant. The word qll in "the one who curses you" really means "disdains," but the word ’rr in "I will curse" means "curse." It was only disdain for Abraham that would provoke God’s judgment.

God’s ultimate purpose was to bless all the peoples of the earth through Abraham and his seed. [Note: William J. Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, p. 65, explained how the Hebrew construction of Genesis 12:1-3 makes this evident. See Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, pp. 72-80, for proof that the theme of the patriarchal narratives is blessing. He listed as major motifs (recurring key words or ideas) in these stories: sibling rivalry, deception, and alienation/separation.]

"Any promise God gives must be appropriated by faith." [Note: Pentecost, pp. 51-52.]

"The remarkable thing about Abraham was his deep, unwavering faith." [Note: Davis, p. 168.]

The amillennial interpretation of this promise is that it "does not pertain today to unbelieving, ethnic ’Israel’ (see Romans 9:6-8; Galatians 3:15) but to Jesus Christ and his church (see Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:16 and notes; Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:26-29; Galatians 6:16)." [Note: Waltke, Genesis, p. 206.] This interpretation applies the promise to the spiritual seed of Abraham and not to the physical seed. However, there is no reason for accepting this more obscure explanation. Abraham understood the promise as applying to his physical descendants, and later revelation encourages us to understand it this way too.

Revelations to the Patriarchs
Genesis 12:1-3Genesis 26:2-5Genesis 28:12-15Genesis 37:5-7
Genesis 12:7Genesis 26:24Genesis 31:3Genesis 37:9
Genesis 13:14-17Genesis 31:11-13
Genesis 15Genesis 32:24-29
Genesis 17:1-21Genesis 35:1
Genesis 18Genesis 35:9-12
Genesis 21:12-13Genesis 46:2-4
Genesis 22:1-2
Genesis 22:15-18

Verse 4

Since Lot voluntarily chose to accompany Abram, he probably believed the promises as well (cf. Ruth). Abram’s call had been to separate from his pagan relatives, so he was not disobedient by allowing Lot to accompany him. [Note: See ibid., p. 207.]

Probably Abram viewed Lot as his heir (cf. Genesis 11:27-32; Genesis 12:4-5; Genesis 13:1-2).

"Since Mesopotamian law-codes allowed for the adoption of an heir in the case of childlessness, this becomes an attractive hypothesis with respect to Lot." [Note: Helyer, p. 82.]

Abram lived 75 years with his father, then 25 years without his father or his son, and then 75 more years with his son, Isaac.

Verses 4-9

Abram’s response 12:4-9

Verses 5-6

Abram’s first settlement was in Shechem.

". . . towns on the main caravan route southwest-ward from the Euphrates which figure significantly in the Abram stories, are Shechem, Bethel, Hebron, and Gerar." [Note: Albright, p. 47.]

Shechem became sacred to the Israelites because here God revealed Himself to Abram for the first time in the Promised Land. This was God’s second major revelation to Abram. At Shechem Jacob later bought land, set up his home, and buried his idols in rededication to Yahweh after returning from his sojourn in Paddan-aram (Genesis 33:18-20; Genesis 35:4). Here, too, the Israelites assembled twice when they had taken possession of Canaan under Joshua’s leadership to commemo-rate God’s faithfulness in giving them the land He had promised their forefathers (Joshua 8; Joshua 24). Shechem was near the geographic center of Canaan (cf. Joshua 20:7). It lay in the heart of the land God now promised Abram. "Moreh" means "teacher," so the tree of Moreh may have been a pagan site for oracles.

The reference to the Canaanites’ presence in the land prepares the way for incidents of conflict with these native inhabitants that followed in Israel’s history (cf. Genesis 10:15-19). It also notes a barrier to the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Abram and his heirs the land (Genesis 12:7). Abram could not take possession of the Promised Land immediately because the Canaanites occupied it.

Verse 7

In response to God’s promise to give Abram the land where he stood the patriarch built an altar and worshipped Yahweh. This was Abram’s characteristic response to God’s grace. Abram’s altars were more permanent structures than his tents. He continued living as a pilgrim and stranger in a land that he did not yet possess (Hebrews 11:9-10).

Critics of the historicity of the patriarchal narratives ("minimalists") have tried to prove that the religion of the patriarchs differed greatly from Mosaic orthodoxy and even Christian norms. While there was some difference, there is no solid evidence that the patriarchs worshipped a different God than subsequent Israelites worshipped. [Note: For a fuller discussion of the religion of the patriarchs, see Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, pp. 55-71.]

Verse 8

Abram proceeded south and encamped between Bethel and Ai (probably et Tell [Note: Peter Briggs, "Testing the Factuality of the Conquest of Ai Narrative in the Book of Joshua," a paper presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Colorado Springs, Col., Nov. 15, 2001.] ) just north of Salem (Jerusalem). Again he built an altar to worship Yahweh and called on His name in worship.

Verse 9

He next continued south toward the Negev (lit. dry), perhaps because of a shortage of food for his grazing animals (Genesis 12:10).

The nation of Israel in Moses’ day shared the same call that God had extended to Abram. She was to leave her place of residence, Egypt, and go to a Promised Land to worship and serve God there with the promise of blessing. This required faith. We have a similar calling. Believers who walk by faith will forsake much to become part of God’s program to bless the world.

"Departure from securities is the only way out of barrenness." [Note: Brueggemann, Genesis, p. 118.]

Verses 10-20

2. Abram in Egypt 12:10-20

The second crisis Abram faced arose because of a famine in Canaan. Abram chose to sojourn in the Nile Valley until it ended. In this incident Abram misrepresented Sarai because he feared for his life. By doing so, he jeopardized his blessing since he lost his wife temporarily to Pharaoh. However, Yahweh intervened to deliver Abram and Sarai from Egypt.

"The account of Abraham’s ’sojourn’ in Egypt bears the stamp of having been intentionally shaped to parallel the later account of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Genesis 41 -Exodus 12). Both passages have a similar message as well. Thus, here, at the beginning of the narratives dealing with Abraham and his seed, we find an anticipation of the events that will occur at the end. . . . Behind the pattern stands a faithful, loving God. What he has done with Abraham, he will do for his people today and tomorrow." [Note: Sailhamer, "Genesis," pp. 116-17.]

Though Bible students debate the point, I believe Abram rushed ahead of God by going to Egypt without a divine revelation that he should do so. [Note: See Waltke, Genesis, p. 213; J. Vernon McGee, Ruth: The Romance of Redemption, p. 51. For the view that Abram did not do wrong in going to Egypt, see Kidner, pp. 115-16.] God blessed Abram in Egypt, ironically mainly through Sarai, in spite of Abram’s lack of faith and then returned him to the Promised Land. Another severe famine (Genesis 12:10) later encouraged Jacob and his family to sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 47:4), but God gave Jacob permission to go (Genesis 46:2-4). It was evidently fear rather than faith that made Abram leave the Promised Land.

"Throughout Genesis 12-50 Egypt is a symbol of safety and provision for the patriarchs and their families. If anything, Egypt is the oppressed in Genesis. Note that it is Sarai who ’dealt harshly’ with her Egyptian maidservant, forcing her ’to flee’ (Genesis 16:6). Later she urges her husband to ’cast out’ this Egyptian." [Note: Hamilton, p. 386. See Peter D. Miscall, The Workings of Old Testament Narrative, pp. 42-45.]

Some commentators have concluded that in dealing with Sarai as he did Abram was relying on a custom of the land from which he had come to protect him. They suggest that this custom was evidently unknown in Egypt. Because he failed to perceive this, Abram got into trouble.

"The thrice repeated story [involving Abraham in Genesis 12:10-20 and Genesis 20:1-18, and Isaac in Genesis 26:6-12] has been the subject of much discussion by commentators through the ages, but only with the discoveries at Nuzi has it become clear that Abraham and Isaac were not involved in any trickery, but were endeavoring to protect their respective wives from molestation by invoking the Hurrian custom or law of wife-sistership. According to the Nuzi tablets a woman having the status of wife-sister rather than that of just an ordinary wife, enjoyed superior privileges and was better protected. The status was a purely legal one, a wife-sister being quite distinct from the physical relationship usually understood by the word ’sister.’ In order to create the status of wife-sistership two documents were prepared-one for marriage and the other for sistership. Thus, we find a Nuzi tablet, according to which a person by the name of Akkuleni, son of Akiya, contracted with one Hurazzi, son of Eggaya, to give to Hurazzi in marriage his sister Beltakkadummi. Another tablet records that the same Akkuleni sold his sister Beltakkadummi as sister to the same Hurazzi. If such a marriage was violated, the punishment was much more severe than in the case of a straightforward ordinary marriage. It would appear that the actions of Abraham and Isaac reflect this custom." [Note: West, p. 67. See also Speiser, pp. 91-92.]

In the Hurrian culture from which Abram came people evidently viewed the husband wife-sister relationship as even more sacred than the husband wife relationship. According to this view, when Abram went to Egypt he assumed that the Egyptians also regarded the husband wife-sister relationship as more sacred than the husband wife relationship. Therefore he presented Sarai as his wife-sister and expected that the Egyptians would not interfere with his relationship with Sarai. However proponents of this view assume the husband wife-sister relationship was foreign to Pharaoh. He took Sarai because he believed that she was Abram’s physical sister. When he discovered that Sarai was also Abram’s wife he returned Sarai to Abram because Pharaoh regarded the husband wife relationship as sacred. He was angry with Abram because in Pharaoh’s eyes Abram had misrepresented his relationship with Sarai.

Those who hold this view see this incident as an example of failure to adjust to a foreign culture and failure to trust God. They usually understand Abram’s motivation as having been confidence in a cultural custom from his past rather than faith in God. [Note: For refutation of this view, see C. J. Mullo Weir, "The Alleged Hurrian Wife-Sister Motif in Genesis," Transactions of the Glasgow University Oriental Society 2:22 (1967-68):14-25; David Freedman, "A New Approach to the Nuzi Sistership Contract," Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 2:2 (1970):80; Samuel Greengus, "Sisterhood Adoption at Nuzi and the ’Wife-Sister’ in Genesis," Hebrew Union College Annual 46 (1975):5-31; "The Patriarchs’ Wives as Sisters-Is the Anchor Bible Wrong?" Biblical Archaeology Review 1:3 (September 1975):22-24, 26; Selman, pp. 119-23; and Kitchen, The Bible . . ., p. 70. For information on three social classes of Babylonian women 200 years after Abraham, see J. M. Diakonoff, "Women in Old Babylonia Not Under Patriarchal Authority," Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 29:3 (October 1984):225-38.]

Most interpreters have concluded that Abram, on the contrary, was not being completely honest and straightforward about his relationship with Sarai, but was telling a half-truth to save his own life (cf. Genesis 20:12). Evidently it was possible for brothers to fend off suitors of their sisters with promises of marriage without really giving them away (cf. Genesis 24:55; Genesis 34:13-17). How would God fulfill His promises if Abram died now? His fears were understandable; Pharaoh did take Sarai into his harem. Nevertheless God intervened supernaturally to reunite Abram with Sarai and to return them to the Promised Land (by deportation). [Note: For a helpful though not entirely accurate study, from my viewpoint, which compares the three incidents in which the patriarchs claimed their wives were their sisters in Genesis 12, 20, , 26, see Robert Polzin, "’The Ancestress of Israel in Danger’ in Danger," Semeia 3 (1975):81-98. See also Mathews’ good explanation of the wife-sister episodes in Genesis, in Genesis 11:27-50:26, pp. 124-26.]

Abram’s fear for his physical safety in a strange land (Genesis 12:2) led him to take an initiative that was not God’s will. He should have told the truth and continued trusting God. Yet even in his disobedience and lack of faith God blessed Abram (Genesis 12:16) and preserved him (Genesis 12:20) because of His promises (Genesis 12:1-3).

"One cannot miss the deliberate parallelism between this sojourn of Abram in Egypt and the later event in the life of the nation in bondage in Egypt. The motifs are remarkably similar: the famine in the land (Genesis 12:10; Genesis 47:13), the descent to Egypt to sojourn (Genesis 12:10; Genesis 47:27), the attempt to kill the males but save the females (Genesis 12:12; Exodus 1:22), the plagues on Egypt (Genesis 12:17; Exodus 7:14 to Exodus 11:10), the spoiling of Egypt (Genesis 12:16; Exodus 12:35-36), the deliverance (Genesis 12:19; Exodus 15), and the ascent to the Negev (Genesis 13:1; Numbers 13:17; Numbers 13:22). The great deliverance out of bondage that Israel experienced was thus already accomplished in her ancestor, and probably was a source of comfort and encouragement to them." [Note: Ross, "Genesis," p. 49. Cf. Waltke, Genesis, p. 217.]

We sometimes feel tempted to fear for our welfare, especially in a foreign environment. This fear sometimes leads us to seize the initiative and disobey God. We can count on God to fulfill His promises to us in spite of threatening circumstances. We should remain faithful and honest.

"The integrity and honesty of a child of God are among his most potent weapons in spreading the gospel." [Note: Davis, p. 178.]

The Pharaoh (lit. Great House) Abram dealt with in Egypt was probably Inyotef II (2117-2069 B.C.), a ruler of the eleventh dynasty, Middle Kingdom period. His capital was in Memphis, very near modern Cairo.

Identifications of Significant Pharaohs in the Genesis Period

PREHISTORY (to ca. 3100 BC)

EARLY DYNASTIES (dynasties 1-2; ca. 3100-2686 BC)

Menes (first Pharaoh) united upper and lower Egypt.

OLD KINGDOM (dynasties 3-6; ca. 2686-2181 BC) Capital: Memphis (Noph). Period of absolute power. Age of pyramid building (archaeologists have identified almost 80).

Djoser (Zoser; 2nd Pharaoh of 3rd dynasty) built the first stepped pyramid (south of Cairo).

Cheops (Khufu; 2nd Pharaoh of 4th dynasty) built the Great (largest) Pyramid at Gizeh (near Cairo).

Chephren (Khafre; 4th Pharaoh of 4th dynasty) built the still capped pyramid near the Sphinx (near Cairo).

FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (dynasties 7-10; ca. 2181-2040 BC) Capital: Thebes (No)

MIDDLE KINGDOM (dynasties 11-14; ca. 2033-1603 BC) Capital: Memphis (Noph). Period of culture and civilization.

Inyotef II (2117-2069 BC; 3rd Pharaoh of 11th dynasty) entertained Abram (Genesis 12:15).

Ammenemes II (1929-1895 BC; 3rd Pharaoh of 12th dynasty) ruled when Joseph arrived in Egypt (Genesis 37:36).

Sesostris II (1897-1878 BC; 4th Pharaoh of 12th dynasty) had his dreams interpreted by Joseph and exalted Joseph (Genesis 40:2; Genesis 41:1; Genesis 41:14-45).

Sesostris III (1878-1843 BC; 5th Pharaoh of 12th dynasty) ruled when Jacob entered Egypt and received a blessing from Jacob (Genesis 46:31; Genesis 47:10).

Ammenemes III (1842-1797 BC; 6th Pharaoh of 12th dynasty) ruled when Joseph died (Genesis 50:26).

Synoptic Chronology of the Ancient Near East
DatesPeriodsAncient Near EastCanaanScripture
3150–2200 B.C.Early Bronze Age (Early Canaanite)Egypt:Old Kingdom (pyramid builders).Mesopotamia: Sumer and Akkad.No written records until the Ebla tablets.Excavations show rich and powerful city-states.Genesis 5-11
2200–1500 B.C.Middle Bronze Age (Middle Canaanite)Egypt:Middle Kingdom.Amorites (Hyksos) control Egypt and Canaan.Amorites and Hebrew patriarchs in Canaan and EgyptGenesis 12-50
1500–1200 B.C.Late Bronze Age (Late Canaanite)Egypt expels the Amorites and controls Canaan.Egyptians, Canaanites (El Amarna Age).Conquest by Joshua.Early Judges, Philis-tines, Midianites, Ammonites, Moabites, etc.Exodus-Judges
1200–930 B.C.Iron Age I (Israelite I)Egyptian influence weakening. Syrian and Assyrian influence not yet developed.Later Judges, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon.Judges-1 Kings
930–586 B.C.Iron Age II (Israelite II)Egypt weak, but Shishak attacks Canaan after Solomon’s death. Syria (Aram) develops into serious rival for Israel.Divided Kingdom1 Kings-2 Kings

In Old Testament studies some writers describe the "before Christ" (B.C.) period as B.C.E. This stands for "before the common era." These writers also refer to the A.D. (Lat. ano domini, "year of our Lord") period as C.E., the "common era."

The first reference to camels in Scripture occurs in Genesis 12:16. For many years, scholars believed that the ancients did not domesticate camels until much later than the patriarchal period. They believed that references to camels in Genesis indicated historical inaccuracies. However, the archaeological evidence for the early domestication of camels has proved these critics wrong. [Note: See John J. Davis, "The Camel in Biblical Narratives," in A Tribute to Gleason Archer, pp. 141-52.] The Hebrew word does not distinguish whether these were one or two-humped camels.

God will protect His plan even when His people complicate it with deception. Consequently believers should not try to deliver themselves from threatening situations by deceptive schemes but should continue to trust and obey God.

"Here Abram’s failure in the face of hostility, like Israel’s sinfulness in the wilderness, is surely recorded as a warning for later generations (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11) and as an illustration of the invincibility of the divine promises (cf. Romans 11:29)." [Note: Wenham, Genesis 1-15, p. 292.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 12". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/genesis-12.html. 2012.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile