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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 12

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-4

God Called Abram a Second Time

In Gen_12:1-20 , after Terah's death, God called Abram a second time. In conjunction with this call, He made some promises. Because the call included both a command and a promise, it constituted a covenant ( Gen_15:18 ). Abram was told to leave his country, kindred and father's house (12:1). As the command got more specific, the sacrifices Abram had to make got increasingly difficult. Abram was called to go to a place God had not yet revealed to him ( Heb_11:8 ).

Abram was promised prosperity and the Lord's care for himself. The promise was threefold: 1) God would make of Abram a great nation; 2) God would make Abram's name great, which may include the land of promise (see 12:7); and 3) God would make Abram a blessing, which is the promise of the Messiah.

Verses 5-9

Abram Worshipped God

Abram acted in accord with the Lord's will (12:4). Remember, he moved at the age of 75, which is hardly a time most would be making drastic changes in lifestyle. Truly, it is never too late to change one's life and begin serving God. Abram took Sarai, Lot and all their goods and moved to the land of the Canaanites. He stopped in the shade of the terebinth, or oak tree, of Moreh. There, God promised to give this land to Abram's descendants. He built an altar there to honor the God who provided for him and his household (12:5-7).

One can trace the path of Abram by looking for the smoke of the altars he built to God. When he moved on to the area between Bethel and Ai, he pitched his tent and built an altar. By calling on the name of the Lord, Abram showed he was no longer worshipping the gods of his former land. Nor was he worshipping the gods of the Canaanites. His faithful obedience was ongoing, as is shown by his living in a strange land (12:8-9; Act_7:5 ; Heb_11:13-16 ).

Verses 10-20

God Provided for Abram

Even this great man of faith had times when his trust in God's providence failed. Such an instance is seen in his journey into Egypt in time of famine. He tried to provide for himself instead of relying on God. Perhaps he had heard of men killed by Pharaoh so he could take their beautiful wives into his harem. Whatever the reason, Abram asked Sarai to say she was his sister. Apparently such a statement was a half truth ( Gen_20:12 ).

Sarai's beauty was commended to Pharaoh by his princes. He took her into his harem and treated Abram well. God had plans for Sarai so he intervened despite Abram's lack of faith. He brought great plagues on the house of Pharaoh. The ruler responded by having Sarai returned to Abram and having them escorted from the land. God provided despite Abram's deception and lack of faith (12:10-20).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 12". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/genesis-12.html. 2014.
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