Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024
the Second Week of Lent
There are 33 days til Easter!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Genesis 12

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-3

God’s Divine Calling to Abraham - Canaan Was at the Crossroads of the Gentile Nations - We get the term “the Promised Land” from Genesis 12:1-3 because it is in this passage of Scripture that God told Abraham to leave Haran and travel to a land that God would give him. Thus, we call it the Promised Land. It was to be a land where God’s people were to dwell forever, at the crossroads of all civilizations. Notice that this Promised Land, the land of Israel, was strategically located where three continents join, Europe, Asia and Africa. Note:

Ezekiel 5:5, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.”

This means that when other nations traveled the long trade routes, they very often would need to pass through the land where God’s people dwelt. They would see the people of the covenant living in peace and prosperity and would hear the message of God’s covenant which brought this about. In this way, the Gospel could be more quickly spread throughout the inhabited world.

Not only did God use the central location of Israel to testify of God’s blessings. He also used it to demonstrate His judgment for all nations to see. God told Ezekiel that Jerusalem would be judged in the sight of all that “pass by.”

Ezekiel 5:8, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.”

Ezekiel 5:14, “Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.”

A second possible reason that God gave to Abraham the land of Canaan may be hinted at in The Book of Jubilees. According to Jewish tradition, the three sons of Noah divided the earth into three lots during the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25) and the land of Canaan was one of the areas that was given to Shem and to his descendants. But when the children of Noah scattered and moved into their heritage, Canaan, the son of Ham, took the land of Canaan, which belonged to the sons of Shem, and he refused to enter into his appointed inheritance. As a result, the curse that Noah spoke over those children who took possession of another person’s land was placed upon Canaan. Thus, the Canaanites were living on land that did not belong to them and God chose to remove them from this land which rightfully belonged to Shem and his descendants, one of which was Abraham. Thus, Abraham has legal rights to the land of Canaan (see The Book of Jubilee 10.29-35). We can read again in The Book of Jubilees of how Abraham saw this as the reason that God would one day cut off the seed of Canaan when he was about to die and blessed Jacob.

“Be thou ware, my son Jacob, of taking a wife from any seed of the daughters of Canaan; For all his seed is to be rooted out of the earth. For, owing to the transgression of Ham, Canaan erred, And all his seed shall be destroyed from off the earth and all the residue thereof, And none springing from him shall be saved on the day of judgment.” ( The Book of Jubilees 22.20-21)

God Blesses Those Who Bless Israel One of the first promises that God gave to Abraham is that He would make Abraham and his descendants a blessing to all the families of the earth. In doing this, God said that He would bless those who blessed Abraham and curse those who cursed him. We see these blessings and curses come upon people and nations throughout the entire Scriptures. In Genesis 12:17 God plagued the house of Pharaoh because this king took Abraham’s wife. We see in the story of Jacob serving Laban for Rachel his daughter that God blessed Laban for Jacob’s sake (Genesis 30:27) and warned Laban not to harm him when he fled (Genesis 31:24; Genesis 31:29). God also blessed Pharaoh for giving Israel the land of Goshen by making his nation wealthy and powerful. In the time of Moses God cursed Pharaoh by destroying his nation with the ten plagues, and by drowning his army in the Red Sea for persecuting Israel in the land of Egypt. God blessed Rahab for hiding the two spies in Jericho by saving her family (Joshua 6:25). We read in the book of Esther how God destroyed wicked Haman because he tried to destroy the Jewish people. In Luke 7:1-10 we read how Jesus healed the centurion’s servant because the Jews testified of his good deeds to the Jews. In Acts 10:1-48 God blessed Cornelius and his household by sending Peter to preach to him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God sent His angel to the home of Cornelius because “he feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people (the Jews), and prayed to God alway” (Acts 10:2). Paul said in Romans 15:27 that the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews; “for if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”

God Generally Calls Men to Take Giant Steps of Faith It is interesting to note that God generally calls men to go out by faith without a full understanding of where they are going or what they will do or say. God called Abraham to go to the land of Canaan, then told him to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar. God also tested Job. This is because God created man differently than a woman. A woman is generally more emotionally based and her mind is concerned about the details of her life and family, while a man is generally more logical and does not need to know details. In other words, it is generally more important for a woman to understand how things are going to work out than for a man. It would be easier for a woman to become stressed in such a call, while the man generally has the ability to focus on the call and remain calm. This has been my experience as a married man having been called to the mission field for many years. I have seen the challenges of a husband taking care of his wife while taking steps of faith similar to those of Abraham. However, it is important to note that God has used women to accomplish great feats of faith.

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram” - Comments - The book of Acts explains that God spoke these words to Abraham while he was in Ur of the Chaldeans.

Acts 7:1-4, “Then said the high priest, Are these things so? And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham , when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country , and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.”

The Book of Jubilees (12.16-25) tells us that God spoke these words to Abraham because he was asking the Lord about the destiny of his life in prayer. Note other parallel passages that refer to this call to Abraham:

Genesis 20:13, “And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.”

Genesis 24:7, “The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.”

Hebrews 11:8, “ By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

Genesis 12:1 “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house” Comments - Note the progressive order of people groups that God commanded Abraham to depart from. He was to leave his nation, his clan and even his immediate family.

Genesis 12:1 “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house” - Comments - In Genesis 11:0, we see that Abraham was already on the move. He had moved with his father from Ur to Haran. But this was not enough. God had a greater plan for him than what his father could see. His father had taken him as far as he had faith to go. Now it was time to leave his father's faith, and move up to a higher level of faith than what any of his kindred had ever walked. In order to do this, he had to leave them behind.

Illustration - My wife tells me of the unique customs of her hometown in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. In this city, people lived in small neighbourhoods. In each neighbourhood, the people were expected to carry out certain Christmas rituals and infant baptism rituals by choosing godfathers and godmothers, and many other customs. Superstitions were intermingled with Catholic traditions. In other words, there was a tremendous amount of peer pressure from friends and relatives to live a certain lifestyle, while these ancient superstitions mixed with Catholic beliefs held people in darkness to the truth.

Once Menchu was able to come out of her hometown environment, she began to see how many superstitions had been taught to her. She was able to learn the Word of God without the pressure of her superstitious Catholic neighbourhood and peers. She was able to begin learning how to serve the Lord in the liberty given to her by the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. As she begun to grow in the Lord, she was able to lay aside wrong thinking and superstitious instructions that had been handed down through her family for generations. She began to instruct her family in the ways of righteousness and lead them to salvation in Christ Jesus. She began to see the darkness that her people lived under and how much they needed the light of the Gospel to be set free. All of this because she was able to escape from this environment and freely exercise her faith in God with the hindrances of family and peers.

Such an environment of peer pressure was present in Abraham’s community. By his leaving, he was given the freedom to learn about God’s ways, and serve YHWH without criticism from his relatives and friends. This was the reason that Abraham had to leave his family in order to freely worship the Lord.

Genesis 12:1 “unto a land that I will shew thee” - Comments - When Abraham arrived in this land, although he was called by God to go here, he found a land in severe famine. He had obeyed God’s first instruction of departing from his family. Now, when he pitched camp at Shechem in the plain of Moreh (Genesis 12:6), the Lord appeared unto him and told him that this was the land that he was to live and his descendants were to inherit. This is how God showed him where he was to go. However, it was not until he separated from Lot that God revealed to him the full revelation of his inheritance (Genesis 13:14-18). Perhaps Lot was the final relative that Abraham separated from so that he was in God’s perfect will to receive this full revelation

Genesis 12:1 Comments - On 22 July 1997 my wife and I stepped onto a plane and headed for Africa to do missionary work. I had answered the call to missions fifteen years earlier in a chapel service in seminary. A few months I was asked to go to Africa, I received four dreams that gave me confirmation that this was the right decision. In December 2000, someone asked me if my wife also had a word from the Lord to go with me to Africa.

I answered and said that because my wife was submitted to me, she made a decision based on her role as a wife, not based on a revelation from the Lord. Then I gave an illustration:

When Abraham received a call to leave his country and go to Canaan, he obeyed the Lord. On the other hand, the Scriptures do not record anywhere that Sarai received a word from the Lord. But the Scriptures do record Sarai's submissive role to Abraham in that she called him Lord. So, my wife did have a revelation from the Lord. This revelation was a principle that she implemented in her life daily. I had received a specific revelation, and my wife had received a general revelation. Both of us were following the Lord's will in these revelations.

1 Peter 3:6, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

Genesis 12:1 Comments - Note that God called Abraham out from Haran at the age of 75 (Genesis 12:4). His father was 145 years old (205 - 60 = 145 = 70 + 75) when he left Ur. Terah did not die until 60 years later in Haran (Gene Genesis 11:32).

Genesis 12:4, “So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.”

Genesis 11:32, “And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.”

Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Genesis 12:2 “and make thy name great” Comments - It is interesting to note how man was striving to reach this goal of making himself a great name without the help of God. The story of the Tower of Babel shows us how man was attempting to preserve and exalt his name without God’s help (Genesis 11:4). Yet, Abraham followed the ways of the Lord and received a great name. Thus, the story of the Tower of Babel serves as a contrast to the life of Abraham. We see how man strives on his own to be great, and how he fails. Then we see one man who simply yielded to God’s commands and became great.

Genesis 11:4, “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name , lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

Genesis 12:2 Comments - In this promise that God would make of him a great nation, Abraham knew that he had no son to fulfill the promise. Therefore, he adopts Eliezer of Damascus to be his heir (See Genesis 15:2-3). This was against God's plan.

Genesis 15:2-3, “And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.”

God will bless Abraham so that he can bless others. God gives to us so that we can give to others. If we are not doing anything with the blessing, then there is no reason for God to give more blessings. He blesses us so that we can bless others. It is the principle of giving and receiving.

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” Comments - In Genesis 12:3 God told Abraham, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” History records many accounts where God blesses those who bless the Jews, and curses those who curse he Jews. For example, God judged the Pharaoh of Egypt for persecuting the children of Israel. Just as he commanded the Jewish male children to be drown in the river, so was his entire army drowned in the Red Sea. In addition, the firstborn males were killed, and the nation destroyed. Laban acknowledged that his blessings had come through Jacob (Genesis 30:27). Jesus healed the Roman centurion’s servant, who has blessed the Jews (Luke 7:4-5). God sent Peter to preach the Gospel to the house of Cornelius, a man that blessed the Jews (Acts 10:22). God promised to reward the heathen according to what they had done to the Jews (Obadiah 1:15). Jesus makes a similar statement about rewarding those who has done good to His “brethren,” which certainly includes the Jews, as well as the Church (Matthew 25:40).

Genesis 30:27, “And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.”

Obadiah 1:15, “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”

Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Luke 7:4-5, “And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.”

Acts 10:22, “And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.”

Genesis 12:3 “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” Comments - God loves all peoples and nations. He has made a plan of redemption for all mankind through the redemption of Israel. The Table of Nations has just been listed in Genesis 10:1-32. Now God reveals to Abraham His plan of redemption for all seventy nations listed in this table. God will supernaturally create another nation from his loins to affect redemption for mankind.

Genesis 12:3 “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” Comments - Paul the apostle quotes from Genesis 12:3 in his epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 3:8).

Galatians 3:8, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed .”

Galatians 3:8 tells us that this is perhaps the first Old Testament prophecy of God justifying the Gentiles by faith. The type of faith required would be the faith that Abraham used when he believed God’s promises to him. Thus, we are told in Galatians 3:8 that God preached the Gospel of salvation through faith in Christ (Abraham’s seed) beforehand in Genesis 12:3. The “families”, or nations, that God would bless through Jesus Christ are listed by name in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:1-32). We are, thus, reminded of John 3:16, which tells us of God’s love for the nations and people of this world.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Genesis 12:2-3 Comments - God’s Divine Plan of Redemption Revealed - We see in Genesis 12:2-3 how God, in His sovereignty, is revealing His divine plan of redemption for mankind (see Galatians 3:13-14, Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 2:6-7).

Ephesians 1:11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

Ephesians 2:6-7, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Up until this point in the history of mankind, God had not given a person any particular calling since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden. Now, Abraham is the first person to whom God spoke to and gave a particular task. Abraham was faithful to that task. All of mankind have benefited from his obedience to God’s plan for his life. Praise God that we are part of that divine plan.

Genesis 12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Genesis 12:5 “and Lot his brother's son” - Comments - The most probable reason that Lot went with Abraham was as follows. Haran died before Abraham left to go to Canaan (Genesis 11:28). In African culture, an uncle is responsible for the children of his deceased brother. Often, the children of a dead father are divided among the uncles or among the extended family. Even today, this is a sure method of keeping families in tack, ensuring that children do not wander into poverty and beg on the streets. Most likely, Abraham had taken Lot as his son by this method of cultural adoption.

Genesis 11:28, “And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.”

Genesis 12:5 Comments - A modern map of the Middle East suggests that the journey from Haran to Shechem was approximately four hundred (400) mile. The total journey from Ur to Canaan was approximately 1,500-mile journey.

Genesis 12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

Genesis 12:7 “And the Canaanite was then in the land” Comments - Although Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, the statement, “And the Canaanite was then in the land,” (Genesis 12:7) appears to be one of several editorial notes believed to have been inserted during the time of the final compilation of the Old Testament Scriptures, which many scholars believe took place during the time of Ezra the scribe after the Babylonian captivity. Obviously, the Canaanites were living in the land during the lifetime of Moses, since Israel had not gone in to possess the Promised Land. A further reference to the Canaanites dwelling in this land is found in Genesis 13:7, “And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.”

Genesis 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 12:7 Comments - Genesis 12:7 records the first place where Abraham build an altar in the land of Canaan. It was at this altar Abraham worshipped the Lord by offering a burnt sacrifice as an atonement and then giving Him thanks.

God had told Abraham while he was in Ur of the Chaldees and in Haran to “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” (Genesis 12:1) We read in Hebrews 11:8 that Abraham was not told where he was going. It was not until Abraham arrived in Canaan that he had a divine visitation recorded in Genesis 12:7 in which the Lord confirmed that this was the place where God had called him.

Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

God uses this same principle in our lives. He will give us a word from Heaven. If we will obey it, He will give us further revelation. But if we do not obey the first word, He will not continue to give us more specific revelation because our hearts are not ready to obey it. But Abraham obeyed each of God’s instructions, and therefore received further revelation.

I remember when I first came to Uganda in July 1997. Within a few weeks the Lord gave me an impressionable dream in which I saw myself being invited into a nation. I saw myself opening cage after cage of people who were bound in prisons. Thus, God gave me a confirmation by this dream that He had sent me to this nation in the same way that God appeared to Abraham when he arrived in the Promised Land.

Genesis 12:7 Scripture Reference - Note Paul's reference to the phrase “unto thy seed” in his epistle to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:16, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed , which is Christ.”

Note a New Testament reference to this verse:

Acts 7:5, “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.”

Genesis 12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 12:8 “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel” Comments - Bethel was not called by this name until Genesis 28:19, when Jacob stopped there to sleep on his flight back East.

Genesis 28:19, “And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.”

Abraham was still journeying south, as the author clarifies in the following verse, “And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south” (Genesis 12:9).

Genesis 12:8 “and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the Lord” Comments - Abraham could have spent hours in prayer at a time, seeking God, much like men do today with prayer and fasting.

Genesis 12:7-8 Comments - Abraham’s Altars - To Abraham these altars were his prayer closet where he would spend time with God. Raising this altar as quickly as he had pitched his tent shows his great concern for prayer and communion with God Almighty, his Creator, who is blessed forever.

Genesis 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

Genesis 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Genesis 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

Genesis 12:11 “And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt” - Comments - Abraham most likely continued into Egypt because of the severe famine. This was what Jacob’s sons did during the seven-year famine when Joseph ruled Egypt.

Genesis 12:12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

Genesis 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Genesis 12:13 Comments - According to Genesis 20:12, Sarai was Abram's half-sister.

Genesis 20:12, “And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.”

This sibling relationship between Abraham and Sarah is also stated in The Book of Jubilees that Sarai was the daughter of Abraham’s father.

“And in the fortieth jubilee, in the second week, in the seventh year thereof, [1925 A.M.] Abram took to himself a wife, and her name was Sarai, the daughter of his father, and she became his wife.” ( The Book of Jubilees 12.9-10)

We see Isaac calling Rebekah his sister when she was in fact not (Genesis 26:7). So, Abraham was not necessarily telling the truth.

Genesis 26:7, “And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.”

Genesis 12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

Genesis 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

Genesis 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

Genesis 12:16 Comments - Note in Job 1:3 that the same kind of animals are listed.

Job 1:3, “His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”

Genesis 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

Genesis 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

Genesis 12:9 Comments - We want to ask the question, “How did Pharaoh find out that Sarai was Abram’s wife?” It is possible that Sarai finally told the truth. It is possible that Pharaoh’s magicians found out through familiar spirits, and told him.

Genesis 12:19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

Genesis 12:19 “so I might have taken her to me to wife” - Comments - It appears from Genesis 12:19 that Pharaoh did not immediately take Sarah as his wife after taking her from Abraham. Perhaps these new women brought into the harem of Pharaoh were separated for a season in order to prepare them for the king. This is what we see taking place in the book of Ezra, who prepared herself an entire year before entering into the king’s bedchamber (Esther 2:12), so that her marriage took place afterwards. This would explain why Pharaoh made such a statement to Abraham about his wife.

Esther 2:12, “Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)”

Genesis 12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

Genesis 12:17-20 Comments Comparison of Abraham in Egypt to Israel’s Bondage in Egypt - Abraham's bondage was similar to Israel’s bondage in Egypt.

Abram Israel 1. Wife in Bondage God’s children in bondage 2. Egyptians Plagued Egyptians Plagued 3. Set free from Egypt with wealth

into Canaan (in faith) Set free from Egypt with wealth

to return to Canaan (in faith) Is this a foreshadowing of Israel’s bondage an effect of this particular sin?

Abraham leaving Terah and dwelling in the Promised Land is an illustration of us forsaking all, and following Jesus, living as pilgrims and strangers on this land in our lifetime.

Verses 1-20

The Calling of the Patriarchs of Israel We can find two major divisions within the book of Genesis that reveal God’s foreknowledge in designing a plan of redemption to establish a righteous people upon earth. Paul reveals this four-fold plan in Romans 8:29-30: predestination, calling, justification, and glorification.

Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

The book of Genesis will reflect the first two phase of redemption, which are predestination and calling. We find in the first division in Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 emphasizing predestination. The Creation Story gives us God’s predestined plan for mankind, which is to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with righteous offspring. The second major division is found in Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 50:25, which gives us ten genealogies, in which God calls men of righteousness to play a role in His divine plan of redemption.

The foundational theme of Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 11:26 is the divine calling for mankind to be fruitful and multiply, which commission was given to Adam prior to the Flood (Genesis 1:28-29), and to Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:1). The establishment of the seventy nations prepares us for the calling out of Abraham and his sons, which story fills the rest of the book of Genesis. Thus, God’s calling through His divine foreknowledge (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26) will focus the calling of Abraham and his descendants to establish the nation of Israel. God will call the patriarchs to fulfill the original purpose and intent of creation, which is to multiply into a righteous nation, for which mankind was originally predestined to fulfill.

The generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob take up a large portion of the book of Genesis. These genealogies have a common structure in that they all begin with God revealing Himself to a patriarch and giving him a divine commission, and they close with God fulfilling His promise to each of them because of their faith in His promise. God promised Abraham a son through Sarah his wife that would multiply into a nation, and Abraham demonstrated his faith in this promise on Mount Moriah. God promised Isaac two sons, with the younger receiving the first-born blessing, and this was fulfilled when Jacob deceived his father and received the blessing above his brother Esau. Jacob’s son Joseph received two dreams of ruling over his brothers, and Jacob testified to his faith in this promise by following Joseph into the land of Egypt. Thus, these three genealogies emphasize God’s call and commission to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their response of faith in seeing God fulfill His word to each of them.

1. The Generations of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

2. The Generations Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

3. The Generations of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

4. The Generations of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

5. The Generations of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

The Origin of the Nation of Israel After Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 9:29 takes us through the origin of the heavens and the earth as we know them today, and Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:26 explains the origin of the seventy nations (Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:26), we see that the rest of the book of Genesis focuses upon the origin of the nation of Israel (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26). Thus, each of these major divisions serves as a foundation upon which the next division is built.

Paul the apostle reveals the four phases of God the Father’s plan of redemption for mankind through His divine foreknowledge of all things in Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Predestination - Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 11:26 emphasizes the theme of God the Father’s predestined purpose of the earth, which was to serve mankind, and of mankind, which was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with righteousness. Calling - Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26 will place emphasis upon the second phase of God’s plan of redemption for mankind, which is His divine calling to fulfill His purpose of multiplying and filling the earth with righteousness. (The additional two phases of Justification and Glorification will unfold within the rest of the books of the Pentateuch.) This second section of Genesis can be divided into five genealogies. The three genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob begin with a divine calling to a patriarch. The two shorter genealogies of Ishmael and Esau are given simply because they inherit a measure of divine blessings as descendants of Abraham, but they will not play a central role in God’s redemptive plan for mankind. God will implement phase two of His divine plan of redemption by calling one man named Abraham to depart unto the Promised Land (Genesis 12:1-3), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch. Isaac’s calling can also be found at the beginning of his genealogy, where God commands him to dwell in the Promised Land (Genesis 26:1-6), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch Isaac. Jacob’s calling was fulfilled as he bore twelve sons and took them into Egypt where they multiplied into a nation. The opening passage of Jacob’s genealogy reveals that his destiny would be fulfilled through the dream of his son Joseph (Genesis 37:1-11), which took place in the land of Egypt. Perhaps Jacob did not receive such a clear calling as Abraham and Isaac because his early life was one of deceit, rather than of righteousness obedience to God; so the Lord had to reveal His plan for Jacob through his righteous son Joseph. In a similar way, God spoke to righteous kings of Israel, and was silent to those who did not serve Him. Thus, the three patriarchs of Israel received a divine calling, which they fulfilled in order for the nation of Israel to become established in the land of Egypt. Perhaps the reason the Lord sent the Jacob and the seventy souls into Egypt to multiply rather than leaving them in the Promised Land is that the Israelites would have intermarried the cultic nations around them and failed to produce a nation of righteousness. God’s ways are always perfect.

1. The Generations of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

2. The Generations Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

3. The Generations of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

4. The Generations of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

5. The Generations of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

Divine Miracles It is important to note that up until now the Scriptures record no miracles in the lives of men. Thus, we will observe that divine miracles begin with Abraham and the children of Israel. Testimonies reveal today that the Jews are still recipients of God’s miracles as He divinely intervenes in this nation to fulfill His purpose and plan for His people. Yes, God is working miracles through His New Testament Church, but miracles had their beginning with the nation of Israel.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 12". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/genesis-12.html. 2013.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile