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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 12

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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:

Now the Lord had said unto Abram. The Septuagint has eipe (G2036)], said; and the continuous course of this history leads to a belief that it was after Terah's death, and not until then, that Abram was honoured with a communication from heaven. From other parts of Scripture (Genesis 15:7; Nehemiah 9:7; Acts 7:2) it appears that a divine revelation was made to him in Chaldea; and hence, Lightfoot, Hales, etc., maintain that there were two calls-the first in Ur and the second in Haran-the latter of which alone is mentioned in Genesis. An attentive consideration, however, will suffice to show, from the close resemblance of the phraseology in this passage and in Acts 7:2-3, 'that Moses refers to one and the same call with Stephen; and that he now only resumes, in his characteristic manner, the subject of Abram's departure from his native land, which had been briefly related in Genesis 11:3, in order to furnish some important details. In fact, the narrative in the first five verses of this chapter is merely an expansion of the short notice in the preceding one; and therefore our translators have properly rendered the verb in the pluperfect tense, "had said."

This revelation is not to be accounted for by representing it, as one writer has recently done, to be only 'the newly increased light of his inner consciousness,' or by saying, with another, that the 'Lord' of Abram 'was as much a creature of human imagination, as a Jupiter or an Apollo.' In whatever way it was made to him-whether in a dream, by a vision, or by a visible manifestation (the language of Stephen (Acts 7:2) implies that it was some glorious theophany, perhaps like the supernatural light and words that suddenly converted Paul-a miracle well adapted to the conceptions of a Zabian idolater) - Abram was thoroughly persuaded that it was a divine communication; and it was probably accompanied by such special instructions as to the being and character of the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth," as carried conviction to his understanding and heart.

He had probably been brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God a considerable time before this. It was [ Yahweh (H3068)], the Lord, who appeared (Acts 7:2) to Abram; and as we henceforth read of frequent divine appearances being made to the patriarchs, it is necessary to state that these special manifestations were in the person of him who, as the Revealer of God, the Angel of the Covenant, introduced and conducted the opening dispensation.

Get thee out of thy country ... The call is here recorded, comprehending a command and a promise. The command of God was as definite as it was extensive. Abram as a man of human sympathies, which, by the long-cherished associations of childhood and youth, must have strongly attached him to the people and soil of his native land, was required to make a sacrifice which he must have felt to be a great and a painful one. As the first proof of sincere and unhesitating submission, he was called, as God's people are in every age, to deny himself (Matthew 16:24; Romans 12:2), by an entire severance of his existing ties to the world: all was to be relinquished without reserve, although valued as a right eye, and useful as a right hand. He was to leave his "country" - it was "the land of graven images" (Jeremiah 50:38), and his "kindred " - they had become idolaters (Genesis 31:30).

"Father's house" is the circumstance on which is chiefly grounded the theory that there were two calls. Abram had left his country and his kindred upon migrating to Haran. But he sojourned, it is said, with his father there; and Bengel, an advocate of this theory, upholds it in a manner unworthy of himself, by assuming that Abram left his father in Haran, and lived sixty years in Canaan; but being in the habit of visiting Haran from time to time, he thus maintained a sort of connection with his "father's house," which, on the old man's death, was entirely broken off!

Verse 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:

I will make of thee a great nation. Nothing was more improbable at the time, since he was childless (Genesis 11:30). Yet this promise was verified in his numerous posterity, the Arabs (Genesis 17:20; Genesis 21:13) and Edomites, etc., but especially the Jews, who, though comparatively small in numbers, have, by their influence on the moral and religious interests of the world, been "a great nation" (cf. Genesis 18:18).

And I will bless thee. Many special tokens of the divine favour, temporal as well as spiritual, are recorded in the personal history of Abram.

And make thy name great. Although not renowned in science or arts, in civil or military affairs, Abram has been distinguished by higher honours and a more extensive fame than any mere man ever was-revered by the Jews as the founder of their nation, looked up to by the Christians as "the father of the faithful," honoured by the Arabians as their progenitor; and whatever of true religion is to be found in Islamism is traceable to the precepts and example of Abram.

And thou shalt be a blessing. [Gesenius considers bªraakaah (H1293), in the concrete sense, 'an object of blessing, namely, in all the ways just mentioned.' The Septuagint renders it: kai (G2532) esee (G1510) eulogeemenos (G2127), thou shalt be blessed, which Knobel views as a future form of blessing, or as a proverbial saying, 'as blessed as Abram.' Our own translation is the best]. The following history shows this in various ways: for Abram was a blessing to his numerous house hold, who were benefited by his instructions and godly influence; to his posterity, who were specially favoured for his sake; and to the world at large. 'All the true blessedness the world is now, or ever shall be possessed of, is owing to Abram and his posterity. Through them we have a Bible, a Saviour, and a Gospel. They are the stock on which the Christian Church is grafted. Their very dispersions have proved the riches of the world' (Fuller).

Verse 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.

I will bless them that bless thee. His friends and his enemies would be regarded as the friends and enemies of God, who would reward their kindness and avenge their wrongs done to him as done to Himself. It is observable, however, that the former are mentioned in the plural, while the latter is in the singular; as if multitudes would be sure to bless, but few to curse him.

And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed - Hebrew, of the ground. Knobel renders it 'all families of the land'-i.e, the Canaanites, who were some of them, the Gibeonites, incorporated with the people, and all of them benefited by the settlement, of Israel in their land. But this is a frittering away of the meaning of this clause, which really forms the climax in the series of promises. "In thee" is afterward explained to mean "thy seed" - i:e., Christ (Acts 3:25-26; Romans 4:13-16; Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:16). The curse upon 'the ground' was to be completely removed, and all families of the earth blessed with the knowledge and the means of salvation. "Families" are spoken of, as it was in the family the principles of the true religion were first planted. But in subsequent passages "all the nations of the earth" is the phrase used (Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18).

Verse 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.

So Abram departed - primitive and simple-hearted, at an age when he would not be apt to be imposed upon by an illusion of the fancy, but would calmly and deliberately weigh the step he was called to take. Abram, like Paul, was not disobedient to the heavenly vision; and his obedience is frequently mentioned in the New Testament as a striking instance of his faith (Hebrews 11:8). It is not to be supposed that at this stage he knew exactly the purposes for which he was separated, or could clearly distinguish the spiritual from the temporal branches of the Promise (cf. Hebrews 11:9-10). But in the consciousness of supernatural guidance, and with the hope of great, though unknown blessings, he "departed as the Lord had spoken unto him." Believing God (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6), he said in his heart:

`Thy call I follow to the land unknown; I trust in Thee, and know in whom I trust; Or life or death is equal-neither weighs: All weight in this-Oh let me live to thee!'

Verse 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.

And Abram took ... and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan (see the note at Genesis 11:31). Abram's property was in his flocks; his strength, in the devotedness of his clan; his daily cares and habits were those of the pastoral class to which he belonged. His tribe, as it moved along the successive tracts of country that lay between Haran and Canaan, presented externally a spectacle with which people in the lands of the East have been always familiar-that of a nomadic horde migrating from one district to another. Their immense flocks of sheep and goats, with cattle of various kinds, ranged in droves under the care of shepherds, precede; behind them, at a slow pace, the slaves ('the souls that they had gotten'), occupied in various departments of service, some gently leading the pregnant ewes, some carrying in their arms or on their shoulders the young and the lame, others conducting the wagons with the baggage, or driving the camels and she-asses on which the wives and children are conveyed in litters or counes, and the chief riding frequently from one part to another to see that all is right.

In this manner they move slowly forward on their journey at the rate of two and a half or three miles an hour, halting for a time at short stages, where pasture and water can be obtained, and looking out toward evening for some convenient spot to encamp, when the servants, hastily unbuckling the baggage, drive the tent-pins into the ground, unfurl the black or white goat or camel's hair-cloth, and placing the perpendicular poles, raise the oblong or cone-shaped tents, to the number of 50, 100, or 200, in a straight or semi-circular row.

As far as pertains to the outward appearance, an exact type of the nomad life which Abram led is exhibited by the Arab shepherds, who wander to this day over the unoccupied parts of Palestine and the adjoining countries. But the resemblance is only in outward aspect. The grand difference was in the inner life of Abram, who from the time of being called was, even amid the details of his pastoral pursuits, occupied with what is unseen and spiritual.

Into the land of Canaan they came - with his wife and an orphan nephew. His route is not described. But upon leaving Haran he would first have to cross the upper fords of the Euphrates, then, going along the desert road which still leads into Syria, he would pass through the oasis of Tadmor. It is probable that he advanced along what is still the desert road to Syria; but whether there be any reliable truth in the testimony of pagan historians and Oriental legends, that his caravan encamped at Aleppo, where a stone trough used by his cattle is still pointed out, and at Damascus, which is indirectly confirmed by the sacred history (Genesis 15:2), it is impossible to say. Leaving Damascus (which there is great probability that he visited), he would proceed across the Hauran, pass the Rephaim settlements in the Lejjah, descend the valley of the Jabbok, and crossing the ford of the Jordan, arrive in the valley of Shechem, the most beautiful and fertile district of Canaan. Abram reached his destination in safety, and thus the first promise (Genesis 12:1) was made good.

Verse 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.

The place of Sichem - or Shechem, a pastoral valley then unoccupied (cf. Genesis 33:18), and in which the future city of Shechem stood. There is a valley called Wady Mukhna, a wide fertile valley, extending northward far beyond that in which Nablous (Shechem) now stands. It was probably at the entrance of that valley or glen that Abram made his first sojourn in Canaan, as his grandson Jacob pitched his first encampment there also, on his return from Haran (Genesis 33:18). It was well watered and afforded good pasturage.

Plain of Moreh - rather [ 'eelown (H436).], the oak. [The Hebrews seem to have appropriated this word to the oak, while the kindred word, `eelaah (H413), was used for the terebinth.] It is highly probable that in Moreh there was a grove of oak trees, whose inviting shade led Abram to choose it for an encampment. Moreh was probably the name of a native chief, who, like Mamre, had possessions and influence in that quarter (cf. Judges 7:1). Abram erected a temporary alter there; and in consequence of this interesting event the place became a hallowed spot in the eyes of the Hebrews (Genesis 35:4; Joshua 24:1; Joshua 24:26; Judges 9:6; Judges 9:37).

And the Canaanite was then in the land. The territory originally occupied by the Canaanites as a separate tribe is distinctly described, Genesis 10:19. This remark, which is subjoined parenthetically, has been fastened upon as a proof of the late composition of this history, as implying that though in Abram's time the Canaanite was in the land, he had ceased to have a place there in the writer's days. The objection is not founded in historic truth: for it appears from Genesis 34:30; 1 Kings 9:20-21; Ezekiel 9:1, that the Canaanite continued to a certain extent in later ages to occupy the land. Various explanations have been suggested of this difficulty. Rejecting that of Hengstenberg, who considers the word then an interpolation, we accept either that of Knobel, that the Canaanite tribes which in the time of Moses were spread over the western coast and along the Jordan, were in Abram's time, in the very heart of the country, even in Shechem; or that of Chrysostom, adopted by Gerlach, Delitzsch, etc., that the occupation of the land by that people at the time of Abram's entrance is mentioned to show the strength of his faith in the promise recorded (Genesis 12:7). The Canaanite might probably have shown some jealousy at the Shemite intruder into the neighbourhood of his settlements, which induced Abram to resolve on speedily removing southwards; and at such a time it was a most seasonable encouragement to his faith to receive a special assurance from God that "this land," then occupied by the hostile colony of Hamites, should become the permanent possession of his posterity.

Verse 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.

Unto thy seed ... give this land. From that time Canaan became "The Land of Promise." God was dealing with Abram not in his private and personal capacity merely, but with a view to high and important interests in future ages. That land his posterity was for centuries to inhabit as a special people; the seeds of divine knowledge were to be sown there for the benefit of all mankind; and, considered in its geographical situation, it was chosen in divine wisdom the fittest of all lands to serve as the cradle of a divine revelation designed for the whole world.

In other words, God was there to carry out to completion the special dispensation which had been inaugurated with Abram. While in Chaldea, as soon afterward in Egypt also, the people, through the influence of their wise men, had gone into various forms of nature worship, which would ere long lead to the grossest superstition and idolatry, some special means had become indispensably necessary for retaining in the world the revelation of the divine will, and preserving the seeds of a kingdom which should rise and magnify itself over all the kingdoms of the earth. God therefore determined, by a divine interposition, to rescue mankind from moral degradation and ruin: and with that view He chose Abram, by an act of grace, to train him and his posterity in the principles of true religion, assigned them the land of Canaan as their special inheritance, and acted as their king, who, by a system of ceremonial institutions adapted to the receptive capacities of a rude and wayward people, and by a succession of inspired teachers sent by himself, reared them as a nation in the knowledge and worship of the true God, until, in the maturity of their national existence, he promulgated the Gospel, which through their agency was rapidly diffused through the world.

Thus, the training of Abram, which on the part of God was direct, constant, and progressive, had a most important bearing on the religious education of the world; and the dispensation begun with him, though apparently partial and exclusive, was designed from the first to be subservient to the universal good of mankind. 'From this time began that series of the divine oracles which, being first preserved in Abram's family, and afterward secured in record, has never been broken nor lost, but, having successively embraced the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, is now completed, to remain the lasting and imperishable monument of revealed truth in the world' (Davidson 'On Prophecy').

Verse 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.

And he removed from thence unto a mountain - Hebrew, the mountain.

Pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east - "Beth-el," then called Luz (now Beitin). "Hai," properly "Ai" [Hebrew, haa-`Ay (H5857), always with the definite article, and hence, contracted into Hai]. 'The distance between Bethel and Hai,' says Porter ('Handbook, Syria') 'is three-fourths of an hour's ride. The road passes over a ridge, on the top of which is a level plateau, stony, but still fertile, when compared with the rocky wilderness around.' It was on this spot, between Beth-el and Hai, a day's journey south from Shechem, that Abram encamped and built an altar.'

Builded an altar. By this solemn act of devotion he made an open profession of his religion, established the worship of the true God, and declared his faith in the promise.

Verse 9

And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south - [ Negeb (H5045), the south, was the name given to that large undulating tract of country which separated Central Canaan from Egypt]. Abram doubtless went along the ordinary caravan road which runs through that district. The first journey through Canann was one of exploration, and it seems to have been rapidly performed.

Verse 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.

And there was a famine in the land. This calamity was in all probability produced by a season of severe drought; and Egypt enjoyed on that occasion, as on others, an exemption from it, in consequence of her fertility being dependent not on the fall of rain, but on the periodical overflowings of her river.

And Abram went down into Egypt. This is the uniform phraseology employed in describing such a journey, which is a continuous descent from the mountains or high table-lands of Palestine to the low level of the Delta. He did not go back to the place of his nativity, as regretting his pilgrimage and despising the promised land (Hebrews 11:15); nor did he intend to make a permanent residence in Egypt, but withdrew for a while into that neighbouring country, until the season of famine had passed. Although the distance of Egypt from Canaan was comparatively short, the conditions on which the harvests in the two countries depended were, as has been said, very different, the want of rain, which destroyed the crops in the latter, not at all affecting those in the former, and only patches of ground being tilled in Canaan, while in Egypt agriculture was those in the former, and only patches of ground being tilled in Canaan, while in Egypt agriculture was systematically and extensively practised.

It is not surprising, therefore, to read that there was abundance in Egypt, while the countries that bordered it were scourged with famine; and, accordingly, it is natural to find Abram in his necessities, as his son (Genesis 26:2), and his grandson (Genesis 42:2), under similar pressure, looking to Egypt for the means of sustenance. So early had that country become the granary of the ancient world. In that early age there was no regular traffic between Egypt and Palestine, and hence, the necessity for Abram to remove his whole establishment to the land of the Nile. But a great advance in international intercourse had taken place when the family of Jacob were compelled, by a similar pressure of dearth, to apply for relief in Egypt (cf. Genesis 41:57; Genesis 47:27).

Verses 11-13

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:

When he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife. On reaching the confines of Egypt, which was the greatest primeval kingdom of the world, he began to feel uneasy. Increasing signs of civilization, grandeur, and power, met his eye on every side; and as the immigration of so numerous a tribe as his from the neighbouring desert would certainly arrest public attention, the prospect of encountering the authorities of Egypt, so different from the simple nomads of Asia, to whom his experience had hitherto been limited, filled him with awe. But all other anxieties were forgotten and absorbed in one cause of alarm.

I know that thou art a fair woman. Sarai's complexion, coming from a mountainous country, would be fresh and fair compared with the faces of Egyptian women, which, as the monuments show, were dark-brown or copper-coloured. He entertained a bad opinion of the morals and manners of the country; and anticipating that Sarai, whose style of beauty was far superior to that of the Egyptian women, might captivate some proud noble, who would try by any means to obtain possession of her, Abram became apprehensive of his life.

The idea so completely unnerved him that his fortitude and faith alike gave way; and he formed an artful plan, which, while it would retain his wife beside him, would, he hoped, by leading to betrothal and other negotiations connected with the dowry, put off the evil day. The counsel of Abram to Sarai was true in words; but it was a deception, intended to give an impression that she was no more than his sister. His conduct was culpable and inconsistent with his character as a servant of God; it showed a reliance on worldly policy more than a trust in the promise; and he not only sinned himself, but tempted Sarai to sin also.

Verse 14

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

Was come into Eyypt It appears from the monuments of that country that at the time of Abram's visit a Was come into Eyypt. It appears from the monuments of that country that at the time of Abram's visit a monarchy had existed for several centuries. The seat of government was in the Delta, the most northern part of the country, the very quarter in which Abram must have arrived. They were a race of shepherd kings, in close alliance with the people of Canaan. The monarch was distinguished by the name of Pharaoh, which, like Ptolemy in later times, Caesar in ancient Rome, and Czar in Modern Russia, continued to be the titular name of the Egyptian kings down to the conquest of the country by Alexander the Great. It has been thought to be compounded of the masculine article ph, the, and ouro, king. But both Wilkinson and Hincks are of opinion that it is derived from Ph-rah, the sun-the names of the earlier kings of Egypt consisting always of the name of the sun, with generally the addition of some qualifying epithet.

Osburn ('Mon. Hist. of Eg.') thinks that the reigning sovereign during Abram's visit was Pharaoh Achthoes; because, according to Josephus ('Antiq.,' 8: 1, 2), the Egyptians, when Abram arrived, were divided into factions by religious differences, which he, by his wisdom and piety, helped to compose; and Osburn says 'that this must have been in the reign of Pharaoh Achthoes, since there is a strong coincidence between the state of things in Egypt, described in that passage of Josephus, and what we find to have actually prevailed at the epoch of Abram, when the nation was torn into opposite and contending parties by a religious war, principally on the eastern frontier of the Delta, where the cities of the first settlers stood, and which Abram must have crossed to enter Egypt from Canaan.'

Since much uncertainty still attaches to the subject of Egyptian chronology, Poole and others, without venturing to fix the precise date, content themselves with saying that Abram went into Egypt in the reign of one of the Huksoos, or shepherd-kings, who had a close connection with Canaan. It may be added that the fact, implied in the sacred narrative, of there being a settled and organized community then in Egypt under monarchical government, is illustrated by the statement of Josephus, that Menes, the proto-sovereign who founded Memphis, lived many years before Abram. It is probable that those cyclopean structures, the earliest pyramids, were already towering above Memphis; and we need not wonder that Lower Egypt was inhabited by a civilized population when the first colonizers of the country must have brought with them a knowledge of the arts and sciences preserved by the early post-diluvian patriarchs.

Verse 15

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

The Egyptians beheld the woman, that she was very fair ... and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. The fears of Abram were well founded. What he apprehended did take place; but in a way which he was entirely unprepared for. The monuments show that women appeared unveiled in ancient Egypt, and enjoyed generally as great an amount of freedom as that gender does in European countries; also that the ancient courtiers exhibited a spirit of abject servility, and were much given to flattery and adulation-of which we have a fair specimen in those 'princes of Pharaoh,' who were ready to pander to the tastes and passions of their royal master by carrying high-coloured reports of Sarai's charms to the palace.

Although it was customary for Egyptians to have only one wife, the higher and wealthier classes were in the habit of taking several concubines, who, though inferior to the principal wife, were publicly acknowledged and received in their households. The kings of ancient Egypt, like those of Persia and other eastern countries, claimed the privilege of choosing any unmarried woman in their dominions for their concubine (cf. Esther 2:1-23), and taking her into the palace, so that she is seldom or never heard of more. Her father or brother may deplore the removal as a calamity, but the royal right is never resisted nor questioned.

Verse 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.

He entreated Abram well for her sake. Marriage negotiations in the East are a sort of purchase-certain amount of presents being always assigned to the relatives. The gifts which Pharaoh bestowed on Abram were just what one pastoral chief would give to another. Slavery existed in Egypt, both male and female slaves being employed in the household and in the fields. Sheep, oxen, and donkeys were as common in ancient Egypt as they are in that country still. Camels have not been discovered in the delineations of the monuments, and, being probably not numerous, are mentioned last. Horses do not find a place in the enumeration, because, though Egypt was famous for the breed, they were employed only in war chariots, and hence, were unsuitable to Abram, both as being a man of peace, and as living in a mountainous pasture land. Little or no use was made of the horse by the patriarchs or the descendants down to the time of Joshua and the Judges.

Verse 17

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

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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?

What is this that thou hast done unto me? - (cf. Genesis 20:5.) The divine judgment which was inflicted on his house had probably led him to make inquiry; and having learned, perhaps from Sarai herself, the real truth, he was justly indignant. Here is a most humiliating rebuke, and Abram deserved it. Had not God interfered, he might have been tempted to stay in Egypt, and forget the promise (Psalms 105:13; Psalms 105:15). Often still does God rebuke His people, and remind them, through enemies, that this world is not their rest.

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 20

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

Commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away. The king was probably convinced that, whatever privilege custom might have given him among his own subjects, he had stretched his prerogative too far in exercising it over an independent pastoral chief, who was merely a sojourner in his dominions; and should it publicly transpire that Sarai was that chief's wife, he would incur public odium. On this account it probably was that he hurried Abram out of his country. The truth of the sacred history is strikingly exemplified in the faithful record of this unhappy error and fall of Abram, who although, from his piety and faith, honoured with the name of "the Friend of God," was yet a man of like infirmities with other children of Adam.

It is important to bear in mind that, in reading the history of Abram and the patriarchs, we are not to look for paragons of perfection-such 'faultless monsters as the world ne'er saw' but specimens of common humanity, who, amid duties, temptations, and difficulties, were trained by the guidance and grace of God to the high purposes they were to serve in His Church. The knowledge and fear of God were still lingering, and the gross superstition of the Exodus period had not yet been introduced into Egypt. 'The important theocratic standpoint of the receding narrative-that which completely supplies the reason of its communication,' says Havernick, quoting Heidegger, is this-`God had made a promise, simply announced at first, but afterward ratified by a solemn oath, that He would bestow signal blessings upon the patriarch and his posterity. Lest Abram and his faithful descendants should fear that the divine promises would be affected by any personal error or fault of his, God permitted the act of violence to Sarai, in order that both the frailty of Abram and the divine truth and faithfulness might be fully exhibited, and prompted Moses to make a permanent record of both.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/genesis-12.html. 1871-8.
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