Genesis 12:10-13:1

June 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels. But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? “Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him. So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him.

This week, we continue our look at Abram’s journey from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan. Abram has been called out of his own land, away from his family and everything he knows to follow a God that he may or may not know much about. His father Terah had gone with him as far as the city of Haran. While they stayed in Haran, Terah died. Abram, who is now left with his wife and his nephew Lot continues on in the journey to the new land. It is God Himself who told him to continue on. And Abram obeys God. They travel from Haran to the land of Canaan and it is here where we pick up the story.

A famine has come to the land that Abram has been brought to. The famine is so bad, he travels down to Egypt in the hopes of finding food. As they approach Egypt, Abram talks to his wife about how they will act while they’re there. Part of the plan included Sarai saying that she was the sister of Abram. This was because Abram was afraid that the Egyptians would see her beauty and try to kill Abram to get her for themselves. There are a few things here to take note of. First, Abram thinks that his wife is beautiful enough that someone would kill him to get her. Sarai must have been beautiful! The second thing is that Abram tells Sarai to say that she is his sister. Sometimes when this is studied, people seem to think that Abram is lying, but he’s not. Sarai really was his sister. If we look ahead to Genesis 20:12, we see that this is the truth:

“Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife;

So, Sarai really was Abram’s half sister. They shared the same father (Terah) but not the same mother. They enter Egypt, and the scriptures say that the Egyptians noticed her beauty and felt that it she was so beautiful that they “praised her” to Pharaoh. Because Pharaoh was basically seen as a god on earth, Sarai was brought in to Pharoah’s house. Because Pharaoh thought that Sarai was Abram’s sister (without them being married), he gave Abram gifts and treated him well during their time there. But things changed very quickly for Pharaoh. It seems that in a short time after Pharaoh took Sarai for his own wife, the Lord struck his entire house with severe plagues. It is interesting to note that we don’t know how Pharaoh knew that it was because of Sarai that the plagues came (although we can assume that he would be able to make the connection through reason). We also don’t know how Pharaoh found out that Sarai was actually Abram’s wife. It may have been that God gave him the information in a dream (as he did when Abimelech did the same thing – Genesis 20:1-18), but we aren’t told.

What we do know is that however Pharaoh got the information, he knew that Sarai was Abram’s wife and he had enough morals to not keep her but to give her back to Abram. The result was that Pharaoh commanded Abram and Sarai out of his presence and told him to take her and all the things that Pharaoh had given him (servants, donkeys, camels, sheep, oxen) and leave. It is not said, but it is to be assumed that Pharaoh not only commanded Abram out of his immediate presence but also out of all of Egypt. Because of this, Abram moves out of Egypt and into the Negev, the southernmost section of what today is modern day Israel.

This is where we will leave it for this week. Abram has taken Sarai, Lot, and all of Pharaoh’s gifts and has moved into the southern area of Israel known as the Negev. We truly appreciate that you’ve been following along with us and hope that you will continue. Also, please let your friends know about our Bible study (and blog) and help us to get the Word out!

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