Genesis 12

12 Now [in Haran] the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.(A)

2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].

3 And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and [a]curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].(B)

4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had directed him; and Lot [his nephew] went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

5 Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the persons [servants] that they had acquired in Haran, and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,

6 Abram passed through the land to the locality of Shechem, to the oak or terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity. So Abram built an altar there to the Lord, Who had appeared to him.

8 From there he pulled up [his tent pegs] and departed to the mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.

9 Abram journeyed on, still going toward the South (the Negeb).

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram [b]went down into Egypt to live temporarily, for the famine in the land was oppressive (intense and grievous).

11 And when he was about to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, I know that you are beautiful to behold.

12 So when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.

13 Say, I beg of you, that you are [c]my sister, so that it may go well with me for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.

14 And when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.

15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into Pharaoh’s house [harem].

16 And he treated Abram well for her sake; he acquired sheep, oxen, he-donkeys, menservants, maidservants, she-donkeys, and [d]camels.

17 But the Lord scourged Pharaoh and his household with serious plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?

19 Why did you say, She is my sister, so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her and get away [from here]!

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him, and they brought him on his way with his wife and all that he had.


  1. Genesis 12:3 To look with disfavor on the Jews was to invite God’s displeasure; to treat the Jews offensively was to incur His wrath. But to befriend the Jews was to bring down upon one’s head the rewards of a promise that could not be broken.
  2. Genesis 12:10 Some books on archaeology frequently allude to the critical view that strangers could not have come into Egypt in earlier times, quoting Strabo and Diodorus to that effect; but later archaeological discoveries show that people from the region of Palestine and Syria were coming to Egypt in the period of Abraham. This is clearly indicated by a tomb painting at Beni Hassan, dating a little after 2000 b.c. It shows Asiatic Semites who had come to Egypt. Furthermore, the archaeological and historical indications of the coming of the Hyksos into Egypt around 1900 b.c. provided another piece of evidence that strangers could come into that land (J.P. Free, Abraham in Egypt).
  3. Genesis 12:13 Sarai was Abraham’s half sister. They had the same father, but different mothers (Gen. 20:12).
  4. Genesis 12:16 Critics have set aside the statement that Abraham had camels in Egypt as an error. But archaeological evidence, including some twenty objects ranging from the seventh century b.c. to the period before 3000 b.c., proves the authenticity of the Bible record concerning Abraham. It includes not only statuettes, plaques, rock carvings, and drawings representing camels, but also “camel bones, a camel skull, and a camel hair rope” (J. P. Free, Archaeology and Bible History).

Cross references

  1. Genesis 12:1 : Heb. 11:8-10.
  2. Genesis 12:3 : Gal. 3:8.

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