Abram leaves Haran
1The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country and the people of your father's family. Go to the land that I will show you. #12:1 The Lord had said this to Abram when he lived in Ur, among the Chaldeans. See Joshua 24:2.
2I will cause your descendants to become a great nation. I will bless you. Everyone will know your name. You will bring my blessing to other people. 3I will bless those people who bless you. But I will curse anyone who insults you. Through you, I will bless all the families of people on the earth.’ #12:3 Jesus Christ is a descendant of Abram. Through Jesus, God blesses all the nations and families of people on the earth.
4Abram did what the Lord had told him. He left Haran. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Lot went with him. 5Abram took his wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot. He took everything that belonged to them. He also took the people that worked for them in Haran. They all left to go to the land of Canaan.
When they arrived in Canaan, 6Abram walked through the land. He went as far as Shechem, to the special oak tree of Moreh. At that time, Canaanites lived in this land. 7The Lord appeared to Abram there. He said, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ So Abram built an altar in that place to worship the Lord. #12:7 The Canaanites did not worship God. The oak tree of Moreh was a place where the Canaanites worshipped false gods. Abram built an altar to worship God. The Canaanites would see that Abram worshipped the Lord. But Abram was not afraid. He knew that this place belonged to God. He did that because the Lord had appeared to him.
8Then Abram left Shechem. He went to the hills that are on the east of Bethel. He put up his tent in that place. Bethel was towards the west, and Ai was towards the east. Abram also built an altar there to worship the Lord.
9Then Abram took his tent and he left that place. He continued to travel towards the Negev. #12:9 The Negev is a dry land. It is between Egypt and Canaan.
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
10There was a famine in the land of Canaan. So Abram went to live in Egypt for some time, because the famine was very bad. #12:10 Egypt did not often have a famine because the River Nile went through the land.
11When Abram came near to Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘Listen to me. I know that you are a very beautiful woman. 12When the Egyptians see you they will say, “This is Abram's wife.” Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.#12:12 Abram thinks that the king of Egypt might want to take Sarai as one of his wives. If he knows that Sarai is Abram's wife, the king will have to kill Abram. 13So tell them that you are my sister. Then they will do good things to me, because they want to please you. They will not kill me because they will think that you are my sister.’
14When Abram arrived in Egypt, the people saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15The king's officers saw her. They told Pharaoh that she was very beautiful. They took her to the king's palace.#12:15 A palace is a large house for a king.
16Pharaoh did good things to help Abram because of Sarai. He gave Abram sheep, cows, donkeys and camels. He also gave Abram male servants and female servants.
17But the Lord made Pharaoh and the people in his palace very ill. The Lord did this because the king had taken Abram's wife Sarai. 18So Pharaoh called Abram to come to him. Pharaoh said, ‘You have done this bad thing to me! You did not tell me that Sarai is your wife! Why not? 19You told me “She is my sister”. As a result, I took her to be my wife. Now, here is your wife. Take her and go away!’
20Pharaoh told his officers what to do with Abram. They sent Abram away, with his wife and everything that belonged to them.
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The Lord chooses Abram
1The LORD said to Abram:#Ac 7.2,3; He 11.8.
Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you. 2I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. 3I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you.#12.3 Everyone…you: Or “Everyone on earth will ask me to bless them as I have blessed you.”#Ga 3.8.
4-5Abram was seventy-five years old when the LORD told him to leave the city of Haran. He obeyed and left with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and slaves they had got while in Haran.
When they came to the land of Canaan, 6Abram went as far as the sacred tree of Moreh in a place called Shechem. The Canaanites were still living in the land at that time, 7but the LORD appeared to Abram and promised, “I will give this land to your family for ever.” Abram then built an altar there for the LORD.#Ac 7.5; Ga 3.16.
8Abram travelled to the hill country east of Bethel and camped between Bethel and Ai, where he built another altar and worshipped the LORD. 9Later, Abram started out towards the Southern Desert.
Abram in Egypt
10-11The crops failed, and there was no food anywhere in the land. So Abram and his wife Sarai went to live in Egypt for a while. But just before they got there, he said, “Sarai, you are really beautiful! 12When the Egyptians see how lovely you are, they will murder me because I am your husband. But they won't kill you. 13Please save my life by saying that you are my sister.”#Gn 20.2; 26.7.
14As soon as Abram and Sarai arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how beautiful she was. 15The king's#12.15 the king's: The Hebrew text has “Pharaoh's”, a Hebrew word sometimes used for the king of Egypt. officials told him about her, and she was taken to his house. 16The king was good to Abram because of Sarai, and Abram was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels.
17Because of Sarai, the LORD struck the king and everyone in his palace with terrible diseases. 18Finally, the king sent for Abram and said to him, “What have you done to me? Why didn't you tell me Sarai was your wife? 19Why did you make me believe she was your sister? Now I've married her. Take her and go! She's your wife.”
20So the king told his men to let Abram and Sarai take their possessions and leave.
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© British and Foreign Bible Society 2012