Father Abraham

Father Abraham

DAY 5 OF 10

Early Contact with Others: Genesis 12:10-20

The second major step in the Genesis account of Abraham’s life concentrates on the patriarch’s earlier interactions with other peoples. These chapters depict the patriarch interacting with other groups of people in a variety of ways to guide the original Israelite readers as they interacted with others.

In the first episode, Moses described Abraham’s deliverance from Egypt in Genesis 12:10-20. You will recall that the patriarch sojourned in Egypt because of a famine, but God delivered him from Egyptian bondage by sending diseases on Pharaoh’s house. Because of God’s great deliverance Abraham left Egypt with many riches and never returned. Abraham learned very clearly that Egypt was not his home. 

Moses’ original Israelite readers could see that their own experiences reflected many aspects of Abraham’s story. They had gone to Egypt because of a famine, they had also been delivered when God sent diseases on the Egyptians, and they had left Egypt with many riches from the Egyptians. Unfortunately, as the Israelites faced difficulties in their travels, many of them began to idealize life in Egypt and wanted to return. This episode should have made it clear to the original audience that Egypt was not their home. They were to remember how God had graciously delivered them, and to leave Egypt and the Egyptians far behind. 

The second segment of Abraham’s earlier interactions with others is the story of his conflict with Lot in 13:1-18. This is the well-known story of struggle between Abraham’s men and Lot’s men, when the two groups quarreled over natural resources for their sheep. In this struggle, Abraham treated Lot with kindness, allowing Lot to live in peace in the lands he chose. The original readers of Genesis would have had little trouble understanding what this story meant for them. According to Deuteronomy 2, as they traveled towards the Promised Land Moses commanded the Israelites to treat Lot’s descendants with kindness, to let them live at peace in their ancestral land. In effect, Abraham’s kind treatment of Lot showed the Israelites how to treat the Moabites in their day. 

The third episode of Abraham’s earlier interactions with others is the story of Abraham’s rescue of Lot in 14:1-24. This complex story described how Abraham defeated powerful, tyrannical kings who had come from afar, and how he showed further kindness to Lot by rescuing him from these tyrannical kings. This story spoke rather plainly to the Israelites following Moses. As Israel passed through the lands of the Moabites and Ammonites, who descended from Lot, the army of Israel defeated the tyrannical kings Sihon of the Amorites, and Og of Bashan, both of whom had oppressed the Moabites and Ammonites. By rescuing the Moabites and the Ammonites in this way, Israel followed the model that Abraham had set for them.  

About this Plan

Father Abraham

This reading plan explores the account of Abraham's life in Genesis from a distinctly Christian perspective in order to answer questions such as: What did these stories mean for those who first received them? And what do...

We would like to thank Third Millennium Ministries for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: http://thirdmill.org

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