Genesis 12:1-9

The Call of Abram

1 Now 1the LORD said[a] to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.
2 2And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and 4in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."[b]
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from 5Haran.
5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,
6 Abram 6passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to 7the oak[c] of 8Moreh. At that time 9the Canaanites were in the land.
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 10"To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of 11Bethel 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 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

Genesis 12:1-9 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 12

In this chapter an account is given of the call of Abram to depart from his own country, with a promise of a divine blessing, Ge 12:1-3 of his obedience to it, Ge 12:4,5 of his journey through the land of Canaan, and of the Lord's appearance to him in it, and his promise of it to his seed, and of Abram's building altars in it, and calling on the name of the Lord, Ge 12:6-9 and of a famine there, which occasioned him to go into Egypt, Ge 12:10 where, through fear of being slain, he desired his wife to call herself his sister, Ge 12:11-13 and she being greatly admired by the Egyptians for her beauty, it went well with Abram for her sake, Ge 12:14-16 but the Egyptians were plagued because of her, who, when they understood she was Abram's wife, sent them both away, and all that belonged to them, Ge 12:17-20.

Genesis 12:1-9 In-Context

1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,
6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he moved to the hill country 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 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
10 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.
11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance,
12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.
13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake."

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Cross References 11

  • 1. Acts 7:3; Hebrews 11:8
  • 2. Genesis 17:6; Genesis 18:18; [Galatians 3:14]
  • 3. Genesis 27:29; Numbers 24:9
  • 4. Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 28:14; Jeremiah 4:2; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:16; Cited Galatians 3:8
  • 5. Genesis 11:31
  • 6. [Hebrews 11:9]
  • 7. Genesis 13:18
  • 8. Deuteronomy 11:30; Judges 7:1
  • 9. Genesis 13:7
  • 10. Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8; Exodus 33:1; Psalms 105:9-12; [Numbers 32:11]; Galatians 3:16
  • 11. Genesis 28:19

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or had said
  • [b]. Or by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves
  • [c]. Or terebinth
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.