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Genesis 12:5

5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Read Genesis 12:5 Using Other Translations

And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
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,
He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan,

What does Genesis 12:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Genesis 12:5

And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son,
&c.] The son of Haran his brother, not against their wills, but with their full consent: Sarai went readily with him, not only as being his wife, and so obliged by the law of marriage and tie of relation, but on the score of religion; and Lot as being a good man, and so willing to go with him, as his near relation too, for the sake of religion.

And all their substance that they had gathered;
either in Ur of the Chaldees, or in Haran, and indeed in both; which, as it was their own property, they had a right to take with them, and it was their wisdom so to do, both for the support of their families, and for the service of religion; and it appears from hence that they were not slothful, but industrious persons, and by the blessing of God were succeeded in their employments:

and the souls that they had gotten in Haran;
the more excellent part of man being put for the whole; and the meaning is, either that were procreated F1, as some render it, or begotten by them; for, though Abram had no children, Lot had, and possibly some that might be begotten while there; and their servants might have children by their fellow servants, and to which Abram and Lot had a right, and therefore took them with them; or rather it means servants which they had bought with their money there, and so had gotten or obtained them as their own property: some understand it of the proselytes made during their stay there; and no doubt they were as industrious in spreading and propagating the true religion, as in acquiring substance and servants; and to this sense are the several Chaldee paraphrases; that of Onkelos is,

``and the souls which they made subject to the law in Haran;''

the Targums of Jerusalem and Jonathan are,

``and the souls of the proselytes, or which they proselyted in Haran;''

and with this agrees the note of Jarchi,

``which they brought under the wings of the Shechinah; Abram proselyted the men, and Sarai the women;''

though in the literal sense he takes it to be the acquiring of servants and handmaids; there might be of both sorts, both proselytes and servants bought with money, which made up the number of three hundred and eighteen trained servants, ( Genesis 14:14 ) how long Abram stayed in Haran is not certain, it must be some time, to gather more substance, increase servants, and make proselytes; the Jews F2 generally say he was there five years.

And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the
land of Canaan they came:
which last clause is very fitly added, since, when they came out of Ur, they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, ( Genesis 11:31 ) but they did not then come into it, but stopped by the way at Haran; but now, when they went out from thence, they proceeded on in their journey, and made no stay any where of any length, until they came into the land of Canaan; which is reckoned to be three hundred miles from the one to the other, and by some four hundred to Sichem, and a troublesome way through the deserts of Palmyrene, and over the mountains of Lebanon and Hermon F3: of Ura, Pliny says F4, which seems to be the same with Ur, it is a place where, turning to the east, we leave the Palmyrene deserts of Syria, which belong to the city Petra, and the country called Arabia Felix; and, as it was at the northern part of Canaan they entered, they must come over Lebanon, which was the northern border of it.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 (wve) , "procreaverant", Piscator.
F2 Seder Olam Rabba, Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 5. 2.
F3 See Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the World, par. 1. b. 2. sect. 3. p. 130. and Bunting's Travels, p. 56.
F4 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 24.
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