Genesis 12

Abram leaves Haran

1 The 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.

12:1The LORD said this to Abram when he lived in Ur, among the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans did not worship God. They worshipped a moon god. Abram's father, Terah, worshipped false gods. See Joshua 24:2.

2 I 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. 3 I 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.’

12:3Jesus Christ is a descendant of Abram. Through Jesus, God blesses all the nations and families of people on the earth.

4 Abram did what the Lord had told him. He left Haran. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Lot went with him. 5 Abram 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.

12:5Someone's nephew is his brother's son.

When they arrived in Canaan, 6 Abram 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. 7 The 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. He did that because the Lord had appeared to him.

12:7The Canaanites did not worship God. The special tree of Moreh is a place where the Canaanites worshipped false gods. Abram built an altar to worship God. The Canaanites would see Abram worshipping God. But Abram was not afraid. He knew that this place belonged to God.

8 Then 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.

9 Then Abram took his tent and he left that place. He continued to travel towards the Negev.

12:9The Negev is a dry land. It is between Egypt and Canaan.

Abram and Sarai in Egypt

10 There was a famine in the land of Canaan. So Abram went to live in Egypt for a time, because the famine was very bad.

12:10A famine happens because there is no water in the land. And no rain has fallen for a long time. Nothing can grow in the ground because there is no water. So there is no food for people or their animals. Egypt did not often have famines because the River Nile went through the land.

11 When Abram was going to arrive in Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘Listen to me. I know that you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you they will say, “This is Abram's wife.” Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 So, 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.’

12:13Abram 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.

14 When Abram arrived in Egypt, the people saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 The king's officers saw her. They told Pharaoh that she was very beautiful. They took her to the king's palace.

12:15A palace is a large house for a king.

16 Pharaoh 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.

17 But 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. 18 So 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? 19 You 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!’

12:19God made Pharaoh and the people in his palace ill. God stopped Pharaoh from doing something wrong and taking Sarai as his wife.

20 Pharaoh told his officers what to do with Abram. They sent Abram away, with his wife and everything that belonged to them.

12:20Abram did not need to tell a lie to keep himself safe. God had promised to bless him. God had promised that Abram would have many descendants. So Abram should have trusted God.