Genesis 12: The Call of Abram

Earnest Examination

This series is presented as an honest, sincere look into the study of the Bible with my own personal theories, opinions, comments and that of others’ insights and research into what the verses could mean. I cannot claim one way or another that everything that I am stating is fact and the true meaning of what is meant in these verses.

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

Version used is from biblestudytools.com (NKJV) Genesis 12

The Call of Abram

1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This verse seems like a contradiction to me. First it says that “I will bless those who bless you”, and then, “I will curse him who curses you”, yet in the very next section it states, “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” …Doesn’t the last part of the sentence cancel out the first portion? Unless EVERYONE blesses Abram, then not all of the families on earth will be blessed. So this sounds a little confusing to me.
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.

Abram in Egypt

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.
11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance.
12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.
I don’t understand the customs of each nation, but it’s interesting that Abram’s first instinct is that the Egyptians will kill him presumably to steal his wife from him. It’s also interesting to note that Abram is very well aware of his wife’s beauty, and it’s for this reason that he feels as if he would be looked at in hostility by the Egyptians simply for being the husband of a “beautiful” woman.
It’s also very telling that even during the birth of all the nations, that physical looks has so much influence on people’s lives. No one can help how they are born and what physical features they’re born with (or can they…?) so to automatically judge someone based on their looks seems like such a strange concept to me. Of course, if one were inclined to believe that to be born with physical beauty is a ‘blessing from the gods’ or good karma, etc. then I can see why people would feel as if “beautiful” people are blessed – but as we can see in today’s society, this is most certainly NOT TRUE, as even some of the most beautiful people are corrupted to the core. So it all boils down to what is aesthetically pleasing in someone’s eyes, and that they could ultimately care less what kind of personality the person has, as long as they’re beautiful.
This is, of course, not speaking for everyone, but just a mentality that some people hold.

13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.”
Was this plan strictly coming from Abram? Was he going with his gut instinct? It seemed to work well, in the end, but it would be nice to know where this intuition came from. A voice outside of his own being? His own conscience? The Lord Himself? Well, it’s probably not the Lord since if it was so, then that would imply that the Lord directly told Abram to lie, and that’s not righteous or holy, correct? God is Truth, so it wouldn’t make sense for Him to guide someone else into lying.
14 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful.
15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house.
16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
Wow, so just because someone’s ‘sibling’ is BEAUTIFUL, they get to be treated like a “king” just to remain in good standing with the person they potentially want to pursue relationships with. Is that really what natural selection dictates? Do we not care what character a person has, but instead put all (most?) of our emphasis on looks?
17 But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.
So… I have a bone to pick with our Lord. It is apparent that the Lord can dictate to whom He sends curses and plagues down into. He aimed deliberately for Pharaoh’s kingdom and his house, all because Abram lied to the Pharaoh about Sarai being his sister instead of his wife and that Pharaoh made an honest mistake. According to this account. So here’s the clueless Pharaoh, not even realizing why he’s being plagued (and I’m not stating that the Pharaoh is completely innocent in this dealing, by the way, because like Abram stated, perhaps they really would have killed him if they had known right away that he was Sarai’s husband) and it makes me wonder how much the Pharaoh believes in the same Lord that Abram does.
So my problem with this ordeal is that for God to initiate this very targeted attack on the Pharaoh for picking on His blessed family, it implies that God can do this to whomever He wants, whenever He wants, and for whatever reason He wants. So to still allow incredibly evil acts to run rampant instead of ‘smiting’ or sending down plagues against corrupted individuals, when they do TRULY awful things, is a very severe oversight and the reason for a lot of people not believing in God. I went through this very same phase when I was younger, thinking that if God exists, how could He allow such evil to continue? Of course, we don’t know all the mysteries and plans involved in this strange world and in our lives, and that ‘free will’ plays a huge part in the way our world is run, but for an almighty God to literally send plagues to an Egyptian ruler simply because he was misled in believing that a particular woman is single, meanwhile millions of kids are starving to death and being sold/trafficked to truly horrendous people – the comparison doesn’t even make sense.

18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?
19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.”

Even though lying is technically wrong, and satan himself is called Father of Lies, I’m wondering if there is truly a distinction between lying to manipulatively deceive someone, and lying for ‘the better good’. Abram’s lie was to protect himself because he knew, somehow, that he would be on the chopping block if the Egyptians realized that he was Sarai’s husband. And in so doing, he was also protecting Sarai from being kidnapped, essentially, to an unknown life that she may not be accustomed to or appreciate. So it does bring up the question if it’s ever okay to lie.
Some people bring up the fact that one of the 10 commandments is “Thou shall not lie”, but that’s not exactly what it says or implies. The actual commandment is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”. Meaning we shouldn’t slander or lie about our neighbor’s (fellow peoples) deeds. However, since Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, it goes without saying that probably the best way to maintain righteousness is to stay in Truth. After all, if Abram was already being looked out for by God Himself, then Abram very well could have told the truth that he is Sarai’s husband, and no matter what the Egyptians tried to do to him, it wouldn’t pan out for them anyway.

20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.

This was a very interesting look into the relationship between God and Abram, and how much the Lord really did to protect Abram and Sarai from possible subjugation of the Egyptians. It does bring up to question though if God still works this way on a personal level like He did back in these biblical times. And if He is working this way, perhaps many of us just don’t know about it.

As usual, I want to reiterate that some of my thoughts and theories may be way off base, and I also research some other things on the side as well to try and get a broader understanding of what I’m reading, so please bear with me, or, even better, if you have insights that bring more light to these verses, please let me know.

I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other and love to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

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