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The Lord Chooses Abram

12 The Lord said to Abram:

Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you. I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you.[a]

4-5 Abram was seventy-five years old when the Lord told him to leave the city of Haran. He obeyed and left with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and slaves they had gotten while in Haran.

When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram went as far as the sacred tree of Moreh in a place called Shechem. The Canaanites were still living in the land at that time, but the Lord appeared to Abram and promised, “I will give this land to your family forever.” Abram then built an altar there for the Lord.

Abram traveled to the hill country east of Bethel and camped between Bethel and Ai, where he built another altar and worshiped the Lord. Later, Abram started out toward the Southern Desert.

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Footnotes

  1. 12.3 Everyone. . . you: Or “Everyone on earth will ask me to bless them as I have blessed you.”

Abram Moves to Hebron

14 After Abram and Lot had gone their separate ways, the Lord said to Abram:

Look around to the north, south, east, and west. 15 I will give you and your family all the land you can see. It will be theirs forever! 16 I will give you more descendants than there are specks of dust on the earth, and someday it will be easier to count the specks of dust than to count your descendants. 17 Now walk back and forth across the land, because I am giving it to you.

18 Abram took down his tents and went to live near the sacred trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar in honor of the Lord.

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The Lord’s Promise to Abram

15 Later the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”

But Abram answered, “Lord All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own.[a] You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”

The Lord replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That’s how many descendants you will have.” Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with him.

The Lord Makes Another Promise to Abram

The Lord said to Abram, “I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land.”

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Footnotes

  1. 15.2 And. . . own: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

18 At that time the Lord made an agreement with Abram and told him:

I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River[a] on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River.

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Footnotes

  1. 15.18 Shihor River: See Joshua 13.2-7.

God’s Promise to Abraham

17 Abram was ninety-nine years old when the Lord appeared to him again and said, “I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.” Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said:

4-5 I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That’s why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham.[a] I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings.

I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God. I will give you and them the land in which you are now a foreigner. I will give the whole land of Canaan to your family forever, and I will be their God.

Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me.

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Footnotes

  1. 17.4,5 Abraham: In Hebrew “Abraham” sounds like “father of many nations.”

15 Abraham, your wife’s name will now be Sarah instead of Sarai. 16 I will bless her, and you will have a son by her. She will become the mother of nations, and some of her descendants will even be kings.

17 Abraham bowed with his face to the ground and thought, “I am almost a hundred years old. How can I become a father? And Sarah is ninety. How can she have a child?” So he started laughing.

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The Lord Promises Abraham a Son

18 One hot summer afternoon Abraham was sitting by the entrance to his tent near the sacred trees of Mamre, when the Lord appeared to him. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. He quickly ran to meet them, bowed with his face to the ground, and said, “Please come to my home where I can serve you. I’ll have some water brought, so you can wash your feet, then you can rest under the tree. Let me get you some food to give you strength before you leave. I would be honored to serve you.”

“Thank you very much,” they answered. “We accept your offer.”

Abraham quickly went to his tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get a large sack of flour and make some bread.” After saying this, he rushed off to his herd of cattle and picked out one of the best calves, which his servant quickly prepared. He then served his guests some yogurt and milk together with the meat.

While they were eating, he stood near them under the trees, and they asked, “Where is your wife Sarah?”

“She is right there in the tent,” Abraham answered.

10 One of the guests was the Lord, and he said, “I’ll come back about this time next year, and when I do, Sarah will already have a son.”

Sarah was behind Abraham, listening at the entrance to the tent. 11 Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was well past the age for having children. 12 So she laughed and said to herself, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?”[a]

13 The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Does she doubt that she can have a child in her old age? 14 I am the Lord! There is nothing too difficult for me. I’ll come back next year at the time I promised, and Sarah will already have a son.”

15 Sarah was so frightened that she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”

“Yes, you did!” he answered.

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Footnotes

  1. 18.12 know such happiness: Either the joy of making love or the joy of having children.

Sarah Has a Son

21 The Lord was good to Sarah and kept his promise. Although Abraham was very old, Sarah had a son exactly at the time God had said. Abraham named his son Isaac,

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