Abram Journeys to Egypt
12 Now [in Haran] the Lord had said to Abram,
“Go away from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;(A)
And [a]I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you [abundantly],
And make your name great (exalted, distinguished);
And you shall be a blessing [a source of great good to others];
And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you,
And I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you.
And in you all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed.”(B)
4 So Abram departed [in faithful obedience] as the Lord had directed him; and Lot [his nephew] left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had acquired, and the people (servants) which 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 as far as the site of Shechem, to the [great] terebinth (oak) tree of Moreh. Now the [b]Canaanites were in the land at that time. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” So Abram built an altar there to [honor] the Lord who had appeared to him. 8 Then he moved on from there to the mountain 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 on the name of the Lord [in worship through prayer, praise, and thanksgiving]. 9 Then Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev (the South country of Judah).
10 Now there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to live temporarily, for the famine in the land was oppressive and severe. 11 And when he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “Listen: I know that you are [c]a beautiful woman; 12 so when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me [to acquire you], but they will let you live. 13 Please tell them that you are [d]my sister so that things will go well for me for your sake, and my life will be spared because of you.” 14 And when Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s princes (officials) also saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken [for the purpose of marriage] into Pharaoh’s house (harem). 16 Therefore Pharaoh treated Abram well for her sake; he acquired sheep, oxen, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord punished Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this that 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,’ so that I took her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her and go!” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him on his way, with his wife and all that he had.
Abram and Lot
13 So Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot [his nephew] with him, into the Negev (the South country of Judah).
2 Now Abram was extremely rich in livestock and in silver and in gold. 3 He journeyed on from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 where he had first built an altar; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord [in prayer].(C) 5 But Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them [that is, sustain all their grazing and water needs] while they lived near one another, for their possessions were too great for them to stay together. 7 And there was strife and quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were living in the land at that same time [making grazing of the livestock difficult].
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife and disagreement between you and me, nor between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, because we are relatives. 9 Is not the entire land before you? Please separate [yourself] from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or if you choose the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 So Lot looked and saw that the valley of the Jordan was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah; [it was all] like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar [at the south end of the Dead Sea]. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and he traveled east. So they separated from each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot settled in the cities of the valley and camped as far as Sodom and lived there. 13 But the men of Sodom were extremely wicked and sinful against the Lord [unashamed in their open sin before Him].
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had left him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are standing, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever.(D) 16 I will make your descendants [as numerous] as the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the [grains of] dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be counted.(E) 17 Arise, walk (make a thorough reconnaissance) around in the land, through its length and its width, for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram broke camp and moved his tent, and came and settled by the [grove of the great] terebinths (oak trees) of Mamre [the Amorite], which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to [honor] the Lord.
War of the Kings
14 In the days of the [Eastern] kings Amraphel of Shinar, Arioch of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and Tidal of Goiim, 2 they [invaded the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea, and] made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela [e](that is, Zoar). 3 All of these [kings] joined together [as allies] in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Sea of Salt). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer [the most powerful king in the invading confederacy], but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the [three] kings who were with him attacked and subdued the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their mountainous country of Seir, as far as El-paran, which is on the border of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they joined together for battle with the invading kings in the Valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar (bitumen) pits; and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them. But the remainder [of the kings] who survived fled to the hill country. 11 Then the victors took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply and provisions and left. 12 And they also took [captive] Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and left, for he was living in Sodom.
13 Then a survivor who had escaped [from the invading forces on the other side of the Jordan] came and told Abram the [f]Hebrew. Now he was living by the terebinths (oaks) of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner—they were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew [Lot] had been captured, he armed and led out his trained men, born in his own house, [numbering] three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far [north] as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and attacked and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, and also the women, and the people.
Abram and Melchizedek
17 Then after Abram’s return from the defeat (slaughter) of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 [g]Melchizedek king of Salem (ancient Jerusalem) brought out bread and wine [for them]; he was the priest of [h]God Most High. 19 And Melchizedek blessed Abram and said,
“Blessed (joyful, favored) be Abram by God Most High,
Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed, praised, and glorified be God Most High,
Who has given your enemies into your hand.”
And Abram gave him a tenth of all [the treasure he had taken in battle].(F) 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods (spoils of battle) for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand and sworn an oath to the Lord God Most High, the Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take anything that is yours, from a thread to a sandal strap, so you could not say, ‘I [the King of Sodom] have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing except what my young men have eaten, and the share of the spoils belonging to the men [my allies] who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share of the spoils.”
Abram Promised a Son
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,
“Do not be afraid, Abram,
I am your shield;
Your reward [for obedience] shall be very great.”
2 Abram said, “Lord [i]God, what reward will You give me, since I am [leaving this world] childless, and he who will be the owner and heir of my house is this [servant] Eliezer from Damascus?” 3 And Abram continued, “Since You have given no child to me, one (a servant) born in my house is my heir.” 4 Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man [Eliezer] will not be your heir but he who shall come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 And the Lord brought Abram outside [his tent into the night] and said, “Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So [numerous] shall your descendants be.”(G) 6 Then Abram believed in (affirmed, trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord; and He counted (credited) it to him [j]as righteousness (doing right in regard to God and man).(H) 7 And He said to him, “I am the [same] Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land as an inheritance.” 8 But Abram said, “Lord [k]God, by what [proof] will I know that I will inherit it?” 9 So God said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 So Abram brought all these to Him and [l]cut them down the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. 11 The birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 When the sun was setting, a deep sleep overcame Abram; and a horror (terror, shuddering fear, nightmare) of great darkness overcame him. 13 God said to Abram, “Know for sure that your descendants will be strangers [living temporarily] in a land (Egypt) that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.(I) 14 But on that nation whom your descendants will serve I will bring judgment, and afterward they will come out [of that land] with great possessions.(J) 15 As for you, you shall [die and] go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 Then in the [m]fourth generation your descendants shall return here [to Canaan, the land of promise], for the wickedness and guilt of the [n]Amorites is not yet complete (finished).”(K)
17 When the sun had gone down and a [deep] darkness had come, there appeared a smoking [o]brazier and a flaming torch which passed between the [divided] pieces [of the animals].(L) 18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant (promise, pledge) with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates—
19 [the land of] the Kenites and the Kenizzites and the Kadmonites 20 and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
- Genesis 12:2 These verses (2, 3) give the basic outline of God’s covenant with Abraham.
- Genesis 12:6 I.e. the descendants of Ham’s son who was cursed by Noah.
- Genesis 12:11 Sarai was about sixty-five years old at this time.
- Genesis 12:13 Sarai was Abraham’s half sister. They had the same father, but different mothers (Gen 20:12).
- Genesis 14:2 One of the many facts supporting the antiquity of Genesis is that many of the original names of places mentioned were so old that Moses had to add an explanation in order to identify these ancient names, so that the Israelites returning from Egypt could recognize them. Chapter 14 alone contains six such explanatory notes (Gen 14:2, 3, 7, 8, 15, 17).
- Genesis 14:13 This ethnic designation means “descended from Eber” or, more probably, “one who crosses (a border).”
- Genesis 14:18 Heb king of righteousness.
- Genesis 14:18 Heb El Elyon and so throughout the chapter. The supreme Ruler of all the universe; His dominion is all encompassing and everlasting.
- Genesis 15:2 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord.
- Genesis 15:6 This was crucial to God’s plan of salvation, as can be seen in Rom 4. There was simply no way that anyone except Christ could ever be sufficiently righteous to meet God’s standards and avoid condemnation. Having faith in God and placing one’s trust in Him was not in itself something that could be a substitute for perfect righteousness, but God graciously determined to accept faith as an equivalent for that righteousness nonetheless. So in a sense, Abraham—and all believers since him, who are his spiritual descendants—received righteousness on credit, and the bill for that righteousness was paid by the death of Christ on the cross.
- Genesis 15:8 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord.
- Genesis 15:10 This was preparation for an ancient ceremony that formally bound two parties to an agreement or covenant (v 18). Reference is made to the ceremony in Jer 34:18, but details are not given elsewhere in Scripture.
- Genesis 15:16 This prophecy was fulfilled when Moses led the Israelites back to Canaan after their four hundred years in Egypt. He was “in the fourth generation” from Jacob—Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses.
- Genesis 15:16 The most important and powerful group of that region. The name “Amorite” later became virtually synonymous with that of the inhabitants of Canaan. They were known for their many superstitious practices (according to the Talmud).
- Genesis 15:17 I.e. a large bowl or pan holding burning coals.