Friday, March 6, 2009

GENESIS: Chapters 12 & 13

Chapter 12
Summary:After Abram's father Terah died, God tells Abram to leave behind his country and his people to go to a land that God has picked out for him. He tells Abram that if he does, Abram will become the father of a great nation, will be famous world-wide, and will be a blessing to others.

So Abram, now aged 75, does what he's told and brings his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot along with him too. He also brings his cattle and a bunch of slaves that he had gotten in Haran, and finally arrives in Canaan. Traveling through Canaan they set up camp at an oak tree in Moreh.

God appears to Abram and tells him that he is going to give this land to Abram's descendants and Abram builds an altar to commemorate God's visit. Abram leaves and travels south to a hilly area between Bethel (on the west) and Ai (on the east). He makes another altar and prays to God, before heading off to Negeb, pausing frequently along the way.

At the time there was a terrible famine, so Abram heads off to Egypt to live. Before entering Egypt, he tells his wife Sarai to tell people that she is his sister, fearing that an Egyptian might be tempted by her beauty to kill Abram and take Sarai for himself. When he arrives in Egypt he finds that he was right about the Egyptian people being entranced with Sarai's beauty, and once word got back to the Pharaoh, the Pharaoh took Sarai back to his palace for himself. The Pharaoh in return gave Abram gifts of sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, and slaves.
12:17 "And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife."

God, however, none too pleased about Sarai being held in the Pharaoh's palace sent a terrible plague amongst the Pharaoh's household. The Pharaoh then summoned Abram and asked him why he had pulled this rouse* about saying that Sarai was his sister instead of his wife. He tells Abram to take Sarai and get out of town, and Abram (along with his family and possessions) is escorted out of the kingdom by armed guards.
Notes:1.) Not specified as to how the Pharaoh figured the deception out.
Thoughts:This short chapter basically serves to set up a rivalry between God's chosen people and the evil Egyptians. Abram and his descendants will have further and more dramatic encounters with the Egyptians later on in the story.
Chapter 13
Summary:After getting kicked out of Egypt, Abram and his family head back north to Negeb, and back further north to his old campsite between Bethel and Ai to worship God.

13:13 "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."
Both Abram and Lot had become rather wealthy with lots of cattle and slaves and found that the campsite couldn't support both Abram and Lot's flocks, so fight broke out amongst the slaves who were shepherding their flocks. Abram tells Lot that the fighting has to stop and offers to split the land up between them. Lot takes a piece of land along the Jordan River and parts company with Abram, who stayed in the land of Canaan. Lot settled on the outskirts of the city of Sodom, whose inhabitants were unusually wicked and sinned against God.

After Lot was gone, God told Abram to look in every direction he could and said that he would give all this land to Abram and his descendants, and ensured that he would have many descendants. He tells Abram to explore the new land he has given him, and Abram sets up his tent towards the oaks of Mamre (near Hebron) and builds an altar there.
Thoughts:Another short chapter that sets up two different stories for Abram and Lot, and unfortunately doesn't leave much to discuss here, except to affirm that God still doesn't seem to take much issue with slavery and that he's already not very happy with the Sodomite's behavior.

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