Genesis 12:4-13:4



Abraham is 75 years old

Abraham’s age is given in the text at critical points of Abraham’s life:

  1. 12:4 – when he leaves Haran
  2. 16:16 –
  3. 17:1 –
  4. 17:24 –
  5. 21:5 –
  6. 25:7 –


Terah’s family lineage:

  1. Haran has died
  2. Nahor left in Ur with his wife
  3. Abram is childless with a barren wife
  4. Terah’s grandchildren are 2 daughters (MIlcah and Iscah) and 1 grandson, Lot

This means Lot is Terah’s only heir.



Shechem is in a pass between Mount Ebal an dMlunt Gerizim

Abram stopped at “the terebinth of Moreh” or “the oak of the teacher”

  1. terebinth” means “oak”
  2. moreh” means “teacher”

This same location is visited again:

  1. Gen. 35:4 as “the terebinth at Shechem” where Jacob’s sons buried their foreign gods and earrings.
  2. Deut 11:30
  3. Josh. 23:26 where Joshua set up a large stone by this tree
  4. Judges 9:6 when Abimelech was recognized as king
  5. Judges 9:37 this place is called “the terebinth of the diviners.”

A terebinth is mentioned along with a place also in 13:18, 14:13, 18:1; 35:8



Just like the God of glory appeared (Acts 7) to Abram in Ur here  Yahweh appeared to Abram as a Theophany

This promise eliminates Lot as an heir and promises the land to Abram’s own seed

The promise of the land to Abraham’s seed indicates a future day.


Abram builds his first recorded altar.  Others are built at

  1. 13:18
  2. 22:9
  3. 25:25
  4. 33:20
  5. 35:7

Building an altar is done when a man is calling on the name of God or praying.



Abram moves from Shechem to Bethel

Another altar is built.

Contrast: Tents pitched temporarily, Altar built permanent

Abram was a foreigner and a stranger in the land his whole life.

“Call upon the name of Yahweh” is a technical phrase for worship.

Abram did not live in the Canaanite cities but lived between them.



Abram moves south to the Negev, the desert area south of Hebron.



There was a devastating famine

Abram had been living among the Canaanites, now Abram moves to live among the Egyptians

Egyptian documents confess the same type of movement of people from Canaan and Asia in the years between 1897-1878.  In the tomb of Khnum-hotepIII which is 150 north of  Cairo there is a painting showing the arrival of people from Canaan in the years 1897-1878 to survive a famine.  There are many more documents that show peoples coming to Egypt for help through out the years



Sara is in mid-life at the age of 65 since she dies at 127 in Gen. 23:1.

She is extremely attractive

If someone wanted to marry Sara they would have come to her brother Abram for permission and to make a legal transaction that would have included a dowry and favorable treatment of Sara’s brother.  Abram’s plan involved negotiating and stalling until the famine was over and they returned to Canaan.  Abram was not planning on the Pharaoh finding out about Sara and sending for her in exchange for an enormous dowry payment.  Things happened faster than Abram had planned.



In Canaan it appears hospitality ruled for a stranger.  In Egypt a stranger was to be taken advantage of.



Abram is threatened in Canaan with a famine but he can leave for Egypt where he will also be threatened.  Abram is trying to avoid danger


Abram wanted to be treated “well” and he was treated “well”



When Pharaoh says, “I took her for my wife” (in 12:19) this may have included physical adultery.


Abram may have been trying to preserve God’s promise by staying alive.



Sara and Yahweh have been silent so far, but Abram has been scheming, speaking and acting.

Now Yahweh acts.

A foretaste of the Exodus: Famine, Go to Egypt, oppressed, plagues, deliverance, possessions gained and go through the land (see Abram go through the promise land in 13:17)



Pagan Egyptian king knows adultery is immoral

Why not kill Abram for lying?  Pharaoh experiences the power behind Abram when he took his wife.  What would Abram’s deity do to Pharaoh if he killed Abram?



Men where put in charge to protect Abram and he was sent away

sent forth” is the same word used in 3:23 of Adam and Eve being sent from the garden and in Ex. 6:1; 11:1 for Hebrews being sent from Egypt.