Ge 12:1-20. Call to
1. Now the Lord had said unto Abram—It
pleased God, who has often been found of them who sought Him not, to
reveal Himself to Abraham perhaps by a miracle; and the conversion of
Abraham is one of the most remarkable in Bible history.
Get thee out of thy country—His being
brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God had probably been
a considerable time before. This call included two promises: the first,
showing the land of his future posterity; and the second, that in his
posterity all the earth was to be blessed (Ge 12:2). Abraham obeyed, and it is frequently
mentioned in the New Testament as a striking instance of his faith
5. into the land of Canaan … they
came—with his wife and an orphan nephew. Abram reached his
destination in safety, and thus the first promise was made good.
6. the place of Sichem—or Shechem, a
pastoral valley then unoccupied (compare Ge 33:18).
plain of Moreh—rather, the "terebinth
tree" of Moreh, very common in Palestine, remarkable for its
wide-spreading branches and its dark green foliage. It is probable that
in Moreh there was a grove of these trees, whose inviting shade led
Abram to choose it for an encampment.
7. Unto thy seed will I give this
land—God was dealing with Abram not in his private and
personal capacity merely, but with a view to high and important
interests in future ages. That land his posterity was for centuries to
inhabit as a peculiar people; the seeds of divine knowledge were to be
sown there for the benefit of all mankind; and considered in its
geographical situation, it was chosen in divine wisdom as the fittest
of all lands to serve as the cradle of a divine revelation designed for
the whole world.
and there builded he an altar unto the
Lord—By this solemn act of devotion Abram made an open
profession of his religion, established the worship of the true God,
and declared his faith in the promise.
10. there was a famine … and Abram went down
into Egypt—He did not go back to the place of his nativity,
as regretting his pilgrimage and despising the promised land (Heb 11:15), but withdrew for a while into a
11-13. Sarai's complexion, coming from a
mountainous country, would be fresh and fair compared with the faces of
Egyptian women which were sallow. The counsel of Abram to her was true
in words, but it was a deception, intended to give an impression that
she was no more than his sister. His conduct was culpable and
inconsistent with his character as a servant of God: it showed a
reliance on worldly policy more than a trust in the promise; and he not
only sinned himself, but tempted Sarai to sin also.
14. when Abram was come into Egypt—It
appears from the monuments of that country that at the time of Abram's
visit a monarchy had existed for several centuries. The seat of
government was in the Delta, the most northern part of the country, the
very quarter in which Abram must have arrived. They were a race of
shepherd-kings, in close alliance with the people of Canaan.
15. the woman was taken into Pharaoh's
house—Eastern kings have for ages claimed the privilege of
taking to their harem an unmarried woman whom they like. The father or
brother may deplore the removal as a calamity, but the royal right is
never resisted nor questioned.
16. he entreated Abram well for her
sake—The presents are just what one pastoral chief would give
18-20. Here is a most humiliating rebuke, and
Abram deserved it. Had not God interfered, he might have been tempted
to stay in Egypt and forget the promise (Ps 105:13, 15). Often still does God rebuke His people
and remind them through enemies that this world is not their rest.