Genesis – Chapter 12: The Call of Abram

After spending the last 3 months working through the book of Job, it’s now time to return to the book of Genesis.  Previously I discussed the first 11 chapters of Genesis.  My goal is to discuss the Bible in chronological order and from most sources I’ve read, Job fits between chapters 11 and 12 of Genesis.  In our last look in Genesis, Chapter 11, God was angry that man was learning how to build a big tower and could converse in the same language.  Therefore, God, in his jealousy of knowledge, scattered man across Earth, speaking different languages.  How’s that for a loving God?  Chapter 12 brings us Abram, later to be known as Abraham.

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’” – Genesis 12:1

This begins a long story of God guiding “His” people to a new land that He has prepared for them.  Why God has to guide “His” people is a bit confusing.  Why did God not just give the land to “His” people?  And why does God only select certain people to be “His” people?  Aren’t all people God’s creations?  Why does God create people in His own image only to favor certain ones?  I concede that God, the creator, if He exists, has the right to choose whichever people He wants to favor, but that’s not exactly the definition of an all loving God.

“So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.  Abram was seventy five years old when he set out from Haran.” – Genesis 12:4

I’ll admit there are many very healthy seventy five year old men today, but to expect a seventy five year old man in Biblical times, when modern medicine did not exist and living conditions were very harsh, is a bit unbelievable.  There’s no way Abram’s body can handle a journey such as this unless you believe old men in Biblical times had the bodies of twenty year old men.

“At that time the Canaanites were in the land.  The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give you this land.’” – Genesis 12:6-7

So God just gives a big F.U. to the Canaanites and says He will simply take away their land and give it to Abram’s offspring.  Sounds very similar to the destruction and takeover of Native American lands in the U.S. during the western expansion era.  Who cares about the people already living there, for God has blessed me and therefore I must take what is yours!

“When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’  Then they will kill me but will let you live.” – Genesis 12:12

Here Abram is referring to his wife, Sarai.  If God has commanded this journey of Abram, where is God to protect Sarai?

“Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” – Genesis 12:13

Personally I think this is a cheap shot on the part of the author(s) of Genesis to paint the Egyptians evil to justify the horrible things God will later do against them.  At this point in the Bible, we have no evidence the Egyptians intend to do any harm to Abram and Sarai.

“He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.” – Genesis 12:16

‘He’ refers to the Egyptian Pharaoh.  Sounds like the Pharaoh is a pretty nice guy if he’s just giving Abram all of this.  At this point I need to share something from the study portion of my Study Bible.  It says, regarding the camels in Genesis 12:16:

“Although camels were not widely used until much later, archaeology has confirmed their occasional domestication as early as the patriarchal period.”

No, not correct.  Camels were not domesticated until 930 B.C.

Domesticated Camels Came to Israel in 930 B.C., Centuries Later Than Bible Says

According to this very same Bible, Abram was born in 2166 B.C and died in 1991 B.C., about 10 centuries BEFORE the domestication of camels.  My study Bible clearly contradicts the known science and simply could NOT have happened.

“But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on the Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.” – Genesis 12:17

Excuse me?  Earlier in this chapter we learn the Egyptians praise her but because of that God inflicts the Pharaoh’s household with serious diseases?  What kind of God is this?

“So Pharaoah summoned Abram. ‘What have you done to me?’ he said.  ‘Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?  Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife?  Now then, here is your wife.  Taker her and go!’” – Genesis 12:18-19

Ah, now things become clear.  God is angry that Pharaoah took a married woman as his wife and therefore punished the Pharaoh.  But again, this punishment makes no sense.  Abram clearly tricked the Pharaoh.  The Pharaoh assumed Sarai was a single woman.  Is God not able to see Abram’s trick?  If not, then He isn’t much of a powerful God.  Now, it’s possible the Pharaoh took Sarai as his wife without Sarai’s approval, but that’s hardly a reason for God to get angry given God allows men to do many evil things to women as we’ll learn later.

The Pharaoh gets angry, as he should, and sends Abram and Sarai away.

To conclude Genesis 12, we learned that Abram is sent to a new land by God.  Domestic camels somehow existed despite science clearly telling us they weren’t domesticated for another 10 centuries.  Abram passes Sarai off as his sister to the Pharaoh.  The Pharaoh takes Sarai as his wife and God punishes him.  Abram gets no punishment for lying to and tricking the Pharaoh.  Yep, a just God indeed.

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 13:  Abram and Lot Separate

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