Genesis 12:8-20 On to Egypt, “Sarai -
he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel,
and he pitched his tent with Bethel
on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the
name of the LORD.
9 So Abram journeyed,
going on still toward the South.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down
to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close
to entering Egypt,
that he said to Sarai his wife, ‘Indeed I know that you are a woman of
beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore
it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, 'This is his
wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please
say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I
may live because of you.’
it was, when Abram came into Egypt,
that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The
princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was
taken to Pharaoh's house. 16 He
treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and
female servants, female donkeys, and camels. 17 But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great
plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said,
"What is this 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'? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your
wife; take her and go your way." 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and
they sent him away, with his wife and all that he
Since Moses wrote the book of Genesis after
Israel came out of Egypt and before Israel crossed the Jordan River into the land of Canaan,
he knew where Bethel
was. So he could make reference to it in
telling about the location Abraham built his second Altar to Yahowah even
though the place was not named “Bethel”
until Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, saw a vision at the place. [see Genesis 28:10-22]
God’s chosen and called people are not immune to
plagues, such as famine, that impact a land.
Abram was a prophet and under the protection of
God. [Genesis 20:7] However, he acted in faith with human
reasoning and fears that prompted him to make decisions on his own
based on his analysis of his immediate circumstances.
Abram feared for his own life in both Egypt, the land
of Ham, and again in Canaan
because of the great beauty of his wife, Sarai, which led him to misrepresent his
relationship with her.
His reasoning is revealed again in his encounter
with Abimelech in the land
of Canaan where he said,
"Because I thought, surely
the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my
wife. But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father,
but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass,
when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I
said to her, 'This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every
place, wherever we go, say of me, "He is my brother.’" [Genesis 20:11-13 NKJV]
Like many today, Abram was willing to use his
own wife for his own advantage that it might go well for him because of her.
Abram knew of the curse Noah had placed on descendants
of Ham and did not realize that some of them still had a
knowledge of God.
God sends plagues on some people who do wrong
unwittingly, but does not explain Himself to them. However, Pharaoh came to
realize the truth and responded honorably by returning Sarai to Abram and
commanding his people concerning them both.
Because of God’s intervention, it did indeed go
well for Abram as a result of the encounter.
This is continuing evidence of the fulfillment
of God’s promise to bless Abram if he did as God had commanded him.