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  Discovery Box

Genesis 12:1--22:24

Context
The Obedience of Abram

12:1 Now the Lord said 1  to Abram, 2 

“Go out 3  from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household

to the land that I will show you. 4 

12:2 Then I will make you 5  into a great nation, and I will bless you, 6 

and I will make your name great, 7 

so that you will exemplify divine blessing. 8 

12:3 I will bless those who bless you, 9 

but the one who treats you lightly 10  I must curse,

and all the families of the earth will bless one another 11  by your name.”

12:4 So Abram left, 12  just as the Lord had told him to do, 13  and Lot went with him. (Now 14  Abram was 75 years old 15  when he departed from Haran.) 12:5 And Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew 16  Lot, and all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired 17  in Haran, and they left for 18  the land of Canaan. They entered the land of Canaan.

12:6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the oak tree 19  of Moreh 20  at Shechem. 21  (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.) 22  12:7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants 23  I will give this land.” So Abram 24  built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

12:8 Then he moved from there to the hill country east of Bethel 25  and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshiped the Lord. 26  12:9 Abram continually journeyed by stages 27  down to the Negev. 28 

The Promised Blessing Jeopardized

12:10 There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt 29  to stay for a while 30  because the famine was severe. 31  12:11 As he approached 32  Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, 33  I know that you are a beautiful woman. 34  12:12 When the Egyptians see you they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will keep you alive. 35  12:13 So tell them 36  you are my sister 37  so that it may go well 38  for me because of you and my life will be spared 39  on account of you.”

12:14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 12:15 When Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. So Abram’s wife 40  was taken 41  into the household of Pharaoh, 42  12:16 and he did treat Abram well 43  on account of her. Abram received 44  sheep and cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

12:17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with severe diseases 45  because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 12:18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and said, “What is this 46  you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me that she was your wife? 12:19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her 47  to be my wife? 48  Here is your wife! 49  Take her and go!” 50  12:20 Pharaoh gave his men orders about Abram, 51  and so they expelled him, along with his wife and all his possessions.

Abram’s Solution to the Strife

13:1 So Abram went up from Egypt into the Negev. 52  He took his wife and all his possessions with him, as well as Lot. 53  13:2 (Now Abram was very wealthy 54  in livestock, silver, and gold.) 55 

13:3 And he journeyed from place to place 56  from the Negev as far as Bethel. 57  He returned 58  to the place where he had pitched his tent 59  at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai. 13:4 This was the place where he had first built the altar, 60  and there Abram worshiped the Lord. 61 

13:5 Now Lot, who was traveling 62  with Abram, also had 63  flocks, herds, and tents. 13:6 But the land could 64  not support them while they were living side by side. 65  Because their possessions were so great, they were not able to live 66  alongside one another. 13:7 So there were quarrels 67  between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen. 68  (Now the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land at that time.) 69 

13:8 Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no quarreling between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are close relatives. 70  13:9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself now from me. If you go 71  to the left, then I’ll go to the right, but if you go to the right, then I’ll go to the left.”

13:10 Lot looked up and saw 72  the whole region 73  of the Jordan. He noticed 74  that all of it was well-watered (before the Lord obliterated 75  Sodom and Gomorrah) 76  like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, 77  all the way to Zoar. 13:11 Lot chose for himself the whole region of the Jordan and traveled 78  toward the east.

So the relatives separated from each other. 79  13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, but Lot settled among the cities of the Jordan plain 80  and pitched his tents next to Sodom. 13:13 (Now 81  the people 82  of Sodom were extremely wicked rebels against the Lord.) 83 

13:14 After Lot had departed, the Lord said to Abram, 84  “Look 85  from the place where you stand to the north, south, east, and west. 13:15 I will give all the land that you see to you and your descendants 86  forever. 13:16 And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone is able to count the dust of the earth, then your descendants also can be counted. 87  13:17 Get up and 88  walk throughout 89  the land, 90  for I will give it to you.”

13:18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live 91  by the oaks 92  of Mamre in Hebron, and he built an altar to the Lord there.

The Blessing of Victory for God’s People

14:1 At that time 93  Amraphel king of Shinar, 94  Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations 95  14:2 went to war 96  against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 97  14:3 These last five kings 98  joined forces 99  in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 100  14:4 For twelve years 101  they had served Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year 102  they rebelled. 103  14:5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who were his allies came and defeated 104  the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 14:6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is near the desert. 105  14:7 Then they attacked En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh) again, 106  and they conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar.

14:8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and prepared for battle. In the Valley of Siddim they met 107  14:9 Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, 108  Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar. Four kings fought against 109  five. 14:10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. 110  When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them, 111  but some survivors 112  fled to the hills. 113  14:11 The four victorious kings 114  took all the possessions and food of Sodom and Gomorrah and left. 14:12 They also took Abram’s nephew 115  Lot and his possessions when 116  they left, for Lot 117  was living in Sodom. 118 

14:13 A fugitive 119  came and told Abram the Hebrew. 120  Now Abram was living by the oaks 121  of Mamre the Amorite, the brother 122  of Eshcol and Aner. (All these were allied by treaty 123  with Abram.) 124  14:14 When Abram heard that his nephew 125  had been taken captive, he mobilized 126  his 318 trained men who had been born in his household, and he pursued the invaders 127  as far as Dan. 128  14:15 Then, during the night, 129  Abram 130  divided his forces 131  against them and defeated them. He chased them as far as Hobah, which is north 132  of Damascus. 14:16 He retrieved all the stolen property. 133  He also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, as well as the women and the rest of 134  the people.

14:17 After Abram 135  returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram 136  in the Valley of Shaveh (known as the King’s Valley). 137  14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem 138  brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.) 139  14:19 He blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by 140  the Most High God,

Creator 141  of heaven and earth. 142 

14:20 Worthy of praise is 143  the Most High God,

who delivered 144  your enemies into your hand.”

Abram gave Melchizedek 145  a tenth of everything.

14:21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the possessions for yourself.” 14:22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand 146  to the Lord, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, and vow 147  14:23 that I will take nothing 148  belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal. That way you can never say, ‘It is I 149  who made Abram rich.’ 14:24 I will take nothing 150  except compensation for what the young men have eaten. 151  As for the share of the men who went with me – Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre – let them take their share.”

The Cutting of the Covenant

15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield 152  and the one who will reward you in great abundance.” 153 

15:2 But Abram said, “O sovereign Lord, 154  what will you give me since 155  I continue to be 156  childless, and my heir 157  is 158  Eliezer of Damascus?” 159  15:3 Abram added, 160  “Since 161  you have not given me a descendant, then look, one born in my house will be my heir!” 162 

15:4 But look, 163  the word of the Lord came to him: “This man 164  will not be your heir, 165  but instead 166  a son 167  who comes from your own body will be 168  your heir.” 169  15:5 The Lord 170  took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars – if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”

15:6 Abram believed 171  the Lord, and the Lord 172  considered his response of faith 173  as proof of genuine loyalty. 174 

15:7 The Lord said 175  to him, “I am the Lord 176  who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans 177  to give you this land to possess.” 15:8 But 178  Abram 179  said, “O sovereign Lord, 180  by what 181  can I know that I am to possess it?”

15:9 The Lord 182  said to him, “Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” 15:10 So Abram 183  took all these for him and then cut them in two 184  and placed each half opposite the other, 185  but he did not cut the birds in half. 15:11 When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

15:12 When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep, 186  and great terror overwhelmed him. 187  15:13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain 188  that your descendants will be strangers 189  in a foreign country. 190  They will be enslaved and oppressed 191  for four hundred years. 15:14 But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve. 192  Afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15:15 But as for you, 193  you will go to your ancestors 194  in peace and be buried at a good old age. 195  15:16 In the fourth generation 196  your descendants 197  will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.” 198 

15:17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch 199  passed between the animal parts. 200  15:18 That day the Lord made a covenant 201  with Abram: “To your descendants I give 202  this land, from the river of Egypt 203  to the great river, the Euphrates River – 15:19 the land 204  of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 15:20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 15:21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.” 205 

The Birth of Ishmael

16:1 Now Sarai, 206  Abram’s wife, had not given birth to any children, 207  but she had an Egyptian servant 208  named Hagar. 209  16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Since 210  the Lord has prevented me from having children, have sexual relations with 211  my servant. Perhaps I can have a family by her.” 212  Abram did what 213  Sarai told him.

16:3 So after Abram had lived 214  in Canaan for ten years, Sarai, Abram’s wife, gave Hagar, her Egyptian servant, 215  to her husband to be his wife. 216  16:4 He had sexual relations with 217  Hagar, and she became pregnant. 218  Once Hagar realized she was pregnant, she despised Sarai. 219  16:5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You have brought this wrong on me! 220  I allowed my servant to have sexual relations with you, 221  but when she realized 222  that she was pregnant, she despised me. 223  May the Lord judge between you and me!” 224 

16:6 Abram said to Sarai, “Since your 225  servant is under your authority, 226  do to her whatever you think best.” 227  Then Sarai treated Hagar 228  harshly, 229  so she ran away from Sarai. 230 

16:7 The Lord’s angel 231  found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert – the spring that is along the road to Shur. 232  16:8 He said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She replied, “I’m running away from 233  my mistress, Sarai.”

16:9 Then the Lord’s angel said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit 234  to her authority. 16:10 I will greatly multiply your descendants,” the Lord’s angel added, 235  “so that they will be too numerous to count.” 236  16:11 Then the Lord’s angel said to her,

“You are now 237  pregnant

and are about to give birth 238  to a son.

You are to name him Ishmael, 239 

for the Lord has heard your painful groans. 240 

16:12 He will be a wild donkey 241  of a man.

He will be hostile to everyone, 242 

and everyone will be hostile to him. 243 

He will live away from 244  his brothers.”

16:13 So Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me,” 245  for she said, “Here I have seen one who sees me!” 246  16:14 That is why the well was called 247  Beer Lahai Roi. 248  (It is located 249  between Kadesh and Bered.)

16:15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, whom Abram named Ishmael. 250  16:16 (Now 251  Abram was 86 years old 252  when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.) 253 

The Sign of the Covenant

17:1 When Abram was 99 years old, 254  the Lord appeared to him and said, 255  “I am the sovereign God. 256  Walk 257  before me 258  and be blameless. 259  17:2 Then I will confirm my covenant 260  between me and you, and I will give you a multitude of descendants.” 261 

17:3 Abram bowed down with his face to the ground, 262  and God said to him, 263  17:4 “As for me, 264  this 265  is my covenant with you: You will be the father of a multitude of nations. 17:5 No longer will your name be 266  Abram. Instead, your name will be Abraham 267  because I will make you 268  the father of a multitude of nations. 17:6 I will make you 269  extremely 270  fruitful. I will make nations of you, and kings will descend from you. 271  17:7 I will confirm 272  my covenant as a perpetual 273  covenant between me and you. It will extend to your descendants after you throughout their generations. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 274  17:8 I will give the whole land of Canaan – the land where you are now residing 275  – to you and your descendants after you as a permanent 276  possession. I will be their God.”

17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep 277  the covenantal requirement 278  I am imposing on you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 17:10 This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep: 279  Every male among you must be circumcised. 280  17:11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskins. This will be a reminder 281  of the covenant between me and you. 17:12 Throughout your generations every male among you who is eight days old 282  must be circumcised, whether born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not one of your descendants. 17:13 They must indeed be circumcised, 283  whether born in your house or bought with money. The sign of my covenant 284  will be visible in your flesh as a permanent 285  reminder. 17:14 Any uncircumcised male 286  who has not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin will be cut off 287  from his people – he has failed to carry out my requirement.” 288 

17:15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife, you must no longer call her Sarai; 289  Sarah 290  will be her name. 17:16 I will bless her and will give you a son through her. I will bless her and she will become a mother of nations. 291  Kings of countries 292  will come from her!”

17:17 Then Abraham bowed down with his face to the ground and laughed 293  as he said to himself, 294  “Can 295  a son be born to a man who is a hundred years old? 296  Can Sarah 297  bear a child at the age of ninety?” 298  17:18 Abraham said to God, “O that 299  Ishmael might live before you!” 300 

17:19 God said, “No, Sarah your wife is going to bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. 301  I will confirm my covenant with him as a perpetual 302  covenant for his descendants after him. 17:20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. 303  I will indeed bless him, make him fruitful, and give him a multitude of descendants. 304  He will become the father of twelve princes; 305  I will make him into a great nation. 17:21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year.” 17:22 When he finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him. 306 

17:23 Abraham took his son Ishmael and every male in his household (whether born in his house or bought with money) 307  and circumcised them 308  on that very same day, just as God had told him to do. 17:24 Now Abraham was 99 years old 309  when he was circumcised; 310  17:25 his son Ishmael was thirteen years old 311  when he was circumcised. 17:26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised on the very same day. 17:27 All the men of his household, whether born in his household or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Three Special Visitors

18:1 The Lord appeared to Abraham 312  by the oaks 313  of Mamre while 314  he was sitting at the entrance 315  to his tent during the hottest time of the day. 18:2 Abraham 316  looked up 317  and saw 318  three men standing across 319  from him. When he saw them 320  he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed low 321  to the ground. 322 

18:3 He said, “My lord, 323  if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant. 324  18:4 Let a little water be brought so that 325  you may all 326  wash your feet and rest under the tree. 18:5 And let me get 327  a bit of food 328  so that you may refresh yourselves 329  since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.” 330  “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”

18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take 331  three measures 332  of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.” 333  18:7 Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant, 334  who quickly prepared it. 335  18:8 Abraham 336  then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food 337  before them. They ate while 338  he was standing near them under a tree.

18:9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, 339  in the tent.” 18:10 One of them 340  said, “I will surely return 341  to you when the season comes round again, 342  and your wife Sarah will have a son!” 343  (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 344  18:11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; 345  Sarah had long since passed menopause.) 346  18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, 347  “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, 348  especially when my husband is old too?” 349 

18:13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why 350  did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really 351  have a child when I am old?’ 18:14 Is anything impossible 352  for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.” 353  18:15 Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But the Lord said, “No! You did laugh.” 354 

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

18:16 When the men got up to leave, 355  they looked out over 356  Sodom. (Now 357  Abraham was walking with them to see them on their way.) 358  18:17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 359  18:18 After all, Abraham 360  will surely become 361  a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on the earth will pronounce blessings on one another 362  using his name. 18:19 I have chosen him 363  so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep 364  the way of the Lord by doing 365  what is right and just. Then the Lord will give 366  to Abraham what he promised 367  him.”

18:20 So the Lord said, “The outcry against 368  Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant 369  18:21 that I must go down 370  and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests. 371  If not, 372  I want to know.”

18:22 The two men turned 373  and headed 374  toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 375  18:23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you sweep away the godly along with the wicked? 18:24 What if there are fifty godly people in the city? Will you really wipe it out and not spare 376  the place for the sake of the fifty godly people who are in it? 18:25 Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge 377  of the whole earth do what is right?” 378 

18:26 So the Lord replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom fifty godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

18:27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord 379  (although I am but dust and ashes), 380  18:28 what if there are five less than the fifty godly people? Will you destroy 381  the whole city because five are lacking?” 382  He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

18:29 Abraham 383  spoke to him again, 384  “What if forty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”

18:30 Then Abraham 385  said, “May the Lord not be angry 386  so that I may speak! 387  What if thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

18:31 Abraham 388  said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”

18:32 Finally Abraham 389  said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”

18:33 The Lord went on his way 390  when he had finished speaking 391  to Abraham. Then Abraham returned home. 392 

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening while 393  Lot was sitting in the city’s gateway. 394  When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face toward the ground.

19:2 He said, “Here, my lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house. Stay the night 395  and wash your feet. Then you can be on your way early in the morning.” 396  “No,” they replied, “we’ll spend the night in the town square.” 397 

19:3 But he urged 398  them persistently, so they turned aside with him and entered his house. He prepared a feast for them, including bread baked without yeast, and they ate. 19:4 Before they could lie down to sleep, 399  all the men – both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom – surrounded the house. 400  19:5 They shouted to Lot, 401  “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sex 402  with them!”

19:6 Lot went outside to them, shutting the door behind him. 19:7 He said, “No, my brothers! Don’t act so wickedly! 403  19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with 404  a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you please. 405  Only don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection 406  of my roof.” 407 

19:9 “Out of our way!” 408  they cried, and “This man came to live here as a foreigner, 409  and now he dares to judge us! 410  We’ll do more harm 411  to you than to them!” They kept 412  pressing in on Lot until they were close enough 413  to break down the door.

19:10 So the men inside 414  reached out 415  and pulled Lot back into the house 416  as they shut the door. 19:11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, from the youngest to the oldest, 417  with blindness. The men outside 418  wore themselves out trying to find the door. 19:12 Then the two visitors 419  said to Lot, “Who else do you have here? 420  Do you have 421  any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or other relatives in the city? 422  Get them out of this 423  place 19:13 because we are about to destroy 424  it. The outcry against this place 425  is so great before the Lord that he 426  has sent us to destroy it.”

19:14 Then Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law who were going to marry his daughters. 427  He said, “Quick, get out of this place because the Lord is about to destroy 428  the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was ridiculing them. 429 

19:15 At dawn 430  the angels hurried Lot along, saying, “Get going! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, 431  or else you will be destroyed when the city is judged!” 432  19:16 When Lot 433  hesitated, the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters because the Lord had compassion on them. 434  They led them away and placed them 435  outside the city. 19:17 When they had brought them outside, they 436  said, “Run 437  for your lives! Don’t look 438  behind you or stop anywhere in the valley! 439  Escape to the mountains or you will be destroyed!”

19:18 But Lot said to them, “No, please, Lord! 440  19:19 Your 441  servant has found favor with you, 442  and you have shown me great 443  kindness 444  by sparing 445  my life. But I am not able to escape to the mountains because 446  this disaster will overtake 447  me and I’ll die. 448  19:20 Look, this town 449  over here is close enough to escape to, and it’s just a little one. 450  Let me go there. 451  It’s just a little place, isn’t it? 452  Then I’ll survive.” 453 

19:21 “Very well,” he replied, 454  “I will grant this request too 455  and will not overthrow 456  the town you mentioned. 19:22 Run there quickly, 457  for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” (This incident explains why the town was called Zoar.) 458 

19:23 The sun had just risen 459  over the land as Lot reached Zoar. 460  19:24 Then the Lord rained down 461  sulfur and fire 462  on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the Lord. 463  19:25 So he overthrew those cities and all that region, 464  including all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation that grew 465  from the ground. 19:26 But Lot’s 466  wife looked back longingly 467  and was turned into a pillar of salt.

19:27 Abraham got up early in the morning and went 468  to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 19:28 He looked out toward 469  Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of that region. 470  As he did so, he saw the smoke rising up from the land like smoke from a furnace. 471 

19:29 So when God destroyed 472  the cities of the region, 473  God honored 474  Abraham’s request. He removed Lot 475  from the midst of the destruction when he destroyed 476  the cities Lot had lived in.

19:30 Lot went up from Zoar with his two daughters and settled in the mountains because he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 19:31 Later the older daughter said 477  to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man anywhere nearby 478  to have sexual relations with us, 479  according to the way of all the world. 19:32 Come, let’s make our father drunk with wine 480  so we can have sexual relations 481  with him and preserve 482  our family line through our father.” 483 

19:33 So that night they made their father drunk with wine, 484  and the older daughter 485  came and had sexual relations with her father. 486  But he was not aware that she had sexual relations with him and then got up. 487  19:34 So in the morning the older daughter 488  said to the younger, “Since I had sexual relations with my father last night, let’s make him drunk again tonight. 489  Then you go and have sexual relations with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 490  19:35 So they made their father drunk 491  that night as well, and the younger one came and had sexual relations with him. 492  But he was not aware that she had sexual relations with him and then got up. 493 

19:36 In this way both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 19:37 The older daughter 494  gave birth to a son and named him Moab. 495  He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. 19:38 The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben-Ammi. 496  He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.

Abraham and Abimelech

20:1 Abraham journeyed from there to the Negev 497  region and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he lived as a temporary resident 498  in Gerar, 20:2 Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.

20:3 But God appeared 499  to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, “You are as good as dead 500  because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else’s wife.” 501 

20:4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her. He said, “Lord, 502  would you really slaughter an innocent nation? 503  20:5 Did Abraham 504  not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, 505  ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this with a clear conscience 506  and with innocent hands!”

20:6 Then in the dream God replied to him, “Yes, I know that you have done this with a clear conscience. 507  That is why I have kept you 508  from sinning against me and why 509  I did not allow you to touch her. 20:7 But now give back the man’s wife. Indeed 510  he is a prophet 511  and he will pray for you; thus you will live. 512  But if you don’t give her back, 513  know that you will surely die 514  along with all who belong to you.”

20:8 Early in the morning 515  Abimelech summoned 516  all his servants. When he told them about all these things, 517  they 518  were terrified. 20:9 Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What sin did I commit against you that would cause you to bring such great guilt on me and my kingdom? 519  You have done things to me that should not be done!” 520  20:10 Then Abimelech asked 521  Abraham, “What prompted you to do this thing?” 522 

20:11 Abraham replied, “Because I thought, 523  ‘Surely no one fears God in this place. They will kill me because of 524  my wife.’ 20:12 What’s more, 525  she is indeed my sister, my father’s daughter, but not my mother’s daughter. She became my wife. 20:13 When God made me wander 526  from my father’s house, I told her, ‘This is what you can do to show your loyalty to me: 527  Every place we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’”

20:14 So Abimelech gave 528  sheep, cattle, and male and female servants to Abraham. He also gave his wife Sarah back to him. 20:15 Then Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you; live wherever you please.” 529 

20:16 To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver 530  to your ‘brother.’ 531  This is compensation for you so that you will stand vindicated before all who are with you.” 532 

20:17 Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, as well as his wife and female slaves so that they were able to have children. 20:18 For the Lord 533  had caused infertility to strike every woman 534  in the household of Abimelech because he took 535  Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

The Birth of Isaac

21:1 The Lord visited 536  Sarah just as he had said he would and did 537  for Sarah what he had promised. 538  21:2 So Sarah became pregnant 539  and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him. 21:3 Abraham named his son – whom Sarah bore to him – Isaac. 540  21:4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, 541  Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded him to do. 542  21:5 (Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.) 543 

21:6 Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. 544  Everyone who hears about this 545  will laugh 546  with me.” 21:7 She went on to say, 547  “Who would 548  have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have given birth to a son for him in his old age!”

21:8 The child grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared 549  a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 550  21:9 But Sarah noticed 551  the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 552  21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish 553  that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!”

21:11 Sarah’s demand displeased Abraham greatly because Ishmael was his son. 554  21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset 555  about the boy or your slave wife. Do 556  all that Sarah is telling 557  you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 558  21:13 But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation, for he is your descendant too.”

21:14 Early in the morning Abraham took 559  some food 560  and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He put them on her shoulders, gave her the child, 561  and sent her away. So she went wandering 562  aimlessly through the wilderness 563  of Beer Sheba. 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she shoved 564  the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 Then she went and sat down by herself across from him at quite a distance, about a bowshot 565  away; for she thought, 566  “I refuse to watch the child die.” 567  So she sat across from him and wept uncontrollably. 568 

21:17 But God heard the boy’s voice. 569  The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and asked her, “What is the matter, 570  Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard 571  the boy’s voice right where he is crying. 21:18 Get up! Help the boy up and hold him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 21:19 Then God enabled Hagar to see a well of water. 572  She went over and filled the skin with water, and then gave the boy a drink.

21:20 God was with the boy as he grew. He lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran. 573  His mother found a wife for him from the land of Egypt. 574 

21:22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you 575  in all that you do. 21:23 Now swear to me right here in God’s name 576  that you will not deceive me, my children, or my descendants. 577  Show me, and the land 578  where you are staying, 579  the same loyalty 580  that I have shown you.” 581 

21:24 Abraham said, “I swear to do this.” 582  21:25 But Abraham lodged a complaint 583  against Abimelech concerning a well 584  that Abimelech’s servants had seized. 585  21:26 “I do not know who has done this thing,” Abimelech replied. “Moreover, 586  you did not tell me. I did not hear about it until today.”

21:27 Abraham took some sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. The two of them made a treaty. 587  21:28 Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs apart from the flock by themselves. 21:29 Abimelech asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these 588  seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 21:30 He replied, “You must take these seven ewe lambs from my hand as legal proof 589  that I dug this well.” 590  21:31 That is why he named that place 591  Beer Sheba, 592  because the two of them swore 593  an oath there.

21:32 So they made a treaty 594  at Beer Sheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, returned 595  to the land of the Philistines. 596  21:33 Abraham 597  planted a tamarisk tree 598  in Beer Sheba. There he worshiped the Lord, 599  the eternal God. 21:34 So Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for quite some time. 600 

The Sacrifice of Isaac

22:1 Some time after these things God tested 601  Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” Abraham 602  replied. 22:2 God 603  said, “Take your son – your only son, whom you love, Isaac 604  – and go to the land of Moriah! 605  Offer him up there as a burnt offering 606  on one of the mountains which I will indicate to 607  you.”

22:3 Early in the morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. 608  He took two of his young servants with him, along with his son Isaac. When he had cut the wood for the burnt offering, he started out 609  for the place God had spoken to him about.

22:4 On the third day Abraham caught sight of 610  the place in the distance. 22:5 So he 611  said to his servants, “You two stay 612  here with the donkey while 613  the boy and I go up there. We will worship 614  and then return to you.” 615 

22:6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. Then he took the fire and the knife in his hand, 616  and the two of them walked on together. 22:7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, 617  “My father?” “What is it, 618  my son?” he replied. “Here is the fire and the wood,” Isaac said, 619  “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 22:8 “God will provide 620  for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham replied. The two of them continued on together.

22:9 When they came to the place God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there 621  and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up 622  his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. 22:10 Then Abraham reached out his hand, took the knife, and prepared to slaughter 623  his son. 22:11 But the Lord’s angel 624  called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. 22:12 “Do not harm the boy!” 625  the angel said. 626  “Do not do anything to him, for now I know 627  that you fear 628  God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me.”

22:13 Abraham looked up 629  and saw 630  behind him 631  a ram caught in the bushes by its horns. So he 632  went over and got the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place “The Lord provides.” 633  It is said to this day, 634  “In the mountain of the Lord provision will be made.” 635 

22:15 The Lord’s angel called to Abraham a second time from heaven 22:16 and said, “‘I solemnly swear by my own name,’ 636  decrees the Lord, 637  ‘that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 22:17 I will indeed bless you, 638  and I will greatly multiply 639  your descendants 640  so that they will be as countless as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession 641  of the strongholds 642  of their enemies. 22:18 Because you have obeyed me, 643  all the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another 644  using the name of your descendants.’”

22:19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set out together 645  for Beer Sheba where Abraham stayed. 646 

22:20 After these things Abraham was told, “Milcah 647  also has borne children to your brother Nahor – 22:21 Uz the firstborn, his brother Buz, Kemuel (the father of Aram), 648  22:22 Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 22:23 (Now 649  Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.) These were the eight sons Milcah bore to Abraham’s brother Nahor. 22:24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore him children – Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

1 sn The Lord called Abram while he was in Ur (see Gen 15:7; Acts 7:2); but the sequence here makes it look like it was after the family left to migrate to Canaan (11:31-32). Genesis records the call of Abram at this place in the narrative because it is the formal beginning of the account of Abram. The record of Terah was brought to its end before this beginning.

2 tn The call of Abram begins with an imperative לֶךְ־לְךָ (lekh-lÿkha, “go out”) followed by three cohortatives (v. 2a) indicating purpose or consequence (“that I may” or “then I will”). If Abram leaves, then God will do these three things. The second imperative (v. 2b, literally “and be a blessing”) is subordinated to the preceding cohortatives and indicates God’s ultimate purpose in calling and blessing Abram. On the syntactical structure of vv. 1-2 see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 37. For a similar sequence of volitive forms see Gen 45:18.

sn It would be hard to overestimate the value of this call and this divine plan for the theology of the Bible. Here begins God’s plan to bring redemption to the world. The promises to Abram will be turned into a covenant in Gen 15 and 22 (here it is a call with conditional promises) and will then lead through the Bible to the work of the Messiah.

3 tn The initial command is the direct imperative (לֶךְ, lekh) from the verb הָלַךְ (halakh). It is followed by the lamed preposition with a pronominal suffix (לְךָ, lÿkha) emphasizing the subject of the imperative: “you leave.”

4 sn To the land that I will show you. The call of Abram illustrates the leading of the Lord. The command is to leave. The Lord’s word is very specific about what Abram is to leave (the three prepositional phrases narrow to his father’s household), but is not specific at all about where he is to go. God required faith, a point that Heb 11:8 notes.

5 tn The three first person verbs in v. 2a should be classified as cohortatives. The first two have pronominal suffixes, so the form itself does not indicate a cohortative. The third verb form is clearly cohortative.

6 sn I will bless you. The blessing of creation is now carried forward to the patriarch. In the garden God blessed Adam and Eve; in that blessing he gave them (1) a fruitful place, (2) endowed them with fertility to multiply, and (3) made them rulers over creation. That was all ruined at the fall. Now God begins to build his covenant people; in Gen 12-22 he promises to give Abram (1) a land flowing with milk and honey, (2) a great nation without number, and (3) kingship.

7 tn Or “I will make you famous.”

8 tn Heb “and be a blessing.” The verb form הְיֵה (hÿyeh) is the Qal imperative of the verb הָיָה (hayah). The vav (ו) with the imperative after the cohortatives indicates purpose or consequence. What does it mean for Abram to “be a blessing”? Will he be a channel or source of blessing for others, or a prime example of divine blessing? A similar statement occurs in Zech 8:13, where God assures his people, “You will be a blessing,” in contrast to the past when they “were a curse.” Certainly “curse” here does not refer to Israel being a source of a curse, but rather to the fact that they became a curse-word or byword among the nations, who regarded them as the epitome of an accursed people (see 2 Kgs 22:19; Jer 42:18; 44:8, 12, 22). Therefore the statement “be a blessing” seems to refer to Israel being transformed into a prime example of a blessed people, whose name will be used in blessing formulae, rather than in curses. If the statement “be a blessing” is understood in the same way in Gen 12:2, then it means that God would so bless Abram that other nations would hear of his fame and hold him up as a paradigm of divine blessing in their blessing formulae.

9 tn The Piel cohortative has as its object a Piel participle, masculine plural. Since the Lord binds himself to Abram by covenant, those who enrich Abram in any way share in the blessings.

10 tn In this part of God’s statement there are two significant changes that often go unnoticed. First, the parallel and contrasting participle מְקַלֶּלְךָ (mÿqallelkha) is now singular and not plural. All the versions and a few Masoretic mss read the plural. But if it had been plural, there would be no reason to change it to the singular and alter the parallelism. On the other hand, if it was indeed singular, it is easy to see why the versions would change it to match the first participle. The MT preserves the original reading: “the one who treats you lightly.” The point would be a contrast with the lavish way that God desires to bless many. The second change is in the vocabulary. The English usually says, “I will curse those who curse you.” But there are two different words for curse here. The first is קָלַל (qalal), which means “to be light” in the Qal, and in the Piel “to treat lightly, to treat with contempt, to curse.” The second verb is אָרַר (’arar), which means “to banish, to remove from the blessing.” The point is simple: Whoever treats Abram and the covenant with contempt as worthless God will banish from the blessing. It is important also to note that the verb is not a cohortative, but a simple imperfect. Since God is binding himself to Abram, this would then be an obligatory imperfect: “but the one who treats you with contempt I must curse.”

11 tn Theoretically the Niphal can be translated either as passive or reflexive/reciprocal. (The Niphal of “bless” is only used in formulations of the Abrahamic covenant. See Gen 12:2; 18:18; 28:14.) Traditionally the verb is taken as passive here, as if Abram were going to be a channel or source of blessing. But in later formulations of the Abrahamic covenant (see Gen 22:18; 26:4) the Hitpael replaces this Niphal form, suggesting a translation “will bless [i.e., “pronounce blessings on”] themselves [or “one another”].” The Hitpael of “bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 12:2 predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11.

12 sn So Abram left. This is the report of Abram’s obedience to God’s command (see v. 1).

13 tn Heb “just as the Lord said to him.”

14 tn The disjunctive clause (note the pattern conjunction + subject + implied “to be” verb) is parenthetical, telling the age of Abram when he left Haran.

15 tn Heb “was the son of five years and seventy year[s].”

sn Terah was 70 years old when he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen 11:26). Terah was 205 when he died in Haran (11:32). Abram left Haran at the age of 75 after his father died. Abram was born when Terah was 130. Abram was not the firstborn – he is placed first in the list of three because of his importance. The same is true of the list in Gen 10:1 (Shem, Ham and Japheth). Ham was the youngest son (9:24). Japheth was the older brother of Shem (10:21), so the birth order of Noah’s sons was Japheth, Shem, and Ham.

16 tn Heb “the son of his brother.”

17 tn For the semantic nuance “acquire [property]” for the verb עָשָׂה (’asah), see BDB 795 s.v. עָשָׂה.

18 tn Heb “went out to go.”

19 tn Or “terebinth.”

20 sn The Hebrew word Moreh (מוֹרֶה, moreh) means “teacher.” It may well be that the place of this great oak tree was a Canaanite shrine where instruction took place.

21 tn Heb “as far as the place of Shechem, as far as the oak of Moreh.”

22 tn The disjunctive clause gives important information parenthetical in nature – the promised land was occupied by Canaanites.

23 tn The same Hebrew term זֶרַע (zera’) may mean “seed” (for planting), “offspring” (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or “descendants” depending on the context.

24 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been supplied in the translation for clarification.

25 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

26 tn Heb “he called in the name of the Lord.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.

27 tn The Hebrew verb נָסַע (nasa’) means “to journey”; more specifically it means to pull up the tent and move to another place. The construction here uses the preterite of this verb with its infinitive absolute to stress the activity of traveling. But it also adds the infinitive absolute of הָלַךְ (halakh) to stress that the traveling was continually going on. Thus “Abram journeyed, going and journeying” becomes “Abram continually journeyed by stages.”

28 tn Or “the South [country].”

sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.

29 sn Abram went down to Egypt. The Abrahamic narrative foreshadows some of the events in the life of the nation of Israel. This sojourn in Egypt is typological of Israel’s bondage there. In both stories there is a famine that forces the family to Egypt, death is a danger to the males while the females are preserved alive, great plagues bring about their departure, there is a summons to stand before Pharaoh, and there is a return to the land of Canaan with great wealth.

30 tn The Hebrew verb גּוּר (gur), traditionally rendered “to sojourn,” means “to stay for a while.” The “stranger” (traditionally “sojourner”) is one who is a temporary resident, a visitor, one who is passing through. Abram had no intention of settling down in Egypt or owning property. He was only there to wait out the famine.

31 tn Heb “heavy in the land.” The words “in the land,” which also occur at the beginning of the verse in the Hebrew text, have not been repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

32 tn Heb “drew near to enter.”

33 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) is deictic here; it draws attention to the following fact.

34 tn Heb “a woman beautiful of appearance are you.”

35 tn The Piel of the verb חָיָה (khayah, “to live”) means “to keep alive, to preserve alive,” and in some places “to make alive.” See D. Marcus, “The Verb ‘to Live’ in Ugaritic,” JSS 17 (1972): 76-82.

36 tn Heb “say.”

37 sn Tell them you are my sister. Abram’s motives may not be as selfish as they appear. He is aware of the danger to the family. His method of dealing with it is deception with a half truth, for Sarai really was his sister – but the Egyptians would not know that. Abram presumably thought that there would be negotiations for a marriage by anyone interested (as Laban does later for his sister Rebekah), giving him time to react. But the plan backfires because Pharaoh does not take the time to negotiate. There is a good deal of literature on the wife-sister issue. See (among others) E. A. Speiser, “The Wife-Sister Motif in the Patriarchal Narratives,” Oriental and Biblical Studies, 62-81; C. J. Mullo-Weir, “The Alleged Hurrian Wife-Sister Motif in Genesis,” GOT 22 (1967-1970): 14-25.

38 tn The Hebrew verb translated “go well” can encompass a whole range of favorable treatment, but the following clause indicates it means here that Abram’s life will be spared.

39 tn Heb “and my life will live.”

40 tn Heb “and the woman.” The word also means “wife”; the Hebrew article can express the possessive pronoun (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §86). Here the proper name (Abram) has been used in the translation instead of a possessive pronoun (“his”) for clarity.

41 tn The Hebrew term וַתֻּקַּח (vattuqqakh, “was taken”) is a rare verbal form, an old Qal passive preterite from the verb “to take.” It is pointed as a Hophal would be by the Masoretes, but does not have a Hophal meaning.

42 tn The Hebrew text simply has “house of Pharaoh.” The word “house” refers to the household in general, more specifically to the royal harem.

43 sn He did treat Abram well. The construction of the parenthetical disjunctive clause, beginning with the conjunction on the prepositional phrase, draws attention to the irony of the story. Abram wanted Sarai to lie “so that it would go well” with him. Though he lost Sarai to Pharaoh, it did go well for him – he received a lavish bride price. See also G. W. Coats, “Despoiling the Egyptians,” VT 18 (1968): 450-57.

44 tn Heb “and there was to him.”

45 tn The cognate accusative adds emphasis to the verbal sentence: “he plagued with great plagues,” meaning the Lord inflicted numerous plagues, probably diseases (see Exod 15:26). The adjective “great” emphasizes that the plagues were severe and overwhelming.

46 tn The demonstrative pronoun translated “this” adds emphasis: “What in the world have you done to me?” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).

47 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive here expresses consequence.

48 tn Heb “to me for a wife.”

49 tn Heb “Look, your wife!”

50 tn Heb “take and go.”

51 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

52 tn Or “the South [country]” (also in v. 3).

sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.

53 tn Heb “And Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all which was his, and Lot with him, to the Negev.”

54 tn Heb “heavy.”

55 tn This parenthetical clause, introduced by the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated “now”), provides information necessary to the point of the story.

56 tn Heb “on his journeys”; the verb and noun combination means to pick up the tents and move from camp to camp.

57 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

58 tn The words “he returned” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

59 tn Heb “where his tent had been.”

60 tn Heb “to the place of the altar which he had made there in the beginning” (cf. Gen 12:7-8).

61 tn Heb “he called in the name of the Lord.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 12:8; 21:33; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.

62 tn Heb “was going.”

63 tn The Hebrew idiom is “to Lot…there was,” the preposition here expressing possession.

64 tn The potential nuance for the perfect tense is necessary here, and supported by the parallel clause that actually uses “to be able.”

65 tn The infinitive construct לָשֶׁבֶת (lashevet, from יָשַׁב, yashav) explains what it was that the land could not support: “the land could not support them to live side by side.” See further J. C. de Moor, “Lexical Remarks Concerning Yahad and Yahdaw,” VT 7 (1957): 350-55.

66 tn The same infinitive occurs here, serving as the object of the verb.

67 tn The Hebrew term רִיב (riv) means “strife, conflict, quarreling.” In later texts it has the meaning of “legal controversy, dispute.” See B. Gemser, “The rîb – or Controversy – Pattern in Hebrew Mentality,” Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East [VTSup], 120-37.

68 sn Since the quarreling was between the herdsmen, the dispute was no doubt over water and vegetation for the animals.

69 tn This parenthetical clause, introduced with the vav (ו) disjunctive (translated “now”), again provides critical information. It tells in part why the land cannot sustain these two bedouins, and it also hints of the danger of weakening the family by inner strife.

70 tn Heb “men, brothers [are] we.” Here “brothers” describes the closeness of the relationship, but could be misunderstood if taken literally, since Abram was Lot’s uncle.

71 tn The words “you go” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons both times in this verse.

72 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes and saw.” The expression draws attention to the act of looking, indicating that Lot took a good look. It also calls attention to the importance of what was seen.

73 tn Or “plain”; Heb “circle.”

74 tn The words “he noticed” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

75 sn Obliterated. The use of the term “destroy” (שַׁחֵת, shakhet) is reminiscent of the Noahic flood (Gen 6:13). Both at the flood and in Sodom the place was obliterated by catastrophe and only one family survived (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 2:178).

76 tn This short temporal clause (preposition + Piel infinitive construct + subjective genitive + direct object) is strategically placed in the middle of the lavish descriptions to sound an ominous note. The entire clause is parenthetical in nature. Most English translations place the clause at the end of v. 10 for stylistic reasons.

77 sn The narrative places emphasis on what Lot saw so that the reader can appreciate how it aroused his desire for the best land. It makes allusion to the garden of the Lord and to the land of Egypt for comparison. Just as the tree in the garden of Eden had awakened Eve’s desire, so the fertile valley attracted Lot. And just as certain memories of Egypt would cause the Israelites to want to turn back and abandon the trek to the promised land, so Lot headed for the good life.

78 tn Heb “Lot traveled.” The proper name has not been repeated in the translation at this point for stylistic reasons.

79 tn Heb “a man from upon his brother.”

sn Separated from each other. For a discussion of the significance of this event, see L. R. Helyer, “The Separation of Abram and Lot: Its Significance in the Patriarchal Narratives,” JSOT 26 (1983): 77-88.

80 tn Or “the cities of the plain”; Heb “[the cities of] the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

81 tn Here is another significant parenthetical clause in the story, signaled by the vav (וו) disjunctive (translated “now”) on the noun at the beginning of the clause.

82 tn Heb “men.” However, this is generic in sense; it is unlikely that only the male residents of Sodom were sinners.

83 tn Heb “wicked and sinners against the Lord exceedingly.” The description of the sinfulness of the Sodomites is very emphatic. First, two nouns are used to form a hendiadys: “wicked and sinners” means “wicked sinners,” the first word becoming adjectival. The text is saying these were no ordinary sinners; they were wicked sinners, the type that cause pain for others. Then to this phrase is added “against the Lord,” stressing their violation of the laws of heaven and their culpability. Finally, to this is added מְאֹד (mÿod, “exceedingly,” translated here as “extremely”).

84 tn Heb “and the Lord said to Abram after Lot separated himself from with him.” The disjunctive clause at the beginning of the verse signals a new scene.

85 tn Heb “lift up your eyes and see.”

sn Look. Earlier Lot “looked up” (v. 10), but here Abram is told by God to do so. The repetition of the expression (Heb “lift up the eyes”) here underscores how the Lord will have the last word and actually do for Abram what Abram did for Lot – give him the land. It seems to be one of the ways that God rewards faith.

86 tn Heb “for all the land which you see to you I will give it and to your descendants.”

87 tn The translation “can be counted” (potential imperfect) is suggested by the use of יוּכַל (yukhal, “is able”) in the preceding clause.

88 tn The connective “and” is not present in the Hebrew text; it has been supplied for purposes of English style.

89 tn The Hitpael form הִתְהַלֵּךְ (hithallekh) means “to walk about”; it also can carry the ideas of moving about, traversing, going back and forth, or living in an area. It here has the connotation of traversing the land to survey it, to look it over.

90 tn Heb “the land to its length and to its breadth.” This phrase has not been included in the translation because it is somewhat redundant (see the note on the word “throughout” in this verse).

91 tn Heb “he came and lived.”

92 tn Or “terebinths.”

93 tn The sentence begins with the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi) followed by “in the days of.”

94 sn Shinar (also in v. 9) is the region of Babylonia.

95 tn Or “king of Goyim.” The Hebrew term גּוֹיִם (goyim) means “nations,” but a number of modern translations merely transliterate the Hebrew (cf. NEB “Goyim”; NIV, NRSV “Goiim”).

96 tn Heb “made war.”

sn Went to war. The conflict here reflects international warfare in the Early and Middle Bronze periods. The countries operated with overlords and vassals. Kings ruled over city states, or sometimes a number of city states (i.e., nations). Due to their treaties, when one went to war, those confederate with him joined him in battle. It appears here that it is Kedorlaomer’s war, because the western city states have rebelled against him (meaning they did not send products as tribute to keep him from invading them).

97 sn On the geographical background of vv. 1-2 see J. P. Harland, “Sodom and Gomorrah,” The Biblical Archaeologist Reader, 1:41-75; and D. N. Freedman, “The Real Story of the Ebla Tablets, Ebla and the Cities of the Plain,” BA 41 (1978): 143-64.

98 tn Heb “all these,” referring only to the last five kings named. The referent has been specified as “these last five kings” in the translation for clarity.

99 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to join together; to unite; to be allied.” It stresses close associations, especially of friendships, marriages, or treaties.

100 sn The Salt Sea is the older name for the Dead Sea.

101 tn The sentence simply begins with “twelve years”; it serves as an adverbial accusative giving the duration of their bondage.

102 tn This is another adverbial accusative of time.

103 sn The story serves as a foreshadowing of the plight of the kingdom of Israel later. Eastern powers came and forced the western kingdoms into submission. Each year, then, they would send tribute east – to keep them away. Here, in the thirteenth year, they refused to send the tribute (just as later Hezekiah rebelled against Assyria). And so in the fourteenth year the eastern powers came to put them down again. This account from Abram’s life taught future generations that God can give victory over such threats – that people did not have to live in servitude to tyrants from the east.

104 tn The Hebrew verb נָכָה (nakhah) means “to attack, to strike, to smite.” In this context it appears that the strike was successful, and so a translation of “defeated” is preferable.

105 sn The line of attack ran down the eastern side of the Jordan Valley into the desert, and then turned and came up the valley to the cities of the plain.

106 tn Heb “they returned and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh).” The two verbs together form a verbal hendiadys, the first serving as the adverb: “they returned and came” means “they came again.” Most English translations do not treat this as a hendiadys, but translate “they turned back” or something similar. Since in the context, however, “came again to” does not simply refer to travel but an assault against the place, the present translation expresses this as “attacked…again.”

107 tn Heb “against.”

108 tn Or “Goyim.” See the note on the word “nations” in 14:1.

109 tn The Hebrew text has simply “against.” The word “fought” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

110 tn Heb “Now the Valley of Siddim [was] pits, pits of tar.” This parenthetical disjunctive clause emphasizes the abundance of tar pits in the area through repetition of the noun “pits.”

sn The word for “tar” (or “bitumen”) occurs earlier in the story of the building of the tower in Babylon (see Gen 11:3).

111 tn Or “they were defeated there.” After a verb of motion the Hebrew particle שָׁם (sham) with the directional heh (שָׁמָּה, shammah) can mean “into it, therein” (BDB 1027 s.v. שָׁם).

112 tn Heb “the rest.”

113 sn The reference to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah must mean the kings along with their armies. Most of them were defeated in the valley, but some of them escaped to the hills.

114 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the four victorious kings, see v. 9) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

115 tn Heb “Lot the son of his brother.”

116 tn Heb “and.”

117 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

118 tn This disjunctive clause is circumstantial/causal, explaining that Lot was captured because he was living in Sodom at the time.

119 tn Heb “the fugitive.” The article carries a generic force or indicates that this fugitive is definite in the mind of the speaker.

120 sn E. A. Speiser (Genesis [AB], 103) suggests that part of this chapter came from an outside source since it refers to Abram the Hebrew. That is not impossible, given that the narrator likely utilized traditions and genealogies that had been collected and transmitted over the years. The meaning of the word “Hebrew” has proved elusive. It may be related to the verb “to cross over,” perhaps meaning “immigrant.” Or it might be derived from the name of Abram’s ancestor Eber (see Gen 11:14-16).

121 tn Or “terebinths.”

122 tn Or “a brother”; or “a relative”; or perhaps “an ally.”

123 tn Heb “possessors of a treaty with.” Since it is likely that the qualifying statement refers to all three (Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner) the words “all these” have been supplied in the translation to make this clear.

124 tn This parenthetical disjunctive clause explains how Abram came to be living in their territory, but it also explains why they must go to war with Abram.

125 tn Heb “his brother,” by extension, “relative.” Here and in v. 16 the more specific term “nephew” has been used in the translation for clarity. Lot was the son of Haran, Abram’s brother (Gen 11:27).

126 tn The verb וַיָּרֶק (vayyareq) is a rare form, probably related to the word רֵיק (req, “to be empty”). If so, it would be a very figurative use: “he emptied out” (or perhaps “unsheathed”) his men. The LXX has “mustered” (cf. NEB). E. A. Speiser (Genesis [AB], 103-4) suggests reading with the Samaritan Pentateuch a verb diq, cognate with Akkadian deku, “to mobilize” troops. If this view is accepted, one must assume that a confusion of the Hebrew letters ד (dalet) and ר (resh) led to the error in the traditional Hebrew text. These two letters are easily confused in all phases of ancient Hebrew script development. The present translation is based on this view.

127 tn The words “the invaders” have been supplied in the translation for clarification.

128 sn The use of the name Dan reflects a later perspective. The Danites did not migrate to this northern territory until centuries later (see Judg 18:29). Furthermore Dan was not even born until much later. By inserting this name a scribe has clarified the location of the region.

129 tn The Hebrew text simply has “night” as an adverbial accusative.

130 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

131 tn Heb “he divided himself…he and his servants.”

132 tn Heb “left.” Directions in ancient Israel were given in relation to the east rather than the north.

133 tn The word “stolen” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

134 tn The phrase “the rest of “ has been supplied in the translation for clarification.

135 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

136 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

137 sn The King’s Valley is possibly a reference to what came to be known later as the Kidron Valley.

138 sn Salem is traditionally identified as the Jebusite stronghold of old Jerusalem. Accordingly, there has been much speculation about its king. Though some have identified him with the preincarnate Christ or with Noah’s son Shem, it is far more likely that Melchizedek was a Canaanite royal priest whom God used to renew the promise of the blessing to Abram, perhaps because Abram considered Melchizedek his spiritual superior. But Melchizedek remains an enigma. In a book filled with genealogical records he appears on the scene without a genealogy and then disappears from the narrative. In Psalm 110 the Lord declares that the Davidic king is a royal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.

139 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause significantly identifies Melchizedek as a priest as well as a king.

sn It is his royal priestly status that makes Melchizedek a type of Christ: He was identified with Jerusalem, superior to the ancestor of Israel, and both a king and a priest. Unlike the normal Canaanites, this man served “God Most High” (אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, ’elelyon) – one sovereign God, who was the creator of all the universe. Abram had in him a spiritual brother.

140 tn The preposition לְ (lamed) introduces the agent after the passive participle.

141 tn Some translate “possessor of heaven and earth” (cf. NASB). But cognate evidence from Ugaritic indicates that there were two homonymic roots ָקנָה (qanah), one meaning “to create” (as in Gen 4:1) and the other “to obtain, to acquire, to possess.” While “possessor” would fit here, “creator” is the more likely due to the collocation with “heaven and earth.”

142 tn The terms translated “heaven” and “earth” are both objective genitives after the participle in construct.

143 tn Heb “blessed be.” For God to be “blessed” means that is praised. His reputation is enriched in the world as his name is praised.

144 sn Who delivered. The Hebrew verb מִגֵּן (miggen, “delivered”) foreshadows the statement by God to Abram in Gen 15:1, “I am your shield” (מָגֵן, magen). Melchizedek provided a theological interpretation of Abram’s military victory.

145 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

146 tn Abram takes an oath, raising his hand as a solemn gesture. The translation understands the perfect tense as having an instantaneous nuance: “Here and now I raise my hand.”

147 tn The words “and vow” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarification.

148 tn The oath formula is elliptical, reading simply: “…if I take.” It is as if Abram says, “[May the Lord deal with me] if I take,” meaning, “I will surely not take.” The positive oath would add the negative adverb and be the reverse: “[God will deal with me] if I do not take,” meaning, “I certainly will.”

149 tn The Hebrew text adds the independent pronoun (“I”) to the verb form for emphasis.

150 tn The words “I will take nothing” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

151 tn Heb “except only what the young men have eaten.”

152 sn The noun “shield” recalls the words of Melchizedek in 14:20. If God is the shield, then God will deliver. Abram need not fear reprisals from those he has fought.

153 tn Heb “your reward [in] great abundance.” When the phrase הַרְבּה מְאֹדֵ (harbeh mÿod) follows a noun it invariably modifies the noun and carries the nuance “very great” or “in great abundance.” (See its use in Gen 41:49; Deut 3:5; Josh 22:8; 2 Sam 8:8; 12:2; 1 Kgs 4:29; 10:10-11; 2 Chr 14:13; 32:27; Jer 40:12.) Here the noun “reward” is in apposition to “shield” and refers by metonymy to God as the source of the reward. Some translate here “your reward will be very great” (cf. NASB, NRSV), taking the statement as an independent clause and understanding the Hiphil infinitive absolute as a substitute for a finite verb. However, the construction הַרְבּה מְאֹדֵ is never used this way elsewhere, where it either modifies a noun (see the texts listed above) or serves as an adverb in relation to a finite verb (see Josh 13:1; 1 Sam 26:21; 2 Sam 12:30; 2 Kgs 21:16; 1 Chr 20:2; Neh 2:2).

sn Abram has just rejected all the spoils of war, and the Lord promises to reward him in great abundance. In walking by faith and living with integrity he cannot lose.

154 tn The Hebrew text has אֲדֹנָי יֱהוִה (’adonay yehvih, “Master, Lord”). Since the tetragrammaton (YHWH) usually is pointed with the vowels for the Hebrew word אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “master”) to avoid pronouncing the divine name, that would lead in this place to a repetition of אֲדֹנָי. So the tetragrammaton is here pointed with the vowels for the word אֱלֹהִים (’elohim, “God”) instead. That would produce the reading of the Hebrew as “Master, God” in the Jewish textual tradition. But the presence of “Master” before the holy name is rather compelling evidence that the original would have been “Master, Lord,” which is rendered here “sovereign Lord.”

155 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive at the beginning of the clause is circumstantial, expressing the cause or reason.

156 tn Heb “I am going.”

157 tn Heb “the son of the acquisition of my house.”

sn For the custom of designating a member of the household as heir, see C. H. Gordon, “Biblical Customs and the Nuzu Tablets,” Biblical Archaeologist Reader, 2:21-33.

158 tn The pronoun is anaphoric here, equivalent to the verb “to be” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 23, §115).

159 sn The sentence in the Hebrew text employs a very effective wordplay on the name Damascus: “The son of the acquisition (בֶּן־מֶשֶׁק, ben-mesheq) of my house is Eliezer of Damascus (דַּמֶּשֶׁק, dammesheq).” The words are not the same; they have different sibilants. But the sound play gives the impression that “in the nomen is the omen.” Eliezer the Damascene will be Abram’s heir if Abram dies childless because “Damascus” seems to mean that. See M. F. Unger, “Some Comments on the Text of Genesis 15:2-3,” JBL 72 (1953): 49-50; H. L. Ginsberg, “Abram’s ‘Damascene’ Steward,” BASOR 200 (1970): 31-32.

160 tn Heb “And Abram said.”

161 tn The construction uses הֵן (hen) to introduce the foundational clause (“since…”), and וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh) to introduce the main clause (“then look…”).

162 tn Heb “is inheriting me.”

163 tn The disjunctive draws attention to God’s response and the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, translated “look”) mirrors Abram’s statement in v. 3 and highlights the fact that God responded to Abram.

164 tn The subject of the verb is the demonstrative pronoun, which can be translated “this one” or “this man.” That the Lord does not mention him by name is significant; often in ancient times the use of the name would bring legitimacy to inheritance and adoption cases.

165 tn Heb “inherit you.”

166 tn The Hebrew כִּי־אִם (ki-im) forms a very strong adversative.

167 tn Heb “he who”; the implied referent (Abram’s unborn son who will be his heir) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

168 tn The pronoun could also be an emphatic subject: “whoever comes out of your body, he will inherit you.”

169 tn Heb “will inherit you.”

170 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

171 tn The nonconsecutive vav (ו) is on a perfect verbal form. If the composer of the narrative had wanted to show simple sequence, he would have used the vav consecutive with the preterite. The perfect with vav conjunctive (where one expects the preterite with vav consecutive) in narrative contexts can have a variety of discourse functions, but here it probably serves to highlight Abram’s response to God’s promise. For a detailed discussion of the vav + perfect construction in Hebrew narrative, see R. Longacre, “Weqatal Forms in Biblical Hebrew Prose: A Discourse-modular Approach,” Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics, 50-98. The Hebrew verb אָמַן (’aman) means “to confirm, to support” in the Qal verbal stem. Its derivative nouns refer to something or someone that/who provides support, such as a “pillar,” “nurse,” or “guardian, trustee.” In the Niphal stem it comes to mean “to be faithful, to be reliable, to be dependable,” or “to be firm, to be sure.” In the Hiphil, the form used here, it takes on a declarative sense: “to consider something reliable [or “dependable”].” Abram regarded the God who made this promise as reliable and fully capable of making it a reality.

172 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

173 tn Heb “and he reckoned it to him.” The third feminine singular pronominal suffix refers back to Abram’s act of faith, mentioned in the preceding clause. On third feminine singular pronouns referring back to verbal ideas see GKC 440-41 §135.p. Some propose taking the suffix as proleptic, anticipating the following feminine noun (“righteousness”). In this case one might translate: “and he reckoned it to him – [namely] righteousness.” See O. P. Robertson, “Genesis 15:6: A New Covenant Exposition of an Old Covenant Text,” WTJ 42 (1980): 259-89.

174 tn Or “righteousness”; or “evidence of steadfast commitment.” The noun is an adverbial accusative. The verb translated “considered” (Heb “reckoned”) also appears with צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah, “righteousness”) in Ps 106:31. Alluding to the events recorded in Numbers 25, the psalmist notes that Phinehas’ actions were “credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come.” Reference is made to the unconditional, eternal covenant with which God rewarded Phinehas’ loyalty (Num 25:12-13). So צְדָקָה seems to carry by metonymy the meaning “loyal, rewardable behavior” here, a nuance that fits nicely in Genesis 15, where God responds to Abram’s faith by formally ratifying his promise to give Abram and his descendants the land. (See R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 40.) In Phoenician and Old Aramaic inscriptions cognate nouns glossed as “correct, justifiable conduct” sometimes carry this same semantic nuance (DNWSI 2:962).

sn This episode is basic to the NT teaching of Paul on justification (Romans 4). Paul weaves this passage and Psalm 32 together, for both use this word. Paul explains that for the one who believes in the Lord, like Abram, God credits him with righteousness but does not credit his sins against him because he is forgiven. Justification does not mean that the believer is righteous; it means that God credits him with righteousness, so that in the records of heaven (as it were) he is declared righteous. See M. G. Kline, “Abram’s Amen,” WTJ 31 (1968): 1-11.

175 tn Heb “And he said.”

176 sn I am the Lord. The Lord initiates the covenant-making ceremony with a declaration of who he is and what he has done for Abram. The same form appears at the beginning of the covenant made at Sinai (see Exod 20:1).

177 sn The phrase of the Chaldeans is a later editorial clarification for the readers, designating the location of Ur. From all evidence there would have been no Chaldeans in existence at this early date; they are known in the time of the neo-Babylonian empire in the first millennium b.c.

178 tn Here the vav carries adversative force and is translated “but.”

179 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

180 tn See note on the phrase “sovereign Lord” in 15:2.

181 tn Or “how.”

182 tn Heb “He”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

183 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abram) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

184 tn Heb “in the middle.”

185 tn Heb “to meet its neighbor.”

sn For discussion of this ritual see G. F. Hasel, “The Meaning of the Animal Rite in Genesis 15,” JSOT 19 (1981): 61-78.

186 tn Heb “a deep sleep fell on Abram.”

187 tn Heb “and look, terror, a great darkness was falling on him.”

188 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic, with the Qal infinitive absolute followed by the imperfect from יָדַע (yada’, “know”). The imperfect here has an obligatory or imperatival force.

189 tn The Hebrew word גֵּר (ger, “sojourner, stranger”) is related to the verb גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to stay for awhile”). Abram’s descendants will stay in a land as resident aliens without rights of citizenship.

190 tn Heb “in a land not theirs.”

191 tn Heb “and they will serve them and they will oppress them.” The verb עִנּוּ, (’innu, a Piel form from עָנָה, ’anah, “to afflict, to oppress, to treat harshly”), is used in Exod 1:11 to describe the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt.

192 tn The participle דָּן (dan, from דִּין, din) is used here for the future: “I am judging” = “I will surely judge.” The judgment in this case will be condemnation and punishment. The translation “execute judgment on” implies that the judgment will certainly be carried out.

193 tn The vav with the pronoun before the verb calls special attention to the subject in contrast to the preceding subject.

194 sn You will go to your ancestors. This is a euphemistic expression for death.

195 tn Heb “in a good old age.”

196 sn The term generation is being used here in its widest sense to refer to a full life span. When the chronological factors are considered and the genealogies tabulated, there are four hundred years of bondage. This suggests that in this context a generation is equivalent to one hundred years.

197 tn Heb “they”; the referent (“your descendants”) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

198 tn Heb “is not yet complete.”

sn The sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit. The justice of God is apparent. He will wait until the Amorites are fully deserving of judgment before he annihilates them and gives the land to Israel.

199 sn A smoking pot with a flaming torch. These same implements were used in Mesopotamian rituals designed to ward off evil (see E. A. Speiser, Genesis [AB], 113-14).

200 tn Heb “these pieces.”

201 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”

202 tn The perfect verbal form is understood as instantaneous (“I here and now give”). Another option is to understand it as rhetorical, indicating certitude (“I have given” meaning it is as good as done, i.e., “I will surely give”).

sn To your descendants I give this land. The Lord here unconditionally promises that Abram’s descendants will possess the land, but he does not yet ratify his earlier promises to give Abram a multitude of descendants and eternal possession of the land. The fulfillment of those aspects of the promise remain conditional (see Gen 17:1-8) and are ratified after Abraham offers up his son Isaac (see Gen 22:1-19). For a fuller discussion see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 35-54.

203 sn The river of Egypt is a wadi (a seasonal stream) on the northeastern border of Egypt, not to the River Nile.

204 tn The words “the land” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

205 tn Each of the names in the list has the Hebrew definite article, which is used here generically for the class of people identified.

206 tn The disjunctive clause signals the beginning of a new episode in the story.

207 sn On the cultural background of the story of Sarai’s childlessness see J. Van Seters, “The Problem of Childlessness in Near Eastern Law and the Patriarchs of Israel,” JBL 87 (1968): 401-8.

208 tn The Hebrew term שִׁפְחָה (shifkhah, translated “servant” here and in vv. 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8) refers to a menial female servant.

209 sn The passage records the birth of Ishmael to Abram through an Egyptian woman. The story illustrates the limits of Abram’s faith as he tries to obtain a son through social custom. The barrenness of Sarai poses a challenge to Abram’s faith, just as the famine did in chap. 12. As in chap. 12, an Egyptian figures prominently. (Perhaps Hagar was obtained as a slave during Abram’s stay in Egypt.)

210 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the imperative to follow.

211 tn Heb “enter to.” The expression is a euphemism for sexual relations (also in v. 4).

sn The Hebrew expression translated have sexual relations with does not convey the intimacy of other expressions, such as “so and so knew his wife.” Sarai simply sees this as the social custom of having a child through a surrogate. For further discussion see C. F. Fensham, “The Son of a Handmaid in Northwest Semitic,” VT 19 (1969): 312-21.

212 tn Heb “perhaps I will be built from her.” Sarai hopes to have a family established through this surrogate mother.

213 tn Heb “listened to the voice of,” which is an idiom meaning “obeyed.”

sn Abram did what Sarai told him. This expression was first used in Gen 3:17 of Adam’s obeying his wife. In both cases the text highlights weak faith and how it jeopardized the plan of God.

214 tn Heb “at the end of ten years, to live, Abram.” The prepositional phrase introduces the temporal clause, the infinitive construct serves as the verb, and the name “Abram” is the subject.

215 tn Heb “the Egyptian, her female servant.”

216 sn To be his wife. Hagar became a slave wife, not on equal standing with Sarai. However, if Hagar produced the heir, she would be the primary wife in the eyes of society. When this eventually happened, Hagar become insolent, prompting Sarai’s anger.

217 tn Heb “entered to.” See the note on the same expression in v. 2.

218 tn Or “she conceived” (also in v. 5)

219 tn Heb “and she saw that she was pregnant and her mistress was despised in her eyes.” The Hebrew verb קָלַל (qalal) means “to despise, to treat lightly, to treat with contempt.” In Hagar’s opinion Sarai had been demoted.

220 tn Heb “my wrong is because of you.”

221 tn Heb “I placed my female servant in your bosom.”

222 tn Heb “saw.”

223 tn Heb “I was despised in her eyes.” The passive verb has been translated as active for stylistic reasons. Sarai was made to feel supplanted and worthless by Hagar the servant girl.

224 tn Heb “me and you.”

sn May the Lord judge between you and me. Sarai blamed Abram for Hagar’s attitude, not the pregnancy. Here she expects to be vindicated by the Lord who will prove Abram responsible. A colloquial rendering might be, “God will get you for this.” It may mean that she thought Abram had encouraged the servant girl in her elevated status.

225 tn The clause is introduced with the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh), introducing a foundational clause for the coming imperative: “since…do.”

226 tn Heb “in your hand.”

227 tn Heb “what is good in your eyes.”

228 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Hagar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

229 tn In the Piel stem the verb עָנָה (’anah) means “to afflict, to oppress, to treat harshly, to mistreat.”

230 tn Heb “and she fled from her presence.” The referent of “her” (Sarai) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

231 tn Heb “the messenger of the Lord.” Some identify the angel of the Lord as the preincarnate Christ because in some texts the angel is identified with the Lord himself. However, it is more likely that the angel merely represents the Lord; he can speak for the Lord because he is sent with the Lord’s full authority. In some cases the angel is clearly distinct from the Lord (see Judg 6:11-23). It is not certain if the same angel is always in view. Though the proper name following the noun “angel” makes the construction definite, this may simply indicate that a definite angel sent from the Lord is referred to in any given context. It need not be the same angel on every occasion. Note the analogous expression “the servant of the Lord,” which refers to various individuals in the OT (see BDB 714 s.v. עֶבֶד).

232 tn Heb “And the angel of the Lord found her near the spring of water in the desert, near the spring on the way to Shur.”

233 tn Heb “from the presence of.”

234 tn The imperative וְהִתְעַנִּי (vÿhitanni) is the Hitpael of עָנָה (’anah, here translated “submit”), the same word used for Sarai’s harsh treatment of her. Hagar is instructed not only to submit to Sarai’s authority, but to whatever mistreatment that involves. God calls for Hagar to humble herself.

235 tn Heb “The Lord’s angel said, ‘I will greatly multiply your descendants….” The order of the clauses has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

236 tn Heb “cannot be numbered because of abundance.”

237 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) focuses on her immediate situation: “Here you are pregnant.”

238 tn The active participle refers here to something that is about to happen.

239 sn The name Ishmael consists of the imperfect or jussive form of the Hebrew verb with the theophoric element added as the subject. It means “God hears” or “may God hear.”

240 tn Heb “affliction,” which must refer here to Hagar’s painful groans of anguish.

sn This clause gives the explanation of the name Ishmael, using a wordplay. Ishmael’s name will be a reminder that “God hears” Hagar’s painful cries.

241 sn A wild donkey of a man. The prophecy is not an insult. The wild donkey lived a solitary existence in the desert away from society. Ishmael would be free-roaming, strong, and like a bedouin; he would enjoy the freedom his mother sought.

242 tn Heb “His hand will be against everyone.” The “hand” by metonymy represents strength. His free-roaming life style would put him in conflict with those who follow social conventions. There would not be open warfare, only friction because of his antagonism to their way of life.

243 tn Heb “And the hand of everyone will be against him.”

244 tn Heb “opposite, across from.” Ishmael would live on the edge of society (cf. NASB “to the east of”). Some take this as an idiom meaning “be at odds with” (cf. NRSV, NLT) or “live in hostility toward” (cf. NIV).

245 tn Heb “God of my seeing.” The pronominal suffix may be understood either as objective (“who sees me,” as in the translation) or subjective (“whom I see”).

246 tn Heb “after one who sees me.”

sn For a discussion of Hagar’s exclamation, see T. Booij, “Hagar’s Words in Genesis 16:13b,” VT 30 (1980): 1-7.

247 tn The verb does not have an expressed subject and so is rendered as passive in the translation.

248 sn The Hebrew name Beer Lahai Roi (בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי, bÿer lakhay roi) means “The well of the Living One who sees me.” The text suggests that God takes up the cause of those who are oppressed.

249 tn Heb “look.” The words “it is located” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

250 tn Heb “and Abram called the name of his son whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.”

sn Whom Abram named Ishmael. Hagar must have informed Abram of what the angel had told her. See the note on the name “Ishmael” in 16:11.

251 tn The disjunctive clause gives information that is parenthetical to the narrative.

252 tn Heb “the son of eighty-six years.”

253 tn The Hebrew text adds, “for Abram.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons; it is somewhat redundant given the three occurrences of Abram’s name in this and the previous verse.

254 tn Heb “the son of ninety-nine years.”

255 tn Heb “appeared to Abram and said to him.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) and the final phrase “to him” has been left untranslated for stylistic reasons.

256 tn The name אֵל שַׁדַּי (’el shadday, “El Shaddai”) has often been translated “God Almighty,” primarily because Jerome translated it omnipotens (“all powerful”) in the Latin Vulgate. There has been much debate over the meaning of the name. For discussion see W. F. Albright, “The Names Shaddai and Abram,” JBL 54 (1935): 173-210; R. Gordis, “The Biblical Root sdy-sd,” JTS 41 (1940): 34-43; and especially T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72. Shaddai/El Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world who grants, blesses, and judges. In the Book of Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Exod 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name are uncertain (see discussion below) its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. In Gen 17:1-8 he appeared to Abram, introduced himself as El Shaddai, and announced his intention to make the patriarch fruitful. In the role of El Shaddai God repeated these words (now elevated to the status of a decree) to Jacob (35:11). Earlier Isaac had pronounced a blessing on Jacob in which he asked El Shaddai to make Jacob fruitful (28:3). Jacob later prayed that his sons would be treated with mercy when they returned to Egypt with Benjamin (43:14). The fertility theme is not as apparent here, though one must remember that Jacob viewed Benjamin as the sole remaining son of the favored and once-barren Rachel (see 29:31; 30:22-24; 35:16-18). It is quite natural that he would appeal to El Shaddai to preserve Benjamin’s life, for it was El Shaddai’s miraculous power which made it possible for Rachel to give him sons in the first place. In 48:3 Jacob, prior to blessing Joseph’s sons, told him how El Shaddai appeared to him at Bethel (see Gen 28) and promised to make him fruitful. When blessing Joseph on his deathbed Jacob referred to Shaddai (we should probably read “El Shaddai,” along with a few Hebrew mss, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the LXX, and Syriac) as the one who provides abundant blessings, including “blessings of the breast and womb” (49:25). (The direct association of the name with “breasts” suggests the name might mean “the one of the breast” [i.e., the one who gives fertility], but the juxtaposition is probably better explained as wordplay. Note the wordplay involving the name and the root שָׁדַד, shadad, “destroy”] in Isa 13:6 and in Joel 1:15.) Outside Genesis the name Shaddai (minus the element “El” [“God”]) is normally used when God is viewed as the sovereign king who blesses/protects or curses/brings judgment. The name appears in the introduction to two of Balaam’s oracles (Num 24:4, 16) of blessing upon Israel. Naomi employs the name when accusing the Lord of treating her bitterly by taking the lives of her husband and sons (Ruth 1:20-21). In Ps 68:14; Isa 13:6; and Joel 1:15 Shaddai judges his enemies through warfare, while Ps 91:1 depicts him as the protector of his people. (In Ezek 1:24 and 10:5 the sound of the cherubs’ wings is compared to Shaddai’s powerful voice. The reference may be to the mighty divine warrior’s battle cry which accompanies his angry judgment.) Finally, the name occurs 31 times in the Book of Job. Job and his “friends” assume that Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world (11:7; 37:23a) who is the source of life (33:4b) and is responsible for maintaining justice (8:3; 34:10-12; 37:23b). He provides abundant blessings, including children (22:17-18; 29:4-6), but he can also discipline, punish, and destroy (5:17; 6:4; 21:20; 23:16). It is not surprising to see the name so often in this book, where the theme of God’s justice is primary and even called into question (24:1; 27:2). The most likely proposal is that the name means “God, the one of the mountain” (an Akkadian cognate means “mountain,” to which the Hebrew שַׁד, shad, “breast”] is probably related). For a discussion of proposed derivations see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 70-71. The name may originally have depicted God as the sovereign judge who, in Canaanite style, ruled from a sacred mountain. Isa 14:13 and Ezek 28:14, 16 associate such a mountain with God, while Ps 48:2 refers to Zion as “Zaphon,” the Canaanite Olympus from which the high god El ruled. (In Isa 14 the Canaanite god El may be in view. Note that Isaiah pictures pagan kings as taunting the king of Babylon, suggesting that pagan mythology may provide the background for the language and imagery.)

257 tn Or “Live out your life.” The Hebrew verb translated “walk” is the Hitpael; it means “to walk back and forth; to walk about; to live out one’s life.”

258 tn Or “in my presence.”

259 tn There are two imperatives here: “walk…and be blameless [or “perfect”].” The second imperative may be purely sequential (see the translation) or consequential: “walk before me and then you will be blameless.” How one interprets the sequence depends on the meaning of “walk before”: (1) If it simply refers in a neutral way to serving the Lord, then the second imperative is likely sequential. (2) But if it has a positive moral connotation (“serve me faithfully”), then the second imperative probably indicates purpose (or result). For other uses of the idiom see 1 Sam 2:30, 35 and 12:2 (where it occurs twice).

260 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative indicates consequence. If Abram is blameless, then the Lord will ratify the covenant. Earlier the Lord ratified part of his promise to Abram (see Gen 15:18-21), guaranteeing him that his descendants would live in the land. But the expanded form of the promise, which includes numerous descendants and eternal possession of the land, remains to be ratified. This expanded form of the promise is in view here (see vv. 2b, 4-8). See the note at Gen 15:18 and R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 35-54.

261 tn Heb “I will multiply you exceedingly, exceedingly.” The repetition is emphatic.

262 tn Heb “And Abram fell on his face.” This expression probably means that Abram sank to his knees and put his forehead to the ground, although it is possible that he completely prostrated himself. In either case the posture indicates humility and reverence.

263 tn Heb “God spoke to him, saying.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

264 tn Heb “I.”

265 tn Heb “is” (הִנֵּה, hinneh).

266 tn Heb “will your name be called.”

267 sn Your name will be Abraham. The renaming of Abram was a sign of confirmation to the patriarch. Every time the name was used it would be a reminder of God’s promise. “Abram” means “exalted father,” probably referring to Abram’s father Terah. The name looks to the past; Abram came from noble lineage. The name “Abraham” is a dialectical variant of the name Abram. But its significance is in the wordplay with אַב־הֲמוֹן (’av-hamon, “the father of a multitude,” which sounds like אַבְרָהָם, ’avraham, “Abraham”). The new name would be a reminder of God’s intention to make Abraham the father of a multitude. For a general discussion of renaming, see O. Eissfeldt, “Renaming in the Old Testament,” Words and Meanings, 70-83.

268 tn The perfect verbal form is used here in a rhetorical manner to emphasize God’s intention.

269 tn This verb starts a series of perfect verbal forms with vav (ו) consecutive to express God’s intentions.

270 tn Heb “exceedingly, exceedingly.” The repetition is emphatic.

271 tn Heb “and I will make you into nations, and kings will come out from you.”

272 tn The verb קוּם (qum, “to arise, to stand up”) in the Hiphil verbal stem means “to confirm, to give effect to, to carry out” (i.e., a covenant or oath; see BDB 878-79 s.v. קוּם).

273 tn Or “as an eternal.”

274 tn Heb “to be to you for God and to your descendants after you.”

275 tn The verbal root is גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to reside temporarily,” i.e., as a resident alien). It is the land in which Abram resides, but does not yet possess as his very own.

276 tn Or “as an eternal.”

277 tn The imperfect tense could be translated “you shall keep” as a binding command; but the obligatory nuance (“must”) captures the binding sense better.

278 tn Heb “my covenant.” The Hebrew word בְּרִית (bÿrit) can refer to (1) the agreement itself between two parties (see v. 7), (2) the promise made by one party to another (see vv. 2-3, 7), (3) an obligation placed by one party on another, or (4) a reminder of the agreement. In vv. 9-10 the word refers to a covenantal obligation which God gives to Abraham and his descendants.

279 tn Heb “This is my covenant that you must keep between me and you and your descendants after you.”

280 sn For a discussion of male circumcision as the sign of the covenant in this passage see M. V. Fox, “The Sign of the Covenant: Circumcision in the Light of the Priestly ‘ot Etiologies,” RB 81 (1974): 557-96.

281 tn Or “sign.”

282 tn Heb “the son of eight days.”

283 tn The emphatic construction employs the Niphal imperfect tense (collective singular) and the Niphal infinitive.

284 tn Heb “my covenant.” Here in v. 13 the Hebrew word בְּרִית (bÿrit) refers to the outward, visible sign, or reminder, of the covenant. For the range of meaning of the term, see the note on the word “requirement” in v. 9.

285 tn Or “an eternal.”

286 tn The disjunctive clause calls attention to the “uncircumcised male” and what will happen to him.

287 tn Heb “that person will be cut off.” The words “that person” have not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn The meaning of “cut off” has been discussed at great length. An entire tractate in the Mishnah is devoted to this subject (tractate Keritot). Being ostracized from the community is involved at the least, but it is not certain whether this refers to the death penalty.

288 tn Heb “he has broken my covenant.” The noun בְּרִית (bÿrit) here refers to the obligation required by God in conjunction with the covenantal agreement. For the range of meaning of the term, see the note on the word “requirement” in v. 9.

289 tn Heb “[As for] Sarai your wife, you must not call her name Sarai, for Sarah [will be] her name.”

290 sn Sarah. The name change seems to be a dialectical variation, both spellings meaning “princess” or “queen.” Like the name Abram, the name Sarai symbolized the past. The new name Sarah, like the name Abraham, would be a reminder of what God intended to do for Sarah in the future.

291 tn Heb “she will become nations.”

292 tn Heb “peoples.”

293 sn Laughed. The Hebrew verb used here provides the basis for the naming of Isaac: “And he laughed” is וַיִּצְחָק (vayyitskhaq); the name “Isaac” is יִצְחָק (yitskhaq), “he laughs.” Abraham’s (and Sarah’s, see 18:12) laughter signals disbelief, but when the boy is born, the laughter signals surprise and joy.

294 tn Heb “And he fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart.”

295 tn The imperfect verbal form here carries a potential nuance, as it expresses the disbelief of Abraham.

296 tn Heb “to the son of a hundred years.”

297 sn It is important to note that even though Abraham staggers at the announcement of the birth of a son, finding it almost too incredible, he nonetheless calls his wife Sarah, the new name given to remind him of the promise of God (v. 15).

298 tn Heb “the daughter of ninety years.”

299 tn The wish is introduced with the Hebrew particle לוּ (lu), “O that.”

300 tn Or “live with your blessing.”

301 tn Heb “will call his name Isaac.” The name means “he laughs,” or perhaps “may he laugh” (see the note on the word “laughed” in v. 17).

302 tn Or “as an eternal.”

303 sn The Hebrew verb translated “I have heard you” forms a wordplay with the name Ishmael, which means “God hears.” See the note on the name “Ishmael” in 16:11.

304 tn Heb “And I will multiply him exceedingly, exceedingly.” The repetition is emphatic.

305 tn For a discussion of the Hebrew word translated “princes,” see E. A. Speiser, “Background and Function of the Biblical Nasi’,” CBQ 25 (1963): 111-17.

306 tn Heb “And when he finished speaking with him, God went up from Abraham.” The sequence of pronouns and proper names has been modified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn God went up from him. The text draws attention to God’s dramatic exit and in so doing brings full closure to the scene.

307 tn Heb “Ishmael his son and all born in his house and all bought with money, every male among the men of the house of Abraham.”

308 tn Heb “circumcised the flesh of their foreskin.” The Hebrew expression is somewhat pleonastic and has been simplified in the translation.

309 tn Heb “the son of ninety-nine years.”

310 tn Heb “circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin” (also in v. 25).

311 tn Heb “the son of thirteen years.”

312 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

313 tn Or “terebinths.”

314 tn The disjunctive clause here is circumstantial to the main clause.

315 tn The Hebrew noun translated “entrance” is an adverbial accusative of place.

316 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

317 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes.”

318 tn Heb “and saw, and look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to what he saw. The drawn-out description focuses the reader’s attention on Abraham’s deliberate, fixed gaze and indicates that what he is seeing is significant.

319 tn The Hebrew preposition עַל (’al) indicates the three men were nearby, but not close by, for Abraham had to run to meet them.

320 tn The pronoun “them” has been supplied in the translation for clarification. In the Hebrew text the verb has no stated object.

321 tn The form וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ (vayyishtakhu, “and bowed low”) is from the verb הִשְׁתַּחֲוָה (hishtakhavah, “to worship, bow low to the ground”). It is probably from a root חָוָה (khavah), though some derive it from שָׁחָה (shakhah).

322 sn The reader knows this is a theophany. The three visitors are probably the Lord and two angels (see Gen 19:1). It is not certain how soon Abraham recognized the true identity of the visitors. His actions suggest he suspected this was something out of the ordinary, though it is possible that his lavish treatment of the visitors was done quite unwittingly. Bowing down to the ground would be reserved for obeisance of kings or worship of the Lord. Whether he was aware of it or not, Abraham’s action was most appropriate.

323 tc The MT has the form אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “Master”) which is reserved for God. This may reflect later scribal activity. The scribes, knowing it was the Lord, may have put the proper pointing with the word instead of the more common אֲדֹנִי (’adoni, “my master”).

324 tn Heb “do not pass by from upon your servant.”

325 tn The imperative after the jussive indicates purpose here.

326 tn The word “all” has been supplied in the translation because the Hebrew verb translated “wash” and the pronominal suffix on the word “feet” are plural, referring to all three of the visitors.

327 tn The Qal cohortative here probably has the nuance of polite request.

328 tn Heb “a piece of bread.” The Hebrew word לֶחֶם (lekhem) can refer either to bread specifically or to food in general. Based on Abraham’s directions to Sarah in v. 6, bread was certainly involved, but v. 7 indicates that Abraham had a more elaborate meal in mind.

329 tn Heb “strengthen your heart.” The imperative after the cohortative indicates purpose here.

330 tn Heb “so that you may refresh yourselves, after [which] you may be on your way – for therefore you passed by near your servant.”

331 tn The word “take” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the sentence lacks a verb other than the imperative “hurry.” The elliptical structure of the language reflects Abraham’s haste to get things ready quickly.

332 sn Three measures (Heb “three seahs”) was equivalent to about twenty quarts (twenty-two liters) of flour, which would make a lot of bread. The animal prepared for the meal was far more than the three visitors needed. This was a banquet for royalty. Either it had been a lonely time for Abraham and the presence of visitors made him very happy, or he sensed this was a momentous visit.

333 sn The bread was the simple, round bread made by bedouins that is normally prepared quickly for visitors.

334 tn Heb “the young man.”

335 tn The construction uses the Piel preterite, “he hurried,” followed by the infinitive construct; the two probably form a verbal hendiadys: “he quickly prepared.”

336 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

337 tn The words “the food” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the verb has no stated object.

338 tn The disjunctive clause is a temporal circumstantial clause subordinate to the main verb.

339 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) often accompanies a gesture of pointing or a focused gaze.

340 tn Heb “he”; the referent (one of the three men introduced in v. 2) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Some English translations have specified the referent as the Lord (cf. RSV, NIV) based on vv. 1, 13, but the Hebrew text merely has “he said” at this point, referring to one of the three visitors. Aside from the introductory statement in v. 1, the incident is narrated from Abraham’s point of view, and the suspense is built up for the reader as Abraham’s elaborate banquet preparations in the preceding verses suggest he suspects these are important guests. But not until the promise of a son later in this verse does it become clear who is speaking. In v. 13 the Hebrew text explicitly mentions the Lord.

341 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic, using the infinitive absolute with the imperfect tense.

sn I will surely return. If Abraham had not yet figured out who this was, this interchange would have made it clear. Otherwise, how would a return visit from this man mean Sarah would have a son?

342 tn Heb “as/when the time lives” or “revives,” possibly referring to the springtime.

343 tn Heb “and there will be (הִנֵּה, hinneh) a son for Sarah.”

344 tn This is the first of two disjunctive parenthetical clauses preparing the reader for Sarah’s response (see v. 12).

345 tn Heb “days.”

346 tn Heb “it had ceased to be for Sarah [after] a way like women.”

347 tn Heb “saying.”

348 tn It has been suggested that this word should be translated “conception,” not “pleasure.” See A. A. McIntosh, “A Third Root ‘adah in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 24 (1974): 454-73.

349 tn The word “too” has been added in the translation for stylistic reasons.

350 tn Heb “Why, this?” The demonstrative pronoun following the interrogative pronoun is enclitic, emphasizing the Lord’s amazement: “Why on earth did Sarah laugh?”

351 tn The Hebrew construction uses both הַאַף (haaf) and אֻמְנָם (’umnam): “Indeed, truly, will I have a child?”

352 tn The Hebrew verb פָּלָא (pala’) means “to be wonderful, to be extraordinary, to be surpassing, to be amazing.”

353 sn Sarah will have a son. The passage brings God’s promise into clear focus. As long as it was a promise for the future, it really could be believed without much involvement. But now, when it seemed so impossible from the human standpoint, when the Lord fixed an exact date for the birth of the child, the promise became rather overwhelming to Abraham and Sarah. But then this was the Lord of creation, the one they had come to trust. The point of these narratives is that the creation of Abraham’s offspring, which eventually became Israel, is no less a miraculous work of creation than the creation of the world itself.

354 tn Heb “And he said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” The referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

355 tn Heb “And the men arose from there.”

356 tn Heb “toward the face of.”

357 tn The disjunctive parenthetical clause sets the stage for the following speech.

358 tn The Piel of שָׁלַח (shalakh) means “to lead out, to send out, to expel”; here it is used in the friendly sense of seeing the visitors on their way.

359 tn The active participle here refers to an action that is imminent.

360 tn Heb “And Abraham.” The disjunctive clause is probably causal, giving a reason why God should not hide his intentions from Abraham. One could translate, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation?”

361 tn The infinitive absolute lends emphasis to the finite verb that follows.

362 tn Theoretically the Niphal can be translated either as passive or reflexive/reciprocal. (The Niphal of “bless” is only used in formulations of the Abrahamic covenant. See Gen 12:2; 18:18; 28:14.) Traditionally the verb is taken as passive here, as if Abram were going to be a channel or source of blessing. But in later formulations of the Abrahamic covenant (see Gen 22:18; 26:4) the Hitpael replaces this Niphal form, suggesting a translation “will bless [i.e., “pronounce blessings upon”] themselves [or “one another”].” The Hitpael of “bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 18:18 (like 12:2) predicts that Abraham will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11.

363 tn Heb “For I have known him.” The verb יָדַע (yada’) here means “to recognize and treat in a special manner, to choose” (see Amos 3:2). It indicates that Abraham stood in a special covenantal relationship with the Lord.

364 tn Heb “and they will keep.” The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive carries on the subjective nuance of the preceding imperfect verbal form (translated “so that he may command”).

365 tn The infinitive construct here indicates manner, explaining how Abraham’s children and his household will keep the way of the Lord.

366 tn Heb “bring on.” The infinitive after לְמַעַן (lÿmaan) indicates result here.

367 tn Heb “spoke to.”

368 tn Heb “the outcry of Sodom,” which apparently refers to the outcry for divine justice from those (unidentified persons) who observe its sinful ways.

369 tn Heb “heavy.”

370 tn The cohortative indicates the Lord’s resolve.

sn I must go down. The descent to “see” Sodom is a bold anthropomorphism, stressing the careful judgment of God. The language is reminiscent of the Lord going down to see the Tower of Babel in Gen 11:1-9.

371 tn Heb “[if] according to the outcry that has come to me they have done completely.” Even the Lord, who is well aware of the human capacity to sin, finds it hard to believe that anyone could be as bad as the “outcry” against Sodom and Gomorrah suggests.

372 sn The short phrase if not provides a ray of hope and inspires Abraham’s intercession.

373 tn Heb “And the men turned from there.” The word “two” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied here for clarity. Gen 19:1 mentions only two individuals (described as “angels”), while Abraham had entertained three visitors (18:2). The implication is that the Lord was the third visitor, who remained behind with Abraham here. The words “from there” are not included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

374 tn Heb “went.”

375 tc An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition reads “but the Lord remained standing before Abraham.” This reading is problematic because the phrase “standing before” typically indicates intercession, but the Lord would certainly not be interceding before Abraham.

376 tn Heb “lift up,” perhaps in the sense of “bear with” (cf. NRSV “forgive”).

377 tn Or “ruler.”

378 sn Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right? For discussion of this text see J. L. Crenshaw, “Popular Questioning of the Justice of God in Ancient Israel,” ZAW 82 (1970): 380-95, and C. S. Rodd, “Shall Not the Judge of All the Earth Do What Is Just?” ExpTim 83 (1972): 137-39.

379 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in vv. 30, 31, 32 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

380 tn The disjunctive clause is a concessive clause here, drawing out the humility as a contrast to the Lord.

381 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁחַת (shakhat, “to destroy”) was used earlier to describe the effect of the flood.

382 tn Heb “because of five.”

383 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

384 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys – the preterite (“he added”) is combined with an adverb “yet” and an infinitive “to speak.”

385 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

386 tn Heb “let it not be hot to the Lord.” This is an idiom which means “may the Lord not be angry.”

387 tn After the jussive, the cohortative indicates purpose/result.

388 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

389 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

390 tn Heb “And the Lord went.”

391 tn The infinitive construct (“speaking”) serves as the direct object of the verb “finished.”

392 tn Heb “to his place.”

393 tn The disjunctive clause is temporal here, indicating what Lot was doing at the time of their arrival.

394 tn Heb “sitting in the gate of Sodom.” The phrase “the gate of Sodom” has been translated “the city’s gateway” for stylistic reasons.

sn The expression sitting in the city’s gateway may mean that Lot was exercising some type of judicial function (see the use of the idiom in 2 Sam 19:8; Jer 26:10; 38:7; 39:3).

395 tn The imperatives have the force of invitation.

396 tn These two verbs form a verbal hendiadys: “you can rise up early and go” means “you can go early.”

397 sn The town square refers to the wide street area at the gate complex of the city.

398 tn The Hebrew verb פָּצַר (patsar, “to press, to insist”) ironically foreshadows the hostile actions of the men of the city (see v. 9, where the verb also appears). The repetition of the word serves to contrast Lot to his world.

399 tn The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) means “to lie down, to recline,” that is, “to go to bed.” Here what appears to be an imperfect is a preterite after the adverb טֶרֶם (terem). The nuance of potential (perfect) fits well.

400 tn Heb “and the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, from the young to the old, all the people from the end [of the city].” The repetition of the phrase “men of” stresses all kinds of men.

401 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said to him.” This is redundant in English and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

402 tn The Hebrew verb יָדַע (yada’, “to know”) is used here in the sense of “to lie with” or “to have sex with” (as in Gen 4:1). That this is indeed the meaning is clear from Lot’s warning that they not do so wickedly, and his willingness to give them his daughters instead.

sn The sin of the men of Sodom is debated. The fact that the sin involved a sexual act (see note on the phrase “have sex” in 19:5) precludes an association of the sin with inhospitality as is sometimes asserted (see W. Roth, “What of Sodom and Gomorrah? Homosexual Acts in the Old Testament,” Explor 1 [1974]: 7-14). The text at a minimum condemns forced sexual intercourse, i.e., rape. Other considerations, though, point to a condemnation of homosexual acts more generally. The narrator emphasizes the fact that the men of Sodom wanted to have sex with men: They demand that Lot release the angelic messengers (seen as men) to them for sex, and when Lot offers his daughters as a substitute they refuse them and attempt to take the angelic messengers by force. In addition the wider context of the Pentateuch condemns homosexual acts as sin (see, e.g., Lev 18:22). Thus a reading of this text within its narrative context, both immediate and broad, condemns not only the attempted rape but also the attempted homosexual act.

403 tn Heb “may my brothers not act wickedly.”

404 tn Heb “who have not known.” Here this expression is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

405 tn Heb “according to what is good in your eyes.”

406 tn Heb “shadow.”

407 sn This chapter portrays Lot as a hypocrite. He is well aware of the way the men live in his city and is apparently comfortable in the midst of it. But when confronted by the angels, he finally draws the line. But he is nevertheless willing to sacrifice his daughters’ virginity to protect his guests. His opposition to the crowds leads to his rejection as a foreigner by those with whom he had chosen to live. The one who attempted to rescue his visitors ends up having to be rescued by them.

408 tn Heb “approach out there” which could be rendered “Get out of the way, stand back!”

409 tn Heb “to live as a resident alien.”

410 tn Heb “and he has judged, judging.” The infinitive absolute follows the finite verbal form for emphasis. This emphasis is reflected in the translation by the phrase “dares to judge.”

411 tn The verb “to do wickedly” is repeated here (see v. 7). It appears that whatever “wickedness” the men of Sodom had intended to do to Lot’s visitors – probably nothing short of homosexual rape – they were now ready to inflict on Lot.

412 tn Heb “and they pressed against the man, against Lot, exceedingly.”

413 tn Heb “and they drew near.”

414 tn Heb “the men,” referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word “inside” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

415 tn The Hebrew text adds “their hand.” These words have not been translated for stylistic reasons.

416 tn Heb “to them into the house.”

417 tn Heb “from the least to the greatest.”

418 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Sodom outside the door) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

419 tn Heb “the men,” referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word “visitors” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

420 tn Heb “Yet who [is there] to you here?”

421 tn The words “Do you have” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

422 tn Heb “a son-in-law and your sons and your daughters and anyone who (is) to you in the city.”

423 tn Heb “the place.” The Hebrew article serves here as a demonstrative.

424 tn The Hebrew participle expresses an imminent action here.

425 tn Heb “for their outcry.” The words “about this place” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

426 tn Heb “the Lord.” The repetition of the divine name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “he” for stylistic reasons.

427 sn The language has to be interpreted in the light of the context and the social customs. The men are called “sons-in-law” (literally “the takers of his daughters”), but the daughters had not yet had sex with a man. It is better to translate the phrase “who were going to marry his daughters.” Since formal marriage contracts were binding, the husbands-to-be could already be called sons-in-law.

428 tn The Hebrew active participle expresses an imminent action.

429 tn Heb “and he was like one taunting in the eyes of his sons-in-law.” These men mistakenly thought Lot was ridiculing them and their lifestyle. Their response illustrates how morally insensitive they had become.

430 tn Heb “When dawn came up.”

431 tn Heb “who are found.” The wording might imply he had other daughters living in the city, but the text does not explicitly state this.

432 tn Or “with the iniquity [i.e., punishment] of the city” (cf. NASB, NRSV).

433 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

434 tn Heb “in the compassion of the Lord to them.”

435 tn Heb “brought him out and placed him.” The third masculine singular suffixes refer specifically to Lot, though his wife and daughters accompanied him (see v. 17). For stylistic reasons these have been translated as plural pronouns (“them”).

436 tn Or “one of them”; Heb “he.” Several ancient versions (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac) read the plural “they.” See also the note on “your” in v. 19.

437 tn Heb “escape.”

438 tn The Hebrew verb translated “look” signifies an intense gaze, not a passing glance. This same verb is used later in v. 26 to describe Lot’s wife’s self-destructive look back at the city.

439 tn Or “in the plain”; Heb “in the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

440 tn Or “my lords.” See the following note on the problem of identifying the addressee here. The Hebrew term is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

441 tn The second person pronominal suffixes are singular in this verse (note “your eyes,” “you have made great,” and “you have acted”). Verse 18a seems to indicate that Lot is addressing the angels, but the use of the singular and the appearance of the divine title “Lord” (אֲדֹנָי, ’adonay) in v. 18b suggests he is speaking to God.

442 tn Heb “in your eyes.”

443 tn Heb “you made great your kindness.”

444 sn The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) can refer to “faithful love” or to “kindness,” depending on the context. The precise nuance here is uncertain.

445 tn The infinitive construct explains how God has shown Lot kindness.

446 tn Heb “lest.”

447 tn The Hebrew verb דָּבַק (davaq) normally means “to stick to, to cleave, to join.” Lot is afraid he cannot outrun the coming calamity.

448 tn The perfect verb form with vav consecutive carries the nuance of the imperfect verbal form before it.

449 tn The Hebrew word עִיר (’ir) can refer to either a city or a town, depending on the size of the place. Given that this place was described by Lot later in this verse as a “little place,” the translation uses “town.”

450 tn Heb “Look, this town is near to flee to there. And it is little.”

451 tn Heb “Let me escape to there.” The cohortative here expresses Lot’s request.

452 tn Heb “Is it not little?”

453 tn Heb “my soul will live.” After the cohortative the jussive with vav conjunctive here indicates purpose/result.

454 tn Heb “And he said, ‘Look, I will grant.’” The order of the clauses has been rearranged for stylistic reasons. The referent of the speaker (“he”) is somewhat ambiguous: It could be taken as the angel to whom Lot has been speaking (so NLT; note the singular references in vv. 18-19), or it could be that Lot is speaking directly to the Lord here. Most English translations leave the referent of the pronoun unspecified and maintain the ambiguity.

455 tn Heb “I have lifted up your face [i.e., shown you favor] also concerning this matter.”

456 tn The negated infinitive construct indicates either the consequence of God’s granting the request (“I have granted this request, so that I will not”) or the manner in which he will grant it (“I have granted your request by not destroying”).

457 tn Heb “Be quick! Escape to there!” The two imperatives form a verbal hendiadys, the first becoming adverbial.

458 tn Heb “Therefore the name of the city is called Zoar.” The name of the place, צוֹעַר (tsoar) apparently means “Little Place,” in light of the wordplay with the term “little” (מִצְעָר, mitsar) used twice by Lot to describe the town (v. 20).

459 sn The sun had just risen. There was very little time for Lot to escape between dawn (v. 15) and sunrise (here).

460 tn The juxtaposition of the two disjunctive clauses indicates synchronic action. The first action (the sun’s rising) occurred as the second (Lot’s entering Zoar) took place. The disjunctive clauses also signal closure for the preceding scene.

461 tn The disjunctive clause signals the beginning of the next scene and highlights God’s action.

462 tn Or “burning sulfur” (the traditional “fire and brimstone”).

463 tn Heb “from the Lord from the heavens.” The words “It was sent down” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Lord. What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation, but see J. P. Harland, “The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,” BA 6 (1943): 41-54.

464 tn Or “and all the plain”; Heb “and all the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

465 tn Heb “and the vegetation of the ground.”

466 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

467 tn The Hebrew verb means “to look intently; to gaze” (see 15:5).

sn Longingly. Lot’s wife apparently identified with the doomed city and thereby showed lack of respect for God’s provision of salvation. She, like her daughters later, had allowed her thinking to be influenced by the culture of Sodom.

468 tn The words “and went” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

469 tn Heb “upon the face of.”

470 tn Or “all the land of the plain”; Heb “and all the face of the land of the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

471 tn Heb “And he saw, and look, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.”

sn It is hard to imagine what was going on in Abraham’s mind, but this brief section in the narrative enables the reader to think about the human response to the judgment. Abraham had family in that area. He had rescued those people from the invasion. That was why he interceded. Yet he surely knew how wicked they were. That was why he got the number down to ten when he negotiated with God to save the city. But now he must have wondered, “What was the point?”

472 tn The construction is a temporal clause comprised of the temporal indicator, an infinitive construct with a preposition, and the subjective genitive.

473 tn Or “of the plain”; Heb “of the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

474 tn Heb “remembered,” but this means more than mental recollection here. Abraham’s request (Gen 18:23-32) was that the Lord not destroy the righteous with the wicked. While the requisite minimum number of righteous people (ten, v. 32) needed for God to spare the cities was not found, God nevertheless rescued the righteous before destroying the wicked.

sn God showed Abraham special consideration because of the covenantal relationship he had established with the patriarch. Yet the reader knows that God delivered the “righteous” (Lot’s designation in 2 Pet 2:7) before destroying their world – which is what he will do again at the end of the age.

475 sn God’s removal of Lot before the judgment is paradigmatic. He typically delivers the godly before destroying their world.

476 tn Heb “the overthrow when [he] overthrew.”

477 tn Heb “and the firstborn said.”

478 tn Or perhaps “on earth,” in which case the statement would be hyperbolic; presumably there had been some men living in the town of Zoar to which Lot and his daughters had initially fled.

479 tn Heb “to enter upon us.” This is a euphemism for sexual relations.

480 tn Heb “drink wine.”

481 tn Heb “and we will lie down.” The cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive is subordinated to the preceding cohortative and indicates purpose/result.

482 tn Or “that we may preserve.” Here the cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates their ultimate goal.

483 tn Heb “and we will keep alive from our father descendants.”

sn For a discussion of the cultural background of the daughters’ desire to preserve our family line see F. C. Fensham, “The Obliteration of the Family as Motif in the Near Eastern Literature,” AION 10 (1969): 191-99.

484 tn Heb “drink wine.”

485 tn Heb “the firstborn.”

486 tn Heb “and the firstborn came and lied down with her father.” The expression “lied down with” here and in the following verses is a euphemism for sexual relations.

487 tn Heb “and he did not know when she lay down and when she arose.”

488 tn Heb “the firstborn.”

489 tn Heb “Look, I lied down with my father. Let’s make him drink wine again tonight.”

490 tn Heb “And go, lie down with him and we will keep alive from our father descendants.”

491 tn Heb “drink wine.”

492 tn Heb “lied down with him.”

493 tn Heb “And he did not know when she lied down and when she arose.”

494 tn Heb “the firstborn.”

495 sn The meaning of the name Moab is not certain. The name sounds like the Hebrew phrase “from our father” (מֵאָבִינוּ, meavinu) which the daughters used twice (vv. 32, 34). This account is probably included in the narrative in order to portray the Moabites, who later became enemies of God’s people, in a negative light.

496 sn The name Ben-Ammi means “son of my people.” Like the account of Moab’s birth, this story is probably included in the narrative to portray the Ammonites, another perennial enemy of Israel, in a negative light.

497 tn Or “the South [country]”; Heb “the land of the Negev.”

sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.

498 tn Heb “and he sojourned.”

499 tn Heb “came.”

500 tn Heb “Look, you [are] dead.” The Hebrew construction uses the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with a second person pronominal particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with by the participle. It is a highly rhetorical expression.

501 tn Heb “and she is owned by an owner.” The disjunctive clause is causal or explanatory in this case.

502 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

503 tn Apparently Abimelech assumes that God’s judgment will fall on his entire nation. Some, finding the reference to a nation problematic, prefer to emend the text and read, “Would you really kill someone who is innocent?” See E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 149.

504 tn Heb “he”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

505 tn Heb “and she, even she.”

506 tn Heb “with the integrity of my heart.”

507 tn Heb “with the integrity of your heart.”

508 tn Heb “and I, even I, kept you.”

509 tn Heb “therefore.”

510 tn Or “for,” if the particle is understood as causal (as many English translations do) rather than asseverative.

511 sn For a discussion of the term prophet see N. Walker, “What is a Nabhi?” ZAW 73 (1961): 99-100.

512 tn After the preceding jussive (or imperfect), the imperative with vav conjunctive here indicates result.

sn He will pray for you that you may live. Abraham was known as a man of God whose prayer would be effectual. Ironically and sadly, he was also known as a liar.

513 tn Heb “if there is not you returning.” The suffix on the particle becomes the subject of the negated clause.

514 tn The imperfect is preceded by the infinitive absolute to make the warning emphatic.

515 tn Heb “And Abimelech rose early in the morning and he summoned.”

516 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the preposition לְ (lamed) means “to summon.”

517 tn Heb “And he spoke all these things in their ears.”

518 tn Heb “the men.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “they” in the translation for stylistic reasons.

519 tn Heb “How did I sin against you that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin?” The expression “great sin” refers to adultery. For discussion of the cultural background of the passage, see J. J. Rabinowitz, “The Great Sin in Ancient Egyptian Marriage Contracts,” JNES 18 (1959): 73, and W. L. Moran, “The Scandal of the ‘Great Sin’ at Ugarit,” JNES 18 (1959): 280-81.

520 tn Heb “Deeds which should not be done you have done to me.” The imperfect has an obligatory nuance here.

521 tn Heb “And Abimelech said to.”

522 tn Heb “What did you see that you did this thing?” The question implies that Abraham had some motive for deceiving Abimelech.

523 tn Heb “Because I said.”

524 tn Heb “over the matter of.”

525 tn Heb “but also.”

526 tn The Hebrew verb is plural. This may be a case of grammatical agreement with the name for God, which is plural in form. However, when this plural name refers to the one true God, accompanying predicates are usually singular in form. Perhaps Abraham is accommodating his speech to Abimelech’s polytheistic perspective. (See GKC 463 §145.i.) If so, one should translate, “when the gods made me wander.”

527 tn Heb “This is your loyal deed which you can do for me.”

528 tn Heb “took and gave.”

529 tn Heb “In the [place that is] good in your eyes live!”

530 sn A thousand pieces [Heb “shekels”] of silver. The standards for weighing money varied considerably in the ancient Near East, but the generally accepted weight for the shekel is 11.5 grams (0.4 ounce). This makes the weight of silver here 11.5 kilograms, or 400 ounces (about 25 pounds).

531 sn To your ‘brother.’ Note the way that the king refers to Abraham. Was he being sarcastic? It was surely a rebuke to Sarah. What is amazing is how patient this king was. It is proof that the fear of God was in that place, contrary to what Abraham believed (see v. 11).

532 tn Heb “Look, it is for you a covering of the eyes, for all who are with you, and with all, and you are set right.” The exact meaning of the statement is unclear. Apparently it means that the gift of money somehow exonerates her in other people’s eyes. They will not look on her as compromised (see G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 2:74).

533 tn In the Hebrew text the clause begins with “because.”

534 tn Heb had completely closed up every womb.” In the Hebrew text infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

sn The Lord had closed up every womb. This fact indicates that Sarah was in Abimelech’s household for weeks or months before the dream revelation was given (20:6-7). No one in his household could have children after Sarah arrived on the scene.

535 tn Heb “because of.” The words “he took” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

536 sn The Hebrew verb translated “visit” (פָּקַד, paqad ) often describes divine intervention for blessing or cursing; it indicates God’s special attention to an individual or a matter, always with respect to his people’s destiny. He may visit (that is, destroy) the Amalekites; he may visit (that is, deliver) his people in Egypt. Here he visits Sarah, to allow her to have the promised child. One’s destiny is changed when the Lord “visits.” For a more detailed study of the term, see G. André, Determining the Destiny (ConBOT).

537 tn Heb “and the Lord did.” The divine name has not been repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

538 tn Heb “spoken.”

539 tn Or “she conceived.”

540 tn Heb “the one born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.” The two modifying clauses, the first introduced with an article and the second with the relative pronoun, are placed in the middle of the sentence, before the name Isaac is stated. They are meant to underscore that this was indeed an actual birth to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of the promise.

541 tn Heb “Isaac his son, the son of eight days.” The name “Isaac” is repeated in the translation for clarity.

542 sn Just as God had commanded him to do. With the birth of the promised child, Abraham obeyed the Lord by both naming (Gen 17:19) and circumcising Isaac (17:12).

543 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause underscores how miraculous this birth was. Abraham was 100 years old. The fact that the genealogies give the ages of the fathers when their first son is born shows that this was considered a major milestone in one’s life (G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 2:80).

544 tn Heb “Laughter God has made for me.”

545 tn The words “about this” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

546 sn Sarah’s words play on the name “Isaac” in a final triumphant manner. God prepared “laughter” (צְחֹק, ysÿkhoq ) for her, and everyone who hears about this “will laugh” (יִצְחַק, yitskhaq ) with her. The laughter now signals great joy and fulfillment, not unbelief (cf. Gen 18:12-15).

547 tn Heb “said.”

548 tn The perfect form of the verb is used here to describe a hypothetical situation.

549 tn Heb “made.”

550 sn Children were weaned closer to the age of two or three in the ancient world, because infant mortality was high. If an infant grew to this stage, it was fairly certain he or she would live. Such an event called for a celebration, especially for parents who had waited so long for a child.

551 tn Heb “saw.”

552 tn The Piel participle used here is from the same root as the name “Isaac.” In the Piel stem the verb means “to jest; to make sport of; to play with,” not simply “to laugh,” which is the meaning of the verb in the Qal stem. What exactly Ishmael was doing is not clear. Interpreters have generally concluded that the boy was either (1) mocking Isaac (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) or (2) merely playing with Isaac as if on equal footing (cf. NAB, NRSV). In either case Sarah saw it as a threat. The same participial form was used in Gen 19:14 to describe how some in Lot’s family viewed his attempt to warn them of impending doom. It also appears later in Gen 39:14, 17, where Potiphar accuses Joseph of mocking them.

sn Mocking. Here Sarah interprets Ishmael’s actions as being sinister. Ishmael probably did not take the younger child seriously and Sarah saw this as a threat to Isaac. Paul in Gal 4:29 says that Ishmael persecuted Isaac. He uses a Greek word that can mean “to put to flight; to chase away; to pursue” and may be drawing on a rabbinic interpretation of the passage. In Paul’s analogical application of the passage, he points out that once the promised child Isaac (symbolizing Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise) has come, there is no room left for the slave woman and her son (who symbolize the Mosaic law).

553 tn Heb “drive out.” The language may seem severe, but Sarah’s maternal instincts sensed a real danger in that Ishmael was not treating Isaac with the proper respect.

554 tn Heb “and the word was very wrong in the eyes of Abraham on account of his son.” The verb רָעַע (raa’) often refers to what is morally or ethically “evil.” It usage here suggests that Abraham thought Sarah’s demand was ethically (and perhaps legally) wrong.

555 tn Heb “Let it not be evil in your eyes.”

556 tn Heb “listen to her voice.” The idiomatic expression means “obey; comply.” Here her advice, though harsh, is necessary and conforms to the will of God. Later (see Gen 25), when Abraham has other sons, he sends them all away as well.

557 tn The imperfect verbal form here draws attention to an action that is underway.

558 tn Or perhaps “will be named”; Heb “for in Isaac offspring will be called to you.” The exact meaning of the statement is not clear, but it does indicate that God’s covenantal promises to Abraham will be realized through Isaac, not Ishmael.

559 tn Heb “and Abraham rose up early in the morning and he took.”

560 tn Heb “bread,” although the term can be used for food in general.

561 tn Heb “He put upon her shoulder, and the boy [or perhaps, “and with the boy”], and he sent her away.” It is unclear how “and the boy” relates syntactically to what precedes. Perhaps the words should be rearranged and the text read, “and he put [them] on her shoulder and he gave to Hagar the boy.”

562 tn Heb “she went and wandered.”

563 tn Or “desert,” although for English readers this usually connotes a sandy desert like the Sahara rather than the arid wasteland of this region with its sparse vegetation.

564 tn Heb “threw,” but the child, who was now thirteen years old, would not have been carried, let alone thrown under a bush. The exaggerated language suggests Ishmael is limp from dehydration and is being abandoned to die. See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 2:85.

565 sn A bowshot would be a distance of about a hundred yards (ninety meters).

566 tn Heb “said.”

567 tn Heb “I will not look on the death of the child.” The cohortative verbal form (note the negative particle אַל,’al) here expresses her resolve to avoid the stated action.

568 tn Heb “and she lifted up her voice and wept” (that is, she wept uncontrollably). The LXX reads “he” (referring to Ishmael) rather than “she” (referring to Hagar), but this is probably an attempt to harmonize this verse with the following one, which refers to the boy’s cries.

569 sn God heard the boy’s voice. The text has not to this point indicated that Ishmael was crying out, either in pain or in prayer. But the text here makes it clear that God heard him. Ishmael is clearly central to the story. Both the mother and the Lord are focused on the child’s imminent death.

570 tn Heb “What to you?”

571 sn Here the verb heard picks up the main motif of the name Ishmael (“God hears”), introduced back in chap. 16.

572 tn Heb “And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” The referent (Hagar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

573 sn The wilderness of Paran is an area in the east central region of the Sinai peninsula, northeast from the traditional site of Mt. Sinai and with the Arabah and the Gulf of Aqaba as its eastern border.

574 tn Heb “And his mother took for him a wife from the land of Egypt.”

575 sn God is with you. Abimelech and Phicol recognized that Abraham enjoyed special divine provision and protection.

576 tn Heb “And now swear to me by God here.”

577 tn Heb “my offspring and my descendants.”

578 tn The word “land” refers by metonymy to the people in the land.

579 tn The Hebrew verb means “to stay, to live, to sojourn” as a temporary resident without ownership rights.

580 tn Or “kindness.”

581 tn Heb “According to the loyalty which I have done with you, do with me and with the land in which you are staying.”

582 tn Heb “I swear.” No object is specified in the Hebrew text, but the content of the oath requested by Abimelech is the implied object.

583 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to argue; to dispute”; it can focus on the beginning of the dispute (as here), the dispute itself, or the resolution of a dispute (Isa 1:18). Apparently the complaint was lodged before the actual oath was taken.

584 tn Heb “concerning the matter of the well of water.”

585 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to steal; to rob; to take violently.” The statement reflects Abraham’s perspective.

586 tn Heb “and also.”

587 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”

588 tn Heb “What are these?”

589 tn Heb “that it be for me for a witness.”

590 sn This well. Since the king wanted a treaty to share in Abraham’s good fortune, Abraham used the treaty to secure ownership of and protection for the well he dug. It would be useless to make a treaty to live in this territory if he had no rights to the water. Abraham consented to the treaty, but added his rider to it.

591 tn Heb “that is why he called that place.” Some translations render this as an impersonal passive, “that is why that place was called.”

592 sn The name Beer Sheba (בְּאֵר שָׁבַע, bÿer shava’) means “well of the oath” or “well of the seven.” Both the verb “to swear” and the number “seven” have been used throughout the account. Now they are drawn in as part of the explanation of the significance of the name.

593 sn The verb forms a wordplay with the name Beer Sheba.

594 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”

595 tn Heb “arose and returned.”

596 sn The Philistines mentioned here may not be ethnically related to those who lived in Palestine in the time of the judges and the united monarchy. See D. M. Howard, “Philistines,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 238.

597 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

598 sn The planting of the tamarisk tree is a sign of Abraham’s intent to stay there for a long time, not a religious act. A growing tree in the Negev would be a lasting witness to God’s provision of water.

599 tn Heb “he called there in the name of the Lord.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.

600 tn Heb “many days.”

601 sn The Hebrew verb used here means “to test; to try; to prove.” In this passage God tests Abraham to see if he would be obedient. See T. W. Mann, The Book of the Torah, 44-48. See also J. L. Crenshaw, A Whirlpool of Torment (OBT), 9-30; and J. I. Lawlor, “The Test of Abraham,” GTJ 1 (1980): 19-35.

602 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

603 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

604 sn Take your son…Isaac. The instructions are very clear, but the details are deliberate. With every additional description the commandment becomes more challenging.

605 sn There has been much debate over the location of Moriah; 2 Chr 3:1 suggests it may be the site where the temple was later built in Jerusalem.

606 sn A whole burnt offering signified the complete surrender of the worshiper and complete acceptance by God. The demand for a human sacrifice was certainly radical and may have seemed to Abraham out of character for God. Abraham would have to obey without fully understanding what God was about.

607 tn Heb “which I will say to.”

608 tn Heb “Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey.”

609 tn Heb “he arose and he went.”

610 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes and saw.”

611 tn Heb “And Abraham.” The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons.

612 tn The Hebrew verb is masculine plural, referring to the two young servants who accompanied Abraham and Isaac on the journey.

613 tn The disjunctive clause (with the compound subject preceding the verb) may be circumstantial and temporal.

614 tn This Hebrew word literally means “to bow oneself close to the ground.” It often means “to worship.”

615 sn It is impossible to know what Abraham was thinking when he said, “we will…return to you.” When he went he knew (1) that he was to sacrifice Isaac, and (2) that God intended to fulfill his earlier promises through Isaac. How he reconciled those facts is not clear in the text. Heb 11:17-19 suggests that Abraham believed God could restore Isaac to him through resurrection.

616 sn He took the fire and the knife in his hand. These details anticipate the sacrifice that lies ahead.

617 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said.” This is redundant and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

618 tn Heb “Here I am” (cf. Gen 22:1).

619 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Here is the fire and the wood.’” The referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here and in the following verse the order of the introductory clauses and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

620 tn Heb “will see for himself.” The construction means “to look out for; to see to it; to provide.”

sn God will provide is the central theme of the passage and the turning point in the story. Note Paul’s allusion to the story in Rom 8:32 (“how shall he not freely give us all things?”) as well as H. J. Schoeps, “The Sacrifice of Isaac in Paul’s Theology,” JBL 65 (1946): 385-92.

621 sn Abraham built an altar there. The theme of Abraham’s altar building culminates here. He has been a faithful worshiper. Will he continue to worship when called upon to make such a radical sacrifice?

622 sn Then he tied up. This text has given rise to an important theme in Judaism known as the Aqedah, from the Hebrew word for “binding.” When sacrifices were made in the sanctuary, God remembered the binding of Isaac, for which a substitute was offered. See D. Polish, “The Binding of Isaac,” Jud 6 (1957): 17-21.

623 tn Heb “in order to slaughter.”

624 sn Heb “the messenger of the Lord” (also in v. 15). Some identify the angel of the Lord as the preincarnate Christ because in some texts the angel is identified with the Lord himself. However, see the note on the phrase “the Lord’s angel” in Gen 16:7.

625 tn Heb “Do not extend your hand toward the boy.”

626 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Do not extend…’”; the referent (the angel) has been specified in the context for clarity. The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

627 sn For now I know. The test was designed to see if Abraham would be obedient (see v. 1).

628 sn In this context fear refers by metonymy to obedience that grows from faith.

629 tn Heb “lifted his eyes.”

630 tn Heb “and saw, and look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) draws attention to what Abraham saw and invites the audience to view the scene through his eyes.

631 tc The translation follows the reading of the MT; a number of Hebrew mss, the LXX, Syriac, and Samaritan Pentateuch read “one” (אֶחָד, ’ekhad) instead of “behind him” (אַחַר, ’akhar).

632 tn Heb “Abraham”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

633 tn Heb “the Lord sees” (יְהוָה יִרְאֶה, yÿhvah yireh, traditionally transliterated “Jehovah Jireh”; see the note on the word “provide” in v. 8). By so naming the place Abraham preserved in the memory of God’s people the amazing event that took place there.

634 sn On the expression to this day see B. Childs, “A Study of the Formula ‘Until this Day’,” JBL 82 (1963): 279-92.

635 sn The saying connected with these events has some ambiguity, which was probably intended. The Niphal verb could be translated (1) “in the mountain of the Lord it will be seen/provided” or (2) “in the mountain the Lord will appear.” If the temple later stood here (see the note on “Moriah” in Gen 22:2), the latter interpretation might find support, for the people went to the temple to appear before the Lord, who “appeared” to them by providing for them his power and blessings. See S. R. Driver, Genesis, 219.

636 tn Heb “By myself I swear.”

637 tn Heb “the oracle of the Lord.” The phrase refers to a formal oracle or decree from the Lord.

638 tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite verbal form (either an imperfect or cohortative) emphasizes the certainty of the blessing.

639 tn Here too the infinitive absolute is used for emphasis before the following finite verb (either an imperfect or cohortative).

sn I will greatly multiply. The Lord here ratifies his earlier promise to give Abram a multitude of descendants. For further discussion see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 35-54.

640 tn The Hebrew term זֶרַע (zera’) occurring here and in v. 18 may mean “seed” (for planting), “offspring” (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or “descendants” depending on the context.

641 tn Or “inherit.”

642 tn Heb “gate,” which here stands for a walled city. To break through the gate complex would be to conquer the city, for the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation “stronghold”).

643 tn In the Hebrew text this causal clause comes at the end of the sentence. The translation alters the word order for stylistic reasons.

sn Because you have obeyed me. Abraham’s obedience brought God’s ratification of the earlier conditional promise (see Gen 12:2).

644 tn Traditionally the verb is taken as passive (“will be blessed”) here, as if Abraham’s descendants were going to be a channel or source of blessing to the nations. But the Hitpael is better understood here as reflexive/reciprocal, “will bless [i.e., pronounce blessings on] themselves/one another” (see also Gen 26:4). Elsewhere the Hitpael of the verb “to bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 12:2 predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11. Earlier formulations of this promise (see Gen 12:2; 18:18) use the Niphal stem. (See also Gen 28:14.)

645 tn Heb “and they arose and went together.”

646 tn Heb “and Abraham stayed in Beer Sheba. This has been translated as a relative clause for stylistic reasons.

647 tn In the Hebrew text the sentence begins with הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) which draws attention to the statement.

648 sn This parenthetical note about Kemuel’s descendant is probably a later insertion by the author/compiler of Genesis and not part of the original announcement.

649 tn The disjunctive clause gives information that is important but parenthetical to the narrative. Rebekah would become the wife of Isaac (Gen 24:15).



TIP #07: Use the Discovery Box to further explore word(s) and verse(s). [ALL]
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