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Genesis 12:1

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 

Genesis 12:4

Context

12:4 So Abram left, 5  just as the Lord had told him to do, 6  and Lot went with him. (Now 7  Abram was 75 years old 8  when he departed from Haran.)

Genesis 12:7-8

Context
12:7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants 9  I will give this land.” So Abram 10  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 11  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. 12 

Genesis 12:17

Context

12:17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with severe diseases 13  because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

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

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

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

8 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.

9 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.

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

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

12 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.

13 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.



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