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Genesis 12:14-20

Context

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 1  was taken 2  into the household of Pharaoh, 3  12:16 and he did treat Abram well 4  on account of her. Abram received 5  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 6  because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 12:18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and said, “What is this 7  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 8  to be my wife? 9  Here is your wife! 10  Take her and go!” 11  12:20 Pharaoh gave his men orders about Abram, 12  and so they expelled him, along with his wife and all his possessions.

1 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.

2 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.

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

4 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.

5 tn Heb “and there was to him.”

6 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.

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

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

9 tn Heb “to me for a wife.”

10 tn Heb “Look, your wife!”

11 tn Heb “take and go.”

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



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