Genesis 12:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 12:10, NIV: "Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe."

Genesis 12:10, ESV: "Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land."

Genesis 12:10, KJV: "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land."

Genesis 12:10, NASB: "Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a time, because the famine was severe in the land."

Genesis 12:10, NLT: "At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner."

Genesis 12:10, CSB: "There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to stay there for a while because the famine in the land was severe."

What does Genesis 12:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After spending some time in the land God has promised to his offspring, Abram and his large company are forced to leave Canaan. The land of the Negeb, where Abram's family has most recently been (Genesis 12:9), is dry and hilly. It was prone to famine in seasons of drought, especially before modern methods of farming came along.

A severe famine, then would most likely have forced most inhabitants of the region to travel to find resources. There simply was no food or water to support them in the Negeb. Egypt, on the other hand, had the advantage of the flat lowlands along the Nile river. People of the surrounding regions often immigrated to Egypt hoping to survive a famine.

Abram will not be the last of the patriarchs, the fathers of Israel, to move to Egypt in a time of drought. The sons of Jacob, Abram's grandson, will travel there to seek food and encounter their estranged brother, Joseph (Genesis 37—47).