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

Genesis 12:12, NIV: "When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live."

Genesis 12:12, ESV: "and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live."

Genesis 12:12, KJV: "Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive."

Genesis 12:12, NASB: "and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live."

Genesis 12:12, NLT: "When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife. Let's kill him; then we can have her!'"

Genesis 12:12, CSB: "When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' They will kill me but let you live."

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

Forced to immigrate with his large company into Egypt to escape a famine, Abram is worried about his safety. Why? His wife Sarai is a woman of great beauty. He is just an immigrant seeking food for his people. From Abram's perspective, this leads to a terrifying question: what's to keep the Egyptians from killing him to get his wife?

Was Abram exaggerating Sarai's beauty or the potential danger? Sarai would have been 65 years old at this point, after all. And yet, as the following verses will show, the Egyptians were indeed smitten with Sarai's beauty. Abram's concern that other men would desire his wife, at the least, were not entirely unjustified.

What we will see, though, is that Abram is not justified in the fearful action he takes to protect himself. At the risk of his wife, he will tell a half-truth which winds up going wrong (Genesis 12:15–19).