Genesis 12:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 12:16, NIV: "He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels."

Genesis 12:16, ESV: "And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels."

Genesis 12:16, KJV: "And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels."

Genesis 12:16, NASB: "Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and he gave him sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants and female servants, female donkeys, and camels."

Genesis 12:16, NLT: "Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her--sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels."

Genesis 12:16, CSB: "He treated Abram well because of her, and Abram acquired flocks and herds, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels."

What does Genesis 12:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

First, Abram and Sarai lied to protect Abram from any Egyptians who would kill him to take Sarai as their own wife. Perhaps he hoped that as her brother he would be able to refuse any marriage proposals. The lie came in the form of a half-truth: that Sarai was Abram's (half) sister. The intent, however, was to make others think she was not Abram's wife, and this made even a truthful statement into a lie.

This scheme backfired. Instead of approaching Abram to request Sarai's hand in marriage, or leaving her alone entirely, Pharaoh apparently just took her as his wife, and made some kind of payment to Abram after the fact. The bride price or honor payment included livestock, work animals, and human servants. Abram's scheme had increased his wealth, but lost him his wife.

Abram's fears of losing his wife and his life were justified, but he failed to take those fears to the Lord who had promised to protect and provide for him. He failed to trust the Lord to provide a solution he could not see. This is a classic example of good intentions being perverted by foolish actions (Job 5:13). Abram's own godless actions actually instigated what he feared most!