Genesis 12:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 12:3, NIV: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'"

Genesis 12:3, ESV: "I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”"

Genesis 12:3, KJV: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Genesis 12:3, NASB: "And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.'"

Genesis 12:3, NLT: "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.'"

Genesis 12:3, CSB: "I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

What does Genesis 12:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 1–3 introduce the beginning of God's relationship with Abram; this is the earliest history of the nation of Israel. Without any recorded preamble, God shows up in Abram's life with a command to go away from where he is to an unnamed place. In the going, God promises to make Abram a great nation, to bless him, to give him a great name, and to make him a blessing.

Now God continues these promises: God will bless those who bless Abram. God will curse those who dishonor Abram. In Abram, God will bless all the families, or "peoples," of the earth.

God's words to Abram stop there. The next verse will reveal Abram's response. Notice, though, that the only condition for receiving these promises seems to be that Abram goes. Aside from that, God's promises here are not dependent on Abram's actions, or obedience, or goodness, or worthiness. God simply says He will do these things to and through Abram. Period. This parallels the fact that Abram's prior life and personality are given no description: his character is irrelevant to the purposes of God in this instance.

Knowing what we know now about the history of God's relationship with Israel, it's clear that God does indeed keep these promises (Deuteronomy 34:1–4; Joshua 1:1–9). Of course, Abram currently has no way of knowing that for sure. Instead, he will have to trust God to keep his vows (Hebrews 6:13–18).