Genesis 12:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 12:8, NIV: "From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD."

Genesis 12:8, ESV: "From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD."

Genesis 12:8, KJV: "And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD."

Genesis 12:8, NASB: "Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD."

Genesis 12:8, NLT: "After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the LORD, and he worshiped the LORD."

Genesis 12:8, CSB: "From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. He built an altar to the LORD there, and he called on the name of the LORD."

What does Genesis 12:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After the Lord appeared to Abram at Shechem and promised to give the land to Abram's descendants, Abram and his large company moved on to the region between Bethel and Ai. We're told Abram "pitched his tent" there. This phrasing seems to imply that Abram and his people settled there for some time.

Also while east of Bethel, Abram builds an altar to the Lord and calls on His name there. The implication here may be that Abram began to participate in regular, formal worship of Yahweh in this place. The terminology is similar to that of Genesis chapter 4, where people are said to begin to "call upon the name of the Lord" after the banishment of Cain, and the birth of Seth (Genesis 4:26). As with the altar at Shechem, no mention is made of animal sacrifices.

Genesis 13:4 records that Abram later returned to this altar and called on the Lord's name again. This strongly suggests this altar was a lasting structure and not merely a temporary arrangement.