What does Genesis 12:1 mean?
ESV: Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
NIV: The LORD had said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.
NASB: Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;
CSB: The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you.
NLT: The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.
KJV: Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Verse Commentary:
Genesis chapter 12 begins one of the most crucial sections in the entire book of Genesis. Genesis is deeply focused on God's relationship with the nation of Israel. That relationship has its first official beginning in this verse.

Scripture gives us no information on whether Abram experienced some prior relationship with God, or if he had previously communicated with the Lord. Abram's people, including his father Terah, worshipped false gods (Joshua 24:2). Ur and Haran, Abram's former and current homes, were apparently centers of worship of the moon. Prior to his calling by God, Abram was pagan in every sense of that word.

Very much middle aged for his era—75 years old—Abram was wealthy and settled with his father's extended family in Haran. He was married to Sarai, but they were barren and childless. We're not told that he was an especially good or bad man. As with many of the human instruments used by God, this is secondary—all that ultimately matters is that God intends to accomplish His will through this particular man and his family.

God shows up in Abram's life with very specific commands and staggering promises. God's first word to Abram is "go." It's important to note that Abram is given a two-sided instruction: both to "go from," and to "go to." God calls Abram to leave behind three things: his country, his extended family or people group, and his father's household. He was to go to an unnamed land which God will show to him.

Abram could not stay where he was and still obey God. He is being called to leave His pagan culture in order to commit himself to the Lord. In going, though, God will promise to do great things for Abram.
Verse Context:
Genesis 12:1–9 is a landmark passage in the Bible. God calls Abram to leave his people and land behind. He also promises to bless Abram and to make his descendants into a great nation who will one day occupy the land of Canaan. Though childless, and with no obvious path to becoming a father of an entire culture, Abram begins to worship the Lord in the land of Canaan, journeying through the land and building altars to God.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 12 contains one of the key moments in the history of the world. God chooses Abram as the first step in building His people Israel. Abram obeys God's call, and heads into the land of Canaan, territory which God promises to Abram's offspring. Quickly, though, Abram fails a test of faith in the land of Egypt while seeking food in a famine. God does not fail, however, to step in to save Abram's family and protect His agenda for Abram's life.
Chapter Context:
The end of Genesis 11 tells the story of Terah, Abram's father, and the family's journey to a new home in Haran. Genesis 12 shifts the story to Abram and his journey on into the land of Canaan. God promises to make Abram the father of a great nation, and to give Abram's descendants that very land. Abram begins to worship the Lord, but quickly fails a test of his faith in Egypt. God shows Himself faithful in a miraculous way, preparing Abram for what's to come in chapter 13.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 4/17/2024 11:33:18 PM
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