What does Genesis 12:16 mean?
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.
NIV: He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
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.
CSB: He treated Abram well because of her, and Abram acquired flocks and herds, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels.
NLT: Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her — sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
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.
Verse Commentary:
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!
Verse Context:
Genesis 12:10–20 tells a story of Abram's fearfulness and God's faithful intervention to keep His promises. A famine forces Abram's large company to enter the land of Egypt in search of food. Pharaoh's sons quickly notice Sarai's great beauty, and Pharaoh takes her for one of his wives. This occurs because Abram, fearful for his life, has claimed that Sarai is his sister. In spite of Abram's lie and failure to trust Him, God afflicts Pharaoh's household for this dishonor, bringing the truth to light. Pharaoh, angry and fearful, sends Abram, Sarai, and the company back to the land of Canaan.
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 10:09:29 PM
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