What does Genesis 12:3 mean?
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."
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."
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.'
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.
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.'
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.
NKJV: I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Verse Commentary:
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).
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.
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