Genesis 12

So the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your land, where your kindred and father’s house lie,
To the land I will show you. I’ll make a great nation of you, and will bless you, and I
Will then make your name great. And you shall be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you too,
And will curse those that curse you, and all of earth’s clans shall find blessing for themselves through you.”

Abram went, as God told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old
When he left Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his brother’s son Lot, and all of their gold,
All the wealth they’d acquired, all people they’d gotten in Harran, and set out to go
To the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram did not move slow,
But he passed through the land to the Place of Shechem, as far in as the Sage-Oak of Moreh
(That’s a sacred tree known as the “oracle giver”, a remarkable piece of flora).
At that time, the Canaanites were still in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram to say,
“I will give this land to your offspring.” Abram built an altar to the Lord on that day.
An altar to the Lord who had appeared to him. From there, Abram moved on to the hills
And the mountains east of Bethel, pitching his tent with Ai on the east, Bethel west still.
There he built one more altar to God, and he called out the name of the Lord with his mouth.
Abram then journeyed on, ever journeying towards the Negev, deep in the dry south.

Now there was in the land a great famine, so it was to Egypt that Abram went down,
To sojourn, for the famine was severe. When Abram was about to enter town
He said to his wife Sarai, “Look here, I know that you are a woman fair to behold.
When Egyptians see you, if they think you’re my wife, my reception from them will be cold.
They would kill me, although they’d allow you to live. Please say you are my sister, instead.
That way it will go well with me on your account, and because of you I won’t be dead.”

So when Abram came to Egypt, all the Egyptians saw the woman was very fair;
Pharaoh’s courtiers saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, she was taken into his lair.
It went well with Abram thanks to her, he acquired sheep and oxen, and donkeys and maids,
Servants, she-asses, and even camels. But God plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues,
All because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Pharaoh had Abram sent for, and then Pharaoh said,
“What is this that you’ve done to me! Why did you not say she was your wife, but say instead
That she was just your sister, so that I took her as a wife for myself? Now then, here–
Here’s your wife, take her back, and be gone with you both!” Pharaoh called some of his men to ear,
And put them in charge of Abram, charged with escorting Abram far away from this mess.
He commanded his men to send Abram away, with his wife and all that he possessed.

Comments (2)

Rachel BarenblatDecember 15th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

I like “Sage-Oak of Moreh,” and the repeated words and sounds of “Abram then journeyed on, ever journeying towards the Negev, deep in the dry south” is very evocative of the Hebrew.

GTVDecember 22nd, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Thanks. I believe I have Everett Fox to thank for laying out a more literal translation of that passage.

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