Descendants of Shem
These are the records of the generations of Shem [from whom Abraham descended]. Shem was a hundred years old when he became the father of Arpachshad, two years after the flood. And Shem lived five hundred years after Arpachshad was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah. Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years after Shelah was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Shelah had lived thirty years, he became the father of Eber. Shelah lived four hundred and three years after Eber was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Eber had lived thirty-four years, he became the father of Peleg. And Eber lived four hundred and thirty years after Peleg was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Peleg had lived thirty years, he became the father of Reu. And Peleg lived two hundred and nine years after Reu was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Reu had lived thirty-two years, he became the father of Serug. And Reu lived two hundred and seven years after Serug was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Serug had lived thirty years, he became the father of Nahor. And Serug lived two hundred years after Nahor was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
When Nahor had lived twenty-nine years, he became the father of Terah. And Nahor lived a hundred and nineteen years after Terah was born, and he had other sons and daughters.
After Terah had lived seventy years, he became the father of [a]Abram and Nahor and Haran [his firstborn].
Now these are the records of the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram (Abraham), Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in [b]Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai (later called Sarah), and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she did not have a child.
Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together to go from Ur of the Chaldeans into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran [about five hundred and fifty miles northwest of Ur], they settled there. Terah lived two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
- Genesis 11:26 Abram (Abraham) is mentioned first because of his importance, not his birth order.
- Genesis 11:28 Abram’s home town was Ur of the Chaldeans. As the result of extensive archeological excavations there in 1922-34, a great deal is known about Abram’s background. The house of the average middle-class person had from ten to twenty rooms and measured forty to fifty-two feet; the lower floor was for servants, the upper floor for the family, with five rooms for their use; additionally, there was a guest chamber and a lavatory reserved for visitors, and a private chapel. A school was found and what the students studied was shown by the clay tablets discovered there. In the days of Abram the pupils had reading, writing, and arithmetic as today. They learned the multiplication and division tables and even worked at square and cube roots. A bill of lading of about 2040 b.c. (about the era in which Abram is believed to have lived) showed that the commerce of that time was far-reaching. Even the name “Abraham” has been found on the excavated clay tablets.
Abram Journeys to Egypt
Now [in Haran] the Lord had said to Abram,
“Go away from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And [a]I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you [abundantly],
And make your name great (exalted, distinguished);
And you shall be a blessing [a source of great good to others];
And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you,
And I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you.
And in you all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed.”
So Abram departed [in faithful obedience] as the Lord had directed him; and Lot [his nephew] left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had acquired, and the people (servants) which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the [great] terebinth (oak) tree of Moreh. Now the [b]Canaanites were in the land at that time. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” So Abram built an altar there to [honor] the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he moved on 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 on the name of the Lord [in worship through prayer, praise, and thanksgiving]. Then Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev (the South country of Judah).
Now there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to live temporarily, for the famine in the land was oppressive and severe. And when he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “Listen: I know that you are [c]a beautiful woman; so when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me [to acquire you], but they will let you live. Please tell them that you are [d]my sister so that things will go well for me for your sake, and my life will be spared because of you.” And when Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s princes (officials) also saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken [for the purpose of marriage] into Pharaoh’s house (harem). Therefore Pharaoh treated Abram well for her sake; he acquired sheep, oxen, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
But the Lord punished Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her and go!” So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him on his way, with his wife and all that he had.
- Genesis 12:2 These verses (2, 3) give the basic outline of God’s covenant with Abraham.
- Genesis 12:6 I.e. the descendants of Ham’s son who was cursed by Noah.
- Genesis 12:11 Sarai was about sixty-five years old at this time.
- Genesis 12:13 Sarai was Abraham’s half sister. They had the same father, but different mothers (Gen 20:12).
Abram and Lot
So Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot [his nephew] with him, into the Negev (the South country of Judah).
Now Abram was extremely rich in livestock and in silver and in gold. He journeyed on from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, where he had first built an altar; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord [in prayer]. But Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them [that is, sustain all their grazing and water needs] while they lived near one another, for their possessions were too great for them to stay together. And there was strife and quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were living in the land at that same time [making grazing of the livestock difficult].
So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife and disagreement between you and me, nor between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, because we are relatives. Is not the entire land before you? Please separate [yourself] from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or if you choose the right, then I will go to the left.” So Lot looked and saw that the valley of the Jordan was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah; [it was all] like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar [at the south end of the Dead Sea]. Then Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and he traveled east. So they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot settled in the cities of the valley and camped as far as Sodom and lived there. But the men of Sodom were extremely wicked and sinful against the Lord [unashamed in their open sin before Him].
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had left him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are standing, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants [as numerous] as the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the [grains of] dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be counted. Arise, walk (make a thorough reconnaissance) around in the land, through its length and its width, for I will give it to you.” Then Abram broke camp and moved his tent, and came and settled by the [grove of the great] terebinths (oak trees) of Mamre [the Amorite], which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to [honor] the Lord.