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:
Verses 1-5. - Designed to trace the outward development of God's kingdom on the earth, the narrative now concentrates its attention on one of the foregoing Terachites, whose remarkable career it sketches with considerable minuteness of detail, from the period of his emigration from Chaldea to his death at Hebron in the land of Canaan. Distinguished as a man of undoubted superiority both of character and mind, the head of at least two powerful and important races, and standing, as one might say, on the threshold of the historical era, it is yet chiefly as his life and fortunes connect with the Divine purpose of salvation that they find a place in the inspired record. The progress of infidelity during the four centuries that had elapsed since the Flood, the almost universal corruption of even the Shemits portion of the human family, had conclusively demonstrated the necessity of a second Divine interposition, if the knowledge of salvation were not to be completely banished from the earth. Accordingly, the son of Terah was selected to be the founder of a new nation, in which the light of gospel truth might be deposited for preservation until the fullness of the times, and through which the promise of the gospel might he conducted forward to its ultimate realization in the manifestation of the woman's seed. Partly to prepare him for the high destiny of being the progenitor of the chosen nation, and partly to illustrate the character of that gospel with which he was to be entrusted, he was summoned to renounce his native country and kinsmen in Chaldaea, and venture forth upon an untried journey in obedience to the call of Heaven, to a land which he should afterward receive for an inheritance. In a series of successive theophanies or Divine manifestations, around which the various incidents of his life are grouped - in Ur of the Chaldees (Acts 7:2), at Moreh in Canaan (Genesis 12:7), near Bethel (ibid. 13.), at Mature (ibid. 15, 17.), and on Moriah (ibid. 22.) - he is distinctly promised three things - a land, a seed, and a blessing - as the reward of his compliance with the heavenly invitation; and the confident persuasion both of the reality of these gracious promises and of the Divine ability and willingness to fulfill them forms the animating spirit and guiding principle of his being in every situation of life, whether of trial or of difficulty, in which he is subsequently placed. The miraculous character of these theophanies indeed has been made a ground on which to assail the entire patriarchal history as unhistorical. By certain writers they have been represented as nothing more than natural occurrences embellished by the genius of the author of Genesis (Eichhorn, Bauer, Winer), as belonging to the domain of poetical fiction (De Wette), and therefore as undeserving of anything like serious consideration. But unless the supernatural is to be in toto eliminated from the record, a concession which cannot possibly be granted by an enlightened theism, the Divine appearances to Abraham cannot be regarded as in any degree militating against the historical veracity of the story of his life, which, it may be said, is amply vouched for by the harmony of its details with the characteristics of the period to which it belongs (cf. Havernick's 'Introduction,' § 18). Nor does the employment of the name Jehovah in connection with these theophanies warrant the conclusion that the passages containing them are interpolations of a post Mosaic or Jehovistic editor (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, Davidson). "Such a hypothesis," says Keil, "can only be maintained by those who' misunderstand the distinctive meaning of the two names, Elohim and Jehovah (q.v. on Genesis 2:4), and arbitrarily set aside the Jehovah in Genesis 17:1, on account of an erroneous determination of the relation in which El Shaddai stands to Jehovah." Indications of the literary unity of the patriarchal history will be noted, and replies to objections given, in the progress of the Exposition. Verse 1. - Now the Lord. Jehovah = the God of salvation, an indication that the narrative is now to specially concern itself with the chosen seed, and the Deity to discover himself as the God of redemption. The hypothesis that vers. 1-4 were inserted in the fundamental document by the Jehovist editor is not required for a satisfactory explanation of the change of the Divine name at this particular stage of the narrative. Had said. Literally, said. In Ur of the Chaldees, according to Stephen (Acts 7:2), reverting, after the usual manner of the writer, to the original point of departure in the Abrahamic history (Aben Ezra, Mede, Piscator, Pererius, Calvin, Willet, Rosenmüller, Dathins, Alford, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'); or in Haran, after Terah's death, as the first call given to the patriarch (LXX., Chaldee, Syriac, Raschi, Lyra, Keil, Kalisch, Dykes), or as a repetition of the call addressed to him in Ur (Clarke, Wordsworth, Inglis). Luther conjectures that the call in Ur was given "fortasse per patti. archam Shem;" but if the authority of Stephen be recognized, this was the occasion of the first theophany vouchsafed to Abram. Get thee out. Literally, go for thyself, a frequent Hebraism, expressive of the way in which the action of the verb returns upon itself, is terminated and completed (cf. Genesis 21:16; Genesis 22:2; Isaiah 31:8; Song of Solomon 2:11; vide Ewald's 'Hebrew Syntax,' § 314); hence, though not necessarily emphatic, it may be equivalent to "Go thou," whoever else remains behind (Jarchi, Ainsworth, Bush). Of thy country. A proof that the date of the call was while Abram was in Ur (Calvin), though if Ur was at Edessa (vide supra) the patriarch could scarcely have been said to be from home. And from thy kindred. At Ur in all probability Nahor and Milcah were left behind; at Haran, Nahor and his family, if they had already arrived thither, and according to some (Kalisch, Dykes) Terah also. And from thy father's house. I.e. if they will not accompany thee. No Divine interdict forbade the other members of the family of Terah joining in the Abrahamic emigration. Unto a (literally, the) land that I will show thee. Through a revelation (Lange), or simply by the guidance of providence. The land itself is left unnamed for the trial of the patriarch's faith, which, if it sustained the proof, was to be rewarded by the exceeding great and precious promises which follow: - according to one arrangement, seven in number, one for each clause of the next two verses (Cajetan, Willet); according to another, four, corresponding to the clauses of the second verse, the last of which is expanded in the third (Keil); according to a third, six, forming three pairs of parallels (Alford); according to a fourth, and perhaps the best, two, a lower or personal blessing, comprising the first three particulars, and a higher or public blessing, embracing the last three (Murphy).
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Verses 2, 3. - And I will make of thee a great nation. A compensation for leaving his small kindred. The nation should be great
(1) numerically (Keil, Rosenmüller),
(2) influentially (Kalisch, Inglis),
(3) spiritually (Luther, Wordsworth). And I will bless thee. Temporally (Pererius, Murphy), with every kind of good (Rosenmüller), in particular with offspring (Vatablus); but also spiritually (Rupertus, Bush), in the sense., e.g., of being justified by faith, as in Galatians 3:8 (Candlish). The blessing was a recompense for the deprivations entailed upon him by forsaking the place of his birth and kindred (Murphy). And make thy name great. Render thee illustrious and renowned (Rosenmüller); not so much in the annals of the world as in the history of the Church (Bush); in return for leaving thy father's house (Murphy). So God made David a great name (2 Samuel 7:9; cf. Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:3). And thou shalt be a blessing. I.e. "blessed," as in Zechariah 8:12 (Chaldee, Syriac, LXX., Dathe, Rosenmüller, Gesenius); or "a type or example of blessing," so that men shall introduce thy name into their formularies of blessing (Kimchi, Clericus, Knobel, Calvin); but, best, "a source of blessing' (spiritual) to others" (Tuch, Delitzsch, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy). The sense in which Abram was to be a source of blessing to others is explained in the next verse. First, men were to be either blessed or cursed of God according as their attitude to Abram was propitious or hostile. And I will bless them - grace expecting they will be many to bless (Delitzsch) - that bless thee, and curse (with a judicial curse, the word being the same as in Genesis 3:14; Genesis 4:11) him - only an individual here and there, in the judgment of the Deity, being likely to inherit this malediction (Delitzsch) - that curseth (literally, treateth lightly or despiseth The verb is applied in Genesis 8:11 to the diminution of the waters of the flood) thee. The Divine Being thus identifies himself with Abram, and solemnly engages to regard Abrams friends and enemies as his, as Christ does with his Church (cf. Acts 1:4). And in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Not Mess themselves by thee or in thy name (Jarchi, Clericus); but in thee, as the progenitor of the promised seed, shall all the families of the ground (which was cursed on account of sin, Genesis ill 17) be spiritually blessed - cf. Galatians 3:8 (Calvin, Luther, Rosenmüller, Keil, Wordsworth, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'). Thus the second sense in which Abram was constituted a blessing lay in this, that the whole fullness of the Divine promise of salvation for the world was narrowed up to his line, by which it was in future to be carried forward, and at the appointed season, when the woman s seed was horn, distributed among mankind.
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.
So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
Verse 4. - So (literally, and) Abram departed - from Ur of the Chaldees, or from Haran (vide supra) - as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him. Lot's name being repeated here because of his connection with the ensuing narrative. And Abram was seventy and five years old - literally, a son of five years and seventy years (cf. Genesis 7:6) - when he departed - literally, in his going forth upon the second stage of his journey - from Haran.
And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
Verse 5. - And Abram took (an important addition to the foregoing statement, intimating that Abram did not go forth as a lonely wanderer, but accompanied by) Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all the substance - recush, acquired wealth, from racash, to gain (cf. Genesis 14:11, 16, 21; Genesis 15:14), which consisted chiefly in cattle, Lot and Abram being nomads - that they had gathered (not necessarily implying a protracted stay, as some allege), and the souls - here slaves and their children (cf. Ezekiel 27:13) - that they had gotten - "not only as secular property for themselves, but as brethren to themselves, and as children of the one heavenly Father" (Wordsworth); that they had converted to the law (Onkelos); that they had proselyted (Raschi, Targam Jonathan, and Jerusalem Targum) - in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; - a prolepsis (cf. Genesis 11:31, q.v.) - and into the land of Canaan they came - a distance of 300 miles from Haran, from which their course must have been across the Euphrates in one of its higher affluent, over the Syrian desert, southwards to Lebanon and Damascus (cf. Genesis 15:2), where, according to Josephus, the patriarch reigned for some considerable time, "being come with an army from the land of the Chaldaeans" ('Ant.,' 1:07), and a village survived to his day called "Abraham's habitation." According to the partitionists (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso, Davidson) this verse belongs to the Elohist or fundamental document; but if so, then the Jehovist represents Abram (ver. 6) as journeying through the land without having previously mentioned what land (cf. Quarry, p. 420).
And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
Verse 6. - And Abram passed through - literally, passed over, or traveled about as a pilgrim (cf. Hebrews 11:9) in - the land unto (or as far as) the place of Sichem. A prolepsis for the place where the city Shechem (either built by or named after the Hivite prince, Genesis 34:2) was afterwards situated, viz., between Ebal and Gerizim, in the middle of the land; "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very beautiful, spot in Central Palestine" (Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' 5:234). The modern name of Sichem is Nablus, a corruption of Neapolis. Unto the plain. אֵלון, from אוּל or אִיל, to be strong, a strong, hardy tree: the terebinth, as opposed to the oak, אַלּון, from אָלַל (Celsius Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Keil); the oak, as distinguished from אֵלָה, the turpentine tree, or terebinth (Gesenius, Kalisch, Murphy). But it seems demonstrable that these and the other cognate terms, אַלָּה אֵיל, are frequently used as synonymous for any large, strong tree (cf. Genesis 35:5; Judges 9:9; 24:26; Joshua 19:33 with Judges 4:11), though commonly אֵלון, oak, is opposed to אֵלָה, terebinth, as in Isaiah 6:13; Hosea 4:13. The translation of אֵלון by plain (Targums, A.V.) is inaccurate, though "the truth is it was both a plain and set with oaks" (Willet). Of Moreh. like Mature (Genesis 13:18), the name of the owner of the oak-grove (Murphy, Kalisch, Alford); probably a priestly character (Moreh signifying a teacher, Judges 7:1; 2 Kings 17:28; Isaiah 9:15) who instituted the Divine cultus in the locality (Luther); though it has also been regarded as the name of the place (Calvin), which maybe here given to it by anticipation (Wordsworth), being derived from raah, to see, and equivalent to the place of vision (Samaritan), because God there appeared to the patriarch (Fagius), and showed him the land of Canaan (Masius, Lyra). Knobel renders "the oak of the teacher," comparing it with "the oak of the witches" (Judges 9:37). The LXX. translate by ὑψηλήν, lofty, and the Vulgate by illustrem. And the Canaanite was then in the land. A sign of post-Mosaic authorship (Tuch, Bleek, Colenso); an interpolation Eben Ezra; rather
(1) a proclamation of the miserable exile in which the patriarch lived (Luther); or
(2) a reminder to Abram of his heavenly country, seeing he was a stranger in his earthly one (Calvin); or, better,
(3) an intimation of the fact that already the Canaanites were in possession of the land which bore their name (Kalisch), or perhaps simply
(4) a declaration that the land was not a stretch of unoccupied territory, but a populated region (Hengstenberg), thus making the fulfillment of the ensuing promise all the more difficult, and all the greater a trial to the faith of the patriarch (Keil, Murphy, Wordsworth, Alford); or
(5), but not so good, an explanation of the previous selection of the oak of Moreh as his habitation (Lange, Havernick, vide Introduction, § 18).
And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.
Verse 7. - And the Lord appeared. The first mention of a theophany, though Acts 7:2 alleges that such a Divine manifestation had previously occurred in Ur of the Chaldees. Though not a direct vision of Jehovah (John 1:18), that there was some kind of outward appearance may be inferred from the subsequent Divine manifestations to the patriarch (Genesis 18:2, 17, 33; Genesis 22:11-18), to Hagar (Genesis 16:7-14; Genesis 21:17, 18), and to Jacob (Genesis 31:11-13; Genesis 32:24-30). On the relation of the angel of Jehovah to Jehovah vide Genesis 16, 17. Unto Abram. "Jam paene fatigato Abraha isto duro exsilio et perpetuis migrationibus" (Luther). And said, Unto thy seed - to himself God gave "none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on" (Acts 7:5); the land was promised to his seed "when as yet he had no child" - will I give this land. Now occupied by the Canaanites. Undoubtedly a great promise, that the Canaanites should be dispossessed, and their country given to the offspring of a childless old man already over seventy-five years. The apparent improbability of its ever being accomplished rendered it a strong trial to the patriarch's faith. And there builded he an altar. "Constituit certum locum, in quo conveniat ecclesia, auditura verbum Dei, factura preess, laudatura Deum, sacrificatura Dee" (Luther). "Altare forma est Divini cultus; invocatio autem substantia et veritas" (Calvin). "The rearing of an altar in the land was, in fact, a form of taking possession of it on the ground of a right secured to the exercise of his faith" (Bush). "It is often said of Abraham and the patriarchs that they built altars to the Lord; it is never said they built houses for themselves" (Wordsworth). Unto the Lord who had appeared to him.
And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.
Verse 8. - And he removed - literally, caused (i.e. his tent) to be broken up (cf. Genesis 26:22 - from thence - no cause for which being assigned, the hostility of his neighbors (Luther, Calvin) and the commencement of the famine (Alford, Keil) have been conjectured as the probable reasons - unto a (literally, the) mountain east of Bethel. Here proleptically named "house of God," being called in the time of Abram Luz (Genesis 28:19). Its present name is Beitin. And pitched his tent (cf. Genesis 9:21), having Bethel on the west - literally, sea-ward, the Mediterranean being the western boundary of Palestine (cf. Genesis 28:14; Exodus 10:19; Exodus 26:22; Ezekiel 48:1, 2) - and Hai - Ai (עַי; עַיָּא, Nehemiah 11:31; עַיָּת, Isaiah 10:28); with the article, because signifying "the heap of ruins," near which it was no doubt built; the scene of the first Israelitish defeat under Joshua (Genesis 7:2): its ruins still exist under the name of Medinet Gai - on the east (about five miles from Bethel): and there he builded an altar unto the Lord (vide supra), and called upon the name of the Lord (vide Genesis 4:26).
And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
Verse 9. - And Abram journeyed (literally, broke up, e. g., his encampment, going on still - literally, going on and breaking up (cf. Genesis 8:3); "going and returning" - towards the south. Negleb, the dry region, from nagabh, to be dried, the southern district of Palestine (Genesis 13:3; Genesis 20:1; Genesis 24:62). The LXX. render, ἐστρατοπέδευσεν ἐν, τῇ ἐρήμῳ. . Of this section vers. 5, 6, 8a are commonly assigned to the Elohist; and 7, 8b, and 9 to the Jehovist.
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
Verse 10. - And there was a famine. רָעָב, from a root signifying to hunger, the primary. idea appearing to lie in that of an ample, i.e. empty, stomach (Gesenius, Furst). The term is used of individuals, men or animal (Psalm 34:11; Psalm 50:12); or of regions (Psalm 41:55). In the land. Of Canaan, which, though naturally fertile, was, on account of its imperfect cultivation, subject to visitations of dearth (cf. Genesis 26:1; Genesis 41:56), especially in dry seasons, when the November and December rains, on which Palestine depended, either failed or were scanty. The occurrence of this famine just at the time of Abram's entering the land was an additional trial to his faith. And Abram went down to Egypt. Mizraim (vide Genesis 10:6) was lower than Palestine, and celebrated then, as later, as a rich and fruitful country, though sometimes even Egypt suffered from a scarcity of corn, owing to a failure in the annual inundation of the Nile. Eichhorn notes it as an authentication of this portion of the Abrahamic history that the patriarch proposed to take himself and his household to Egypt, since at that time no corn trade existed between the two countries such as prevailed in the days of Jacob (vide Havernick's Introduction, § 18). The writer to the Hebrews remarks it as an instance of the patriarch's faith that he did not return to either Haran or Ur (Hebrews 11:15, 16). To sojourn there. To tarry as a stranger, but not to dwell. Whether this journey was undertaken with the Divine sanction and ought to be regarded as an act of faith, or in obedience to his own fears and should be reckoned as a sign of unbelief, does not appear. Whichever way the patriarch elected to act in his perplexity, to leave Canaan or reside in it, there was clearly a strain intended to be put upon his faith. For the famine was grievous (literally, heavy) in the land.
And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
Verses 11-13. - And it came to pass (literally, it was), when he was come near to enter into Egypt (that he had his misgivings, arising probably from his own eminence, which could scarcely fail to attract attention among strangers, but chiefly from the beauty of his wife, which was calculated to inflame the cupidity and, it might be, the violence of the warm-blooded Southrons, and) that he said unto Sarai his wife. The arrangement here referred to appears (Genesis 20:13) to have been preconcerted on first setting out from Ur or Haran, so that Abram's address to his wife on approaching Egypt may be viewed as simply a reminder of their previous compact. Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon. Literally, fair of aspect (cf. 1 Samuel 17:42). Though now upwards of sixty-five years of age, she was still in middle life (Genesis 23:1), and her constitution had not been impaired by bearing children. Besides, the clear complexion of Sarah would render her specially attractive in the eyes of the Egyptians, whose women, though not so dark as the Nubians and Ethiopians, were yet of a browner tinge than the Syrians and Arabians. Monumental evidence confirms the assertion of Scripture that a fair complexion was deemed a high recommendation in the age of the Pharaohs (ride Hengstenberg's 'Egypt and the Books of Moses,' p. 200). Therefore (literally, and) it shall come to pass, when (literally, that) the Egyptians - notorious for their licentiousness (vide P. Smith's ' History of the World,' vol. 1. Genesis 6. p. 71) - shall see thee, that (literally, and) they shall say, this is his wife: and they will kill me - in order to possess thee, counting murder a less crime than adultery (Lyra). An unreasonable anxiety, considering that he had hitherto enjoyed the Divine protection, however natural it might seem in view of the voluptuous character of the people. But (literally, and) they will save thee alive - for either compulsory marriage or dishonorable use. Say, I pray thee, - translated in ver. 11 as "now;" "verbum obsecrantis vel adhortantis" (Masius) - thou art my sister. A half-truth (Genesis 20:12), but a whole falsehood. The usual apologies, that he did not fabricate, but "cautiously conceal the truth" (Lyra), that perhaps he acted in obedience to a Divine impulse (Mede), that he dissembled in order to protect his wife's chastity (Rosenmüller), are not satisfactory. On the other hand, Abram must not be judged by the light of New Testament revelation. It is not necessary for a Christian in every situation Of life to tell all the truth, especially when its part suppression involves no deception, and is indispensable for self-preservation; and Abram may have deemed it legitimate as a means of securing both his own life and Sarah's honor, though how he was to shield his wife in the peculiar circumstances it is difficult to see. Rosenmüller suggests that he knew the preliminary ceremonies to marriage required a considerable time, and counted upon being able to leave Egypt before any injury was done to Sarah. The only objection to this is that the historian represents him as being less solicitous about the preservation of his wife's chastity than about the conservation of his own life. That it may be well (not with thee, though doubtless this is implied, but) with me for thy sake (the import of which is declared in the words which follow); and my soul shall live because of thee. "No defense can be offered for a man who, merely through dread of danger to himself, tells a lie, risks his wife's chastity, puts temptation in the way of his neighbors, and betrays the charge to which the Divine favor had summoned him "(Dykes).
Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
Verses 14, 15. - And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also - literally, and the pronces (שָׂרֵי, mas. of Sarah), chief men or courtiers, who, in accordance with the ancient custom of Egypt that no slave should approach the priestly person of Pharaoh, were sons of the principal priests (vide Havernick, § 18) - of Pharaoh. The official title of the kings of Egypt (cf. Caesar, the designation of the Roman emperors, and Czar, that of the Emperor of Russia), who are never introduced in the Pentateuch, as in later books, by their individual names (1 Kings 3:1; 9:40); an indirect evidence that the author of Genesis must at least have been acquainted with the manners of the Egyptian Court. The term Pharaoh, which continued in use till after the Persian invasion - under the Greek empire the Egyptian rulers were styled Ptolemies - is declared by Josephus to signify "king" ('Ant.,' 8:06, 2), which agrees with the Koptic Pouro (Piouro; from ouro, to rule, whence touro, queen), which also means king. Modern Egyptologers, however, in. cline to regard it as corresponding to the Phra of the inscriptions (Rosellini, Lepeius, Wilkinson), or to the hieroglyphic Peraa, or Perao, "the great house (M. de Rouge, Brugsch, Ebers), an appellation which belonged to the Egyptian monarchs, and with which may be compared "the Sublime Porte," as applied to the Turkish sultans (cf. Canon Cook in 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 1. p. 47?). The particular monarch who occupied the Egyptian throne at the time of Abram's arrival has been conjectured to be Necao (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 5. 9:4), Ramessemenes (Syncellus, p. 101), Pharethones (Euseb., 'Praep. Ev.,' 9:8), Apappus (Wilkinson, 'Anc. Egypt.,' vol. 1. p. 13, note 5, Dr. Bitch's edition), Achthoes, the sixth king of the eleventh dynasty (Osburn, 'Men. Hist. of Egypt,' vol. 1. Genesis 7. p. 375), Salatis or Saitas, the first king of the fifteenth dynasty, whose reign commenced B.C. 2080 (Stuart Peele in 'Smith's Dict.,' art. Pharaoh), a monarch belonging to the sixteenth dynasty of shepherd kings (Kalisch), and a Pharaoh who flourished between the middle of the eleventh and thirteenth dynasties, most probably one of the earliest Pharaohs of the twelfth (Canon Cook in 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 1. p. 447). Amid such conflicting testimony from erudite archaeologists it is apparent that nothing can be ascertained with exactitude as to the date of Abram's sojourn in Egypt; though the last-named writer, who exhibits the latest results of scholarship on the question, mentions in support of his conclusion a variety of considerations that may be profitably studied. Saw her. So that she must have been unveiled, which agrees with monumental evidence that in the reign of the Pharaohs the Egyptian ladies exposed their faces, though the custom was discontinued after the Pemian conquest (vide Hengstenberg's 'Egypt and the Books of Moses,' p. 199). And commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken. Capta (Targum of Jonathan), rapta (Arab.), abducta (Pagnini), capta et deducta (Rosenmüller); all implying more or less the idea of violence, which, however, besides being not warranted by the text, was scarcely likely in the circumstances, the king being perfectly honorable in his proposals, and Abram and Sarai by their deception having rendered it impossible to object without divulging their secret. Into Pharaoh's house. Or harem, with a view to marriage as a secondary wife. Cf. the Papyrus D'Orbiney, now in the British Museum, but belonging to the age of Rameses II., in which the Pharaoh of the time, acting on the advice of his counselors, sends two armies to fetch a beautiful woman by force, and then to murder her husband. A translation by M. Renouf will be found in The Tale of the Two Brothers, in 'Records of the Past,' vol. 2. p. 138.
The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.
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 16. - And he entreated Abram well - literally, did good to Abram; εϋ ἐχρήσαντο (LXX., Hieronymus, Poole) supposes that the court of Pharaoh or the Egyptian people generally conferred favors on the patriarch, which is not at all so probable as that Pharaoh did - for her sake. Marriage negotiations in Oriental countries are usually accompanied by presents to the relatives of the de as a sort of payment. "The marriage price is distinctly mentioned in Scripture (Exodus 22:15, 16; Ruth 4:10; 1 Samuel 18:23, 25; Hosea 3:2); was commonly demanded by the nations of antiquity, as by the Babylonians (Herod., 1:196), Assyrians (AElian V. H., 4. 1; Strabo, 16:745), the ancient Greeks ('Odyss.,' 8:318 ff.), and the Germans (Tacit., 'German.,' 18. ); and still obtains in the East to the present day" (vide Kitto's 'Cyclopedia,' art. Marriage, by Dr. Ginsburg). And he had - literally, there was (given) to him - sheep, and oxen. Flocks of small cattle and herds of larger quadrupeds, together constituted the chief wealth of nomads (cf. Genesis 13:5; Job 1:3). And he asses. Chamor, so named from the reddish color which in southern countries belongs not only to the wild, but also to the common or domestic, ass (Gesenius). The mention of asses among Pharaoh's presents has been regarded as an "inaccuracy" and a "blunder," at once a sign of the late origin of Genesis and a proof its author's ignorance of Egypt (Bohlen, Introd., Genesis 6.); but
(1) asses were among the most common of Egyptian animals, a single individual, according to Wilkinson (vol. 3. p. 34), possessing sometimes as many as 700 or 800; and
(2) it is certain that asses appear on the early monuments (cf. ' Records of the Past,' vol. 2. p. 26). And men-servants, and maid-servants, and she asses. Athon; from athan, to walk with short steps; so named from its slowness (Genesis 32:16), though "the ass in Egypt is of a very superior kind, tall, handsome, docile, swift" (Kitto's 'Cyclopedia,' art. Egypt). And camels. Gamal (from gamal, to repay, because the camel is an animal that remembers past injuries (Bochart), or from a cogmate Arabic root hamala, meaning he or it carried, with reference to its being a beast of burden (Gesenius); both of which derivations Stuart Poole declares farfetched, and proposes to connect the term with the Sanskrit kramela, from kram, to walk or step, which would then signify the walking animal (vide Kitto, art. Camel). Cf. with the Hebrew the Sanskrit as above, the Arab jemel or gemel, the Egyptian sjamoul, Greek κάμηλος, Latin camelus) is the well-known strong animal belonging to Palestine (Ezra 2:67), Arabia (Judges 7:12), Egypt (Exodus 9:3), Syria (2 Kings 8:9), which serves the inhabitants of the desert for travelling (Genesis 24:10; Genesis 31:17) as well as for carrying burdens (Isaiah 30:6), and for warlike operations (Genesis 21:7), and in which their fiches consisted (Job 1:3; 42:21). Though the camel does not thrive well in Egypt, and seldom appears on the monuments, the historian has not necessarily been guilty of an "inaccuracy and a blunder" in assigning it to Abram as one of Pharaoh's presents (Bohlen); for
(1) the camel thrives better in Egypt than it does anywhere else out of its own proper habitat;
(2) if camels were not generally kept in Egypt, this Pharaoh may have been "one of the shepherd kings who partly lived at Avaris, the Zoan of Scripture," a region much inhabited by strangers (Poole in Kitto, art. Camel); and
(3) if camels have not been discovered among the delineations on the monuments, this may have been because of its connection with the foreign conqueror of Egypt, which caused it to be regarded as a beast of ill omen; though
(4) according to Heeren they do appear on the monuments (Havernick, § 18, p. 142). That horses, though the glory of Egypt, were not included among the monarch's gifts was doubtless owing to the fact that they could not have been of much service to the patriarch.
And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
Verse 17. - And the Lord plagued (literally, struck) Pharaoh and his house with great plagues (or strokes, either of disease or death, or some other calamity - an indication that Pharaoh was not entirely innocent) because of Sarai Abram's wife. The effect of this was to lead to the discovery, not through the aid of the Egyptian priests (Josephus), but either through a special revelation granted to him, as afterwards (Genesis 20:6) to Abimelech in a dream (Chrysostom), or through the confession of Sarai herself (A Lapide), or through the servants of Abraham (Kurtz).
And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
Verses 18, 19. - And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me t why didst thou not tell me she was thy wife? In which case we are bound to believe the monarch that he would not have taken her. Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife (which as yet he had not done; an indirect proof both of the monarch's honorable purpose towards Sarai and of Sarai's unsullied purity): now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. According to Josephus ('Bell. Jud.' 5. 9:4) Sarah was only one night in Pharaoh's house; but this is obviously incorrect.
Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
Verse 20. - And Pharaoh commanded his men (i.e. certain officers designated for the purpose) concerning him (to see to his departure): and they seat him away, and his wife, and all that he had. The partitionists assign this entire section to the Jehovist.