While reading Job, I often thought, jeez this is moving slowly. Another three chapters of poetic tirades! Not so with Genesis. We’re back to very fast paced action.
First, we have a little mini-exile as Abram & Sarai move very quickly from the Fertile Crescent to Egypt passing briefly through the land of Canaan. Here we have the first time that Abram tells a king his hot wife is his sister, and the first time the king (here Pharaoh) gets mad that Abram didn’t tell him. God punished Pharaoh by sending illnesses on Pharaoh’s family, or in Spanish “grandes plagas” so Pharaoh kicked them out. Hm. Foreshadowing?
Second, we have Abram the badass who brings an army to settle a score on behalf of the King of Sodom, rescuing little nephew Lot who is always getting into trouble, receiving a blessing from Melchizedek, king of Salem and high priest of the Most High God. Then Abram refuses to take anything from the King of Sodom because he doesn’t want his dirty money.
Through out these stories we have God’s promising to Make Abram father of a great nation. Interestingly, we also have the typical tension between the evil city and the noble country. That’s an old story we’re still telling.
It is interesting to me, that the story of Abram includes both him as a general and as a sniveling coward literally giving his wife to another man in hopes of protection. I’m not sure what morals can be derived from this story. King of Sodom offers him goods and money, “I’m to proud to take your blood money,” but Pharaoh wants to take his wife as a concubine, “Her? That’s just my hot sister.” Complicated dude.
Last note on this dense passage, the Promise Land as described in Gen. 15:18-21 is from the Nile to the Euphrates. That’s quite a bit more than modern Israel, or the expanse of Israel at any time, even as described by Biblical authors.
2 replies on “Genesis 12-15”
It seems to me that this is all an example of a kind of retelling of earlier stories. So this isn't a foreshadowing of Exodus, but more of an alternate telling of an old story. Amalgamating these kinds of ancient traditional stories might also be the reason for Abram's change of character.
No doubt foreshadowing–a literary device employed by a single author–is not accurate here. There are several example of what I think is best described as not being able to pick which story to keep. Abraham giving his wife to a king and claiming she is his sister TWICE, and then Isaac doing the exact same thing seem like really good examples of this.