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Page Three


The Famine of Canaan Drives Him to Egypt

Upon arrival into the land of Egypt Abram would find himself faced with a more serious situation than the famine that he had faced while he was in Canaan

(Bible Study Online Article Covers : Genesis 12:10-20)

Short Recap

In the last article I'd pointed out how God had begun to narrow His focus, from dealing with the entire known world at the time, to a more narrowed focus that's aimed to the building of a single nation. God would begin this process, by calling upon a man that was named Abram.

"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

"I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." -- Genesis 12:1-3

We had also taken a look at the different places that Abram would end up journeying through, after he had obeyed God by answering his divine calling. The three places that Abram had encountered, would end up being: Haran, Shechem, and Bethel.

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Abram Enters Canaan?

However that may be, we're now told by the Scared Record - that Abram had continued to travel southward, until he had finally came upon a place that was known as Canaan. And it's at this point from within our journey, that we're told about a famine, that was now wreaking havoc upon the land.

It's here, that we find that this once plentiful, and fruitful land, had now been turned into a temporary barren wasteland. Now it's not made exactly clear on way God had allowed this place, and the Canaanites to endure a famine of such. But there are some possible reasons, when it comes to why God had allowed them to suffer?

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Why Did God Allowed This?

For one, during this time in humanity's history, Canaan had a reputation for being an idolatrous nation. But perhaps, the most popular reason amongst Christians, and the most probable, deals with the notion that God had simply wanted to give Abram another faith test? Now keep in mind, that after God had called Abram, he probably already had two faith tests - up to this point. The first, was when God had called him from out of the city of Ur. And the second, was when God had reminded Abram of his calling, after he'd had settled and remained in the city of Haran, after his father Terah had died.

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Abram Trusting His Instincts - Over God?

Be that as it may, let's move forward...

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord." -- (Isaiah 31:1)

Now although Israel had not yet been establish as a nation at this point in time, know that a promise had already been declared by the Most High. And make no mistake, the Lord would honor, and establish this covenant through Abram, as time goes on. Also remember that God had already declared Abram to be a blessed nation: "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing." -- (Genesis 12:2)

But unfortunately, instead of Abram fully trusting in the Lord, when he was faced with this grievous famine that was now wreaking havoc upon the land, that the Lord had already promised him and his seed - we now find, that Abram would end up placing his trust in his own instincts, by going down to Egypt: "Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe." - Genesis 12:10

Quick note: This would be the first mention of Egypt from within the Sacred Record.

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Pay Attention Sarai?

Now we move forward a bit, and it's at this point, we find that Abram had finally arrived at the land of Egypt, and it would be at this point, that he would now find himself faced with a more serious situation, than the famine that he'd just fled. But rest assured, Abram wouldn't be completely ignorant, when it came to the possible dangers that he would be facing by going down to Egypt.

For he seemed to have known, that he would face some difficulties when it came to his wife. This is why we find him telling her: "As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, 'I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, "This is his wife." Then they will kill me and let you live.'" - Genesis 12:11,12

Know that Abram had the right to be worried, being that it was at this point in humanity's history, that the Egyptians had already earned an infamous reputation, when it came to stealing the beautiful women of others, and taking them for themselves. And to make matters worse, if the women were married, the Egyptians would then kill their husbands.

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Abram's Faith?

But one can't help to wonder, why Abram didn't trust in the Lord more, when it came to Canaan's famine? I mean after all, Abram already had enough faith, to pack up and leave a path, that he'd been very familiar with, when he was back in the city of Ur. For we know, that Abram's trust in the Lord, was strong enough to give him the courage to leave, and seek out a path and land, that was totally unfamiliar to him. And yet, Abram still didn't have enough faith to stay in the very place, that God had led him to and promised him.

But also know, that this is what God does, for He puts us through these types of "faith tests" that are designed, to prepare and strengthen us, for a higher calling, when it comes to our everyday lives. However, we move forward... And it's at this time that we find Abram giving his wife more instructions: "Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." - Genesis 12:13

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Abram's Plan Seems to be Working?

Know that the Scared Record would eventually reveal to us that Abram was right about the Egyptians - for we find, that when Abram and his wife had finally entered the land of Egypt - the Egyptians did in fact, find Sarai to be a very beautiful woman. And because of this, the Egyptian officials would go back and tell Pharaoh about Abram's beautiful wife Sarai. And after hearing this report, just like Abram had feared, Pharaoh would have Sarai taken against her will, and after doing so, he'd placed her into his palace.

Now Abram's plan to survive the Canaan famine, and stay alive while in Egypt, seemed to be working. For we also find that Pharaoh did in fact, treat him well, and did not kill him over Sarai. But the reason why this was so, dealt with the fact, Pharaoh had thought, that Sarai was Abram's sister, and not his wife. And it was also for these reasons that Pharaoh had given Abram: sheep, livestock, donkeys, camels and servants for the right to marry Sarai.

And to make matters worse, it would seem that Abram was going to allow this marriage, and his current situation to continue on - for it also appeared, that staying alive was more important to Abram, than his wife was.

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Wasn't God's Plan?

But in spite of Abram's efforts, this is not what God had promised him, and although Abram ended up trusting his natural understanding of things, which caused him to briefly come away from his calling, God would continue to keep His promise to Abram for the most part, by continuing to: favor, protect and provide for him. So the Lord had inflicted serious plagues on Pharaoh and his household, because he had taken Sarai against her will.

Also understand, that these plagues were so serious, that Pharaoh would demand that Abram be brought before him: "So Pharaoh summoned Abram. 'What have you done to me?' He said. 'Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, "She is my sister," so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!'" - Genesis 12:18,19

Now we are not told how Pharaoh found out about Sarai. But what followed next is something that seems to go unnoticed by most?

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Abram a Very Wealthy Man?

Let's take a look at something else real quick...

Now notice how the passage points out, that Pharaoh had commanded his men, not to bring any harm to Abram and his wife. And after he had gave this command, Pharaoh had sent them away with everything that they had accumulated while in Egypt. Now remember what they had accumulated up to this point: expensive gifts, donkeys, sheep, camels and cattle - that Pharaoh had given to Abram because of Sarai. Keep in mind that Abram would be able to keep all these things that Pharaoh had already given him, and because of this, he ended up leaving Egypt a very wealthy person.

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Looks Familiar - Remember the Ten Plagues?

Also keep in mind, that we're always told how God inflicted Pharaoh and his kingdom with the ten plagues, and how He used Moses to deliver the Hebrews from out of Egypt. Not only was the Hebrews freed from Egypt at that time, but they left with great wealth. But as we can see here, that this would not be the first time that the Hebrews were helped from out of Egypt by the hand of God.

For we now find, that it first happened, with Abram and his wife Sarai 430 years earlier, than the popular Great Exodus account that we've all become so familiar with. And although this event with Abram and Sarai had happened on a much smaller scale, the fact that it happened to them in particular, and by the hand of God - makes this event, just as important. So therefore, it shouldn't be ignored, or glossed over.

In the next Bible Study Online Article:

Now that we've explored what had made Abram to go to Egypt in the first place, and what had happened to him and his wife Sara while they were there. We now find Abram and his family back in the land of Canaan. And although Abram is now wealthy, does this mean that all will be well, with him and his new found wealth.

May God blessings be upon you, and thank you for your support

Related - Bible Study Online Articles - Links

Start Reading a Different - Bible Study Online Series:

God Creates the Earth


Sarah the Mother of Nations

The Birth of Isaac

The Birth of Esau & Jacob

Jacob - The Path of Uncertainty

Jacob - Wrestles with God

Joseph the Favorite Son

Joseph the Overseer of Egypt

The Unveiling of Joseph

Continue Reading - The Current - Bible Study Online Series:

01) Introduction of Abraham - Before He was Called

02) The Divine Calling of Abraham


04) The Strife between Abram and Lot

05) Chedorlaomer Captures Lot

06) Abram's Mission to Rescue Lot

07) Abram meets Melchizedek

08) Abram's Promised Seed

09) Abram's Family Drama

10) Abraham the Father of a Multitude

Added to page 10) The Abrahamic Covenant and its Modification

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