Genesis 12:1-17:27

Genesis chapter 12, verse 1 to chapter 17, verse 27


God tells Abram to leave his home with his family and go to a land that God will show him. God makes a covenant with Abram, promising him that the land will belong to him and his descendants, and that he will be the founder of a great nation. God will bless him, and will bless those who bless Abram. God says that Abram will be a blessing for all the people. Abram, with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, leave their home in Haran and journey to Canaan, which is Israel today. When they arrive, God repeats the promise that the land will belong to Abram and his descendants.

During a famine in Canaan, Abram travels to Egypt with his wife in search of food. Abram knows that Sarai is beautiful,. He is worried that if the Egyptians knew she was his wife, they’d kill him to take her. To avoid this, Abram says that Sarai is his sister. She is taken to the palace of the Egyptian ruler – called Pharaoh. God punishes Pharaoh for this act by sending plagues his way. He realizes that Sarai is really Abram’s wife and sends them on their way from Egypt.

Abram and Lot realize that the land cannot support both of their flocks, which they graze together. Lot chooses to move the Plain of Jordan, and Abram stays in Canaan. Again God promises the land to Abram and his offspring. Right after this happens, Lot is captured during a war between other tribes in the area. Abram follows him and frees him.

God speaks to Abram again, and repeats that Abram will be the father of a great nation. God then tells Abram that his descendants will be slaves in Egypt in the future.

Sarai is not able to have children. With Sarai’s permission, Abram has a son with her handmaiden Hagar, who is named Ishmael. God repeats the covenant with Abram and requires that all males in the household be circumcised on the 8th day of life, as a sign of this covenant with God. God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of many nations” and Sarai’s name to Sarah, which means “princess”.

Torah Portion in English

  1. The Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
  2. I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.
  3. I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”
  4. Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
  5. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in the land of Canaan,
  6. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, at the terebinth of Moreh. The Canaanites were then in the land.

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. Where does God tell Abram and his family to go?
  2. What does God promise Abraham?
  3. What is that area called today?
  4. What is Abram’s wife’s name?
  5. Who is Lot?
  6. Why does Abram go to Egypt?
  7. What is Sarai’s handmaiden’s name?
  8. What is Abram’s son’s name?
  9. What does the act of circumcision represent?
  10. What does Abraham mean?
  11. What does Sarah mean?