BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 12:10-13:4

Summary of passage:  Abram went to Egypt due to a famine.  Abram told Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister in order to protect himself because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him.  So Pharaoh married Sarai (thinking she wasn’t married) and treated Abram well because of it.  He was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, servants, and camels.

The Lord was angry at this so he punished Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked Abram why he lied to him. Pharaoh sent them out of his land.  They returned to the Negev much wealthier from his lie to Pharaoh.

Abram traveled back to Bethel where he had built the altar earlier (Day 4) and called on the Lord.


11a)  Nothing is an act of nature since God is in control.  I think it was a test of Abram’s faith as we see as the story unravels and Abram’s self-preservation and self-reliance is revealed.  God never told Abram to go to Egypt; he was to stop in Canaan.  The famine is a test to see if Abram would rely on God for all his needs.  Obviously, Abram doesn’t.  He schemes and ultimately failed in this test.

b)  Acknowledging God, calling on Him, faith and trust in God.

12a)  Verses 11-13  Abram is telling Sarai to lie because he is afraid of being killed.  Verse 15 shows how Abram just stood by while he let Pharaoh take his wife as his own and fornicate with her.  Because of this in verse 17 we see how God punished Pharaoh for Abram’s sin.  Abram in verse 13:2 became rich because of it and doesn’t seem to show any remorse.  Hagar will also enter the picture (Genesis 16), a source of jealousy for Sarai.

b)  Israel (Abram’s descendants) will bear the Lord’s wrath due to Abram’s sin until the Lord brings Israel into the light.  We will also see in Genesis 16:1 some of the consequences of this sin in the form of Hagar, one of the maidservants Abram and Sarai acquired while in Egypt and what harm she causes.

c)  He didn’t punish Abram but instead punished Pharaoh and He allowed Abram to profit financially from the sin.  God blessed and protected Abram because God had bigger plans for him than this sin.

13a)  Bethel

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I definitely don’t see any repentance.  Just because you build an altar doesn’t equate with asking for forgiveness for your sins.  I see faith in building an altar.  That’s about it.

My take-away is to ask for forgiveness for your sins where Abram did not and to have faith that God will protect you on your journey in this life instead of scheming, lying, and allowing your wife to fornicate with others.

Put your faith in God and His promises–not in lies–for ALL things.  Only you can fail God.  God will never fail you.

Conclusions:  I had completely missed this the last time I read Genesis.  I didn’t remember Abram doing this to protect his own skin.  To me, it seems like Abram was having a high ol’ time, living it up, at Sarai’s expense (unless she enjoyed being the wife of the most powerful man of the known world, but we are not told anything with relation to how Sarai felt).

Abram threw her under the bus and seemed content to have her stay there forever.  God’s the one who saved her, not Abram.  To me, Abram is callous and doesn’t care.  He’s probably living large with his other wives while using the servants Pharaoh gave him.

I see Pharaoh here as the victim and actually as a guy with a heart.  As soon as he found out Sarai was married, he corrected it.  He was angry he wasn’t told.  I don’t see Pharaoh here as a guy to take another’s wife.  Yet he was punished because of Abram’s sin.  Talk about unfair!  Life, right?

Abram was just lucky he was God’s chosen vessel for the future or he could have been incinerated on the spot!

This sin must have been HUGE to God.  Here’s the woman who will bear the line of Christ and Abram allows her to be defiled by a Gentile unbeliever!  She could have conceived, died in childbirth, who knows?  Another slap in God’s face to how man has twisted the intent of marriage and not held it as sacred as God must.

Abram must have faith in God’s plans so we can only hope he learned from this and as Genesis unfolds we will see other tests he passes with flying colors.

But God’s plans are bigger than Abram’s sin so God worked through and in spite of Abram’s sin as He does always and for me and you.  Even when we sin, God is there to pick us back up and put us back on HIS path, not ours.

This is BSF at its best.  The facts of the story and then ONE application question that shows how to rely on God and not yourself.  Great stuff!

10 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 12:10-13:4

  1. You wrote: “Abram allows her (Sarah) to be defiled by a Gentile unbeliever! She could have conceived, died in childbirth, who knows.”
    I don’t quite agree with you on this point. My bible just states (Gen 12:15) that she was taken into pharaoh’s palace. That’s all. I don’t think God would allow her to be defiled. If you look at a passage in Esther (chapter 2:12), it states that Esther “had to complete 12 months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women” before they could go to the king. Maybe this was the case here with Sarah? I would prefer to think so.

    1. Genesis 12:19: Pharaoh says “he took her to be my wife.” We all know what happens when you marry. You consummate the marriage. I’m 100% sure Sarai had sexual relations with Pharaoh. Why wouldn’t they?

      Sarai “was a very beautiful woman” Genesis 12:14. I’m pretty sure Pharaoh desired her.

      I think this is in part why God was so angry and punished Pharaoh. That Abram did not respect the boundaries of marriage that God has set forth. Granted this is before Moses and the law was given but we can assume from the relationship of Adam and Eve that God meant marriage to be sacred.

      It was by God’s grace that Sarai did not conceive with Pharaoh.

      You may prefer to think that the marriage was not consummated but the Scripture and what we know of man/woman relations (that never changes since it’s part of human nature and our DNA to procreate) does not support that.

      1. It says he took her to be his wife, was that his intent or did it actually happen? Did the serious diseases stop the Pharaoh from marrying her…or did it stop him from having sexual relations with him, I guess we will never know what actually happened but I would not assume here.

      2. You can argue semantics and translations all day long. Like I stated, Sarai was beautiful and Pharaoh wanted her and he got her. Fully and completely.

        I would say that is why God is so angry at Abram.

        Of course, my opinion. But it’s based off of human nature and man’s sexual tendencies, especially in Ancient Egypt where women had no rights and were looked on solely as procreators to perpetuate the line of rulers.

  2. After reading the passages in Genesis and looking at several commentaries(oops, don’t tell BSF), I agree with Marie and Joan on this one. Obviously there is much speculation involved, but I feel God protected Sarah’s purity since in those days the culture called for 1 year before marriage was consumated. It still was a legal transaction, but she was a wife in waiting while being groomed at the palace like Esther. Pharoah could have been intimate with her if she had been placed in a concubine, but Sarah was held in such high esteem that she was taken to the palace to be prepared as a wife. To me God’s mercy and providential care protected Sarah’s purity and preserved the life of Abraham.

    Obviously this does not excuse the horrible actions of Abraham in letting his fear override his faith in setting up his wife with lies and cowardness. He suffered severe rebuke at the hands of a pagan ruler who had acted much better and noble that this man of God. Abraham lost his respect, affection, and his powerful witness and testimony. Abraham could have won many to faith in the true and living God. He should have never left Egypt during the famine, but trusted God to provide their needs in Canaan. Even in Egypt, God could have protected them without Abraham resorting to such a degrading compromise. We are rightfully critical of Abraham’s behavior and lack of faith at this point in his life, but that is what makes the Bible God’s word and truth. God reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly about all his people. God accepts us warts and all! If this account had been written by human hands without inspiration by the Holy Spirit, it would have been easy to sugarcoat Abraham without his many faults. It’s great that God uses sinners like Abraham, Paul, and us to help Him turn a world around. Paul on the road to Damascus was killing Christians and putting them in prison when Jesus appeared and transformed his life forever. We are all a work in progress. Also I’m glad that this forum by AtoZ allows us as Christian sisters and brothers to disagree without being disagreeable! Really appreciate AtoZ taking her time to share her thoughts and comments so we can better understand God’s word.

  3. You wrote ‘He’s probably living large with his other wives while using the servants Pharaoh gave him.’ I don’t think Abram had any other wives at that time.

  4. Our family had a huge discussion on this lesson and all the well thought out and prayed over responses above. It was great. I had already answered and come to the same conclusions as you. I was glad to come and read that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. God was willing to ACT for Abram’s righteousness even when Abram did not have the courage to do it for himself and his wife. I, too, did not see repentance. Maybe it’s like a U turn. Or a bad slidden Christian or stagnant one who spends far too many years just treading water with no growth and something clicks and they just get back in there and mature and deepen and grow and produce fruit. There’s not some huge public to do over it…they just get back where they need to be.

  5. Hey Atozman, God bless you. I enjoy reading your answers. I pray for you every Tuesday morning. That’s the day I read your post and answer some of my questions. Lesson 11/ day 5: read Genesis 12:10-13:4 to answer 12a apart of your answer stated he showed no remorse. Chapter 13:4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the Name of the Lord.

  6. Please go to Genesis 20 for more information. Vs. 6 says, “Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.” I was so happy to find this verse and hope it clears up some of our speculations. I really enjoy the fellowship of your blog and your wonderful insights. Thank you so much 🙂

  7. This is a very interesting discussion. In the lecture last night, the teaching leader for our class said that she did not believe Sarai had relations with the Pharoah. She felt God protected her, in spite of Abrahams’s lapse in faith and judgment. This line would eventually produce the Messaiah, and it was important to keep it pure.

    I found his interesting commentary from the King James/New King James where the word “might” was inserted in the text by the translators.

    The incident in Genesis 20 is ANOTHER time when Abram lies to protect himself, so it does seem odd to have protected her a second time, but not the first. I guess we never learn.

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