14 Jan. Genesis 12:6,8-20

14 Jan. Abram deceives the King of Egypt

"Abram travelled through that land [Canaan] as far as the great tree of Moreh at Shechem... Then he travelled from Shechem to the mountain east of Bethel and set up his tent there... There Abram built another altar to the LORD and worshipped him. After this, he travelled on through southern Canaan."

"At this time, there was not much food in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live because there was so little food [in Canaan]."

"Just before they arrived in Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, 'I know you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, "This woman is his wife". Then they will kill me but let you live. Tell them you are my sister so that things will go well with me and I may be allowed to live because of you."

"When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was very beautiful. The Egyptian officers saw her and told the king of Egypt how beautiful she was. They took her to the king's palace, and the king was kind to Abram because he thought Abram was her brother. He gave Abram sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants and camels."

"But the LORD sent terrible diseases on the king and all the people in his house because of Abram's wife Sarai. So the king sent for Abram and said, 'What have you done to me? Why didn't you tell me Sarai was your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister' so that I made her my wife?'"

"'Now, here is your wife. Take her and leave!' Then the king commanded his men to make Abram leave Egypt; so Abram and his wife left with everything they owned."

          (Genesis 12: 6, 8-20)



In Canaan, Abram built an altar by the sacred tree of Moreh at Shechem. Shechem lay in a valley between Mount Ebal (to the north) and Mount Gerizim (to the south). Abram then moved to the hill country between Bethel and Ai. He prayed to the LORD and built another altar here, then moved south towards the Negev Desert.

Driven by drought and famine in the land of Canaan in c.1853BC, Abram and his wife Sarai journeyed along the Way of Shur to the well-watered lands of the Nile Delta in Egypt.

Agreeing to Abram's deception, Sarai claimed to be Abram’s sister rather than his wife, and was accepted into the harem of the Egyptian Pharaoh - probably Pharaoh Khety IV.

Everything seemed to go well and the deception worked for a while; Abram received sheep, cattle and servants in return for arranging for his wife to become one of the king's concubines.

But the deception was uncovered when the king was stricken with a "terrible disease" (Genesis 12:17) and Abram and Sarai were forced to flee for their lives.

The site of Shechem lies within modern-day Nablus (the largest city in Samaria founded by the Roman Emperor Titus in 72AD). The city is located on the only east-west pass through the Central Highlands, at the head of the Wadi Farah leading down to the Jordan crossing at Adam (Damia Bridge).

Shechem was an important Canaanite religious centre. Abram built an altar here to commemorate his meeting with God (see Genesis 12:6) while, later, his grandson Jacob also built an altar here, and buried his wife Rachel’s household gods under the sacred oak tree (see Genesis 35:1-4).

The photo (by עדירל) shows Tel Balata (middle left), the site of Shechem, in modern-day Nablus.

You can read more about Shechem @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/23-the-journeys-of-adam-enoch-noah-abraham/abram-settles-in-canaan/

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