The call of Abraham (Gen 12:1-12:9)

Yahweh said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your kindred and your father’s house into the land that I will show you.   I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.  In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Yahweh calls Abram to leave his county and family to go where he will show him.  There is no indication why Abram was especially chosen to be blessed.  However, this is a common biblical theme, go where you know not what is going to happen, because you trust in Yahweh.  There is the promise of getting land in order to make a great nation.  Anyone who blesses Abram will be okay and anyone who curses Abram will be cursed. The blessing from God is having land, material possessions, including slaves, and many descendants, as well as living to an old age.

“So Abram went, as Yahweh had told him.  Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai, and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran. They set forth to go to the land of Canaan.”

Abram at age 75 with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, left Haran.  However, they were not poor beggars since they had all their possessions and slaves that they had acquired.  This was a huge group with lots of provisions. Abraham becomes a symbolic origin for later Jews, Christians, and some Muslims.

“When they had come to the land of Canaan,  Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.  Then Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said, ‘To your descendants and offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to Yahweh, who had appeared to him. From there he removed to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to Yahweh and invoked the name of Yahweh.  Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.”

They stopped in Canaan at Shechem, at the oak of Moreh, about 35 miles north of Jerusalem, a place that will be important in later actions.  Yahweh said that he was going to give Abram this land, so Abram built an altar there, just like Noah had done.  Abram also built another altar between Bethel and Ai, as he got closer to Negeb, the dry parched land.