Genesis 12:1-4a

Genesis 12:1-4a
Second Sunday in Lent A


Now the LordA said to Abram,B “GoC from your countryD

Notes on verse 1a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “Abram” = Abram. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abram, exalted father.
C “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
D “country” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

and your kindredE and your father’sF houseG to the landH that I will showI you. 

Notes on verse 1b

E “kindred” = moledet. From yalad (to bear, bring forth, beget, calve, act as midwife, show lineage). This is kindred, offspring, birthplace, lineage, native country, or family.
F “father’s” = ab. Related to “Abram” in v1. See note B above.
G “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
H “land” = erets. Same as “country” in v1. See note D above.
I “show” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.

I will makeJ of you a greatK nation,L and I will blessM you,

Notes on verse 2a

J “make” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
K “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
L “nation” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
M “bless” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.

and make your nameN great,O so that you will beP a blessing.Q 

Notes on verse 2b

N “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
O “make…great” = gadal. Related to “great” in v2. See note K above.
P “be” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
Q “blessing” = barakah. Related to “bless” in v2. From barak (see note M above). This is blessing, which implies prosperity or peace.

I will bless those who bless you, and the one who cursesR you I will curse;S and in you all the familiesT of the earthU shall be blessed.”

Notes on verse 3

R “curses” = qalal. This is to be little, insignificant, swift. It can also mean to bring down in esteem, create contempt, curse
S “curse” = arar. This is to curse.
T “families” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.
U “earth” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

So Abram went, as the Lord had toldV him; and LotW went with him. Abram was seventyX-five years oldY when he departedZ from Haran.AA 

Notes on verse 4

V “told” = dabar.From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
W “Lot” = Lot. From the same as lot (envelope, veil); from lut(to wrap, envelop). This is Lot, “covering.”
X “seventy” = shibim. From sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is seventy.
Y “old” = ben. Related to “house” in v1. Perhaps from banah (see note G above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
Z “departed” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
AA “Haran” = Charan. 12x in OT. From Assyrian arranu (road, crossroads, junction of trade routes) OR from charar (to be scorched, burn, glow, dry up; figuratively, to show passion). This is Haran, meaning crossroads. It is also a proper name meaning parched.

Image credit: “Stories from Genesis: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” by Oleg Volodin of Wycliffe Russia.

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