setting out

Genesis 12

 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring [seed] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.

 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
***
So Abram went.

There’s no comeback from Abram, no details of his departure. No grand farewells or descriptions of their packing (a mammoth task, by the sound of it). The verse portrays simple, uncluttered obedience, a bit like Noah.

God’s call demanded a response, and Abram obeyed, just as Yahweh had told him.

Although Terah’s death has been recorded in 11:32, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Abram’s story did not begin until after his father’s death. In other OT narratives and genealogies one person’s story is often told and ‘completed’ before starting another. Events may still have overlapped.

Abram is not alone – he is accompanied by Sarai, whom we know to be barren, and his nephew Lot. Did Lot go of his own volition or because Abram asked it of him? There seems to be a close relationship between the two – a tight family bond.

And they arrived there. An uneventful journey – at least, any eventfulness is unrecorded.  But although they reach the land, it does not belong to Abram yet. It is still a far off promise. A promise of offspring – but Sarah is barren.  Still that huge obstacle. But Abram responds in faith, building altars to Yahweh, who has ‘appeared’ to him.

The fact that Sarai is barren doesn’t trouble Yahweh, God over all. He can do all things.

Further reflections on my main blog: the impossible child

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