今日经文分成四部分：第一部分是【亚伯兰的呼召-The Call of Abram】创世记12章1节至12章9节 [Gen.12:1-12:9] ；第二部分是【亚伯兰在埃及蒙羞-Abram Dishonors Himself in Egypt】创世记12章10节至12章20节 [Gen. 12:10-12:20]（按年代顺序）；第三部分是【亚伯兰和罗得分开-Separation of Abram and Lot】创世记13章1节至13章18节 [Gen.13:1-13:18]；第四部分是【国王的失败-Defeat of the Kings】创世记14章1节至14章20节 [Gen.14:1-14:20]。
亚伯兰的呼召-The Call of Abram
With the life of Abram a new chapter in the history of God’s dealings with mankind begins. God’s presence in Abram’s life does not appear to be based upon any special meritorious qualities that Abram himself might possess, but simply because God chooses him as the man through whom he will bless all of mankind.
Abram lives at a time when in the western part of the Fertile Crescent the Egyptian Empire is in its golden age during the Twelfth Dynasty. In the eastern part of the crescent, the Sumerians have controlled the area from their capital at Ur. Somewhere around 1950 B.C., however, the Sumerians are overthrown by the Elamites, who come from east of the Tigris River. The Elamite invasion causes such confusion and turmoil in this once-stable area that hordes of people from the Arabian desert are drawn into the more fertile area. These descendants of Ham from the west (or Amorites, as they are known) decisively take over the land and establish various capitals, the most notable of which is at Mari on the northern Euphrates River. This Amorite culture will flourish until about 1700 B.C., when it will be overrun by King Hammurabi of the Babylonians, who is remembered principally because of the code of laws which bears his name.
It is this Amorite culture with which Abram is most closely associated while in Harran. However, Abram himself is an Aramean and a descendant of Shem. Although the details are sketchy, it appears that Abram belongs to a rootless, unsettled, and seminomadic people who wander about among more settled people in search of food and water for the flocks which they tend. As the Genesis record continues, Abram and his clan will be seen wandering throughout Canaan in this very fashion.
The life of Abram, however, is more than a historical narrative about a Semitic Aramean wandering throughout Canaan. It is a life which will later be praised as an outstanding example of faith in God. With his father, Terah, now dead, and himself middle-aged, Abram is called by God to leave his homeland, his tribe, and his father’s family in order to journey 300 miles to a land about which he knows very little. Once Abram arrives in the land, God promises Abram that he will give the land not to Abram but to his offspring; and this is promised despite the fact that the land is already occupied by the Canaanites. Yet Abram believes God’s promise and continually worships God.
As the Genesis record continues, it appears that God had already called Abram at an earlier time, which other Scripture indicates had taken place when Abram was still in his former homeland. But here God reaffirms the call and covenants a sevenfold promise both to Abram and, through him, to all peoples of the world.
亚伯兰在埃及蒙羞-Abram Dishonors Himself in Egypt
Having seen that Abram is a man of great faith, who trusted God enough to move to an unknown land, it comes as somewhat of a disappointment to learn that Abram can also be a man of great moral weakness. This insight comes out of an incident which takes place in Egypt, where Abram will take his family because of a famine in Canaan. Even at 65 years of age, Abram’s wife, Sarai, is less than middle-aged and still beautiful, especially in the eyes of the Egyptians, who would be attracted by Sarai’s presumably fair complexion. Fearful that the Egyptian men will be attracted enough by her beauty to kill him in order to have Sarai, Abram asks Sarai to represent herself as his sister, if necessary. Sarai is in fact a half-sister to Abram, since both have the same father. But asking Sarai to join him in a deception which could result in a sacrifice of her honor is clearly an indication of weakness in Abram’s character. And Abram’s failure to trust God to deliver him out of any trouble that might result from his being completely truthful shows that Abram’s faith is still a matter of personal struggle.
亚伯兰和罗得分开-Separation of Abram and Lot
Abram has dishonored himself in Egypt, but he is not destined to remain in this valley of self-defeat and moral failure. As he and his nephew, Lot, come out of Egypt once again into Canaan, the renewal of Abram’s moral character will become evident. When grazing land becomes scarce and trouble develops between their herdsmen, Abram is put in a position where, as the elder patriarch, he can insist on his right to whatever territory he might choose. Rather than being self-assertive, however, Abram gives Lot first choice and accepts the consequences when Lot chooses the then-lush valley of the Jordan River instead of the less fertile hill country of Canaan. The solution to his conflict with Lot is not only both practical and gracious on Abram’s part but also further evidence of Abram’s faith in God. He had come to this area at God’s call and had been promised that his descendants would someday inherit the land. Yet despite the fact that his decision could well affect that inheritance, Abram sacrifices personal gain in favor of maintaining an important family relationship. While this incident gives reassuring insight into Abram’s depth of commitment to God, it also hints of a serious character flaw in Lot which will become more and more evident. The Genesis record begins the account of this incident as Abram and Lot bring their large clan of people, as well as herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, out of Egypt and into the Negev, or southern part of Canaan.
国王的失败-Defeat of the Kings
With Lot settling near Sodom, a city of the Jordan Plain near the Dead Sea, and Abram settling to the west in Hebron, not far south of modern Jerusalem, the Genesis record shows the transformation of Abram from a wandering Hebrew patriarch, concerned mostly with finding sustenance for his people and herds, into a courageous warrior. It all happens in the context of political and military turmoil to the east of Hebron—rather far removed from Abram in both distance and seeming importance. For some 12 to 15 years a power struggle has been taking place among various kings of the East, among whom King Kedorlaomer of Elam has remained the strongest. When five kings in the Dead Sea region join to oppose the eastern federation, Kedorlaomer gathers his three allies for a punitive foray into the Valley of Siddim, which surrounds the Dead Sea. Not only do the kings of the eastern federation defeat the local kings, but they also sack Sodom and Gomorrah and take away the inhabitants of those cities. Among the hostages are Abram’s nephew, Lot, and his family, who by this time have taken up residence in Sodom. When word of Lot’s capture reaches Abram, he responds quickly and unselfishly by gathering a small force of men and setting out to rescue his captive relatives. Daring to challenge a much larger force of trained soldiers, Abram and his men execute a surprise attack during the night, completely routing the enemy and liberating Lot and his family. As Abram is returning from this exciting venture, he is met and welcomed by King Melchizedek of Salem, probably the ancient name of the city known today as Jerusalem. When Melchizedek pays honor to Abram’s heroism by feeding Abram and his men, Abram responds by giving Melchizedek a tenth of all they are carrying. This act will be more fully explained by subsequent text, but suffice it to say now that Abram recognizes Melchizedek not only as a king but also as a priest in the service of the same true and living God which Abram himself worships. The Genesis record begins now with the background leading to Abram’s dramatic rescue of Lot.
Smith, F. LaGard. The Daily Bible® - In Chronological Order (NIV®) . Harvest House Publishers. Kindle 版本.
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