Genesis 12:7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

God promised Abram an offspring. Only 3 verses later, we have

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

Did he not know that he could not died before he had an offspring?

Did he not contradict the word of God here?

  • hi Tony. I really appreciate your questions! Must say when I look at Abraham's Story he is really not the faithful father... God is!! Look forward to seeing some good answers to this one! Sep 2, 2020 at 16:26
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    That's like saying, if God promised Schwarzenegger that he will become Mr. Universe, why did he go through all that hard, physical training ? Down-voted for shoddy logic.
    – Lucian
    Sep 2, 2020 at 17:19
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    Did I say that Abram shows lack of faith in Gen 12:12?
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 2, 2020 at 18:43
  • 2
    In case you are confuse, God did not promised Schwarzenegger that he will become Mr. Universe.
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 2, 2020 at 19:16
  • Another major flaw in your logic is that Sarah could've already been pregnant at the time, thus Abram's death would not have in any way compromised God's promise that he will have offspring, hence the reason for Abram's fear.
    – Bach
    Sep 2, 2020 at 19:56

3 Answers 3


Abraham chose a way of expediency, in regard to Sarah, and scripture does not comment. Just as he, and Sarah, did with regard to Hagar : and again scripture does not comment, but states the fact. The fact of a man taking practical steps to achieve a promised destiny.

What scripture does say (in Romans) is :

Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; [Romans 4:20 KJV]

Taking practical expedients to achieve what God has promised is understandable (though one may call it 'misguided') but it is not a demonstration of unbelief.

Scripture tells us, quite categorically, that Abraham was a believing man, willing to trust God with his own son, Isaac :

Abraham believed God : and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:6 . . . Romans 4:3 . . . . James 2:23 : [KJV]

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    Nigel J; +1 A fine spiritual-based answer. Sep 4, 2020 at 19:06

Does Avram's reluctant mitzvah (מִצְוָה‎) in Genesis 12:12-13 show a lack of faith in God's Word?

If Faith is proven by behaving intentionally obedient to God's commandments, then Avram does demonstrate unfaithful behavior towards God's Word by directly asking his wife Sarai to deceive their neighbors (The-Egyptians, הַמִּצְרִ֔ים) by lying about her marriage to Avram.

How would the "Faith" of Avram in Genesis 12:13 be measured in regards to Exodus 20:13?

  • In Shemot (Exodus) 20:13 [MT], we read: "You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false testimony against your neighbor. " (לֹ֖א תִּרְצָֽח: ס לֹ֖א תִּנְאָֽף: ס לֹ֖א תִּגְנֹֽב: ס לֹֽא־תַֽעֲנֶ֥ה בְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ עֵ֥ד שָֽׁקֶר)
  • If a False (Shaqer, שָֽׁקֶר) testimony or changing evidence is untrustworthy / not-faithful (לֹֽא־אֵמֻ֥ן), then Avram shows a lack of faith in God's Commandments (Mitsvot, מִצְוֹתָֽ) by lying to his neighbors (The-Egyptians, הַמִּצְרִ֔ים) in Genesis 12:12-18.

  • However - we read in Genesis 12:13 that Avram (in order to not be viewed as a liar) begs his wife Sarai (שָׂרַ֨י) to falsely denounce her marriage to him in order to save his own life by sacrificing hers : "Please say you are my sister, in order that it go well with me because of you, and that my soul may live because of you." (אִמְרִי־נָ֖א אֲחֹ֣תִי אָ֑תְּ לְמַ֨עַן֙ יִֽיטַב־לִ֣י בַֽעֲבוּרֵ֔ךְ וְחָֽיְתָ֥ה נַפְשִׁ֖י בִּגְלָלֵֽךְ) - Thus arguments could be made Avram technically did not lie, since Sarai was asked to lie for him.

  • Still the initial false testimony was directed by Avram, showing lack of faith that God's Word alone would keep him alive. - Based on God's promise to Avram in [Genesis 12:7] "To your offspring (זַ֨רְעֲךָ֔) I will give this land", Avram would have to become a Father to fulfill God's Word which is why God would not have allowed Avram to die in Egypt.


Was it a show of lack of faith in Abram in Gen 12:12?

Genesis 12:7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring, I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Why did Abraham make such an unusual request: that Sarah presents herself as his sister in Egypt?

Genesis 12:10-13 NASB

10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine, was severe in the land. 11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.”

Sarah, if view as a married woman, an Egyptian could only get her by murdering her husband or her owner, but if viewed as a sister there was the likelihood that she could be bought from her brother by amicable means.

Abraham's fears were not groundless, soon after arriving in Egypt, the Egyptians simply took Sarah to Pharaoh's house, without asking or negotiating for her.

Genesis 12:14-16 NASB

14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh, and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake, and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.

Following this, God intervened to protect Sarah and struck Pharaoh's house with severe diseases:

Genesis 12:17 NASB

17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

When the truth was revealed to Pharaoh, he said to Abraham. (The scriptures do not tell us how this was revealed to Pharaoh)

18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, [h]here is your wife, take her and go.” 20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they [i]escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.


Some have criticized Abraham as a liar and a coward, we should not rush to judge him, since we do not know the circumstances nor the conditions that prevailed in those days. We will hear his side of the story when the resurrection takes place, John 5:28-29. History has shown that Abraham's fears were not unfounded, about ten years later a similar event happen with the Philistine king of the city of Gerar, Abimelech Gen. 20:1-7, again God intervene to protect Sarah. Many years later, Isaac, like his father Abraham, used the same strategy by claiming his wife Rebekah was his sister. Gen. 26: 7-33. Again God intervened to protect his servants and the line of the seed.

Abraham, therefore, acted in harmony with what he felt would be the safest course in having his wife identify herself as his sister. She was, in fact, his half-sister. Genesis 20:12.

  • Well-balanced. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 4, 2020 at 19:46
  • If you had written this sooner, I might have picked yours as the official answer. +1
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 4, 2020 at 20:08
  • Tony Chan ; Tks, in future wait until you get more answers before selecting. Sep 5, 2020 at 18:56

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