Genesis 12:6

We here enter upon the more special history of Divine appearances. Hitherto the word is described simply as a word - "The Lord said;" now we connect with the word distinct appearances. The plain of Moreh will be ever memorable as the first scene of such revelations. The altar which Abram erected was to the Lord who appeared unto him, i.e. in commemoration of the vision. Thus the long line of theophanies commences. The great lesson of this record is the worship of man proceeding from the gracious revelation of God. True religion is not a spontaneous product of man's nature, but rather a response to God's grace. He appears; the believer to whom the vision is vouchsafed raises an altar not "to the unknown God," but to the God who has appeared to him. Another point in the record is the connection of the promise with the revelation. The Lord appeared, and when he appeared he gave his word of promise: "Unto thy seed will I give this land." Are we not reminded thus early in the history of religion that for its maintenance there is required not only a revelation to the mind and heart by the Spirit, but also a seat of its institutions and community? Religion without a people of God dwelling in the land of privilege, and bound together by the sacred bonds of a Divine fellowship, is no true religion at all. Abram builds altars at the various stages of his pilgrimage, still going south. Although we are not told of a distinct vouchsafement of God in connection with every altar, we may well suppose, especially as the "mountain" is specified, that the altars marked out not mere resting-places, but the scenes of special communion with Jehovah. - R.

The Canaanite was then in the land.

1. The present world, through which we are travelling, is in the hands of the enemies of God.

2. Yet this very earth is to be, one day, the possession of the saints.

3. Meanwhile, our position in it, as pilgrims, is one of privation and peril.(1) We have spiritual foes, unseen, but ever watching against our souls.(2) We find the Canaanite in ourselves, in our fleshly infirmities, natural appetites, and carnal propensities and cravings, not yet wholly subdued.


1. Like Abraham, we must be inoffensive to the Canaanite in the land, biding our time.

2. We are not to refrain from common acts of courtesy and civility in intercourse with worldly men.

3. Yet we must so keep aloof from them, as to preserve the purity of our pilgrim separation.

4. We must openly worship in the midst of the enemy's country.

5. In this spirit we are to pursue our pilgrimage.Conclusion:

1. This is not our rest.

2. Let us not covet worldly possessions.

3. Let our hearts be fixed on the final recompense of reward.

4. A word to the Canaanite. Are you content to stay in the land which you cannot long or finally possess?

(T. G. Horton.)

When Abraham was brought by the guidance of God into the land of Canaan, he found himself in the midst of population which could not be regarded as wholly alien. Nor do the inhabitants appear to have been of a character which would repel all intercourse. They had already abandoned, at least to a certain extent, their original pastoral and nomadic habits, and we find them gathered into cities, leaving the open country principally to the occupation of friendly strangers such as Abraham. Their civilization was, however, but little developed; for good and for evil they seem to have retained much of their primitive character. Where kings are mentioned, they approach more nearly to the patriarchal heads of tribes than to the barbarous despots of later days. We come across no traces of the fearful moral corruption that afterwards made "the land spue out" its inhabitants, except, indeed, in the wealthy and luxurious cities of the plain. There the degeneracy that was afterwards to bring the Divine judgments upon all the nations of Canaan had rapidly run its fatal course. But the rest of the land was still comparatively uncorrupted. Later on we find the numerous cities of the land, excluding such as were still held by the warlike and savage aborigines, loosely grouped into four main divisions. There are the Amorites, or Highlanders, a fierce people — apparently the furthest removed from the Canaanites proper — that dwelt in the mountains, from the Scorpion Range, south of the Dead Sea, to the hills of Judah. The Hittites are their neighbours, dwelling in the valleys, lovers of refinement at an early period, and living in well-ordered communities possessing national assemblies. The fertile lowlands by the course of the Jordan, and along the coast of the Mediterranean, are held by the Canaanites, who, as possessors of the choicest of the land and by far the best known by foreigners, often gave their name to the whole of the population of the country. These also were much more addicted to commerce than to war, in this resembling the fourth main division, the Hivites of the midland region, whose principal city seems to have been the flourishing, wealthy, but timorous Gibeon.

(A. S. Wilkins.)


1. He did it as a stranger in a foreign land. It is emphatically said Of Abraham, that when he came "unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh," "the Canaanite was then in the land." When he first came among them, he came as a man who was utterly unknown. There was nothing whatever to introduce him, nothing whatever to give him authority and influence among them. He was a mere stranger, whose history, whose life, whose conduct was altogether strange.

2. But not only so: he was surrounded by wicked men. Abraham, then, bare his witness for God under the most unfavourable circumstances. He bare his witness where he was a stranger, where all that were around him were opposed to God, and enemies of that faith which he professed and that practice which he displayed. Let no man after this fancy that he will find an excuse in not witnessing for God by the difficulties of the circumstances in which he is placed.


1. In the first place, he bare witness to the paramount importance of godliness. His chief thought was to testify that he was the servant of God; and the first thing he did after he pitched his tent was this — to erect an altar, and to call upon the name of the Lord. Oh! brethren, this was a testimony that "godliness is profitable to all things," that it has "the promise of the life that now is" as well as "of that which is to come." It was as much as to say, "All my prosperity and all my success, all that I have gained and all that I have achieved, is absolutely nothing unless I am a servant of Almighty God."

2. Again: he was a witness to the love, the power, and the providence of God. He was a witness to these things in that he openly addressed himself to God.

3. Moreover, Abraham bare witness to His faithfulness. When was it that he erected his altar, and called upon the name of the Lord? Just when he had received His promise. God said unto Abraham, "I will give thee this land"; and Abraham "builded an altar unto the Lord." He showed that he depended upon God's promise.

4. But Abraham did more than merely witness to these general truths. Much indeed it was to witness to the importance of godliness; much to witness to a wondering and a hating world the love, the power, and the providence of God; much to bear witness to the faithfulness of His promise; but Abraham did more — he was a "preacher of righteousness." He "rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and he saw it, and was glad; " and the great fundamental truths that lie at the very foundation of the scheme of man's redemption, were by his altar and by his prayer preached and proclaimed unto mankind. It is the duty, brethren, of every child of God to bear witness to the same truths; and exactly in proportion to any influence or authority we possess does the duty become more imperative, and the obligation upon us the more binding.


1. In the first place, he bare witness to the world around. He did not go amongst ungodly men, and hear the Master whom he served profaned, and think that he would keep his sentiments for another time; he bore his witness openly, boldly, undauntedly, in the face of day. And this is just the course that all of us, if we are sincere in our profession, are bound to pursue No man will give us credit for sincerity unless we do so.

2. Not only, however, did Abraham testify to the world around him, but he testified especially to the members of his own household. His own household partook most of the influence of that genial piety. Their ears it was that listened oftenest to the accents of his fervent prayers; their hearts gathered in the mild and holy effects of that blessed teaching, which taught them to took down the line of time for a sacrifice and atonement for their guilt.

(H. Hughes, M. A.)

The first place in Canaan where Abraham halted with his family and his household was at Shechem, near a celebrated oak tree. As we might have expected, the first recorded encampment of the patriarch is not without significance. Shechem is situated in the very centre of Palestine; it is in the Bible even called the "navel of the land," and was the natural place of assembly for all the tribes of the country; the oak was, in the time of the Judges, still famous under the name of "oak of sorcerers," and near it was a rich temple of the idol Baal-Berith; but the region in and around Shechem was even at that time still partly occupied by the heathens. Only by remembering these facts, our text will appear in its full and deep meaning. Abraham proceeded at once to the central town of the land intended as the future habitation of his descendants; a town obviously too important by its position to be left in the hands of the enemies; and there that promise of the land was for the first time made (ver. 7). The place of the ancient tree, which so long witnessed superstitious and cruel rites, was hallowed by a Divine vision, and converted into a sacred spot; and at the side of the idolatrous temple rose an altar dedicated to the God of heaven and earth. Thus the facts related obtain a prospective and didactic force for which we have prepared the reader by some of the preceding remarks. Shechem, perhaps one of the oldest towns of Palestine, and in early times inhabited by the Hivites, is situated in a narrow but beautiful valley, between 1,200 to 1,600 feet wide, seven miles south of Samaria, not far from the confines of the ancient provinces of Ephraim and Manasseh, and in the range of the mountains of Ephraim, at the foot both of Mount Ebal and Gerizim, which enclose it north and south, which were themselves famous by early altars and sanctuaries, and were of the highest religious interest by the blessing and the curse proclaimed on them for the observance or the neglect of the Law. The town was not only important in the history of the patriarchs, but in the theocratical and political history of the Israelites; it was a city of refuge and a Levitical town; here Joshua delivered his last solemn address to all the tribes of Israel; it was, in the time of the Judges, the principal town of Abimelech's kingdom; here Rehoboam was proclaimed king, and promulgated to the delegates of the people his insulting policy; and when the ten tribes declared their independence of his despotic rule, it became the residence of the new empire. It was not unimportant in the time of the captivity, and became after its expiration the celebrated centre of the Samaritan worship, whose temple was only destroyed by John Hyrcanus (me. 129). In the first century of the Christian era it lay in ruins; but on its ancient site, or in its immediate vicinity, a new, though smaller town, Neapolis, was built, probably by Flavius Vespasianus; it was the birth place of , and the seat of Christian bishops; although captured by the Moslems and the Crusaders, it suffered but little or temporarily; after several vicissitudes, which could not annihilate its prosperity, it fell finally into the hands of the Turks in A.D. 1242.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Abram, Canaanites, Egyptians, Haran, Lot, Pharaoh, Sarai
Ai, Bethel, Betonim, Canaan, Egypt, Haran, Moreh, Negev, Shechem
Abram, Canaanite, Canaanites, Holy, Moreh, Oak, Passed, Passeth, Plain, Shechem, Sichem, Site, Terebinth, Till, Traveled, Tree
1. God calls Abram, and blesses him with a promise of Christ.
4. He departs with Lot from Haran, and comes to Canaan.
6. He journeys through Canaan,
7. which is promised to him in a vision.
10. He is driven by famine into Egypt.
11. Fear makes him feign his wife to be his sister.
14. Pharaoh, having taken her from him, is compelled to restore her.
18. Pharaoh reproves Abram, whom he dismisses.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 12:6

     5590   travel

Genesis 12:4-20

     5076   Abraham, life of

Genesis 12:6-7

     5477   property, land
     5704   inheritance, material

Life in Canaan
And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.' GENESIS xii. 3. These are the two first acts of Abram in the land of Canaan. 1. All life should blend earthly and heavenly. They are not to be separated. Religion should run through everything and take the whole of life for its field. Where we cannot carry it is no place for
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Going Forth
'They went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan they came.'--GENESIS xii. 5. I The reference of these words is to Abram's act of faith in leaving Haran and setting out on his pilgrimage. It is a strange narrative of a journey, which omits the journey altogether, with its weary marches, privations, and perils, and notes but its beginning and its end. Are not these the main points in every life, its direction and its attainment? There are-- 'Two points in the adventure
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Man of Faith
'And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.'--GENESIS xii. 6, 7. Great epoch and man. Steps of Abram's training. First he was simply called to go--no promise of inheritance--obeyed--came to Canaan-found a thickly peopled land with advanced social order, and received no
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

October the Eleventh the Old Companion on the New Road
"Get thee out ... and I will show thee." "So Abram departed ... and the Lord appeared." --GENESIS xii. 1-9. We must bring these separated passages together if we would appreciate the graciousness of the Lord's call. They are like the two sides of the same shield. They answer each other as voice and echo. When I move in obedience the Lord moves in inspiration. He never lets me go on my own charges. "All things are now ready." Before He makes me hunger the bread is prepared. Before I thirst the
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Twenty-Seventh Day that God's People May Realise their Calling
WHAT TO PRAY.--That God's People may Realise their Calling "I will bless thee; and be thou a blessing: in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."--GEN. xii. 2, 3. "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us. That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations."--PS. lxvii. 1, 2. Abraham was only blessed that he might be a blessing to all the earth. Israel prays for blessing, that God may be known among all nations.
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

The Promise to the Patriarchs.
A great epoch is, in Genesis, ushered in with the history of the time of the Patriarchs. Luther says: "This is the third period in which Holy Scripture begins the history of the Church with a new family." In a befitting manner, the representation is opened in Gen. xii. 1-3 by an account of the first revelation of God, given to Abraham at Haran, in which the way is opened up for all that follows, and in which the dispensations of God are brought before us in a rapid survey. Abraham is to forsake
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

I Will Bless Thee, --And Thou Shalt be a Blessing. " --Gen. xii. 2
I will bless thee,--and thou shalt be a blessing."--Gen. xii. 2. Where'er the Patriarch pitch'd his tent, He built an altar to his God, And sanctified, where'er he went, With faith and prayer, the ground he trod. Through all the East, for riches famed, Heaven's gifts, he set his heart on none; Nor, when the dearest was reclaim'd, Withheld his son, his only son. Wherefore, in blessing, he was blest; Friendless, the friend of God became; Long-wandering, every where found rest; Long child-less, nations
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Letter xxi (Circa A. D. 1128) to the Abbot of S. John at Chartres
To the Abbot of S. John at Chartres Bernard dissuades him from resigning his charge, and undertaking a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 1. As regards the matters about which you were so good as to consult so humble a person as myself, I had at first determined not to reply. Not because I had any doubt what to say, but because it seemed to me unnecessary or even presumptuous to give counsel to a man of sense and wisdom. But considering that it usually happens that the greater number of persons of sense--or
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Four Shaping Centuries
'Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt: every man and his household came with Jacob. 2. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3. Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4. Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7, And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
God's Darling, Psalms 8:5-8.--the plan for the new man--the Hebrew picture by itself--difference between God's plan and actual events--one purpose through breaking plans--the original plan--a starting point--getting inside. Fastening a Tether inside: the longest way around--the pedigree--the start. First Touches on the Canvas: the first touch, Genesis 3:15.--three groups of prediction--first group: to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; to Isaac, Genesis 26:1-5; to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-15; through Jacob,
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

The Night of Miracles on the Lake of Gennesaret
THE last question of the Baptist, spoken in public, had been: Art Thou the Coming One, or look we for another?' It had, in part, been answered, as the murmur had passed through the ranks: This One is truly the Prophet, the Coming One!' So, then, they had no longer to wait, nor to look for another! And this Prophet' was Israel's long expected Messiah. What this would imply to the people, in the intensity and longing of the great hope which, for centuries, nay, far beyond the time of Ezra, had swayed
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

An Analysis of Augustin's Writings against the Donatists.
The object of this chapter is to present a rudimentary outline and summary of all that Augustin penned or spoke against those traditional North African Christians whom he was pleased to regard as schismatics. It will be arranged, so far as may be, in chronological order, following the dates suggested by the Benedictine edition. The necessary brevity precludes anything but a very meagre treatment of so considerable a theme. The writer takes no responsibility for the ecclesiological tenets of the
St. Augustine—writings in connection with the donatist controversy.

Appendix xii. The Baptism of Proselytes
ONLY those who have made study of it can have any idea how large, and sometimes bewildering, is the literature on the subject of Jewish Proselytes and their Baptism. Our present remarks will be confined to the Baptism of Proselytes. 1. Generally, as regards proselytes (Gerim) we have to distinguish between the Ger ha-Shaar (proselyte of the gate) and Ger Toshabh (sojourner,' settled among Israel), and again the Ger hatstsedeq (proselyte of righteousness) and Ger habberith (proselyte of the covenant).
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Beth-El. Beth-Aven.
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Divine Calls.
"And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel; Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for Thy servant heareth."--1 Samuel iii. 10. In the narrative of which these words form part, we have a remarkable instance of a Divine call, and the manner in which it is our duty to meet it. Samuel was from a child brought to the house of the Lord; and in due time he was called to a sacred office, and made a prophet. He was called, and he forthwith answered the call. God said, "Samuel,
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
(from Bethany to Jerusalem and Back, Sunday, April 2, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 1-12, 14-17; ^B Mark XI. 1-11; ^C Luke XIX. 29-44; ^D John XII. 12-19. ^c 29 And ^d 12 On the morrow [after the feast in the house of Simon the leper] ^c it came to pass, when he he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, ^a 1 And when they came nigh unto Jerusalem, and came unto Bethphage unto { ^b at} ^a the mount of Olives [The name, Bethphage, is said to mean house of figs, but the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Birth and Early Life of John the Baptist.
(Hill Country of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke I. 57-80. ^c 57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her [mercy in granting a child; great mercy in granting so illustrious a child] ; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass on the eighth day [See Gen. xvii. 12; Lev. xii. 3; Phil. iii. 5. Male children were named at their circumcision, probably
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Malachy's Pity for his Deceased Sister. He Restores the Monastery of Bangor. His First Miracles.
11. (6). Meanwhile Malachy's sister, whom we mentioned before,[271] died: and we must not pass over the visions which he saw about her. For the saint indeed abhorred her carnal life, and with such intensity that he vowed he would never see her alive in the flesh. But now that her flesh was destroyed his vow was also destroyed, and he began to see in spirit her whom in the body he would not see. One night he heard in a dream the voice of one saying to him that his sister was standing outside in the
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

The Christian's Book
Scripture references 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:20,21; John 5:39; Romans 15:4; 2 Samuel 23:2; Luke 1:70; 24:32,45; John 2:22; 10:35; 19:36; Acts 1:16; Romans 1:1,2; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; James 2:8. WHAT IS THE BIBLE? What is the Bible? How shall we regard it? Where shall we place it? These and many questions like them at once come to the front when we begin to discuss the Bible as a book. It is only possible in this brief study, of a great subject, to indicate the line of some of the answers.
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian

"I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away."--Hosea xiv. 4. There are two kinds of backsliders. Some have never been converted: they have gone through the form of joining a Christian community and claim to be backsliders; but they never have, if I may use the expression, "slid forward." They may talk of backsliding; but they have never really been born again. They need to be treated differently from real back-sliders--those who have been born of the incorruptible
Dwight L. Moody—The Way to God and How to Find It

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