God's Call to Abram
12 1 God told Abram: "Leave your country, your family, and your father's home for a land that I will show you. 2 I'll make you a great nation and bless you. I'll make you famous; you'll be a blessing. 3 I'll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I'll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you."
4 So Abram left just as God said, and Lot left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot with him, along with all the possessions and people they had gotten in Haran, and set out for the land of Canaan and arrived safe and sound.
6 Abram passed through the country as far as Shechem and the Oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites occupied the land. 7 God appeared to Abram and said, "I will give this land to your children." Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him. 8 He moved on from there to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent between Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. He built an altar there and prayed to God. 9 Abram kept moving, steadily making his way south, to the Negev.
Abram in Egypt
10 Then a famine came to the land. Abram went down to Egypt to live; it was a hard famine. 11 As he drew near to Egypt, he said to his wife, Sarai, "Look. We both know that you're a beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you they're going to say, 'Aha! That's his wife!' and kill me. But they'll let you live. 13 Do me a favor: tell them you're my sister. Because of you, they'll welcome me and let me live."
14 When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians took one look and saw that his wife was stunningly beautiful. 15 Pharaoh's princes raved over her to Pharaoh. She was taken to live with Pharaoh. 16 Because of her, Abram got along very well: he accumulated sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, men and women servants, and camels. 17 But God hit Pharaoh hard because of Abram's wife Sarai; everybody in the palace got seriously sick. 18 Pharaoh called for Abram, "What's this that you've done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she's your wife? 19 Why did you say, 'She's my sister' so that I'd take her as my wife? Here's your wife back - take her and get out!" 20 Pharaoh ordered his men to get Abram out of the country. They sent him and his wife and everything he owned on their way.
Abram and Lot Separate
13 1 So Abram left Egypt and went back to the Negev, he and his wife and everything he owned, and Lot still with him. 2 By now Abram was very rich, loaded with cattle and silver and gold. 3 He moved on from the Negev, camping along the way, to Bethel, the place he had first set up his tent between Bethel and Ai 4 and built his first altar. Abram prayed there to God.
5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, was also rich in sheep and cattle and tents. 6 But the land couldn't support both of them; they had too many possessions. They couldn't both live there - 7 quarrels broke out between Abram's shepherds and Lot's shepherds. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living on the land at the time. 8 Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have fighting between us, between your shepherds and my shepherds. After all, we're family. 9 Look around. Isn't there plenty of land out there? Let's separate. If you go left, I'll go right; if you go right, I'll go left."
10 Lot looked. He saw the whole plain of the Jordan spread out, well watered (this was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), like God's garden, like Egypt, and stretching all the way to Zoar. 11 Lot took the whole plain of the Jordan. Lot set out to the east. 12 Abram settled in Canaan; Lot settled in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent near Sodom. 13 The people of Sodom were evil - flagrant sinners against God.
14 After Lot separated from him, God said to Abram, "Open your eyes, look around. Look north, south, east, and west. 15 Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. 16 I'll make your descendants like dust - counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. 17 So - on your feet, get moving! Walk through the country, its length and breadth; I'm giving it all to you." 18 Abram moved his tent. He went and settled by the Oaks of Mamre in Hebron. There he built an altar to God.
Abram Rescues Lot
14 1 Then this: Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim 2 went off to war to fight Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar. 3 This second group of kings, the attacked, came together at the Valley of Siddim, that is, the Salt Sea. 4 They had been under the thumb of Kedorlaomer for twelve years. In the thirteenth year, they revolted. 5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him set out and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El Paran on the far edge of the desert. 7 On their way back they stopped at En Mishpat, that is, Kadesh, and conquered the whole region of the Amalekites as well as that of the Amorites who lived in Hazazon Tamar. 8 That's when the king of Sodom marched out with the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar. They drew up in battle formation against their enemies in the Valley of Siddim - 9 against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10 The Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into the tar pits, but the rest escaped into the mountains. 11 The four kings captured all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, all their food and equipment, and went on their way. 12 They captured Lot, Abram's nephew who was living in Sodom at the time, taking everything he owned with them.
13 A fugitive came and reported to Abram the Hebrew. Abram was living at the Oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and Aner. They were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken prisoner, he lined up his servants, all of them born in his household - there were 318 of them - and chased after the captors all the way to Dan. 15 Abram and his men split into small groups and attacked by night. They chased them as far as Hobah, just north of Damascus. 16 They recovered all the plunder along with nephew Lot and his possessions, including the women and the people.
Melchizedek Blesses Abram
17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and his allied kings, the king of Sodom came out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh, the King's Valley. 18 Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine - he was priest of The High God - 19 and blessed him: Blessed be Abram by The High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. 20 And blessed be The High God, who handed your enemies over to you. Abram gave him a tenth of all the recovered plunder.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me back the people but keep all the plunder for yourself." 22 But Abram told the king of Sodom, "I swear to God, The High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, this solemn oath, 23 that I'll take nothing from you, not so much as a thread or a shoestring. I'm not going to have you go around saying, 'I made Abram rich.' 24 Nothing for me other than what the young men ate and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; they're to get their share of the plunder."
A Son Promised to Abram
15 1 After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision: "Don't be afraid, Abram. I'm your shield. Your reward will be grand!"
2 Abram said, "God, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I'm childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?" 3 Abram continued, "See, you've given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all." 4 Then God's Message came: "Don't worry, he won't be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir." 5 Then he took him outside and said, "Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You're going to have a big family, Abram!" 6 And he believed! Believed God! God declared him "Set-Right-with-God."
7 God continued, "I'm the same God who brought you from Ur of the Chaldees and gave you this land to own." 8 Abram said, "Master God, how am I to know this, that it will all be mine?" 9 God said, "Bring me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, and a dove and a young pigeon." 10 He brought all these animals to him, split them down the middle, and laid the halves opposite each other. But he didn't split the birds. 11 Vultures swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram scared them off.
12 As the sun went down a deep sleep overcame Abram and then a sense of dread, dark and heavy. 13 God said to Abram, "Know this: your descendants will live as outsiders in a land not theirs; they'll be enslaved and beaten down for 400 years. 14 Then I'll punish their slave masters; your offspring will march out of there loaded with plunder. 15 But not you; you'll have a long and full life and die a good and peaceful death. 16 Not until the fourth generation will your descendants return here; sin is still a thriving business among the Amorites."
17 When the sun was down and it was dark, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch moved between the split carcasses. 18 That's when God made a covenant with Abram: "I'm giving this land to your children, from the Nile River in Egypt to the River Euphrates in Assyria - 19 the country of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites."