Lectionary Year A
February 24, 2002
Genesis 12:1-4a

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

A divine call (send) narrative
A promise from God (or unconditional covenant?)
- Abram obeys

- Seven promises are made
- I will make you a great nation
- I will bless you
- I will make your name great
- You will be a blessing
- I will bless those who bless you
- I will curse those who curse you
- In you all families of the earth shall be blessed

(BD)Genesis 12:1-4a is a call narrative found in the first book of the Pentateuch.
In verses 1-3 we have the divine word of God. Verse 1 is God's command to Abram telling him to "Go! Leave your home and family." Verses 2 and 3 reveal God's promises to Abraham. In verse 4 Abram accepts God's command by leaving his home.
The set of promises in God's call contains 7 elements
1) I will make you a great nation - this is of great significance due to Abram's and Sar'ai's age and that she is childless
2) I will bless you -material wealth
3) I will make your name great -ANE times the name described the very essence of the person. He is promised to be a man of high esteem and superior character
4) You shall be a blessing -Abram will be the standard by which blessings is invoked
5) I will bless those who bless you -also receive God's blessing
6) And curse him that curse you -those who mistreat Abram will be dealt with severely
7) And all the families of the earth / shall bless themselves by you -this moves to a universal blessing

The language used Piel verbs to emphasize the blessing to Abram and to those who use his name. The uses of several Piels are used to intensify the action to be taken by God. A Niphil form of the blessing demonstrates the reciprocal nature of the blessing for all the people on the earth. The Hiphil used in verse 1 tells us that God will show Abram the land of destination. It will not be determined byAbram.

B. Personal Interaction

What type of man is Abram?
Why would God call or send this man?
Why is it important for him to leave the home of his ancestors?
Is God testing Abram and preparing him for future ministry?
How did Abram come to know God in such a way that he would leave all that he knows to go into the unknown?
Why did God not tell Abram where he was going, why is it a secret?
Why did Lot go with him?
Does this promise to bless all the families of the earth include me?
Where does Abram's journey begin?
What does a "great nation" mean?

This is an uplifting passage. It is comforting to hear God's unconditional promise to Abram and to know that God will reach us where we are and lead us to blessings.

(BD)My first question was to look at the choice of Piel and Niphil verbs in the text. I turned to Seow for some of those answers.
I wanted to broaden my understanding of the Hebrew word "Blessing." A word search will help me with this. I will check the Talmund and Midrash for how the word blessing has been referenced historically.

C. Organization

Most answers to these questions can be found in the scriptures that follow and therefore will be answered in Step III a and b and Step IV.

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