Just a quick note today. Beginning with Genesis 12 we move from the more stylized story portion of the book into the more historical section. The things being discussed from this point forward ban be reliably dates to a period of about 2000 B.C. The places named can be located on maps and we have archeological evidence for some.
First, note the at this point the figure we commonly know as Abraham is still named Abram. God will soon change his name to reflect his new mission. Naming is important in ancient Jewish society. This goes all the way back to Adam, who was given the right to name all the animals to show that man had dominion over the creation. Joseph is given the right to name Jesus to show that he is his legitimate earthly father. Name changes are important and we’ll see this come to fruition in the New Testament when the Angel names Mary, when Simon is renamed Peter and Saul is renamed Paul.
Another key thing to note is that God is going to make a new covenant with Abraham. This will be in the form of three promises. The promises will be of land, a King and numerous descendants. Today we read the first two promises when God says to Abraham,
The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted.”