Torah Portion 10/25/2020
Lech-Lecha (Go Forth or Go for you)
Torah Portion: Genesis 12:1 – 17:27
2nd Aliyah: Genesis 12:11 – 13:4
In this Torah portion, the 2nd Aliyah, we see an indecent proposal, of sorts, develop.
In the first Aliyah, you may remember that YHVH asked Abram (later to be renamed to Abraham) to leave all that he has known, his land, his birthplace, and his father’s house to a place yet to be revealed.
Without even knowing exactly how or where YHVH would keep His promises, Abram did not doubt YHVH. According to scriptures, he did not hesitate, and his faith did not falter, and this was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:9).
In the 2nd Aliyah we find Abram and his caravan coming into Egypt. Here is where we see a strategy for an indecent proposal develop.
Once Abram and his caravan reached Egypt, at first reading, it seems that Abram hatched a plan employing deception. It appears that he uses Sarai as an enticement, using her beauty as a lure, for his benefit and his protection.
He convinces Sarai to say that they were brother and sister instead of husband and wife. This strategy was so that he would not be killed and so that he would obtain an important connection and receive gifts and favor. So, in summary, at first reading, it seems as though the plan was to use Sarai to fleece a prominent Egyptian.
Sarai’s beauty must have been great, unique, and exotic, as news about her traveled all the way to the Pharaoh’s palace. Pharaoh found Sarai to be a woman fit for a king, moved her into his home and blessed Abram with many gifts for Sarai’s favor.
It would seem this was working well for Abram. A powerful connection was made. Pharaoh took Sarai into his house and blessed Abram with many riches. Yet, it did not go well for Pharaoh.
Right away, upon a first read through, I begin to think the worst of Abram. Despite this story having all the makings of a scandal, we must read Torah utilizing critical thinking skills. We must ask questions of our assumptions or risk missing deeper truths and wonderful revelations about our Abba’s character. So, there are many questions that deserve deeper exploration:
Did Abram intentionally employ deception for his own protection? Did he offer up his own wife’s honor to protect himself and to receive gain? Was this a sin on Abram’s part that YHVH turned out for their good, or was Abram’s faith in YHVH, through this situation, counted as righteousness? Did Abram resist or did he just go with the flow and allow the story to unfold, fully trusting in YHVH’s good will towards them? When Sarai went to the palace, was she taken by force, or did Abram allow Sarai to move into the Pharaoh’s palace willingly? Did Sarai become defiled during this experience? How does this apply to my life today?
The answers to these questions are not readily available in this week’s study. It requires a little more digging, but we do know that by the time they left Egypt, Abram and Sarai were both safe. Abram was blessed abundantly, in fact, they left Egypt loaded down with riches (much like the Israelites did many years later). We can also believe that Sarai left Egypt undefiled, which falls in line with the theory that this was all part of YHVH’s plan.
Pharaoh was operating under the belief that Abram was the “brother” and desired to take Sarai as a wife. Trouble then fell unto Pharaoh’s household.
In Judaism, it is thought that the plague that descended upon Pharaoh’s house was a disease called ra’athan. This disease affects the flesh causing sores which painfully affecting a man’s ability to be physically intimate with a woman. If this is true, then this is possible evidence of YHVH protecting Sarai’s honor and her safety, while working out a means of blessing for her and her husband.
This story could have ended so very differently, even tragically, but instead it ended in blessings. This week’s study really encouraged me to trust YHVH with the things I cannot control. Hopefully you are encouraged, as well, and that your faith is strengthened to believe that as long as we remain pressed in to Him, obediently, that ALL things work- out for the good of those that love YHVH and are called according to a purpose. Amen?