Genesis 12 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Genesis 12 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

(12:3) "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee."
God will bless you if you bless Abraham (and/or Sarah Palin) and curse you if you curse Abraham (or Sarah). Fuck Abraham and Sarah Palin.
I do not understand why the author of the SAB finds it injustice that God blesses Abraham. The author of the SAB claims the freedom to do what he wants, does he deny the same to God?
And remind me again, what portions (1 Cor. 16:14) of the Bible received a thumbs up by the author of the SAB?

4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

(12:4) "Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran."
How old was Abram when he left Haran?
How old was Terah when he died?
Abraham was seventy five years old as this verse says. On both questions see chapter 11:32.

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7 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.

(12:7) "The LORD appeared unto Abram."
Can God be seen?
God cannot be seen, but his Son can. However, this appearance might not necessarily have been in a visible form. As John Gill says:

Perhaps in an human form, and so it was the Son of God; for whenever there was any visible appearance of a divine Person, under the former dispensation, it seems to be always of the essential Word, that was to be incarnate, and who spake with an articulate voice

8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel 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.

9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

The author of the SAB links to an article which comes up with questions that have received answers by scholars over many years. I refer the reader to On the Reliability of the Old Testament by K.A. Kitchen. In particular I would like to note that the Egyptians were not in the habit of noting their defeats, so expecting them to do a mural on how the 10 plagues had wrecked the empire and a some slaves escaped so later bloggers could verify the Biblical historical record is somewhat unrealistic.
I have to agree with Kenneth Humphreys that naming these pharaohs is an open question, but the same situation exists between Egyptian and Assyrian chronological records. We just have to wait for the scholar, probably group of, that will make a more definitive appraisal of the issue. What we already can know is that the Bible is historically reliable. And there is one pharaoh whose mummy was never found, and after his reign Egypt was overrun by the Hiksos. So that's the most likely starting point to compare Egyptian and Biblical chronologies. On Pharaoh Hophra, see Jer. 44:30.
On what Sarah looked like at 70: we only have the Biblical record to go by. Of course, in our days 70 is considered old, but at the time of this verse we're still in the age where ages declined, rapidly, but still double our years. Note that Abraham and Sarah have not yet reached our average years. Abraham died when he was 175, and Sarah when she was 127. At 70 she was slightly past half her life time. If we compare that to someone about half the lifetime in our days, she would like around 40.
Looking at certain females over 60 in our days, I would say that, at least on photos, they certainly don't appear to have aged badly.

12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

(12:13) "Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister."
Abram makes his wife lie for him, by telling the Egyptians that she is his sister. But at least it was half-true, since she was his half-sister. Such incestuous marriages are condemned elsewhere in the Bible, but god makes an exception for Abram and Sarai. (See Genesis 17:15-16 where God blesses their marriage and Genesis 20:2-18 where Abram repeats the same "she's my sister" lie.)
(12:13) This verse is also used to justify the Theocratic War Strategy of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

In the LDS Book of Abraham the same silly story is told, but it is God, not Abraham, who concocts the lie.
Such marriages were not forbidden at this time, that happened hundreds of years later, when the accumulation of genetic defects made such a law necessary, see Lev. 18:6. As genetic defects have accumulated even more in the intervening time, we are now considering to ban marriages between cousins. See also ‘You shouldn't marry your cousin!’
On the Theocratic War Strategy: may I just point out that Abraham didn't lie? He didn't speak the whole truth either obviously. And that the theocratic war strategy didn't help him? He still lost his wife! But as pointed out every time in this defence: the Jehovah's Witnesses are not Christians, and they may speak for themselves.
On the LDS: clearly the Book of Abraham is indication their's is a false religion and their holy scriptures are a perversion: God cannot lie and God does not ask men to lie.

14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

(12:14-15) "The Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair."
Poor Pharaoh couldn't resist the "very fair" Sarai, and he takes her into his harem.
There was nothing poor about Pharaoh. He took something that wasn't his.

15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.

16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.

(12:17) "The LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife."
God sends a plague on the Pharaoh and his household because the Pharaoh believed Abram's lie.
No, the plague was sent because Pharaoh took a woman by force. And although Abraham didn't speak the whole truth, he didn't lie. But that is irrelevant to the actions of Pharaoh. Whether Sarah was Abraham's sister or his wife, Pharaoh had no right to her.

18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.