Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #12 of Genesis, chapter 12 and we are going to begin by reading Genesis 12:11-13:
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: 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. 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.
I will stop reading there. We know that Sarai was Abram’s wife and it is a spiritual picture of Christ or God and His bride. Sarai was also Abram’s half-sister, so what he asked her to say was not a lie when he said, “Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister,” but he is doing this for a certain reason. He was afraid for his life, as he feared the Egyptians would say, “This is his wife,” and they would kill him and save her alive. Because of this fear, he asked Sarai to tell him she is his sister. Then if the Egyptians would take her, they were less likely to harm Abram because there would be no need to break the relationship of man and wife through death – death would free the woman Sarai. It would be sort of an odd thing for the Egyptians to be concerned about the marriage relationship, to the point where they would kill the husband in order to make Sarai available to bring into Pharaoh’s house. It is strange because the killing of the husband would be an evil thing, just as it would be to take a woman that was married to another man. But, this apparently was the mindset that they would have killed Abram, thus freeing her from the binding relationship of marriage, so she could be Pharaoh’s wife or concubine.
As Abram told Sarai, if she said he was her brother then there would be no need to kill him to break the marriage relationship, so that was what she did.
Spiritually, we know that Abram is a type of God. Christ is God and God is married to His people and Sarai is a picture of the believers, the elect of God and, yet, there are other relationships that the Bible speaks of between God and His people. For example, it says in Matthew 12:46-50:
While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
This would provide another Biblical definition of the relationship between Abram and Sarai, not only as husband and wife, but brother and sister. This is because whoever does the will of the Father is of the family of God and they are brothers and sisters. This is the reason it says in 2John 1:13:
The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
The people of God (those predestinated to salvation) are the sister of the Lord Jesus Christ or the sister of God. Before we move on, we are in a brother and sister relationship with Christ not only because we are adopted into the family of God, but also because Christ is the firstborn Son of God, the firstborn from the dead, as it says in Romans 8:29:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Jesus was raised first by God the Father at the point of the foundation of the world and through that resurrection He was declared to be the Son of God. But God had a program to save many people and in that salvation program they, too, will be first resurrected in their souls and then later at the end of time they will experience the resurrection of their bodies. They are declared to be sons of God – Christ, the firstborn and we, as the brethren. So, we have this kinship with Him that involves more than a father/son or father/daughter relationship. There are other elements to it and this is being portrayed by Sarai’s relationship to her husband Abram.
Let us go back to Genesis 12:14-16:
And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 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.
This is very interesting history. As far as the timeline, all we know is that Abram was 75 when he entered the land of Canaan in 2092BC. Apparently, this would have been a little while after that, but we do not know exactly when because God does not give us precise time information concerning when he sojourned south into Egypt and encountered the Egyptians.
It happened as he had feared: “the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.” She was very beautiful. We discussed earlier how God’s people, as typified by Sarai, are beautiful because they are sinless because the Lord took upon Himself the sins of His people and paid for them. They beheld the woman and they commended her to Pharaoh and they proceeded to take her into Pharaoh’s house. Even though she told them that she was his sister, the taking of Sarai was not voluntary. They took her forcibly. Abram seemed to have expected this and he did not put up a fight, but they did take her against her will – her will would have been to stay with her husband and travel with him. But she could not because she was taken by the princes into Pharaoh’s house. It is interesting that it says that Sarai was taken into Pharaoh’s house. It says in 1Samuel 2:27:
And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith JEHOVAH, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?
This refers back to Aaron or Levi, as Aaron was from Levi and they were the beginnings of the priesthood and Aaron was the high priest. Aaron was in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house. He was not literally living in Pharaoh’s house, except at the time of the deliverance when Moses and Aaron would go to present themselves before Pharaoh. But this is a reference to being a “slave” or a “bondman” in bondage in Egypt. That’s what it means when it says, “they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house.” It is a synonym for being in bondage. It says in Exodus 8:23-24:
And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be. And JEHOVAH did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.
The plague of the swarm of flies that God sent entered Pharaoh’s house and the house of his servants and all the land of Egypt. These are all synonyms to represent the cruel taskmasters and overseers that kept Israel in bondage. Of course, Pharaoh was the main character that kept Israel in bondage and even after all the plagues God brought upon him he refused to let the people go. Again, and again, he showed his stubbornness and rebellion against God.
So, we read that Sarai was taken and although it does not say she was taken captive into Pharaoh’s house, the spiritual implication is that she is a bondwoman. She is a captive. Otherwise, she would not have gone, but she would have continued to sojourn with her husband Abram. Therefore, it indicates that Sarai is a prefigure of a couple of things. She is prefiguring what would happen about two hundred years later when Jacob (Israel) and his family would enter into Egypt during that grievous famine and they remained in Egypt for 430 years, from 1877BC until 1447BC. So, as Sarai is taken away from her husband Abram and brought into Pharaoh’s house, it prefigures what would happen to the nation of Israel, historically. It is also prefiguring what happens to the people of God, spiritually. Spiritual Israel is made up of everyone God has saved and they also are bondservants or slaves in the house of bondage; Israel is referred to as the house of bondage, again, and again, in the Old Testament. It says in Exodus 13:3:
And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand JEHOVAH brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
Then it says in Exodus 13:14:
And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand JEHOVAH brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
This “house of bondage” is Pharaoh’s house. He was the ruler of Egypt and in a real way all Egypt was the “house of Pharaoh,” a place of captivity. Historically, the people of Israel were literally slaves and held captive in the house of bondage in the land of Egypt.
Spiritually, all of God’s people born into sin were help captive by sin and Satan in the “house of bondage” or in the house of the kingdom of Satan, which Egypt typified, until the time God delivered us.
This information that Sarai was taken into Pharaoh’s house lays the groundwork for what we read in the New Testament in Matthew 12:26-29:
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
Here in Matthew 12, verse 29 we see language similar to what we saw regarding Pharaoh and his house. When it says a “strong man’s house” it is saying the same thing spiritually as “Pharaoh’s house.” Pharaoh was a mighty or strong man in Egypt and the “strong man” is referring to Satan, the evil one, and Satan has a house or kingdom he ruled over that was full of slaves or bondservants. Of course, the Lord Jesus was the one that desired to spoil his house. The question was asked how this could be done except to bind the strong man and then spoil his house. We know this took place at the time of the cross when Satan was bound for a figurative “thousand years” or the duration of the entire church age, until 1988 and the end of the church age. Then there was the loosing of Satan.
We see this with the historical situation when Israel was in Egypt. God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from their bondage. In a way, the plagues served to bind the strong man as it brought Pharaoh to his knees and to the point when he would finally let the people go. That is the back drop, but before there was a nation of Israel and before God’s program to evangelize the nations of the world, there was this sojourn that Abram and Sarai took as they traveled into Egypt. Then Sarai was taken from her husband and brought into Pharaoh’s house. It is a picture of the spiritual bondage to sin and to Satan.
It says in Genesis 12:17:
And JEHOVAH plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
There is no avoiding the similarity between this statement and what happened to Pharaoh at the time of the exodus. God sent Moses to Pharaoh with the command, “Let my people go.” When he did not there were plagues. There was a plague of darkness, a plague of flies, a plague of locusts and various plagues that afflicted Pharaoh and his house, the house of bondage or the land of Egypt. With each one, the command of God grew in force and power: “Let my people go.” We see this in Genesis 12:17, where it said, “And JEHOVAH plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.”
Lord willing, when we get together in our next study, we will pick up this spiritual picture God is developing in this historical parable of this journey that a married couple took into the land of Egypt.