La Crème de la Crème: Gen. 12:10-20


When God is looking for someone to follow Him, he chooses La Crème de la Crème—the best of the best. NOT!!

Our blog-Bible-study is a part of the “Most Unlikely People” Series, and in this chapter we see some reasons for the series title. What happens when the rubber hits the road for Abraham? At first he’s being obedient and doing what God told him to do, he’s spending time in conversation with God, and then drought and famine hit. So, he heads south to Egypt where overflow of the Nile river counteracts the lack of rainfall. When he runs into danger, fear moves into the driver’s seat.


You might be thinking—Sarai is how old, and her beauty is still a problem? Not all societies have “youth” as a measuring tool for beauty as we do today. Sarai is now about 70 years old. Her beauty was noted not only by Abram, but also by the Egyptians. He beauty is also praised in the Genesis Apocryphon (one of the Dead Sea Scrolls).
~Archeological Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2005, pg 22
Picture of Sarai by James Tissot, Wikipedia

  • Abram followed God’s leading to enter Canaan, but it was during an extended time of drought so he decided to keep going until they got to Egypt. This close to the River Nile, the land was beginning to recover from the great drought. However, Egypt was involved in a civil war. Rulers in the river valley country centered at Thebes were have a power struggle with the rulers in the Nile delta country centered at Herakleopolis.
    Now, Abram led over 300 armed men of his own, and he was accompanied by Lot’s men as well. You can imagine the warm welcome this mighty force received from the the ruler at Herakleopolis, who would want to solidify it with a marriage alliance—and there was beautiful Sarai. Abram was a clever man, so he devised a scheme and convinced Sarai to play along.
    ~ Dalman, Rodger, Genesis and Israel’s Wilderness Generation: How Moses Used History to Teach a Rebellious Nation (Studies in Historical Theology),2014, pg 42


10-13 Then a famine came to the land. Abram went down to Egypt to live; it was a hard famine. As he drew near to Egypt, he said to his wife, Sarai, “Look. We both know that you’re a beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you they’re going to say, ‘Aha! That’s his wife!’ and kill me. But they’ll let you live. Do me a favor: tell them you’re my sister. Because of you, they’ll welcome me and let me live.”
14-15 When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians took one look and saw that his wife was stunningly beautiful. Pharaoh’s princes raved over her to Pharaoh. She was taken to live with Pharaoh.
16-17 Because of her, Abram got along very well: he accumulated sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, men and women servants, and camels. But GOD hit Pharaoh hard because of Abram’s wife Sarai; everybody in the palace got seriously sick.
18-19 Pharaoh called for Abram, “What’s this that you’ve done to me? Why didn’t you tell me that she’s your wife? Why did you say, ‘She’s my sister’ so that I’d take her as my wife? Here’s your wife back—take her and get out!”
20 Pharaoh ordered his men to get Abram out of the country. They sent him and his wife and everything he owned on their way. 
Genesis 12:10-20, MSG


  • Faced with famine, Abram relied on his own resources.
  • He devised a plan to protect himself by convincing Sarai that she would save them all by being his sister and eligible for a marriage alliance that would be to the advantage of them all.
  • Pharoah’s advisors acted as Abram thought they would, and Sarai became a wife of Pharoah.
  • This made Abram even richer than before.
  • Pharoah’s whole household got sick, and they truth came out.
  • Pharoah sent Sarai back to Abram and kicked them out of Egypt.


I have made a page for each of the character studies we are doing. I list things I learn from the Bible (noting chapter and verse). As I read through them, I try to summarize what the Biblical statements show us about the character of the person. This second list is made up of our own suppositions, the traits that each of us extract from the summary of the things we have read. We will not always agree on these points, because we each see things through the filter of our own experiences, attitudes, and beliefs.

Quiet your mind, ask for God’s wisdom and leading, and add to your character studies.

How did God respond to Abram’s plan and action? What action did God take to make his will known? Did God respond only to Abram or did He show himself to others as well?

Do you think Abram talked to God about his plan? Why or why not? What was Abram focused on as he made his plan? What does this tell us about his relationship with God at this time? What does this tell us about his feelings for Sarai?

What did you notice about Sarai’s part in this drama? Did she speak any lines? Do you think her cooperation was voluntary or enforced?


Father, as we read your words written in Genesis, we ask for your insight and clarity in the telling the story of Abram and Sarai. As we see them coming up with their own plans and schemes to control the situations that they find themselves in, help us to recognize the times in our lives when we have done this also. And we praise you that you chose us out of your love and mercy, because we can never earn your love or forgiveness. Help us to turn to you, offer you the driver’s seat in our lives, and repeat this action day after day. It is in your Son’s name that we pray. Amen.

Tune again tomorrow for my musings and character questions at this point in the study. As always, I’d love to hear from you. There is space for your comments below or email me at

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