Verses 1-2: Are there elements in Abram’s journey to Canaan that typify Israel’s later exodus from Egypt? If there are, what would be the point of that parallel?
Verse 1: Notice the difference in the way the families are described in Genesis 12:5 and here. Does anything in these verses suggest a change in the family situation? If yes, of what sort? Journeys from Egypt to Canaan are said to be “up” and journeys from Canaan to Egypt are said to be “down.” We might use the same metaphors because of the way we have constructed the map of the world, with Canaan to the north of Egypt, but that similarity is misleading since they didn’t have maps or use the points of the compass as we do. So why would ancient people have used that language of up and down?
Verse 2: What is the point of this detail? Does the comment about their wealth in verse 6 explain it, or is it here for some other reason?
The word used for “rich” in Hebrew means “heavy.” It is used to describe Abram’s wealth and also the famine (Genesis 12:1). Any wealth that a nomad had beyond his flocks would have to be carried by camel and it would be a heavy for them, so the word makes sense. Was Abram’s wealth a burden to him in any other sense?
Verse 3-4: Why does Abram go back to the place where he had built an altar? (See Genesis 12:7).