Sunday, November 10, 1996 at 6 p.m. (E.T.)|
(Check local listings.)
God calls Abraham to leave his home, promising him that he will father a great nation. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, journey to Egypt where Abraham asks Sarah to pretend to be his sister for the sake of survival. Bill Moyers says:
"God is founding a dynasty, the beginnings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One
might expect the storyteller to paint the First Family ten feet tall with several coats of
whitewash. But the picture we get of these men and women is uncomfortably human.
There is so much marital conflict and sibling intrigue they almost forfeit the call and
fumble the promise. Yet the storyteller refuses to clean up their act. This is the amazing
thing about the people of Genesis. The more we talk about them, the more they look like
people we know -- faces in the mirror."
Featuring Robert Alter, Azizah Al-Hibri, Bharati Mukherjee, Eugene Rivers, Lewis
Smedes, Elizabeth Swados, Burton L. Visotzky. See Biographies for more information about the participants.
See more information on audio downloads or on obtaining a RealAudio player. For RealAudio, we recommend 2.0 or later.
Singer, performer and actor Mandy Patinkin has lent his voice to the
GENESIS television series as a storyteller. You may listen to the actual sound recording of this story either as RealAudio
or as a download.
Narrative written by Elizabeth Swados.
The Lord called to Abraham, and said "Leave your native land, your birthplace, and your father's
house. Go to a land I will show you. And I will bless you and make your name great and you
will be the father of many nations. And all of your children will be blessed for I will be their God.
I will bless those that bless you. And anyone that curses you I will curse. And all the families of
the earth will be blessed in you."
So Abraham left his home and he took his wife Sarah, his nephew named Lot, and all their
belongings and servants, and set out for the land of Canaan. Abraham saw that the Canaanites
already dwelt there. He moved on, but the Lord appeared again. "Abraham, you and your
children shall have this land." So Abraham built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him.
When a terrible famine fell on Canaan, Abraham went down to Egypt. At the border, Abraham
said to Sarah, "Listen, I know what a beautiful woman you are. If the Egyptians see you and think
you are my wife, they'll kill me to get to you. Say that you are my sister so it will go well with
me. And I will live because of you."
And it was true: the Egyptians found Sarah to be very beautiful. When Pharaoh heard of her
beauty he took her into his house. And he treated Abraham well for her sake. Abraham was given
sheep, oxen, donkeys, servants, and camels. But God caused great plagues to fall on Pharaoh
because of Sarah. And Pharaoh sent for Abraham and said, "What have you done to me? Why
didn't you tell me that she was your wife? Take her and be gone!"
So Abraham left Egypt with Sarah, Lot and his many servants. Now he was very rich in cattle,
silver and gold. He went back to the place where he had first pitched his tent on the mountain,
where he had built an altar for the Lord. And there, in that place, Abraham called out the name of