Parashat Lech Lecha, Understanding the Abrahamic Covenant


In this week’s reading from Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-17:27) we find that God desires for us to be obedient to His call on our lives.  The Lord God’s call on Avraham’s life was to go out from his land from his father’s house, and from his people (וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל-אַבְרָם לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךּ) to a land that He will show him.  The Lord promises to bless Avraham and make him into a great nation (וְאֶעֶשְֹךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל) and that those who bless him the Lord will bless, and those who curse him the Lord will curse (וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר).  We find in God’s call on Avraham that in him (Avraham) all the families of the earth will be blessed (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה).  It is interesting here in the Hebrew text, the word Ha’adamah (הָאֲדָמָה, Earth) is used to indicate that all of the families of the Earth will be blessed, and not just those who are in the land of Yisrael.  This is like saying “all of the families of the ground” taking from the meaning that God created man from the dust of the earth (וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה) in Bereshit / Genesis 2:7.  The Targum Onkelos says in Aramaic that all the seed of the earth” will be blessed (וְיִתְבָּרְכוּן בְּדִילָךְ כָּל זַרְעֲיַת אַרְעָא) as if the earth bears children; it is in this way that all the peoples of the earth are referred to.  This is the way the Hebrew Scriptures show beyond a doubt that this covenant will include all the people of the world.  In this covenant that God is making with Avraham, the Lord makes a promise personally with Avraham, to his descendants (Yisrael), and to all the world (non-Jewish peoples).  It is within these few verses, the Avrahamic Covenant, from Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-4 that all other covenants find their basis.  The Mosaic covenant in the Torah expands upon the covenant of the Promised Land (Yisrael) establishing a dwelling place, the Mishkhan (Tabernacle), where He (God) makes His name known.  The Davidic covenant relates to the issue of divine kingship and inheritance, and the New Covenant relates to the fulfillment of the promise that all the families of the earth will be blessed.  Read More here.