To get what Genesis 12:19 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.”

Medium popularity: 70 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Genesis chapter 12 using average monthly Google searches.

Genesis 12:19 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
Why לָמָ֤ה Properly, interrogative what? (including how? why? when?); but also exclamation, what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively, that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjunctive senses Why
saidst thou, אָמַ֙רְתָּ֙ To say (used with great latitude) saidst
She הִ֔וא He (she or it); only expressed when emphatic or without a verb; also (intensively) self, or (especially with the article) the same; sometimes (as demonstrative) this or that; occasionally (instead of copula) as or are She
is (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
my sister? אֲחֹ֣תִי A sister (used very widely [like H0251], literally and figuratively) sister
so I might have taken וָֽאֶקַּ֥ח To take (in the widest variety of applications) might taken
her to me to wife: לְאִשָּׁ֑ה A woman wife
now therefore וְעַתָּ֕ה At this time, whether adverb, conjunction or expletive now therefore
behold הִנֵּ֥ה Lo! behold
thy wife, אִשְׁתְּךָ֖ A woman wife
take קַ֥ח To take (in the widest variety of applications) take
her, (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
and go thy way. וָלֵֽךְ׃ To walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively) go way

Verse Context

See Genesis 12:19 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 17  And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

  • 18  And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

  • 19  Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

  • 20  And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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