Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees in 1975 B.C. when his father Terah was 130 years old. At the age of 200 Terah decides to move his family, which includes his grandson Lot, his son Abram and his wife Sarai (Sarah), to Haran (Genesis 11:31). Terah dies in Haran five years later. Abram, now 75 years old, leaves Haran and takes the family to the land of Canaan (the land of promise - Hebrews 11:9) in obedience to God's command:
1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3, NASB throughout).
He settles for a short time in Shechem, where God promises to give his descendents all the land around him (Genesis 12:6-7). He soon journeys south from Shechem to an area between Bethel and Ai. It is while living in this general area that a great famine comes upon the land (Genesis 12:10). Abraham takes Sarah, Lot, and all their possessions to Egypt to escape the famine.
As they near Egypt Abraham, fearful the Egyptians will kill him in order to take his beautiful wife, tells Sarah (who is now 67 years old):
11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, "See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 "Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you." (Genesis 12:11-13)
Abraham's plan works, but with consequences. First, not only is his life spared, he is treated well and given gifts by Egypt's Pharaoh (Amenemhat II) when the ruler brings Sarah to his house. God, however, brings plagues to Pharaoh and his house because of Sarah. The angry ruler soon confronts Abram about his lie:
18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 "Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go." (Genesis 12:18-19)
Abraham and family leave Egypt and go back to Canaan.