Difference between revisions of "Abraham"

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:''For the first [[Republican]] [[president of the United States]], see [[Abraham Lincoln]]''
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[[Image:abraham_sacrificing_isaac.jpg|thumb|right|200px|''Abraham Sacrificing Isaac'' by Rembrandt]]
 
[[Image:abraham_sacrificing_isaac.jpg|thumb|right|200px|''Abraham Sacrificing Isaac'' by Rembrandt]]
  
'''Abraham''' (Hebrew '''אַבְרָהָם''') lived in [[Ur]] approximately 1800 BC. His story is told in the book of [[Genesis]]. He is credited in the [[Bible]] as the father of [[Judaism]] and the recipient of a covenant with God. Held up as an example of faith to all Christians, Jews, and Muslims, Abraham migrated to [[Canaan]] in obedience to God's command. In the Bible, Abraham had two important children, [[Ishmael]] and [[Isaac]]. The descendants of Isaac became the [[Israelite|Israelites]] as chronicled in the Bible.  The [[Arab]]s claim to be descended from Ishmael, although this is not discussed in the Bible itself.
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'''Abraham''' ([[Hebrew]]: '''אברהם''', ''ʾAḇrāhām''; [[Arabic]]: '''ابراهيم''', ''Ibrāhīm'', "father of a multitude") or '''Abram''' ("exalted father") (2008 AM–2183 AM, or 1996 BC-1821 BC) was the father of the [[Israel]]ites, the [[Arab]]s, and several other races.  He is considered a [[prophet]], and the details of his life are recorded in [[Genesis]].
  
Abraham was born in the land of Ur of the chaldeans and named Abram.  His family was descended from Shem, one of Noah's sons.  His father's name was Terah, his brothers were Nahor and Haran.  He was married to his half-sister, Sarai.  When his father left Ur, Abram left with him.  They stopped at the city of Haran, where Terah died.  Abram was then called by God to leave his land.  God promised that, if he followed him, he would give him land, descendants, fame, and riches.  Abram obeyed God and left Haran at age 75, and took his nephew, [[Lot]], with him. They went onto the land of Canaan, all the way to Shechem.  He would also move to a mountain, west of Bethel and east of Ai, where he built an altar to the Lord.  <ref> Genesis 11:27-12:9.  </ref>  
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[[Judaism|Jews]], [[Christianity|Christians]], and [[Islam|Muslims]] respect Abraham for his outstanding faith in [[God]].<ref>{{Bible ref|book=Hebrews|chap=11|verses=8-12}}</ref>
  
He also moved on to the south and dwelt there for a time until a famine came and he went to Egypt.  However, when he arrived he was afraid that, because of his wife's beauty, the egyptians would kill him. So he lied and said that she was his sister instead.  Unfortunately, Pharoh then took Sarai into his house.  Because of this, God plagued Pharoh and his house.  Pharoh ordered Abram and his wife to leave. Abram went back between Bethel and Ai.  <ref>  Genesis 12:10-20.  </ref> 
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== Abraham’s life ==
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Abraham, originally called Abram until God changed his name in a covenant when Abraham was 99 years old,<ref>{{Bible ref|book=Genesis|chap=17|verses=5}}</ref> was born in [[Ur of the Chaldees]] in [[Mesopotamia]]. His father was [[Terah]], and he had two elder brothers named [[Haran]] and [[Nahor]]. His wife was [[Sarah]] (who actually was his niece and daughter of Haran), and his sons were [[Isaac]] and [[Ishmael]].
  
After he left Egypt, Abram's men and Lot's men quarrelled for land and water for herds.  Abram selflessly offered Lot the best of the land to take. Lot chose to live in the fertile plains of Jordan, near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abram moved toward the terebinth trees of Mamre, in Hebron.  During this time, God renewed his promise of land and descendants. Abram built an alter where he dwelt to the Lord.  <ref>  Genesis 13. </ref>
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God told him to leave his country and journey to a new land, where he would become the founder of a new nation. Abraham obeyed God, and when he was 75 years old he journeyed with his wife Sarah (Sarai), his nephew [[Lot]], and many others to the land of [[Canaan (land)|Canaan]] between [[Syria]] and [[Egypt]]. At each stop along the way he set up an altar and tent-shrine.
  
Abram was also a skilled general and fighter.  When Lot, his nephew, was taken prisoner during a war between the kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, and Goyim against the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Belah. Abram ambushed them and fought for his nephew.  He won a great victory against them.  After the battle, when Abram went to meet with the King of Sodom in the King's Valley, he met with [[Melchizedek]], King of Salem.  Melchizedek blessed Abram and God, for he was High Priest of God.  Abram gave him a tithe of all he had.  The King of [[Sodom]] offered Abram all the riches of the victory, which had been won.  However, Abram had none of it.  After this, the Lord returned to Abram and renamed him as Abraham (meaning father of many nations) and his wife from Sarai (meaning Princess) to [[Sarah]] (meaning Queen.)  God also made a covenant with him that included a prophecy of captivity for his descendants, and a promise of deliverance and great land. <ref>  Genesis 14-15.  </ref>             
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The date of his departure is 15 Abib 2083 AM (25 April 1921 BC), as per the following verses:{{Bible quote|Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.|book=Exodus|chap=12|verses=40-41|version=KJV}}
  
Abraham was married to Sarah, but was childless.  God came to him and told him his descendents would be as numerous as the sand on the shore. As time went on and Sarah had still not conceived, Sarah gave her maidservant [[Hagar]] to Abraham to have children. Ishmael was born from this union. (Genesis 16: 1-5).  Abraham was 86 years old when [[Ishmael]] was born. (Genesis 16:16) Abraham had his son of the covenant through his wife Sarah when he was 100 years old and his wife Sarah was 90, beyond normal child bearing years at that time.  When Isaac was still young, Sarah told Abraham to send away Hagar and Ishmael.  Abraham complied.
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The date of the Exodus was 15 Abib 2513 AM (12 April 1491 BC); therefore the date of Abram's departure from Haran is precisely 430 years earlier. (See below.)
  
The most famous story of Abraham dealt with his son Isaac, when Abraham was told by God to take him up into the mountains and sacrifice him. (Genesis 22:1-14) Abraham did as he was told, but at the last moment an angel of the Lord told him to stop and another sacrifice was there to be put in his place, "for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me."<ref>Genesis 22:12</ref>  [[Christians]] see this as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of [[Jesus]].
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In [[Canaan (land)|Canaan]], God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land from the Nile to the river Euphrates and have it for ever. Although Sarah was childless, and apart from God's promise she would have no reason to believe that she would ever have children, Abraham trusted God to fulfill His promise to give them children.<ref name=Ussher>[[James Ussher]], ''[[The Annals of the World]]'', [[Larry Pierce]], ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 72-75, 77-80, 82-83</ref>
  
In response to Abraham's display of love for God by being willing to sacrifice his only beloved son, "The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said:<ref>Genesis 22:15-18</ref>
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=== Visit to Egypt ===
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Early in Abraham's journey, famine struck the land of Canaan. Abraham went to [[Egypt]] to escape its effects. There, Abraham instructed Sarah to say that she was his sister&mdash;which was not quite true, because Sarah was Abraham's niece. The then-reigning [[Pharaoh]] took Sarah, who was quite attractive despite her advanced age, into the palace. [[God]], however, directly warned Pharaoh against being intimate with Sarah, who was another man's wife. Pharaoh returned Sarah to Abraham and politely asked Abraham to leave Egypt, which he did. However, Abraham left Egypt with many gifts and presents. Among these was a handmaid named [[Hagar]].<ref name=Ussher2>Ussher, ''op. cit.'', pgh. 74</ref>
  
:I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.
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=== Family Strife ===
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At first, Abraham was accompanied by his nephew, [[Lot]], who had a household comparable in size to that of Abraham, with livestock to match. Inevitably, their wranglers fought over the scarce resources of the region. So Abraham and Lot agreed to separate. Lot decided to live in the plains of the Valley of Siddim (the [[Dead Sea]]), while Abraham stayed in the hill country. This happened in the spring of 2084 AM.<ref name=Ussher3>Ussher, ''op. cit.'', pgh. 75</ref>
  
After that Abraham's wife Sarah, died. Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah from Ephron the [[Hittite]] for four hundred sheckels of silver. There Sarah was buried. After that, Abraham sent his servant back to the land where he came from to find a wife for his son Isaac. His servant's way was prosperous and brought back [[Rebekah]], daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor. Abraham also remarried to [[Keturah]] and she bore him six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. <ref>I Chr 1:32</ref>  Abraham gave all he had to Isaac, and sent his sons away east with gifts.  Abraham then died at the age of 175 years. He was buried by his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. <ref> Genesis23-25:11. </ref>
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Eight years after that, Lot fell prisoner to [[Chedorlaomer]] in the [[War of the Ten Kings]]. Abraham heard about Lot's capture from an escapee from [[Sodom]], where Lot had gone to live. Abraham armed 318 men of his household, called on three local Amorite confederates to help him, and gave chase. He successfully rescued Lot and recaptured all the plunder that Chedorlaomer had taken. Abraham took no spoil beyond his own troops' rations.<ref name=Ussher4>Ussher, ''op. cit.'', pgh. 77</ref> Scripture does not record that Abraham would ever see Lot again.
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Abraham then made what some have considered a mistake. Not willing to believe that a seventy-five-year-old woman (Sarah's age at the time) could conceive, Abraham allowed Sarah to prevail upon him to accept Hagar as her surrogate. By her he had a son, [[Ishmael]] ("God hears"). Ishmael was not, however, the son that God had promised that Abraham ''and Sarah'' would have.
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=== The Covenant ===
 +
God established his covenant with Abraham on 2107 AM (1897 BC). On that occasion God told Abraham that he and Sarah ''would'' have a son, and that the descendants of that son would be too numerous to count.<ref name=Ussher5>Ussher, ''op. cit.'', pgh. 82</ref> And not only was Abraham to be the father of multitudes of physical descendants, he would also be the spiritual father of all who believe in the true God.
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But God also warned Abraham that the Hebrews would sojourn in a land that was not theirs, that some group of persons, identified only as "they," would "afflict" them, and that after a span of four hundred years, God would see that the Hebrew people would despoil those who had ill-used them.
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 +
In this same year came the destruction of [[Sodom]] and [[Gomorrah]]. Abraham interceded for Sodom, for Lot's sake. Instead of forbearing to destroy the city, God sent two angels to make sure that Lot and his household would leave Sodom. (They barely escaped in time, and Lot's wife, because she looked back, did not survive.)
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Abraham did have his son, [[Isaac]] ("he shall laugh"), by his wife [[Sarah]] when he was 100 years old and Sarah 90 years old.
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=== The Expulsion of Ishmael ===
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When Isaac was five years old, Abraham held a feast in his honor. Ishmael, who was nineteen, mocked Isaac. This prompted Sarah to demand that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away, and he did.
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Many commentators, among them [[James Ussher]], [[Larry Pierce]], and [[Floyd Nolen Jones]], date the four hundred years' persecution of the Hebrew people from this incident. But other commentators point out that the Ishmaelites were not the Egyptians, nor did any systematic persecution begin until after the Israelites had all entered Egypt.
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== Abraham's faith ==
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The most famous story of Abraham dealt with his son [[Isaac]], when Abraham was told by God to take him up onto Mount Moriah and sacrifice him. ({{Bible ref|book=Genesis|chap=22|verses=1-14}}) Abraham did as he was told, but at the last moment an angel of the Lord told him to stop and another sacrifice was there to be put in his place, "for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me." ({{Bible ref|book=Genesis|chap=22|verses=12}}) [[Christians]] see this as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of [[Jesus]].
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In response to Abraham's display of love for God by being willing to sacrifice his only beloved son,{{Bible quote|The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said:  I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.|book=Genesis|chap=22|verses=15-18}}
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 +
== Abraham’s character ==
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Abraham was a man with many admirable characteristics. He was a righteous man, wholeheartedly committed to [[God]]. He was a man of peace, compassionate when working to persuade God to spare the people of [[Sodom and Gomorrah]], hospitable in welcoming three visiting [[angels]], and quick to act when rescuing Lot and his family from attackers.
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 +
Although he was a man of great spiritual depth, he also had common human weaknesses. To save his life, he twice passed off Sarah as his sister to foreign kings, allowing them to choose her for their harems.
 +
 
 +
== Final years ==
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Sarah died at the age of 127, and Abraham bought a cave at Machpelah in which to bury her. As his own death drew near he made his servant Eliezer swear that he would find a wife for Isaac from his kinfolk near Haran. He did, and Isaac married [[Rebekah]].
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Also in Abraham's advancing years he married [[Keturah]], whose sons became the ancestors of the tribes of Dedan and Midian. The sons of Abraham by Keturah included [[Zimran]], [[Jokshan (son of Abraham)|Jokshan]], [[Medan]], [[Midian]], [[Ishbak]], and [[Shuah]]. ({{Bible ref|book=I_Chronicles|chap=1|verses=32}})
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After he gave all he had to Isaac, and gifts to his other sons, [[Abraham died]], having lived for 175 years. [[Isaac]] and [[Ishmael]] buried him in the cave at Machpelah in which Sarah lay.
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== Legacy ==
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: ''Main Article: [[Abrahamic religion]]''
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Jews trace their lineage to Abraham through his son Isaac. One of the core tenets of the Jewish faith is that the [[Hebrews]] are the "chosen people of God" following God's covenants with Abraham.
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Christians also trace their faith back to Abraham through Isaac, via [[Jesus Christ|Jesus]] and his original followers, who were Jewish.
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Abraham's descendant Midian is also tied to the Jewish faith through [[Moses]], whose wife, Zipporah, was a Midianite.
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[[Arab]] [[Islam|Muslims]] trace their lineage back to Abraham (known as Ibrahim) through his son [[Ishmael]].
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== Chronological problems ==
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: ''Main Article: [[Biblical chronology dispute]]''
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Abraham's life story poses two different problems in [[biblical chronology]]. The first is whether Abraham was born early, or late, in the life of his father [[Terah]]. The age of Terah when Abraham was born is a chronological anchor for the year of Terah's birth. Many commentators believe that Abraham was born when Terah was 70 years old, on the basis of this verse:{{Bible quote|After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.|book=Genesis|chap=11|verses=26}}
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However, the Bible describes Abraham's departure from Haran ''after'' the death of his father.<ref name=Ussher5>[[James Ussher|Ussher]], ''[[The Annals of the World|op. cit.'']], pgh. 71-72</ref><ref name=Jones>Jones, Floyd N. ''The Chronology of the Old Testament'', Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004 (ISBN 9780890514160), pp. 25, 259 and Charts 1 and 6</ref> In addition, Stephen clearly stated to the Sanhedrin that Abraham left Haran after his father died.<ref name=Stephen>{{Bible ref|book=Acts|chap=7|verses=4}}</ref>
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The second problem concerns the length of the Sojourn in Egypt. This period serves as an anchor for Abraham's departure from Haran. The book of Exodus tells us that {{Bible quote|Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.|book=Exodus|chap=12|verses=40|version=KJV}}
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Interestingly, the [[Samaritan Pentateuch]] adds the phrase "and Canaan" after the name "Egypt" in the above verse. However, God seems to say to Abraham that the Egyptians would afflict the Israelites for four hundred years:{{Bible quote|And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;...|book=Genesis|chap=15|verses=13|version=KJV}}
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Two problems appear above:
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# Does the 430 years refer to the length of time that the Hebrews spent in Egypt, or to the total span of time from Abraham's entry into Canaan to the [[Exodus of Israel]]?
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# When does the 400 years begin and end?
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With regard to the 430 years, [[Paul]] provides an answer:{{Bible quote|And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.|book=Galatians|chap=3|verses=17}}
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The law referred to above is the [[Ten Commandments]], which were given in the same year as the Exodus. Therefore, the "covenant" refers to the departure.
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In addition, [[Genesis]] tells us that ''four generations'' would elapse during the actual time in Egypt.<ref name=generations>{{Bible ref|book=Genesis|chap=15|verses=16|version=KJV}}</ref> Those generations are the lives of [[Levi]], [[Kohath]], [[Amram]], and [[Moses]], which are a direct line of descent. [[Exodus]] gives the lengths of the lives of each of these men, and furthermore states that Amram married his own aunt. (I Chronicles also attests to this.) If the Israelites spent 430 years living in Egypt, this line of descent would be impossible.
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With regard to the 400 years, Jones cites E. W. Bullinger's ''Companion Bible'', which points out that the text of {{Bible ref|book=Genesis|chap=15|verses=13}} is a curious type of text called an ''introversion.'' It states four facts, of which the first and last are related to one another, and the second and third are related to one another, though ''not'' to the other two. Thus the passage should read:
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* Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,
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** and shall serve them;
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** and they shall afflict them
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* four hundred years.
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The two facts listed in the indented text are a parenthetical note in the broader [[context]] of a four-hundred-year period that begins when Isaac was weaned and ends with the Exodus.<ref name=Jones2>Jones, ''op. cit.'', pp. 53-61 and Charts 3, 3A, and 3B.</ref>
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
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{{reflist}}
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== See also ==
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* [[Judaism]]
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** [[Midrash]]
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* [[Christianity]]
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* [[Islam]]
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== External links ==
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*[http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/Bible/Timelines/2210-2090%20BC.htm Timeline 2210-2090 BC]
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*[http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/Bible/Timelines/2090-1970%20BC.htm Timeline 2090-1970 BC]
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*[http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/Bible/Bible/OT/Law/Genesis/patriarchal_timeline_from_adam_through_Isaac.htm Patriarchal Timeline from Adam through Isaac]
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*[http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/abraham.html About Abraham - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology] on BibleStudyTools.com
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*[http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/Bible/Bible/OT/Ages%20Of%20The%20Patriarchs.html Ages Of The Patriarchs]
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*[http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/Bible/Bible/OT/Law/Genesis/Genealogical%20Table%20of%20Abrahams%20Family.htm Genealogical Table of Abraham’s Family]
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{{nb patriarch}}
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{{nb hebrews}}
  
<references/>
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[[Category:Book of Genesis Persons]]
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[[Category:Biblical persons]]
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[[Category:Ancient History]]
 
[[Category:Ancient History]]
 
[[Category:Abrahamic Religions]]
 
[[Category:Abrahamic Religions]]
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[[Category:Jewish People]]

Latest revision as of 22:37, 14 April 2019

For the first Republican president of the United States, see Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Sacrificing Isaac by Rembrandt

Abraham (Hebrew: אברהם, ʾAḇrāhām; Arabic: ابراهيم, Ibrāhīm, "father of a multitude") or Abram ("exalted father") (2008 AM–2183 AM, or 1996 BC-1821 BC) was the father of the Israelites, the Arabs, and several other races. He is considered a prophet, and the details of his life are recorded in Genesis.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims respect Abraham for his outstanding faith in God.[1]

Abraham’s life

Abraham, originally called Abram until God changed his name in a covenant when Abraham was 99 years old,[2] was born in Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia. His father was Terah, and he had two elder brothers named Haran and Nahor. His wife was Sarah (who actually was his niece and daughter of Haran), and his sons were Isaac and Ishmael.

God told him to leave his country and journey to a new land, where he would become the founder of a new nation. Abraham obeyed God, and when he was 75 years old he journeyed with his wife Sarah (Sarai), his nephew Lot, and many others to the land of Canaan between Syria and Egypt. At each stop along the way he set up an altar and tent-shrine.

The date of his departure is 15 Abib 2083 AM (25 April 1921 BC), as per the following verses:

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:40-41 (KJV)

The date of the Exodus was 15 Abib 2513 AM (12 April 1491 BC); therefore the date of Abram's departure from Haran is precisely 430 years earlier. (See below.)

In Canaan, God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land from the Nile to the river Euphrates and have it for ever. Although Sarah was childless, and apart from God's promise she would have no reason to believe that she would ever have children, Abraham trusted God to fulfill His promise to give them children.[3]

Visit to Egypt

Early in Abraham's journey, famine struck the land of Canaan. Abraham went to Egypt to escape its effects. There, Abraham instructed Sarah to say that she was his sister—which was not quite true, because Sarah was Abraham's niece. The then-reigning Pharaoh took Sarah, who was quite attractive despite her advanced age, into the palace. God, however, directly warned Pharaoh against being intimate with Sarah, who was another man's wife. Pharaoh returned Sarah to Abraham and politely asked Abraham to leave Egypt, which he did. However, Abraham left Egypt with many gifts and presents. Among these was a handmaid named Hagar.[4]

Family Strife

At first, Abraham was accompanied by his nephew, Lot, who had a household comparable in size to that of Abraham, with livestock to match. Inevitably, their wranglers fought over the scarce resources of the region. So Abraham and Lot agreed to separate. Lot decided to live in the plains of the Valley of Siddim (the Dead Sea), while Abraham stayed in the hill country. This happened in the spring of 2084 AM.[5]

Eight years after that, Lot fell prisoner to Chedorlaomer in the War of the Ten Kings. Abraham heard about Lot's capture from an escapee from Sodom, where Lot had gone to live. Abraham armed 318 men of his household, called on three local Amorite confederates to help him, and gave chase. He successfully rescued Lot and recaptured all the plunder that Chedorlaomer had taken. Abraham took no spoil beyond his own troops' rations.[6] Scripture does not record that Abraham would ever see Lot again.

Abraham then made what some have considered a mistake. Not willing to believe that a seventy-five-year-old woman (Sarah's age at the time) could conceive, Abraham allowed Sarah to prevail upon him to accept Hagar as her surrogate. By her he had a son, Ishmael ("God hears"). Ishmael was not, however, the son that God had promised that Abraham and Sarah would have.

The Covenant

God established his covenant with Abraham on 2107 AM (1897 BC). On that occasion God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son, and that the descendants of that son would be too numerous to count.[7] And not only was Abraham to be the father of multitudes of physical descendants, he would also be the spiritual father of all who believe in the true God.

But God also warned Abraham that the Hebrews would sojourn in a land that was not theirs, that some group of persons, identified only as "they," would "afflict" them, and that after a span of four hundred years, God would see that the Hebrew people would despoil those who had ill-used them.

In this same year came the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham interceded for Sodom, for Lot's sake. Instead of forbearing to destroy the city, God sent two angels to make sure that Lot and his household would leave Sodom. (They barely escaped in time, and Lot's wife, because she looked back, did not survive.)

Abraham did have his son, Isaac ("he shall laugh"), by his wife Sarah when he was 100 years old and Sarah 90 years old.

The Expulsion of Ishmael

When Isaac was five years old, Abraham held a feast in his honor. Ishmael, who was nineteen, mocked Isaac. This prompted Sarah to demand that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away, and he did.

Many commentators, among them James Ussher, Larry Pierce, and Floyd Nolen Jones, date the four hundred years' persecution of the Hebrew people from this incident. But other commentators point out that the Ishmaelites were not the Egyptians, nor did any systematic persecution begin until after the Israelites had all entered Egypt.

Abraham's faith

The most famous story of Abraham dealt with his son Isaac, when Abraham was told by God to take him up onto Mount Moriah and sacrifice him. (Genesis 22:1-14 ) Abraham did as he was told, but at the last moment an angel of the Lord told him to stop and another sacrifice was there to be put in his place, "for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me." (Genesis 22:12 ) Christians see this as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus.

In response to Abraham's display of love for God by being willing to sacrifice his only beloved son,

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said: I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. Genesis 22:15-18

Abraham’s character

Abraham was a man with many admirable characteristics. He was a righteous man, wholeheartedly committed to God. He was a man of peace, compassionate when working to persuade God to spare the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, hospitable in welcoming three visiting angels, and quick to act when rescuing Lot and his family from attackers.

Although he was a man of great spiritual depth, he also had common human weaknesses. To save his life, he twice passed off Sarah as his sister to foreign kings, allowing them to choose her for their harems.

Final years

Sarah died at the age of 127, and Abraham bought a cave at Machpelah in which to bury her. As his own death drew near he made his servant Eliezer swear that he would find a wife for Isaac from his kinfolk near Haran. He did, and Isaac married Rebekah.

Also in Abraham's advancing years he married Keturah, whose sons became the ancestors of the tribes of Dedan and Midian. The sons of Abraham by Keturah included Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. (I_Chronicles 1:32 )

After he gave all he had to Isaac, and gifts to his other sons, Abraham died, having lived for 175 years. Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave at Machpelah in which Sarah lay.

Legacy

Main Article: Abrahamic religion

Jews trace their lineage to Abraham through his son Isaac. One of the core tenets of the Jewish faith is that the Hebrews are the "chosen people of God" following God's covenants with Abraham.

Christians also trace their faith back to Abraham through Isaac, via Jesus and his original followers, who were Jewish.

Abraham's descendant Midian is also tied to the Jewish faith through Moses, whose wife, Zipporah, was a Midianite.

Arab Muslims trace their lineage back to Abraham (known as Ibrahim) through his son Ishmael.

Chronological problems

Main Article: Biblical chronology dispute
Abraham's life story poses two different problems in biblical chronology. The first is whether Abraham was born early, or late, in the life of his father Terah. The age of Terah when Abraham was born is a chronological anchor for the year of Terah's birth. Many commentators believe that Abraham was born when Terah was 70 years old, on the basis of this verse:

After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Genesis 11:26

However, the Bible describes Abraham's departure from Haran after the death of his father.[7][8] In addition, Stephen clearly stated to the Sanhedrin that Abraham left Haran after his father died.[9]

The second problem concerns the length of the Sojourn in Egypt. This period serves as an anchor for Abraham's departure from Haran. The book of Exodus tells us that

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. Exodus 12:40 (KJV)

Interestingly, the Samaritan Pentateuch adds the phrase "and Canaan" after the name "Egypt" in the above verse. However, God seems to say to Abraham that the Egyptians would afflict the Israelites for four hundred years:

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;... Genesis 15:13 (KJV)

Two problems appear above:

  1. Does the 430 years refer to the length of time that the Hebrews spent in Egypt, or to the total span of time from Abraham's entry into Canaan to the Exodus of Israel?
  2. When does the 400 years begin and end?
With regard to the 430 years, Paul provides an answer:

And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. Galatians 3:17

The law referred to above is the Ten Commandments, which were given in the same year as the Exodus. Therefore, the "covenant" refers to the departure.

In addition, Genesis tells us that four generations would elapse during the actual time in Egypt.[10] Those generations are the lives of Levi, Kohath, Amram, and Moses, which are a direct line of descent. Exodus gives the lengths of the lives of each of these men, and furthermore states that Amram married his own aunt. (I Chronicles also attests to this.) If the Israelites spent 430 years living in Egypt, this line of descent would be impossible.

With regard to the 400 years, Jones cites E. W. Bullinger's Companion Bible, which points out that the text of Genesis 15:13 is a curious type of text called an introversion. It states four facts, of which the first and last are related to one another, and the second and third are related to one another, though not to the other two. Thus the passage should read:

  • Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,
    • and shall serve them;
    • and they shall afflict them
  • four hundred years.

The two facts listed in the indented text are a parenthetical note in the broader context of a four-hundred-year period that begins when Isaac was weaned and ends with the Exodus.[11]

References

  1. Hebrews 11:8-12
  2. Genesis 17:5
  3. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 72-75, 77-80, 82-83
  4. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 74
  5. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 75
  6. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 77
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 82
  8. Jones, Floyd N. The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004 (ISBN 9780890514160), pp. 25, 259 and Charts 1 and 6
  9. Acts 7:4
  10. Genesis 15:16 (KJV)
  11. Jones, op. cit., pp. 53-61 and Charts 3, 3A, and 3B.

See also

External links