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Much more difficult than modern day families experience when moving across the country. Throughout their journey they were required to find food and water along the way. If no food or water could be found, they would die. Abraham was born in Ur about 4, years ago.

At that time, Ur was a center of rich Sumerian culture and a hub of economic activity. Ur lied along the Euphrates river and was a land of grand architecture, riches, comfortable homes, music, and art. Abraham essentially left a booming economy for a venture across the desert. As God indicated, Christianity spread throughout the world and blessed people across the entire planet. The bible verses in this instance actually refer to him by his old, original name, Abram. This story of faith is even more remarkable considering Joshua mentions that Abram at one time worshiped other Gods.

It is likely that Abraham worshipped that moon god too. The land was delivered to Abraham just as God had promised. Canaan is a central location too — the hub of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Abraham may have historical ties to Sumeria, the earliest civilization with verifiable recorded history. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of occupation in the area to at least BC. Given the name and location, it is quite likely the Ur mentioned in the Bible is the historical city of Ur, part of ancient Sumeria. Note that Jewish and Arab people are all descended from Abraham.

Studies estimate that 1 in 10 people in the first century Roman Empire were Jews descended from Abraham. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

The Bible is silent about the next 13 years.

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Then Scripture reports that God reaffirmed and strengthened the promise of a rich posterity. Abraham and Sarah were to beget "a multitude of nations" and kings would issue from them —8. It is at this point that their names were changed from Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, respectively , Abraham then performed circumcision on himself and on Ishmael, as well as upon all males in his household — Alongside the terebinths of Mamre three messengers appeared to the patriarch who entertained them hospitably and learned from them of the impending birth of his son and heir — Sarah was amused by these tidings as had been Abraham earlier ; cf.

He also revealed His decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleaded for revocation of the sentence for the sake of an innocent nucleus that might be found therein. None such could apparently be found, although Lot was saved from the subsequent destruction through the merit of Abraham — The patriarch journeyed to the Negev area and settled between Kadesh and Shur.

While in Gerar, he again passed off his wife as his sister. The time of fulfillment of the divine promise was now at hand. Sarah, aged 90 , bore the year-old Abraham a son who was named Isaac —3, 5. This event, however, proved to be a cause of domestic disharmony. Sarah demanded the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael. It was only divine intervention in favor of Sarah that persuaded the distressed Abraham to agree — At this time, at Abimelech's initiative, the patriarch concluded a pact of non-aggression, which also regulated the watering rights in the Beer-Sheba area. He subsequently spent considerable time in the land of the Philistines — Abraham obeyed unhesitatingly and his hand was stayed only at the last moment by an angel.

Having passed the supreme test of faith, the patriarch now received, for the last time, the divine blessing — the promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; they would seize the gates of their foes; all the nations of the earth would bless themselves by his progeny — Abraham's subsequent acts were concerned with winding up his affairs. Then, Abraham commissioned his senior servant to travel to Haran to find a wife for Isaac, the idea of a local Canaanite daughter-in-law being thoroughly repugnant to him ch. After Isaac's marriage to Rebekah, Abraham himself remarried.

Several children were born of this marriage to Keturah, like Isaac and Ishmael the eponyms of nations. Thus was fulfilled the promise Gen that Abraham would be the father of many nations. However, he willed all his possessions to Isaac, gave his other sons gifts and sent them away to the land of the East.

Abraham died at the age of and was buried in the cave of Machpelah by Isaac and Ishmael — Mention of Abraham in the rest of the Bible is overwhelmingly in connection with the divine promises, and usually there is simultaneous reference to all three patriarchs. The few points of contact with the Abrahamic biography are mainly confined to the Book of Genesis ; ; , though the exodus from Ur and the change of name are mentioned in the late books Neh.

A cryptic reference to Abraham's idolatrous ancestry is to be found in Joshua , while Isaiah seems to cite some widely known tradition not otherwise recorded in the Bible. Abraham is called God's "servant" Gen. Surprisingly, "God of Abraham" as a generalized divine epithet appears only this once. Otherwise, Abraham is invariably associated with the other patriarchs in divine appellations.

The picture that emerges from the biblical texts suggests a wealthy head of a large establishment, a semi-nomadic tent dweller Gen. He possesses flocks, silver and gold, slaves ibid. He makes military alliances , has dealings with kings ff. Abraham is peace loving —9 , magnanimous and principled in victory ff. He is the very symbol of the God-fearing man and the man of supreme faith ; 22; Neh.

He is privy to divine decisions Gen. Amos and is also termed "a prophet" Gen. The disconnected and fragmentary nature of the narrative, as well as stylistic considerations, seem to point to a composition based on various oral traditions and written sources. Among followers of the documentary theory, there is a broad measure of agreement in respect of source division among je and p, but little consensus as to the age and historic value of the material used by these sources.

No external records have been found as yet that refer by name to Abraham or to any personage directly connected with him. The attempts in the mid th century to marshal sociological and onomastic evidence from archeological discoveries at Nuzi, Mari, and elsewhere to provide a historical setting for Abraham in the second millennium b. Most alleged parallels between the Abrahamic stories have been shown to be faulty e. Contemporary scholarship tends to see Abraham as a fictitious symbolic model of faith, as a figure who legitimates the claims of Israel to its land, and whose actions foreshadow the deeds of his children.

Whatever the age and source of the individual units, it is quite clear that in its present form the cycle of Abrahamic traditions is a unified and symmetrical historiographic composition. These traditions are encased within a framework of genealogies — the first listing the patriarch's ancestors Gen. The action opens and closes in a Mesopotamian setting —4; ff. The first utterance of Abraham to God is an expression of doubt —8 ; his last is one of supreme confidence in the workings of divine providence Finally, both the first and last communications from God to Abraham involve agonizing decisions and tests of faith, and they are cast in a strikingly similar literary mold: almost identical language is used in the case of both calls ; ; the exact destination is withheld in both cases; the motif of father parting with son is shared by each narrative; the tension of the drama is heightened by the accumulation of descriptive epithets ibid.

In aggadic literature Abraham is regarded as having observed all the commandments Yoma 28b; Kid. He acted in strict conformity with the Oral Law: "No one occupied himself so much with the divine commandments as did Abraham" Ned. He even muzzled his animals that they should not graze in the fields of others Gen. Abraham instituted the morning prayer Ber.

Abraham's principal virtue was that he was the first to recognize God, which is variously stated to have taken place when he was one, three, ten, or 48 years old Gen. His recognition of God sprang from the notion that every citadel must have a leader ibid. Abraham waged a strenuous battle in the cause of spreading the idea of monotheism and won over many converts. Abraham became a priest Gen. He was one of the great prophets, with whom God spoke not in dreams or visions but while he was in full possession of his normal cognitive faculties.

Through coins bearing his image Abraham's fame spread Gen. Around his neck was hung a precious stone which brought masses flocking to him, for whoever looked on it was healed bb 16b, et al. Lekh Lekha 5 , and his blessing spread upon all who came into contact with him Gen. Renowned for his hospitality to strangers, he had open doors to his house on all four sides Gen.

Because of his proselytizing activities, he is regarded as the father of all proselytes, who are given the patronymic Abraham. Abraham was circumcised on the Day of Atonement by Shem the son of Noah, "and every year the Holy One, blessed be He, looks upon the blood of the covenant of our patriarch Abraham's circumcision and forgives all our sins" pdre Circumcision was one of the ten trials wherewith Abraham was tried see later and by virtue of it he sits at the gate of hell and does not permit the circumcised to enter Gen.

The phrase, "entry into the covenant of Abraham our father," used to this day for the ceremony of circumcision, is already found in the Damascus Document ed. Rabin, Zadokite Documents 2 , 60— According to an early tradition Abraham underwent ten trials Avot of which different lists are given in the Midrashim arn ; Mid. In answer to the sectarians who sought thus to prove the weakness of Abraham's faith, the sages emphasized that it is only the righteous, who are certain to pass the test, who are tried Gen.

Buber, Ex. The dramatic description of Abraham's appeal to save the people of Sodom Gen. According to this Abraham employed a "cleaner" language than did Job ibid. In this connection the Midrash emphasizes the extreme contrast between the basic hospitality of Abraham and the spurious "hospitality" of the people of Sodom Ag. It is of interest to note that the Akedah is regarded as more of a trial of Abraham than of Isaac.

In a desire to compare the trial of Abraham with that of Job, the aggadah assigns to Satan a role in the drama of Abraham as well Sanh. The disciples of Abraham have "a benign eye, a humble spirit and a lowly soul" Avot Abraham however is not regarded as beyond criticism. The Talmud states that "Abraham our father was punished and his descendants enslaved in Egypt" because he pressed scholars into military service based on Gen. Moreover, Abraham hesitated to circumcise himself, whereupon Mamre rebuked and encouraged him Gen. In a biting comment, Rava denied Abraham the right to intercede on behalf of his people: In time to come Israel will ask of God: "To whom shall we go — to Abraham to whom Thou didst say, 'Know of a surety that thy seed be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them…' and yet he did not plead for mercy for us?

The prevailing Hellenistic outlook influenced the description of Abraham in the Apocrypha. He is the founder of a city and a legislator, the two principal functions of a great leader according to the Hellenistic concept, and his wisdom is described in extravagant terms. According to the Apocrypha his recognition of God stemmed from his knowledge of astronomy which he taught to the great men of his generation.

Hence there developed the idea that Abraham was an expert in many and varied spheres. The Book of Jubilees even declares that he instructed men in the art of improved plowing, so as to conceal the seeds from the ravens 18— His Babylonian origin is emphasized in conformity with the contemporary outlook which regarded that country as the cradle of mysticism.

On the basis of Genesis Abraham was deemed to be the progenitor of the Spartans too i Macc. Philo deals with him in his De Migratione Abrahami , while extracts from Hellenistic Jewish writers about him have been preserved by Eusebius. In iv Macc. The background of this description of Abraham was the persecution of the Jews of Alexandria at that time. In addition to this biblical image of Abraham, Jewish philosophers found in rabbinic Midrashim views of Abraham according to which he smashed the prevalent idols and came to believe in the one God Gen. Targum Onkelos and Rashi to Gen.

Eventually two paradigms evolved, in which the image of Abraham came to reflect two basic approaches to Jewish philosophy. According to the first school of thought, in which religion was understood rationally, Abraham was seen as a philosopher whose faith in God was the conclusion of scientific reasoning. According to the other school of thought, Abraham was seen as a believer whose faith and experience of divine revelation transcended his earlier philosophical or scientific speculation.

The first view of Abraham as a philosopher is found in Hellenistic Jewish literature. Philo interpreted Abraham's wanderings and wars allegorically as a process of coming to know God De Abrahamo This view of Abraham as a philosopher is also found in medieval Jewish thought. Blau, It should be noted that, in Maimonides' view, prophecy itself was understood to be a thoroughly rational phenomenon Commentary on Mishnah, Introduction to Sanhedrin ch.

Nevertheless, Maimonides states that Abraham and Moses prophetically grasped the supranatural understanding of creation ex nihilo and thus differed from the Aristotelian philosophic belief in the world's eternity Guide , 17, The Hellenistic and medieval Jewish view of Abraham as philosopher is also found in modern Jewish thought.

Halevi thus partially accepts the rationalist view of Abraham as a philosopher, but it was as a prophet, receiving divine revelation, and not as a natural philosopher, that Abraham attained his spiritual greatness. In the 20 th century, Joseph Soloveitchik 's Lonely Man of Faith presents a view of Abraham as dissatisfied with his early Mesopotamian contemplation of remote and alienating skies, which had led him to conclude that there is one God.

As he progressed, Abraham needed personal revelation. In contrast with the view of Halevi and Arama, according to which Abraham passed from an earlier philosophic or scientific contemplative stage to prophetic receiving of divine revelation, or Soloveitchik's understanding of Abraham as undergoing a personal experience of revelation, Yeshayahu Leibowitz describes Abraham as reaching his faith as a result of a voluntary, religious decision and not as the conclusion of rational contemplation.

Abraham, in Leibowitz's view, represents "faith for its own sake," namely an unreasoned obedience to the divine commandment, without any human benefit or expectation of reward. Several Jewish thinkers have also dealt with Abraham's personality, including judging his questionable behavior in Egypt Gen. Abraham's sin resulted from his insufficient trust in God's assistance. Isaac Arama's presentation discussed above of Abraham's gradual spiritual progress and the development of his personality attributed his behavior in these incidents to an early stage, when Abraham had not yet attained perfect faith in divine providence and utter trust in divine assistance Binding of Isaac Next to Moses, Abraham is the Old Testament figure most frequently referred to in the New Testament , being mentioned 72 times.

According to Paul Rom. Hence all Christians, through their faith in the Messiah, are the children of Abraham to the extent that Abraham's righteousness because of his faith and not because of his belief in the Law is imparted to all believers in Jesus Rom.

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They emphasize his obedience to God in leaving his homeland Ambrose , thus prefiguring the Apostles' following of Jesus Augustine. Kierkegaard, Abraham figures as the paradigm of the man of faith whose total commitment to God is based not on reason but on pure faith. This indicates that Abraham was known to Muhammad as one of the fathers of the monotheistic belief from the beginning of the latter's career; however, Muhammad must have learned that Abraham did not promulgate a book.

When Muhammad began to fill his suras with stories of the prophets, Abraham received a large share, mainly on the basis of material drawn from talmudic legends. Abraham, by his own reasoning, recognized that his Creator was God and not a shining star, the moon, or the sun. He smashed the idols of his father, was thrown into a furnace, was miraculously saved, and migrated to the Holy Land. Though long childless, he believed in God's promise of a son and, when a son was born to him, he was prepared to sacrifice him at God's command.

It is remarkable that Ishmael, later so prominent in the Koran, does not appear in any connection with his father during the middle Meccan period, e. During this period, Ishmael is not treated as an individual in a story, but is merely mentioned as a name in a series of prophets and saints, together with such biblical personalities as Aaron, Job, or Elisha, i. Just as there is no connection between Abraham and Ishmael, so there is none between Abraham and the building of the Kaaba, the sanctuary of Muhammad's native city, until late in Muhammad's prophetic career e.

There is also little doubt that, in one form or another, he heard the story of Abraham as the founder of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, as told in the Book of Jubilees —4. The story goes back to ii Chronicles , according to which Solomon built the Temple on the same Mount of Moriah on which Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac Gen. The Book of Jubilees elaborates the story and lets Abraham say that he has built this house in order to put his name on it in the country which God has given to him and to his posterity, and that it will be given to him Jacob and to his posterity forever.

With the aid of the new material Muhammad constructed the ingenious theory that Abraham built the Kaaba together with his son Ishmael , father of the Arabs, and thus founded the religion of Islam, which he, Muhammad, promulgated among his own people. The very word Islam and the idea contained in it, namely that of complete dedication to God, is connected with the story of Abraham, e.

Goldziher, in: M. Steinschneider, Polemische und apologetische Literatur in arabischer Sprache , , n. The koranic story of Abraham, which contains many rabbinical legends, is fully covered by H. Speyer in Die biblischen Erzaehlungen im Qoran , pp. The enormous expansion of these stories in Islamic religious, historical, and narrative literature has been researched by four generations of Jewish scholars, beginning with A. Heller especially in ej, and in eis 2 , s. These researches show that the legends had been spread in Arabia in very early times.

The various legends about Abraham scattered in midrashic literature formed the basis from which medieval Hebrew writers tried to construct a coherent story of his birth, his youth, and his recognition of the one God. The medieval story was written in a few versions. Three stories, published by A. Abraham's recognition of the existence of only one God, which made him the first monotheist, and Abraham as a martyr, are the two principal recurring motifs. In the narratives centered around the first motif, Abraham was left in a cave immediately after birth because Nimrod, the god-king of Babylonia, who had had an astrological warning that a child would be born that year who would dethrone him, decreed that all male children be killed.

Upon his return to his father's house, he began to spread monotheistic belief. In one of the stories about Abraham known in the Middle Ages the earliest version is found in 12 th -century sources , Abraham in his youth went to study with Shem, the son of Noah.

Together they made a golem , that is, a person out of earth and water who miraculously came to life. To medieval philosophers and mystics, Abraham had been not only a person, but also a symbol. In the controversy that raged around the study of philosophy in Spain and in Provence at the beginning of the 14 th century, the philosophers were accused of interpreting the story of Abraham and Sarah allegorically, through seeing the figures of Abraham and Sarah as personifications of the relationship between matter and form according to Aristotelian philosophy.

The outstanding Renaissance work on the theme is one of a series of Italian religious dramas, the Rappresentazione de Abram e di Sara sua moglie Based on midrashic sources, this play, dramatically insubstantial though it is, is significant by reason of its being one of the earliest plays to be written in Hebrew. The story of Abraham has inspired greater creative endeavor in the pictorial arts.

Scenes from the patriarch's life have been illustrated in paintings, sculpture, manuscript illuminations, and mosaics. Usually represented as a white-bearded old man, armed with a knife, Abraham was a favorite subject not only for Christian artists as a prefiguration of Jesus , but also for Moslems. Two rare examples of cyclic treatment are the 12 th -century mosaics in the cathedral of San Marco, Venice, and a set of 16 th -century Flemish tapestries by Bernard van Orley. Varying combinations of important episodes are found in fifth-century mosaics in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome; in the sixth-century manuscript known as the Vienna Genesis; in the sixth-century mosaics in Ravenna; in the bronze doors of San Zeno, Verona, the altar of Verdun, and the frescoes of Saint-Savin, Poitou all 12 th century ; and in Ghiberti's bronze doors at the Florence baptistry 15 th century.

Episodes particularly favored by Christian artists were Abraham's encounter with Melchizedek, the visit of the three angels, and the Akedah. In the first, stress was laid on the dual significance of the scene, Abraham's offering of tithes to the priest-king symbolizing the presentation of gifts to the infant Jesus by the three Magi, and Melchizedek's offering of bread and wine to Abraham prefiguring the Eucharist. The Melchizedek episode appears in the works at Rome, Ravenna, and Poitou referred to above and in the 13 th -century portal of Amiens cathedral, and it inspired Tintoretto's painting for the Scuola di San Rocco, Venice 16 th century.

Melchizedek is usually depicted wearing a crown and bearing a chalice, while Abraham is often shown as a knight in armor. The visit of the angels has been variously interpreted by Christian artists. In the eastern church the angels were seen as a prediction of the Trinity and there are many icons on this theme, notably the delicate painting by Andrei Rublev , now in Moscow.

Abraham and the land of Canaan (Genesis – ) | Bible Blender

In western countries, their announcement of the impending birth of Isaac was thought to prefigure the Annunciation, and this traditional medieval reading inspires the Rome mosaics, the Verdun altar, the doors of San Zeno, and the 12 th -century Psalter of Saint Louis Paris. The dismissal of Hagar — whom the Church took to prefigure the superseded "Old Law," Sarah symbolizing the New — was popular in the 17 th century particularly with Dutch artists, mainly because it offered opportunities for domestic and emotionally dramatic scenes.

A French artist of a later period who treated the same subject was Corot. A parable in the Gospel of Luke was responsible for a quaint treatment of Abraham in representations of the Last Judgment on Gothic cathedrals such as Paris, Rheims, Bourges, and Bamberg. Here the saved souls are shown being gathered into "Abraham's bosom. The most popular representation of Abraham in Jewish art was that showing the Akedah.

Other popular themes were the appearance of the three angels to Abraham and his condemnation to death through fire by Nimrod. An outstanding example of the latter is found in a British Museum illuminated manuscript Ms. An elderly bearded male with outstretched arms is seen in the foreground, while in the background is an angel with clearly defined wings. It is improbable that both these figures represent angels as they appear of different age and complexion. The older figure may therefore represent God, a fact which would suggest a Christian illuminator.

The story of Abraham provided the basis for several musical compositions from the late 18 th century onward. Of the few works on the sojourn in Egypt, the oratorio Sara in Egitto probably holds the record among "pasticcios" — works in which several composers collaborated or were used — since the setting of the libretto was entrusted to no fewer than 24 composers. Schubert's first song, written in March , was " Hagars Klage. Prominent among the more specifically Jewish compositions are the Ladino Judeo-Spanish romances, Cuando el Rey Nimrod, Abram Abinu , and En primero alabaremos , which reflect the legend of Abraham's birth found in the Sefer ha-Yashar ; some also mention the Akedah.

Noth, Personennamen, 52, Clements, Abraham and David ; T. Muffs, in: jjs, 33 , 81—; A. Knauf, in: bz, 29 , 97—; N. Millard, "Abraham," in: abd, —41; S. Sperling, The Original Torah , 75— Halevy, Sha'arei ha-Aggadah , 72—82; G. Box, Apocrypha of Abraham ; A. Petuchowski, ibid. Vermes, Scripture and Tradition in Judaism , 67— Hallamish, H. Kasher, and Y. Silman eds. Sermoneta Memorial Volume , Hastings ed. Sprenger, Leben und Lehre des Mohammad , 2 , ff.

Snouk Hurgronje, Het Mekkaansche Feest , 30 ff. Heller, in: rej, 85 , , ; 98 , 1—18; J. Ankel, in: huca, 12—13 , —; Y. Moubarac, Abraham dans le Coran , includes bibliography; S. Jellinek, Beit ha-Midrash , 1 2 , 18—19; 5 2 , 40—41; G. Scholem, Kabbalah and its Mysticism , — Leveen, The Hebrew Bible in Art , index. Sarna, Nahum; Sperling, S. Abraham is considered by many scholars to be one of the most important figures in religious history. His belief in one supreme being had a significant effect on the development of Western religion, and his life is often seen as a symbol of the power of faith and loyalty.

Abraham plays a central role in the major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Christians believe that Abraham had much in common with Jesus Christ c. In the Islamic faith he is regarded as the first prophet, or messenger of God, as well as the ancestor through his first son, Ishmael of the Arab people. Both Christianity and Islam, as well as Judaism, look to Abraham as a founding father of their faith.

In a Time magazine article, David Van Biema noted: "In fact, excluding God, Abraham is the only biblical figure who enjoys the unanimous acclaim of all three faiths, the only one … referred to by all three as Father. This has made it difficult for historians to write a completely factual biography of him. The life of Abraham is thus a mixture of historical reconstruction, religious legend, and guesswork.

Abraham was born in Ur, the major city of Mesopotamia, near modern-day Baghdad. According to the Bible, he was originally given the name of Abram or Avram, which means "exalted father" in Hebrew. It was much later in his life that God supposedly gave him the name Abraham, which means "father of many nations. Abram's father, Terah, was well over seventy when Abram and his brothers, Haran and Nahor, were born. Abram was raised in a wealthy family.

Abraham’s Long Journey to Canaan, Trusting God:

Terah owned property and livestock and also is said to have made idols images worshipped as gods of various gods of ancient Babylonia. Polytheism, or belief in many gods, was common among Mesopotamians and Babylonians during this period. Ur was the center of a cult, or group of religious followers, that worshipped Nanna, the moon god. Around the time of Abram's birth, the Babylonians began to recognize one god, Marduk, as having power over all the other gods. Some historians consider this an early move in the direction of monotheism, or the belief in one supreme being.

Many stories grew around the fact that Terah produced idols and his son Abram did not believe in worshipping them. People would pray to the idols, which represented various gods. One legend had young Abram breaking all the idols in a shop except for one, which was said to be an early hint that his later beliefs would turn to monotheism.

Other tales have him criticizing older customers for buying idols. Several later stories relate how Abram burned his father's idols. Abram's brother, Haran, also did not believe in idols, but he was not saved by God. He is said to have died in the furnace because his faith in God was not strong enough. Terah decided to leave Ur around the time Abram married his half sister, Sarai. Tereh took his family, including Abram, Sarai, and Haran's son, Lot, with him.

They settled in the city of Haran later part of Turkey. After Terah died, Abram received his first message from God, telling him to leave his homeland behind and to go to the land that God would show him. Abram was seventy-five at the time, and, according to the account in Genesis from the Old Testament , or the Hebrew Bible, he had not demonstrated any specific religious beliefs or devotion.

The tales of his destruction of the idols were a much later addition to the Abraham legend. According to the passages in Genesis numbered chapter 12, verse 2 and , God told Abram: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. An apostle was one of a group of people in the New Testament of the Bible who were sent out to preach the words of Jesus Christ. Paul believed that these words showed that Abraham passed on God's blessing to all humankind, not just to Jews, paving the way for the rise of Christianity.

Abram listened to the word of God and set out from Haran with his wife, his nephew, Lot, and the community that had gathered around them. The group traveled west to the Euphrates River, crossing it and perhaps stopping temporarily at ancient Damascus, now a part of Syria. From there they traveled south and east, crossing the Jordan River and reaching the plain of Schechem.

God again appeared to Abram and promised him and his offspring the surrounding land of Canaan modern-day Israel , even though it was already populated by Canaanites, the descendants of Noah and his son, Ham. Abram built an altar to God at Schechem and then moved on to Bethel, north of Jerusalem, where he built another altar. According to Genesis, Abram and his followers remained in Canaan until a famine drove them farther south into Egypt.

There, fearful that the sight of his beautiful wife, Sarai, might cause the Egyptians to murder him in order to win his bride, Abram told Sarai that they would travel as brother and sister. When the Egyptian pharaoh saw her, he took Sarai into his harem, not knowing that she was Abram's wife. Abram became wealthy as a result of this, acquiring sheep, cattle, and servants from the pharaoh. Such payments were compensation from the pharaoh for taking Sarai into the harem.

When God learned of this, however, it displeased Him and He punished the pharaoh with a plague. As a result, the pharaoh became angry with Abram, returned Sarai, and ordered Abram and his people to leave Egypt with their carts of wealth. They returned to Canaan. There, Lot and Abram decided to part company because of arguments between the men who tended their livestock. Lot and his followers set off for the lands east of the Jordan River and southwest of the Dead Sea , where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located.

Again God appeared to Abram and told him that the lands to the north were his, so Abram and his group traveled to Hebron, where they settled and built another altar to God. Abram then heard that Lot and his group had been caught up in a war between the king of Sodom and three other kings and had been taken prisoner. Abram gathered fighters and rescued his nephew. God then gave Abram a prophesy, or a foretelling of the future.

He told Abram that the land between the Nile River and the Euphrates would belong to his descendants, but that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four centuries before such things came to pass. God also promised Abram that he would have as many heirs children as there were stars in the sky. In Egypt Sarai had acquired a maid named Hagar. Sarai was unable to bear children, so she gave Abram this maid to provide him with heirs. When Abram was eighty-six, Hagar gave birth to his son, Ishmael. Sarai soon grew jealous of her maid and drove her away, but God sent Hagar back.

When Abram was ninety-nine, God again appeared to him and told him that he would be the father of many nations. God also declared that he was no longer to be known as Abram, but as Abraham. Abraham's wife's name was changed to Sarah, and God said that she would bear a male child who would carry on Abraham's line and the covenant, or agreement, with God that promised that Abraham and his heirs would be blessed. The child would be called Isaac, meaning "he laughs," because Abraham laughed at the idea of having a son at the age of one hundred.

Ishmael, the first-born son, would be blessed as the father of twelve rulers, which both Jews and Arabs believe to be the twelve Arab tribes. A short time later, God appeared again, disguised as a visitor with two companions, and Abraham proved himself a generous host to these strangers.

God let Abraham know that he was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. Abraham bargained with God in order to save Lot, who still lived in Sodom. God agreed that if He could find ten righteous people in Sodom, He would spare the city. Although He failed to find ten good people, God did warn Lot and his family to leave the city before He destroyed it. Lot's wife, however, was turned into a column of salt because, although she was told not to, she glanced back to look at the city as they ran away.

After the destruction of Sodom, Abraham and his household moved to Gerar, located in the western Negev desert, about nine miles southeast of Gaza and fifteen miles northwest of Beersheba. Again fearing for his life because of his beautiful wife, Abraham introduced Sarah as his sister. The local king, Abimelech, was attracted to her and took her into his house, but once again God intervened.

The king returned Abraham's wife untouched and gave Abraham sheep, cattle, slaves, and money as a form of apology. As promised, Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah while they were living in Gerar. Sarah still wished to get rid of Hagar and Hagar's son, Ishmael, and Abraham allowed her to send them away. God's blessing of Abraham was passed on to Abraham's son, Isaac. Isaac had two children, Esau and Jacob. Esau, as the oldest, was chosen to receive the blessing after his father.

Jacob, however, tricked his brother out of his birthright by offering the hungry Esau a bowl of soup in exchange for his inheritance. Jacob, who later became known as Israel, had a dozen sons, and these sons formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Benjamin made his home in the west, as did Ephriam and Menassah, the children of Joseph, Jacob's favorite son.

Dan, Asher, and Naphtali moved to districts in the east. The Bible refers to Abraham and his descendants as Hebrews, and later, after Jacob's change of name to Israel, as Israelites. The term Jew is a shortened version of Judahites, which is what the inhabitants of Judah's northern tribe were called. God had one more test for Abraham. He wanted him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In Islamic tradition, it was believed that Ishmael was to have been the sacrifice. Abraham obeyed this command and took his son, who was then probably an adult, to the appointed place, tied him down, and was about to kill him when God called out for Abraham to stop.

As recounted in Genesis , God said, "Do not lay a hand on the boy….

The beginning of the delivery of the land promised to Israel

Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all the nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me" Genesis Abraham's wife Sarah reportedly lived to be years old. When she died, Abraham buried her in the cave of Machpelah near Hebron and eventually took another wife, Keturah, who bore him many children.

His Homeland

Abraham left all his possessions to his son Isaac, who married Rebekah. They became the parents of Jacob and Esau. Jacob, in turn, had a dozen sons who later formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Abraham is said to have lived to the age of , although this has never been confirmed. He was buried next to Sarah. The life of Abraham has had a profound influence on Hebrew Jewish culture right up to the modern day.

It was Abraham who refused to follow polytheism and pursued the belief in one god, and it was to Abraham that God promised the lands between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers. Such a promise is important even in the modern-day state of Israel, as many Israelis believe it gives authority to their claim to the lands in this region. Jews trace their ancestry back to Abraham, his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob. Many Jews also see Abraham as a role model of faith, obedience, and success. Abraham and the Old Testament story of Abraham's blessing also figures prominently in Christianity.

Christians claim that God blessed all nations on Earth through Abraham, therefore showing that Judaism is not the one and true religion. In the orthodox, or conservative, Christian view, this interpretation is taken even further. Conservative Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God's blessing and that Christianity is the true religion of God.

In Islam, Abraham is considered to be a prophet. Christians also point out that Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac was similar to God's later sacrifice of his only son, Jesus. As a test of his faith, Abraham was required to show his love for God by sacrificing his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. Just as Isaac carried wood for his own sacrifice up the mountain and did not fight being sacrificed, so did Jesus carry his own cross and allowed himself to be crucified.

Similarly, Muslims also look to Abraham, whom they call Ibrahim, as one of the fathers of their faith. The Prophet Muhammad c. Arabs also see Abraham's first-born, Ishmael, or Ismail, as the ancestor of the Arab people. The five repetitions of daily Muslim prayer also begin and end with a reference to Abraham. Feiler, Bruce. Schultz, Samuel J. The Old Testament Speaks. Van Seters, John. Edited by Lindsay Jones. Abraham in History and Tradition.

Wilson, Marvin R. Lerner, Michael. Howlett, J. Abraham was a full-blooded African slave who escaped and adapted himself to the customs and language of the Muskogee Seminole Indians living in Florida. As was their custom toward runaway slaves, the Seminoles' welcomed Abraham. Over time, Abraham's relationship with the Seminole Indians evolved such that they regarded him as both a brother and ally.

Eventually he became chief of Peliklakaha, one of four major Seminole Negro communities under the tribal authority of prin-cipal Chief Micanopy sometimes spelled Mickenopah. Peliklakaha became the most influential of the Negro communities located in Seminole Indian territory because Abraham lived in it and because Chief Micanopy preferred living there much of the time rather than at his official residence in Okihumpky. Little is known about Abraham's birth, boyhood, and family life. Some historians say he was born in Georgia in the Late s; others contend that he was born in Florida sometime during this same period.

Before escaping from his master, Abraham lived and worked as a slave for a Spanish doctor in Pensacola, Florida. It is apparent that Abraham came in contact with teachings of the Christian religion, which was not unusual for slaves living on a plantation. His speech was spiced with religious expressions, earning him the nickname "the Prophet. Little is known about Abraham's family. Army General Thomas Sidney Jesup wrote to the commissioner of Indian Affairs: "I have promised Abraham the freedom of his family if he be faithful to us. In when the British military came to Florida to fight the U.

Army over territory in the region, Major Edward Nicolls announced that all blacks living in Florida who joined England in its war against America would be rewarded with free land in the West Indies. Moreover, they would not be returned to former masters. Abraham was numbered among the 3, Indians and blacks who joined the British forces. Immediately he and the other new recruits were armed and trained for military maneuvers.

As part of his duty as a British soldier, Abraham helped to build a new fort about miles east of Pensacola, near the mouth of the Apalachicola River. The believed-to-be indestructible three-walled fort, eventually called Negro Fort, was manned by escaped slaves, Abraham among them, and Seminole Indians. A black man served as its commander when Major Nicolls was called back to England. In , Abraham miraculously survived being killed when the U. Navy ships bombarded the fort with a red hot cannonball heated in the furnace of the ship. The cannonball landed on hundreds of barrels of gunpowder, igniting Negro Fort into a burning inferno.

The attack resulted in dead and 64 wounded. Only three men escaped without injury. Abraham became significant when he was appointed the official spokesman for Chief Micanopy and when he served as interpreter between the Seminole Indians of Florida and the U. His experience as a slave afforded him the ability to understand the thinking and actions of white men, an attribute which made him a keen negotiator, a masterful military strategist, and a fierce warrior. It is likely that Abraham spoke several languages, probably English, Spanish, the two primary Seminole languages—Hitchiti and Muskogee—and his own language, a Creole similar to Gullah.

The interpreter's native language was likely a mixture of these and the African tongues he spoke. Abraham was so gifted with languages that government agents and military personnel with whom he negotiated expressed mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, they acknowledged his undeniable intelligence; on the other hand, they complained about Abraham and other black Seminole interpreters like him, such as Cudjo and John Horse.

The agents and military men recognized, and rightly so, that the black interpreters dictated policy as they translated language between factions. According to an article by Dana Peck, General Jesup described Abraham as "a good soldier and an intrepid leader. He is a chief, and the most cunning and intelligent negro we have here.

His countenance is one of great cunning and penetration. He always smiles, and his words flow like oil. His conversation is soft and low, but very distinct, with a most genteel emphasis. Despite his genteel mannerism, Abraham was as fierce a negotiator for both the Seminole Indians and Seminole Negroes as he was a warrior. For example, he was a staunch opponent of the Treaty of Payne's Landing, a decree which stated that all Indians in Florida would move west of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory in what later became Oklahoma assigned to them by the U.

Abraham fought this relocation treaty vehemently for at least two reasons. First, his loyalty to the Muskogee Seminoles made him want to protect them from being driven from their homesteads and land. Initially, Abraham, like other runaway slaves, was not willing to accept the Payne's Landing Treaty. The Seminole Negroes stood a double chance of losing their freedom. If the Seminole Indians agreed to relocate, the Seminole Negroes would be separated from them.