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See also

Family of Abraham + and Sarah +

Husband: Abraham + (1800-1625)
Wife: Sarah + (1800- )
Children: Isaac + (1700- )

Husband: Abraham +

Name: Abraham +
Sex: Male
Father: Terah + (1870-1665)
Mother: -
Birth 1800 B.C.
Death 1625 B.C. (age 174-175)

Wife: Sarah +

Name: Sarah +
Sex: Female
Father: -
Mother: -
Birth 1800 B.C.

Child 1: Isaac +

Name: Isaac +
Sex: Male
Spouse: Rebecca + of HARAN (1700- )
Birth 1700 B.C.

Note on Husband: Abraham +

Abraham whose birth name was Abram, is the modern eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to both the Hebrew Bible[2] and the Qur'an, Abraham is the forefather of many tribes, including the Ishmaelites, Israelites, Midianites, Edomites, and others.[2] Abraham was a descendant of Noah's son, Shem.[3][4] Christians and Muslims believe Jesus was a descendant of Abraham, while Muslims believe that Muhammad was also a descendant through Ishmael.[5]


The Book of Genesis narrative that records the life of Abraham presents his role as one that could only be fulfilled through a monotheistic covenant established between him and God.[6] The Qur'an has stories about Abraham and his offspring that are similar to the Bible's.[7] In Islam, Abraham is recognized as a prophet, patriarch, and messenger, archetype of the perfect Muslim, and reformer[8][9] of the Kaaba.[10]


There is a growing consensus among biblical scholars that the Genesis story of Abraham originated from literary circles of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE,[11] where it served to assure the Israelites in exile that despite the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple and the Davidic kingship, God's dealings with their ancestors provided a historical foundation on which hope for the future could be built.[12] Abraham's association with Mamre and Hebron, in the south, in the territory of Jerusalem and Judah, suggest that this region was the original home of his cult.[13]


EtymologyAbraham first appears as Abram in the book of Genesis until he is renamed by the Lord in Genesis 17:5. The narrative indicates that abraham means “the father of a multitude" (Hebrew: 'a?-hamôn goyim).[14] However, scholars do not accept the narrative's definition to be the etymology of Abraham because, though "ab-" means "father", "-hamon" is not the second element, and "-Raham" is not a word in Hebrew. The word in Hebrew for "multitude" is rabim. Johann Friedrich Karl Keil suggested that there was once a word raham (?????) in Hebrew that meant "multitude", on analogy with the Arabic ruhâm which does have this meaning, but there is no evidence to support this;[15] another possibility is that the first element should be abr-, which means "chief", but this yields a meaningless second element, "-aham". David Rohl suggests the name comes from the Akkadian "the father loves",[16] but scholars would prefer an origin based on Hebrew.


[edit] ChronologyThe standard Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible places Abraham's birth 1,948 years after the Creation, or 1948 AM (Anno Mundi, "Year of the World"). The two other major textual traditions have different dates, the translated Greek Septuagint putting it at 3312 AM and the Samaritan version of the Torah at 2247 AM. All three agree that he died at the age of 175.[17] There have been over two hundred attempts to match the biblical chronology to dates in history, two of the more influential being the traditional Jewish dates (Abraham lived 1812 BCE to 1637 BCE), and those of the 17th century Archbishop James Ussher (1976 BCE to 1801 BCE); but the most that can be said with some degree of certainty is that the standard Hebrew text of Genesis places Abraham in the earlier part of the second millennium BCE.[18]


[edit] Historicity and originsIt is generally recognised by scholars that there is nothing in the Genesis stories that can be related to the history of Canaan of the early 2nd millennium: none of the kings mentioned is known, Abimelech could not be a Philistine (they did not arrive till centuries later), Ur could not become known as "Ur of the Chaldeans" until the early 1st millennium, and Laban could not have been an Aramean, as the Arameans did not become an identifiable political entity until the 12th century.[19] Joseph Blenkinsopp, Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, notes that the past four or five decades have seen a growing consensus that the Genesis narrative of Abraham originated from literary circles of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE as a mirror of the situation facing the Jewish community under the Babylonian and early Persian empires.[20] Blenkinsopp describes two conclusions about Abraham that are widely held in biblical scholarship: the first is that, except in the triad "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," he is not clearly and unambiguously attested in the Bible earlier than the Babylonian exile (he does not, for example, appear in prophetic texts earlier than that time); the second is that he became, in the Persian period, a model for those who would return from Babylon to Judah.[21] Beyond this the Abraham story (and those of Isaac and Jacob/Israel) served a theological purpose following the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple and the Davidic kingship: despite the loss of these things, Yahweh's dealings with the ancestors provided a historical foundation on which hope for the future could be built.[22] There is basic agreement that his connection with Haran, Shechem and Bethel is secondary and originated when he became identified as the father of Jacob and ancestor of the northern tribes; his association with Mamre and Hebron, on the other hand (in the south, in the territory of Jerusalem and Judah), suggest that this region was the original home of his cult.[23]


[edit] Narrative in GenesisThe life of Abraham is recorded in Genesis 11:26-25:10 of the Hebrew Bible.



Abraham's Departure, by József Molnár[edit] Birth of Abram

Abram Journeying into the Land of Canaan (engraving by Gustave Doré from the 1865 La Sainte Bible)Terah, the tenth in descent from Noah, fathered Abram, Nahor and Haran, and Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in his native Ur of the Chaldees, and Abram married Sarai, who was barren. Terah, with Abram, Sarai and Lot, then departed for Canaan, but settled in a place named Haran, where Terah died at the age of 205. (Genesis 11:27-11:32)


[edit] Abram's callingGod told Abram to leave his native land and his father’s house for a land that God would show him, promising to make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless those who blessed him, and curse those who cursed him. (Genesis 12:1–3) Following God’s command, at age 75, Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and the wealth and persons that they had acquired in Haran, and traveled to the terebinth (KJV: plain) of Moreh, at Shechem in Canaan. (Genesis 12:4–6) God appeared to Abram to tell him that God would give the land to his heirs, and Abram built an altar to God. (Genesis 12:7) Abram then moved to the hill country east of Bethel and built an altar to God there and invoked God by name. (Genesis 12:8) Then Abram journeyed toward the Negeb (the south.) (Genesis 12:9)



Abram’s Counsel to Sarai (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)[edit] Abram and SaraiThere was a sore famine in the land of Canaan, so that Abram and Lot and their households, travelled south to Egypt. En route, Abram told his wife Sarai, to say that she was his sister, so that the Egyptians would not kill him. (Genesis 12:10–13) When they entered Egypt, the princes of Pharaoh praised Sarai's beauty to the Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace, and Abram was given provisions: "oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels." However, God afflicted the Pharaoh and his household with great plagues, (Genesis 12:14–17) and after discovering that Sarai was really Abram's wife, the Pharaoh wanted nothing to do with them. He demanded that he and his household leave immediately, along with all their goods. (Genesis 12:18–20)


[edit] Abram and Lot separateMain article: Abraham and Lot's conflict

When they came back to the Bethel and Hai area, Abram's and Lot's sizeable numbers of livestock occupied the same pastures, ("and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.") This became a problem for the herdsmen who were assigned to each family’s cattle. The conflicts between herdsmen had become so troublesome that Abram graciously suggested that Lot choose a separate area, either on the left hand or on the right hand, that there be no conflict amongst "brethren". But Lot chose to go east to the plain of Jordan where the land was well watered everywhere as far as Zoar, and he dwelled in the cities of the plain toward Sodom. Abram went south to Hebron and settled in the plain of Mamre, where he built another altar unto the Lord. (Genesis 13:1-18)


[edit] Abram and ChedorlaomerMain article: Battle of the Vale of Siddim


Meeting of Abram and Melchizedek (painting circa 1464–1467 by Dieric Bouts the Elder)During the rebellion of the Jordan River cities against Elam, (Genesis 14:1–9) Abram’s nephew, Lot, was taken prisoner along with his entire household by the invading Elamite forces. The Elamite army came to collect booty from the spoils of war, after having just defeated the King of Sodom’s armies. (Genesis 14:8–12) Lot and his family, at the time, were settled on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Sodom which made them a visible target. (Genesis 13:12)


One person that escaped capture came and told Abram what happened. Once Abram received this news, he immediately assembled 318 trained servants. Abram’s elite force headed north in pursuit of the Elamite army, who were already worn down from the Battle of Siddim. When they caught up with them at Dan, Abram devised a battle strategy plan by splitting his group into more than one unit, and launched a night raid. Not only were they able to free the captives, Abram’s unit chased and slaughtered the Elamite King Chedorlaomer at Hobah, just north of Damascus. They freed Lot, his household, possessions, and recovered all of the goods from Sodom that were taken. (Genesis 14:13–16)


Upon Abram’s return, King Bera of Sodom came out to meet with him in the Valley of Shaveh, the "king's dale." Also, Melchizedek king of Salem (Jerusalem), a priest of God Most High, brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram and God. Abram then gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom then offered to let Abram keep all the possessions if he would merely return his people. Though he released the captives, Abram refused any reward from the King of Sodom, other than the share his allies were entitled to. (Genesis 14:17–24)


[edit] Abrahamic covenant

The Vision of the Lord Directing Abram to Count the Stars (woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld from the 1860 Bible in Pictures)YHWH appeared to Abram in a vision and repeated the promise of land and descendants as numerous as the stars. Abram and YHWH made a covenant ceremony, and YHWH told of the bondage of Israel in Egypt. YHWH described to Abram the land that his offspring would claim: "the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”(Genesis 15)


[edit] Abram and HagarSee also: Hagar


Sarah Presenting Hagar to Abraham (1699 painting by Adriaen van der Werff)Abram and Sarai were trying to make sense of how he will become a progenitor of nations since it has already been 10 years of living in Canaan, and still no child has been born from Abram's seed. Sarai then offered her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, for Abram to consort with her so that she may have a child by her, as a wife. Abram consented and had intercourse with Hagar. The result of these actions created a hostile relationship between Hagar and her mistress, Sarai. (Genesis 16:1-6)


After a harsh encounter with Sarai, Hagar fled toward Shur. In route, an angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar at the well of a spring. He instructed her to return to Sarai for she will bear a son who “shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” She was told to call her son: Ishmael. Hagar then referred to God as “El-roi,” meaning that she had gone on seeing after God saw her. From that day, the well was called Beer-lahai-roi. She then did as she was instructed by returning to Abram in order to have her child. Abram was eighty-six years of age when Ishmael was born.(Genesis 16:7-16)


[edit] Abraham and SarahGenesis 17 records the inauguration of Abram into the Lord’s covenant that was initiated thirteen years ago, as was stated in Genesis 15. Abram is now ninety-nine when God declares Abram’s new name: “Abraham, a father of many nations.” Abram then received the instructions for the inauguration rite into God’s covenant because the time was approaching for him to have a son by his wife, Sarai. The initiation rite was that in order to be part of this “great nation”, whether by bloodline or inducted, every male must be circumcised otherwise it was a breach of contract. Then God declared Sarai’s new name: “Sarah” and blessed her. Immediately after Abram’s encounter with his God, he had his entire household of men, including himself and Ishmael, circumcised. (Genesis 17:1-27)


[edit] Abraham's three visitors

Abraham and the Three Angels (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)Not long afterward, during the heat of the day, Abraham had been sitting at the entrance of his tent by the terebinths of Mamre. He looked up and saw three men in the presence of God. Then he ran and bowed to the ground to welcome them. Abraham then offered to wash their feet and fetch them a morsel of bread of which they assented. Abraham rushed to Sarah’s tent to order cakes made from choice flour, then he ordered a servant-boy to prepare a choice calf. When all was prepared, he set curds, milk and the calf before them waiting on them, under a tree, as they ate. (Genesis 18:1–8)


One of the visitors told Abraham that upon his return next year, Sarah would have a son. While at the tent entrance, Sarah overheard what was said and she laughed to herself about the prospect of having child at their ages. The visitor inquired to Abraham why Sarah laughed at bearing a child for her age as nothing is too hard for God. Frightened, Sarah denied laughing.


[edit] Abraham's pleaMain articles: Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot (Biblical)


Abraham Sees Sodom in Flames (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)After eating, Abraham and the three visitors got up. They walked over to the peak that overlooked the Cities of the Plain to discusses the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah for their detestable sins that were so great, it moved God to action. Because Abraham’s nephew was living in Sodom, God revealed plans to confirm and judge these cities. At this point, the two other visitors leave for Sodom. Then Abraham turned to the Lord and pleaded with him that 'if there were at least ten righteous men found in the city, would not God spare the city?' For the sake of ten righteous people, God declared that he would not destroy the city. (Genesis 18:17-33)


When the two visitors got to Sodom to conduct their report, they planned on staying in the city square, more than likely to see how they would be received by the locals. However, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, met with them and strongly insisted that these two “men” stay at his house for the night. This is the first subtle indication that it would be unsafe for anyone, especially outsiders, to be in the public eye. As it turns out, a rally of men stood outside of Lot’s home and demanded that they bring out his guests so that they may “know” them. However, Lot objected and offered his virgin daughters to be “known” by the rally of men instead. They rejected that notion and sought to break Lot’s doors down to get to his male guests,[24] thus confirming the “outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah” and sealing their doom. (Genesis 19:12-13)


Early the next morning, Abraham awoke and went to the elevation that looked over the River Jordan plain, at the very spot where he stood before God, the day prior. From his vantage point, he saw what became of the cities of the plain as “dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.” (Genesis 19:27-29) This meant that there was not even ten righteous people in any of those cities. (Genesis 18:32) This was the last recorded event that Abraham had anything to do with his nephew, Lot.


[edit] Abraham and AbimelechAbraham settled between Kadesh and Shur in the land of the Philistines. While he was living in Gerar, Abraham openly mentioned that Sarah was his sister. Upon discovering this news, King Abimelech had her brought to him. Later, God came to Abimelech in a dream and declared that taking her would result in death because she was a married woman to a prophet of God. Abimelech had not laid hands on her, so he inquired if he this God would slay an innocent man, especially since it was told to him that Abraham and Sarah were siblings. In response, God told Abimelech that he did indeed have a blameless heart and that is why he continues to exist. However, should he not return the wife of Abraham back to him, God would surely destroy Abimelech and his entire household. (Genesis 20:1-7)


Early next morning, Abimelech informed his servants of his dream and approached Abraham inquiring as to why he had brought such great guilt upon his kingdom. Abraham stated that Gerar of Philistia had no fear of God in them and the only way for this kingdom to recognize the fear of God was to do what he had done. Then Abraham justified what was said as not being a lie at all: "And moreover she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and so she became my wife." (Genesis 20:12) Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham, then gave him sheep, oxen, and slaves, and invited him to settle wherever he pleased in Abimelech’s lands. Further, Abimelech gave Abraham a thousand pieces of silver to serve as Sarah's vindication before all. Abraham then prayed in behalf of Abimelech and the women in his household, so that they bore children, since God had stricken the women with infertility because of the taking of Sarah. (Genesis 20:8–18)


After living for some time in the land of the Philistines, Abimelech and Phicol, the chief of his troops, approached Abraham because of a dispute that resulted in a violent confrontation at a well. Abraham then reproached Abimelech due to his Philistine servant's aggressive attacks and the seizing of Abraham’s well. Abimelech, however, acted in ignorance. Then Abraham offered a pact by providing sheep and oxen to Abimelech. Further, to attest that Abraham was the one who dug the well, he also gave Abimelech seven ewes for proof. Because of this sworn oath, they called the place of this well: Beersheba. After Abimelech and Phicol headed back to Philistia, Abraham planted a tamarisk tree to invoke God’s name. (Genesis 21:22-34)


[edit] Abraham and IshmaelAbraham was fond of his son Ishmael who had grown up to be fourteen years old when Isaac was born. However, with Sarah, things were never the same with Ishmael's mother, Hagar, back in her life. Now that Sarah has finally bore her own child, she could no longer stand the sight of either Hagar or Ishmael. When the teenager was jesting around, Sarah told Abraham to send the two of them away. She declared that Ishmael would not share in Isaac's inheritance. Abraham was greatly distressed by his wife's words and sought the advice of his God. The Lord told Abraham not to be distressed but to do as his wife commanded. The Lord reassured Abraham that "Isaac shall seed be called to thee." (Genesis 21:12) He also said that Ishmael would make a nation, "because he is thy seed", too. (Genesis 21:9-13)


Early the next morning, Abraham brought Hagar and Ishmael out together. He gave her bread and water and sent them away. The two wandered the wilderness of Beersheba until her bottle of water was completely consumed. In a moment of despair, she burst in tears. The boy then called to God and upon hearing him, an angel of God confirmed to Hagar that he would become a great nation. A well of water then appeared so that it saved their lives. As the boy grew, he became a skilled archer living in the wilderness of Paran. Eventually his mother found a wife for Ishmael from her native country, the land of Egypt. (Genesis 21:14-21)



Abraham Sacrificing Isaac, by Laurent de La Hire, 1650 (Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans)[edit] Abraham and IsaacMain article: Binding of Isaac

See also: Isaac#Binding of Isaac

At some point in Isaac's youth, Abraham was commanded by God to offer his son up as a sacrifice in the land of Moriah. The patriarch traveled three days until he came to the mount that God taught him. He commanded the servant to remain while he and Isaac proceeded alone to the mountain, Isaac carrying the wood upon which he would be sacrificed. Along the way, Isaac repeatedly asked Abraham where the animal for the burnt offering was. Abraham then replied that God would provide one. Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, he was prevented by an angel, and given on that spot a ram which he sacrificed in place of his son. As a reward for his obedience he received another promise of numerous descendants and abundant prosperity. After this event, Abraham did not return to Hebron, Sarah's encampment, but instead went to Beersheba, Keturah's encampment, and it is to Beersheba that Abraham's servant brought Rebecca, Isaac's patrilineal parallel cousin who became his wife.[25]


[edit] Later yearsSarah is said to have died at the age of 127, and Abraham buried her in the Cave of the Patriarchs (also called the Cave of Machpelah), near Hebron which he had purchased, along with the adjoining field, from Ephron the Hittite.


After the death of Sarah, he took another wife, or concubine, named Keturah, who bore Abraham six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.[26]


Abraham is said to have died at the age of 175 years. Jewish legend says that he was meant to live to 180 years, but God purposely took his life because he felt that Abraham did not need to go through the pain of seeing Esau's wicked deeds.[citation needed] The Bible says he was buried by his sons Isaac and Ishmael in the Cave of the Patriarchs.[27]


Sons of Abraham by wife in order of birth

Hagar Ishmael (1)

Sarah Isaac (2)

Keturah Zimran Jokshan Medan Midian Ishbak Shuah





[edit] Narrative in the Qur'anThis is a summary of all the references to Abraham in the Qur'an


There are numerous references to Abraham in the Qur'an, including, twice, to the Scrolls of Abraham (LXXXVII: 18; LIII: 36); in the latter passage, it is mentioned that Abraham "fulfilled his commandments" (LIII: 36), a reference to all the trials that Abraham had succeeded in. In a whole series of chapters, the Qur'an relates how Abraham preached to his community as a youth and how he specifically told his father, named Azar in VI:74, to leave idol-worship and come to the worship of God (XXXVII: 83-98; XXVI: 69-89).[28] Some passages of the Qur'an, meanwhile, deal with the story of how God sent angels to Abraham with the announcement of the punishment to be imposed upon Lot's people in Sodom and Gomorrah (LI: 24-34; XV: 51-60).[29] Other verses mention the near-sacrifice of Abraham's son (XXXVII: 100-111), whose name is not given but is presumed to be Ishmael as the following verses mention the birth of Isaac.[30] The Qur'an also repeatedly establishes Abraham's role as patriarch and mentions numerous important descendants who came through his lineage, including Isaac (XV: 53),Jacob (XIX: 49)[31] and Ishmael (II: 132-133). In the later chapters of the Qur'an, Abraham's role becomes yet more prominent. The Qur'an mentions that Abraham and Ishmael were the reformers who set up the Kaaba in Mecca as a center of pilgrimage formonotheism (II: 124:141; III: 65-68, 95-97).[32] The Qur'an consistently refers to Islam as the "religion of Abraham" (millat Ibrahim) (II: 135) and Abraham is given a title as Hanif (The Pure; III: 67). The Qur'an also mentions Abraham as one whom God took as a friend (Khalil; IV: 125), hence Abraham's title in Islam, Khalil-Ullah (Friend of God). Other instances in the Qur'an which are described in a concise manner are the rescue of Abraham from the fire into which he was thrown by his people (XXXVII: 97; XXI: 68-70); his pleading for his father (XIX: 47); his quarrel with an unrighteous and powerful king (II: 58) and the miracle of the dead birds (II: 260).


All these events and more have been discussed with more details in Muslim tradition, and especially in the Stories of the Prophets and works of universal Islamic theology.[33] Certain episodes from the life of Abraham have been more heavily detailed in Muslim literature, such as the arguments between Abraham and the evil king Nimrod, the near-sacrifice of his son, and the story of Hagar and Ishmael, which Muslims commemorate when performing pilgrimage in Mecca. Some believe in some cases, these legends in Muslim literature may have influenced later Jewish tradition.[34]


[edit] Abraham in religious traditionsIn Islamic and Jewish traditions, Abraham is referred to as "our Father", (Hebrew: Avraham Avinu, Arabic: abeena Ibraheem[35]).


In Islamic tradition, Abraham is considered a prophet of Islam, the ancestor of Muhammad, through his firstborn son, Ishmael whose mother’s name is nowhere mentioned in the Qu'ran.


In Jewish tradition, Abraham is also the father of the Israelites through his second born child, Isaac whose mother was Sarah. Accordingly, the mother of his firstborn son, Ishmael is identified as Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden.


In Christian tradition, God's promise to Abraham would be fulfilled, in its entirety, through Jesus Christ who provides the opportunity for all mankind to be under the same covenant that was offered to Abraham and all of his people. Just as Israelite men were circumcised to identify themselves as part of the Abrahamic covenant, Christians today are identified through baptism.



Jews praying in front of the Tomb of Abraham on the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron[edit] JudaismAbraham’s life can be read in the weekly Torah reading portions, predominantly in the Parashot: Lech-Lecha ( ????-???? ), Vayeira ( ???????? ), Chayei Sarah ( ?????? ?????? ), and Toledot ( ????????? )


[edit] Abraham in the Writings of Second Temple JudaismSecond Temple Judaism refers to the religion of Judaism during the period between the construction of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 515 BCE, and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE This period witnessed major historical upheavals and significant religious changes. The origins of the authority of scripture, of the centrality of law and morality in religion, of the synagogue and of apocalyptic expectations for the future all developed in the Judaism of this period. The primary literary sources for information about late Second Temple Judaism are the Apocrypha, Old Testament pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the works of Josephus and Philo.




In the Works of Philo, chapters 16-22 focus on the life of Abraham and his family.[36] The titles of the chapters are:


16 On the Migration of Abraham 19 On Flight and Finding 21 On Dreams, That They are God-Sent

17 Who is the Heir of Divine Things? 20 On the Change of Names 22 On Abraham

18 On Mating with the Preliminary Studies


[edit] Abram’s birthplace disputedSee also: Noach (parsha)

11th and 12th century Rabbis Rashi and Abraham ibn Ezra agree that Abram’s native homeland was Ur Kasdim, better known as Ur of the Chaldees, a Mesopotamian location settled by the descendants of Ham (son of Noah).[37] Some modern Jewish studies identify this location to be the same as the Sumerian city-state of Ur.[38][39] However, this Persian Gulf city in Iraq is only a candidate among others to be the actual Ur Kasdim, as well as the most popularly debated one since 1927.[40]


Rabbi Nahmanides, known as the Ramban, was a medieval Jewish scholar of the 13th century who disagreed with Rashi and Ibn Ezra concerning Abram’s birthplace. The Ramban states that because Ur Kasdim was settled by Ham’s descendants, this could not be Abram’s birthplace as he was a descendant of Shem. However, everyone does agree that Abram’s family under the headship of his father, Terach, had all lived in Ur Kasdim before being called to move to Canaan.[37]


The three Rabbis also agree that Terach’s native homeland was Charan, the biblical place known as Haran in Genesis 11:31,32, where the House of Terach was located.[Gen.12:1] [37] Since this settlement was established by Shem’s descendants, only Ramban assumed that Charan had to be Abram’s birthplace. He further concluded that Terach and his three sons eventually moved from Charan to Ur Kasdim, then later by God’s command, they headed to Canaan. Of course, they stopped back at Terach’s hometown of Charan, where the father stayed there rather than going to Canaan after all.[37]


[edit] Christianity This section does not cite any references or sources.

Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2011)



The Abraham stained glass window at St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, South CarolinaIn the New Testament Abraham is mentioned prominently as a man of faith (see e.g. Hebrews 11), and the apostle Paul uses him as an example of salvation by faith, as the progenitor of the Christ (or Messiah) (see Galatians 3:16).


The New Testament also sees Abraham as an obedient man of God, and Abraham's interrupted attempt to offer up Isaac is seen as the supreme act of perfect faith in God. "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, 'In Isaac your seed shall be called', concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense." (Hebrews 11:17-19) The imagery of a father sacrificing his son is seen as a type of God the Father offering his Son on Golgatha.


The traditional view in Christianity is that the chief promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 is that through Abraham's seed all the people of earth would be blessed. Notwithstanding this, John the Baptist specifically taught that merely being of Abraham's seed was no guarantee of salvation.[41] The promise in Genesis is considered to have been fulfilled through Abraham's seed, Jesus. It is also a consequence of this promise that Christianity is open to people of all races and not limited to Jews.[citation needed]


The Roman Catholic Church calls Abraham "our father in Faith", in the Eucharistic prayer of the Roman Canon, recited during the Mass (see Abraham in the Catholic liturgy). He is also commemorated in the calendars of saints of several denominations: on August 20 by the Maronite Church, August 28 in the Coptic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East (with the full office for the latter), and on October 9 by the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. He is also regarded as the patron saint of those in the hospitality industry.[42]


The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates him as the "Righteous Forefather Abraham", with two feast days in its liturgical calendar. The first time is on October 9 (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, October 9 falls on October 22 of the modern Gregorian Calendar), where he is commemorated together with his nephew "Righteous Lot". The other is on the "Sunday of the Forefathers" (two Sundays before Christmas), when he is commemorated together with other ancestors of Jesus. Abraham is also mentioned in the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, just before the Anaphora. Abraham and Sarah are invoked in the prayers said by the priest over a newly married couple at the Sacred Mystery of Crowning (i.e., the Sacrament of Marriage).


[edit] IslamMain article: Islamic views on Abraham

Main article: Islamic view of Abraham

Abraham ("Ibrahim") is an important figure in the Quran, mentioned in 25 chapters, briefly or in detail.[43] Muslims regard him as a prophet and patriarch, the archetype of the perfect Muslim, and the revered reformer of the Kaaba in Mecca.[10]


[edit] Baha'iBahá'u'lláh, the founder, affirms the highest religious station for Abraham and generally for prophets mentioned among the other Abrahamic religions,[44] and has claimed a lineage of descent from Abraham through Keturah and Sarah.[45][46][47] Additionally Bahá'u'lláh actually did lose a son, Mírzá Mihdí.[48] Bahá’u’lláh, then in prison, eulogized his son and connected the subsequent easing of restrictions to his dying prayer and also compared it to the intended sacrifice of Abraham’s son.[49]


[edit] Abraham in the Arts[edit] PaintingsPaintings on the life of Abraham tend to focus on only a few incidents: The sacrifice of Isaac; Meeting Melchizedek; Entertaining the three angels; Hagar in the desert; and a few others.[50] Many artists have been inspired by the life of Abraham: Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Caravaggio (1573–1610), Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669) created at least seven works on Abraham, Petrus-Paulus Rubens (1577–1640) did several, Donatello, Raphael, Philip van Dyck (Dutch painter, 1680–1753), Marc Chagall did at least five on Abraham, Gustave Doré (French illustrator, 1832–1883) did six, Claude Lorrain (French painter, 1600–1682), James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French painter and illustrator, 1836–1902) did over twenty works on the subject.[50]


[edit] Sculpture

Cast of the Sacrifice of Isaac. The hand of God originally came down to hold Abraham's knife (both are now missing).

Plaster cast of the Sarcophagus of Junius BassusThe Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus depicts a set of biblical stories, including Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac. These sculpted scenes are on the outside of a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus. He died in 359. This sarcophagus has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture."[51] The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St. Peter's Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597,[52] and is now below the modern basilica in the Museo Storico del Tesoro della Basilica di San Pietro (Museum of Saint Peter's Basilica) in the Vatican. The base is approximately 4 × 8 × 4 feet. The Old Testament scenes depicted were chosen as precursors of Christ's sacrifice in the New Testament, in an early form of typology. Just to the right of the middle is Daniel in the lion's den and on the left is Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac.


Abraham's Farewell to Ishmael by George Segal. The artist created figural sculptures by molding plastered gauze strips over live models. The human condition was central to his concerns. On several occasions, Segal turned to the Old Testament as a source for his imagery. This sculture depicts the dilemma faced by Abraham when Sarah demanded that he expel Hagar and Ishmael. In the sculpture, the father's tenderness, Sarah's rage, and Hagar's resigned acceptance portray a range of human emotions. The sculpture was donated to the Miami Art Museum after the artist's death in 2000. This footnote provides a link to a picture of the sculpture.[53]


[edit] LiteratureFear and Trembling (original Danish title: Frygt og Bæven) is an influential philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio (John the Silent). Kierkegaard wanted to understand the anxiety [54] that must have been present in Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice his son.[55]


[edit] MusicBob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" [56] is the title track for his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song as number 364 in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time[57] The song has five stanzas. In each stanza, someone describes an unusual problem that is ultimately resolved on Highway 61. In Stanza 1, God tells Abraham to "kill me a son". God wants the killing done on Highway 61. Abram, the original name of the biblical Abraham, is also the name of Dylan's own father.

Note on Wife: Sarah +

Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai. According to Genesis 17:15 God changed her name to Sarah as part of a covenant after Hagar bore Abraham his first son, Ishmael.


The Hebrew name Sarah indicates a woman of high rank and is sometimes translated as "princess". It also means "lady."


Sarah was the wife of Abraham, as well as being his half-sister, the daughter of his father Terah (Genesis 20:12). The Talmud [2] identifies Sarai with Iscah, daughter of Abraham's deceased brother Haran (Genesis 11:29), so that Sarah turns out to be the niece of Abraham and the sister of Lot and Milcah. She was considered beautiful to the point that Abraham feared that when they were near more powerful rulers she would be taken away and given to another man. Twice he purposefully identified her as being only his sister so that he would be "treated well" for her sake.[3] It is apparent that she remained attractive into her later years. Despite her great beauty, she was barren for an unknown reason.[4] She was originally called "Sarai" which is translated "my princess." Later she was called "Sarah" i.e., princess."[5] In Biblical times, the changing of one's name was significant and used to symbolize the binding of a covenant. In this case, God promised to put an end to her barrenness and give her a child (Isaac).[6]


[edit] In Pharaoh's harem

Sarah, as depicted on Promptuarii Iconum InsigniorumOn the journey to Egypt, Abraham hid his wife[7] in a chest in order that no one might see her. At the frontier the chest had to pass through the hands of certain officials, who insisted on examining its contents in order to determine the amount of duty payable. When it was opened a bright light proceeded from Sarai's beauty. Every one of the officials wished to secure possession of her, each offering a higher sum than his rival.[8] When brought before Pharaoh, Sarai said that Abraham was her brother, and the king thereupon bestowed upon the latter many presents and marks of distinction ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.). As a token of his love for Sarai the king deeded his entire property to her, and gave her the land of Goshen as her hereditary possession: for this reason the Israelites subsequently lived in that land (Pir?e R. El. xxxvi.). It is likely that she acquired her Egyptian maidservant Hagar during this stay. Sarai prayed to God to deliver her from the king, and He thereupon sent an angel, who struck Pharaoh whenever he attempted to touch her. Pharaoh was so astonished at these blows that he spoke kindly to Sarai, who confessed that she was Abraham's wife. The king then ceased to annoy her ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.). According to another version, Pharaoh persisted in annoying her after she had told him that she was a married woman; thereupon the angel struck him so violently that he became ill, and was thereby prevented from continuing to trouble her (Genesis Rabbah xli. 2). According to one tradition it was when Pharaoh saw these miracles wrought in Sarai's behalf that he gave her his daughter Hagar as slave, saying: "It is better that my daughter should be a slave in the house of such a woman than mistress in another house"; Abimelech acted likewise (Genesis Rabbah xlv. 2). Sarai treated Hagar well, and induced women who came to visit her to visit Hagar also. Hagar, when pregnant by Abraham, began to act superciliously toward Sarai, provoking the latter to treat her harshly, to impose heavy work upon her, and even to strike her (ib. xlv. 9).


[edit] Relations with Hagar

Banishment of Hagar, Etching. À Paris chez Fr. Fanet, Éditeur, Rue des Saints Pères n° 10. XVIIIth century. Sarah is seen on the left side, lookingSome believe Sarai was originally destined to reach the age of 175 years, but forty-eight years of this span of life were taken away from her because she complained of Abraham, blaming him as though the cause that Hagar no longer respected her (R. H. 16b; Genesis Rabbah xlv. 7). Sarah was sterile; but a miracle was vouchsafed to her (Genesis Rabbah xlvii. 3) after her name was changed from "Sarai" to "Sarah" (R. H. 16b). According to one myth, when her fertility had been restored and she had given birth to Isaac, the people would not believe in the miracle, saying that the patriarch and his wife had adopted a foundling and pretended that it was their own son. Abraham thereupon invited all the notabilities to a banquet on the day when Isaac was to be weaned. Sarah invited the women, also, who brought their infants with them; and on this occasion she gave milk from her breasts to all the strange children, thus convincing the guests of the miracle (B. M. 87a; comp. Gen. R. liii. 13). None of this is Biblical, however, except for the fact that Abraham organized a celebration when Isaac was weaned. It was during this banquet that Sarah happened upon the then teenaged Ishmael "mocking" her son[9] and was so disturbed that she requested that both he and Hagar be removed from their company.[10]


[edit] DeathLegends connect Sarah's death with the attempted sacrifice of Isaac,[11] there being two versions of the story. According to one, Samael came to her and said: "Your old husband seized the boy and sacrificed him. The boy wailed and wept; but he could not escape from his father." Sarah began to cry bitterly, and ultimately died of her grief.[12] According to the other legend, Satan, disguised as an old man, came to Sarah and told her that Isaac had been sacrificed. She, believing it to be true, cried bitterly, but soon comforted herself with the thought that the sacrifice had been offered at the command of God. She started from Beer-sheba to Hebron, asking everyone she met if he knew in which direction Abraham had gone. Then Satan came again in human shape and told her that it was not true that Isaac had been sacrificed, but that he was living and would soon return with his father. Sarah, on hearing this, died of joy at Hebron. Abraham and Isaac returned to their home at Beer-sheba, and, not finding Sarah there, went to Hebron, where they discovered her dead.[13] According to the Genesis Rabba, during Sarah's lifetime her house was always hospitably open, the dough was miraculously increased, a light burned from Saturday evening to Saturday evening, and a pillar of cloud rested upon the entrance to her tent.[14]


[edit] New Testament referencesThe First Epistle of Peter praises Sarah for obeying her husband.[15] Other New Testament references to Sarah are in Romans,[16] Galatians[17] and Hebrews.[18]


[edit] Sarah in IslamSarah (Arabic: ????, Sara), the wife of the patriarch and Islamic prophet Abraham and the mother of the prophet Isaac is an honoured woman in the Islamic faith. According to Muslim belief, she was Abraham's first wife. Although not mentioned by name in the Qur'an, she is referenced and alluded to via the story of her husband. She lived with Abraham throughout her life and, although she was barren, God promised her the birth of a prophetic son, Isaac.


Muslim tradition holds that Sarah and Abraham had no children. Abraham, however, prayed constantly to God for a son. Sarah, being barren, subsequently gave him her Egyptian handmaiden,[19] Hajar (Hagar), to wed as his second wife. Hagar bore Isma'il (Ishmael), when Abraham was 86,[20] who too would become a prophet of God like his father. Thirteen years later, God announced to Abraham, now a hundred,[21] that barren Sarah would give birth to a second son, Isaac, who would also be a prophet of the Lord. Although the Qur'an does not mention Sarah by name, it mentions the annunciation of the birth of Isaac. The Qur'an mentions that Sarah laughed when the angels gave her the glad tidings of Isaac, which is perhaps why the name Isaac has the root meaning of 'laughter'.[22]


There came Our messengers to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, 'Peace!' He answered, 'Peace!' and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf.

But when he saw their hands went not towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: "Fear not: We have been sent against the people of Lut.

And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed: But we gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob.

She said: "Alas for me! shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!"

—Qur'an, Sura 11 (Hud), ayat 69-72[23]

[edit] Tomb of Sarah

Mausoleum of Sarah, Abraham's wife in the Mosque of AbrahamSarah is believed to be buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs (known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham). The compound, located in the ancient city of Hebron, is the second holiest site for Jews (after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem), and is also venerated by Christians and Muslims, both of whom have traditions which maintain that the site is the burial place of three Biblical couples: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. According to the book of Genesis, Abraham purchased the plot of land for her tomb from a man named Ephron the Hittite.[24] Although some Jews alternatively also believe this to be the burial place for Adam and Eve, this is a view not usually adopted by Christians or Muslims