Abraham, also known as Abram is most commonly known for being the Father of the
Jewish people. The majority of the information found on Abraham is located in
the Old Testament's Book of Genesis. Other than that, there are no real
historical records on the life of Abraham, so the history of his life was passed
by word of mouth, and were there after made into biblical stories. There is also
the question if Abraham really lived, do to the little information available on
his life. Abraham is most famous for making his Covenant with God.
Abraham would have lived somewhere between the years of 2000 and 1500
BC. He was born in the city of Ur. Abraham's real name was Abram. The father of
Abram , Terach, had two other sons , Haran and Nachor. While living in the city
of Ur , Abram married his half-sister, Sarai who later took on the name of
Sarah. The newlyweds later learned that Sarai was sterile. They then traveled
north to Charan, accompanied by Abraham's father Terach. While in Charan Terach
died. It was in Charan where God made his first of a series of revelations to
Abram. God spoke to Abram, and told him that he would promise to bless him and
make a great nation of him. Abram willingly decided to follow God to the city of
Canaan. Abram not only traveled with his wife on this journey, but he also
picked up his nephew, Lot. He lived his life in Canaan as a Nomad. Famine
eventually struck the land of Canaan , forcing Abram and his family to move on
In Egypt, Abram was fearful that the Egyptians would kill him and take
his wife Sarai if they were to discover that the two were married. Abram
attempted to cover this up by telling everyone that he and Sarai were just
brother and sister. The Pharaoh demanded that Sarai be brought to his palace,
and as result, God sent down plagues which devastated all of Egypt. In a
desperate attempt to save his kingdom, Pharaoh decided it would be best to send
Abram and Sarai away.
Abram and his family returned to Canaan after the Famine had ended. Both
Lot and Abraham had great wealth in Canaan. The two both owned livestock, and
large quantities of silver and gold. Eventually Abram and Lot found that the
land could no longer provide the resources that the two men required of it. The
two went their separate ways, Lot going to the Jordan Plain, and Abram staying
in Canaan. God once again appeared to Abram and revealed the land that he would
some day give to Abram and his children. This time, God promised Abram that his
offspring would be of so many that no one would be able to count them, just like
the dust of the earth.
By this time a great war had started up in the Jordan Plain. As a result
of the war, Lot was made a imprisoned by King Chedorlaomer of Elam. When Abram
got word that his cousin Lot was being held prisoner, he and a group of his
servants went to battle the captors. The army was able to successfully rescue
Lot and several other prisoners. Abram was then blessed by priest Melchizedek,
the king of Salem, for his brave heroic actions.
By this point, Abram and Saraia still have no children. Saria tells
Abram to go and wed their slave Hagar, and to have Children with her. Abram does
so, and has a son, Ishmael. While Hagar was pregnant, fights between Hagar and
Saria began to break out questioning each other on who was the real mistress of
the house. Abram showed no favoring judgment over the two women, and restored
order in the house hold. Hagar eventually fled to the dessert due to the poor
treatment that Sarai was giving her. God eventually came down to Hagar and told
her to go back home and that some day the baby she was carrying would be blessed.
Once Abram reached 99 years old, God made a Covenant with him promising
to make him the father of nations and to give Canaan to him and his offspring.
As part of the agreement of the Covenant, God required the circumcision of Abram
and his male descendants, This was to seal the covenant. God then made another
promise to Abram. God promised Abram that Sarai would soon bear a son, and that
she would some day be the mother of nations. Abram was said to have found God's
last promise rather amusing. It was probably because Sarai was 90 years old and
incapable of bearing children anymore. Sarah was also witness to the promise of
a child, for God sent angels to her promising that she would have a male son.
The last part of God's covenant was that the name Abram be changed to Abraham,
and Sarai changed to Sarah. Abraham means "Noble Father". Through this covenant,
God was planning to send his savior.
God once again confided in Abraham by telling him that he was plotting
to soon destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah due to the corruptness of their
inhabitants. Upon hearing this, Abraham pleads with God telling him that their
are many innocent people that do not deserve to die. God reconsidered, and
agreed that if he could find 50 innocent people he would not destroy the two
cities. Under pressure from Abraham, he reduced the number to just 10 innocent
people. God sent his Angels out in search of just 10 righteously guided people.
Upon reporting back to God, the angels were only able to find Lot to be innocent
and good. God then appeared to Lot and told him to take his entire family and to
leave. Lot's wife later disobeys God's orders to leave, and she is turned into a
pillar of salt.
Abraham's family then migrated to Negev. While traveling through the
city of Gerar, he once again is fearful of Sarah being taken from him, so he and
Sarah tell everyone that they are Brother and Sister. This time, Abimelekh, the
King of Gerar, took Sarah away. God then appeared to King Gerar in a dream. King
Gerar later returns Sarah to Abraham and gave him extra compensation to make up
for his mistake of taking Sarah away.
Some time later, Sarah had the son that God promised her. Sarah laughed
upon the birth of the child so they named the child Isaac. The term Issac means
"he laughed" in Hebrew. Sarah finds that Ishmael is a terrible influence on
Isaac, so she tells Abraham to send him away with his mother. Abraham at first
is very reluctant to send away his first born son, but God suggests that Abraham
listens to what his wife Sarah has asked. God also promised that some day
Ishmael would have his own nation.
Once Isaac was slightly older, God commanded Abraham to take Isaac to a
mountain and to sacrifice him at the top. This was an ultimate test that God
gave to Abraham. Being God's servant, Abraham went as he was told with Isaac to
the top of a mountain in order to sacrifice his son. Abraham prepared to cut
Isaac's throat, but just in the nick of time God's angels stopped him. Seeing
that there was a ram caught in some bushes, Abraham sacrificed that to God
Sarah later died in Hebron. Abraham decided to buy the Makhpelah Cave
and the adjoining field from Ephrom the Hittite for a burial site. Abraham then
realized that Isaac should have a wife. Abraham sent one of his servants back to
his homeland to search out a wife for Isaac. The servant was able to find
Rebecca, Isaac's cousin, and was able to get her to come back and marry Isaac.
Abraham also found himself marrying Keturah, a concubine. Abraham and Keturah
had 6 children , Zimran, Yakshan, Medan, Midian, Yishbak, and Shuach, before
dying at the biblical age of 175. Isaac and Ishmael buried their father in the
Makhpelah Cave next to their mother, Sarah.
In the end, God kept his promise with Abraham. Abraham was father to a
new nation, that's how he got the title of Father to the Jewish people. The rest
of the bible primarily tells about the children of Abraham. Abraham is therefore
one of the most important early characters mentioned in the bible.