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Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
, including
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
, and
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the
covenant of the pieces According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...
, the special relationship between the
Hebrews The terms ''Hebrews'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...

Hebrews
and
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
; in Christianity, he is the spiritual progenitor of all believers, Jewish or
Gentile Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jews, Jew". Other groups claiming affiliation with Israelites, groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders, notably Mormons. More ...

Gentile
; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with
Adam Adam (; Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long his ...

Adam
and culminates in
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
. The narrative in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...

Book of Genesis
revolves around the themes of posterity and land. Abraham is called by
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
to leave the house of his father
Terah Terah or Terach ( he, תֶּרַח ''Teraḥ'') is a biblical figure in the Book of Genesis. He is listed as the son of Nahor, son of Serug, Nahor and father of the patriarch Abraham. As such, he is a descendant of Shem's son Arpachshad. Terah is ...

Terah
and settle in the land originally given to
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...
but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward who might inherit the land after Abraham; and, while promises are made to
Ishmael Ishmael ''Ismaḗl''; Classical/Qur'anic Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of t ...
about founding a great nation,
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Isaac
, Abraham's son by his half-sister
Sarah Sarah (; ar, سَارَة ) born Sarai ( ''Sāray'') is a biblical matriarch and prophetess In religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, ...

Sarah
, inherits God's promises to Abraham. Abraham purchases a tomb (the
Cave of the Patriarchs , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the complex, 2009 , map_type = West Bank#Palestine , map_alt ...
) at
Hebron Hebron ( ar, الخليل أو الخليل الرحمن ; he, חֶבְרוֹן ) is a State of Palestine, Palestinian. city in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies Above mean sea level, above ...

Hebron
to be Sarah's grave, thus establishing his right to the land; and, in the second generation, his heir Isaac is married to a woman from his own kin, thus ruling the
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
ites out of any inheritance. Abraham later marries
Keturah Keturah ( he, קְטוּרָה, ''Qəṭūrā'', possibly meaning "incense"; ar, قطورة) was a wife (1917 Jewish Publication Society of America The Jewish Publication Society (JPS), originally known as the Jewish Publication Society of Amer ...
and has six more sons; but, on his death, when he is buried beside Sarah, it is Isaac who receives "all Abraham's goods", while the other sons receive only "gifts". The Abraham story cannot be definitively related to any specific time, and it is widely agreed that the
patriarchal age The patriarchal age is the era of the three biblical patriarchs, Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religi ...
, along with
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

the Exodus
and the period of the
judges A judge is an official who presides over a court. Judge or Judges may also refer to: Roles *Judge, an alternative name for an adjudicator in a competition in theatre, music, sport, etc. *Judge, an alternative name/aviator call sign for a member ...

judges
, is a late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history. A common hypothesis among scholars is that it was composed in the early Persian period (late 6th century BCE) as a result of tensions between Jewish landowners who had stayed in
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
during the
Babylonian captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
and traced their right to the land through their "father Abraham", and the returning exiles who based their counterclaim on
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
and the Exodus tradition.


Biblical account


Origins and calling

Terah Terah or Terach ( he, תֶּרַח ''Teraḥ'') is a biblical figure in the Book of Genesis. He is listed as the son of Nahor, son of Serug, Nahor and father of the patriarch Abraham. As such, he is a descendant of Shem's son Arpachshad. Terah is ...

Terah
, the ninth in descent from
Noah In the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of t ...

Noah
, was the father of three sons: Abram, Nahor, and
Haran Haran or Aran ( he, הָרָן ''Hārān'') is a man in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical c ...
. The entire family, including grandchildren, lived in
Ur of the Chaldees Ur Kasdim ( he, ''ʾūr Kaśdīm''), commonly translated as Ur of the Chaldea, Chaldeans, is a city mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the birthplace of the Israelite and Ishmaelite patriarch Abraham. In 1862, Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, He ...
. Haran was the father of
Lot Lot or LOT may refer to: Common meanings Areas *Land lot, an area of land *Parking lot, for automobiles *Backlot, in movie production Sets of items *Lot number, in batch production *Lot, a set of goods for sale together in an auction; or a quantit ...
, and thus Lot was Abram's nephew. Haran died in his native city, Ur of the Chaldees. Abram married
Sarah (Sarai)
Sarah (Sarai)
, who was barren. Terah, with Abram, Sarai, and Lot, then departed for
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, but settled in a place named
Haran Haran or Aran ( he, הָרָן ''Hārān'') is a man in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical c ...
, where Terah died at the age of 205. God had told Abram to leave his country and kindred and go to a land that he would show him, and promised to make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless them that bless him, and curse them who may curse him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and the substance and souls that they had acquired, and traveled to
Shechem Shechem , also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם / Standard ''Šəḵem'' Tiberian ''Šeḵem'', "shoulder"; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician lang ...

Shechem
in Canaan. Then he pitched his tent in the east of
Bethel Bethel (Ugaritic Ugaritic () is an extinct , classified by some as a of the and so the only known Amorite dialect preserved in writing. It is known through the discovered by French in 1929 at , including several major literary texts, n ...

Bethel
.


Sarai

There was a severe famine in the land of Canaan, so that Abram and Lot and their households traveled to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. On the way Abram told Sarai to say that she was his sister, so that the Egyptians would not kill him. When they entered Egypt, the Pharaoh's officials praised Sarai's beauty to
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...

Pharaoh
, and they took her into the palace and gave Abram goods in exchange. God afflicted Pharaoh and his household with plagues, which led Pharaoh to try to find out what was wrong. Upon discovering that Sarai was a married woman, Pharaoh demanded that Abram and Sarai leave.


Abram and Lot separate

When they lived for a while in the
Negev The Negev or Negeb (; he, הַנֶּגֶב; ar, ٱلنَّقَب ') is a desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in th ...

Negev
after being banished from Egypt and came back to the
Bethel Bethel (Ugaritic Ugaritic () is an extinct , classified by some as a of the and so the only known Amorite dialect preserved in writing. It is known through the discovered by French in 1929 at , including several major literary texts, n ...

Bethel
and Ai area, Abram's and Lot's sizable herds occupied the same pastures. 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 suggested that Lot choose a separate area, either on the left hand or on the right hand, that there be no conflict amongst brethren. Lot decided to go eastward to the plain of
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

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 Hebron ( ar, الخليل أو الخليل الرحمن ; he, חֶבְרוֹן ) is a State of Palestine, Palestinian. city in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies Above mean sea level, above ...

Hebron
and settled in the plain of
Mamre Mamre (; he, מַמְרֵא), full Hebrew name ''Elonei Mamre'' ("Oaks/Terebinths of Mamre"), refers to an ancient religious site originally focused on a single holy tree, growing "since time immemorial" at Hebron in Canaan.Lukasz Niesiolowski-Sp ...
, where he built another altar to worship
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
.


Chedorlaomer

During the rebellion of the Jordan River cities,
Sodom and Gomorrah Sodom and Gomorrah () were two legendary biblical cities destroyed by God for their wickedness. Their story parallels the Genesis flood narrative The Genesis flood narrative is the flood myth A flood myth or deluge myth is a myth Myt ...
, against
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
, Abram's nephew, Lot, was taken prisoner along with his entire household by the invading Elamite forces. The Elamite army came to collect the spoils of war, after having just defeated the king of Sodom's armies. Lot and his family, at the time, were settled on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Sodom which made them a visible target. One person who escaped capture came and told Abram what happened. Once Abram received this news, he immediately assembled 318 trained servants. Abram's force headed north in pursuit of the Elamite army, who were already worn down from the
Battle of Siddim The Battle of the Vale of Siddim, also often called the War of Nine Kings or the Slaughter of Chedorlaomer, was an event in the Hebrew Bible book of that occurred in the days of Abram and Lot (Biblical), Lot. The Vale of Siddim was the battlegroun ...
. When they caught up with them at Dan, Abram devised a battle 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 Chedorlaomer, also spelled Kedorlaomer (; Proto-Semitic, Ancient: ''Keḏorlāġōmer''), is a king of Elam mentioned in book of Genesis, Genesis 14. Genesis portrays him as allied with three other kings, campaigning against five Canaanite city-st ...
at Hobah, just north of
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
. They freed Lot, as well as his household and possessions, and recovered all of the goods from Sodom that had been taken. Upon Abram's return, Sodom's king came out to meet with him in the Valley of Shaveh, the "king's dale". Also,
Melchizedek In the Bible, Melchizedek (, he, מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק, , "king of righteousness" or "my king is righteousness"; am, መልከ ጼዴቅ, ; hy, Մելքիսեդեք, ) also transliterated Melchisedech or Malki Tzedek, was the king of S ...

Melchizedek
king of Salem (
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
), a priest of El Elyon, 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. Abram refused any deal from the king of Sodom, other than the share to which his allies were entitled.


Covenant of the pieces

The voice of the Lord came to Abram in a vision and repeated the promise of the land and descendants as numerous as the stars. Abram and God made a covenant ceremony, and God told of the future bondage of Israel in Egypt. God described to Abram the land that his offspring would claim: the land of the
Kenites According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...
,
Kenizzite Kenizzite (also spelled Cenezite in the Douay-Rheims Bible) was an Edomitish tribe referred to in the covenant God made with Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common p ...
s, Kadmonites,
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...
,
PerizzitesThe Perizzites ( ''Pərizzî'') are a group of people mentioned many times in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews ...
, Rephaims,
Amorites The Amorites (; Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''Th ...

Amorites
,
Canaanites A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also * Phoenix (mytho ...
,
Girgashites Girgashites (Heb. גִּרְגָּשִׁי) are one of the tribes indigenous to the land of Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַ ...
, and
Jebusite The Jebusites (; ISO 259-3 ''Ybusi'') were, according to the books Book of Joshua, of Joshua and Books of Samuel, Samuel from the TORAH, a Canaanite tribe that inhabited Jerusalem, then called Jebus (Hebrew: ) prior to the conquest initiated by J ...
s.


Hagar

Abram and Sarai tried to make sense of how he would become a progenitor of nations, because after 10 years of living in Canaan, no child had been born. Sarai then offered her Egyptian handmaiden,
Hagar Hagar ( he, הָגָר, ''Hāgār'', of uncertain origin; ar, هَاجَر ; gr, Ἁγάρ, ''Hagár''; la, Agar) is a biblical figure. According to the , she was an slave, a handmaiden of (then known as ''Sarai''), whom Sarah gave to her o ...

Hagar
, to Abram with the intention that she would bear him a son. After Hagar found she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress, Sarai. Sarai responded by mistreating Hagar, and Hagar fled into the wilderness. An angel spoke with Hagar at the fountain on the way to Shur. He instructed her to return to Abram's camp and that her son would be "a wild ass of a man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren." She was told to call her son
Ishmael Ishmael ''Ismaḗl''; Classical/Qur'anic Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of t ...
. Hagar then called God who spoke to her " El-roi", ("Thou God seest me:" KJV). From that day onward, the well was called Beer-lahai-roi, ("The well of him that liveth and seeth me." KJV margin). She then did as she was instructed by returning to her mistress in order to have her child. Abram was 86 years of age when Ishmael was born.


Sarah

Thirteen years later, when Abram was 99 years of age, God declared Abram's new name: "Abraham" – "a father of many nations". Abraham then received the instructions for the
covenant of the pieces According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...
, of which
circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...
was to be the sign. God declared Sarai's new name: "
Sarah Sarah (; ar, سَارَة ) born Sarai ( ''Sāray'') is a biblical matriarch and prophetess In religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, ...

Sarah
", blessed her, and told Abraham, "I will give thee a son also of her". Abraham laughed, and "said in his heart, 'Shall a ''child'' be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear
child
 child
'" Immediately after Abraham's encounter with God, he had his entire household of men, including himself (age 99) and Ishmael (age 13), circumcised.


Three visitors

Not long afterward, during the heat of the day, Abraham had been sitting at the entrance of his tent by the
terebinth The terebinth (''Pistacia terebinthus''), also called the turpentine tree, is a deciduous In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term ''deciduous'' (; ) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to tree ...

terebinth
s of
Mamre Mamre (; he, מַמְרֵא), full Hebrew name ''Elonei Mamre'' ("Oaks/Terebinths of Mamre"), refers to an ancient religious site originally focused on a single holy tree, growing "since time immemorial" at Hebron in Canaan.Lukasz Niesiolowski-Sp ...
. 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, to which they assented. Abraham rushed to Sarah's tent to order ash 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. 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 a child at their ages. The visitor inquired of Abraham why Sarah laughed at bearing a child at her age, as nothing is too hard for God. Frightened, Sarah denied laughing.


Abraham's plea

After eating, Abraham and the three visitors got up. They walked over to the peak that overlooked the 'cities of the plain' to discuss the fate of
Sodom and Gomorrah Sodom and Gomorrah () were two legendary biblical cities destroyed by God for their wickedness. Their story parallels the Genesis flood narrative The Genesis flood narrative is the flood myth A flood myth or deluge myth is a myth Myt ...
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 left for Sodom. Then Abraham turned to God and pleaded decrementally with Him (from fifty persons to less) 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. When the two visitors arrived in Sodom to conduct their report, they planned on staying in the city square. However, Abraham's nephew, Lot, met with them and strongly insisted that these two "men" stay at his house for the night. A rally of men stood outside of Lot's home and demanded that Lot bring out his guests so that they may "know" ( 5) them. However, Lot objected and offered his virgin daughters who had not "known" (v. 8) man to the rally of men instead. They rejected that notion and sought to break down Lot's door to get to his male guests, thus confirming the wickedness of the city and portending their imminent destruction. Early the next morning, Abraham went to the place where he stood before God. He "looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah" and saw what became of the cities of the plain, where not even "ten righteous" (v. 18:32) had been found, as "the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace."


Abimelech

Abraham settled between
Kadesh Qadesh, Qedesh, Qetesh, Kadesh, Kedesh, Kadeš and Qades come from the common Semitic root "Q-D-Š", which means "sacred." Kadesh and variations may refer to: Ancient/biblical places * Kadesh (Syria) or Qadesh, an ancient city of the Levant, on o ...
and Shur in what the Bible anachronistically calls "the land of the
Philistine The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 604 BC, when their polity, after having already been subjugated for centuries by Assyria, was finally destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar I ...
s". While he was living in
Gerar Gerar ( ''Gərār'', "lodging-place") was a Philistine The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 604 BC, when their polity, after having already been subjugated for centuries by ...

Gerar
, Abraham openly claimed that Sarah was his sister. Upon discovering this news, King
Abimelech Abimelech (also spelled Abimelek or Avimelech; ) was the name of multiple mentioned in the . Etymology The name or title ''Abimelech'' is formed from Hebrew words for "father" and "king," and may be interpreted in a variety of ways, including ...

Abimelech
had her brought to him. God then came to Abimelech in a dream and declared that taking her would result in death because she was a man's wife. Abimelech had not laid hands on her, so he inquired if he would also slay a righteous nation, especially since Abraham had claimed that he and Sarah were siblings. In response, God told Abimelech that he did indeed have a blameless heart and that is why he continued to exist. However, should he not return the wife of Abraham back to him, God would surely destroy Abimelech and his entire household. Abimelech was informed that Abraham was a prophet who would pray for him. 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 he thought there was no fear of God in that place, and that they might kill him for his wife. Then Abraham defended what he had said as not being a lie at all: "And yet indeed ''she is'' my sister; she ''is'' the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife." Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham, and gave him gifts of sheep, oxen, and servants; 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 for Abimelech and his household, since God had stricken the women with infertility because of the taking of Sarah. After living for some time in the land of the Philistines, Abimelech and
PhicolPhicol, also spelled Phichol ( KJV) or Phikol, ( he, פִיכֹל, meaning "great"; la, Phicol) was a Philistine The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 604 BC, when their poli ...
, 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 claimed ignorance of the incident. 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 Beersheba (; he, בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע ' , ar, بئر السبع, lit. ''Well of the Oath'') is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the center of the fourth-most po ...

Beersheba
. After Abimelech and Phicol headed back to
Philistia Philistia (, ''Pəlešeṯ'', Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
, Abraham planted a
tamarisk The genus ''Tamarix'' (tamarisk, salt cedar) is composed of about 50–60 species of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Ord ...
grove in Beersheba and called upon "the name of the , the everlasting God."


Isaac

As had been prophesied in Mamre the previous year, Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham, on the first anniversary of the covenant of circumcision. Abraham was "an hundred years old", when his son whom he named
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Isaac
was born; and he circumcised him when he was eight days old. For Sarah, the thought of giving birth and nursing a child, at such an old age, also brought her much laughter, as she declared, "God hath made me to laugh, so that all who hear will laugh with me." Isaac continued to grow and on the day he was weaned, Abraham held a great feast to honor the occasion. During the celebration, however, Sarah found Ishmael mocking; an observation that would begin to clarify the birthright of Isaac.


Ishmael

Ishmael was fourteen years old when Abraham's son Isaac was born to Sarah. When she found Ishmael teasing Isaac, Sarah told Abraham to send both Ishmael and Hagar 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. God told Abraham not to be distressed but to do as his wife commanded. God reassured Abraham that "in Isaac shall seed be called to thee." He also said that Ishmael would make a nation, "because he is thy seed". Early the next morning, Abraham brought Hagar and Ishmael out together. He gave her bread and water and sent them away. The two wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba until her bottle of water was completely consumed. In a moment of despair, she burst into tears. After God heard the boy's voice, an
angel of the Lord The (or an) angel of the ( he, מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה '' malakh YHWH'' "messenger of Yahweh") is an entity appearing repeatedly in the Tanakh (Old Testament) on behalf of the Yahweh, God of Israel. The term ''malakh YHWH'', which occurs ...
confirmed to Hagar that he would become a great nation, and will be "living on his sword". A well of water then appeared so that it saved their lives. As the boy grew, he became a skilled
archer Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.Paterson ''Encyclopaedia of Archery'' p. 17 The word comes from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...

archer
living in the wilderness of Paran. Eventually his mother found a wife for Ishmael from her home country, the land of Egypt.


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 Moriah (, ar, ﻣﺮﻭﻩ, Marwah) is the name given to a mountainous region in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, is an ac ...

Moriah
. The patriarch traveled three days until he came to the mount that God told him of. He then commanded the servants to remain while he and Isaac proceeded alone into the mount. Isaac carried the wood upon which he would be sacrificed. Along the way, Isaac asked his father where the animal for the burnt offering was, to which Abraham replied "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering". Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, he was interrupted by the angel of the Lord, and he saw behind him a "ram caught in a thicket by his horns", which he sacrificed instead of his son. The place was later named as Jehovah-jireh. For his obedience he received another promise of numerous descendants and abundant prosperity. After this event, Abraham went to Beersheba.


Later years

Sarah died, and Abraham buried her in the
Cave of the Patriarchs , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the complex, 2009 , map_type = West Bank#Palestine , map_alt ...
(the "cave of Machpelah"), near Hebron which he had purchased along with the adjoining field from Ephron the
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...
. After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife, a
concubine Concubinage is an interpersonal The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people. Interpersonal relationships vary in their degree of intimacy or self-disclo ...
named
Keturah Keturah ( he, קְטוּרָה, ''Qəṭūrā'', possibly meaning "incense"; ar, قطورة) was a wife (1917 Jewish Publication Society of America The Jewish Publication Society (JPS), originally known as the Jewish Publication Society of Amer ...
, by whom he had six sons:
Zimran Zimran (; , ar, زمران), also known as Zambran, was, according to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Ne ...
,
JokshanJokshan ( ''yoqšān''). According to the Bible he was a son of Abraham and his either wife or concubine Keturah, whom he wed after the death of Sarah. Jokshan had five brothers: Zimran, Medan (son of Abraham), Medan, Midian (son of Abraham), Midian, ...
,
Medan Medan (; English: ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and small ...
,
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏəyān'' ; ar, مَدْيَن, Madyan; grc-gre, Μαδιάμ, ''Madiam'') is a geographical place mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and Quran. William G. Dever states that biblical Midian was in the "northwest A ...
,
IshbakIshbak ( he, יִשְׁבָּ֣ק, ish'băk, he will leave; leaving), also spelled Jisbak and Josabak. According to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as ...
, and
Shuah Shuah is the name of one of four minor Biblical figures. It is sometimes used as the name of a fifth. Their names are different in Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic lang ...
. According to the Bible, reflecting the change of his name to "Abraham" meaning "a father of many nations", Abraham is considered to be the progenitor of many nations mentioned in the Bible, among others the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
,
Ishmaelites In the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to re ...
,
Edom Edom (; Edomite Edom (; Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ''’Edām''; he, אֱדוֹם ''ʼÉḏōm'', lit.: "red"; akk, 𒌑𒁺𒈠𒀀𒀀 ''Uduma'') was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah Th ...

Edom
ites,
Amalekites Amalek (; he, עֲמָלֵק, ''‘Ámālēq'', ar, عماليق ''‘Amālīq'') is a nation described in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are alm ...
,
Kenizzite Kenizzite (also spelled Cenezite in the Douay-Rheims Bible) was an Edomitish tribe referred to in the covenant God made with Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common p ...
s,
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏəyān'' ; ar, مَدْيَن, Madyan; grc-gre, Μαδιάμ, ''Madiam'') is a geographical place mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and Quran. William G. Dever states that biblical Midian was in the "northwest A ...

Midian
ites and
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
, and through his nephew Lot he was also related to the
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'aba'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'ba'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an anci ...
ites and
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torrent ...

Ammon
ites. Abraham lived to see his son marry
Rebekah Rebecca, ; Aramaic, Syriac: , ) from the Hebrew (lit., 'connection'), from Semitic root , 'to tie, couple or join', 'to secure', or 'to snare') () appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. According to ...
, and to see the birth of his twin grandsons
Jacob and Esau The Bible, biblical Book of Genesis speaks of the relationship between fraternal twins Jacob and Esau, sons of Isaac and Rebecca. The story focuses on Esau's loss of his birthright to Jacob and the conflict that ensued between their descendant na ...
. He died at age 175, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah by his sons Isaac and Ishmael.


Historicity and origins of the narrative


Historicity

In the early and middle 20th century, leading archaeologists such as William F. Albright and biblical scholars such as Albrecht Alt believed that the patriarchs and matriarchs were either real individuals or believable composites of people who lived in the "
patriarchal age The patriarchal age is the era of the three biblical patriarchs, Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religi ...
", the 2nd millennium BCE. But, in the 1970s, new arguments concerning Israel's past and the biblical texts challenged these views; these arguments can be found in
Thomas L. Thompson Thomas L. Thompson (born January 7, 1939 in Detroit (strait) , nicknames = The Motor City, Motown, Renaissance City, City of the Straits, The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, The Automotive Capital of the World, Rock City, The 313 ...
's ''
The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives :''This article presents information about the book; for general information about the topic, see Abraham#Historicity and origins of the narrative, Abraham: Historicity and origins and The Bible and history.'' ''The Historicity of the Patriarchal ...
'' (1974), and
John Van Seters John Van Seters (born May 2, 1935 in HamiltonHamilton may refer to: * Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804), first American Secretary of the Treasury and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States **Hamilton (musical), ''Hamilton'' (musical), a 20 ...
' ''
Abraham in History and Tradition :''This article presents information about the John Van Seters book; for general information about the topic, see Abraham: Historicity and origins and The Bible and history.'' ''Abraham in History and Tradition'' is a book by biblical scholar J ...
'' (1975). Thompson, a literary scholar, based his argument on archaeology and ancient texts. His thesis centered on the lack of compelling evidence that the patriarchs lived in the 2nd millennium BCE, and noted how certain biblical texts reflected first millennium conditions and concerns. Van Seters examined the patriarchal stories and argued that their names, social milieu, and messages strongly suggested that they were
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
creations. By the beginning of the 21st century, archaeologists had given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac or Jacob credible historical figures.


Origins of the narrative

Abraham's story, like those of the other patriarchs, most likely had a substantial oral prehistory, and his name is apparently very ancient, as the tradition found in Genesis no longer understands its original meaning (probably "Father is exalted" – the meaning offered in Genesis 17:5, "Father of a multitude", is a
popular etymology A false etymology (fake etymology, popular etymology, etymythology, pseudo-etymology, or par(a)etymology) is a popular but false belief about the origin or derivation of a specific word. It is sometimes called a folk etymology Folk etymology (al ...
). At some stage the
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
s became part of the written tradition of the
Pentateuch The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebre ...
; a majority of scholars believe this stage belongs to the Persian period, roughly 520–320 BCE. The mechanisms by which this came about remain unknown, but there are currently two important hypotheses. The first, called Persian Imperial authorisation, is that the post-Exilic community devised the Torah as a legal basis on which to function within the Persian Imperial system; the second is that the Pentateuch was written to provide the criteria for determining who would belong to the post-Exilic Jewish community and to establish the power structures and relative positions of its various groups, notably the priesthood and the lay "elders". Nevertheless, the completion of the Torah and its elevation to the centre of post-Exilic Judaism was as much or more about combining older texts as writing new ones – the final Pentateuch was based on existing traditions. In
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yĕḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine ...

Ezekiel
, written during the Exile (i.e., in the first half of the 6th century BCE),
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yĕḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine ...

Ezekiel
, an exile in Babylon, tells how those who remained in Judah are claiming ownership of the land based on inheritance from Abraham; but the prophet tells them they have no claim because they do not observe Torah.
Isaiah Isaiah ( or ; he, , ''Yəšaʿyāhū'', "God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trus ...
similarly testifies of tension between the people of Judah and the returning post-Exilic Jews (the " gôlâ"), stating that God is the father of Israel and that Israel's history begins with the Exodus and not with Abraham. The conclusion to be inferred from this and similar evidence (e.g.,
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra–Nehemiah ( he, עזרא נחמיה , ') is a book in the Hebrew Bible found in the Ketuvim section, originally with the Hebrew title of Ezra ( he, עזרא, '). The book covers the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 BC to the seco ...
), is that the figure of Abraham must have been preeminent among the great landowners of Judah at the time of the Exile and after, serving to support their claims to the land in opposition to those of the returning exiles.


Religious traditions


Overview

Abraham is given a high position of respect in three major world faiths,
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
and
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenant, the special relationship between the Jewish people and God – leading to the belief that the Jews are the chosen people of God. In Christianity, the Apostle
Paul Paul may refer to: *Paul (name), a given name (includes a list of people with that name) *Paul (surname), a list of people People Christianity *Paul the Apostle (AD 5–67), also known as Saul of Tarsus or Saint Paul, early Christian missionar ...
taught that Abraham's faith in God – preceding the
Mosaic law The Law of Moses ( he, תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה ), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible ...
– made him the prototype of all believers, Jewish or
Gentile Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jews, Jew". Other groups claiming affiliation with Israelites, groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders, notably Mormons. More ...

Gentile
; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with
Adam Adam (; Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long his ...

Adam
and culminates in
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
.


Judaism

In Jewish tradition, Abraham is called ''Avraham Avinu'' (אברהם אבינו), "our father Abraham," signifying that he is both the biological progenitor of the Jews and the father of Judaism, the first Jew. His story is read in the weekly
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
reading portions, predominantly in the
parashot The term ''parashah'' ( he, פָּרָשָׁה ''Pārāšâ'', "portion", Tiberian , Sephardi Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'' ...
:
Lech-Lecha Lech-Lecha, Lekh-Lekha, or Lech-L'cha ( ''leḵ-ləḵā'' — Hebrew language, Hebrew for "go!" or "leave!", literally "go for you" — the incipit, fifth and sixth words in the parashah) is the third weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the an ...
(לֶךְ-לְךָ),
Vayeira Vayeira, Vayera, or ( he, וַיֵּרָא — Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language o ...
(וַיֵּרָא), Chayei Sarah (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה), and
Toledot Toledot, Tol'dot, Toldos, or Tol'doth ( — Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the I ...
(תּוֹלְדֹת). Hanan bar Rava, Ḥanan b. Rava taught in Abba Arikha, Abba b. Aybo's name that Abraham's mother was named ʾĂmatlaʾy bat Karnebo. Hiyya bar Abba, Ḥiyya b. Abba taught that Abraham and the Idol Shop, Abraham worked in Teraḥ's idol shop in his youth. In Legends of the Jews, Jewish legend, God created heaven and earth for the sake of the merits of Abraham. After the Biblical flood, Abraham was the only one among the pious who solemnly swore never to forsake God, studied in the house of
Noah In the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of t ...

Noah
and Shem to learn about the "Ways of God," continued the line of Kohanim, High Priest from Noah and Shem, and descended the office to Levi and Tribe of Levi, his seed forever. Before leaving his father's land, Abraham was miraculously saved from the fiery furnace of Nimrod following his brave action of breaking the idols of the Chaldeans into pieces. During his sojourning in Canaan, Abraham was accustomed to extend hospitality to travelers and strangers and taught how to praise God also knowledge of God to those who had received his kindness. Besides Isaac and Jacob, he is the one whose name would appear united with God, as God in Judaism was called ''Elohei Abraham, Elohei Yitzchaq ve Elohei Ya`aqob'' ("God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob") and never the God of any one else. He was also mentioned as the father of thirty nations. Abraham is generally credited as the author of the ''Sefer Yetzirah'', one of the earliest extant books on Jewish mysticism. According to Pirkei Avot, Abraham underwent ten tests at God's command. The Binding of Isaac is specified in the Bible as a test; the other nine are not specified, but later rabbinical sources give various enumerations.


Christianity

In
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
, Abraham is revered as the Prophets of Christianity, prophet to whom God chose to reveal himself and with whom God initiated a Covenant (biblical), covenant (cf. ''Covenant Theology''). Saint Paul, one of the twelve Apostles, apostles of Jesus, the mediator of salvation in Christianity, declared that all who believe in Jesus (Christians) are "included in the seed of Abraham and are inheritors of the promise made to Abraham." In Letter to the Romans, Romans 4, Abraham is praised for his "unwavering faith" in God, which is tied into the concept of partakers of the covenant of grace being those "who demonstrate faith in the saving power of Christ". Throughout history, leaders of the Church, following Saint Paul, have emphasized Abraham as the spiritual father of all Christians. Augustine of Hippo declared that Christians are "children (or "seed") of Abraham by faith", Saint Ambrose stated that "by means of their faith Christians possess the promises made to Abraham", and Martin Luther recalled Abraham as "a paradigm of the man of faith." The Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination, calls Abraham "our father in Faith" in the Eucharistic prayer of the Roman Canon, recited during the Mass (liturgy), Mass. He is also commemorated in the calendar of saints, calendars of saints of several denominations: on 20 August by the Maronite Church, 28 August in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Coptic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East (with the full daily office, office for the latter), and on 9 October by the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. In the introduction to his 15th-century translation of the Golden Legend's account of Abraham, William Caxton noted that this patriarch's life was read in church on Sunday before Lent, Quinquagesima Sunday. He is the patron saint of those in the hospitality industry. The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates him as the "Righteous Forefather Abraham", with two feast days in its Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical calendar, liturgical calendar. The first time is on 9 October (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 9 October falls on 22 October 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 Genealogy of Jesus, ancestors of Jesus. Abraham is also mentioned in the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, just before the Anaphora, and Abraham and Sarah are invoked in the prayers said by the priest over a newly married couple.


Islam

Islam regards Abraham as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
. ''Ibrāhīm'' is mentioned in 35 chapters of the Quran, more often than any other biblical personage apart from Moses in Islam, Moses. He is called both a ''hanif'' (monotheist) and ''muslim'' (one who submits), and Muslims regard him as a prophet and patriarch, the archetype of the perfect Muslim, and the revered reformer of the Kaaba in Mecca. Islamic traditions consider Ibrāhīm the first Pioneer of Islam (which is also called ''millat Ibrahim'', the "religion of Abraham"), and that his purpose and mission throughout his life was to proclaim the Tawhid, Oneness of God. In Islam, Abraham holds an exalted position among the major prophets and he is referred to as "Ibrahim Khalilullah", meaning "Abraham the Beloved of God in Islam, God". Besides Islamic view of Isaac, Ishaq and Yaqub, Ibrahim is among the most honorable and the most excellent men in sight of God. Ibrahim was also mentioned in Quran as "Father of Muslims" and the role model for the community. Al-Qadi al-Nu'man, Qadi al-Nu’man, a famous Muslim jurist of the Fatimid Caliphate, Fatimid period, explains that Jesus in Islam, Jesus was from the pure progeny of Abraham, just as Ali and his sons were from the pure progeny of
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
through Fatimah, Fatima.


Druze

The Druze regard Abraham as the third spokesman (''natiq'') after
Adam Adam (; Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long his ...

Adam
and
Noah In the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of t ...

Noah
, who helped transmit the foundational teachings of monotheism (''tawhid'') intended for the larger audience.


In the arts


Painting and sculpture

Paintings 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. Additionally, Martin O'Kane, a professor of Biblical Studies, writes that the parable of Rich man and Lazarus, Lazarus resting in the "Bosom of Abraham", as described in the Gospel of Luke, became an iconic image in Christian works. According to O'Kane, artists often chose to divert from the common literary portrayal of Lazarus sitting next to Abraham at a banquet in Heaven and instead focus on the "somewhat incongruous notion of Abraham, the most venerated of patriarchs, holding a naked and vulnerable child in his bosom". Several artists have been inspired by the life of Abraham, including Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Caravaggio (1573–1610), Donatello, Raphael, Anthony van Dyck, Philip van Dyck (Dutch painter, 1680–1753), and Claude Lorrain (French painter, 1600–1682). Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669) created at least seven works on Abraham, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) did several, Marc Chagall did at least five on Abraham, Gustave Doré (French illustrator, 1832–1883) did six, and James Tissot (French painter and illustrator, 1836–1902) did over twenty works on the subject. The 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 art, Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus Theotecnius, Junius Bassus. He died in 359. This sarcophagus has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture." The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St. Peter's Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597, and is now below the modern basilica in the Museo Storico del Tesoro della Basilica di San Pietro (Museum of St. Peter's Basilica) in the Vatican City, 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 (theology), 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. George Segal (artist), George Segal created figural sculptures by molding plastered gauze strips over live models in his 1987 work ''Abraham's Farewell to Ishmael''. The human condition was central to his concerns, and Segal used the Old Testament as a source for his imagery. This sculpture 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.


Christian iconography

Usually Abraham can be identified by the context of the image the meeting with
Melchizedek In the Bible, Melchizedek (, he, מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק, , "king of righteousness" or "my king is righteousness"; am, መልከ ጼዴቅ, ; hy, Մելքիսեդեք, ) also transliterated Melchisedech or Malki Tzedek, was the king of S ...

Melchizedek
, :commons:Abraham and three angels, the three visitors, or :commons:Sacrifice of Isaac, the sacrifice of Isaac. In solo portraits a sword or knife may be used as his attribute, as in :commons:File:AbrahamMorlaiterJRS.JPG, this statue by Gian Maria Morlaiter or :commons:File:AbrahamMonacoJRS.jpg, this painting by Lorenzo Monaco. He always wears a gray or white beard. As early as the beginning of the 3rd century, Christian art followed Christian Typology (theology)#Sacrifice of Isaac, typology in making the sacrifice of Isaac a foreshadowing of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and its memorial in the sacrifice of the Mass. See for example :commons:File:AltarFuldaClunyJRS.jpg, this 11th-century Christian altar engraved with Abraham's and other sacrifices taken to prefigure that of Christ in the Eucharist. Some early Christian writers interpreted the three visitors as the triune God. Thus in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, :commons:File:HospitalityAbrahamSMMaggioreJRS.jpg, a 5th-century mosaic portrays only the visitors against a gold ground and puts semitransparent copies of them in the "heavenly" space above the scene. In Eastern Orthodox art the visit is the chief means by which the Trinity is pictured (:commons:File:Russian - Hospitality of Abraham - Walters 371185.jpg, example). Some images do not include Abraham and Sarah, like Andrei Rublev's ''Trinity'', which shows only the three visitors as beardless youths at a table.


Literature

''Fear and Trembling'' (original Danish language, 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 that must have been present in Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice his son. W. G. Hardy's novel ''Father Abraham'' (1935), tells the fictionalized life of Abraham.


Music

In 1681, Marc-Antoine Charpentier released a Dramatic motet (Oratorio), ''Sacrificim Abrahae'' H.402 - 402 a - 402 b, for soloists, chorus, doubling instruments and continuo. Sébastien de Brossard released a cantate Abraham (date unknown). In 1994, Steve Reich released an opera named ''The Cave (opera), The Cave''. The title refers to the
Cave of the Patriarchs , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the complex, 2009 , map_type = West Bank#Palestine , map_alt ...
. The narrative of the opera is based on the story of Abraham and his immediate family as it is recounted in the various religious texts, and as it is understood by individual people from different cultures and religious traditions. Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited (song), Highway 61 Revisited" is the title track for his 1965 album ''Highway 61 Revisited''. In 2004, ''Rolling Stone'' magazine ranked the song as number 364 in their Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song has five stanzas. In each stanza, someone describes an unusual problem that is ultimately resolved on Highway 61. In Stanza 1,
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
tells Abraham to "Binding of Isaac, 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.


See also

* Abraham I (disambiguation), Abraham I, Abraham II (disambiguation), II, Abraham III (disambiguation), III (disambiguations) * Abraham and the Idol Shop * Abraham Path * Abraham's Gate at Tel Dan * Apocalypse of Abraham * Nimrod#Evil Nimrod vs. the righteous Abraham, Evil Nimrod vs. the righteous Abraham * Gathering of Israel * Genealogies of Genesis * Kabbalah * List of oldest fathers * Pearl of Great Price (Mormonism), Pearl of Great Price * Table of prophets of Abrahamic religions * Zoroaster


Notes


References


Bibliography

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External links


"Abraham"
at chabad.org.

(accessed 24 March 2011).
"Journey and Life of the Patriarch Abraham"
a map dating back to 1590.

{{Authority control Abraham, Angelic visionaries Biblical patriarchs Book of Genesis people Christian saints from the Old Testament Founders of religions 21st-century BC people Lech-Lecha People whose existence is disputed Vayeira Legendary progenitors