Abraham
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Abraham, ; ar, , , name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common
Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
patriarch of the
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions are a group of religions centered around worship of the God in Abrahamic religions, God of Abraham. Abraham, a Hebrews , Hebrew patriarch, is extensively mentioned throughout Abrahamic religious scriptures such as the B ...
, including
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') 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 ...
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
, and
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the
special relationship The Special Relationship is a term that is often used to describe the politics, political, social, diplomacy, diplomatic, culture, cultural, economics, economic, law, legal, Biophysical environment, environmental, religion, religious, military ...
between the
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
and
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
; in Christianity, he is the spiritual progenitor of all believers, whether Jewish or
non-Jewish 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, notably Mormons, sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders. More ra ...
; and
in Islam IN, In or in may refer to: Places * India (country code IN) * Indiana, United States (postal code IN) * Ingolstadt, Germany (license plate code IN) * In, Russia, a town in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast Businesses and organizations * Independ ...
, he is a link in the chain of Islamic prophets that begins with
Adam Adam; el, Ἀδάμ, Adám; la, Adam is the name given in Book of Genesis, Genesis 1-5 to the first human. Beyond its use as the name of the first man, ''adam'' is also used in the Bible as a pronoun, individually as "a human" and in a coll ...
(see
Adam in Islam Adam ( ar-at, آدم, ʾĀdam) is believed to have been the List of protoplasts, first human being on Earth and the first Prophets and messengers in Islam, prophet ( ar, نبي, ''nabī'') of Islam. Adam's role as the father of the human race is ...
) and culminates in
Muhammad Muhammad ( ar, مُحَمَّد;  570 – 8 June 632 Common Era, CE) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Muhammad in Islam, Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet Divine inspiration, di ...
. The story of the life of Abraham as told in the narrative of the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis (from Greek ; Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית ''Bəreʾšīt'', "In hebeginning") is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its Hebrew name is the same as its first word, ( "In the beginning") ...
, revolves around the themes of posterity and land. He is said to have been called by God 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 ...
and settle in the land of
Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Septuagint, Greek Old Testament spells the word without any accents, c ...
, which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. This promise is subsequently inherited by
Isaac Isaac; grc, Ἰσαάκ, Isaák; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, Isḥāq; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs (Bible), patriarchs of the Israelites and an important figure in the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, a ...
, Abraham's son by his wife
Sarah Sarah (born Sarai) is a Patriarchs (Bible)#Matriarchs, biblical matriarch and Prophet, prophetess, a major figure in Abrahamic religions. While different Abrahamic faiths portray her differently, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all depict her ...
, while Isaac's half-brother
Ishmael Ishmael ''Ismaḗl''; Classical/Qur'anic Arabic: إِسْمَٰعِيْل; Modern Standard Arabic: إِسْمَاعِيْل ''ʾIsmāʿīl''; la, Ismael was the first son of Abraham, the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions; and is cons ...
is also promised that he will be the founder of a great nation. Abraham purchases a tomb (the
Cave of the Patriarchs , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham, Ibrahimi Mosque (Mosque of Abraham in Islam, Abraham) , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the com ...
) at
Hebron Hebron ( ar, الخليل or ; 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 sea level. The second-lar ...
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 Canaanites 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 translation). "And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah...." and a concubine (191 ...
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". Most historians view the patriarchal age, along with
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew language, Hebrew: יציאת מצרים, ''Yeẓi’at Miẓrayim'': ) is the founding myth of the Israelites whose narrative is spread over four books of the Torah (or Pentateuch, corresponding to the first five books of the ...
and the period of the
biblical judges The biblical judges ''šōp̄êṭ''/''shofet'', pl. ''šōp̄əṭîm''/''shoftim'') are described in the Hebrew Bible, and mostly in the Book of Judges, as people who served roles as military leaders in times of crisis, in the period before an ...
, as a late literary construct that does not relate to any particular historical era; and after a century of exhaustive archaeological investigation, no evidence has been found for a historical Abraham. It is largely concluded that the
Torah The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
was composed during the early Persian period (late-6th century BCE) as a result of tensions between Jewish landowners who had stayed in Judah during the
Babylonian captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a large number of Israelites, Judeans from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following t ...
and traced their right to the land through their "father Abraham", and the returning exiles who based their counterclaim on
Moses Moses hbo, מֹשֶׁה, Mōše; also known as Moshe or Moshe Rabbeinu (Mishnaic Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, ); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, Mūše; ar, موسى, Mūsā; grc, Mωϋσῆς, Mōÿsēs () is considered the most important Prop ...
and the Exodus tradition of the
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
.


The Abraham cycle


Structure and narrative programs

The Abraham cycle is not structured by a unified plot centred on a conflict and its resolution or a problem and its solution. The episodes are often only loosely linked, and the sequence is not always logical, but it is unified by the presence of Abraham himself, as either actor or witness, and by the themes of posterity and land. These themes form "narrative programs" set out in Genesis 11:27-31 concerning the sterility of Sarah and 12:1-3 in which Abraham is ordered to leave the land of his birth for the land YHWH will show him.


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 ...
, the ninth in descent from
Noah Noah ''Nukh''; am, ኖህ, ''Noḥ''; ar, نُوح '; grc, Νῶε ''Nôe'' () is the tenth and last of the pre-Flood patriarchs in the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions are a group of religions centered aroun ...
, was the father of Abram, Nahor, and
Haran Haran or Aran ( he, הָרָן ''Hārān'') is a man in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. He died in Ur of the Chaldees, was a son of Terah, and brother of Abraham. Through his son Lot (biblical person), Lot, Haran was the ancestor of the ...
( he, הָרָן ''Hārān''). Haran was the father of Lot, who was Abram's nephew; the entire family 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 died in his native city, Ur of the Chaldees. Abram married Sarah (Sarai), who was barren. Terah, Abram, Sarai, and Lot departed for
Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Septuagint, Greek Old Testament spells the word without any accents, c ...
, but settled in a place named
Haran Haran or Aran ( he, הָרָן ''Hārān'') is a man in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. He died in Ur of the Chaldees, was a son of Terah, and brother of Abraham. Through his son Lot (biblical person), Lot, Haran was the ancestor of the ...
( he, חָרָן ''Ḥārān''), 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, שְׁכֶם, ''Šəḵem''; ; grc, Συχέμ, Sykhém; Samaritan Hebrew: , ), was a Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa ...
in Canaan. Then he pitched his tent in the east of
Bethel Bethel ( he, בֵּית אֵל, translit=Bēṯ 'Ēl, "House of El" or "House of God",Bleeker and Widegren, 1988, p. 257. also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one writing system, script to another t ...
.


Sarai

There was a severe famine in the land of Canaan, so that Abram and Lot and their households traveled to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
. 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 (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebrew: ''Parʿō'') is the vernacular term often used by modern authors for the kings of ancient Egypt who ruled as Monarch, monarchs from th ...
, 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, hanNegév; ar, ٱلنَّقَب, an-Naqab) is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The region's largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba (pop. ), in the north. At its southe ...
after being banished from Egypt and came back to the
Bethel Bethel ( he, בֵּית אֵל, translit=Bēṯ 'Ēl, "House of El" or "House of God",Bleeker and Widegren, 1988, p. 257. also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one writing system, script to another t ...
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; Romanization of Arabic, tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; Romanization of Arabic, tr. ' is a country in Western Asia. It is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, within the Levan ...
, 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 or ; 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 sea level. The second-lar ...
and settled in the plain of Mamre, where he built another altar to worship
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
.


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 in its theme of God's anger provoked by man's sin (see Book of Genesis, Genesis 19:1–28). They ar ...
, against
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Elamite cuneiform, Cuneiform Elamite: ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ; he, עֵילָם ''ʿēlām''; peo, 𐎢𐎺𐎩 ''hūja'') was an ancient civilization centered i ...
, 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, is an event in the Hebrew Bible book of that occurs in the days of Abram and Lot (Biblical), Lot. The Vale of Siddim was the battleground ...
. 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 (; Hebrew language, Hebrew: כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר, Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian: ''Kəḏorlā'ōmer''; Codex Vaticanus, Vat. Χοδολλογομορ), is a king of Elam mentioned in book of Genesi ...
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 , map_caption = , ...
. 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 (, hbo, , malkī-ṣeḏeq, "king of righteousness" or "my king is righteousness"), also transliterated Melchisedech or Malki Tzedek, was the king of Salem (Bible), Salem and priest of (often translated as "most high ...
king of Salem (
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
), 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 Kenites ( or ; he, ''Qēinī'') were a nomadic tribe in the ancient Levant. The Kenites were coppersmiths and metalworkers. According to some scholars, they are descendants of Cain,Stephen L Harris, Harris, St ...
,
Kenizzite Kenizzite (also spelled Cenezite in the Douay–Rheims Bible) was an Edomitish tribe referred to in the covenant God made with Abraham (). They are not mentioned among the other inhabitants of Canaan in and and probably inhabited some part of Ara ...
s, Kadmonites,
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara (before 1750 BC), then the Kültepe , Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centere ...
,
Perizzites The Perizzites ( ''Pərīzzī'') are a group of people mentioned many times in the Bible as having lived in the land of Canaan before the arrival of the Israelites. The name may be related to a Hebrew term meaning "rural person."For the etymology, ...
, Rephaims,
Amorites The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
,
Canaanites {{Cat main, Canaan See also: *:Ancient Israel and Judah Ancient Levant Hebrew Bible nations Ancient Lebanon History of Palestine (region) by period, 0050 Ancient Syria Wikipedia categories named after regions History of Israel by period, 0050 ...
,
Girgashites Girgashites (Heb. גִּרְגָּשִׁי) are one of the tribes who had invaded the land of Canaan as mentioned in Gen. 15:21; Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10; Neh. 9:8. The Girgashites are also known as the fifth ethnic group that descended from Canaan (G ...
, 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 Tanakh, a Canaanite tribe that inhabited Jerusalem, then called Jebus (Hebrew: ''Yəḇūs'', "trampled place") pr ...
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 slave,
Hagar Hagar, of uncertain origin; ar, هَاجَر, Hagar in Islam, Hājar; grc, Ἁγάρ, Hagár; la, Agar is a biblical woman. According to the Book of Genesis, she was an Ancient Egypt, Egyptian slave, a handmaiden of Sarah (then known as ''Sa ...
, 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: إِسْمَٰعِيْل; Modern Standard Arabic: إِسْمَاعِيْل ''ʾIsmāʿīl''; la, Ismael was the first son of Abraham, the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions; and is cons ...
. 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 Old Testament, the covenant of the pieces or covenant between the parts () is an important event in Jewish history. In this seminal event God revealed himself to Abraham and Covenant_(biblical)#Abrahamic_covenant, made a covenant ...
, of which
circumcision Circumcision is a procedure that removes the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common form of the operation, the foreskin is extended with forceps, then a circumcision device may be placed, after which the foreskin is excised. Top ...
was to be the sign. God declared Sarai's new name: "
Sarah Sarah (born Sarai) is a Patriarchs (Bible)#Matriarchs, biblical matriarch and Prophet, prophetess, a major figure in Abrahamic religions. While different Abrahamic faiths portray her differently, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all depict her ...
", 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'" 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 ''Pistacia terebinthus'' also called the terebinth and the turpentine tree, is a deciduous tree species of the genus ''Pistacia'', native to the Mediterranean region from the western regions of Morocco and Portugal to Greece and western and s ...
s 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, 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 in its theme of God's anger provoked by man's sin (see Book of Genesis, Genesis 19:1–28). They ar ...
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 and Shur in what the Bible anachronistically calls "the land of the
Philistine The Philistines ( he, פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Pəlīštīm; Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the ...
s". While he was living in
Gerar Gerar ( ''Gərār'', "lodging-place") was a Philistine town and district in what is today south central Israel, mentioned in the Book of Genesis and in the Second Book of Chronicles of the Hebrew Bible. Identification According to the Internation ...
, Abraham openly claimed that Sarah was his sister. Upon discovering this news, King
Abimelech Abimelech (also spelled Abimelek or Avimelech; ) was the generic name given to all Philistine kings in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
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 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 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 or Beer Sheva, officially Be'er-Sheva ( he, בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע, ''Bəʾēr Ševaʿ'', ; ar, بئر السبع, Biʾr as-Sabʿ, Well of the Oath or Well of the Seven), is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. ...
. After Abimelech and Phicol headed back to
Philistia Philistia (; Koine Greek (Septuagint, LXX): Γῆ τῶν Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''gê tôn Phulistieìm''), also known as the Philistine Pentapolis, was a confederation of cities in the Southwest Levant, which included the cities of ...
, Abraham planted a
tamarisk The genus ''Tamarix'' (tamarisk, salt cedar, taray) is composed of about 50–60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Eurasia and Africa. The generic name originated in Latin and may refer to the Tamb ...
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; grc, Ἰσαάκ, Isaák; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, Isḥāq; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs (Bible), patriarchs of the Israelites and an important figure in the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, a ...
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 '' mal’āḵ YHWH The Tetragrammaton (; ), or Tetragram, is the four-letter Hebrew language, Hebrew theonym (transliterated as YHWH), the name of God in the Hebrew Bible. T ...
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 sport, practice, or skill of using a Bow and arrow, bow to shooting, shoot arrows.Paterson ''Encyclopaedia of Archery'' p. 17 The word comes from the Latin ''arcus'', meaning bow. Historically, archery has been used for h ...
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 (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ''Mōrīyya''; Arabic: ﻣﺮﻭﻩ, ''Marwah'') is the name given to a mountainous region in the Book of Genesis, where the binding of Isaac by Abraham is said to have taken place. Jews identify the region me ...
. 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, Ibrahimi Mosque (Mosque of Abraham in Islam, Abraham) , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the com ...
(the "cave of Machpelah"), near Hebron which he had purchased along with the adjoining field from Ephron the Hittite. After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife, a
concubine Concubinage is an interpersonal relationship, interpersonal and Intimate relationship, sexual relationship between a man and a woman in which the couple does not want, or cannot enter into a full marriage. Concubinage and marriage are often reg ...
named
Keturah Keturah ( he, קְטוּרָה, ''Qəṭūrā'', possibly meaning "incense"; ar, قطورة) was a wife (1917 Jewish Publication Society of America translation). "And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah...." and a concubine (191 ...
, by whom he had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan,
Medan Medan (; English: ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of the Indonesian Provinces of Indonesia, province of North Sumatra, as well as a regional hub and financial centre of Sumatra. According to the Government of Indonesia, Nationa ...
,
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏyān'' ; 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 Ara ...
,
Ishbak Ishbak ( he, יִשְׁבָּ֣ק ''Yīšbāq'', "he will leave; leaving"), also spelled Jisbak and Josabak, was, according to the Bible, the fifth son of Abraham and Keturah. Ishbak had five brothers, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan (son of Abraham), Medan ...
, 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 language, Hebrew, but they were all transliterated as "Shuah" in the King James Version. Genesis 25 Shuah ...
. 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 group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
,
Ishmaelites The Ishmaelites ( he, ''Yīšməʿēʾlīm,'' ar, بَنِي إِسْمَاعِيل ''Bani Isma'il''; "sons of Ishmael") were a collection of various Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plura ...
,
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
ites,
Amalekites Amalek (; he, עֲמָלֵק, , ar, عماليق ) was a nation described in the Hebrew Bible as a staunch enemy of the Israelites. The name "Amalek" can refer to the nation's founder, a grandson of Esau; his descendants, the #Amalekites in the ...
,
Kenizzite Kenizzite (also spelled Cenezite in the Douay–Rheims Bible) was an Edomitish tribe referred to in the covenant God made with Abraham (). They are not mentioned among the other inhabitants of Canaan in and and probably inhabited some part of Ara ...
s,
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏyān'' ; 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 Ara ...
ites and Assyrians, and through his nephew Lot he was also related to the
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
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 torren ...
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 William Foxwell Albright (May 24, 1891– September 19, 1971) was an American archaeology, archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist, and expert on ceramics (art), ceramics. He is considered "one of the twentieth century's most influential A ...
and
G. Ernest Wright George Ernest Wright (September 5, 1909 – August 29, 1974), was a leading Old Testament scholar and Biblical archaeology, biblical archaeologist. An expert in Ancient Near Eastern archaeology, he was especially known for his work in the study and ...
and biblical scholars such as Albrecht Alt and
John Bright John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889) was a British Radicals (UK), Radical and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies. A Quaker, Bright is mos ...
believed that the patriarchs and matriarchs were either real individuals or believable composites of people who lived in the " patriarchal age", 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's '' The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives'' (1974), and
John Van Seters John Van Seters (born May 2, 1935 in Hamilton, Ontario Ontario ( ; ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Ontario is located in the geographic Eastern Canada, eastern half of Canada, but it has historically and political ...
' ''
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 ...
'' (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 and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
creations. Van Seter and Thompson's works were a
paradigm shift A paradigm shift, a concept brought into the common lexicon by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn, is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a :Scientific disciplines, scientific discipline. Even ...
in biblical scholarship and archaeology, which gradually led scholars to no longer consider the patriarchal narratives as historical. Some conservative scholars attempted to defend the Patriarchal narratives in the following years, but this has not found acceptance among scholars. 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 (he is mentioned in the
Book of Ezekiel The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Nevi'im#Latter Prophets, Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh and one of the Major Prophets, major prophetic books, following Book of Isaiah, Isaiah and book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah. According to the ...
and the
Book of Isaiah The Book of Isaiah ( he, ספר ישעיהו, ) is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century ...
) and his name is apparently very ancient, as the tradition found in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis (from Greek ; Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית ''Bəreʾšīt'', "In hebeginning") is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its Hebrew name is the same as its first word, ( "In the beginning") ...
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, but this is also a ...
). At some stage the
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication wherein knowledge, art, ideas and Culture, cultural material is received, preserved, and transmitted orally from one generation to another.Jan Vansina, Vansina, Jan: ''Oral Traditio ...
s became part of the written tradition of the
Pentateuch The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
; 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". 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 the
Book of Ezekiel The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Nevi'im#Latter Prophets, Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh and one of the Major Prophets, major prophetic books, following Book of Isaiah, Isaiah and book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah. According to the ...
, written during the Exile (i.e., in the first half of the 6th century BCE),
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yəḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint written in grc-koi, Ἰεζεκιήλ ) is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Ezekiel is acknow ...
, 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. The
Book of Isaiah The Book of Isaiah ( he, ספר ישעיהו, ) is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century ...
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, links=no, ). The book covers the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE t ...
), 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

Abraham is given a high position of respect in three major world faiths,
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') 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 ...
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
and
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
. 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,
Paul the Apostle Paul; grc, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; hbo, פאולוס השליח (previously called Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; grc, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus; ...
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 or the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The law revealed to Moses by God. Terminology The Law of Moses or Torah#Meaning and names ...
– made him the prototype of all believers, Jewish or
gentile Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jew". Other groups that claim Israelite heritage, notably Mormons, sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders. More rarely, the term is generally used as a synonym fo ...
; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with
Adam Adam; el, Ἀδάμ, Adám; la, Adam is the name given in Book of Genesis, Genesis 1-5 to the first human. Beyond its use as the name of the first man, ''adam'' is also used in the Bible as a pronoun, individually as "a human" and in a coll ...
and culminates in
Muhammad Muhammad ( ar, مُحَمَّد;  570 – 8 June 632 Common Era, CE) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Muhammad in Islam, Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet Divine inspiration, di ...
.


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 (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
reading portions, predominantly in the
parashot The term ''parashah'' ( he, פָּרָשָׁה ''Pārāšâ'', "portion", Tiberian , Sephardi Sephardic (or Sephardi) Jews (, ; lad, Djudíos Sefardíes), also ''Sepharadim'' , Modern Hebrew: ''Sfaradim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Sə ...
:
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 annu ...
(לֶךְ-לְךָ), Vayeira (וַיֵּרָא), Chayei Sarah (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה), and
Toledot Toledot, Toldot, Toldos, or Toldoth (—Hebrew language, Hebrew for "generations" or "descendants," the second word and the first distinctive word in the ''parashah'') is the sixth weekly Torah portion (, ''parashah'') in the annual Judaism, Jewish ...
(תּוֹלְדֹת).
Hanan bar Rava Ḥanan bar Rava (חנן/חנא/חנין בר רב/א) or Ḥanan bar Abba (חנן בר א/בא) was a Talmudic The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha ...
taught in
Abba Arikha Abba Arikha (175–247 CE; Jewish Babylonian Aramaic: ; born: ''Rav Abba bar Aybo'', ), commonly known as Rav (), was a Jewish amoraim, amora of the 3rd century. He was born and lived in Kafri, Asoristan, in the Sasanian Empire. Abba Arikha es ...
's name that Abraham's mother was named ʾĂmatlaʾy bat Karnebo.
Hiyya bar Abba Ḥiyya bar Abba (Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originate ...
taught that Abraham worked in Teraḥ's idol shop in his youth. In ''
Legends of the Jews The ''Legends of the Jews'' is a chronological compilation of aggadah from hundreds of Bible, biblical legends in Mishnah, Talmud and Midrash. The compilation consists of seven volumes (four volumes of narrative texts and two volumes of footnotes ...
'', 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 Noah ''Nukh''; am, ኖህ, ''Noḥ''; ar, نُوح '; grc, Νῶε ''Nôe'' () is the tenth and last of the pre-Flood patriarchs in the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions are a group of religions centered aroun ...
and
Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سَام, Sām) ''Sḗm''; Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: ሴም, ''Sēm'' was one of the sons of Noah in the book of Genesis and in the book of Chronicles, and the Quran. The children of Shem were Elam (Hebrew ...
to learn about the "Ways of God," continued the line of
High Priest The term "high priest" usually refers either to an individual who holds the office of monarch, ruler-priest, or to one who is the head of a religious caste. Ancient Egypt In ancient Egypt, a high priest was the chief priest of any of the many go ...
from Noah and Shem, and assigning the office to
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis, the third of the six sons of Jacob and Leah (Jacob's third son), and the founder of the Israelite The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaki ...
and his seed forever. Before leaving his father's land, Abraham was miraculously saved from the fiery furnace of
Nimrod Nimrod (; ; arc, ܢܡܪܘܕ; ar, نُمْرُود, Numrūd) is a Hebrew Bible, biblical figure mentioned in the Book of Genesis and Books of Chronicles. The son of Cush (Bible), Cush and therefore a great-grandson of Noah, Nimrod was describe ...
following his brave action of breaking the idols of the
Chaldea Chaldea () was a small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BCE, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population of Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadia ...
ns 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. Along with Isaac and Jacob, he is the one whose name would appear united with God, as
God in Judaism God in Judaism has been conceived in a variety of ways. Traditionally, Judaism holds that Yahweh, the God in Abrahamic religions#Judaism, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the national god of the Israelites, delivered the Israelites from T ...
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 anyone else. He was also mentioned as the father of thirty nations. Abraham is generally credited as the author of the ''
Sefer Yetzirah ''Sefer Yetzirah'' ( ''Sēp̄er Yəṣīrā'', ''Book of Formation'', or ''Book of Creation'') is the title of a book on Jewish mysticism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed ...
'', one of the earliest extant books on
Jewish mysticism Academic study of Jewish mysticism, especially since Gershom Scholem's ''Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism'' (1941), distinguishes between different forms of mysticism across different eras of Jewish history. Of these, Kabbalah, which emerged in 1 ...
. According to
Pirkei Avot Pirkei Avot ( he, פִּרְקֵי אָבוֹת; also transliterated as ''Pirqei Avoth'' or ''Pirkei Avos'' or ''Pirke Aboth''), which translates to English as Chapters of the Fathers, is a compilation of the ethics, ethical teachings and Maxim ...
, Abraham underwent ten tests at God's command. The
Binding of Isaac The Binding of Isaac ( he, , ), or simply "The Binding" (, ), is a story from Book of Genesis#Patriarchal age (chapters 12–50), Genesis 22 of the Hebrew Bible. In the biblical narrative, God in Abrahamic religions, God tells Abraham to sac ...
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 religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
, Abraham is revered as the
prophet In religion, a prophet or prophetess is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings f ...
to whom God chose to reveal himself and with whom God initiated a
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion), a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general ** Covenant (biblical), in the Hebrew Bible ** Covenant in Mormonism, a sacred agreement ...
(cf. ''
Covenant Theology Covenant theology (also known as covenantalism, federal theology, or federalism) is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall structure of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a ...
'').
Paul the Apostle Paul; grc, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; hbo, פאולוס השליח (previously called Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; grc, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus; ...
declared that all who believe in Jesus (
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
) are "included in the seed of Abraham and are inheritors of the promise made to Abraham." In 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, church leaders, following Paul, have emphasized Abraham as the spiritual father of all Christians.
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo ( , ; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berbers, Berber origin and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia (Roman pr ...
declared that Christians are "children (or "seed") of Abraham by faith",
Ambrose Ambrose of Milan ( la, Aurelius Ambrosius; ), venerated as Saint Ambrose, ; lmo, Sant Ambroeus . was a theologian and statesman who served as Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan, Bishop of Milan from 374 to 397. He expressed himself prominentl ...
stated that "by means of their faith Christians possess the promises made to Abraham", and
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor, and Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Reformation, Protestant Refo ...
recalled Abraham as "a paradigm of the man of faith." The
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
, the largest Christian denomination, calls Abraham "our father in Faith" in the
Eucharistic prayer The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (liturgy), Mass, a thanksgiving prayer by virtue of which the offerings of bread and wine are believed to be consecrated as the body and blood of Jesus, ...
of the
Roman Canon The Canon of the Mass ( la, Canon Missæ), also known as the Canon of the Roman Mass and in the Mass of Paul VI as the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer I, is the oldest anaphora used in the Roman Rite The Roman Rite ( la, Ritus Romanus) is the ...
, recited during the
Mass Mass is an Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the physical quantity, quantity of matter in a Physical object, physical body, until the discovery of the atom and par ...
. He is also commemorated in the calendars of saints of several denominations: on 20 August by the
Maronite Church The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Catholic ''sui iuris'' particular church in full communion with the pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Th ...
, 28 August in the Coptic Church and the
Assyrian Church of the East The Assyrian Church of the East,, ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية sometimes called Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,; ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية الرسول ...
(with the full
office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human activity), work in order to support and realize objects and Goals, plans, action theory, goals of the organizati ...
for the latter), and on 9 October by the Roman Catholic Church and the
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), also known as the Missouri Synod, is a traditional, confessional Lutheran Christian denomination, denomination in the United States. With 1.8 million members, it is the second-largest Lutheranism, Luther ...
. In the introduction to his 15th-century translation of the
Golden Legend The ''Golden Legend'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) ...
's account of Abraham,
William Caxton William Caxton ( – ) was an English merchant, diplomat and writer. He is thought to be the first person to introduce a printing press into England, in 1476, and as a printer (publisher), printer to be the first English retailer of printed boo ...
noted that this patriarch's life was read in church on Quinquagesima Sunday. He is the
patron saint A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Catholic Church, Catholicism, Anglicanism, or Eastern Orthodoxy is regarded as the heavenly advocacy, advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, ...
of those in the hospitality industry. The
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
commemorates him as the "Righteous Forefather Abraham", with two
feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional Christianity, Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in thi ...
s in its
liturgical calendar The liturgical year, also called the church year, Christian year or kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgy, liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including Calendar of saints, celebrations of saints, a ...
. The first time is on 9 October (for those churches which follow the traditional
Julian Calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Roman consul Julius Caesar in 46 BC, was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on , by edict. It was designed with the aid of Greek mathematics, Greek mathematicians and Ancient Greek astronomy, as ...
, 9 October falls on 22 October of the modern
Gregorian Calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most parts of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a modification of, and replacement for, the Julian calendar. The principal change was to space leap years diffe ...
), 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 Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λειτουργία, Theia Leitourgia) or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Co ...
of
Basil the Great Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great ( grc, Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας, ''Hágios Basíleios ho Mégas''; cop, Ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ Ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲓⲟⲥ; 330 – January 1 or 2, 379), was a bishop A ...
, just before the Anaphora, and Abraham and Sarah are invoked in the prayers said by the priest over a newly married couple. Some Christian theologians equate the "three visitors" with the Holy
Trinity The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (, from 'threefold') is the central dogma concerning the nature of God in most Christian churches, which defines one God existing in three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons: God t ...
, seeing in their apparition a
theophany Theophany (from Ancient Greek , meaning "appearance of a deity") is a personal encounter with a deity, that is an event where the manifestation of a deity occurs in an observable way. Specifically, it "refers to the temporal and spatial manifest ...
experienced by Abraham (see also the articles on the Constantinian
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building ...
at Mamre and the church at the so-called "
Oak of Mamre An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus ''Quercus'' (; Latin "oak tree") of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately 500 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in related genera, notably ''L ...
").


Islam

Islam regards Abraham as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in
Muhammad Muhammad ( ar, مُحَمَّد;  570 – 8 June 632 Common Era, CE) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Muhammad in Islam, Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet Divine inspiration, di ...
. ''Ibrāhīm'' is mentioned in 35 chapters of the Quran, more often than any other biblical personage apart from
Moses Moses hbo, מֹשֶׁה, Mōše; also known as Moshe or Moshe Rabbeinu (Mishnaic Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, ); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, Mūše; ar, موسى, Mūsā; grc, Mωϋσῆς, Mōÿsēs () is considered the most important Prop ...
. He is called both a ''hanif'' (
monotheist Monotheism is the belief that there is only one deity, an all-supreme being that is universally referred to as God.F. L. Cross, Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A., eds. (1974). "Monotheism". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2 ed.). Ox ...
) and ''muslim'' (one who submits), and Muslims regard him as a
prophet In religion, a prophet or prophetess is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings f ...
and
patriarch The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church (above major archbishop and primate (bishop), primate), the Hussite Church, Church of the East, and some Independent Catholicism, Independent Catholic Chur ...
, the archetype of the perfect
Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
, and the revered reformer of the
Kaaba The Kaaba (, ), also spelled Ka'bah or Kabah, sometimes referred to as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah ( ar, ٱلْكَعْبَة ٱلْمُشَرَّفَة, lit=Honored Ka'bah, links=no, translit=al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah), is a building at the c ...
in
Mecca Mecca (; officially Makkah al-Mukarramah, commonly shortened to Makkah ()) is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland from Jeddah on the Red ...
. 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 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 monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
". Besides 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.


Druze

The
Druze The Druze (; ar, دَرْزِيٌّ, ' or ', , ') are an Arabic-speaking Western esotericism, esoteric ethnoreligious group from Western Asia who adhere to the Druze faith, an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheistic, Syncretic religio ...
regard Abraham as the third spokesman (''natiq'') after
Adam Adam; el, Ἀδάμ, Adám; la, Adam is the name given in Book of Genesis, Genesis 1-5 to the first human. Beyond its use as the name of the first man, ''adam'' is also used in the Bible as a pronoun, individually as "a human" and in a coll ...
and
Noah Noah ''Nukh''; am, ኖህ, ''Noḥ''; ar, نُوح '; grc, Νῶε ''Nôe'' () is the tenth and last of the pre-Flood patriarchs in the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions are a group of religions centered aroun ...
, who helped transmit the foundational teachings of monotheism (''tawhid'') intended for the larger audience. He is also among the seven prophets who appeared in different periods of history according to the Druze faith.


Mandaeism

In
Mandaeism Mandaeism (Mandaic language, Classical Mandaic: ࡌࡀࡍࡃࡀࡉࡉࡀ ; Arabic: المندائيّة ), sometimes also known as Nasoraeanism or Sabianism, is a Gnosticism, Gnostic, Monotheism, monotheistic and ethnic religion. Its adher ...
, Abraham ( myz, ࡀࡁࡓࡀࡄࡉࡌ, translit=Abrahim) is mentioned in Book 18 of the ''
Right Ginza The Right Ginza is one of the two parts of the Ginza Rabba, the longest and the most important holy scripture of Mandaeism. The other part of the Ginza Rabba is the Left Ginza. Summaries of each book (or tractate), based mostly on Charles G. Hä ...
'' as the patriarch of the Jewish people.
Mandaeans Mandaeans ( ar, المندائيون ), also known as Mandaean Sabians ( ) or simply as Sabians ( ), are an ethnoreligious group who are followers of Mandaeism. They believe that John the Baptist was the final and most important prophet. They ...
consider Abraham to have been originally a Mandaean priest, however they differ with Abraham and Jews regarding circumcision which they consider to be bodily mutilation and therefore forbidden.


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 Lazarus resting in the "
Bosom of Abraham "Bosom of Abraham" refers to the place of comfort in the biblical Sheol (or Christian views on Hades, Hades in the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures from around 200 BC, and therefore so described in the New Testament) where the r ...
", as described in the
Gospel of Luke The Gospel of Luke), or simply Luke (which is also its most common form of abbreviation). tells of the origins, Nativity of Jesus, birth, Ministry of Jesus, ministry, Crucifixion of Jesus, death, Resurrection of Jesus, resurrection, and Ascensi ...
, 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 Albrecht Dürer (; ; hu, Ajtósi Adalbert; 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528),Müller, Peter O. (1993) ''Substantiv-Derivation in Den Schriften Albrecht Dürers'', Walter de Gruyter. . sometimes spelled in English as Durer (without an Umlaut (linguis ...
(1471–1528),
Caravaggio Michelangelo Merisi (Michele Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio, known as simply Caravaggio (, , ; 29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610), was an Italian painter active in Rome for most of his artistic life. During the final four years of hi ...
(1573–1610),
Donatello Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi ( – 13 December 1466), better known as Donatello ( ), was a Florentine sculptor of the Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Eur ...
,
Raphael Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael (; or ; March 28 or April 6, 1483April 6, 1520), was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. List of works by Raphael, His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of ...
, Philip van Dyck (Dutch painter, 1680–1753), and
Claude Lorrain Claude Lorrain (; born Claude Gellée , called ''le Lorrain'' in French; traditionally just Claude in English; c. 1600 – 23 November 1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and etcher of the Baroque Painting, Baroque era. He spent most ...
(French painter, 1600–1682).
Rembrandt Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (, ; 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669), usually simply known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, printmaker and Drawing, draughtsman. An innovative and prolific Old Masters, master in three art medi ...
(Dutch, 1606–1669) created at least seven works on Abraham,
Peter Paul Rubens Sir Peter Paul Rubens (; ; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish people, Flemish artist and diplomat from the Duchy of Brabant in the Southern Netherlands (modern-day Kingdom of Belgium, Belgium). He is considered the most influential art ...
(1577–1640) did several,
Marc Chagall Marc Chagall; russian: link=no, Марк Заха́рович Шага́л ; be, Марк Захаравіч Шагал . (born Moishe Shagal; 28 March 1985) was a Russian-French artist. An early modernism, modernist, he was associated with se ...
did at least five on Abraham, Gustave Doré (French illustrator, 1832–1883) did six, and
James Tissot Jacques Joseph Tissot (; 15 October 1836 – 8 August 1902), Anglicisation, anglicized as James Tissot (), was a French painter and illustrator. He was a successful painter of fashionable, modern scenes and society life in Paris before moving to ...
(French painter and illustrator, 1836–1902) did over twenty works on the subject. The
Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian art, Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus Theotecnius, Junius Bassus, who died in 359. It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of e ...
depicts a set of biblical stories, including Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac. These sculpted scenes are on the outside of a marble
Early Christian Early Christianity (up to the First Council of Nicaea in 325) Spread of Christianity, spread from the Levant, across the Roman Empire, and beyond. Originally, this progression was closely connected to History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, alre ...
sarcophagus A sarcophagus (plural sarcophagi or sarcophaguses) is a box-like funeral receptacle for a cadaver, corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word ''sarcophagus'' comes from ...
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." 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 Vatican may refer to: Vatican City, the city-state ruled by the pope in Rome, including St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum The Holy See * The Holy See, the governing body of the Catholic Church and sovereign entity recognized ...
. The base is approximately . The Old Testament scenes depicted were chosen as precursors of Christ's sacrifice in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
, in an early form of
typology Typology is the study of types or the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics. Typology is the act of finding, counting and classification facts with the help of eyes, other senses and logic. Ty ...
. 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 George Segal Jr. (February 13, 1934 – March 23, 2021) was an American actor. He became popular in the 1960s and 1970s for playing both dramatic and comedic roles. After first rising to prominence with roles in acclaimed films such as '' Ship ...
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 (, hbo, , malkī-ṣeḏeq, "king of righteousness" or "my king is righteousness"), also transliterated Melchisedech or Malki Tzedek, was the king of Salem (Bible), Salem and priest of (often translated as "most high ...
, the three visitors, or the sacrifice of Isaac. In solo portraits a sword or knife may be used as his attribute, as in this statue by Gian Maria Morlaiter or 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 Typology is the study of types or the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics. Typology is the act of finding, counting and classification facts with the help of eyes, other senses and logic. Ty ...
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 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, a 5th-century mosaic portrays only the visitors against a
gold ground Gold ground (both a noun and adjective) or gold-ground (adjective) is a term in art history for a style of images with all or most of the background in a solid gold colour. Historically, real gold leaf Gold leaf is gold that has been hamm ...
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 (
example Example may refer to: * ''exempli gratia'' (e.g.), usually read out in English as "for example" * .example, reserved as a domain name that may not be installed as a top-level domain of the Internet ** example.com, example.net, example.org, exa ...
). 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 Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivisi ...
title: ''Frygt og Bæven'') is an influential philosophical work by
Søren Kierkegaard Søren Aabye Kierkegaard ( , , ; 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish theologian, philosopher, poet, social critic, and religious author who is widely considered to be the first Existentialism, existentialist philosopher. He wrote cr ...
, 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 story of Abraham.


Music

In 1681,
Marc-Antoine Charpentier Marc-Antoine Charpentier (; 1643 – 24 February 1704) was a French Baroque composer during the reign of Louis XIV. One of his most famous works is the main theme from the prelude of his ''Te Deum (Charpentier), Te Deum'', ''Marche en rondeau''. ...
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 Stephen Michael Reich ( ; born October 3, 1936) is an American composer known for his contribution to the development of minimal music in the mid to late 1960s. Reich's work is marked by its use of repetition (music), repetitive figures, slow ...
released an opera named '' The Cave''. The title refers to the
Cave of the Patriarchs , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham, Ibrahimi Mosque (Mosque of Abraham in Islam, Abraham) , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the com ...
. 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 Bob Dylan (legally Robert Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture during a career sp ...
's "
Highway 61 Revisited ''Highway 61 Revisited'' is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965, by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every ...
" is the title track for his 1965 album ''
Highway 61 Revisited ''Highway 61 Revisited'' is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965, by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every ...
''. In 2004, ''
Rolling Stone ''Rolling Stone'' is an American monthly magazine that focuses on music, politics, and popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, San Francisco, California, in 1967 by Jann Wenner, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first kno ...
'' magazine ranked the song as number 364 in their
500 Greatest Songs of All Time "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" is a recurring survey compiled by the American magazine ''Rolling Stone ''Rolling Stone'' is an American monthly magazine that focuses on music, politics, and popular culture. It was founded in San Franc ...
. 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 monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
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.


See also


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


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 21st-century BC people Angelic visionaries Biblical patriarchs Book of Genesis people Christian saints from the Old Testament Founders of religions Hebrew Bible people in Mandaeism Lech-Lecha Legendary progenitors People whose existence is disputed Prophets in the Druze faith Ur of the Chaldees Vayeira People from Harran category:Slave owners