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The Life of Abram (abraham)

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Essay title: The Life of Abram (abraham)

Abram (Abraham)

“To your offspring I will give this land…(Gen 12:7)”

How do we begin to view the life of a great man? How do we begin to understand his journey, faith, and passion? How do we look at his life without viewing the lives of others?


According to Nisbett, the life of Abraham may be considered under four major periods: (1) His life prior to his journeying to Canaan, at the age of 75. (2) His early sojourn in Canaan to the birth of his son Isaac, a period of 25 years. (3) His life from the birth of Isaac to the death of Sarai (later changed to Sarah) and the marriage of Isaac to Rebekah, about 40 years. (4) His later life, old age, and death, about 35 years.

Life prior to journeying to Canaan - Abram was born in Ur of Chaldees in southern Mesopotamia to his father Terah, who had two other sons, Nahor and Haran, the father of Lot (Gen 11:27). Terah was an idolater. His family served other gods (Joshua 24:2). Terah took Abram, Sarai, Abram’s wife, and Lot, Haran’s son enroute to the land of Canaan. In the midst, they came upon Haran, until the death of Terah at the age of two hundred and five (Gen 11:31). Abram was seventy-five years old. This is where his journey began.

At this time, Abram received his calling from God:

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you: I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:1-3)

Early sojourn in Canaan - Abram left for Canaan as the Lord had instructed. The call to Abraham was repeated, and taking his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarai with him, he left Haran and went to the land of Canaan (Nisbett). Other than Canaan, they went to other places like Sichem and Bethel, where he built altars to the Lord (newadvent). With a famine breaking out in Canaan, Abram journeyed southward to Egypt. Fearing that he would be killed on account of his wife Sarai, Abram passed her off as his sister so that the jealous Egyptians would not kill him over her. The report of Sarai’s beauty was brought to the Pharao, and he took her into his harem, and honored Abram on account of her. However, finding out later that she was indeed Abram’s wife, he sent her away unharmed, and, upbraiding Abram for what he had done, he dismissed him from Egypt. (newadvent)

When Abram returned to Canaan from Egypt, he is described as being “very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold” (Gen13: 1,2). Abram came with Lot toward Bethel. Lot also “had flocks, and herds, and tents” (Gen 13:5). Insufficient pasturage and water for these large herds led the patriarch and his nephew to separate. Lot chose the country about he Jordan, and later “pitched his tent toward Sodom,” whereas Abram returned to Mamre, near Hebron (Gen 13:6-18), where he remained for approximately 20 years.

During his time in Mamre, a number of important events occurred. The first of these was an invasion of Canaan by a confederacy of four kings from Mesopotamia under the leadership of Chedorlaomer. (Gen 14:1-10) Five kings in the vicinity of Sodom banded together against the invaders, but were defeated, with the result that their peoples and property were lost (Gen 14:11-12). Upon learning that his nephew was in the hands of the invading army, Abram pursued the Mesopotamian kings with his own private army of 318 men and rescued the captives from the vicinity of Sodom, together with their possessions (Gen 14:13-16). On his way home, Abram is met by Melchizedek, king of Salem, as Jerusalem was then known. Abram gives tithes of all he has.

After this experience, God enters into a covenant with Abram and assures him that eventually, his descendants would possess Canaan as their own. In Genesis 15:6 the Bible says that “ he believed in the Lord and he [the LORD] counted it to him [Abram] for righteousness.” However, in Genesis 15:8 Abram questioned God, “Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Abram fell into a deep sleep. God revealed to him that his descendents would be a stranger in a land that is not heirs and serve them 400 years. After which they shall come out richer than when they went in. This is why Israel dwelled in Egypt 400 years. (Liaf)

As the years went by without the birth of an heir, Sarai, who was far advance in years and had given up the idea of bearing children, persuaded Abram to take Hagar, her handmaid, as his wife. He abides and Hagar, being with child, despises Sarai. For this Sarai afflicts her so that

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