Abraham Of Chaldea Essay

Abraham : From the Bible
The following is a narrative description on the life and times of
one of the most powerful characters in the Old Testament.
Abraham was indeed a man of God in a time where few men believed
in the One true God. Through many triumphs and errors, he always
returned to God to lead him back to his calling. His dedication
resulted in great promises from God that were eventually
fulfilled and affect each of our lives today. His story is our
Abraham was a native of Chaldea, and a ninth generation
descendant of Shem, the son of Noah. He was born on the southern
tip of the Tigris and Uuphrates rivers in the city of Ur around
2161BC.1 Before his name was changed to Abraham, his name was
Abram.When Abram was about seventy years of age he moved with
his family to live in Haran. The reason he moved was because
“The God of glory appeared to our father Abram when he was in
Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, “Depart
from your country and your relatives, and come into the land
that I will show you.” 2
While in Haran, Abram’s father died and God spoke to him again
saying, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and
from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” 3
He obeyed and left Haran with his brother Nahor’s family and his
Nephew Lot without really knowing where he was going. At this
time, God did not reveal to him he was going to Canaan. God only
told him “the land which I will show you.” 4 When he did arrive
in Canaan, he camped in the plains of Moreh, between the
mountains of Ebal and Cerizim. It was here he was given the
second promise from God that his seed would possess this land.
Abram built “an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him”
5 He then moved to the mountainous district between Bethel and
Ai. Here, he built another altar to Jehovah.
Throughout the story of Abram, he consistently went back to
Bethel to make amends with God. All of God’s children should
have a similar alter they should go to when praising God. This
could be the front of your church, but should be in public. 6
Archeo logy has since proved that Bethel is the modern village of
Baytin. 7 When in this area, a famine struck forcing Abram to
move southward toward Egypt. God talked to Abram on the mountain
East of Bethel where he built an alter unto the Lord. Each
person should have their own personal alter to go before God,
this should also be done in public.
When he did get to Egypt, Abram told his first recorded lie.
Because his wife Sarah was beautiful, he feared she would lusted
by after the Egyptians and endanger his life. He also knew the
Pharaoh was also concerned of Abram’s presence along with other
Hyksos in the region. 8 Abram persuaded Sarah to pass herself
off as his sister. This lie could probably be considered a
lighter shade of gray considering Sarah was his half sister,
having the same father but a different mother. 9 When the
Egyptians saw how beautiful she was, they took her to Pharaoh’s
harem. As a consequence, God plagued Pharaoh ; his house. When
the Pharaoh found out Sarah was Abram’s wife, he sent him and his
clan out of Egypt to fend for themselves in the famished land.
Because Abram told this lie, God allowed this to happen. Abram
went out of Egypt and returned to Bethel the second time to call
on the name of the Lord. While in Bethel, both Lot’s and Abram’s
livestock could not be supported by the land, and strife began
between their herdsmen. Abram gave Lot his first choice of where
he wanted to settle. Instead of choosing the unknown territory
toward Canaan, Lot chose the easy way out and went East to Jordan
near the populated city of Sodom. The motif of scripture for
this story is simple. Abram gave more than he took. He let Lot
take what he wanted and left it to God to bless him with what was
left. Lot’s mistake was he stopped growing in God’s faith and
stagnated. He soon found out that everything is not as it seem
s. If one only takes, but does not give, it soon gets them into
trouble. On the other hand, Abram was rewarded with a third
blessing for his faith. God reiterated His promise to give him
the land of Canaan and a posterity as numerous as the dust of the
earth. So Abram moved his clan and camped near Hebron where he
built another altar to Jehovah.
In the mean time, Lot got himself in the middle of a war between
rivaling Babylonian kings in the area. As a result, the kings of
Sodom and Gomorrah fell and their cities were spoiled. Lot and
his goods were also carried off. When Abram heard of this, he
immediately armed his dependents, 318 men, and some of his
neighbors. They overtook and defeated the kings at Dan, near the
springs of Jordan. To accomplish this, Abram must have been a
military genius. After Abram freed Lot, you would think he would
have learnt his lesson, but he returned with his family to live
in Sodom.
When Abram was returning, the king of Sodom came out to meet him
at the King’s Valley along with Melchizedek, king of Salem and
“priest of the most high God.” 10 Melchizedek brought him bread
and wine, and blessed him by saying, “Blessed
be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine
enemies into thy hand.” 11 Hebrew tradition says that
Melchizedek was Shem, son of Noah and survivor of the flood This
tradidion believes he was still alive at the time and the earth’s
oldest living man. Others think that Melchizedek was an Angel or
the Messiah himself. 12 In return, Abram presented Melchizedek a
tenth of all he had. This is the first mention of tithing, and
is still used as a guideline today. The king of Sodom attempted
to give Abram the spoils of the war, but he refused. Abram told
the king, “I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, maker of
heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-
thong or your, lest you should say, “I have made Abram rich.” I
will take nothing but what the young men have eaten.” 13
After this episode, The Lord rewarded Abram for his faithfulness
and came to him in a vision. God said, “Fear not, Abram, I am
thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” 14 In response,
Abram asked how this could be since he did not have any children.
God proceeded to encourage Abram through a distinct and detailed
repetition of former promises He had made and by a solemn
covenant contracted between himself and God. God told him his
seed should be as numerous as the stars of heaven, that his
posterity should grow up into a nation under foreign bondage, and
that after four hundred years they should come up and possess the
land in which he sojourned.
After living in Canaan for ten years, Sarai went to Abram and
said, ” The Lord has prevented me from bearing children.” 15 As
she was seventy-five years of age, she followed contemporary
custom and allowed Abram to impregnate Hagar, 16
her Egyptian handmaid. After this, Sarai got jealous of Hargar
and told Abram that Hargar was looking at her with contempt.
Abram told Sarai that Hargar was under her authority, and she
could to with her as she pleased. Sarai subsequently dealt so
harshly with Hagar that she fled. But an angel of the Lord
appeared to her in the wilderness and convinced her to return to
Sarai and submit herself to her. The angel told her she was
pregnant and would give birth to a son who would greatly multiply
her descendants. The angel told her to call the name of this
child Ishmael.
Thirteen years later, when Abram was 99 years old, God appeared
to him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to
Sarah. In a token to consummate the covenant, God commanded that
Abraham, all males of his tribe and male descendants of his be
circumcised. God also renewed his covenant to Abraham through
the angles by assured him that Sarah, then ninety years old,
would bear a child from his loins. Abraham laughed at this and
questioned how an old man like himself could impregnate a 90 year
old woman. Abraham said, “O that Ishmael might live in thy
sight!” 17 God assured him Ishmael would make him fruitful also
and make a great nation of him. But God told him that Sarah
would indeed bear him a son and he should call his name Isaac.
God said he would establish a covenant with Isaac and all his
descendants. After this meeting with conversation with God,
Abraham obeyed him and all males were circumcised.
After this covenant, Abraham was visited by three travelers. One
of these travelers was the “Angel of Jehovah” and two others were
attending angels. 18 These angels proceeded to reiterate to
Abraham the promise of a son by Sarah. Sarah was listening at
the tent door and laughed to herself thinking of how preposterous
it was for a woman and man of their age to actually have sex, let
alone for her to conceive a child. The angels knew of this
laughter and asked why she had done so. Sarah denied it, but the
Lord said through the angels “No, but you did laugh.” 19 These
angels then left and set out toward Sodom. As Abraham was
walking with them for a part of the way, God chose to disclose to
him the destruction he had in mind for Sodom and Gomorrah. At
this time, God allowed Abraham to negotiated with Him over
destroying the cities if any righteous people were found living
their. As it was, no righteous people lived in these cities, not
even Lot and his family. The next morning, Abraham got up early
in the morning and saw the fate of the cities as smoke rose “up
as the smoke of a furnace. 20 When Abraham was one hundred years
old, and Sarah ninety, Isaac was born. Abraham circumcised Isaac
when he was eight days old as commanded. Subsequently, during a
feast on the day Isaac was weaned, Sarah saw Ishmael and Hagar
mocking her. This infuriated her so much that she insisted to
Abraham they be sent away. Abraham reluctantly consented after
God told him that not only would his descendants be numerous
through Isaac, but also Ishmael. Abraham gave Hagar bread and
water and sent her off. God subsequently kept Hagar from leaving
Ishmael to die when all food and water was gone. An angel of
God called to her from heaven and told her a great nation would
rise from Ishmael. This great nation would be the Arabs. God
opened her eyes and she saw a well of water and gave her son a
drink. Ishmael eventually grew up in the wilderness of Paran,
and became an expert archer. The dispute of who received the
promise of Canaan, Isaac or Ishmael, still broils the hatred
between the Jews and Arabs today. The Jews believe Isaac was
given the promise of Canaan, and the Arabs believe Ishmael
inherited this promise.
After this, God tested Abraham by commanding him to go to Mt.
Moriah and offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. This was a great test
of Abraham’s faith, because Isaac’s death would nullify all the
promises God gave to Abraham concerning Isaac. Abraham probably
decided to obey, because “he considered that God is able to raise
men even from the dead.” 21 Abraham rose early in the morning,
cut wood for the burnt offering, and set off for the mountains
near Moriah with two of his servants and Isaac. On the third
day of their journey, Abraham saw the place God told him to go
to. He told his servants he and his son would go on without them
to worship and then return. When Isaac asked Abraham where was
the lamb for the burnt offering, Abraham told him that God would
provide the lamb Himself. Abraham proceeded to build the altar
and secured on top of it. As he was about to slay Isaac with a
knife, the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said,
” Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the lad, for now I
know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son
from me.” 22 Abraham stopped, looked up, and saw a ram caught
in a thicket by his horns. He took the ram, and offered it up as
a burnt offering instead of his son. This test of Abraham ‘s
faith is a Type of Christ. This is because Abraham can be
considered like God when he was willing to sacrificed his only
son on the cross. Also, Isaac was a young man as was Jesus and
adult Ram was offered in Isaac’s place. Abraham called the name
of this sacrificial place “The Lord Will Provide.” 23 After
this, the angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time and
said, “Because you have done this, I will indeed bless you. I
will Multiply you descendants as the stars of heaven and as the
sand on the seashore. They shall possess the gate of their
enemies, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed by
them, because you have obeyed my voice.”. After this event,
Abraham returned to his servants and with them went to Beer-sheba
where Abraha m dwelt. 24
The next event recorded in Abraham’s life is the death of Sarah
at 127 years of age. She died near Hebron in the land of Canaan.
Abraham buried her in a cave he cleverly purchased from the
Hittites n the field of Machpelah.
The next significant act of Abraham was to procure a suitable
wife for Isaac. He commanded his eldest servant to go to Haran,
where Abraham’s brother Nahor lived to get Isaac’s wife. The
servant went to Haran with many camels and gifts. When he got to
Haran, he made the camels kneel down by a well during the
evening. He did this because he knew the women of the city would
come out at that time to get water from the well. He then prayed
to the Lord, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me success
today, I pray thee, and show steadfast love to my master, I am
standing by the spring, and the daughters of the city are coming
out to draw water. Let the maiden to whom I shall say, “Pray let
down your jar that I may drink, “and who shall say, “Drink, a nd
I will water your camels”–let her be the one whom thou hast
appointed for thy servant Isaac”. 25 Before he had finished this
prayer, Rebekah, a beautiful virgin, and granddaughter of Nahor,
came out with her water jar upon her shoulder. When she had
filled her jar with water, the servant ran to meet her and asked
her for a drink. Rebekah quickly let down her jar and told him
she would draw water for his camels also. After the camels
finished drinking, the servant gave her gold ring and two
bracelets and asked her who her father was. Rebekah said she was
the daughter of Nahor and ran to show her family the jewelry.
After some convincing by the servant who told the family it was
God’s will for Rebekah to return with him, they let her go. She
returned with the servant and married Isaac.
Abraham died when he was 175 years old and was buried by Isaac
and Ishmael in the cave of Machpelah around 1986 BC with his wife
Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed Isaac as promised.
Abraham was truly a man of God. Although he still had his human
frailties, he ultimately trusted in God and always came back to
Him for forgiveness and guidance. His spiritual experience with
God was indicative of four specific areas in which his faith was
tested. First, he gave up his country and kindred; second, he
broke off with his nephew, Lot; thirdly, he abandoned his plans
for Ishmael to be his hope for his ultimate heritage, and fourth,
he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. 26 In the end, God
rewarded Abraham by fulfilling the four great promises He made to
him: 1) Great nations would come from him. 2) God would bless
and prosper him. 3) Sarah would give him a child named Isaac.
4) His generations would produce the savior of the world, Jesus
Praise God for the lessons he has given us through the life of
Abraham. I stand in awe thinking that not only will I be able to
meet Abraham in heaven, but also our Lord who guided him
* J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archaeology (Wm. B. Eerdmands
Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan)
* Henry H. Halley, Bible Handbook, 1951
* National Geographic Society, Everyday Life in Bible Times
* Samuel J. Schultz, The Old Testament Speaks (Harper ; Row,
* John H. Tullock, The Old Testament Story (Prentice-Hall, Inc.)
* The Reader’s Digest Bible Illustrated Edition (Reader’s Digest
Associated Limited)
* The Holy Bible, King James Version (The World Publishing
* The New Ungers’s Bible Dictionary (Moody Press)
1 Ungers, pg. 12
2 King James, Acts 7:2-3
3 King James, Gen. 12:1
4 King James, Gen. 12:1
5 King James, Gen. 12:6-7
6 Class Lecture, Jon Randles
7 Everyday life in Bible Times, pg. 89
8 Class Lecture, Jon Randles
9 King James, Gen. 20:12
10 King James, Gen. 14:17
11 King James, Gen. 14:19-20
12 Halley, pg. 95
13 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 35
14 King James, 15:1
15 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 35
16 Unger’s, pg. 13
17 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 36
18 Unger’s, pg. 13
19 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 37
20 King James, Gen. 19:28
21 Heb. 11:19
22 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 40
23 Unger’s, pg. 14
24 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 40
25 Reader’s Digest Bible, pg. 40-41
26 Ungers’s, pg. 14

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