Abraham / Abram

Abraham, originally known as Abram, was the first patriarch of Israel. Born in Ur, Abram, later known as Abraham is one of the most important Biblical figures in history. There are almost 300 references to Abraham in the Bible, making him the 7th most mentioned person in the Bible. Abraham is the father or 3 major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Isalm.

Introduction

Disclaimer: Liberty taken with the depiction of Abraham.
Please remember the Bible does not
specify a description for most individuals.
Born in Ur, Abram, later known as Abraham is one of the most important Biblical figures in history. God's promise to make Abram the father of many nations is so great He even changes his name from Abram, meaning high father[1] to Abraham, meaning father of many[2]. He is the first patriarch of the Israelites and thus the father of Jews (great-grandfather to be specific). Many identify God as the God of Abraham.
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Bible Verses

1Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.Genesis 12:1-3 KJV
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. Genesis 17:5 KJV
4And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Genesis 26:4-5 KJV

More Verses on Abraham

There are almost 300 references to Abraham in the Bible, making him the 7th most mentioned person in the Bible.[7] The following are just a few.
  • Genesis 11:26-27,29,31-32; 12-13; 14:12-24; 15; 16:1-6,15-16; 17-18; 20; 21:1-14,22-34; 22; 23:3-20; 24:1-9; 25:1-11; 26:1,3,5,18,24; 28:4,9,13; 32:9, 48:15; 49:30; 50:24
  • Exodus 3:6,15-16
  • Matthew 3:9
  • John 8:58
  • James 2:23

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Lineage and Immediate Family

Abraham is a distant descendant of Shem, born to Terah, son of Nahor. Specifically Abraham is a 9th generation descendant of Shem. He has two brothers, Nahor (most likely named for his grandfather) and Haran, a half-sister (who is also is wife) Sarah, and a nephew, Lot.
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Character

Unlike the Bible passage that tells us God chose Noah because he was a righteous man, no mention is made as to why God chose Abraham. In Genesis, he is never referred to as righteous, perhaps because of his habit of deceiving those around him. In the book of Genesis we see both positive and negative traits attributed to Abraham—he loves his "illegitimate" son and does not eagerly send him away, implying that he was a good father and he bargains to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if just few righteous people can be found, however he tells half-truths. Abraham is convinced that wherever he travels his wife's beauty will be the death of him, so he tells everyone she is his sister (which is true). Abraham also doubts God's promise. He has to be reminded 6 times that God will provide an heir and vessel for their covenant through Abraham's wife Sarah. Even though character may be called in to question due to his deception an doubt, it is also evident that Abraham is quick to obey God, diligent in his worship, and kind. When God tells Abraham that the sign of the covenant would be the circumcision of males, Abraham wastes no time complying, a feat that is easy for new males to be circumcised as infants but Abraham would have performed this surgery on himself as an adult—I'm not a guy so I can't say for sure, but that sounds pretty painful to me, I'd call that a serious commitment. Also, when God tells Abraham to sacrifice the son he thought was impossible to have, Abraham woke up early and traveled to the the place God instructed fully prepared to go through with the sacrifice. Based on his comment that he and Isaac would return, I believe he thought God would resurrect Isaac after the sacrifice. Most people would have backed out at the suggestion of sacrificing their own child (or any child for that matter), but Abraham was confident that God would not tell him to do something so horrible without an alternate plan like the ram in the bush or a resurrection. During Abraham's travels, it seems he builds an altar to God everywhere he goes, this shows his dedication and commitment to worship. When both Sarah and God tell Abraham to send his mistress, Hagar and their son, Ishmael away, Abraham arises early to send them off and ensures they do not leave empty handed. When his nephew Lot is taken captive, Abraham trains a small militia and goes to get him back! While he was not perfect, these are just a few of many attributes in Abraham that possibly identify why God chose him to be the father of the Israelites.
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Descendants

Abraham's first son, Ishmael is born to him by his wife's handmaid, Hagar. Ishmael has 12 sons: Nebajoth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hada, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. At the age of 90, Abraham's wife Sarah gives birth to his second son, and the inheritor of Abraham's covenant, Isaac. It is through Isaac's youngest son Jacob that the 12 Tribes of Israel are born. After the death of Sarah, Abraham takes a third wife, Keturah. Keturah has 6 sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Midian is most likely the namesake of the area Midian that Moses comes to after fleeing Egypt in the beginning of Exodus. Midian's sons are Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. Abraham's son Jokshan has Sheba and Dedan, and Dedan has Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
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Father of Many Nations

Both the Jews and the Arabs are physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Ishmael respectively. Christians and converted Jews are spiritual descendants of Abraham as well. Though there is controversy on the matter, some argue that Muslims worship the God of Abraham and are spiritual descendants of Abraham through Ishmael. This places Abraham's current number of descendants anywhere from 30% to 50% of the world today. Abraham becoming a father of many nations is one powerful prediction from God. Think of all the things that had to happen for this promise to be fulfilled (or rather all of the things that could have happened to stop this promise from being fulfilled). Cultures such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Native Americans, Hittites, etc. have either dwindled or disappeared all together. Moses could not promise that the Jew would not suffer this fate, only God could. Also, the early Christians could not promise that the message of Jesus would be spread around the world, neither could the promise people would believe it. The same holds for Muslims. Yet, here we are 4000 years later and Abraham's descendants make up anywhere from 30% to 50% of the entire world, totaling approximately 3 billion people. Thats pretty powerful right there[3][4][5][6][7].
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References

  1. Campbell, Mike. "Abram". BehindTheName.com. 2015
  2. Campbell, Mike. "Abraham". BehindTheName.com. 2015
  3. "How Many Jews are in the World Today?". Be'chol Lashon. 2015
  4. "World Population Clock". Worldometers. 2015
  5. Christianity Today. "Number of Christians Worldwide". About.com. 2015
  6. Mark Galli. "Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?". Christianity Today. April 15, 2011
  7. "The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050". Pew Research Center. April 2, 2015
  8. Howard Culbertson. "Word search: Most mentioned names of the Bible". . January 12, 2015
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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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