Who was Abraham?

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AbrahamHebrew Avraham, originally called Abram or, in Hebrew, Avram, (flourished early 2nd millennium BCE), the first of the Hebrew patriarchs and a figure revered by the three great monotheistic religions—JudaismChristianity, and Islam. According to the biblical book of Genesis, Abraham left Ur, in Mesopotamia, because God called him to found a new nation in an undesignated land that he later learned was Canaan. He obeyed unquestioningly the commands of God, from whom he received repeated promises and a covenant that his “seed” would inherit the land. In Judaism the promised offspring is understood to be the Jewish people descended from Abraham’s son, Isaac, born of his wife Sarah. Similarly, in Christianity the genealogy of Jesus is traced to Isaac, and Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. In Islam it is Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son, born of Hagar, who is viewed as the fulfillment of God’s promise, and the Prophet Muhammad is his descendant.


Chronology of Abraham’s life from Genesis

Event Age   Scripture Ref. from
Born in Ur 0   11:27, 32; 12:4
Departs from Haran 75   12:4
Sojourn in Egypt during famine     12:10-20
Rescue of Lot from Mesopotamian Kings     14:1-24
Marriage to Hagar 85   16:3
Birth of Ishmael 86   16:16
Reaffirmation of covenant 99   17:1
Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 99   19:24
Sojourn in Gerar 99   20:1-18
Birth of Isaac 100   21:2; cf. 21:5
Offering of Isaac     22:1-19
Death of Sarah 137   23:1-2; cf. 17:17
Marriage of Isaac to Rebekah 140   25:20
Birth of Jacob and Esau 160   25:26
Death of Abraham 175   25:7


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