Abram was a prince in the direct lineage of Shem, who was selected by God to become a progenitor of the Promised Seed. He lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Chaldea is currently known as Iraq.
By the time Abram was born, the Shemites had fallen into idolatry, but God convicted Abram and enlightened him regarding the Creator. Abram became a powerful influence to the rest of his family.
It is possible that his brother Haran knew the Creator. He died before his brothers and his father, while they still lived in Ur. The Bible doesn't say how he died, but maybe he died as a martyr. I wonder about this because God had His hand in a special way upon his children, Milchah, Lot, and Sarai. Sarai's name is listed as Iscah; the Jewish historian Josephus said that Iscah was Sarai/Sarah.
The Bible records that Abram/Abraham claimed that she was his half–sister. He had to do a few mental gymnastics to make that claim, but it was the custom in the Middle East for grandparents to refer to their grandchildren as their children. In this sense, Sarah was Abram's father's daughter, for she was the daughter of his son Haran. As Abraham said, her mother was not his mother, but neither was her mother a wife of Terah, his father. She was Haran's wife.
Abraham indulged in this elasticity with the truth because he got himself in a sticky, embarrassing situation where he was regarded as a liar, and he was trying to save face. Sarah was a very beautiful woman, and it created problems for her husband. Abraham was not a habitual liar, but he was terribly afraid of being killed by men who coveted his wife.
Why would a man marry his niece in the first place? As said before, incest did not use to be a complex issue. Parent/child incest was always an abomination, but brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and nephews or uncles and nieces who were close in age married because their genes were still very healthy and could support it. Also, the Earth needed to be repopulated, so it was a necessity to marry where one was able.
As the health of the human race degraded, laws were instituted to protect against birth defects. Along with the taboos, emotional boundaries were set to assist in keeping the incest laws. Until those taboos were established, if the parties were close in age and not breaking an adult/child bond of trust, marriage within the family was allowed.
Later, when brother/sister marriages were outlawed, the emotional bond between brothers and sisters became a deterrent against incest. Children were taught to set boundaries with siblings; trespassing those boundaries is now unwholesome and a betrayal in the family.
In Abraham's time, there was no prohibition against people of similar age marrying within their family. Abraham was only ten years older than his niece. He was still a child when she was born. Sarah's brother Lot was younger than her, so she must have at least been a toddler when her father died, and perhaps afterwards the family went to live with Grandpa Terah in his mansion.
Abraham's brother Nahor married the other niece Milcah. Milcah's name means "queen". Sarai's original name, Iscah, means "watchful". She probably was an introvert, a quiet observer who had large, dark eyes. The family called her Sarai, though, which means "ruler". Perhaps Iscah's name was changed because she was not firm enough with the servants and they, as well as Iscah, needed this reminder that they were to take orders from her. This family thought a lot of its little girls. They probably looked after them tenderly and carefully.
Abraham and his family lived in a wicked city. In their culture, women were expected to serve in the temple of the goddess of love (lust) at some time in their life. This meant that for at least one night, they were to prostitute themselves in the temple. Milcah's and Sarai's family found excuse after excuse to put that off for as long as possible.
I surmise that Abram and Nahor were disgusted with the depravity of their fellow citizens. They probably figured that nobody would love their nieces more or take better care of them than themselves. They did not want them to be married to brutish oafs who would abuse them and probably give them venereal diseases through being unfaithful to them. They were likely also disgusted with the willingness of the females of their city to participate in fertility rites. They married their nieces to keep them safe from harm and from becoming depraved like the other women of their city.
God stirred Abram to greater heights of righteousness. He convicted him to separate himself from idolatry, to just get away from the depraved culture that he had been raised in, though it meant leaving behind his beautiful home and the familiar and beloved places of his youth.
Sarah's beauty might have been one of the levers that God used to help Abraham make the break. She was his wife by then; they had probably been married for several years. No doubt the men of his city coveted her and gave him a hard time, asking, "So, Abram, when are you going to do your duty to the goddess and send your wife to the temple so that our crops will prosper and our numbers increase?" Sarah was probably harassed about it, as well. As time went on, the harassment increased because those men wanted to bid for her favours in the temple when she still had youth and beauty.
Terah was probably harassed, as well. It likely got to the point where the whole city considered the family disloyal and were on the verge of breaking down their doors and taking their women by force. This scenario makes it more understandable as to why Abraham's entire immediate family tore up their roots and accompanied him when he left Ur, though they did not share his loyalty to the Creator alone.
If one considers that this harassment was probably part of Abraham's background, it also makes his fear of being murdered by people who coveted Sarah more understandable. He wasn't by any means a coward. This was the man who, without a moment's hesitation, went after warrior kings when they abducted his nephew. But he had been traumatized in his past with harassment over his wife. He felt intimidated at the idea of a powerful man, who had an army backing him up, taking her by force for his harem and being a specific target for murder to release Sarah from his claim.
I have been a Christian for many years and have heard pastors express disgust over Abraham's lies and so–called cowardice, but many of them would probably cave in with far less provocation. It is true that what Abraham did was wrong, but God kept getting him out of his predicaments. Considering his background, it is no wonder that God showed him mercy.
Abraham took his family and their servants and they all headed north. They had to get out of Ur. From what I understand, Ur was attacked and destroyed shortly afterwards.
They settled for a while in a town called Haran. Perhaps the family named it after their brother, as a memorial to him. It seems likely. Nahor became a prominent citizen there. Abraham waited around until his father died, and then he moved on.
I have heard Abraham criticized for lingering in Haran for his father's sake, instead of going directly to Canaan, but perhaps we should consider the possibility that until after Terah died, God did not show Abraham where he should go next. I do not doubt that God was willing to show this mercy to Terah that he should retain his son and grandchildren until he died. After all, he didn't have long to live after they left Ur, and it had been hard enough for the old man to have already lost one to son to possibly a violent death, and then leave his home at such an advanced age.
It may have also been for mercy to Abraham, Sarah, and Lot to let them leave their roots in easy stages. They were a close–knit family, and it was about to be split. Sarah was leaving behind her sister, Abraham his brother. Little nieces and nephews also were being left behind, and they were not likely to ever see them again.
When Bible teachers criticize Abraham for not heading straight for Canaan right away, they aren't considering that God fulfilled His purposes through Abraham anyway, so maybe he wasn't being disobedient. Maybe God isn't the hardnose that they take Him for, though in other circumstances, due to various dangers, God does tell people to leave everything behind immediately.
Consider also what a radical change Abraham, Sarah, and Lot, along with their servants, had to make in their lifestyle. God cared for the whole batch of them. Camping is an adventure to children, who have adults to look after them and make them feel secure, but living the life of a nomad tends to be depressing to adults who have always lived in houses, and are accustomed to the comforts and conveniences of living in a settled place.
Abraham eventually came to the land of Canaan. Canaan and a good many of his descendents rebelled under the curse, resenting God for it, instead of submitting to Him and finding the blessing that was contained at its heart.
In fact, the Canaanites rebelled even to the point of entering again into the primary sin that caused God to destroy the antediluvians with a Flood. They were having sex with fallen angels, contaminating human DNA.
God is Love. He never does anything for spite. Mercy is at the heart of all His judgments, and if we submit to His judgments when we have erred, His love bursts from the curse and He turns it into a blessing.
As a parent, my heart leaps for joy when I see a child or grandchild sincerely repent of their error and meekly accept my discipline. In the case of a grown child, the discipline consists of refusing to do something that they want me to do, if it is appropriate to refuse. When my kids see the sense of the values I have been trying to teach them, it gets me excited to see them developing character and makes me want to do good things for them. God is like that.
The inhabitants of Canaan were steeped in idolatry and most of them refused to give up their murderous and lascivious practices. They were going to have to forfeit their land if they did not repent, and God knew in advance that they would not repent. There were still some fairly decent chieftains in Canaan who recognized and appreciated Abraham's wholesomeness, and Abraham became friends with them. The time to judge the land had not yet come, and Abraham knew that he would not inherit the land in his lifetime, but his descendents would. His mission was to establish a foothold in the spiritual dimension.
There was a famine soon after Abraham arrived in Canaan, so he went down to Egypt where there was enough food because its first king, Mizraim, was a brilliant engineer who diverted the Nile, causing it run through his territory to provide irrigation where he wanted it to go, and reduce flooding of fertile land. Abram now faced the perils of a powerful king and, sure enough, Pharaoh's prince buddies told him about an astonishingly beautiful woman whom they had seen with a visiting tribal chief.
Pharaoh managed to get a look at her and was pleased with what he saw. Besides being beautiful, Sarah had a stately carriage, a noble visage, and exquisite manners. She was obviously of a princely family. The chief said that she was his sister. Pharaoh eagerly loaded the chief with presents so that he could take his sister into his harem.
Abraham hid his alarm and took the gifts to buy time while he tried to figure out what to do to get his wife back. He prayed desperately for God's intervention because he was vastly outnumbered. What was the sense of getting himself and all his men killed, if he could not rescue his wife after all that?
God took care of the situation by unleashing dreadful diseases on Pharaoh and his household. The king was too sick to dally with his new acquisition, and anyone else who might have meddled with her was out of commission, as well. He consulted his sorcerers. They went into their incantations and learned, either from their demon spirits or from God (sometimes He speaks to mediums, when it suits Him1), what was going on. Actually, it was kind of obvious that it had something to do with Sarah, as Sarah was the only one in Pharaoh's household who wasn't getting sick, but they needed to know the reason why. The sorcerers returned to Pharaoh and told him, "It's that woman whom you brought in here. The man who sold her to you is actually her husband, not her brother. His god won't let you touch her because she is his wife."
Pharaoh was right ticked when he learned this. Sitting on his throne, feeling absolutely miserable with illness, he angrily demanded of Abraham why he had done this to him. He didn't even wait for an explanation. He just told him, "Take her and get out of here!"
Pharaoh ordered his men to let Abraham go peaceably. Otherwise, they would have retrieved Pharaoh's gifts to return to him, plundered the rest of Abraham's stuff for themselves, and probably beat him up, if not kill him for putting such a deception over on them. They weren't interested in knowing how he had been traumatized in the past, or any other explanation.
He had been wronged, but Pharaoh didn't want to take any chances of incurring the wrath of Abraham's powerful deity, so he gave Abraham safe passage out of Egypt and didn't dare try to get his gifts back. As confirmation that the plagues had been due to this matter, as soon he released Abraham and Sarah, the plagues began to ease. He wasn't going to take any risk of them coming back on him and his household.
Flavius Josephus said that Abraham lingered in Egypt because Pharaoh afterwards gave him permission to visit with the priests and inquire into their learning, and that Abraham taught them many things about astronomy, as this was a science that his tribe, the Arphaxadites, were talented in. If he did so, it must have been prior to Pharaoh learning about his deception. The Bible makes it clear that Pharaoh kicked Abraham out of Egypt.
It seems unlikely that Abraham spent much time talking to priests to learn their knowledge or giving seminars about the stars. He was probably too worried about Sarah to do anything but pray and confer with his men for ideas about what to do. It sounds like a Jewish myth rooted in national pride. When accessing extra–Biblical sources, one should always consider the possible motives of the authors, cultural background, the distortions of time, and the probabilities of the events.
Pharaoh's soldiers grimly escorted the tribe to their border, with both Abraham and Sarah feeling the disgrace of their deception. God wanted them to learn to trust Him more. He had given Sarah her beautiful looks, knowing full well all the risks they would present. Abraham and Sarah had to learn to represent God more faithfully as His ambassadors to the pagan world. Part of this entailed being truthful, for He is the God of Truth.
Abraham and Sarah left Egypt wealthier than they arrived and soon after they returned to Canaan, contention arose between Lot's herdsmen and theirs. Between Abraham and Lot, they had so many flocks that the herders vied for grazing land.
Abraham had a double–link with Lot. He was not only his nephew, the son of his beloved brother, but he was also his beloved wife's little brother. Abraham was a wealthy man, but he was not a greedy man. He wanted his nephew/brother–in–law to prosper, so he took him to a mountain where they could get a good view of the land, and told Lot to take his pick of the land because he did not want to fight with him.
Lot did not have Abraham's wisdom and spiritual maturity. He looked at things only from a business perspective, rather than considering also the spiritual implications of his choice. He liked the look of the Jordan plain, though it was close to some cities that were deep into wicked sexual practices. Maybe he figured that he wouldn't get involved in any of that, but he didn't take into consideration seriously enough the effect that it could have on his family.
Abraham let Lot have the Jordan plain. Lot hurried away down the mountain to tell his wife that they were moving. He knew it would be good news to her; she liked to be rich and get richer.
Abraham remained on the mountain to spend some time communing with God. God told him to lift up his eyes and look in every direction. He then told him that the land that he could see, He would give to him and his children forever. A person can not see the whole land of Israel from that little mountain, so it is apparent that God was not referring to what Abraham could physically see.
Everything that happens always begins in the spiritual dimension, either for good or evil. The things that we think about attract either angels or demons. The things that we say are seeds of either life or death. The things that we do either release Hell into the Earth, or they release Heaven on Earth.
God was telling Abraham to open his spiritual eyes and see beyond the limits of his physical vision to the future that God had promised him. He was telling him to imagine it, and to imagine it in detail, to really fix it in his mind that someday it would all be his, through his descendents. He could have it, not because he was imagining it, but because God said that he could have it. Imagining it was only one of the steps to obtaining it. It wasn't the clincher. The clincher was God's promise because God cannot lie, and nothing can prevent God from doing what He pleases.
God also told Abraham, this childless man, that he would someday have so many descendents that they could not be numbered any more than a man can number the dust of the Earth. He employed something that Abraham saw everyday as a constant reminder to him of His promise, to help Abraham get it fixed in his mind and deposited in his heart. Later God used the stars in the desert sky as an illustration to highlight again to Abraham that he really would be a father someday, and the miracle child whom Sarah would bear would be the father of a great nation that would bring forth the Messiah.
By way of furthering the faith process through visual aid, God told Abraham to walk throughout the land, from one side to the other. This would help him see the future with his progeny living in the land. Every place where his foot took a step, he was claiming the land.
Abraham went and stayed a while near Hebron after that. While he was there, some marauding kings, who had been on a rampage, descended on the Jordan plain, rounded up the inhabitants for slaves, and took their possessions. Lot and his family were abducted with all the rest.
Abraham got together with his allies and they went after the kings, settled their hash, and retrieved their captives and spoil. The king of Sodom was grateful and offered to give Abraham some of the spoil. Abraham disliked him intensely. The king of Sodom was a pervert, a liar, and very unstable in his ways. Abraham refused the offer, saying that he had made a vow to God that he would not take any reward from him. He knew that afterwards the king would gripe about it and say that he had made Abraham rich, even if Abraham got no more out of it than a thread or a shoe lace.
The king who impressed Abraham was the King of Salem. This king was actually the Son of God in one of His forms. The Bible says that Melchizedek, which means "king of righteousness", was without father or mother, meaning He was not of earthly descent, nor did He ever die.2 Like Enoch, He just disappeared one day.
Here is another marvel of God's mercy. God had pronounced His judgment on the land of Canaan, but He gave them 400 more years to repent of their evil before He executed His judgment on the nations that lived there. Not only that, He came and lived among them, making His headquarters near where Jerusalem would eventually stand. He lived among the Jebusites and acted as their priest to lead them into the ways of God, to give them more opportunity to see the errors of their ways and repent.
Melchizedek's influence on the Jebusites and other tribes may have slowed down their depravity and deferred their judgment, but in the end, one of the reasons they were judged so severely is because they had God Himself living among them, but still went back to their evil ways and became even worse.
It could be that God has lived among other cultures around the world in the very same way. Legends of great teachers who lived among savage people and steered them away from human sacrifice and cannibalism make me wonder. It is possible that the savages were taught to worship the Creator, but the stories got distorted after their teacher left, and the people went back to worshipping idols.
Abram was happy to see Melchizedek. He knew that Melchizedek was God. Yehoshua verified this in John 8:563. Abraham gave Him a tenth of his possessions to finance His work, and Melchizedek confirmed his fellowship with Abraham through the sharing of bread and wine, which foreshadowed His death on the cross where He would offer His body and blood as a ransom for Mankind.
Later, Melchizedek visited Abraham again, only the Bible refers to Him on this occasion as God. Melchizedek was probably finished with His mission in Canaan. He was heading towards Sodom with a couple of His angels to see for Himself what was going on there. The Son had received messages from Heaven that it was getting too far out of hand. Sodom and Gomorrah were going to have to be judged in advance of the rest of the land. God is never in a hurry to judge, though. He always prefers to show mercy, and He was willing to give those cities yet one more chance to turn from their evil.
Before that came up, though, Abraham and Sarah got themselves in a pickle. They were both very frustrated about their childless condition. Who knew which one was sterile, though? It could have been either. Abraham was a very sensitive and fair–minded guy for his times. He certainly was wealthy enough to have a harem, but he did not have even so much as one concubine, and he had never been unfaithful to his beloved wife.
Besides Abraham's commitment to God and affection for his wife, his bond to Sarah was probably strengthened through their blood ties and having known her since she was a baby. His heart for Sarah was very tender and he did not want to give her any grief. He well knew how he would feel if someone was to bed his wife, and he did not want her to feel such distress on his behalf.
But as time went on, being human after all, Abraham did wonder what it would be like to go to bed with another woman. He would not have done so while Sarah was alive, though, if she had not indicated that she was willing for him to take a concubine so that she could get a child that way.
Sarah wondered if it was her fault that they didn't have children. It ate her alive. She knew she and Abraham were the objects of a lot of conjecture. Was it Abraham who was sterile? Was it the wife? The husband had no other wives, so how was anyone to know for sure? But such things were usually blamed on the wife. The tribe did not want to cast disrespect on their chief. Sarah saw the looks and sensed the speculations; she felt shame that she did not have children.
She wanted this settled once and for all. If Abraham took her slave for a wife and the slave did not have children, then it would be obvious that it was not Sarah's fault that they were childless. If the concubine did have a child, though, it would legally be Sarah's child, and she would finally have a child to hold in her arms and cherish.
Abraham should have resisted her pressure to take her slave for his concubine. He knew Sarah well, and he knew she would be jealous of the concubine. He also knew that it was through Sarah that God would give him the son who would be the progenitor of the Messiah.
But Hagar was a beautiful and intelligent woman, one of Pharaoh's gifts, possibly given directly to Abraham as a fitting concubine for a tribal chieftain. Or maybe she was a handmaid to Sarah when she was in the harem, but I doubt it. When Sarah left, Pharaoh was not in the mood to give any more gifts. Hagar was probably still a child when she was given to Abraham, but her potential was obvious. After Sarah was returned to Abraham, she took the little girl for her own personal handmaid.
Hagar grew up in Sarah's care like a daughter to her, but was trained to serve as a personal assistant. She had a lot of status among the slaves, and probably carried messages and relayed orders for Sarah. Up until now, Abraham simply regarded Hagar as part of their household, a trusted, reliable servant whom he spoke friendly to, but maintained enough distance to retain her respect and his wife's peace of mind.
Abraham had some eager thoughts. Sarah really was willing for him to take this lovely slave for a concubine? He did not waver in his faith about God's promises. The Bible tells us this in Romans 4:204. He did as Sarah urged him because he wanted to go to bed what that young, pretty woman. He was also curious to know whether it was he or Sarah who was sterile.
It turned out that he wasn't the one who was sterile. Hagar got pregnant, and then she became proud that she was going to bear the chief a child, and if it was a son, she expected that he would be his heir. Now she had more status in the tribe than ever. Women smiled knowingly at her behind Sarah's back as Sarah walked by. Sarah could feel that the women either pitied or despised her, and it was irksome. But nothing was more irksome than that her maidservant now despised her.
The grateful, adoring, and respectful tone in Hagar's voice disappeared. Now she lipped off to her mistress. Maybe just a little bit, but that was not at all acceptable from a slave. What she needed, as far as Sarah was concerned, was a good beating.
Sarah complained to Abraham about Hagar's attitude. He was caught in the middle. He probably stopped going to bed with her as soon as they knew she was pregnant, not wanting to make Sarah's jealousy any worse. She likely became cranky about the intimacies that had occurred between him and Hagar, and was jealous that Hagar could get pregnant, though she wanted that baby.
Worse, Sarah was now blaming him, saying that he should not have listened to her and taken Hagar for a concubine. His first thought was probably, "There is no pleasing this woman. I did what she asked, and now she's mad." But he had a tender conscience and was willing to admit to himself that she was right. He told Sarah to do what she wanted with her maid.
Hagar's attitude needed to be straightened out. In that crude culture where slavery was permitted, violence was often employed to keep them in line. Sarah grew up in that kind of culture. She did not question if she had a right to hit another person, if she considered that person her property and they provoked her enough. God meets people where they are at. He takes their background, upbringing, and the culture they live in into consideration when He deals with them. He let Sarah go ahead and take a stick to her pregnant maid, and did not let it disqualify her from His promises.
Hagar ran away afterwards. She was humiliated. She could not preen her feathers any more about bearing the chieftain's child. Sarah had established that Hagar was still no more than her slave. Tents being rather cramped, Sarah probably took a stick to her out in the open where everyone could see her getting beaten. She did not hit her in any way that could injure her baby, but it was a vigorous chastising. Obviously, Abraham had consented to it. He did not intervene, and nobody else dared to intervene.
It was a demonstration to all that Sarah would not tolerate disrespect, and her husband was backing her up. If Sarah had done it without Abraham's consent, Hagar probably would have been pitied, but now it was established that she had been getting above herself and needed to be set in her place.
Hagar ran out of the camp at her first opportunity and kept going for days until she collapsed beside a well in the wilderness. She burned at the memory of her public beating. It served Abraham and Sarah right to deny them her child, as far as she was concerned, but how was she going to look after this baby? How was she going to look after herself? She was easy prey for bandits, who would treat her roughly, or even almost any man, regardless of whether he was rich or poor. Even a poxy, old beggar who was used to hardships would be able to overpower her. Her child could be used as a slave and groomed to be a catamite. She could be forced into prostitution. What was going to become of her and her child?
God sees all, and He hears the cries of every heart and cares for everyone's pain. He says in Exodus 22:22 & 23, "You shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;" It wasn't only for Abraham's sake that He sent His angel to bring Hagar back. The angel told Hagar in Genesis 16:11 that God had heard her affliction. He told her to go back to her mistress and humble herself to her, assuring her that everything would be all right, even though she would continue to be a slave.
He told her that God would bless the child she was carrying and make a great nation of him. The angel spoke of what the child's personality would be like. He would have a resentful nature. This was probably due to his mother's attitude towards her mistress, as well as because of the trauma that he suffered when his mother was beaten while he was in her womb. Hagar's son would be a "wild" man, running loose like a wild ass in the desert, indicating that he was a quick–tempered person who could not get along very well with others or take orders, so he would move around a lot and be his own boss. But he would still stay close to home, living among his own brethren.
That last bit must have made Hagar wonder. Abraham had no other children. There would be more someday? Or maybe the angel was referring to her people? Her son would live in Egypt? At any rate, she was assured that her son would be blessed, in spite of his wild nature. She called the name of the well by which she rested "the well of the Living One who sees me". She knew that God had not abandoned her.
Abraham's son Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86–years–old. Josephus said that Sarah doted on him. It probably gave Hagar pain to have to share her child with another woman, and for that woman to have more say in regards to him than herself, but such was the way of the culture and there wasn't anything she could do about it. Culture or not, it is human nature to be grieved by such a circumstance, and it influences a personality and future generations as wounds get ingrained in the DNA.
Sorrow, shame, anger, bitterness, all gets passed on to future generations, influencing temperament and personality to be contrary to the loving will of God. The way to prevent one's children from being cursed by these things is to get our issues resolved before the children are conceived. Repentance of one's bitterness and unforgiveness towards offenders scrubs the DNA, and it also helps us be a better spouse.
Yehoshua taught that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. The reason for this is that if we feel that we have been wronged, and hold bitterness in our hearts, we are likely to justify our sins. We make excuses for our misdeeds. True repentance cannot be realized until we are willing to give up all the excuses, just admit that we were wrong, and truly abhor what we did for its sake alone, rather than be sorry simply because we are afraid of suffering repercussions for our wickedness or foolishness.
Until we repent of our sins, truly repent of our sins, we cannot receive God's forgiveness, though He has been standing in front of us all along offering it to us. We can receive His gift of forgiveness only if we empty our hands first of the grievances that we are holding against others.
We burden our children with our bad attitudes if we don't get them dealt with before we have children. That does not mean that our children cannot behave differently than us, but it makes it harder for them to do what is right. They have to have more faith than what they would have otherwise, in order to receive the grace to rise above the weaknesses of their flesh.
We can help our children, though, by repenting and making things right with God before any more time is wasted being locked into the futile cycle of vengeance, which always ends up doing more harm to the archers who send forth arrows of spite and fury than it does to the targets of their wrath. When we get our heart right with God, there is more power in our prayers, and we can help our children by praying for them, and setting for them a better example than what we have in the past.
God says to leave vengeance up to Him. This is because He is the only one who knows all the circumstances and can see into every heart, and knows exactly where to apportion the blame. He will see to it that the appropriate thing is done, if we don't take things out of His hands. Things always get botched up and complicated when we do that.
We should keep in mind that it isn't really people who are our enemies, but rather satan who stirs things up and sets people against each other. The best revenge therefore is when our enemies decide that they want to serve God and give up their wicked ways, and get blessed. If we are in tune with God, who is Love, we will pray for our enemies to that end and be happy when we see it happen.
When Abraham was 99–years–old, God came to him and changed his name. Before then, he was called Abram, which means "exalted father", but now he was to be called Abraham, which means "father of a multitude". God was reminding him again of His promise to give him a child through Sarah.
By now, though, Abraham already had a son whom he loved dearly, and he didn't want to Ishmael to miss out on any of God's blessings. God assured Abraham that He would bless Ishmael and make a great nation of him, but His plan regarding the Messiah involved the child whom He had spoken of before Abraham let Sarah persuade him to take a concubine.
At this time, God established the covenant of circumcision with Abraham. It related to Adam's error in the Garden of Eden. Back then, Adam opted for sexual pleasure with his wife rather than an uninterrupted relationship with the Lord. Then to make matters worse, Adam tried to blame his mistake on God because He gave him the woman, and he tried to blame Eve, as well.
The bottom line is that we all know what is right, because God has placed eternity in our hearts, and nobody can persuade us to do what is wrong unless there is something in us that wants to do it. Cutting off the foreskin signified the laying aside of excuses and getting rid of the filth that they conceal, as well as placing our relationship with God above all else.
Abraham was circumcised, as well as all the males in his household, to declare that he was God's man. It took guts. There probably was not any man or boy who was eager for it. It hurts to get one's flesh cut. Abraham had to stand up to the grumbling and insist on the business being done.
Sarah's name was also changed at this time from Sarai to Sarah. The insertion of the "ha" into both of their names marked them as belonging to God. Sarah was no longer merely a princess. God claimed her as His princess. Abraham was no longer merely a father, albeit an honoured one. He was God's choice of a father for a chosen nation.
God visited Abraham again after the circumcision business was taken care of. Part of the reason was to let Abraham know that his nephew was in danger again, because he had moved into Sodom, instead of merely camping in the plains outside its walls. God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, if they refused to repent of their wickedness.
He started off by having lunch while Abraham waited on him, and then talked again about the business of him having a child with Sarah. Sarah was listening behind the curtains of the tent and laughed within herself. She was an old lady now, and Abraham was an old man. I gather that he wasn't interested in sex so much anymore, because his hormone levels were going down. She thought that the idea of them getting it on, and actually having a child as a result, was hilarious.
God asked Abraham what Sarah thought was so funny. He put a date on His promise this time, saying that Sarah would have a child by that time next year. Sarah was excited. God had been saying for years that He would give her a child, but now He was saying that it would be soon, according to her concept of soon. She came out of the tent and tried to say that she hadn't laughed. After all, she hadn't laughed out loud; just in her heart. God said, "No, you laughed."
God and the angels got up and headed towards Sodom. Sarah stayed by the tent, feeling embarrassed and wondering if God would change His mind because she had doubted, but then reasoned that He had not said that He would change His mind. Excitement set in as she busied herself cleaning up after the lunch. She probably made plans about what to wear when she served Abraham dinner that evening, and wondered where she could get some rose petals to sprinkle on their bed.
Abraham walked along with God. God turned to the angels and asked a rhetorical question relating to what He was about to do, and whether He should tell Abraham what was about to happen. Of course He would, because Abraham was going to become a great nation, and he was faithful to God, and he would teach his family to be faithful to God. He let him know that He was about to destroy the cities of the plain.
The angels went on ahead while God lingered to let Abraham intercede for the cities. Abraham humbly asked God to consider the lives of the righteous people who lived in those cities, and to spare those cities if there were enough of them there. Abraham whittled God all the way down to sparing a city if there were only ten righteous people living in it. For the sake of even a small group of people who loved Him, God was willing to spare their city. Disgracefully though, when the cities were inspected, only one righteous man was found, and that was Lot.
The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 2:7 that Lot was vexed by what he saw going on in Sodom5. This implies that it wasn't his idea to move there. It probably was his wife's and his daughters' wish. His wife was a lady who loved her luxuries and probably wanted to show them off. She likely craved admiration and there was more prestige in living in a mansion in a high–class neighbourhood than in a tent in the middle of a pasture. The girls probably wanted to be around other girls who they felt were their peers; perhaps a bit of snobbery was going on there. Even one woman making demands and pleas can wear a man down, never mind a gang of them. Maybe they appealed to his protective instincts by telling him that they were afraid of raiding parties, but if they moved into the city, they would be less vulnerable to capture. People are quite capable of exaggerating their fears so they can get others to panic into agreeing to what they want just to calm down their hysterics.
The angels found Sodom to be everything that it was reported to be. The homosexual men who lived there were so depraved that they wanted to despoil every kind of innocence, even to have sex with angels. They may not have consciously recognized that Lot's visitors were angels, but the visitors were men who exuded an unearthly holiness and did not invite sexual attention in any way. In fact, the vibes they gave off indicated that they were totally indifferent to sexual allures.
The Sodomites lust for the angels confirms suspicions that parent/child incest and pedophilia were other perversions that rampaged through the city. Pleasure lovers who have degraded themselves to the point where they engage in perversion crave the innocence they have lost, but they are not willing to repent of their sins to regain it.
Their motive is not for purity, but rather for virginity. Lust deceives sinners into thinking that they can gain what they want from others who have it by engaging in sex with them. The worst kind of perverts crave sex with innocents, thinking that it will take them back to the point in their lives when sex was really exciting to them and they didn't have to do all sorts of weirder and weirder stuff to get a buzz. Not that they mind the weird stuff, but the buzz simply is not as exciting as what sex used to be for them when they didn't know much about it. Robbing others of their innocence or defiling them against their will does not give perverts the innocence they crave, but it excites them to bring others down to their level.
Even when the Sodomites were struck blind after trying to break down Lot's door to get to his visitors, they still did not give up their attempts to satisfy their lust on the angels, but felt around for the door. This type of utter degradation and depravity is where perversion leads to, if it is not repented of. Judgment can be pounding down the door, but pleasures are still sought right up to the last moment of life, instead of conviction making one fall on their knees and plead with God for mercy before it is too late.
It isn't just homosexuals who are perverted. During the London Blitz in World War II, while bombs were falling, pathetic men and women had sex with each other in doorways. It was dark, they had no idea who they were having sex with, but in their terror, they grabbed for a base kind of comfort, instead of turning to God in their fear and preparing their soul to meet their Maker. The morning after bombings, clean–up crews found dead couples locked in disgraceful poses. It is shameful for one's life to end in defiance of the Lord to the last breath.
The angels told Lot to gather his family and leave the city because God was going to destroy it. They let him visit his daughters' fiancés to try to persuade them to leave with them, but the men laughed at him and said that he must be joking. They did not believe that the city was about to be destroyed. It didn't seem all that evil to them, and the night was calm, the stars bright, and no danger seemed to be pending.
When Lot returned home, he dithered about, so the angels finally took him and his wife and daughters by their hands and hurried them out of the city, warning them to not look back. They told Lot to take refuge in a mountain, but he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to survive there and pleaded with them to let him stay in a little town on the plain. They agreed to not destroy it, so the family headed there.
The angels left them to go back to the city to destroy it. Then the family heard a great roar behind them and waves of heat. Lot and his daughters ran all the faster, but his wife stopped and looked back, probably thinking with regrets about her beautiful house and her friends. She died on the spot, suddenly crystallized. She had stepped out from behind the shield of obedience to the Lord.
Abraham saw the smoke from the cities rising up like a furnace. Billows and billows of smoke. Perhaps it looked like a mushroom cloud such as is released from an atomic bomb, but the blast was possibly a supernatural explosion, or natural phenomena from outside of Earth's atmosphere. In other situations, the Bible records God using fire from both sources. The cities were destroyed. Abraham wondered what happened to his nephew and his family.
Meanwhile, Lot escaped to the little town of Zoar. It seems he didn't stay there for long. I surmise that the townspeople panicked and ran away, so he and his daughters left, as well. He figured he might as well take his chances in the mountain after all. He and his daughters gathered up provisions that the townspeople had left behind and headed for the mountain.
What did they see on their way to the mountain that caused Lot's daughters to think that they must be the last people on Earth? I surmise that there was a shield of protection over that town, and over Lot and his daughters, and when the townspeople left, they left God's protection. They probably died from exposure to radiation and their bodies dropped by the tracks that led to the mountain.
Lot and his daughters took refuge in a cave. Lot was deeply depressed. He had lost his wife, and he had no hope that she went to Paradise. In her last moments, she displayed that her heart was not committed to God. And all his property was gone. So much for choosing the rich pasture of the plain. It was the worst business decision of his life.
Lot was depressed and morose. He kept to himself, but he should have found out what his daughters were thinking and reassured them that they were not the last people on Earth. Lot would know that the city was judged for its wickedness, and that if God had spared him, He surely had spared Abraham and Sarah. Their camp must be intact.
The girls did not think that their city deserved to be judged for its wickedness. If they did, they would have figured out on their own that Abraham and his family were still alive. There was Cousin Ishmael whom they could have married.
No, like typical, shallow, pleasure–seeking teens, they figured God was a cranky deity who destroyed people arbitrarily. They were spared because Dad was righteous, but now Dad was flat broke. He had no more property. There were no dowries for them, even if there were men still alive, but that was so highly doubtful. The oldest girl decided that it was up to her and her sister to repopulate the Earth. It was a typical teenage fantasy of what to do in the event of an apocalypse, but there weren't any men around to father their children, except for their Dad.
In Sodom, Lot's children absorbed the culture. They may have had friends whose fathers molested them, but their friends didn't think it was a big deal because they were programmed to accept it. It may have been part of their religious beliefs to consider it virtuous or a valid means of obtaining magical power.
The girls were not shocked at the idea of going to bed with their father, but they knew he would be shocked at the idea. They got him drunk so that he didn't know what he was doing. He was certainly depressed enough that he could be persuaded to try to forget his troubles for a while in wine.
Lot's shock came later when he realized that his daughters were pregnant and he was the only one who could have fathered their children. It was now high time that they went looking for Abraham and Sarah and got some help. Their reunion was a time of weeping, over the loss of the sister–in–law, over their brother's misery, and their nieces' predicaments.
Those girls must have felt like fools when they came out of the mountains and found that there were other people still alive. Now they had to bear the shame of people knowing that they were not only brazen, little hussies who tricked their own father into siring their children, but were also stupid enough to think that it had been necessary.
A bright ray of hope for Lot, though, was the miracle that his sister Sarah, an old lady, was now pregnant. And she looked younger! And so did Abraham! God turned back the years and restored their youth. They didn't look like teenagers, but probably a good forty years younger. Sarah was rejuvenated enough that she was again coveted by a king and appropriated for his harem.
As before, when Abraham journeyed into dangerous territory, he asked Sarah to say that she was his sister, and it had the same results. A king named Abimelech took a fancy to her, his household was troubled, he found out that Abraham was Sarah's husband, and he ended up scolding Abraham and Sarah.
It was a weird thing that happened to the royal household. I used to think that when the Bible said that God closed up the wombs of the women in the king's household, it meant they were not conceiving children. But then it occurred to me that it would have taken a few months for anyone to notice that this was happening. Even then, it wouldn't be all that extraordinary, unless it went on for at least a year.
Sarah conceived and gave birth to Isaac sooner than that, so she couldn't have been in the harem for that long. Also, if the king had a few months before he realized that something was wrong, he would have had time to get Sarah into bed, even if he was taking his time about it and getting to know her on a personal basis first to heighten his pleasure through anticipation.
Eventually I realized why they were so upset. I finally recalled the testimony of a Chinese woman named Nora Lam. Nora was arrested because she was a Christian. She was sentenced to die by firing squad, but when the soldiers shot at her, a bright light flashed around her and none of the bullets hit her. Seeing as they could not kill her, the Chinese government sent her to a work camp. She was pregnant, but had to carry sacks of coal weighing more than 100 lbs. on her back.
At night when Nora lay on the wooden floor of the barracks exhausted, she would cry and pray that God would not let her baby be born until she was free. Nora carried that baby for twelve months until she was allowed to leave China. She was so ill that she had to crawl on her hands and knees across No Man's Land. Her baby was born in a hospital in Hong Kong, and she said he was a huge baby. God surely can close up wombs and keep them shut long after a child should have been born.
I expect that the king was very concerned when his wives and household servants who went into labour could not give birth. He probably felt harassed as those women suffered day after day with labour pains. He was too worried and busy visiting distressed wives, and consulting with his wise men, to have time to bed his new acquisition.
But he did manage to get some sleep. He needed his sleep so that he could stay alert enough to maintain control of his kingdom. God came to him in his sleep and told him he was a dead man because his new concubine was another man's wife. Alarmed, the king protested that he had not known, and God said that this was why He had not let him touch Sarah. He told him to restore Sarah to Abraham and Abraham would pray for him so that he would live, otherwise God would destroy Abimelech and his household.
Abimelech demanded from Abraham that he explain why he had lied to him. Abraham felt embarrassed, so he fudged and tried to justify his claim that Sarah was his sister. Abimelech loaded Abraham with gifts to ensure the favour of Abraham's deity.
Then Abimelech turned to Sarah and told her with disdain that she did not have to worry that anyone would be so overcome by her beauty that they would try to kidnap her, nor bother anyone else associated with their household, because her husband and everything pertaining to him was now under Abimelech's protection out of respect for Abraham's God.
In this way, he let her know that he felt it was dishonourable of her to have said that she was Abraham's sister and kept up the pretense, and he had lost respect for her because of it. It was not due to any concern for her that he was letting her go. He knew she was married to a fair–minded man who would not have forced her to say that she was his sister, if she had refused to do it. She finally had to take responsibility for her part in the brother/sister deception.
Sarah gave birth to Isaac after that. His name means "laughter", and indeed, many laughed for joy at the birth of the miracle baby. As Sarah nursed her baby, she shook her head and laughed as she said, "God has made me laugh and all who hear will laugh with me. Who would have thought that I would give birth at 90–years–old, and when my husband was a 100–years–old?"
We can well imagine that Isaac was a child who got a lot of attention. It was a problem, though, for his older brother. Ishmael was jealous. His Dad had always loved him and given him attention and careful, sensitive instruction, but he was positively besotted with this new kid. He resented that another child now filled his father's arms and had a claim on his heart, and that the child meant so much to Abraham because he was a miracle child and selected by God to be a direct ancestor of the Messiah.
A few years later, Isaac was weaned and a celebration was in full swing to console him about no longer being allowed to nurse at his mother's breast. Abraham and Sarah assured him that he was a big boy now, and had no further need for Mommy's milk. He could eat solid food like the big people. Would he like to have some yummy shish kabob?
Ishmael was irked at the attention that Isaac got that day. It was obvious by the big deal being made out of it with this splashy party that Isaac was going to inherit the double portion and be the leader of the tribe when Abraham died.
Ishmael's jealousy boiled over and he teased Isaac, probably telling him he was still a baby, and other things along that line. Sarah overheard it, went to Abraham, and angrily told him to cast out the slave woman and her son, to cut him from making any claims to being Abraham's heir. She didn't want him hanging around making trouble for Isaac, undermining his confidence and trying to take his inheritance from him.
Abraham was distressed. He loved Ishmael and could not imagine sending him away. He turned to God in prayer and God told him to listen to Sarah and send the boy away. He confirmed that if Ishmael stuck around, it would cause problems in His plans for Isaac as the founder of a holy nation that would produce the Messiah.
God assured the grieving father that He would prosper Ishmael for Abraham's sake, and so He has. Ishmael's descendents exist to this day and have had great wealth because of deposits of oil on their land.
Isaac was an easy–going kind of guy who was too impressed with the manliness and athletic ability of his older twin son to recognize that he was not interested in pleasing God. Isaac was also too obtuse to realize that the twin whom he thought was a weakling was the one who had a passion for the things of God, and would even go so far as to wrestle with an angel all night to obtain God's blessing. If Isaac had been raised with Ishmael around, he probably would have been too influenced by him, for Ishmael, too, was an outstanding athlete and very manly sort of guy.
Ishmael was too caught up in his own pain to look objectively at his circumstances and revere the call of God on his father's life. He was self–centred. He felt rejected by his father. He didn't give enough thought to what it would mean for the whole human race for the Messiah to be brought forth, and that He had to come forth in the way that God planned. With Self as his pivot, he stewed in misery about how he felt short–changed, and spread it around to others, as well, with his contentious spirit.
It was a mistake for Abraham to listen to Sarah when she told him to give her a child through her slave, and part of the result of his mistake is that he produced a child whose descendents made trouble for Isaac's descendents for centuries.
But no child is ever a mistake. God knew in advance what Abraham would do, and He worked that into His plan. Ishmael had as much right as any other child to be born, and God had blueprints for him that would give him a fantastic destiny, if he trusted God in spite of his troubles, and submitted to His plan.
There is no point in being jealous of the plans that God has for others. His plan for us is the only one that we can cope with. It will challenge us to our limit, but it will also fulfill us like no other plan could.
Heartbroken, Hagar and Ishmael were sent away. Abraham's face was etched with sorrow as he set a skin of water on Hagar's shoulder and gave her some bread for their journey. He didn't know where they would end up, but he knew that God would take care of them. It is powerful thing to have a man such as Abraham praying for one's safety and provision, but they didn't realize that, yet. They were absorbed in how they felt rejected by father, husband, and God. Ishmael was 17–years–old.
Hagar and Ishmael journeyed as far as they could go after running out of water. Ishmael was weak from both hunger and thirst, but mostly sorrow. He leaned on his mother's shoulders until finally she could support him no longer and pushed him down under a shrub in the desert. Then she went away to where she could not see him because she did not want to see him die, and she expected to die also.
This is a poignant picture of where many single mothers are today. They have children to support, but the burden is heavy. They have no husband to help them and the children's hearts are breaking because they feel rejected by their father. The mother dies inside because she knows that she can not fulfill all their emotional needs, even if she can find an honourable way to feed, clothe, and shelter her children. But there is a God who sees, and He is a God who helps widows (women who have no man to help them) and orphans (abandoned children) when they cry out to Him. Ishmael cried out to the Lord, and the Lord heard him.
Just as He did before when Hagar ran away and was in despair, God came to her, comforted her, and helped her. He gave her hope, assuring her that her son would be successful in life. Then He opened her eyes to show her a well of water that had been there all the time, though she thought they were going to die of thirst. That's the way it usually is. The answers to our problems are close at hand. When we look to God for help, He helps us see the solution that He prepared for us, but never noticed before because we were focussed on the problem instead of the One who has all the answers.
Hagar and Ishmael were refreshed. They arose and found assistance somewhere. Perhaps the fame of Abraham had reached the wilderness and some tribal chieftain thought it would be useful for Abraham to be obligated to him for helping his son. In any case, the boy was handsome, athletic, daring, and fiery; the sort of young fellow a warrior enjoyed taking on as a protégé and adding to his troops.
Isaac grew up in gentler circumstances, doted on by both mother and father, and adored by his tribe. He was a wonder to the other tribes among whom they lived, a miracle child born to old parents. What could it mean that this special family journeyed among them? They must have wondered, but Abraham was too smart to say anything to them about how his descendents were going to take over their land someday.
He concentrated on being the best ambassador he could be for his Lord, to try to teach these people God's ways. After all, God had called him to be a blessing to all the tribes of the Earth. Anyone who turned to the Lord and looked to the Creator for salvation through the Messiah would be saved.
When Isaac was a young man, Abraham took him on a special trip to the mountains of Moriah, the area where Yehoshua was later crucified. They took wood with them because Abraham thought that Isaac had to be offered as a burnt offering to the Lord. He didn't know that God intended to stop him at the last moment from killing Isaac.
God is humble and He demonstrated His humility by implementing a legal means to gaining access to the Earth to rescue its hostage race and restore it to its place of dignity in the Universe. He doesn't just imperiously barge in because He has the power to do so. God is a God of order and He does not violate His rules. He doesn't just tell us what to do. He sets the example of righteousness, regardless of personal discomfort and inconvenience, even to the point of enduring agony for righteousness' sake.
God gained the right to redeem Mankind through His covenant with Abraham, asking him to give Him Isaac. In this way, Abraham became a representative for the whole human race, and by his obedience to this command, all the tribes of the Earth were blessed.
When two parties made a covenant in the Old Testament manner, they each pledged their goods and their strength to each other. If one was in trouble, whatever the other had wherewith he could help was offered in assistance. One party could be a simple peasant and the other a king. If the king asked for the man's hovel because he has need of it, the poor man handed it over and the king respected his covenant partner's little shack rather than despised it.
Perhaps a king was deposed from power and had to flee for his life wearing a disguise. He could expect to rely on his peasant friend to shelter him, and his friend would place his own life at risk for the sake of their covenant.
If the peasant man was in danger of being invaded by bandits, regardless of his humble station in life, he could call on his powerful friend for assistance and the king would send his soldiers to take care of the problem. If a poor man could win the favour of a powerful person who was so impressed with him that he would make a covenant with him, his situation in life was immensely improved.
When Abraham complied with God's demand for his son, and demonstrated a willingness to kill his cherished, miracle son upon an altar because it was the way that he understood the command, as a right under covenant, God was then able to reciprocate and give His own beloved Son to humanity in return.
This needed to be only a one time thing, and God never intended that Abraham should actually kill Isaac, which is why in regards to human sacrifice, God said in Jeremiah 32:35 "… which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination …" Once Isaac, as a representative sacrifice, had been offered to the Lord, God never again had a need for a human being to think that they were required to kill their child as an offering to Him.
Abraham knew that God had ordained Isaac to be a progenitor of the Messiah, and that He was going to make a mighty nation of him, so Abraham expected that God would raise Isaac from the dead. This was a foreshadowing of how Messiah would be raised from the dead after He was offered up as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world.
Due to the obedience of Abraham and within God's laws, the Anointed Lord Yehoshua gained appointment as our Redeemer through being born as a mortal human being on this quarantined planet, sharing our discomforts, and paying the penalty for our sins through His death. He paid the price to put things right in the Earth, whether everyone welcomes Him to do so or not. It was by being obedient to this particular command of God to offer up Isaac that Abraham became the Father of Faith.
Abraham gave Sarah no inkling of what he intended to do when he trudged off with Isaac. He felt there was no point in worrying her or having her try to argue him out of doing it. Everything in Abraham's life was aligned to bring him to this point. If he had not been obedient, God would have found someone else to let Him enter the Earth with a mortal body.
But Abraham was obedient, and he should be honoured for his pivotal part in releasing the Messiah to us. Right here, right now, in the mighty Name of Yehoshua, I bless the memory of righteous Abraham for his obedience to God in offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord, in simplicity of faith, possibly not even knowing why God required it of him.
Isaac was bewildered when his father tied him up and laid him on an altar, but he had grown up trusting his father. Having an easy–going, gentle personality probably came into play here. It would have been a problem if Isaac had fought and run away, but like Yehoshua who submitted to the wisdom of His Father, Isaac submitted to being lain on an altar. His mind was bewildered, his heart probably breaking, but if Abraham said it had to be done, then it had to be done.
What a relief it must have been to Isaac to see that knife stop in mid–air, arrested in its downward plunge, as the Lord called out to Abraham to not hurt the lad. And there in a thicket nearby was a ram that had trotted up and gotten its horns caught in the thorn bush. This is a picture of the Messiah running afoul of the Pharisees because they were envious of His miracles and angered by His outspoken condemnation of their religious hypocrisy, so they delivered Him up to the secular authorities to be crucified. Yehoshua went to the cross willingly, coming between us and the wrath of God, taking our punishment, for we are all sinners and deserve to be forever separated from God.
The ram was offered up as the sacrifice instead of Isaac and they returned home. Sarah probably nearly fainted when she found out what had happened, but what could she say? It all turned out well. Abraham had done the crucial thing that was required of him, and she did not need to worry that anything else like that would come up that would place Isaac in danger. She lived out the rest of her days in contentment with her son close by, and no daughter–in–law to distract from his attention to her.
Shortly after Sarah's death, Abraham sent a trusted servant to Haran where his brother's family resided, and a wife was obtained for Isaac from among his brother's grandchildren. Isaac was comforted after his mother's death by the beautiful Rebekah, and eventually they had twin boys, of whom God chose the younger one to be the direct ancestor of the Messiah.
Abraham was rejuvenated to such an extent that he took another concubine after Isaac was settled with a wife. Keturah, the concubine, bore Abraham six more sons. When they were grown, he gave them all an inheritance and sent them away, so that they would not be around to get worked up with jealousy towards Isaac and make trouble for him.
When he was 175–years–old, Abraham died. Isaac and Ishmael took care of the funeral arrangements and buried him next to Sarah in a double cave that Abraham purchased for a burial place when Sarah died. The caves and the adjacent field that Abraham also purchased were near Hebron. And so ended the life of one of the greatest men that the world will ever know.
Are his bones still in that cave? It's doubtful. The Bible says in Matthew 27:52 that when Yehoshua died on the cross, some of the dead came to life and went to Jerusalem.6 This tells me that Yehoshua wasted no time setting the prisoners in Paradise free as soon as He died. On their way up to Heaven, some of them took a look at the place where significant events of eternal importance had occurred. I'm not God, but I think that it would be only fitting for Abraham to get to see up close the place where his long–awaited Messiah died, especially because he had such a crucial part to play in that event. Yes indeed. Blessed is Abraham, the father of those who believe that Yehoshua is the Son of God, and look to Yehoshua as their Saviour.
1 And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with you?
2For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.
[Heb 7:1 – 3]
3Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Yehoshua said unto them, Truly, truly, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.
[John 8:56 – 58]
4He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
5And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
[2 Peter 2:7 & 8]
6And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
[Matthew 27:52 & 53 ]
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The Majesty of God, Chapter 14
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on April 5, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e—Sword's King James Bible.