Abraham of Chaldea


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 story. 

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."

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 Archeology 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 seems. 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 tradition 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 handm

aid. 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 tha t 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
ang el 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
o f 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 o n 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
Abraham 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

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, and 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 bracele ts 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 retur ned 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 Christ.

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 throughout. 


* 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, Publishers)

* 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 Company)

* 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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