abraham defined in 1939 yearabraham - Abraham (abram);
abraham - Founder of the Jewish or Hebrew nation. The story of his life, as given in Gen. 11-25, has been the subject of much critical inquiry. Son of Terah, descendant of Shem, and a native of Ur of the Chaldees, possibly Mugheir, in S. Babylonia, his period is conjecturally about 2300 b.c. With his father, his wife Sarai, or Sarah, as her name is spelt in the later part of the narrative, and his nephew Lot, Abraham, whose name is at first spelt Abram, moved from Ur to Haran, near Edessa. Here Terah died, and thence, under divine guidance, Abraham migrated to Canaan. At Shechem, where it was revealed to him that his seed should possess the land, he raised his first altar to the Almighty.
Driven by famine to Egypt, he there described Sarai as his sister to Pharaoh - as later to Abimelech, king of Gerar - but no serious consequences followed this deception. Returning to Canaan, he gave Lot choice of the Jordan valley for his flocks, and pitched his tent by the oak of Mamre, near Hebron. After rescuing Lot from Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and being blessed by Melchizedek, Abraham, despairing of an heir, followed the native custom by taking Sarai's Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, as his second wife, and thus became father of Ishmael. Then came the visit of the three heavenly messengers,with the news of the pending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, for the people of which Abraham pleaded with Jehovah. Lot and his family were spared, though Lot's wife, for disobedience, was turned intc a pillar of salt.
In due time Sarai bore a son, Isaac; circumcision was instituted, and Abraham's faith was severely tested by the divine command to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Sarai was buried in the cave of Machpelah. Abraham then married Keturah, by whom he had six sons; and after arranging the marriage of I s a a c and R e b e k a h, the patriarch passed away, and was buried by Sarai's side in the grave at Machpelah, on the traditional site of which a Christian church and later a mosque were built.
As common ancestor of Arab tribes as well as of the Hebrews, Abraham, by whom the early faith in the one true God was restored, is to Jew and Moslem alike the supreme type of faithfulness, courage, generosity, and wisdom.
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