Friday, 29 October 2010

Genesis 12 to 14

Abram is called by God at the start of chapter 12; this is the beginning of the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Mandaeism, it is said he acquired his wealth in Haran, which is in southeast Turkey today and he is promised to be a great nation. In the Genesis account Abram is to leave for Canaan, he is promised the land for his offspring, with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot and the people and possessions that have been acquired.

Genesis 12 gives an account of Abram dishonoring himself, interestingly he has just been called by God and he then sins against the Pharaoh, by saying Sarai is his sister and the Pharaoh has been sent a disease from God because of Abram. This is definitely an example of moral failure/sin by the patriarch Abram, in a way it shows that men of god are also likely to sin just as much as a normal person, in a way it should give comfort that we are all fallible.

Genesis 13 gives the account of the separation of Abram and Lot, with Abram heading to Hebron, in the modern day West Bank and Lot heading to Sodom, near the Dead Sea. In Genesis 14 an account is given of a conflict between Kings and how Lot is rescued by Abram, a strange set of verses are given at the end of chapter 14, saying about Melchizedek king of Salem and that he is a priest of God Most High and him blessing Abram, this suggests that more people were practicing monotheism in Abram’s time.
In Islam, Abram (Abraham) is known as Ibrahim and is considered an important prophet as he is the father of Ishmael (Arabs) and of Isaac (Jews), he is mentioned a large number of times in the Quran. Some traditions in Islam state that Ishmael was to be sacrificed instead of Isaac; the specific son is not clearly given in the Quran. Lot is also considered a prophet in Islam because of his strong stance on homosexuality while in Sodom.

The account of Abram has problems in placing him in history, it is always consider being at the start of the second millennium BC, there is no clear indication, some theories believe he was an historical invention at the time of the exile, to help explain the founding of the Jewish people.

The “Cave of the Patriarchs” is given as Abram’s last resting place, which is in Hebron, technically the site should be a place of pilgrimage for all the Abrahamic faiths, whether the actual place of burial, no one would be able to verify it.


  1. You should read James Jordan's book Primeval Saints on this section, you'd find it fascinating in presenting a different angle on Abraham and Pharaoh - especially when you pair it up with the Abimelech story later in the book.

  2. I shall look up that book on Primeval Saints, sounds interesting, cheers for that.