Abraham His Story His Contributions to Judaism
The Land This comes later – with Moses, when he receives the 10 commandments Torah God The People The Land All of the descendents of Abraham (through the line of Isaac) Canaan – “To your offspring I will give this land” – Genesis 12:7
Covenant • Marks the beginning of a special relationship • Changes Abram to Abraham to indicate this shift in the relationship • Abraham means “ancestor of a multitude” • There are privileges, but also responsibilities with the covenant • Upside and downside of being chosen…
The Egypt Episode • Foreshadows the Exodus (plagues) • Pharoah • Why does Abram lie about his relationship to Sarai?
Abraham’s Covenant • “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land (Canaan) that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”
Circumcision • The Hebrew word for “making” a covenant is literally to “cut” a covenant. • “Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old.” – Genesis 17:10 • “So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.” – Genesis 17:13
Sarai • “The LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go into my slave-girl (Hagar); it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” (Genesis 16:2) • Hagar “looked with contempt upon her mistress” and so “Sarai dealt harshly with her” after Abram refused to get involved.
Hagar • Ran away to a spring of water • God’s angel tells her, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude….you shall call him Ishmael…He shall be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin” (Genesis 16: 10-12). • “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous…but my covenant I will establish with Isaac” (Genesis 17:20-21).
Claude Lorrain, 1604/05-1682 Canvas, 52 x 42 cm The National Gallery, London Landscape with Hagar and the Angel, 1646
Names • Abraham = ancestor of many • Sarah = princess • Ishmael = God hears • Isaac = he laughs
Rembrandt, 1606-1669 Panel, 16.5 x 21.5 cm Private collection, United States of America Abraham and the Three Angels, 1646
Guercino, 1591-1666 Canvas, 115 x 154 cm Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan Abraham Banishing Hagar and Ishmael, 1658
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, 1621-1674 Canvas, 54.5 x 68.5 cm North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh The Banishment of Hagar, 1666
Zamzam Well – Mecca • Located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest place in Islam. • The miraculously generated source of water from God, which began when Ishmael was thirsty and kept crying for water.
Caravaggio, 1573-1610 Canvas, 104 x 135 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence The Sacrifice of Abraham, 1603
Abraham and Lot • Lets Lot choose which land to herd • Canaan is the land of the chosen people • Hospitality 18:2-5 • Obedience • “Sacrifice” of child to God when asked • Lot chooses the “well watered, garden” area • Sodom is “wicked” • Lesser hospitality 19:3 • Willful sacrifice of daughters to people, unsolicited 19:8
Anonymous (Antwerp?) Panel 48 x 34 cm Musee du Louvre, Paris Lot and his Daughters, first half 16th century
Genesis 25: 19-34, 27 • Isaac married Rebekah (baren) • Continuation of the theme that a barren woman will have a child who becomes important (Sarah->Isaac) • God - two nations (twins) wrestling in the womb • One stronger, elder will serve the younger • Esau & Jacob = supplant; to supersede by trickery
Govert Flinck, 1615-1660 Canvas, 117 x 141 cm Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Isaac Blessing Jacob, 1638
Jusepe de Ribera, 1591-1652 Canvas, 179 x 233 cm Museo National del Prado, Madrid Jacob’s Dream, 1639
Genesis 28 • Transfer of blessing from Isaac to Jacob • Similar promise to Abraham after split with Lot • Stairway to heaven = distance from the Jacob he IS to the Jacob he will BECOME • Bethel = House of God
Raphael, 1483-1520 Fresco Loggia, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican, Rome The Meeting of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, 1514-1517
Genesis 30:25 – Genesis 31 • Return to trickery (both Jacob and Rachel) • What’s up with that cattle?
Genesis 32-33 • Jacob’s wrestle with God • Finally getting to the top of the ladder • Changes name from Jacob to Israel = He who wrestles with God • We’ll come back to this.
Genesis 34 • Rape of Dinah • Violation of sexual honor • Similar to Ham/Noah; Abram/Sarai • Trickery • Similar to the blessings of both Isaac and Abraham • Avenging family name