Abram, also known as Abraham, was one of the 'Patriarchs', which essentially means that he's one of the oldest, most significant figures in the Bible. Located in Genesis and originally from Ur, Abraham was a man who set out not knowing entirely where he was going, trusting in someone he had never met. Here is a brief look into Abraham's life.
Abram was the son of Terah and was born and raised in the Ur of the Chaldees (which in today's world is somewhere around Southern Iraq). He grew up with two other brothers - Haran and Nahor. To fast-forward through Abram's childhood years, Haran had a child called Lot, Abram married a woman named Sarah (who we are specifically told is barren) and Nahor married a woman named Milkah. Terah, his father, then makes the decision to uproot ALL of his family from Ur of the Chaldees and move to Canaan. However, on their lengthy journey, when they arrived in Haran en route, they ended up staying there.
Sometime later in Haran, Terah died at the ripe old age of 205. We're then told that God, through his angels, spoke to Abram and told him to leave his larger family, his people and his country to go to a 'land that he would show him' (Gen 12:1). This would not be an easy feat for anyone regardless of their age, but an incredible feat of strength of will and faith for someone whose father had just died. God then went on to promise a number of things to Abram - He said He would...
- Make Abram a great nation,
- Make Abram's name great,
- Bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him,
- And finally, through Abram, all the people of the earth would be blessed.
Abram, considering his current circumstance and in an astounding show of faith immediately does exactly what God asked and left. He wasn't alone however, as a few of his closer family members chose to leave with him - his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot and their sizeable retinue (their servants and their families).
Again, sometime later, Abram and Lot's lot (ha) had increased so significantly that they struggled to fit in the same camps. This caused aggravation particularly amongst the family's herdsman as cattle strayed amongst each other - which caused a number of further, more serious problems! As a way of solving the problem, Abram suggested splitting up in order to stop the issues escalating. He gave Lot the choice of the lands ahead of them - Lot chose to go east of the plain of Jordan (where the land was very well watered) and lived in the cities close to Sodom. Abram consequently went south to Hebron and settled down in the plain of Mamre.
INCOMING NAME CHANGE.
When Abram was 99 years of age, God changed Abram's new name to Abraham, which meant 'a father of many nations' which tied back in to what God had promised him. God then told Abraham he would have a son through Sarah (remember that she was barren?).
Abraham & Isaac
Abraham then laughed to himself as he didn't believe that God could give him a child at the age of 100 or that Sarah could even bear a child at 100! Immediately after this particular encounter, Abraham had his entire household (of men above the age of 13) circumcised, to further signify the covenant between Abraham and God.
Miraculously, around a year later, Sarah became pregnant and 9 months after that, gave birth to a son. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born and he was circumcised on the eighth day. Sarah praised God for giving herself and Abraham a son, when they believed it to be physically impossible. Considering how miraculous the birth of Isaac was, the next test in Abraham's life was sure to be his biggest.
At some point in Isaac's youth, Abraham was commanded by God to offer his son as a sacrifice in the land of Moriah. He travelled for three days with Isaac and a few servants until they came to a mountain. He then commanded the servants to remain behind whilst he and Isaac went up to the mountain to offer a sacrifice to God.
On the way up into the mountain, Isaac asked Abraham where the animal for the burnt offering was, to which Abraham replied that God would provide the offering. They eventually made it to the top of the mountain and Abraham began to make an altar. It would be at this point where Isaac may have wondered exactly what was happening.
In a rather impressive showing of faith (from Isaac as well as Abraham) Abraham bound Isaac to the altar, willing to offer his son as a sacrifice to God. Just as Abraham was about to kill Isaac, a voice from heaven cried out to Abraham to not lay a hand on the boy.
From this, it became apparent this was a test for Abraham to prove his faith to God, that he was willing to not hold anything back from God (even his miraculously born son, that God had specifically promised to him). A test, which thankfully for Isaac, he had passed!
As a result of this God then blesses Abraham AGAIN and told him he would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore (which back then would've been considered a massive number but in 2019, knowing what we know now, is mind-blowing).
The story of Abraham goes on for a good while longer and other incredible events occur in his lifetime, but eventually the story of Abraham comes to a close. Abraham lived for a total of 175 years. He left everything he owned to Isaac and died at a good old age, surrounded by his family. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in a cave near Mamre, in a field which Abraham had purchased earlier in his life.
Abraham's life is recorded in more detail in the book of Genesis, the events above are a brief sneak peek into some of the more well-known incidents. If you want to know more, go online or open a Bible in Genesis to see what else Abraham has to tell you.