Father Abraham had a promise from God to be the Father of the nation Israel. Israel is known as God’s chosen people. Please play our sing along song above name Father Abraham. You can also click the link above to read the Father Abraham’s song lyrics. Father Abraham whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. According to both the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an, through his sons Ishmael and Isaac, Abraham is the forefather of many tribes, namely the Ishmaelites, Israelites, Midianites and Edomites. Abraham was a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem. Christians believe that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham through Isaac, and Muslims believe that Muhammad was a descendant of Abraham through Ishmael. Father Abraham is notable for his advocation and promotion of monotheism. Source:
Father Abraham first appears in the Book of Genesis as Abram, until he is renamed by God in Genesis 17:5. The narrative indicates that abraham means “the father of a multitude” (Hebrew: ʼaḇ-hămôn goyim), but although “ab-” means “father”, “-hamon” is not the second element, and “-Raham” is not a word in Hebrew. Johann Friedrich Karl Keil suggested that there was once a word raham (רָהָם) in Hebrew that meant “multitude”, on analogy with the Arabic ruhâm which does have this meaning, but no trace of “raham” has been found; another possibility is that the first element should be abr-, which means “chief”, but this yields a meaningless second element, “-aham”. David Rohl suggests the name comes from the Akkadian “the father loves.”
The standard Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible places Father Abraham’s birth 1,948 years after the Creation, or 1948 AM (Anno Mundi, “Year of the World”). The two other major textual traditions have different dates, the translated Greek Septuagint putting it at 3312 AM and the Samaritan version of the Torah at 2247 AM. All three agree that he died at the age of 175. There have been over two hundred attempts to match the biblical chronology to dates in history, two of the more influential being the traditional Jewish dates (Abraham lived 1812 BCE to 1637 BCE), and those of the 17th century Archbishop James Ussher (1976 BCE to 1801 BCE); but the most that can be said with some degree of certainty is that the standard Hebrew text of Genesis places Abraham in the earlier part of the second millennium BCE.
Historicity and origins
It is generally recognised by scholars that there is nothing in the Genesis stories that can be related to the history of Canaan of the early 2nd millennium: none of the kings mentioned are known, Abimelech could not have been a Philistine (they did not arrive until centuries later), Ur would not become known as “Ur of the Chaldeans” until the early 1st millennium, and Laban could not have been an Aramean, as the Arameans did not become an identifiable political entity until the 12th century.Joseph Blenkinsopp, Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, notes that the past four or five decades have seen a growing consensus that the Genesis narrative of Abraham originated from literary circles of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE as a mirror of the situation facing the Jewish community under the Babylonian and early Persian empires. Blenkinsopp describes two conclusions about Abraham that are widely held in biblical scholarship: the first is that, except in the triad “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” he is not clearly and unambiguously attested in the Bible earlier than the Babylonian exile ; the second is that he became, in the Persian period, a model for those who would return from Babylon to Judah. Beyond this the Abraham story (and those of Isaac and Jacob/Israel) served a theological purpose following the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple and the Davidic kingship: despite the loss of these things, Yahweh’s dealings with the ancestors provided a historical foundation on which hope for the future could be built. There is basic agreement that his connection with Haran, Shechem and Bethel is secondary and originated when he became identified as the father of Jacob and ancestor of the northern tribes; his association with Mamre and Hebron, on the other hand (in the south, in the territory of Jerusalem and Judah), suggest that this region was the original home of his religion.
Narrative in Genesis
The life of Father Abraham is related in Genesis 11:26–25:10 of the Hebrew Bible.
Birth of Abram
Abram Journeying into the Land of Canaan Terah, the tenth in descent from Noah, fathered Abram, Nahor and Haran, and Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in his native Ur of the Chaldees, and Abram married Sarai, who was barren. Terah, with Abram, Sarai and Lot, then departed for Canaan, but settled in a place named Haran, where Terah died at the age of 205. (Genesis 11:27–11:32)
God appeared to Abram and told him to depart. After settling in Haran, where his father Terah died, God then told Abram to leave his country and his father’s house for a land that He would show him, promising to make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless those who blessed him, and curse those who cursed him. (Genesis 12:1–3) Following God’s command, at age 75, Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and the wealth and persons that they had acquired, and traveled to Shechem in Canaan.
The Covenant between Abraham and God
God appeared and said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram left as he was told. He was seventy-five years old at the time. Later on through his travels God spoke to him again, saying that he was confirming their covenant. That it will be kept with Abraham and his descendants. In exchange for land for his family to flourish, every male among them shall be circumcised as a sign of the covenant.
Abram and Sarai
There was a severe famine in the land of Canaan, so that Abram and Lot and their households, travelled south to Egypt. En route, Abram told his wife Sarai, to say that she was his sister, so that the Egyptians would not kill him. (Genesis 12:10–13) When they entered Egypt, the princes of Pharaoh praised Sarai’s beauty to the Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace, and Abram was given provisions: “oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.” However, God afflicted the Pharaoh and his household with great plagues, (Genesis 12:14–17) and after discovering that Sarai was really Abram’s wife, the Pharaoh wanted nothing to do with them. He demanded that he and his household leave immediately, along with all their goods. (Genesis 12:18–20)
Abram and Lot separate
When they came back to the Bethel and Hai area, Abram’s and Lot’s sizeable numbers of livestock occupied the same pastures (“and the Canaanite and thePerizzite dwelled then in the land.”) This became a problem for the herdsmen who were assigned to each family’s cattle. The conflicts between herdsmen had become so troublesome that Abram graciously suggested that Lot choose a separate area, either on the left hand or on the right hand, that there be no conflict amongst “brethren”. But Lot chose to go east to the plain of Jordan where the land was well watered everywhere as far as Zoar, and he dwelled in the cities of the plain toward Sodom. Abram went south to Hebron and settled in the plain of Mamre, where he built another altar to worship God. (Genesis 13:1–18)
Abram and Chedorlaomer
During the rebellion of the Jordan River cities against Elam, (Genesis 14:1–9) Abram’s nephew, Lot, was taken prisoner along with his entire household by the invading Elamite forces. The Elamite army came to collect booty from the spoils of war, after having just defeated the King of Sodom’s armies. (Genesis 14:8–12) Lot and his family, at the time, were settled on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Sodom which made them a visible target. (Genesis 13:12) One person that escaped capture came and told Abram what happened. Once Abram received this news, he immediately assembled 318 trained servants. Abram’s elite force headed north in pursuit of the Elamite army, who were already worn down from the Battle of Siddim. When they caught up with them at Dan, Abram devised a battle strategy plan by splitting his group into more than one unit, and launched a night raid. Not only were they able to free the captives, Abram’s unit chased and slaughtered the Elamite King Chedorlaomer at Hobah, just north of Damascus. They freed Lot, his household, possessions, and recovered all of the goods from Sodom that were taken. (Genesis 14:13–16) Upon Abram’s return, Sodom’s King (whom we do not know since the previous king Bera of Sodom perished in Gen14:10) came out to meet with him in the Valley of Shaveh, the “king’s dale”. Also, Melchizedek king of Salem (Jerusalem), a priest of God Most High, brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram and God. Abram then gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom then offered to let Abram keep all the possessions if he would merely return his people. Though he released the captives, Abram refused any reward from the King of Sodom, other than the share his allies were entitled to. (Genesis 14:17–24)
The word of God came to Abram in a vision and repeated the promise of the land and descendants as numerous as the stars. Abram and God made a covenant ceremony, and God told of the future bondage of Israel in Egypt. God described to Abram the land that his offspring would claim: “the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (Genesis 15)
Abram and Hagar
Abram and Sarai were trying to make sense of how he would become a progenitor of nations since it had already been 10 years of living in Canaan, and still no child had been born from Abram’s seed. Sarai then offered her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, for Abram to consort with so that she may have a child by her, as a wife. Abram consented and had sexual intercourse with Hagar. The result of these actions created a fiery relationship between Hagar and Sarai. (Genesis 16:1–6) After a harsh encounter with Sarai, Hagar fled toward Shur. En route, an angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar at the well of a spring. He instructed her to return to Sarai for she will bear a son who “shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” She was told to call her son: Ishmael. Hagar then referred to God as “El-roi”, meaning that she had gone on seeing after God saw her. From that day, the well was called Beer-lahai-roi. She then did as she was instructed by returning to Abram in order to have her child. Abram was eighty-six years of age when Ishmael was born. (Genesis 16:7–16)
Abraham and Sarah
Genesis 17 records the inauguration of Abram into God’s covenant that was initiated thirteen years ago, as was stated in Genesis 15. Abram is now ninety-nine when God declares Abram’s new name: “Abraham, a father of many nations.” Abram then received the instructions for the inauguration rite into God’s covenant because the time was approaching for him to have a son by his wife, Sarai. The initiation rite was that in order to be part of this “great nation”, whether by bloodline or inducted, every male must be circumcised otherwise it was a breach of contract. Then God declared Sarai’s new name: “Sarah” and blessed her. Immediately after Abram’s encounter with his God, he had his entire household of men, including himself and Ishmael, circumcised. (Genesis 17:1–27)
Abraham’s three visitors
Not long afterward, during the heat of the day, Abraham had been sitting at the entrance of his tent by the terebinths of Mamre. He looked up and saw three men in the presence of God. Then he ran and bowed to the ground to welcome them. Abraham then offered to wash their feet and fetch them a morsel of bread of which they assented. Abraham rushed to Sarah’s tent to order cakes made from choice flour, then he ordered a servant-boy to prepare a choice calf. When all was prepared, he set curds, milk and the calf before them waiting on them, under a tree, as they ate. (Genesis 18:1–8) One of the visitors told Abraham that upon his return next year, Sarah would have a son. While at the tent entrance, Sarah overheard what was said and she laughed to herself about the prospect of having a child at their ages. The visitor inquired to Abraham why Sarah laughed at bearing a child for her age as nothing is too hard for God. Frightened, Sarah denied laughing.
After eating, Abraham and the three visitors got up. They walked over to the peak that overlooked the Cities of the Plain to discuss the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah for their detestable sins that were so great, it moved God to action. Because Abraham’s nephew was living in Sodom, God revealed plans to confirm and judge these cities. At this point, the two other visitors leave for Sodom. Then Abraham turned to the Lord and pleaded incrementally with Him (from fifty persons to less) that ‘if there were at least ten righteous men found in the city, would not God spare the city?’ For the sake of ten righteous people, God declared that he would not destroy the city. (Genesis 18:17–33) When the two visitors got to Sodom to conduct their report, they planned on staying in the city square. However, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, met with them and strongly insisted that these two “men” stay at his house for the night. A rally of men stood outside of Lot’s home and demanded that they bring out his guests so that they may “know” them. However, Lot objected and offered his virgin daughters to the rally of men instead. They rejected that notion and sought to break Lot’s doors down to get to his male guests, thus confirming the “outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah” and sealing their doom. (Genesis 19:12–13) Early the next morning, Abraham awoke and went to the elevation that looked over the River Jordan plain, at the very spot where he stood before God, the day prior. From his vantage point, he saw what became of the cities of the plain as “dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.” (Genesis 19:27–29) This meant that there was not even ten righteous people in any of those cities. (Genesis 18:32)
Abraham and Abimelech
Abraham settled between Kadesh and Shur in the land of the Philistines. While he was living in Gerar, Abraham openly claimed that Sarah was his sister. Upon discovering this news, King Abimelech had her brought to him. Later, God came to Abimelech in a dream and declared that taking her would result in death because she was a married woman. Abimelech had not laid hands on her, so he inquired if he would also slay a righteous nation, especially since Abraham had claimed that he and Sarah were siblings. In response, God told Abimelech that he did indeed have a blameless heart and that is why he continued to exist. However, should he not return the wife of Abraham back to him, God would surely destroy Abimelech and his entire household. Abimelech was informed that Abraham was a prophet who would pray for him.(Genesis 20:1–7) Early next morning, Abimelech informed his servants of his dream and approached Abraham inquiring as to why he had brought such great guilt upon his kingdom. Abraham stated that he thought there was no fear of God in that place, and that they might kill him for his wife. Then Abraham defended what he had said as not being a lie at all: “And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.” (Genesis 20:12) Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham, and gave him gifts of sheep, oxen, and servants; and invited him to settle wherever he pleased in Abimelech’s lands. Further, Abimelech gave Abraham a thousand pieces of silver to serve as Sarah’s vindication before all. Abraham then prayed for Abimelech and his household, since the LORDhad stricken the women with infertility because of the taking of Sarah. (Genesis 20:8–18) After living for some time in the land of the Philistines, Abimelech and Phicol, the chief of his troops, approached Abraham because of a dispute that resulted in a violent confrontation at a well. Abraham then reproached Abimelech due to his Philistine servant’s aggressive attacks and the seizing of Abraham’s well. Abimelech claimed ignorance of the incident. Then Abraham offered a pact by providing sheep and oxen to Abimelech. Further, to attest that Abraham was the one who dug the well, he also gave Abimelech seven ewes for proof. Because of this sworn oath, they called the place of this well: Beersheba. After Abimelech and Phicol headed back to Philistia, Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba and called upon “the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” (Genesis 21:22–34)
Birth of Isaac
Abraham and Ishmael
Abraham was fond of his son Ishmael who had grown up to be fourteen years old when his son Isaac was born. However, with Sarah, things were never the same with Ishmael’s mother Hagar, back in her life. Now that Sarah had finally borne her own child, she could no longer stand the sight of either Hagar or Ishmael. When the teenager was jesting around, Sarah told Abraham to send the two of them away. She declared that Ishmael would not share in Isaac’s inheritance. Abraham was greatly distressed by his wife’s words and sought the advice of his God. The Lord told Abraham not to be distressed but to do as his wife commanded. God reassured Abraham that “in Isaac shall seed be called to thee.” (Genesis 21:12) He also said that Ishmael would make a nation, “because he is thy seed”, too. (Genesis 21:9–13) Early the next morning, Abraham brought Hagar and Ishmael out together. He gave her bread and water and sent them away. The two wandered the wilderness of Beersheba until her bottle of water was completely consumed. In a moment of despair, she burst in tears. The boy then called to God and upon hearing him, an angel of God confirmed to Hagar that he would become a great nation. A well of water then appeared so that it saved their lives. As the boy grew, he became a skilled archer living in the wilderness of Paran. Eventually his mother found a wife for Ishmael from her native country, the land of Egypt. (Genesis 21:14–21)
Abraham and Isaac
At some point in Isaac’s youth, Abraham was commanded by God to offer his son up as a sacrifice in the land of Moriah. The patriarch traveled three days until he came to the mount that God told him of. He commanded the servants to remain while he and Isaac proceeded alone into the mount. Isaac carrying the wood upon which he would be sacrificed. Along the way, Isaac asked his father where the animal for the burnt offering was, to which Abraham replied “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering”. Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, he was interrupted by “the angel of the LORD”, and he saw behind him a ram “caught in a thicket by his horns”, which he sacrificed instead of his son. For his obedience he received another promise of numerous descendants and abundant prosperity. After this event, Abraham went to Beersheba. (Genesis 22:1–19)
Sarah, the only woman in the Hebrew scriptures whose age is stated, was 127 years old when she died. Abraham buried her in the Cave of the Patriarchs (also called the Cave of Machpelah), near Hebron which he had purchased, along with the adjoining field, from Ephron the Hittite and laid her to rest in the cave. (Genesis 23:1–20) After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife, a concubine named Keturah, who bare him six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. (Genesis 25:1–6) Abraham lived 175 years, and “died in a good old age”. The Bible says he was buried by his sons Isaac and Ishmael in the cave of Machpelah. (Genesis 25:7–10)
Narrative in the Qur’an
There are numerous references to Abraham in the Qur’an, including, twice, to the Scrolls of Abraham (87: 18–19; 53: 36–37); in the latter passage, it is mentioned that Abraham “fulfilled his commandments” (53: 37), a reference to all the trials that Abraham had succeeded in. In a whole series of chapters, the Qur’an relates how Abraham preached to his community as a youth and how he specifically told his father, named Azar in 6:74, to leave idol-worship and come to the worship of God (37: 83–98; 26: 69–89) Some passages of the Qur’an, meanwhile, deal with the story of how God sent angels to Abraham with the announcement of the punishment to be imposed upon Lot’s people in Sodom and Gomorrah (51: 24–34; 25: 51–60). Other verses mention the near-sacrifice of Abraham’s son (37: 100–111), whose name is not given but is presumed to be Ishmael as the following verses mention the birth of Isaac. The Qur’an also repeatedly establishes Abraham’s role as patriarch and mentions numerous important descendants who came through his lineage, including Isaac (25: 53), Jacob (29: 49) and Ishmael (2: 132–133). In the later chapters of the Qur’an, Abraham’s role becomes yet more prominent. The Qur’an mentions that Abraham and Ishmael were the reformers who set up the Kaaba in Mecca as a center of pilgrimage for monotheism (2: 124–141; 3: 65–68, 95–97). The Qur’an consistently refers to Islam as the “religion of Abraham” (millat Ibrahim) (2: 135) and Abraham is given a title as Hanif (The Pure; 3: 67). The Qur’an also mentions Abraham as one whom God took as a friend (Khalil; 4: 125), hence Abraham’s title in Islam, Khalil-Allah (Friend of God). The term is considered by some to be a derivation of the Patriarch’s Hebrew title, Kal El (קל-אל), which means “voice of God”.Other instances in the Qur’an which are described in a concise manner are the rescue of Abraham from the fire into which he was thrown by his people (37: 97; 21: 68–70); his pleading for his father (28: 47); his quarrel with an unrighteous and powerful king (2: 58) and the miracle of the dead birds (2: 260). All these events and more have been discussed with more details in Muslim tradition, and especially in the Stories of the Prophets and works of universal Islamic theology. Certain episodes from the life of Abraham have been more heavily detailed in Islamic text, such as the arguments between Abraham and the evil king Nimrod, the near-sacrifice of his son, and the story of Hagar and Ishmael, which Muslims commemorate when performing pilgrimage in Mecca. In some cases, some believe these legends in Islamic text may have influenced later Jewish tradition.
Abraham in religious traditions
In Jewish and Christian tradition, Abraham is the father of the Israelites through his son Isaac, whose mother was Sarah. His oldest son is Ishmael, whose mother is Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden. In Islamic tradition, Abraham is considered a prophet of Islam, the ancestor of Muhammad, through his son Ishmael, whose mother is Hagar (هاجر). Tomb of Abraham on the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
Abraham’s life can be read in the weekly Torah reading portions, predominantly in the Parashot: Lech-Lecha ( לֶךְ-לְךָ ), Vayeira ( וַיֵּרָא ), Chayei Sarah ( חַיֵּי שָׂרָה ), andToledot ( תּוֹלְדֹת ) Rabbinic Judaism faced a seeming contradiction with Abraham, in that he lived before the laws of the Torah had been revealed to Moses. Therefore, Abraham would not have been knowledgeable of all of the Torah’s commandments, besides the instruction of practicing circumcision. The rabbis (traditional teachers and interpreters of the Torah), however, interpreted the narratives of the Torah in Genesis to say that Abraham had in fact known and practiced the Law in its entirety, although there are different interpretations as to how exactly Abraham practiced different aspects of the law.
In the New Testament Abraham is mentioned prominently as a man of faith (see e.g. Hebrews 11), and the apostle Paul uses him as an example of salvation by faith, as the progenitor of the Christ (or Messiah) (see Galatians 3:16). The New Testament also sees Abraham as an obedient man of God, and Abraham’s interrupted attempt to offer up Isaac is seen as the supreme act of perfect faith in God. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called’, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11:17–19) The imagery of a father sacrificing his son is seen as a type of God the Father offering his Son on Golgotha. The traditional view in Christianity is that the chief promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 is that through Abraham’s seed all the people of earth would be blessed. Notwithstanding this, John the Baptist specifically taught that merely being of Abraham’s seed was no guarantee of salvation. The promise in Genesis is considered to have been fulfilled through Abraham’s seed, Jesus. It is also a consequence of this promise that Christianity is open to people of all races and not limited to Jews. The Roman Catholic Church calls Abraham “our father in Faith”, in the Eucharistic prayer of the Roman Canon, recited during the Mass (see Abraham in the Catholic liturgy). He is also commemorated in the calendars of saints of several denominations: on 20 August by the Maronite Church, 28 August in the Coptic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East (with the full office for the latter), and on 9 October by the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. He is also regarded as the patron saint of those in the hospitality industry. The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates him as the “Righteous Forefather Abraham”, with two feast days in its liturgical calendar. The first time is on 9 October (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 9 October falls on 22 October of the modern Gregorian Calendar), where he is commemorated together with his nephew “Righteous Lot”. The other is on the “Sunday of the Forefathers” (two Sundays before Christmas), when he is commemorated together with other ancestors of Jesus. Abraham is also mentioned in the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, just before the Anaphora. Abraham and Sarah are invoked in the prayers said by the priest over a newly married couple at the Sacred Mystery of Crowning (i.e., the Sacrament of Marriage).
Abraham (“Ibrahim”) is an important figure in the Quran, mentioned in 25 chapters, briefly or in detail. Muslims regard him as a prophet and patriarch, the archetype of the perfect Muslim, and the revered reformer of the Kaaba in Mecca. Islamic traditions consider Abraham the father of Islam (which is also called millat Ibrahim, the “religion of Abraham”), and that his purpose and mission throughout his life was to proclaim the Oneness of God. When Ibrahim (Abraham) was asked for sacrifice and took Ismael to the place when he was about to use the knife, God placed a sheep under his hand. From that day onward, every Eid (Eid Al Adha) once a year Muslims around the world slaughter a sheep to follow the path of Ibrahim that is called Qurbani sacrifice.
Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet of the Baha’i Faith, affirms the highest religious station for Abraham and generally for prophets mentioned among the other Abrahamic religions, and has claimed a lineage of descent from Abraham through Keturah and Sarah. Additionally Bahá’u’lláh actually did lose a son, Mírzá Mihdí. Bahá’u’lláh, then in prison, eulogized his son and connected the subsequent easing of restrictions to his dying prayer and also compared it to the intended sacrifice of Abraham’s son.