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ABRAHAM (ABRAM) and Sarah (Sarai).



INTRODUCTION


I began this study because Abraham is such a key historical figure for several reasons; reasons which still have an impact upon us today.

Abraham is one of the greatest in the line of Old Testament prophets. Abraham was given marvelous covenants concerning his posterity. He is a guiding light to all priesthood leaders. In fact, part of his coventants from the Lord also pertain to the rights and responsibilities of the priesthood.

I feel obligated to understand these covenants. One way to do this is to understand the kind of man that Abraham was, and the relationship he had with God, and how he acted as a result. I feel that every holder of the priesthood should have a better understanding of Abraham in order to more fully understand the rights and obligations of their callings in the priesthood, and their obligations to the Lord.

THE NAME OF ABRAHAM

Abraham was known by his birth name, Abram, most of the days of his life. It was only toward the latter part of his life that the Lord renamed him Abraham. More on that later, but since we know him so well by the name Abraham rather that Abram, I will use the name Abraham throughout this narrative. It appears that the Book of Abraham, in the Pearl of Great Price, also uses this convention, since it continuously throughout uses the name Abraham rather than Abram. This may be because in the translation the Lord had Joseph Smith use the name that we are most familiar with, or it may have been that Abraham himself wrote his history later in life and thus used the name that he was known by at the time. In any case, keep in mind that throughout most of his life he was known as Abram.

What this means is that if we were to find Abraham in contemporary historical sources, we would probably find him under his birth name of Abram. Abraham is also sometimes called Aram (S9). This is then another possibility to search for in ancient sources to find mention of Abraham.

Proof of Aram for his name is said to be in the name of the land where Haran lay, where Abraham went to reside after he left the land of Ur. The land where Haran lay was known as Aram-Naharaim (Aram of the Two Rivers), or Padan-Aram (The Cultivated Land of Aram). It is sometimes thought that Aram is a corruption of Abraham or Abram, but this Land of Aram apparently does not refer to Abraham. Aram was the son of Shem (see Genesis Chapter 10), and this land is traditionally said to be the land that was populated by his descendants, also said to be the Aramaens. According to the Book of Jubilees, Aram the son of Shem received as an inheritance the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris. According to Josephus there is also another Aram, who was the grandson of Nahor, Abraham's brother. But it is most likely that the land of Aram in which Haran lay refers to the land of the descendants of Aram the son of Shem, and not to Abraham or to the later grandson of Nahor.

CHOSEN AS A LEADER BEFORE BIRTH

Abraham was given to understand that he was chosen of the Lord before he was born, and that the Lord knew that he would be come a great leader in his kingdom.

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. Abraham 3:22-23

This mirrors the words that the Lord uses to tell the prophet Jeremiah that he was chosen before he was born.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

It is obvious that, as the Lord says to Abraham, he chose his great ones from among the spirits that were valiant before him in the pre-mortal realm. And Abraham was one of them.

WHEN WAS ABRAM BORN?

Genesis Chapter 5 gives the genealogy of the patriarchs from Adam to the flood. Genesis Chapter 11 gives the genealogy of the patriarchs from the flood to Abraham. There are a couple of problems with this timeline. The first problem is that Genesis chapter five gives the same birth information for Shem, Ham, and Japeth.

And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Genesis 5:32

There is nothing here that differentiates between the birth timeline of these three sons of Noah. We are not told which one, or if all three were born in the 500th year of Noah. Fortunately, we have the corrected timeline given to us in the revealed writings of Joseph Smith.

And Noah was four hundred and fifty years old, and begat Japheth; and forty-two years afterward he begat Shem of her who was the mother of Japheth, and when he was five hundred years old he begat Ham. Moses 8:12

The second problem is that Genesis Chapter eleven gives the same year for the birth of Abraham, Haran, and Nahor.

And TERAH lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran;…. Genesis 11:26-27

Dr. Cleon Skousen makes the case that Abraham must have been born about 20 years after Haran, who was clearly older. He then surmises that the birth time frame given above was for Haran, and that Abraham was born 20 years after this.

However, there is another thought process in regard to Genesis 11:26, which is that this is the history of Abram, not the history of Haran. This means that it is probable that the writer of this scripture meant that Terah lived 70 years and begat Abram, the one that this story is about. My belief is that 20 years is about right, but that Haran was probably born before the correctly stated birth of Abraham. This would make the birth of Abraham to be about 1949 years after Adam, or 292 years after the flood. Note that the Jewish Jubilee calendar follows closely the timeline in the King James version of the bible, and places the birth of Abram (291 years-S19)(292 years-S21) after the flood.

The Book of Jasher (S7) speaks of the birth of Terah's sons, Haran and Nahor:

And Peleg his brother begat Yen, and Yen begat Serug, and Serug begat Nahor and Nahor begat Terah, and Terah was thirty-eight years old, and he begat Haran and Nahor. Jasher 7:22

First of all, this gives a time for the age of Terah as his older sons were born. This would seem to indicate that Haran and Nahor were twins, which is doubtful or it probably would have been remarked on further, but whether or not this is true is not important to this story of Abram.

Given that Terah was born in the year 1879 Anno Mundi, this would make the birth of Haran and Nahor (if they were twins) in the year 1916 Anno Mundi. This gives a difference of about 30 years between Abraham and his brothers, not 20 years as Dr. Skousen has surmised.

A further reference in the Book of Jasher also indicates that Haran and Nahor were older than Abram.

And Terah saw that the anger of the king was kindled against him, and he answered the king, saying, All that I have is in the king's power; whatever the king desireth to do to his servant, that let him do, yea, even my son, he is in the king's power, without value in exchange, he and his two brothers that are older than he. (Jasher 8:28)

Jasher gives the birth of Abram thus:

And Terah took a wife and her name was Amthelo the daughter of Cornebo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days. Terah was seventy years old when he begat him, and Terah called the name of his son that was born to him Abram, because the king had raised him in those days, and dignified him above all his princes that were with him. Jasher 7:50-51

This then gives the age of Terah when Abram was born as age 70, exactly the same as in Genesis. Then taking the birth of Terah in 1878AM, this would place the birth of Abraham in 1948AM, just one year short of what Genesis indicates. Remember that AM means Anno Mundi, the Year of the World, or from the time that Adam began reckoning time.

The next question that comes to mind is how does this date given in terms of Anno Mundi (AM), relate to what we now use as B.C.? (BC meaning Before Christ)

Many historians have conjectured on this.

Born about 2325 B.C.. (S15).
Born, son of Terah, in 2224 B.C.. (S4).
Born about 2052 B.C.. (S11).
Born on Wednesday, 5 October 2052 B.C. (S19).

The truth is difficult to fathom, partly due to the lack of records, and especially due to the lack of reliable records. However, pending further information, this is what I accept as the birth of Abram: Given that the flood ended in 1657 Anno Mundi, which is generally accepted to be 2344 BC, the birth of Abram in 1949AM was approximately 292 years after the Flood, this would make the birth of Abraham in 2052 B.C.

WHERE WAS ABRAHAM BORN?

We have the following two references from the scriptures.

IN the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence… (S2-Abraham 1:1)

And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. (S1-Genesis 11:28)

The question then is where was the land of the Chaldeans. Traditional historians place it where it is found on current maps, located near the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates, where they empty into the Persian Gulf. Authors Hoskisson (S5)and Peterson (S6) take exception with that, and place it at the other end of Mesopotamia, closer to where the Ark was deposited on Mount Ararat after the flood. This would make an orderly progression, from Noah and the Ark south, probably to the Lake Van area, to Haran or Padan-aram, to Canaan. One of their primary objections is that Egypt did not have power or influence at the time in lower Mesopotamia. However, according to Herman Hoeh (S13), they did. There was a very strong connection between Egypt and the rulers of Mesopotamia, and of Nimrod and his family in particular.

Ancient historians give the area of the lower Tigris and Euphrates valleys, about where they empty into the gulf, as the ancestral home of Arphaxad, the son of Shem. The city of Ur was originally built at the mouth of the Euphrates. Due to silting of the river delta for so many centuries, it is now one hundred and fifty miles inland, the Persian Gulf having retired so far. (S17).

The prophet Daniel equates Chaldea with the land of the Babylonians, among whom Daniel was currently living.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; (Daniel 9:1)

The book of Ezra says the same thing, and equates Babylonia as the land of the Chaldeans.

But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. (Ezra 5:12)

In summary, Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldeas, just as the scriptures say, which lay in the ancestral home of Arphaxad, in the area of the lower Tigris and Euphrates valleys, about where they emptied (at that time) into the gulf.

THE YOUTH OF ABRAM

The Book of Jasher (S7) tells us that Terah hid his wife and Abram in a cave to keep him safe from Nimrod, and that Abram dwelt in the cave for the first ten years of his life.

The Book of Jasher also tells us that from the age of ten to the age of fourty-nine, Abraham did not go back to live with Terah, but went to live with Noah and Shem.

Haran was forty-two years old when he begat Sarai, which was in the tenth year of the life of Abram; and in those days Abram and his mother and nurse went out from the cave, as the king and his subjects had forgotten the affair of Abram. And when Abram came out from the cave, he went to Noah and his son Shem, and he remained with them to learn the instruction of the Lord and his ways, and no man knew where Abram was, and Abram served Noah and Shem his son for a long time. And Abram was in Noah's house thirty-nine years, and Abram knew the Lord from three years old, and he went in the ways of the Lord until the day of his death, as Noah and his son Shem had taught him; .... (Jasher 9:4-6).

This passage tells us several interesting things.

First of all, it was probably at the age of ten, when Abraham and his mother and nurse came out ot the cave, that Abraham first met Sarai (Sarah), whom he later married.

Secondly, even though it is said that the king and his subjects had forgotten the "affair of Abram," they did not return Abraham to the household of Terah, but thought wisely not to flaunt Abraham before the king and bring the former things to his attention.

But foremost is the fact that Abraham went to the household of Noah and Shem, and learned instruction from them in ways of the Lord. We are not told where the household of Noah and Shem was located, but a passage in the Book of Abraham is enlightening. Abraham himself says:

In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence; (Abraham 1:1)

LIFE IN UR


We do not know very much about life in Ur. One of the main things we know for certain was that many of the people had turned away from God and were worshiping idols. Terah, Abraham's own father, was one of them; and had turned to idolatry.

Other than this struggle between Abraham and the idol worshipping culture of Nimrod, we do not have much information about life in the homeland of Abraham and Terah. None-the-less, a review of this culture will tell us much about Abraham's background.

WHY DID TERAH TURN TO IDOLATRY?

... and all the sons of the earth in those days greatly transgressed against the Lord, and they rebelled against him and they served other gods, and they forgot the Lord who had created them in the earth; and the inhabitants of the earth made unto themselves, at that time, every man his god; gods of wood and stone which could neither speak, hear, nor deliver, and the sons of men served them and they became their gods. And the king and all his servants, and Terah with all his household were then the first of those that served gods of wood and stone. Jasher 9:6-7

Terah had joined the popular culture surrounding him, and had turned to idolatry. We know that Nimrod, and many of the descendants of Ham, had also turned to idolatry. However, the scriptures tells us that some of Ham's descendants remained righteous.

Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Abraham 1:21-26

But Terah allowed himself to be led astray. Terah, according to Jasher (S7) was an ardent follower of Nimrod. Such ancient sources indicate that this is the case. This claim is not contravened by scripture, but is basically in agreement with the biblical record.

Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry.... (Abraham 1:27)

It is still puzzling to us in the moderna age what they could have taught that would have been appealing to Terah, but this they did. One indication seems to have been a loss of, or at least a disregard for, the scriptures and the truths that they teach. It is also apparent from these scriptures and ancient records that Nimrod falsely claimed to have great authority, and even the authority of the priesthood.

It is also said (see the Kish Chronicle) that Nimrod stole the records of Noah. This itself would indicate a loss of the truth among the population in general unless Nimrod were to have published them openly. This appears not to have been the case.

The greater probablity is again given by the Book of Jasher (S7), which indicates that not only was Terah a servant of Nimrod, but that he was a great leader in Nimrod's army, and probably even his commanding general.

And Terah his father was in those days, still captain of the host of king Nimrod, and he still followed strange gods. Jasher 11:15

ABRAM FOUGHT THE CULTURE OF WICKEDNESS

Having received the truth, probably first at the feet of Noah and Shem and secondly directly from the Lord himself, and desiring to be a follower of truth and righteousness, Abraham rejected the beliefs of this father.

My fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice; (Abraham 1:5)

It is interesting to note here that Abraham, as he began his ministry, apparently first attempted to instruct his own father and his family, and to convert them from their ways of idolatry to the true worship of the Lord. However, their hearts were too hard, and they refused to listen. In fact, they eventually attempted to kill Abraham.

At this point, the Book of Jasher tells a rather humorus story about Abraham and his attempting to turn his father from the worship of idols.

31 And in the evening of that day in that house Abram was clothed with the spirit of God.
32 And he called out and said, Wo unto my father and this wicked generation, whose hearts are all inclined to vanity, who serve these idols of wood and stone which can neither eat, smell, hear nor speak, who have mouths without speech, eyes without sight, ears without hearing, hands without feeling, and legs which cannot move; like them are those that made them and that trust in them.
33 And when Abram saw all these things his anger was kindled against his father, and he hastened and took a hatchet in his hand, and came unto the chamber of the gods, and he broke all his father's gods.
34 And when he had done breaking the images, he placed the hatchet in the hand of the great god which was there before them, and he went out; and Terah his father came home, for he had heard at the door the sound of the striking of the hatchet; so Terah came into the house to know what this was about.
35 And Terah, having heard the noise of the hatchet in the room of images, ran to the room to the images, and he met Abram going out.
36 And Terah entered the room and found all the idols fallen down and broken, and the hatchet in the hand of the largest, which was not broken, and the savory meat which Abram his son had made was still before them.
37 And when Terah saw this his anger was greatly kindled, and he hastened and went from the room to Abram.
38 And he found Abram his son still sitting in the house; and he said to him, What is this work thou hast done to my gods?
39 And Abram answered Terah his father and he said, Not so my lord, for I brought savory meat before them, and when I came nigh to them with the meat that they might eat, they all at once stretched forth their hands to eat before the great one had put forth his hand to eat.
40 And the large one saw their works that they did before him, and his anger was violently kindled against them, and he went and took the hatchet that was in the house and came to them and broke them all, and behold the hatchet is yet in his hand as thou seest.
41 And Terah's anger was kindled against his son Abram, when he spoke this; and Terah said to Abram his son in his anger, What is this tale that thou hast told? Thou speakest lies to me.
42 Is there in these gods spirit, soul or power to do all thou hast told me? Are they not wood and stone, and have I not myself made them, and canst thou speak such lies, saying that the large god that was with them smote them? It is thou that didst place the hatchet in his hands, and then sayest he smote them all.
43 And Abram answered his father and said to him, And how canst thou then serve these idols in whom there is no power to do any thing? Can those idols in which thou trustest deliver thee? can they hear thy prayers when thou callest upon them? can they deliver thee from the hands of thy enemies, or will they fight thy battles for thee against thy enemies, that thou shouldst serve wood and stone which can neither speak nor hear?
44 And now surely it is not good for thee nor for the sons of men that are connected with thee, to do these things; are you so silly, so foolish or so short of understanding that you will serve wood and stone, and do after this manner? 45 And forget the Lord God who made heaven and earth, and who created you in the earth, and thereby bring a great evil upon your souls in this matter by serving stone and wood?
46 Did not our fathers in days of old sin in this matter, and the Lord God of the universe brought the waters of the flood upon them and destroyed the whole earth?
47 And how can you continue to do this and serve gods of wood and stone, who cannot hear, or speak, or deliver you from oppression, thereby bringing down the anger of the God of the universe upon you?
48 Now therefore my father refrain from this, and bring not evil upon thy soul and the souls of thy household.
Jasher 11:31-48

Terah, instead of seeing the logic in Abraham's demonstration, is angry, and takes the matter before Nimrod, the king.

50 And Terah, seeing all that Abram had done, hastened to go from his house, and he went to the king and he came before Nimrod and stood before him, and he bowed down to the king; and the king said, What dost thou want?
51 And he said, I beseech thee my lord, to hear me--Now fifty years back a child was born to me, and thus has he done to my gods and thus has he spoken; and now therefore, my lord and king, send for him that he may come before thee, and judge him according to the law, that we may be delivered from his evil. (Jasher 11:50-51)


We see in this passage another interesting point. This shows that the ministry of Abraham began immediately after he left the household of Noah and Shem (according to the Book of Jasher), when he was age fifty. This also shows how Abraham came into the hands of those who tried to destroy him, but it also shows that Abraham tried to turn Nimrod from the worship of idols.

52 And the king sent three men of his servants, and they went and brought Abram before the king. And Nimrod and all his princes and servants were that day sitting before him, and Terah sat also before them.
53 And the king said to Abram, What is this that thou hast done to thy father and to his gods? And Abram answered the king in the words that he spoke to his father, and he said, The large god that was with them in the house did to them what thou hast heard.
54 And the king said to Abram, Had they power to speak and eat and do as thou hast said? And Abram answered the king, saying, And if there be no power in them why dost thou serve them and cause the sons of men to err through thy follies?
55 Dost thou imagine that they can deliver thee or do anything small or great, that thou shouldst serve them? And why wilt thou not serve the God of the whole universe, who created thee and in whose power it is to kill and keep alive?
56 0 foolish, simple, and ignorant king, woe unto thee forever.
57 I thought thou wouldst teach thy servants the upright way, but thou hast not done this, but hast filled the whole earth with thy sins and the sins of thy people who have followed thy ways.
58 Dost thou not know, or hast thou not heard, that this evil which thou doest, our ancestors sinned therein in days of old, and the eternal God brought the waters of the flood upon them and destroyed them all, and also destroyed the whole earth on their account? And wilt thou and thy people rise up now and do like unto this work, in order to bring down the anger of the Lord God of the universe, and to bring evil upon thee and the whole earth?
59 Now therefore put away this evil deed which thou doest, and serve the God of the universe, as thy soul is in his hands, and then it will be well with thee.
60 And if thy wicked heart will not hearken to my words to cause thee to forsake thy evil ways, and to serve the eternal God, then wilt thou die in shame in the latter days, thou, thy people and all who are connected with thee, hearing thy words or walking in thy evil ways.
61 And when Abram had ceased speaking before the king and princes, Abram lifted up his eyes to the heavens, and he said, The Lord seeth all the wicked, and he will judge them.
Jasher 11:52-61

AT POTIPHAR’S HILL

Nimrod refused to listen, and took Abraham into custody, had him judged before his rulers, and sentenced him to death.

1 And when the king heard the words of Abram he ordered him to be put into prison; and Abram was ten days in prison.
2 And at the end of those days the king ordered that all the kings, princes and governors of different provinces and the sages should come before him, and they sat before him, and Abram was still in the house of confinement.
3 And the king said to the princes and sages, Have you heard what Abram, the son of Terah, has done to his father? Thus has he done to him, and I ordered him to be brought before me, and thus has he spoken; his heart did not misgive him, neither did he stir in my presence, and behold now he is confined in the prison.
4 And therefore decide what judgment is due to this man who reviled the king; who spoke and did all the things that you heard.
5 And they all answered the king saying, The man who revileth the king should be hanged upon a tree; but having done all the things that he said, and having despised our gods, he must therefore be burned to death, for this is the law in this matter.
6 If it pleaseth the king to do this, let him order his servants to kindle a fire both night and day in thy brick furnace, and then we will cast this man into it. And the king did so, and he commanded his servants that they should prepare a fire for three days and three nights in the king's furnace, that is in Casdim; and the king ordered them to take Abram from prison and bring him out to be burned.
7 And all the king's servants, princes, lords, governors, and judges, and all the inhabitants of the land ... stood opposite the furnace to see Abram.
Jasher 12:1-7

Here Abraham picks up the story, and tells how they had rejected his words, and how the priests of the king tried to destroy him.

6 For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;
7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.
8 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.
9 And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians. Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.
10 Even the thank-offering of a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon the altar which stood by the hill called Potiphar's Hill, at the head of the plain of Olishem.
11 Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.
12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar; and that you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record.
13 It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
14 That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics.
Abraham 1:6-14

Note that couches like those depicted by Abraham are displayed in the National Museum in Cairo, Egypt, having been found in the tombs in Egypt.

Abraham tells us where this took place.

Behold, Potiphar's Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea. Abraham 1:20

Abraham continues, and tells how his life is saved by the intervention of the Lord. He sees a vision of the Lord and hears his voice.

And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands; Abraham 1:15

THE LORD BREAKS THE ALTAR—EARTHQUAKE?

...And the Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah, and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest that he died; and there was great mourning in Chaldea, and also in the court of Pharaoh.... Abraham 1:20

A FAMINE IN THE LAND

Abram's struggles against the wickedness and idolatry surrounding him were to no avail. The people persisted in doing evil even after the destruction of the priests who opposed him.

Now, after the priest of Elkenah was smitten that he died, there came a fulfilment of those things which were said unto me concerning the land of Chaldea, that there should be a famine in the land. Accordingly a famine prevailed throughout all the land of Chaldea, and my father was sorely tormented because of the famine, and he repented of the evil which he had determined against me, to take away my life. Abraham 1:29-30

The Book of Jasher (S7) tells here that Haran, the brother of Abraham, who was inclined to believe Abraham, was killed by the priests. Abraham though tells another story, that Haran died in the famine.

NOW the Lord God caused the famine to wax sore in the land of Ur, insomuch that Haran, my brother, died; but Terah, my father, yet lived in the land of Ur, of the Chaldees. Abraham 2:1

A passage in the Book of Jasher (S7) gives us a time frame for the famine.

And Haran was eighty-two years old when he died in the fire of Casdim. (Jasher 12:37)

We have previously discussed the birth of Haran and Nahor, being given as 1916 Anno Mundi, as derived from Jasher 7:22. This means that Haran died in the year 1998 Anno Mundi. This does not answer the question of whether Haran died in the fire at the hands of the wicked priests, or if he died in the famine, but indicates that the famine and the incident of Abraham with the wicked priests occurred at the same time. Or more correctly put, since the wicked people did not learn from the destruction of the wicked priests and the rescue of Abraham, the Lord then inflicted them with the famine to reinforce the message.

ABRAM RECEIVED THE PRIESTHOOD

Abraham receives the promise of the Priesthood

As a result of his righteousness, even in the face of the peril of his life, Abram received the promise of the priesthood. Note that in this translation he is referred to as Abraham even before his name was changed. I believe this is due to the fact that it was recorded later rather than how the Lord addressed him. The important point here though is that due to his righteousness, he received the promise of the priesthood.

Here we go back in time to when Abraham was taken into custody by the priests.

15 And as they lifted up their hands upon me, that they might offer me up and take away my life, behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands;
16 And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father's house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of;
17 And this because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand against thee, Abraham, my son, to take away thy life.
18 Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee.
19 As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee; but through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God.
Abraham 2:15-19

Abraham receives the Priesthood

2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers [see D&C 107], from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.
5 My fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;
6 For their hearts were set to do evil, ....
Abraham 1:2-6

It was most likely that Abraham received the priesthood from Noah and Shem, but this is nowhere stated. I question why he did not receive it earlier, while he was in the household of Noah and Shem, but he apparently did not. It was though undoubtedly from them that he received in part the longing for the priesthood.

It was not until after Abraham set forth as a minister and attempted to convert his family and the king and his ministers, that he received the promise of the priesthood. At least this is what the flow of the record indicates. In other words, he had to prove himself worthy, even to the proving of himself in the face of his utter destruction.

It makes me very humble to think that Abraham had to go through so much before he could receive the priesthood, when in comparison we seem to receive it so readily, without such an extreme test of faith.

The Book of Jasher tells us that after his rescue from the priests of the king, Abraham's life was still in danger and the king still was trying to destroy him. Abraham thus returned for a short time to the household of Noah.

59 And Eliezer, Abram's servant whom the king had given him, was at that time in the presence of the king, and he heard what Anuki had advised the king, and what the king had said to cause Abram's death.
60 And Eliezer said to Abram, Hasten, rise up and save thy soul, that thou mayest not die through the hands of the king, for thus did he see in a dream concerning thee, and thus did Anuki interpret it, and thus also did Anuki advise the king concerning thee.
61 And Abram hearkened to the voice of Eliezer, and Abram hastened and ran for safety to the house of Noah and his son Shem, and he concealed himself there and found a place of safety; and the king's servants came to Abram's house to seek him, but they could not find him, and they searched through out the country and he was not to be found, and they went and searched in every direction and he was not to be met with.
62 And when the king's servants could not find Abram they returned to the king, but the king's anger against Abram was stilled, as they did not find him, and the king drove from his mind this matter concerning Abram.
63 And Abram was concealed in Noah's house for one month....
Jasher 12:59-63

It is probable then that Abraham received the priesthood at this time, from the hands of Noah and Shem.

ABRAM RECEIVED THE RECORDS

But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time. But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me. Abraham 1:28,31

We were told earlier that Nimrod had stolen the records from Noah. This record of Abraham receiving the records does not give any indication that he received it from the possession of Nimrod.

From whom did Abraham receive the records? From Noah and Shem? Or from the Lord himself? He could have copied them from the records of Noah during the thirty-nine years that the Book of Jasher (S7) tells us he was in the household of Noah. We are not told how, only that the Lord preserved the records in his hands.

It is also noteworthy that with these records, Abraham received a knowledge of the planets and the stars, which knowledge he later took with him to teach to the Egyptians.

Along with the scriptures (the records), Abram also received the Urim and Thumim, the ability to receive instruction directly from the Lord and the ability to translate scriptures.

AND I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham 3:1

ABRAM TAKES A WIFE

Abraham takes Sarai to be his wife:

And it came to pass that I, Abraham, took Sarai to wife, and Nahor, my brother, took Milcah to wife, who was the daughter of Haran. Abraham 2:2

And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. Genesis 11:29

Who was Sarai?

The Bible says she was a half-brother to Abraham:

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

The Book of Jasher indicates that she is the neice of Abraham:

1 And Haran, the son of Terah, Abram's oldest brother, took a wife in those days.
2 Haran was thirty-nine years old when he took her; and the wife of Haran conceived and bare a son, and he called his name Lot.
3 And she conceived again and bare a daughter, and she called her name Milca; and she again conceived and bare a daughter, and she called her name Sarai.
4 Haran was forty-two years old when he begat Sarai, which was in the tenth year of the life of Abram; and in those days Abram and his mother and nurse went out from the cave, as the king and his subjects had forgotten the affair of Abram.
Jasher 9:1-4

Note that this gives the relative ages of Abram and Sarai, being about ten years apart.

It also gives the relative ages of Abram and Haran to each other, which the bible sources do not. It further tells us that Haran was the oldest brother. This indicates that Haran was born about 1916AM, and 32 years before Abraham was born. The birth of Haran and his relative age to Abram is further attested in Jasher 7:22, which was previously cited.

However, neither of these references answer the question of who exactly were the parents of Sarai, and her relationship to Abraham. The both do indicate that she was a close relative of Abraham. I would give the preponderance of evidence to the words of Abraham himself, that she was his half-sister.

ABRAM LEAVES UR

As a result of the Lord preserving the life of Abraham, and the destruction of the wicked priests at the altar, Nimrod was rather unhappy with Terah. This explains why Terah, who had been one of the king's preeminent followers and who had rejected the attempts of Abraham to convert him from his ways, was suddenly motivated to leave Ur and follow Abraham to the land of Haran.

And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. Genesis 11:31

IN the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence; Abraham 1:1

It appears that Abraham first saw for himself the need to leave Ur, both for his own safety as well as for the welfare of his family. This is then confirmed by the Lord himself:

3 Now the Lord had said unto me: Abraham, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee. Abraham 2:3

Having received the word of the Lord, Abraham obeys.

4 Therefore I left the land of Ur, of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and I took Lot, my brother's son, and his wife, and Sarai my wife; and also my father followed after me, unto the land which we denominated Haran. Abraham 2:4

It is interesting to see that it was at first Abram who says that he saw that it was needful for him to obtain another place of residence. One reason was undoubtedly at least in part because of the idolatry that surrounded him. It is therefore surprising that Genesis says that Terah took Abraham with him from Ur. That is, until we consider that because of the famine, Terah repented of his ways, at least for a time, as we shall see.

Part of the reason was also presumably the political climate, that is was no longer safe for neither Abraham nor Terah to remain in Ur.

I suppose that Abraham also saw that preaching the word of the Lord to the people would no longer produce any meaningful success in the region.

LIFE IN HARAN

And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. Abraham 1: 31

Upon thier removal from Ur to Haran, the famine abates, at least for a time. Life improves and the flocks and herds flourish.

And the famine abated; and my father tarried in Haran and dwelt there, as there were many flocks in Haran…. Abraham 2:5

If not before, Abraham and Lot obviously became well aquainted with animal husbandry while in Haran. We also learn that Terah, who had apparently turned for a time from idol worship, fell back into his old habits in Haran.

…and my father turned again unto his idolatry, therefore he continued in Haran. Abraham 2:5

This seems to indicate the reason that Terah remained in Haran when Abraham left Haran.

It is sad to see that Terah did not learn from prebious events, from the experiences of Abraham and his rescue by the hands of the Lord, by the protection from the Earthquake, nor by the rescue from the famine.

The greater probablity is again given by the Book of Jasher (S7), which indicates that Terah was still a servant of Nimrod, and still a great leader in Nimrod's army.

And Terah his father was in those days, still captain of the host of king Nimrod, and he still followed strange gods. Jasher 11:15 We also learn that Abram and Sarai continue to remain childless while in Haran.

But Sarai was barren; she had no child. Genesis 11:30

TERAH DIES IN HARAN

We next learn that Terah died in Haran, with his age corroborated by two independent records:

And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. Genesis 11:32

And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. Abraham 1:32

Such a terse notice does not tell the full story. Assuming that Abraham left Haran when he was 75 years old, Terah would have been just 145 years old, and the year would have been 2023 AM. When Terah died at the age of 205, it would have been in 2083 AM. This shows that Terah continued to live in Harah for 60 years after Abraham left. This is a considerable period of time. We are not given any indication that Terah and Abraham had any contact during this time. Given their religeous and political differences this is not too surprising, but it is still quite a lengthy period. We are not given any indication that Abraham was made aware of the death of Terah at this time, however, since the death of Terah is recorded in scripture, it would indicate that Abraham did receive the news.

THE LORD'S PROMISE TO ABRAM

In the course of time, the Lord comes again to Abram and tells him that it is time for him to leave Haran, and that the Lord has further purposes in mind for Abraham.

1 NOW the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 12:1-3

Abraham is joined in the longing for righteousness by Lot, his nephew. Together they pray to the Lord for guidance.

6 But I, Abraham, and Lot, my brother's son, prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me: Arise, and take Lot with thee; for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice.
7 For I am the Lord thy God; I dwell in heaven; the earth is my footstool; I stretch my hand over the sea, and it obeys my voice; I cause the wind and the fire to be my chariot; I say to the mountains-Depart hence-and behold, they are taken away by a whirlwind, in an instant, suddenly.
8 My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.
9 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.
12 Now, after the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee;
13 Thou didst send thine angel to deliver me from the gods of Elkenah, and I will do well to hearken unto thy voice, therefore let thy servant rise up and depart in peace.
Abraham 2:6-13

ABRAM LEAVES HARAN

How old was Abraham when he left Haran?

The Bible says he was age 75:

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Genesis 12:4

The Book of Abraham says he was age 62:

So I, Abraham, departed as the Lord had said unto me, and Lot with me; and I, Abraham, was sixty and two years old when I departed out of Haran. Abraham 2:14

The reason for this disparity is unknown. It has been conjectured that Abraham was 62 when he left to go to Noah and Shem for the second time. While this is a possibility, I question that the Book of Abraham would have confused the two departures. If it is true that Abraham went the second time to Noah and Shem, it would have been a logical time and place for him to receive the priesthood. While this is possible that an earlier departure is the correct one for the departure at age 62, and would be a reasonable explanation, there is no indication in the records to show that this might have been the case.

4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan. Genesis 12:4-5

14 So I, Abraham, departed as the Lord had said unto me, and Lot with me; and I, Abraham, was sixty and two years old when I departed out of Haran.
15 And I took Sarai, whom I took to wife when I was in Ur, in Chaldea, and Lot, my brother's son, and all our substance that we had gathered, and the souls that we had won in Haran, and came forth in the way to the land of Canaan, and dwelt in tents as we came on our way;
Abraham 2:14-15

ON TO CANAAN

TRAVEL TO CANAAN

And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. Genesis 12:5

14 So I, Abraham, departed as the Lord had said unto me, and Lot with me; and I, Abraham, was sixty and two years old when I departed out of Haran.
15 And I took Sarai, whom I took to wife when I was in Ur, in Chaldea, and Lot, my brother's son, and all our substance that we had gathered, and the souls that we had won in Haran, and came forth in the way to the land of Canaan, and dwelt in tents as we came on our way;
Abraham 2:14-15

TO JERSHON

Abraham tells us that the first place he stopped after leaving Haran was at Jershon.

Therefore, eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation, as we journeyed from Haran by the way of Jershon, to come to the land of Canaan. Abraham 2:16

It has been said (BYU Studies) that Jershon (Jerash) is the same as Gerasa, east of the Jordan River in Decapolis. Jerash is situated in the north of Jordan, 48 kilometres (30 miles) north of the capital Amman towards Syria. (S24).

In Jershon, Abraham builds and altar and makes an offering to the Lord.

Now I, Abraham, built an altar in the land of Jershon, and made an offering unto the Lord, and prayed that the famine might be turned away from my father's house, that they might not perish. Abraham 2:17

As noted earlier, the famine abated, at least to a degree, which caused Abraham's father Terah to remain in Haran.

5 And the famine abated; and my father tarried in Haran and dwelt there, as there were many flocks in Haran…. Abraham 2: 3-5

It is therefore interesting to see that Abraham, after departing Haran, importunes the Lord to turn the famine away from his father's house. We also note here that in spite of the difficulties that Abraham has had with his father, he still shows love for his father and his family so that he prays unto the Lord to protect them from the famine.

TO SECHEM

Next Abraham travels in an anmost westward direction, passing over the Jordan River, until he comes to the area of Shechem (or as he calls it, Sichem). The site of Shechem was located near the modern city of Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank, approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem, on the high road going from Jerusalem to the northern districts. (S24). Thus, the site of Shechem long held an important position for travelers.

6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.
Genesis 12:6

In the Hebrew, the Plain of Moreh is given as elon moreh, which is translated, as stated, as the Plain of Moreh. Later translators have tried to equate elon moreh to refer to a sacred tree or grove, often rendering it as terebinth, a tree notable for its size and age in dry landscapes of the region and a member of the pistachio and sumac family. There appears to be no basis for this supposition. It is noted though that Jacob later is mentioned in connection with an oak tree in the area.

And they [Jacob's household and associates] gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. Genesis 35:4

As mentioned in Genesis 12:6, Abraham states that The Caananites were then in the land.. The Book of Abraham states that Shechem was located in the borders of the land of the Canaanites.

18 And then we passed from Jershon through the land unto the place of Sechem; it was situated in the plains of Moreh, and we had already come into the borders of the land of the Canaanites.... Abraham 2:18

The land of the Canaanites is commonly held to extend from Lebanon in the North, extending southward to the Brook of Egypt and eastward to the Jordan River Valley. It is therefore interesting that Abraham states that Shechem is located in the borders of the land of the Canaanites.

At Shechem, Abraham agains builds an altar and makes a sacrifice unto the Lord, and calls upon the Lord for guidance.

18 ..., and I offered sacrifice there in the plains of Moreh, and called on the Lord devoutly, because we had already come into the land of this idolatrous nation.
19 And the Lord appeared unto me in answer to my prayers, and said unto me: Unto thy seed will I give this land.
Abraham 2:18-19

In answer to Abraham's prayer, the Lord thus dedicates the land to Abraham and his posterity.

TO BETH-EL

Abraham moves from Shechem to the area of Bethel and Ai.

And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 12:8

And I, Abraham, arose from the place of the altar which I had built unto the Lord, and removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched my tent there, Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east; and there I built another altar unto the Lord, and called again upon the name of the Lord. Abraham 2:20

Bethel is located about 20 miles east of Nablus. Hai, later known as Ai, was slightly further east. The location of Ai is problematic. It is usually said to be a the location of the modern village of et-Tell, but archaelogical evidence does not support the site to be the same as the Ai encountered later by Joshua. Another tennative location is said to be the village of Khirbet el-Maqatir. Of consequence though is that the area between Bethel and Ai (Hai) lay a valley, said to be a very fertile and favorably situated location. It was here that Abraham pitched his tent.

As before, the first activity that Abraham undertakes, is to build an altar and to call again upon the Lord. Abraham does not record an encounter with the Lord on this occassion, but next records a determination to go further south.

CONTINUATION OF JOURNEY SOUTHWARD



And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south. Genesis 12:9

And I, Abraham, journeyed, going on still towards the south; and there was a continuation of a famine in the land; and I, Abraham, concluded to go down into Egypt, to sojourn there, for the famine became very grievous. Abraham 2:21

It is not recorded where Abraham lived when he travelled southward. However, we note that the famine not only continued, but increased in intensity, becoming so severe that Abraham decided to go into Egypt, where the fertile Nile River valley sustained life even during the drought.

<,i>And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. Genesis 12:10

The famine has been noted by scientists as a widespread universal aridification event (S24), and as one of the most severe climatic events of the time in terms of impact on cultural upheaval. It is said by them to have started at approximately 2200 BC, and to have probably lasted the entire 22nd century BC. It is very likely to have caused the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt as well as the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, and to have initiated southeastward movement within the Indus Valley Civilization.

Evidences for this aridification event as said to have been recorded across North Africa, the Middle East, the Red Sea, the Arabian peninsula, the Indian subcontinent, and midcontinental North America. Glaciers throughout the mountain ranges of western Canada advanced at about this time. Evidence has also been found in an Italian cave flowstone, the Kilimanjaro Ice sheet, and in Andean glacier ice. The onset of this aridification event in Mesopotamia is said to coincided with a cooling event in the North Atlantic. (S24).

Even Egypt is thought to have not been immune, inspite of the fact that Abraham went there to preserve the lives of his household. Ancient Egypt was hit by a series of exceptionally low Nile floods, which is thought to have been instrumental in the sudden collapse of centralized government in Egypt. An era of social disorder and fragmentation was followed by a period of rehabilitation and restoration of order in various provinces. (S24).

The Akkadian Empire was brought low by a wide-ranging, centuries-long drought. Archaeological evidence documents widespread abandonment of the agricultural plains of northern Mesopotamia and dramatic influxes of refugees into southern Mesopotamia. A 180-km-long wall, the Repeller of the Amorites, was built across central Mesopotamia to stem nomadic incursions to the south. The Gutian people, who originally inhabited the Zagros Mountains, defeated the demoralized Akkadian army, took Akkad, and destroyed it. (S24).

Widespread agricultural changes in the Near East are visible at this time. Resettlement of the northern plains by smaller sedentary populations occurred for up to three centuries after the collapse. (S24).

In the Persian Gulf region, there is a sudden change in settlement pattern, style of pottery and tombs at this time. The drought marks the end of the cultures and change to new ones. (S24).

The drought may have caused the collapse of Neolithic Cultures around Central China during this time. The middle reaches of the Yellow River saw a series of extraordinary floods. In the Yishu River Basin, the flourishing Longshan culture was hit by a cooling that made the paddies shortfall in output or even no seeds were gathered. The scarcity in natural resource led to substantial decrease in population and subsequent drop in archaeological sites. The Longshan culture was displaced by the Yueshi culture which was relatively underdeveloped, simple, and unsophisticated. (S24).

As a result of the intensity of the famine, Abraham concludes to take his family into Egypt, where the effects of the famine were made less severe by the flow of the Nile River, even though the river itself was apparently reduced from its usual volume.

PREPARATION FOR EGYPT

The Bible, in the Book of Genesis, indicates that Abraham initiated the story that Sarah was his sister.

And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
Genesis 12:11-13

The Book of Abraham indicates that the Lord gave Abraham the idea to present to Sarah.

And it came to pass when I was come near to enter into Egypt, the Lord said unto me: Behold, Sarai, thy wife, is a very fair woman to look upon;
23 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see her, they will say-She is his wife; and they will kill you, but they will save her alive; therefore see that ye do on this wise:
24 Let her say unto the Egyptians, she is thy sister, and thy soul shall live.
25 And it came to pass that I, Abraham, told Sarai, my wife, all that the Lord had said unto me-Therefore say unto them, I pray thee, thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and my soul shall live because of thee.
Abraham 2:22-25

We are told that Abraham, first through the Urim and Thummim and then directly with the Lord, becomes knowledgable concerning the stars and the heavens above, and with the creation of the earth itself. We are not told when this occurred, but it appears to have been prior to his entering into Egypt.

1 AND I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees;
2 And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;

3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

4 And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord's time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.

5 And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years.

6 And the Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist, behold thine eyes see it; it is given unto thee to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night.

7 Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest.

8 And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still;

9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

10 And it is given unto thee to know the set time of all the stars that are set to give light, until thou come near unto the throne of God.

11 Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made;

12 And he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof.

13 And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.

14 And it was in the night time when the Lord spake these words unto me: I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds.

15 And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words.

16 If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me.

17 Now, if there be two things, one above the other, and the moon be above the earth, then it may be that a planet or a star may exist above it; and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.

18 Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two aspirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.

19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.

20 The Lord thy God sent his angel to deliver thee from the hands of the priest of Elkenah.
21 I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
Abraham 3:1-21

In the middle of the second century, Vettius Valens, in his astrological work, Anthologiae (2.28,29), refers to Abraham as a most wonderful astrological authority.

ABRAHAM GOES TO EGYPT

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, VII:2, claimed of Abraham that He communicated to them (Egyptians) arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy...for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt.... It seems that Eternal has ever worked with one particular group of people, Abraham’s line of people and, through him and his offspring, has caused the entire world to be blessed. We need to understand that we people of America, Britain, Europe, and Scandinavia are these same people. (S10).

The Pharaoh to whom Abraham came was said to be Nebhepetre Mentuhotpe (Mentuhotep II) of Dynasty Eleven. Mentuhotpe II was victorious over his enemies, and united all of Egypt, which dominion lasted for 43 years. (S13a). If this is indeed the correct Pharaoh, Abraham would have probably arrived in Egypt after Mentuhotep II united the country. Our estimates for dating of Dynasty Eleven do put the arrival of Abraham during his reign to be within the realm of possibility.

In any case, Abraham arrived in Egypt, and the bible records:

14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
Genesis 12: 14 -20

It always seemed interesting to me to see that the life of Abraham would be in danger if Sarah would be recognized as his wife, but his life was safe while she was recognized as his sister. But such were the dynamics of the court of Pharaoh at the time.

RETURN FROM EGYPT TO BETH-EL

So the Pharaoh released Abraham and Sarai, and sent them on their way, apparently with great riches. Abraham and his family lived at first in the south. Again we are not told where in the south they lived, or for how long. Soon though they determine to go back further north to Bethel.

1 AND Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai;
4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
Genesis 13:1-4

Here we note that Lot was with Abraham in Egypt. Thus the sojourn in Egypt preserved the life of Abraham and all his household.

LOT AND ABRAHAM SEPARATE

It appears by this time that the famine has abated. Perhaps not completely, but at least to the degree that Abraham and his family can exist in the land of Caanan. It may have lingered to a degree though, since Abraham and Lot could not co-exist in the same immediate location, but had to separate to a degree. This was initially caused by strife between their respective herdsmen, but the lingering famine effects could also have been a factor.

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no astrife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Genesis 13:5-17

ABRAHAM MOVES TO HEBRON

Abraham goes south again, probably to the place where he was located before, which was labeled just as the south. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. Genesis 13:18

Abraham again builds an altar unto the Lord. Archaelogical evidence (S24) shows bronze age pottery shards found at the site of Mamre that indicate that the cultic shrine was in use at an early age, well within the timeline of Abraham' life.

The Plain of Mamre is named for Mamre, who was an Amorite chief. The earliest Sumerian sources concerning the Amorites show them to be associated with the lands to the west of the Euphrates, including Canaan and what was to become Syria. They appear from the writings found in Sumer, Akkad and Assyria to be a nomadic people in the region. They were apparently also severely affected by the famine experienced by Abraham and his family, which contributed to their nomadic lifestyle, and general movement of peoples in the whole middle east region at the time. (S24. see 4.2 kiloyear aridification event.).

THE BATTLE OF THE KINGS

We learf from the Bible that a coalition of Kings arose in the middle-east. These consisted of Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations. This was said to have occurred in the days of Amraphel, King of Shinar. It is not made clear if Amraphel was a member of the coalition.

This coalition attacked another group of Kings. Whether this group of Kings was organized into another coalition, or whether they were attacked independently, is not stated. We are only told that this group consisted of Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and Bela, king of Zoar:

1 AND it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
Genesis 14:1-3

The first coalition was successful. The apparently conquered fully the second group, who were under their control for a full 12 years, after which the second group rebelled.

4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. Genesis 14:4

We are not told the nature of the rebellion, but the indications are that Chedorlaomer and the members of his coalition first attacked not the kings of the vale of Sodom and Gomorrah, but a group of other small kingdoms in the region and stretching into Syria and possibly Lebanon.

5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
7 And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar.
Genesis 14:5-7

It was then, probably out of a desire to join the others who were attacked at this time to create a greater coalition, that the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah with the other kings of the previous second coalition went out to battle Chedorlaomer and his forces. Since this battle occurred in the Vale of Siddim, it is possible that Sodom and Gomorrah and their group waited until Chedorlaomer had conquered the other nations already and was then turning his attention on them.

8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
Genesis 14:8-10

So Sodom and Gomorrah and their group fail as well before the forces of Chedorlaomer. Sodom and Gomorrah still exist, but as vassals of Chedorlaomer. We do see though that Sodom and Gomorrah are plundered, and Lot and all his goods are taken as well.

11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre....
Genesis 14:11-13

ABRAHAM GOES TO THE RESCUE

When Abraham hears of the events, and that his nephew Lot has been taken captive, he takes action. 14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. Genesis 14:14
This verse also gives us an indication of the wealth and power of Abraham, that his estate required a force of 318 servants to administer it.

So Abraham gathers together his sevants, and arms and trains them, though the verse indicates that he had previously trained them. He probably saw the way things were going with the politics and battles in the region, and had already envisioned the need for such a force for protection.

He is also joined by some of the Amorites, his friends and associates, who surely also saw the events unfolding before them as Abraham did. We return to verse 13, shown here in full:

13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eschol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. Genesis 14:11-13

With this confederation, and with his own trained group of servants, Abraham ventures forth to confront Chedorlaomer and to rescue Lot.

15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. Genesis 14:15

Abraham and his forces are successful. His attack by night was a surprise tactical move which probably caught the enemy totally by surprise. Abraham brought back the captured people and all their goods.

16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
Genesis 14:16-17

The Valley of Shaveh, or the King's Dale is unknown. It is only referenced here in Genesis 14:17, and in 2 Samuel:

Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King’s Valley. For he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom’s Monument. 2 Samuel 18:18

Absalom's Pillar is recognized as an ancient monumental rock-cut tomb with a conical roof located in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem. (S24). It is thus most assuredly so that Abraham brought the spoils and freed kidnapped people to the small vally of the Brook Kidron, or Vale of Kings, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, or Salem as it was then known.

ABRAHAM MEETS MELCHIZEDEK

Having assembled on the outskirts of Salem, Melchizedek, King of Salem, comes out to meet Abraham.

18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Genesis 14:18-20

Melchizedek is here recognized as the Priest of the Most High God. It is concievable that Melchizedek was the person that Abraham previously went to when he received the Priesthood. If this is so, when Abraham departed from Haran he was not venturing into unknown territory, but into an area that he previously traveled and knew.

MAKES AN OATH WITH THE KING OF SODOM

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion. Genesis 14:21-24.

THE LORD REAFIRMS HIS COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM

1 AFTER these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a avision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy dseed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for crighteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a astranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good aold age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a acovenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. Genesis 15:1-18.

SARAH GIVES HAGAR TO ABRAHAM TO FULFILL THE COVENANT

1 NOW Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. 7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and bsubmit thyself under her hands.

10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy aseed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. 13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? 14 Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered
. Genesis 16:1-14

BIRTH OF ISHMAEL

15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. 16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram. Genesis 16:15-16.

RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM

1 AND when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make bnations of thee, and ckings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my bcovenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will agive unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the bland wherein thou art a stranger, all the dland of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my acovenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a btoken of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. 15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and agive thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my bcovenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my acovenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and acircumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him
. Genesis 17:1-27.

ABRAHAM ENTERTAINS ANGELS

1 AND the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and awash your feet, and brest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. Genesis 18:1-8.

THE LORD REAFIRMS THE COVENANT AGAIN

9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were aold and well stricken in age; and it bceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah alaugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. Genesis 18:9-15.

ABRAHAM CONTENDS WITH THE LORD FOR SODOM AND GOMORRAH

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty anation, and all the bnations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will ommand his children and his household after him, and they shall ekeep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their bsin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham bstood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not aspare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place
. Genesis 18:16-33.

DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH

CHAPTER 19

Lot entertains holy men—The men of Sodom seek to abuse Lot’s guests, and are smitten with blindness—Lot sent out of Sodom—The Lord rains brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah—Lot’s daughters preserve his seed in the land.

1 AND there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and awash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a afeast, and did bake bunleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with ablindness•, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that cmocked unto his sons in law. 15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the bmountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found agrace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. 30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day
. Genesis 9:1-38.

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The Overthrow of the Cities of the Plain The Book of Genesis portrays the age of the patriarchs as a time of great upheavals in nature in which the geology of the Jordan Valley underwent some drastic changes. The focus of these events was in the place now occupied by the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, according to the Genesis account, was not yet in existence in the days of Abraham. In its place there was a fertile plain, known as the plain of Sittim, with five populous cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar. When Lot arrived in the region he “lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere . . . even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” (1) The nineteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis tells of a catastrophe in which these cities were overwhelmed, overturned, and swallowed by the earth: The sun was risen upon the earth when . . . the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. . . . And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord; And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.(2)

The description of this upheaval has always aroused wonder: “There is clearly something unnatural or extraordinary that is recorded,” one commentator wrote.(3) The great rift of the Jordan and the Dead Sea bear witness to a tremendous upheaval. “With the end of the Tertiary period, in an event of extreme violence . . . the entire Syrian land, from its south end to its north end, was torn apart and the ground in between sank into the depths.” So wrote Professor M. Blanckenhorn, the explorer of the region of the Dead Sea.(4) In his later work he advanced the age of the rift to the pluvial, or the beginning of the first glacial age. The origin of the Dead Sea occurred “in a great mountain movement, with collapse and dislocation, that took place at the beginning of the pluvial, in the first glacial period. . . . In these titanic events conditions were created for the existence of an inner sea.” (5) A period of dryness followed the first glacial, or pluvial period. In a new pluvial period, the second glacial epoch, the lake reached its greatest dimensions: the Dead Sea spread to the northern side of the present Sea of Galilee, engulfing it together with the Jordan Valley between. At the time, as fossil snails show, the water was not yet saline.

The rift in which the Lake of Galilee, the Jordan, and the Dead Sea lie is the deepest depression on any continent. The surface of the Dead Sea is close to 400 meters below the level of the Mediterranean, and its deepest bottom is some 320 meters lower still. The shore falls steeply from the Judean mountains on the west; on the eastern side of the rift rise the Moabite mountains. The walls of the chasm show sharp broken strata that remained horizontal, which proves that the breaking down was instantaneous.(6) The force which caused this slide movement must have been stupendous. The ground of the rift around the Dead Sea is covered with coagulated lava masses, taking the form of an immense herd of giant elephants with rough skin. These lava eruptions from fissures are ascribed to the second interglacial period.(7) To the south end of the Dead Sea towers a big cliff of salt called Jebel Usdum (Mount of Sodom). “It is absolutely impossible that the salt sediment of a sea should precipitate in such a form.” (8) “Only the rupture of the ground could create this site, singular in the entire world.” (9) The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah took place in historical times, according to my scheme in a catastrophe which caused also the end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. The geologists refer the upheaval which tore Syria in two to the end of the Tertiary period—long before human history began. Now the question is legitimate: how old is the Dead Sea?

References

Genesis 13:10. Tacitus wrote that the plain was “fruitful and supported great and populous cities.” (Histories V. 7). According to Strabo (Geography XVI. 2. 44) there were thirteen inhabited cities in that region of which Sodom was the metropolis.

Genesis 19: 23-25, 27-28. J. Penrose Harland, “Sodom and Gomorrah,” The Biblical Archaeologist Reader (New York, 1961), p. 61. M. Blanckenhorn, “Entstehung und Geschichte des Todten Meeres,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina-Vereins, 19 (1896), p. 16. Idem, Naturwissenschaftliche Studien am Todten Meer und im tal (Berlin, 1912); cf. R. Freund et al., “The Shear along the Dead Sea Rift,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A, Vol. 267 (1970), pp. 107-130. SOURCE: Blanckenhorn, “Entstehung und Geschichte des Todten Meeres,” p. 26. http://www.varchive.org/itb/overthrow.htm

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The Age of the Dead Sea

There is a way of calculating the age of the Dead Sea. This interior lake contains concentrated solutions of salts. These salts flow into the sea with the waters of its tributaries. Thermal springs bring salt to the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan carries them to the Dead Sea, which has no outlet. From the surface of the Dead Sea, in the deep hot rift, the water evaporates, leaving the salts behind. By calculating the amount of salts in the sea and the amount that reaches it annually by way of the Jordan and other streams, as well as from thermal springs on its shores, the approximate age of the Dead Sea can be determined. Such an attempt was partially made. The magnesium salts in the Jordan served as a basis for the calculation. It was reckoned that the present annual rate of influx of magnesium in the water of the Jordan alone, when related to the concentration of magnesium in the Dead Sea, should give a figure of approximately 50,000 years as the age of the sea.(1) The author of this estimate admitted that even this figure is probably too high; the salinity of the Jordan must have decreased with time, for the thermal sources carry more salt when they are young and their temperature is high.

In the above calculation, it was estimated that the Jordan carries six million tons of water daily to the Dead Sea and that it deposits 181 million tons of magnesium annually. However, on an average day more than double that amount evaporates from the Dead Sea,(2) and its surface does not fall, other sources must be making up the difference.

The rivers Zerka (Callirhoe) and Arnon, which flow into the sea from the east, carry salt solutions from many springs. The shores of the Dead Sea abound in highly concentrated thermal springs which contain rich amounts of magnesium. These sources flow directly into the sea, bringing a richer influx of magnesium than the Jordan.(3) In addition there are, on the shores of the Dead Sea, abundant vestiges of thermal springs with rich sediments of salts that are inactive at present.(4) It is highly probable, too, that there are submarine sources in the Dead Sea which may provide magnesium, but they are indeterminable.(5)

When these factors are taken into consideration the age of the Dead Sea, computed on the basis of its magnesium content, must be drastically reduced.

A computation that takes, as its basis, the amount of sodium in the Jordan points to a recent date for the origin of the Dead Sea. The proportion of sodium to magnesium in the water of the Jordan is about 4:1; in the Dead Sea it is 1:2.(6) If the Jordan were the only source of the sodium for the Dead Sea the age of the Dead Sea would be only about 6,000 years. But the thermal sources on the western, eastern, and southern shores contain sodium too; so may the submarine sources, which cannot be evaluated. It is likely, therefore, that the sea has existed for only about four thousand years. When again the fact is taken into account that the thermal sources are usually more concentrated when they first break out and when they are at a higher temperature, it may well be asked why the age of this sea should not be reduced still more. It is probable that deeper levels of water have a greater salt concentration.(7)

Fifty thousand years as the age of the Dead Sea was an unexpectedly low estimate: the rift in which the Dead Sea is situated is considered to be the result of a catastrophe at the beginning of the first glacial period.(8) Now a simple reckoning shows that the saline sea with the Jordan has not existed longer than five thousand years.

References

W. Irwin, “The Salts of the Dead Sea and River Jordan,” Geographical Journal 61 (London, 1923), p. 434. [Yaacov K. Benter’s 1961 publication arrived at a figure close to 12,000 years. See Scientific American Oct. 1983, p. 103.] Ibid., pp. 435-436; [cf. J. Neumann, “Tentative Energy and Water Balances for the Dead Sea,” Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel, G, Vol. VII, nos 2-3 (1958); cf. also H. Haude, “Ueber Klimatische und menschlische Einwirkungen auf den Wasseraushalt des Toten Meeres in seiner Vergangenheit,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina-Vereins, 88 (1972), pp. 105-139.] Blanckenhorn, “Entstehung und Geschichte des Todten Meeres,” p. 29; cf. L. Lartet, L’exploration geologique de la Mer Morte (1874), p. 297. R. Sachsse, “Beitraege zur chemischen Kenntiniss der Mineralien, Gesteine und Gewaesser Palaestinas,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina-Vereins, 20 (1897), pp. 25ff., esp. p. 33; cf. H. St. J. Philby, “The Dead Sea to ‘Aqaba,” The Geographical Journal, LXVI (1925). Irwin, “The Salts of the Dead Sea,” op. cit., p. 438. Ibid., p. 434. Cf. H. Boyko, Salinity and Aridity (The Hague, 1966), p. 15.

The figures for magnesium according to Terreil, quoted by Irwin (p. 431), are: At the surface of the sea, at the north shore, magnesium constitutes 13.20 percent of solid salt; 120 meters below the surface, five miles east of Kasel Fesaka, magnesium amounts to 16.80 percent of the solid residue; and 300 meters deep at the same point, 15.99 percent. From the account of Tacitus (Histories V. 6) it would appear that the Dead Sea was already saturated with salts nineteen centuries ago.

Blanckenhorn, Naturwissenschaftliche Studien am Todten Meer, p. 115.

SOURCE: http://www.varchive.org/itb/deadsea.htm

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The Great Rift and the Jordan

The story of the violent changes that occurred in the Jordan Valley, the memory of which is connected with the time of the patriarchs and in which Sodom and Gomorrah were overturned, does not mention that the Valley of Sittim, where the cities were located, became an inner sea. Sulphur and brimstone fell from heaven, one of the best cultivated areas was overturned, fire from beneath and fire from above accomplished the desolation—all this is described; but not the appearance of a sea. However, when the Israelites under Moses and Joshua reached the area in their flight from Egypt, they found the lake there.(1) It seems to have appeared after a catastrophe later than the one that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

But if there was no Dead Sea before the time of the Exodus, whither did the Jordan flow, assuming it was already in existence? The Jordan might not have existed at all, or it could have flowed into the open sea, the Mediterranean. It probably did not flow along the Rift over the Arabah into the Aqaba Gulf of the Red Sea, as no traces of marine life are found at the height of the watershed of Arabah. The barrier between the Dead Sea and the Aqaba Gulf is about 500 meters high. The watershed between the Jordan River and the Kishon River which flows into the Mediterranean, at Mount Gilboa, is 500 meters above the ocean level. The topographical shape of the region of the Beth Shan Valley, stretching from the Jordan towards the Esdraelon Valley, makes the flow of the Jordan into the Mediterranean a far more acceptable conjecture than a presumed flow of the Jordan over the slopes of the mountain of Hor into the Red Sea. Of course, it can be regarded as certain that the geography of the environs of the Red Sea and of the continents in general was quite different before and after the catastrophe that resulted in the formation of the Dead Sea.

The Great Rift, which begins in Syria between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, runs along the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the Arabah, the Aqaba gulf, the Red Sea, and continues through the continent of Africa as far as Zimbabwe, is generally regarded as the product of a grandiose revolution in the shell of the Earth: for many thousands of kilometers the Great Rift runs from Asia to Africa.

Prehistoric man witnessed the latest phases of widespread tectonic movements which convulsed East Africa and provoked great subsidences (of as much as 1500 feet or more) in the early Quarternary strata, whereby was occasioned the discharge of lava and erupted scoriae, modifying notably the courses of the rivers and the circumstances in which the lakes rose or fell in level, and even changing the outlines of these bodies of water.(2)

Changes in the watercourses and lakes took place along the entire length of the Rift. The deepest place in the Rift on land is the valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. It appears that the catastrophe which originated the Dead Sea, caused also the origin of the Great Rift.

Beyond the Red Sea, which stretches for several hundred kilometers and has not a single affluent river, the aquatic life of the African lakes and rivers belongs to the so-called Ethiopian zoogeographical region. According to Annandale “the explanation of the Ethiopian affinity of the fish fauna of the Jordan is that the Jordan formed at one time merely part of a river system that ran down the Great Rift Valley. The Jordan was one branch of this huge river system, the chain of lakes in East Africa represents the other; and together they opened into the Indian Ocean.” (3)

Whatever the structural changes of the earth in the catastrophes before that which I describe here, there must have been some time when the Jordan streamed into the valley of Sittim (the name of the plain before the Dead Sea originated) and continued into the Mediterranean, most probably through the Jezreel Valley.

Legendary reminiscences from the patriarchal age indicate that the Jordan existed before the Dead Sea came into being.(4) It appears that the coming out of Paddan-aram to Canaan required the passage of a river. Today the the way from Palestine to the north does not require the crossing of water. But if the Jordan did flow through the Esdraelon Valley into the Mediterranean, it had to flow in a direction opposite to the one in which it flows today.

Does there exist any reminiscence about the Jordan changing the direction of its flow? It is not the story in the book of Joshua about the Jordan halting its flow—there it is told that the water was stopped at Adama, north of Jericho.(5) This indicates that the flow of the Jordan was already from north to south, as today. The existence of the Dead Sea is also mentioned at the time the Israelites approached Canaan, but it is described as recent: it is called “the sea of the plain.” (6) The blocking of the Jordan River by falling slices of the banks happened a number of times.(7) The stoppage referred to in the book of Joshua is described as a temporary blocking of the Jordan River in a time of frequent earthquakes, and not as a reversal of the flow. But there are, in Scripture, references to the reversal of the flow of the Jordan:

When Israel went out of Egypt. . . The sea saw and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, o thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan that thou was driven back? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord . . . Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

Here the reversal of the flow of the Jordan is associated in time not only with the Exodus and the catastrophe of the Sea of Passage, but also with the appearance of a new inner sea ("standing water” ).

A river that changed the direction of its flow must have been regarded as a very remarkable phenomenon.

An inscription of Thutmose I reads: “Frontier northern, as far as that inverted water which goeth down in going up.” (9) In order to explain this passage it was supposed that the Egyptians could not imagine that a river flows otherwise that from south to north, as does the Nile, and they wondered at a river flowing in another direction. The Euphrates flows from the north-west to the south-east; the Oronotes north to south for part of its course, afterwards turning west and emptying into the Mediterranean. The explanation is obviously inadequate. There are many rivers in the world and they flow in all directions. The river that reversed its direction is the Jordan.

Prior to the Exodus, the Jordan Valley was on a higher level than the Mediterranean Sea. With the rupture of the tectonic structure along the river and the dropping of the Dead Sea chasm, many brooks in southern Palestine which had been flowing to the south must have changed their direction and started to flow towards Palestine, emptying into the southern shore of the Dead Sea. This occurrence served as a symbolic picture for the dispersed Children of Israel, who also will return to their homeland: “Turn again our captivity as the streams in the south.”

The plain of Siddim became a sea. When Israel “wandered into the wilderness in a solitary way [the Lord turned] rivers into the wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; and fruitful land into barrenness; [but elsewhere he turned] the wilderness into standing water, and the dry ground into watersprings.”

The opening of the Great Rift, or its further expansion, accompanied by the overturning of the plain and the origin of the Dead Sea, was a catastrophe that ended an era. In my understanding the end of the Early Bronze Age or the Old Kingdom in Egypt coincided with these events.

References

Joshua 3:16; Numbers 34:12; Deuteronomy 3:17. H. Alimen, The Prehistory of East Africa (London, 1957), p. 194. See R. Washbourn, “The Percy Sladen Expedition to Lake Huleh, 1935,” Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statements, (1936), p. 209. Genesis 13:10, 11; cf. Genesis 14:3. Joshua 3:16. Joshua 12:3. J. Garstang, The Foundations of Bible History (1931), p. 137; cf. Worlds in Collision, section “Jericho,” and my article “Jericho” in KRONOS II:4 (1977), pp. 64-69. Psalm 114. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. III, par. 73. Psalm 126:4. Psalm 104:4, 33-35.

SOURCE: http://www.varchive.org/itb/rift.htm

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ABRAHAM MOVES TO THE SOUTH COUNTRY

1 AND Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. 4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? 5 Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. 6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. 7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall apray• for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. 8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou bdone• unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast cdone• deeds unto me that ought not to be done. 10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? 11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the afear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake. 12 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. 13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy bkindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. 14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. 15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. 16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. 17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. 18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.. Genesis 20:1-18.

BIRTH OF ISAAC

1896 B.C. Son Isaac born. (S4).

1 AND the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham acircumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. 8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. Genesis 21:1-8

HAGAR IS SENT AWAY

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. Genesis 21:9-13.

14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the aangel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great anation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. Genesis 21:14-21.

ABRAHAM MAKES A COVENANT WITH ABIMELECH

22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: 23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24 And Abraham said, I will swear. 25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away. 26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. 27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them amade• a covenant. 28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? 30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. 31 Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba; because there they sware both of them. 32 Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. 33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and bcalled there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days. Genesis 21:22-34.

SACRAFICE OF ISAAC AND THE RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT

1 AND it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou clovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and aworship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the baltar upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. 15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast cobeyed my voice. Genesis 22:1-18.

ABRAHAM DWELLS AT BEERSHEBA

19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba. Genesis 22:19

ABRAHAM RECEIVED WORD OF HIS KINFOLK IN HARAN

20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; 21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah. Genesis 22:20-24.

DEATH OF SARAH

CHAPTER 23

Sarah dies and is buried in the cave of Machpelah, which Abraham buys from Ephron the Hittite.

1 AND Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. 7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 That he may give me the cave of aMachpelah•, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. 10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the agate• of his city, saying, 11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. 12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred ashekels• of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16 And Abraham hearkened unto aEphron•; and Abraham bweighed• to cEphron• the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. 20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth. Genesis 23:1-20.

ABRAHAM SENDS HIS SERVANT TO GET A WIFE FOR ISAAC

CHAPTER 24

1 AND Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. 5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. 7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. 8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. 10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. 15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. 16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. 18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. 21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. 22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; 23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? 24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. 25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. 26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. 27 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren. 28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things. 29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. 30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. 31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. 32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. 33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on. 34 And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. 35 And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. 37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: 38 But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. 39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. 40 And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house: 41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath. 42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: 43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; 44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master’s son. 45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. 46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. 47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. 48 And I abowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. 49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. 50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken. 52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth. 53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. 54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. 55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. 56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. 57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. 58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. 59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which chate them. 61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. Genesis 24:1-67.

ABRAHAM TAKES KETURAH TO WIFE

CHAPTER 25

1 THEN again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. Gensis 25:1-6.

ABRAHAM TESTIFIED OF CHRIST

16 And now behold, Moses did not only testify of these things, but also all the holy prophets, from his days even to the days of Abraham. 17 Yea, and behold, Abraham saw of his coming, and was filled with gladness and did rejoice. 18 Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were many before the days of Abraham who were called by the order of God; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them. 19 And now I would that ye should know, that even since the days of Abraham there have been many prophets that have testified these things; yea, behold, the prophet Zenos did testify boldly; for the which he was slain. Helaman 8:16-19.

THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM

And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. Genesis 25:7-10.

Since Abraham was born in 1948 AM, which we have equated to 2053 B.C., and live for 175 years, this results in his death in 2124 Anno Mundi, which equates to 1878 B.C.

Others have said he died in:
1872 B.C. (S4).


WIFE (1):
SARAI. (Sarah).
Sarai was the daughter of TERAH by a different mother than Abraham. She was called Sarai. Later, the Lord directed that her name be changed to Sarah.
It is also indicated, as previously noted, that she was the daughter of Haran, the son of Terah.

Sarah is mentioned in Isaiah, Isaiah 51:2 New King James Version (NKJV) Look to Abraham your father,
And to Sarah who bore you;
For I called him alone,
And blessed him and increased him."

In two places in the Bible narrative it says Sarah is Abraham's sister (Genesis 12:10 through 13:1, in the encounter with Pharaoh, and Genesis 20, in the encounter with Abimelech). In the second, it says that Sarah is the daughter of his father, but not his mother. Genesis Chapter 11:29-31; 12:5, 10-20; 13:1

She was originally called "Sarai" In the narrative of the covenant of circumcision in Genesis 17, during which Yahweh promises Abram that he and Sarai will have a son, Abram is renamed as Abraham and Sarai is renamed as Sarah. Genesis 17:15

The Talmud identifies Sarai with Iscah, daughter of Abraham's deceased brother Haran, so that in this Sarah turns out to be the niece of Abraham and the sister of Lot and Milcah. Rashi on Genesis 20:12 She is [indeed] my sister, my father's daughter. - And the daughter of [one's] father [from a different mother] is permitted to a son of Noah, [i.e., a non-Jew], for there is no [ halachic relationship {with regard to forbidden marriages} through] paternity for non-Jews. In order to bear out his words he answered him {Avimelech} thus. And if you will say [by way of objection], is it not true that she was the daughter of his brother (Sanhedrin 58b), [and not his father? The answer is that] the children of children are like [one's own] children (Yevamos 62b. In his comments to Exodus 18:1, Rashi explains that "young children call their father's father, 'Father'.") and [Sarah] is thus [considered] the daughter of Terah, [Abraham's father, for she was the daughter of Haran, another son of Terah].

CHILDREN of ABRAHAM and SARAH:
  1. ISAAC. He married Rebekah.


WIFE (2):
HAGAR.


CHILDREN of ABRAHAM and HAGAR:
  1. ISHMAEL.


WIFE (3):
KETURAH.


CHILDREN of ABRAHAM and KETURAH:
  1. After Sarah's death, Abraham married again and fathered six more sons (there may also have been some daughters). (S?).


SOURCES:



RESEARCH:

ABRAHAM RESEARCH (Sources to be checked).

* From Ur to Machpelah, the story of Abraham: The Story of Abraham. By Lowther John Barrington. Published by Sampson, Low, Marston, Low, and Searle, 1872. Original from Oxford University. Digitized Aug 15, 2006. 80 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=8psCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=abraham&lr=#PPA15,M1

* Abraham: His Life and Times. By William John Deane. Published by Revell, 1888. Original from Princeton University. Digitized Mar 24, 2008. 179 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=rogXAAAAYAAJ

* Our father Abraham: Jewish roots of the Christian faith. By Marvin R. Wilson. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989. ISBN 0802804233, 9780802804235. 374 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=RPyAG2cduiAC&pg=PA3&dq=abraham&lr=#PPP1,M1

* Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths. By Bruce S. Feiler. Edition: illustrated. Published by Harper Collins, 2002. ISBN 0380977761, 9780380977765. 224 pages. http://books.google.com/booksid=KQWsXX4zNbUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=abraham#PPA29,M1

* Abraham: the first historical biography. By David Rosenberg. Published by Basic Books, 2006. ISBN 0465070949, 9780465070947. 342 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ne9jot9VRSIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=abraham#PPR16,M1.

EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM
   
EVENT
A.M.
B.C.
Abraham born 1948 AM 2052 BC
Sarai born 1958 AM 2042 BC
Dwells with Noah & Shem 1958 AM 2042 BC
Returns from Noah & Shem 1997 AM  
Abraham preaches the word of God 1998 AM  
Brother Haran died 1998 AM  
Earthquake & Famine ?  
Leaves Haran 2010 AM ?  
Leaves Haran 2023AM ?  
Goes to Egypt    
Returns from Egypt    
Battle of the Kings of the Plain    
Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah    
Ishmael born 2034AM 1966 BC
Covenant renewed 2047AM  
Isaac born 2048AM  
Sacrifice of Isaac    
Terah dies at age 205 2083 AM  
Sarah dies at age 127 2085 AM  
Abraham dies 2123AM 1877 BC



ANCESTORS OF ABRAHAM:
Adam (4001BC-3071BC) and Eve
Seth (3871BC-2959BC)
Enos  (3766BC-2861)
Cainan  (3676BC-2766BC)
Mahalaleel (3606BC-2711BC)
Jared  (3541BC-2579BC)
Enoch  (3379BC-2948BC) taken up by God (Gen5:24)
Methuselah (3314BC-2345BC)
Lamech (3127BC-2350BC)
Noah  (2945BC-1995BC)
Shem  (2453BC-1843BC)  
Arphaxad  (2343BC-1905BC)
Salah (2308BC-1875BC)
Eber  (2278BC-1814BC)
Peleg  (2244BC-2005BC)
Reu  (2214BC-1975BC)
Serug  (2182BC-1952BC)
Nahor  (2152BC-2004BC)
Terah  (2122BC-1918BC)
Abraham (2052BC-1846BC) (Abram) and  Sarah


HOW ARE WE RELATED
Abraham  (2052BC-1846BC) and Sarah
Isaac  (1893BC-1713BC) and Rebekah
Jacob (1833BC-1686BC) and Leah
Israel goes to Egypt  (1763BC)
Judah  and Tamar 
Zerah (Zehrah Zarah Zare) and Electra the Pleiade 
Mahol
  |
(descendant of?)
  |
Dardanus (Dara) (King) of ACADIA) and Batea of Teucri
Erichthonius (King) of ACADIA) and Astyoche of ACADIA 
Trois of ACADIA  (1337? BC - 1330? BC)  and Callirhoe (Teucri)
Assaracus (Ascaoracus) the DARDANIAN  and possibly Hieromneme
Capys (Capis Capps) the DARDANIAN  
Anchises the DARDANIAN  and Themiste of Troy
Aeneas (the Dardanian) (King of LATIUM)  and Creusa (Cassandra) of Troy
Iulus ASCANIUS (founder & 1st King) of ALBA LONGA  and Roma
Silvius (Hisicion) d' ITALIA   
Brutus of the BRITONS  and of Latium and Ignoge of GREECE   
Camber of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Gorbonian of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Dyfynwal Hen of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Cyngen (Duke/King) of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Asser (Duke/King) of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Bleiddud (Duke/King) of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Henwyn (Duke/King) of CAMBRIA & CORNWALL  
Cunedda (King) in BRITAIN  (? - 772? BC)  
Rhiwallon (King) in BRITAIN  
Gwrwst (King) in BRITAIN  (? - 735? BC)  
Seisyll (Sisillius I) (King) in BRITAIN  
Antonius (King/Duke) of CORNWALL 
  |
(descendant of?)
  | 
Aedd MAWR (King/Duke) of CORNWALL   
Prydain ap AEDD of CORNWALL  
Dyfnarth (Duke/King) of CORNWALL  
Crydon (Krydon) the CAMBRIAN  
Cerwydr the CAMBRIAN  
Capoir of the DRUIDS (King) of BRITONS  
Digueillus (King) of BRITONS  
Heli I (King) of BRITONS  
Cas `the Exile'  
Huw the MIGHTY  
Lugh II `the Shining One'  (? - 103 BC)  
Beli (Heli II)  (? - 55 BC)  
Caswallon ap BELI (King) of the CATUVELLAUNI  (? - 47 BC)  
Addedomaros  (? - 25+ BC)  
Dubnovellus   
Beli (Belus) of BRITAIN  and Annia (Antonia) 
Afallach ap BELI of BRITAIN  and poss.  Anna PROPHETE 
Owain (Eugein) ap AFALLACH of BRITAIN  and  Athilda of BRITONS 
Brychwain (Brithguein) ap OWAIN of BRITAIN  and Emerita verch COEL of B.
Alyfon (King) of SILURIA  
Anyn ap ALYFON  
Dingad (Dindad Dingarth) ap ANYN  
Greidiol (Cridol) `Galofydd' ap DINGAD  
Ceraint (Geraint Keraint Kerint) ap GREIDIOL  
Merion (Meirion) ap CERAINT  
Arch (Arthen Arth) ap MERION  
Caid (Keit Kait Ceidio) ibn ARCH  
Gwyn ap CAID  
Ceri (Keri) Hir Lyngwyn ap GWYN  
Baran ap Ceri  (c20BC-?)
Llyr Lleddiarth ap Baran (c20AD-?) and Penardun
Bran Siluria ap Llyr Lleddiarth (Bran Fendigaid)(Bran the Blessed),  Arch Druid
Avallach ap Bran
Euddolen Ap Afallach
Eudos Ap Euddolen
Eifydd Ap Eudos
Eudeyrn ap Eifydd and Millisanndia verch Seysild
Euddigan ap Eudeyrn and Generys verch Tegwaret
Ryddrech Rhodri ap Euddigan and Margareta verch Eynon
Gloyw Gwallthir ap Rhodi
Gwidolin ap Gloyw
Gwidol ap Gwidolin and Dinoi of Lidinin
Guorthenau Vortigern ap Gwidol and Sevira ferch Macsen
Cadeyrn, King of Powys, (Gwrtheyrn) Vortigern  
Kadell (Cadell) ap Caderyn (c580-?)
Gwnfyw Frych  ap Cadell 
Gwynnan ap Gwnfyw Frych
Gwriawn (Gwylawr)  ap Gwynnan  (c615-?)  
Byordderch ap Gwriawn (c650-?)
Bywyn ap Byordderch  (c705-?) 
Gwaethgar Gwaeddgar ap Bywyn (c755-?) 
Gwrgant (Gwrgeneu) ap Gwaeddgar (c790-?)
Cadfarch ap Gwrgant  (c830-?)
Ynyr ap Cadfarch (c870-949) and Rheingar verch Lluddoccaf
Tudor Trevor ap Ynyr (900-948) and Angharad verch Hywel Dda
Dyngad ap Tudor Trevor (c930-?) and Sissely verch Seferws (Seferys)
Rhiwallon ap Dyngad of Maelor Gymraeg (c965-1073) 
Caradog ap Rhiwallon (c1000-?)
Breichiol ap Caradog (c1030-?) 
Pyll ap Breichiol (c1060-?) 
Meurig ap Pyll of Penhros  (c1095-?) 
Caradog ap Meurig of Penrhos  (c1125-?)
Iorwerth ap Caradog (c1160-?) and Alis verch Bleddyn Broadspear
Adam ap Iorwerth (Adam Gwent) (c1190-1246), of Llanfriafael and Goleuddydd verch Hywel
John ap Adam (Adam Fynchan)(John ap Adam) (c1220-c1270) and N.N. Burchill/(verch Dafydd)
John ap Adam  (c1255-c1310)  and Elizabeth de Gournay
(Sir) Thomas ap Adam (c1307-c1342)  and Joan Inge
John ap Adams (c1332-1376) and Millicent Bessylls
John Adams (c1360-c1424)  and Clara Powell  (changed name from ap Adams to Adams)
Roger Adams (1392-?) and Jane Ellyott
Thomas Adams (1422-?) and Maria Upton
John Adams (1452-?) and Jane Rannelegh (Benneleigh)
John Adams (1482-1557) and Catharine Stebbing
John Adams (1502-?)  and Margaret Squier
Richard Adams (c1530-1603) and Margaret Armager
Robert Adams (1568-1602) and Elizabeth Sharlon
Robert Adams and Eleanor Wilmot
Elizabeth Adams and Edward Phelps
Samuel Phelps and Sarah Chandler
John Phelps and Sarah Andrews
John Phelps and Deborah Lovejoy
Samuel Phelps and Margaret Nevins
Ebenezer Ferrin and Lydia Phelps
Samuel Ferrin and Sally Clotilda Powell
Lydia Powell Ferrin and George William Washington Williams
George William Williams and Harriett Thurston
Minnie Williams and Clive Vernon Tenney
Mildred Ella Tenney and Glenn Russell Handy
Deborah Lee Handy and Rodney Allen Morris