The background of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Abrahams Dad: Terah
In approximately 2070 BC, Abrahams Dad, Terah, (born in present day Iraq), worshiped many gods.
Terah, was a wicked idolatrous priest, worshiping other gods, manufacturing idols and selling idols (Numbers 19:1) (Genesis 11:28).
Terah begot Abraham (originally named Abram) at the age of 70, Terahs wifes name was Amsalai (Jasher 7:50).
Abraham, originally Abram, is the common patriarch of the three Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam).
In Christianity Abraham is the prototype of all believers both Jew and Gentile, in Islam he is the father of Ishmael who links them to Muhammed, and in Judaism he is the father of the Jews.
God called Abram to rise and leave the house of his father who worships idols, and settle in the land given to Canaan, with a promise to give this land to Abraham and his progeny.
It is believed the time period when Abraham journeyed away toward Canaan was approximately 2000 BC.
As Abraham was growing up, one day his dad asked him to fill in for him at his Idol Shop.
Abraham being a man of God, hated idols and being led by the Holy Spirit, wreaked havoc with the customers.
He shamed the first customer asking his age, he said 'You at 50 are going to worship a 1 day old idol?'
The next customer, wanted to make an offering to one of the idols, then Abraham destroyed most of the idols
by placing a stick in the hands of the largest idol, then he went on to destroy the customers offering - and said : See, the idol has destroyed the offering! The woman left upset.
When his dad Terah came home, he was mad that his son destroyed the shop, so he took Abraham to King Nimrod to see what should be done to his son.
At first, the King tried to convince Abraham that men should worship inanimate objects, and said : Fire is what we should worship! Then Abraham said but water extinguishes
Then the King said Let us worship Water! Then Abraham said but Clouds carry water! The King said let us worship Clouds! But wind carries the clouds! Let us worship the Wind! But humans can even witshstand wind!
Then the King got Angry and said, Ill stay with Fire! Now I will throw you into the fiery furnace to see if your God will save you! Abraham was thrown into the furnace and withstood the heat and came out unscathed.
(Abrahams brother was there (Heran), and when asked if he believed in worshiping Fire or - what God will you worship, Heran said I worship Abrahams God! He was thrown in the fire, and died. Jesus-Christ.US notes:
We believe he was not saved because he deliberately waited until the outcome of his brother, before deciding he would worship Abrahams God, and had no apparent personal relationship with God. )
Abraham married Sarai, (God changed her name to Sarah after Hagar (Abrahams handmaiden) bore Ishmael), Sarah being 10 years younger than Abraham.
Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran for Canaan- travelign with his wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot.
Whem Abram was traveling south toward Egypt, because of the great famine, he told Sarah to pretend she was his sister, so he would not be killed by the Egyptians. When brought before Pharoah, he told Pharoah the same,
and Pharoah took Sarah in and gave her nice things.
Abraham and Sarai lived in Canaan for 10 years and Sarah
could not bear children, she was still childless, so she suggested that Abraham go ahead and and have a child with their Handmaiden Hagar,
so to have a child. Hagar did give birth to Ishmael when Abram was
86 years old. After this Hagar the handmaiden no longer respected Sarah, so Sarah suggested they fire Hagar. But Abraham and Sarah decided to keep her a little longer.
When Abram was 99, God changed his name to Abraham, and created the covenant of Circumcision, and stated that Abraham will be the father of many nations.
God explained he would cause Sarah to bear a son.
One year later, Sarah bore Isaac (meaning Laughter in Hebrew - this is because both Abraham and Sarah laughed and did not believe she could bear a son at the age of 90).
Isaac was born to Abraham by Sarah when she was 90 years old (Genesis 17:17), after she had ceased showing any signs of fertility.
With Ishmael mocking Isaac after his birth, Abraham agreed to fire Hagar and relieve her of duty as his wife Sarah asked.
Abrahams Son, Isaac
Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah (his second son - but the first to Abraham and Sarah),
with his name meaning He Will Laugh (reflecting Sarah and Abrahams disbelief that she would bear a son at the age of 90).
Isaac lived to be 180, the oldest of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Isaac was circumcised according to the Abrahamic covenant on the eighth day after birth.
While Isaac was a child, Abraham brought him to Mount Moriah, and at God's command, was to build a sacrificial altar and sacrifice his favorite son upon it.
After Abraham obediently followed, and drew his knife to kill Isaac, at that moment an Angel prevented Abraham from proceeding, and directed him to sacrifice a nearby ram stuck in the thickets.
At the age of 40, Abraham sent Eliezer - his steward, to go and find a wife for his son Isaac. Eliezer chose Rebekah (an Aramean). Isaac married Rebekah, but she was barren for many years.
(This is very similar to how Abrahams wife Sarah was barren. )
Isaac prayed for her and God remembered Rebekah when she was 60, and opened her womb.
Rebekah gave birth to Esau and Jacob.
Isaac is unique among the Patriarchs for remaining faithful to his wife and not having concubines.
God's covenant with Isaac
Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for you and your descendants I will give all these lands and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham, and I will
multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and will give your descendants all these lands and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My Charge,
My Commandments, My Statutes and My laws (Genesis 26:2).
Isaac moved to Beer-lahai-roi after his dad Abraham died. The land experienced famine, so he moved to the Philistine land of Gerar where his dad once lived.
This land was under control of King Abimilech, just as it was in the days of Abraham.
Like his father (did with Pharoah), Isaac told King Abimilech of the Philistines, this is my sister (not my wife) since he feared they would kill him and steal his wife.
Isaac got into the water well business, and went back to all the wells his father dug and found them blocked, and worked on unblocking them.
And he went on to dig even more wells all the way to Beersheba, where he made a pact with Abimelech, just like the days of his father.
Isaac & Rebecca were married for 20 years before conceiving Jacob, at Isaacs age of 60.
Rebekah asked God, why am I so uncomfortable during pregnancy?
God said you will have twins, they are fighting in your womb and will
continue to fight their whole lives, even after they become separate nations.
One people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall server the younger (Genesis 25:25). (She was pregnant with Jacob and Esau).
When Isaac grew old and became blind,
and he asked Esau to find him a deer of the field, and prepare some savory Venison.
While Esau was hunting, Jacob, listening to his mothers advice
deceived his blind father by dressing Jacob up in sheepskin and having him misrepresent himself as Esau, so to receive his fathers blessing.
Remember in (Genesis 25:29-34) Esau had previously sold his birthright to Jacob
for "bread and stew of lentils".
Jacob wanted to kill Isaac for taking his blessing, and it took 20 years for them to reconcile. Jacob went to Mesopotamia to take a wife of his Mothers brothers house.
Finally Jacob and Esau reconciled when they buried Isaac in Hebron at the age of 180.
Isaac's Son, Jacob
Jacob (renamed by God to Israel), Patriarch of the Israelites, son of Isaac and Rebecca, grandson of Abraham, younger twin brother of Ishmael.
Jacob's name means "heel" (most likely as he was tugging on the heel of Esau the firstborn).
Jacob died at 147, after living 17 years in Egypt.
Jacob and Esau were born to Isaac and Rebecca after 20 years of marriage, when Isaac was 60.
Rebecca received a prophecy that when the twins were born, they would continue to fight all their lives even after they become two separate nations.
The prophecy said The one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger (Genesis 25:25).
Meaning Esau being the firstborn shall serve Jacob, the younger.
Esau was born with red hair thick as if wearing a hairy garment and his heel was grasped by Jacob, the secondborn.
As the boys matured, Esau became a cunning hunter - a man of the field and Jacob was a tent dweller.
The way Jacob acquired the birthright of Esau
One day when Esau returned famished from hunting, he begged Jacob to give him some "Red Pottage", and Jacob asked him to give him his birthright.
Esau agreed to give him his birthright for the bowl of stew.
How did Jacob find his wife?
Jacob worked 7 years in the field for Laban ( a sheep farmer ), and liked Rachel, a co-worker.
Jacob expressed that he wanted to marry Rachel - to Laban, and Laban made the deal that after 7 years of hard labor he would be allowed to take Rachel ( a shepherdess ) in marriage.
On the night of the wedding, Laban substituted Rachel with her sister
Leah, who had nice eyes (and wore a veil).
Jacob confronted Laban, and said why did you do this to me, and Laban explained it is customary to marry the firstborn - but, he then promised, if you work 7 more years for me, I will give you Rachel.
So Jacob worked longer and ended up marrying both Leah and Rachel.
Jacob had twelve sons by his two wives Leah and Rachel.
Jacobs Twelve sons are the progenitors of the Tribes of Israel.
As a result of a severe drought in Canaan, Jacob and his sons moved to Egypt at the time when his sone Joseph was viceroy.
Jacobs son, Joseph, carried Jacobs body and buried him in the Cave of Machpelah along with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Jacobs first wife Leah.
When Jacobs son Joseph was born, Jacob decided he wanted to return home to his parents, but Laban, the sheep breeder did not want to release Jacob as God was blessing all of his flock on account of Jacob
Since Laban prospered greatly over the years of employing Jacob, with strong goat herds and healthy animals Laban was quite willing to pay Jacob a very favorable deal, if he could convince Jacob to stay
Jacob made a deal, appearing to be quite in the favor of Laban: Just give me your speckled and spotted goats, without pay, and I will tend your flock. First you take out the speckled and spotted
goats away from the flock, and we leave them with your sons flock, so they may not mate with your unspeckled flock. Any speckled and spotted born, I will get to keep when I leave.
Laban jumped at this quite favorable deal, and they decided to implement it.
After a few years, the goats many many goats were unusually born striped and speckled, therefore over time Jacob was getting the best of Laban.
Jacob finally left Laban, and Laban persued him. Rachel had stolen Labans idol (a teraphim) and Jacob allowed the tents to be searched.
Rachel said she was menstruating and could not get up (the Teraphim was being hid under her).
Laban left in peace.
Leah gave birth to 4 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah - and later on two more: Issachar and Zebulun, and a daughter : Dinah.
Rachel was however unable to conceive, so she gave her handmaiden Bilhah to Jacob to be a surrogate mother for her as she wanted kids, Bilhah gave birth to two sons : Dan and Naphtali.
Leah gave her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob, who raises two sons:
Gad and Asher, that Zilpah bore.
Then God opened Rachels womb, and gave her a son: Joseph, who became Jacobs favorite child.
While Jacob was traveling to Haran, he saw a vision (of a ladder to heaven, with people on it), and heard the voice of God: who repeated blessings for him, alluding to the narrative
that the Jews and Israel will ultimately prevail in being Gods chosen people (by climbing the ladder), and all nations crossing Israel will fall down the steps while the
tribes of Israel climb to the top to Meet God.
When Esau and Jacob split up, Jacob was traveling back to Canaan, where he encountered an Angel.
He wrestled with the angel and prevailed (he threw out his hip socket and walked with a limp afterwards).
God from that point on called him Israel.
Ishmael, son of Abraham
Ishmael was Abrahams first son, born to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar (God has Hearkened, a child so named was regarded as the fulfillment of a divine promise).
He died at the age of 137. (Genesis 25:17).
When Sarah was 75, and still could not bear a son for Abraham, she offered her Egyptian handmaiden Hagar to bear a child, Abraham took her as his wife and she conceived Ishmael.
God said, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen."
Ishmael was circumsized at the age of 13 when Abraham was 99, this was the time Abraham entered into his covenant of circumcision with God.
On the day during the feast celebrating the weaning of Isaac, Ismael was mocking or playing with Isaac, apparently in a dissapointing or mean way, upsetting Sarah.
Sarah asked Abraham to expel both Hagar and Ishmael, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.".
Abraham approached God, and God agreed that he will make a nation of Ishmael, and a separate nation of Isaac.
Then at the age of 14, Ishmael and the bondwoman were freed.
"Take your son, your only son, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah." (Genesis 22:2–8).
So Abraham rose and gave breand and a bottle of water to Hagar, and told her to depart from him with Ishmael.
And Hagar left with baby Ishmael wandering into the wilderness of Beersheba. Once the water was completely empty, she put her baby under one of the shrubs.
Hagar frantically tried to find water seven times in different directions, and once she thought her baby would die, she called out to God.
God answered her prayer, and Hagar noticed where baby Ishmael scratched the ground, a well came up, and it was so large that Hagar was able to create a business to trade
supplies by the passing people for water.
This is how the city of Mecca was formed. People offered her protection and supplies for water.
Abraham desired to see Ishmael, so he visited his sons house, at a time when Ishmael was not home, but Ishmaels wife was there.
He asked her questions and based on her answers and complaints he decided to leave before Ishmael came home and told her to leave a message for him: "change his threshhold".
When Ishmael arrived that night, he asked if they had had any visitors, and was informed by his wife of the man who had visited and what he said.
Ishmael understood It was his Father! And he explained to his wife it was my father, and I have been instructed to divorce you.
So Ishmael divorced his wife, and was remarried.
Later when Abraham visited again, he asked Ishmaels new wife various questions. Satisfied with her answers, he left a message to be given to his son: Keep your threshhold.
Hagar conceived twelve sons, who each became tribal chiefs throughout regions from Havilah to Shur.
Because of Abrahams blessing, that his his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth, God would make of Ishmael a great nation, because he was of the seed of Abraham.
However God told Hagar that Ishmael would be a warrior, living in conflict with his relatives.
Islam considers Ishmael to be the ancestor of the Ishmaelites and patriarch of Qaydar.