Wednesday Studies No. 7
Takeaways for the study of Abraham
1) We now know a few things more about Abraham and his background. Terah, his father, may have left the comforts of Ur, because of the death of his youngest son Haran, who was father to Lot.
2) As a leader and head of his clan Abraham, had more skills than a mere shepard. His father may have been a priest but Abraham had training as a military leader. It is tradition in many cultures that the first son is for war and the second son is for faith. Perhaps Nahor continued as a priest?
3) Travel is based upon supplies, food and water. Traveling with herds can supply both for man. But the herds demand the same as man.
4) Abraham traveled through Canaan on his way to Egypt, because of a famine, but was there more? His trip to Egypt could have been to understand the local power. Haran had for centuries a trade agreement with Tyre, so he already knew Phoenician history and assessment of threat.
5) Abraham appearance in Egypt immediately attracted the attention of Pharoah
6) Compare Genesis 12:11-20 and Genesis 20: 8-18
7) Heiros Gamos, sacred marriage, an important religious ceremony in Sumer, in the cult of Inanna, the chief priest declaring a bed for the high priestess and then selecting a young man to represent the Shepard. It was also a time that encouraged conception because the children would be born in winter when it was much easier to care for them.
8) Abraham was aware of Inanna, Abraham had no heirs, was it Sarai or was it Abraham? Place Sarai in Heiros Gamos with Pharoah first and Abimelech second in hopes of a child? God steps in and stops this, giving Pharoah and Abimelch knowledge but not Abraham, who none the less takes this in. Repetition in scripture is often used to hammer in a point.
9) Did Abraham lie? It could seem so if all we use is the information in the first account with Pharoah. In the second it suggests that Sarai was from the house of Terah. Same father but different mother, but still too close. Jewish tradition is that Haran was Abraham brother of a different mother, and that Sarai was Haran’s daughter, sister to Lot, from a different mother. This would technically be far enough removed and still Sarai could be called a daughter of Terah.
10) Pharoah and Abimelech could actually be the same. Both are names for us but in ancient times it was a title. Pharoah meaning great house or palace. Abimelch meaning my father is king.