I taught a formal Bible Study this morning. Small group, maybe eleven people, very nice, very kind to my leading. I have a natural desire to explore the historical, so I thought to introduce them to the Abraham that I know.
I think most people generalize and see Abraham hanging around outside the gates of Ur, just waiting for an excuse to head east.
Seeing him as a prominent citizen of Ur, probably of the ruling priestly class isn’t the image we have. There are clues that suggests this is so, but you have to do some research, and even then it is the best guess. Someone told me you don’t guess with the Bible. Nonsense, it all depends on the topic. If it is about a possible historical figure, them you make some guesses to fill on the gaps, so the figure can come alive. Abraham can either be a cartoon cutout, or he can be a man from Ur.
Abraham was a Sumerian. Now that doesn’t mean he was Sag-giga, or the Black Headed ones. They were the native Sumerians that were conquered about two hundred years earlier. The Akkadians had come down from the upper river, near the mountains and had conquered all the cities of the plains. Each city king had surrendered, but in Ur, it might have been an inside job because Sargon, the first Akkadian king, was already in the palace as a cupbearer. Certainly he found support from the Semitic people of Akkad.
Abraham was Semitic, the rulers were Semetic. Makes sense to see that Abraham was a full citizen of Ur, reading and writing in cuneiform, and worshipping the gods of the city. His father’s name has a root meaning of ‘oracle priest’.
I didn’t get into the gods this time, but I did provide a list of Sumerian proverbs. Makes sense that Abraham would have read some of the more popular ones. And it makes me feel more connected to have the opportunity to read them as well .
Afterwards, I asked them to write a word or two in clay, using a wedge shaped stylus, I felt I had brought a little bit of Abraham’s reality to life. It was a pretty good day,