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ABRAHAM
ABRAHAM
51

on thc first four books of the Pentateuch; on the earlier and on the later Prophets. They have been warmly lauded both by Jews and by Christians, have passed through several editions, and many of them have been, in whole or in part, translated into Latin. Of his other works we may mention "The Crown of the Ancients", "The Pinnacle of Faith", "The Sources of Salvation", in the form of a commentary on Daniel, "The Salvation of His Anointed ", "The Herald of Salvation", in which are collected and explained all the Messianic texts. His works, the titles of which are here rendered in English, were written in a clear, refined, but occasionally diffuse modern Hebrew.

Graetz, History of the Jews (Philadelphia, 1891–98), IV; Mai, Dissertatio historico-philologica de Origine, Vitâ, et Scriptis Isaaci Abrabanielis (Altorf, 1708); Bartolocci, Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica (Rome, 1675–83), III, 874; Wolf, Bibliotheca Hebræa (Hamburg & Leipzig, 1715–33), I, 627. III. 540, IV. 875; Jost. Geschichte den Judenthums u. seiner Sekten (Leipzig, 1857–59)), III. 104; Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica (Leipzig, 1863); Ben Jacob, Oscar ha-Sepharim (Wilna, 1880).

Abraham.—The original form of the name, Abram, is apparently the Assyrian Abu-ramu. It is doubtful if the usual meaning attached to that word "lofty father", is correct. The meaning given to Abraham in Genesis 17:5 is popular word play, and the real meaning is unknown. The Assyriologist, Hommel suggests that in the Minnæan dialect, the Hebrew letter ה is written for long ā. Perhaps here we may have the real derivation of the word, and Abraham may be only a dialectical form of Abram. The story of Abraham is contained in the Book of Genesis, 11:26; 25:18. We shall first give a brief outline of the Patriarch's life, as told in that portion of Genesis, then we shall in succession discuss the subject of Abraham from the viewpoints of the Old Testament, New Testament, profane history, and legend. Thare had three sons, Abram, Nachor, and Aran. Abram married Sarai. Thare took Abram and his wife, Sarai, and Lot, the son of Aran, who was dead, and leaving Ur of the Chaldees, came to Haran and dwelt there till he died. Then, at the call of God, Abram, with his wife, Sarai, and Lot, and the rest of his belongings, went into the Land of Chanaan, amongst other places to Sichem and Bethel, where he built altars to the Lord. A famine breaking out in Chanaan, Abram journeyed southward to Egypt, and when he had entered the land, fearing that he would be killed on account of his wife, Sarai, he bade her say she was his sister. The report of Sarai's beauty was brought to the Pharao, and he took her into his harem, and honoured Abram on account of her. Later, however finding out that she was Abram's wife, he sent her away unharmed, and, upbraiding Abram for what he had done, he dismissed him from Egypt. From Egypt Abram came with Lot towards Bethel, and there, finding that their herds and flocks had grown to be very large, he proposed that they should separate and go their own ways. So Lot chose the country about the Jordan, whilst Abram dwelt in Chanaan, and came and dwelt in the vale of Mambre in Hebron. Now, on account of a revolt of the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrha and other kings from Chodorlahomor King of Elam, after they had served him twelve years, he in the fourteenth year made war upon them with his allies, Thadal king of nations, Amraphel King of Senaar, and Arioch King of Pontus. The King of Elam was victorious, and had already reached Dan with Lot a prisoner and laden with spoil, when he was overtaken by Abram. With 318 men the patriarch surprises, attacks, and defeats him, he retakes Lot and the spoil, and returns in triumph. On his way home, he is met by Melchisedech, king of Salem who brings forth bread and wine, and blesses him. And Abram gives him tithes of all he has; but for himself he reserves nothing. God promises Abram that his seed shall be as the stars of heaven, and he shall possess the land of Chanaan. But Abram does not see how this is to be, for he has already grown old. Then the promise is guaranteed by a sacrifice between God and Abram, and by a vision and a supernatural intervention in the night. Sarai, who was far advanced in years and had given up the idea of bearing children, persuaded Abram to take to himself her hand-maid, Agar. He does so, and Agar being with child despises the barren Sarai. For this Sarai afflicts her so that she flies into the desert, but is persuaded to return by an angel who comforts her with promises of the greatness of the son she is about to bear. She returns and brings forth Ismael. Thirteen years later God appears to Abram and promises him a son by Sarai, and that his posterity will be a great nation. As a sign, he changes Abram's name to Abraham, Sarai's to Sara, and ordains the rite of circumcision. One day later, as Abraham is sitting by his tent, in the vale of Mambre, Jehovah with two angels appears to him in human form. He shows them hospitality. Then again the promise of a son named Isaac is renewed to Abraham. The aged Sarah hears incredulously and laughs. Abraham is then told of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha for their sins but obtains from Jehovah the promise that he will not destroy them if he finds ten just men therein. Then follows a description of the destruction of the two cities and the escape of Lot. Next morning Abraham, looking from his tent towards Sodom, sees the smoke of destruction ascending to heaven. After this, Abraham moves south to Gerara, and again fearing for his life says of his wife, "she is my sister". The king of Gerara, Abimelech, sends and takes her, but learning in a dream that she is Abraham's wife he restores her to him untouched, and rebukes him and gives him gifts. In her old age Sarah bears a son, Isaac, to Abraham, and he is circumcised on the eighth day. Whilst he is still young, Sarah is jealous, seeing Ismael playing with the child Isaac, so she procures that Agar and her son shall be cast out. Then Agar would have allowed Ismael to perish in the wilderness, had not an angel encouraged her by telling her of the boy's future. Abraham is next related to have had a dispute with Abimelech over a well at Bersabee, which ends in a covenant being made between them. It was after this that the great trial of the faith of Abraham takes place. God commands him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. When Abraham has his arm raised and is in the very act of striking, an angel from heaven stays his hand and makes the most wonderful promises to him of the greatness of his posterity because of his complete trust in God. Sarah dies at the age of 127, and Abraham, having purchased from Ephron the Hethite the cave in Machpelah near Mambre, buries her there. His own career is not yet quite ended for first of all he takes a wife for his son Isaac, Rebecca from the city of Nachor in Mesopotamia. Then he marries Cetura, old though he is, and has by her six children. Finally, leaving all his possessions to Isaac, he dies at age 175, and is buried by Isaac and Ismael in the cave of Machpelah.

View-Point of Old Testament.—Abraham may be looked upon as the starting-point or source of Old Testament religion. So that from the days of Abraham men were wont to speak of God as the God of Abraham, whilst we do not find Abraham referring in the same way to anyone before him. So we have Abraham's servant speaking of "the God of my father Abraham" (Gen. xxiv, 12). Jehovah, in an apparition to Isaac, speaks of himself as the God of Abraham (Gen. xxvi, 24), and to Jacob he is "the God of my father Abraham" (Gen. xxxi, 42). So, too, showing that the religion of Israel does not begin with Moses, God says to Moses: "I am the God of thy fathers,