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Old Testament Notes


            Abraham is the first great patriarch of Israel. Christians and Muslims respect him as the personification of human faith in the will of God. Abraham was probably born some 4,000 years ago in the big Babylonian city of Ur. He was a wealthy man, married to Sarah. His story is described in Genesis. For some reason he left his native city with all his household and big herds of animals and traveled through the Middle East in search of a place to settle.
During his migrations at one moment Abraham and Lot, his cousin, separated; Lot stayed in Sodom and Abraham decided to return to Canaan. There was an attack on Sodom, and Lot was captured and his possessions seized. Abraham, on learning about what had happened, armed his men and set off in pursuit. He attacked the looters, released his cousin and captured many goods. On return to Salem (Jerusalem) he was received by Melchizedek, the king and high priest, who blessed Abraham. Abraham in return paid one-tenth of his spoils of victory (Gen. 14:18-24).
See: Peter Paul Rubens The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek.
Abraham was an old man and had no heir, when his slave woman Hagar gave birth to his first son, Ishmael. Later his wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Trying to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael Sarah made Abraham send them off into the desert. But God saved them and Ishmael became the patriarch of the Arab people (Gen. 21:9-21).
The sacrifice of Isaac is an episode from Abraham’s life. To prove his faith, Abraham, on God’s will, prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. At the last moment the angel of God appeared, seized the faithful Abraham’s sword, and saved his son (Gen. 22:1-19).
See: Caravaggio The Sacrifice of Isaac, The Sacrifice of Isaac.
Aert de Gelder. Abraham and Angels.
Rembrandt. The Angel Stopping Abraham from Sacrificing Isaac to God, Abraham and Isaac, Abraham's Sacrifice.
Russian Icon. Abraham.
Paolo Veronese. The Sacrifice of Abraham.

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