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Biography

Abraham - Father of a multitude. Originally called Abram, “exalted father” (Gen. 11:26; 17:5). Son of Terah, born in Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:26–28). The migration to Haran, where Terah died, is found in Gen. 11:31. Abraham’s journey to Canaan, the divine call, and the covenant are recorded in Gen. 12:1–5. His sojourn in Egypt is given in Gen. 11–20 and Abr. 1–3. Other important events: settlement in Hebron (Gen. 13:18); rescue of Lot and the meeting with Melchizedek (Gen. 14); further blessings and promises (Gen. 15:1; 17:8); institution of circumcision and change of name to Abraham (Gen. 17:9–27); intercession for Lot at Sodom (Gen. 19); offering of Isaac and renewal of the covenant and blessings (Gen. 22); death of Sarah and purchase of the cave of Machpelah as a family burial place (Gen. 23); Abraham’s death and burial (Gen. 25:8–10).

Abraham is always regarded in the Old Testament as founder of the covenant race, which is personified in the house of Israel. He is the “father of the faithful.” John the Baptist and Paul rebuked those holding the erroneous idea that natural descent from Abraham was by itself sufficient to secure God’s favor (Matt. 3:9; Rom. 9:7). For references to him in Jesus’ teachings see Matt. 8:11; Luke 16:22; John 8:56.

Ancestry

There are several accounts that list the ancestry of Abraham back to Adam (4004 BC-3074 BC).

Genesis 11 Narrative


24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:
25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram (Abraham), Nahor, and Haran.
27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Genesis 11:24-32

Latter-day Saint Narrative

Latter-day revelation has clarified the significance of the Abrahamic covenant and other aspects of Abraham’s life and ministry. We learn that he was greatly blessed with divine revelation concerning the planetary system, the creation of the earth, and the premortal activities of the spirits of mankind. One of the most valiant spirits in the premortal life, he was chosen to be a leader in the kingdom of God before he was born into this world (Abr. 1–5). We also learn from latter-day revelation that because of Abraham’s faithfulness he is now exalted and sits upon a throne in eternity (D&C 132:29, 37).

Early Years

Judaic (Book of Jubilees Ch 11), Islamic and Latter-day Saint Narratives speak to the great idolatry in his father's household and some attempts to sacrifice Abraham to idols which he resisted and overcame. Some of this literature describes him as a smart man that turn to God in prayer for his deliverance.

In (Gen 12:1-4) Abram is commanded to leader his father's household, at age 75, taking his nephew Lot, his wife Sarai, daughter of Terah with him. (That would indicate his being married to her before then.) They went to the Land of Canaan which God promises him for an inheritance, but because of famine there, they travel onto Egypt. There they tell the Pharoah and others that Sarai is his sister.

Abraham's Covenant

Genesis 17 describes the story of God making a "covenant" with Abraham and promises to make of his seed many nations. This was especially significant since both Abraham and his wife Sarai were in their old age (Ages 99 and 90 respectively). It also fixes some important dates, by telling us that Ishmael ben Abraham was born when Abraham was 86 years old and Isaac ben Abraham would be born when Abraham turned 100.


Latter years

And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.(Genesis 25:5-10)


Marriage and Family

1st Marriage: Sarai or Sarah

Abraham was a very righteous man, yet on multiple occassions he introduced Sarah as his sister instead of his wife. This has led to some speculation that he had married either a step-sister or niece.

  1. Isaac ben Abraham - Born when Abraham was age 100 and Sarah was age 91 (Gen. 17) and then sometime afterwards comes the famous bible story where God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrife (Gen. 22). He would inherit the birthright and the patriarchal bloodline to King David and Jesus Christ.

2nd Wife: Hagar

The story of Hagar, handmaid of Sarah is found in Genesis 16. After many years, and Sarai was childless, she gave Hagar to Abram as his wife. After conceiving a child.—Hagar flees from Sarai—An angel commands Hagar to return and submit herself to Sarai—Hagar bears Ishmael.


3rd Wife:

Sarah died, and Abraham buried her in the Cave of the Patriarchs (the "cave of Machpelah"), near Hebron which he had purchased along with the adjoining field from Ephron the Hittite.[Genesis 23:1–20] After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife, a concubine named Keturah, by whom he had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.[Genesis 25:1–6] According to the Bible, reflecting the change of his name to "Abraham" meaning "a father of many nations", Abraham is considered to be the progenitor of many nations mentioned in the Bible, among others the Israelites, Ishmaelites,[Genesis 25:12–18] Edomites,[Genesis 36:1–43]) Amalekites,[Genesis 36:12–16] Kenizzites,[Genesis 36:9–16] Midianites and Assyrians,[Genesis 25:1–5] and through his nephew Lot he was also related to the Moabites and Ammonites.[Genesis 19:35–38] Abraham lived to see his son marry Rebekah, (and to see the birth of his twin grandsons Jacob and Esau). He died at age 175, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah by his sons Isaac and Ishmael.[Genesis 25:7–10][1 Chronicles 1:32]

1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. (Genesis 25:1-4)

Siblings


Offspring of Terah and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Abraham ben Terah 9999 City of Ur, Mesopotamia 9999 Kirjath-arba, Hebron, Land of Canaan Sarai, daughter of Terah
Hagar, handmaid of Sarah
Keturah

Nahor ben Terah 9999 City of Ur, Mesopotamia 9999 City of Ur, Mesopotamia Milcah, daughter of Haran
Reumah (?-?)

Haran ben Terah 9999 City of Ur, Mesopotamia 9999 City of Ur, Mesopotamia

Offspring of Terah and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Sarai, daughter of Terah 9999 City of Ur, Mesopotamia 9999 Kirjath-arba, Hebron, Land of Canaan Abraham ben Terah



Children


Offspring of Abram or Abraham and Sarai, daughter of Terah
Name Birth Death Joined with
Isaac ben Abraham 9999 Mamre, Land of Canaan Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel

Offspring of Abram or Abraham and Hagar, handmaid of Sarah
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ishmael ben Abraham

Offspring of Abram or Abraham and Keturah (?-?)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Zimran ben Abraham
Jokshan ben Abraham
Medan ben Abraham
Midian ben Abraham
Ishbak ben Abraham
Shuah ben Abraham

References


Footnotes (including sources)

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