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Abraham Believed Yahweh

Abraham Believed Yahweh

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Abraham Believed Yahweh

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  1. Abraham Believed Yahweh • He reckoned it to him as righteousness • Yahweh reckoned it to Abraham as righteousness. [his faithful response to the promise] • Abraham reckoned it to Yahweh as righteousness. [Yahweh’s faithful promise of descendants]

  2. The Faithfulness of Abraham • Abram and Sarai leave Mesopotamia (12:4); let Lot choose land (12:9) • Refuse plunder from war (chap 14) • Believe in Yahweh (15:6) • Kindness to strangers (chap 18) • Pray for Sodom (18:23-32) • Send servant to get wife for Isaac (24:7) • Gifts to Keturah’s sons and Abraham sends them away (25:5-6)

  3. Faithlessness of Abraham and Sarah • Abram leaves land when famine strikes; deceives Pharaoh to save himself (chap 12) • Plans to make slave his heir (chap 15) • Abraham and Sarah seek child by their own devices (Hagar; chap 16) • Sarah laughs about her pregnancy; she lies.

  4. The “Covenant of Pieces” • A smoking fire pot and a flaming torch = signs of Yahweh’s presence • Passing between cut up animals = a ritually enacted curse. Cf. Jer 34; Sefire treaties 8c) • May I, Yahweh, be cut in pieces if I ever violate this covenant to give Israel’s ancestors the land • What an idea! A promise endorsed by a self-imposed divine curse

  5. The Function of Gen 15:13-16 • It explains why immediate promise to Abraham is only fulfilled 400 years later: the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. Cf. Lev 18:24-25 • Early adumbration of the Exodus from Egypt • Two traditions combined: 400 (430) years; 4th generation

  6. Interpretations of the Ancestral Covenant • J: Covenant reaches its fulfilment in the empire of David--from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates--and in covenant with David (2 Samuel 7 and 23) • D: Covenant reaches its fulfilment in the covenant Yahweh made with Israel at Horeb/Sinai • P: Everlasting covenant is an end in itself

  7. Covenantal Developments • Covenant with David is basis for Israel’s messianic hope • But in Isa 55:3: Benefits of the covenant with David are extended to all the people • Sinai covenant could lead to blessings or curses • Jeremiah:new Sinaitic covenant; Ezekiel: new, everlasting covenant • No covenant for P at Sinai

  8. Traits of the Priestly view of the Ancestors (Genesis 17) • Be blameless • I will make you exceedingly fruitful; also made to Sarah • New name Abraham/Sarah to mark new status • New name for deity = El Shaddai (El the one of the cosmic mountain) • Everlasting covenant…also with descendants

  9. Priestly view (continued) • land of sojournings as an everlasting possession (Genesis 23; 28:1-4; 35:9-12; 48:3-7) • “God promise” = the land (cf. Exod 6:6-7 the Exodus; 29:43-44 God will meet with them) • Circumcision as sign of the covenant • Abraham carries through rite on the same day • Circumcision extended also to foreigners

  10. Circumcision • Practiced by Egyptians, not practiced by Philistines, Babylonians • Originally a puberty rite • Cf. Exod 4:24-26 • Becomes an infancy rite in Israel

  11. P’s Chronology of Abraham • leaves Haran at 75; receives Hagar at 85--waited patiently 10 years for a child • Isaac born when Abraham was 100 (Sarah 90) • Abraham dies at 175--lived 100 years in the land • Difficulties: Sarah a ravishing beauty at 65 (chap 12) and at 90 (chap 20) • Ishmael 17 when Hagar carries him away and throws him under a bush

  12. Ur of the Chaldeans • Elsewhere ancestral traditions point to N.W. Mesopotamia • Chaldeans do not antedate end of 2nd millennium • Known to P 11:31 and J 11:28

  13. The (near) sacrifice of Isaac • Aspects of Hebrew narrative contrasted with the Odyssey • What would have happened if… • Abraham had actually sacrificed Isaac • Abraham had told Isaac what he was going to do • Isaac had seen his father tremble as he raised the knife • Abraham had found the substitute ram on the way up the mountain

  14. The (near) sacrifice of Isaac (continued) • typological connection with crucifixion • popular motif in Christian art • in Judaism--a meritorious act that reassures people that they are safe as Isaac’s descendants; God remembers Isaac and heeds prayer of Jewish people • in Islam--Ishmael was the one almost sacrificed (“one and only son”)

  15. The (near) sacrifice of Isaac (continued) • Rejection of human sacrifice • Mt. Moriah = site of Solomon’s temple • vv. 15-18 blessings are a reward for a particular act of Abraham

  16. The Last Days of Abraham • The Cave at Machpelah--the only real estate owned by the ancestors • Abraham and Keturah have six sons--he gave them gifts and had them move out of the land. • Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah all buried there.

  17. The Problem of Eliezer • The heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus. Speiser: Two types of heirs in Hurrian (Nuzi) law: aplu or direct heir; ewuruor indirect heir, when normal inheritors lacking • Nuzi texts do NOT deal with adoption of servants, such as Eliezer, and the adoptees at Nuzi could inherit alongside natural son (whereas Eliezer could not)