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Friday, January 04, 2008

The Start Of The Jews and Arabs

The Origin Of The Jews And The Arabs

God created the heavens and the Earth. He put water surrounding the globe as well as waters on the Earth. This would have been a water covering or ice covering that protected the Earth and the Earth would have been like a tropical greenhouse all over.

Genesis 1:6-9
Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

There was no rain until The Flood of Noah's days.

Genesis 2:4-6 This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

God intended man to live forever but we know that Adam and Eve sinned and brought sin and death into God's perfect world. Although Adam and Eve would eventually die, people lived a LOT longer back then, especially in the days before The Flood because of the pure and lush and protected Earth. The Flood was caused by the rupture of this watery covering. The water gushed out of the sky in the first "rain". Once the protective watery covering was gone, you will notice men began to live shorter lives until we get to our normal lifetimes of 70-80 years.

Terah lives 70 yrs before he has children. Then he has 3 sons. Haran had a son named Lot but Haran died young and Terah, Lot's Grandfather, and Uncle Abram raised Lot. Since Abram and Sarai had no other children, it's possible that Abram and Sarai considered Lot their son and the one who would inherit.

Also, notice that Abram's responsibility to his father, Terah, was not negated by a call from God to move. Terah moved his family out of their homeland of Ur to Haran, but God didn't call Abram UNTIL AFTER Terah died in Haran. One of God's Ten Commandments is to "Honor thy Father and thy Mother, that thy days may be long upon the Earth." God wants us to take care of our parents and give them respect. God waited until Terah died before He called Abram on to Canaan. Once Terah died, God made a promise to Abram and called him to Canaan, the Promised Land.

Why did Terah leave Ur? We don't know but I'm sure God was leading him whether he knew it or not. God intended Abram to get to Canaan. Once they got to Haran, Nahor stayed there and Terah died there.

Sarai was either Abram's half sister (by a different mother) or Abram's niece as daughter of his brother Haran and sister of Lot. If she is Haran's daughter then her name was also Iscah. She was 10 years younger than Abraham.:
Gen 20:11-12 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will kill me for my wife's sake. And yet truly she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife.
Sarai (later Sarah) was reputed to be so beautiful that no other woman compared. We do know she was so beautiful that Abram was afraid the Egyptian Pharoah and, later, Abimelech, would kill him in order to acquire her. She was 65 years old when they traveled to Egypt and the Pharoah fell for her beauty!

Terah was an idol worshipper according to Joshua:
Joshua 24: 2-3 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods. 'Then I took your father Abraham from the other side of the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.

Genesis 11: 25-32
After he begot Terah, Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years, and begot sons and daughters. Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Then Abram and Nahor took 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. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.

Acts 7: 4-8 "Then [Abraham] came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. "And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. "But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.' "Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

Genesis 12: 1-9 First Promise
Now (after Terah died, see chapter 11) the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

Then he moved South to Bethel.

Hebrews 11 is called the Faith Hall of Fame
Hebrews 11: 8-12
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude-innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

Abram was wealthy. Between Abram and Lot, their livestock didn't have enough room to graze together and it was causing hard feelings and fights among their servants. So Abram told Lot to choose and Lot chose the best for himself. It must have been a great disappointment and heart ache to Abram and Sarai when Lot did this to them. They knew Lot was choosing the best for himself. Abram and Sarai were like his parents (Sarai may have been his sister) and yet Lot showed them no respect and honor by giving them the best. He showed selfishness and greed by taking the best for himself and leaving the leftovers to the couple who had raised him. He took the areas around the 2 towns called Sodom and Gomorrah and he and his family moved into Sodom, no longer living in tents but in a house. The Bible says these two towns were horribly wicked. It must have grieved Abram and Sarai to see him do this to them and to move into such a wicked city. They knew it would end in disaster for Lot. The Bible doesn't say Abram and Sarai held this against him or hated him. In fact, if you read more in Genesis, you will see how many times Abram saved Lot's life and the life of his family. So we can assume Abram and Sarai kept the right attitude and trusted God to take care of them in their old age. Instead of trusting in Lot to take care of them as they aged, they had to trust God and their trust was well placed. God took excellent care of them.

Second Promise, and moving to Hebron (south of modern Jerusalem, back then Jerusalem was a small city called Salem)
Genesis 13
Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. "Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left." And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord. And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward, and westward; "for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
"And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. "Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you." Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

Some of the surrounding kings attacked Sodom and Gomorrah and took the people and their property including Lot and his family. In Genesis 14, Abram and his men go after them to rescue Lot and the others and successfully bring them back. On the way back Abram is greeted by Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Salem is now Jerusalem and salem means peace). The Bible says he is a king and a priest of God Most High. This Canaanite crosses for a moment the path of Abram, and is urecognized as a person of higher spiritual rank than Abram. Disappearing as suddenly as he came, he is lost to the sacred writings for a thousand years. Jewish tradition pronounces Melchizedek to be a survivor of The Flood, the patriarch Shem. The way in which he is mentioned in Genesis would rather lead to the inference that Melchizedek was of one blood with the children of Ham, among whom he lived, chief (like the king of Sodom) of a settled Canaanitish tribe. He symbolizes Jesus as King of Peace and our High Priest. In Hebrews 7 he is compared to Christ. Melchizedek blessed Abram.

The first instance of a tithe is here! A tithe is 10%.

Genesis 14: 16-20 So [Abram] brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.

Psalm 110 (italics and bold are mine)
Jehovah saith unto my Lord (Jesus Christ), Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people offer themselves willingly In the day of thy power, in holy array: Out of the womb of the morning Thou hast the dew of thy youth. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand Will strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill [the places] with dead bodies; He will strike through the head in many countries. He will drink of the brook in the way: Therefore will he lift up the head.

It was after the rescue of Lot and the blessing by Melchizedek that God makes a formal covenant with Abraham. He prophecies that the Israelites will journey to Egypt and will become enslaved there for 400 years. But God will deliver them and bring them back to the Promised Land.
The Third Promise.
Genesis 15: 1-18
After these things the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, O Lord Jehovah, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? (His steward, notice it's not Lot.) And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This man shall not be thine heir; But he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, O Lord Jehovah, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me a heifer three years old, and a she-goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon. And he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each half over against the other: but the birds divided he not. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. And in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces.
In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Modern day Westerners don't understand the process of making a covenant so it is something worth studying. According to Matthew Henry's Commentary:

1. The smoking furnace signified the affliction of [Abram's] seed in Egypt. They were there in the iron furnace (Deu. 4:20), the furnace of affliction (Isa. 48:10), labouring in the very fire. They were there in the smoke, their eyes darkened, that they could not see to the end of their troubles, and themselves at a loss to conceive what God would do with them. Clouds and darkness were round about them. 2. The burning lamp denotes comfort in this affliction; and this God showed to Abram, at the same time that he showed him the smoking furnace. (1.) Light denotes deliverance out of the furnace; their salvation was as a lamp that burneth, Isa. 62:1. When God came down to deliver them, he appeared in a bush that burned, and was not consumed, Ex. 3:2. (2.) The lamp denotes direction in the smoke. God’s word was their lamp: this word to Abram was so, it was a light shining in a dark place. Perhaps this burning lamp prefigured the pillar of cloud and fire, which led them out of Egypt, in which God was. (3.) The burning lamp denotes the destruction of their enemies who kept them so long in the furnace. See Zec. 12:6. The same cloud that enlightened the Israelites troubled and burned the Egyptians. 3. The passing of these between the pieces was the confirming of the covenant God now made with him, that he might have strong consolation, being fully persuaded that what God promised he would certainly perform. It is probable that the furnace and lamp, which passed between the pieces, burnt and consumed them, and so completed the sacrifice, and testified God’s acceptance of it, as of Gideon’s (Jdg. 6:21), Manoah’s (Jdg. 13:19, 20), and Solomon’s, 2 Chr. 7:1. So it intimates, (1.) That God’s covenants with man are made by sacrifice (Ps. 50:5), by Christ, the great sacrifice: no agreement without atonement. (2.) God’s acceptance of our spiritual sacrifices is a token for good and an earnest of further favours. See Jdg. 13:23. And by this we may know that he accepts our sacrifices if he kindle in our souls a holy fire of pious and devout affections in them

Ishmael, The Son of Unbelief

Although Abram believed God's Promise, years continued to go by and there was still no son. Sarai especially became impatient and finally came up with a plan. She would MAKE it happen. Instead of relying on God to get her pregnant, she was obsessed. She knew her biological clock had quit ticking. If God was going to let her down, she would make it happen her own way. Taking matters into her own hands was a big mistake, one that she, Abram and their progeny would regret. She tried to do this with the arm of the flesh whereas God wanted to do it with the Arm of the Spirit. The arm of the flesh leaves us with consequences we regret. We will be sorry that we pushed our own way. The Arm of the Spirit is miraculous, God's Will and there are never regrets when we wait on God. The results of the Arm of the Spirit are blessings.

Genesis 16
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bare him no children: and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, Jehovah hath restrained me from bearing; go in, I pray thee, unto my handmaid; it may be that I shall obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai, Abram`s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I gave my handmaid into they bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: Jehovah judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her that which is good in thine eyes. And Sarai dealt hardly with her, and she fled from her face. And the angel of Jehovah found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, whence camest thou? and whither goest thou? And she said, I am fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, I will greatly multiply thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah hath heard thy affliction. And he shall be [as] a wild ass among men; his hand [shall be] against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his brethren. And she called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou art a God that seeth: for she said, Have I even here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. Ishmael was Abram's first born child, a son, but NOT by his lawful wife. God had promised Abram AND Sarai a son. Ishmael was not Sarai's son.

Who is Ishmael? What is he to history? He grew up wild and wayward, a son of the desert. Like his mother, he was rude, disrespectful, insulting, mocking, More than likely he was spoiled and the typical rich man's son. He may have been indolent and arrogant. He was heading for trouble by the time he became a teenager. He was especially threatened when Abraham and Sarai had the promised Isaac.

According to Easton's Bible Dictionary:
Ishmael settled in the land of Paran, a region lying between Canaan and the mountains of Sinai; and "God was with him, and he became a great archer" (Genesis 21:9-21). He became a great desert chief, but of his history little is recorded. He was about ninety years of age when his father Abraham died, in connection with whose burial he once more for a moment reappears. On this occasion the two brothers met after being long separated. "Isaac with his hundreds of household slaves, Ishmael with his troops of wild retainers and half-savage allies, in all the state of a Bedouin prince, gathered before the cave of Machpelah, in the midst of the men of Heth, to pay the last duties to the 'father of the faithful,' would make a notable subject for an artist" (Genesis 25:9). Of the after events of his life but little is known. He died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven years, but where and when are unknown (Genesis 25:17). He had twelve sons, who became the founders of so many Arab tribes or colonies, the Ishmaelites, who spread over the wide desert spaces of Northern Arabia from the Red Sea to the Euphrates (Genesis 37:25, Genesis 37:27, Genesis 37:28; Genesis 39:1), "their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them."

According to Fausset's Bible Dictionary:
At 137 Ishmael "died in the presence of all his brethren" (Genesis 25:17-18); i.e., fulfilling the prediction of the angel of Jehovah to Hagar, Ishmael died, his nomad descendants stretching from Havilah S.E. and Shur S.W. toward the N.E., i.e. Assyria, in fact traversing the whole Arabian desert from the Euphrates to the Red Sea.Ishmael himself cannot have settled far from Abraham's neighbourhood, for he joined with Isaac in the burial of his father (Genesis 25:9), and burial in the East follows a few hours after death. Ishmael first went into the wilderness of Beersheba, then into that of Paran. "The East country" unto which Abraham sent away his sons by concubines, not to be in the way of Isaac, must therefore have been in those regions (Genesis 25:6; Genesis 25:18). The people of Arabia are called "children of the East," Bene Kedem (Judges 6:3; Job 1:3), in modern times Saracens, i.e. "Easterns". Ishmael's 12 sons enumerated Genesis 25:13-15 were fathers of tribes, as "their towns and their castles," or rather "hamlets," called after them, imply (Numbers 31:10). These "hamlets" were collections of rude dwellings of stones piled on one another and covered with tent cloths, often ranged in a circle...In all the northern tribes which are of Ishmaelite descent, the characteristics foretold appear, they are "wild ... their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them"; but in S. Arabia, where Joktanite and other blood exists, these characteristics are less seen. The Ishmaelite element is the chief one of the Arab nation, as the native traditions before Muhammed and the language concur with the Bible in proving. The pagan law of blood revenge necessitates every Arab's knowing the names of his ancestors for four generations, so that the race is well defined.

Galatians 4:21-31
Tell me, those desiring to be under Law, do you not hear the Law? For it is written: Abraham had two sons, the one out of the slave-woman, and one out of the free woman. But, indeed, he out of the slave-woman has been born according to flesh, and he out of the free woman through the promise; which things are being allegorized; for these are the two covenants, one indeed from Mount Sinai bringing forth to slavery, which is Hagar. For Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem from above is free, who is the mother of us all. For it is written, "Rejoice, barren one not bearing; break forth and shout, you not travailing; for more are the children of the desolate than she having the husband." But brothers, we, like Isaac, are children of promise. But then even as he born according to flesh persecuted him born according to the Spirit, so it is also now. But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the slave-woman and her son; for in no way shall the son of the slave-woman inherit with the son of the free woman." Then, brothers, we are not children of a slave-woman, but of the free woman.

Isaac, the Son of Promise. Son of Faith
Reminder of God's Covenant with Abram. The Fourth Promise.
Genesis 17 (italics and bolding mine)
And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, Jehovah appeared to Abram and said to him, I am the Almighty God! Walk before Me and be perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face. And God talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold! My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. For I have made you a father of many nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, greatly so, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you. And I will give the land to you in which you are a stranger, and to your seed after you, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God. And God said to Abraham, And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you in their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you. Every male child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. And it shall be a token of the covenant between Me and you. And a son of eight days shall be circumcised among you, every male child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with silver of any stranger who is not of your seed. He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your silver, must be circumcised. And My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant. And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but her name shall be Sarah. And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her. Yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations, kings of people shall be from her. And Abraham fell upon his face and laughed (a laughter of delight, not derision, not mocking, not in unbelief, not sarcasm or irony but of joy), and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said to God, Oh that Ishmael might live before You! And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed. And you shall call his name Isaac. And I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall father twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation. But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year. And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. And Abraham took his son Ishmael, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his silver; every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins in the same day, even as God said to him. And Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. And all the men of his house, that were born in the house, and bought with silver of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

Three men appear to Abraham but they aren't just three strange men but, rather, some think they were all created angels; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the covenant with two angels. They were in human form.
The Fifth Promise.
Genesis 18:1-15 (italics and bolding mine)
And Jehovah appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he sat at the tent door in the heat of the day. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him. And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed toward the ground. And he said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, do not pass away, I pray, from Your servant. Let a little water, I pray, be brought, and wash Your feet, and rest under the tree. And I will bring a bite of bread, and will comfort your hearts. After that You shall pass on. For this is why You have come to Your servant. And they said, Do so, as you have said. And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal; knead it, and make cakes. And Abraham ran out to the herd and brought a calf, tender and good. And he gave it to a young man. And he hurried to dress it. And he took butter and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree, and they ate. And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And He said, I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door which was behind Him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, far gone in days, and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After my being old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (not a pleasing laughter of delight and faith like Abraham, but of doubt and mistrust as shown by the reproof). And Jehovah said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I, who am old, truly bear a child? Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the time appointed I will return again, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And He said, No, but you did laugh. (she tried to lie to hide her sin of doubt, but she was again reproved)

Between this meeting and Sarah's conception of Isaac is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah where Abraham, again, tries to help rescue Lot and his family. See Genesis 18: 16-33 and Genesis 19.

The Birth of Isaac And the Expulsion of Ishmael
Isaac's name means laughter.
Genesis 21:1-21
And Jehovah visited Sarah as He had said. And Jehovah did to Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him (whom Sarah bore to him) Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, God has made me laugh, so that all who hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who could have said to Abraham, will Sarah suckle children? For I have borne a son to him in his old age. And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian (whom she had borne to Abraham) mocking. And she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave woman and her son. For the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac. And the thing was very evil in Abraham's sight, because of his son. And God said to Abraham, Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the boy and because of your slave woman. In all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice. For in Isaac your Seed shall be called. And also, I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman, because he is your seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder. And he gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. And the water was gone in the bottle, and she cast the boy under one of the shrubs. And she went and sat down across from him, a good way off, about a bowshot. For she said, Let me not see the death of the boy. And she sat across from him, and lifted up her voice, and cried. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar out of the heavens, and said to her, What ails you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Rise up, lift up the boy and hold him up with your hand, for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the bottle with water, and gave drink to the boy. And God was with the boy, and he grew, and lived in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.

God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Despite the long wait to have the promised son, despite the love for his son, despite the bizarre request...Abraham puts God first knowing God promised this son and God is fully able to resurrect Isaac from the dead. So Abraham trusts God and is willing to put God first even before his beloved son. This scene is also reminiscent of God's willingness to sacrifice His Son, Jesus, for us. And how God provides the lamb on our behalf. God withheld nothing from us.

Genesis 22:1-19
And it happened after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold me. And He said, Take now your son, your only one, Isaac, whom you love. And go into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will name to you. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. And he split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, You stay here with the ass. And I and the boy will go on to this way and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took the fire in his hand, and a knife. And they both went together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My father. And he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood. But where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering. So they both went together. And they came to the place which God had told him of. And Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. And he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. And the Angel of Jehovah called to him from the heavens and said, Abraham! Abraham! And he said, Here am I. And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, nor do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only one, from Me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked. And, behold, a ram behind him was entangled in a thicket by its horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Will See; so that it is said until this day, In the mount of Jehovah it will be seen. And the Angel of Jehovah called to Abraham out of the heavens the second time, and said, I have sworn by Myself, says Jehovah; because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only one; that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. And your Seed shall possess the gate of His enemies. And in your Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba. And Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.

Hebrews 11:17-10
By faith Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. And he who had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, of whom it was said that in Isaac your Seed shall be called, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from where he even received him, in a figure.

James 2:21-23
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God."

From Easton's Bible Dictionary:
When he was forty years of age Rebekah was chosen for his wife (Genesis 24). After the death and burial of his father he took up his residence at Beer-lahai-roi (Genesis 25:7-11), where his two sons, Esau and Jacob, were born (Genesis 25:21-26), the former of whom seems to have been his favourite son (Genesis 25:27, Genesis 25:28).
In consequence of a famine (Genesis 26:1) Isaac went to Gerar, where he practiced deception as to his relation to Rebekah, imitating the conduct of his father in Egypt (Genesis 12:12-20) and in Gerar (Genesis 20:2). The Philistine king rebuked him for his prevarication.
After sojourning for some time in the land of the Philistines, he returned to Beersheba, where God gave him fresh assurance of covenant blessing, and where Abimelech entered into a covenant of peace with him.
The next chief event in his life was the blessing of his sons (Genesis 27:1). He died at Mamre, "being old and full of days" (Genesis 35:27-29), one hundred and eighty years old, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah.
In the New Testament reference is made to his having been "offered up" by his father (Hebrews 11:17; James 2:21), and to his blessing his sons (Hebrews 11:20). As the child of promise, he is contrasted with Ishmael (Romans 9:7, Romans 9:10; Galatians 4:28; Hebrews 11:18).
Isaac is "at once a counterpart of his father in simple devoutness and purity of life, and a contrast in his passive weakness of character, which in part, at least, may have sprung from his relations to his mother and wife. After the expulsion of Ishmael and Hagar, Isaac had no competitor, and grew up in the shade of Sarah's tent, moulded into feminine softness by habitual submission to her strong, loving will." His life was so quiet and uneventful that it was spent "within the circle of a few miles; so guileless that he let Jacob overreach him rather than disbelieve his assurance; so tender that his mother's death was the poignant sorrow of years; so patient and gentle that peace with his neighbours was dearer than even such a coveted possession as a well of living water dug by his own men; so grandly obedient that he put his life at his father's disposal; so firm in his reliance on God that his greatest concern through life was to honour the divine promise given to his race."

Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah were all buried at the family cemetery at Machpelah.

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