Abraham, also known by his Hebrew name Abram, is said to have been born in the Babylonian city of Ur, according to Jewish tradition. He was the son of Terah, who made a living selling idol, but even when he was a young child, he began to have doubts about his father’s beliefs and began searching for the truth.
Abram eventually came to the realization that the entirety of the universe was the product of a single Creator at some time in his life.
Abram had worshiped the one true Creator, and at some point, that Creator called to him and offered him an offer: if Abram would leave his house and his family, then He (God) would make him a large country and bless him. Abram agreed to this offer.
Abram vowed to obey God by entering into this covenant. This event marked the start of the religion known as Judaism. (Gen. 12). They have a covenant (also known as a contract) with God, and within that covenant are rights and responsibilities for both parties.
The following outlined the parameters of the covenant:
Abram and all of his descendants were obligated to walk in God’s ways and execute his commands.
God promised Abram that he would bless him and his descendants by providing them with their own country and shielding them from their adversaries.
Abram moved his family out of the city of Ur and began a nomadic existence in the land of Canaan (today known as Israel). Abram was reaching the end of his life without having any children of his own. Sarai, Abram’s first wife, had reached the age where she could no longer bear children, and so she suggested that Abram take Hagar, her maidservant, as a second wife.
During that historical period, this approach was typical throughout the region. She gave birth to Abram’s son, Ishmael, who is considered to be the progenitor of the Arab people by both Muslim and Jewish traditions.
Both Abram and Sarai’s names were altered by God; Abram became Abraham, which means “father of many,” while Sarai became Sarah (from “my princess” to “princess”).
Sarah was miraculously able to have a child for Abraham, and they named their baby Isaac, which comes from the Hebrew word for “laughing.” It was a representation of Abraham’s happiness in his later years to have a son.
Years later, God put Abraham to the test by instructing him to perform the ritual of sacrificing his son Isaac as a burnt offering. (Gen 22).
At the very last second, God intervened in the sacrifice by sending an angel to halt it. Isaac reached adulthood and married Rebecca, who became pregnant with twins and gave birth to Jacob and Esau. (Gen 25).
Jacob became the succeeding patriarch after he reached adulthood. He was one of twelve sons.
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin.
They are the people who gave their names to the various Israelite tribes, as well as the ancestors of those tribes. Both the Manasseh and the Ephraim tribes may trace their ancestry back to Joseph.
Because Joseph was their father’s favorite child and because he had visions that he would one day lead them all, Joseph’s older brothers were envious of him. Joseph had dreams that he would be their leader. They tricked their father into believing that Joseph had been devoured by a wild beast, and then they sold him into slavery.
On the other hand, this was all a part of the plan that God had. Joseph was taken to Egypt, and because of his skill at interpreting dreams, he was given a position in the Pharaoh’s court. This opened the door for the rest of Joseph’s family to eventually live in Egypt.