THE PROMISE of God to Abraham was fulfilled through Isaac and Jacob. That is made clear in the chapters we studied this week, Genesis 23 through 26.
This week, we look at the death of Sarah, the faithfulness of the servant of Abraham (possibly Eliezer of Damascus) who traveled more than 500 miles on camelback to Aram-Naharaim to find a wife for Isaac. We examine the place and the people where Abraham purchased land for a burial tomb, Esau’s disposition of his birthright, and another example of the anxieties those chosen by God to bring forth His plans as Isaac repeats the lie of his father, calling his wife his “sister” while living in the land of Abimelech, the king of Gerar.
Click to enlarge – map by Logos Bible Software
The map at left shows the routes traveled by Abraham (we subscribe to the Northern Route theory, marked in red), his servant, and Jacob as they traveled to and from Abraham’s ancestral homeland in what is today southeastern Turkey.
WE’VE GOT the fire, we’ve got the wood, and we’ve got the Lamb!
This week, we continue in the book of Genesis with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the departure of Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham’s sojourn in the land of the Philistines, and the test of Abraham on Mount Moriah.
We also dig a little deeper into the nature of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Was it simply inhospitality, as some suggest? We think not. The epistle of Jude is clear; Sodom and Gomorrah, like the angels of Genesis 6, were punished for sexual sin–possibly something more than homosexuality, which has existed in all cultures and for thousands of years. Is it possible that the men of Sodom knew that Lot’s guests were angels, and that they hoped, through forbidden practices, to somehow obtain divine favors?
WE PICK up the story of Abram at Genesis chapter 15. We talk about Yahweh’s covenant with Abram, including the land promised to his descendants; Sarai’s impatience with the promise of an heir, and the trouble that created with (and for) Hagar and Ishmael; Yahweh’s promise of Isaac and the new names He gave to Abraham and Sarah; and Abraham’s humble, reverent intercession for Sodom.
At left is one interpretation of the area included in the land promised to Abram by Yahweh. The Hebrew in Gen. 15:18 indicates that the “river of Egypt” is not the Nile, but rather Wadi El-Arish, which extended southeast from the Mediterranean Sea along the traditional border between Egypt and Israel, and so excludes the Sinai peninsula.
Other interpretations limit the promise to the area roughly occupied today by Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan, and most of Syria, which was occupied for a time–and thus fulfilled–during the reign of Solomon.