About three hundred years after the Great Flood, a man named Terah was born from the descendants of Noah's son, Shem. Terah had three sons: Abram (Abraham), Nahor, and Haran. Abraham, the eldest son, got married to Sarah, and soon after, left the land of Ur where they lived to go to Canaan. Accompanying them were Abraham's father Terah and nephew Lot. They stopped at a place called Haran, where there lived until Terah died. And then began a new chapter in the OT revelation of God's purpose to redeem and save humanity.
The LORD had said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
"I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."
Abraham was seventy-five years old when he obediently set out for Canaan (today Israel) with his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot, and all the possessions and people he had acquired over the years in Haran. Travelling through Shechem, he went on to Bethel before continuing toward the Negev. A famine in the land forced Abraham to go and live in Egypt for a while [see Abimelech].
After a while he returned to the Negev and, with his family in tow, he retraced his steps back to Bethel. This time around their stay was not as peaceful as the last. With many more animals than they had the previous time, Abraham's shepherds started fighting with Lot's shepherds for the limited grazing ground. Abraham settled the argument wisely by suggesting they break up and go separate ways. He offered Lot first choice as to which part of the land he wanted. Lot opted for the fertile Jordan valley and set off with his flocks to Sodom, where he made his home. Abraham stayed in Canaan, where God confirmed his promise to Abraham.
The LORD said to Abraham after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." (Genesis 13:14-17)
It was a promise that would have certainly taken Abraham's breath away, but as the years went by and he and Sarah had no children, he began to wonder if the promise might be fulfilled through a servant in his household, rather than himself. God told him not to worry; he would have a son of his own.
A man who trusted God wholeheartedly, Abraham accepted God's word without question. As the years passed Sarah, however, wondered if God's promise might not be fulfilled in another way. She suggested that Abraham try starting a family with Hagar, her maidservant. It was a decision she would soon repent [see Hagar].
Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. In affirmation of his covenant with God, Abraham circumcised himself and all males in the household. Later three angels visited Abraham and Sarah and announced that within a year Sarah would give birth. Right enough, less than a year later, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old at the time.
After Sarah's death, Abraham married Keturah, and she bore him several children. Abraham deeded everything he owned to Isaac, though he gave gifts to his other sons, and sent them off into the east, away from Isaac.
Abraham died at the age of 175 and was buried by Isaac and Ishmael in a cave of Machpelah, where he had earlier buried his wife.