Before we go through this let us go back to Exodus 12:41. At Sarah’s bidding, Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away. Julian Pitt-Rivers, “The Stranger, the Guest, and the Hostile Host: Introduction to the Study of the Laws of Hospitality,” in Contributions to Mediterranean Sociology, ed. Genesis 18 tells of a fascinating series of events in which three men appear to Abraham, and one of them speaks to Abraham as the LORD and promises Abraham that they will return the next year and Sarah will bear a son in her old age. Abraham was 86 years old at the time Ishmael was born (16:16). When we cease to aspire for more than we can attain on our own, our aspirations become insignificant. Though they lived among strangers in the land of Canaan (Gen. 17:8), they had good relationships with those they came in contact with (Gen. 21:22-34; 23:1-12). So, one of the three “men” must have been God Almighty taking on the appearance of a man. John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2000), 44. Donkeys carried loads (Gen. 42:26), and camels were especially suited for long-range travel (Gen. 24:10, 64; 31:17). They created their project out of fear that they would be scattered across the earth (Gen. 11:4). Abraham's faith grew as God revealed himself. Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 182-83. He transacted business openly and honestly, doing so in front of witnesses. The Journeys of Abraham () (PDF for Print) - Map of Abraham's Journey with Trade Route(Freely Distributed for Personal or Church use) Map of Abram's Journey from Ur to Haran to Egypt. Genesis 12 showed us the beginning of God’s work in Abram’s life. Ungodly work stems from the desire to depend on no one but ourselves, and it restricts itself narrowly to benefit only ourselves and the few who may be close to us. Bible Commentary I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’”(Genesis 18: 13-15).  They must have had ways of communicating with shepherds who took the flocks away at some distance (Gen. 37:12-14). We may not have all the answers but God surely does. He communicated clearly. Genesis 12 showed us the beginning of God’s work in Abram’s life. The command was, Get out of your country, from your family and from your fathers house, to a land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1). Working the land would require occupational skills of shepherding, tent-making, military protection, and the production of a wide array of goods and services. Generosity is a positive trait in both personal and business relationships. Abraham stands “before the LORD” in verse 22. In the earlier case of dividing the land with Lot, Abraham’s willing surrender of first choice to Lot laid the ground work for a good long-term working relationship. Contrary to the staged bargaining that was typical of business transactions (Prov. In fact, the promise to Abraham will not be fulfilled completely until the return of Christ (Matt. Hospitality workers would assist you in offering hospitality. Finally, Abraham was blessed with the patience to take a long-term view. The property in question is clearly identified (Gen. 23:9), and Abraham’s intended use as a burial site is mentioned several times (Gen. 23:4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 20). Shortly after this, it seemed like God said to Abraham, “Hey, let’s make this official. In contrast, the tower builders believed that by their own skill and ingenuity, they could devise a tower “with its top in the heavens” (Gen. 11:4), and in so doing achieve significance and security in a way that usurped God’s authority.. But Abraham’s example highlights an aspect that is easy to forget. Nearly one-fourth of the book of Genesis is devoted to this man’s life. So, a land would be given to the descendants of Abram - that's the essence of the first promise. The Bible tells us, “Then the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, not that I am old?’ Is there anything too hard for the LORD? A son was born from this union; his name was Ishmael. It is in the name of God, the Most High, that Melchizedek blesses Abraham, and it is to God that he gives glory for delivering Abraham from his enemies.  Leaders had to know how to tap the wisdom of the group in order to make sound decisions about where to travel, how long to stay, and how to divide the herds. Abraham lived for 175 years from around 2165BC-1990BC. In doing so, they rejected God’s purpose for humanity to “fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). This would require the work of developing personal relationships, parenting, politics, diplomacy and administration, education, the healing arts, and other social occupations. The local Hittites freely offer a choice tomb. Whether for God’s, Abraham’s, Isaac’s or for our sake as an example, Abraham took his son up to a mountain, lay him down and prepared to kill him in obedience to God’s command. 3:19), meaning that the payoff date was more than a thousand years in the future. He conducted the negotiations openly and honestly in the presence of witnesses, taking due care for the needs of both himself and the seller (Gen. 23:10-13, 16, 18). Here are some leadership lessons from Abraham based on Genesis 12-14. ( F) he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, ( G) to the place between Bethel and Ai. Abraham was the first man chosen by God for a role in the plan of redemption. The Apostle Paul interpreted the “offspring” to be Jesus (Gal. Genesis 18 tells of a fascinating series of events in which three men appear to Abraham, and one of them speaks to Abraham as the LORD and promises Abraham that they will return the next year and Sarah will bear a son in her old age. First, Abraham puts his trust in God’s guidance, rather than on human device. We would like to think Abraham believed God at once without any doubt, but this is not the case. Three visitors came to Abraham and said that he would have a son. Abstracted from Victor H. Matthews, “Hospitality and Hostility in Judges 4,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 21, no. The comparison between Abraham’s immediate family in chapter 12 and Noah’s other descendants in chapter 11 highlights five contrasts. Genesis 12:1-20. He thus maintained good relationships with everyone involved. Later God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and he became the father of Israel. But when this didn’t take place as quickly as Abraham thought it should, he became impatient with God and took matters into his own control. Victor H. Matthews, “Nomadism, Pastoralism” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, eds. It is through his lineage that the Savior of the world comes (Matthew 1; Luke 3). Its progress cannot be adequately measured by quarterly reports! Even in the face of all these obstacles and tests, Abraham continued to trust God, believing that the heavenly ruler would re-establish his reign over the earth through his descendants. Rather, he is a model of a wise and hard-working person who conducts his business openly and makes fair use of appropriate legal protections. Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, imagined here in a Bible illustration from 1897. This r… He was originally from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans. The hospitality industry accounts for 9 percent of the world gross domestic product and employs 98 million people, including many of the less-skilled and immigrant workers who represent a rapidly growing portion of the Christian church. Abraham had not yet come to the end of his journey. The host must not ask personal questions of the guest. Biblical account Hagar. Additionally, he could have wished to forestall any questioning of the sale and of his right to the land. They were creative and technologically innovative (Gen. 11:3), but they were unwilling to fully embrace God’s purpose for them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). Abraham, Hebrew Avraham, originally called Abram or, in Hebrew, Avram, (flourished early 2nd millennium bce ), the first of the Hebrew patriarchs and a figure revered by the three great monotheistic religions— Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The guest is expected to reciprocate immediately with news, predictions of good fortune, or expressions of gratitude for what he has been given, and praise of the host’s generosity and honor. This is the gift of community. Isaac was the name of the son that came from the union of Abraham and Sarah; it would be through Isaac that the nations would be blessed. The initial results of Abraham’s journeys were not promising. Unlike others, Abraham realized that an attempt to grasp such things on his own power would be futile, or worse. Like Abraham, people in every kind of work have to discern when to act generously to benefit others, and when to protect resources and rights for the benefit of themselves or their organizations. Genesis 12:4 records that, after God called Abraham, he went “as the LORD had told him.” The author of Hebrews uses Abraham as an example of faith several times, and refers specifically to this impressive act: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Later God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and he became the father of Israel. These strangers reaped a deeper understanding of each other by sharing a meal and an extended encounter. God again speaks to Abraham in a test, asking Abraham to kill his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. In verse 1, God is “visiting” Abraham (in a vision) because Abraham was recuperating from his circumcision.In verse 2, Abraham sees potential guests, and therefore, in verse 3, breaks off his vision with God to tend to his potential guests. They had a son in their old age and called him Isaac, which means laughter. The Canaanite sanctuary was taken over without hesitation by Abraham, who built an altar there and consecrated it to Yahweh, at least if the Yahwistic tradition in Genesis is to be believed. Again, God blessed Abraham and multiplied his possessions all the more. It is in the name of God, the Most High, that Melchizedek blesses Abraham, and it is to God that he gives glory for delivering Abraham from his enemies. I. Howard Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, and D. J. Wiseman (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996) 829. Although these promises were not fully realized by the end of Genesis, they initiated the covenant between God and the people of God through which the redemption of the world will come to completion in the day of Christ (Phil. He used the site only for the purpose he stated during the negotiations. John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2000), 55. Who were the three men who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18? Genesis 11:31, states that it was Abraham's father Terah who took Abraham and left Ur. Because this would not have resulted in Abraham having permanent claim, he politely offered to pay market value for it. The stranger has the right of refusal, but this could be considered an affront to the honor of the host and could be a cause for immediate hostilities or conflict. However, his response to the Lord does not display total disbelief in the covenant promise. The stranger must be transformed from being a potential threat to becoming an ally by the offer of hospitality. Colleagues, customers, suppliers, even adversaries, respond strongly to generosity and remember it for a long time. Following his father Terah, Abraham journeyed, not south toward Canaan, but north west. Yet here, Abraham doggedly protects what is his. Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 216. The generation of Jesus Christ is traced back to Abraham by St. Matthew, and though in Our Lord's genealogy, according to St. Luke, he is shown to be descended according to the flesh not only from Abraham but also from Adam, still St. Luke shows his appreciation of the fruits of descent from Abraham by attributing all the blessings of God on Israel to the promises made to Abraham. 13:2). Yahweh is sometimes translated \"Jehovah\" in the KJV and expressed as the \"LORD\" in the KJV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, etc., following the Jewish tradition of not pronouncing the divine name, but substituting Adonai, \"Lord,\" instead. In verse 1, God is “visiting” Abraham (in a vision) because Abraham was recuperating from his circumcision.In verse 2, Abraham sees potential guests, and therefore, in verse 3, breaks off his vision with God to tend to his potential guests. In this zone, the villagers were responsible to offer hospitality to strangers. The guest remains under the protection of the host until the guest has left the zone of obligation of the host. Abraham's Family. Abraham’s name was originally “Abram”, which means ‘the father is exalted’. It is the LORD who speaks in verses 13, 20, 26, and 33. Only the male head of household or a male citizen of a town or village may offer the invitation of hospitality. 1 (1991): 13-15. Abraham lived for 175 years from around 2165BC-1990BC. The story of Abraham contains the first mention in the Bible of God’s righteousness assigned to … ( H) where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. Third, Abraham was willing to go wherever God led him, while the builders attempted to huddle together in their accustomed space. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." On the other hand, Abraham had received God’s direct promise, “I will make of you a great nation” (Gen. 12:2). 24:30-31). God would continue to fulfill that promise over a thousand years after Abraham’s death, until its completion in His Son Jesus Christ. Tradition seems particularly firm on this point. Another key theme thus emerges for the theology of work: God’s design is for people to work in healthy networks of relationship. The wetter months of October through March afforded grazing on the lower plains, while in the warmer and drier months of April through September the shepherds would take their flocks to higher elevations for greener vegetation and flowing springs. Yahweh is sometimes translated \"Jehovah\" in the KJV and expressed as the \"LORD\" in the KJV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, etc., following the Jewish tradition of not pronouncing the divine name, but substituting Adonai, \"Lord,\" instead. Abram’s walk of faith begins with God’s promise. 22:2-4). It is possible that as long a Terah lived it would have been difficult for Abraham to leave. Abraham. This would have been a tremendous shock to any parent; to be blessed by a long awaited child, only to have God tell you to sacrifice that child. Abraham and Sarah were fleeing starvation. Sarah, also known as Sarai, is the wife of Abraham. 1:10). 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.” This is the first time God makes these promises to Abraham. Before we start I just want to say that I will refer to Abraham as Abraham in this text, even though his name in this period actually was Abram and not yet Abraham (he only got the name Abraham in Genesis 17). The narrative of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis revolves around the themes of descendants and land promised by God. When Pharaoh found out the reason—that he had taken another man’s wife—he returned Sarah to Abraham and immediately ordered them both to depart his country (Gen. 12:18-19). His first wife was Sarah, who lived 127 years and died around 2028BC. Thirteen years pass between the events of chapter 16 and the beginning of chapter 17. However, Genesis 18:1 says that it was “the LORD” (Yahweh) who appeared to Abraham. 3. As a result, “the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues” (Gen. 12:17). Abraham's immediate response is to give a tenth of everything to Melchizedek. Hospitality and generosity are often underappreciated in Christian circles. Every resource on our site was made possible through the financial support of people like you. The guest must not ask for anything. 3. What is the land that God promised to Israel? The three men say that Sarah will have a son, but Sarah, who is now ninety years old, laughs. He was known as a “wandering Aramean” (Deut. Godly work is willing to depend on God’s guidance and authority, and it desires to grow widely as a blessing to all the world.  Evidence that both Abraham and Lot had become successful lies in the quarreling that broke out between the herders for each family over the inability of the land to support so many grazing animals. Fourth, Abraham was willing to let God lead him into new relationships. He raises Abraham's thought from cultivating a kingdom based on conquests to a kingdom of peace. T.C. While individuals certainly had their own responsibilities and were accountable for their actions, the communal nature of the family business generally stands apart from our contemporary culture of personal achievement and the expectation to show ever-increasing profits. In both Genesis 12 and Genesis 20 a sojourning, scared, and self-preserving Abraham urges his wife Sarah to lie and say she is his sister. In the present case of his demanding access to the well according to his treaty rights, Abraham ensured the resources needed to keep his enterprise functioning. B. Eerdmans, 2000), 972. Better working relationships and more effective communication are often fruits of hospitality. Moreover, hospitality workers have in their own right the opportunity to refresh people, create good relationships, provide shelter, and serve others much as Jesus did when he made wine (John 2:1-11) and washed feet (John 13:3-11). Abraham is the ancestor of the Israelites and of many Arabian groups, but his family, despite God’s promise, is often threatened. Abraham quietly resolves to obey, and when he takes Isaac to the mountains, Isaac asks what animal they are going to sacrifice. When Abraham left his home in Haran and set out for the land of Canaan, his family was probably already quite large by modern standards. The central ridge of land in Canaan is rocky and does support much vegetation for grazing. Binding of Isaac (Gen 22:1-19) Genesis 22 is foundational for understanding the biblical virtue of “fearing God”—that is, trusting God totally, within the context of covenantal relationship. If you want to offer hospitality and your home is too small or your cooking skills too limited, you might take someone to a restaurant or hotel and enjoy camaraderie and deepening relationships there. When God began working with Abram (his name was later changed to Abraham), God gave him a command and an amazing promise. The fact of Abraham’s protection of water rights is therefore important, as well as the means by which he secured those rights. Shepherding and animal husbandry were honorable fields of work and could be lucrative, and Abraham’s family became very wealthy. Ishmael is now a teenager. In chapter 17 of Genesis, "Almighty God" changed Abram’s name to Abraham, for he would be a father of many nations. The generation of Jesus Christ is traced back to Abraham by St. Matthew, and though in Our Lord's genealogy, according to St. Luke, he is shown to be descended according to the flesh not only from Abraham but also from Adam, still St. Luke shows his appreciation of the fruits of descent from Abraham by attributing all the blessings of God on Israel to the promises made to Abraham. There is no set of rules and regulations that can lead us to a mechanical answer. Abraham and Sarah were very happy with their new son Isaac; however, God had a test for Abraham. This episode provides the background for the New Testament command, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. After all, Sarah is well past the age of childbearing. The Bible shifts its focus in Genesis 12 from the history of the entire human race to a man named Abram, the first Hebrew, and he lived in Ur of the Chaldees. From Old Testament descriptions and other ancient Near Eastern texts, Matthews derived seven codes of conduct defining what counts for good hospitality that maintains the honor of persons, their households, and communities by receiving and offering protection to strangers. Sarah believed she was too old to have a child and laughed. Abraham, the first patriarch in the book of Genesis, is a figure of memory, legend, and faith. ( I) There Abram called on the name of the Lord. Similarly, people in difficult situations often convince themselves that they have no choice but to do something they regard as wrong. God promised a new land to Abraham’s family. The story of Abraham and Sarah’s generous hospitality to three visitors who came to them by the oaks of Mamre is told in Genesis 18. 2. In Genesis 15:6 it says, "Abram believed the Lord, and he reckoned it to him as righteousness." Moreover, as the New Testament traces the descent of J… Abram believed God and went. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many people. Abraham is commanded by God to depart the house of his father Terah and move to the land formerly given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his offspring. Abraham’s trust in God released him from the anxiety of looking out for himself. Abraham would have to fast for forty days Abraham would need to find ten righteous people living in it Abraham would have to organize and army and kill all the wicked people Abraham would have to preach in the city for forty days Genesis 18:23-32.  Because a family could not be entirely supported through shepherding, it was necessary to practice local agriculture and trade with those living in more settled communities.. A leader is a … Also in Genesis 12, observe the statement in verse 7. Before we go through this let us go back to Exodus 12:41. Perhaps nothing establishes trust and good relationships as solidly as generosity. For example, to soften the attitude of his offended brother Esau prior to their meeting after a long time, Jacob was able to select from his property a gift of at least 550 animals: 200 female goats with 20 males, 200 ewes with 20 rams, 30 female camels with their calves, 40 cows with 10 bulls, and 20 female donkeys with 10 males (Gen. 32:13-15). He apparently used two words for God -- El, the generic Canaanite name for the cosmic deity and Yahweh. As an economic migrant to Egypt, Abraham’s vulnerable position made him fearful. Abraham's faith grew as God revealed himself. This expression meant that the deal conformed to the standard for silver used in real estate sales. 5. In the absence of a formal industry of hospitality, people living in cities and encampments had a social obligation to welcome strangers. A division had to be made, and Abraham took the risk of offering Lot first choice of the real estate. Abraham - Abraham - The Genesis narrative in the light of recent scholarship: The saga of Abraham unfolds between two landmarks, the exodus from “Ur of the Chaldeans” (Ur Kasdim) of the family, or clan, of Terah and “the purchase of” (or “the burials in”) the cave of Machpelah. As we just read in Genesis 21 Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old. While Abraham’s faith had been tested, he proved his faith by his obedience to God. It is stated in this verse that the event took place “even the selfsame day.” The covenant with Abraham occurred on the very same day, the 14th day of the first month at even. It is therefore fitting that at the end of his life when Jacob conferred blessings on his sons, he testified that the God of his fathers had been “my shepherd all my life to this day” (Gen. 48:15). Before he died, Abraham finally got a little piece of the Promised Land to bury Sarah (Genesis 23), and he organized a wife for Isaac so the promises could continue in the next generation (Genesis 24). When Abraham and his family reentered Canaan and came to the region around Bethel, the friction that erupted between the herders of Abraham and those of his nephew Lot posed Abraham with a choice regarding the scarcity of land. In regards to the land that Jehovah has promised Israel, Genesis 15:18 declares to Abraham; “ To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.” God later confirms this promise to Abraham’s son Isaac and Isaac’s son Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel). Persevering in prayer (Gen 18, 20:17)- Abraham pleaded earnestly with God for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. The decision is not only a matter of who is in the right, but also of how the decision will affect our relationships with those around us. Abraham could not have continued to provide for his animals, workers, and family without it. Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 216. Mesopotamia was one of the earliest regions to be inhabited after the greatFlood, and it was here that Abraham lived his early life. Did his faith in God to make good on his promises fail so quickly? Abraham's story, like those of the other patriarchs, most likely had a substantial oral prehistory, and his name is apparently very ancient, as the tradition found in Genesis no longer understands its original meaning (probably "Father is exalted" – the meaning offered in Genesis 17:5, "Father of a multitude", is a popular etymology). 7. Over 40 Old Testament references are made to Abraham. Nevertheless, Abraham trusted God and believed God could accomplish what He had promised. 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