WHO WAS ABRAHAM AND WHY DOES HE MATTER?
Abraham is the linchpin of the entire Bible. Everything we’ve seen so far was a set up for Abraham. He is the patriarch of the Hebrew people and basically everything in the Bible revolves around Abraham and his offspring. It blew my mind the first time I read the Bible; the whole thing is essentially the story of one family. The whole Bible is really just a detailed, glorified genealogy of the ‘sons of Abraham’. Judaism isn’t a religion, it’s a heritage. If you’re a true Jew it wasn’t a choice, you were literally born into it.
Pretty interesting to think that a good chunk of the civilized world is operating based on what this one family was up to out in some nondescript desert three thousand years ago.
So, why Abraham? What’s so great about him? Other than hearing the voice of God, or maybe just hearing voices, his one claim to fame was being blessed by Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High. It’s an interesting story.
Abraham had been traveling around with his nephew, Lot, looking for a place to stay. Lot went off to the Jordan Valley and settled in a town called Sodom. Abraham stayed in the land of Canaan. Remember Canaan?
Apparently, this one group of kings had been in charge and pretty much ruled the whole area. Well, another group of kings had had enough and decided to rebel. It turns out Lot was in with the wrong group of kings and when the first group eventually prevailed, they took all the people and possessions of Sodom and took off with them, including Lot.
When Abraham heard about it he gave chase with a little over 300 men. He tracked them down and kicked their ass, recovering his nephew Lot, all the people of Sodom, and all their stuff.
Needless to say, the people of Sodom were stoked. Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High, blessed Abraham.
Soon after Abraham had a vision where God promised him that his offspring would possess all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates river. This is why it’s called “The Promised Land”.
And that’s it. That’s why Abraham and his entire family are blessed into perpetuity. That’s why the Jews claim to be the ‘chosen’ people. That’s where anything you want to talk about Semitism or anti-Semitism began. Because Abraham kicked some ass and was blessed by this one random priest and then he had a vision. I’ll let you make of that what you will.
Allow me to mention two things before we leave this.
First, when you read about this battle it sounds like it was a really big deal. I mean, five kings against four, the heated battle, the conquest and the plundering of cities. Sounds like it was an epic battle. But in reality, these kingdoms were nothing more than clans1 and the kings were the head of the clan. When you consider it only took Abraham and 318 men to beat down five kings it puts things in perspective.
Secondly, the fact that Abraham had 318 fighting men at his disposal and could take down five kings would indicate Abraham was quite the king himself. The image we have of this guy wandering the desert pitching his tent here and there is in no way accurate. Abraham commanded a large army and had the wherewithal to maintain his entire community. Make no mistake, Abraham was already a very powerful, wealthy guy. Well find out how he might have gotten that way later on.
1 Family groups