A Child is Promised and The Patriarchal Period: Mesopotamia During the Time of Abraham

I’m guessing that Melchizedek was one of Your many angels since he didn’t have parents. 

The relative of Abram mentioned in the Bible is Lot, didn’t  Abram and Sarai have children?

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 

And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 

And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

According to most interpretations, the unnamed “…slave, the elder of the household, who controlled all that was his” in Genesis (Chayei Sarah) 24:2 who acted as a marriage broker (shadchan; Hebrew: שַׁדְּכָן‎ shadkhán) for Isaac was this Eliezer. Although his name is not spelled out in the Bible, but he is only described there as “the servant of Abraham” (Genesis 24:34 ff), Jewish tradition has that this man, who found Rebeccah and facilitated her marriage with Isaac, bore the name Eliezer.

And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 

And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to Number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 

And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (Gen 15:1-8).

“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 

And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; 1 thou shalt be buried in a good old age.  But in the fourth generation, they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Gen 15:12-16).

1 God decides when we die.  Many suicide attempts fail because it wasn’t their time.  I read many years ago about a boy tried to kill himself by shooting himself in the face.  He destroyed his face, but lived in torment for ten more years. 

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). 

God decides, we don’t.  Furthermore, there is no past life, that idea is hog wash.

Even though God decides when we die He allows us to choose where we will spend eternity, it is Heaven or Hell, there is no Purgatory or reincarnation.

For 400 years there was going to be problems in Egypt because the people were self-righteous and wicked.  How the people acted at that time was nothing compared to what they were doing to become.

Anyone that belongs to Jesus is an offspring of Abraham (Gal 3:29). 

Abraham is the father of all them that believe (Rom 4:11), being a Jew Does Not make anyone an offspring of Abraham.

God never breaks a promise, yet, He also never tells when or where the promise He made will take place.  That’s what faith it all about. 

God told Abraham that his heir would come from his own loins and even him and Sara were already over 90 years old, Abram believed what God told him.

The Patriarchal Period:
Mesopotamia
During the Time of Abraham

Near the end of the third millennium B.C., the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur lost the predominate influence it had enjoyed over most of Mesopotamia.

A well and tamarisk tree at Beersheba
Background:

The Amorites dominated Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine from 2000 to about 1600.

They originated in Arabia then traveled to Mesopotamia and then moved into Syria.

Then they traveled East, into Canaan.

The Amorites destructed Ur and Sumer but did not win the battle, just weakened their city-states.

The Amorites developed kingdoms instead of city-states.

Amorite refers to a Semitic people who occupied the country west of the Euphrates from the second half of the third millennium B.C., and also the god they worshiped, Amurru.

Religion and Culture:

There seem to have be cults of the moon-god Sin, Amurru and Marduk, their supreme god.

In the Enuma Elish an explanation is given for why Marduk was lifted up to the supreme god, replacing Ea and Enlil. With this myth, legitimacy was given for the Amorite conquest and replacement of national kings.

The Amorites are also mentioned in the Old Testament in the Bible, whom they were the first people Moses fought upon returning with the Hebrew from Sinai.

Their Appearance:

They have been described to have had fair skin, light hair, blue eyes, and pointed beards.

Economy:

They had reorganized the government of the Sumerians. Instead of having many city-states, they just had cities.

The monarch was giving all the power instead of each individual city; as a result the monarch became more powerful.

They used this power to collect taxes and build strong armies.

The entire region experienced severe political instability as its city-states continually challenged one another, as well as those in northern Syria, and power frequently changed hands.

Kings with Amorite names ruled many of these city-states during the patriarchal period. The Amorites comprised a large and diverse group of northwestern Semitic tribes from Syria-Arabia.

Many scholars once thought them to have been mostly nomadic invaders who brought with them the widespread political instability mentioned above, as well as the urban decline characterizing the end of the third millennium B.C.

However, texts from Mar and elsewhere indicate that the Amorites included both semi-nomadic pastoralists (raisers of livestock) and sedentary groups, generally organized around patriarchal figures who began settling in Mesopotamian villages and urban centers as early as the middle of the third millennium B.C. 

This cultural pattern is similar to the one we see occurring in portraits of the patriarchs of the Bible.

By the turn of the third millennium B.C.  even larger numbers of Amorites had migrated south into Canaan and southeast into Mesopotamia, perhaps pressured by the Hurrians from the north.

Many Amorites worked their way into positions of leadership. The most famous of these were Shamshi-Adad I in Assyria (late 19th to early 18th centuries B.C.).

The Biblical patriarchs most likely lived within this early second-millennium period.

The cross-cultural interaction taking place among the Sumerians, Akkadians and Amorites, as well as the Hurrians and Hittites to the north is clearly reflected in the patriarchal narratives in terms of social customs, laws and languages.

 Far from being anachronistic, the details of the Biblical stories of the patriarchs fit well into the historical environment of the late second millennium B.C.  There is no evidence that should lead scholars to question their authenticity.