Abraham is the founding patriarch of the Israelites, Ishmaelites, Midianites and Edomite peoples, as described in the book of Genesis. He is widely regarded as the patriarch of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
According to Genesis, Abraham was originally named Abram and was of the tenth generation from Noah and the 20th from Adam. His father was Terah, and hisbrothers were Nahor and Haran. Abraham was sent by God from his home in Ur Kaśdim and Haran to Canaan, the land promised to his descendants by YHWH ( god).
In Canaan, Abraham entered into a covenant: in exchange for recognition of YHWH as his God, Abraham will be blessed with innumerable progeny and the land would belong to his descendants. According to Genesis 17:5, his name was changed by God fromAbram (probably meaning "the father is exalted") to Abraham, a name which Genesis explains as meaning "father of many nations." Genesis 17:5.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes referred to as the "Abrahamic religions" because of the progenitor role Abraham plays in their holy books. In the Jewish tradition, he is called Avraham Avinu or "Abraham, our Father". God promised Abraham thatthrough his offspring, all the nations of the world will come to be blessed (Genesis 12:3), interpreted in Christian tradition as a reference particularly to Christ. Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider him father of the people of Israel through his son Isaac (cf. Exodus 6:3, Exodus 32:13) by his wife Sarah. For Muslims, he is a prophet of Islam and the ancestor of Muhammad through his otherson Ishmael – born to him by Sarah's servant, Hagar. (Jews and Christians refer to Hagar as Sarah's servant).
Abraham's name first appears as Abram meaning either "exalted father" or "my father is exalted" . Later in Genesis God changes his name to Abraham, which the text glosses as av hamon "father of many (nations)" [Genesis 17:5]; however the name does not have any literal meaningin Hebrew. Many interpretations have been offered based on modern textual and linguistic analysis, including an analysis of a first element abr- "chief", which however yields a meaningless second element. Keil suggests there was once a word raham in Hebrew, meaning "multitude", on analogy with the word ruhâm which has this meaning in Arabic, but this is purely speculative.
Arecurring feature of the story of Abraham are the covenants between him and the Lord, which are reiterated and reaffirmed several times. When Abram is told to leave Ur Kaśdim, the Lord promises "I will make you into a great nation". After parting from Lot, God reappears and promises "All the land that you can see" to Abraham and that his seed would be "like the dust of the earth" in number.Following the battle of the Vale of Siddim, the Lord appears and reaffirms the promise. Further, it is prophesied that "your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years." Abraham makes a sacrifice and enters into a covenant, YHWH declaring: "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, theEuphrates, the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." This covenant refers to Abraham's descendants through his son Isaac. The Abrahamic Covenant of Isaac did not pass to all the descendents of Isaac, however. From Isaac the Covenant passed successively to Jacob , Joseph [48:3-4], and Ephraim[48:17-19], so that while it was prophesied that the Messiah would come from Jacob's son Judah—i.e. the Jewish people—the birthright of many nations remained with Joseph's son Ephraim. [5:1-2] However the Ephraimites were defeated by the Assyrians in 722 BCE and scattered across the Assyrian Empire, so that their modern-day identity has been lost. Many groups have attempted to claim this identity;...