Abram’s life started with a great celebration when he was born. Many people were invited, including King Nimrod’s wise men. On their way home, they noticed a big star in the heaven, coming from the east, running toward the other four stars from the four sides of heaven. They linked the phenomena to the baby that had just been born that night to Terah. They said, This baby born tonight, will grow up and multiply to possess the earth; he and his children forever. His seed will kill kings and inherit their lands. They reported the matter to king Nimrod and suggested to him to have that baby killed. King Nimrod agreed to it and without any delay, Abram’s father, Terah was commanded to give his son up to be killed. Terah, after resisting the king’s order, brought one of his servants’ baby who had been born at the same time, and gave him to Nimrod, instead. Terah, then hid Abram with his mother and her nurse in a cave for ten years. Meanwhile, all believed that Abram had been killed. Abram was taken to Noah’s house, after a while, where he grew up; Noah and his son taught him the ways of the Lord; Abram lived with Noah thirty-nine years. God gave him an understanding heart to know that all the gods were vain and of no avail. When he was fifty years old, he left Noah’s house and went to his father’s house. He confronted his father about his gods. He called out saying, “Woe unto my father and this wicked generation whose hearts are all inclined to vanity, who serve these idols of wood and stone which can neither eat, smell, hear nor speak, who have mouths without speech, eyes without sight, ears without hearing, hands without feeling, and legs which cannot move; like them are those that made them and that trust them.” Abram’s anger was kindled against his father; he took a hatchet and broke all his father’s gods, finishing by placing the hatchet in the hand of the great god. He warned his father, saying, Refrain from this, and bring not evil upon your soul and the souls of your household.
Abram’s father reported the matter to the king, who then found out that Abram was the son of Terah, who supposedly was killed. Not knowing what to say to the King, to save his life, Terah, Abram’s father told a lie by bringing accusation to his older son, making him responsible for what had happened to Abram. King Nimrod then punished Haran, Abram’s brother by throwing him together with Abram into a furnace. Haran, quickly died from the fire, but Abram survived it. He walked through the fire for three days and three nights. That caused quite a stir among the people. When they tried to get Abram out of the furnace, the fire consumed them; so hot was the furnace. At last, Abram got out of it himself. People were amazed at his survival and tried to bow down before him, who rebuked them by saying, Do not bow down to me, but bow down to the God of the world who made you, and serve him, and go in his ways, for it is He Who delivered me. King Nimrod blessed Abram with many gifts and riches, as a reward; many gave their hearts to serve the Living God.
King Nimrod, two years after he tried to have Abram burned, turned against him once more and tried to kill him. However, he escaped under God’s protection and moved with his father to the land of Haran. At the end of the third year of Abram’s dwelling there, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Lord Who brought you from Ur Casdim, and delivered you from the hands of all your enemies. God then told him to leave Haran and move to Canaan, the land which was given to his descendants many years later through his son Isaac.
One important highlight in Abram’s life was when God told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The book of Jasher tells us that on their way to the sacrifice, Satan appeared to Abram in the form of an old man trying to stop Abram from doing what the Lord commanded him to do by saying, Don’t you know and understand that this thing cannot be from the Lord? For the Lord cannot do unto man such evil upon earth to say to him, go slaughter your son; but Abram hearing this, he knew that these words were from Satan. He then rebuked Satan, and he left him and he appeared to Isaac in the form of a young man. He said to Isaac, Do you not know and understand that your old silly father brings you to the slaughter this day for nothing? Do not listen nor attend to him, for he is a silly old man, and let not your precious soul and beautiful figure be lost from the earth. Isaac then conferred to his father, who responded saying, Do not listen to his words, for he is Satan trying us to deviate us from the commands of God. Abram again rebukes Satan and he leaves them. But on their way, there was a body of deep water that had not been there before. Abram said, this is Satan’s doing to deviate us from doing the commands of God. This time, when Abram rebuked Satan, he said, The Lord rebuke you Satan, go away from us, for we will do what the Lord has commanded us.
On the third day when Abram saw in the distance the place for the sacrifice, he saw a pillar of fire that reached from earth to heaven, and a cloud of glory, which was the glory of the Lord upon the mountain. He called Isaac’s attention by asking him, Do you see what is upon that mountain? Isaac answered, I see a pillar of fire and a cloud and the glory of the Lord upon the cloud. Then Abram asked the other two who had gone with them the same question, and they said, we only see a mountain, just like any other mountain. By that, Abram knew that they were not accepted to go with them for the sacrifice. Arriving there, Abram told Isaac, The Lord has chosen you my son to be a perfect burning offering instead of a lamb. Isaac answered, I will do all that the Lord spoke to you with joy and cheerfulness of heart. Abram rejoiced at his son’s words. They gathered everything thing for the sacrifice, when Isaac said, Bind me securely and then place me upon the altar, so that I should not turn and move and break loose from the force of the knife. He also said, O my father, after you slay me and burn me, take with you my ashes to bring to Sarah my mother, and say to her, This is the sweet smelling savor of Isaac; but do not tell her this when she is at the well, or upon any high places, so that she would not cast her soul after me and die. Hearing these words, Abram lifted up his voice crying; his tears gushed upon Isaac, and Isaac cried bitterly. Then Isaac said, hurry up father and do to me the will of the Lord our God as He commended you. More will be said about them in my next writing; save your tears for later.
To be continued.