Bible stories: Cain Abel Abimelech Abraham

THE SACRIFICE OF ABEL

.After the expulsion from Eden, two sons were born to Adam and Eve. The eldest was called Cain, who became a " tiller of the ground;-" the youngest Abel, who was " a keeper of sheep "--the first record of the two great branches of productive industry pursued by men in a primitive state of society—the agricultural and the pastoral. The two brothers at the same time brought the "first fruits " of their labors to offer them to God. Abel had led a life of purity, but Cain had passed his days in wickedness. There­fore God preferred Abel's offering to Cain's, and Cain, filled with the fury of jealousy, fell upon his brother and slew him. This is the first crime on record, and it was promptly punished by the Almighty, (Gen. iv. 1-15.)

ABIMELECH   RESTORING   SARAH.Abraham's fourth resting place in the land promised him by Jehovah was at Beersheba, at the south-western extremity of the maritime plain, upon the borders of the desert. In this district the Philistines had already begun to form settlements, and a warlike king of this race named Abimelech reigned in the valley of Gerar. Abraham was afraid that Abimelech, attracted by Sarah's beauty, would kill him in order to obtain possession of her. He, therefore, passed her off as his sister, as he had done once before, and Abime­lech, not suspecting the truth, took her to his harem. The Almighty soon made it apparent to him that he had committed a great wrong, and sending for Abraham, he reproached him for his deceit, and restored Sarah, with a present of a thousand pieces of silver, and cattle and servants, as an atonement for his offence.    (Genesis xx.)

The servants of Abraham and Abimelech quarreling at the well

The possession of a well is a matter of the highest importance in a country like the Holy Land where water is scarce. To the posses­sor of large flocks a well is a fortune in itself, and it is guarded with the greatest vigilance, the owner often finding it necessary for the safety of his own herds to refuse to allow others to use the water. Thus the wells of the East have always been a source of contention and strife, often resulting in bloodshed. A dispute of this kind occa­sioned the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech, which is recorded in Genesis xxi. 22-32.

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