ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who was Abraham?

Updated on June 19, 2013

Abraham in its Aramaic form means " Father of nations"

Sacrifice of Isaac, by Rembrandt 1635
Sacrifice of Isaac, by Rembrandt 1635
Abraham as a child smashing the idols
Abraham as a child smashing the idols

It is amazing that Abraham is so well known by name yet his significance remains relatively unknown. From dimly remembered lessons at school, Abraham falls somewhere in a list that includes, Moses, Adam, Joshua , David and Jacob and has vague associations with psalms ,prophesies, and deserts. Yet Abraham should stand front and center in any list of patriarchs. He did not have a promising start, but by the end of a very long life Abraham had secured his place in scripture.

Abraham is regarded by many as the founding figure of the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world today. His story can be found principally in the book of Genesis, which is common to the Jewish Torah and Christian Old Testament, although it is revisited in other places. The Muslim Koran also has regular references to the revered figure of Abraham, Through Hagar, his wife's servant, Abraham gained a son, Ishmael, who considered the father of the Arab people. At a very advanced age, his wife Sarai (Sarah) gave birth to another son, Yitzhak (Isaac), the ancestor of the Jewish people. Yitzhak apparently means "Laughter", which may have been joy or complete surprise for a couple who were a hundred years old and ninety years old, respectively.


The exacts dates for the life of Abraham is uncertain, but he was probably born sometime around the year 1996 B.C.E. or Before Common Era. His birthplace was the city of Ur in modern-day Iraq. This may help to explain why he is referred to as a Hebrew (or Ivri), which may come from a root word meaning "to cross over", applying ot the other side of the River Euphrates and thus to his birthplace. The details of Abraham's early life are more the subject of traditions than certainty. The thriving city of Ur was the site of much trade and many temples. It is told that Abraham's father cashed in on these two features, making a living as a producer and seller of idols.

It is traditionally believed that Abraham developed the idea that there was only one God and that polytheism was in error. He became increasingly uncomfortable with his father's trade and devotion to the gods. The story goes that, in his father's absence, Abraham smashed all of the idols in the shop except the largest. He placed the hammer that had inflicted damage in the hands of that idol. When his furious father demanded to know the culprit, Abraham is supposed to have blamed the largest idol as the victor in a fight between the gods. Abraham's father, seeking to pin the blame on the real culprit, denied that the idols had any capacity for action, thereby blaming Abraham, but also undermining the notion that they were worthy of worship.

The Ziggurat in Ur
The Ziggurat in Ur


As a consequence of the ten tests of faith God imposed on Abraham, he became a nomadic figure, wandering the Middle East. The tests were intended to establish the sincerity of Abraham's devotion, but it was not a one-way street. In accepting the tests of faith, Abraham entered into a contractual relationship with the deity. A covenant was formed that extended to all the Israelites. The notion of God's people - the chosen, the elect - had its origin in that initial relationship between God and Abraham

Abraham is at the heart of all three major monotheistic religions. In his offspring and in the concept of faith in one living God, Abraham represents the father of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. His role and legacy are not without controversy, with his birthright still being hotly disputed by different believers, but his significance makes him a figure we should all be more aware of.


  • Ur, Abraham;s birthplace was located in ancient Sumer, in an area that is now part of modern-day Iraq. It was once a coastal settlement although it is now inland. It is most famous for the ziggurat ( a type of temple) erected to the moon goddess, Nanna
  • It is told that God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars in the night sky. When you consider that Islam, Christianity and Judaism have a combined three billion adherents, it would seem,that the promise has been kept.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)