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Saturday, June 23 2012

A Biography Of Abraham: Mamre in Hebron

Studies in this series of A Biography Of Abraham:
1. The Genealogy Of Abram 2. From Ur To Canaan 3. The Battles Of Sodom 4. Hagar And Ishmael
5. Isaac 6. Sarah 7. Mamre in Hebron 8. Abrahamic Religions


"Abram came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron"

Mamre, from the Hebrew word pronounced mawm-raw, was the name of the place (or plain, or oak grove) where Abraham settled after he moved to the land of Canaan (see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan). A nearby cave, that Abraham originally purchased as a burial place for Sarah, became the family burial tomb for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob / Israel.

Abraham and Lot The move to Mamre happened after Abraham's return from Egypt (see also Abraham, Isaac And Jacob In Egypt), where the family group had gone to escape a famine in the land of Canaan. They returned first to Bethel.

"13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle [see also The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob], in silver, and in gold.

13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD." (Genesis 13:1-4 KJV)

Abraham and Lot had both grown very prosperous - too prosperous for them to remain peacefully together. Abraham offered a generous and humble solution to Lot: "If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

"13:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

13:7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

13:8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

13:9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." (Genesis 13:5-9 KJV)

Lot chose the area of Sodom, not because of the evil and perversion there, but because "it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah."

Hebron

"13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." (Genesis 13:10-13 KJV)

With the blessing of the LORD, Abraham then turned from Lot and "came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD."

"13:14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

13:18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD." (Genesis 13:14-18 KJV)

"There came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre"

Sodom's troubles thereafter became Lot's troubles - which then became Abraham's troubles. From Mamre, Abraham went to war against invading kings (see A Biography Of Abraham: The Battles Of Sodom).

The Camp Of Abraham

"14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 14:15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus [see also Damascus In History And Prophecy]. 14:16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale." (Genesis 14:13-17 KJV)

On his return journey to Mamre (Salem, later known as Jerusalem, was located on Abraham's journey home), Abraham had his famous encounter with "Melchizedek king of Salem" (see the Face Finder question below).

"14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 14:19 And he blessed him, and said,

Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.

And he gave him tithes of all." (Genesis 14:18-20 KJV)

The significance of Abraham's meeting with Melchizedek / Melchisedec is further explained in the book of Hebrews (see the Fact Finder question below).

"7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God [see Appearances Of The LORD God]; abideth a priest continually.

7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi [see Are Levites 'Jews'? and Who Were The First Jews?], who receive the office of the priesthood [see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood], have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him." (Hebrews 7:1-10 KJV)

"The LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre ... Sarah thy wife shall have a son"

It was again at Mamre that the LORD (see Appearances Of The LORD God) reiterated His promise of a child for Sarah - specifically naming the as-yet unborn Isaac.

Sarah

"18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him [see Do Spirits Have Bones?]: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

18:3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 18:5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant.

And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

18:6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

18:7 And Abraham ran unto the herd [see The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob], and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

18:9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife?

And he said, Behold, in the tent.

18:10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.

And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." (Genesis 18:1-14 KJV)

Mamre was far enough away from Sodom that it was not affected by the destruction.

Sodom

"19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

19:18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19:19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 19:20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

19:21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 19:22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

19:23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis 19:17-26 KJV)

The next morning, from Mamre, Abraham "looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."

"19:27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:

19:28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt." (Genesis 19:27-29 KJV)

"Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan"

Sarah died, at the age of 127, at home in Mamre.

Hebron

"23:1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 23:2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron [see Why Bethlehem, Hebron And Jerusalem?] in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her." (Genesis 23:1-2 KJV)

Abraham purchased the now-famous nearby tomb for Sarah.

"23:16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 23:17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about [see The Boundary Law], were made sure 23:18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 23:19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 23:16-19 KJV)

Many years later, when Abraham died, Abraham too was buried, with Sarah, in the cave near Mamre.

"25:7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost [see Giving Up The Ghost and What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?], and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 25:9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 25:10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife." (Genesis 25:7-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was Melchizedek?
See A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem


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This Day In History, June 23

79: Titus (see Titus Vespasianus) succeeded his father Vespasian as Roman Emperor. It was Titus who was in command of the Roman military forces that destroyed Jerusalem in 70, as prophesied by Jesus Christ (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones? and Jerusalem In Flames).

1180: The Genpei War in Japan began with the First Battle of Uji.

1298: Albert I, a Hapsburg, son of Rudolf I, became the new king of The Holy Roman Empire after deposing German king Adolf of Nassau.

1305: The Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge between King Philip IV of France and Robert de Bethune, count of Flanders, was signed. Strongly opposed by the Flemings (Flanders today composes the northern area of Belgium), the treaty involved the French for 20 years in military attempts to enforce it. Signed after Philip's victory over the Flemings at Mons-en-Pevele in 1304.

1314: The 2-day battle of Bannockburn began. A decisive battle in Scottish history; under the leadership of Robert I the Bruce, the Scots defeated the English under Edward II (1282-1327), regained their independence, and established Bruce on his throne. The battle was fought for possession of Stirling Castle, then the last stronghold of the English in Scotland. The Scots regard the battle as the culmination of their Wars of Independence, while the English regard it as a lamentable defeat. In 1964, on the 650th anniversary of the battle, an equestrian statue of Robert I the Bruce was unveiled on the site by Queen Elizabeth II.

1501: Pedro Cabral returned to Portugal after a voyage during which he claimed Brazil for Portugal.

1532: Henry VIII and Francois I signed a treaty of alliance against Emperor Charles V.

1565: Turgut Reis, commander of the Ottoman navy, was killed during the Siege of Malta (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1611: During his fourth voyage, English explorer Henry Hudson was set adrift in Hudson Bay (as it was later named after him) by mutineers on his ship Discovery. He was never seen again.

1683: English pioneer William Penn signed a friendship treaty with the native people in Pennsylvania (named after William Penn).

1700: Russia gave up its Black Sea fleet as part of a truce with the Ottoman Empire.

1713: Amidst an impending war with France, the French residents of Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine) were given an ultimatum to declare allegiance to Britain or leave. Some left, to various locations, including the French territory of Louisiana (named after King Louis of France) where they became known as "Cajuns" (a southern pronunciation of Acadian; the term "Dixie" originated from dix, the French word for ten).

1757: The Battle of Plassey. 3,000 British troops under the command of Robert Clive defeated a 50,000 man India army under Siraj Ud Daulah.

1758: During the Seven Years War, British and Hanoverian armies defeated the French at Krefeld in Germany.

1794: Empress Catherine II of Russia granted Jews permission to settle in Kiev.

1848: Workers in Paris rose in an insurrection known as the "June Days."

1868: Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for the "typewriter."

1887: The Canadian Rocky Mountains Park Act created the nation's first national park, Banff National Park.

1914: During the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa captured Zacatecas from Victoriano Huerta.

1940: Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) made a victory visit to Paris after his invasion armies conquered France to bring about "regime change" for the French people.

1967: Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, reaffirming the Church of Rome's law on celibacy (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).

1972: During the Watergate criminal investigation, U.S. President Richard Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman were recorded (by Nixon's own Oval Office recording system) discussing how to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI investigation of the White House.

1985: 329 people died when Air India flight 182, a Boeing 747, was brought down by an on-board bomb off the Irish coast.





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