Author: Ron Graham
Promises to Abraham
—And Abraham’s family tree
Time —1. Promises to Abraham
Figures —Abraham Isaac Jacob
Begins with —God's call to Abram
Ends with —Jacob's family settling in Egypt
Our first period —Promises to Abraham— spans the generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The period starts with God's call to Abram, and ends with the settlement of Jacob's family in Goshen, a part of Egypt.
The period is covered by Genesis chapters 12-47. An outline of the period is also provided in Acts 7:1-15, part of the speech made by Stephen.
1 The Background
About 2000 years before Christ, God called Abram out of Ur where he lived near the Persian Gulf. Abram settled in Haran, at the other end of the Euphrates river. However, God led him down to Canaan, east of the Mediterranean Sea where the river Jordan flows.
God promised that Abram's descendants would possess that land. God also promised that one of Abram's descendants would bless all nations. Abraham (as his name became) was old. His wife Sarah was also old, and what is more she had always been barren. Sarah and Abraham contrived to produce a son and heir through Sarah's servant Hagar, so Ishmael was born. However God insisted that Sarah would bear a son to Abraham, and his name would be Isaac.
Through the promise and power of God, Isaac was indeed born to them. In time, Isaac begot Jacob who became known by the name Israel. He fathered 12 sons from whom the twelve tribes of Israel were descended.
2 The Main Point
Behind this story are "two immutable things"...
- The PROMISE and
- The OATH which confirmed it
3 Promises to Abraham in Genesis
- 12:1-3,7 The call of Abram and God's plan for him
- 13:14-18 Many descendants and a promised land
- 15:1-21 A promised land many descendants
- 17:1-8 A covenant made and a change of name
- 21:8-21 A promise for Hagar's son Ishmael
- 22:15-18 God swears an oath to Abraham
- 25:21-27 God's promise to Rebekah Isaac's wife
- 26:1-5 and 24 God repeats to Isaac the promise to Abraham
- 28:10-16 Jacob's dream of a ladder to heaven
- 35:9-12 Jacob blessed again, name changed to Israel
4 Two main elements in these promises:>
- The land promise
God had chosen the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to become a great nation who would possess the land of Canaan.
- The seed promise
The whole world was to be blessed through one particular descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The promise was that Abraham's 'seed' would bless the world (Hebrews 6:13-20). Just as Abraham placed his hope of eternal life in these two unchangeable things, so also do we (Romans 4:16-25).
5 Abraham’s Family Tree
- Adam was the father of Seth
- Seth was the ancestor of Noah
- Noah had a son called Shem
- Shem was the ancestor of Terah
- Terah was the father of Sarah, Abram, Nahor, Haran
- Abram married Sarah and they had a son Isaac
- Nahor married Haran's daughter Milcah and they had a son Bethuel
- Bethuel was the father of Rebekah and Laban
- Isaac married Rebekah and they had a son Jacob
- Jacob married Laban's daughters Leah and Rachel and had twelve sons by them and their maids:
—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah (by Leah)
—Dan and Naphtali (by Bilah, Rachel's maid)
—Gad and Asher (by Zilpah, Leah's maid)
—Issachar and Zebulun (by Leah)
—Joseph and Benjamin (by Rachel)
—Joseph had two sons Manasseh and Ephraim
Abraham was the...
- Son of Terah
- Uncle of Lot
- Husband of Sarah
- Father of Ishmael (Edom) by Hagar
- Father of Isaac by Sarah
- Grandfather of Israel (Jacob)
6 Scripture Key
- Adam's sons and daughters (Genesis 4:1-2,25 5:3-5)
- Cain's descendants (Genesis 4:17-23)
- Seth's descendants down to Noah (Genesis 5:7-32)
- About Noah's youngest son Ham (Genesis 9:18-29)
- About the Canaanites and other 'ites (Genesis 9:18, 10:1-20)
- From Shem to Terah (Genesis 10:21-31, 11:10-26)
- Terah, Nahor, Haran, Lot, Milcah (Genesis 11:26-29, 22:20-23)
- Bethuel, Rebekah (Genesis 24:15,24,47)
- About Sarah Abraham's wife and sister (Genesis 11:29-31, 20:12-13)
- About Ishmael, Hagar's son to Abraham (Genesis 16:1-16)
- About Isaac, Sarah's son to Abraham (Genesis 17:18-19, 21:1-7)
- Esau and Jacob twins born to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 25:20-26)
- Esau married a daughter of Ishmael (Genesis 28:9)
- Esau called Edom (meaning red) (Genesis 25:28-34)
- Jacob's name changed to Israel (Genesis 32:27-28, 35:9-12)
- Who's who among Jacob's wives (Genesis 29:16-30)
- Jacob's sons and grandchildren (Genesis 35:23-26, 46:8-27)
- Jacob's first four sons by Leah (Genesis 29:31-34)
- Jacob's next four sons by Bilah and Zilpah (Genesis 30:1-13)
- Jacob's next two sons and a daughter by Leah (Genesis 30:14-21)
- Jacob's last two sons by Rachel (Genesis 30:22-24 35:16-19)
- Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 48:1-22)