Father of a multitude, Genesis 17:4,5; the great founder of the Jewish nation. He was a son of Terah, a descendant of Shem, and born in Ur, a city of Chaldea, A.M. 2008, B. C. 1996, Genesis 11:27,28. Here he lived seventy years, when at the call of God he left his idolatrous kindred, and removed to Haran, in Mesopotamia, Acts 7:2-4, accompanied by his father, his wife Sarai, his brother Nahor, and his nephew Lot. A few years after, having buried his father, he again removed at the call of God, with his wife and nephew, and entered the land of promise as a nomad or wandering shepherd. Sojourning for a time at Shechem, he built here, as was his custom, an alter to the Lord, who appeared to him, and promised that land to his seed. Removing from place to place for convenience of water and pasturage, he was at length driven by a famine into Egypt, where he dissembled in calling his wife his sister, Genesis 12:1- 20. Returning to Canaan rich in flocks and herds, he left Lot to dwell in the fertile valley of the lower Jordan, and pitched his own tents in Mamre, Genesis 13:1-18. A few years after, he rescued Lot and his friends from captivity, and received the blessing of Melchizedek, Genesis 14:1-24. Again God appeared to him, promised that his seed should be like the stars for number, and foretold their oppression in Egypt 400 years, and their return to possess the promised land, Genesis 15:1-21. But the promise of a son being yet unfulfilled, Sarai gave him Hagar her maid for a secondary wife, of whom Ishmael was born, Genesis 16:1-16. After thirteen years, God again appeared to him, and assured him that the heir of the promise should yet be born of his wife, whose name was then changed to Sarah. He established also the covenant of circumcision, Genesis 17:1-27. Here, too, occurred the visit of the three angels, and the memorable intercession with the Angel-Jehovah for the inhabitants of Sodom, Genesis 18:1-33. After this, Abraham journeyed south to Gerah, where he again called Sarah his sister. In this region Isaac was born; and soon after, Hagar and Ishmael were driven out to seek a new home, Genesis 21:1-34. About twenty-five years after, God put to trial the faith of Abraham, by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac, his son and the heir of the promise, upon Mount Moriah, Genesis 22:1-24. Twelve years after, Sarah died, and the cave of Machpelag was bought for a burial- place, Genesis 23:1-20. Abraham sent his steward, and obtained a wife for Isaac from his pious kindred in Mesopotamia, Genesis 24:1-67. He himself also married Keturah, and had six sons, each one the founder of a distinct people in Arabia. At the age of 175, full of years and honors, he died, and was buried by his sons in the same tomb with Sarah, Genesis 25:1-34.
The character of Abraham is one of the most remarkable in Scripture. He was a genuine oriental patriarch, a prince in the land; his property was large, his retinue very numerous, and he commanded the respect of the neighboring people: and yet he was truly a stranger and a pilgrim, the only land he possessed being the burial-place he had purchased. Distinguished by his integrity, generosity, and hospitality, he was most of all remarkable for his simple and unwavering faith, a faith that obeyed without hesitation or delay, and recoiled not from the most fearful trial ever imposed upon man, so that he is justly styled "the father of the faithful," that is, of believers. No name in history is venerated by so large a portion of the human race, Mohammedans as well as Jews and Christians. As the ancestor of Christ, in whom all the nations are blessed, and as the father of all believers, the covenant is abundantly fulfilled to him: his seed are as the stars of heaven and with them he shall inherit the heavenly Canaan.
These dictionary topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859. Public Domain, copy freely.
Rand, W. W. "Entry for 'ABRAHAM'". "American Tract Society Bible Dictionary".