What did Abraham fear in the Bible?

Abraham and Sarah

Abraham. What a man, what a life! With stories like the campfire. Abraham was born in Ur in Mesopotamia on the lower Euphrates. During the unrest that accompanied the collapse of the Babylonian Empire, moved near the present-day Syrian-Turkish border. His life is shaped by the request to move away from home to a still unknown country, to leave home and friends.

He breaks out of family and clan, gives them a bond that is vital for the people of the old days. He becomes homeless and defenseless. Crossed the country and the desert and flew from famine to Egypt. There he pretends to be his sister, his wife, who is very beautiful. He fears that the king will stretch it out for him and kill him in order to get him out of the way. In fact, Pharaoh takes Sarah into his house and gives Abraham abundant gifts: sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, male and female servants. But then he sees through the trick and chases him out of the country.

Abraham owns large herds of cattle, is quite wealthy. Something like this can change quickly when the forces of nature remove the breeding ground for the animals. Abraham later settled near Hebron, gained some power, and took part in the wars between the rulers of the regions on the Euphrates and the Dead Sea. Although he still has no heir - childlessness is a difficult lot in ancient times - he learns in a dream that centuries later all the land between Egypt and the Euphrates will belong to his descendants.

He keeps a maid as a concubine, which leads to conflicts. Hagar, Sara's personal slave, gives birth to a son to Abraham. Just like Sara, in later years, when this is actually no longer biologically possible. A wonder. But luck is deceptive. God compels Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, whom he loves very much. The barely comprehensible story is a parable for an almost superhuman test and for the fact that God can claim back what he gives, even the dearest thing a person has. But the unspeakable act is spared Abraham at the last moment. An angel instructs him to sacrifice a ram instead of his son whose horns are caught in a hedge. Finally Abraham returns to Hebron, where Sarah dies. The cave in which she rests later also becomes his burial place.

The stories of Abraham are testimony to a person who, with a mixture of courage, trust in God and willingness to take risks, remains open to change and seeks a new world. “God”, writes Patrick M. Arnold, “could not escape the vote of confidence the old man asked for and really gave him his blessing.” The sentence “I want to bless you and you should be a blessing” belongs to the winged words of the Bible.

Abraham and Sarah are one of the three parents, great role models, from whom Israel draws its story. No heroes or heroines or even saints, but people with all their strengths and weaknesses, ups and downs in their interpersonal relationships. But they stay together. They reach old age, a symbol of a fulfilled life and a sign of God's faithfulness.

Hans-Albrecht Plasterer
from: JS-Magazin - magazine of the Evangelical Church for young soldiers

more on the subject