Part 1: Abraham, the key figure of the Bible; Father of religions? Not so much.

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O P I N I O N

About this series: A narrative exploring the stories behind the paintings of late artist Herbert Mandel as explained in the context of the Biblical texts they’re derived from, by his son-in-law, Jim Robidoux.


“Abraham Greeting the Angels,” oil on canvas by Herbert Mandel

Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim Abraham as their founding father, a thought that would horrify Abraham. In this first installment of a series about Abraham, let’s go back to the beginning.

Genesis 11:27 chronicles Abram, the man Yahweh would later rename Abraham. There were 10 generations between Adam and Noah, the time when wickedness, selfishness and violence filled the earth and had totally corrupted God’s creation. After wiping it out God started over with 10 more generations between Noah and Abram.

A devoted son and family man, Abram looked after his nephew Lot when brother Nahor died. Abram was directed by his father Terah to leave the city of Ur and go with the family to the land of Canaan. They settled instead in the city of Haran and after Terah died, Yahweh once again said to Abram, “Go to the land of Canaan.”

“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and not those who don’t and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

“The Circumcision,” oil on canvas by Herbert Mandel

So Abram went as directed by God and Lot went with him.

Abram took Sarai, his wife, and Lot his brother’s son and all their possessions that they had gathered and the people that they had acquired in Haran. Sarai was barren and Abram had no hope of children as they set out to go to the land of Canaan.

When they arrived in Canaan, the Canaanites were still there. After Abram had passed through the land Yahweh appeared to him. God said to him, “To your offspring I will give this land.” There Abram built an altar to Yahweh. After leaving the spot where God spoke to him, he pitched his tent in the hill country and built another altar to Yahweh, and called upon His name. From there Abram journeyed on, even to Egypt after famine had set in…

Next: In Part 2 we’ll look at how Abraham and his family became the central figures of all that came before and after them in the Bible.



“An Angel Visits in a Dream,” oil on canvas, by Herbert Mandel

Jim Robidoux works in precision sheet metal, is father of four and husband of Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux. He enjoys smoking cigars, pondering life’s big questions, and roots for all his home teams, whether they’re from Philly or Boston. He looks forward to receiving fan mail at jrmetalman@comcas.net.

About this Author

jim-robidoux

Jim Robidoux

Click here for more posts in Pop’s Art: The Bible Illustrated.   Jim Robidoux works in precision sheet metal, is father of four and husband of Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux. He enjoys smoking cigars, pondering life’s big questions, and roots for all his home teams, whether they’re from Philly or Boston. He looks forward to receiving fan mail at jrmetalman@comcas.net.