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. Click here for more of Pop’s Art.
Related post ⇒ Read Part 1: Abraham, the key figure of the Bible; Father of religions? Not so much.
During the years and decades before Yahweh renamed them Abraham and Sarah, Abram and Sarai were building their relationship to God.
When Abram and Sarai were about to enter Egypt after famine had overwhelmed Canaan, they came up with a plan to keep Abram alive. “Say that you are my sister, not my wife, so that I don’t get killed for you to marry another.” (Genesis 12:13)
When the princes of Egypt saw Sarai’s beauty they took her to Pharaoh and Abram received much compensation. Yahweh afflicted Pharaoh’s entire household with severe plagues after Pharaoh took Sarai to be his wife. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Now, here is your wife, take her and go!” Pharaoh gave his men orders to send them away with all that they had. Abram and Sarai went up from Egypt with their nephew Lot, and all of their possessions. (Genesis 12:18)
Abram returned to the land of Canaan and again went place to place, looking over the land Yahweh promised to give to his descendants. He went to where Yahweh had spoken to him and where he had built an altar and once again called upon God’s name. Lot was moving about with Abram and also had flocks and herds and tents. The land could not support both groups while they stayed together; quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s.
Abram gave Lot a choice: “The whole land is before you, let us part company. Choose which way you will go and I will go the other.” (Genesis 13:9) Lot chose the well-watered plain of the Jordan valley and moved his tents as far as Sodom.
God then told Abram to look in every direction to see the land that He would give to him and his descendants, forever. “I will give you descendants too numerous to count, go and walk through the land I am giving to you.” (Genesis 13:15) So Abram moved his tents to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron where he built another altar to Yahweh.
Sometime later there was a great battle, four kings against five, and the kingdoms that included Sodom and Gomorrah were routed by the four kings. They seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went away. Lot was carried away and all his possessions also as he was then living in Sodom.
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive he went in pursuit with 318 trained men born in his household. He divided his forces and attacked at night and routed the four kings and recovered all that was taken. Abram brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
As soon as Abram returned the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the king’s valley. Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High and he blessed Abram saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of all that was brought back.
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” But Abram said, “I have raised my hand to God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing from you, not even a thread or a thong from a sandal…” (Genesis 14)
Abram and Sarai were picked by God to have a son even though Saria was barren. In their old age and with relatively little time left Yahweh gave them laughter and more reason to live through the birth of Isaac. And that was the beginning of God blessing the whole earth through Isaac and his son Jacob and all of their descendants right down to Jesus the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the whole world.
In Part 3 of this series we’ll continue to look at how Abraham became the key figure of the Bible.
Previous posts from “Pop’s Art”
- In the beginning God created
- Adam and Eve: Forbidden fruit and the fall
- Cain and Abel: Good and evil come to life
- Noah Walked with God, built an ark and saved mankind and the animals
- Part 2: Noah in the grapes
- Abraham is called to sacrifice Isaac: Laughter becomes slaughter
- Jacob wrestles with God
- The Bible, Illustrated: Joseph thrown into a pit
- The story of the prophet Elijah, Jezebel and King Ahab
- Jonah swallowed by a whale
- Palm Sunday: Holy week and the symbolism of the palm branch
- The Story of Job: What do you Think?
- Part 1: Abraham, the key figure of the Bible; Father of religions? Not so much
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 email@example.com.