Isaac

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Isaac
Isaac a Lover of Peace.jpg
Isaac digging for the wells, imagined in a Bible illustration (c. 1900)
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Isaac [lower-alpha 1] is one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites, according to the biblical Book of Genesis. In the biblical narrative, he was the son of Abraham and Sarah, the father of Jacob, and grandfather of twelve tribes of Israel; his name means "he will laugh", reflecting when both Abraham and Sarah laughed in disbelief when told by God that they would have a child. [1] [2] He is the only patriarch whose name was not changed, and the only one who did not move out of Canaan. [2] According to the narrative, he died when he was 180 years old, the longest-lived of the three. [2]

Patriarchs (Bible) the Biblical figures Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaacs son Jacob, or the ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham

The patriarchs of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. These three figures are referred to collectively as the patriarchs, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal age.

Israelites Confederation of Iron Age Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan

The Israelites were a confederation of Iron Age Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods. According to the religious narrative of the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites' origin is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham and his wife Sarah, through their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, and their son Jacob who was later called Israel, whence they derive their name, with his wives Leah and Rachel and the handmaids Zilpa and Bilhah.

Book of Genesis first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament

The Book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament, is Judaism's account of the creation of the world and the origins of the Jewish people. It is divisible into two parts, the Primeval history and the Ancestral history. The primeval history sets out the author's concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world which is good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God. The Ancestral History tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people. At God's command Noah's descendant Abraham journeys from his home into the God-given land of Canaan, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind to a special relationship with one people alone.

Contents

The story of Isaac is important in the Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Many modern scholars doubt the existence of figures from Genesis, including Isaac. [3]

Isaac (Arabic: إسحاق‎ or إسحٰق Isḥāq) is recognized as a patriarch, prophet and messenger of God in Islam.

Etymology

The anglicized name Isaac is a transliteration of the Hebrew term Yiṣḥāq (יִצְחָק) which literally means "He laughs/will laugh." Ugaritic texts dating from the 13th century BCE refer to the benevolent smile of the Canaanite deity El. [4] Genesis, however, ascribes the laughter to Isaac's parents, Abraham and Sarah, rather than El. According to the biblical narrative, Abraham fell on his face and laughed when God (Hebrew, Elohim ) imparted the news of their son's eventual birth. He laughed because Sarah was past the age of childbearing; both she and Abraham were advanced in age. Later, when Sarah overheard three messengers of the Lord renew the promise, she laughed inwardly for the same reason. Sarah denied laughing when God questioned Abraham about it. [5] [6] [7]

Linguistic anglicisation is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases in order to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understand in English. The term commonly refers to the respelling of foreign words, often to a more drastic degree than that implied in, for example, romanisation. One instance is the word "dandelion", modified from the French dent-de-lion. The term can also refer to phonological adaptation without spelling change: spaghetti, for example, is accepted in English with Italian spelling, but anglicised phonetically.

El (deity) Northwest Semitic word meaning "god" or "deity", or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major ancient Near Eastern deities

ʼĒl is a Northwest Semitic word meaning "god" or "deity", or referring to any one of multiple major ancient Near Eastern deities. A rarer form, ʼila, represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral ʼ‑l, meaning "god".

Elohim Hebrew divine name used in the Tanakh, morphologically plural (with -im suffix); sometimes treated as singular refer to the One God, but at other times treated as plural to refer to other deities or spirits

Elohim is a word in the Hebrew Bible, which sometimes means deities in the plural, and elsewhere refers to a single deity, particularly the Jewish God.

In Amos, Isaac is spelled not with a צ but with a ש - Amos 7:9 ישחק.

Genesis narrative

Birth

It was prophesied to the patriarch Abraham that he would have a son and that his name should be Isaac. When Abraham became one hundred years old, this son was born to him by his first wife Sarah. [8] Though this was Abraham's second son [9] it was Sarah's first and only child.

On the eighth day from his birth, Isaac was circumcised, as was necessary for all males of Abraham's household, in order to be in compliance with Yahweh's covenant. [10]

Religious circumcision generally occurs shortly after birth, during childhood or around puberty as part of a rite of passage. Circumcision is most prevalent in the religions of Judaism, Islam, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church.

Yahweh God of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah

Yahweh was the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. His exact origins are disputed, although they reach back to the early Iron Age and even the Late Bronze: his name may have begun as an epithet of El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, but the earliest plausible mentions of Yahweh are in Egyptian texts that refer to a similar-sounding place name associated with the Shasu nomads of the southern Transjordan. Some scholars believe that Yahweh was originally thought to be one of the seventy sons of El, who later killed his siblings and displaced his father El at the head of the Israelite pantheon.

After Isaac had been weaned, Sarah saw Ishmael mocking, and urged her husband to cast out Hagar the bondservant and her son, so that Isaac would be Abraham's sole heir. Abraham was hesitant, but at God's order he listened to his wife's request. [11]

Ishmael son of Abraham

Ishmael, a figure in the Tanakh and the Quran, was Abraham's first son according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born to Abraham and Sarah's handmaiden Hagar (Hājar). According to the Genesis account, he died at the age of 137.

Hagar biblical character

Hagar is a biblical person in the Book of Genesis. She was an Egyptian slave/handmaid of Sarai (Sarah), who gave her to Abraham to bear a child. The product of the union was Abraham's firstborn, Ishmael, the progenitor of the Ishmaelites. Various commentators have connected her to the Hagrites, perhaps as their eponymous ancestor.

Binding

The Akedah, mosaic on the floor of Beit Alfa Synagogue Beit alfa02.jpg
The Akedah, mosaic on the floor of Beit Alfa Synagogue

At some point in Isaac's youth, his father Abraham took him to Mount Moriah. At God's command, Abraham was to build a sacrificial altar and sacrifice his son Isaac upon it. After he had bound his son to the altar and drawn his knife to kill him, at the very last moment an angel of God prevented Abraham from proceeding. Rather, he was directed to sacrifice instead a nearby ram that was stuck in thickets.

The birth of Esau and Jacob, as painted by Benjamin West Esau and Jacob Presented to Isaac.jpg
The birth of Esau and Jacob, as painted by Benjamin West

Family life

Before Isaac was 40 (Gen 25:20) Abraham sent Eliezer, his steward, into Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac, from his nephew Bethuel's family. Eliezer chose the Aramean Rebekah for Isaac. After many years of marriage to Isaac, Rebekah had still not given birth to a child and was believed to be barren. Isaac prayed for her and she conceived. Rebekah gave birth to twin boys, Esau and Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when his two sons were born. [12] Isaac favored Esau, and Rebekah favored Jacob. [13]

The narratives about Isaac do not mention him having concubines. [14]

Migration

Isaac moved to Beer-lahai-roi after his father died. [15] When the land experienced famine, he removed to the Philistine land of Gerar where his father once lived. This land was still under the control of King Abimelech as it was in the days of Abraham. Like his father, Isaac also deceived Abimelech about his wife and also got into the well business. He had gone back to all of the wells that his father dug and saw that they were all stopped up with earth. The Philistines did this after Abraham died. So, Isaac unearthed them and began to dig for more wells all the way to Beersheba, where he made a pact with Abimelech, just like in the day of his father. [16]

Isaac blessing his son, as painted by Giotto di Bondone Giotto di Bondone 080.jpg
Isaac blessing his son, as painted by Giotto di Bondone

Birthright

Isaac grew old and became blind. He called his son Esau and directed him to procure some venison for him, in order to receive Isaac's blessing. While Esau was hunting, Jacob, after listening to his mother's advice, deceived his blind father by misrepresenting himself as Esau and thereby obtained his father's blessing, such that Jacob became Isaac's primary heir and Esau was left in an inferior position. According to Genesis 25:29–34, Esau had previously sold his birthright to Jacob for "bread and stew of lentils". Thereafter, Isaac sent Jacob into Mesopotamia to take a wife of his mother's brother's house. After 20 years working for his uncle Laban, Jacob returned home. He reconciled with his twin brother Esau, then he and Esau buried their father, Isaac, in Hebron after he died at the age of 180. [17] [18]

Family tree

Terah
Sarah [19] Abraham Hagar Haran
Nahor
Ishmael Milcah Lot Iscah
Ishmaelites 7 sons [20] Bethuel 1st daughter2nd daughter
Isaac Rebecca Laban Moabites Ammonites
Esau Jacob Rachel
Bilhah
Edomites Zilpah
Leah
1. Reuben
2. Simeon
3. Levi
4. Judah
9. Issachar
10. Zebulun
Dinah  (daughter)
7. Gad
8. Asher
5. Dan
6. Naphtali
11. Joseph
12. Benjamin

Burial site

According to local tradition, the graves of Isaac and Rebekah, along with the graves of Abraham and Sarah and Jacob and Leah, are in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Jewish views

In rabbinical tradition, the age of Isaac at the time of binding is taken to be 37, which contrasts with common portrayals of Isaac as a child. [21] The rabbis also thought that the reason for the death of Sarah was the news of the intended sacrifice of Isaac. [21] The sacrifice of Isaac is cited in appeals for the mercy of God in later Jewish traditions. [22] The post-biblical Jewish interpretations often elaborate the role of Isaac beyond the biblical description and primarily focus on Abraham's intended sacrifice of Isaac, called the aqedah ("binding"). [4] According to a version of these interpretations, Isaac died in the sacrifice and was revived. [4] According to many accounts of Aggadah, unlike the Bible, it is Satan who is testing Isaac as an agent of God. [23] Isaac's willingness to follow God's command at the cost of his death has been a model for many Jews who preferred martyrdom to violation of the Jewish law. [21]

According to the Jewish tradition, Isaac instituted the afternoon prayer. This tradition is based on Genesis chapter 24, verse 63 [24] ("Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide"). [21]

Isaac was the only patriarch who stayed in Canaan during his whole life and though once he tried to leave, God told him not to do so. [25] Rabbinic tradition gave the explanation that Isaac was almost sacrificed and anything dedicated as a sacrifice may not leave the Land of Israel. [21] Isaac was the oldest of the biblical patriarchs at the time of his death, and the only patriarch whose name was not changed. [4] [26]

Rabbinic literature also linked Isaac's blindness in old age, as stated in the Bible, to the sacrificial binding: Isaac's eyes went blind because the tears of angels present at the time of his sacrifice fell on Isaac's eyes. [23]

Christian views

Isaac embraces his father Abraham after the Binding of Isaac, early 1900s Bible illustration AbrahamIsaac.jpg
Isaac embraces his father Abraham after the Binding of Isaac, early 1900s Bible illustration

The early Christian church continued and developed the New Testament theme of Isaac as a type of Christ and the Church being both "the son of the promise" and the "father of the faithful". Tertullian draws a parallel between Isaac's bearing the wood for the sacrificial fire with Christ's carrying his cross. [27] and there was a general agreement that, while all the sacrifices of the Old Law were anticipations of that on Calvary, the sacrifice of Isaac was so "in a pre-eminent way". [28]

The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church consider Isaac as a saint along with other biblical patriarchs. [29] Along with those of other patriarchs and the Old Testament Righteous, his feast day is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine rite of the Catholic Church on the Second Sunday before Christmas (December 11–17), under the title the Sunday of the Forefathers. [30] [31]

New Testament

The New Testament states Isaac was "offered up" by his father Abraham, and that Isaac blessed his sons. [26] Paul contrasted Isaac, symbolizing Christian liberty, with the rejected older son Ishmael, symbolizing slavery; [4] [32] Hagar is associated with the Sinai covenant, while Sarah is associated with the covenant of grace, into which her son Isaac enters. The Epistle of James chapter 2, verses 21–24, [33] states that the sacrifice of Isaac shows that justification (in the Johannine sense) requires both faith and works. [34]

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Abraham's willingness to follow God's command to sacrifice Isaac is used as an example of faith as is Isaac's action in blessing Jacob and Esau with reference to the future promised by God to Abraham [35] In verse 19, the author views the release of Isaac from sacrifice as analogous to the resurrection of Jesus, the idea of the sacrifice of Isaac being a prefigure of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. [36]

Islamic views

Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron Grave Ishaq.JPG
Cave of the Patriarchs , Hebron

Islam considers Isaac a prophet of Islam, and describes him as the father of the Israelites and a righteous servant of God.

Isaac, along with Ishmael, is highly important for Muslims for continuing to preach the message of monotheism after his father Abraham. Among Isaac's children was the follow-up Israelite patriarch Jacob, who too is venerated an Islamic prophet.

Isaac is mentioned fifteen times by name in the Quran, often with his father and his son, Jacob. [37] The Quran states that Abraham received "good tidings of Isaac, a prophet, of the righteous", and that God blessed them both (37: 112). In a fuller description, when angels came to Abraham to tell him of the future punishment to be imposed on Sodom and Gomorrah, his wife, Sarah, "laughed, and We gave her good tidings of Isaac, and after Isaac of (a grandson) Jacob" (11: 71–74); and it is further explained that this event will take place despite Abraham and Sarah's old age. Several verses speak of Isaac as a "gift" to Abraham (6: 84; 14: 49–50), and 24: 26–27 adds that God made "prophethood and the Book to be among his offspring", which has been interpreted to refer to Abraham's two prophetic sons, his prophetic grandson Jacob, and his prophetic great-grandson Joseph. In the Qur'an, it later narrates that Abraham also praised God for giving him Ishmael and Isaac in his old age (14: 39–41).

Elsewhere in the Quran, Isaac is mentioned in lists: Joseph follows the religion of his forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (12: 38) and speaks of God's favor to them (12: 6); Jacob's sons all testify their faith and promise to worship the God that their forefathers, "Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac", worshiped (2: 127); and the Qur'an commands Muslims to believe in the revelations that were given to "Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Patriarchs" (2: 136; 3: 84). In the Quran's narrative of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son (37: 102), the name of the son is not mentioned and debate has continued over the son's identity, though many feel that the identity is the least important element in a story which is given to show the courage that one develops through faith. [38]

Quran

The Quran mentions Isaac as a prophet and a righteous man of God. Isaac and Jacob are mentioned as being bestowed upon Abraham as gifts of God, who then worshipped God only and were righteous leaders in the way of God:

And We bestowed on him Isaac and, as an additional gift, (a grandson), Jacob, and We made righteous men of every one (of them).
And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our Command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practise regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only).

Quran, sura 21 (Al-Anbiya), ayah 72–73 [39]

And WE gave him the glad tidings of Isaac, a Prophet, and one of the righteous.

Quran, sura 37 (As-Saaffat), ayah 112 [40]

Academic

Some scholars have described Isaac as "a legendary figure" or "as a figure representing tribal history, or "as a seminomadic leader." [41] The stories of Isaac, like other patriarchal stories of Genesis, are generally believed to have "their origin in folk memories and oral traditions of the early Hebrew pastoralist experience." [42] The Cambridge Companion to the Bible makes the following comment on the biblical stories of the patriarchs:

Yet for all that these stories maintain a distance between their world and that of their time of literary growth and composition, they reflect the political realities of the later periods. Many of the narratives deal with the relationship between the ancestors and peoples who were part of Israel's political world at the time the stories began to be written down (eighth century B.C.E.). Lot is the ancestor of the Transjordanian peoples of Ammon and Moab, and Ishmael personifies the nomadic peoples known to have inhabited north Arabia, although located in the Old Testament in the Negev. Esau personifies Edom (36:1), and Laban represents the Aramean states to Israel's north. A persistent theme is that of difference between the ancestors and the indigenous Canaanites… In fact, the theme of the differences between Judah and Israel, as personified by the ancestors, and the neighboring peoples of the time of the monarchy is pressed effectively into theological service to articulate the choosing by God of Judah and Israel to bring blessing to all peoples." [43]

According to Martin Noth, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible, the narratives of Isaac date back to an older cultural stage than that of the West-Jordanian Jacob. [41] At that era, the Israelite tribes were not yet sedentary. In the course of looking for grazing areas, they had come in contact in southern Philistia with the inhabitants of the settled countryside. [41] The biblical historian A. Jopsen believes in the connection between the Isaac traditions and the north, and in support of this theory adduces Amos 7:9 ("the high places of Isaac"). [41]

Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth hold that, "The figure of Isaac was enhanced when the theme of promise, previously bound to the cults of the 'God the Fathers' was incorporated into the Israelite creed during the southern-Palestinian stage of the growth of the Pentateuch tradition." [41] According to Martin Noth, at the Southern Palestinian stage of the growth of the Pentateuch tradition, Isaac became established as one of the biblical patriarchs, but his traditions were receded in the favor of Abraham. [41]

In art

The earliest Christian portrayal of Isaac is found in the Roman catacomb frescoes. [44] Excluding the fragments, Alison Moore Smith classifies these artistic works in three categories:

Abraham leads Isaac towards the altar; or Isaac approaches with the bundle of sticks, Abraham having preceded him to the place of offering .... Abraham is upon a pedestal and Isaac stands near at hand, both figures in orant attitude .... Abraham is shown about to sacrifice Isaac while the latter stands or kneels on the ground beside the altar. Sometimes Abraham grasps Isaac by the hair. Occasionally the ram is added to the scene and in the later paintings the Hand of God emerges from above. [44]

See also

Notes

  1. /ˈzək/ ; Hebrew: יִצְחָק, Modern: Yiṣḥáq, Tiberian: Yiṣḥāq; Greek: Ἰσαάκ, Isaák; Arabic: إسحٰق/إسحاق, Isḥāq; Amharic: ይስሐቅ

Citations

  1. Genesis 17:15–19 18:10–15
  2. 1 2 3 deClaise-Walford 2000, p. 647.
  3. Craig A. Evans; Joel N. Lohr; David L. Petersen (20 March 2012). The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation. BRILL. p. 64. ISBN   978-90-04-22653-1.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Encyclopedia of Religion, Isaac.
  5. Genesis 17:15–19 18:10–15
  6. Singer, Isidore; Broydé, Isaac (1901–1906). "Isaac". In Singer, Isidore; Adler, Cyrus; et al. (eds.). Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  7. Hirsch, Emil G.; Bacher, Wilhelm; Lauterbach, Jacob Zallel; Jacobs, Joseph; Montgomery, Mary W. (1901–1906). "Sarah (Sarai)". In Singer, Isidore; Adler, Cyrus; et al. (eds.). Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  8. Genesis 18:10–12
  9. Genesis 16:15
  10. Genesis 21:1–5
  11. Genesis 21:8–12
  12. Genesis 25:26
  13. Genesis 25:20–28
  14. Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 10, p. 34.
  15. Genesis 25:11
  16. Genesis 26
  17. Jewish Encyclopedia , Isaac.
  18. Genesis 35:28–29
  19. Genesis 20:12 : Sarah was the half–sister of Abraham.
  20. Genesis 22:21-22 : Uz, Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, and Jidlaph
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 The New Encyclopedia of Judaism, Isaac.
  22. Encyclopædia Britannica , Isaac.
  23. 1 2 Brock, Sebastian P., Brill's New Pauly, Isaac.
  24. Genesis 24:63
  25. Genesis 26:2
  26. 1 2 Easton, M. G., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed., Isaac.
  27. Cross and Livingstone, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1974, art Isaac
  28. Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines, A & C Black, 1965. p. 72
  29. The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church's liturgical traditions. – Catechism of the Catholic Church 61
  30. "Sunday of the Forefathers - OrthodoxWiki".
  31. Liturgy > Liturgical year >The Christmas Fast – Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
  32. Galatians 4:21–31
  33. James 2:21–24
  34. Encyclopedia of Christianity, Bowden, John, ed., Isaac.
  35. Hebrews 11:17–20
  36. see F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews Marshall. Morgan and Scott, 1964 pp. 308–13 for all this paragraph.
  37. Watt, W. Montgomery. "Isaac". Encyclopedia of Islam. Brill.
  38. Glasse, C. (1991). "Isaac". Concise Encyclopedia of Islam. HarperSanFrancisco. p. 472. ISBN   9780060631260.
  39. Quran   21:72
  40. Quran   37:112
  41. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fahlbusch, Erwin; Lochman, Jan Milic; Bromiley, Geoffrey William; Barrett, David B.; Mbiti, John (2005). "Isaac". Encyclopedia of Christianity. Eerdmans. p. 744. ISBN   9780802824165.
  42. "Isaac". Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). Columbia University Press. 1935. pp. 3, 200.
  43. Lumby, Joseph Rawson (1893). Chilton, Bruce; Kee, Howard Clark; Meyers, Eric M.; Rogerson, John; Levine, Amy-Jill; Saldarini, Anthony J. (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to the Bible: Containing the Structure, Growth and ... Cambridge University Press. p. 59. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139167376. ISBN   9781139167376.
  44. 1 2 Smith, Alison Moore (1922). "The Iconography of the Sacrifice of Isaac in Early Christian Art". American Journal of Archaeology. 26 (2): 159–73. doi:10.2307/497708. JSTOR   497708.

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Israiliyyat Sources from the Jews and the Christians were introduced into Islam

In hadith studies, Isra'iliyyat are narratives assumed to be of foreign import. Although indicating such stories develop from Jewish sources, narratives designated as Isra'iliyyat might also derive from other religions such as Christianity or Zoroastrianism. These narratives appear frequently in Qur'anic commentaries, Sufi narratives and history compilations. They are used to offer more detailed information regarding earlier prophets mentioned in the Bible and the Qur'an, stories about the ancient Israelites, and fables allegedly or actually taken from Jewish sources.

Biblical and Quranic narratives Comparison between the texts of the Bible and the Qoran

The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to more than fifty people and events also found in the Bible. While the stories told in each book are generally comparable, important differences sometimes emerge. The versions written in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament predate the Quran's versions. As such, Christians regard the Quran's versions as being derived directly or indirectly from the earlier materials. Muslims understand the Quran's versions to be witness accounts from an omnipotent God. As such, Muslims generally hold that the earlier versions are distorted through flawed processes of transmission and interpretation, and understand the Quran's versions to be more accurate to the actual events.

Abraham is known as the patriarch of the Jewish people through Isaac, the son born to him and Sarah in their old age and the patriarch of Arabs through his son Ishmael, born to Abraham and his wife’s servant Hagar.

There are many Biblical figures which the Qur'an names. Some, however, go unnamed in the Qur'an, but are referenced or referred to in the hadiths, tafsirs, literature or sira. Other figures are mentioned elsewhere in tradition and in the sunnah and sayings of the prophet Muhammad. Such figures which are not mentioned by name in the Qur'an, are included below.

Ishmael in Islam Abrahams first son, who was to be offered as a sacrifice; later, an ancestor to Muhammad

Ishmael is the figure known in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as Abraham's (Ibrahim) son, born to Hagar (Hajar). In Islam, Ishmael is regarded as a prophet (nabi) and an ancestor to Muhammad. He also became associated with Mecca and the construction of the Kaaba. Stories of Ishmael are not only found in Jewish and Christian texts, such as the Bible and rabbinic Midrash, but also Islamic sources. These sources include the Quran, Quranic commentary (tafsir), hadith, historiographic collections like that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, and Isra'iliyat.

Rebecca Biblical character

Rebecca appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. According to biblical tradition, Rebecca was the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram, also called Aram-Naharaim, and sister of Laban the Aramean. She was the grand daughter of Milcah and Nahor. Rebecca and Isaac were one of the four couples that some believe are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the other three being Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Leah.

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