Patriarchs (Bible)

Last updated
Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, imagined here in a Bible illustration from 1897. Foster Bible Pictures 0032-1.jpg
Abraham, Sarah and Hagar , imagined here in a Bible illustration from 1897.
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
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Eugene Delacroix Lutte de Jacob avec l'Ange.jpg
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Eugène Delacroix

The patriarchs (Hebrew : אבותAvot or Abot, singular Hebrew : אב Ab or Aramaic: אבא Abba) 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.

Contents

Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold that the patriarchs, along with their primary wives, known as the matriarchs (Sarah, Rebekah and Leah) are entombed at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site held holy by the three religions. Rachel, Jacob's other wife, is said to be buried separately at what is known as Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem, at the site where she is believed to have died in childbirth.

More widely, the term patriarchs can be used to refer to the twenty male ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham. The first ten of these are called the antediluvian patriarchs, because they came before the Flood.

Definition

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. They play significant roles in Hebrew scripture during and following their lifetimes. They are used as a significant marker by God in revelations [1] and promises, [2] and continue to play important roles in the Abrahamic faiths. Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold that the patriarchs, along with their primary wives, known as the matriarchsSarah (wife of Abraham), Rebekah (wife of Isaac) and Leah (one of the wives of Jacob) – are entombed at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, a site held holy by the three religions. Rachel is said to be buried separately at what is known as Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem, at the site where she is believed to have died in childbirth. [3]

More widely, the term patriarchs can be used to refer to the twenty male ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham. The first ten of these are called the antediluvian patriarchs, because they came before the Flood.{cn}

Lifespans

The lifetimes given for the patriarchs in the Masoretic Text of the Book of Genesis are: Adam 930 years, Seth 912, Enos 905, Kenan 910, Mahalalel 895, Jared 962, Enoch 365 (did not die, but was taken away by God), Methuselah 969, Lamech 777, Noah 950. [4] The lifespans given have surprising chronological implications, as the following quotation shows.

The long lives ascribed to the patriarchs cause remarkable synchronisms and duplications. Adam lived to see the birth of Lamech, the ninth member of the genealogy; Seth lived to see the translation of Enoch and died shortly before the birth of Noah. Noah outlived Abram's grandfather, Nahor, and died in Abram's sixtieth year. Shem, Noah's son, even outlived Abram. He was still alive when Esau and Jacob were born!" [5]

AbrahamTerahNahorSerugRehuPelegEberShelahKenanArpachshadShemNoahLamech (father of Noah)MethuselahEnochJared (biblical figure)MahalalelKenanEnos (biblical figure)SethAdamPatriarchs (Bible)

Explanation of color-codes:

Matriarchs

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

The Matriarchs, also known as "the four mothers" (ארבע האמהות):[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Abraham Biblical patriarch

Abraham is the common patriarch of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and some other religions. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenant of the pieces, the special relationship between the Hebrews and God; in Christianity, he is the prototype of all believers, Jewish or Gentile; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad.

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.

Isaac Biblical character

Isaac is one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites and is an important figure in the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He was the son of Abraham and Sarah, the father of Jacob, and the grandfather of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jacob Regarded as a Patriarch of the Israelites, later given the name Israel

Jacob, later given the name Israel, is regarded as a Patriarch of the Israelites and so is an important figure in Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jacob first appears in the Book of Genesis, the son of Isaac and Rebecca, the grandson of Abraham, Sarah and Bethuel, the nephew of Ishmael. He was the second-born of Isaac's children, the elder being his fraternal twin brother Esau. However, by deceiving Isaac when he was old and blind, Jacob was able to usurp the blessing that belonged to Esau as the firstborn son, and become the leader of their family. Following a severe drought in his homeland Canaan, Jacob and his descendants, with the help of his son Joseph, who had since become a confidante of Pharaoh, moved to Egypt, where he died, aged 147 years, and was buried in the Cave of Machpela.

Methuselah the longest lived of all figures mentioned in the Bible

Methuselah was a biblical patriarch and a figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Said to have died at the age of 969, he lived the longest of all figures mentioned in the Bible. According to the Book of Genesis, Methuselah was the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, and the grandfather of Noah. Elsewhere in the Bible, Methuselah is mentioned in genealogies in 1st Chronicles and the Gospel of Luke.

Cave of the Patriarchs series of caves located in the city of Hebron, Israel

The Cave of the Patriarchs or Tomb of the Patriarchs, known to Jews as the Cave of Machpelah and to Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham, is a series of caves located in the heart of the old city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. According to the Abrahamic religions, the cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham as a burial plot.

Sarah Biblical character

Sarah is a Biblical matriarch and prophetess, a major figure in Abrahamic religions. While some discrepancies exist in how she is portrayed by the different faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all depict her character similarly, as that of a pious woman, renowned for her hospitality and beauty, the wife of Abraham, and the mother of Isaac.

Leah Biblical matriarch

Leah is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Laban. She and her younger sister Rachel became the two concurrent wives of Hebrew patriarch Jacob. She had six sons, whose descendants became some of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. She also had a daughter, Dinah.

In the Book of Genesis, Zilpah was Leah's handmaid, presumed slave, whom Leah gave to Jacob "to wife" to bear him children. Zilpah gave birth to two sons, whom Leah claimed as her own and named Gad and Asher.

Mahalalel or Mahalaleel was a patriarch named in the Hebrew Bible. The King James Version spells his name Mahalaleel in the Old Testament and Maleleel in the New Testament.

Laban (Bible) Biblical figure

Laban is a figure in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. He was the brother of Rebekah, who married Isaac and bore Jacob. Laban welcomed his nephew as a young man, and set him the stipulation of seven years' labour before he permitted him to marry his daughter Rachel. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying his elder daughter Leah instead. Jacob then took both women as wives.

Genealogies of Genesis

The genealogies of Genesis provide the framework around which the Book of Genesis is structured. Beginning with Adam, genealogical material in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 22, 25, 29-30, 35-36, and 46 move the narrative forward from the creation to the beginnings of Israel's existence as a people.

Lamech (descendant of Cain) Biblical figure, descendant of Cain

Lamech is a person in Cain's genealogy in the fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis. He is a sixth-generation descendant of Cain ; his father was named Methushael, and he was responsible for the "Song of the Sword". He is also noted as the first polygamist mentioned in the Bible, taking two wives, Adah and Zillah (Tselah).

There are three wife-sister narratives in Genesis, part of the Torah, all of which are strikingly similar. The narratives occur in Genesis 12, 20 and 26. At the core of each is the story of a Biblical Patriarch, who has come to be in the land of a powerful foreign overlord who misidentifies the Patriarch's wife as the Patriarch's sister, and consequently attempts to wed her himself. The overlord later finds out his error. Two of the three stories are similar in many other details, including the ruler's name, Abimelech.

The timeline of the Tanakh can be estimated using the ages given in Genesis and Jubilees. Starting with the creation of Adam and adding the information when his son was born, the age of his son, etc. this gives a timeline from Adam's creation to the death of Jacob 2255 years later. These timelines are used by some biblical scholars to estimate the age of the earth by counting back the number of years associated with each of the biblical patriarchs and adding the years together.

Abraham is known as the patriarch of the Israelite 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.

Rachel Biblical matriarch

Rachel was a Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban. Her older sister was Leah, Jacob's first wife. Her mother was Adinah. Her aunt Rebekah was Jacob's mother.

Lamech was a patriarch in the genealogies of Adam in the Book of Genesis. He is part of the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:36.

References

  1. Exodus 3:6
  2. Leviticus 26:42
  3. "Dark Mirrors of Heaven - Timeline of the Patriarchs". web.archive.org. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  4. Ages of the patriarchs in Genesis Archived 2008-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Von Rad, G. (trans Marks, J. H.) 1961 Genesis - a commentary Philadelphia: Westminster Press