Abraham The Migrant

Henry Karlson

Abraham, the great patriarch and prophet, was called by God to live the life of a migrant:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will 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 him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (Gen. 12:1-3 RSV).

Abraham was told that through him a great nation would arise. But before then, he would be a man on the move. Like many migrants, he would be blessed by some, and cursed by others. He would move from place to place, often with limited or no welcome. Sometimes, he would have to hide his identity, as well as that of his wife, Sarah, such as when he went into Egypt:

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful to behold; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, `This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account” (Gen. 12:10-13 RSV).

Christians, Jews, and Muslims all look to Abraham as an exemplar of the faith. God had called him with a special mission.

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