The Early Life of Abraham Part 1

The book of Jasher continues to be fascinating to me because it gives so much insight into areas that the Bible remains silent on.  Again, the primary reason I’ve been comparing the book of Jasher with Genesis is because it is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18.  Today, I want to continue showing you what God has been revealing to me through this book.

Just before the tower of Babel was being built, Nimrod had conquered his enemies, was crowned king, and reigned over all the sons of Noah.  He rebelled against the Lord, made idols of wood and stone, bowed down to them, and taught everyone his wicked ways.  King Nimrod also set up rulers, judges, and princes over his subjects.  The prince of Nimrod’s army was Terah who became the father of Abram.

More curious than these are the circumstances surrounding Abram’s birth.   In Jasher 8: 9, Nimrod’s wise men and conjurors told Nimrod, “We heard that a son was born to Terah the son of Nahor, the prince of thy host, and we yesternight came to his house, and we ate and drank and rejoiced with him that night.  10 And when thy servants went out from the house of Terah, to go to our respective homes to abide there for the night, we lifted up our eyes to heaven, and we saw a great star coming from the east, and the same star ran with great speed, and swallowed up four great stars, from the four sides of the heavens.  11 And thy servants were astonished at the sight which we saw, and were greatly terrified, and we made our judgment upon the sight, and knew by our wisdom the proper interpretation thereof, that this thing applies to the child that is born to Terah, who will grow up and multiply greatly, and become powerful, and kill all the kings of the earth, and inherit all their lands, he and his seed forever.”  To make a long story short, these men recommended that Abram be killed.  Nimrod demanded that Terah give Abram to him in exchange for money so he could be put to death.  Terah deceived Nimrod by giving his concubine’s newborn baby to him instead and Nimrod dashed this child’s head to the ground.

If you are thinking in terms of thematic parallels, this should remind you of:

  • How Moses escaped death and how the Hebrew male babies died in his place.  In case you didn’t know, the Talmud teaches that astrologers warned Pharaoh a child would be born that would overthrow him.  It was really for this reason that Pharaoh responded by ordering male babies to be thrown in the Nile River.
  • How Jesus escaped death and how male children two years old and under were killed in His place after wise men from the east told King Herod about the star they had seen in the east and that they had come to worship the King of the Jews.

Shortly after this baby was killed, Terah quickly took his wife and Abram to a cave where they lived for 10 years while the king and his men thought Abram had been put to death.  During that time, Terah daily brought them sustenance yet continued to serve King Nimrod.  The story gets even more interesting when we find out that Abram left the cave and went to live with Noah and Shem when he was 10 years old and continued to live with them for 39 years while everyone else living around them including Abram’s father, Terah committed idolatry.

Around that time, the Lord scattered the people at the tower of Babel but King Nimrod remained in Shinar and his princes and subjects called him Amrafel.  This name reappears in the life of Abram and Lot at a later time so tuck that away in your memory banks.

Getting back to Abram, I find it wonderful that Noah and Shem helped to raise him.  God has always been active in peoples’ lives despite the wickedness around them.  Even though Terah lived an idolatrous life and served King Nimrod (Amrafel), God spared Abram’s life and placed him in a home where he could be nurtured in the ways of the Lord.  Praise God that Noah and Shem were still alive at that time and were willing to do this.  If my calculations are correct, Shem was about 395 years old when Abram was born and died when he was 600 years old whereas Noah was about 897 when Abram was born and died when he was 950 years old.

We don’t live as long as they did but it is clear to see that wickedness continues to grow around us daily.  How will we respond when God puts a child, teenager, or another adult in our path?  Will we teach that person the ways of the Lord like Noah and Shem did with Abram so they can become God’s instrument for the future and escape the lake of fire?  Will we teach them truth trusting that they have the potential to become someone as great as Abram?

Has someone done that for you?  Have you had a chance to say thank you?  Do you think you have become what God wants you to be yet?  Remember God’s probably not done with you because there was a lot that God still planned to do in Abram’s life when he was 49 years old.

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