This video is part of a series of 12 animated maps.

View series: The Bible and History

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Geographical map for the Saga of Abraham

This map is part of a series of 12 animated maps showing the history of The Bible and History.

The Book of Genesis opens with the story of the creation of the world and of humanity from Adam to Noah and the Tower of Babel. It then introduces Abraham, the Patriarch from whom the people of Israel are said to be descended. [Gen.11]

Abraham is presented as having come originally from the city of Ur in Chaldea [Gen.11.31]. He left Southern Mesopotamia with his father, brother and the rest of his family and settled first in Haran, a town which lay on a tributary to the Euphrates to the north of today’s Syria.

According to Genesis [12.1], God came to Abraham and ordered him to leave Haran, his country and ‘his father’s house’ and go into the country that God would show him, which was none other than the country of Canaan. It was here that Abraham received the double promise that he would have many descendants and that the land of Canaan would be passed down to them. [Gen.12.7].

Nevertheless, as soon as Abraham arrived in the town of Sichem in Canaan, there was a famine which forced him to go to Egypt where the Nile’s annual tides guaranteed good harvests. This story was repeated at the end of the Book of Genesis when Abraham’s grandson Jacob went to Egypt with all his tribe.

Sent back to Canaan with many gifts by the Pharaoh, Abraham settled first near Bethel, while his nephew Lot chose to live in the Jordan Valley, near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction of which is described in Genesis sometime later.

But Abraham finally established his home in Hebron and purchased a terrain with a grotto which was turned into a sepulchre for his wife. He himself was later buried in this same cave.

This tale established the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims. 

Genesis chapter 14 also mentions a meeting between Abraham and Melchisedek, king of Salem, which was probably in Jerusalem.

Later traditions claim that Jerusalem was the scene of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac on the site where were constructed the Temple and later, at the beginning of the Muslim era, the Dome of the Rock.

According to the Bible’s chronology, Abraham lived in the 18th century BCE. Apart from the Bible, there is no other source describing his actual existence but that does not diminish his importance as a reference figure for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as a Patriarch, a model for faith and the friend of God.