Figures of Prominence in the Old Testament Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 3 - Abraham Abraham came along a few generations later and became the progenitor of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Abraham and his wife Sarai had no children until very late in life. Because she believed herself barren, Sarai told Abraham to lie with her handmaid Hagar. From this union was born Ishmael. Then Sarai was told by God that she would bear a son in her old age; that son was Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael were therefore put out of the tribe and sent away, but tradition says Mohammed was a descendent of Ishmael. Abraham was then told that he must sacrifice his son Isaac; he was to take him up the mountain and cut out his heart as a means of showing his devotion to God. Abraham was sick at having to follow this order, but he did as he was told. Only at the last minute was his hand stayed by an angel; he found a stray lamb caught in the bushes that supposedly had been provided by God as a substitute for the sacrifice. (A question down the centuries has been this: Would you want Abraham for your father?) Isaac grew to manhood, and we are told he married a woman named Rebecca and had twin sons: Esau and Jacob. Esau was the elder, but Jacob tricked his brother out of his birthright. one day when Esau had come in from the fields, Jacob had a mess of potage cooking for lunch; Esau asked for some of it, and Jacob said he’d trade it for Esau’s birthright; Esau agreed. Later, Jacob wanted to get the blessing of the first born from his father Isaac, who was getting quite old and had become nearly blind. Esau was very hairy, and Jacob was smooth and hairless. But he went to his nearly blind father wearing animal skins and got his blessing because the old man thought he was the elder son. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily