Abraham and Isaac

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The first two patriarchs of the Old Testament. According to the Book of Genesis, God made a covenant with Abraham, telling him to leave his own country and promising to give his family (the Hebrews) the land of Canaan. This was the Promised Land. God also promised to maintain the covenant with Abraham's son Isaac. After a time, God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham obediently placed Isaac on an altar and took a knife to kill him. Then an angel of the Lord appeared and told Abraham to spare his son, because Abraham had proved his faith.

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notes for Abraham and Isaac

Both Jews (see also Jews) and Arabs (see Arab-Israeli conflict) claim descent from Abraham: Jews through Isaac, Arabs through Abraham's other son, Ishmael. Abraham's devotion to God makes him a model of faith to Jews (see also Jews) and Christians (see also Christian) alike.

notes for Abraham and Isaac

“The bosom of Abraham” is a term used in the Gospel of Luke, and in poetry often refers to the peace of heaven.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.