Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ussher’s Annals: The Story of Abraham from Call to Death (1921-1821 BC)

     This essay is the third in an ongoing summary of Annals of the World (1658) by James Ussher. I wrote and share it with you so that we might both benefit from a careful reading of the historical and chronological data given to us in the Bible. It will help us to better understand the biblical point of view and to witness with greater clarity to Jesus in our day.

Ussher’s Third Age: The Call of Abraham to the Exodus (1921-1491 BC)
     1921 BC: Yhwh calls Abram to leave his old way of living and promises that he will bless Abram and the nations through Abram (Gen. 12:1-2, Acts 7:4). From the day that Abram, Sarai, and Lot leave Haran, Abram and his descendants spend a total of 430 years as strangers and pilgrims in foreign lands (Ex. 12:40-41, Gal. 3:7). They leave on 15 Abib (which, in 1921BC, was Wednesday, May 4). His descendants would leave Egypt on that same day 430 years later.
     Abram is 75 years old when he leaves Haran. He stops first at Shechem at the Oak of Morah (Gen. 12:4-6; cf. Gen. 35:4, Jos. 24:25-26, Jud 9:6). He moves on to Luz (later known as Bethel) (Gen. 28:19) and then continues  southward toward Egypt (Gen. 12:7-9) (Paragraph [P]72).

     A famine briefly forces Abram and Sarai to sojourn in Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) (P73).
     Back in Canaan, Lot separates from Abram and moves to Sodom (P74). Abram lives near Hebron in the Plain of Mamre (Gen. 13:4) (P74).
     1913 BC: Bera, king of Sodom, and other rulers allied with him rebel against the king of Elam (Gen. 14:4) (P75).
     1912 BC: Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and his allies attack the rebellious kings, defeat them, plunder Sodom and Gomorrah, and take many prisoners including Lot. When Abram hears of this, he leads 318 of his own servants, allies with others, and attacks Chedorlaomer’s combined forces at Dan. He defeats those forces, rescues all the prisoners including Lot, and recovers all the stolen goods. On his return, Abram is blessed by Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God (Gen. 14:1-24) (P76).
     Abram grieves because he has no son and heir. Yhwh promises him as many as the stars in the sky. Yhwh also warns him that his descendants will suffer persecution for 400 years until he brings them into the Promised Land (Gen. 15:1-21) (P77).
     1910 BC: Abram has a son by Hagar, his wife’s Egyptian servant, when he is 86 years old (Gen. 16:15-17, 17:24-25) (P78).
     1897 BC: When Abram is 99 years old, Yhwh makes a covenant with him to grant him a son by Sarai the following year. Abram, his son Ishmael (now 13), and all the other males in Abram’s household circumcise themselves as commanded by Yhwh (Gen. 17:21-26) (P81).
     Sodom, Gomorrah, and surrounding cities are destroyed by Yhwh (Gen. 19:1-29; cf. 2 Pet.
2:6-7; Rev. 19:20, 20:10, 21:8) (P82).
     Abraham and Sarah sojourn with the Philistines under Abimelech at Gerar (Gen. 20:1-18) (P84).
     1896 BC: Isaac is born to Abraham (100 years) and Sarah (90 years) (Gen. 17:7). At the same time, Ammon and Moab are born to Lot (Gen. 19:30-38) (P85).
     1891 BC: Isaac is weaned. Ishmael jests with, mocks (same word in Gen. 39:14) or persecutes (Gal. 4:29) his little half-brother Isaac. Ishmael and and his mother Hagar are sent away (Gen. 21:8, 12; Rom. 9:7-8; Gal. 4:29, Heb. 11:17-18).
     We are told that 430 years elapsed between the time Abraham left Haran and the Exodus (Ex. 12:35, 36, 41; Gal. 4:29). We also know that Abraham and his descendants will experience 400 years of persecution. That persecution starts now, when Abraham has been in Canaan for 30 years and Isaac is now 5 years old (Gen. 15:13-14, Acts 7:6, Gal. 4:29). Ishmael is 18 years old when he and his mother Hagar leave Abraham for the second and final time (P86).
     1871 BC: The sacrifice of Isaac (Gen. 22; cf. Heb. 11:17, 19) (P90).
     1859 BC: Sarah dies in Hebron at the age of 127. Abraham buys the cave in the field of Machpelah to bury Sarah in. It is his first possession in the land (Gen. 23: 1, 2, 19, 20). Abraham is father of the faithful (Rom. 4:11-12); Sarah, their mother (1 Pet. 3:6). Sarah: the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is told (P92).
     1856 BC: Aged 40, Isaac marries Rebekah (Gen. 24:67, 25:20) (P93).
     1846 BC: Death of Shem, the son of Noah, 500 years after the birth of Arphaxad (Gen. 11:11) (P96).
     1837 BC: After 19 years of being barren, Rebekah conceives twins (Gen. 25:21).
     1836 BC: Isaac is 60 years old when Rebekah gives birth to Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:22, Hos. 12:3) (P98).
     1821 BC: Death of Abraham, aged 175, 100 years after he left Haran. Jacob is 15 years old (Gen. 25:7, 10; cf. Heb. 11:9) (P101).

Copyright © 2017 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.