Patriarchs (Bible)

The patriarchs (Hebrew: אבותAvot or Abot, singular Hebrew: אבAb or Aramaic: אבא Abba) of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. These three figures are referred to collectively as the patriarchs, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal age. They play significant roles in Hebrew scripture during and following their lifetimes. They are used as a significant marker by God in revelations[1] and promises,[2] and continue to play important roles in the Abrahamic faiths.

More widely, the term patriarchs can be used to refer to the twenty male ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham. The first ten of these are called the antediluvian patriarchs, because they came before the Flood. Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold that the patriarchs, along with their primary wives, known as the matriarchsSarah (wife of Abraham), Rebekah (wife of Isaac) and Leah (one of the wives of Jacob) – are entombed at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, a site held holy by the three religions. Only Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife, is said to be buried separately at what is known as Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem, at the site where she is believed to have died in childbirth.[3]

Hortus Deliciarum, Der Schoß Abrahams
The bosom of Abraham - medieval illustration from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century)


Shortly after the death of Moses, Joshua drew attention to himself for his leadership. He was selected by Moses and was instructed to lead the Israelites to the promised land.[4] There were many obstacles that the people needed to overcome. Canaan was a city-state ruled by a powerful king and the people needed to journey across the river, making a difficult trek. Through much hard work and leadership, Joshua lead the people to success. The land that was conquered had to be divided among the people. Since he helped lead the Israelites to conquer Canaan, Joshua is still viewed as one of the Patriarchs of Israel.[4]


A covenant is an agreement made between God and His people. This agreement is an important factor when it comes to the Patriarchs because this it is what establishes a person as a Patriarch. The term covenant is first mentioned in Genesis 6:18 where God instructs Noah to build an ark in order to prepare for the great flood[5]. In this verse God says, “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.” This covenant is God’s promise to carry forth his relationship with humans to fulfill His goal of creation[5]. Therefore, in a way,  these words connect all covenants made throughout the Bible with the continuation of humanity through God’s contact with His followers.

There are many other covenants God makes with his followers throughout the Bible, the other major one being with Abraham. In this covenant God says, “ I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17: 7-8). He then goes on to say, “This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:10). Other important covenants in the Bible include: the Sinai and Mosaic covenants, the Davidic covenant, the New covenant, and others[5].

Wives and sons of Abraham

Abraham, also known as Ibrahim, is the main patriarch that connects the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) through his wives. In a previous covenant made between God and Abraham, God promised Abraham and his wife, Sarah, land and offspring. However, even after traveling to Canaan, the Sarah was still barren. For this reason, in Genesis 16, Sarah offered Abraham their slave, Hagar, to be a surrogate[6]. “Consort with my maid; perhaps I shall have a child through her,” Sarah says (Genesis, 16:2). This led to much controversy between the Abrahamic religions about who the true ‘matriarch’ of the Bible is.

Not only is there controversy over the wives of Abraham, but his sons as well. Hagar ended up birthing Abraham’s oldest son, Ishmael, and Sarah eventually birthed his son, Isaac. Muslims believe Ishmael is the rightful son of Abraham and Jews/Christians believe that Isaac is in terms of inheriting the covenant. In some cases, the New Testament diminishes Ishmael’s reputation as the son of Abraham. For example, in Genesis 21:9, Sarah says to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” This reputation then ended up reflecting poorly upon Ishmael’s descendants[7]. In Christianity, Isaac and Jacob, Isaac’s son, were granted the covenant since they were deemed Abraham’s rightful heirs in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. However, for Muslims, Ishmael would be granted this power rather than Isaac. The rightful wife and son of Abraham is up to interpretation based on the three Abrahamic religions.

Hagar's role

During this time period, it was a common practice for a slave to be gifted as part of a bride’s dowry. This would make Hagar Sarah’s own property. Sarah could not have children, making it very complicated since motherhood was very respected and a necessary part of a woman’s life[8]. Since Sarah could not carry children, it seemed logical for Hagar to have children with Abraham. This causes conflict in the family because the slave is now bearing the children of Abraham. Hagar despised her mistress because was carrying a child. Her role as a concubine pregnant with Abraham’s child complicates her behavior because she must obey her master[8].


The lifetimes given for the patriarchs in the Masoretic Text of the Book of Genesis are: Adam 930 years, Seth 912, Enos 905, Kenan 910, Mahalalel 895, Jared 962, Enoch 365 (did not die, but was taken away by God), Methuselah 969, Lamech 777, Noah 950.[9] The lifespans given have surprising chronological implications, as the following quotation shows.

"The long lives ascribed to the patriarchs cause remarkable synchronisms and duplications. Adam lived to see the birth of Lamech, the ninth member of the genealogy; Seth lived to see the translation of Enoch and died shortly before the birth of Noah. Noah outlived Abram's grandfather, Nahor, and died in Abram's sixtieth year. Shem, Noah's son, even outlived Abram. He was still alive when Esau and Jacob were born!"[10]

Explanation of color-codes:


The Matriarchs, also known as "the four mothers" (ארבע האמהות), who were married to the biblical patriarchs:

See also


  1. ^ Exodus 3:6
  2. ^ Leviticus 26:42
  3. ^ "Dark Mirrors of Heaven - Timeline of the Patriarchs". 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  4. ^ a b Goodspeed, George S. “The Men Who Made Israel: II. Abraham and the Forefathers of Israel.” The Biblical World, vol. 29, no. 2, 1907, pp. 133–137. JSTOR,
  5. ^ a b c Dumbrell, William J. Covenant and Creation: an Old Testament Covenant Theology. Revised and enlarged ed., 2013.
  6. ^ Zucker, David. "Seeing and Hearing: The Interrelated Lives of Sarah and Hagar." Women in Judaism 7.1 (2010): 1-14. Web.
  7. ^ Zucker, David. “Conflicting Conclusions: The Hatred of Isaac and Ishmael.” Judaism, vol. 39, no. 1, 1990, p. 37.
  8. ^ a b Gunkel, H. “THE TWO ACCOUNTS OF HAGAR. (Genesis Xvi. and Xxi., 8–21.).” The Monist, vol. 10, no. 3, 1900, pp. 321–342. JSTOR,
  9. ^ Ages of the patriarchs in Genesis Archived 2008-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Von Rad, G. (trans Marks, J. H.) 1961 Genesis - a commentary Philadelphia: Westminster Press

External links

Arcana Cœlestia

The Arcana Cœlestia, quae in Scriptura Sacra seu Verbo Domini sunt, detecta, usually abbreviated as Arcana Cœlestia (Heavenly Mysteries or Secrets of Heaven) or under its Latin variant, Arcana Cælestia, is the first and largest work published by Emanuel Swedenborg in his theological period. It was written and published in Neo-Latin, in eight volumes, one volume per year, from 1749 to 1756.

It consists of an exposition of the spiritual sense of the books of Genesis and Exodus, according to the doctrine of correspondence (theology), and demonstrated by many supporting quotations from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. While not denying the historicity of the stories of the Patriarchs (Bible) and The Exodus from Egypt, it explains them as describing symbolically the process of spiritual growth and struggles in each individual person.

What follows is the opening paragraph of Arcana Coelestia Volume 1, and therefore the opening statement of the whole corpus of theological work that Swedenborg claimed was revealed to him.

From the mere letter of the Word of the Old Testament no one would ever discern the fact that this part of the Word contains deep secrets of heaven, and that everything within it both in general and in particular bears reference to the Lord, to His heaven, to the church, to religious belief, and to all things connected therewith; for from the letter or sense of the letter all that anyone can see is that ̶ to speak generally ̶ everything therein has reference merely to the external rites and ordinances of the Jewish Church. Yet the truth is that everywhere in that Word there are internal things which never appear at all in the external things except a very few which the Lord revealed and explained to the Apostles; such as that the sacrifices signify the Lord; that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem signify heaven ̶ on which account they are called the Heavenly Canaan and Jerusalem ̶ and that Paradise has a similar signification. (Arcana Cœlestia #1)


Avot may refer to:

Pirkei Avot, a tractate of the Mishna composed of ethical maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period

Patriarchs (Bible), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Avot, Côte-d'Or, a commune in France

Neve Avot, a hospital in Israel


A kiss is the touch or pressing of one's lips against another person or an object. Cultural connotations of kissing vary widely. Depending on the culture and context, a kiss can express sentiments of love, passion, romance, sexual attraction, sexual activity, sexual arousal, affection, respect, greeting, friendship, peace, and good luck, among many others. In some situations, a kiss is a ritual, formal or symbolic gesture indicating devotion, respect, or sacrament. The word came from Old English cyssan ("to kiss"), in turn from coss ("a kiss").


Matriarchs may refer to:


Matriarcas (translated to Matriarchs)

Patriarchs (Bible)#Matriarchs


Matriarchy is a social system in which females (most notably in mammals) hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of males — at least to a large degree.

While those definitions apply in general English, definitions specific to the disciplines of anthropology and feminism differ in some respects. Most anthropologists hold that there are no known anthropological societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, but some authors believe exceptions may exist or may have.

Matriarchies may also be confused with matrilineal, matrilocal, and matrifocal societies. A few people consider any non-patriarchal system to be matriarchal, thus including genderally equalitarian systems (Peggy Reeves Sanday favors redefining and reintroducing the word matriarchy, especially in reference to contemporary matrilineal societies such as the Minangkabau), but most academics exclude them from matriarchies strictly defined.

In 19th-century Western scholarship, the hypothesis of matriarchy representing an early, mainly prehistoric, stage of human development gained popularity. Possibilities of so-called primitive societies were cited and the hypothesis survived into the 20th century, including in the context of second-wave feminism. This hypothesis was criticized by some authors such as Cynthia Eller in The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory and remains as a largely unsolved question to this day. Some older myths describe matriarchies.

Several modern feminists have advocated for matriarchy now or in the future and it has appeared in feminist literature. In several theologies, matriarchy has been portrayed as negative.

Patriarch (disambiguation)

Patriarch may refer to:

Patriarch, a high-ranking bishop in certain Orthodox and Catholic churches

Patriarch (Buddhism), a historic teacher who transferred the teachings

Patriarch (Latter Day Saints), the Melchizedek Priesthood office in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Patriarch (magazine), a defunct American magazine that espoused Biblical patriarchy

Patriarchs (Bible), prominent figures in the Hebrew scriptures, especially Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

A male ruler (of a tribe, family, etc.) in a traditional patriarchy

Patriarch, the sailing ship used to transport the Whitbread Engine

A character in the video game Killing Floor


Upu or Apu, also rendered as Aba/Apa/Apina/Ubi/Upi. was the region surrounding Damascus of the 1350 BC Amarna letters. Damascus was named Dimašqu/Dimasqu/ etc. (for example, "Dimaški"-(see: Niya (kingdom)), in the letter correspondence.

The region is only referenced in three letters, EA 53, 189, and 197 (EA is for 'el Amarna'). Etakkama of Qidšu (Kadesh) in the Beqaa (named the Amqu) is in partial control, between allegiance to Pharaoh, and conjoining forces with the king of Hatti.

An example of the intrigue is from the last third of EA 53, (entitled: "Of the villain Aitukama"):


"My lord, if he (i.e. pharaoh) makes this land a matter of concern to my lord, then may my lord send archers that they may come here. (Only) messengers of my lord have arrived here.

My lord, if Arsawuya of Ruhizzi and Teuwatti of Lapana remain in Upu, and Tašša (Tahash) remains in the Am[q], my lord should also know about them that Upu will not belong to my lord. Daily they write to Aitukama (Etakkama) and say as follows: "Come, tak[e] Upu in its entirety."

My lord, just as Dimaški (Damascus) in Upu (falls) at your feet, so may Qatna (fall) at your feet. My lord, one asks for life before my messenger. I do not fear [at al]l in the presence of the archers of my lord, since the archers belong to my lord. If he sends (them) to me, they will en[ter] Qatna." -EA 53, (only lines 52-70(End)).The intrigue of the three Amarna letters appears to involve areas to the north and northwest of Damascus, into Lebanon and the Beqaa (named Amqu).

And, for example Tašša, appears to be "Tahash," Tahaš, named after the biblical 'Tahash' personage; see: Patriarchs (Bible).

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