2. The Patriarchs

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Gen 12 to 50

1. These stories are supposed to have been written by Moses. But we know they were penned centuries after Moses’ death.

2. We know that the patriarchal narratives consist of four different sources — J, E, D, and P.

3. Modern archaeological research has shed much light on, and done much to confirm, the Old Testament story of the Patriarchs.

4. Excavations of dozens of sites in Palestine confirm the traditions of early Israel. See Deut 6:20-25; 26:5-10. Josh 24:2-13.

5. The early traditions and records were probably heroic poems like the Song of Deborah.

6. It is impossible to reconstruct the patriarchal age, but the little we do know does not contradict the traditional narrative.

7. Abraham and Lot were heads of large clans.

8. Abraham was known as the “friend of God.”


1. Abraham is a name known in Babylon. Nahor occurs in the Mart texts. Benjamin was a Mari tribe. Gad and Dan are both found in Mari.

2. Social customs of the Patriarchs conform to Hittite and Huerian practices.

3. They were largely nomads. Lived in tents. Owned no land except for burial grounds.

4. They were not desert nomads—they did not have camels. Camels did not appear until the times of Gideon.

5. The patriarchal age lies somewhere between the twentieth and sixteenth centuries.

6. It is not possible to set an exact date for the Hebrews going into Egypt.


1. Haran—starting point of Abraham’s journey—was probably occupied by Huerian clans.

2. Israel probably had multiple ancestors—Canaanites of various origins. Consider Moab, Ammon, and Edom.

3. Abraham’s father, Terah, came from Ur of Chaldea.

4. The Arameans also probably find a place among Israel’s ancestors.

5. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were real people. They were chieftains of semi-nomadic clans.

6. We should remember that the actual events recorded of the Patriarchs were vastly more complex than the Bible narratives.

7. The Patriarchs were not altogether peaceful. Note - the assault of Simeon and Levi upon Shechem. Gen. Chap. 34. Jacob seizes land near Shechem. Abraham’s battles with Chedorlaomer.

8. The religion of the Patriarchs is not well defined. Moses is probably the father of Hebrew religion.

9. See the Urantia Book for account of Abraham and Melchizedek. (1014.1) 93:0.1

10. There is no mention of Yahweh until we come to the times of Moses.

11. The God of the Patriarchs was Elohim—the Most High.

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