7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

Here we have the end of Abraham’s story. 175 years, many of them spent in tents beneath the stars, but with numerous travels in between. For years he waited for his promised son, and in the end he sired not one, but two, great nations. He raised a mighty household, fought in battle, and was a digger of wells. His death brought back together his two first sons, Isaac and Ishmael, who laid him to rest with his wife, Sarah, in the cave he purchased for them.

Looking back at his story what stands out to me is that Abraham was steady and flexible at the same time, like a strong reed. His experiences required a great deal of shifting and adapting, moving with life as it rose and fell, yet through all that change he also maintained a steady faith in Jehovah, and followed God’s instructions to the letter. He was bold enough to campaign to God that Sodom and Gomorrah should be spared for the sake of the righteous, but also willing to acquiesce in the event that those righteous could not be found.

Another quality that stands out is Abraham’s great trust that things would work out. When he and Lot parted ways he accepted the worse portion of land. When Lot was again captured by armies he gave battle to them. When instructed to set Ishmael and his mother free he did so. When tasked with sacrificing his own son he complied. None of these were pleasant tasks, things that anyone would naturally want to do, things that one would expect to find success in. But he did them all anyway, and as he had been promised, all of them worked out for his good.

The third quality that stands out to me is Abraham’s deep sense of duty. All throughout his story we see examples of him giving his God, his family, and his neighbor what each of them is due. He treated them all with courtesy, even when he had received offense from them or their household, as in the case of Abimelech’s servants. Two scenes that particularly show Abraham’s good manners is how he receives the three heavenly messengers before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how he negotiates with Ephron to buy the burying place for Sarah.

Abraham made a deep influence on the lives of those who knew him, but his heritage at this point was very small. The righteous nation God had promised would not manifest for a few generations more, but when it did it would be built upon the foundation that he so faithfully laid down.

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