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Isaac and Ishmael, two brothers, so close and so distant
The Abram cycle begins with a description of a family of nomads migrating to Mesopotamia a few millennia ago. Terah has three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran. We have no details about the relationship between these brothers, but we do know that Haran dies while his father is still alive. In addition, Sarai, Abram’s wife, cannot have children. A few brushstrokes capture the traumas and dramas of a family that emigrates to a new land with its patriarch at its head. The journey from Ur to Canaan, undertaken by Terah, is interrupted in Haran, halfway there.

It is here that Abram receives a word from God that impacts on him right where his deepest wound is located, his inability to have children, which leaves him without an heir to carry his name from one generation to the next. “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’” (Gen 12:1-3).

Abram is invited to return to the journey, separating himself from those ties that had hitherto shaped his life, so that he can become fruitful according to the pattern of creation that takes place through separation. Abram, therefore, will have to detach himself from his father in order for the Lord to make him a great nation. How will this promise be fulfilled, given that the patriarch and his wife are already advanced in years?
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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