July 30, 2021
The land of Canaan would be the inheritance of Abraham’s descendants but Abraham would only be a pilgrim (He was so much more than that) there. On his journey to Canaan there were seventeen places that Abraham visited recorded in the Old Testament. Each of these places are important in the history of Israel and there is evidence of their existence in ancient times through archaeology.
1. Ur of the Chaldees was the original home of Abraham. It was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, and Ur was the capital of the ancient Chaldean Empire in ancient Mesopotamia. Sometime around 1900 BC the Lord told Abraham to leave his home and country and go to a land that He would show him. He obeyed and departed from Ur with his father Terah and his nephew Lot. (Gen. 11:31; Acts 7:2-4).
2. Haran in Mesopotamia was the first stopping place recorded in the Bible. They dwelt here until after the death of his father Terah, and in Haran the Lord called Abraham again (Gen. 12:1-4; Acts 7:4). Nahor, Abraham’s brother, had probably settled in Haran before they departed.
3. Damascus was a great city in the ancient world and it was located in ancient Aram (Syria). Abraham and his nephew Lot had departed Haran and followed the leading of the Lord. They moved southward and passed by the city of Damascus along the way and it might have been at this time that Abraham secured his servant Eliezer (Gen. 15:2).
4. Shechem or Sichem was the first place where Abraham came to in Canaan. The Lord appeared to Abraham again and confirmed his promises, and It was here at Shechem that Abraham built the first altar to the Lord (Gen. 12:6, 7). There is much history in this place (Joshua 24:1, Judges 9:6, 1 Kings 12:1).
5. Bethel. Abraham continued his journey southward and came to a mountain near Bethel, where he built a second altar (Genesis 12:8).
6. Egypt. Abraham and his family journeyed southward through the land of Canaan and a major famine hit they migrated to Egypt. In Egypt Abraham deceived the King in order to save his own life and was expelled from the land of Egypt (Gen. 12:9-20). The king of Egypt feared Abraham because of a dream and allowed him to leave with all of his possessions.
7. Bethel. Abraham and his nephew Lot returned to their former home at Bethel, but on account of strife between their herdsmen, they parted each other’s company as friends. (Gen. 13:1-9).
8. Hebron. Lot chose the warm climate and lush plains of the Jordan Valley and pitched his tent toward Sodom, and Abraham left the desirable Sodom and Gomorrah and sojourned at Hebron in Mamre where he heard again from the Lord and built an altar (Gen. 13:10-18). An interesting note is that Hebron was one of the oldest cities in ancient Canaan and Numbers 13:22 says that “it was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.”
9. Dan. Four kings of the east came to Canaan who were united under Chedorlaomer of Elam (the territory of ancient Ur) and made war against the five kings of Canaan. In their conquest of the Jordan Valley, they captured Lot as a prisoner of war, and when Abraham heard of it he pursued the four kings, overtook them at Dan, and defeated them with the help of the Lord (Gen. 14:1-14), Abraham had assembled an army of 318 men. The city of Dan was located in the north between Hazor and Damascus.
10. Hobah. Abraham and his army of servants smote the army of the four kings of Chedorlaomer and chased them to Hobah, which was located near Damascus. Lot and all the people with them were rescued including their belongings (Gen. 14:15, 16).
11. Salem. On his return, Abraham passed through Salem (Jerusalem) and was met by a man named Melchizedek whose name means “king of righteousness”. Melchizedek was a mysterious man regarded in the Bible as the priest and king of Salem. This was the first mention of the word “priest” in the Bible and he gave to Abraham bread and wine. The Bible also mentions that Abraham paid him 1/10th of all his spoils from the war as a “tithe”. Hebrews 7:3 gives an interesting description of Melchizedek and therefore his identity remains a mystery. The king of Sodom also came out to meet Abraham at the same place (Gen. 14:17-21).
12. Hebron. When Abraham finally returned to Hebron God reminded him of his covenant with him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham (Gen. 15:1-21; 17:1-27). During his stay at this place Ishmael was born (Gen. 16: 1-16) and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (Gen. 18:1 – 19:38)
13. Gerar. Abraham left Hebron and for a time sojourned among the Philistines in Gerar which was in southern Canaan west of Beersheba. It was in Gerar that Abraham deceived King Abimelech (Gen. 20:1-18).
14. Beersheba. Abraham remained at Beersheba for some time. During this time, he made a covenant with king Abimelech. Later he gave birth to a natural son of him and Sarah in his old age, he named him Isaac which means “laughter”. When Isaac was born Ishmael was expelled and his mother Hagar fled and was met by “the Angel of the Lord” which was the Lord Himself (Gen. 21:1-34).
15. Moriah. It was in Beersheba that Abraham received the command from the Lord to take his only son Isaac to Mount Moriah, a mountain of Salem, to offer Isaac as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:1-18).
16. Beersheba. Abraham returned to Beersheba and dwelt there for some time.
17. Hebron. Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah as the family sepulcher and buried his wife Sarah there (Gen. 23: 1-20). At the age of 175 Abraham died, and was also buried in the cave at Machpelah.