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Abrams altar at Hebron

Genesis 13:18

So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord’.

Full bible text

Genesis 13:18
So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord’.

About this painting

In Genesis 11 and 12 Abram is introduced; a descendant of Shem. The Lord calls Abram to leave Ur in Mesopotamia, and go to the land God will show him: Canaan. God promises Abram to make him into a great nation, and promises him to give the land Canaan to his offspring. Furthermore the Lord says to him: ‘and you will be a blessing’ and: ’all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’. Abram sets out for Canaan and arrives there. As he travels through the land he builds altars to the Lord in several places; first in Shechem, then also in the neighbourhood of Bethel and Ai. The third altar mentioned in the text is built near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron. This altar is pictured in the painting. Hebron is visible in the background. An altar is the place where a sacrifice is made. Abram answered the promises of God with worship. In this worship at the altar the sacrifice played a central role. The sacrifice refers to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, through which we may come to God. Hebron means: place of communion and brotherhood. Mamre means: prosperity. Abram experienced communion with the Lord in worshipping Him, and rested in the trustworthiness of His promises with respect to the land and his progeny. He was ‘looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God’ (Hebrews 11:10) Jesus, speaking about Abraham, said: (John 8:56) ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’

Later on in Israels history Hebron is mentioned as one of the six cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7,8). A city of refuge is a place where anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. In a way the city of refuge is a reflection of Jesus Christ. Anyone who is in Him through faith, will not be condemned.

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