This article analyzes the Abraham related passages in prophetic books of the Old Testament. In the prophetic books of the Old Testament, Abraham is mentioned only seven times. According to the result of analysis, several conclusions are drawn:First of all, the image of Abraham is the product of the exilic and post-exilic period. Abraham is not mentioned in the prophetic books which are written before the exilic period. Following verses are assumed to be written in the post-exilic period: Isaiah 29:22-24; Micah 7:18-20; Jeremiah 33:23-26. Abraham does not appear in the biblical texts which are considered to have been written before the exilic period. It is not by chance that the accounts regarding Abraham are concerned with the exilic and postexilic period, even though the tradition of Abraham itself is old one. Restatement of the father Abraham emerges in the era of crisis, in the dark generation.
Secondly, the image of Abraham represented in prophetic books is, in general, the symbol of hope. Especially, Abraham appears to be the hopeful symbol of the land ownership to those who do not own the land(Ezek 33:23-29); Abraham is ‘the symbol of restoration’ to Diasporas who were scattered in the world(Isa 41:8-13); Abraham is ‘the symbol of prosperity of descendants’ to those who do not have descendants(Isa 29:22-24); Abraham is the representative symbol of interceding God’s will for salvation(Mic 7:18-20); Abraham is the exemplary symbol of reinforcing the covenant of David(Jer 33:23-26). In short, it is concluded that Abraham is the foundation of hope.
Thirdly, the image of Abraham described in the prophetic books has been reinterpreted in connection with reality. In two out of the seven prophetic books which mention Abraham, Abraham tradition is evaluated negatively. Ezekiel 33:24 and Isaiah 63:16 is the best example showing this. The former shows a critical view about the Abraham tradition which appears in the confession of people who violate the commandment(Torah) and in the context of disputation. On the other hand, throughout the petitionary prayer, the latter shows that Abraham tradition also has a limit in desperate situation which is derived from the sin of mankind. The Abraham tradition is reinterpreted diversely according to the context of the community which uses it.
At any rate, Abraham, who is represented in the prophetic books, is the incarnation of God’s promise for the Israelites: the Israelites include not only the people who already became his people, but also the people who would be his people. Furthermore, they encompass those scattered as well as those who would stand together. And Abraham continues to be the promise which, through the mediation of Israel, will be given to the nations in this world.
For Abraham, it seemed that to find the evidence of achievement was impossible according to contemporary thoughts of the world. In this doomful situation, putting someone’s faith in God’s will and having a firm trust to him could be a mockery. Or, according to pathologic view point, Abraham’s behaviors could be interpreted as denying ‘the understanding of the reality’ that he had to give up. Nevertheless, Abraham was the person who demonstrated a right attitude toward God’s sincere promise as well as an exemplary witness of God.