Step 2 - The Patriarchs

Era summary

Abraham is chosen by God to father a nation to represent God to the world

Era Overview

Figure: Abraham
Location: Canaan and Egypt

This period of the Bible happens in an area between modern day Iraq across the land now known as Israel and across to Egypt.

Journey Abraham made on map of middle east with annotations

Event Summary

  1. Abraham : Father of the Hebrew people
  2. Isaac : Second father of the promise
  3. Jacob : The man who became Israel
  4. Jospeh : A leader in Egypt

Event Details


Father of the Hebrew people:

God starts a process of winning back the world and making Himself known and chooses a family to represent Him on earth.

Abraham, chosen by God,  is told to leave his family and go to a land he doesn’t know. This land was going to be given to him and to all his descendants.

God appears to him several times and promises:

  • A land for him and his descendants (Canaan) This becomes known as The Promised Land
  • A family with more descendants than there are stars in the sky.
  • That he, and his family, will be blessed by God and will be a blessing to others

He has two sons

  • Ishmael is mothered by his wife’s servant and is eventually sent away. He is the father of the Arab people.
  • Isaac: The son God promised born from Abraham’s wife Sarah.


The second father of the promise:

Isaac lives in the land Abraham was promised (Canaan).

He sees several major miracles, grows prosperous and has two sons:

  • Esau – the oldest twin
  • Jacob – the younger twin, a deceiver and an impetuous man but one whom God chooses

Jacob has 12 sons who become the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel.


The man who became Israel:

Jacob, Isaac’s younger son, takes his older brothers inheritance, using trickery and deception, then fearing for his life goes to live with his Uncle.

Jacob (whose name means deceiver) works hard, goes through some difficult times, experiences God’s blessings and finally heads for home.

Just before arriving home he meets with God and wrestles with Him. God changes his name to be Israel.

Jacob becomes the father of 12 sons who become the 12 tribes of Israel.


A leader in Egypt:

Joseph is Jacobs 11th son and is favoured above all his brothers.  He has dreams from God about being a ruler. These things cause his brothers to hate him and they plan to kill him but then end up selling him as a slave.

Joseph ends up as a slave in Egypt and goes through some hard times but remains faithful to God.

Eventually Joseph is recognised by Pharaoh, made second, only to Pharaoh in charge of Egypt and saves Egypt from a severe famine.

Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt to get food. They are reconciled and Joseph says, “The evil you planned was used by God for good”.

Jacob and all Joseph’s brothers and familes settle in Egypt and grow in numbers and prosperity.

Extra Notes

Next Page – The Exodus

Previous Page – Creation