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Africa and the Middle East Part 4 Ancient Rivalries.

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1 Africa and the Middle East Part 4 Ancient Rivalries

2 The three prominent religions in the Middle East – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all belong to the same monotheistic tradition—the belief in one main God, the God of ABRAHAM. It is believed Jews descended from one of his sons named Isaac, while Arabs descended from another son, Ishmael.

3 Father Abraham is an important figure to all three religions. According to the Bible, he is the 10 th generation from NOAH, and the 20 th from ADAM.

4 Abraham was to travel from Ur (Mesopotamia), to the Land of Canaan or the “Promised Land”. He was promised innumerable descendants.

5 Abraham’s wife SARAH was not able to bear him a child, so she allowed her servant, HAGAR to also be his wife. She bore him a son named ISHMAEL.

6 There then appears to be some jealousy between the women, as Hagar begins to act superior because she gave birth to a son for Abraham. Sarah complains, and Abraham supports Sarah. Sarah then mistreats Hagar, and according to some accounts flees with her son Ishmael, while in other accounts she is driven out by Abraham.



9 Hagar and Ishmael were saved by an angel in the wilderness. The descendants of Ishmael are believed to be the ARABS, and he is an important figure in Islam.

10 At the age of 99, God is supposed to have reaffirmed his commitment to Abraham that his descendants would be a mighty nation of innumerable people. Although Sarah was past her child-bearing years, she was able to give birth to a son named ISAAC. Some scholars have wondered if the birth of Isaac led to Sarah wanting the teenager Ishmael out of the picture, in case he was a bad influence on Isaac, or perhaps would want to claim Abraham’s inheritance.

11 At one point in his life, possibly between his teens and his 30s, Isaac was nearly sacrificed by his father. However, just as the sacrifice was to take place, an angel stopped Abraham.

12 Abraham was to be blessed for his obedience to God’s commands.

13 Later on Isaac marries REBEKAH, who it seems is barren (unable to have children).

14 Eventually, Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins. They seem to struggle in her womb, and later she has a vision in which she is told the older son will serve the younger.

15 ESAU is born first, followed by JACOB. Esau is a hunter and outdoorsman, and is favored by Isaac. Jacob is more of a “homebody”, and is favored by Rebekah.

16 At one point, the wilder Esau sold his “BIRTHRIGHT” to Jacob for food and drink.

17 Later, with Rebekah’s help, Jacob deceives Isaac, who is now blind, into giving him the father’s blessing to the first-born that was meant for Esau.

18 Understandably, Esau is furious, and threatens to kill Jacob. Rebekah arranges for his escape, and sends him to the land of her relatives. There Jacob meets and falls in love with RACHEL. He works for seven years to earn her hand in marriage, but is given her older sister LEAH to marry instead. Leah’s father, LABAN, says that Jacob can also marry Rachel if he agrees to work for seven more years, which Jacob agrees to.


20 Later on, Jacob’s name is changed to “ISRAEL”, (to persevere with God), and with Leah, Rachel, and at least two other wives, has multiple daughters and 12 sons. Several generations later, the descendants of these 12 sons would be known as the “TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL”.

21 Of Jacob’s (Israel’s) sons, his eleventh, JOSEPH was his favorite. Joseph’s mother was Rachel, who also gave birth to the twelfth son BENJAMIN.

22 Joseph’s older brothers were very jealous of him, and when he was about seventeen, sold him to slave traders who were heading to Egypt. In time, he rose to be the most powerful man in Egypt, other than the Pharaoh. Years later, he was reunited with his brothers when they came to Egypt to get food during a time of famine.


24 Joseph was eventually reunited also with his father and his younger brother Benjamin. In time, the descendants of Jacob (Israel) became numerous, and were enslaved by Egypt for over four centuries until eventually being led from captivity by MOSES to the “Promised Land”.

25 Christians and Jews look fondly toward Moses as the man who led the Hebrews out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and received the 10 Commandments. Muslims also look to him as a prophet.


27 Over the years, Israel at times was very powerful, and at times it was conquered by outsiders, with its people eventually being scattered all over. It was not until 1948, when the modern-day state of Israel was created, that Jews have had a homeland. It has been very contentious there ever since.

28 Since Israel’s creation, the Palestinian Arabs have been very angry, and have lost land every time they have had major wars.

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