Abraham the Ivri

In Genesis 14:13 we see for the first time the word Ivri, describing the Hebrew race in reference to ‘Abram the Hebrew’.

The word Ivri comes from Eber who was the grandson of Shem (Genesis 10:24) and Abram is the 8th generation of Eber (See hyperlink 8)

The word Ivri is derived from the Hebrew verb over meaning ‘to pass over’ and literally means ‘from the other side’. When is it applied to ‘Abram the Ivri the question arises whether Abram is so called because he and his tribe had transferred from the other side of the Jordan Valley, from Ur of the Chaldees and Haran (Genesis 11:31,12:5), or simply because he was different.

The Ivri are a race of people who are different, whose moral and social code is different from that of the surrounding tribes, where the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’ pervade.

In fact throughout the Bible we see that it is not the strongest, virulent and masculine who lead and determine the history of the Jews, rather it is the physically weak, second born or even handicapped who actually impact Jewish history more than any other. Examples are prolific. In the story of Jacob and Esau, it is not the strong and capable hunter with his hundreds of flock who lead the path towards God, but the more mild Jacob, who spends time ‘dwelling in the tents’ who leads the Jewish race. Similarly, of the 12 of Jacob’s sons, it is not the fiery shepherds of Reuben and Simeon and his brothers who bring salvation to the tribe, but it is the mild mannered Joseph who does not follow the way of his brothers, who carries the Hebrew race through the period of famine to salvation. Other examples are the hare-lipped Moses who leads the Children of Israel out of Egypt and David who fought Goliath the Philistine.

So the Ivri are a race that lives by different virtues and values.


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