Few names in scripture evoke such respect and interest as do those of the father-son-grandson combination of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To Latter-day Saints, the interest is theological and sacred, because it is through the promises of the Abrahamic covenant (promises reconfirmed through Isaac and Jacob) that we are given the blessings of the gospel, the priesthood, celestial marriage, and eternal life. All persons who accept the gospel plan and do its works become heirs with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of all the joyous promises that pertain to both mortality and beyond.
An accelerated interest in these three ancient patriarchs is largely the result of the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine classes’ current study of the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Each Sunday adult members throughout the Church open their scriptures and study together the accounts of these remarkable patriarchs.
To help give a visual appreciation for the lands and places inhabited by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the following selected photographs are presented. The locales shown are discussed frequently in Gen. 12–37 and Abr. 2.
ABRAHAM: Into this “strange land” came Abraham, after the Lord appeared to him and counseled him to leave Haran. The area of Shechem is west of the River Jordan, midway between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.
JACOB: In this general area, Jacob lived for a while following his return from working twenty years with Laban.
ABRAHAM: Moving southward, Abraham came to the plains of Moreh. Here the Lord again appeared to him and reconfirmed his promises.
ABRAHAM: After the separation of the flocks with Lot, Abraham moved south to Hebron. In this general area, he spent much of his life and again saw the Lord and received guidance and further promises. It is here that all three men—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—were buried, as well as their wives, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah.
ISAAC: It was here at Hebron that Isaac spent his last years.
JACOB: Israel died in Egypt, but his son Joseph led the burial entourage from Egypt up to Hebron and buried his father with Isaac and Abraham.
ABRAHAM: Here Abraham again built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord. But because of famine in the land, he journeyed southward into Egypt, precursory to the destiny of his grandson Jacob. Following his stay in Egypt, Abraham again returned to the general area of Bethel, where he and Lot prospered greatly.
JACOB: It was at Bethel that Jacob stopped en route to Haran in his escape from Esau’s anger. Here the Lord appeared in a dream and reconfirmed to him the promises of Abraham. Many years later, after Jacob had labored twenty years in Haran and after he had prospered in other areas in Canaan, including Shechem, he was directed by the Lord to move to Bethel and “dwell there.” (Gen. 35:1.) While living here, his name was reconfirmed by the Lord as Israel.
ABRAHAM: It was Salem (later known as Jerusalem) where Abraham visited Melchizedek and paid tithes. Later in his life it was to the general area of the hill Moriah that he was tested by receiving the instructions to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering to the Lord.
ABRAHAM: Abraham was directed to send Hagar and Ishmael into this area.
ABRAHAM: Abraham was sent southward on a mission to Sodom, and then he settled at Gerar, where Isaac, the son of his birthright, was born. It was here at Gerar that Abraham’s wife Sarah was captured by King Abimelech.
ISAAC: South of this area Isaac developed his flocks, both during Abraham’s life and after his death. But following a serious famine in the south, Isaac returned to Gerar, where, as did his father, he encountered King Abimelech.
ISAAC: In this general area, south of Gerar and toward Sinai, Isaac lived prior to his marriage. However, famine eventually drove him northward and back to Gerar.
JACOB: In this valley Jacob’s son Joseph went, at his father’s request, to find his brothers. But the brothers, jealous of Joseph’s apparent future, threw him into a pit and then sold him for twenty pieces of silver to a company of Ishmaelites en route to Egypt with “camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh. …” (Gen. 37:25.)
The events that occurred in this valley eventually prompted Jacob to take his herds and his sons southward into Egypt, where their descendants would live for generations until Moses would be called to lead them up to the land of their fathers—the land of their promises.
ABRAHAM: Here is where Abraham and King Abimelech made a peace covenant. Here Abraham dwelt “many days,” and here he “planted a grove” and “called … on the name of the Lord.”
ISAAC: After Isaac’s confrontation with King Abimelech (similar to that of his father), he withdrew his herds from Gerar to this area to avoid conflict with the people of Gerar.