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Journeys of the Forefathers – Key Places

Mar 29, 2016

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃

When Hashem began to create heaven and earth—

b'-ray-SHEET ba-RA e-lo-HEEM AYT ha-sha-MA-yim v'-AYT ha-A-retz

Genesis 1:1

This map feature key places from the journeys of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov as described in the Book of Genesis.

  1. Ur Kasdim (Ur of the Chaldees) – Avraham’s birthplace
  2. Haran – Avraham’s family travels from Ur Kasdim to Haran (Genesis 11:31-32), where God calls to Avraham at the age of 75 and tells him to travel to Canaan (Genesis 12:1-5). Avraham’s servant is sent to Haran to find a wife for Yitzchak (Genesis 24), and Yaakov flees to Haran to escape the wrath of his brother Esav (Genesis 28:10).  Yaakov remains in Haran for 20 years before returning to Canaan (Genesis 21:41).
  3. Shechem – Avraham’s first stop in the land Canaan (Genesis 12:6-8).  Here, he builds an altar to God and God promises Avraham that the land will be given to his descendants.  Yaakov also stops in Shechem after he returns to Canaan from Haran.  It is in Shechem that Dina is raped and, in turn, Shimon and Levi kill all the men of the city (Genesis 33:18-34:31).
  4. Beit El – Avraham builds an altar to God in Beit El and calls out in his name (Genesis 12:8). Yaakov stops to rest in Beit El on his way to Haran, where he has his dream about angels climbing a ladder.  God promises Yitzchak that his descendants will inherit the land of Canaan, and that God will be with him on his journey (Genesis 28:11-19).  After the incident in Shechem, Yaakov travels to Beit El at God’s bidding and builds an altar in His name.  God appears to Yaakov, changes his name to Yisrael and promises the land of Canaan to his descendants (Genesis 35:1-15).
  5. Egypt – Avraham travels to Egypt in order to escape famine in Canaan (Genesis 12:10-20).
  6. Elonei Mamre – Upon returning from Egypt, Avraham settles in the southern part of Canaan. When his nephew Lot chooses to settle in the fertile Jordan Valley, Avraham moves to Elonei Mamre, just north of Chevron, where he again builds an altar to God (Genesis 13:18). It is here that the “Covenant Between the Parts” takes place and God promises Avraham that his children will inherit the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:18), specifically the offspring of Yitzchak (Genesis 17:19,21).  It is also here where Avraham is circumcised (Genesis 17:23-27).
  7. Gerar – Avraham moves once again and settles in the Philistine city of Gerar (Genesis 20:1). When famine strikes Canaan, Yitzchak also goes to Gerar.  He is told by God to stay there and not leave Canaan for Egypt as his father Avraham had done (Genesis 26:1-3).
  8. Be’er Sheva – In Be’er Sheva, Avraham plants a tree and again calls out in God’s name, spreading awareness of the Lord throughout the land (Genesis 21:33-34). He returns to Be’er Sheva after the binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:19). Yitzchak also settles in Be’er Sheva after leaving Gerar (Genesis 26:23-33), and remains there until he is old and blind.  It is from Be’er Sheva that Yaakov runs away from his brother Esav (Genesis 28:10), and Yaakov stops in Be’er Sheva on his way down to Egypt.  There, he offers sacrifices to God who promises to be with him on his journey, to turn his children into a great nation and to eventually bring them back to Canaan (Genesis 46:1-4).
  9. Mount Moriah – The Binding of Isaac (Akeidat Yitzchak) takes place on Mount Moriah, otherwise known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Genesis 22).
  10. Beit Lechem – Yaakov and his family leave Beit El and eventually settle in Chevron.  On the way, Rachel dies as she is giving birth to Binyamin and is buried in Beit Lechem (Genesis 35:16-20).
  11. Chevron – When Sarah dies, Avraham buys the Cave of Machpelah, located in Chevron, from Ephron the Hittite as a burying place (Genesis 23:1-20). This is the first piece of the Land of Israel that was purchased by Avraham and his family. When Avraham himself dies, he is also buried by his children in the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 25:7-10), as are Yitzchak, Rivka, Yaakov and Leah. After he returns to Canaan, Yaakov ultimately settles in Chevron where his father, Yitzchak, had moved.  Yitzchak dies in Chevron and is buried by his two sons in the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 35:27-29).
  12. Goshen – When Yaakov learns that Yosef is alive and the second-in-command in Egypt, he packs up his entire family and travels to Egypt. He and his family settle in the land of Goshen (Genesis 46:28).
Related Names and Places:

Relate Bible Verses: Chapter 1

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