chapter  4
26 Pages

Abraham and Moses: Withdrawal and Obedience

For the faithful, the Hebrew Bible offers a panoply of covenantal exemplars, men and women who are steadfast in their loyalty to the biblical God, who know the fate of the people of Israel rests on human response to the offer of a unique relationship with the Divine.1 Shining brightly within this array are the ancient patriarchs, who reveal God’s will and personify what it takes to fulfill it. Within the Jewish tradition, men like Abraham, Jacob, and Moses were considered especially worthy to receive the promises of the covenant and to establish Israel as the people of God. The Church Fathers also recognized the brilliance of such luminaries but recontextualized their roles within a Christian paradigm that saw Jesus not only as active in the pages of the Hebrew Bible but also as the fulfillment of God’s message. As a result, such figures were often interpreted typologically. Their primary importance lay in the extent to which they prefigured Christ or pointed to a future Christian reality.2