In the early history of most countries there comes a pressure of population upon the productive powers of the land. As numbers increase in the hunting stage game becomes scarce and more hunting grounds are needed. Tribes migrate from season to season, as did the American Indians, and eventually some members of the tribe are likely to go forth to seek new homes. Later in the pastoral stage of society, as the wealth of flocks and herds increases, more pasturage is needed and similar results follow. Even after agriculture is well established and commerce is well begun, as in Ancient Greece, colonies have a like origin. In the England of the nineteenth century Malthus and his followers taught the tendency of population to outgrow the means of subsistence—a tendency overcome only by restraints on the growth of population, or by new inventions that enable new sources of supply to be secured or that render the old ones more efficient. Emigration and pioneering are thus a normal outgrowth of a progressive growing people in any stage of civilization. What does the statement about Abraham’s wealth in cattle and silver and gold show regarding the country from which he came and the probable cause of God’s direction for his removal?
Immigrants and pioneers are usually the self-reliant and courageous, who dare to endure hardships and incur risks to secure for their country and posterity the benefits of new lands and broader opportunity. The trials of new and untried experiences and often of dire peril strengthen the character already strong, so that the pioneers in all lands and ages have been heroes whose exploits recounted in song and story have stirred the hearts and molded the faith of their descendants through many generations. In the light of later history what was the profound religious significance to his race and to the world, of the migration represented by Abraham? The Biblical narrative does not state the exact way in which Jehovah spoke to Abraham. Is it possible and probable that God spoke to men in that early day as he speaks to them now, through their experiences and inner consciousness? In what sense was Abraham a pioneer?
Was it for Abraham’s material interest to migrate to Canaan?
THE PERMANENT VALUE AND INFLUENCE OF THE ABRAHAM NARRATIVES.
Scholars will probably never absolutely agree regarding many problems connected with Abraham. Some have gone so far as to question whether he was an historical character or not. Is the question of fundamental importance? Other writers declare it probable that a tribal sheik by the name of Abraham led one of the many nomad tribes that somewhere about the middle of the second millenium B.C. moved westward into the territory of Palestine. It is probable that popular tradition has preserved certain facts regarding his life and character. It is equally clear that the different groups of Israel’s