ABRAHAM (Abram), the great patriarch, was born in Ur, a city of Chaldea. Under divine command, he fled with his family from the idolaters to Canaan, where God promised him that he should be father to a great nation, and changed his name from Abram (“father of elevation”) to Abraham (“father of multitudes”).
According to Blake, Abraham was born into that primitive religion of human sacrifice which Blake called Druidism (J 27). He fled from Chaldea “in fire” of inspiration (SoL 3:16), “shaking his goary locks” (J 15:28). Evidently his locks became “goary” from the human sacrifices of Chaldea, and were not a reminiscence of Banquo’s ghost. To Blake, his flight meant his renunciation of such sacrifices (as exemplified by his substitution of a ram for Isaac), which started a new era in religion. “Abraham was called to succeed the Druidical age, which began to turn allegoric and mental signification into corporeal command, whereby human sacrifice would have depopulated the earth” (DesC V, K 578). Even until his time the “blood & fire & vapour of smoke” of the earlier churches were not extinguished (LJ, K 606). Thus in the cycle of the Twenty-seven Churches, Abraham is the twenty-first, and the first of the last septenary, “the Male Females” of Moral Virtue (Mil 37:41; J 75:16). Los created him as one of the prophets to offset the Satanic kings (J 73:41). His children were the Hebrew Church (LJ, K 610), and he himself was an ancestor of Jesus (J 27). Reuben, however, “enroots his brethren in the narrow Canaanite” (the merchants) “from the Limit Noah to the Limit Abram” (the preceding cycle of the Twenty-seven Churches); but in Abram’s loins, “Reuben in his Twelve-fold majesty & beauty shall take refuge as Abraham flees from Chaldea” (J 15:25–28). Jerusalem, Plate 15, depicts the flight of Abram from Chaldea, opposed by the vegetated Reuben.