What is the Tree of Mamre?

Tree of Mamre

The Tree of Mamre

Many people have wondered and asked about the name of this blog. Few are that well-versed in the OT to know what the Tree of Mamre was, and most people have never heard a sermon or teaching on the topic. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can tell you why I chose this name for the blog, and what the Tree of Mamre means to me.

The Tree of Mamre was the place where Abraham pitched his tent. After God called Abraham out of Haran to go to the place God had chosen for him, Abraham first pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai. Bethel and Ai were sister cities no more than a few miles apart. They had close relations with each other. Abraham’s tent had to have been on the road between the two towns, so everyday he saw the people of the two towns walking to-and-fro. This must have given him some sense of connection with the people around him, yet also must have caused him a great deal of frustration. As an outsider he could never be a part of those communities or have true fellowship with them–he could only watch them as they had fellowship with each other. Perhaps out of this frustration, he decided to pitch his tent in the wilderness of the Negev, where no one lived at all. It is indeed easier sometimes to be alone by oneself, than to be alone in the midst of others. Then, since there was a famine in the land, he went to Egypt, then back to the Negev, then back to Bethel and Ai.

The image is of a man wandering, looking for something, but never quite being satisfied with where he was. Finally, he moved his tent to the great Tree of Mamre (NIV says “trees”), where he stayed for many years. At that time, he did not own the land he was living on–a local landowner let him stay there. Though Abraham later moved away from the Tree of Mamre, it must have been the closest place to a home to him. Indeed, when Sarah died, he bought a plot of land near there as a burial place for her, and Abraham himself was later buried there. Though God promised Abraham that he would own all of the land around him, during his lifetime, this plot of land was the only land in Israel that Abraham ever owned.

The meaning of the word “mamre” is the subject of some speculation. It could be related to a word meaning “bitterness”. Others have suggested that it relates to a fattened calf used for sacrifice. Both of these meanings seem apt.

We think of Abraham in terms of strength. This is true. Yet, our understanding of faith, and what it means to have strong faith, is often faulty. Most Christians today view faith as a feeling, a confession, or a mental assent to a proposition. These things are not faith. Rather, faith is a trust in God, and a fidelity to His Word, no matter what the cost. Abraham showed his faith not by what he felt, said, or assented to, but by how he acted. He burned his bridges, went into the land God promised him, and never looked back. This is faith. Emotions, confessions, and thoughts had nothing to do with it. He obeyed and inherited what was promised. He stayed faithful to God’s word, even when it looked like it would turn up void.

Yet, he did not see this promise fulfilled in his own lifetime. Abraham must have had many dark nights and times of doubt. There must have been times when he felt forsaken (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) and quite bitter at God for the turn of events. This did not negate his faith–the only thing that could have negated his faith was to give up and go back to Haran. Rather, that he would have times of doubt, where his mind and emotions raged against him, yet still stay the course proved his faith.

In a real sense, his faith also made his life an acceptable sacrifice to God. He was the fatted calf. He thought he was going into the land to inherit–and he would inherit it–yet in the process everything he had was stripped away from him. He lost everything to gain eternity.

Ironically, the present-day tree most associated with the Tree of Mamre is called “Abraham’s Tree” or “the Tree of Rest”. Indeed, though he must have often felt bitter and alone, under this tree, he did find rest. The tree was not a complete answer to the striving and hunger he felt inside, but it must have provided some solace.

My own life has been much like that of Abraham’s. I have been wandering for nearly all of my days, and now live in a country that I will never be able to call home. My own coming to the country I am currently living in was very much against my will and contrary to my own plans. If I had my way, I would be living in the countryside of Japan in a farmhouse. Yet, that is not to be. I have lived in all kinds of places trying to find a place where I could feel comfortable–even living in the remote desert for two years–but I still chafe. Though I have never felt at home in the country of my birth, I tried to return there for a high-powered job earlier this year, and came within a phone call of getting on a plane for New York. Then the economy crashed and the job opportunity evaporated. My back gave out shortly thereafter, and now it is unlikely that I will be physically able to ride on a plane for such a long trip for at least another year. So, I lie in my bed, wondering what God has in store for me next. I know that I do not have a place to call home, and that I will likely never find one. What I am looking for is my own Tree of Mamre–just a place to sit and find rest for my soul.

I wonder how many other people feel the same way. From what I can tell, there are legions of Christians who have given up everything, and are now quite alone in the world, with no place to call home. Some have never left their home country. Some are overseas. All feel like foreigners and strangers, who do not and cannot fit in. If you are such a person, then welcome to my tent. I do not promise that I have all the answers or that I can even give you much help. However, what cool water, bread, and shade that I have are all yours to share.

(First posted, June 2009)

(2014 update: I have just moved to an old Japanese farmhouse. God is good.)

46 Responses to What is the Tree of Mamre?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi – I was doing my usual bible reading and was reading Genesis where the Tree of Mamre was mentioned and therefore googled the web to see what would appear. And you site came up. So I did some research on Abraham and have included it here for your perusal. Along with some scriptural support. Your comment indicating that Abraham wondered around without a purpose is what I guess prompted me to submit this to you. At one time in my life I also felt that I was walking around aimlessly looking for something but not really knowing what it was. Since I have been studying the bible in depth, I no longer feel that way and I now feel I have a purpose in life. I would like to extend that feeling to you if you so desire. I would be interested in learning your thoughts on this research. I would prefer to also stay anonymous and prefer you not to post my entry.
    (A′bra‧ham) [Father of a Crowd (Multitude)].
    The name given by God to Abram (meaning “Father Is High (Exalted)”) when he was 99 years old, and when God was reaffirming His promise that Abraham’s offspring would become many.—Ge 17:5.
    Family Origin and Early History. Abraham was the tenth generation from Noah through Shem and was born 352 years after the Deluge, in 2018 B.C.E. Although listed first among the three sons of Terah, at Genesis 11:26, Abraham was not the firstborn. The Scriptures show that Terah was 70 years old when his first son was born, and that Abraham was born 60 years later when his father Terah was 130 years old. (Ge 11:32; 12:4) Evidently Abraham is listed first among his father’s sons because of his outstanding faithfulness and prominence in the Scriptures, a practice that is followed in the case of several other outstanding men of faith such as Shem and Isaac.—Ge 5:32; 11:10; 1Ch 1:28.
    Abraham was a native of the Chaldean city of Ur, a thriving metropolis located in the land of Shinar, near the present junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. It was about 240 km (150 mi) SE of Nimrod’s onetime royal city of Babel, or Babylon, so notorious for its unfinished Tower of Babel.
    In Abraham’s time, the city of Ur was steeped in Babylonish idolatry and the worship of its patron moon-god Sin. (Jos 24:2, 14, 15) Nevertheless, Abraham proved to be a man of faith in Jehovah God, even as his forefathers Shem and Noah; and as a consequence, he earned the reputation “the father of all those having faith while in uncircumcision.” (Ro 4:11) Since true faith is based on accurate knowledge, Abraham may have received his understanding by personal association with Shem (their lives overlapped by 150 years). Abraham knew and used the name of Jehovah; to quote him: “Jehovah the Most High God, Producer of heaven and earth,” “Jehovah, the God of the heavens and the God of the earth.”—Ge 14:22; 24:3.
    While Abraham was still living in Ur, “before he took up residence in Haran,” Jehovah commanded him to move out to a strange land, leaving behind friends and relatives. (Ac 7:2-4; Ge 15:7; Ne 9:7) There in that country that He would show Abraham, God said he would make out of him a great nation. At the time, Abraham was married to his half sister Sarah, but they were childless and both were old. So it would take great faith to obey, but obey he did.
    Terah, now around 200 years old and still the family’s patriarchal head, agreed to accompany Abraham and Sarah on this long journey, and it is for this reason that Terah as father is credited with making the move toward Canaan. (Ge 11:31) It appears that fatherless Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was adopted by his childless uncle and aunt and so accompanied them. Northwestward the caravan moved, some 960 km (600 mi), until they reached Haran, which was an important junction on the E-W trade routes. Haran is located where two wadis join to form a stream that reaches the Balikh River in the winter, about 110 km (68 mi) above where the Balikh empties into the Euphrates River. Here Abraham remained until the death of his father Terah.—MAP, Vol. 1, p. 330.
    Sojourn in Canaan. Now 75 years old, Abraham began to move his household out of Haran to the land of Canaan, where he lived out the remaining hundred years of his life in tents as an alien and migratory resident. (Ge 12:4) It was following the death of his father Terah that Abraham went out from Haran in 1943 B.C.E. and crossed the Euphrates River, evidently on the 14th day of the month that later became known as Nisan. (Ge 11:32; Ex 12:40-43, LXX) It was at that time that the covenant between Jehovah and Abraham went into effect, and the 430-year period of temporary residence until the making of the Law covenant with Israel began.—Ex 12:40-42; Ga 3:17.
    Evidently Abraham, with his flocks and herds, traveled down through Damascus and on to Shechem (located 48 km [30 mi] N of Jerusalem), near the big trees of Moreh. (Ge 12:6) Here Jehovah appeared again to Abraham, confirming and enlarging His covenant promise by declaring: “To your seed I am going to give this land.” (Ge 12:7) Abraham not only built an altar to Jehovah there but, as he moved southward through the land, he built other altars along the way; and he called on the name of Jehovah. (Ge 12:8, 9) In time a severe famine compelled Abraham to move temporarily to Egypt, and to protect his life, he represented Sarah as his sister. This resulted in Pharaoh’s taking beautiful Sarah into his household to be his wife, but before he could violate her, Jehovah had Pharaoh give her back. Abraham then returned to Canaan to the campsite between Bethel and Ai and again called “on the name of Jehovah.”—Ge 12:10–13:4.
    It now became necessary, because of the increasing size of their flocks and herds, for Abraham and Lot to separate. Lot selected the basin of the lower Jordan, a well-watered region “like the garden of Jehovah,” and later established his camp near Sodom. (Ge 13:5-13) Abraham, for his part, after being told to travel about through the length and breadth of the land, came to dwell among the big trees of Mamre in Hebron, 30 km (19 mi) SSW of Jerusalem.—Ge 13:14-18.
    When four allied kings, headed by the Elamite king Chedorlaomer, were successful in crushing a revolt of five Canaanite kings, Sodom and Gomorrah were sacked, and Lot was taken captive together with all of his property. Abraham, upon learning of this, quickly mustered 318 of his trained household servants. With his confederates Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, he made a forced march in hot pursuit perhaps as much as 300 km (190 mi) northward to beyond Damascus and, with Jehovah’s help, defeated a far superior force. Lot was thus rescued, and the stolen property was recovered. (Ge 14:1-16, 23, 24) As Abraham was returning from this great victory a “priest of the Most High God,” Melchizedek, who was also the king of Salem, came out and blessed him, and Abraham, in turn, “gave him a tenth of everything.”—Ge 14:17-20.
    Appearance of the Promised Seed. Since Sarah continued to be barren, it appeared that Eliezer the faithful house steward from Damascus would receive Abraham’s inheritance. Nevertheless, Jehovah again reassured Abraham that his own offspring would become uncountable, as the stars of heaven, and so Abraham “put faith in Jehovah; and he proceeded to count it to him as righteousness,” even though this occurred years before Abraham was circumcised. (Ge 15:1-6; Ro 4:9, 10) Jehovah then concluded a formal covenant over animal sacrifices with Abraham, and at the same time, he revealed that Abraham’s offspring would be afflicted for a period of 400 years, even being taken into slavery.—Ge 15:7-21.
    Time passed. They had now been in Canaan for about ten years, yet Sarah continued barren. She therefore proposed to substitute her Egyptian maidservant Hagar so that she might have a child by her. Abraham consented. And so in 1932 B.C.E., when Abraham was 86 years old, Ishmael was born. (Ge 16:3, 15, 16) More time passed. In 1919 B.C.E., when Abraham was 99 years old, as a sign or seal to testify to the special covenant relationship existing between himself and Abraham, Jehovah commanded that all the males of Abraham’s household be circumcised. At the same time Jehovah changed his name from Abram to Abraham, “because a father of a crowd of nations I will make you.” (Ge 17:5, 9-27; Ro 4:11) Soon after, three materialized angels, whom Abraham received hospitably in the name of Jehovah, promised that Sarah herself would conceive and give birth to a son, yes, within the coming year!—Ge 18:1-15.
    And what an eventful year it proved to be! Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Abraham’s nephew and his two daughters barely escaped. A famine drove Abraham and his wife to Gerar, only to have the king of that Philistine city take Sarah for his harem. Jehovah intervened; Sarah was released; and at the appointed time, 1918 B.C.E., Isaac, the long-promised heir, was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90. (Ge 18:16–21:7) Five years later, when Isaac’s 19-year-old half brother Ishmael poked fun at him, Abraham was compelled to dismiss Ishmael and his mother Hagar. It was then, in 1913 B.C.E., that the 400 years of affliction upon Abraham’s offspring began.—Ge 21:8-21; 15:13; Ga 4:29.
    The supreme test of Abraham’s faith came about 20 years later. According to Jewish tradition, Isaac was now 25 years old. (Jewish Antiquities, by F. Josephus, I, 227 [xiii, 2]) In obedience to Jehovah’s instructions Abraham took Isaac and traveled N from Beer-sheba at the Negeb to Mount Moriah, situated directly N of Salem. There he built an altar and prepared to offer up Isaac, the promised seed, as a burnt sacrifice. And indeed Abraham “as good as offered up Isaac,” for “he reckoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead.” Only at the last moment did Jehovah intervene and provide a ram as a substitute for Isaac on the sacrificial altar. It was, therefore, this implicit faith backed up by complete obedience that moved Jehovah to reinforce his covenant with Abraham with a sworn oath, a special legal guarantee.—Ge 22:1-18; Heb 6:13-18; 11:17-19.
    When Sarah died at Hebron in 1881 B.C.E. at the age of 127, it was necessary for Abraham to purchase a burial plot, for indeed he was only an alien resident owning no land in Canaan. So he bought a field with its cave at Machpelah near Mamre from the sons of Heth. (Ge 23:1-20; see PURCHASE.) Three years later, when Isaac reached the age of 40, Abraham sent his oldest servant, likely Eliezer, back to Mesopotamia in order to find a suitable wife, one who was also a true worshiper of Jehovah, for his son. Rebekah, who was the grandniece of Abraham, proved to be Jehovah’s choice.—Ge 24:1-67.
    “Furthermore, Abraham again took a wife,” Keturah, and thereafter fathered six additional sons, so that from Abraham sprang not only the Israelites, Ishmaelites, and Edomites but also Medanites, Midianites, and others. (Ge 25:1, 2; 1Ch 1:28, 32, 34) Thus it was that Jehovah’s prophetic utterance was fulfilled in Abraham: “A father of a crowd of nations I will make you.” (Ge 17:5) Finally, at the good old age of 175, Abraham died, in 1843 B.C.E., and was buried by his sons Isaac and Ishmael in the cave of Machpelah. (Ge 25:7-10) Prior to his death Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his secondary wives and sent them away, so that Isaac would be the sole heir of “everything he had.”—Ge 25:5, 6.
    Patriarchal Head and Prophet. Abraham was a very wealthy man with great flocks and herds, much silver and gold, and a very large household numbering many hundreds of servants. (Ge 12:5, 16; 13:2, 6, 7; 17:23, 27; 20:14; 24:35) For this reason the kings of Canaan considered him a powerful “chieftain” and one with whom covenants of peace should be made. (Ge 23:6; 14:13; 21:22, 23) Yet at no time did Abraham allow materialism to blind his vision of Jehovah and His promises or cause him to become proud, high-minded, or selfish.—Ge 13:9; 14:21-23.
    The first occurrence of the word “prophet” in the Hebrew Scriptures refers to Abraham, though others like Enoch prophesied before him. (Ge 20:7; Jude 14) The first identified in the Scriptures as a “Hebrew” is Abraham. (Ge 14:13) Abraham, like Abel, Enoch, and Noah, was a man of faith. (Heb 11:4-9) But the first occurrence of the expression “put faith in Jehovah” is in reference to Abraham.—Ge 15:6.
    Indeed, this man of unusual faith walked with God, received communications from him by means of visions and dreams, and entertained his angelic messengers. (Ge 12:1-3, 7; 15:1-8, 12-21; 18:1-15; 22:11, 12, 15-18) He was well acquainted with the name of God even though Jehovah had not at that time revealed the full significance of His name. (Ex 6:2, 3) Time after time Abraham built altars and offered up sacrifices in the name of and to the praise and glory of his God Jehovah.—Ge 12:8; 13:4, 18; 21:33; 24:40; 48:15.
    As patriarchal head, Abraham allowed no idolatry or ungodliness in his household but constantly taught all his sons and servants to “keep Jehovah’s way to do righteousness and judgment.” (Ge 18:19) Every male member of Abraham’s household was bound by Jehovah’s law to submit to circumcision. The Egyptian slave girl Hagar called on Jehovah’s name in prayer. And Abraham’s oldest servant in a very heart-touching prayer to Jehovah demonstrated his own faith in Abraham’s God. Isaac too, in his early manhood, proved his faith and his obedience to Jehovah by allowing himself to be bound hand and foot and placed atop the altar for sacrifice.—Ge 17:10-14, 23-27; 16:13; 24:2-56.
    Historicity. Jesus and his disciples referred to Abraham more than 70 times in their conversations and writings. In his illustration of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus referred to Abraham in a symbolic sense. (Lu 16:19-31) When his opponents boasted that they were the offspring of Abraham, Jesus was quick to point out their hypocrisy, saying: “If you are Abraham’s children, do the works of Abraham.” (Joh 8:31-58; Mt 3:9, 10) No, as the apostle Paul said, it is not fleshly descent that counts, but, rather, faith like that of Abraham that enables one to be declared righteous. (Ro 9:6-8; 4:1-12) Paul also identified the true seed of Abraham as Christ, along with those who belong to Christ as “heirs with reference to a promise.” (Ga 3:16, 29) He also speaks of Abraham’s kindness and hospitality to strangers, and in his long list in Hebrews chapter 11 of illustrious witnesses of Jehovah, Paul does not overlook Abraham. It is Paul who points out that Abraham’s two women, Sarah and Hagar, figured in a symbolic drama that involved Jehovah’s two covenants. (Ga 4:22-31; Heb 11:8) The Bible writer James adds that Abraham backed up his faith by righteous works and, therefore, was known as “Jehovah’s friend.”—Jas 2:21-23.
    Archaeological discoveries have also confirmed matters related in the Biblical history of Abraham: The geographic locations of many places and customs of that period of time, such as the purchase of the field from the Hittites, the choice of Eliezer as heir, and the treatment of Hagar.

  2. Ben Hur Gualberto says:

    1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

    3He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,a do not pass your servant by. 4Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

    “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

    1. Abraham sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men…he hurried …to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
    – In the middle of his day he was looking to and fro for whom he could greet and honor (show love & respect).
    – He did this where? In his dwelling, at the door of his dwelling. The place where he rested. The door of his heart was to bless others. Always open to others and therefore open to God.
    – this is our calling as sons of Abraham to have a heart and a dwelling always open and looking to bless others. We too like Abraham are in the middle of two cities or two people as ambasadors for God and not citizens of this world. Just as no letter in the Torah touches each other and God is said to dwell between each letter of the Torah so we insert God between the people who journey between us. This is the Kosher calling of all who call themselves sons of Abraham whether Jew or Christian. We like Abraham are to dwell between men and insert God and bless them.
    2. As Abraham speaks I have noted some key points:
    a) if I have found favor. Abraham brings to attention that he has found favor because the Lord has come to him. He knows he has favor yet vocalizes it to give a platform for his faith. He begins his reasoning with the Lord by speaking out or confession. God spoke the world into existence, He did not think it into existence. Abraham highlights the power behind vocalizing and confessing his faith. God did not need to hear Abrahams faith God knew Abraham had faith or He would not have come to Abraham. Abraham needed to hear his faith. Faith comes from hearing (Shamah) and hearing the word of God.
    b) do not pass by your servant. He desires to dwell in the Lord’s presence. He enjoys the company of the Lord. Better is one day in your court than a thousand elsewhere. Take not your Holy Spirit from me.
    c) let a little water be brought. Water is a symbol of blessing, love, unity. The Hebrew word for water is mem. The gematria for the word mem is totaled to 13. Therefore in Hebrew there are always two words associated with the word water they are ehod which means one or unity and ahav for love. See Deutoronomy 6:4-5 Hear Oh Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one (ehod) And you shall love (ahav) the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength. Whenever Jews see the word water they go back to this verse and these two words. Whenever water is seen in the bible it reminds us of Gods love and how we are to love and how this love unifies us to be one with him and one with others. This is why Yeshua used water to illustrate his messages. This is why it is noted in this passage of Abraham as he is one with the Lord.
    d) then you may wash your feet. When Yeshua went to wash the feet of his disciples I am sure all twelve of them remembered the passage of Abraham washing the feet of the Lord in Genesis 18. The imagery here is this, Abraham is a servant. He is great because of his heart and his faith. He desires to serve the Lord. Yeshua was teaching the twelve that to be great you have to serve, not necessarily washing the feet, but the cleansing occurs as you are willing to honor others and serve them whether it is getting them water, preparing them a meal or even washing the feet. He said do like wise, not wash peoples feet.
    e) rest under this tree. In Revelation John describes the Lord as standing at the door and knocking, waiting to come in. Jesus in Matthew 8 says, “foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the son of man has no where to lay his head.” The Lord has always desired a tabernacle to dwell in. The tabernacle He desires is not one of stone, gold or brick. He wants to dwell in our lives. A tabernacle of flesh, the human heart is the tabernacle he chooses to set His throne. Abraham knew this. This is why he is recorded sitting at the opening of his tent. He is eager looking to and fro for someone he can offer rest to. He understands that when he even blesses others that God is there dwelling with him. In Hebrew the word temple means neck. So the understanding is this when we come together in unity in the temple we connect like the neck connects the head and the body with God and we connect with each other. It is under the tree that we find rest. Those who have aknowledge the tree that Yeshua bore and died upon have found true rest. Those who pick up there own tree find rest in the shade of Gods mercy and grace.
    f) let me get you something to eat. Abraham prepared both bread and meat. Not just sweet bread which is a symbol of extra, abundance and blessing, but also meat that which gives sustanence, substance. Abraham was able to bless because he had substance, he had that which could sustain life. It makes me wonder if I am able to bless others; if I have anything of substance and sustanance to offer others and to offer back to the Lord? Jesus is seen twice asking the disciples if they have anything to eat in Luke 5 and in John 21. He asks for fish (meat). The bread is also nothing to discard. When God gives it is always in abundance like the multitude of fish, like the best wine at Cana or the bread which Abraham offers they are symbols that God blesses abundantly. He gives us not just the sustanence but the dessert as well. This is the way Abraham gives and this is the way we are to likewise give.
    g) you can be refreshed. Proverbs says He who waters will be watered. He gives to the Lord so that they can be refreshed. We have a circle here. God gives blessing to Abraham. He provides the tree of Mamre for shade. He gives Abraham wealth and livestock and food and water even milk and curds. Abraham gives back to the Lord. The Lord is refreshed. As Abraham gives to the Lord Abraham is fullfilled and therefore this fulfillment is a type of refreshing and the circle is complete.
    h) then go on your way. Abraham’s attitude is noted here. By allowing the journey men to go their way he is saying I do not expect any thing in return. He gives open heartedly with no strings attached. He only wishes to bless and send off. He knows where his blessing came from and will continue to come from. This is the type of love that Yeshua gave on the cross – not for himself, but for the benefit of others.
    i) you have come to your servant. Abraham reminds himself again audibly that the Lord came to see him. He reminds himself that God is purposeful when He comes to dwell with man. God is always wanting to meet. God always initiates and comes to our door. We just have to keep our heads up and sit and watch for Him. Abraham reminds himself of this before he receives his blessing.
    j) “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” God grants Abraham his request – his request to serve God and God dwells and rests with Abraham.
    This is the ultimate blessing of Abraham. God dwells with Him. Then to add dessert, Abraham is promised a son and Abraham also gets to know God’s secret plans for Sodom and Gomorah.
    God shares with Abraham and Abraham with God.
    When God and Abraham start negotiations over Sodom and Gomorah why do the negotiations cease at the number 10? or in Hebrew eser? The number ten in Hebrew is associated with the letter Yod. It looks like an arm or a hand. The hands have 10 fingers and it symbolizes what a man can do with his life, both the good and the evil actions. The idea of ten is also associated with the ten commandments. The commandments speak of the good and the evil which we do with our lives or our hands so to say. I believe the number 10 is recorded in Genesis 18 as the last number in the negotiations between the Lord and Abraham to point out that Sodom and Gomorah did evil with their hands. All the account of the hands of Sodom and Gomorah totalled only for evil in the sight of the Lord. And because of they are caught “red handed” with blood on their hands, God had no choice but to destroy them. I find it interesting how chapter 18 begins with Abraham searching and yearning to bless others and the Lord then contrasts the evil hands and the curse that results on Sodom and Gomorah.

  3. nickwolf says:

    This is delusional. I have studied the Bible for thirty years, and, to try to conflate a 2,000 yr old passage to today in America to a political squabble…is to belittle both God and the Bible. Silly rabbits like to play with Bible passages.

  4. GRH says:

    This is my first time on your blog, and I like the title. Although I am a minister, I have never preached a sermon on the tree of Mamre. I am thoroughly familiar with it and I like your analogy. Maybe one day…
    As to the tree itself, I seriously doubt that the tree of Mamre exists in any visible form. It must have been very old then to be a landmark, and that was nearly 4000 years ago. That really isn’t important. What is important is that in very real ways we all need our trees of Mamre.
    Keep posting!

    • John Scotus says:

      The tree that is traditionally called the Tree of Mamre is likely only several hundred years old (in the latest picture I saw of it, it looked very dead), but it is the thought that counts. Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. Abiola says:

    I see mamre shed as a place of rest. A place where destiny is being fulfilled. Where God visits and establishes His promises. I can only pray for one thing, that the Lord envision me and take me to my Mamre trees. Like Abraham, i have wandered to and fro and i need some rest in His secret place. Thank you for the piece.

  7. Sharon says:

    I linked in from another site… I recognize the Tree you refer to and really enjoyed reading your thoughts about choosing it as the site name. Good stuff. Keep on keeping on, until then. You have drawn a few critics who the mock the Rock, the Word and those who don’t. Well done, sir.

    • John Scotus says:

      Thanks for the comment and for dropping by.

      • A.M.Prasad says:

        Dear Sir, Thank you for letting us so close to your inner feelings. Only after reading the life of Abraham I understood the true meaning of faith. Abraham’s righteousness, his ultimate trust in God Jehovah’s guidance and blessings seem inseparably linked.I may possess not a grain of his elements but I do hope faith in my Jehovah also ascends in trust to a degree higher than now.
        My Tree of Mamre is right behind my courtyard .After my parents passed away ,my wife and I returned to to live in a part of the inherited parental house at the native place after being away for nearly 3 decades. Seven years have passed since we pitched our tent here but still feel unwelcome and alone, unable to forget the hurt of minds more than heart. With none of near and dear ones around,except my wife’s mother who lives with her son, and faith in righteousness, where is the need for a lonely place .My Mamre Tree behind is that wilderness of Negev where no one lived, perhaps our final resting place.

    • A.M.Prasad says:

      Dear Sir, Thank you for letting us so close to your inner feelings. My Tree of Mamre is right behind the courtyard .After my parents passed away ,my wife and I returned to to live in a part of the inherited parental house at the native place after being away for nearly 3 decades. Seven years have passed since we pitched our tent here but still feel unwelcome and alone in the midst of own people with whom most part of childhood was spent. With none of near and dear ones around,except my wife’s mother who lives with her son, where is the need for a lonely place .My Mamre Tree behind is that wilderness of Negev where no one lived, perhaps our final resting place.

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  9. Vikki Pitts says:

    Hi, I have been reading Gen and saw The trees of Mamre and to have moved all my life. I found my self reflecting at times why God just doesn’t establish me anywhere..and yet I say to HIM YOUR WILL not mine…God moves me again .In it all I have come to focus on HIM and my home HE promised He has waiting I know there must be alot of TRESS OF MAMRE there…Vikki

  10. Eric says:

    We are both travelers who are not home yet. I can totally relate.

  11. Ken Shaw says:

    Lot of good things. Abraham was definitely a man of great faith, and we certainly can learn much from him. As the Word says, Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.

  12. Manni London says:

    Relly touched by this.
    3 years later your post is still encouraging people to trust Jehovah. Amen.

  13. Joshua Lieder says:

    I havent been able to read your other posts yet (if more exist) but hope you are free from the back pain or have found courage and strength in the Lord as you rest up. Be Strong and of Good Courage (my name is Joshua so I am honored to bless you that way) . I am a new Master’s level Theology student and I see a lot of reassurance in the scriptures shared and written about Abram who became Abraham. God took him out to count the stars, right? He blessed him and reassured him. How I pray you are remaining faithful and are encouraged by God as well. Shalom!

  14. Barbara says:

    Loved your writing; and so true. Here we have no continuing city, but we look for the one whose builder and maker is God.

    You have great courage!

  15. Bryant says:

    Hello John, where was the picture taken at the top of your site? Bryant from North Carolina.

  16. Bryant says:

    The pic of the partial house, the 2 people and the big green trees? thats in Shanghai. I’m speechless. That is awesome!

    • John Scotus says:

      Yep, it’s Shanghai. This is part of the old estate of a taipan from before the war. Now it belongs to a hotel.

      • wubr2000 says:

        Hi John. Just curious. Do you live in Shanghai? I came to your website when I was googling for the meaning of the tree of Mamre. It’s quite a coincidence. I am currently living in Hong Kong and like you, I am also an expat. I totally get it when you said that you feel like you’ve always been traveling in search of something and that you do not feel at home where you are now. Like you, I also feel that I am somewhere where I don’t belong but can’t leave due to be reason another. This is why your tree of Mamre articles resonated with me so much. Incidentally, I also feel that my father is in the same situation although he is in the U.S.
        Anyway, I just want to point out the coincidence and the fact that we are both in China. Thanks for the article. I think I will do some more thinking about the tree of Mamre as I think that it has some significance in my life.

  17. Bryant says:

    Wow! that is so majestic. I wish for you the best in life brother. I too ran across your blog when I was reading the bible and in Genesis came across the Tree of Mamre and decided to Google it. I think you’re a good person. You know I have done much thinking and praying about people who suffer in this life and wonder why some people have it so good and some people do not. I came across the parable in Luke of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus is not suffering any longer is he. He suffered on the earth but sure was restored in Heaven. And look at what happened to the rich man that was so selfish and heartless and only thought of himself on earth. WOW! Bryant from NC

  18. Bryant says:

    Hey, wouldn’t it be great to just travel all the time and see all the beautiful places on the earth that God has made? There are so many beautiful places in every city in every state in every country on every continent of the world. PEACE and strength to you. Bryant from NC

  19. Vanessa says:

    I always find it interesting how God shares pieces of his own experience in life with people. I think it is his own way of showing himself in us, hoping we will recognize him living within. Jesus had no place to rest his head. he was not at home with the temple pharisees. He was thought to be mad by his own siblings. He was rejected by those he came to save, he was abandoned by his own followers, and he was not at home on this earth, yet longs to return for us. Perhaps Jesus died on his tree of mamre and was later buried in a cave like Abraham and yet his covenant lives in his faithful descendants. His truth living in you, and living through the experiences of your life is testimony now as it was then…He is with you. like Abraham, thank you for letting us see and hear what God has shown and told you, and for being faithful. Continue your journey…sure i will see you someday…when we get home :)

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  21. jlue says:

    You have an excellent blog. Remember, you are not alone and God is in control of the nations and and His people:

    The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.Psalm 33:10

    Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. Psalm 33:12

  22. wubr2000 says:

    Nice explanation! I know what you mean.

  23. Daniel says:

    Wow… Interesante.. Gracias a Dios..El me ha Provisto de un Arbol de Mamrè… Aleluya.

    • Desiree Whiting says:

      Twice this year I read the script from Gen 13 Vs 14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15  For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever. 16  And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then could your descendants also be counted. 17  Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you. 18  Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt among the oaks or terebinths of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and built there an altar to the Lord…
      .there has been many occasions that the Lord has spoken to me prophetically about being like an oak tree…today I just felt it was time to draw near to HIM an seek out what HE is saying to me…I googled Mamre an found this this site…I’m so challenged by what I read…it has help me to understanding my own spiritual journey and the struggles I have been through of not being able to put down roots…thank you so much for sharing your heart and to Anonymous your input is like fresh waters to me…blessing to you all.


  24. David says:

    The tree of Mamre is a place where God, in His Grace meets with us. At Calvary a tree was cut down and made into a tool of death. On that tree Jesus died for us. From death Jesus rose and invites all to meet Him at the cross, a new tree of Mamre. At the cross God shows His love, by His death He paid the price, in His resurrection He gives life and by His Spirit He gives the resource. Praise Him. Trust Him. Proclaim Him.
    Jesus is Lord

  25. Brian Midolo says:

    Thanks for your inflection and words. It was important for me to read…

  26. Tim Shey says:

    The Lord has had me on the highways of the United States for a number of years. We are pilgrims on this earth.

    “A Thumb and a Prayer”

  27. Dan says:

    I live about halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron (the site of the Tree of Mamre). All the sites mentioned in your piece are very real to me (I also lived near Bet El [the modern Jewish village on the site]).

    As to ‘Trees of…’, that cannot be as the Hebrew word is in the singular.

  28. Joseph says:

    I love grow in Christ and leave a life worthy of christ

  29. Suzanne Littlefield says:

    I just read your post. As i was first reading, I felt the enemy giving you the wrong set of eyes regarding Abraham’s situation. Though he was away from his home everywhere he went God showed up in a mighty way, even when he lied about his beautiful beloved wife, not once, but twice. God continued to pour iut goodness. He even called Abraham “Possessor of Heaven and Earth” after he fought for his nephew lot and the Kings though he was not a fan of these men. Abraham had great wealth and favor everywhere he went because he followed the leading of the Lord. Though yes, he surely fekt alone at times, God was was him. God calked him His “friend”. A friend to God, I believe is truly someone who is very close to you in relationship, time and closeness. Sometimes the enemy puts thoughts in your mind you dont belong or you are alone, or you dont fit here. I have experienced all these lies. The Holy Spirit revealed the Truth to me and I saw everything with different eyes. It truly does nit matter what country, city, town you live in. Ask the Hoky Spirit to see people and the place you live with His eyes and press through the difficult times and you will feel at home because Jesus loves you and people. Always serve where you live and you will feel at home in the community where you live. If yiu think some say when I am here or there, you will never feel at home. The place God referred to in the Bible in Hebrews “the rest ” is a place you never have to leave no matter where you live. Study the life of Abraham in the book of Jasher. It guves you some amazing insights into this man. His home was jnown as a place that any stranger ciuld come and find refuge. Anyone passing through knew his home wiuld provide foid and shelter. He became the rest and refuge for others. He dud not feel sorry fir himself and feel self loathing. He walked closely with God and even when he failed Gid blessed and protected him and his family. He learned how awesome and merciful and full of grace that his God and friend was and then he became that to others. I am so happy you received your farm house in Japan. God wanted you to see how much He loves you!!!! I so hope you are becoming the returner to those around you. Now finding rest and letting everyone know around you if the great God you servewho gave yiu the desire of your heart and now you can be like Abraham opening your home to others and showing them What a friend you have in Christ. Blessed be His awesome Holy Name. May the blessings of the Lord overtake you!!!

  30. Only place I feel at home at is in from of the Blessed Sacrament, by myself, in the middle of the night. Because no one else can bother me, as I pray, read, sing, and read spiritual reading or songs, as I like — with no one to pester me.Having lived in the country the first half of my life, city people irk me, to no end.

  31. Fran Singer says:

    I think many God fearing people feel somewhat alone in the world and marginalized. I think this is part of being in the world and yet not of it, I see it as a hidden blessing that keeps one at the feet of the Master. A tree, especially a large one, seems to me a symbol of life and shelter. I think of the Tree of Life in Genesis. I think of the Kingdom of Heaven described by the Lord as a Tree where all of the birds come to dwell in its branches. Trees are watered from above (the rains) and from below (through the roots). It seems to me a beautiful metaphor for living waters keeping faith alive. Lastly, a great tree affords shade and shelter. Perhaps Abraham felt all of these blessings under those great trees at Mamre.

  32. Bonnie Marie Ryan says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful meditation. I found it while preparing to Lector tomorrow at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. I also found a source that delares though the main trunk of this 5,000 year old oak died in 1996, a shoot sprung up in 1998 … living evidence of the interpenetration of faith, hope and charity.

  33. Greg Seymour says:

    Helpful as had to leave full time mission work in Northern country Japan due to child with special needs education, feel very much adrift. Glad you made it back to Japan! God Bless

  34. Dayle says:

    Thank you for your writing, they touch my heart and open it a bit further to Gods rest and love.

  35. Dawne Williams says:

    This is both an enlightening and encouraging body of knowledge. Thank you for sharing it. It’s been a blessing to me; as I can certainly relate to the concept of being a wandering soul. I’m another weary traveler in this life, although I live close to my birthplace. My home is with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; yet He sustains me in this foreign land every day. I pray He continues to bless and sustain you as well. Perhaps we shall meet some glad day in our true home. Thankful for blessings brought with this testimony.

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