TRACY - My question concerns a "parable" about Abraham turning
out a guest. I first heard this in a sacrament meeting, and just
recently read the account again in a biography
of Benjamin Franklin and attributed to Franklin as his
The parable is that Abraham received an aged man one evening, fed and sheltered him and requested of the man that he pray to the God of Abraham, the man refuses to pray to the Lord and is thrown out of the shelter into the night by Abraham. The Lord then chastises Abraham that he (the Lord) has suffered this man to clothed, fed and sheltered for more than ninety years without any acknowledgment from the man; and yet Abraham could not suffer him for one night.
I wonder is this really a "corruption" from the bible invented by Franklin as stated in the biography, or perhaps a retelling of an Abrahamic tale from the Koran?
I have been unable to find anything of this nature in the chapters of Genesis concerning Abraham, only the account of the three angels he hosted and then laterthe account of the angels received by Lot.
JOEL - From what I have discovered Franklin's parable was based on an old Jewish tradition of stories about how Abraham would give food and drink to passersby, like he did the three angels in Gen 19:1-3, and then tell them to not thank him but to thank God instead. An example of this is found in the Talmud; most likely the inspiration for his parable:
"And he called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.
Resh Lakish said: Read not 'and he called' but 'and he made to call',
thereby teaching that our father Abraham caused the name of the Holy One,
blessed be He, to be uttered by the mouth of every passer-by.
How was this? After [travellers] had eaten and drunk, they stood up to bless him;
but, said he to them, 'Did you eat of mine? You ate of that which belongs to the God of the Universe. Thank, praise and bless Him who spake and the world came into being'." (Talmud Sotah, 10a-b)
Franklin embelished the traditional story a little which resulted in the "Parable Against Persecution" that he wrote. (The Writings of Benjamin Franklin CHAP. XXVII, 1755 )
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