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Relationship to Chapters 1-2. The relationship of Verses 1:21-27 to the rest of Chapters 1-2 is discussed at Chapters 1-2.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 1:21-27 include:
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- Abr 1:21: From the loins of Ham. The significance of mentioning Ham here is most likely tied up with the incident described in Gen 9:22-27 where some LDS scholars think that Ham stole the garment of the Priesthood from Noah (see commentary there).
- Abr 1:21. The Book of Moses makes reference to a people called "Canaanites" who lived long before Canaan, the son of Ham (see Moses 7:6-12). Some difficulties in the JST manuscripts and in the Book of Abraham manuscripts may suggest that the situation described in this verse and the one following is more complex than it at first appears. This complication may also play into the curse of Canaan described in Gen 9:22-27, where it is unclear why Ham's activities result in a curse for Canaan.
- Abr 1:26: Blessings. If Pharoah is descendant of Ham (v. 25), then the blessings being referred to may be those given to all the sons of Noah in Gen 9:1-3, 7. Although there is a curse associated with Ham in Gen 9:22-27, Ham is associated with the righteousness and blessings of Noah and his sons in Moses 8:13, 27.
- Abr 1:26-27: Pharoah's righteousness and Egypt's idolatry. Abraham tells us in verse 26 that Pharoah tried to imitate the order established in the days of Adam and Noah as Pharaoh established his own kingdom. Abraham gives us no hint that there was anything wrong with this imitation. On the contrary in the same sentence Abraham begins by telling us that Pharaoh was righteous and that he ruled wisely and justly. Clearly Pharoah's curse related to the priesthood did not stem from his own unrighteousness. (In contrast the Lamanite curse in the Book of Mormon is directly related to righteousness: each time the Lamanites repent they have full access to the same blessing the Nephites do.)
- Note in verse 27 the difference in the way "Pharaoh" and "the Pharaohs" is used. Abraham tells us that Pharaoh (the Pharaoh who established Egypt) could not have the Priesthood, but that "the Pharaohs" wanted to claim the priesthood from Noah. The contrast may suggest that Pharaoh himself never made such a claim--which is consistent with verse 26 where Abraham tells us Pharaoh was righteous. Nevertheless, later Pharaohs not only sought to claim a priesthood they did not have but also were led away into idolatry.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Abr 1:26: Egyptian order as an imitation of patriarchal order. If Pharaoh established the first Egyptian Kingdom in imitation of the patriarchal order, what can we learn about that order by studying Ancient Egypt?
- Abr 1:27: Therefore. What does the Pharaoh's desire to claim the Priesthood have to do with Abraham's father being led away by their idolatry?
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Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.