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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Abraham's Bosom

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ABRAHAM’S BOSOM . It was natural for the Jews to represent Abraham as welcoming his righteous descendants to the bliss of heaven. It was, also, not unusual for them to represent the state of the righteous as a feast. In the parable of Luke 16:19 ff. Jesus uses these figures to represent the blessedness of the dead Lazarus. He was reclining at the feast next to Abraham (cf. Matthew 8:11 ). A Rabbi of the third century, Adda Bar Ahaba, uses precisely this expression as a synonym for entering Paradise. Other Jewish writings occasionally represent Abraham as in a way overseeing the entrance of souls into Paradise. ‘Abraham’s Bosom,’ therefore, may very fairly be said to be a synonym for Paradise, where the righteous dead live in eternal bliss. There is no clear evidence that the Jews of Jesus’ day believed in an intermediate state, and it is unsafe to see in the term any reference to such a belief.

Shailer Mathews.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Abraham's Bosom'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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