Once there was a young man named Abram who lived with his father, Terah, a wealthy merchant who lived in Ur. Terah had lots of money, but he worried since he had heard rumors that the king of Babylon was thinking of taking over his country. So he, Abram, and Abram’s wife Sarai moved to Haran, a place where people worshipped the same god, the Moon God, as Abram and his wife and his father, and where it was easy to trade as a merchant. It was a wonderful place to live, but eventually Terah grew old and died. One day when Abram was walking around the town, pondering on whether he should keep being a farmer or be a merchant like his father, he heard a voice. Abram, frightened, asked the voice if they were one of the gods.
“I am the God – I’m the only God there is,” it said. Then God told him to move to a place called Canaan. Abram had no idea why God wanted him to go to Canaan, because there were wild people and no merchants or trading whatsoever.
And then God said, “I shall call you Abraham, because it means ‘father of many,’ and you shall have many children to rule the place you shall go to. And Sarai shall be renamed Sarah, because that means ‘princess.’” Then Abram laughed because he was around 90 and he was way too old to have any children.
But God said: “God can make anything happen.”
And Sarah and Abraham went to the place God had told them to go, and had a little boy named Isaac. He was named because Isaac means ‘laughter,’ and they had laughed at God.