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We read how Avraham was going around convincing people to believe in one G-d and of his many students. Yet we don't hear of those students (or their descendants) ever again.

What happened to them all? Did they go back to paganism?

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Could the people Abraham converted stuck with the Abraham family and ended up as the Erev Rav that left Egypt? – Clint Eastwood Jul 6 '14 at 21:21
"We read how Avraham was going around convincing people to believe in one G-d and of his many students" where do we read this? – mevaqesh Oct 18 at 22:06

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It appears that Isaac wasn't the charismatic, outgoing person that his father was, so they drifted off.

As observed by my mentor, Rabbi Francis Nataf.

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I can understand that for the people Avraham brought to monotheism in the last years of his life, but what about the ones who had been monotheists for forty years by the time he died? – msh210 Nov 15 '11 at 19:04
@msh210, a friend of mine has sadly referred to certain religiously-influenced people as "wind-up toys." – Shalom Nov 15 '11 at 19:08
Though it's equally possible they went back and lived their lives as ethical monotheists, no longer needing to stick to Avraham. That appears to be Jethro's path after leaving the Jews. – Shalom Nov 15 '11 at 19:09
I remember seeing this answer in R' Zevin's "Treasury of Chassidic Tales". – Shmuel Brin Jan 13 '12 at 18:27

Even the Jews abandoned monotheism and did avodah zarah in Egypt. So what are the chances that a small group of people in Cana'an would be able to keep their faith for hundreds of years? Perhaps some of them stayed monotheistic during Yitzchak's time, but they clearly assimilated into the surrounding population over the next few generations.

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The Torah says that Avraham sent his children with gifts to the east. The Zohar (Zohar I:99b) implies that these gifts were religious ideas which were spread to India and to the philosophies of China. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 91a) says that these gifts were 'the name of Tumah.' Presumably this included the 300+ students that he had when involved with the war between the 4 and 5 kings.

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From Rashi (Breshit 25:6) we learn that the children he sent with the gifts were the sons of Hagar (Keturah). – rony Nov 16 '11 at 20:48
The zohar is quite clear on the point. – avi Nov 16 '11 at 20:54

Given that it's an historical fact that many so-called "Indo-European" tribes were present in the region where Haran is located before and during the time of Abraham (approx 2 KY BCE), and given that the Jewish genome includes men belonging to R1a and R1b clades that are older than any found in Europe, isn't it also possible that at least some of the men were married into the family? Ditto for the women (Jews and Europeans share a suprisingly large number of y and mt DNA haplogroups in common. Not all of which can be explained away as the result of post Roman diaspora conversions).

Some say that R1a and R1b Jews (and by extension all Europeans) are really Edomites. But many recent studies of the genome of Jewish and Arab males belonging to clades of these haplogroups point firmly a pre Esavian origin. And given that yDNA haplogroups R1a, R1b, J1 and J2 all have a common ancestor in Haplogroup IJK, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that, ethnically, most Indo-Europeans are misidentified Semites and not Japhethites.

Which should be deliciously infuriating for certain far rightists on both sides of the racial divide.

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This still does not answer the question as to what happened to the converts. Note that the question is what happened to the converts that Avraham "made" during the time of Yitzchak and Yaakov. Note that Yaakov's children had to have married and the genetic markers could have come from people marrying the sons and daughters of the shevatim. This does not answer what happened to the converts of Avraham to reduce the number of those who went to Mitzrayim to 70. – sabbahillel Oct 19 at 0:00

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