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II. The Story of the Ancestors of Israel

Terah. 27 These are the descendants of Terah.[a] Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran, and Haran begot Lot. 28 Haran died before Terah his father, in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans.[b] 29 Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai,[c] and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.(A) 30 Sarai was barren; she had no child.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot, son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and brought them out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to go to the land of Canaan. But when they reached Haran, they settled there.(B) 32 The lifetime of Terah was two hundred and five years; then Terah died in Haran.[d]

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Footnotes

  1. 11:27 Descendants of Terah: elsewhere in Genesis the story of the son is introduced by the name of the father (25:12, 19; 36:1; 37:2). The Abraham-Sarah stories begin (11:27–32) and end with genealogical notices (25:1–18), which concern, respectively, the families of Terah and of Abraham. Most of the traditions in the cycle are from the Yahwist source. The so-called Elohist source (E) is somewhat shadowy, denied by some scholars but recognized by others in passages that duplicate other narratives (20:1–18 and 21:22–34). The Priestly source consists mostly of brief editorial notices, except for chaps. 17 and 23.
  2. 11:28 Ur of the Chaldeans: Ur was an extremely ancient city of the Sumerians (later, of the Babylonians) in southern Mesopotamia. The Greek text has “the land of the Chaldeans.” After a millennium of relative unimportance, Ur underwent a revival during the Neo-Babylonian/Chaldean empire (625–539 B.C.). The sixth-century author here identified the place by its contemporary name. As chap. 24 shows, Haran in northern Mesopotamia is in fact the native place of Abraham. In the Genesis perspective, the human race originated in the East (3:24; 4:16) and migrated from there to their homelands (11:2). Terah’s family moved from the East (Ur) and Abraham will complete the journey to the family’s true homeland in the following chapters.
  3. 11:29 Sarai: like Abram, a dialectal variant of the more usual form of the name Sarah. In 17:15, God will change it to Sarah in view of her new task.
  4. 11:32 Since Terah was seventy years old when his son Abraham was born (v. 26), and Abraham was seventy-five when he left Haran (12:4), Terah lived in Haran for sixty years after Abraham’s departure. According to the tradition in the Samaritan text, Terah died when he was one hundred and forty-five years old, therefore, in the same year in which Abraham left Haran. This is the tradition followed in Stephen’s speech: Abraham left Haran “after his father died” (Acts 7:4).

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