A Daily Genesis

Genesis 11:28-32

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 11:28 . . Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terah, in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans.[/B]

The Grim Reaper cares not for the age of its victims, whether young or whether old. Haran died before his dad. Many a parent has buried their children before they even had a chance to live.

You know, anybody can die; it's not all that difficult; and people don't have to be old nor do they have to be especially intelligent. Even the young, the inexperienced, and the stupid do it all the time.

"For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered: in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die." (Ecc 2:16)

"For the time of mischance comes to all. And a man cannot even know his time. As fishes are enmeshed in a fatal net, and as birds are trapped in a snare, so men are caught at the time of calamity, when it comes upon them without warning." (Ecc 9:10-12)

"Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets: do they live for ever?" (Zch 1:5)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 11:29 . . Abram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name of Abram's wife being Sarai and that of Nahor's wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.[/B]

Nahor married a niece; the daughter of his brother Haran. And Abram, according to Gen 20:12, married a half sister; the daughter of his father Terah. Such close marriages were later forbidden by Israel's covenanted law.

But as Genesis has shown all along, at this early date close marriages were neither forbidden nor particularly dangerous from a genetic point of view, and so were not uncommon. Adam's family married among themselves; and so did Noah's. They really had no choice about it. There just weren't any other people available for spouses at the time.

Close inbreeding was neither a sin nor a problem in those days. But it sure is now. You wouldn't dare engender children with a sister or a brother or a niece nowadays. The risk of birth defects is just too high. It's notable that as longevity decreased, so did the margin of safety in marrying relatives. The quality of the human body was seriously deteriorating.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 11:30 . . Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.[/B]

This is the very first recorded incident of a human reproductive malfunction. Other than the reduction in longevity; the human body seems to have been running on all eight cylinders up to this point. But who was the problem; was it Abram or Sarai? It was Sarai because Abram later engendered a child by one of Sarai's servant girls.

One of the first horrors the human family witnessed was Abel's death. No one had ever seen a human being dead before. And now this. A woman who couldn't conceive. It must have been stunning and unbelievable. All the women in history up to this point were cranking out babies like rabbits and mice.

But this was double bad for Sarai. Not only could she not have a family of her own, but you know how the tabloids feed on unusual events. Well . . this was one for the books. Sarai, in her day, was a true freak of nature. Everyone would point at her and whisper in hushed tones: Look! There she is! That's the one we saw on 20/20.

She must have felt terribly inferior, and you can just imagine what that did to her self esteem too. Sarai was a gorgeous piece of work, but her womb had no more life in it than a stack of 8x11 Xerox paper.

I'm a man; so how can I possibly understand Sarai's personal grief? Only another barren woman can understand what Sarai must have felt. There are women who don't care about children. But Sarai doesn't strike me as one of those. And even if she didn't care for children, it would have still been a comfort in her mind to know that at least she could have some if she wanted to.

"There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not; "It is enough" -- the grave; the barren womb, the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire." (Pro 30:15-16)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 11:31a . .Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan;[/B]

Ur's ruins are located approximately midway between the modern city of Baghdad Iraq, and the head of the Persian Gulf, south of the Euphrates River, on the edge of the Al Hajarah Desert. The site of Ur is known today as Tall al Muqayyar.

In antiquity, the Euphrates River flowed near the city walls; and thus Ur was favorably located for the development of commerce and for attaining political dominance. The biblical name "Ur of the Chaldees" refers to the Chaldeans, who settled in the area about 900 BC. By the 4th century BC, the city was practically forgotten, possibly as a result of a shift in the course of the Euphrates River.

Water played an important role in the location of ancient civilizations. The Sahara desert, for example, was once a pluvial region with lakes. When geological forces caused the loss of rainfall and surface water, the Sahara became the dry waste it's famed for today and consequently its inhabitants had to relocate.

Ur was enclosed by oval walls thirty feet high, which protected not only the city, but two harbors as well. Sir Leonard Woolley discovered that the inhabitants benefited from well-planned streets, and houses with high standards of sanitation.

They appear to have been constructed to remain cool in the hot summers and some may have been two-storied. House walls adjoined the streets. Homes featured an inner courtyard onto which their rooms faced; just like Judah's home in the Charleton Heston movie Ben Hur.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 11:31b . . but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.[/B]

According to Gen 12:1, God took an interest in Abram while he was in Ur, before he left with Terah to travel to Haran. After sharing his vision with Terah, the dad quite possibly became interested in a new life himself, having recently lost a son. The land where he then lived held bad memories and, probably not wanting to lose touch with any more of his family if Abram were to move away, he suggested that they all travel together; which is a perfectly good idea considering the dangers they were likely to encounter en route.

But the dad didn't have the heart for it really. The old gentleman decided to settle in Haran instead of going all the way to Canaan like the original plan called for.

From Ur, Canaan is dead west and just about the same distance as Haran. But instead of going directly to Canaan, they went north, following the trade routes. I think I would have too. Terah's family was a lot safer going from town to town along the fertile crescent. It would take longer to get to Canaan, but they would be in better shape upon arrival.

There are some who like to keep their foot on the gas and push on through when they travel. But that is very tiring. It's far better to stop often, eat, and rest before moving on. The towns along the northern route could provide them with needed supplies for the journey too.

But Haran (modern Charran or Haraan) is too far out of the way really. It's clear up in Urfa Turkey on the trade route to Ninevah. Terah could have turned south a lot sooner and gone on down to Canaan via Damascus. But I think that by then, he'd lost interest in Canaan and decided that Haran was the place for him. And Abram, probably not wanting to leave his dad alone there, stayed on too.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 11:32 . .The days of Terah came to 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.[/B]

Terah lived a relatively long life for his day. His son Abram only lived to 175. But I sometimes wonder if Terah didn't cut his life short by staying in Haran. Did he forget about God's call to Abram to go to Canaan?

Actually, Terah didn't worship Noah's god, but other gods; pagan gods. So it's only natural that he wouldn't take Yhvh's call seriously. The Bible's God wanted Abram to live down in Canaan. But because of his dad, Abram didn't go there. How sad that parents can actually be a hindrance to their children serving God whole heartedly.

My own dad was a very bad influence upon my spiritual life. It wasn't until after I moved out, and he died, that my relationship with God really took off and went somewhere. He used to get so upset with me for taking the Bible too seriously; even blaming it for keeping me from getting ahead in life. And he constantly pressured me to marry women who were of a different religion than my own.

One's kin can be the ruin of an otherwise Godly person. The influence of unholy kin should never be taken lightly. (cf. Deut 13:7-12)

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