These [are] the generations of Shem
Now these [are] the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
Here we are introduced first to Abram (‘Abram, exalted father), as well as Nahor (Nachowr, snorting), Haran (Haran, mountaineer) and Lot (Lowt, covering). Alas, Abram at least didn’t seem to be living up to his name:
But Sarai was barren; she [had] no child.
This perhaps minor aside will have great import down the road. Speaking of which, the family is soon taken (laqach) on the road:
And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
I was surprised to discover that the town of Haran is spelled slightly different than the person, though the words mean the same thing. One wonders whether the town was named after the son, or if there was some other connection, but such speculation is probably fruitless. Regardless, Haran is the death of Terah, as well as his station of delay, and any dream he may have had of reaching Canaan.
What happened? And did it matter? Its hard to say, on such minimal evidence. Yet, it makes one wonder. By now pretty much everyone knows the name of Abraham; the stories of his faith and the people(s) he founded are inescapable, for good or evil. But Terah is barely a footnote in history. One can’t but wonder whether Terah somehow chickened out too soon, and missed the blessing. And that if he had persisted, he might have experienced the blessing, and American’s might be revering a man named Terah Lincoln…
God, I thank you for the beauty of my family, and their faithfulness in communicating your covenant to me. Thank you for the journeys my family endured to bring me to this place, and how they were faithful to the fulness of their calling. Lord, grant that I may persevere to enter into your promised land of blessing.
As with earlier parts of Genesis, I am focusing on the Story, not so much Facts. I realize there are plausible archaeological critiques of many details, especially of times before Solomon. However, it is worth remembering that most formal assertions of inerrancy are based on a semi-hypothetical concept of original manuscripts, and given just the likely language shifts from David to Ezra one could account for a great deal (if not all) of the apparent anachronisms and mislabelings, especially given the sometimes overlooked ambiguity of the historical record. Regardless, my goal is to focus on the stories of faith that are passed down to us as being, at the very least, faithful records of how people experienced God working in their lives, and leave the factual critique to the archaeologists.