[b-hebrew] Was Abraham Born in Mesopotamia?

jason silber uzisilber at gmail.com
Mon Nov 5 11:25:09 EST 2007


Did anyone raise the issue that Ur Kasdim didnt exist during the time Avram
was supposed to have lived?
and that since Ur was a major sophisiticated city during Babylonian exile it
is plausible that the editors of the tanakh in the 6 century BCE inserted an
Ur background to abraham to lend an air of sophistcation to Avraham and his

On 11/3/07, JimStinehart at aol.com <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III:
>    1.  You wrote:   "Look at Genesis 11:27-32 in which it unambiguously
> states that Terah  lived in Ur of the Chaldees."
> The text says nothing of the kind.  Rather, Genesis 11: 28 says that Haran
> died in Ur, in the presence of his  father Terakh.  The text never
> says  that
> Terakh lived in Ur.  That's  because Terakh did not live in Ur.  Terakh
> had led
> his family on a one-time caravan expedition from Canaan to  Mesopotamia.
> Haran had the  misfortune of dying on that one-time caravan trip (the only
> caravan
> trip the  family every made), at Ur in far-off southern
> Mesopotamia.  Haran's
> father, and Haran's MWLDT, that  is, Haran's father and Haran's father's
> descendants, were all there at Ur on  that caravan trip to witness Haran's
> unfortunate demise, as Haran died far from  home and predeceased his own
> father.
> The Patriarchal narratives never say or imply that Terakh lived in  Ur.
>    1.  You  wrote:  "[T]he Abrahamic Covenant statement in
> 12:1  [is:]  "The
> LORD had said to  Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your
> father's
> household and go to  the land I will show you' ".
> Genesis 12: 1 says nothing of the sort.  The word "people", which is "am"
> in  Hebrew, and which in both languages always includes (though is not
> limited
> to)  ancestors, never appears in the Patriarchal narratives when anyone is
> at
> Ur or  Harran.  No, the word that is  consistently used when a pre-Hebrew
> or
> Hebrew is in Mesopotamia is MWLDT:  "father's descendants".
> At Genesis 12: 1, YHWH accurately tells Abraham to leave Abraham's MWLDT,
> that is, to leave Abraham's father's descendants, in leaving Harran.  The
> accent in the word MWLDT is on one's  living brothers.  At this
> point,  Abraham has
> only one living brother:  Nahor.  Nahor must stay  behind in Harran to
> take
> care of their infirm father, Terakh, who is too frail  to make it back to
> Canaan.  So in  leaving Harran, Abraham is leaving behind Abraham's only
> living
> brother.  Abraham is also leaving behind most,  though not all, of his
> father's
> other descendants.  So YHWH's words are, not surprisingly,  completely
> accurate.  Abraham must  leave his MWLDT, and his father, in Harran.  But
> YHWH does
> not tell Abraham to leave  Abraham's "people"/"am" in Harran.  Abraham's
> ancestors, other than his father, were never in  Mesopotamia.  So Abraham
> is not
> leaving his "people" or his "am" in leaving Harran.
>    1.  We can see that Terakh was trying to get back to  Canaan:
> "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 [Kasdim], to go into the land of Canaan;  and they
> came
> unto Haran, and dwelt  there."  Genesis 11: 31
> Because of infirmity, Terakh cannot make it back to his homeland
> in  Canaan,
> but rather gets stuck in Harran, not being able to return home after
> the  long
> caravan expedition.  Nahor must  stay in Harran as well, to look after his
> ailing father.  That is why Nahor's descendants, such as  Rebekah and
> Laban and
> Leah and Rachel, end up growing up in Harran, as the rest  of your post
> points
> out.  But Nahor  was not a native of Harran.  Nahor  and Terakh got stuck
> in
> Harran when Terakh was too infirm to make it back to the  family homeland
> in
> Canaan.
>    1.  When Abraham dies and is buried in Canaan, the  text tells us that
> Abraham was gathered to his am/people/ancestors, which  makes sense, since
> the
> Hebrews were indigenous to Canaan, both in secular  history and in the
> Patriarchal narratives:
> "And Abraham expired, and died  in a good old age, an old man, and full of
> years; and was gathered to his people  ["am"].   And Isaac and
> Ishmael  his
> sons buried him in the cave…Mamre [at Hebron, in Canaan]."  Genesis 25:
> 8-9
> The word "am"/"people"/ancestors is often used when the  Patriarchs are in
> Canaan, but is never used when anyone is at Ur or Harran.  That's because
> the
> Hebrews are  indigenous to Canaan, not to Mesopotamia.
> The text of the Patriarchal narratives has pinpoint  historical accuracy,
> but
> we must be very careful to examine exactly what the  text actually
> says.  If
> we can  understand how the author of the Patriarchal narratives uses the
> key
> word MWLDT  ("mowledeth"), we can see that the Patriarchal narratives,
> like
> modern  historians, see the Hebrews as being indigenous to Canaan, not to
> Mesopotamia.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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