[b-hebrew] Terakh

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jun 1 10:14:59 EDT 2010

The name of Abraham’s father, Terakh/TRX is, in my view, based on an 
archaic west Semitic 2-letter root, RX, meaning “to move”.  Most of Terakh’s 
significant actions in the Patriarchal narratives are encapsulated by his west 
Semitic name:  T + RX = TRX.
1.  Moon:  Y + RX = YRX, is the heavenly body at night that “moves”. 
TRX/Terakh is closely associated with Ur and Harran, being the preeminent sites 
of moon god worship in the ancient world.  “Etymologically, Terah [TRX] may…
be related to YRX ‘moon’.  Several of Abram’s relations have names that 
suggest adherence to lunar worship (cf. Sarah, Milcah, Laban), a cult that was 
prominent in Ur and Harran.”  Gordon J. Wenham, “World Biblical Commentary: 
 Genesis 1-15” (1987), at p. 252.  “Laban” means “white”, suggesting the 
white moon.  The moon god at Ugarit was called YRX.  Implicit in the above 
analysis is that TRX is linguistically linked to YRX on the basis of the 
shared 2-letter archaic west Semitic root RX. 
2.  Caravan:  [i] ) + RX = )RX;  and [ii] T + ) + RX = T)RX.  )RX as a verb 
means as a verb to move, go, travel, travel as a caravan. T + ) + RX = 
T)RX, meaning “you travel on a caravan”.  Perhaps the initial aleph/) 
originally was prosthetic, and thus could be dropped.  TRX/Terakh can be viewed as 
being a shortened form of T)RX, where the prosthetic aleph has been dropped.  
The Patriarchal narratives open with Terakh leading his family on a long, 
somewhat ill-fated caravan trip.
3.  Harran:  )RX = XRN.  As a noun, )RX means path, way, road, caravan.  
That is the west Semitic equivalent to the Hurrian word XR-N, meaning “the road
” in Hurrian.  XRN is the name (derived from Hurrian) of the place where 
Terakh/TRX spends the rest of his life:  Harran.
[On the linguistic front, three additional words that have the archaic 
2-letter root RX indicating motion are:  (i) P + RX = PRX, being the motion of 
sprouting forth shoots, or budding;  (ii) B + RX = BRX, being the motion of 
fleeing;  and (iii) M +RX = MRX, being the motion of rubbing or rubbing out.  
Since these three words (unlike the other words examined in this post) 
start with a letter that is always a true consonant, they are not closely linked 
to TRX, but they do highlight the archaic 2-letter root RX indicating 
4.  Pay the Brideprice:  [i] T + RX + M = TRXM;  and [ii] in Ugaritic, T + 
RX = TRX.  T + RX + M = TRXM, and means “you behold with tenderest affection”
, which may move you to marry.  Psalms 102: 13.  Backing up that analysis, 
somewhat similarly T + RX = TRX in Ugaritic, and means “to marry” or “to 
pay the brideprice”, that is, to be moved to marry.  
The foregoing four meanings, all of which are based on the 2-letter west 
Semitic root RX, essentially define all of Terakh’s key roles in the 
Patriarchal narratives.  Equally importantly, all of the above words are west Semitic 
words.  Haran and Abram are likewise west Semitic names.  The foregoing 
linguistic analysis strongly supports my controversial view that Terakh/TRX and 
his family are portrayed in the Patriarchal narratives (historically 
accurately) as being indigenous to Canaan, not as being native to non-west 
Semitic-speaking Mesopotamia.  Biblical Hebrew is a virgin pure west Semitic 
language, and Terakh, Haran and Abram are virgin pure west Semitic names, well 
befitting a people, the Hebrews, who are indigenous to Canaan, and who are 
accurately portrayed in the text of the Patriarchal narratives as being 
indigenous to Canaan.  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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