[b-hebrew] Terakh

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jun 2 16:28:55 EDT 2010

One possible meaning of TRX as the name of Abraham’s father that everyone 
has overlooked is that in Ugaritic, TRX is a verb that either means “to marry”
 or “to pay the brideprice”.  On another thread, Dave Washburne said as to 
the names of people in the Book of Ruth:  “I did a study of these names 
when I was in seminary.  As it turns out, most - maybe all, I forget - appear 
in Ugaritic and some other cognates, so they appear to be legitimate semitic 
names.”  Is Abraham’s father’s name, TRX, coming from Ugarit?  On that 
other thread, James Christian further observed (though he may later have 
retracted this comment) regarding the names of characters in the Book of Ruth:  “If 
there is a link between their actions and their names this is perfectly 
explainable by their having new names linked to their deeds. I also have no 
problems with these names being given after their deaths for the sake of the 
story.”  Does the Ugaritic verb TRX, meaning “pay the brideprice”, reflect 
the primary role that Terakh/TRX plays in the Patriarchal  narratives?
One of Terakh’s key functions in the Patriarchal narratives is that it is 
on his watch that Abraham marries Sarah.  Moreover, it seems clear that from 
day one, everyone knows that the steadfast plan is that Abraham’s sole 
heir(s) will be such son or sons that Sarah may bear to Abraham.  Thus Abraham’s 
sons by Keturah are never in the running to inherit anything substantial 
from their father Abraham.
The Patriarchal narratives open at Genesis 11: 26 with Terakh/TRX being 
said to be Abraham’s father.  Then a mere three verses later we are told at 
Genesis 11: 29 that Abraham’s wife is Sarah.  And then only two verses after 
that we are told at Genesis 11: 31, seemingly somewhat oddly, that Sarah is 
Terakh’s daughter-in-law.  Finally, at Genesis 20: 12 Abraham says that Sarah 
is his father’s daughter, but not his mother’s daughter.  [In a later post, 
we can discuss why the particular procedure that Terakh/TRX likely used in 
paying the brideprice is of such critical importance in understanding the 
Patriarchal narratives.]
Though there is no Hebrew word TRX meaning “to pay the brideprice”, TRX 
with that meaning is a well-known verb at Ugarit, a west Semitic-speaking 
Amorite state.  That is part of my analysis that sees Abraham’s father TRX as 
having a west Semitic name, not a Mesopotamian name.  This all fits my 
controversial theory that the Patriarchal narratives (historically correctly) 
portray the Hebrews as being indigenous to Canaan, rather than as being 
transplants from Mesopotamia.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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