Lay it to Heart

When Did Terah Die?

The scholars have failed once again. Some scholars point out what they think is a conflict in the Bible. According to them, Abraham left Haran when his Father, Terah died. They use Acts 7:4 to support this. The Bible says Terah died at the age of 205 (Genesis 11:32). Terah was 70 years old when Abraham was born (Genesis 11:26). Abraham was 75 when he moved to Canaan (Genesis 12:4). Therefore, Terah was 145 when Abraham left Haran. Did Terah die at 145 or 205?

Genesis 11:26-12:4

26And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
27Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
28And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
29And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
30But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31And 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.
32And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
12:1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee:
2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Acts 7:1-5

1Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
2And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
3And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee.
4Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
5And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

What does the Bible say? The key to understanding the chronology is to read Acts 7:4 carefully and separate each event. Here is what happened:

  1. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans,
  2. and dwelt in Charran:
  3. and from thence, when his father was dead,
  4. he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
What Really Happened?
  1. Terah was born.
  2. 70 years later Abraham was born.
  3. 75 years later Abraham left Haran.
  4. Abraham dwelt in Canaan for 60 years.
  5. Terah died at 205 years of age.
  6. When Terah died and Abraham did not return, he was removed completely from Haran.
  7. After Terah's death, Abraham lived 40 years in Canaan.

As long as Terah was alive, Abraham had an inheritance in Haran. He could go back. When his father died, Abraham had no chance of going back. He did not redeem his inheritance in Haran, he gave up any claim to the old land and could rely only on the promise in Canaan. Even though some scholars may tell differently, Acts does not say that Abraham left Haran after his father died. Are the scholars today different than the scribes in Jesus' day? The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. Pastors should encourage their flock to read the Bible daily. If they do this they will come across subjects which are difficult to understand. Pastors should anticipate this and solve the problem before it occurs.

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