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078 Family lines

June 19, 2017 | Permalink

I enjoy reading about family lines and genealogy.  In Genesis there is a lot to look at.  In Genesis 11 and onwards we get quite a lot of information.  From the line of Shem comes Nahor, and from Nahor, Terah.  Then from Terah, Abram, Nahor (whom I’ll call Nahor the younger) and Haran.  This grandson, Haran (presumably named after his grandfather) has a son, Lot.  That much is sure.

But then we enter the realm of conjecture.  I encourage you to get a pen and paper out and try and chart how you see the family lines.  Here are some thoughts.

Terah has three sons and other sons and daughters.  It’s possible that Sarai is a daughter to Terah, which would make her Abram’s sister (though we do know that Abram and Sarai have different mothers).  See Gen. 20:12.  I say “it’s possible” because this presumes that ‘father’ in this case means exactly that… father.  Keep in mind that in Hebrew thinking a father could mean ‘grandfather’, or ‘great-grandfather’, and so on.  For now, let’s just keep with the fact that Sarai is “Abram’s sister” (Gen. 20:2).  Then from Abram and Sarai, they have a son, Isaac.  Reasonably straightforward.

Then we learn that Haran, who eventually dies in Ur (before his father Terah) has a son Lot.  Again, reasonably straightforward.  The Scriptures also point out, from Gen. 11, that Milcah is the daughter of Haran.  If this is the same Haran, of the father Terah, then Milcah is Lot’s sister.  These two siblings get connected with their uncles in different ways.  After their father dies, Uncle Abram takes Lot under his wing, so to speak, and, Uncle Nahor (he younger) marries Milcah.  And from this later union, we find Bethuel, and from Bethuel, a daughter, named Rebekah (who will eventually marry Abram and Sarai’s son, Isaac.

Following all this we might make the following statements.  Isaac’s cousins are Iscah, Milcah, and Lot.  One of Isaac’s cousins, Milcah, marries his (and her uncle)!

Bethuel, would be, I believe, Isaac’s first cousin-once removed, and Rebekah would be Isaac’s first cousin-twice removed. Or, put another way, Rebekah is Abram’s brother’s granddaughter.

All this to say… these folks are very connected.

One final reflection.  Terah loses a son in his homeland of Ur, of the Chaldeans.  I won’t be the first to state that ‘no parent should lose a child’.  We are not sure why Terah leaves Ur to go north to Haran, but perhaps the pain of losing a child was instrumental?  We’re not sure.  At the same time, Terah, while experiencing the loss of a son, also sees his own son, Abram take care of the sibling, Lot; and, also see his other son, Nahor (the younger) marry and take care of the deceased’s other child, Milcah.

What to say about all this conjecture and mapping of family?  Well, I think, that despite all the wickedness apparent in the earth thus far seen in Genesis, Terah’s family is quite the contrast to the first family of Adam and Eve, and the siblings, Cain and Abel.  In that first family, we see dissension between Adam and Eve (Adam tells God that it was the woman’s fault for eating of the tree), and as for Cain, he murders his own brother.

While there is more to say about Terah, I encourage you to sift through the biblical family lines a bit more than maybe folks are customer to do.  Getting to know how people relate is important, often so, because it shows how they (might) themselves relate to God.  To see that, helps us see what looks like a good follower of the Lord… and not.