Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Genesis 11:31

    Genesis 11:31 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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 Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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 Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran, and dwelled there.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    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 Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And Terah took Abram, his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, the wife of his son Abram and they went out from Ur of the Chaldees, to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran, and were there for some time.

    Webster's Revision

    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 Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

    World English Bible

    Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife. They went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. They came to Haran and lived there.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    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 Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

    Definitions for Genesis 11:31

    Lot - Portion; destiny; fate.

    Clarke's Commentary on Genesis 11:31

    They went forth - front Ur of the Chaldees - Chaldea is sometimes understood as comprising the whole of Babylonia; at other times, that province towards Arabia Deserta, called in Scripture The land of the Chaldeans. The capital of this place was Babylon, called in Scripture The beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, Isaiah 13:19.

    Ur appears to have been a city of some considerable consequence at that time in Chaldea; but where situated is not well known. It probably had its name Ur אור, which signifies fire, from the worship practiced there. The learned are almost unanimously of opinion that the ancient inhabitants of this region were ignicolists or worshippers of fire, and in that place this sort of worship probably originated; and in honor of this element, the symbol of the Supreme Being, the whole country, or a particular city in it, might have had the name Ur. Bochart has observed that there is a place called Ouri, south of the Euphrates, in the way from Nisibis to the river Tigris. The Chaldees mentioned here had not this name in the time of which Moses speaks, but they were called so in the time in which Moses wrote. Chesed was the son of Nahor, the son of Terah, Genesis 22:22. From Chesed descended the Chasdim, whose language was the same as that of the Amorites, Daniel 1:4; Daniel 2:4. These Chasdim, whence the Χαλδαιοι, Chaldeans, of the Septuagint, Vulgate, and all later versions, afterwards settled on the south of the Euphrates. Those who dwelt in Ur were either priests or astronomers, Daniel 2:10, and also idolaters, Joshua 24:2, Joshua 24:3, Joshua 24:14, Joshua 24:15. And because they were much addicted to astronomy, and probably to judicial astrology, hence all astrologers were, in process of time, called Chaldeans, Daniel 2:2-5.

    The building of Babel, the confusion of tongues, and the first call of Abram, are three remarkable particulars in this chapter; and these led to the accomplishment of three grand and important designs:

    1. The peopling of the whole earth;

    2. The preservation of the true religion by the means of one family; and

    3. The preservation of the line uncorrupted by which the Messiah should come.

    When God makes a discovery of himself by a particular revelation, it must begin in some particular time, and be given to some particular person, and in some particular place. Where, when, and to whom, are comparatively matters of small importance. It is God's gift; and his own wisdom must determine the time, the person, and the place. But if this be the case, have not others cause to complain because not thus favored? Not at all, unless the favoring of the one for a time should necessarily cut off the others for ever. But this is not the case. Abram was first favored; that time, that country, and that person were chosen by infinite wisdom, for there and then God chose to commence these mighty operations of Divine goodness. Isaac and Jacob also received the promises, the twelve patriarchs through their father, and the whole Jewish people through them. Afterwards the designs of God's endless mercy were more particularly unfolded; and the word, which seemed to be confined for two thousand years to the descendants of a single family, bursts forth on all hands, salvation is preached to the Gentiles, and thus in Abram's seed all the nations of the earth are blessed.

    Hence none can find fault, and none can have cause to complain; as the salvation which for a time appeared to be restricted to a few, is now on the authority of God, liberally offered to the whole human race!

    Barnes' Notes on Genesis 11:31

    And Terah took Abram. - Terah takes the lead in this emigration, as the patriarch of the family. In the Samaritan Pentateuch Milkah is mentioned among the emigrants; and it is not improbable that Nahor and his family accompanied Terah, as we find them afterward at Haran, or the city of Nahor Genesis 24:10. "And they went forth with them." Terah and Abram went forth with Lot and the other companions of their journey. "To go into the land of Kenaan. It was the design of Terah himself to settle in the land of Kenaan. The boundaries of this land are given in the table of nations Genesis 10:19. The Kenaanites were therefore in possession of it when the table of nations was drawn up. It is certain, however, that there were other inhabitants, some of them Shemites probably, anterior to Kenaan, and subjected by his invading race. The prime motive to this change of abode was the call to Abram recorded in the next chapter. Moved by the call of God, Abram "obeyed; and he went out not knowing whither he went" Hebrews 11:8.

    But Terah was influenced by other motives to put himself at the head of this movement. The death of Haran, his oldest son, loosened his attachment to the land of his birth. Besides, Abram and Sarai were no doubt especially dear to him, and he did not wish to lose their society. The inhabitants also of Ur had fallen into polytheism, or, if we may so speak, allotheism, the worship of other gods. Terah had himself been betrayed into compliance with this form of impiety. It is probable that the revelation Abram had received from heaven was the means of removing this cloud from his mind, and restoring in him the knowledge and worship of the true God. Hence, his desire to keep up his connection with Abram, who was called of God. Prayerful conversation with the true and living God, also, while it was fast waning in the land of the Kasdim, seems to have been still maintained in its ancient purity in some parts of the land of Kenaan and the adjacent countries. In the land of Uz, a Shemite, perhaps even at a later period, lived Job; and in the neighboring districts of Arabia were his several friends, all of whom acknowledged the true God. And in the land of Kenaan was Melkizedec, the king of Salem, and the priest of the Most High God. A priest implies a considerable body of true worshippers scattered over the country. Accordingly, the name of the true God was known and revered, at least in outward form, wherever Abram went, throughout the land. The report of this comparatively favorable state of things in the land of Kenaan would be an additional incentive to the newly enlightened family of Terah to accompany Abram in obedience to the divine call.

    Terah set out on his journey, no doubt, as soon after the call of Abram as the preparatory arrangements could be made. Now the promise to Abram was four hundred and thirty years before the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt Exodus 12:40. Of this long period his seed was to be a stranger in a land that was not theirs for four hundred years Genesis 15:13. Hence, it follows that Isaac, his seed, was born thirty years after the call of Abram. Now Abram was one hundred years old when Isaac was born, and consequently the call was given when he was seventy years of age - about five years before he entered the land of Kenaan Genesis 12:4. This whole calculation exactly agrees with the incidental statement of Paul to the Galatians Gal 3:17 that the law was four hundred and thirty years after the covenant of promise. Terah was accordingly two hundred years old when he undertook the long journey to the land of Kenaan; for he died at two hundred and five, when Abram was seventy-five. Though proceeding by easy stages, the aged patriarch seems to have been exhausted by the length and the difficulty of the way. "They came to Haran and dwelt there." Broken down with fatigue, he halts for a season at Haran to recruit his wasted powers. Filial piety, no doubt, kept Abram watching over the last days of his venerable parents, who probably still cling to the fond hope of reaching the land of his adoption. Hence, they all abode in Haran for the remainder of the five years from the date of Abram's call to leave his native land. "And Terah died in Haran." This intimates that he would have proceeded with the others to the land of Kenaan if his life had been prolonged, and likewise that they did not leave Haran until his death.

    We have already seen that Abram was seventy-five years of age at the death of Terah. It follows that he was born when Terah was one hundred and thirty years old, and consequently sixty years after Haran. This is the reason why we have placed one hundred and thirty (seventy and sixty), in the genealogical table opposite Terah, because the line of descent is not traced through Haran, who was born when he was seventy, but through Abram, who by plain inference was born when he was one hundred and thirty years old. It will be observed, also, that we have set down seventy opposite Abram as the date of his call, from which is counted the definite period of four hundred and thirty years to the exodus. And as all our texts agree in the numbers here involved, it is obvious that the same adjustment of years has in this case to be made, whatever system of chronology is adopted. Hence, Abram is placed first in the list of Terah's sons, simply on account of his personal pre-eminence as the father of the faithful and the ancestor of the promised seed; he and his brother Nahor are both much younger than Haran, are married only after his death, and one of them to his grown-up daughter Milkah; and he and his nephew Lot are meet companions in age as well as in spirit.

    Hence, also, Abram lingers in Haran, waiting to take his father with him to the land of promise, if he should revive so far as to be fit for the journey. But it was not the lot of Terah to enter the land, where he would only have been a stranger. He is removed to the better country, and by his departure contributes no doubt to deepen the faith of his son Abram, of his grandson Lot, and of his daughter-in-law Sarai. This explanation of the order of events is confirmed by the statement of Stephen: "The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Charran; and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell" Acts 7:2-4.