The following question was sent to us…
From the Genesis account.(Gen. 11:27 – 12:4) Abraham didn’t leave until after his father was dead. Terah was 70 when he began to beget children. Abraham is named first and so was possibly the first-born (???). Abraham was 75 when he left Haran. Terah live to 205. Therefore Terah was still alive when Abraham left Haran! However, Acts 7:4 seems that he moved on after his Father’s death.
Does this mean that actually Abraham wasn’t the first-born and wasn’t in fact born until his father was 130+ ? Or is there any other possible reconciliation of these passages?
Rick & Shirley. ( Kent, U.K.)
The order of Abraham, Nahor and Haran in Gen. 11:27 does not necessarily mean that Abraham was the eldest. For example, the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth (Gen.5:32) are given in that order yet in Gen. 10: 21 Japheth is called the elder! It appears the order is more to do with the part the people play in God’s plan, than strict chronological order. This may help us understand why some parts of the Bible, Jeremiah for example, are not in what we would call order!
Gen. 11:26 means that Terah did not have any sons until he was at least 70 years. Which son was the elder we are not told. So it is consistent that Terah was 130 yrs. old when Abraham was born. (The ages also fit in with the age groups of those generations). Terah having his first son at 70 means that Abraham could not have been the eldest at all. Abraham appearing some 60 yrs. later.
We conclude that Terah was 130 when Abraham was born. Abraham was not the eldest son and he received the first command from God to remove from Ur when he was mature, shall we say? and all the family went with him, indeed it seems that Terah took the initiative ( Gen 11:31 ). Then when Terah died (aged 205yrs). Abraham received a second command ( aged 75yrs.) and then left for Canaan. The question that naturally arises is: how long was Abraham in Haran? That we are not told , and speculation is useless.