The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleGenesis 11:31
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,
&c.] Many words are made use of in describing Lot and Sarai, and yet
still we are left pretty much in the dark who Sarai was; for, as Aben
Ezra observes, if she was the sister of Abram and daughter of Terah,
the Scripture would have said, Terah took Abram his son and Sarai his
daughter, and wife of Abram; and if she was the sister of Lot, it would
have said, and Sarai the daughter of his son, as it does of Lot:
and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into
the land of Canaan;
that is, as Jarchi interprets it, Terah and
Abram went forth with Lot and Sarai, or "with them" may mean with Nahor
and Milcah: for Josephus F8 says, that all went into Charan of
Mesopotamia, the whole family of Terah; and the Arabic historian F9 is
express for it,
``Terah went out from Chorasan, and with him Abram, Nahor, Lot,
his children, and their wives, and he went to Charan, where
and it is certain, if Nahor and his wife did not set out with them,
they followed them afterwards, for Haran was the city of Nahor, where
his family in later times dwelt, see (Genesis 14:10,15) (27:43) (29:4,5) what
moved Terah to depart from Ur of the Chaldees seems to be the call of
God to Abram, which, though after related, was previous to this; and he
acquainting his father Terah with it, he listened to it, being now
convinced of his idolatry and converted from it, and readily obeyed the
divine will; and being the father of Abram, is represented as the head
of the family, as he was, and their leader in this transaction; who
encouraged their departure from the idolatrous country in which they
were, and set out with them to seek another, where they might more
freely and safely worship the true God. Though Josephus F10 represents
it in this light, that Terah hating the country of Chaldea, because of
the mourning of Haran, he and all his went out from thence:
and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there;
which Josephus F11 calls
Charan of Mesopotamia, and yet Stephen speaks of Abraham being in
Mesopotamia before he dwelt in Charan; but then Mesopotamia is to be
taken both in a more general and a more limited sense; in general, it
took in Mesopotamia and Chaldea, and in the eastern part of it was Ur
of the Chaldees, and when Abram came from thence to Haran, he came into
Mesopotamia, strictly so called. Stephen calls it Charran it is by
Herodian F12 called (karrai) , by Ptolemy F13 Carrae, by Pliny F14
Carra, a city famous in Lucan F15 for the slaughter of Crassus, by whom
it is called an Assyrian city. Benjamin of Tudela F16 speaks of it as
in being in his time, and as two days journey from the entrance into
the land of Shinar or Mesopotamia; and says, that in that place where
was the house of Abraham, there is no building on it, but the
Ishmaelites (the Mahometans) honour the place, and come thither to
pray. Rauwolff, who was in this town A. D. 1575, calls it Orpha; his
account of it is this F17, that it is a costly city, with a castle
situated on the hill very pleasantly; that the town is very pleasant,
pretty big, with fortifications well provided; and that some say it was
anciently called Haran and Charras: a later traveller F18 says, who
also calls it Orpha,
``the air of this city is very healthful, and the country
fruitful; that it is built four square, the west part
standing on the side of a rocky mountain, and the east part
tendeth into a spacious valley, replenished with vineyards,
orchards, and gardens: the walls are very strong, furnished
with great store of artillery, and contain in circuit three
English miles, and, for the gallantness of its sight, it was
once reckoned the metropolitical seat of Mesopotamia.''
What detained Terah and his family here, when they intended to go
further, is not said. Aben Ezra suggests, that the agreeableness of the
place to Terah caused him to continue there; but it is very probable he
was seized with a disease which obliged them to stay here, and of which
F8 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 5.)
F9 Elmacinus, p. 31. apud Hottinger. p. 282.
F10 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 5.)
F12 Hist. l. 4. sect. 24.
F13 Geograph. l. 5. c. 18.
F14 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 24.
F15 -----------Miserando funere Crassus,
Assyrias latio maculavit sanguine Carrhas.
Lucan. Pharsal. l. 1. v. 105.
F16 Itinerarium, p. 60.
F17 Travels, par. 2. ch. 10. sect. 176. by Ray.
F18 Cartwright's Preacher's Travels, p. 14, 15.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 11:31". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=ge&chapter=011&verse=031>. 1999.