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 he dwelt:''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 Genesis 14:15 ) ( 27:43 ) ( Genesis 29:4 Genesis 29:5 ) 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 he died.
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.