Note On Genesis 11:26 -- By: Frederic Gardiner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:136 (Oct 1877)
Article: Note On Genesis 11:26
Author: Frederic Gardiner


Note On Genesis 11:26

Rev. Frederic Gardiner

And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” It is plain, upon the face of this statement, that it is in some way or other a condensed expression of the facts. No one supposes that the three sons of Terah were born at one birth, and the subsequent narrative gives ground for supposing a considerable difference of age between them. The genealogy of the sons of Noah has already shown that priority in age is not necessarily indicated by priority in the order of names: Shem being named first not because he was the oldest, but because he was the ancestor of the chosen line. The general understanding of the text has been that Abram was the youngest of the three sons of Terah, the eldest of whom was begotten by Terah at the age of seventy.

Terah (vs. 32) lived to the age of two hundred and five. After his death mention is made of the departure of Abram from Haran at the age of seventy-five. It is expressly asserted by Stephen (Acts 7:4) that Abram’s departure actually took place after the death of Terah. By Alford and others it is vigorously maintained that this is a chronological blunder on the part of Stephen; but from his familiarity with Jewish history, and from the circumstances under which he spoke, it might have been assumed that his statement was at least in accordance with the current Jewish opinion of the day. There need be no uncertainty, however, upon this point; for Philo (De Migr. Abrah. § 32, P. 325 A, ed. Col1613) is quite as positive in the statement as Stephen. Have we any data at this day to show that Philo and Stephen were both mistaken about this fact in the history of their

ancestors? It is quite common now to say that we have; and we propose to examine the evidence.

In Gen. 17:15–16, when Abraham was ninety-nine, God promised him a son by his wife Sarah, who was only ten years his junior. This thing seemed incredible to Abraham (vs. 17), on account of the age both of himself and of Sarah, and he pleaded earnestly for Ishmael. Sarah also (18:12–13) was convinced of the impossibility of the fulfilment of the promise, and is told that even this is not too hard for the Lord. In the New Testament, also, in Rom. 4:18–21; Heb. 11:11–12, strong emphasis is placed upon the fact that the birth of Isaac was out of the course of nature; ...

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