Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
Lot = לוֹט lôwṭ, lote; from H3874; a veil:—covering.
Haran = חָרָן Chârân, kaw-rawn’; from H2787; parched; Charan, the name of a man and also of a place:—Haran.; Haran = “mountaineer”; a son of Caleb by his concubine Ephah
Though the place name can be found in English as Haran, Charan, and Charran, it should not be confused with the personal name Haran, borne by Abram’s brother, among others. The biblical placename is חָרָן (with a ḥet) in Hebrew, pronounced [ħaːraːn] and can mean “parched”. The personal name Haran is spelled הָרָן (with a hei) in Hebrew and means “mountaineer”.
Sarai = שָׂרַי Sâray, saw-rah’-ee; from H8269; dominative; Sarai, the wife of Abraham:—Sarai.; Sarai = princess;
Let’s keep an eye on her in this story and see if the name fits
כְּנַעַן Kᵉnaʻan, ken-ah’-an; from H3665; humiliated; Kenaan, a son a Ham; also the country inhabited by him:—Canaan, merchant, traffick.
After a stay in Haran, wherein Abram acquired more things, he sets out for Canaan with his brother’s son Lot and his wife Sarai (who is also his half-sister – a fact that will be more relevant in later verses.)
Haran is usually identified with Harran, now a village of Şanlıurfa, Turkey. Since the 1950s, archeological excavations of Harran have been conducted, which have yielded insufficient discoveries about the site’s pre-medieval history or of its supposed Patriarchal era. The earliest records of Harran come from the Ebla tablets, c. 2300 BC. Harran’s name is said to be from Akkadian ḫarrānum (fem.), “road”; ḫarrānātum (pl.)
The location of Haran is another argument, in my opinion, for the notion that Abram originated in Turkey rather than Sumerian Ur. But it is not a definitive argument.
From Haran, the party journeys to the land of Canaan. What do we know of the Canaanites at this time?
- We know that Noah curses Canaan for something done by his father Ham.
- We know the curse specifically states re: Canaan “a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers” and that the name Canaan means “humiliated.”
- We also know that this will not be the last time that God sends someone to take land, occupied by the Canaanites, from the Canaanites.
There is some extra-Biblical writing on the topic of Canaan and his inheritance, too.
And Canaan saw the land of Lebanon to the river of Egypt, that it was very good, and he went not into the land of his inheritance to the west (that is to) the sea, and he dwelt in the land of Lebanon, eastward and westward from the border of Jordan and from the border of the sea. And Ham, his father, and Cush and Mizraim his brothers said unto him: ‘Thou hast settled in a land which is not thine, and which did not fall to us by lot: do not do so; for if thou dost do so, thou and thy sons will fall in the land and (be) accursed through sedition; for by sedition ye have settled, and by sedition will thy children fall, and thou shalt be rooted out for ever. Dwell not in the dwelling of Shem; for to Shem and to his sons did it come by their lot. Cursed art thou, and cursed shalt thou be beyond all the sons of Noah, by the curse by which we bound ourselves by an oath in the presence of the holy judge, and in the presence of Noah our father.’ But he did not hearken unto them, and dwelt in the land of Lebanon from Hamath to the entering of Egypt, he and his sons until this day. And for this reason that land is named Canaan.
The Book of Jubilees is an ancient and controversial book as you will see in the below quoted section.
The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work of 50 chapters, considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews), where it is known as the Book of Division (Ge’ez: መጽሐፈ ኩፋሌ Mets’hafe Kufale). Jubilees is considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. It is also not considered canonical within Judaism outside of Beta Israel.
It was well known to Early Christians, as evidenced by the writings of Epiphanius, Justin Martyr, Origen, Diodorus of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville, Eutychius of Alexandria, John Malalas, George Syncellus, and George Kedrenos. The text was also utilized by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. No complete Greek or Latin version is known to have survived, but the Ge’ez version has been shown to be an accurate translation of the versions found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Book of Jubilees claims to present “the history of the division of the days of the Law, of the events of the years, the year-weeks, and the jubilees of the world” as revealed to Moses (in addition to the Torah or “Instruction”) by angels while he was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights. The chronology given in Jubilees is based on multiples of seven; the jubilees are periods of 49 years (seven “year-weeks”), into which all of time has been divided.
Genesis tells us that Abram overlapped with Shem. Did Abram also overlap with Canaan and Ham? Are any of them still living in Canaan?
Abram passes through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh.
שְׁכֶם Shᵉkem, shek-em’; the same as H7926; ridge; Shekem, a place in Palestine:—Shechem.
מוֹרֶה Môwreh, mo-reh’; or מֹרֶה Môreh; the same as H4175; Moreh, a Canaanite; also a hill (perhaps named from him):—Moreh.
We will revisit the city of Shechem again in Genesis – particularly with Jacob.