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Home Forums Existence of the Israelites in Egypt How long was the sojourn in Egypt? Reply To: How long was the sojourn in Egypt?

  • Deborah Hurn

    June 28, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Relevant to the discussion above regarding Terah and his three sons Haran, Nahor, and Abraham comes this new article proposing that Terru of Urkesh (named in cuneiform tablets in Mari) is Terah. Urkesh was a city in N Mesopotamia which, the author claims, is the same as Ur Kasdim (Chaldees).

    The messages from Terru of Urkesh to King Zimri-Lim of Mari tell a story of persecution. This scenario is supported by other traditions written down by Classical historians telling how Terah’s family rejected idolatry and were hated by the local people for this cause and that they killed his son Haran. These possible additional details of Abraham’s story are intriguing. We may have wondered: “Was Abraham ‘somebody’ in Ur? Is there a bigger story that the Bible has glossed over?”

    This story of the dramatic and troubled (re)emergence of monotheism (post-Babel) supports my proposal that the 430 years in “Canaan and in Egypt” (Exo 12:40-41 LXX; Gal 3:17) date from Terah and the call to his whole family to leave Ur Kasdim for Canaan. Terah travelled from Ur to Haran but instead of continuing on to the Land of Promise he and the family stayed in Haran for 20 years until his death. Abraham alone of his father and brothers then obeyed the original call (after receiving another call, Gen 12:1-5) and continued on to Canaan. There he sojourned for another 10 years until he received the covenant which now specifies 400 years (Gen 12:4; cf. 15:13). There really is no contradiction: the chronology works perfectly here, and what is more, it allows that only 4 generations passed in Egypt (Gen 15:16; Levi-Kohath-Amram-Moses). The 430 years is the Age of Promise, from the very first call to Terah and his sons to the giving of the Law to Moses.