In Genesis 11, we are shown that Abram, Nahor, and Haran are brothers. Haran dies in Ur.

Then, Abram and other family members travel now to a city called Haran (a bit confusing, but okay. Did they found the city and name it after the deceased brother or something?). No mention of Nahor and what happened to him.

Then, Genesis 24, Abraham wants to find a wife for his son from his hometown. Where is his hometown? Is it Ur (where his father is from) or Haran (which is where the family spent some time)?

Then, a servant goes out and makes his way to the "town of Nahor." Where is that?

I looked on Google for all sorts of map but I can't find a city called "Nahor." I found one map with a colored line describing the travels of the servant and it ends in the city of Haran. So is "town of Nahor" = "Haran " = "Abraham's hometown"? I am so confused.

  • Thanks for your clarifications - so far - but you talk of the city of Harran. My primary question is 'Was the 'city' of Harran in existence before Tahor and his family left Ur. Or, more likely, when the family stopped for some time in an undefined place, did they then name that place 'Harran' in memory of Abram's brother Haran?' – Ray Tolley Nov 13 '19 at 10:35

First the easy part. The name of Haran and the name of the town of Haran are English homonyms but are actually spelt differently in the Hebrew language. So, the town was not named after Abram's brother, Haran. The 'town of Nahor' is simply the town where Nahor lived, Haran.

Genesis 11:26 says that Haran was born and died in Ur of the Chaldees. Although the city of Ur was certainly ancient, the Chaldeans did not inhabit the area until the ninth century BCE, which tells us that the passage was not actually written until some time after the ninth century BCE. Ur and Haran were the two principal cities of the moon god, Sin, and some scholars see this tradition as reflecting ancient traditions about the migration of the Sin cult from Ur to Haran and then into Canaan.

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    They are homonyms in English because English writers tend not to transliterate precisely. Hence, we see the same word "Haran" used for Abraham's father and the name of a city. But, they aren't homonyms in Hebrew, since the words are both spelled and pronounced differently. Abraham's brother - הָרָן, and the city - חָרָן. (Just wanted to clarify for the general audience.) – user900 Jan 2 '15 at 2:07
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    @H3br3wHamm3r81 Thanks for that. I have amended my answer from just 'homonyms' to 'English homonyms', in order to clarify this. – Dick Harfield Jan 2 '15 at 2:28
  • I noticed you spelled the city חָרָן as Harran. That looked peculiar to me; I've never seen the letter ר (reish) with a dagesh forte/dagesh chazak, which would cause it to be pronounced as /rr/. So, I looked at the word (חָרָן) and it doesn't have a dagesh forte, as I suspected. I would probably edit your response and eliminate that comment about "Harran." Wikipedia does note that there are exceptionally rare occurrences of ר with dagesh forte in the Masoretic text, but again, they are not the norm. In any case, חָרָן isn't one of them. – user900 Jan 2 '15 at 4:05
  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 OK. I know you are fluent in Hebrew. To avoid further confusion, for you or our readers, I will revert to 'Haran' and remove references to 'Harran'. It is sometimes spelt that way, not because it is an accurate transliteration, which neither spelling really is, but to identify it as different to the name Haran. – Dick Harfield Jan 2 '15 at 4:14
  • Just thought you wanted to know. Didn't mean to be picky. Sorry. :) (I'm not fluent in Hebrew though.) – user900 Jan 2 '15 at 4:57

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