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Terah (Hebrew: תּרח, Téraḥ; "breathe, scent, blow") (1878 AM-2083 AM or 2126 BC-1922 BC) is the named son of Nahor. He was born in 1878 AM.

When he was 70 years old, he had three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran. He lived 205 years altogether.[1]

Terah is the ancestor of Abram's wife Sarai, as this verse relates:

And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. Genesis 20:12

James Ussher states that Sarah's actual father was not Terah himself, but his son Haran. Ussher identifies Sarah as the "Iscah" listed in the Bible as one of Haran's two daughters.[2]

Terah's journey

Terah and his family were from the city of Ur of the Chaldees. The Bible tells this story of Terah and his family:

And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 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; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. Genesis 11:26-32

This is a tale of a failed purpose. Ussher states that Terah brought his family out of Ur of the Chaldees in order to remove them from the idolatry that ran rampant in that city. He came to the country of Haran. There Terah stayed, perhaps because he was ill, and there also Nahor stayed. By staying, they passed from Bible history, and died a spiritual death.


The birth order of Terah's sons, and more particularly whether he sired Abram when he was 70 or 130 years old, is in dispute. James Ussher assumed 130 years, solely because the Bible discusses the departure of Abram from the country of Haran after it records Terah's death. Jones gives further support to this proposition for the same reason.[3]

Some have stated that the Bible often mentions life events out of order, particularly if they are the events of different men's lives. Furthermore, the sentence "Terah died in Haran" could refer to a spiritual death, not a physical one.[4]

The best reason to sustain Ussher's calculation comes from Stephen, who in Acts 7:4 specifically says that Abram left Haran after his father died. Stephen so stated in his hearing before the Sanhedrin.


  1. Genesis 11:26-27,32
  2. Ussher, James. The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, pgh. 65
  3. Jones, Floyd N. The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004 (ISBN 9780890514160), pp. 25, 259 and Charts 1 and 6
  4. Brown, Alan B., message delivered at Parsippany Baptist Church, Parsippany, NJ, 2005

See also