Terah and His Granddaughters the Mothers of Israel

Terah, the little-known figure in Genesis 11 is the grandfather of Israel.  His granddaughters are the “mothers of Israel” and his grandsons are the “fathers of Israel”.  To clear the air at the start of the post, families intermarried 4,000 years ago.  Genetically that would not work well now.  The gene pool seems to have been corrupted along with society as we have moved away from the Garden.  I am not trying to do genetics in this post because I am not qualified, but I will note some of the non-Terah additions.   

Terah, it seems, had several wives, none of them are named.  We know that Abram and Sarai were half-siblings, but Nahor, Terah’s second son, married the daughter (Milcah) of his third son – Haran.  I guess you lose sight of the fact that this is still tracing the family line back to Noah and then to Seth and Adam.  Flip that forward you have the family line of those who first “called on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26 NIV).  

Rebekah, Terah’s great-granddaughter, married her cousin Isaac, and his great, great, granddaughter’s Leah and Rachel married their cousin Jacob.  Milcah was Terah’s granddaughter, her son Bethuel fathered Laban and Rebekah.  Laban was with Bethuel when Abraham’s servant was handing out things to get Isaac a wife – Rebekah.  Besides Leah and Rachel Laban had sons (Genesis 31:1).  We have no idea who the mother of Laban was or who his wife was.  Haran had another son, Iscah, but nothing is said about him.

Names – Strong’s Concordance has no meaning associated with Terah.  Nahor is the name of Terah’s father and second son, it may mean snoring.  Bethuel, who is not mentioned in Genesis 29:5, may mean “destroyed of God”.  Laban may mean brick or white.  I like names and their meanings but you may have to do more than a quick search to form an opinion before you make it part of the story.

The Other Mothers of Israel

Leah and Rachel account for nine tribes in Israel. Laban gave his daughters maidservants – Leah was given Zilpah and Rachel received Bilhah.  The two servants had four sons for Jacob.  We know nothing of these two girls and a safe guess is they came from the Haran area.  This should complicate the family bloodline a bit but they are still “children” of Abraham.

The Wives of Jacob’s Sons  

Isaac and Jacob were both “encouraged” to go back to the family in Padan Haran to find brides.  The servant who was entrusted with the task was not to take Isaac back there.  Rebekah was “upset” with the women around them and not too happy that Esau had found his wives from the Canaanites. (I believe that Esau in Genesis 28:8+9 took a bride from Ishmael in an attempt to please his father. A wife from within the family.)  Jacob probably knew he would not be welcomed by Laban if he was looking for wives for his sons.  So, where did the girls come from?  Joseph’s wife was an Egyptian; they had Manasseh and Ephraim.  Judah married Shua and had children by Tamar (Jesus’ grandmother), they were both Canaanites. The easy answer to the wives is Canaanites, or “Jacob’s servants” he acquired in Haran, or women from Shechem.  If we are thinking genetics, the family line has spread out again and the line of Terah was not added in for the twelve sons to form their families.  Once the family population was greater they could go back to marrying cousins.

Part of the Law was not to intermarry with the people/nations around them.  Ruth is a worthy inclusion, she is a granddaughter of Lot through his son Moab.  All three of Terah’s sons added to the bloodline of the Hebrew nation and more specifically, Judah

Terah 

This is definitely a “what if”!  Terah in Genesis 11:31 seems to be the first one going to Canaan.  When he left Ur, he traveled northwest to skirt the desert.  He made it to Haran (the town with the name of his dead son) and stayed and died there.  Nahor and Milcah are not mentioned in Genesis 11:31, 32.  Were they already in Haran, which is why Terah never left?  Don’t know! They may have followed after Terah and Abram.  

The stated reason for leaving Ur was to go to Canaan.  Was Terah following the voice of God?  Did he just stop following the leading and stayed in Haran?  Was he just going with Abram who was really the one called?  Would the whole family (Terah, Nahor, Lot, and Abram) going and being in Canaan changed the major points of history?   

The Really BIG What If

Were these direct descendants of Seth going to Canaan to meet Melchizedek?  We are not told of any other meetings between Abraham and Melchizedek other than Genesis 14.  I just find it hard to believe they did not meet.  And the ten percent Abraham gave was a lot of possessions to someone you did not know.  Yes, the region of Moriah could have been the land controlled by the King of Salem, but that was after Abraham’s victory (Genesis 22).

Oh!

We can see what Canaan did to Lot.  Laban would have been really bad.  Well, Sodom would have been burned up by his time, but I don’t think Laban would have done well there.  Israel had enough problems with Moab, Ben-Ammi, Esau, and Ishmael, the family infighting would have gone to another level.

Abraham not wanting Isaac to go back to Haran could have been for two reasons. Frist, Haran was not a nice place.  Second, Abraham knew that Isaac’s blessings would only be found in Canaan, the place where there was a priest like Melchizedek.  Genesis 15: 7+8 confirms the calling and the possession of the land.

Ruth – Continued

This study of Ruth will overlap other studies I have done, please click on the highlighted links to see them.  I am writing this during the time period called the Counting of the Omer – the days between Passover and Pentecost.  For the Jew these are two Feast that the Lord God gave them to celebrate and remember Him in the celebration.  On the historical side of this thought, it is the time Israel took to go to meet the Lord on Mt. Sinai.  Ruth is set in this period of time as she and Naomi return to the Promised Land during the barley harvest. (Bethlehem means the house of bread.) Because of this connection the study of Ruth in this time period is frequently part of the Counting of the Omer.

It is called the Book of Ruth, but it is also the story of Naomi.  The first chapter is her story and the verses of 4:16 +17 give her a happy ending.  Naomi’s actions are central to the story of Ruth and my musings took me all over the place, which is the reason for this post.   

Family 1 – Naomi shows a “family love” here that is a little foreign to my paradigm.  She inspired a bond with her “daughters” by marriage.  Ruth and Orpah were so attached to Naomi that both of them started out to a strange land without any recorded argument.  Orpah turned back only at Naomi’s urging.  Naomi coached Ruth, as a daughter, in 2:22 and 3:1-4,18.

Ruth’s bond and love for her “mother” have always been a highlight of this story.  “She lived with her mother-in-law” (2:23) is an interesting phrase and that it made it into scripture is equally intriguing.   

Family 2 – The ancient Hebrews/Middle East peoples and some ideas about marriage and family duties that are not accepted or legal today.  The concept, however, is still solid but not carried out with the intensity as it should be – family takes care of the family.  Especially, in times of death to the breadwinner of the family.

Naomi, in Ruth 1:12+13, makes a case to her daughters-in-law for returning to their father’s home.  Naomi is referring to the custom/Law of Moses of a brother marrying his brother’s widow.  Before the Law of Moses this custom is mentioned in Genesis 38:8, Tamar’s husband dies and Judah requires Onan to fulfill the responsibility of a brother.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is the inclusion of this in the Law of Moses and the story in Ruth is the practical application of it in real life. The second half of this custom/law is in Boaz’s act of redemption, found in Ruth 4:5.  He reminds the other kinsman that he will get Ruth and be required to maintain the family name/property.

I believe that this whole thought/custom/law came from Genesis 2:23+24 where Adam gives a prophecy concerning the relationship of a husband and wife. The child would belong to the dead husband because he and the wife are ONE.  In noting that thought, right or wrong, Ruth 4:16-22 does list Boaz as David’s descendent in the line of Perez.

Moab – Ruth’s family tree started with the sordid events of Genesis19:30-38.  Lot’s daughters conceive children with him and the older daughter’s child was named Moab.  Moab means “from father”.  

During the Exodus God did not want the Israelites fighting with the Moabites because they were Lot’s family (Deuteronomy 2:9).  They, however, joined into the plan in Numbers 25 to seduce Israel so they would lose God’s favor and protection. So, in Deuteronomy 23:3 Lot’s descendants are forbidden from entering the Temple of the Lord.

If that sounds off to your thinking, you are not alone.  Solomon and David could not enter the Temple because of Ruth!  Okay we know that did not happen.  I do not remember the justification but it is smoothed out in Jewish traditions.  Some translations put the burden on the “father” in Deuteronomy 23:3 which would work because of Boaz being Hebrew.

The Women in the Root – In Matthew there are five women listed in the root of Jess/David/Jesus.  They are an interesting group.  (I have written about many of these ideas in the post below.)  This post I will look at “DNA” additions into Judah/Israel.

  • Sarah, Rachel, and Leah are all family from Terah (Genesis 11:27).
  • Tamar – Genesis 38:27-30 possibly Canaanite
  • Rahab – Canaanite from Jericho
  • Ruth – Family from Terah by Lot
  • Bathsheba – Hebrew
  • Rehoboam’s mother was Ammonite (see Deuteronomy 23:3) she is a descendant of Lot

These are other post about David’s Family

These are the names and their meanings from the Strong’s Concordance/Vines Dictionary.  

  • Elimelech – #458 – God of the king
  • Mahlon – #4248 – sick
  • Kilion -Chilion – #3630 – pining (suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart), destruction
  • Orpah – #6204 – mane, nape or back of the neck, the back, stiff neck 
  • Ruth – #7327 – friend – female associate or neighbor
  • Naomi – pleasant 
  • Boaz – #1162 – uncertain meaning – the name of one of the pillars on the Temple
  • Obed – #5744 – serving 
  • Ephrathites – #673 – fruitless; from the root #6509 to bear fruit or bear fruitful
  • Bethlehem – #1035 – house of bread 
  • Kinsman (KJV) Num. 5:8 -#1350 gaal redeemer, to redeem, 27:11 – #7607 flesh, kin by blood; Ruth 2:1 – #3045 yada, to know/kinsman                        gaal Lev.25:25 redeemer in Deu.19:6/Num.35:19 it is revenger; in Isaiah 41-36 it is God as Redeemer      The pic is from http://www.freebibleimages.org 

Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian was a son of Abraham by his third wife Keturah (Genesis 25).  His descendants played an important role in the Exodus story and into the Judges’ time period.   Some experts think that Midian was several groups of people and or a geographic area and not just a single nation.  They start their part in the story of Israel when Joseph’s brother sold him into Egypt (Genesis 37).  This is also where Moses fled when he ran away from Pharaoh; his wife, father-in-law, and children were Midianites.

In Numbers 22 the story of Moab and Midian working together to stop Israel by bringing in Balaam is told.  It seems that Balak, king of Moab, takes the lead and even in Numbers 25 it first mentions Moabite women as being the lure to get Israel to sin.  A Midianite woman is killed in verse 8 and it stops a plague; in verse 16 the Lord says to treat Midian as enemies and kill them because of the deception with the Baal of Peor.  In Numbers 31 Moses is to lead a campaign against them and then he will die.  It must have been quite an attack because many important people including kings and Balaam were killed.

A thought that should disturb the people of God is that sex was used as a weapon in the name of religion to defeat God’s people.  The devil crossed and confused the lines then and is still doing it today.

The other big reference to Midianites is with Gideon in Judges 6, 7, and 8.  This story also ends with the Midianites being beaten severely.    There are references in Psalm 83, Isaiah 9, and 10 that talk about how badly Midian was beaten.  They don’t say if it was Moses or Gideon but the context makes it sounds like the beatings were bad and that a similar beating was wished on the current enemy.

Living in the “now” of troubles and testing compared to analyzing them later will produce two very different views.  This is a “later” point of view; God used the Midianites to push Israel to a deeper walk and expose things that still they needed to deal with.  One example is the army killing the men and keeping the women who were the instrument that got them into trouble.  Even later the Israelites were still dealing with the troubles of Peor, possibly, the girl slaves and the children born from them.  Midianite DNA and mindset were spread into every tribe of Israel, including Levi.  Be careful what you choose to live with no matter how you got it.

Psalm 103 – Moses

Psalm 103:6 He (the Lord) made known His ways to Moses and His deeds to the people Moses_Pleading_with_Israelof Israel. (NIV)

My study note on this verse was – Why not Abraham or Jacob/Israel? That was several years ago but as I began to study Psalm 103 that question nagged me again. Why did God wait to show “His ways” to a man? Why Moses and not the Father of Faith – Abraham or Jacob, Joseph, or Judah?

Why did David single out Moses as having been shown the “ways of God?” I mean Abraham had gotten a promise and a covenant from God and had been shown favor so why Moses? I am going to digress here a moment and think about the relations these men had with God. In Exodus 6: 2- 5 God said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as El-Shaddai (the God who pours out His riches because of His grace) thinking about these men they were blessed. Yes, they were tested, had trials and even messed-up but they were blessed because of God’s grace. However, in the same verses, God said He had not shown them the Jehovah (the One Who promised them deliverance because of His divine control) side of His nature. This part was for Moses and the children of Israel to experience.

Both Abraham and Moses experienced visits with God. In Genesis 12:7, 17:1, and 18:1 God “appeared” to Abraham; at first I thought of a vision like he had in chapter 15:1. But according to Strong’s Concordance “appear” carries the context of something literally seen. Moses also had “visits” in the burning bush (Exodus 3), the heavenly dinner party (Exodus 24), and the times in the cloud on the mountain.

Both men had conversions with God but it seems that Moses wrote things down while Abraham passed things on orally. Before the event that is talked about in Psalm 103, which is Exodus 33:13, Moses had written a Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24: 7).

So now to the question as to why God’s ways were revealed to Moses – Moses asked! Exodus 33:13 records the conversation Moses had with God. The NIV states it this way, The Path“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know You.” The context here is important because in verse 12 Moses is talking about leading the people. “Ways” means a highway or well-traveled path so with a little play on words Moses is asking for two things in this passage – physical direction and spiritual knowledge. (See study on Paths and Ways). A lesson here for leaders, you need to ask to know God’s ways.

Easter 2015 – Reflections – Priesthood

Reflections on Jesus’ Priesthood and Melchizedek.

Several studies have come together this Easter to clear up and create more things to study: Salem or Sodom, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam, It Is Finished, and one of Hebrews. They deal with Jesus our High Priest, Melchizedek, and the things finished on the Cross combining the mysterious priesthood of Melchizedek, the natural priesthood of Aaron, and being settled in the supernatural priesthood of Jesus. Psalm 110 affirms the priesthood of Jesus but combines it with the victorious conqueror He will be in the Book of Revelations. Jesus finished the need for the work of Aaron and sacrifices while being added to the Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedekorder of Melchizedek. The link below has part of a Dead Sea Scroll which points to Melchizedek as a “leader of God’s armies.” In the study of Jeroboam and the rest of the kings of the Northern Tribes the “sin of Jeroboam” is mentioned frequently. I thought the main problem was the idols he had made but Hebrews 7:12 showed me the real sin. When Jeroboam changed the priesthood he changed the Law!

The list from Hebrews works through Jesus’ completion and right as Priest. The list from Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 are the different names and titles of God in those passages. Those names by extension show Melchizedek’s importance as God’s priest.

  • Hebrews 13:12 Jesus suffered outside of the city to make us holy through His blood.
  • Hebrews 7: 26 Jesus as a High Priest met our needs by being holy, pure, set apart, and exalted in the heavens.
  • Hebrews 7: 12 When the priesthood changes there is also a change in the Law!
  • Hebrews 8: 10 (Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34) God WILL put in our minds His laws and write His Laws on our hearts so we WILL be His people because He is our God.
  • Hebrews 5:6, 7:1 – 28 and other discussions of priest Chapter 8 and 13: 11

Genesis 14: 19, 20, 22

  • Elohim (God) a title used in combination with other names it is a title of majesty and power.
  • Elyon (Most High) is a title of God that focuses on supremacy in power.
  • Qana (Creator) to create or bring forth; the NIV footnote says it is Possessor.

Psalm 110

  • LORD or Jehovah – the Eternal
  • Lord or Adon – (vs. 1) supervisor or owner; Adonay – (vs. 5) a title of the one true God with a focus on majesty and authority or “Lord overall” and also carries the idea of Father or a Friend (see LORD vs. Lord)

http://ad2004.com/Biblecodes/Hebrewmatrix/melchizedek.html this has a translation of a Dead Sea Scroll that talks about Melchizedek. If you are interested it goes into Bible Codes which I have mixed feelings about.

Definitions are from Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance and from Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance

pic from http://www.heiligenlexikon.de/BiographienA/Abraham.htm. or Dieric Bouts (circa 1420-1475) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMeeting_of_abraham_and_melchizadek.jpg