Yesterday, I said I could not understand
why I thought Abraham had heard from God
to leave Ur and go to the land of Canaan.
I was stupefied
when I learned it was Terah, Abram’s father,
who decided to take Abram, Lot and Sarai
to Canaan, after Haran, Terah’s son had died.
As I said yesterday,
Terah must have heartbroken after Haran died,
because the scripture says
that Terah stopped in the land of Haran,
and there he lived and died.
My guess is that the land of Haran
got its name from Terah
when he decided to stay.
Since Terah was headed to Canaan,
from the land of Babylonia,
I thought he would have headed east,
but the Bible map shows
that Haran went north,
to what is known today
as southeastern Turkey,
a village along the Balikh River,
24 miles southeast of Urfa.
So I stand corrected.
Abram was not in the land of Ur
when he heard from the Lord.
He was in the land of Haran -
a land that was probably named
after his brother.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth
shall be blessed.”
So Abram departed
as the Lord had spoken to him,
and Lot went with him.
And Abram was seventy-five years old
when he departed from Haran.
Then Abram took Sarai his wife
and Lot his brother’s son,
and all their possessions
that they had gathered,
and the people
whom they had acquired in Haran,
and they departed
to go to the land of Canaan.”
Scripture says when Abram, Sarai and Lot
came to the land of Canaan.
They passed through the land
to the place of Shechem,
as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh.
If you look on a Bible map,
Shechem is located between three mountains,
Mt. Gerizim, Mt. Ebal and Mt. Ephraim.
Today, this area is called Nablus.
It’s a city in the West Bank.
It lies in an enclosed fertile valley
and is the market center of a natural oasis
that is watered by numerous springs.
Scripture says Abram traveled
“as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh.”
This passage stumped me.
What is a terebinth tree, and where is Moreh?
“a terebinth tree is a deciduous tree,
that has very deep roots,
and grows at the foot of mountains.
This tree is of the species of the genus Pistacia,
native to the Mediterranean region -
from the western areas of Morocco
and Portugal to Greece
and western and southeastern Turkey.”
As I was researching,
I saw that some believe the terebinth tree
was not a pistachio tree, but an oak.
So, I’m not sure sure -
but I will keep my mind and my eyes open
while future scripture comes.
The exact location of Moreh
is not known today,
but it appears to be a plain close to Shechem,
where a hill must have been.
The Hebrew word moreh
is derived from the verb yarah,
which means “to teach” or “to direct.”
It's interesting to me that moreh
represents a hill where a person
of wisdom and authority can talk -
or do divine work.
There are two Bible characters
whom I identify with the most.
They are Gideon and Paul -
the ones who God had to chase
and knock them down with zest.
Right now, I am remembering
the story of Gideon - when early in the morning
“Jerubbaal (Gideon) and all of his men
camped beside the spring of Harod.
And the camp of Midian was north of them
in the valley near the hill of Moreh.”
And it’s at this location,
under the terebinth tree in Moreh
that “the Lord appeared to Abram” and said,
“To your descendants I will give this land.”
“And there -
Abram built an altar to the Lord,
who had appeared to him.”
God is an Amazing Compass!
After receiving his teaching,
"Abram moved to the mountain east of Bethel,
and he pitched his tent
with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east;
and there he built an altar to the Lord
and called on the name of the Lord.
So Abram journeyed,
going on still toward the South.”
The mountain east of Bethel
has to be Mt. Ephraim.
Abraham pitched his tent
with Bethel on the west
and Ai on the east -
and he built an altar,
called on the Lord
and must have been directed
to continue to go south.
God was Abram’s amazing compass!
The great Moreh
who directed Abram where to go.