Judaism chapter II : Terah.
There lived a man named Terah. He had three sons. Two of them had wonderful names, but I’m not going to include them because this is not their story, and it might clog up your brain with unnecessary detail. So I will not tell you about Nahor and Haran. This is about Abraham, who was born approximately 2000 years after the Biblical creation of Adam. Please forget the names of Nahor and Haran now. Thank you.
Terah and his sons, one of whom was Abraham, were Chaldeans who lived in the land of Ur.
Ur was an important city-state in Mesopotamia and was located near the Euphrates River.
A sidenote: Ur is located in modern-day Iraq. It used to be a coastal city, but it now is, according to my friends at Wikipedia, “...significantly inland.”
Another sidenote: Abraham was originally named “Abram.” When he was a sprightly and virile young man of 99, God changed his name from “Abram” to “Abraham.” Abram means “exalted father.” Abraham means “father of crowds.” They’re both pretty cool names, but “Abraham” certainly has more possibilities for cool nicknames, and also “father of crowds (or multitudes)” is a good description because he became the father of billions of people. Yes, if you’re reading this, you are distantly related to Abraham. Distantly. How distant? I don’t know. #23andme
Anyway, they worshipped idols, and Terah was important because he made them. If you were a kid who lived in a country where idols were important, and your dad was the one making the idols, then I imagine you might think you had a pretty cool dad.
Abraham was a thinker, and when you’re tending sheep in the fertile pasturelands of the Euphrates Valley, then you have plenty of time to think. So Abraham thought lots. And one of the things he apparently thought about lots was the nature of idols. Remember, his dad made them. He had lots of time to think about the strangeness of worshipping and praying to something that he had watched his father form out of stone or clay.
Eventually, Abraham’s thoughts became words, and words became questions, and when you’re in a land where idols are worshiped and you start questioning whether they’re worthy of worship, then...life can become dangerous. Especially after Abraham proposed that rather than worshipping idols, they should worship a god who had actually created the earth and all that was on it.
Abraham made the wise, but sad decision to leave his homeland with his family and all their possessions and head north to Canaan.
Abraham was called Ibri, which means “from across.” In other words, the guy who came across the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. So his family was called Ibris. Which is where Hebrew comes from. Hebrew = Ibri
Abraham and his family, the Hebrews, were similar to the Canaanites in many ways. But in one significant way, they were completely different.:
They believed that idols should not be worshiped.
This is an introduction to a ten-unit survey of Judaism - its history, peoples, beliefs and impact on the world today.
Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.