Terah was the son of Nahor the Elder, a ruler-priest descendant of Nimrod, the son of Kush (Noah’s grandson) - who built a kingdom in the Tigris River Valley. All of these rulers were Kushite in an ethical sense. It appears that kushite priests were scribes and devotees of Horus or Hor. The oldest know shrine city dedicated to Horus can be found in modern Sudan, at Nekhen.
Relationship to Abram’s familyTerah 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
Terah's journeyTerah 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 Kushite civilization comprises many peoples, including Nubians, Sudra, Egyptians, and Ainu. It also had castes of metal-workers, warriors and Horite scribe-priests.
Joshua 24:2 gives further evidence regarding Terah’s role as a Horite Priest: “In olden times, your forefathers – Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor – lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods.” The Kushites held a binary worldview. One entity of the binary sets was perceived to be greater in some way to its complement. For instance, the Sun is greater light than the Moon. The text in Joshua identifies Terah's association with Asiatics, who had also embraced dualism. They worshiped the Sun deity and the Moon deity as equals.The implication is that Terah, a descendant of the Kushite kingdom builder Nimrod, fell into worshiping contrary to the binary tradition of his fathers (horim) while living “beyond the Euphrates.”
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.
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.
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.
Numbers 33:27-28 mentions 'Terah" as a place near Mount Harun (Aaron) in Jordan, within the heart of Horite territory. The Horites controlled a region between Mt. Hor (northeast of Kadesh-barnea) and Mt. Harun near Petra. Genesis 10:30 tells us that these were the clans whose dwelling place extended from Mesha "all the way to Sephar, the eastern mountain range." These people are called Horites in Genesis 14:6; Genesis 36:20 and in Deuteronomy 2:12. Other rulers of Kushite-Nubian ethnicity had the title Terah, as evidenced from places bearing that name.
Terah is also the name of an Arabian tribe (Terabin). This tribe predominantly dwells between Gaza and Beersheba. This links Terah to the clans of Joktan, Dedan, Raamah and Sheba. Terah, Abraham's father, probably married a cousin or niece from among one of these clans.
- Ussher, James. The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, pgh. 65
- Jones, Floyd N. The Chronology of the New Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004 (ISBN 9780890514160), pp. 25, 259 and Charts 1 and 6
- Brown, Alan B., message delivered at Parsippany Baptist Church, Parsippany, NJ, 2005
- Genesis 11:26-27,32