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Haran In Mesopotamia

Haran was a major city in northern Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia means "between the rivers" i.e. the Euphrates and the Tigris in what is today Iraq) at the time of Abraham. Located on a major trade route between southwestern Asia and the Mediterranean Sea, Haran was the city where Abraham's family, led by his father Terah, settled after leaving Ur in southern Mesopotamia. It was from Haran that the LORD told Abraham to journey to a new land.

"They came unto Haran and dwelt there"

Coincidentally, Haran was also the name of Abraham's brother.

Haran in Mesopotamia

"11:31 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.

11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran." (Genesis 11:31-32 KJV)

After the death of his father Terah, the LORD told Abram (the LORD would later rename him as Abraham; see Abram and Sarai) to "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee." That new land would become known as "Israel," named after Abraham's grandson Jacob.

"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came." (Genesis 12:1-5 KJV)

The family connection to Haran did not end with Abraham's departure. After Jacob bested his brother Esau for the family blessing, their mother Rebekah (who was born there; Rebekah was the grand-daughter of Abraham's brother Nahor who had remained in the country of his nativity) had Jacob return to Haran for what she thought would be only a brief stay. Jacob remained there over twenty years.

"27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 27:44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; 27:45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?" (Genesis 27:41-45 KJV)

Upon his arrival, Jacob met one of his wives, Rachel. Nearly all of Jacob's children would thereafter be born in Haran i.e. 11 of the 12 Israelite patriarchs were born in what is today Iraq (see Children of Jacob).

"29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 29:2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. 29:3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.

29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye?

And they said, Of Haran are we.

29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?

And they said, We know him.

29:6 And he said unto them, Is he well?

And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep." (Genesis 29:1-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: What are the two major Bible-related empires that existed in Mesopotamia?
See Ancient Empires - Assyria and Ancient Empires - Babylon

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