Headline: Terah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Ishmael, Akkadian Empire Timeline (2296 BC – 1886 BC)
Date Range: 2296 BC – 1886 BC
People: Abraham, Hagar, Intef II, Isaac, Ishmael, Rebekah, Sarah, Terah
There is much that can be said about a little town you probably never heard of: Ebla. It is located in the northwest corner of the modern country of Syria about 34 miles southwest of Aleppo. Its name is possibly related to the “white rock” limestone in which the city is constructed upon. At its height, Ebla supported a population of about 260,000 people and had developed trade and diplomatic relationships with the Egyptians, Canaanites, Cypriots, Amorites, Hurrians, Akkadians, Sumerians, and Elamites (see Map). This entire region from the Nile River through the Armenian Highlands to the Persian Gulf is known as the Fertile Crescent. By circa 2500 BC, agriculture, art, trade, and writing were already developed. The Egyptians under the 4th Dynasty built the Great Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, the Sumerians constructed multiple cities including Eridu, and the Eblaite Kingdom was headquartered in what is now known as Tell Mardikh.
Archaeological excavations at Ebla have unearthed over 17,000 pieces of clay tablets that date from about 2400 BC to 2240 BC. It was strategically located near the center of all trade throughout the region, and the city kept records… lot’s and lot’s of administrative records. Ebla was destroyed by the Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin c. 2240 BC. These tablets were written in cuneiform Sumerian and a Semitic language called Eblaite, which is related to Akkadian, Ammonite, Amorite, Edomite, Hebrew, and Moabite. This region of southern Turkey / northern Syria is where Abraham and some of his ancestors lived. Terah was 70 years old when Haran was born, and Abraham was 75 years old when Terah died at the age of 205. Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born, and he was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Also, Abraham is ten years older than Sarah. Abraham was born in 2166 BC in Ur Kasdim. Many modern scholars associate Ur of the Chaldeans (Ur Kasdim) with the southern Mesopotamian city of Ur located about 13 miles southwest of Nasiriyah, Iraq, and 788 miles southeast of Aleppo, Syria. The location of Ur near Nasiriyah is not consistent with the Bible. Genesis 24:10 states that Abraham’s servant went to the city of Nahor in the land of Aram-naharaim to the land of his forefathers to find a wife for Isaac. There he found Rebekah who was the great-granddaughter of Terah through Nahor (Abraham’s brother). Aram-naharaim literally means “Aram of the Two Rivers” and is associated with the land in northern Aramean Syria. Biblical evidence suggests that Abraham was born near the border of Turkey and Syria.
Harran, Turkey, where Terah took his family after leaving Ur Kasdim is about 142 miles northeast of Aleppo. Local legend, and some evidence, states that Abraham was born in the nearby city of Şanlıurfa, which is about 28 miles north of Harran. There is not conclusive evidence to conclude that Abraham was born in or near Şanlıurfa, but it is consistent with Biblical text. It is within a short distance travel of Harran. It is in a region where Semitic languages were regularly spoken and written. The culture of the region at this time is consistent with that of the Biblical Patriarchs. It is part of the “land between the two rivers.” Abraham and family settled in Kiriath-arba (aka Hebron). It is about 19 miles south of Jerusalem and is about 3000 feet above sea level.
Bible Verses: Genesis 11:27-32,12:1-5,12:10-15,16:16,17:15-27,18:1-8,19:23-29,21:5,23:1,25:7, Acts 7:1-5
1. Who was the oldest of Terah’s children?
2. What year was Abraham born?
3. What year was Terah born?
4. What year were Haran and Sarah born?
5. What years were Ishmael and Isaac born?
6. In what general region did Terah’s family live?
7. What was the genetic relationship between Isaac and Rebekah?
8. What family did Sarah belong to?
9. Briefly describe the cultural and political environment in which Abraham was born into.
– 4.2 Kiloyear Event.
– Akkadian Empire.
– Buried in a Genealogy – BEMA Discipleship Podcast Episode 8.
– Chronology of Abraham.
– Ebla Tablets and the Bible.
– First Intermediate Period Egypt Video.
– Intef II.
– Mesopotamian Political Map c. 2500 BC.
– Mysterious Ancient City of Ebla.
– Stela of King Intef II Wahankh.
– Top 10 Discoveries Related to Abraham.
Do the details matter? The short answer is “Yes.” The Bible is not a book of history or science, but it contains information that is historically and scientifically correct. Genesis was written by Moses just before c. 1406 BC. This was about 760 years before Abraham was born. This would be like you writing about King John of England, Stephen Langton, the Magna Carta, and Pope Innocent III. What are the chances that you wrote something incorrect or made an incorrect conclusion about this time period? As we peel back the layers of our understanding of the book of Genesis, we begin to see how intricately woven and historically accurate it is. From our vantage point of selfish ambition and limited understanding, we want to force conclusions onto the text of the Bible and then state that it is incorrect. Instead of trying to force an opinion on the Bible, perhaps it is time to let the Bible speak to you. Look at the details. These details help place you at these events. Try to understand the culture of the time, and not just implant our culture onto their culture. What was so different about Abraham, and why did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob marry descendants of Terah? What is God trying to say to you through Biblical text?
Timeline and Chronology:
1991 BC: Abraham Died.
2004 BC: Ur III Dynasty Ended.
2029 BC: Sarah Died.
2066 BC: Isaac Born.
2080 BC: Ishmael Born.
2091 BC: Terah Died.
2112 BC: Ur III Dynasty Began
2154 BC: Akkadian Empire Ended.
2156 BC: Sarah Born.
2166 BC: Abraham Born.
2169 BC: Death of Dudu / Reign of Shu-turul.
2181 BC: 6th Dynasty of Egypt Ended.
2189 BC: Reign of Dudu.
2193 BC: Death of Shar-Kali-Sharri.
2218 BC: Death of Naram-Sin / Reign of Shar-Kali-Sharri.
2226 BC: Haran Born.
2240 BC: Ebla / Tell Mardikh Destroyed.
2255 BC: Death of Manishtushu / Reign of Naram-Sin.
2270 BC: Death of Rimush / Reign of Manishtushu.
2279 BC: Death of Sargon / Reign of Rimush.
2296 BC: Terah Born.
2334 BC: Akkadian Empire Began Under Sargon.