You are here

Biblical Archaeology Review 3:2, June 1977

Where Is Abraham's Ur?

By Cyrus H. Gordon

The notice in the December 1976 BAR (“The Promise of Ebla,” BAR 02:04) that a new Ebla tablet refers to “Ur in Haran,”a reopens the discussion of where Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham’s birthplace, was located. While we would welcome the full publication of the Ebla tablet, the Biblical evidence is by itself conclusive in placing Ur of the Chaldees in the Urfa-Haran region of south central Turkey, near the Syrian border, rather than in southern Mesopotamia where it is located on so many “Biblical” maps.

Genesis 11:31 relates that “Terah took Abram … and they went out … from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.” Then Terah died (Genesis 11:32) and Abram went on to Canaan (Genesis 12:15). This means that Haran was en route from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan. By no stretch of the imagination would anyone go from Sumerian Ur (in southern Mesopotamia) to Canaan via Haran. A glance at the map shows that Haran is much too far out of the way.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.