Chaldea

Genesis 11:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. (Bold mind)

IS THE WORD THE WORD OF GODAs this book has clearly demonstrated, Moses is the inspired author of the Pentateuch. At best, we can accept that it is likely that Joshua may have updated the text in Deuteronomy chapter 34, which speaks of Moses’ death, and it is possible that Joshua may have made the reference in Numbers 12:3 that refer to Moses as being ‘the humblest man on the face of the earth.’[1] In addition, we can accept that a later copyist [or even possibly Ezra, another inspired author] updated Genesis 11:28, 31 to read “of the Chaldeans,” a name of a land and its inhabitants in the southern portion of Babylonia that possibly was not recognized as Chaldea until several hundred years after Moses.

The origin of the Chaldeans is uncertain but may well be in the west, or else branches of the family may have moved there (cf. Job 1:17). The general name for the area in the earliest period is unknown, since it was part of Sumer (see Shinar); so it cannot be argued that the qualification of Abraham’s home city Ur as “of the Chaldeans” (Gen. 11:28, 31; 15:7; as later Neh. 9:7; cf. Acts 7:4) is necessarily a later insertion in the text.[2]

The same would hold true of a copyist updating Genesis 36:31, which reads: “Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel.” Moses and Joshua were long gone for hundreds of years before Israel ever had a king over them.[3] The same would hold true again for Genesis 14:14, which reads: “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.” Dan was an area settled long after Moses death after the Israelites had conquered the Promise Land. This too is, of course, an update as well, making it contemporary to its readers.

[1] For the possibility of Moses penning these words, see my comments in the first paragraph of section four.

[2] Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988; 2002), 630.

[3] Actually, this statement could belong to Moses, even though there were no kings in Israel at this time. How? He would be aware that Jehovah had promised Abraham that he would be so great that kings would come out of him (Gen 17:6) and the preparation for such is mentioned in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.