Chapter 3

by David Holland


It is written that in a deep sleep Abraham heard God say to him,

“know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land not

theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four

hundred years. And also that nation whom they shall serve,

will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

(Genesis 15: 13-15)

Moses, as the writer of the first five books of the Bible, was certainly

aware of the prophecy spoken to Abram about the fate of his descendants.

He knew that from verse 16 of Genesis 15 that Abram’s descendants

would come back to the land of the Amorites in the fourth generation

after leaving this “land not theirs” known to Moses as Egypt.

So from this scripture we see that God promised the land to Abram

in his dream while he was in the land of the Amorites, just after his

meeting with Melchizedek. The place was north-east of present-day Jerusalem

and probably just east-northeast of Jericho. This was on the

eastern bank of the Jordan River near the place where the Children of

Israel were to cross the Jordan over 400 years later.

Jacob declares a double portion for Joseph to take from the hands of

the Amorite nation. (Genesis 48:22) This further confirms that, at the

time of Moses, the children of Joseph have a right to part of the land


of the Amorite and the land of Canaan. (Genesis 28:15) Since Moses

wrote these scriptures, he must have been aware of these facts. As a result

Manasseh, a tribe of the son of Joseph, occupied lands east of the

Sea of Galilee, known today as the Golan Heights in Israel and lands

to the west of the Jordan River.

All the stories of the ancestors of the Hebrews would have been

available to him as a Prince of Egypt and more likely from his mother,

a Hebrew woman of the tribe of the Levites who became his wet nurse

after Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him. (Exodus 2:7-8)

Moses, knowing something of the timing of his life, and the destiny

of the Hebrew people according to the stories and history, would have

taken an intense interest in the events of the past, and would have believed

he was a big part of the Hebrew people’s future.

However, the young Moses, as with many of us, started to take

God’s purpose into his own hands. He saw the injustice of the treatment

of the Hebrew slaves by their Egyptian masters and overthrew

one Egyptian by killing him. After this action Moses was surprise to see

the Hebrews condemning him rather than banding together and following

him in a coup d’état. He became anxious of Egyptian reprisals due

to the killing of the Egyptian and fled to the wilderness of Midian,

away to the south of the Dead Sea on the shores of the Red Sea.

Moses’ time to fulfil his destiny had not yet come. He had to wait another

40 years until he was 80 years old. This age typifies an age of

new beginning and a historic age to start the work of God. It is likely

Abram was also this age when he started God’s work after meeting

with Melchizedek.


So Moses was able to write the Genesis story down due to his privileged

background, and recorded the success of Abram in being blessed

by God and Melchizedek, but only fleetingly mentions the failure of Terah.

Most of the stories of Genesis are about the goodness of the ancestors

of Jacob and how they made good even through adversity.

Terah, however, who started a journey to Canaan, is not mentioned

in an overly negative light, but only in a fleeting notation.

Moses was in the process of building a nation. Infusing some cohesion

into the people he was leading. Negative stories would have detracted

from the moral rightness of the people of Israel and their cause

to take part of the Amorite lands, as well as the land of Canaan, which

were promised to Shem and his descendants by Noah. (Genesis


Moses had been trained by the court of Pharaoh to govern, and although

factual, the history of Genesis was written with the interests of

governance and providing legitimacy to the people of Israel. This legitimacy

provided the way for a vision and the engine that finally allowed

Joshua to take the ‘Promised Land’.

But it was four hundred years, prophesied by God to Abram, before

Abram’s descendants would emerge from captivity at the hand of God

through Moses.

Four hundred years, as with 40 years wandering about the Wilderness

of Sin, signifies a time of judgement. Forty years for judgement

for the unbelief of the people in the favour of God to take the land

promised to them, and four hundred years in slavery for possibly another

transgression not noted in the Bible.


As it was that Abram was called to go to the land of Canaan at age

75 years, so it was that Terah was first told to go to the land of Canaan

48 years earlier at the age of 75 years. However, unlike Abram he delayed

some 40 years until his son Haran had grown up, had three children,

Micah, Iscah and Lot and much of his immediate family had

died including, his wife, mother to Sarai, his other wife, mother to

Abram, his daughter in-law and wife to his youngest son, Haran his

youngest son and Iscah the daughter of Haran.

Then, after a suitable mourning time of up to 12 months, Terah proceeded

towards Canaan’s lands.

What a terrible neglect of a command from Almighty God. Terah

was weak and lacking in faith. He did not trust God for provision for

him in the new land and for his little son, Haran, who was about 5

years old at the time God spoke to him to go to the new land.

I believe that Abram understood the reason for the prophetic word

about the slavery of his descendants. He understood the cause was the

neglect of Terah, his father, to act upon his responsibility as Abram

later did in his stead. And Abram understood the reason why God had

told him to go from his father’s house and family, but go to a land God

would show him. (Genesis 12:1)

But it was Melchizedek, Priest of the Most High God, who was waiting

for a suitable man of the descendants of Noah to take the mantle

of the blessing and the knowledge of the land of Canaan which was

promised to a descendent of Shem.

So, because of Terah, the man of God had to wait a further fifty

years until Abram came to his notice in the valley below his mountain

realm, in the land of Salem.

This mountain is mentioned in Bible scriptures in many places. In

the following chapter we will investigate some of these.



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