How old was Terah when Abram was born—70 or 130?

This is an interesting question. Compare the following verses:

  • Gen. 11:26 “And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.”
  • Gen. 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.”
  • Acts 7:2-4 says “And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.”

Solution:

There are several possible answers to this question.

  1. Some think Abram was not the firstborn even though his name appears first. The same thing happens with Shem, Ham and Japheth even though Japheth is the elder (Gen. 5:32). Sometimes the most prominent of the children is listed first even though they are not the eldest.
  2. Abram made several trips to and from Haran, so Terah was 70 when Abram was born.
  3. Acts 7:4 refers to Abram taking the body of Terah from Haran to Canaan. Our longevity chart (shown below) shows Terah at 70 when Abram was born though the Scripture does not seem to give enough detail to be dogmatic.

The Longevity of the Patriarchs

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