Genesis 11
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
Youth and After

Genesis 11:32

'And Terah died in Haran.' What of that?

It was not until they came to Haran that they touched, as it were, their first footprints and found the old religion. There had been little temptation to pause before on the score of a people's worship, but when, worn out in body and mind, Abram suddenly came upon the old religion, his journeyings after another faith and form of worship were at an end. It was Abram the younger man who withstood the temptations of Haran.

I. You see the thought underlying this bit of prosaic information. It simply means that the years close down the possibilities of a certain kind of moral Exodus. If you wait until you get into years before you find right principles, form good resolutions—well then it is better to make some start in the right direction, but why pile up the odds that start you never will?

The enthusiasms of old men are as rare as they are short-lived unless they are evolved out of earlier and worthy days. I am far from saying that old age necessarily blocks the way to great attempts or to conspicuous success in them. All history would cry out against such a statement. There is an old age we delight to honour and which reverses the ordinary attitude to it in the general world.

II. We may apply what has been so far advanced, first to pleasures, and secondly to something more important to you than old age, and that is—middle life.

(a) To everything, says the preacher, there is a time and a season, and it must be that youth is the time for amusements and pleasures which are not so much the privilege of youth as native to it. We are told that Darwin in his old age expressed regret that he had deprived himself of so many of the pleasures and resources of life by his concentration upon that study the results of which have made his name so justly famous, and no young man should give place to a doctrine of work which excludes his right to the joyous abandon of his years.

(b) When a man begins to sight the middle years he learns to know himself as never before or after. This is the stage where increase of knowledge often means increase of sorrow. It is in truth the sorrow of finding out our limitations, which in their first acquaintance often seem more appalling than they actually are. While youth may be saved by hope of what is to be, middle life is often lost in the drab reality of what is, and even where middle life has won success in the things men covet, and after which they strive, it may be that that success is just deadly in its reaction of monotony. Men do not always go under because they cannot do things. They fail not because they do not know what it is well to do, but because they do not choose to attempt it. And why do they not choose? So far as this question affects middle life it is largely because so few of us have the grit to face its difficulties.

—Ambrose Shepherd, Men in the Making, p. 1.

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:
And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:
And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:
And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:
And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:
And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:
And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:
And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Nicoll - Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

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