Biblical People

Biblical People: Terah

The Bible tells us that Terah is the eighth generation from Noah’s son Shem. So our story picks up a couple of centuries after Noah and the great flood. Terah has three sons, Abram, Nahor (2), and Haran.

Haran dies at the start of our story, but not before he has a son, Lot, Terah’s grandson and Abram’s nephew.

Though the Bible doesn’t tell us why, Terah decides to go to Canaan, which is a long journey. He takes with him his son Abram, Abram’s wife Sarai, and his grandson Lot. He leaves behind his other son, Nahor, Nahor’s wife, and most likely some grandchildren. 

Though they head for Canaan, the troop never makes it there. Midway on their trip, Terah aborts his journey. He stops at Harran and settles there instead of Canaan, his original destination. 

Terah dies in Harran, leaving Abram, Sarai, and Lot to figure out what to do next.

Traveling to Canaan represented a long journey for Terah and his family. Though we can later infer that God had his hand in this ambitious move, it’s only speculation. 

What we do know is that Terah had a plan but gave up before he completed it.

Are we known for not following through with our plans? When we say we’ll do something, do others have confidence that we’ll do it?

[Read Terah’s story in Genesis 11:24–32. Discover more in Joshua 24:2.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at