Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
March 26, 2012
Last Updated :
March 26, 2012
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
Unexpected Revelation, Abraham The Hebrew, Patriarch Heber, Descendants Of Noah's Son Shem, Abraham Was Also A Semite, Human Family's Three Branches: Semites Hamites Japhethites, Eight Survivors Of The Flood, Our Chromosomal Link To Adam And Eve, Hebrew: One From Beyond, More A Descriptive Term, Abraham's Roots In Ur Of The Chaldees, Salah Names His Son Heber, Location Of The Region Beyond And Hebrews' Place Of Origin, Flood In Noah's Day, Ark Rests Upon The Mountains Of Ararat, Ararat And Armenia In The Bible, Noah's Sons Begin To Repopulate The Earth, Why Salah May Have Named His Son Eber, Eventual Migration Of The Hebrews To Southern Iraq And Kuwait, Terah Takes Abraham And Lot To Haran In Padan-Aram, Abraham Lot And Families Leave Haran And Arrive In Canaan, Nomadic Shepherds Dwelling In Tents, The Importance Of Being Shepherds, Snobbish Egyptians' Perverted View Of Shepherds, Hebrews 11: Abraham Heroes Of Faith And The Heavenly Vision, Importance Of Names In The Bible, Name "Hebrews" Has Endured For Millennia, Was Salah A Visionary With His Eyes Set On The Heavenly Vision?, Faith Trials And Tribulations Of Hebrews, They Will Not Be Made Perfect -- Or Complete -- Without Us, We Are Predestinated And Chosen By God, Do You Have Heavenly Vision?, Spiritually Blinded, Satan False God Of This World
Greetings brethren. As I was working on my series regarding the correct meaning of Psalm 83, the lesson took one of my not-so-uncommon tangents, and I found myself discussing the Patriarch Abraham and his Hebrew heritage. While just about everything that I am about to share in this article I have shared with my readers before, there is one point -- just a small, personal revelation which I believe the Lord gave me today -- that I have not shared before. This new Scriptural connection left me so inspired, that I was motivated to stop working on the aforementioned series, in order to share this information with you. I hope that you will find it as inspiring as I have.
We first find clear mention of the fact that Abraham was a Hebrew in the following verse that is found in the Book of Genesis:
"And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram."
Genesis 14:13, KJV
But the question is, exactly what does it mean to be Hebrew? As I point out in the article "The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?", the word "hebrew" -- which is actually pronounced ib-ree' -- means "one from beyond". It is derived from the name Eber, or Heber, which means "the region beyond". The Hebrews were also known as Heberites. But exactly who was Heber? We first learn about Heber -- who was the father of the Hebrews -- in the following verses which reveal the descendants of Noah's son Shem:
"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."
Genesis 11:10-28, KJV
If we simplify the previous genealogies, what we are left with is the following:
Thus we see that by following the genealogies of the Book of Genesis, we can determine that while Abraham was a Hebrew -- having descended from Heber -- he was likewise a Semite as well, which is one of the three branches of the human family which survived the Flood. In other words, there are Semites, Hamites and Japhethites, as is revealed by these verses:
"And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth."
Genesis 5:32, KJV
"And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth."
Genesis 6:10, KJV
"And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood . . . In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark . . . And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."
Genesis 7:7, 13, 21-23, KJV
"And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:"
Genesis 8:15-18, KJV
"And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan."
Genesis 9:18, KJV
"Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood."
Genesis 10:1, KJV
"Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth."
1 Chronicles 1:4, KJV
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:20, KJV
In short, every single person on this planet has a direct genetic link to either Shem, Ham or Japheth, then to Noah and his wife, and from there, all the way back to Adam and Eve as well. In fact, I recall reading some time ago how even modern science has begun to recognize the chromosomal patterns which link us all to the first Human Pair.
Returning to our main topic of discussion, if we look at it from this perspective, and consider that the word "hebrew" means "one from beyond", it may be correct to say that in an ethnic sense, "hebrew" is not so much a racial term, as it is a descriptive term which describes one's place of origin, just as the word "Texan" does not imply a particular race, but rather someone who is from the state of Texas. From the perspective of the Canaanites, the Patriarch Abraham was indeed a stranger from "the region beyond", because as the following verses reveal, his place of origin was actually Ur in the land of the Chaldees, which at that time was ruled by the Babylonian kings:
"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."
Genesis 11:28-31, KJV
"And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."
Genesis 15:7, KJV
"Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;"
Nehemiah 9:7, KJV
While in the past I have sometimes referred to Abraham as a Babylonian -- being as he was from the Chaldean city of Ur -- I have now come to realize that referring to him as such may not be a totally correct description. The reason why I say this is simply this: As we have seen, Heber means "the region beyond". The question that entered my mind is why Salah -- his father -- would give him that name. Does it possibly imply that for several generations before Abraham was even born, his family of Semites had been traveling about as nomadic shepherds, and had eventually settled in Ur of the Chaldees?
If this is the case, exactly where was this "region beyond" located? What was the actual place of origin of the Hebrews, these "ones from beyond"? If you have read my article called "Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood", then you may know that there are several good possibilities. These include northern Iraq, northern Iran, eastern Turkey, and Armenia. If you do not understand why this may be so, the answer is really quite simple. Following the Flood that occurred in the days of Noah and his three sons, the Bible informs us that the Ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat, as we see by these verses:
"And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat."
Genesis 8:1-4, KJV
The mountains of Ararat are located in the nation which we know today as Armenia, between the river Araxes and Lake Van and Lake Oroomiah. In fact, in the Bible, the original word is translated twice as Ararat, and twice as Armenia; so it would also be proper to say "the mountains of Armenia". Consider these additional three verses:
"And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead."
2 Kings 19:37, KJV
"And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead."
Isaiah 37:38, KJV
"Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers."
Jeremiah 51:27, KJV
It was from that point on the Earth that post-Diluvian man began to repopulate the entire world. In other words, maybe it was during the lifetime of Salah -- Shem's grandson -- that that branch of Noah's family began to migrate further away from the actual landing site of the Ark. Perhaps Salah did not want his descendants to forget the place of their origin -- and the miracle which God did at Ararat -- so he named his son Heber, meaning "the region beyond". In that way, no matter where they went, their very name -- Hebrews -- would be a constant reminder of their past, and where they had originated.
With the passage of time, Eber's branch of the family -- the Hebrews -- eventually migrated southward to the area that we know today as southern Iraq and Kuwait, but which in those days was the land of the Chaldees. Thus began Abraham's long trek to the land of Canaan from the city of Ur. God, in His Divine Knowledge and Foresight, already knew that the land of the Chaldees was only meant to be a temporary resting place for Terah, Abraham, Lot and the rest of their family. While Terah took Abraham and Lot as far as Haran in Padan-aram on the first leg of their journey to Canaan, upon Terah's death in Haran, it fell upon Abraham to complete the journey to the land of Canaan, as we see by the following verses:
"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. Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 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. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came."
Genesis 11:27-12:5, KJV
Let us not forget that the Hebrews were shepherds who dwelt in tents. They were constantly on the go. Whenever an area could no longer support their herds, they had to move on. It was a rough life, but it was the life that God had chosen for them. Furthermore, we need to remember that in the beginning after the Flood had occurred, leading the life of a nomadic shepherd was also a very necessary and practical way of life, because not only did Noah's family need to eat, but they also had to repopulate the Earth with animals as well. Ironically, many years later, when Jacob and his family arrived in the land of Egypt, while Joseph served as a mediator between the Pharaoh and Jacob's family, the Egyptians actually viewed shepherding as a lowly, filthy occupation, as we see by the following verses:
"And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians."
Genesis 46:31-34, KJV
I will have more to say regarding the Patriarchs living in tents in the final half of this article. There is so much more to why God had them do this.
To my knowledge, all of the previous information is for the most part Biblically and historically accurate. I say for the most part, because we don't have a clear record regarding how the Hebrews actually came to be in the city of Ur in the land of the Chaldees. Thus, I have made a few assumptions based on what we do know.
It was at this point, after contemplating the significance of the word ib-ree' -- or Hebrew -- and its meaning of "one from beyond", that I believe that the Lord's Spirit blessed me with one of those special revelations that so excite and inspire me now and then. This revelation came in the form of the following verses which immediately entered my mind after I explained how the Hebrews may have arrived in the city of Ur in the land of the Chaldees:
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:8-16, KJV
If there is one thing which I have learned from studying the Scriptures over the years, it is that names are important in the Bible. If, as I do, you make it a regular practice of using Hebrew and Greek lexicons as you read the Bible and conduct your studies, you will quickly discover that every name has a special significance which is either related to something about a person's appearance, or their character, or possibly an important event that occurred, or something else. Thus, in my view, it is clearly no mistake that Shem's grandson Salah chose to name his son Heber, and that Heber's descendants became known as the Hebrews. This is a name that has survived for literally thousands of years, while others have disappeared in history. Surely, this can only be by the Lord's Design.
While I theorized that Salah may have named his son Heber so that his descendants would never forget their past, and where they had come from -- that is, from "the region beyond", or the mountains of Ararat -- in light of the verses that I just shared with you from the Epistle to the Hebrews, I have begun to wonder if perhaps I have been looking at it in reverse. In other words, perhaps Salah was actually a real visionary who had his mind, not on the past, and on what had already been, but rather on the future, and on the Heavenly Vision of much more glorious things to come. Perhaps during all those long, quiet years of shepherding his flocks, Salah perceived the realities of the Spirit World, and our temporary condition upon this planet. By naming his son Heber, perhaps it was his desire to impart that same forward-looking Heavenly Vision to his descendants, the Hebrews. He wanted to remind them that they were from beyond, and not truly of this Earth.
Because they embraced the Heavenly Vision, they were able to endure so many things during the years that they walked this Earth. Their unwavering faith in the Promises of God, and the many trials which they were forced to endure, are clearly revealed in the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and are summarized in the verses which follow:
"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
Hebrews 11:32-40, KJV
Please take special note of the final verse above which says:
"God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
Hebrews 11:40, KJV
Do you fully understand what that verse means? As I explain in other articles, the word "perfect" is not referring to some sort of imaginary state of human perfection, as certain people would have you to believe. Derived from the Greek word "teleioo" -- which is pronounced tel-i-o'-o -- it actually means to make complete, to complete, add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full, to bring to the end or to accomplish. In other words, what the writer of the Book of Hebrews is actually saying, is that until the remainder of the Saints join their ranks in Heaven, God's Work will not be complete, and the assigned number of predestinated, chosen and saved persons will not be complete. That we are indeed predestinated and chosen for this purpose, is revealed in the following verses:
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you . . . If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:16, 19, KJV
"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
Matthew 20:16, KJV
"For many are called, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:14, KJV
"And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."
Mark 13:20, KJV
"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Acts 13:48, KJV
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29, KJV
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love . . . Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
Ephesians 1:4-5, 11, KJV
"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"
2 Thessalonians 2:13, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
James 2:5, KJV
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:9, KJV
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
Revelation 17:14, KJV
Wow! Aren't those inspiring verses? So tell me; are you also "one from beyond"? Are you a true Hebrew of the Spirit? Do you realize that you are just a nomad in this current world, and that it is not your true home? Do you look forward to going to your true Home in Heaven? Or are you so shortsighted that you have allowed Satan -- who is the false god of this current evil world -- to blind you, and to rob you of your spiritual vision, so that you only have your eyes set on the temporal things of this materialistic world alone? Consider the following verses:
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"
Ephesians 4:18, KJV
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .