1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 27, Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Patriarchal Migrations and Wanderings


MAP 26, Great distances and thus great faith were involved in moving an elderly patriarch from Mesopotamia to the land where his God would show him. 


At roughly the time of Abraham’s call, central and southern Mesopotamia was in the hands of a number of more or less equally powerful rulers and city-states, including Hammurabi of Babylon, Zimri-Lim of Mari, Ibal-pi-El of Eshnunna, and Rim –Sin of Larsa.


At the same time, northern Mesopotamia was under some influence from Hurrains, Subartu, Turukku, and Assyria. 


Most of Canaan and much of Syria as far north as the environs of Ebla was safely under the control of the Egyptian pharaohs, while almost all the territories in the northwest sector of this overhead fell under Hittite rule. 


Patriarchal Migrations and Wanderings

We can look to the Book of Genesis to read about both the migrations and the wanderings of the Patriarchs.

The migrations show us how Abraham, the father of faith, and his offspring came to live in the land of Canaan, whereas the wanderings show the manner in which they lived there. 

The migration is the travel it took to get to the Holy land, and the wanderings in the land were due to the need to find sustenance while in the land. 

Patriarchal migrations began when Abraham moved with his father’s clan from Ur of the Chaldeans ( kal-de-ans) to the city of Haran.

Since the archaeological work and publications of a man named Leonard Woolley in the early part of the twentieth century it has been accepted that Ur of the Chaldeans was the same Ur that was the metropolitan capital of the Third Dynasty or Ur situated some 140 miles southeast of Babylon in the heartland of Sumer.

But recent conclusions by some are that the Ur of the Chaldeans mentioned in the Bible is mentioned that way to distinguish the Ur of Abraham from the Ur of the Sumerians that was to the south of Babylon. 

It is like saying the Bagdad of Florida to distinguish it from the Baghdad of Iran. 

Where were the Chaldeans from? 


There is no sure trace of Chaldeans in southern Babylonia before the ninth century B.C..


So some scholars of late are placing Ur of the Chaldeans in a place to the north called Ur of the region of Chesed, an area that is in Padan-aram [PAD-uhn AIR-uhm; “plain of Aram”] (northern Mesopotamia) 


From studies of the culture of this area it is found to be more parallel to that of the culture of Abraham than the culture of southern Mesopotamia.  


Mesopotamian literature does mention a northern Ur but does not give it a precise location.


It is easy to see that a study of the wanderings of the Patriarchs will provide two conclusions. 


The first conclusion is that the Patriarchs lived in tents as pastoral nomads on seasonal pasture land. 


The places in Canaan visited by patriarchs received between ten and thirty inches annual rainfall, which was ideally suited for the pastoral grazing of flocks and herds. 


They did not normally settle in towns, and did not normally farm. 


They did not normally own land, except for modest burial sites at Mamre, Shechem, and where Rachel was buried. 


Genesis 23:1-4, Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.  3And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.


The second conclusion is the patriarchs must have arrived in Canaan during an era when the land was relatively free from external political control.


There seemed to be unfettered traffic and migration into and about the land. 


When God told Abraham to leave his kin and go to Canaan it was the right time for such a journey.


You will note by the overhead the travels of Abraham and Jacob and Eliezer.


Abraham’s migration from Ur of the Chaldeans to Harran. 


Genesis 11:31,  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. 

Abraham’s migration from Harran to the Promised Land. (Blue line, going through Damascus, Hazor, and Shechem) 

Genesis 12:4-6,  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.  And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem (Shechem), unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.


Eliezer brings Rebekah to marry Isaac (Green Line, Going though Damascus, Amman, to Beer-lahai-roi) “well of the living one who sees me”


Traveled through Bashan, Gilead, Moab and Edom


BEER; “a well”

BEE-uh-rahth; “wells”

beer-SHEE-buh; “well of the seven”]

BEER luh-HIGH roy; “well of the living one who sees me”

BEER EE-lim; “well of Elim”]

Genesis 24:60-66,  And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.   And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.  And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.  For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.  And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.