The Souls 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.”
In Genesis 12:5, we read about Abram leaving Haran. Among his party were people acquired in Haran, as the NKJV, ESV, and CSB versions put it. The KJV and the earlier Geneva Bible refer to the ones taken from Haran as “the souls that they had gotten in Haran”. The Hebrew word being translated here is nephesh – a word that refers to the breath of life; an in-pouring of the Spirit. It is probably right to assume that these were, in fact, people but that Abram and Sarai had acquired their souls. In other words, these were converts.
Abram had come from a wealthy, pagan home. God reminded the Israelites, through Joshua in Joshua 24, that “Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.” Yet Abram had obeyed God’s voice while he was still in Ur. It seems likely to me that Abram’s faith in God was something he did not keep to himself. This may be conjecture on my part, but it seems to me that some people in Haran must have listened to Abram’s account of this living and true God, who he was serving, and also believed in the Lord; so much so that they accompanied Abram, their spiritual father, on his sojourn.
Prayer: Salvation is found in You alone, Lord. Help us to proclaim to others the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we might be those who acquire souls for Your kingdom. Amen.
Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2010), Itching Ears, (Castle Rock, WA: J6D Publications), pp. 189-210. Image: Ben-Peter Scotton, commissioned by the author, used with permission.
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