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TERAH AND THE GODS


There is a Jewish midrash (not Scripture) that tells a funny story about Terah being a merchant who sold idols but had a son named Abram who wasn’t convinced about the validity of the gods because the real God had been speaking to him. Since it isn’t actually Scripture, I’m going to do a very Hebrew thing and expand it a little.


One day, when Terah was taking his lunch break, Abram was left to mind the store. A customer came in looking for a new god because he wasn’t having much fortune in his life. So, he asked Abram for a recommendation and Abram decided to demonstrate that none of these idols had any power. He started systematically destroying the idols and throwing them down to the ground and scared the customer to death. The customer went out of the shop running and screaming lest he be struck down for the blasphemy Abram was committing. Terah sees the customer running out, takes in the destruction at the shop, and asks Abram who committed this blasphemy. Abram points to the largest idol because he doesn’t believe the idols can really do anything. This frightens Terah so that he decides to go to a land where they worship other gods in order to avoid repercussions from both the gods and the mob (a city isn’t going to take kindly to having its gods destroyed).


I love the story because it illustrates something about the way a person might become disillusioned with those things that everyone else accepts as gods, but I don’t accept the story because Genesis 11 seems to indicate that Terah was headed for the land of promise.

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