Harran, Home of the Patriarchs and More

Bible students think of Haran (today’s spelling: Harran) as temporary home to Abraham (Gen. 12:4) after he left Ur but before arriving in Canaan. This was also home to Rebekah (Gen. 27) wife of Isacc and mother of Jacob & Esau. Haran would be Jacob’s home for 20 years (Gen. 28-29), where he married his wives and had 11 of his 12 sons (Benjamin later would be born near Bethlehem, at which time Rachel died).

Location of Haran in Mesopotamia. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Location of Haran in Mesopotamia. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

But like many other biblical locations, Harran was of strategic significance, as indicated by this entry from Wikipedia:

By the 19th century BCE, Harran was established as a merchant outpost due to its ideal location. The community, well established before then, was situated along a trade route between the Mediterranean and the plains of the middle Tigris. It lay directly on the road from Antioch eastward to Nisibis and Ninevah. The Tigris could be followed down to the delta to Babylon. The 4th-century Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330–after 391) said, “From there (Harran) two different royal highways lead to Persia: the one on the left through Adiabene and over the Tigris; the one on the right, through Assyria and across the Euphrates.” Not only did Harran have easy access to both the Assyrian and Babylonian roads, but also to north road to the Euphrates that provided easy access to Malatiyah and Asia Minor.

According to Roman authors such as Pliny the Elder, even through the classical period, Harran maintained an important position in the economic life of Northern Mesopotamia.

Harran was also an ancient center for worship for the moon god Sin. This excavated mud brick site has been suggested as the location for a temple for the god that predates the well known later temple.

Haran Mud Brick Building. Proposed site of temple to moon god Sin. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Haran Mud Brick Building. Proposed site of temple to moon god Sin. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Our original flight this afternoon to Antalya was cancelled, which will result in a much later arrival this evening than previously scheduled. Those things happen when traveling. We are both well. Thanks for following our trip.

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