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Meaning and etymology of the name Terah

Terah Terah

The name Terah occurs twice in the Bible. The most famous Terah is the father of Abram, Nahor, Haran and Sarai (Genesis 11:24). Terah is also the name of a town that Israel encountered during the wilderness years (Numbers 33:27).

The etymology and original meaning of the name Terah is unclear. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names suggests a verb that does not occur in Scriptures: tarah (treated neither by HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament nor BDB Theological Dictionary), meaning delay, turn, wander. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names renders Delay. NOBS Study Bible Name List renders Wanderer. BDB Theological Dictionary mentions cognates denoting a white mountain goat (ibex; a goat antelope).

And since nobody seems to know and all are guessing, we like to mention the word tor (tor) meaning dove, and ruah (ruah) meaning wind, breath or spirit. The waw has been known to drop out of words, or to be incorporated into words to augment pronunciation. The taw is sometimes added in front of a word to stress or amplify a verb (it sometimes works as the integral sign in math; making a circle into a sphere).

Especially since Terah is the father of Abraham, to a Hebrew audience the name Terah may have had the meaning of Esprit, Spirited or Inspired.



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