9. Abraham’s Genealogy
Abraham’s story begins with him and his family living in the Mesopotamian city of Ur, where he begins his journey to Canaan. In the second half of Genesis 11, we have a detailed account of Abraham’s family tree, mentioning dozens of names. During excavations at Mari, an ancient city on the Euphrates in present-day Syria, an impressive royal palace was discovered, which yielded thousands of inscribed tablets that were once part of a proud royal archive.
Modern estimations on Abraham’s chronology fall somewhere between 2000 and 1500 BC: The archive found at Mari was in use from around 2300 to 1760 BC, and the names on these tablets show that the names in Abraham’s genealogy were in use in this area during this time. This find does not confirm the validity of Abraham’s family tree, but it suggests that the story might not have been a purely fictional creation.