When did Abraham leave Haran? Was it before or after his father’s death? This is a Bible difficulty showing an inconsistency between Old Testament and New Testament.
What did the Old Testament say?
In the Old Testament it says that Terah lived 70 years then he begat Abraham:
Genesis 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
And then it tells that Abraham left Haran when he was 75:
Genesis 12:4 So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
And that Terah was 205 years when he died:
Genesis 11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
This means that Terah was 70+75=145 years when Abraham left Haran, i.e., he was still alive when Abraham left Haran.
188.8.131.52 What did the New Testament say?
But actually the writer of Acts had another opinion:
Acts 7:4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. (ESV)
So the writer of Acts says what Genesis didn’t say.
184.108.40.206 Attempt to solve the Conflict by Christian Commentators
Christian commentators tried to solve this problem, Adam Clarke for example writes:
“Many have been greatly puzzled with the account here, supposing because Abram is mentioned first, that therefore he was the eldest son of Terah: but he is only put first by way of dignity. An in stance of this we have already seen, Gen_5:32, where Noah is represented as having Shem, Ham, and Japheth in this order of succession; whereas it is evident from other scriptures that Shem was the youngest son, who for dignity is named first, as Abram is here; and Japheth the eldest, named last, as Haran is here. Terah died two hundred and five years old, Gen_11:32; then Abram departed from Haran when seventy-five years old, Gen_12:4; therefore Abram was born, not when his father Terah was seventy, but when he was one hundred and thirty.
When any case of dignity or pre-eminence is to be marked, then even the youngest son is set before all the rest, though contrary to the usage of the Scriptures in other cases. Hence we find Shem, the youngest son of Noah, always mentioned first; Moses is mentioned before his elder brother Aaron; and Abram before his two elder brethren Haran and Nahor. These observations are sufficient to remove all difficulty from this place.”
220.127.116.11 Answering Christian Commentators
This would have been a good solution to this difficulty, if this verse wasn’t mentioned:
Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
This clearly means that when Abraham was told by God to have a child when he was 100 is a miracle, how come that Terah begat Abraham at 130?
Besides, a fragment was discovered within Dead Sea Scrolls doesn’t match with this claim, it is fragment 4Q252, which says:
He gave the land to Abraham His beloved.~Terah was~one hundred~and forty years old when he left 9Ur of the Chaldees and went to Haran and Ab[ram was s]eventy. And he dwelt five years in Haran. Then [Terah died] six[ty years after Abram] went out [to] the land of Ganaan. “(Source here)
So as we see, saying that Terah begat Abraham at 130 doesn’t match with the Bible, and Dead Sea Scrolls don’t agree with it. This means that there is still a difficulty concerning what the writer of the Acts wrote.