Ohio History Journal

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178 Ohio Arch

178       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.  [VOL. 3







By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place

which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing

whither he went.-Heb. ix, 8.

This is the first notice in ancient records of that great

movement westward which occupies so many chapters of the

history of the human race. From that unknown country named

Ur of the Chaldees, Terah, the father of Abraham, had already

journeyed westward, bringing his household to Haran; here

they tarried for a little, and here it was that Abraham heard the

divine call and went forth to the land of Canaan. A mighty

river, the Euphrates, rolled between him and his destination;

two days' journey brought him to its banks. Nothing daunted,

he made his way across, perhaps at that point where the great

river is still forded; and when he had gained the other shore he

had won his cognomen of "Hebrew"-the man who had

crossed. Weary days of desert journeying were yet before him,

but the divine voice was still calling him, and he pushed steadily

forward, halting for a little in the bright valley of Damascus,

but resting not till his tent was pitched at Bethel, and he looked

abroad from the hill tops upon the fertile plains and smiling val-

leys of the land that was to be his inheritance, and where that

great nation which should spring from his loins was to have its


Abraham's migration was undertaken for a different reason

and with a higher purpose than that of many of his contempor-

aries and successors; nevertheless he was moved with the cur-

rent. Where that Semitic race to which he belonged had its

origin may not be clearly known. We find it first in the lower

valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris, whence, moving north-

westward and southwestward, it populated Babylonia, Syria,

Phoenicia and the rest of Canaan. Even the ancient Egyptians

were not an autochthonic race. Their features, their languages

link them with Asia rather than with Africa. They, too, were a