Was Sarah Terah's daughter?

by Margaret Vaughan
(Oxford, UK)

1. Why is Sarai not listed as one of the descendants of Terah in the Torah?
2. Abram does indeed refer to Sarai as his sister in Genesis, but she is also referred to as Abram's 'half-sister'? In (Genesis 2:24) the commandment for a man to leave his parents and 'cleave to his wife' in marriage is not a commandment to permit incest between parent and sibling for sure! Later, under Levitical law (Leviticus 18:9) incest between fathers and their offspring; i.e. father/daughter etc is clearly forbidden, but would this not also apply between siblings as well for important biological reasons?
3. Was Sarai the daughter of another wife to Terah and mother of his children, which would make her Abram's half-sister? There is no evidence of this in the Torah? Abram's, mother is believed to be Amathiaah from Cutha in Mesopotamia. Abram was born in Ever- ha- Nahor “beyond the river”. Was she was also the mother of Nahor and Haran?
4. In ancient times the word for “sister” also meant “cousin” in Semitic languages. The Aramaic word “Khtha” can mean sister or cousin and it was not uncommon for the grandparents of children to refer to their grandchildren as their children. Was it common in those times for sons to marry the daughters of their deceased brothers? Was Sarai really the daughter of Terah or traditionally in name only as his biological grand-daughter; and Abram's biological niece?
5. Did the world's first matriarch and prophetess, Sarah, have three names, Yiscah, Sarai and Sarah?
6. As there is no record of Terah having more than one wife, we are left with the only one mother for the three sons listed in the Torah, in Abram's case believed to be Amathiaah from Cutha in Mesopotamia? He was born in Ever- ha- Nahor “beyond the river”.
7. We know from bible records that Nahor married his niece, Haran's daughter Milcah, but nothing is spoken of any marriage to Yiscah (Iscah), Milcah's sister? Why then, as the first and most important matriarch of the world, is Sarai excluded from the list of Terah's descendants? It seems more likely that Abram married Yiscah (Yiscah Heb. meaning 'to see') who changed her name to Sarai. We know that her name was changed by YHWH after the birth of Isaac, to Sarah (Sarah -meaning "my princess"). Sarah indeed was a Royal matriarch and prophetess and very blessed.
8. At YHWH's command Abram and Terah left with the entire family, including Lot, Haran's son, for the Land of Ur? Did Nahor and his family settle with them in Ur too?

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