Ur was the capital of the empire, living according to clearly defined laws. Hammurabi, the great king of Babylon, became famous for his code of laws, but it turned out that three centuries before him there was a code in the Ur of the Chaldeans, adopted by the first king of the Third Dynasty, Ur-Nammu.
In the Persian Gulf, ships sailed along the Euphrates, bringing gold, copper and ivory from India and heading east to buy the necessary goods. The level of development of the society was quite high, considering that there was a division of labor and a market for the exchange of work results. Some were raising small and large cattle, others were processing wool, spinning yarn and weaving linen, and others were sewing linen clothes.
Among others, they worked with mahogany, carpentry, metalwork – gold, silver and copper, leather production, jewelry – stone cutting and semi – precious stone processing, as well as the construction of small reed boats that transported goods via rivers and canals across the country.
12 different types of fabrics were produced in one workshop.
The plates found contained the names of the weavers and records of the amount obtained.
The exact weight of the wool issued to each employee and the number of dresses made from it were recorded.
Ur of the Chaldeans was the largest city in the world at that time. Its population was about 65 thousand inhabitants.
No other city in Mesopotamia has had such a beautiful and comfortable housing.
The townspeople of Ur lived in large two-storey cottages, usually at least 12 x 14.5 meters in size, with thirteen to fourteen rooms. The massive lower floors were built of burnt brick and the upper clay bricks. The walls were properly plastered and whitewashed. There was a toilet under the stairs to the second floor. The house had a small pool.
Recordings of hymns sung at worship services in the temple and mathematical tables were found. These tables ranged from simple sum addition to square and cubic root separation formulas.
Ziggurat, made of four gradually rising rectangular stone slabs, formed a 22.86-meter-high tower of brightly colored bricks. The red and blue upper steps, where the trees were planted, shone on a black base (sides 64m x 46m). The highest step was a small platform crowned by a shrine with a golden roof.
The holy territory – the fenced temple – was not only meant to worship the gods.
In addition to worship, the priests had many other activities.
Not only did they make sacrifices, but they also collected tithes and taxes, which were recorded in writing.
Each payment was made on a small clay tablet (perhaps these were the first tax receipts known to us).
The scribes entered the amounts received in the weekly, monthly and annual reports.
In one administrative building, even copies of court decisions were neatly stacked.
Today it is amazing to read the description of the place where Abraham lived and from which he decided to leave.
There was no better city on earth at that time, and every place Abraham could go was clearly worse than where he lived.
As we read Genesis 11, we learn a little about what happened then:
It was written and undertaken by Terah, but reading the book of Acts we can, so to speak, learn more,
Acts 7: 2-4
“To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.”
It is clear, then, that Abraham did not know where he was going when he left Ur, but reading Chapter 11 might give the impression that Terah knew the end of the journey. If you look at the map, you may find that the road to Canaan through HarRan was not the shortest road.
Leaving the Ur, Terah heads to another city in Mesopotamia, where the cult of worship is the same as that of Ur.
Apparently from the text of Genesis 12:1, quoted by Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles, Abraham did not know the end of his journey when he left; And further, when we consider the promises, we see the promise not about the city, but about the land to which Abraham and his descendants traveled.
So, we see Abraham living in the (then) capital of the world and traveling to an unknown land. His lifestyle becomes a nomadic way of life. In general, this idea alone is not very promising. Live in a great city with clear laws, well-organized living arrangements and easy access nomad, grazing the herd… I do not think this is a very tempting offer. What a promise – to move from a place where everything is clear and understandable and to become a nomad among foreign nations and to leave from a familiar place to an unknown country, and besides, it is not clear where that country is and what lies ahead.
We speak from a pragmatist’s point of view, but Abraham looked to the future, looking to what he could not see in his lifetime. Since he had no son, he followed the promise that he would give birth to a nation. We see that it took a long time for the nation to appear, and Abraham himself did not see it.
But he moved forward in faith, responding to the call of the Creator, and therefore a great nation came out of him.