Haran was the name of Abram’s brother. Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans where he had been born, and following his death, Haran’s father Terah and other members of his family set out for Canaan. They journeyed several hundred miles northwest and settled in a place called Haran. While the spellings of the personal name and the place name are identical in English, they are not identical in Hebrew.
This article focuses on the city. Located in northern Mesopotamia, Haran was a place known for the worship of the pagan moon god called Sin.
Terah, Abram’s father, died in Haran. We are not told how long the family lived there, but the fact that they “settled” in that location (Gen. 11:31) seems to indicate more than a brief period. Responding to the call of God he had received in Ur (see Acts 7:2-4), Abram did not remain in Haran, but left there and journeyed to Canaan.
Yet the connection to Haran was not severed entirely for Abram and his family. Rebekah’s brother, Laban, resided there, so apparently Rebekah herself also came from Haran (see 24:4; see 24:1-67) and Jacob lived there for a number of years and found wives there (see Gen. 27:43; 28:10; 29:4; see 29:1-30 for the context). (Rebekah, remember, was Abraham’s daughter-in-law, and Jacob was his grandson).
Second Kings 19:12 and Isaiah 37:12 reflect that Assyria defeated Haran; this occurred during a conflict in the 8th century B.C. Ezekiel 27:23 indicates that the city had trade relations with Tyre.