Generations of Adam
"Generations of Adam" is a concept in Genesis 5:1 in the Hebrew Bible. It is typically taken as name of Adam's line of descent going through Seth. Another view equates the generations of Adam with material about a second line of descent starting with Cain in Genesis 4, while Genesis 5 is taken as the "generations of Noah".
Seth and Cain
Both the Cainite and the Sethite lines begin with Adam. The Sethite line in Genesis 5 extends to Noah and his three sons. The Cainite line in Genesis 4 runs to Naamah. The seventh generation Lamech descended from Cain is described as the father of Jabal and Jubal (from his first wife Adah) and Tubal-cain and Naamah (from his second wife, Zillah). The ninth generation Lamech, descended from Seth, is described as the father of Noah. (Gen.4:17-22 Gen.5:1-32)
The Sethite line also gives ages at fatherhood and at death. In the Masoretic text, ages at death range from 777 (Lamech) to 969 (Methuselah), placing the text in the category of longevity narratives. The Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch differ somewhat in the ages given; in the Septuagint, the age at fatherhood is often 100 years later than that in the Masoretic text, extending the genealogy by several centuries.
Seth to Cain
Form critics consider the two lines as corruptions of one tradition. Both the similarities and the differences between lines are significant and do not admit simple explanation:
|Sethite line||Cainite line|
|Enos (mortal)||Adam (mankind)[¶ 1]|
|Methuselah||"Methuselah" (per Septuagint)[¶ 2]|
Robert Best suggests that the sequence of Enoch and Mehujael are parallel in Genesis 4 and similarities in the following table suggest a common source.
|Genesis 5||Genesis 4|
Seth to Sumer
Both the Sethite line and the antediluvian Sumerian king list have ten names prior to a flood and speak of exceptional longevity that significantly diminishes after the flood. However, tentative homologies between the names on the two lists, besides possibly Adamu (Adapa) and Adam, are matters of dispute.
- R.M. Best, Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic, page 154
Family tree notes