Genealogies of Genesis
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The genealogies of Genesis provide the framework around which the Book of Genesis is structured. Beginning with Adam, genealogical material in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 22, 25, 29-30, 35-36, and 46 move the narrative forward from the creation to the beginnings of Israel's existence as a people.
Genesis 5 and 11 include the age at which each patriarch had the descendant named in the text and the number of years he lived thereafter. Since Genesis 5 and 11 provide the age of each patriarch at the birth of his named descendant, it presents a gapless chronology from Adam to Abraham, even if the named descendant is not always a first-generation son. Adam's lineage contains two branches: for Cain, given in Chapter 4, and for Seth in Chapter 5. Genesis chapter 10, the Table of Nations records the populating of the Earth by Noah's descendants, and is not strictly a genealogy but an ethnography.
Three versions of the Genesis genealogy exist: the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Greek Septuagint, and the Hebrew Samaritan Pentateuch. Translations from the Masoretic Text are preferred by Western Christians, including Roman Catholics and Protestants and by followers of Orthodox Judaism, whereas the Greek version is preferred by Eastern Christians, including Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Ethiopic, Jacobite and Armenian. The Samaritan version of the Pentateuch is used mainly by the Samaritans. The Vulgate, published by Jerome in 405, is a Latin translation based on a Hebrew Tanakh compiled near the end of the first century, whereas the Septuagint was produced during the third century BC based on an earlier version of the Tanakh. Both have, like the Masoretic Text, been the basis for translations into numerous vernacular languages.
Genealogies of Cain and Seth
Three children of Adam and Eve are named, Cain, Abel and Seth. A genealogy tracing the descendants of Cain is given in Genesis 4, while the line from Seth down to Noah appears in Genesis 5. Scholars have noted similarities between these descents, with most of the names in each being either identical or variants of those in the other, though their order differs, with the names of Enoch and Mahalalel/Mehujael switching places in the two pedigrees. It is "as if they were different versions of the same underlying tradition." This has led to speculation that copies of the same original genealogical descent had drifted away from each other, only to be brought back together and put to different purposes when the Book of Genesis was compiled from these divergent Jahwist and Priestly sources.
Table of Nations
Following the Genesis flood narrative, a large multi-branched genealogy presents the descendants of the sons of Noah.(Genesis 10) The 70 names given represent Biblical geography, consisting of local ethnonyms and toponyms presented in the form of eponymous ancestors (names in origin-myth genealogies that are to be understood as ancestors and embodiments of the peoples whose names they bear). This is a symbolic presentation of the peopling of the world and indicates a view of the unity of the human race. The peoples and places are not organised by geography, language family or ethnic groups, and probably do not represent the geography of a particular point in history, instead deriving from an old nucleus of geographical knowledge to which additional names/peoples were subsequently added.
Nearly all modern translations of Genesis are derived from the Masoretic (Hebrew) Text. But there are also two other versions of Genesis: the Samaritan (from a Hebrew script) and the Septuagint (a Greek translation of a Hebrew text). Although scholars are aware that these three versions of Genesis 5 have different numbers, people who have seen only the commonly available translations are often unaware that other versions exist. The numbers in the Masoretic, Samaritan, and Lucianic Septuagint versions of Genesis are shown in this table:
The following table lists the patriarchs that appear in the Vulgate and the Septuagint, but their names are spelled as they appear in the King James Version of the Bible. Their year of birth differs according to the Vulgate or the Septuagint. Also given is each patriarch's age at the birth of his named son and the age of the patriarch's death. Cainan, born after the flood, is mentioned in the Septuagint but not the Vulgate. Methuselah survived the Flood according to the Septuagint (but not the Vulgate), even though he was not on Noah's Ark.
The genealogies of Genesis contain a difficulty with regards to the birth of Arphaxad. One method of calculating places the birth of Arphaxad 600 years after the birth of Noah, while another places Arphaxad's birth 602 years after Noah. The table below uses the 602-year method; the 600 year method would decrease the date for Arphaxad and all the following figures by two years.
This chart counts year totals only, (AM = Anno Mundi = in the year of the world) can be calculated by adding 2 to any given value in either the "Birth" or "Death" columns. The result will give a corresponding date in AM. The epoch for this calendar system is 3761 BCE.
|Masoretic & Vulgate||Samaritan Pentateuch||Septuagint (Lucian)|
|Mahalalel||"praising El" / "praise of El"||395||65||830||895||1290||395||65||830||895||1290||795||165||730||895||1690|
|Reu||possibly "shepherd" or "friend"||1787||32||207||239||2026||1838||132||107||239||2077||2903||132||207||339||3242|
|Serug||Sarug (name of a city)||1819||30||200||230||2049||1970||130||100||230||2200||3035||130||200||330||3365|
|Abram||exalted father||1948||100||—||175||2123||2249||100||—||175||2424||3414||100||—||175||3589||Sarai; (Hagar); Keturah|
1According to most interpretations, including the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews, Enoch did not die, but was taken away by God (at an age of 365). Genesis states that Enoch "walked with God; and he [was] not; for God took him."
2On this chart Noah is listed as having lived 502 years when he begat Shem and this calculation is based on the birth year of Arphaxad. The extra-biblical Book of Jasher also mentions that Noah was 502 years old when his wife Naamah bare Shem.
Usage of Anno Mundi
The current formal usage of the Anno Mundi calender era is implemented based on the calculations of Maimonides in Mishneh Torah (Completed in AD 1178), it is the official method of calculating years on the Hebrew Calendar currently in use. Based on a calculation using the Masoretic Text recorded in the Seder Olam Rabbah (c 160 AD) of Rabbi Jose ben Halafta the first 5 days of creation in Genesis were in Anno Mundi 1, and the creation of Adam was on 1 Tishrei(Rosh Hashannah) in Anno Mundi 2 which corresponds to 3760 BCE. The official Anno Mundi Epoch is Anno Mundi 1, this first year begins almost a full year before creation and is commonly referred to as The Year Of Emptiness or The Ascension Year in Jewish Tradition and coincides with the years 3761/3760 BCE.
Counting a number of years based on an annual fixed calendar date yields a different result from a rolling year count based on dates such as birthdays which have the possibility of being at any time of the year and change depending on the individual. Using this method has led some chronologists to add or subtract a 0.5 year margin to/from the birth year of each patriarch to account for unknown birth dates.
The first mention in Genesis of the use of a fixed method to reckon years is made in Genesis 1 referring to the "lights in the firmament". A fixed calendar system is usually determined by a fixed annual epoch such as New Year's Day in alignment with Astronomical objects in which the reckoning of the year occurs on its epoch. Years represented in Anno Mundi dates could be interpreted to be in alignment with Rosh Hashannah and are counted according to its annual occurrence.
Birth years of Shem and Arphaxad
There are several different interpretations as to the exact birth year of Shem and his son Arphaxad. Based on Noah being at least 500 years old when be began to beget children and Noah's sons each having an age difference, it is not uncommon to encounter chronologies that list Shem as being 98 years old when the flood began. Shem begat Arphaxad 2 years after the flood when he was 100years old.
In the Masoretic, Vulgate and the Samaritan Pentateuch the method of starting from the birth of Noah and adding exactly 500 years until Shem, and adding another 100 years until the birth of Arphaxad(Born 2 years after the flood) would be the same year as the death of Methuselah following the above chart. Since Methuselah was not mentioned in Genesis among those who were aboard the ark, it is possible that his death came in the same year of the flood.
Based on the Masoretic Text, counting 1656 years on the above chart will result in being the 600th year of Noah's life, the year of the death of Methuselah and year that the flood began. The 2 year discrepancy is commonly resolved by rendering the birth year of Shem in the same year when Noah was 502 years old and Arphaxad as being born 2 years after the death of Methuselah and the Flood.
Differences in the Genesis 5 numbers
A comparison of the Genesis 5 numbers (Adam through Noah) in the above table shows that the ages when the sons were born plus the remainders equal the totals given in each version, but each version uses different numbers to arrive at these totals. The three versions agree on some of the total ages at death, but many of the other numbers differ by exactly 100. The Septuagint numbers for the ages of the fathers at the birth of their sons, are in many instances 100 greater than the corresponding numbers in the other two versions.
The Samaritan chronology has Jared and Methuselah dying in Noah's 600th year, the year of the Flood. The Masoretic chronology also has Methuselah dying in Noah’s 600th year, but the Masoretic version uses a different chronology than the Samaritan version. The Lucianic text of the Septuagint has Methuselah surviving the Flood and therefore the 100 year differences were not an attempt by the Septuagint editors to have Jared, Methuselah, or Lamech die during or prior to the Flood. Some scholars argue that the differences between the Masoretic and Septuagint chronologies in Genesis 5 can be explained as alterations designed to rationalize a primary Masoretic system of chronology to a later Septuagint system. According to another scholar, to assume that the Masoretic Text is primary "is a mere convention for the scholarly world" and "it should not be postulated in advance that MT reflects the original text of the biblical books better than the other texts."
The Genesis 5 numbers were presumably intended to be read at face value, as years and not months, because attempts to rationalize the numbers by translating "years" as "months" results in some of the Genesis 5 people fathering children when they were five years old (if the Masoretic chronology is assumed to be primary).
The scholarly translation of the Hebrew Pentateuch into Greek at Alexandria, Egypt, in about 280 BC worked from a Hebrew text that was edited in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. This would be centuries older than the proto–Masoretic Text selected as the official text by the Masoretes.
The Priestly source illustrates history in Genesis by compiling the genealogy beginning with the "generations of the heavens and the earth" and continuing through Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac to the descendants of Jacob and Esau. Jacob's descendants are listed in Genesis 46:8-27, beginning with the phrase "these are the names."
- Blenkinsopp, Joseph (2011). Creation, Un-creation, Re-creation: A Discursive Commentary on Genesis 1–11. A&C Black. ISBN 9780567372871.
- Custance, Arthur C., The Roots of the Nations.
- Etz, Donald V., "The Numbers of Genesis V 3-31: a Suggested Conversion and Its Implications", Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 43, No. 2, 1994, pages 171–187.
- Gmirkin, Russell (2006). Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9780567134394.
- Hall, Jonathan, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity Cambridge U.Press, 1997.
- Malkin, Irad, editor, Ancient Perceptions of Greek Ethnicity in series Center for Hellenic Studies Colloquia, 5. Harvard University Press, 2001. Reviewed by Margaret C. Miller in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2002
- Schmandt-Besserat, Denise, How Writing Came About, University of Texas Press, 1996, ISBN 0-292-77704-3.
- Craig A. Evans; Joel N. Lohr; David L. Petersen (20 March 2012). The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation. BRILL. p. 281. ISBN 978-90-04-22657-9.
- Sexton, Jeremy (2015). "Who Was Born When Enosh Was 90? A Semantic Reevaluation of William Henry Green's Chronological Gaps". Westminster Theological Journal. 77: 193–218.
- Blenkinsopp, Joseph (2011). Creation, Un-creation, Re-creation: A Discursive Commentary on Genesis 1-11. T & T Clark. p. 112.
- Bandstra, Barry L. (2009). Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Wadsworth. pp. 59–60.
- McEntire, Mark (2008). Struggling with God: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. Mercer University Press. pp. 59–60.
- Hooke, S. H. (1963). Middle Eastern Mythology: From the Assyrians to the Hebrews. Penguin Books. pp. 127–128.
- Blenkinsopp 2011, p. 156.
- Gmirkin 2006, p. 140–141.
- Blenkinsopp 2011, p. 156–157.
- John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, T&T Clark, Endinburgh (original edition 1910, this edition 1930), p. 134.
- James Barr, 1984-85. "Why the World Was Created in 4004 BC: Archbishop Ussher and Biblical Chronology", Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 67: 584-587, 606, 608.
- Anno Mundi#Jewish tradition Occasionally in Talmudic writings, reference was made to other starting points for eras, such as Destruction Era dating, being the number of years since the AD 70 destruction of the Second Temple, and the number of years since the Creation year based on the calculation in the Seder Olam Rabbah of Rabbi Jose ben Halafta in about AD 160. By his calculation, based on the Masoretic Text, Adam and Eve were created on 1st of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah Day 1) in 3760 BC, later confirmed by the Muslim chronologist al-Biruni as 3448 years before the Seleucid era. An example is the c. 8th-century AD Baraita of Samuel.
- "Birthday of Adam & Eve (3760 BC)". www.chabad.org. Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- "The Jewish Year". www.chabad.org. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- Hebrew calendar#Anno Mundi The Jewish calendar's epoch (reference date), 1 Tishrei AM 1, is equivalent to Monday, 7 October 3761 BC/BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar, the equivalent tabular date (same daylight period) and is about one year before the traditional Jewish date of Creation on 25 Elul AM 1, based upon the Seder Olam Rabbah.
- "Creation (3761 BC)". www.chabad.org. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- Robert D. Bergen (1 August 2015). "Genesis". In E. Ray Clendenen; Jeremy Royal Howard. The Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary. B&H Publishing Group. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8054-9930-8.
- T. Desmond Alexander; David W. Baker, eds. (13 January 2003). Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. InterVarsity Press. p. 739. ISBN 978-0-8308-1781-8.
- Karel van der Toorn; Bob Becking; Pieter Willem van der Horst, eds. (1999). Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 479. ISBN 978-0-8028-2491-2.
- Richard S. Hess (15 October 2007). Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey. Baker Academic. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-4412-0112-6.
- Gabriele Boccaccini (2007). Enoch and the Messiah Son of Man: Revisiting the Book of Parables. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-8028-0377-1.
- For the proposed etymologies "man of the dart" or "his death shall bring judgement," see Cornwall and Stelman Smith, The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names
- For the proposed etymologies "devotee of Shalach" and other possibilities, see Richard S. Hess (15 October 2007). Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey. Baker Academic. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-4412-0112-6.
- Proposals include "rest", "comfort", and "settle down" (in an agricultural sense). Robert Gnuse (20 March 2014). Misunderstood Stories: Theological Commentary on Genesis 1-11. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-63087-157-4.
- David Mandel (1 January 2010). Who's Who in the Jewish Bible. Jewish Publication Society. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-0-8276-1029-3.
- David Mandel (2007). The Ultimate Who's Who in the Bible. Bridge-Logos. p. 587. ISBN 978-0-88270-372-5.
- J. D. Douglas; Merrill C. Tenney, eds. (3 May 2011). Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Harper Collins. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-310-49235-1.
- Arthur J. Bellinzoni. Old Testament: An Introduction to Biblical Scholarship. Prometheus Books, Publishers. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-61592-264-2.
- Francis Brown (1899), "Serug." In Cheyne and Black, eds., Encyclopaedia Biblica.
- Hebrews 11:5, King James Version.
- Genesis 5:24, King James Version.
- "Genesis 11:10 KJV: These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- Jasher 5:18 And Noah was five hundred and two years old when Naamah bare Shem, and the boys grew up and went in the ways of the Lord, in all that Methuselah and Noah their father taught them.
- Mishneh Torah. pp. Section: Sanctification of the Moon 11.16.
- See The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries
- Tøndering, Claus (2014). "The Hebrew Calendar". www.tondering.dk. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Landau, Remy (February 16, 2005). "Is Creation at AM 1 or AM 2?". hebrewcalendar.tripod.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- "Calendar — when does it start". strangeside.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- "Genesis 1:14 KJV: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "NEW-YEAR - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- "Genesis 5:32 KJV: And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Genesis 9:24 KJV: And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Genesis 10:21 KJV: Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Genesis 5:27 KJV: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Genesis 7:7 KJV: And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "Genesis 7:23 KJV: And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "Genesis 7:6 KJV: And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- "Genesis 7:11 KJV: In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- Ralph W. Klein, "Archaic Chronologies and the Textual History of the Old Testament", Harvard Theol Review, 67 (1974), pp. 255-263.
- Gerhard Larsson, "The Chronology of the Pentateuch: A Comparison of the MT and LXX", Journal of Biblical Literature, 102 (1983), pp. 401-409.
- Emanual Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), pp. 11, 352.
- Joseph Blenkinsopp, The Pentateuch, Doubleday (1992), p. 74, ISBN 0-385-41207-X.
- Charles M. Laymon (editor), The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, Abingdon Press, Nashville (1971), p. 1227.
- Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (1992), pp. 11, 352.
- Coogan, Michael David. The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures. THIRD ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 78
- Sexton, Jeremy. "Who Was Born When Enosh Was 90? A Semantic Reevaluation of William Henry Green's Chronological Gaps," Westminster Theological Journal 77 (2015): 193-218 (pastorsexton.com/articles)