Genealogical Gems

August 2012

Genesis chapters 5 & 11 show a genealogical account from Adam to Abraham. Some have considered these chapters to be the boring parts of the Bible, with what seemed to be of little point citing the ages of how long people lived for and at what ages they had children. However, everything in the Bible exists for very good reason(s). Here are the hidden gems that were revealed to me.

Read the table below by column left to right.


 Genesis 5    (all verses) Points to note Genesis 11   (verses 10-26) Points to note

From Adam to Noah

Adam - 930 years old
@ 130 years – begot Seth

Seth – 912 years old
@ 105 years – begot Enosh

Enosh – 905 years old
@ 90 years – begot Kenan

Kenan – 910 years old
@ 70 years – begot Mahalalel

Mahalalel – 895 years old
@ 65 years  begot Jared

Jared – 962 years old
@ 162 years – begot Enoch

Enoch – 365 years old (God took him)
@ 65 years – begot Methuselah

Methuselah –
969 years old
@ 187 years – begot Lamech

Lamech – 777 years old
@ 182 years  begot Noah

Noah – 950 years old (Gen 9:29)
After 500 years – begot Shem, Ham, Japeth (Gen 5:32

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NOTE:
 
By deductions from Gen 5:32, Gen 9:24, Gen 10:21 and Gen 11:10,  Noah's three sons were NOT triplets. They were born in the following order:
  • Japeth  
  • Shem  
  • Ham    

The flood happened when Noah was 600 years old (Gen 7:6) and Shem was 98 years old (see Gen 11:10 where it states "TWO years AFTER the flood when Shem was 100 years old...", so the flood came when Shem was 98 years old).

Noah, his wife, Shem, Ham, Japeth and their wives entered the ark (Gen 7:7)
 

When Adam died,
  •  Seth was 800 years old 
  •  Enosh was 695 years old 
  •  Kenan was 605 years old
  •  Mahalalel was 535 years old 
  •  Jared was 470 years old 
  •  Enoch was 308 years old 
  •  Methuselah was 243 years old 
  •  Lamech was 56 years old (Noah not born yet) 

Everyone above would have received at best a first-hand account from Adam of the Creation story and the Fall of man (the events in the Garden of Eden).

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When Noah was born, everyone above was still alive except for Adam, Seth & Enoch.

Noah would have received at best a second-hand account of the Creation story / Fall of man from any of the above people (except Adam, Seth, Enoch).


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When Shem, Ham and Japeth were born,

  • Lamech was at least 682 years old
  • Methuselah was at least 869 years old 

Like Noah - Shem, Ham and Japeth would have received at best a second-hand account of the Creation story and the Fall of man from either Lamech or Methuselah (before the flood).



From Shem to Abraham 


Shem – 600 years old 
@ 100 years – begot Arphaxad 

Arphaxad – 438 years old 
@ 35 years – begot Shelah 

Shelah – 433 years old 
@ 30 years – begot Eber 

Eber – 464 years old 
@ 34 years – begot Peleg 

Peleg – 239 years old 
@ 30 years – begot Reu 

Reu – 239 years old 
@ 32 years – begot Serug 

Serug – 230 years old 
@ 30 years – begot Nahor 

Nahor – 148 years old 
@ 29 years – begot Terah 

Terah – 205 years old 
@ 70 years – begot Abram, Nahor, Haran 
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Abram (Abraham) – 175 years (Gen 25:7
@ 100 years – begot Isaac (Gen 21:5

Isaac – 180 years old (Gen 35:28
@ 60 years – begot Esau & Jacob (Gen 25:26)

Jacob - 147 years old (Gen 47:28)

 When Lamech died,
  •  Noah was 595 years old
  •  Shem was 93 years old (Arphaxad not born yet)
  •  Methuselah was 964 years old (the only one to outlive Lamech) 

Shem would have received at best a 
second-hand account of the Creation story / Fall of man from either Lamech or Methuselah (as mentioned previously) OR third-hand account from Noah.

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When Noah was 600 years old (the flood water came):

  • Methuselah was 969 years old (his last year alive)


This means Methuselah died in the year of the flood! 

The name "Methuselah" means "His death shall bring". Methuselah was God's stopwatch for the wicked. Whilst Methuselah was still alive, the wicked still had time to repent, but once he died, that time ran out - and the flood came.

God was nevertheless patient with the wicked since Methuselah was the longest person alive in the Bible. God gave them all 969 years in which to repent.

God laid to rest all the righteous men first before the flood (except Noah). He did not want to destroy the righteous with the wicked together.

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When Noah died,

  •  Shem was 448 years old
  •  Arphaxad was 348 years old 
  •  Shelah was 313 years old 
  •  Eber was 283 years old 
  •  Peleg already dead for 10 years 
  •  Reu was 219 years old 
  •  Serug was 187 years old 
  •  Nahor already dead for 9 years
  •  Terah was 128 years old 
  •  Abraham was 58 years old (Isaac not born yet) 

Abraham would have received at best:
  • First-hand account of the flood from Noah or Shem.
  • Third-hand account of the Creation story / Fall of man from either Noah or Shem.

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When Abraham died, 

  • Isaac was 75 years old 
  • Jacob was 15 years old 
  • Shem was still alive at 565 years old!
So, like Abraham - both Isaac & Jacob would have received at best:
  • First-hand account of the flood from Shem.
  • Third-hand account of the Creation story / Fall of man from Shem.


Further points to note
  • Adam lived through 8 generations after him; Noah lived through 10 generations after him; Shem lived through 11 (possibly 12) generations after him.
  • God always ensured that there were reliable and accurate witnesses to represent Him. In spite of the many generations that existed, and in spite also of the great flood, the handing down of accounts was as accurate as can be (first, second or third-hand).
  • After the flood, the age of men decreased gradually. It did not decrease drastically.
  • Before the flood, the age of child birth (not necessarily first born) was generally old(er) (65+). After the flood this was reduced - young(er) (29+) --  for the exception of Abraham (which we know is a special story); and of Shem (he was already 98 at the time of the flood).
  • The age at which Noah begot his sons (after 500 years old) is significantly different (much older) compared to the other generations (both before and after the flood). I believe this is because:
    •  God had to time the flood perfectly, in that therefore:
      • God needed to put all the righteous people to rest before the flood came upon the earth (except for Noah because he was chosen to continue the lineage); Methuselah being the last one to be put to rest (since he died in the year of the flood). God did not want to destroy the righteous with the wicked.
      • And hence God may not have wanted further righteous persons to be born before the flood (other than those already in the plan for salvation (i.e. to be in the ark)) - for reason discussed immediately below.
    • God needed to be efficient, yet sufficient in the number of people He saved for the ark:
      • If Noah were to have children at a younger age (less than 500 years old), then there would likely to have been grandchildren. We see this with Arphaxad being born only 2 years after the flood.
      • If any grandchildren had existed, God would either have had to cater for more room for them in the ark, or He would have had to delay the flood (if they were righteous). It appears that neither of these were acceptable to God. For one, delaying the flood would have meant tolerating the wicked for longer.
    •  God wanted to make sure that the generations after the flood were fit and healthy (hence why Shem, Ham and Japeth came late in Noah's life, so that they were still considered young enough to increase and multiply after the flood).



Personal Note
  • I wonder what went through Noah's mind all the time he did not have any children (during those 500 years)? Could he have ever thought he had fertility problems? Genesis 6:9 states that Noah walked with God, so he must have trusted God. In any case, the gem here is that - in the bleakest, most hopeless outlook for Noah lay the most incredible plan - the plan that God had reserved him especially for saving (replenishing) the existence of mankind.  
  • Are you in that time of waiting on God? Could God be reserving you for some greater purpose in His incredible plan?
  • For me, I am in that place of waiting, and I know God has an incredible plan for me - whatever it is (whether I like it or not), I am certain it will be nothing less than incredible.