How reliable are the Genesis 5 & 11 genealogies? How does the rest of Scripture view the Genesis genealogies?
The Genesis 5 & 11 chronogenealogies are treated as reliable historical data throughout Scripture. For most of the father-son relationships recorded in Genesis 5 & 11, additional other Scriptures confirm that they are truly immediate-descendant father-son pairs with no gaps.
The previous article Scriptural Confirmation: Adam to Noah looked at how Scripture testifies to direct father-son pairs from Adam to Noah in the Genesis 5 genealogy. This article does the same thing for Noah to Abraham in the Genesis 11 genealogy. The examples include Scripture passages other than from the Genesis 5 & 11 genealogies.
It is obvious from the Genesis record of the Flood that Shem was Noah’s own son since Shem accompanied Noah on the ark. (Genesis 6:10; 7:13; 9:18,19)
Adding to the usual formula, the Genesis text says that Shem begat Arpachshad “two years after the Flood” (Genesis 11:10). This shows that Arpachshad was Shem’s own son.
Genesis 10 records the first few generations descending from Shem right after the Flood as they replenished the earth. Arpachshad begat (yalad) Shelah who begat Eber who begat both Peleg and his brother Joktan. Yalad is used for all three indicating direct descent. (See What Does Begat Mean?) Eber’s begetting two named brothers strengthens this understanding. Thus Genesis 10 confirms the completeness of the genealogical record of Genesis 11 for the four generations Arpachshad through Peleg.
Terah was Abraham’s immediate father since they traveled together from Ur to Haran. Moreover, Abraham’s brother and Lot’s father Haran died in the presence of his father Terah, which supports the father-son understanding. The Genesis record repeatedly describes close relatives in Terah’s family. (Genesis 11:28-32; Genesis 24:15,24,47)
Adam to Abraham comprise 20 men in the Genesis chronogenealogies. The clear language (begat in the hiphil voice) indicates that the 19 “A begat B” relationships are immediate father-son pairs with no unlisted intervening generations as explained in What Does Begat Mean?.
Moreover, for 15 of the 19 father-son pairs, other Scriptures provide additional evidence that they are immediate descendants with no gaps and no missing generations. The previous article, Scriptural Confirmation: Adam to Noah, showed this for the Adam to Noah generations. This article does so for the Noah to Abraham generations. Some of the 15 father-son pairs were attested as direct by multiple passages. The remaining 4 pairs follow the same pattern as the 15. Surely, Moses intended these 4 to be understood in the same way as the 15.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 15th in a series of blog posts on the Age of the Earth. I began with the Biblical testimony that the earth is 6,000 years old, because the evidence from nature should be interpreted and understood in the light of clear Biblical truth. The prequels considered the issue’s importance and what Jesus thought. Current posts are analyzing the Genesis genealogies. Future articles will survey the historic teaching of the church and discuss scientific evidence on the age of the earth, explaining fallacies of radiometric dating methods and giving examples of scientific methods which yield short ages.
Read the prequels:
1. How Old Is the Earth?
2. Why Is the Age of the Earth Important?
3. Earth: Young or Old?
4. Age of the Earth—Jesus’ View
5. Age of the Earth—Jesus Interpreted OT Literally
6. Age of the Earth—What Did Jesus Say?
7. Age of the Earth—What Did Jesus’ Contemporaries Think?
8. Age of the Earth—Genealogies
9. Age of the Earth—What Does Begat Mean?
10. Age of the Earth—Interlocking Genealogies
11. Age of the Earth—Any Gaps in Genealogies?
12. Age of the Earth—No Gaps in Genealogies
13. Age of the Earth—Any Missing Generations?
14. Age of the Earth—Scriptural Confirmation (Adam to Noah)
Read the sequel:
16. Age of the Earth—Luke’s Testimony
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Thursday July 31, 2008 A.D.
And Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died. (Genesis 5:25-27 NASB)