Most people, when asked about the children of Adam and Eve, can think of no more than two, if that many. Is this correct? Did Adam and Eve only have two kids? What’s a reasonable guess about the size of Adam’s and Eve’s immediate family? How many children did they have?
Genesis 5:4 explicitly says that Adam begat other sons and daughters. This means that in addition to Seth, Adam had at least two sons and two daughters for at least a total of five children.
It is likely there were many sons and daughters born to Adam and Eve both before and after Seth, because the first recorded command God gave to Adam and Eve was “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
If Adam and Eve had a child every two years, they could have had 65 children by the time Seth was born. Many of those children could have been married and having children of their own by the time of Seth’s birth. In fact, Seth probably didn’t need to marry a sister. He could have married a sister or a niece or a great-niece to bear his son Enosh and his other sons and daughters (Genesis 5:7).
The age at which each of the first ten patriarchs sired a named son ranged from 65 for Mahalalel to 500 for Noah. This named son was not necessarily the oldest or the youngest. Seth, for example, had at least 2 older brothers, Cain and Abel.
The average age of the ten Genesis 5 patriarchs at which the named son was born was 155. The pre-Flood patriarchs were continuing to beget children at much greater ages than men sire children today.
Genesis does not record the number of Adam’s children, so we do not know. But he could have had hundreds of kids since the patriarchs were capable of begetting children at least up to age 500. If Adam had a child every 2 or 3 years to age 600 (about 2/3 of his 930-year lifespan), he could easily have had well over 200 children. If Adam continued having children throughout his life, as men today can do, he could have had close to 500 children.
The Jewish historian Josephus of the first century A.D. cites an “old tradition” that Adam and Eve had 56 children — 33 sons and 23 daughters.
(Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Paragraph 2, Endnote 8.)
Josephus also reports that Lamech had 77 children by two wives. Lamech was the sixth generation after Adam through Cain; this was a different Lamech from the father of Noah through Cain’s brother Seth (Genesis 4:17-19).
(Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 2, Paragraph 2.)
One of the judges of Israel some 2,000 years after Adam’s death was Gideon (aka Jerubbaal), son of Joash. Gideon had at least 72 sons by his wives and concubines (Judges 7:1; 8:29-32; 9:4-5, 16-19). Several hundred years later, King Rehoboam of Judah fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters for a total of 88 children (2 Chronicles 11:21). King Ahab of Israel had 70 sons some 2500 years after Adam (2 Kings 10:1). Assuming Gideon and Ahab had about as many daughters as sons, this means each had close to 150 children in a normal lifespan thousands of years after Adam.
Thus it is very possible, and I think highly likely, that Adam sired hundreds of children during his lifetime. Exactly how many we do not know, because the Bible does not tell us.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 21st of a series of blog articles on Adam, the father of the human race.
Read the prequels:
1. Was Adam in the Garden of Eden?
2. Did Moses Believe in Adam?
3. Did Jesus Believe in Adam?
4. Did Paul Believe in Adam?
5. Does Belief in Adam Matter?
6. Adam and Puppies
7. Why Did Adam Sin?
8. What Should Adam Have Done?
9. What Did Adam Cause?
10. What Was Adam’s Forbidden Fruit?
11. How Long Was Adam in Eden?
12. Was Adam’s Garden of Eden Real?
13. Christmas & Adam (with videos)
14. Where Was Adam’s Garden of Eden?
15. Did Adam Wear Clothes in Eden?
16. Was Adam Backward or Brilliant? (with video)
17. Who Was Mrs. Adam?
18. Adam’s Dream Girl
19. Adam’s Prolific Princess
20. Adam’s Problematic Princess
Read the sequels:
22. Whom Did Adam’s Sons Marry?
23. Did Adam Ride a Unicorn?
24. How Long Did Adam Live?
25. Did Adam Swat Mosquitoes in Eden?
26. Did Adam’s Garden Have a Talking Snake?
27. Why Should Adam’s Sin Affect Me?
28. Did Roses Have Thorns in Adam’s Garden?
29. Adam the Image-Bearer & Harambe the Gorilla
30. Did Adam Ever Return to Eden?
31. What Was Adam’s Tree of Life?
32. Will Adam Be in Heaven?
33. Did Adam See the Big Dipper?
34. Did Adam Know Earth Is Round?
35. Did Jesus Say When Adam Was Created?
36. Did Adam See Dinosaurs?
37. Did Adam Like Steak?
38. Could Adam Read & Write?
39. Did God Use Evolution to Make Adam?
40. Adam & the Olympics
41. Adam and the Gospel
42. Adam and the Genesis Road
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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)
Wednesday April 6, 2016 A.D.
The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 2:16; 3:1-6)