Bible Trivia

This isn’t the kind of thing I normally do during my devotional reading, but yesterday I was intrigued by a genealogy in Genesis 11. It’s the line of Shem, the son of Noah who was the ancestor of the Israelites. The genealogy starts at the end of the Flood and goes from Shem to Abram, giving the exact age of each figure when his first son was born, so that we can trace it a little more precisely than most biblical genealogies. Here’s how it breaks down (all numbers refer to years since the Flood):

Name

Life Span

Age at Death

Shem (98 @ end of Flood)

d. 502

602

Arpachshad

2-441

439

Shelah

37-470

433

Eber

67-531

464

Peleg

101-340

239

Reu

131-370

239

Serug

163-393

230

Nahor

193-341

148

Terah

222-427

205

Abraham

292-467

175

A couple of interesting things:

  • Abram was born 292 years after the Flood. Noah, according to Gen 9:28, lived 350 years after the Flood, meaning he was still alive when Abram was born. Because the sons of Noah spread out into multiple nations, we don’t know whether Abraham ever met his great-x-8-grandfather. But Noah didn’t die until Abram was 58. In fact, the entire line from Noah, 11 generations, was still living when Abram was born.
  • Note how the life span falls off after the Flood. Noah was nearly 900 years old when Abram was born, but when Abraham dies at 175, the narrator remarks that he died “in a good old age, an old man and full of years.”

I don’t know that I even have any theological reflections on this; I just found it interesting. The Bible doesn’t always give us this kind of detail, especially in the earliest chapters. But as I’ve said before, this is a good reminder that we’re reading a true Story.

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