Genesis Genealogical Trivia Tidbits
The genealogies recorded in Genesis and in various other places in the Bible are easy to regard as mundane in comparison to other passages of scripture. Reading through verse after verse of “so and so begat such and such” becomes tedious, and it isn’t all that unreasonable that most people simply skip over those verses in their Bible reading. Or when they do read them it is just a formality, and no careful consideration is really given to the words on the page.
I don’t remember what prompted me to do it, but as I was reading through the genealogies in Genesis 5 one day several years ago, it occurred to me that all these numbers and ages might be easier to follow if I organized them into a chart. So I created an Excel spreadsheet, and with the help of a few formulas I was able to easily come up with the following table.
Let me point out that the Bible does not record the specific year in which these men were born and when they died. All it gives is the number of years they lived and how old they were when they “begat” their son for the next generation. But if we use Creation as our starting point, with the use of Excel formulas it is very easy to derive a number of years from Creation when a person was born and when he died.
As I was making this table, I began to see some interesting correlations and relationships that aren’t apparent when you’re just reading words. In order to help these relationships be more evident I created a graph to translate the lives of these men and their relationship to each other into a timeline of sorts.
Here are some of the more interesting observations I have made looking at these two graphics.
- There are 8 generations who were living during Adam’s lifetime. If you consider the way that history was passed down from generation to generation in the oral tradition, this means that for 800 years, these 8 generations had direct access to an accurate oral account of Creation from the first human being to ever walk the earth! Think of the bedtime stories Adam could have told to his great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren!!!
- Lamech, the son of Methusela, died 4 years before his father.
- We will easily recall Methusela as being the oldest man in history as a part of our genus of Bible trivia, but how many of us realize that he died in the same year as The Great Flood? Here are some other questions to ponder. Did he die just before the flood? Or was he one of the countless hundreds of thousands (millions?) to perish in unbelief? How truly tragic that would have been considering he probably knew Adam personally!
- Enoch was taken to heaven at the tender young age of 365. He has the shortest lifespan of any man prior to the Flood that is recorded in scripture.
- The Great Flood occurred 1,556 years after Creation.
- 1,556 years of history are recorded in a mere seven chapters of the Bible. Think about how much more there was that is not recorded. Think about how much God has preserved!
- Arphaxad, the son of Shem, would have been born in the same year as the flood. Since the Bible clearly states that 8 people were saved in the Ark, it is very likely that Arphaxad was born (and possibly even conceived) while Noah and his family were still on the Ark.
- If we exclude Enoch, the average lifespan of the men recorded who lived prior to the Flood was 912 years. Following the flood, the average lifespan of the next four is 483 years, and it drops to 206 after that. What factors contributed to this rapid drop in longevity? Were there certain environmental changes as a direct result of the Flood?
- Abram (Abraham) was born while Noah still lived, and he was about 60 when Noah died.
- Including Abram there are 10 generations who lived during Noah’s lifetime following the flood.
- Again, given the oral tradition and even considering the confounding of languages at Babel and the resulting dispersal of the world’s populace, these 10 generations would still have a very close and accurate account of the Flood.
What observation were you able to make?