And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
- XXXV. The Line of Abram
18. רעוּ re‛û, Re'u, "friend;" verb: "feed, delight in, enjoy."
20. שׂרוּג śerûg, Serug, "vine-shoot."
22. נחור nāchôr, Nachor, "snorting."
24. תרה terach, Terach, "delay?" Aramaic.
26. אברם 'abrām, Abram, "high father." הרן hārān Haran, "mountaineer."
The usual phrase, "These are the generations," marks the beginning of the fifth document. Accordingly, we now enter upon a new phase of human development. The nations have gradually departed from the living God. They have not, however, stopped at this negative stage of ungodliness. They have fallen into polytheism and idolatry. And the knowledge of the one true God, the Maker, Possessor, and Upholder of heaven and earth, is on the verge of being entirely lost. Nevertheless the promises, first to the race of Adam, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and next to the family of Noah, that the Lord should be the God of Shem, were still in force. It is obvious, from the latter promise, that the seed of the woman is to be expected in the line of Shem.
The present passage contains the pedigree of Abram from Shem. From this it appears that the sacred writer here reverts to the second year after the flood - a point of time long before the close of the preceding narrative. "Shem was the son of a hundred years," or in his hundredth year, two years after the flood, and therefore in the six hundred and third year of Noah, and consequently three years after Japheth. Abram was the twentieth, inclusive, from Adam, the tenth from Shem, and the seventh from Heber. A second Kenan is inserted after Arpakshad in the Septuagint, and in the Gospel according to Luke. But this name does not occur even in the Septuagint in 1 Chronicles 1:24, where the genealogy of Abram is given. It is not found in the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Targums, or the ancient versions. It does not appear in Josephus or Philo. Neither is it found in the Codex Bezae in the Gospel of Luke. It must therefore be regarded as an interpolation.
The following table is a continuation of that given at the fifth chapter, and will serve for the comparison of the different forms in which the numbers are presented:
Line of Abram Hebrew Sam. Pent. Septuagint Josephus Date Son's Birth OwnDeath Son's Birth OwnDeath Son's Birth OwnDeath Son's Birth OwnDeath OfBirth OfDeath 11. Shem (97) 2 600 (97) 2 600 (97) 2 600 (97) 12 1559 2150 12. Arpakshad (Καινᾶν) 35 438 135 438 135 535 135 1658 2096 13. Shelah 30 433 130 433 130 460 130 1693 2126 14. Heber 34 464 134 404 134 404 134 1723 2187 15. Peleg 30 239 130 239 130 339 130 1757 1996 16. Reu 32 239 132 239 132 339 130 1787 2096 17. Serug 30 230 130 230 130 330 132 1819 2049 18. Nahor 29 148 79 148 175 304 120 1849 1997 19. Terah
60 205 70
60 145 702346
So that he lived almost all the time of Abraham; which was a singular blessing, both to himself, who hereby saw his children of the tenth generation; and to the church of God, which by this means enjoyed the counsel and conduct of so great a patriarch.
and begat sons and daughters; of whom we have no account, because the Messiah did not spring from them; the design of this genealogy being to carry down his direct line from Shem to Abraham: it is to be observed, that in the account of the patriarchs, and their children after the flood, it is not added as before the flood, "and he died", their lives being long, that remark is made; but the lives of these being shorter, and gradually decreasing, it is omitted. An Arabic writer (x) says, that Shem died in the month Elul, on a Friday, at the close of the year of the world 2758. A Jewish writer (y) says, he died in the fifteenth year of Jacob, and that he saw twelve generations; according to Bishop Usher, he died A. M. 2158.And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. five hundred years] According to this chronology Shem would have outlived Abram.Verse 11. - And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years (making his life in all 600 years), and begat sons and daughters (concerning whom Scripture is silent, as not being included in the holy line). Genesis 11:10, that "Shem, a hundred years old, begat Arphaxad two years after the flood," the chronological date already given of Noah's age at the birth of his sons (Genesis 5:32) and at the commencement of the flood (Genesis 7:11) are made still more definite. As the expression "after the flood" refers to the commencement of the flood (Genesis 9:28), and according to Genesis 7:11 the flood began in the second month, or near the beginning of the six hundredth year of Noah's life, though the year 600 is given in Genesis 7:6 in round numbers, it is not necessary to assume, as some do, in order to reconcile the difference between our verse and Genesis 5:32, that the number 500 in Genesis 5:32 stands as a round number for 502. On the other hand, there can be no objection to such an assumption. The different statements may be easily reconciled by placing the birth of Shem at the end of the five hundredth year of Noah's life, and the birth of Arphaxad at the end of the hundredth year of that of Shem; in which case Shem would be just 99 years old when the flood began, and would be fully 100 years old "two years after the flood," that is to say, in the second year from the commencement of the flood, when he begat Arphaxad. In this case the "two years after the flood" are not to be added to the sum-total of the chronological data, but are included in it. The table given here forms in a chronological and material respect the direct continuation of the one in Genesis 5, and differs from it only in form, viz., by giving merely the length of life of the different fathers before and after the birth of their sons, without also summing up the whole number of their years as is the case there, since this is superfluous for chronological purposes. But on comparing the chronological data of the two tables, we find this very important difference in the duration of life before and after the flood, that the patriarchs after the flood lived upon an average only half the number of years of those before it, and that with Peleg the average duration of life was again reduced by one half. Whilst Noah with his 950 years belonged entirely to the old world, and Shem, who was born before the flood, reached the age of 600, Arphaxad lived only 438 years, Salah 433, and Eber 464; and again, with Peleg the duration of life fell to 239 years, Reu also lived only 239 years, Serug 230, and Nahor not more than 148. Here, then, we see that the two catastrophes, the flood and the separation of the human race into nations, exerted a powerful influence in shortening the duration of life; the former by altering the climate of the earth, the latter by changing the habits of men. But while the length of life diminished, the children were born proportionally earlier. Shem begat his first-born in his hundredth year, Arphaxad in the thirty-fifth, Salah in the thirtieth, and so on to Terah, who had no children till his seventieth year; consequently the human race, notwithstanding the shortening of life, increased with sufficient rapidity to people the earth very soon after their dispersion. There is nothing astonishing, therefore, in the circumstance, that wherever Abraham went he found tribes, towns, and kingdoms, though only 365 years had elapsed since the flood, when we consider that eleven generations would have followed one another in that time, and that, supposing every marriage to have been blessed with eight children on an average (four male and four female), the eleventh generation would contain 12,582,912 couples, or 25,165,824 individuals. And is we reckon ten children as the average number, the eleventh generation would contain 146,484,375 pairs, or 292,968,750 individuals. In neither of these cases have we included such of the earlier generations as would be still living, although their number would be by no means inconsiderable, since nearly all the patriarchs from Shem to Terah were alive at the time of Abram's migration. In Genesis 11:26 the genealogy closes, like that in Genesis 5:32, with the names of three sons of Terah, all of whom sustained an important relation to the subsequent history, viz., Abram as the father of the chosen family, Nahor as the ancestor of Rebekah (cf. Genesis 11:29 with Genesis 22:20-23), and Haran as the father of Lot (Genesis 11:27).
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