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Clearly most English Bibles say Noah was 600 years old when the water landed. Gen 7:6.

It’s intriguing that one Bible in English differs quite a bit from others, if only in the words written. That is the Young Literal Translation Gen 7:6:

and Noah is a son of six hundred years, and the deluge of waters hath been upon the earth

Beyond the YLT, others along the way have had “son” or "som" mentioned for Gen 7:6.
E.G.Pulpit Commentary, Barnes' Notes on the Bible, NASB Lexicon

Did original Scripture say Noah was a "son" of 600 years when the water landed? That could cause a big difference in time yet explain a math concern. Did it have the words “hath been” also?

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    Haven't we had this question several times already?
    – fdb
    Jan 23, 2015 at 12:32
  • @fdb I‘ve changed the question slightly, and removed a lot of detail. Thanks. Jan 23, 2015 at 13:02

1 Answer 1

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Gen. 7:6 says that Noah was (literally) ‘the son of 600 years’ ( בן שש מאות שנה) when the flood began. This is an idiom in Hebrew, and in other Semitic languages (e.g. Arabic and Syriac) meaning ‘600 years old’, that is: in the year beginning with his 600th birthday.

You can compare the Syriac translation (Pšīttā) of John 8:57, which has ܥܕ݂ܰܟ݁ܺܝܠ ܒ݁ܰܪ ܚܰܡܫܺܝܢ ܫܢܺܝܢ ܠܳܐ ܗ݈ܘܰܝܬ݁ literally: ‘you have not yet been the son of fifty years’, translating πεντήκοντα ἔτη οὔπω ἔχεις literally: ‘you do not yet have fifty years’, that is: you have not yet celebrated your 50th birthday.

In Arabic too ibnu khamsiina sanatan (literally: ‘son of 50 years’) means ‘50 years old’, i.e., between one’s 50th and 51st birthday.

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  • Thank you. Here's what I still have as a problem; it has Gen 7:6 being the one verse that doesn't fit the others mathematically. When the floodgates were opened, early in his 600th year of life, only 599 years, 1 month, 16 days of his life had gone by. By the time all was dry again, only 600 years, 1 month, 26 days of his life had gone by. His being 600 years old when the water first landed doesn't fit there. Jan 23, 2015 at 13:43
  • @JohnMartin, I'm not certain why you subtract 1 from each part of his age (600th year, 2nd month, 17th day -> 599 years, 1 month, and 16 days).
    – Frank Luke
    Jan 23, 2015 at 14:52
  • @Frank Luke If a child were born exactly 1 year ago (yesterday), today he's into his 2nd year, 1st month, 1st day after birth. Therefore, he’s had 1 year, 0 months, and 0 days go by. Jan 23, 2015 at 15:07
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    Yes, he is in his second year but he is only one year old.
    – fdb
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:16
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    @JohnMartin, I think you are forcing idioms to be more exact then they need to be.
    – Frank Luke
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:19

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