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It is clear that biblical genealogies regularly skip over intermediate generations in order to fit a scheme of numbers such as a multiple of 7.

However, the fact that the age of fatherhood is specified for each generation in Genesis 5 would argue against missing generations from Adam to Noah, unless there is biblical evidence that the age of fatherhood could refer to the age when fathering an unspecified progenitor.

Thus when Genesis 5:6 states that Seth fathered Enosh at 105, it could mean that Seth fathered an unspecified ancestor of Enosh at 105, rather than Enosh himself.

Is there evidence from the Bible, the Near Ancient East, or elsewhere, that generations are skipped in genealogies, even though ages of fatherhood are specified?

Please note, I am aware of the tribal theory of the Genesis genealogies, which finds support in Genesis 10; however, with this question, I am not interested in pursuing this theory.

  • I'm trying to read your name in English. The lack of vowels is making it difficult. What's your name. – user20490 Dec 18 '17 at 13:25
  • @user20490 The Hebrew means something like "why are you asking my name?" It is meant in jest, I think. – Tim Biegeleisen Dec 18 '17 at 16:04
  • @TimBiegeleisen are you sure? – user20490 Dec 18 '17 at 16:12
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    That is correct, it is taken from Gen 32:29. – למה זה תשאל לשמי Dec 19 '17 at 3:47
  • Also, thanks to whoever migrated my question from the Christianity site rather than just closing it down. – למה זה תשאל לשמי Dec 19 '17 at 3:51
2

The top level Hebrew scholars whether conservative or liberal do not believe that the author of Genesis intended for any gaps to be present in the Genesis chapter five account.

In support of the above statement, various people have pointed to the comments of Professor James Barr, the Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford (now deceased), who has written:

Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:

(a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience

(b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story

(c) Noah's flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.

Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.

The significance of Dr. Barr's statement should not be underestimated, the above conclusions of Dr. Barr regarding the chronology show that not only Dr. Barr but all the top Hebrew professors which he knows of do not think that the author of Genesis intending for any gap to exist

Dr, Barr's statement above is taken from a letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated April 23, 1984.

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    Who exactly are these top level scholars and professors ? – Nigel J Jan 28 '18 at 6:59
  • Regardless of what "top level scholars" means, this answer is correct, but has no bearing on the OP's question regarding the genealogy of Noah. The writer of Genesis clearly intended to present the story of Noah as seamlessly melded onto the creation story. No serious scholar disagrees with that, as you note, but those same scholars also see the textual difficulties in trying to make a simplistic additive narrative as the OP notes. The layering of the Noah cycle on top of the creation cycle is a well known problem in OT textual criticism. This answer doesn't make that problem go away. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Jan 28 '18 at 12:26
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According to the book of Jude, Enoch is identified as being the seventh from Adam:

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14-15 KJV)

And it appears that he is referring to the seventh generation from Adam. This same terminology is used in the Book of Enoch, chapter 43, verse 3 in the Prophecy of Weeks, saying he was born seventh in the first week (or the first seven):

  1. And Enoch began to recount from the books and said: 'I was born the seventh in the first week, While judgement and righteousness still endured.

Then, he proceeds to lay out a series of "weeks" with identifiable figures and/or events in each week. Based on the generations given in the Bible from Adam all the way to King David, it appears that there are no gaps in the generations when lining up the notable figures in this prophecy with those generations.

For example, Enoch is identified as being born the 7th from Adam, and that would be the first "week". The prophecy continues:

  1. And after me there shall arise in the second week great wickedness, And deceit shall have sprung up; And in it there shall be the first end.

And in it a man shall be saved; And after it is ended unrighteousness shall grow up, And a law shall be made for the sinners.

  1. And after that in the third week at its close A man shall be elected as the plant of righteous judgement, And his posterity shall become the plant of righteousness for evermore.

The close of the third week would be 21 generations (7 x 3). The 21st generation from Adam is Abraham.

Genesis 5 lays out the generations from Adam to Noah's sons and then Genesis 11:10-26 lays out the generations from Noah's son, Shem, to Abram, which adds up to a total of 21 generations.

The prophecy in Enoch continues:

  1. And after that in the fourth week, at its close, Visions of the holy and righteous shall be seen, And a law for all generations and an enclosure shall be made for them.

  2. And after that in the fifth week, at its close, The house of glory and dominion shall be built for ever.

Both Matthew 1 and Luke 3 provide the generations from Abraham to David, which can be verified in various accounts in the Old Testament.

The close of the fifth week would be 35 generations (7 x 5). The 35th generation from Adam is Solomon.

[I quoted from the RH Charles' translation of the Book of Enoch: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/boe096.htm ]

  • Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. An excellent start to your sojourn here. Thank you for the information regarding R. H. Charles' work. – enegue Mar 19 '18 at 1:29

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