In Exodus 20:6 (in some translations), Deuteronomy 7:9 and 1Chronicles 16:15 the phrase "thousand generations" had mentioned, does this mean that the Earthly World will last for at least thirty thousand years?

The concept of Cyclic creation found in eastern religions. To Brahma Kumaris the world lasts, cyclically, for five thousand years (5000 years).

If we consider the generation is 30 years, thus, a thousand generations equals a thirty thousand years (30000 years).

I think 30000 years of Earthly life is too long.

May thousand generations in the Bible be allegorical or hyperbolic?

  • Exodus 20:6 ... shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me ... [KJV] The other two instances I would say are hyperbole not allegory.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 23, 2020 at 22:26
  • A generation refers to humans procreating to produce the next generation in their families. Such generations are often thought of in terms of 36 years, or so. A century is one hundred years and has no bearing on human generations. A century is literal but "to a thousand generations" is not to be taken literally (e.g. 36,000 years).
    – Anne
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:00
  • According Bible Hub the word "generation" is a word that is not there in the original text. biblehub.com/exodus/20-6.htm So the words: "to a thousand" could refer to generations, but could also refer to something else, like days, weeks, months, etc. It could also refer to number of people, such as Elijah's 7000, the 144000 of the book of Revelation, etc. Mar 27, 2020 at 11:51
  • @Constanttin "generations" not found in some translations of Exodus 20:6. It is found in all translations of the other two verses, i.e: Deuteronomy 7:9 and 1 Chronicles 16:15.
    – salah
    Mar 27, 2020 at 12:02
  • @Salah. If one scroll down to the Greek at the bottom of the Bible Hub page one can see what I was talking about. Like I said it could mean "generations", which like you pointed out is illogical, but it could also mean something else. Maybe it means the third and fourth child in the family. Mar 27, 2020 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 7:9 and 1 Chronicles 16:15 are examples of VERY common Hebrew hyperbole. Here are more examples:

  • 2 Chron 1:5 - Solomon makes silver and gold as common as stones and cedar as plentiful as sycamore trees

  • Judges 20:16 - everyone (including babies??) could sling a stone at a hair and not miss

  • Deut 1:28 - cities walled up to heaven

  • Job 29:6 - the rock poured me out rivers of oil

  • John 4:39 - (Jesus) told me all I ever did

  • Mark 1:4, 5 - all the Judean countryside came out to see John and all Jerusalemites came out and all were baptised

  • Matt 23:24 - you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel

  • Luke 5:29 - pluck out your eye

  • John 12:19 - the whole world is gone after him

  • Matt 11:23 - Capernaum exalted into heaven but shall be brought to hades

    … and so forth. There are hundreds of these scattered throughout Scripture which should not be taken literally. Some commentators might debate the fine distinctions between where hyperbole ends and allegory begins which I will not do here. However, the point is clear, not all language, including Hebrew and Greek can be taken absolutely literally.


A thousand generations? Or Thousands of generations? Or Every generation? Forever! Meaning God is faithful to love those who love Him then and now. It's each generation's part to keep passing the knowledge down to the children.

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