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In the Masoretic Text, Genesis 11:12-13 reads like this:

And Šëm lived after he begat ´Arpa¢šað five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And ´Arpa¢šad lived five and thirty years, and begat Šelaç

In the Septuagint, Genesis 11:12-13 reads like this:

And Arphaxad lived a hundred and thirty-five years, and begot Cainan. And Arphaxad lived after he had begotten Cainan, four hundred years, and begot sons and daughters, and died. And Cainan lived a hundred and thirty years and begot Sala; and Canaan lived after he had begotten Sala, three hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters, and died.

Cainan is missing from the lineage of Jesus in the Masoretic text and also missing from the KJV Genesis account:

And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: - Genesis 11:12

However, in Luke's genealogy in chapter 3 the KJV has Cainan in the genealogy:

Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, Luke 3:35-36

Thus it seems the Genesis lineage in the KJV matches the Masoretic text in regard to Cainan but the lineage in Luke (KJV) matches the Genesis lineage of the Septuagint where Cainan is concerned.

To further complicate matters, 1 Chronicles 1:18 omits Cainan in both the Masoretic text and the Septuagint. This actually narrows the focus of my question significantly.

I am not overly concerned about specific numbers but Cainan's inclusion or omission does produce a discrepancy of exactly 1 in the generational count. Going by the Masoretic text of Genesis Jesus is the 76th from Adam and going by the Septuagint text of Genesis Jesus is the 77th from Adam. Within the KJV, going by Genesis 11 Jesus is the 76th from Adam and going by Luke Jesus is the 77th from Adam. Going by 1 Chronicles in both texts leads to generation 76.

To complicate things even further, Brenton's LXX indicates that 1 Chronicles 1:18 is missing from the manuscript and the parallel text that contains this verse (omitting Cainan) is KJV!

A quote from Richard Challoner (1781):

Arphaxad beget Sale: Notwithstanding the veneration due to the Latin Vulgate, which is to be esteemed authentic, Cornelius a Lapide calls it a chronological problem, whether the word Cainan as found in the Septuagint and Gospel of Luke be the true reading, or whether it has slipt into the text. It is true Cainan is found in the Septuagint Genesis 10:24., Genesis 11:44., and 1 Chronicles 1:18; though, in this last place, Cornelius a Lapide says, it is wanting in one edition of the Septuagint by Sixtus V.; at least it is not read in all those places, neither in the Hebrew, nor Latin Vulgate. Some say that here in St. Luke's text, is found Cainan, because his citations are conformable to the Septuagint. Others conjecture that Cainan and Sale were only different names of one and the same person, so that the sense may be, who was of Sale, who is also Cainan.

My question, therefore, is: Given the difference in genealogies (regarding Cainan) between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint of Genesis 11 and the sameness of the geneologies in 1 Chronicles, why does the Septuagint include Cainan in Genesis 11 and, ultimately, in Jesus' geneology?

  • There are differences between Matthew's and Luke's genealogies but, since Matthew only goes back to Abraham and the discrepancy in view is prior to Abraham, there is little Matthew can bring to the matter of Cainan's presence between Arphaxad and Sala.
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  • 3
    The number of generations will depend on which line one counts - according to Luke it is 77 but if we count according to Matthew we get a completely different, but still valid number.
    – Dottard
    Sep 19, 2022 at 21:11
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    Go check and compare the genealogies in Chronicles 1 1:18, in the Mesoratic and the Septuagint.
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 20, 2022 at 20:22
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    The septuagint manuscript is a continuous text, without the annotations of verse end or verse start. So the author of septuagint digested the genealogy of verses 9-27 into united brief text, without any clear seperation. So verse 18 is not missing. It had been compressed together with other verses. The verse annotations came much later. And I cannot find Cainan there. It just announce the names, and Shelach comes directly after Arpach'shad. septuagint.bible/-/paraleipomenon-a-kephalaio-1
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 21, 2022 at 14:19
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    Josephus in his book "Antiquities of the Jews" also states that Shelach is the son of Arpach'shad. "Sefer Hayashar" (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sefer_haYashar_(midrash)) is a Jewish Midrash that also not mentioning Cainan as the son of Arpach'shad.
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 21, 2022 at 14:50
  • 1
    the headline question at the is very different from the actual question at the bottom. Sep 24, 2022 at 20:02

3 Answers 3

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The Septuagint we have today, is not the authentic Septuagint made by the 72 jewish sages.

The original work was a translation for the five books of Moses (Genesis included), and over the history some fixes were made and very likely that also some mistakes found their way into this corpus.

In the Talmud in tractate Megilah (page 9a), and also in tractate Sofrim (=scribes) ch 1, Chazal (Our sages of blessed memory) mention 14 out of 18 (and maybe more) adaptations that these 72 sages altogether miraculously done the same way (even though each one was in a seperate room).

(In The letter of Aristeas it mentions that they gathered afterwards to compare and digest it into one combined united text...)

Some known adaptations are:

  1. Translating Genesis 1:24 and Genesis 11:7 as singular form (instead of plural form) so that people who read it won't accidently come to the wrong conclusion that God is a plural being.
  2. Leviticus 11:6 - changing the word "Arnevet" (which we do not know exactly what animal it refers to, but is an impure animal) as "The animal with young legs", because the wife of Ptolemy had a similar name "Arsinoë" (I know it does not sound exactly like 'Arnevet', but it is not such a big gap). Other explanation is that someone in the family was named Lagos/Lagus, which translate to "hare", and hare is translated to Arnevet ארנבת.
  3. Genesis 1:1 instead of "Bereshit Bara Elohim" they changed it to "Elohim Bara Bereshit" so that no one will come to the conclusion that there is another God above God, who's name is 'Bereshit' and he created the 'Elohim' God.
  4. Exodus 12:40 "Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years" They added Canaan/[Other countries] along with Egypt, because they knew that the Israelites were in egypt for 210 years, and they were afraid that it will appear problematic. This modification is still preserved in the Septuagint and SP.
  5. Genesis 2:2 the original is that God finished on the seventh day and rested on the seventh day, and they changed it that God finished on the sixth day, and rested on the seventh day (To make it appear more logical). This modification is still preserved in the Septuagint and SP.
  6. Exodus 4:20 they changed the word ass into beasts, because Moses should have take them on a camel. This modification is still preserved in the Septuagint but not in SP.
  7. Numbers 16:15 changed ass into desire ( חמור -> חמד) This modification is still preserved in the Septuagint but not in SP.

(They do not mention something about adding Cainan in the genealogy)...

Today we cannot find all of these modifications, probably someone fixed most of them.

So we know the original text wasn't preserved so well and no more could refer to the original work of the 72 sages.

Cainan of Arpachshad isn't mentioned neither in KJV nor "The Antiquities of the Jews" by Josephus nor the Samaritan's version of Torah. The Septuagint included Cainan both in Genesis 10:24 and 10:12.

But look at this mind blowing fact!!!

The age that Cainan had his first son Salah, is the same age that Salah had Eber! 130 years! And the years he lived afterwards are 330 years, Exactly like Salah!! Wow, someone was so eager to include Cainan, and he just copied the exact life years of Salah!

There is no other case in Genesis that two men had the same year pair. He was so eager to insert Cainan, that he even included him as son of Shem in 10:22!

But the real mystery is about his reference in the book of Jubilees...

It seems like writer of Luke based his geneology on the book of Jubilies, and the Septuagint was altered to match to the book of Jubilies.

But!!! The book of Jubilees does not say explicitly who was the father of Salah, Jubilees 8:5

http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/jubilees/8.htm

And in the thirtieth jubilee, [1429 A.M.] in the second week, in the first year thereof, he took to himself a wife, and her name was Melka, the daughter of Madai, the son of Japheth, and in the fourth year [1432 A.M.] he begat a son, and called his name Shelah; for he said: 'Truly I have been sent.'

It is not clear if the Jubilees refered to Arpachshad or to Cainan in the word "He", and it is not clear if this book is accurate. For sure it cannot be more accurate than the Torah, because it was compiled much much later, and all the knowledge of it were passed as Oral tradition, until it was written.

So the one who altered the Septuagint assumed that "he" refered to Cainan (it is a reasonable assumption), so he altered the septuagint based on this assumption. But my opinion is that "He" refers to Arpachshad, because it matches the dominante geneology, and also Jusephus, who probably knew this book, didn't mentioned Cainan, and chose to follow the dominante geneology.

To summerize: Cainan and Salah might were brothers from different mothers. The Messoratic Torah text (and all other texts) did not include Cainan, because he was irrelevant to the geneology of Abraham. The book of Jubilees very likely brought Cainan as a side story, but not as a part of the geneology.

So my opinion that Cainan should be excluded from the geneology of Jesus.

For completeness: The Antiquities of the Jews (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2848/2848-h/2848-h.htm#link2HCH0005): "Sala was the son of Arphaxad;"

Extra:

Q. Why do you think the jews did not alter their Torah?

A. Simple answer: It is impossible. The jews had large communities all over the world, even during the second temple. Every community had multiple copies of the Torah. You cannot change all the copies of the Torah, it is impossible, and you cannot convince a jewish community to alter their text. And another fact: when many jewish communities returned to the land of Israel in recent years, they brought their copies of the Torah. And all the copies were the same, expect for about 9 very minor typos that do not change the meaning (like extra Vav or Alef or Heh), things like "בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר" instead of "בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעֹר" . So get it out of your minds that the jews altered the Torah.

Also, read this article:

https://armstronginstitute.org/676-can-you-trust-the-masoretic-text

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  • The copyist worked late and was very, very tired but in the morning when he noticed his mistake he didn't correct it? This whole answer seems speculative. Sep 22, 2022 at 12:25
  • Edited. Sometimes you do not catch these errors. I just gave an example. You may say that the author deliberatly altered the text but forgot to alter also the Chronicles translation (maybe he did so cause he liked the number 77, who knows). This would be less likely. Or maybe he had a revelation from God who said to him, I lied to the jews when I gave them the Torah... The truth is that Arpachshad's son was Cainan... Less likely. Maybe the jews omitted Cainan from genealogy to render the Nt as invalid.. You ask for explanation of a single event error. Any answer would be speculative my friend.
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 22, 2022 at 13:06
  • I can understand accidentally misspelling a name or accidentally leaving a name out but accidentally inserting a brand new name that appears no where else seems rather unlikely to be missed. Sep 23, 2022 at 12:02
  • You are right. Now I discovered that Genesis 10:24 and 11:12 both have that insertion in the septuagint. It is not a copy error, it was done with intention. Probably the one who wrote Genesis was not the one who wrote Chronicles. I will check the samaritans Torah version
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 24, 2022 at 17:53
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    Neither is the Masoretic Text the original Hebrew text. The oldest manuscripts of the Septuagint that we have are around 600 years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Masoretic Text.
    – user33515
    Sep 25, 2022 at 14:32
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In short...the name Cainan, most probably, should not be included.

Some time ago now, I was captivated by the, soon to follow here, "YouTube" video, which puts forward the idea that the Hebrew Masoretic text (from which all modern day bibles are translated), or should we say the Leningrad Codex (1108 AD), is quite possibly a corruption from the original Hebrew text (copies of which no longer exist). And, that the Greek Septuagint (at least the older copies thereof), which came before the HM, (circa 250 BC), then had to have been translated from this older Hebrew text, and therefore was the more exacting translation. The video concentrates on the possible true timing of the Great Flood and how it has to predate, by a number of centuries even, the building of the Tower of Babel and the subsequent building of the Great Pyramids of Giza, but it also touches on the Genealogy of the Patriarchs and at exactly 18 mins and 50 secs, of a 30 minuit video, it addresses the question of Cainan, or no Cainan. This is a fantastic and extremely well done video and should, quite frankly, be watched in its entirety, in order to get the full context, not to mention, all the other goodies.

Here is the video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI1yRTC6kGE

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  • Hi, thank you for your upvote, I saw the video you supplied, and updated my Answer. You must read number 4 in my answer, it will answer the issue brought in the video. Mind blowing! There is an article in hebrew that explans the problems in the egyptian chronology, in a way that matches the MT. daat.ac.il/daat/tanach/maamarim/hatanach1-2.htm
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 27, 2022 at 19:56
  • Hey, if you would like to discuss about more things in this video, and hear the jewish answer, text me to dvoreader at gmail.
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 27, 2022 at 21:06
  • I must add something related to the 100 years addition. If the jews really changed the dates of the patriarchs, why Abraham and Sarah are so surprised that Abraham is going to give birth at the age of 100? Gen 17:17, Gen 18:12. I mean, if all the patriarchs of Abraham gave birth in older ages, why are they so surprised?
    – Kapandaria
    Sep 27, 2022 at 21:13
  • @Kapandaria - good point, nevertheless it all made sense otherwise. I'm not sure that getting into an actual email back and forth is something to be desired or warranted at this time. There's always the "Chat Room" though, here within this site if need be. Sep 29, 2022 at 0:33
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The point is decided by an unquestioned text of Holy Scripture. In the New Testament, Luke, when giving the genealogy of Christ, says that Sala "was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad" Luke iii, 36. The genuineness of this text has never been disputed; and we are disposed to rest the question entirely upon it. If it be admitted that Luke wrote under the plenary inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it must be believed that the quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures which he has made are strictly true. It can be no answer, that the writer was deceived in quoting from a translation, or a vitiated copy ; for if this be allowed, he might by the same rule be mistaken in any other way, and the doctrine of efficient inspiration would be made worthless. It is not contended that the circumstance of an evangelist's quoting from the Septuagint version stamps the whole of that version with religious authority ; but nothing can be mare apparent than that what has been so quoted must be received as truth ; or, in the words of Dr. Adam Clarke, (Works, vol. i, p. 369,) " what they " (the New-Testament writers) " have quoted of that version, they have certainly legitimated by such quotation." If the inspiration of Holy Scripture is regarded as anything more than a name, it is not easy to conceive how this conclusion can be avoided ; on this ground we regard the generation of Cainan as clearly and authoritatively taught by the word of God, and as being, in fact, a part of Scripture verity.
Source: 'The Patriarchal Age' by George Smith

But the question remains, why had Cainan been removed from the Old Testament in the Modern Hebrew?

The answer is found in the Alexandrian World Chronicle, which states in ch. 2, 'The genealogy of Shem the firstborn son of Noah' the following:

And Arphaxad begat Cainan, whence come, from the east, the Samaritans. Cainan begat Salathee (i.e., Sala), when come the Salathians. And Salathee begat Heber, whence come the Hebrews. Two sons were born to Heber, Peleg, whence arises the lineage of Abraham, and Joktan his brother.

The fact that the Samaritans came from Cainan, provides an overwhelming justification for the 2nd-century Jews to have excluded precisely his name. It is well known and described in the biblical account (i.e. John 4:9) that the Jews had a deep aversion to the Samaritans. The inclusion of Cainan in their own writing must have been a deep thorn for centuries.

In addition, it has to be noted that the heritage of the Samaritans is even 2-3 generations older than that of the Hebrews / the lineage of Abraham.

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see 1 Chronicles 1:18 in the Codex Alexandrinus, as also found in 20 other copies of this verse.

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