Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 46:8-9

8 And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn.

9 And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi.

We now get some more genealogy, with Jacob’s descendants at this point listed out. I won’t copy into here all the verses, but here are some statistics from them all.

  • Reuben: 4 sons
  • Simeon: 6 sons
  • Levi: 3 sons
  • Judah: 5 sons (2 died before the trip to Egypt), 2 grandsons
  • Issachar: 4 sons
  • Zebulun: 3 sons
  • Dinah: no children
  • Gad: 7 sons
  • Asher 4 sons, 1 daughter, 2 grandsons
  • Joseph: 2 sons
  • Benjamin: 10 sons
  • Dan: 1 son
  • Naphtali: 4 sons

This gives us 13 children of Jacob, 54 grandchildren (2 deceased), and 4 great-grandchildren. This means that Jacob, the only son of an only son, now had 69 descendants to his name.

Two of Jacob’s sons had already become grandfathers, Judah and Asher. Benjamin, though born last of all, has outstripped all of his brothers with ten children to his name. Gad had seven, and Asher and Judah only get up to seven by including their grandchildren.

The verses make also take special care to divide these generations by the mother at the head of the branch. So from that view:

  • Leah: 33 descendants (2 deceased)
  • Zilpah: 16 descendants
  • Rachel: 14 descendants
  • Bilhah: 7 descendants

Clearly Leah is far greater than any of the other wives, with 47% of the entire household to her name! Of course, she had 54% of the second generation, and so clearly her edge is starting to slip with the third and the fourth. In fact, with all of Benjamin’s children, the number of third-generation children under Rachel is twelve, which is equal to Zilpah and far exceeds Bilhah.

Of course, one thing to note is that this genealogy seems to be omitting nearly all of the daughters, grand-daughters, and great-granddaughters. Either that, or there were only two women born in the same timeframe that sixty-nine men were, not a very likely prospect!

Dinah is the only named daughter, who of course we know from her story back in chapter 34. Sadly, after her rape, it is entirely possible that she never married, meaning that she would have remained a part of Jacob’s household. It could be that something of this nature is also the case with the only other named woman, Serah, the daughter of Asher. Perhaps she never married, and so remained a part of Asher’s household, and was thus included in this genealogy. There is, however, no way to prove this theory from the little information that we have.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 11:26-31

26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.

28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

The genealogical verses aren’t the most exciting passages of scripture to me, and I usually skim past them to get to the actual stories. But this time I at least paid attention to the relationships around Abraham, and it was fascinating to gain some context for his story.

Here we meet Terah, who has three sons: Abram (later Abraham), Nahor, and Haran. Haran died earlier than the rest, but he had a son named Lot, who became a sort of stand-in for his father. Throughout the rest of the record we hear about him as if he was the third brother: Abram, Nahor, and Lot.

Haran also had a daughter before he died, named Milcah, who married Abram’s other brother, Nahor. Nahor and Milcah later had a grand-daughter named Rebekah, who would become the wife of Abram’s son Isaac. In later chapters we will also have revealed to us that Sarai was actually Abram’s half-sister, the daughter of his father Terah, but not of his mother.

I’ve never before given so much consideration to Abram’s family before. I didn’t reflect on the fact that he was a son and a brother, and that those ties affected him throughout the rest of his tale. In fact, his story begins as that family splits up. Terah, the father, leaves for Canaan with Abram and Lot, but Nahor stays behind.

At this point a place called Canaan may not sound very significant, but we’ll be hearing a lot about it later on. It is to be the home of the Israelite kingdom after they flee Egypt, and the majority of the Biblical narrative takes place there. For now, though, the family doesn’t quite make it to Canaan. They stop instead at the nearby city of Haran, which has the same name as Abram’s deceased brother, but I don’t know whether the two are connected.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 5:1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25, 28-29

1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:

9 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:

12 And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:

15 And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:

18 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:

21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:

25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:

28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:

29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.

I mentioned yesterday that the biblical narrative will now focus on the line of Seth, and those that believe in God and follow His precepts. And here in chapter 5 we have the descendants of Seth listed out for eight generations. Genealogical lines like this are, of course, a big thing throughout the bible, and we will come across many more chapters just like this.

It is much less common today to so meticulously track one’s ancestral lines. Most of that information is readily available, due to the digitization of genealogical records, but I don’t believe I am unique in saying that I know the names of my parents and grandparents, but only a few names from the generations beyond. A lot of us don’t really know where we come.

When I have considered my unique traits, my strengths and my weaknesses, I have sometimes wondered if those qualities were inherited from somewhere down the line. I have also had moments of epiphany, where I realize how much the good things I enjoy are based upon the work of my forbearers, and not upon my own merits. I believe that by not being more familiar with my ancestry, I am somewhat limited in being able to even know myself. There are reasons for me being who I am that I am not aware of.