Genesis 11:10–26

1110 The descendants of Shem:
Two years after the Flood, Shem was 100 when he begot Arpachshad. 11 After begetting Arpachshad and other sons and daughters, Shem lived 500 years. (600 total years)
12 Arpachshad was 35 when he begot Shelah. 13 After begetting Shelah and other sons and daughters, Arpachshad lived 403 years. (438)
14 Shelah was 30 when he begot Eber. 15 After begetting Eber and other sons and daughters, Shelah lived 403 years. (463)
16 Eber was 34 when he begot Peleg. 17 After begetting Peleg and other sons and daughters, Eber lived 430 years. (464)
18 Peleg was 30 when he begot Reu. 19 After begetting Reu and other sons and daughters, Peleg lived 209 years. (239)
20 Reu was 32 when he begot Serug. 21 After begetting Serug and other sons and daughters, Reu lived 207 years. (239)
22 Serug was 30 when he begot Nahor. 23 After begetting Nahor and other sons and daughters, Serug lived 200 years. (230)
24 Nahor was 29 when he begot Terah. 25 After begetting Terah and other sons and daughters, Nahor lived119 years. (148)
26 Terah was 70 when he begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

It was only 9 verses ago that we had a long genealogy of Noah’s three sons. Upon the scattering of people after the confusion of languages at Babel, we track a single language or lineage—Shem, oldest son of Noah (in the line of Seth, youngest son of Eve* and ’adam).

Numerologically, there are 10 generations from Shem to Abram, just as there were 10 generations from ’adam to Noah. This symmetry is carried along in ’adam’s 3 sons, Noah’s 3 sons, and Abram’s being the first of 3 sons. We might say that ’adam’s first son, Cain, is contrasted with Abel’s replacement, Seth, Noah’s first son, Shem, and Terah’s first son, Abram.

Those interested in numerology might also appreciate knowing that there were 365 years from Shem’s son to Abram’s migration to Canaan (land of those cursed by Noah). We’ve run into this year of years before.

After some repletion of Shem’s descendants, we come to Peleg. The previous genealogy only mentioned Peleg and went on to detail his brother’s line. In this genealogy of Peleg, we follow his line down to Abram, Nahor, and Haran. [Note: Not mentioned in this listing of male descendants of Shem is Sarai—daughter of Terah by another mother than Abram’s. This will come to play its part later in the story and will be revealed then. You can check then to see if you still remember this detail.]

Back before the Flood, 6:3, we heard G*D’s displeasure with human creatures and decreed the limit of a lifespan to be 120 years. The genealogy here shows a progression toward this limit. Shem begins with a life of a nice round 600 years. By the time we get to Peleg, his lifespan was 239 years. Terah lived 205 years. We will come to learn that Abram made it 175. The mills of the gods grind ever so slowly. 

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