Commentary on Genesis 11:10-26

Last updated: May 27, 2009

English Translation (ESV)

10These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. 13And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

14When Shelah had lived 30 years, he fathered Eber. 15And Shelah lived after he fathered Eber 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg. 17And Eber lived after he fathered Peleg 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu. 19And Peleg lived after he fathered Reu 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug. 21And Reu lived after he fathered Serug 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor. 23And Serug lived after he fathered Nahor 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24When Nahor had lived 29 years, he fathered Terah. 25And Nahor lived after he fathered Terah 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Notes

10 These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.

This is the last mention of the flood. Genesis is transitioning from the primeval history to the patriarchal history.

11 And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

Unlike chapter 5, this chapter omits the total years of the patriarch’s life and the refrain “then he died”. It traces the line from Shem to Abram quickly.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug.

Serug is a known personal name from the Ur III period1.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor.

Nahor is a known personal name from the Ur III period down to late Assyrian times2.

26 When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Like the genealogy in chapter 5, this genealogy ends with a segmented genealogy containing three sons. Noah and Terah stand at the beginning of a new age. Abram is a well attested personal name in both the second and first millennium BCE3. It may mean “he is exalted as to his father” or “the father [i.e., God] is exalted”4. Nahor is named after his grandfather. Personal names compounded with har are known from Mari and the Hyksos kings of Egypt5.

Bibliography

WBCGen1: Gordon J. Wenham, Word Biblical Commentary: Genesis 1-15, 1987

1[WBCGen1] 252

2[WBCGen1] 252

3[WBCGen1] 252

4[WBCGen1] 252

5[WBCGen1] 253

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