God Sustains A Family Of Generations

Once again the generations are recorded. This time the purpose is to link those who survived the flood with Abraham. God has a special plan for him.

 

The Generations of Shem

generations of shem

 

This is the account of Shem.
 
Shem was 100 years old when he became the father of Arphaxad, two years after the flood.  And after becoming the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.  And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg.  And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu.  And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug.  And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor.  And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah.  And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
 
When Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
 

Genesis 11:10-26 (NET)

 

God had promised that He would send a Redeemer, “the seed of the woman” (3:15), who would defeat Satan and bring salvation. Noah’s prophecy revealed that God would bless the world through the line of Shem, the “Semites” who were the ancestors of the Hebrew people (9:26-27). “Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber”, and it’s likely that the word “Hebrew” comes from the name “Eber.”

 

Genesis gives us two genealogies of Shem, in 10:21-29 and in 11:10-26. The first genealogy lists all five of his sons and five of his grandsons, but then it focuses on the descendants of Arphaxad: Shelah, Eber, and Eber’s two sons Peleg and Joktan. It lists Joktan’s many sons but ignores Peleg’s descendants. But the genealogy in chapter 11 picks up Peleg’s side of the family and takes us through to Abraham. The genealogy in Genesis 5 takes us from Adam to Noah, and the one in Genesis 11 goes from Noah’s son Shem to Terah and his son Abraham.

 

Except that both lists have ten generations, the listing in 11:10-26 is different from the genealogy in Genesis 5. For one thing, it doesn’t contain the repeated phrase “and he died.” The emphasis is on how old the man was at the birth of his firstborn son. The people named in 11:10-26 didn’t live as long as the men named in Genesis 5. The list begins with Noah’s 950 years and dwindles down to Nahor’s 148 years. The post-Flood generations were starting to feel the physical consequences of sin in the human body.

 

Longevity was dropping sharply, from Noah’s 950 years to Abraham’s 175 years, in just 10 generations. Ps. 90:10 will later reduce the span of a person’s life to a symbolic 70 years.

 

The important thing about this genealogy is that it records the faithfulness of God in watching over His people and fulfilling His promises. What to us is only a list of names was to God a “bridge” from the appointment of Shem to the call of Abraham. God has deigned to use people to help accomplish His will on earth, and people are fragile and not always obedient. But the “bridge” was built and the covenant promises sustained.

 

Reference

Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Obedient

 

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