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Ancient & Biblical Chronology & Genealogies

Copyright 1997
Fred G. Zaspel

Calendar Details
Fixing Dates
Biblical Chronology
Some Difficulties
Biblical Geneologies


Calendars & Dating Systems

How Calendars Work

Systems of dating are many and can be devised from virtually any starting point. This year of A.D. 1997 on the Christian calendar is according to the Muslim calendar the year 1375. Their beginning year is our year A.D. 622, dating from Mohammed, the founder of that religion. According to the ancient Roman system of dating, beginning at 753 B.C. and the founding of Rome, this is the year 2749. The first Olympics were held in 776 B.C., and that calendar dates every four years ("olympiads"); accordingly this would be the year 693.2. Again, possible systems of dating are innumerable. They can be devised from virtually any beginning point and can be valuable for the keeping of time records.

The History and Development of our Calendar

A lunar month is 29 days and 12+ hours, from the waxing to the waning of the moon. The problem this leaves us with is that it does not exactly correlate with a solar year, which is 365 days (actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 47.8 seconds). This is not quite equal to 12 lunar months. To deal with this mathematical inaccuracy, around 2500 B.C. the Sumerians and Babylonians inserted an intercalary month every four years. This brought the seasons pretty well back to normal.

By the "modern" era, however, something more technical and precise was needed. In 45 B.C. Julius Caesar decreed that henceforth be observed 365 days each year and 366 days each fourth year (leap year), continuing in perpetual cycle. This is called the "Julian Calendar" which began the custom we keep today.

But still there was a problem. Years are not exactly 365 days. They are actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 47.8 seconds. That difference of 11 minutes and 12+ seconds is appreciable in the course of several centuries; that is, it is "off" one day every 128 years. Although this system was used in Europe for 16 centuries, in the bigger picture there are just too many leap years.

So in 1582 another correction was made by Pope Gregory XIII. This is the inception of the "Gregorian calendar," which we use still today. First, to make up for all the accumulated minutes, he decreed the elimination of 10 days from the year 1582. So in many countries in 1582, the day following October 4 was October 15.

But still the calendar was off 11 minutes every 100 years (which means that by the year 4905 we will again be one day off!). To solve this problem, it was decided that every year with a year date divisible by four would be a leap year. Actually, this was still too many leap years, so it was provided that a day be dropped by every centesimal year (ending in 00) whose number cannot be divided by 400. Accordingly, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years (i.e., there still were only 28 days to February).

Well, the margin of error with this Gregorian calendar is still one day in every 3,000 years. But all seem to agree that this will do us for a while.

The American colonies made the switch to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, when the entire British empire changed. So in that year September 2 was followed by September 14, an 11 day adjustment. Dates preceding the change are sometimes designated OS (old style). Thus, for example, George Washington's birthday is really February 11, 1732 (OS), and only after the change to the Gregorian calendar was it established as February 22, 1732. Most dates in American History have been converted to New Style, or Gregorian dates. Other countries have been slower in changing: Japan, 1873; China, 1912; Greece, 1924; Turkey, 1927.

To make the conversion from Julian dates to Gregorian dates 10 days must be added to the Julian dates from October 5, 1582, through February 28, 1700; 11 days must be added to Julian dates from March 1, 1700, through February 28, 1800; and 13 days must be added to Julian dates from March 1, 1900 through February 28, 2100, and so on.

Calendar Details


The days of our week are of pagan origin. Sunday is the day dedicated to the sun, Monday to the moon, Tuesday to Tiw (Mars), Wednesday to Woden (Mercury), Thursday to Thor (Jove), Friday to Frig (venus), and Saturday to Saturn.


The seven-day week is of Hebrew (and then Babylonian) origin. Other cultures used a six-day (Assyria), eight-day (Roman), or 10-day (Egypt) week. The Romans spoke of the "ides" (middle of the month) and the "calends" (first of the month).


Our 12 months are Roman in origin and are named after things such as numbers, gods, and emperors.

January = Janus
February = februa, ancient Roman purification festivals
March = Mars
June = Juno
July = Julius Caesar
August = Augustus Caesar
September = seven
October = eight
November = nine
December = ten

Ironically, September - December are months 9 - 12. But originally they were months 7 - 10. Later January and February were added to the calendar.


As mentioned at the beginning, there are many ways of keeping records. We can date years by "eras" (the Greek and Roman method), which is simply dating by "birthdays" of events, people, Olympics, founding of great cities, birth of Christ, etc.

"Regnal years" are also common. Frequently in the Bible and in ancient literature reference is made to "the 24th year of King ____'s reign," "the second year of Ahab," the 15th year of Tiberius," and so on. As we will see, linking these kinds of dates to our modern calendar (B.C. / A.D.) can sometimes be a difficult exercise indeed. Usually this is done with the help of astronomy or other confirmatory data. For instance, the Assyrians mention a solar eclipse which we can confirm to have been in 763 B.C. When kings or events are linked to this event, "dead reckoning" is accomplished very simply.

Eponymous dating was also known among the ancients, dating from an Eponym. An Eponymous official was sometimes the emperor, but often he was a man elected to do nothing but have a year named after him. No other privileges or duties are known to have been associated with this honor -- sort of like being the Grand Marshall at a parade.

Our "A.D." (anno domini, year of [our] Lord) was devised in the third century and popularized by Eusebius, the famous church historian. There were some miscalculations, however: the year of Jesus' birth is known now to have been (on this calendar) about 6 B.C. So our calendar is a few years off.

The familiar "B.C.," which dates events "before Christ," was devised by Bishop Ussher in the 17th century. This is extremely helpful and very accurate back to Abraham; before Abraham, however, the system fails to take into consideration too much data and is faulty.

Fixing Dates

Dead Reckoning

Here, then, is how it all works. To fix a date in the ancient past, we first get a fixed date from astronomy, as already mentioned, and then work from there. If we find in ancient records a mention of "King _____, in the third year after the eclipse...," the calculation to that date becomes very easy.

Dated Documents

We also can work from dated documents -- inscriptions of a pharaoh, etc. Information may be scant, but whatever is discovered may be of immense help. If, for example, an inscription is found mentioning a pharaoh in the "17th year of his reign," we know his reign lasted at least 17 years.


Styles, colors, and shapes of pottery provide approximate help also. Say in a given archaeological dig is found first blue and white pottery, then (lower down) red pottery, and finally (still lower) black pottery. Then again there is first blue and white, then green, then red. We can surmise that green pottery was used between the times when blue and red were used. If, then we have King X mentioned on green pottery, we have another clue in the overall puzzle.


Then there are synchronisms, both explicit and implicit. An example of this is when one nation writes about its king and puts it in terms of a contemporary king of another country. Some are stated this clearly (explicit), but many are more subtle (implicit).

Some Biblical examples may help here. Shalmaneser III of Assyria is a foreign king associated with some of Israel's kings. Some Assyrian inscriptions mention Shalmaneser fighting a coalition of kings in a date we can calculate to be 853 B.C. In this list of enemy kings he mentions King Ahab of Israel. This little detail we would not know from Scripture; we would not otherwise know that Ahab and Shalmaneser III were contemporaries. An Assyrian inscription also mentions that in the 18th year of Shalmaneser's rule ( = 841 B.C.) he collected tribute from King Jehu of Israel.

By the same token, the Bible also mentions foreign kings in association with Israelite kings (e.g., 2 Kings 19 speaks of Sennecharib of Assyria attacking Hezekiah of Judah.) Links such as this are valuable in establishing dates.

Further, it is nowhere stated that Shalmaneser I (Assyria) was a contemporary of Ramses II (Egypt), but this is easily established by implicit synchronism. Ramses fought against two Hittite kings, Muwatalis and Hattusilis III (explicit synchronism). Between these two Kings, we know, was another King Urhi-Teshub. Uri-Teshub wrote letters to Shalmaneser. Therefore Shalmaneser and Ramses are contemporary (implicit synchronism).

Some Difficulties

But not all is that easy. Various kinds of difficulties arise in establishing ancient dates. There is first the problem of "dual dating." Sometimes events are dated from the king's accession year (the year his reign began), but sometimes from his birth year. Which is in view is sometimes difficult to ascertain.

Sometimes there were co-regencies, overlaps in reign -- for example, when a father would later share the reign with his son. In fact, there is one Biblical example where (it would seem) two kings began to rule, each before the other! In 2 Kings 1:17, Joram of Israel is said to have begun in the 2nd year of Jehoram of Judah. But in 2 Kings 8:16, Jehoram of Judah is said to have begun in the 5th year of Joram of Israel. These kinds of seeming contradictions cause confusion in year totals. The book of Judges is infamous for this kind of difficulty -- overlapping in judgeships is evident, but how to work it all out is not.

Another complicating factor which must be taken in consideration is that the year the rule of King A ends is the same year the rule of King B begins. They are not separate years. If we would simply total up the years mentioned, we would end up with too many.

One final complication should be mentioned. Ancient Israel had two New Years -- one in the Spring (religious), and one in the Autumn (civil). Later in their history (Babylonian captivity) only the Spring New Year was observed.

This simplified overview of things better positions us to look into the subject of Biblical Chronology and Genealogies.

Biblical Chronology


Let's begin with an example of "dead reckoning" in Biblical chronology. 1 Kings 6:1 is a key date in Biblical Chronology. It identifies Solomon's fourth year of reign as the 480th year after the exodus from Egypt. With more evidence than we need to go into here, it is well established and universally agreed that Solomon's accession year was 970 B.C. His "fourth" year, then, was 966 B.C. Subtract 480 years, and we come up with 1446 B.C. as the date of the exodus.

We can take this further. Ex. 12:40 informs us that Jacob went to Egypt 430 years before the exodus. This yields a date of 1876 B.C. (1446 + 430).

Still further, Gen. 47:9 informs us that Jacob was 130 years old when he went to Egypt. Therefore, Jacob was born in 2006 B.C. (1876 + 130).

Moreover, Jacob was born in his father's (Isaac's) 60th year. Isaac's birth, then, was in the year 2066 B.C. (2006 + 60).

Again, we know from Gen. 21:5 that Isaac was born when his father, Abraham, was 100 years old. This fixes Abraham's birth in the year 2166 B.C. (2066 + 100).

Gen. 12:4 mentions that Abram was 75 when he left Haran for Egypt. This means that Abram was in Egypt in the year 2091 B.C. (2166 - 75). (This would also indicate, by the way, that the Pharaoh of this incident was Wahkareketi [2120 - 2070 B.C.] -- but we'll not get into that right now!)

This is how Biblical dating works. We first find an established date, and we must work from there with whatever information we have.

Further Developments

The Anglican Bishop Ussher of 17th century Ireland did more work in this field than anyone previously. He calculated all the way back to the date of the creation, which he placed at 4004 B.C. (4 p.m., October 23, to be exact!). His dates first appeared in the KJV margin about 1701, when the "B.C." method was developed. Ussher did not then have the information we have today (eg., the fixed 970 date above), but he accomplished a phenomenal task.

Ussher's calculations / dates were based on a two-fold premise. First, the numbers and genealogies in the Biblical record. This was a good place to start, but there were problems with the method of which he was not aware. For one, he misunderstood the purpose of ancient genealogies. He assumed that they were for the purpose of providing a strict chronology. This is just not so, as we will see. Next, he was not aware of co-regencies of kings and the overlapping of reigns, as we mentioned above. Third, He did not take into account the overlapping time frame in the records of the Judges. And finally, he failed to give sufficient cross-referencing or checking of his dates by other means. He did not confirm his findings with ancient history, although admittedly there was not much available to him. Nor did he conduct other Scriptural checks, as the example above calculating from Solomon back to Abraham (2166 B.C.). According to Ussher Abraham lived somewhat later, about 2058 B.C.

The Second of Ussher's assumptions was that God works in 2000 year cycles. This was pure conjecture, an unwarranted assumption -- but one which survives to our own day. He fixed the birth of Christ at year zero. Back 2000 years to Abraham, another 2000 years to creation, or forward from Christ 2000 years to His second coming.

After Ussher and before real modern times, all conservatives were in agreement his dates, until the 1890's when William Henry Green wrote in Bibliotheca Sacra his article entitled, "Primeval Chronology," and took Ussher to task. B. B. Warfield later did the same in the Princeton Theological Review (1911). He discredited Ussher's method by proving the existence of gaps in the genealogical records of Genesis (which we will see shortly). Then until about the 1950's virtually no one in the evangelical world took Ussher seriously. But the recent creation/evolution debate has witnessed the resurrection of Ussher. Many conservatives began to equate the belief in a young earth with Ussher's dates, so much so that a 6000 year old earth became (and largely remains) the fundamentalist position. Anything from 6005 B.C. back to billions of years is often considered an evolutionary idea.

The debate today largely ignores the problems of the dates of the Kings and Judges; the differences here are a little more than a hundred years. The debate still centers on the Genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. Can they be regarded as strict chronologies? Contrary to Ussher, Green's position was that the genealogies back to Abraham are complete; genealogies before Abraham are not complete. Who was right?

Biblical Genealogies

Before we can decide the issue we must be reminded that we cannot read into the Biblical records our Western contemporary way of thinking. This would miss the important principle of historical interpretation. We must try to put our minds into the frame of reference of the original writers and readers of Scripture. This is only reasonable.

The Purpose of Ancient Genealogies

What was the purpose of ancient genealogies? Biblical genealogies do not appear to be any different from other genealogies in the ancient world -- Hammurabi, etc. The purpose of these genealogies was two-fold. First, they wanted to trace the basic outline of their history, establish their history of descent. With this purpose in mind it was not necessary to include every link in the family tree, only enough to establish the fact. Hammurabi, for example, gives only two or three links back to some great somebody way back when. This is why Ryrie notes, in Genesis 11, "This selective list of ten generations is recorded for the purpose of tracing the ancestry of Abraham" (Ryrie Study Bible on Gen. 11:10-26; italics added).

The second purpose of ancient genealogies was religious and theological. They wanted to make the point that God (or the gods) has protected this line as promised, and they wanted to show the connection with these past godly people.

This is evidently Moses' purpose in Gen. 5 and 11. Moses did not write this so that we could sit down with our calculators and figure the date of creation. His purpose is not strictly chronological. And if his purpose is not strictly chronological, there is no need for a complete list of all the people in the family tree.

The famous "Abydos King List" from the Temple of Osirus in southern Egypt provides a good example. Here the king who built it put up a list of previous kings on the wall -- all of them, or so it would seem. Actually, an entire three dynasties are deleted (the Hyksos, who temporarily ruled over Egypt). But the king's purpose in the list is to show that the gods had preserved the line of kings. The incomplete list accomplishes that very well.

Now there are occasions in ancient documents when the purpose is strictly chronological. This is why in 1 Kings 6:1 there is a year total given. But this is obviously not the case in the genealogies of Gen. 5 and 11.

The Meaning of "Begat"

The meaning of the Biblical term "begat" occasions an interpretive stumble for many. In our terminology "to beget" someone is "to become his father." It speaks of immediately fathering a son. But in the ancient world "begat" simply indicated "became the ancestor of," however far removed that ancestor was.

This is easily demonstrated in the Bible. In Mat. 1:8, for example, "Joram begat Ozias." But a comparison of this with 2 Kings 8:25; 11:2; 14:1, 21; and 1 Chron. 3:11-12 reveals that Matthew skipped over at least 3 generations. Now either Matthew made a mistake -- a concession we are not at all willing to make -- or Matthew wrote in keeping with the custom of his day, and "begat" was understandable and understood as "became the ancestor of."

So also in Gen. 11:10-12, "Arphaxad begat Salah." Luke 3:36 adds another link, "Arphaxad - Cainan - Salah." Again, neither Moses nor Luke were in error; this is simply the allowed meaning of words.

Take my son's family tree, for a modern example. Properly, to our way of speaking, it would read like this: "Johann begat Rudolph who begat Albert who begat Fred who begat James who begat Fred who begat James." The final James, here, is my son whom I "begat." But in ancient parlance, we could establish my son's place in the family simply by saying "Johann begat James." Now in point of fact Johann is Jim's great-great- great- great- grandfather, but the meaning is clear.

Now if these gaps can be shown in the Genesis record, then the theory that the lists are complete cannot be sustained. In fact, the presence of even one provable gap leaves the whole question wide open.

The Meaning of "Father"

The significance of the word "father" is often overlooked here also. We generally use the word to speak of one's immediate father. But in the ancient world, with some remnants in the modern world, the term is used with a wider significance. It could mean "father" as we generally understand the term. But it could also indicate, grandfather or ancestor. This is evident in Gen. 10:21, where we read "Shem, the father of all the children of Eber." We see this also in the Pharisees who were accustomed to speaking of "our fathers," "the fathers," "our father Abraham," etc.

The word "father" can also indicate "predecessor." King Taharka of Egypt, for example, about 680 B.C. speaks of King Sesostris II as his "father." But Sesostris II lived around 1880 B.C. Now either this is the longest pregnancy in the annuls of medicine, or the word "father" has a wide range of meaning. In this case, "father" is not even a familial term, for Taharka was a black man of the 25th dynasty, and Sesostris II was a pure Egyptian of the 12th dynasty.

Another Biblical example of this is found in 1 Chron. 1:50-51, where Salma is called the father of Bethlehem. "George Washington, the father of our country" is an expression Americans are familiar with and reflects this long-standing usage of the term.

The Meaning of "Son of"

To us "son of" would naturally indicate an immediate male descendent, but not so in the ancient world. For example, in 1 Kings 19:16 and 2 Kings 9:20 Jehu is called "the son of Nimshi," but in reality he is Nimshi's grandson. In 1 Chron. 26:24 400 years are skipped when the writer speaks of "Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses." And in 2 Kings 16:7 Ahaz writes to Tiglath-Pilesar and speaks of himself as "your son."

The Symmetrical Structure of Genesis 5 & 11

It is curious that Gen. 5 and 11 are perfectly symmetrical in structure. In Gen. 5 we have Adam to Noah, 10 generations, and the 10th with three children. In Gen. 11 we have Shem to Abram, 10 generations, and the 10th with three children. The closest parallel to this is Mat. 1, where Matthew provides three groups of 14 generations and skips 3 generations to achieve it.

This may provide a hint to the purpose of genealogies. They were not to provide an exhaustive list of everyone in the family tree but to show the line of descent. In days before computers and elaborate charts of family trees, the symmetry may well have been for the purpose of memorization. At any rate, the fact that both Gen. 5 and 11 share identical symmetry makes Ussher's theory that they were exhaustive lists very suspect.

Implied Inconsistencies

If we were to believe that the genealogies of Gen. 5 and 11 were complete, we would be forced to believe a few other things which appear to be impossible.

Noah & Terah

For example, according to this strictly literal reading, Gen. 5:32 would indicate that Noah's three sons (Shem, Ham, Japheth) were triplets, and Shem was the firstborn. Moreover, Gen. 11:26 would indicate that Terah had triplets also (Abram, Nahor, and Haran), and presumably Abraham was the eldest. So, now, God is not only working in periods of 2000 years (cf. Ussher), but he is also working according to good poetical structure: 10 generations, and the 10th with triplets.

And there are more of these kind of problems. According to Gen. 5:32, if we would adhere to a strict reading, Shem was born to Noah when Noah was age 500. But according to Gen.7:6 Noah enters the ark at age 600 (100 years later?), and according to Gen. 11:10 Shem "begets" Arphaxad at age 100, "two years after the flood." And according to Gen. 8:13 the flood lasted over a year. So are three years missing? Is there a contradiction? No. These details are easily reconciled when we understand that 5:32 indicates only Noah's age when he had his first child, Japheth. Seth, not the firstborn, was born about 3 years later.

The same type of problem arises if we think Terah had triplets at age 70, which, according to our way of thinking, is implied in Gen. 11:26, Abram being the firstborn. But when you study other references to the subject, Abram was not the firstborn of the three, and Terah was not 70 but rather 130 years old when Abram was born. Gen. 11:32 reads "The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran." But Gen. 12:4 tells us that "Abram was 75 years old when he departed out of Haran." Thus, if Abram left Haran for Canaan after Terah's death (which Stephen confirms in Acts 7:4), Abram must have been born when Terah was no less than 130. So, to paraphrase Gen. 11:26: "And Terah lived seventy years and begat the first of his three sons, the most important of whom (not because of age but because of Messianic line) was Abram." The solution fits perfectly, but if we hold to a strict chronology (Ussher), then we end up with contradictions, not solutions.

Noah & Seth???

If we would read according to Ussher's interpretation we would be forced to believe that most of the antediluvian patriarchs were contemporaries of Noah. (In fact the manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch would have Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech all living beyond the flood!) Adding up the years as Ussher suggested, Adam died only 126 years before Noah, Seth only 14 years before Noah, and Enoch only 69 years before Noah. All the other patriarchs mentioned in Gen. 5 would have been contemporaries of Noah. Methuselah would have died the year Noah entered the ark. Yet Noah was the only preacher of righteousness? This is impossible.

Eber & Abraham???

This line of interpretation would also force us to believe that all of the postdiluvian patriarchs were contemporaries of Abraham. Eber would have lived until Jacob's 2nd year with Laban. Sound right to you?

Babel and Peleg

Gen. 10:25 places Babel in the time of Peleg. The question is, why, if all these men were contemporaries, is only Peleg mentioned? It would seem that they were not, in fact, contemporaries.

Babel How Late?

According to Ussher's dating, Babel was around 2300 B.C., the lifetime of Peleg (2358 - 2119 B.C.). Now if that is right, then we have to believe that all of the cultures and nations existing at the time of Abraham had begun and become settled in about 200 years! All the way from Babel to Abram in 200 years? This is clearly impossible. Genesis mentions 26 cities in Canaan alone during the time of Abraham; were they all settled in the previous 200 years? We see Abraham in contact with an overflowing population of Kenites, Kenizzites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites. He goes into Egypt with its long history of Pharaohs and its princes (12:15). We could note here that 2000 B.C. would be Egypt's dynasty 12. Were the previous 11 dynasties all come and gone in 200 years? One pharaoh of dynasty 6 ruled 94 years himself! But there's more. Abraham rescues Lot and other captives from the cities of the plain near Damascus, having been deported by kings of Shinar, Ellaser, Elam, and Goiim (Gen. 14). Then he is met by a priest king of Salem, Melchizedek. Later he comes into contact with Philistines, who, Jeremiah (47:4) and Amos (9:7) tell us, are from Crete, which then was settled and civilized even earlier. Moses tells us (Deut. 2:23) that before the Philistines came to Canaan from Crete, the Southwestern section of Canaan had been occupied by the Avvim. Now all of these civilizations we must believe arose in a space of about 200 years from Babel to Abram? Clearly, not enough information was allowed to check the theory.


Genesis 5 and 11 were never given for the purpose of totalling the number of years back to creation. This was never the purpose of Ancient Genealogies. Gaps in the lists are evident, which is in keeping with the custom of the day. The genealogies should not be read with modern meanings and inferences attached to the words.

If we can read the lists with the frame of mind of its ancient setting, not only does it make perfect sense, but it avoids the inevitable and unsolvable problems and contradictions associated with Ussher's scheme.

Dates can be fixed with some degree of certainty only as far back as Abraham. Beyond that, we can only surmise.


(Some Guess Work)

Although it is impossible to affix a creation date, there is some information which should be taken into consideration.

Biblical Data

The genealogical gaps which can be demonstrated do not seem to be terribly large, a few generations only. This could stretch the date of man's origin back a few thousand years only.

Archaeological Data*

Moreover, the Hassuna culture, the first "civilization" known of in ancient Mesopotamia, seems to date about 5500 B.C. Whether this was before or after the flood, however, cannot be absolutely determined. There are several indications that the period following, the Halaf culture (c. 5000 - 4500 B.C.), ended abruptly. And in Nineveh this abrupt ending was clearly flood related (i.e., lying between the Halaf and later (Ubiad) culture in Nineveh is a layer of flood debris). But whether this is the Biblical flood is impossible to determine. Furthermore, the findings at Tepe Gawra, another Halaf site, seem to indicate continuous habitation. If so, then the flood was prior to this time.

The flood could have been no later than about 3500 B.C., for by then the Egyptians are in Egypt, other Near Eastern cultures are highly developed, etc. Further, we have written languages dating back to possibly 3300 or 3200 B.C. -- clearly after Babel and, therefore, after the flood.

Metallurgy could be another factor (cf. Gen. 4:22). Metallurgy arose no earlier than 5000 B.C., according to known archaeological data. But again, whether this predates or postdates the flood is impossible to tell.

Dating the flood is a virtually impossible task, for we cannot know if any of the remaining evidence of civilization actually predates Noah. If no evidence of an antediluvian civilization survives (i.e., if the archaeological data we have is only of civilizations after the flood), then archaeology is of no value in deciding this question. As already mentioned, archaeological evidence of ancient civilizations dates back to 5000 B.C. If this is all after the flood, then the date of man's origin is considerably earlier.


*Acknowledgement is gratefully given to Dr. Charles F. Aling, from whose lectures this archaeological data was gleaned.

Genealogical Data -- Genesis 5

Scripture Reference Data Age of Patriarch at death Year Total

from year zero



vv. 3-5 Adam begat Seth, age 130

+ 800 years







vv. 6-8 Seth - Enos, age 105

+ 807 years






vv. 9-11 Enos - Cainan age 90

+ 815 years






vv. 12-14 Cainan - Ma- haleel, age 70

+ 840 years






vv. 15-17 Mahaleel - Jared, age 65

+ 830 years






vv. 18-20 Jared - Enoch

age 162

+ 800 years






vv.21-24 Enoch - Me- thusalah, 65

+ 300 years






vv. 25-27 Methusalah - Lamech, 187

+ 782






vv. 28-31 Lamech - Noah, 182







5:32 Noah - S, H, & J, age 500



7:6 Flood, Noah 600



Genealogical Data -- Genesis 11

Scripture Reference Data Age of Patriarch

at death

Year Total

from year zero



vv. 10-11 Shem - Arph- axad, age 100

+500 years






vv. 12-13 Arphaxad - Salah, age 35

+403 years






vv. 14-15 Salah - Eber

age 30

+ 403 years






vv. 16-17 Eber - Peleg

age 34

+ 430 years






vv. 18-19 Peleg - Reu

age 30

+ 209 years






vv. 20-21 Reu - Serug

age 32

+ 217






vv. 22-23 Serug - Nahor

age 30

+ 200






vv. 24-25 Nahor - Terah

age 29

+ 119






v. 26 Terah - Ab- ram, Nahor, & Haran

age 70

+ 135