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jē - nē - al´o - ji , jen - ē̇ - al´ō̇ - ji :

1. Definition

2. Biblical References

3. Importance of Genealogies

4. Their Historical Value

5. Principles of Interpretation

6. Principles of Compilation

7. Sources

8. Principal Genealogies and Lists


1. Definition

The Old Testament translates (once, Nehemiah 7:5 ) the noun יחשׂ , yaḥas ; ספר היּחשׂ , ṣēpher ha -yaḥas , "book of the genealogy"; also translates a denominate verb in Hithpael, יחשׂ , yāḥas , "sprout" "grow" (compare family "tree"); התיחשׂ , hithyaḥēs , "genealogy"; the idea is conveyed in other phrases, as ספת תּולדות , ṣēpher tōledhōth , "book of the generations," or simply תּולדות , tōledhōth , "generations." In the New Testament it transliterates γενεαλογία , genealogı́a , "account of descent," 1 Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9 . In Matthew 1:1 , βίβλος γενέσεως , bı́blos genéseōs , "book of the generation" of Jesus Christ, is rendered in the American Revised Version, margin "the genealogy of Jesus Christ"; a family register, or register of families, as 1 Chronicles 4:33 , etc.; the tracing backward or forward of the line of ancestry of individual, family, tribe, or nation; pedigree. In Timothy and Titus refers probably to the Gnostic (or similar) lists of successive emanations from Deity in the development of created existence.

2. Biblical References

According to the Old Testament, the genealogical interest dates back to the beginnings of sacred history. It appears in the early genealogical tables of Genesis 5; 10; 46 , etc.; in Exodus 6:14-27 , where the sons of Reuben, Simeon and especially Levi, are given; in Numbers 1:2; 26:2-51, where the poll of fighting men is made on genealogical principles; in Numbers 2:2 , where the positions on the march and in camp are determined by tribes and families; in David's division of priests and Levites into courses and companies (1 Ch 6-9); is referred to in the account of Jeroboam's reign (2 Chronicles 12:15 margin, "the words of Iddo, after the manner of genealogies"); is made prominent in Hezekiah's reforms when he reckoned the whole nation by genealogies ( 1 Chronicles 4:41; 2 Chronicles 31:16-19 ); is seen in Jotham's reign when the Reubenites and Gadites are reckoned genealogically (1 Chronicles 5:17 ). Zerubbabel took a census, and settled the returning exiles according to their genealogies (1 Chronicles 3:19-24; 1 Ch 9; Ezr 2; Neh 7; 11; 12). With the rigid exclusion of all foreign intermixtures by the leaders of the Restoration (Ezr 10; Nehemiah 10:30; Nehemiah 13:23-31 ), the genealogical interest naturally deepened until it reached its climax, perhaps in the time of Christ and up to the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus, in the opening of his Life , states that his own pedigree was registered in the public records. Many families in Christ's time clearly possessed such lists (Luke 1:5 , etc.). The affirmed, reiterated and unquestioned Davidic descent of Christ in the New Testament, with His explicit genealogies (Mt 1:1-17; Lk 3:23-38); Paul's statement of his own descent; Barnabas' Levitical descent, are cases in point. Davididae, descendants of David, are found as late as the Roman period. There is a tradition that Herod I destroyed the genealogical lists at Jerusalem to strengthen his own seat, but more probably they persisted until the destruction of Jerusalem.

3. Importance of Genealogies

Genealogical accuracy, always of interest both to primitive and more highly civilized peoples, was made especially important by the facts that the land was promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, that the priesthood was exclusively hereditary, that the royal succession of Judah lay in the Davidic house, that the division and occupation of the land was according to tribes, families and fathers' houses; and for the Davididae, at least, that the Messiah was to be of the house of David. The exile and return, which fixed indelibly in the Jewish mind the ideas of monotheism, and of the selection and sacred mission of Israel, also fixed and deepened the genealogical idea, prominently so in the various assignments by families, and in the rejection in various ways of those who could not prove their genealogies. But it seems extreme to date, as with many modern critics, its real cultivation from this time. In the importance attached to genealogies the Hebrew resembles many other ancient literatures, notably the Egyptian Greek, and Arabic, but also including Romans, Kelts, Saxons, the earliest history naturally being drawn upon genealogical as well as on annalie lines. A modern tendency to overestimate the likeness and underestimate the unlikeness of the Scripture to its undoubtedly cognate literatures finds in the voluminous artificial genealogical material, which grew up in Arabia after the time of the caliph Omar, an almost exact analogue to the genealogical interest at the time of the return. This, however, is on the assumption of the late date of most of the genealogical material in the older New Testament books, and rests in turn on the assumption that the progress of religious thought and life in Israel was essentially the same as in all other countries; an evolutionary development, practically, if not theoretically, purely naturalistic in its genesis and progress.

4. Their Historical Value

The direct historical value of the Scripture genealogies is variously estimated. The critically reconstructive school finds them chiefly in the late (priestly) strata of the early books, and dates Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah (our fullest sources) about 300 bc, holding it to be a priestly reconstruction of the national history wrought with great freedom by the "Chronicler." Upon this hypothesis the chief value of the genealogies is as a mirror of the mind and ideas of their authors or recorders, a treasury of reflections on the geographical, ethnological and genealogical status as believed in at their time, and a study of the effect of naïve and exaggerated patriotism dealing with the supposed facts of national life, or else, in the extreme instance, a highly interesting example of bold and inventive juggling with facts by men with a theory, in this particular case a priestly one, as with the "Chronicler." To more conservative scholars who accept the Old Testament at its face value, the genealogies are a rich mine of historical, personal and ethnographic, as well as religious, information, whose working, however, is much hindered by the inevitable corruption of the text, and by our lack of correlative explanatory information. Much interesting illustrative matter may be looked for from such archaeological explorations as those at Gezer and elsewhere under the Palestine Exploration Society, the names on the pottery throwing light on the name- lists in Chronicles, and the similar discoveries on the supposed site of Ahab's palace in Samaria, which also illustrate the conflict between Baal and Yahweh worship by the proportion of the proper names compounded by "Baal" or "Jah" (see Macalister, Bible Sidelights from Gezer , 150ff; PEF , 1905,243, 328; Harvard Theological Review , 1911). In spite of all such illustrative data, however, the genealogies must necessarily continue to present many insoluble problems. A great desideratum is a careful and systematic study of the whole question by some modern conservative scholar endowed with the patience and insight of the late Lord A.C. Hervey, and equipped with the fruits of the latest discoveries. While much curious and suggestive information may be derived from an intensive study of the names and relationships in the genealogies (although here the student needs to watch his theories), their greatest present value lies in the picture they present of the large-hearted cosmopolitanism, or international brotherliness, in the older ones, notably Genesis 10 , recognizing so clearly that God hath made of one all nations to dwell on the earth; and, as they progress, in the successive selection and narrowing as their lines converge upon the Messiah.

5. Principles of Interpretation

In the evaluation and interpretation of the genealogies, certain facts and principles must be held in mind. (1) Lists of names necessarily suffer more in transmission than other literature, since there is almost no connectional suggestion as to their real form. Divergences in different versions, or in different stages, of the same genealogy are therefore to be looked for, with many tangles hard to unravel, and it is precisely at this point that analytic and constructive criticism needs to proceed most modestly and restrain any possible tendency unduly to theorize. (2) Frequently in the Scriptural lists names of nations, countries, cities, districts or clans are found mingled with the names of individuals. This is natural, either as the personification of the clan or nation under the name of its chief, or chief progenitor, or as the designation of the individual clan, family or nation, from its location, so common among many nations. Many of the cases where this occurs are so obvious that the rule may not be unsafe to consider all names as probably standing for individuals where the larger geographical or other reference is not unmistakably clear. This is undoubtedly the intent and understanding of those who transmitted and received them. (3) It is not necessary to assume that the ancestors of various tribes or families are eponymous, even though otherwise unknown. The Scriptural explanation of the formation of tribes by the expansion and division of families is not improbable, and is entitled to a certain presumption of correctness. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to establish a stopping-point for the application of the eponymous theory; under its spell the sons of Jacob disappear, and Jacob, Isaac and even Abraham become questionable. (4) The present quite popular similar assumption that personal details in the genealogy stand for details of tribal history, as, for instance, the taking of a concubine means rather an alliance with, or absorption of, an inferior tribe or clan, is a fascinating and far-reaching generalization, but it lacks confirmation, and would make of the Scripture an allegorical enigma in which historical personages and events, personified peoples or countries, and imaginary ancestors are mingled in inextricable confusion. (5) Scriptural genealogies are often given a regular number of generations by omitting various intermediate steps. The genealogies of Jesus, for instance, cover 42 generations, in 3 subdivisions of 14 each. Other instances are found in the Old Testament, where the regularity or symmetry is clearly intentional. Instance Jacob's 70 descendants, and the 70 nations of Genesis 10 . This has in modern eyes an artificial look, but by no means necessarily involves violence done to the facts under the genealogist's purview, and is readily and creditably accounted for by his conceptions and purposes. The theory that in some cases the requisite number has been built up by the insertion of imaginary names (see Curtis, ICC , "Chronicles," 135) has another aspect, and does not seem necessary to account for the facts, or to have sufficient facts to sustain it. See Genesis 21:5 , (6) below. It involves a view of the mental and moral equipment and point of view of the Chronicler in particular, which would not seem to leave him many shreds of either historical, or "religious" value, and which a sounder criticism will surely very materially modify. (6) Much perplexity and confusion is avoided by remembering that other modes of entrance into the family, clan, tribe or nation obtained than that by birth: capture, adoption, the substitution of one clan for another just become extinct, marriage. Hence, "son of," "father of," "begat," have broader technical meanings, indicating adoptive or official connection or "descent," as well as actual consanguinity, nearer or remote, "son" also meaning "grandson," "great-grandson," etc. Instance Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, of the tribe of Judah, styled (1 Chronicles 2:18 ) a descendant of Hezron and son of Hur, but also, in token of his original descent, called the Kenizzite or "son of Kenaz" (Joshua 15:17 ), etc. Similarly, where in an earlier genealogy a clan or individual is assigned to a certain tribe, and in a later to another, it has been "grafted in." But while these methods of accretion clearly obtained, the nations freely absorbing neighboring or surrounding peoples, families, or persons, families likewise absorbing individuals, as in American Indian, and many other tribes; yet, as in them, the descent and connection by birth constituted the main line, and in any given case has the presumption unless clear facts to the contrary exist. (7) The repetition of the same name in the same genealogy, as in that of the high priests (1 Chronicles 6:1-15 ), rouses "suspicion" in some minds, but unnecessarily. It is very natural, and not uncommon, to find grandfathers and grandsons, especially among the Hebrews, receiving the same name (Luke 1:59 ). This would be especially to be expected in a hereditary caste or office like the priesthood. (8) The existence of the same name in different genealogies is not uncommon, and neither implies nor should cause confusion. (9) The omission of one or many links in the succession, often clearly caused by the desire for symmetry, is frequent where the cause is unknown, the writers being careful only to indicate the connection more or less generally, without feeling bound to follow every step. Tribes were divided into families, and families into fathers' houses; tribe, family and fathers' house regularly constituting links in a formal genealogy, while between them and the person to be identified any or all links may be omitted. In similar fashion, there is an absence of any care to keep the successive generations absolutely distinct in a formal fashion, son and grandson being designated as alike "son" of the same ancestor. Genesis 46:21 , for instance, contains grandsons as well as sons of Benjamin, Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Nanman, Ehi, etc. This would be especially true where the son as well as the father became founder of a house. Some confusion is occasionally caused by the lack of rigid attention to precise terminology, a characteristic of the Hebrew mind. Strictly the tribe, שבט , shēbheṭ (in the Priestly Code (P), מטּה , maṭṭeh ), is the larger subdivision, then the clan, משׁפחה , mishpāḥāh , "family," and then the "house" or "fathers' house," בּית , bayith , or בּית אב , bēth 'ābh , בּית אבות , bēth 'ābhōth ; but sometimes a "fathers' house" is a tribe (Numbers 17:6 ), or a clan (1 Chronicles 24:6 ). In this connection it is to be remembered again that sequence of generations often has to do with families rather than with individuals, and represents the succession to the inheritance or headship, rather than the actual relationship of father and son. (10) Genealogies are of two forms, the descending, as Gen 10: "The sons of Japheth: Gomer," etc.; "The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz," etc.; and the ascending, Ezra 7:1 : "Ezra, the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah," etc. The descending are the usual. (11) Feminine names are occasionally found, where there is anything remarkable about them, as Sarai and Milcah ( Genesis 11:29 ), Rebekah (Genesis 22:23 ), etc.; or where any right or property is transmitted through them, as the daughters of Zelophehad, who claimed and were accorded "a possession among the brethren of (their) father" (Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1-11 ), etc. In such cases as Azubah and Ephrath, successive wives of Caleb ( 1 Chronicles 2:18-20 ), many modern critics find tribal history enshrined in this case, "Caleb" or "dog" tribe having removed from Azubah, "deserted" to Ephrathah, Bethlehem, in Northern Judah. But the principle is not, and cannot be, carried Out consistently. (12) The state of the text is such, especially in Chronicles, that it is not easy, or rather not possible, to construct a complete genealogical table after the modern form. Names and words have dropped out, and other names have been changed, so that the connection is often difficult and sometimes impossible to trace. The different genealogies also represent different stages in the history and, at many places, cannot with any knowledge now at our command be completely adjusted to each other, just as geographical notices at different periods must necessarily be inconsistent. (13) In the present state of our knowledge, and of the text, and also considering the large and vague chronological methods of the Hebrews, the genealogies can give us comparatively little chronological assistance. The uncertainty as to the actual length of a generation, and the custom of frequently omitting links in the descent, increases the difficulty; so that unless they possess special marks of completeness, or have outstanding historical relationships which determine or corroborate them, or several parallel genealogies confirm each other, they must be used with great caution. Their interest is historical, biographical, successional or hereditary, rather than chronological.

6. Principles of Compilation

The principal genealogical material of the Old Testament is found in Genesis 5; 10; 11; 22; 25; 29; 30; 35; 36; 46; Exodus 6; Numbers 1; 2; 7; 10; 13; 26; 34; scattered notices in Josh, Ruth, 1 Sam; 2 Samuel 3; 5; 23; 1 Kings 4; 1 Chronicles 1 through 9; 11; 12; 15; 23 through 27; 2 Chronicles 23; 29; Ezra 2; 7; 10; Nehemiah 3; 7; 10; 11; 12 . The genealogies of our Lord (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38 ) are the only New Testament material. The Old Testament and New Testament genealogies bring the record down from the creation to the birth of Christ. After tracing the descent from Adam to Jacob, incidentally (Genesis 10 ) giving the pedigree of the various nations within their purview, the Hebrew genealogists give the pedigree of the twelve tribes. As was to be expected, those tribes, which in the developing history assumed greater prominence, received the chief attention. Dan is carried down but 1 generation, and credited with but 1 descendant; Zebulun 1 generation, 3 sons; Naphtali 1 generation, 4 sons; Issachar 4 generations, 15 descendants; Prayer of Manasseh 4 generations, 39 descendants; Asher 7 generations, 40 descendants; Reuben 8 (?) generations, 22 descendants; Gad 10 generations, 28 descendants; Ephraim 14 (?) generations, 25 descendants. Levi, perhaps first as the priestly tribe, Judah next as the royal, Benjamin as most closely associated with the others, and all three as the survivors of the exile (although representatives of other tribes shared in the return) are treated with the greatest fullness.

7. Sources

Chronicles furnishes us the largest amount of genealogical information, where coincident with the older genealogies, clearly deriving its data from them. Its extra-canonical sources are a matter of considerable difference among critics, many holding that the books cited by the Chronicler as his sources ("The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah," "The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel," "The History of Samuel the Seer," "The History of Nathan the Prophet," etc., to the number of perhaps 16) are our canonical books, with the addition of a "Midrashic History of Israel," from which he quotes the most freely. But the citations are made with such fullness, vividness, and particularity of reference, that it is hard to believe that he did not have before him extensive extra-canonical documents. This is the impression he clearly seeks to convey. Torrey ( AJSL , XXV , 195) considers that he cit, es this array of authority purely "out of his head," for impressiveness' sake, a theory which leaves the Chronicler no historical value whatever. It is extremely likely that he had before him also oral and written sources that he has not cited, records, private or public lists, pedigrees, etc., freely using them for his later lists and descents. For the post-exilic names and lists, Ezra-Nehemiah also furnish us much material. In this article no attempt is made at an exhaustive treatment, the aim being rather by a number of characteristic examples to give an idea of the quality, methods and problems of the Bible genealogies.

8. Principal Genealogies and Lists

In the early genealogies the particular strata to which each has been assigned by reconstructive critics is here indicated by J, the Priestly Code (P), etc. The signs "=" or ":" following individual names indicate sonship.

(1) Genesis 4:16-24 - T he Cainites (Assigned to P)

Seven generations to Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-cain, explaining the hereditary origin of certain occupations (supposed by many to be a shorter version of chapter 5).

(2) Genesis 4:25 , Genesis 4:26 - T he Sethites (Assigned to J)

(3) Genesis 5:1-32 - T he Book of the Generations of Adam (Assigned to The Priestly Code (P), Except Genesis 5:29 J)

Brings the genealogy down to Noah, and gives the chronology to the Flood. The numbers in the Hebrew Massoretic Text, the Samaritan Hebrew, and the Septuagint differ, Massoretic Text aggregating 1,656 years, Samaritan 1,307 years, and Septuagint 2,242 years. Some scholars hold this list to be framed upon that of the ten Babylonian kings given in Berosus, ending with Xisuthrus, the Babylonian Noah. An original primitive tradition, from which both lists are derived, the Hebrew being the nearer, is not impossible. Both the "Cainite" list in Genesis 4 and this "Sethite" list end with three brothers.

(4) Genesis 10:1-32 - T he Generations of the Sons of Noah

" The Table of Nations " (assigned to the Priestly Code (P), Genesis 10:1-7; J, Genesis 10:8-19; the Priestly Code (P), Genesis 10:20; J, Genesis 10:21; the Priestly Code (P), Genesis 10:22; J, Genesis 10:24-30; the Priestly Code (P), Genesis 10:31 , Genesis 10:32 ). Found in abridged form in 1 Ch 1:5-24.

I. Japheth = Gomer, Magog, Badai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras

1. Gomer = Ashkenaz, Riphath ( 1 Chronicles 1:6 , Diphath), Togarmah.

2. Javan = Elisha, Tarshish, Kittim, Dodanim (Rodanim, 1 Chronicles 17 , is probably correct, a " ד , d", having been substituted by a copyist for " ר , r").

II. Ham = Cush, Mizraim, Put, Canaan

1. Cush = Seba, Havilah, Sibtah, Raamah, Sabteca (Nimrod).

2. Mizraim = Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (whence the Philis), Caphtorim.

3. Canaan = Zidon (Chronicles, Sidon), Heth; the Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, Hittite.

4. Raamah (son of Cush ) = Sheba, Dedan.

III. Elam = Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aramaic

1. Aram = Uz, Hul, Gether, Mash (Chronicles, Meshech).

2. Arpachshad = Shelah = Eber = Peleg, Joktan.

3. Joktan (son of Eber) = Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, Jobab.

4. Peleg (son of Eber) = Reu = Serug = Nahor = Terah = Abraham.

Nearly all these names are of peoples, cities or districts. That Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Nimrod, and probably Peleg, Reu, Serug, represent actual persons the general tenor of the narrative and the general teaching of Scripture clearly indicate, although many critics consider these also as purely eponymous. The others can mostly be more or less clearly identified ethnographically or geographically. This table represents the nations known to the writer, and in general, although not in all particulars, expresses the ethnographical relationships as far as they are now known to modern research. It follows a partly ethnological, partly geographical scheme, the descendants of Japheth in general representing the Aryan stock settled in Asia Minor, Media, Armenia, Greece, and the islands of the Mediterranean; those of Ham representing the Hamitic races in Ethiopia, Egypt, in Southwest Arabia, and Southern Babylonia. Many modern writers hold that in making "Nimrod" the son of "Cush," the Scripture writer has confused "Cush," the son of Ham, with another "Gush," the Cassei, living near Elam, since the later Babylonians and Assyrians were clearly Semitic in language and racial characteristics. Nevertheless the Scripture statement is accordant with early traditions of a Hamitic settlement of the country (Oannes the fish-god coming out of the Red Sea, etc.), and perhaps also with the fact that the earliest language of Babylonia was non-Sem. The sons of Canaan represent the nations and peoples found by the Hebrews in Palestine, the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. Heth is the great Hittite nation, by language and racial type strikingly non-Sem. Among the sons of Shem, Eber is by many considered eponymous or imaginary, but the hypothesis is not necessary. Most Assyriologists deny the connection of Elam with Shem, the later Elamites being non-Sem; the inscriptions, however, show that the earlier inhabitants up to 2300 bc were Semitic Lud must be the Lydians of Asia Minor, whose manners and older names resemble the Semitic Asia Minor presents a mixture of races as manifold as does Palestine. The sons of Joktan are tribes in Western and Southern Arabia. Havilah is given both as a son of Cush, Hamite, and of Joktan, Semite, perhaps because the district was occupied by a mixed race. It would seem, however, that "begat" or "son of" often represents geographical as well as ethnological relations. And where the classification of the Scripture writer does not accord with the present deliverances of archaeology, it must be remembered that at this distance conclusions drawn from ethnology, philology and archaeology, considering the present incomplete state of these sciences, the kaleidoscopic shifting of races, dynasties and tongues through long periods, and our scanty information, are liable to so many sources of error that dogmatism is precarious. The ancient world possessed a much larger amount of international knowledge than was, until recently, supposed. A writer of 300 bc had a closer range and could have had sources of information much more complete than we possess. On the assumption of the Mosaic authorship, that broad, statesmanlike mind, learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians, and, clearly, profoundly influenced by Babylonian law and literature, may be credited with considerable breadth of vision and many sources of information. Aside from the question of inspiration, this Table of Nations; for breadth of scope, for inclusiveness (though not touching peoples outside of the life of its writer), for genial broadmindedness, is one of the most remarkable documents in any literature.

(5) Genesis 11:10-27 - T he Generations of Shem (Assigned to P)

From Shem to Abraham. The list is also chronological, but the versions differ, Massoretic Text making 290 years, from Shem to Abraham, Samaritan Hebrew, 940, and Septuagint 1,070. Septuagint inserts Cainan, 130 years, otherwise agreeing with the Samaritan to the birth of Abraham. Arpachshad may be rendered "the territory of Chesed," i.e. of the Chasdim, Chaldeans. Eber therefore is descended from Arpachshad, Abraham, his descendant, coming from Ur-Chasdim.

(6) Genesis 11:23-26; Genesis 22:20-24 - T he Children of Nahor (Genesis 11:23-26 P; Genesis 22:20-24 J)

Uz, Buz, Kemuel, etc. These descendants of Abraham's brother probably represent Aramean tribes chiefly East or Northeast of Canaan. Aram may be the ancestor of the Syrians of Damascus. Uz and Buz probably belong to Arabia Petrea, mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23 with the Arabian tribes Dedan and Thema. Chesed in this list probably stands, not for the Chaldeans of Babylonia, but for a related tribe of Northern Syria. In Genesis 10:23 (assigned to P) Uz is the son of Aram, and in Genesis 10:22 Aram is a son of Shem. On the purely tribal hypothesis, this is either a contradiction, or the later statements represent other tribal relationships or subdivisions. Probably other individuals or tribes are indicated. Chronicles does not have this list, it being a side stream.

(7) Genesis 16:15; Genesis 21:1-3; 25 (also 1 Chronicles 1:28-33 ) - T he Sons of Abraham By Sarah, Hagar, Keturah

(Genesis 16:15 assigned to P; Genesis 21:1-3 to J, the Priestly Code (P), J, P; Genesis 25:1-6 J; Genesis 25:7-11 P; Genesis 25:11 J; Genesis 25:12-17 P; Genesis 25:18 J; Genesis 25:19 , Genesis 25:20 P; Genesis 25:21-26 J; Genesis 25:26 P; Genesis 25:27-34 J).

The descendants of Abraham through Hagar and Ishmael represent the Ishmaelite tribes of Arabia living North and Northwest of the Joktanidae, who chiefly peopled Arabia. Twelve princes are named, possibly all sons of Ishmael, perhaps some of them grandsons. The number has seemed "suspicious" as balancing too exactly the twelve tribes of Israel. But twelve is an approved Semitic number, determining not necessarily the sons born, but the "sons" mentioned. The Arabians generally were frequently given the name Ishmaelites, perhaps because of the greater prominence and closer contact of these northern tribes with the Hebrews. The sons of Keturah seem to have been chiefly Arabian tribes, whose locations are unknown. Midian, of the sons of Keturah, is the well-known and powerful tribe in the Arabian desert near the Aelanitic Gulf, bordered by Edom on the Northwest Sheba and Dedan are also mentioned as Cushites (Genesis 10:7 ). Very likely the tribes extensively intermarried, and could claim descent from both; or were adopted into one or the other family. Sheba was in Southwestern Arabia. Dedan lived near Edom, where the caravan routes to various parts of Arabia converged. Asshurim are of course not Assyrians, but an Arabian tribe, mentioned by the side of Egypt in Minaean inscriptions. While the two sons of Isaac are to be accepted as real persons, their typical character is also unmistakable, the history of the two nations, Israel and Edom, being prefigured in their relations.

(8) Genesis 29:31 Through 30:24; Genesis 35:16-26 . The Children of Jacob

(Genesis 29:31-35 Assigned to P; Genesis 30:1-3 JE; Genesis 30:4 P; 30:4b -24 JE; Genesis 35:16-22 JE; Genesis 35:23-26 P).

The account of the parentage, birth and naming of the founders of the twelve tribes; by Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun (daughter Dinah); by Bilhah: Dan, Naphtali; by Zilpah: Gad, Asher; by Rachel: Joseph, Benjamin. Much modern criticism agrees that these names are purely those of tribes, some of them perhaps derived from persons or places impossible now to trace, but mostly eponymous. Accordingly, these chapters are to be translated as follows. An Arab tribe, Jacob, wanders in Canaan, quarrels with Edom, migrates to Haran, forms alliances with the Aramean clans Rachel, Bilhah, Leah, Zilpah. Rachel and Jacob constitute a new tribe, Joseph. The federation takes the name Jacob. The other allied clans divide into sub-clans, or new clans join them, until Leah has six "sons," Reuben, Simeon, etc.; Zilpah, two; Bilhah, two. Zilpah and Bilhah are "concubines" because inferior members of the federation, or else have a left-handed connection with it. The formation of the new tribe Benjamin broke up the old tribe Rachel, which (who) accordingly "died." Although such are the original facts imbedded in the documents, they are now set in a framework of personal narrative, and were understood as narrative by the first hearers and readers. The history thus constituted is necessarily "an enigma which it is very hard to solve" (Bennett, Genesis , 284), and with almost as many answers as students. For critical purposes it presents a rich field for exploration, analysis and conjecture, but its edificatory value is chiefly found in reading the narratives as personal: a serious and reverent religious romance rounded on facts or legends, whose real value lies in the sidelights it throws on national character and ethical principles, expressed in a naïve, vivid, lifelike story, full of suggestion and teaching. This present article, however, proceeds on the Scripture representation of these details and incidents as personal.

The explanations of the names illustrate the Hebrew fondness for assonances, paronomasia, coming from a time when much importance was attached to words and sounds, but need not be considered mere popular etymologies, the Hebrew individual mother being fully capable of them. Neither do they necessarily represent the original etymology, or reason for the name, but may give the pregnant suggestion occurring to the maternal or other imagination.

Leah, "wild cow," is supposed by many to be so called from the "totem" of the "Leah" tribe. Reuben ( re'ūbhēn ), original meaning unknown, unless Leah's emotional explanation explains the name, rather than is explained by it: rā'āh be‛onyı̄ , "hath looked upon my affliction." Superficially it might be re'ū bēn , "See, a son," as in the American Revised Version, margin. Others see in the second statement: "My husband will love me," still another etymology, ye'ĕhābhanı̄ , "will love me." The lover of assonances can find more than one. The tribe is not prominent after Deborah's time. Simeon, considered by some an animal (totem) name, the Arabic sim‛u , cross between hyena and wolf, suggests to the mother (or is suggested by that) its likeness to shāma‛ , "hear": "Yahweh hath heard." It is not much known after the Conquest. Levi, "adhesion, associate": thought by many a gentilic adjective from Leah, the Leah tribe par excellence ; the name is adjectival in form. Leah connects it with yillāweh , "He will join," 'Now will my husband be joined unto me.' A similar allusion is found in Numbers 18:2 , Numbers 18:4 , there applied to the "joining" of the tribe to Aaron. Judah is associated with the verb hādhāh , "praise": "Now will I praise Yahweh." Jacob makes the same suggestion in Genesis 49:8; no other plausible suggestion of the origin of the name can be made. The etymology and origin of Bilhah are unknown. Dan is associated with dānāh , "judge": "God hath judged"; no other etymology can be found. Naphtali is derived from niphtal , "wrestle": "I have wrestled," the only discoverable etymology. Zilpah, zilpāh , perhaps is "dropping," "drop." Gad, gādh , "fortunate," according to Leah. Gad was the well-known Syrian god of "fortune"; but there is no necessary connection here. Asher, from 'āshar , "happy," 'ashshēr , "call happy"; so Leah; no connection with Asshur, Assyrian god. Issachar, from sākhar , "hire," "man of hire": "God hath given me mine hire," also because Leah had "hired" Jacob with her son's mandrakes; a similar allusion in Gen 49, "a servant under taskwork." Wellhausen would read 'ı̄sh -sakhar , "man of (some deity, unknown)." Zebulun, from zebhūl , "habitation, dwelling": Leah gives two explanations, the first assigned by critics to Elohist (E) (probably), connecting the name with a root found in Zebediah, Zabdi, etc., "endow": "God hath endowed me with a good dowry"; the second with zābhal , "dwell": "Now will my husband dwell with me." Dinah, like Dan, is from dān , "judge." Supposed by some to be an old tribe of Israel, in some way associated with Dan, possibly a twin division. Rachel is "ewe," hence identified with a "ewe" tribe. Joseph has a twofold suggestion: the first (assigned to E) from āṣaph , "take away": "God hath taken away my reproach"; the second (assigned to J) from yāṣaph , "add": "Yahweh will add to me another son." None of these three cases of double explanation would so far exhaust Hebrew maternal imagination as to require the hypothesis of two documents, even though in the last "God" is used in the first suggestion and "Yahweh" in the second. Benjamin is called by Rachel Benoni, "the son of my sorrow," which is supposed to be an old tribal name, perhaps related to Onan, a clan of Judah, or the Benjamite city, Ono, and possibly to the Egyptian On. Benjamin, Jacob's name for him, "son of the right hand," i.e. of happiness, is understood as "son of the south," because originally the southern section of the Joseph tribe. The attempts to trace these names to tribal origins, local allusions, cognate languages, customs and religions have engaged much research and ingenuity, with results exceedingly diverse.

(9) Genesis 36 . The Generations of Esau (P)

I. The Descent of the Edomite Chiefs and Clans from Esau Through His three Wives, the Hittite or Canaanite Adah, the Ishmaelite Basemath, and the Horite Oholibamah (Genesis 36:1-19 )

The wives' names here differ from the other statements: In Genesis 26:34 and Genesis 28:9 : 1. Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite. 2. Bashemath, daughter of Elan, the Hittite. 3. Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebaioth.

In Genesis 36 : 1 . Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon, the Hivite. 2. Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite. 3. Bashemath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebaioth. It is not necessary to resort to the hypothesis of different traditions. Bashemath and Adah are clearly identical, Esau perhaps having changed the name; as are Mahalath and the Ishmaelite Basemath, a transcriber's error being probably responsible for the change. As to Judith and Oholibamah, Anah is probably a man, identical with Beeri (Genesis 36:24 ), the son of Zibeon. Both "Hivite" and "Hittite" are apparently errors for "Horite," the difference being in only one consonant. Or "Hittite" may be used as the larger term embracing "Horite." "Edom" (Genesis 36:1 , Genesis 36:8 , Genesis 36:19 ) is a personal name; in Genesis 36:9 , Genesis 36:43 (Hebrew the American Revised Version, margin) it is national, indicating that to the writer Esau was a person, not an eponym. Nowhere are personal characteristics more vividly and unmistakably portrayed than in the accounts of Jacob and Esau. In these Esauite names are but two compounds of "El" ( 'ēl ), none of "Jah" (yāh ).

II. The Aboriginal Leaders or Clans in Edom, Partly Subdued by, Partly Allied with, the Esauites (Genesis 36:20-30 )

These are descendants of "Seir the Horite" in seven branches, and in sub-clans. "Seir" looks like an eponym or a personification of the country, as no personal details have been preserved. Among these names are no "El" ( 'ēl ) or "Jah" ( yāh ) compounds, although they are clearly cognate with the Hebrew. Several close similarities to names in Judah are found, especially the Hezronite. Many animal names, "Aiah," "bird of prey," "Aran," "wild goat," etc.

III. Eight Edomite "Kings" Before the Hebrew Monarchy (Genesis 36:31-39 )

One 'ēl compound, "Mehitabel," one ba‛al compound. It is to be noted that the "crown" was not hereditary and that the "capital" shifted; the office was elective, or fell into the hands of the local chief who could win it.

IV. A L ist of Esauite Clan Chiefs; "Dukes" (English Revised), "Chiefs" (American Standard Revised Version); "Sheiks" (Genesis 36:40-43 )

Apparently arranged territorially rather than tribally. The names seem used here as either clans or places and should perhaps be read: "the chief of Teman," etc. The original ancestor may have given his name to the clan or district, or obtained it from the district or town.

In general this genealogy of Esau shows the same symmetry and balance which rouses suspicion in some minds: excluding Amalek, the son of the concubine, the tribes number twelve. Amalek and his descendants clearly separated from the other Edomites early and are found historically about Kadesh-barnea, and later roaming from the border of Egypt to North Central Arabia.

(10) Genesis 46:8-27

(In different form, Numbers 26:1-51 , and much expanded in parts of 1 Chronicles 2 through 8; compare Exodus 6:14-16 ). Jacob's posterity at the descent into Egypt (considered a late addition to P).

A C haracteristic Genealogy

It includes the ideal number of 70 persons, obtained by adding to the 66 mentioned in Genesis 46:26 , Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, the two latter born in Egypt. Septuagint, followed by Stephen (Acts 7:14 ), reckons 75, adding to Genesis 46:20 the names of three grandsons and two great-grandsons of Joseph, obtained from Numbers 26:29 , Numbers 26:35 . Some may have been omitted to secure the ideal number so fascinating to the Hebrew mind. It is to be noted that Leah's male descendants are double those of Zilpah, and Rachel's double those of Bilhah, showing the ideal (but not the fictitious) character of the list. The design, also, seems to be to include those descendants of Jacob from whom permanent divisions sprang, even though, like Manasseh and Ephraim and probably Hezron and Hamul, born after the migration, but before Jacob's death. A comparison with the partial parallels also illustrates the corruption of the text, and the difficulty of uniformity in lists of names. The full list follows:

1. Jacob .

2. Leah's descendants.

A. Reuben = Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, Carmi.

B. Simeon = Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, Shaul.

C. Levi = Gershon, Kohath, Merari.

D. Judah = Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, Zerah; Perez, Hezron, Hamul.

E. Issachar = Tolah, Puvah, Iob, Shimron.

F. Zebulun = Sered, Elon, Jahleel.

G. Dinah , daughter.

3. Zilpah's descendants, 16.

A. Gad = Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, Areli.

B. Asher = Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, Serah (daughter); Beriah = Heber, Malchiel.

4. Rachel's descendants, 14.

A. Joseph = Manasseh, Ephraim.

B. Benjamin = Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rash, Muppim, Huppin, Ard.

5. Bilhah' s descendants, 7.

A. Dan = Hushim.

B. Naphtali = Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, Shillem.

The list differs in many respects from those in Numbers and Chronicles, and presents some chronological and other problems. Without entering upon an exhaustive study, a number of names may be touched on.

Carmi, (2A), like the other names in i, might be a gentilic, "the Carmite," like "the Amorite," etc., especially if these names are those of clans, as they are in Numbers, instead of persons, as the Genesis narrative states. A town, "Bethhaccherem," is mentioned in Jeremiah 6:1 . But "the vine-dresser" is also a good rendering.

Hezron (2A). Another Hezron is given as a descendant of Judah. This duplication of names is possible in clans; see instances below, but more likely in persons.

Jemuel (2B). Nemuel in Numbers 26:12; 1 Chronicles 4:24 , an easy error in transcription, י , yōdh , and נ , nūn , being easily confused. In Numbers, Nemuel is also a Reubenite name.

Jamin (or Jachin) (2B) is Jarib in Chronicles.

Ohad (2B). Not in Numbers or Chronicles.

Zohar (2B) is Zerah in Numbers and Chronicles.

Gershon (2C). In 1 Chronicles 6:16 Gershom; identified by some with Gershom, son of Moses, on theory that the priestly family of Gershom originally traced its descent to Moses, but its later members were reckoned, not as priests, but as Levites, thus becoming identified with Levi; precarious; its principal foundation being similarity of name and tribe.

Hezron and Hamul (2D) rouse chronological or exegetical difficulties. Pharez (Genesis 33 ) could not have been old enough at the migration to have two sons; but very possibly Genesis 38 is introduced episodically, not chronologically, and therefore its events may have occurred before those of Genesis 37 . Jacob was 130 years old at the descent, making Judah not 42 but 62, and Pharez old enough for sons. And, as suggested above, the writer may have done with Hezron and Hamul as with Ephraim and Manasseh - included them constructively, they having been born in Egypt, but before Jacob's death, belonging therefore to the generation of the migration and so reckoned, especially as they rounded permanent tribal divisions.

Puvah (2E). Puah in 1 Chronicles 7:1 . In Judges 10:1 , centuries later, Puah is father of Tola, an illustration of the descent of fathers' names.

Iob (2E) is Jashub (Numbers, Chronicles), the latter probably correct. Septuagint has it here. A copyist, no doubt, omitted the " shı̄n ," "sh."

Dinah (2G) is thought by some to be a later insertion, on account of the "awkward Hebrew," "with Dinah." Dinah and Serah as unmarried, and no doubt because of other distinguishing facts, now unknown, are the only women descendants mentioned; married women would not be. On the clan theory of the names, the "Dinah" clan must have disappeared in Egypt, not being found in Number.

Ziphion (3A). Zephon in Numbers, perhaps giving its name to the Gadite city of Zaphon (Joshua 13:27 ).

Ezbon (3A). Ozni (Numbers 26:16 ). Possibly Ozni, on Ezbon's death, took his place, rounding a tribal family, like Hezron and Hamul in Judah. Copyist's error unlikely.

Arodi (3A). In Numbers 26:17 Arod.

Ishvah (3B). Omitted in Numbers; perhaps died childless, or his descendants did not constitute a tribal family.

Beriah (3B). Also an Ephraimite (1 Chronicles 7:23 ); a Benjaminite (Numbers 8:13 , Numbers 8:16 ); a Levite (Numbers 23:10 , Numbers 23:11 ). The repetition of the name indicates individuals rather than clans; but both the Asherite and Benjamite were heads of families.

Serah (3B), שׂרח , seraḥ , "abundance," not the same name as that of Abraham's wife, שׂרה , sārāh , "princess."

Heber (3B), חבר , ḥebher ; in 1 Chronicles 4:18 , a clan of Judah; 1 Chronicles 8:17 , of Benjamin. Not the same name as Eber, עבר , ‛ēbher (1 Chronicles 5:13; 1 Chronicles 8:22; and Genesis 10:21 ).

The Sons of Benjamin

The three lists, Genesis, Numbers, Chronicles, represent marked divergences, illustrating the corruption of perhaps all three texts. This list illustrates the genealogical method of counting all descendants as sons, though of different generations. It gives Benjamin ten "sons." Numbers 26:38-40 gives five sons, Naaman and Ard being sons of Bela. The Septuagint of our passage gives only three sons, Bela, Becher, Ashbel. 1 Chronicles 7:6 gives three sons, Bela, Becher, Jediael (Ashbel), and Shuppim and Huppim are Bela's grandsons. Becher is omitted in 1 Chronicles 8:1 , probably through a copyist's error, who took בּכר ואשבּל , bekher we -'ashbēl , for "Becher and Ashbel," בּכרו אשבּל , bekhoro 'ashbēl , "his first-born, Ashbel." Jediael, both by older and newer scholars, is usually, but not with absolute certainty, identif

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Genealogy'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​g/genealogy.html. 1915.
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