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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Considerable obscurity attends the use of this word in the English Version, which arises from the translators having merged the various meanings of the same original word, and even of several different words, in one common term 'generation.' The following instances seem to require the original words to be understood in some or other of their derivative senses—, 'These are the generations,' rather 'origin,' 'history,' etc. The same Greek words, , are rendered 'genealogy,' etc., by recent translators: Campbell has 'lineage.' , 'The book of the generations' is properly a family register, a history of Adam. The same words, , mean a history of Jacob and his descendants; so also , and elsewhere. , 'In this generation' is evidently 'in this age.' , 'In the fourth generation' is an instance of the word in the sense of a certain assigned period. , 'The generation of his fathers' Gesenius renders 'the dwelling of his fathers,' i.e. the grave, and adduces . , 'The generation of thy children' is 'class,' 'order,' 'description;' as in . , 'Who shall declare his generation?' Lowth renders 'manner of life.' Michaelis renders it 'Where was the providence that cared for his life?' Gesenius and Rosenmüller, 'Who of his contemporaries reflected?' Seiler, 'Who can describe his length of life?' In the New Testament, , it is a series of persons, a succession from the same stock. , is well rendered by Doddridge and others 'brood of vipers.' , means the generation or persons then living contemporary with Christ. , 'in their generations,' etc. wiser in regard to their dealings with the men of their generation. , is 'a chosen people.' The ancient Greeks, and, if we may credit Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, the Egyptians also, assigned a certain period to a generation. The Greeks reckoned three generations for every hundred years, i.e.33¼ years to each. This is nearly the present computation. The ancient Hebrews also reckoned by the generation, and assigned different spaces of time to it at different periods of their history. In the time of Abraham it was one hundred years (comp. , 'in the fourth generation they shall come hither'). This is explained in , and in , to be four hundred years. Caleb was fourth in descent from Judah, and Moses and Aaron were fourth from Levi. In , Moses uses the term for thirty-eight years. In later times it clearly means ten years. In , it means a single descent from father to son .
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Generation'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/g/generation.html.