The Time the Patriarchs Lived with Each Other
There are many
concepts and ideas that cannot be understood as well as when we see its
presentation in a tangible way. Abstract things are harder to actualize
than concrete things. One of these abstract things that are hard to realize is
time. This is why in the graph shown at the end or this article, I equated the
time each patriarch lived, to a horizontal bar. The bar representing the life
of each one of the first 22 patriarchs is placed so that its left end coincides
with the year he was born, and its right end with the year he died. This way,
just by a glance, we can realize how long the patriarchs existed with each
The years are counted starting at the Creation, and are represented in the graph by vertical lines placed every 100 years. Inside each bar, in the middle, is the name of the patriarch; to the left, the number of his generation; and to the right, the amount of years he lived. All data
If we study the graph we will notice several interesting facts. Let us see.
a) All of our
seven forefathers lived with Adam for more than four centuries; except
Enoch, who lived with him his whole life, till God took him.
All of them had more than enough time to talk extensively with Adam, our first father. Adam, for sure, told them everything he knew about the Creation, about God, what He said and did, the customs and laws to be followed, etc., as any loving father would do with his children, grandchildren etc.. In short, what we know today, thanks to the book of Genesis, and much more, they knew first hand.
b) Even the
patriarchs born after the seven first ones, who died before the Flood,
coexisted with Adam more time than many of those who are reading these lines.
Old Methuselah coexisted with Adam and probably with Eve also, 243 years. This means almost two and a half centuries hearing from the mouth of Adam and Eve the stories about Creation, and the events that occurred before he was born. He had a reason why he knew perfectly well all the stories, events, laws, promises, prophecies, etc., that were known by his forefathers.
Lamech, the father of Noah coexisted 56 years with Adam, more than half a century. It is logical to think that they had feasts and gatherings. Everyone would probably listen attentively to Adam and Eve. They for sure kept commenting with one another what they heard and learned. They also commented everything with their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.. So, everything got fixed indelibly in their memories. So then it passed to Moses.
c) Noah with
seven other people passed the history of the Flood and the destruction of
humankind. Noah lived 84 years with Enos, who was the grandson of Adam and Eve.
In 84 years he could have learned a great deal form his ancestor. Enos
coexisted with Adam almost seven centuries.
Noah coexisted with Jared, his great grandfather, for 366 years; and Jared with Adam 470 years. Jared had plenty of time to get informed by Adam and inform to Noah, of all the details.
Noah coexisted with many of his direct descendants: Sem, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Therah, and Abraham. They were his son, grandson, great grandson, great great grandson…etc.. The first one, Sem, coexisted with Noah 450 years, the last Abraham, coexisted with Noah 60 years.
In short, the patriarchs who passed the history for us were well-informed people who knew every thing first or second hand.
d) Sem, who was one of those who saved the history through that aquatic hecatomb, coexisted with Methuselah a century; and Methuselah with Adam 243 years. Sem could have known the history of Creation second hand. Not to mention all others who lived with Adam for centuries, which would confirm the history to their descendants, and to one another. History could not have been distorted; there were too many witnesses. Remember that I am mentioning only the first-born sons; I am not mentioning the many other siblings who also heard and were witnesses.
outlived his descendants till the ninth generation. Arphaxad, Salah, Eber,
Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Therah, and Abraham, who were direct descendants of
Sem (son, grandson, great grandson, great great grandson, etc.), died before
his ancestor Sem. The only exception was Eber who died only 29 years after his
great grandfather Sem.
Sem, who coexisted with his great grandfather Methuselah for a century, with Lamech his grandfather for almost a century, and with his father Noah for more than four centuries, coexisted with Abraham the whole life of this patriarch. There was more than enough time for Sem to transmit all his knowledge to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Sem himself was the living testimony to anyone who wanted to bother himself in going to visit with him, especially Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Isaac lived 180 years, 110 of them during Sem's last century. Jacob was 50 years old when Sem died. Maybe that is why Jacob, when introduced to Pharaoh by his son Joseph, exclaimed sadly:
"And Jacob said unto Pharaoh: The days of the years of my
pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have
the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto
the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of
their pilgrimage." ( Gen 47: 9 )
Jacob was 130 years old at that time, and even so he considered this great life span "few" years. He saw Sem, Salah and Eber last much longer, and they were probably healthier than he was at that time.
f) Non of the first patriarchs perished during the Flood. Methuselah, who was the one who lasted longer, died the same year that the Flood started.
In this article I have taken into consideration only Shem's descendants, because they are those whose ages are registred. But if we take into consideration Ham's and Japhet's descendants, whose life spans should be as long as their siblings', we will get to the conclusion that the knowledge of God at that time, was universal. After the Flood, as well as before it, everyone knew God's laws, promises, prophecies, etc.. A proof of this is in Gn 12: 18 and 20: 9 where we see that Pharaoh and Abimelech had knowledge of God and of what constituted sin. Same thing can be said of Job and his friends, who lived much earlier than Moses. Remember that the Egyptians were not Sem's descendants, but Ham's; nevertheless they knew God's laws. Dawn the centuries, nations put aside God's laws, till a point where new generations did not know anything about it. Let us now see the graph.