The Patriarchs are the men from whom the Hebrews and related nations descend. By some definitions this includes Isaac, Jacob, and all their sons. The stricter definition includes Abraham and his two brothers Nahor and Haran, their ancestors in the House of Shem, the three sons of Noah (Shem, Ham, and Japheth), and the ancestral line from Noah to Adam. The lives of these men form an unbroken chronological line that begins at creation and extends to the entry of Abraham into Canaan.

Biblical Genealogy

Main Article: Biblical genealogy

The year of creation is 1 AM (Anno Mundi, year of the world). James Ussher calculated the date of creation as October 23, 4004 BC. This date fell on the Sunday nearest the autumnal equinox.[1] Pierre Simon Laplace, as quoted by Martin Anstey, observed that this date occurred in a year when the equinoxes were aligned with the major axis of the orbit of the earth around the sun.[2]

Adam was created on the sixth day, and Genesis 5 gives the dates of the birth of Adam's descendants, each expressed as a year in the life of his father. Genesis 11:10-26 continues the line beginning with Shem and proceeding to Abraham, Nahor, and Haran. Genesis 11:27-32 and Genesis 12:1-4 give further details to fix the birth of Abraham and the time of his entry into Canaan.

Generations of Adam

Main Article: Generations of Adam
Name Born Age of parenthood Life span Died Name means Authority
Adam 4 Eitanim 1 AM
28 October 4004 BC
130 yr 930 yr 930 AM (3074 BC) (summer) man Genesis 5:3-5
Seth 130 AM (3874 BC) (summer) 105 yr 912 yr 1042 AM (2962 BC) (summer) placed, appointed Genesis 5:6-8
Enos 235 AM (3769 BC) (summer) 90 yr 905 yr 1140 AM (2864 BC) (summer) mortal man, sick, frail, miserable Genesis 5:9-11
Cainan 325 AM (3679 BC) (summer) 70 yr 910 yr 1235 AM (2769 BC) (summer) sorrow, dirge, elegy Genesis 5:12-14
Mahalaleel 395 AM (3609 BC) (summer) 65 yr 895 yr 1290 AM (2714 BC) (summer) Blessed God Genesis 5:15-17
Jared 460 AM (3544 BC) (summer) 162 yr 962 yr 1422 AM (2582 BC) (summer) shall come down Genesis 5:18-20
Enoch 622 AM (3382 BC) (summer) 65 yr 365 yr 987 AM (3017 BC) (summer)[3] teaching, commencement Genesis 5:21-24
Methuselah 687 AM (3317 BC) (summer) 187 yr 969 yr 1656 AM (2349 BC) (fall) his death shall bring Genesis 5:25-27
Lamech 874 AM (3130 BC) (summer) 182 yr 777 yr 1651 AM (2353 BC) (summer) lament, despairing Genesis 5:28-31
Noah 1056 AM (2948 BC) (summer) 500 yr 950 yr 2006 AM (1998 BC) (summer) rest Genesis 5:32

Sons of Noah

Main Article: Sons of Noah
Name Born
Japheth 1556 AM (2448 BC)
Shem 1558 AM (2446 BC)
Ham 1560 AM (2444 BC)

House of Shem

Main Article: House of Shem
Name Born Age of parenthood Life span Died Name means Authority
Shem 1558 AM (2446 BC) (summer) 100 yr 600 yr 2158 AM (1846 BC) (summer) renown, prosperity, name Genesis 11:10-11
Arpachshad 1658 AM (2346 BC) (summer) 35 yr 438 yr 2096 AM (1908 BC) (summer) healer, releaser Genesis 11:12-13
Salah 1693 AM (2311 BC) (summer) 30 yr 433 yr 2126 AM (1878 BC) (summer) mission, sending Genesis 11:14-15
Eber 1723 AM (2281 BC) (summer) 34 yr 464 yr 2187 AM (1817 BC) (summer) one that passes, anger Genesis 11:16-17
Peleg 1757 AM (2247 BC) (summer) 30 yr 239 yr 1996 AM (2008 BC) (summer) division Genesis 11:18-19
Reu 1787 AM (2217 BC) (summer) 32 yr 239 yr 2026 AM (1978 BC) (summer) his friend, his shepherd Genesis 11:20-21
Serug 1819 AM (2185 BC) (summer) 30 yr 230 yr 2049 AM (1955 BC) (summer) branch, layer, twining Genesis 11:22-23
Nahor the Elder 1849 AM (2155 BC) (summer) 29 yr 148 yr 1997 AM (2007 BC) (summer) hoarse, dry, hot Genesis 11:24-25
Terah 1878 AM (2126 BC) (summer) 70 yr 205 yr 2083 AM (1922 BC) (fall) breathe, scent, blow Genesis 11:26-32

Sons of Terah

Name Born Died Name means
Haran 1948 AM (2056 BC) 2082 AM (1922 BC)
Nahor 2006 AM (1998 BC) hoarse, dry, hot
Abraham 2008 AM (1996 BC) 2183 AM (1821 BC) father of a multitude

Biblical Chronology

Main Article: Biblical chronology

The Biblical genealogy provides the basis for the chronology of events described in the Bible. This chronological record is precise and detailed from the first day of creation to the life of Terah, father of Abraham. From Abraham to Jesus, the dates are in dispute.


  1. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pgh. 1
  2. Anstey, Martin. The Romance of Biblical Chronology. London: Marshall Bros., 1913, pp. 48-49. Cited in Jones, Floyd N. The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004 (ISBN 9780890514160), pp. 26-27
  3. Note: Enoch did not die; he was translated, the first man to experience such a thing. Genesis 5:24

See Also

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