A Bible Study and Contemporary Application of Genesis 11-19 by Anne Turner

KEY VERSE: Genesis 19:29 "So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived."

Chapter One Appendix: Family Roots

Chapter One's "further study" looks at the genealogy of Abraham found in Genesis 11:

10. These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: 11. And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 12. And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: 13. And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 14. And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: 15. And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 16. And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: 17. And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 18. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: 19. And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. 20. And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: 21. And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. 22. And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: 23. And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 24. And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: 25. And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. 26. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Dore woodcut of The Confusion of Tongues The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Dore

A Watershed Event

In verse 10 of Genesis 11, a genealogy of Abram and Lot begins, starting just two years after the Noahic flood when Shem was 100. He became the father of Arphaxad who fathered Shelah who fathered Eber.

Eber is the root word of “Hebrew.” Eber fathered Peleg, a word meaning “division,” probably signifying the time of Babel. Peleg fathered Reu, who fathered Serug, who fathered Nahor, the father of Terah, Abraham’s “abba.”

Have you ever wondered about your roots? —not merely the nationality of your great, great, great grandparents, but what about your deep roots?

Many Bibles have a “Table of Nations” map that shows where the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, migrated. Generally, Japheth’s went west and north toward the Europe of today; Ham’s went west and south to Canaan and Africa; Shem’s traveled south and east.

Perhaps you can surmise whether your roots are traced through Japheth, Ham, Shem, or all three. Ultimately, they descend to Noah and his wife, whose original ancestors were Adam and Eve. We are family.

Our brother, Lot, traced his roots to Shem. Lot was not an Israelite, but he was a Hebrew in a manner of speaking, since his great-great-great-great grandfather was Eber.

We learn from these verses that Eber’s sons had not traveled a great distance from the place of the division. They were in Ur which is believed to have been located near where the Euphrates and Tigris rivers come together, south of Babylon— where the fated tower had stood. Here, God called Abraham to go to a land he would show him.

By counting, we can see there are 10 generations between Shem and Abraham. As well, if we accept that there were only these, then Shem would have still been alive when Abraham was born.

Bible scholars are unsure whether or not some generations were left out when certain genealogies are given. In other words, there could have been more fathers and sons between Shem and Terah who are not mentioned. Moses, the author of Genesis, numbered 10 generations, perhaps as a way of setting forth God’s providential oversight of the development of history. In Scripture, 10 is the number of completeness. Following the Noahic flood, there elapsed a period of time that was complete. The birth of Abraham marked a watershed event.

The Line of Lot
After clicking on the image to view a larger version, click on your browser "back" button to return to this page.

Lot's family tree