top of page

Apparent Contradiction of Words and Numbers

Four Witnesses to a 430-year Sojourn in Egypt

Abraham’s Witness to a 430-Year Egyptian Sojourn

Jacob’s Life Requires a 430-Year Egyptian Sojourn

Elasticity of Hebrew Genealogical Terms

Abbreviated/Condensed Genealogies

Shem’s List: The Ultimate Example of Condensing

Shem’s Genealogy—Which Bible?

Evidence from the Lifespan of Job for Missing Generations

Evidence from the Message of Job for Missing Generations

Evidence from the Times of Job for Missing Generations

Biblical Earth Movements After the Flood

Peleg, Joktan and the Table of Nations

Historical Errors Obscuring the Condensing of Shem’s Line

Interpretative Errors Supporting Ussher View

The Missing World between the Flood and Peleg

Recent Scholarship Improves Biblical Understanding

Summary of Biblical Findings

Secular Evidence—Those Many Documents Unavailable to Ussher


Summary of Biblical Findings

Chapter Eighteen

After a dozen years of rewarding research, Hidden Beauty announces with considerable certainty its explosive findings—that about 64 names are omitted in the three consecutive genealogies spanning Creation to the Exodus--roughly 12 from Aaron’s list, 50 from Shem’s list and two from Adam’s list.  These findings date the Flood to somewhere around 4000 BC and Creation two millennia earlier.  But it has taken 17 chapters to answer some 45 misinterpretations that hid this approximate dating.  The next 2000 words highlight the essential details. 

Aaron’s Genealogy (The Egyptian Sojourn)

Chapters 1-4 examined the genealogy associated with Israel’s years in Egypt—Aaron’s genealogy. His list is found four times in Scripture and contains the same four names each time:  Levi-Kohath-Amram-Aaron.  In Ussher’s day, the key verse (Exodus 12:40) was ambiguous and many understood it to say that the total sojourn from the time Abraham entered Canaan to the Exodus was 430 years. 

About a century after Ussher’s death textual scholars solved a long-standing textual problem.  They determined Exodus 12:40 said Israel sojourned in Egypt 430 years.  But it took another century for nearly all OT scholars to accept this clarification and still more years to appear in most English language Bibles.  While Aaron’s four-name genealogy could span 215 years, it could not span a 430-year Egyptian sojourn.  Why not?  Because the lifespans of the four names could not span 430 years in Egypt.  Therefore, Aaron’s genealogy omitted names. 

The approximate number is found by first calculating how many of the 430 years belonged to the four named fathers, then subtracting that number from 430, and finally dividing the remainder by the length of a generation in that period.   

Calculations:  Jacob’s sons were starting families in their twenties, so HB uses 25 years for the length of those generations.  When Jacob moved his family to Egypt, Levi was 46 and had three sons.  Kohath, the oldest, would have been at least 20 so only the remaining five years until he reached 25 can be counted.  Removing Amram’s 25 years and Aaron’s 83 years leaves 317 years (430 – [5 + 25 + 83] = 317).  Dividing 317 years by 25 reveals that about 12 generations were omitted from Aaron’s genealogy (317 / 25 = 12.68). 

Surprisingly, 215 additional years from the corrected reading of Exodus 12:40 only pushed Ussher’s date back a little over a century because he had other dates wrong.  This new Flood date was still too late, but Aaron’s list added critical information for dating the Flood.  First and most importantly, this key Hebrew genealogy clearly omitted generations.  As such, it set an undeniable precedent and became an iron-clad case for abbreviating an Old Testament genealogy.  Secondly, it established a pattern in omitting names.  Three consecutive fathers preceded the omission.   Numerous genealogies with omissions are reported in chapters five and six, and many follow this pattern. 

Shem’s Genealogy (Post-Flood; Genesis 11:10-26)

Finding:  The biblical author intentionally omitted 40-50 generations between Eber and Peleg.

Details:  HB, chapter seven, provides strong evidence for missing names in Shem’s Post-Flood genealogy.  Three profound contrasts between it and Adam’s Pre-Flood list open the door to this finding. 

First Contrast: Longevity.  Pre-Flood longevity did not change.  All eight listed in Adam’s genealogy who died before the Flood lived about 900 years.  By way of contrast, all of Shem’s recorded children were born after the Flood.  The first three generations lived 438, 433 and 464 years.  No listing of people born after them lived longer.  The sum of 438, 433 and 464 is 1335 (438 + 433 + 464 = 1335) and the average of 1335 is 445 (1335 / 3 = 445).  Four hundred forty-five years is an astonishing 50% decrease from the 900-year lifespans before the Flood.  But it is the biblical record, though unnoticed or thought unimportant for 2000 years. 

Second Contrast: Maturity.  Arriving at adulthood and beginning families declined by a whopping two-thirds.  Pre-Flood people started families around the age of 100.  The first Post-Flood generations started families in their 30’s.  Again, the numbers:  ages 35, 30 and 34 for the first three generations in Shem’s line born after the Flood vs 105, 90, 70, 65, 162, 187 and 182 in Adam’s line before the Flood.  HB removed Adam from this calculation because he was created a mature adult.  It also removed Enoch because he was unique among those born before the Flood, an early starter in all the things Scripture mentions—the first to call on the LORD, starting the next generation at the early age of 65 and leaving planet earth at the age of 365.  But he didn’t die.  Rather, God took him to glory at that young age. 

Third Contrast: Gradual Longevity Decline.  However, a third kind of longevity decline occurred after the Flood as well.  Longevity itself began a gradual decline.  Beginning with average lifespans of 445 years immediately after the Flood, this steady decline continued until it stabilized at 70 years.   The total Post-Flood decline was an astonishing 375 years (445 – 70 = 375).  The average decline was about four or five years to begin with, but eventually slowed to just several years per generation.  It took around 2600 years for this third kind of longevity decline to run its course (from the Flood c. 4000 BC to the end of Moses’ life c. 1400 BC).  Yet, the decline between Eber and Peleg was 225 years which is found by subtracting the years Scripture gives for Peleg from the years it gives for Eber (464 – 239 = 225).  This is a decline of over 50% of the 2600-year gradual decline. 

So Post-Flood humans suffered three astonishing changes in human longevity.  Not only was there an immediate 50% decline in lifespans and a two-thirds decrease in reaching adulthood, but a continuous decrease of longevity after the Flood over the next two and a half millennia.   Identifying these three longevity contrasts forces the conclusion that the decline in lifespans between Eber and Peleg is explained by the omission of 40-50 generations. 

How could Bible expositors make such a blunder as to insist Shem’s list had no omissions?  The lifespans of Adam, Enoch, Noah and Shem masked these observations from past OT interpreters.  Adam was created a mature adult.  Enoch did not die.  To include Enoch in the Pre-Flood average lowers it by nearly 100 years.  Noah and Shem lived both before and after the Flood—Noah lived 600 years before and 350 after while Shem lived 100 years before and 500 after.  This means they lived during the forces of the Flood and the new conditions following the Flood as well as the more agreeable Pre-Flood conditions. 

Since Noah lived most of his life before the Flood, his longevity was not greatly affected.  If he had lived all his life before the Flood, he could have lived well over 1000 years.  Shem, however, lived five-sixths of his life after the Flood so his entire lifespan was greatly reduced from what it could have been if he had lived his entire life before the Flood.  Only by removing Adam, Enoch, Noah and Shem from chronology charts can the full contrast between Pre-Flood and Post-Flood lifespans become apparent.  When they are removed from the averages, the staggering 50% longevity reduction and other contrasts become crystal clear. 

Years/Generations Omitted.  There were no children on the Ark.  The lifetimes of the first three generations born after the Flood averaged 445 years.  The next three individuals in Shem’s list, the 4th, 5th and 6th names, lived 239, 239 and 230 years, nearly 50% fewer years than the first three names.  No explanation is given for this enormous decline.  The writer continues as if the reader would understand—he skipped a long list of names as commonly happened in Hebrew genealogies.  How many years/generations were omitted? 

Two numbers are needed: first, the average generation which was 32 years long during that period, and second, the average decline per generation which was 4.5 years.    Since Peleg lived 225 fewer years than Eber, about 50 generations were deliberately omitted by the author (225 / 4.5 = 50).  Multiplying those 50 generations by the typical 32 years per generation indicates those missing generations represent 1600 years (32 x 50 = 1600).  Adding those skipped years to the date of Peleg’s birth (2450 BC) and the 101 years from the Flood to Eber gives a Flood date of 4151 BC (2450 + 1600 + 101 = 4151 BC).  Rounding 4151 down to the nearest whole number gives 4100 BC for the approximate date of the Flood. 

Hangup:  chronogenealogies.  The genealogies of Shem and Adam contain a second feature that blinds inerrancy literalists.  The author states the age of each father when he sired the offspring that continued the reported line.  That number is correct.  It tells when the father begat his immediate son, whether that son is the son named in the text or a skipped son.  Those who insist that number tells when the named son was born have invented a special word for that kind of genealogy.  They call it a chronogenealogy. 

But is it such a device?  First, Scripture does not identify it that way.  Second, adding the begetting years is not prescribed by Scripture.  Third, Scripture itself does not sum those years.  Since God is silent on the dates of the Flood and Creation, He apparently had some reason for not supplying such information when the Holy Spirit gave that Scripture.  Times have changed.  Now it is necessary to have a better Flood date.  HB takes the biblical information that is available and figures a reasonable range of time from that information.  Anything more verges on putting words in God’s mouth.

The chronogenealogists ask, “Why else would God give those birthing numbers?”  OT Scholars have suggested other sound reasons which can be read in chapter seven.  They also point to Adam’s list which gives both the years before the birth of the son, the years after and totals them so there would be no mistake.  In that case, God summed just two numbers nine consecutive times to assure the reader that those people actually lived that long.  God is perfectly capable of summing the years of both lists if He meant them to be summed.

Adam’s Genealogy (Pre-Flood; Genesis 5:1-32)

Above, HB suggests that Shem’s list consisted of about 60 names but was reduced to ten.  OT scholars note that Adam’s list also contains ten names and concludes that the author’s goal was to present the same number of names in each list.  If so, Adam’s list may also omit names.  But there are no obvious clues as in the case of Shem’s list.  The first three names are most likely continuous, and Scripture indicates the last four are continuous.  Further, the very reason for the Flood was to terminate the growing evil of mankind.  If any names were dropped to present exactly ten, most likely no more than a few names are missing. 

HB reluctantly accedes to the possibility of two missing names.  Since new generations began when fathers were around 100, this only adds 200 years to the 1656 years revealed in the text.  In round numbers Creation then dates to c. 6000 BC.  While the other side quibbles over whether the count is nine or ten names in Shem’s list, most literary scholars maintain that both lists contain ten names because the last (tenth) name in the second list is the subject of the next dozen chapters of Genesis. 

Weighing the Biblical Evidence

Four powerful lines of evidence support the finding that 40-50 generations are omitted in Shem’s genealogy.  The first line is the textual correction of Exodus 12:40.  Archbishop James Ussher used Shem’s genealogy (Genesis 11) to date the global Flood to 2348 BC and Adam’s list (Genesis 5) to date Creation to 4004 BC.  One hundred years after Ussher, textual scholars corrected Exodus 12:40 so it read that Israel sojourned in Egypt 430 years.  Today, nearly all English-language Bibles other than those associated with the King James Version read that way.  Since I Kings 6:1 places the Exodus 480 years before Solomon began the temple, the Exodus happened in 1446 BC and the 430-year sojourn began in 1876 BC. 

A second major line of evidence is how biblical authors recorded genealogical lines.  Lines were just as correctly recorded whether complete or abbreviated.  For example, in a line the stated son might be the father’s immediate son or any son further down the line.  While modern genealogies don’t work that way, such a practice was not considered an error in Hebrew genealogies.   

A third major line of biblical evidence is that the lifespans of those who lived and died before the Flood did not change while the lifespans of those born after the Flood declined steadily.  The clue to missing generations was that after the first three names in Shem’s list, longevity abruptly decreased by half.  Omitting about 50 names explains this 1600-year gap. 

A fourth major line of biblical evidence is the Ice Age and Job’s vivid memories of it.   While not mentioned above, HB devotes three chapters (chapters 9-11) to this and additional evidence from the Book of Job.  He and the other speakers, including God, frequently mentioned ice age phenomena.  His ordeal is logically dated around 2550 BC when the Ice Age was ending.  Since the Flood produced the conditions that brought on an ice age, the Ice Age also points to a c. 4000 BC Flood date.

Numerous misinterpretations obscure these four lines of biblical evidence pointing to a c. 4000 BC Flood date and a c. 6000 BC Creation date.  Once they are corrected the truth will become obvious and problems with these genealogies will be replaced with a new level of confidence in the integrity of Scripture.


bottom of page