One of the debates that exists in conservative Biblical
scholarship is concerning the genealogies found in Genesis 5 and 11 as
to whether they are sequential and complete or if they contain gaps.
It is the position of this paper that they contain an indeterminate number
of gaps. The following points are made in favor of this interpretation:
1. There is a massive amount of recorded
history that must be put after the flood, but there is not enough time
to accommodate all the events.
2. The genealogies of the covenant lines
before and after the flood have exactly 10 generations each (cf. Chart
A). This suggests a partially artificial scheme much like what is
found in Mt. 1 where there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14
generations form David to the Babylonian captivity, and 14 generations
from the Babylonian captivity to Christ. The people listed were real,
but to achieve the correct number Matthew left out worthless people in
the first two sections. A suggestion as to the purpose of such an
artificial scheme would be to show that the events separated by the list
of generations were of relatively equal importance.
3. Biblical genealogies regularly have
gaps where the author will leave out a generation or a whole block of generations.
The word "begat" can mean "became the forefather of" and the word "son"
can mean descendant (Mt. 1:1). There is an example of such an omission
in Ezra and Chronicles (cf. Chart B). It may be that there
were more omissions than the ones made by Ezra. In Aaron's family
tree there are nine generations from the building of Solomon's temple to
the Babylonian captivity and this period spanned 380 years. That
would mean that each man was an average of 42 years old when he had his
first child. This is possible but it is easier to deal with if several
generations have been omitted. If both genealogies are taken at face
value then Ezra and Jehozadak were brothers. Jehozadak was taken captive
in 586 B.C. and Ezra began his work in 458 B.C. That is a difference
of 128 years! Obviously there are generations of Aaron's family missing
between these two men.