The chronological information about Noah’s age makes us realize that Noah serves as a link between the pre-Flood and the post-Flood civilizations. The last two verses of the preceding story (Genesis 9:28-29) take us back to the last link of the genealogy of Adam (Genesis 5:32). Because Adam died when Lamech, Noah’s father, was 56 years old, Noah must surely have heard stories about Adam, which he could have transmitted to his descendants before and after the Flood.
Read Genesis 10:1-32. What is the purpose of this genealogy in the Bible? (See also Luke 3:23-38.)
The biblical genealogy has three functions. First, it emphasizes the historical nature of the biblical events, which are related to real people who lived and died and whose days are precisely numbered. Second, it demonstrates the continuity from antiquity to the contemporary time of the writer, establishing a clear link with the past to the “present.” Third, it reminds us of human fragility and of the tragic effect of sin’s curse and its deadly results on all the generations that have followed.
Note that the classification of “Hamite,” “Semite,” and “Japhethite” does not follow clear criteria. The 70 nations foreshadow the 70 members of the family of Jacob (Genesis 46:27) and the 70 elders of Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 24:9). The idea of a correspondence between the 70 nations and the 70 elders suggests the mission of Israel toward the nations: “When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:8, NKJV). Along the same line, Jesus sends 70 disciples to evangelize (Luke 10:1).
What this information shows us is the direct link between Adam and the patriarchs; they all are historical figures, real people from Adam onward. This also helps us understand that the patriarchs had direct access to witnesses who had personal memories of these ancient events.
|Read Matthew 1:1-17. What does this teach us about how historical all these people were? Why is knowing and believing that they were real people important for our faith?|