In this chapter we shall turn our attention to the Post-diluvian Patriarchs. And this is where we come up against a problem from the start, a problem that looks as though it will be final, a chronological gap from the date of the Flood to the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, beginning with Terah. There is quite a lot of information from then on, but it would seem to be “floating”, without an anchor stretching back into the days of Noah. Let us see what Jasher has to say.
Chapter 7 of Jasher is the start of history after the Flood. It contains brief genealogical details of the progeny of Ham, Shem, and Japheth. But when we get to verse 19, where Shem’s family begins, we are struck by the complete lack of dates. “These are the generations of Shem; Shem begat Arphaxad, and Arphaxad begat Shelach, and Shelach begat Eber, and to Eber were born two children, Peleg . . . and Yoktan . . . and Peleg begat Yen (i.e. Reu of Genesis) and Yen begat Serug, and Serug begat Nahor, and Nahor begat Terah.” (Verses 19-22) How different to the list in Genesis chapter 11, where ages are given.
To a chronologist, suddenly to come upon a list like this, without any dates, is frustrating to say the least, and without a device to overcome the difficulty, we should have to accept that after the Flood Jasher provides no secure dates. But thankfully a device exists, and we must now show how it is possible to bridge the gap, and tie down the floating chronology.
First of all we have the new chronology beginning with Terah in verse 22 of chapter 7. “Nahor begat Terah, and Terah was 38 years old when he begat Haran and Nahor.” These boys were twins. Their date of birth is left out of Genesis, which merely states that, “Terah lived 70 years and begat Abram, Nahor and Haran.” (Genesis 11:26) Notice the reverse order here. The youngest is placed first, followed by the twins in reverse order. Without the clear message from Jasher we should be required to use rational skills in determining the date of Abram’s birth, which is variously placed by chronologists at Terah’s 130th year or even a few years later, mainly on the evidence of Stephen’s speech in Acts, where he says that Abram left Harran “when his father was dead.” If Abram was then 75 years of age, it requires Abram’s birth to be placed at the 130th year of Terah. We shall have occasion to look into this a bit later.
Chapter 7, verse 50. “And Terah took a wife, and her name was Amthelo the daughter of Barnebo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days. Terah was 70 years old when he begat him, and Terah called the name of his son Abram because the king [Nimrod] had raised him in those days and dignified him above all the princes that were with him.”
Now that we have the beginning of a new chronology, we have to use the “device” to attach it back to the days of Noah. It isn’t until the 13th chapter that we are given the information we need, but when it arrives, it is all that is needed.
Chapter 13 verse 9. “At that time, at the end of 3 years of Abram’s dwelling in Canaan, in that year Noah died, which was the 58th year of the life of Abram, and all the days that Noah lived were 950 years and he died.”
We have seen that the Flood occurred in the year 1656 A.M., where A.M. stands for Anno Mundi, “the year of the world”. If Noah died 350 years later, then his date would be 2006. And if Abram was then 58 years of age, his birth date would have been 2006 – 58 = 1948.
We are now in a position to review several other dates in Jasher, to see how they fit into the chronology between the Flood and Abram. Here is a table showing the information provided by Jasher.
|16||22||Reu died at 239 years of age. Abraham was 78||2026||1787|
|21||9||Serug died at 239 years of age. Abraham was 101 (Should be 230 years of age. Dittography from Reu’s date)||2049||1819|
|22||33||Terah died at 205 years of age. Isaac was 35||2083||1878|
|25||28||Arphaxad died at 438 years of age. Isaac was 48||2096||1658|
|28||24||Shem died at 600 years of age. Jacob was 50||2158||1558|
|30||15||Eber died at 464 years of age. Jacob was 79||2187||1723|
The dates of birth, calculated from this data, agree exactly with those found in the table of Genesis 11. This would suggest that, taken together with the antediluvian dates, Jasher followed a system of reckoning that was extant in the first century A.D., if we accept the historical statement made in the Preface to the book. And this system was that of the Hebrew Bible. It clearly suggests that the Hebrew Bible at that time possessed the dates we now recognise, together with those in Jasher.
The remainder of the dates in Jasher now follows in tabular format.
|Chapter||Verse||Information||Date||Date of Birth|
|7||22||Terah was 38 years old when he begat Haran and Nahor||1916||Terah 1878|
|9||1-2||And Haran, Abram’s eldest brother, took a wife when he was 39, (Sh.be 29)and she bare him a son, Lot. And she conceived again and bare a daughter, Milca, and conceived again and bare a daughter, Sarai.(Genesis calls her Iscah, not Sarai.) Haran was 42 when (Iscah) was born.||29
|24||22||And Lot the son of Haran died in those days, in the 39th year of Isaac. He was 140 years old.||2087||Lot 1947|
|16||36||Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born||2034||Ishmael 2034|
|21||3||Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah 90, when Isaac was born to them||2048||Isaac 2048|
|24||1||Sarah was 127 years old when she died||2085||Sarah 1958|
|24||45||Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca.(24:40 shows that Rebecca was 14)||2088 marriage||Rebecca 2074|
|26||16||Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob & Esau born||2108||Jacob 2108|
|26||29||Abraham died in the 15th year of Jacob and Esau. He was 175 years old.||2123 Abraham died||Abram 148|
|27||15||Nimrod died at 215 years of age. And the days that Nimrod ruled the people of the land was 185 years.(Therefore he began to rule in 1938, when 30 yrs.)||2123||Nimrod 1908|
|28||26-28||When Jacob was 56, he heard about Adinah, Laban’s wife, who bare twin daughters, Leah and Rachel the previous year.||2164||Leah & Rachel 2163|
|29||18||Ishmael dies at 137 years of age, in the 64th year of Jacob. (2172 – 137 = 2035, showing that sometimes during a year, there is a discrepancy of one year.)||2172||Ishmael 2034|
|31||21||Rachel bare Joseph when Jacob was 91||2199||Joseph 2199|
|36||3-6||Jacob was 99 when Deborah, Rebecca’s nurse died. Also Rebecca died at 133 years of age.||2207||Rebecca 2074|
|36||8-11||Jacob 100 years old at the birth of Benjamin, when Rachel dies at 45 years of age.||2208||Rachel 2163|
|41||2||Leah died at 51 years of age, when Jacob was 106||2214||Leah 2163|
|47||1||Isaac dies at 180 years of age.||2228||Isaac 2048|
|56||1||Jacob died after living in Egypt 17 years, at the age of 147 years.||2255||Jacob 2108|
|59||20-26||Joseph died at 110 years of age, after living in Egypt for 93 years, and reigning there 80 years. (Here again we find a 1 year difference, because 2310 – 110 = 2200)||2310||Joseph 2199|
|68||3||Moses born. (Date of birth calculated from data)||2373|
|81||3||Exodus after the Egyptian servitude of 210 years.(Should be 215 years)||2453|
Once again we find a complete concurrence of dates with those of Genesis. Therefore we shall treat Jasher as a formidable weapon against other chronologies that try to change dates dramatically. These other lists we shall now investigate in order, to see what can be learned from them.