IF THE Bible had truly been edited to make the apostles, prophets, and patriarchs look better, chapter 38 of Genesis would have disappeared centuries ago.
This week, we discuss the unseemly episode of Judah’s relationship with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, by whom he fathered Perez, an ancestor of Jesus.
We also discuss the history of the period to explain the timeline between Abraham and the Exodus, which is variously described as “four hundred years” (Gen. 15:13, Acts 7:6), “the fourth generation” (Gen. 15:16), and “four hundred and thirty years” (Ex. 12:40-41, Gal. 3:16-17).
How do we reconcile the 400/430 year discrepancy, and how do we square that with four generations (Jacob > Levi > Kohath > Amram > Moses), since Levi was an adult before Jacob and his family followed Joseph to Egypt?
Here’s the best answer, courtesy of Answers in Genesis (https://bit.ly/3cYPWRu): In Abraham’s day, Egypt included the Levant, modern Israel, Lebanon, and western Jordan and Syria. So, the 430 years began with Abraham was called from Harran because he was in “Egypt” almost as soon as he crossed the Euphrates. The 400 years began when Ishmael, his son by Hagar the Egyptian, mocked and persecuted Isaac.
The “fourth generation,” of course, refers to Moses, counting his great-grandfather Levi as the first generation after Jacob.
Here is our timeline, based on this logic:
- Amorite kingdom of Babylon founded — 1894 BC
- Abraham born — 1951 BC
- Abraham arrives in Canaan — 1876 BC
- Isaac born — 1851 BC
- Isaac marries Rebekah — 1811 BC
- Hammurabi becomes king of Babylon — 1792 BC
- Jacob and Esau born — 1791 BC
- Abraham dies — 1776 BC
- Hyksos take over Lower Egypt — c. 1750 BC
- Isaac dies — 1671 BC
- Jacob arrives in Egypt — 1661 BC
- Jacob dies — 1644 BC
- Joseph dies — 1590 BC
- Ahmose drives Hyksos out of Egypt — c. 1550 BC
- Moses leads the Exodus — 1446 BC
- Joshua leads the Conquest — 1406 BC
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