On the Generations of: A Pattern Usage in Scripture

 

In the 1990s I read Dr. Henry Morris’ The Genesis Record[1].  He postulated that the repeating phrase “These are the generations of . . .” denoted authorship of the section preceding the phrase.  This was in contrast to the commonly held opinion that it serves as a introductory sentence to the subsequent section, as argued in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament[2] (TWOT) discussion of “tôlëdôth[3],” a derivative of  “yälad” [to bear, beget, bring forth] (#867).

Dr. Morris identified the authors as God, Adam, Noah, the sons of Noah, Shem, Terah, Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, and Jacob.  However,  in closely examining the phrase usage in Hebrew[4], I concluded that, while Dr. Morris had the right idea, he did not see that this pattern involved two distinct phrases:  one starting with the disjunctive waw (we – translated as ‘now’) and one starting with the demonstrative pronoun “zeh” (singular ‘this’) or @ëlleh (plural ‘these’).

The phrases are:

“These are the generations of” (@ëlleh thôlëdôth)

“Now these are the generations of” (we@ëlleh thôlëdôth).

I agree with Dr. Morris that “These are the generations of X” occurs at the end of a section and signifies authorship, but I think that “Now these are the generations of X” occurs at the beginning of a section and is a title statement introducing a genealogical list.

The TWOT #867 article comments about the meaning of the word ‘tôlëdôth.”

“The common translation as ‘generations’ does not convey the meaning of the word to modern readers.  The English word ‘generations’ is now limited almost entirely to two meanings:  (1) the act of producing something or the way it is produced; (2) an entire group of people living at the same period of time, or the average length of time that such a group of people live.  Neither of these meanings fits the usage of ‘tôlëdôth.’

As used in the OT, ‘tôlëdöth’ refers to what is produced or brought into being by someone, or follows therefrom.”

Thus, I would translate the first phrase as “These are the proceedings of . . . “ as a signature statement to indicate that the previous section was produced by the individual named.  And I would translate the second phrase as “Now these are the generations of . . .” as a title for a list of those descended from or brought forth from the named individual.

Verifying the pattern usage

I decided that the best way to verify this conclusion was to look at every instance of the usage of “these are/were” in the Old Testament.  I wanted to see whether its use without the “we” occurred more frequently at the end of a section and whether its use with a “we” occurred more frequently at the beginning of a section.

I set up a table to count when “these are/were” by itself and in combination with the “we.”  Using e-Sword to identify the verses, I ended up with a table seven pages long.  Therefore, I am only putting the summary count into this essay.

These are the proceed-ings  (end)

And these are the genera-tions (begg) And these are (begg) And these were (end) These are (begg) These are (end)

All these were (end)

4/1            3/2

8

67 7 34 102

20

The specific phrase “these are the tôledöth” occurs only 12 times in Scripture, with a 13th variant of “this is the book of the tôledöth.”  However, in the Septuagint,[5] I found this variant used for one of the 12 occurrances in the Masoretic.

The four instances of “these are the tôledôth” occurring without the “we” all occur in Genesis:

Gen 2.4a:      @ëlleh tôledôth hashshämayim wehä@ärets:  These are the proceedings of the heavens and the earth in their being brought into existence.

Gen 6.9a:      @ëlleh tôledôth nöãch:      These are the proceedings of Nöãch

Gen 11.10a:  @ëlleh tôledôth shëm:       These are the proceedings of Shëm

Gen 37.2a:    @ëlleh tôledôth yaøáqöv: These are the proceedings of Yaøáqöv

The Masoretic variant is:

Gen 5.1a    zeh sëpher tôledöth @ädhäm: This is the book of the proceedings of @Ädhäm.

The Septuagint variant is:

Gen 2.4a       aúta ha bíblos géneseos ouranoû kaì gâs:  This is the book of proceedings of heaven and earth

Six of the eight instances of “and/now these are the tôledöth” occur in Genesis with the last two in Numbers and Ruth.

Gen 10.1a:    we@ëlleh tôledöth benê nöãch:   Now these are the generations of the sons of Nöãch

Gen 11.27a:  we@ëlleh tôledöth terach:  Now these are the generations of Terach

Gen 25.12a:  we@ëlleh tôledöth yishmäøë@l:  Now these are the generations of Yismäøë@l

Gen 25.19a:  we@ëlleh tôledöth yitschäq:  Now these are the generations of Yitschäq

Gen 36.1a:    we@ëlleh töledôth øësäw:  Now these are the generations of ØËsäw

Gen 36.9a:    we@ëlleh töledôth yaøáqöv:  Now these are the generations of Yaøáqöv

Num 3.1a:    we@ëlleh töledôth @ahárön wemösheh:  Now these are the generations of @Ahárön and Mösheh

Ruth 4.18:    we@ëlleh toledôth pärets:  Now these are the generations of Pärets

In looking at the contexts, all of the ‘we@ëlleh’ verses clearly occur at the beginning of a section introducing a list of descendants.  But I don’t think that the same holds true for the ‘@ëlleh’ verses.  My observation of the context is that these occur at the end of a section indicating the author of the preceding section.

The phrase “these are/were” followed by something other than “tôlëdôth” occurs 210 times in Scripture; only 3 of these usages do not involve a list of some kind.

Of the 136 occurring without the “we,” 34 (25%) occur at the beginning of a section and 102 (75%) occur at the end of a section.

Of the 74 occurring with the “we,” 67 (90.5%) occur at the beginning of a section and 7 (9.5%) at the end of a section.

The phrase at Genesis 5.1a inserts ‘sepher’ or ‘book of’ between @ëlleh and tôlëdôth, so I did not count it, but I think it belongs in this category as another ending statement.  The same holds true for the Septuagint’s translation of Genesis 2.4a.

The phrase “All these were” also came up in the search.  It’s not a phrase that I was analyzing, but it is interesting to note that, of the 20 times it is used, it occurs only at the end of a section and never at the beginning of one.  It is clearly a summary statement of what preceded it, which one would expect given the wording.

Thus, I contend that Scripture uses the phrase “these are/were” without the “we” most frequently as a summing up statement at the end of a section or list, while it uses that phrase with the “we” most frequently to introduce a list.  There are exceptions, of course, but overall, that is the usage in Scripture that I have observed.

And again, with respect to the specific phrase “these were/are the tôlëdôth,”—of which all instances without the “we” occur only in Genesis—I reiterate my contention that they occur at the end of a section, and that all instances with the “we” clearly occur at the beginning of a section.

Conclusion

So, based on the overall usage of the phrases “there are/were” and “and/now there are/were” in the Biblical text, I conclude that Dr. Morris was correct in observing that “@ëlleh thôlëdôth” (These are the proceedings of) is a signature statement at the end of a section identifying the author.  I also conclude that I am correct in observing that “we@ëlleh thôlëdôth” (Now these are the generations of) is an introductory statement to a geneaological list of the individual named.

Now, the phrase “@ëlleh thôlëdôth” occurring only five times and only in Genesis begs the question of why its usage was so limited, but I’ll address why I think that happened in another post.

May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Dori

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Footnotes

[1] Morris, Henry. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976.

[2] Harris, R. Laird, et. al.  Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.  Chicago: Moody Bible Institute.  1980, 2v.  Article #867.

[3] The transliterated Hebrew and Greek words in this essay reflect my version of the official  transliteration systems.  Since, in the mid-1990s, I did not have access to word processing software that used the diacritical marks of the official transliteration systems, I developed a transliteration alphabet for both Hebrew and Greek using only the letters and symbols available in MS Word (or other word processing systems). This mostly affected the vowels.  However, in Hebrew, I decided to use the ‘@’ sign for the aleph and the ‘ø’ for the ayin because I was having difficulty distinguishing between the apostrophe and the reverse apostrophe in certain fonts.

[4] Using the Masoretic text of the Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

[5] Brenton, Sir Lancelot C.L.  The Septuagint with Apocrypha:  Greek and English.  London: Bagster & Sons.  1851 (2001, US: Hendrickson),  1138p, 248p.

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How YHWH @Elohim (LORD God) kept His promise to David

The Promise (2 Samuel 7:12-17)

12When your days are fulfilled, and you lie with your fathers, then I shall raise up your seed after you, who shall come out from your bowels, and I shall establish his kingdom.  13He shall build a house for My Name, and I shall establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  14I shall be a father to him, and he shall be a son to Me. When he sins, then I will chasten him with a rod of men, and with strokes of the sons of men.  15But My mercy shall not be taken from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.  16And your house shall be established, and your kingdom before you forever. Your throne shall be established forever.  17According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.

The Obstacle (Jeremiah 22:28-30)

28Is this man Coniah a despised, broken jar, or a vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they hurled, he and his seed, and are cast into the land which they do not know?  29O earth, earth, earth! Hear the Word of YHWH!  30So says YHWH, Write this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days. For not one from his seed will succeed, a man sitting on the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah.

YHWH promised David that a son of his loins would sit on the throne of the kingdom forever.  The legal claim to the throne ran through Solomon’s line, and that line ran through Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) son of Jehoiakim, the last living king of Judah, the same Coniah whose line YHWH debarred from the throne, as He decreed through Jeremiah.  So, how could a son of David legally sit on the throne without being descended from Coniah?

YHWH @Elohim follows His own rules, and His pronouncement against Coniah presented a genuine legal obstacle to keeping His promise to David.  So, how did He fulfill His legal requirements while keeping His promise to David that one of His blood would sit on the throne forever?

The Claimant

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is who He claims to be – the uniquely begotten Son of God, the Messiah, the Son of David who will sit on the throne forever, a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.  I believe that the Gospels truly record His life and the genealogy of His mother Mary and His supposed father Joseph.  It is in the genealogies of Jesus as recorded by Matthew and Luke that one finds the answer to this conundrum.

The Solution, Part 1:  The Blood Claim

Now Jesus, making His appearance at about age thirty – being, as was supposed, a son of Joseph – was Himself descended of Heli, of Matthat . . . of Nathan, of David . . .  of Judah . . . (Luke 3:23,31,33) [JM Cheney, The Life of Christ in Stereo]

In his Gospel, Luke records the genealogy of Jesus, showing his descent from Heli of the tribe of Judah.  So, who was Heli?  Heli was the father of Mary, Jesus’ mother.  Thus Jesus was descended from him.

Heli was descended from the collateral line of Nathan, a son of David who was a full brother of Solomon’s (their mother was Bathsheba [1 Chronicles 3.5]).  Not being descended from Solomon, Heli had no legal claim to the throne, but he did have a blood claim.  He passed this blood claim on to his children, including his daughter Mary, who, in turn, passed it on to her sons, including her firstborn, Jesus.

So, Jesus had a blood claim to the throne of David through His mother Mary.  Through her, He was descended from the seed of David, from the bloodline of David.  However, He was hardly unique in that.  After a thousand years, a lot of families would have had a blood claim to the throne of David, but only one line had the legal claim—the line of Solomon.

The Solution, Part 2:  The Legal Claim

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. . . And Jacob fathered Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom (Greek pronoun ‘es’, clearly refers to Mary) was born Jesus, the One called Christ.  (Matt 1:1,16)

Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus as Son of David, the Messiah, the One with a legal claim to the throne of David.  However, the last line of the genealogy clearly lists Joseph, the husband of Mary who bore Jesus, and not Jesus directly.  It does not list Joseph as fathering Jesus because, of course, he did not do so.  So, how then is this the genealogy of Jesus if Joseph was not His birth father?

It’s the genealogy of Jesus because He was the eldest acknowledged son of Joseph, even though He was not fathered by Joseph.  He was Joseph’s legal son. Therefore, Jesus legally inherited the claims of the eldest son, which in this case included Joseph’s legal claim to the throne.  But then again, after a thousand years, others probably also had a legal claim to the throne.

But this is where Jesus might differ from all other legal claimants:  did Joseph have a unique claim to the throne, in that he was the legal heir to the throne of David, descended from father to son down through the generations?

In Joseph’s dream (Matthew 1), the angel addresses him as ‘Joseph, son of David.’  At various times during His ministry, people called Jesus ‘Son of David,’ using it as a title.  Scholars interpret this usage as a Messianic title, the Son of David, the Deliverer, or as a reference to any male descendant of David with a claim to the throne.  However, I wonder.  Before Jesus was born to be the Son of David (the Messiah), was ‘son of David’ also a title referring to the legal heir to the throne of David, rather than simply to one born of the house of David?

If so, then Joseph was the legal heir to the throne of David, descended from father to son down through the generations. But even so, he could not sit on the throne because he was descended from Jeconiah and thus debarred from that position.  If this is the case, then Joseph passed on to Jesus not merely a legal claim, but THE legal heirship to the throne of David through the line of Solomon.

None of the sons that Joseph and Mary had together could have sat on the throne because they were descended from Jeconiah through Joseph.  Only Jesus, not being physically descended from Joseph, was not debarred from legally claiming the position held by His legal father—a position to which He also had a blood claim through His mother Mary.  Thus, He was declared the King of the Jews from His birth.

It’s also possible that all Joseph had was a simple legal claim to the throne because he was descended from the line of Solomon through Jeconiah (the same as possibly several others).  However, all of the descendants of Jeconiah were debarred from the throne and none of their blood descendants could ever claim the throne of David.  So, either way, when Joseph passed on his legal claim to Jesus as his eldest acknowledged son but not his blood son, and Jesus had a blood claim through his mother Mary, Jesus became the King of the Jews from His birth.

ConclusionHolyFamily3

While I acknowledge that the second possibility is a possibility, I personally think that YHWH @Elohim kept His promise to David by arranging for the legal heir to the throne of David, Joseph, to marry Mary, the daughter of a collateral bloodline of David (and one descended from a full brother of Solomon’s).  Mary’s firstborn Son was thus declared ‘King of the Jews’ from the moment of His birth because He fulfilled both the legal claim (but bypassing the debarment) and the blood claim to the throne of David.

May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Dori

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Premise and Perspective

I think that it’s important for me to state the premise underlying all my writings and the perspective that I take in thinking about things and analyzing them.  Readers may not agree with either the premise or the perspective, but at least you will know where I’m coming from and where my reasoning starts.  Or, more accurately, where Rûãch @Élöhîm (Spirit of God) has shown me that my reasoning must start, especially as I’m depending on Him to guide my thoughts into the truth.

The reverential fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom ~ 
    And knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  #  Proverbs 9.10

PREMISE

My initial premise – the premise underlying all my writings – is that YHWH @Élöhîm – the @Élöhîm of @Avrähäm, Yitschäq, and Yaøáqöv – is Who He says He is, and that He has done what He says He has done through Yeshûãø hamMashîãch (Jesus Christ).

That’s it.  That’s the premise from which I start looking at what is, how it came to be, where it’s been, and where it’s going.  Another way to describe it is that the premise is the universal that explains all the particulars, the holy grail of philosophy and science.

The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (the Bible) are where YHWH @Élöhîm clearly states His claims about who He is and what He has done, is doing, and will do.  I believe that the Rûách @Élöhîm inspired men to write the Scriptures as infallible in the original writings.  I acknowledge that down through the millennia, copyist errors have crept in, in spite of the care taken in copying the Scriptures by both Jews and Christians.  However, I believe that any copyist errors are minor and do not affect YHWH @Élöhîm’s claims in any way.  His written word remains authoritative and definitive for those who believe Him.

BibleStudyBooksAnd, while I think that some translations do a better job than others of translating the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into English (my native language and the only one I am qualified to comment on), I do not believe that the Rûách @Élöhîm designated any particular translation as the only one that His believers should use, especially given that a certain amount of interpretation is inherent in the action of translating.  In fact, I think, especially when doing a Bible study delving into the layers of the Word, that it’s best to look at several translations plus the original languages in order to hear the what the Spirit is saying in the depths of His written word of truth.

Ultimately, the question is whether or not one believes YHWH @Élöhîm.  I believe Him.  I believe that He is who He says He is and that He has done what He says He’s done through His Word Incarnate, Yeshûãø hamMashîãch (Jesus Christ).

PERSPECTIVE

blue_curtain_boutique_picture_167572 The perspective that Rûách @Élöhîm directed me to take is that of the Storyteller. I look at history as an interactive, dramatic production playing out on the stage of the earth in the theatre of the universe, written, produced, and directed by YHWH @Élöhîm who allows input by the characters.

I view the flow of events as YHWH @Élöhîm telling His Story in order to accomplish His purpose. I look for the through line, themes, plot devices, plot structure, motifs, patterns, chief characters, foreshadowing, scene divisions, etc., used in telling stories.

As part of this assignment, YHWH @Élöhîm gave me a great love of story and puzzle-solving as well as a delight in discovering how an author crafted his/her story in the telling of it.

So, there you are – my premise and my perspective.  I believe that YHWH @ÉlöhÎm is who He says He is and that ‘history’ is ‘His Story.’  (And yes, I believe the pun is deliberate on YHWH’s part.  I’ve noticed that He’s fond of word plays.)

May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be will you all.

Dori

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Welcome to Badgerholt Online!

My name is Dori, and I am a scholar/artist in service to YHWH @Élöhîm.

Who is YHWH @Élöhîm?  He is the Most High God, the Creator of heaven and earth.  He is the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, the only omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-present God who exists, the @Élöhîm of @Avrähäm, Yitschaq, and Yaøáqöv.   I could go on, but I’ll go into who YHWH says He is and what He says He has done in another post.

potters wheelAfter forty years of training, YHWH called me to pursue the knowledge of God by focusing on Him as a Creative Artist, studying the truth of His Story, and appreciating the beauty of His artistry as an expression of who He is. In other words, He called me to be a fan of His storytelling and creative artistry.

This Story that YHWH is telling is the one currently playing out on the stage of the earth, in the theater of the universe, the Story in which we live.  He recorded the specific Story of the Line of the Promise and the Gentile Addition in His written Word, the Bible.  As a written story, the Story of the Line of the Promise has its own internal chronology, irrespective of the chronology of His Story.

The primary task that YHWH set me was to develop an internal chronology of the Story of the Line of the Promise and the Gentile Addition as recorded in the Bible.  I realize that this task is neither unheard of nor unique, but it’s the main task that YHWH @Élöhîm set me, although I have gone down plenty of rabbit trails in researching background information.

So, Badgerholt Online is a place to share through pages and blog posts what YHWH @Élöhîm has taught me about His Story, His through line, and who He is, to the praise of His holy name.

May the grace and peace of the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Dori

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“I will remember the deeds of Yäh ~       
   Surely I will meditate on Your wonders of old # 
and I will ponder on all Your historical acts ~
   and on Your deeds I will muse # 
@Élöhîm, in the holiness [is] Your way ~   
   who [is] a great @ël like @Élöhîm? # 
You, the @Ël who does wonders ~    
   You make known among the people Your strength # 
You redeemed with strength Your people ~   
   the sons of Yaøáqöv and Yôsëph  Seläh ” # 
         Psalms 77.12-15  (my literal translation)