Genesis 4:25-Genesis 5:32
Here come the begats:
25 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him." 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.
1 This is the written account of Adam's line.
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man. "
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 7 And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed." 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
First of all, thanks to Missy for a bit of background on the origin and provenance of the various texts that make up the Bible.
Once again (and I know I haven't succeeded in explaining this clearly enough) but I still don't understand what it is that makes this particular collection of texts special to Christians -- or for that matter other "people of the book" -- who recognize that they are assembled rather arbitrarily by humans from a myriad of sources. There are other ancient writings, many from the same region and tradition, which are not part of the Bible, and there is a lot of flotsam and jetsam in the Bible that is seriously embarrassing to both Christians and Jews. So why consider these particular texts somehow "sacred"? We can find much greater wisdom elsewhere than we can in most of the Bible, and as for the good parts, why not just take them on their own merits, rather than endow them with some special status because they happen to be bundled up with a bunch of other junk? That's how I feel about it anyway.
Okay, this "begat" chapter gives us a chance to take stock of where we've come. Remember that the divisions into chapters and verses was added by medieval Christian monks, that's why I didn't mind crossing the chapter line here -- although the intro to Ch. 5 does suggest that we're actually beginning a new textual fragment.
And that's my first observation, basically. What we have read so far is a collection of fragments of old tales. They were written down at some point in a continuous sequence that gives the superficial appearance that it is trying to be a coherent narrative, but obviously it isn't. Two mutually inconsistent creation stories, followed by the sudden appearance from nowhere of a human population and a curse that fails to punish, and the bizarre non sequitur of Lamech's unexplained revenge, all show that this is really essentially a scrap book.
As for the begats, I remember reading somewhere that the 800-900+ year lifespans resulted from some transcriber misplacing a decimal point somewhere along the line, but that can't be true since the place-value number system wasn't invented until the 5th century CE, in India. And anyway, people back then were lucky to live to be 50, living to the age of 80 or 90 was extremely rare, if it ever happened at all. But, this certainly could result from some other form of confusion among differing number systems.
Interest in genealogy goes back to well before the dawn of literacy. In pre-literate societies, people learn to recite genealogies. It's interesting to think about why this is. My personal interest in my ancestry isn't really very strong once you get back before the parents and grandparents of people I knew personally. In other words, I'm interested in my grandparents' family lives, because they were influential and important people to me, so therefore I am interested in knowing about their parents and grandparents, who directly shaped their lives. But before that, it gets too tenuous for me to really care.
I understand that I am descended from John Howland, who came over on the Mayflower as the ship's carpenter but was not a member of the Pilgrim sect. At Plymouth, he was successfully sued more than once for paternity -- or as they put it in those days, "prosecuted for bastardy." So I guess I have a lot of cousins. But why somebody went to the trouble to find that out is beyond me.