Eusebius'
Chronicle

The Hebrew Chronicle


[22] How the Hebrews transmitted [their] chronology.

We shall set out the chronology of the Hebrews, taken from the writings of Moses and later Hebrew authors, from The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus and the chronologies of Africanus.


How the Hebrews chronicled [their history].

In the preceding sections we have recorded the events and kings of the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Medes and Persians [g106]. The fact that the Hebrew people derived from the Chaldeans was clearly demonstrated, since Abraham was Chaldean and his ancestors inhabited that land. Moreover, the Mosaic writings confirm this [in the following passage [Genesis 11.31]]: "Terah took Abraham his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarah his daughter-in-law, his son Abraham's wife, and they went forth together from the land of the Chaldeans."

Thus it is fitting that the history of Hebrew antiquities follow our exposition of Chaldean history. The story they relate about the flood is quite different from the Greek legendary tale which places the flood during the time of Deucalion [g107], [an event which occurred] long before Ogyges and the great flood which the Greeks say occurred in his time. The flood [recounted in Genesis] took place some 1,200 years before Ogyges' flood, which in turn preceded Deucalion's flood by 250 years.

There are not a few similarities between the Assyrian and Hebrew writings about the flood. [For example] they [both] say that there were ten successive generations before the flood.

After the flood, the human race throughout the entire world was fathered by [only] three men. All Europe [g108], from Mt. Amanus to the western ocean, descended from Japheth. [The people of] Egypt, the land of Libya, and all points westward descended from Ham. The third brother, Shem, fathered [the inhabitants of] Assyria and all points eastward.

Hebrew scriptures regard Nimrod as the first builder of Babylon, describing [the matter] in this way [in Genesis 10.8-11]: "Cush became the father of Nimrod". Cush was an Ethiopian who was considered the father of Nimrod, about whom scripture says: "He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, 'Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord'. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. From that land [g109] he went into Assyria and built Nineveh." Nineveh, which is called Ninus [in Greek], was the first royal city of the Assyrians. It was built by Asshur, one of the sons of Shem, who, as we said held all the eastern areas.

They say that the sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Aram, and Lud. The Elamites, the first nation of the Persians, descended from Elam, who also built the city of Elymais. the Assyrians descended from Asshur who also built the Assyrian city, Ninus, which was called Nineveh. The Arphaxadians descended from Arphaxad also called Chaldeans. The Aramaeans, also called Syrians (Asorik'), descended from Aram. The Lydians descended from Lud. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, who was the father of Eber, from whom the name and nation of the Hebrews derives. Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrew nation, was the sixth generation descendant of Eber, in the tenth generation after the flood. This much should be sufficient to demonstrate in summary fashion that the ancestry of the Chaldeans and Assyrians is mixed with that of the Hebrews. Consequently it is appropriate to begin their [Hebrew] chronology close to those others.

[23] Their chronology commences with an account of the fall from grace of our human race. This occurred [g110] during the time of Adam, the first patriarch, whose name is synonymous with human kind, since in the Hebrew language "Adam" means, generally, "man." The period of his life after his expulsion from Paradise has been recorded by Moses, through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Moses then lists [Adam's] descendants and their ages through successive generations [Genesis 5.1-32]. Because of this we can set down a chronology of the Hebrews from him. But no one can determine when it was that [Adam] dwelled in that Paradise described in the Bible. It seems to me that the marvelous Moses alludes to a goodly, godly existence then in a world better than our own, a place called Paradise where the first man dwelled. [Moses] refers to all of humanity when he describes Adam's sweet and desirable existence in Paradise [g111].

Our chronicle will not provide accounts about that existence [in Paradise] nor about how the Almighty established heaven and earth. This is how some [chroniclers] have thought [to begin]. Rather, we shall begin from the time that our human race experienced mortality and from [the time of] our first ancestor who set out on that path. [That ancestor] was the man named Adam, whose dying, mortal span of years was calculated in Hebrew literature, for it was from this point that Hebrew chronology began. Indeed, the Book of Moses [Genesis 3.23] describes it as follows:

"The Lord God sent him (that is, the first man) forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. And he drove Adam out and made him live outside the comforts of Paradise." Further on it says [Genesis 4.1]: "Now Adam knew Eve [g112] his wife and she conceived and bore Cain." Our present chronology will begin at this point. The history of earlier, unknowable times will be set aside here, because it should be kept distinct from subsequent [verifiable] history.

There is considerable disagreement among the Hebrews about their own chronology, so it will be good to commence by examining their differing accounts. By evaluating and comparing all of them, the truth will be arrived at. The five books of Moses describe the creation of the world, life before the flood, the history of the ancients after the flood, the generations of the Hebrews, and the passing of Moses. The Jews [g113] and the Samaritans, who were foreigners who came to live among the Jews, have differing versions of the books of the law. The characters of the Hebrew alphabet used by the Jews differ from those used by the Samaritans. The correct and original [alphabet] is not the one used by the [contemporary] Jews, because their descendants corrupted it. Yet there was no conflict between them [the Hebrews and the Samaritans] until the alteration of the letters. Furthermore there are numerous disagreements between the two with respect to chronology, as will become clear in the comparison below.

The Greek translation [of the Bible] also differs from the Hebrew, though not so much from the Samaritan [version]. There is disagreement [in chronology in the versions] up to the flood, but thereafter, until the time of Abraham, the versions are in harmony. The text we use was translated collectively by seventy Hebrew men [g114] from their language into Greek during the reign of Ptolemaeus Philadelphus. [Their translation] was placed in the library in the city of Alexandria, where it was carefully preserved. Now we shall set forth historical information from each of the versions, one after the other, so that it will be easy to distinguish the discrepancies. We shall begin with the translation of the seventy men [the Greek Septuagint] [g115] and see how it treats the chronology of the period from Adam to the birth of Abraham.


[24] The Septuagint

1. Adam, the first man, was 230 years of age when he fathered Seth. He lived an additional 700 years, until the 135th year of Mahalalel.

2. Seth fathered Enosh when he was 205 years of age. He lived an additional 707 years, until the 20th year of Enoch [g116].

3. Enosh fathered Kenan when he was 190 years of age. He lived an additional 715 years, until the 53rd year of Methuselah.

4. Kenan fathered Mahalalel when he was 170 years of age. He lived an additional 740 years, until the 81st year of Lamech.

5. Mahalalel fathered Jared when he was 165 years of age. He lived an additional 730 years, until the 48th year of Noah.

6. Jared fathered Enoch when he was 162 years of age. He lived an additional 800 years, until the 280th years of Noah.

7. Enoch fathered Methusaleh when he was 165 years of age. He lived an additional 200 years, until he was translated in the 33rd year of Lamech.

8. Methusaleh fathered Lamech [g117] when he was 167 years of age. He lived an additional 802 years. Thus he would have survived the flood by 22 years. However, [g118] in other versions he died before the flood having lived an additional 782 years [after Lamech's birth] [g119].

9. Lamech fathered Noah when he was 188 years of age. He lived an additional 535 years. Lamech predeceased his father Methusaleh in the 535th year of Noah [g120].

10. Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth when he was 500 years of age. This was 100 years before the flood, which occurred in the 600th year of Noah. He lived an additional 350 years after the flood, until the 83rd year of Eber. [Thus] according to the Septuagint, the full total is 2,242 years [for the period from Adam to the death of Noah].


Now for the Hebrew version of the Jews.

[25] The Jewish [Hebrew Version]

1. Adam fathered Seth when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 800 years, until the 56th year of Lamech [g121].

2. Seth fathered Enosh when he was 105 years of age. He lived an additional 807 years, until the 168th year of Lamech.

3. Enosh fathered Kenan when he was 90 years of age. He lived an additional 815 years, until the 84th year of Noah.

4. Kenan fathered Mahalalel when he was 70 years of age. He lived an additional 840 years, until the 179th year of Noah.

5. Mahalalel fathered Jared when he was 65 years of age. He lived an additional 830 years, until the 234th year of Noah.

6. Jared fathered Enoch when he was 162 years of age. He lived an additional 800 years, until the 366th year of Noah.

7. Enoch fathered Methusaleh when he was 65 [g122] years of age. He lived an additional 300 years until he was translated in the 113th year of Lamech.

8. Methusaleh fathered Lamech when he was 187 years of age. He lived an additional 782 years, until the [time of the] flood.

9. Lamech fathered Noah when he was 182 years of age. He lived an additional 595 years, dying five years before the flood.

10. Noah fathered Shem, Ham and Japheth when he was 500 years of age, 100 years before the flood. The flood occurred in the 600th year of Noah. He lived an additional 350 years after the flood, until the 58th year of Abraham. The total sum [for this version] is 1656 years.

There is a 586 year discrepancy between this version and the Septuagint. The difference [g123] is in the number of years each man from Adam to Noah lived before fathering children. [The versions agree] only for the times of Jared, Methusaleh, and Lamech. This circumstance suggests to us that the text which we use [i.e. the Septuagint] is the best. From the longer period assigned to Jared and his descendants [in the Hebrew version] it is clear that the periods of their predecessors, similarly, should be the same as in the Septuagint version. By adding one hundred years the discrepancy observed between the later and more recent generations in the Hebrew and the Septuagint versions is eliminated. [We might suggest] the possibility that the descendants [g124] lived longer than their ancestors. Yet for each man's life, the number of years before his son was born, and the number of year that he lived afterwards, added together, produces the same total in the Hebrew version and the Septuagint. It is only the number of years before their sons were born which is shorter in the Jewish copies. Therefore we suspect that this was something which the Jews did. They made bold to shorten the time before the fathering of children to encourage early marriages. For if these ancestors lived such long lives, marrying early and fathering children early [g125] as their version clearly states, who would not want to emulate them by marrying early?


The Hebrew version of the Samaritans.

[26] The Samaritan [Hebrew Version]

1. Adam fathered Seth when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 800 years, until the 223rd year of Noah.

2. Seth fathered Enosh when he was 105 years of age. He lived an additional 807 years, until the 335th year of Noah.

3. Enosh fathered Kenan when he was 90 years of age. He lived an additional 815 years, until the 433rd year of Noah.

4. Kenan fathered Mahalalel when he was 70 years of age. He lived an additional 840 years, until the 528th year of Noah [g126].

5. Mahalalel fathered Jared when he was 65 years of age. He lived an additional 830 years, until the 583rd year of Noah.

6. Jared fathered Enoch when he was 62 years of age. He lived an additional 785 years, until the time of the flood.

7. Enoch fathered Methusaleh when he was 65 years of age. He lived an additional 300 years until he was translated in the 180th year of Noah.

8. Methusaleh fathered Lamech when he was 67 years of age. He lived [g127] an additional 653 years, until the time of the flood.

9. Lamech fathered Noah when he was 53 years of age. He lived an additional 600 years, until the time of the flood.

10. Noah fathered Shem when he was 500 years of age, 100 years prior to the flood. The flood occurred in the 600th year of Noah. He lived an additional 350 years, until the 83rd year of Eber. The total [for this edition] is 1,307 years.

[The Samaritan Hebrew version] differs from the Jewish Hebrew [version] by 349 years, and from the Septuagint [g128] translation by 935 years. This much, then, on [the period] before the flood.

Let us advance to the period following this. But first we should mention [again] the similarity between the Hebrew and the Chaldean sources in describing the flood and the ark built by Noah. We consider it superfluous to repeat this account, since we already discussed it in the section on Chaldean history.

As we are writing this chronicle we have received confirmation that the flood rose above the highest mountains--a contemporary eyewitness account of the veracity of the account. In our day, [the fossils of] fish were discovered high up Mt. Lebanon. It happened that while rocks [g129] were being quarried there for construction in the valley, [the fossils of] various types of ocean fish were uncovered, pressed into the mud. These [fossils] had been preserved to the present, thus providing evidence that the old story [of the flood] is credible. Those who hear this may believe it or not. But now we shall advance [g130].


[Beginning with the second year] after the flood, according to the Septuagint.

[27] The Septuagint

1. Noah's son Shem fathered Arphaxad [g131]. He lived an additional 500 years, until the 101st year of Peleg [g132].

2. Arphaxad fathered Shelah when he was 135 years of age. He lived an additional 403 years, until the 9th year of Reu [g133].

3. Shelah fathered Eber when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional [g134] 406 years, until the 7th year of Serug [g135].

4. Eber fathered Peleg when he was 134 years of age. He lived an additional [g136] 433 years, until the 38th year of Nahor.

5. Peleg fathered Reu when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 209 years, until the [g137] 75th year of Serug.

In his time the world was divided up, just as phaleg means "division" in Hebrew. [Serug] predeceased [g138] his father. In his day, the tower [of Babel] was constructed, and many languages sprang out of the one [which everyone had spoken], with each nation speaking a different tongue. Holy Scripture recounts this [Genesis 11.5-9] as do secular writings. [For example], Alexander Polyhistor in his writings on the Chaldeans and Abydenus [in his writings], similarly, describe it. We too mentioned it in our earlier narration of Chaldean history. Now after Peleg:

6. Reu fathered Serug when he was 135 [g139] years of age. He lived an additional 207 years, until the 77th year of Nahor.

7. Serug fathered Nahor when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 200 years, until the 51th year of Abraham.

8. Nahor fathered Terah when he was 79 years of age. He lived an additional 119 years, until the 49th year of Serug.

Terah fathered Abraham when he was 70 years of age. He lived an additional 135 years, until the 35th year of Isaac [g140].

9. Year one of Abraham. He was the first patriarch of the Jewish people. During his time Ninus and Semiramis ruled over Assyria and all of Asia.

[According to this version], 942 years transpired from the flood to the first year of Abraham, 2,242 years transpired from Adam to the flood, for a total of 3,184 years.


Now for the Hebrew version of the Jews, starting with the second year after the flood.

[28] The Jewish [Hebrew Version]

1. Noah's son Shem fathered Arphaxad and lived an additional 500 years, until the 50th year of Jacob [g141].

2. Arphaxad fathered Shelah when he was 35 years of age. He lived an additional 403 years, until the 48th year of Isaac.

3. Shelah fathered Eber when he was 30 years of age. He lived an additional 403 years, until the 18th year of Jacob.

4. Eber fathered Peleg when he was 34 years of age. He lived an additional 430 years, until the 79th year of Jacob.

5. Peleg fathered Reu when he was 30 years of age. He lived an additional 209 years, until the 48th year of Jacob.

6. Reu fathered Serug when he was 32 years of age. He lived an additional 207 years, until the 78th year of Abraham.

7. Serug fathered Nahor when he was 30 years of age. He lived an additional 200 years, until the first year of Isaac [g142].

8. Nahor fathered Terah when he was 29 years of age. He lived an additional 119 years, until the 49th year of Abraham.

9. Terah fathered Abraham when he was 70 years of age. He lived an additional 135 years, until the 35th year of Isaac.

Year one of Abraham.

From the flood to the first year of Abraham, 292 years transpired. From Adam, a total of 1,948 years transpired. This [figure] differs from the [total for the] Septuagint translation by 1,235 years [g143].


Now for the Hebrew version of the Samaritans, starting with the second year after the flood.

[29] The Samaritan [Hebrew Version]

1. Noah's son Shem fathered Arphaxad.. He lived an additional 500 years, until the 101th year of Peleg.

2. Arphaxad fathered Shelah when he was 135 years of age. He lived an additional 303 years, until the 39th year of Peleg.

3. Shelah fathered Eber when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 303 years, until the 39th year of Reu [g144].

4. Eber fathered Peleg when he was 134 years of age. He lived an additional 270 years, until the 140th year of Reu.

5. Peleg fathered Reu when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 109 years, until the 109th year of Reu.

6. Reu fathered Serug when he was 132 years of age. He lived an additional 207 years, until the 77th year of Nahor [g145].

7. Serug fathered Nahor when he was 130 years of age. He lived an additional 100 years, until the 21th year of Terah.

8. Nahor fathered Terah when he was 79 years of age. He lived an additional 69 years, until the 69th year of Terah.

9. Terah fathered Abraham when he was 70 years of age. He lived an additional 75 years, until the 75th year of Abraham.

10. Year one of Abraham. From the flood to the first year [g146] of Abraham totals 942 years, the same figure that the Septuagint provides.

Our [Septuagint] text and this Samaritan Hebrew text are in harmony regarding the number of years each man lived prior to fathering a son. They [both] diverge from the Jewish Hebrew version by 650 years, because, according to the latter, 292 years transpired from the flood until the first year of Abraham. The most ancient Hebrew text, which has been preserved in the Samaritan version, agrees with the Septuagint translation that these men from [the time of the] flood until [the time of] Abraham fathered sons when they were at least a hundred years of age. Then who would suggest that their descendants, who lived longer, had fathered children any sooner than [g147] the period provided in the Septuagint? Consequently, the rational conclusion is that the [figures provided in the] Jewish version from Adam to Abraham are in error, except for the three generations beginning with Jared, and that the Samaritan version is also in error, but only from Adam to the flood, because from the flood to Abraham [the Samaritan version] is in agreement with the Septuagint translation.

[30] Moreover it is obvious that the Hebrew Jewish version is incorrect from the fact that by its calculations Adam and Noah were alive at the same time--something [g148] which no other account proposes. If, according to the Jewish scriptures, there were 292 years from the flood until Abraham, and Noah lived an additional 350 years after the flood, it is clear that Noah was alive until the 58th year of Abraham. Furthermore it is possible to show that the Jewish version is unreliable in another way, because it says that the generations before Abraham were about 30 years old when they fathered sons, while it makes the generations after Abraham considerably older when they fathered sons.

Thus it is patently clear that the Septuagint was translated from old and accurate Hebrew copies [g149], and is the most appropriate text for us to use in our present Chronicle, especially [g150] since the church of Christ, which has spread throughout the world, supports only this version and since the apostles and disciples of Christ used and transmitted this version. In the Septuagint [version], 2,242 years transpired from Adam until the flood, and 942 years transpired from the flood until the first year of Abraham, making a total of 3,184 years.

In the Jewish Hebrew [version], 1,656 years transpired from Adam until the flood, and 292 years transpired from the flood until the first year of Abraham, making a total of 1,948 years.

In the Samaritan Hebrew [version], 1,307 years transpired from Adam until the flood, and 942 years transpired from the flood until the [g151] first year of Abraham, making a total of 2,249 years.

All versions agree that 505 years transpired from Abraham until Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. It is calculated as follows. When Abraham was 75 years of age, God appeared to him and said that He would give the promised land to his descendants. For it is written [in Genesis, 12.4-5]: "Abraham was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abraham took Sarah his wife, and Lot his brother's son." In the same passage, further on [Genesis, 12. 7] it states: "Then the Lord appeared to Abraham and said: 'To your descendants I will give this land.'" Thus [we calculate] 75 years [in the life] of Abraham plus 430 years [from God's promise] until the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The Apostle Paul confirms this [in Galatians, 3.17-18]: "The law, which came [g152] four hundred and thirty years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void." Then he adds: "God gave it to Abraham by a promise." When Abraham was 100 years of age his son Isaac was born, 25 years after God's promise. Four hundred and five years transpired from that event until the exodus from Egypt. Consequently, from the promise [until the exodus] 430 years elapsed.

Now God appeared to Abraham a second time and said [Genesis, 15.13]: "Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years." The word descendants is used deliberately so that we not allocate [g153] the entire period [solely] to Isaac. Moreover the period of 430 years is mentioned again at the time of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, [Exodus, 12.40-41]: "They and their forefathers dwelled in Egypt and the land of Canaan for 430 years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt at night." Since the period from God's God's promise in the 75th year of Abraham is 430 years, it is clear that 505 years elapsed from the first year of Abraham to the time of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. Some [authors] have presented [this material] in detail, [g154] as follows: Abraham fathered Isaac at the age of 100. Isaac fathered Jacob at the age of 60. Jacob fathered Levi at the age of 86. Levi fathered Kohath at the age of 46. Kohath fathered Amran at the age of 63. Amran fathered Moses at the age of 70. Moses led his people out of Egypt when he was 80 years old. Thus from the first year of Abraham until the exodus from Egypt, a total of 505 years transpired. According to the Septuagint, [g155] the total from Adam to the exodus from Egypt is 3,689 years; according to the Jewish [Hebrew version], 2,453 years; and according to the Samaritan [Hebrew version], 2,753 years.

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