Is There a Natural Explanation For The Unnatural Ages in Genesis?
Rydberg argued that the Masoretic text was based on Babylonian documents for exactly this purpose.
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The Septuagint, on the other hand, was corrected to harmonize with the historical documents of the Egyptians, most probably Manetho’s Aegyptiaca. When comparing lineages of the patriarchs after the flood in the Septuagint, they seem to match the king lists of the Egyptians up to the time of the 30th dynasty.
The time of the first eleven dynasties of Egypt adds up to a period of 2262 years, and so do the Septuagint numbers of the patriarchs before the flood.
Genesis 5:24: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (KJV) illustration from the 1728 ‘Figures de la Bible’; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries. ( Public Domain ) Enoch was the seventh of the ten pre-Deluge Patriarchs.
Likewise, the time from the flood to the Exodus amounts to 1777 years in the Septuagint, which matches the time from the twelfth dynasty up until Pharaoh Tutmosis. And finally, the time from the Exodus to the end of the 30th dynasty is 1117 years in both the Septuagint and the extant fragments of Aegyptiaca.
In sum, Rydberg’s paper suggests that the numbers in Genesis 5 were originally an astronomical table, but when Greek calendars made the jubilee calendars obsolete these numbers were used to reconcile the histories of the Hebrews with the Babylonians in the Masoretic text, and with the Egyptians in the Septuagint.
Top Image: ‘Abraham and the Angels’ by Aert de Gelder ( Wikipedia). Abraham was said to have lived to the age of 175.
By Nils Ekblad