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Verses 10-26

Preparation for Abram (11:10-26)

During the period between Noah and Abram, the earth’s population increased greatly. People migrated to various regions, and many tribal groups, even nations, were established (see 10:1-32). It appears from this that there must have been more than ten generations between Noah and Abram. In that case, the genealogy recorded here has been simplified, the ten names listed being those of ten leading men of that period. (See notes on 5:1-32.)The genealogy from Shem to Eber repeats what has been given in Chapter 10 (10-15; cf. 10:21-24). The genealogy from Eber onwards differs from that in Chapter 10. It traces the line through Eber’s elder son Peleg (since that was the line that produced Abram), whereas the genealogy in Chapter 10 traced the line through Eber’s younger son Joktan (a line that produced many of the Arab tribes) (16-26; cf. 10:25-31). The genealogy shows also that the human life span was shortening, as God had previously announced (see 6:3).

Note: It seems that the name Eber is the source of the word ‘Hebrew’. Although in theory all the descendants of Eber could be called Hebrews, in practice the name became limited to those of the line of descent that passed through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (14:13; 39:17; 40:15; 43:32). In time it became simply another name for Israelites (Exodus 2:6,Exodus 2:11; Exodus 3:18; 1 Samuel 4:6; 1 Samuel 4:6; Jeremiah 34:9; Acts 6:1; Philippians 3:5).

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