The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

Terah’s age when he begot Abram

Many have assumed that because Genesis 11:26 says that ‘Terah lived seventy years and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran,’ that Abram (later called AbraHam) was born when Terah was 70. This is incorrect, and may be a false impression given by the differences in language.

We know this because other verses show that Abram was not born for another 60 years! Therefore, in this Bible the verse is translated as:

[After] Terah was 70 years old, he became father to Abram, NaHor, and Haran.’

What’s the evidence?

When Stephen spoke in Acts 7, he stated that AbraHam moved to the land now known as Palestine ‘after the death of his father.’ Yet if Terah was 205 years old when he died (Genesis 11:32), and AbraHam departed Haran when he was 75 (Genesis 12:4), then do the math, and Terah had to be 130, not 70, when Abram was born.

The verse actually means that Terah and his wife began having children when Terah was aged 70, not they all came along when he was 70. It’s actually common sense when you think about it.

There’s a similar situation with the age of Noah when his sons came along. Genesis 5:32 says (KJV):

‘And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.’

It sounds like all three came along when Noah was 500, as if they were triplets. Yet, it actually means Noah began having kids at age 500. How can we prove this?

Genesis 7:6 says Noah was 600 when the Downpour began; Genesis 11:10 says that Shem was 100 when his son Arphaxad was born, and says this was in the 2nd year after the Downpour. In other words, 100-year old Shem became father to Arphaxad when Noah was 602. Count back 100 years, and Noah had to be 502 years old when Shem was born.

That tells us that Shem, although mentioned first, was not the firstborn. Either Ham or Japheth (we don’t know which) must have been firstborn. Indeed, Arphaxad wasn’t the firstborn son of Shem either! The reason they’re mentioned first by Moses is because they’re the direct line of descendants to the Israelites.

This pattern continues later in the Bible. Seth, IsaAc, Jacob, Judah, and Perez, were not the firstborn sons either, but they were in the line to the Anointed One, Jesus.

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