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From The Biographical Writings and Letters of Venerable Bede, translated from the Latin, by J. A. Giles; James Bohn, London, 1845; pp. 225-229.

Bede    (Bæda)

673 - 735 A. D.

The second age, from Noah to Abraham, contains, according to the Hebrew text, ten generations, and 292 years; but the Septuagint reads 1072 years, and eleven generations. This may be considered as the childhood of God’s people, and in it therefore language was invented, i. e. the Hebrew language. For in childhood we first began to speak, and this comes after infancy, which is so called from infantia, which means in Latin, not speaking.

Introduction, Bede.







The Second

B.C. 2347. In the second age of the world, and on the first day of it, which is the twenty-seventh of the second month, Noah went out of the ark, in which a few, i. e. eight souls, were saved by water. This is mentioned in his epistle by the holy apostle Peter, who has taken care to explain it most wonderfully, by subjoining these words, 226 [1 Pet. iii. 21,] The Second
“The like figure whereunto, even baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” He shows that baptism is typified in the water of the deluge, the church, and her faithful children in the ark and the things which it contained, and by the number, eight souls, the mystery of our Lord’s resurrection in whose faith we are baptized.

A.M. 1658 [2244].

B.C. 2346. Shem lived 100 years and begat Arphaxad, two years after the deluge. Jerome writes that the Chaldæans derived their origin from Arphaxad. Shem lived after the birth of Arphaxad 500 years, i. e. till the 50th year after the birth of Jacob.

A.M. 1693 [2379].

B.C. 2311. Arphaxad lived 35 years and begat Salah. The Septuagint makes one generation more than the Hebrew verity; for they say that Arphaxad, at the age of 135, begat Cainan, who, when he was 130 years old, begat Salah. The Evangelist St. Luke seems to have followed their translation in this passage. But the Grecian chronologists, in correcting the series of generations by the authority of the Hebrew text, have taken away the generation of Cainan, but have not taken care to correct, on the same authority, the number of years in the generations which they had in common with them, and so have, on their own authority, assigned to the age a sum total, less by 130 years than the Seventy Translators; but longer by 650 years than the Hebrew verity: in fact 942 years. But Arphaxad lived 303 years after the birth of Salah, though the Septuagint says he lived 430 years after the birth of Cainan, and Cainan 338 years after the birth of Salah.

A.M. 1723 [2639].

B.C. 2281.

The Second

Hebrew de-
rived from
Salah lived 30 years and begat Eber; after whose 227 birth he lived 403 years. The Septuagint make it 130 years before Eber’s birth, and 330 afterwards. From this Eber the Hebrews are descended, and they derive their name from him.

A.M. 1757 [2773].

B.C. 2247. Eber lived 34 years and beat Peleg; after whose birth he lived 430 years. The Septuagint reckons 134 years before the birth of Peleg, and 270 years afterwards. Peleg signi-
fies Division

Tower of
Peleg is interpreted division, and his name was given to him by his parents, because at the time of his birth the earth was divided by the confusion of tongues. Of this division Arnobius the Rhetorician makes mention in his Exposition of the 104th Psalm, as follows: Shem’s por-
“Shem, the first-born of Noah, had his portion from Persia and the Bactrians, as far as India and Rhinocoruræ.” This extent of country comprises twenty-seven barbarian languages, and among these are tribes of 406 countries, not of different languages, but, as I said, of different countries. For instance, whereas the Latin tongue is but one, under this one tongue there are several countries, the country of the Brutii, the Lucanians, the Apulians, the Calabrians, the Picentes, the Tuscans, so among these also, as one might say, it is the same.

Ham’s por-
But Ham, the second son of Noah, had his portion from Rhinocoruræ to Gadira, containing languages in the Punic dialect on the side of the Garamantes, in Latin on the north, in the barbarian dialect on the south and on the side of the Ethiopians and Egyptians, and twenty-two languages of the inland barbarians in various dialects, and in 394 countries.

Japhet’s por-
But Japhet was the third, extending from Media to Gadira towards the north. Japhet has the river Tigris, dividing Media from Babylonia, in 200 countries, speaking various dialects, in twenty-three languages. Al together, therefore, are seventy-two languages and 1000 countries, placed in this order in a three-fold generation. 228 Japhet has, The Second

as we have stated, the river Tigris, dividing Media and Babylonia; Shem has the Euphrates; Ham the Gihon, which is also called the Nile.

A.M. 1787 [2903].

B.C. 2217. Peleg, at the age of 30, begat Reu; after whose birth he lived 209 years. The Septuagint reckons 130 years before the birth of Reu, and 209 years afterwards. In these times temples were first constructed, Idolatry. and certain chieftains were adored as deities by their people.

A.M. 1819 [3035].

B.C. 2185. Reu was 32 years old when he begat Serug; he lived after this 207 years. The Septuagint reckons 132 years before Serug’s birth, and 207 years afterwards. The kingdom of the Kingdom of
the Scythi-
Scythians is said to have had its beginning: their first king was Tanaus.

A.M. 1849 [3165].

B.C. 2155. Serug was 30 years old when he begat Nahor; he lived after this 200 years. The Septuagint counts 130 years before Nahor’s birth and 200 afterwards. Kingdom of
The kingdom of the Egyptians is said to have now had its beginning; and that their first king was Zoves.

A.M. 1878 [3244].

B.C. 2126. Nahor, at the age of 29 years, begat Terah; after which he lived 199 years. The Septuagint reckons 79 years before the birth of Terah, and 129 years afterwards. The king-
doms of As-
Syria and
The kingdoms of the Assyrians and Sicyonians began; the former under King Belus, the latter under Ægialeus.

A.M. 1948 [3314].

B.C. 2056. Terah, at the age of 70, begat Abraham;3 and lived 135 years afterwards.


The Second

So far extends the second age of the world. St. Augustine, in the tenth chapter of his 16th book on “the city of God,” concludes his review of it thus: “From the deluge, therefore, to Abraham is a period of 1072 years according to the common chronology, i. e. according to the Seventy Translators.4 It is said that, in the Hebrew copies, the number of years is much less; but for this no reason is given, or, at least, a very difficult reason.”



 3  This is the year of the birth of Nahor and Haran. The birth of Abraham is placed B.C. 1996 in our present chronological tables.

 4  It should be borne in mind, that the “Hebrew verity,” as it is termed by Bede, places the creation of the world 4600 years B.C., and the Septuagint 5872 years B.C., whilst our accepted Chronology gives the year 4004 as the date of this primordial epoch.

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