RE: [asa] Ages of the Patriarchs

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Thu Feb 15 2007 - 10:13:33 EST

As I mentioned in a previous post in the parallel flood stories Noah is
called Ziusudra and Utnapishtim which mean "he who found long life." In
the legend of Gilgamesh he is sought out because they thought he
possessed eternal life. Longevity would explain how Noah's grandsons
had such an impact on the entire region. The Berossus account names
Xisuthros (Ziusudra) which Josephus borrowed and renamed Noah. So a
long life is suggested for the last of the antediluvian patriarchs from
different sources.


If you would like to pare down their ages to a reasonable figure just
divide by ten so that Adam lived 93 years and Noah lived 95 years, etc.
However, divide Abraham's age at death by ten and you have him die at
the ripe old age of seventeen which renders the entire story of his life
senseless. At what point would some harmonizing device such as Carols
for the pre-flood patriarchs be phased into correct ages for those from
Shem onward?


Thorkild Jacobsen noted that the post-flood kings of Lagash (Semites
probably) not only lived extraordinarily long, they also lived
extraordinarily "slowly."


                        In those days a child spent a hundred years

                                    In diapers (lit. "in <bits> of the

                        After he had grown up he spent a hundred years

                                    Without being given any task (to

                        He was small, he was dull witted

                                    His mother watched over him.


Evidence for long life is scant at best, but personally, I take the ages
at face value.


Dick Fischer

Dick Fischer, Genesis Proclaimed Association

Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History



-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 8:16 PM
To: Asa
Subject: [asa] Ages of the Patriarchs


I'm wondering if anyone has any references / perspectives on the ages of
the antedeluvian patriarchs. I saw Carol Hill's 2003 PSCF article,
which is very interesting (
<> I see also that
Walton in the NIV Commentary favors taking these lifespans at face
value. I guess they could be some kind of miraculous thing, but the
sort of approach Carol takes seems reasonable. (My very bright daughter
was reading her Bible on her own -- praise God! -- and was asking about
this, and it kind of stumped me.)

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Received on Thu Feb 15 10:14:36 2007

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