Q: #482. Were Noah and Abraham alive at the same time?
A: There are some who believe that Noah and Abraham were alive at the same time, and may have even known each other, but from what I can gather, it looks like Noah died about 2 years before Abraham was born. This is pretty fascinating! Let me break down how we can come to this conclusion by looking at some Bible verses.
First, we need to look at (Gen 7:11).
(Gen 7:11) In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
In other words, Noah was 600 years old when the flood began. Next, we go to (Gen 9:28-29).
(Gen 9:28-29) And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. (29) And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
Noah lived for 350 years after the flood, and died when he was 950 years old. Next, we must go to Genesis chapter 11, verses 10-26. In these verses is listed the descendants of Noah’s son Shem. (Gen 11:10) begins by saying, “These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood” (when Noah would have been 602). Now, let’s look at the rest of the verses.
(Gen 11:11) And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:12) And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:
(Gen 11:13) And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:14) And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:
(Gen 11:15) And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:16) And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:
(Gen 11:17) And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:18) And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:
(Gen 11:19) And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:20) And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:
(Gen 11:21) And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:22) And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:
(Gen 11:23) And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:24) And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:
(Gen 11:25) And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
(Gen 11:26) And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
When we put together the ages at which each of the 8 men after Shem men “begat” their offspring, we come up with a total of 290 years (35 = 30 = 34 = 30 = 32 = 30 = 29 = 70). Therefore, if Noah was 602 at the time Shem “begat” Arphaxad, and Terah “begat” Abram 290 years later, then Noah would have been 892 years old at the time Abram (Abraham) was born. Since Noah lived to be 950 years old, he would have lived for 58 years after Abram (Abraham) was born. Therefore, based upon what we have said to this point, Noah and Abraham WOULD have lived at the same time.
I capitalized “would” because if you go on what we have said to this point (and many stop here), this would be true. However, there are a few more verses we must add. Next, we must to go on to (Gen 11:32), and then combine this with (Gen 12:4). These say:
(Gen 11:32) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
(Gen 12:4) So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
Putting these together, Terah was 205 years old when he died, and Abram was 75 years old when this happened. (He left Haran right after his father died: Acts 7:4 backs this up). Therefore, Terah could not have “begat” Abram until he was 130 years old! This shows us two things: #1. Terah did not “begat” Abram when he was 70 years old, #2. Abram was not the firstborn of Terah.
***Note: Being first in listing does not always mean “firstborn” in the Bible, but rather the first listed was sometimes the one God chose to work through. For example:
(Josh 24:4) Jacob and Esau, but Esau was firstborn (Gen 27:15,19,32).
(1 Chr 1:28) Isaac and Ishmael, but Ishmael was firstborn: Compare (Gen 16:16) to (Gen 21:5).
(Gen 48:5,20) Ephraim and Manasseh, but Manasseh was firstborn (Gen 41:51-52).
SO, when we add this information to the information we mentioned previously, we have Noah being 892 years old when “Terah…. begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran” (Gen 11:26). However, Abram was NOT born at this time. He was born 60 years later! Noah would have been 952 years old when Abram was born, but Noah died at 950 years old. Therefore, Noah died 2 years BEFORE Abram was born!
Whew… I hope I didn’t lose you. If I did, go through it again slowly, look up the different verses, and you will see how I came to this conclusion.
I should add that it is also possible that not every generation is listed in the genealogy of Shem found in Genesis 11, as is the case with many other genealogies listed in the Bible (i.e. the genealogies of Jesus found in books of Matthew and Luke). This would make the time between Noah and Abraham even greater.
There are a number of studies I read out there that take sources outside of the Bible (i.e. the Book of Jasher) to say that Noah and Abram lived at the same time, knew each other, and perhaps even lived together for a time. However, I am sticking to Scripture, and Scripture shows this to be impossible.