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Trivia Biblical Family Tree | Adam & Eve to King David

Eseru

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Today I'm going to show you the family tree of the Bible, from Adam and Eve to King David.

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Keep in mind that the sections that we are looking at today, which are the ones at the top of the chart, are considered by most historians to fall in to the category of myth and legend, whereas the sections at the bottom of the chart which was already covered in separate articles, are considered to be primarily historical.

If you're curious to learn more about the terms mythology, legend, and history and how they apply to the various parts of the Bible, you'll definitely want to check out Part 1 n the series on Biblical Genealogy.

According to the Book of Genesis, the first two humans were named Adam and Eve, and they were created directly by God. Now according to modern DNA research, all humans alive today can in fact be traced back to a single male ancestor (which scientists have cleverly named Y-Chromosomal Adam) and a single female ancestor (named Mitochondrial Eve).

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But keep in mind that these two DNA ancestors are very different from the Adam and Eve from the biblical story. For one thing, Y-Chromosomal Adam probably did not live at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve. And, even if, by some strange coincidence, the science showed that they did live at the exact same time, they were likely not a couple and they certainly would not have been the only two Homo Sapiens on earth. Instead, they were simply the male whose Y-Chromosomal DNA ended up beating out everyone else's and the female whose mitochondrial DNA ended up beating out everyone else's.

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I hope to cover the science behind all of this in a separate article/video, sometime next year.

But back to the Bible.

According to the biblical account, Adam and Eve were a couple and initially, the only two humans on earth. Eventually though, after getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden, they had two sons: named Cain and Abel.
Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. But one day, Cain ended up killing his brother Abel out of jealousy.

Now, considering that the Israelites were originally pastoralists, like the 'good son' Abel was, this story may actually have a basis in some sort of historical conflict between the Israelites and some nearby agriculturalists. But, as explained in the earlier videos/articles in this series, the Biblical writers were more interested in making theological points than they were about simply recording exact historical details.

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Anyway, Adam and Eve went on to have a third son, named Seth, as well as a bunch of other children. It is from Seth's line that we eventually get the next major character in the Bible: Noah.

But before we go on, I want to point out that both Cain's line and Seth's line are recorded in the Bible and that they have some interesting similarities.
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Both contain a series of six names that are almost identical, except for one small swap, and several alternate spellings.
So, one possibility is that both genealogies share a common origin. In other words, maybe there was originally one list of ancestors that was passed down orally but over the centuries, people in one area remembered the names in a slightly different way and eventually it developed into parallel tradition. Then, at some later point, editors combined the two traditions and made it seem like they were separate genealogies.

This is not the only example of parallel accounts in the first five books of the Bible. In fact, there are lots of them, indicating that these books were pieced together from multiple sources and traditions.

Noah is the guy who built the large boat, called the Ark, and filled it with a bunch of animals. This is because God decided to destroy the earth in a Flood, and then start all over again with Noah and his family, who were the only survivors.

You'll notice that on this chart, there are two timelines. On the left, there is one based on the biblical account, and on the right, there is one based on the secular account, using the information that has been gleaned from science and archaeology. So you can take your pick as to which one you want to follow. But either way, it's interesting to compare the two.

For example, on the secular timeline, around the year 2900 BCE, there was a devastating (yet localized) flood in Sumer and that this is the most likely candidate for the event that inspired the various Middle Eastern flood myths.

According to the Bible, Noah had three sons and therefore everyone alive on earth today is a descendant of either Shem, Ham, or Japeth.
This is where the idea of there being three distinct human races comes from, usually named white, black, and yellow.
But let me emphasize strongly, this idea is NOT true. Modern DNA research shows us that we can divide people into hundreds of different ethnicities, based on regional genetic variation but there is no genetic marker that allows us to then take those ethnicities and group them together into just a handful of categories called races. The closest thing would be to group ethnicities by continent but even there, the categories would overlap quite a bit and they would not line up very nicely with continental lines.

But the authors of the Bible did not have knowledge of DNA or historical migration patterns. So, according to them, the various nations of the earth that they were familiar with could in fact be explained using a simple family tree. And that;s what the next part of the biblical family tree is: a family tree of nations.

Shem had 5 sons, Ham had 4, and Japeth had 7: So, in total, Noah had 16 grandsons.

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In most cases, the names of those 16 grandsons match perfectly with the names of nations that existed in the Middle East during the time when the Bible was written.

So, on this map, are the 5 sons of Shem (shown in red) the 4 sons of Ham (shown on yellow), and the 7 sons of Japeth (shown in blue).

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Let's look at Ham first. From this map, it's clear that Ham was primarily associated with Africa. In fact, up until recently, the term "Hamitic" was still used to refer to language groups from North Africa (nowadays, the term Afro-asiatic is used instead). The most impportant Hamitic nation was Mizraim (pronounced as mits-ra-yeem). This was and is the Hebrew word for Egypt but it was also the Ancient Babylonian word for Egypt.

So, keep in mind that most of these names are not the names of people. They are quite clearly place names. Canaan and Cush being two more good examples.

Turning our attention to the red section, representing the descendants of Shem, there also several recognizable place names here too: Aram being the ancient name of Syria, Asshur being an alternate name for Assyria, and Elam being a nation that existed on the Iranian Plateau prior to the rise of Persia.
The only one that stands out as being a personal name, rather than a place name is Arphaxad, which, as we'll see, is the person from whom Abraham (from Ur of the Chaldeans) descended.
I should also point out that it is from the name Shem, ancestor of all these red areas, that we get the term Semitic and anti-Semitic.

Finally, let's talk about Japeth, shown in blue. These names are more obscure and uncertain as they are all names given to places much farther from the Land of Israel.
Javan is usually associated with the Greeks, and Madai with the Medes but when it comes to the other five, it's mostly guesswork. During the medieval period, it was thought that some of these nations, in particular Gomer, spread into Europe.
If we return to the family tree chart, you'll notice that Gomer had a grandson named Ashkenaz, who was thought to be the ancestor of the Germans. It is for this reason that Jews who lived in Germany and then migrated to Eastern Europe came to be called Ashkenazi Jews.

So when it comes to the three sons of Noah, very roughly you could say that Ham represented Africa, Shem represented West Asia, and Japeth represented Europe and this is exactly what certain medieval Christian thinkers promoted, which in turn, led to the idea of three races, which unfortunately was used to promote a heck of a lot of racism.
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But we don't need modern DNA research to conclude that the classification system offered by the Bible is, at the very least, incomplete. You'll notice that the people living in India, Australia, the Americas, Sub Saharan Africa, et cetera were not included in this classification system.

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That simply is because the biblical writers weren't aware that those people even existed. What they were doing was simply painting a picture of the world as they knew it.

Let's continue down the tree.

Arphaxad had a grandson named Eber, and this is probably where the term Hebrew comes from. From there, if we go down another 5 generations, we get a man names Terah, who had three sons: Abraham, Nahor, and Haran.

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Of these three, Abraham was, by far, the most important. In fact, the Book of Genesis is really a book about Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob (together known as the three patriarchs).

Everything in the Bible that comes before Abraham, like the Adam and Eve story and the Flood story, is really just a prologue.

Abraham is said to be the father of three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and it is because of this that these religions are often called the Abrahamic religions.

So let's look at his family tree.

Abraham was married to his half-sister, Sarah, but Sarah had difficulty having children, so Abraham married her handmaid Hagar as well, who was Egyptian, and had a son by her named Ishmael. But, as the story goes, God promised that Sarah would miraculously have a child in her old age and indeed she did, naming the child, Isaac.
Shortly thereafter, Hagar gets banished and winds up in Arabia, where, according to Islamic tradition, Ishmael became the ancestor of the Northern Arabic tribes.

A lot of people forget this, but Abraham actually had a third wife as well, named Keturah. According to the Bible, the people who later become the Midianites are the descendants of Abraham's son named Midian, from his marriage to Keturah.

One last thing to mention about Abraham, it is curious that the name Abraham is comprised of the exact same consonants as the name of the Hindu God, Brahma, who is the father of several other important Hindu gods and who happens to have a wife named Sara-swati. So maybe the two oldest religions on the planet - Judaism and Hinduism - both have links to the same (even earlier) tradition, that includes a couple named something like ***-ham and sa-ra. It's a very big MAYBE, but it's fun to think about.

Abraham's son, Isaac ended up marrying a relative named Rebecca. She was the granddaughter of Abraham's brother, Nahor, thus making Isaac and Rebecca first cousins once removed. Together, they had two sons: Esau and Jacob.
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Esau was the eldest, therefore entitled to the main inheritance, but through trickery, Jacob managed to get Esau to pass his birthright on to him. So Jacob becomes the next big character in the story. He falls in love with his cousin Rachel (you can see here that her father Laban was Rebecca's brother) but Laban tricks him into marrying his other daughter, Leah instead. In the end, he ends up marrying both sister, but has to work for Laban for 20 years.

In total, Jacob (whose name is later changed to Israel) has 12 sons and one daughter (named Dinah). The 12 sons eventually end up becoming the 12 tribes of Israel.

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But before we move on, let's quickly look at a map of the biblical land of Israel.

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To the East, in what is today Jordan, there were three nations that were on and off enemies of the Israelites: Ammon, Moab, and Edom.
According to the Bible, these three nations were actually relatives of the Israelites. The Moabites and Ammonites were the descendants of Abraham's nephew, Lot and the Edomites were the descendants of Jacob's older brother Esau.

Out of the 12 tribes of Israel, there are 2 that are the most important, Levi from which the priestly line comes (shown in red); and Judah, from which the royal line comes (shown in blue). Now, the other tribes are shown in yellow and if you count them, you'll notice that there are actually 11, meaning that in total, we actually have 13 tribes, not 12.

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Let me explain.

Jacob's most famous son was Joseph, who was given the multicolored coat but wound out being sold to Egypt where he becomes advisor to the pharaoh. He was the firstborn son of Jacob's favorite wife, Rachel, so he was given a double portion in terms of inheritance.
Therefore, the tribe of Joseph is usually split into two tribes, based on his two sons: Ephraim and Manasseh. And since the Tribe if Levi were appointed to be priests, they didn't get any physical inheritance, so once we take them out, we're back to 12.

Jacob and his family ended up moving to Egypt, where Joseph was living and it is there that they grew into a nation. But, as the story goes, after a few generations, the Egyptians forced them to become slaves. Which brings us to the Exodus and the story of Moses, the most important prophet in Judaism.

According to the second book of the Bible, called Exodus, Moses was placed in the Nile River as a baby and then discovered by one of the Pharaoh's daughters, who adopted him and raised him as her own. But as an ãdül†, he sees an Egyptian beating an Israelite and kills the perpetrator. He then escapes to Midian to avoid punishment where he meets Jethro and marries Jethro's daughter, Zipporah.

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It is in Midian that God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush and tells him that he has to go lead his people out of Egypt and into the promised land, which was back where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had lived. Moses gets help from his brother, Aaron and after God give Egypt a series of ten plagues, pharaoh eventually lets the Israelites go. Although, as the story goes, the pharah changes his mind and traps the Israelites near the Red Sea, where God then performs a great miracle, causing the sea to part, and the Israelites escaped for good.

They end up wandering in the desert for 40 years though, at the end of which, Moses passes on the torch on to a man named Joshua, from the Tribe of Ephraim, who then leads the Israelites to conquer the Land of Canaan where they end up dividing the land amongst the 12 tribes, with the descendants of Aaron being appointed as priests.

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, according to secular historians, the leading theory is that the Israelites were actually just one of the many Canaanite tribes and that they never did live in Egypt as a nation. Well, not in the main part of Egypt anyway.
During this period, Canaan was actually part of the Egyptian Empire so it's possible that some of them were in fact Egyptian slaves and that they were somehow able to throw off that yoke of slavery, but in Canaan, not in Egypt.

According to the biblical account, the period between the conquest of Canaan and the rise of the Davidic monarchy was a period in which the Israelites were rules by a series of military leaders called judges. Among these judges, are several famous bible characters such as Samson, Gideon, and the female judge Deborah.

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Deborah is important because, according to biblical scholars, a portion of the Book of Judges, called the Song of Deborah, is thought to be the oldest layer of text in the entire Bible.

The last major character before the monarchical period is the prophet Samuel, who was a Levite. It was Samuel who initially appointed Saul to be king, and then later, David.
David is followed by his son Solomon, and then after Solomon, the Israelites split into two major kingdoms: the Kingdom of Judah in the South and the Kingdom on Israel in the North.
Judah, of course was mostly comprised of the tribe of Judah, whereas Israel was comprised of all the remaining tribes.

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One more thing, it is said that there were 10 northern tribes. But who exactly those 10 tribes were sometimes differ. There are actually three different ways that we can come up with the number 10.

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One way is to leave the Levites to the side (as suggested earlier) and count the Tribe of Benjamin as part of the Kingdom of Judah, because their allotment of land was very close to Judah's and they were usually thought of as being on the Judah side of the border.

But another way is to include Simeon with Judah instead. This is because, according to the Bible, Simeon, Like Levi, was not given a separate land allotment. This was because of a special punishment that was given to those two brothers, which is mentioned back in Genesis 34.

But a third way is to go ahead and count Levi but combine Ephraim and Mansaseh back together as the Tribe of Joseph. This is the way that Jews usually count the 12 tribes as evidenced by the stamps used by the modern State of Israel.

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But no matter which way you divide the tribes, again, you usually end up with 10 that are considered to have made up the northern tribes and this has led to all sorts of speculation and pseudo-historical theories.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
This is a partial trasciption of the video by UsefulCharts titled Biblical Family Tree | Adam & Eve to King David which can be watched on YôùTùbé
Part 1 : The Kings of Israel & Judah Family Tree | What's the Archaeological Evidence?
 

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