Biblical Cumulative Lifespans (‘Long’) Chronologies

Comparing the Masoretic Text (MT), Samaritan Pentateuch (SP), and Septuagint (LXX)

The ‘Long’ or ‘Cumulative’ method (two terms for the same approach) extends the timeline by adding the lifespans of each patriarch, from Adam to Moses, end-to-end. This approach differs from the traditional method, which marks the birth of each subsequent son to calculate the chronology.

This alternative method provides a broader interpretive framework for understanding the genealogical data in Genesis 5 and 11. Comparing this against the regular method evinces patterns reliant on one another, revealing a sophisticated interaction between the two chronologies. These interconnected numeric patterns suggest deliberate theological messaging, underscoring the significance of cumulative chronologies in biblical scholarship. However, their study has been limited, often due to skepticism about schematic designs in ancient texts or doubts about the sophisticated mathematical capabilities of ancient scribes.

  • MT (Masoretic Text): The traditional Hebrew text used as the basis for most modern Bible translations.
  • SP (Samaritan Pentateuch): The text used by the Samaritan community differs from the MT in some details.
  • LXX (Septuagint): The ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which sometimes contains different numbers and an additional generation (Cainan) between Arphaxad and Shelah.

Note: Dates are calculated backward from a fixed point, accumulating lifespans. The three-year spans reflect the difference between tracing the lineage through Moses or his older brother Aaron, both descendants of Levi (Exodus 6:16-20). This three-year difference extends back to Adam.

The seven-year ‘Full Span’ incorporates this three-year span and adds a ±2 year range. This additional range is derived from textual details surrounding Shem’s age at the Flood and the birth of Arphaxad (Genesis 11:10). It reflects the implied age differences among Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 5:32, 9:24, 10:21).

The textual ambiguity appears intentional, creating a seven-year span that echoes the seven days of Creation (Genesis 1-2:3). This provides a symbolic framework of seven-year periods.


MT Cumulative (‘Long’) Chronology Table

Dates marked with an asterisk (*) represent the cumulative lifespans from Adam to the births of Aaron and Moses. Aaron and Moses were born 3 (or 3.5) years apart.

Patriarch3-yr gap of Aaron/Moses (BC)7-yr Span
forwarded
Lifespan (years)
Adam*14009 – 1400614011 – 14004930
Seth*13079 – 1307613081 – 13074912
Enos*12167 – 1216412169 – 12162905
Kenan*11262 – 1125911264 – 11257910
Mahalaleel*10352 – 1034910354 – 10347895
Jared*9457 – 94549459 – 9452962
Enoch*8495 – 84928497 – 8490365
Methuselah*8130 – 81278132 – 8125969
Lamech*7161 – 71587163 – 7156777
Noah*6384 – 63816386 – 6379950
Shem*5434 – 54315436 – 5429600
Flood to Arphaxad:
“Shem, Ham & Japheth” allow ±2
*4834 – 48314836 – 4829±2
Arphaxad*4834-48314836-4829438
Shelah*4396 – 43934398 – 4391433
Eber*3963 – 39603965 – 3958464
Peleg*3499 – 34963501 – 3494239
Reu*3260 – 32573262 – 3255239
Serug*3021 – 30183023 – 3016230
Nahor*2791 – 27882793 – 2786148
Terah*2643 – 26402645 – 2638205
Abraham*2438 – 24352440 – 2433175
Isaac*2263 – 22602265 – 2258180
Jacob*2083 – 20802085 – 2078147
Levi*1936 – 19331938 – 1931137
Kohath*1799 – 17961801 – 1794133
Amram*1666 – 16631668 – 1661137
Aaron/Moses*1530/15261532/1525 123.5/120
Death: Aaron/Moses*1407/1406(Exodus *1446)
Notes:
1. The seven-year column is the result of the 3-year gap between Aaron and Moses, with the ±2 years due to the 2-year anomaly at Shem (2+3+2=7).
2. Aaron and Moses are brothers. Aaron is 3.5 years older than Moses.
3. The Exodus marks the birth of Israel as a nation in 1446 BC.

LXX Cumulative (‘Long’) Chronology Table

Dates marked with an asterisk (*) represent the cumulative lifespans from Adam to the births of Aaron and Moses. Aaron and Moses were born 3 (or 3.5) years apart.
Patriarch3-yr gap of Aaron/Moses (BC)7-yr Span
forwarded
Lifespan (years)
Adam*14899 – 1489614901 – 14894930
Seth*13969 – 1396613971 – 13964912
Enos*13057 – 1305413059 – 13052905
Kenan*12152 – 1214912154 – 12147910
Mahalaleel*11242 – 1123911244 – 11237895
Jared*10347 – 1034410349 – 10342962
Enoch*9385 – 93829387 – 9380365
Methuselah*9020 – 90179022 – 9015969
Lamech*8051 – 80488053 – 8046753
Noah*7298 – 72957300 – 7293950
Shem *6348 – 63456350 – 6343600
Flood to Arphaxad:
“Shem, Ham & Japheth” allow ±2
*5748 – 57455750 – 5743±2
Arphaxad*5748 – 57455750 – 5743465
Cainan*5283 – 52805285 – 5278460
Shelah*4823 – 48204825 – 4818460
Eber*4363 – 43604365 – 4358504
Peleg*3859 – 38563861 – 3854339
Reu*3520 – 35173522 – 3515339
Serug*3181 – 31783183 – 3176330
Nahor*2851 – 28482853 – 2846208
Terah*2643 – 26402645-2638205
Abraham*2438 – 24352440-2433175
Isaac*2263 – 22602265-2258180
Jacob*2083 – 20802085-2078147
Levi*1936 – 19331938-1931137
Kohath*1799 – 17961801-1794133
Amram*1666 – 16631668-1661137
Aaron/Moses*1530/15261531-1524123.5/120
Death: Aaron/Moses*1407/1406(Exodus 1446)NA
Notes:
1. The seven-year column is the result of the 3-year gap between Aaron and Moses, with the ±2 years due to the 2-year anomaly at Shem (2+3+2=7).
2. Aaron and Moses are brothers. Aaron is 3 or 3.5 years older than Moses.
3. The Exodus marks the birth of Israel as a nation in 1446 BC.
4. The LXX includes Cainan between Arphaxad and Shelah, who is not present in the MT or SP chronologies.
5. See introductory notes for the “LXX Regular Short Chronology” and specifically for the lifespans of Lamech, Arphaxad, and Shelah.

SP Cumulative (‘Long’) Chronology Table

Patriarch3-yr gap of Aaron/Moses (BC)7-yr Span
forwarded
Lifespan (years)
Adam*13401 – 1339813403 – 13396930
Seth*12471 – 1246812473 – 12466912
Enos*11559 – 1155611561 – 11554905
Kenan*10654 – 1065110656 – 10649910
Mahalaleel*9744 – 97419746 – 9739895
Jared*8849 – 88468851 – 8844847
Enoch*8002 – 79998004 – 7997365
Methuselah*7637 – 76347639 – 7632720
Lamech*6917 – 69146919 – 6912653
Noah*6264 – 62616266 – 6259950
Shem*5314 – 53115316 – 5309600
Flood to Arphaxad:
“Shem, Ham & Japheth” allow ±2
*4714 – 47114716 – 4709 ±2
Arphaxad*4714 – 47114716 – 4709438
Shelah*4276 – 42734278 – 4271433
Eber*3843 – 38403845 – 3838404
Peleg*3439 – 34363441 – 3434239
Reu*3200 – 31973202 – 3195239
Serug*2961 – 29582963 – 2956230
Nahor*2731 – 27282733 – 2726148
Terah*2583 – 25802585-2578145
Abraham*2438 – 24352440-2433175
Isaac*2263 – 22602265-2258180
Jacob*2083 – 20802085-2078147
Levi*1936 – 19331938-1931137
Kohath*1799 – 17961801-1794133
Amram*1666 – 16631668-1661137
Aaron/Moses*1529/15261531-1524123.5/120
Death: Aaron/Moses*1407/1406(Exodus 1446)
Notes:
1. The seven-year column is the result of the 3-year gap between Aaron and Moses, with the ±2 years due to the 2-year anomaly at Shem (2+3+2=7).
2. Aaron and Moses are brothers. Aaron is 3.5 years older than Moses.
3. The Exodus marks the birth of Israel as a nation in 1446 BC.

Also, the counterpart of the Long-Cumulative Chronologies is the standard (“normal”) “Short” Chronologies. Click here for the complete tables of the standard chronologies of the MT, LXX, and SP.

For more lists of genealogies from Genesis, follow the below links:

https://1260d.com/bible-chronology-23-bible-numeric-numbers-2300days-years/
https://1260d.com/timeline-from-creation-and-its-8-variations/