Counting Generations in Ether & OT

For a lark, I compared the number of generations in the Book of Ether to that in the Old Testament over the same time span. You may say that certain factors make this endeavour impossible, but those factors notwithstanding, some interesting observations can be caught.

Background

The book of Ether begins at the time of Genesis chapter 12, the building of the tower of Babel. It concludes within a generation or so following the fall of Jerusalem under the reign of King Zedekiah.

(Actually, it is possible that the Mulekites had established themselves in America several generations before finding Coriantumr—which would place the termination of the Book of Ether several generations after the death of Zedekiah—but such is unlikely, given the enormity of the last battle of the Jaredites.)

Chart 1

Book of Ether Old Testament
Jared Reu
Orihah Serug
Shule Nahor
Omer Terah
Emer Abraham
Coriantum Isaac
Com Jacob
Heth Levi
Shez Kohash
Riplakish Amram
Moses
Morianton *Joshua
Kim [12 Judges]
Levi *Saul
Corom *David
Kish Solomon
Lib Rehoboam
Hearthom Abijam
Heth Asa
Aaron Jehosaphat
Amnigaddah Joram
Coriantum Athaziah
Com Athaliel
Shiblon Joash
Seth Amaziah
Ahah Uzziah
Ethem Jotham
Moron Ahaz
Coriantor Hezekiah
Ether Manasseh
*Coriantumr Amon
Josiah
Jehoahaz
Jehoiiakim
Jehoichin
Zedekiah

*Not a lineal heir of the predecessor but probably 1 or 2 generations younger.

Quick count: The Book of Ether gives 31 generations. The Old Testament gives 35, plus however many existed in the book of Judges (represented above as ‘[12 Judges]’).

The ellipsis (…) is provided in the left column to indicate that Morianton is described only as a ‘descendent’ of Riplakish (see Chart 2).

Aside: An interesting error can be found in the Book of Ether—(I won’t venture to guess whose error it was): chapter 1 lists the son of Com as ‘Shiblon’ in both instances where he is mentioned. Later, when his history is told in chapter 10, he is called ‘Shiblom’ in every instance.

When was the tower of Babel built?

You see my Old Testament chronology beginning with Reu, born in Genesis 11:18. This relies on some guesswork because the tale of the tower of Babel comes after Noah’s descendents’ geneology is given through the sons of Joktan (Gen 10:26-29), and none of Joktan’s sons is given a complete geneology thereafter, but Joktan’s brother’s line is provided, and Reu was Joktan’s nephew.

Does the Book of Ether show sonship?

One complaint that Book-of-Mormon readers may raise is that Ether chapter 1 gives ‘descendent’ instead of ‘son’ for several of the relationships in its synoptic geneology. However, a perusal of the history in ensuing chapters indicates sonship for all of these relationships except one: Riplakish to Morianton—and even that relationship might be single-generation-filial. (See Chart 2 below.)

The length of Jaredite generations

An uncommon quantity of generations in the Book of Ether are longer than the norm for the Jaredite population. Between a third and a quarter of the sons in the given geneology were begotten during the old age of their fathers. (See Chart 2 below.)

Chart 2

verse father synopsis narrative aged
6.14 Jared son son
7.3 Orihah son begat yes
7.7 Kib son begat yes
8.1 Shule son begat
9.14 Omer son begat yes
9.21 Emer son begat likely
9.25 Coriantum son begat
9.25 Com son begat
10.1 Heth son descendant
10.4 Shez son begat likely
10.9 Riplakish descendant descendant
10.13 Morianton son begat yes
10.14 Kim son begat yes
10.16 Levi son begat likely
10.17 Corom son
10.18 Kish son
10.29 Lib son begat
10.31 Hearthom son begat
10.31 Heth descendant begat
10.31 Aaron son begat
10.31 Amnigaddah son begat
10.31 Coriantum son begat
11.4 Com son begat maybe
11.9 Shiblon son
11.10 Seth son son
11.11 Ahah son descendant
11.14 Ethem son begat
11.18 Moron son begat
11.23 Coriantor descendant begat
Ether

The column labelled ‘synopsis’ refers to the language given in the geneology in Ether chapter 1. The column labelled ‘narrative’ refers to the language in the geneology drawn out over chapters 6 through 11 of the book. the column labelled ‘old age’ indicates whether the father begat the named offspring in his old age.

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