Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Genesis King Lists

Alice C. Linsley

James Ussher, the 17th century Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, developed a chronology using the Genesis genealogies to calculate the age of the Earth. His scheme is generally accepted by Young Earth Creationists who hold that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. One wonders how this can be when there is substantial evidence of kingdom building by rulers in the R1b Haplogroup as early as 10,000 years ago. Further, modern humans had already widely dispersed across the Earth by 80,000 years ago, long before the time of Noah (BC 2490-2415).

Ussher meant well, but he failed to understand that the so-called genealogies are not generational lists of the first humans on Earth, but rather they are king lists. Some of these "mighty men of old" ruled simultaneously, some ruled for short periods, and others ruled for longer than a generation (40 years).

Most of the rulers had two wives from whom were born two first born sons. Ussher failed to take this complication into consideration, which is another reason his chronology should not be used to determine the age of the Earth.

There are, in fact, various versions of the king lists, depending on the group of people being ruled. Some are traced through the cousin/niece bride who named her first-born son after her father. This name is often referred to as "the throne name." These pertain only to the proper heir of the ruler, that is ,the son born to his first wife. Usually this wife is a half sister, as was Sarah to Abraham.

Other lists provide the names of the first born sons of the half-sister wives. Examples include Lamech, Enoch, Esau and Joktan.

Some lists are telescopic to provide a wider picture whereby a famous ruler is shown to be the direct descendant of a great common ancestor. Noah and Eber are examples. Telescopic lists leave out some names.

The Genesis king lists are usually organized in depths of ten rulers.  For example, Genesis chapter 11 lists ten kings from Noah to Abraham. Genesis 4 and 5 attempts to place Noah as the tenth ruler from Adam, but analysis of the kinship pattern of Genesis 4-5 reveals that Adam is not the name that heads this list. The name is Enoch or Nok.

Now that the marriage pattern of these rulers has been identified, we see why the Genesis genealogies cannot be used to determine the age of the Earth. However, the marriage and ascendancy pattern of these archaic rulers foreshadows the marriage and ascendancy of Jesus, the Christ. The righteous rulers among them hoped for the resurrection of the body from the grave. In the archaic world, the ruler was regarded as the mediator between the Creator and the people. If God turned His face away from the ruler, the people suffered from want and war. If the ruler found favor with God, the people experienced abundance and peace. The divinely appointed ruler was expected to intercede for his people before God in life and in death. The ruler's resurrection meant that he could lead his people beyond the grave to immortality.

In Genesis 4-5 we read about rulers whose existence can be verified through archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, and molecular genetics (DNA studies). Clearly, these are not the first people on the Earth. THey are for the most part, rulers of the Late Holocene Wet Period and the Neolithic Period. 

The Genesis king lists cannot be used to verify the historicity of Adam and Eve. That is not the purpose of the king lists, nor the intention of the Genesis origin narratives. Further, Adam is represented in two distinct ways in the Bible: as the first Father created by God at the beginning of human existence, and as the founding father of the red people whose point of origin was the region of Lake Chad and the Upper Nile. 

The intermarriage of ruling houses

Using what we know about the kinship pattern of these rulers, we are able to reconstruct a picture of Cain and Seth's relationship to two ruling houses of ancient Africa: the House of Seti (Seth) and the House of Enoch.

Cain married Seth's sister, a daughter of Enoch. Seth married Cain's sister, a daughter of Enoch. In other words, Cain and Seth married half-sisters.  Cain and Seth and their half-sister brides were the offspring of Enoch by his two wives.  So the name that belongs at the head of the Genesis 4-5 king lists is not Adam, but Enoch. The African form of Enoch is Nok.

Using what we know about the marriage pattern of these rulers, it is also possible to trace the Genesis 4-5 lists back to Enoch's father-in-law, Seth or Seti. Cain's brother Seth was named by his mother, Enoch's cousin bride, after her father Seti the Nubian.

The Nubian Lineage of Kain and Seth          © 2010 Alice C. Linsley
Segment I:  The Cousin Bride’s Naming Prerogative and the Throne Name of Seth/Seti

The cousin bride’s first-born son rules in place of his maternal grandfather.  So Seth ruled over the territory of Seth the Elder who was Nubian/Kushite.

                  Seth/Seti (Nubian)
                                    O   =   ∆  Enoch the Elder
                             Seth the Younger  ∆   Gen. 5                                    

Segment II:  The Half-Sister Bride and the Throne Name of Enoch/Nok

The half-sister’s first-born son rules in place of his father. So Enosh ruled over the territory of his father Seth.

        Enoch/Nok  ∆  =  O  Half-sister bride
                        Kain   ∆         O  =   ∆   Seth   Gen. 5
                                                              ∆  Enosh/Enoch the Younger

Abraham's Kushite Ancestors

The connection of these rulers to ancient Kush is confirmed by Genesis 10:6-8 which tells us that Ham's son Kush had two first-born sons: Raamah and Nimrod, both Kushites.  Raamah's territory was in Arabia his two first-born sons were Dedan and Sheba.  Nimrod's territory was in the Tigris-Euphrates region. His first-born son by his cousin bride was Asshur the Younger, named after Shem's son, Asshur the Elder. 

The Kushites spread across the ancient Afro-Asiatic world. These rulers were great kingdom builders. Their royal lines continued to intermarry according to the pattern we have identified even after their languages morphed into Afro-Arabian (Dedanite) and Afro-Asiatic (Aramean).  Genesis 10:25 tells us that this division was evident in the time of Peleg, one of Eber's first-born sons. Eber's other first-born son was Joktan the Elder, after whom one of Abraham's sons by Keturah received his throne name (Gen. 25:1).

Genesis 25 calls Joktan the "father of Sheba and Dedan." Here the word "father" does not intended in the biological sense. In connecting Joktan, Sheba and Dedan, this writer recognizes that Joktan, Sheba, Dedan and Asshur were all Kushites.


  1. Who is the father of the Arameans, is it Shem or is it Kemuel son of Nahor?

  2. The Arameans are Hebrew descendants of Nilotic ruler-priests. The Nile River was called "Ar". The Nile is the apparent point of origin of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. That caste dispersed widely out of the Nile Valley into Arabia, Canaan, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, central Europe, Spain, France and the British Isles. They also moved into parts of Iran (the Zagros mountains), Pakistan, and the Indus River Valley (before Hinduism). Many rulers of these region have names with the "Ar" prefix. See this:


Your comments are welcome. Please stay on topic and provide examples to support your point.