by Brian S. Somers
This is the third entry in the “Vignettes of Patriarchy” series.
Centuries have passed since Adam’s Fall. Mankind has been fruitful and multiplied, though not without some tragic episodes such as the fratricide by Cain against his brother Abel, or Lamech’s killing of a teenager or young man. Then, in the fifth chapter of Genesis, Moses wrote the second “this is the book of generations of” זה ספר תולדת (zeh sepher toldot); the first time was the record of the creation during Creation Week. This genealogical record illuminates something that I think bears emphasis before we continue onto Noah himself.
Patriarchy is about a man being responsible for his family in his generation. But every man has a heritage of fathers backwards into time to Noah, and beyond him to Adam, and may be blessed with a similar heritage in descendants in sons and daughters forward into time. The past is fixed, but the present choices determines much about what the future will be, while the ultimate end thereof is known only to YHVH. Therefore, a genealogical record connects us with the past, with the decisions made by previous patriarchs that informing present-day men and fathers in their decision-making with an eye to the future. Not every man will be great in his generation, but he may have a great ancestor and/or a great descendant. Every human since the Flood is descended from Noah, and to him we now turn.