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A history of the descent of a person or group (family, tribe, or nation) from an ancestor. The term appears in both the OT and the NT (1Chr 5:1; 1Chr 5:7; 1Chr 5:17; 2Chr 31:16; Ezra 2:62; Neh 7:5; Neh 7:64; 1Tim 1:4; Titus 3:9; also Matt 1:1, NRSV). The OT contains about two dozen genealogical lists. The first is at Gen 4:17-22 (from Cain through seven generations). Other prominent lists are the generations from Adam to Noah (Gen 5:1-32), the descendants of Noah (Gen 10:1-32), the generations from Shem to Abraham (Gen 11:10-26), the descendants of Jacob (Gen 46:8-27) and Levi (Exod 6:16-25), and the list of persons and families of the postexilic community who continue the line from preexilic times (Ezra 2:2-61; Matt 2:2-6). The most extensive genealogy is in (1Chr 1:1-9:44) (Adam to the descendants of Saul). The NT genealogies of Jesus in (Matt 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38) establish his Davidic descent (Matt 1:1; Matt 1:6; Matt 1:17; Luke 3:31). Matthew’s genealogy also establishes Jesus’s descent from Abraham (Matt 1:1-2 Matt 1:17), while Luke’s traces Jesus’s descent from “Adam, the Son of God” (Luke 3:3).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.