Genesis 11:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 11:12, NIV: "When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah."

Genesis 11:12, ESV: "When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah."

Genesis 11:12, KJV: "And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:"

Genesis 11:12, NASB: "Arpachshad lived thirty-five years, and fathered Shelah;"

Genesis 11:12, NLT: "When Arphaxad was 35 years old, he became the father of Shelah."

Genesis 11:12, CSB: "Arpachshad lived 35 years and fathered Shelah."

What does Genesis 11:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The line from Noah to Abraham follows through Shem to Arpachshad and now to Shelah. This is a noteworthy point in Genesis due to the age of Arpachshad when he fathers Shelah: "only" 35 years old. This is a drastic reduction in the age of having children when compared to the pre-flood era (Genesis 5). Of course, the genealogies listed prior to the flood don't demand those children were the first-born, so those patriarchs might well have had other, earlier children. And yet, it's significant that the ages associated with children are decreasing, as are the lifespans.

Whether as a result of the world being damaged by the flood (Genesis 7:22–24), or by God's direct intervention (Genesis 6:3), humanity's lifespans will taper off very quickly in the generations following Noah. To multiply and fill the earth, people had to start having children at much younger ages.