Answering The Atheist
August 22, 2004 / Volume 4, Issue 34
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
How many were in Jacob's family when they came into Egypt, 70 (Genesis 46:27; Exodus 1:5), or 75 (Acts 7:14)? Is there a contradiction?
In Genesis 46:27, we read about 70 children of Jacob. They can be summarized as follows:
33 — children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren through Leah (v 8-15);
16 — children, and grandchildren through Zilpah (v 16-18);
7 — children, and grandchildren through Rachel (v 19-22);
14 — children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren through Bilhah (v 23-25)
70 — total number of Jacob's descendants listed.
Why does Luke list 75? The Septuagint, which Luke would have used as a source, includes the following in Genesis 46:27, "...the sons of Joseph who were with him in Egypt, were nine souls...", and therefore concludes, "...all the souls of the house of Jacob which came with Jacob into Egypt, were seventy-five souls."
The number of travellers with Jacob is given as 66 persons (v 26). Follow the math with me:
66 — travellers with Jacob to Egypt;
2 — sons of Jacob already in Egypt (Joseph & Benjamin)
2 — grandsons of Jacob already in Egypt (Ephraim & Manasseh)
5 — great-grandsons of Jacob already in Egypt (1 Chr 7:14-21)
75 — the number of people listed by Luke, and by the Septuagint version of Gen 46:27.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible