Besides the common acceptation of this word, as signifying race, descent, lineage, it is used for the history and genealogy of a person, as in Ge 5:1, "the book of the generations of Adam," that is, the history of Adam's creation and of his posterity. So in Ge 2:4, "The generations of the heavens and of the earth," that is, their genealogy, so to speak, the history of the creation of heaven and earth; also in Mt 1:1, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ," that is, the genealogy of Jesus Christ," that is, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the history of his descent and life. "The present generation" comprises all those who are now alive; "This generation shall not pass till all be fulfilled," some now living shall witness the even foretold, Mt 24:34. "Save yourselves from this untoward generation," form the punishment which awaits these perverse men, Ac 2:40.
The Hebrews, like other ancient nations, sometimes computed loosely by the fourth generation thy descendants shall come hither again." The duration of a generation is of course very uncertain; indeed, it is impossible to establish any precise limits. It is, however, generally admitted that a generation in the earliest periods is to be reckoned longer than one in later times. The Greeks regarded a generation as one-third of a century. It is now currently reckoned as thirty years.
Ge 2:4, "These are the generations," means the "history." Ge 5:1, "The book of the generations," means a family register, or history of Adam. Ge 37:2, "The generations of Jacob" = the history of Jacob and his descendants. Ge 7:1, "In this generation" = in this age. Ps 49:19, "The generation of his fathers" = the dwelling of his fathers, i.e., the grave. Ps 73:15, "The generation of thy children" = the contemporary race. Isa 53:8, "Who shall declare his generation?" = His manner of life who shall declare? or rather = His race, posterity, shall be so numerous that no one shall be able to declare it.
In Mt 1:17, the word means a succession or series of persons from the same stock. Mt 3:7, "Generation of vipers" = brood of vipers. Mt 24:34, "This generation" = the persons then living contemporary with Christ. 1Pe 2:9, "A chosen generation" = a chosen people.
The Hebrews seem to have reckoned time by the generation. In the time of Abraham a generation was an hundred years, thus: Ge 15:16, "In the fourth generation" = in four hundred years (comp. Ge 15:13; Ex 12:40). In De 1:35; 2:14 a generation is a period of thirty-eight years.
Hebrew dowr, "revolution," period of time; 100 years in the patriarchal age (Ge 15:13,16; Ex 12:40), afterward 30 or 40 years (Job 42:16; Lu 1:50). On the plural GENERATIONS, Hebrew toledowt, (See GENEALOGY. Mankind is ethnologically ranged under three heads in Ge 10:3,6,22, "the sons of Japhet, Ham, Shem." Modern science by independent research arrives at a similar three fold division into Semitic, Aryan, and Turanian (Allophylian). Genesis, in accordance with modern ethnology, classifies together the Cymry or Celts (Gomer), the Medes (Madai), and the Ionians or Greeks (Javan); thus anticipating the Indo-European theory, which makes the European races (represented by the Celts and the Ionians) akin to the Aryans (represented by the Asiatic Madai or Medes).
Also Scripture, in agreement with ethnology, groups together as "children of Shem" (i.e. Semitics) Asshur (Assyrians), Aram (Syrians), Eber (Hebrew), and Joktan (the Joktanian Arabs). Also it rightly classifies under the "sons of Ham" Cash (Ethiopians), Mizraim (Egyptians), Sheba and Dedan (certain southern Arabs), and Nimrod (i.e. the oldest Babylonians). (See BABEL) Sir H. Rawlinson truly terms "the generations (genealogy) of the sons of Noah" "the most authentic record we possess for the affiliation of nations" (Journal of the Asiatic Society, 15:230). Generation means also the men of an age: as Isa 53:8, "who shall declare His generation?" i.e. their wickedness, in parallelism to their oppressive "judgment." In Jer 7:29, "generation of His wrath," i.e. with whom He is angry. Also generation is used with reference to the characteristic disposition of the age, "adulterous," "unbelieving," "untoward" (Mt 11:16; 12:39; 17:17; Ac 2:40).
In Lu 16:8, "the children of this world are in respect to their own (so the Greek) generation (i.e. in relation to men of their own kind, men of this world) wiser than the children of light," are in respect to their generation (men of their kind, godly, men of the world to come). In Mt 3:7 generation means "brood of vipers." In Mt 24:34 "this generation shall not pass (namely, the Jewish race, of which the generation in Christ's days was a sample in character; compare Christ's address to the generation, Mt 23:35-36, in proof that generation means at times the whole Jewish race) until all these things be fulfilled," a prophecy that the Jews shall be a distinct people still when He shall come again.
Generation' is used in AV to tr 1. Heb. d
This is used in various senses in scripture.
1. As from a father to his son, or from a king to his successor, ?????, as in the three series of 'fourteen generations' in Mt 1:17, though the same term is applied where names have been omitted. See GENEALOGY OF THE LORD JESUS.
2. In a much wider sense, as when the Lord said of the unbelieving Jews, "This generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled." Mt 24:34; Lu 21:32: cf. De 32:5,20. The unbelieving Jews still exist and will until the events take place.
3. As offspring, ???????, where there was a moral likeness, as "generation of vipers." Mt 3:7, etc.
4. As class, family, etc., ?????. Ye are 'a chosen generation.' 1Pe 2:9.
In the long-lived patriarchal age a generation seems to have been computed at 100 years,
comp. Gene 15:13 and Eccl 12:40 but subsequently the reckoning was the same which has been adopted by modern civilized nations, viz. from thirty to forty years
(Generation is also used to signify the men of an age or time, as contemporaries,
posterity, especially in legal formulae,
etc.; fathers, or ancestors.
GENERATION. Beside the common acceptation of this word, as signifying descent, it is used for the history and genealogy of any individual, as "The book of the generations of Adam," Ge 5:1, the history of Adam's creation, and of his posterity. "The generations of the heavens and of the earth," Ge 2:4, is a recital of the creation of heaven and earth. "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David," Mt 1:1, is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, and the history of his life. The ancients sometimes computed by generations: "In the fourth generation thy descendants shall come hither again," Ge 15:16. "Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation," Ge 50:23. "A bastard shall not be admitted into the congregation, till the tenth generation," De 23:2. Among the ancients, when the duration of generations was not exactly described by the age of four men succeeding one another from father to son, it was fixed by some at a hundred years, by others at a hundred and ten, by others at thirty-three, thirty, twenty-five, and even at twenty years; being neither uniform nor settled: only, it is remarked, that a generation is longer as it is more ancient.