NTTC LUKE 3:36: Who was Shelah’s father? Was it Cainan or Arpachshad?

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 100 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Major Critical Texts of the New Testament

Byz RP: 2005 Byzantine Greek New Testament, Robinson & Pierpont
TR1550: 1550 Stephanus New Testament
Maj: The Majority Text (thousands of minuscules which display a similar text)
Gries: 1774-1775 Johann Jakob Griesbach Greek New Testament
Treg: 1857-1879 Samuel Prideaux Tregelles Greek New Testament
Tisch: 1872 Tischendorf’s Greek New Testament
WH: 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament
NA28: 2012 Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament
UBS5: 2014 Greek New Testament
NU: Both Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Society

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

ΚΑΤΑ ΛΟΥΚΑΝ 3:36 (WH NU) [P]

36 τοῦof the ΚαινάμCainan τοῦof the ᾿ΑρφαξάδArphaxad τοῦof the ΣήμShem τοῦof the ΝῶεNoah τοῦof the ΛάμεχLamech 

WH NU TR τοῦ Καϊνὰμ
“son of Cainan”
א* B A K N Γ Δ Θ Ψ 0102 ƒ13 (565). 700. 892. 1241. 1424. 2542. l 2211 𝔪 syp.h samss bopt

Variant Omits
P75vid D

Luke 3:35- 36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 [the son of Cainan], the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

Luke 3:36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
36 [he son of Cainan], [is] the son of Arphaxad, [is] the son of Shem, [is] the son of Noah, [is] the son of Lamech,

BIBLE DIFFICULTIES

P75 and D do not contain “son of Cainan,” in agreement with Gen. 10:24; Gen. 11:12, 15; 1Ch 1:18. Some manuscripts contain a second “Cainan,” between Arphaxad and Shelah. (Lu 3:35-36; compare Gen 10:24; 11:12; 1Ch 1:18, 24.) Most scholars take this to be a copyist’s error. “Cainan” is not found in this same position in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Samaritan texts, nor the Targums, but it is found in the Greek Septuagint (Alexandrine Manuscript of the fifth century C.E.). I. Howard Marshall writes, “The name Καϊνάμ is found only in the LXX, with no equivalent in the MT (it is omitted by 𝔓75 vid D); its presence shows that for this part of the genealogy Luke was using the LXX.”[1] However, it seems likely that it was not in the earlier copies of the Septuagint, as Josephus, who normally follows the Septuagint, lists Seles (Shelah) next as the son of Arphaxades (Arpachshad). (Jewish Antiquities, I, 146 [vi, 4]) Irenaeus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Jerome rejected the second “Cainan” in copies of Luke’s account as an interpolation. Arpachshad was the father of Shelah. (Genesis 10:24; 11:12) On this Darrell L. Bock writes,

Καϊνάμ (Cainan)—This name lacks a Hebrew equivalent in the MT. It is, however, present as Καϊνάν in the LXX of Gen. 11:12 and 10:24 and in manuscript A of 1 Chron. 1:18. Most take this as evidence that Luke is using the LXX (Marshall 1978: 165; Schürmann 1969: 201 n. 101). More difficult is the order of names in the LXX, for there Cainan appears as the father of Sala, not his son, as here (Plummer 1896: 104). Plummer regards the name in the LXX text as possibly a late insertion, since it is not attested independently until Augustine. However, he is clear that the LXX addition cannot find its source in Luke, since the order differs. The possibility that Luke had access to a different source containing this name in a different order cannot be excluded. There is good possibility that the name should be omitted in Luke, since P75 and D omit the name here and it reappears in 3:37. If it is omitted, then the eleven groups of seven noted in the translation include Joseph. Again, there is too little evidence to make a clear decision.[2] 

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

The Masoretic Text, Genesis 10:24 and 1 Chronicles 1:18 has Arpachshad as the father of Shelah. On the other hand, Luke, states at Luke 3:35-36 that Shelah was “the son of Cainan, [was] the son of Arphaxad.” The weightiest manuscripts with the exception of P75 support the inclusion of the expression “son of Cainan;” therefore, it is in almost all Bible translations. Let’s just say, the issue does not lie with Luke as though he somehow made a mistake or that he may have used a faulty manuscript, as he was moved along by the Holy Spirit. While this could likely be a copyist error, the weightiest textual evidence says that it “son of Cainan” is original. It is possible that “Cainan” at Luke 3:36 is possibly a corruption of the term “Chaldeans.” If it was; then, the original text could have read, “the son of Chaldean Arpachshad.” Then, again, it is possible that P75 and D are the original reading. P75 is the absolute best Greek NT manuscript, the weightiest of them all. It is for this reason that the Updated American Standard Version has placed [the son of Cainan] in square brackets, which indicates that there is some doubt as to its originality.

  • LXX Luke 3:35-36: the son of Eber, [is] the son of Shelah, [is] 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem
  • MT Genesis 10:24: Arpachshad fathered Shelah; and Shelah fathered Eber.
  • LXX Genesis 10:24: And Arphaxad fathered Cainan, and Cainan father Shelah. And Shelah fathered Heber.

  • Luke: Arpachshad is the father of Cainan
  • MT: Arpachshad is the father of Shelah
  • LXX: Arpachshad is the father of Cainan

Luke 3:35- 36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
35 the son of Serug, [is] the son of Reu, [is] the son of Peleg, [is] the son of Eber, [is] the son of Shelah, [is] 36 [the son of Cainan], [is] the son of Arphaxad, [is] the son of Shem, the son of Noah, [is] the son of Lamech,

Papyrus 75

35 τοῦof the ΣερούχSerug τοῦof the ῬαγαύReu τοῦof the ΦάλεκPeleg τοῦof the ἜβερEber τοῦof the ΣαλάShelah 36 τοῦof the ᾿ΑρφαξάδArphaxad τοῦof the ΣήμShem τοῦof the ΝῶεNoah τοῦof the ΛάμεχLamech 

35 the son of Serug, [is] the son of Reu, [is] the son of Peleg, [is] the son of Eber, [is] the son of Shelah, [is] 36 [is] the son of Arphaxad, [is] the son of Shem, the son of Noah, [is] the son of Lamech,

[1] I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978), 165.

[2] Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 1:1–9:50, vol. 1, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1994), 358–359.

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