To put this into closer context, if we assume that Joktan
was born when Eber was 20 years old (1743 AM), then it
might realistically be assumed that it would take 55 or 60
years for Joktan to: (a) grow up and marry ( 20 years), and (b)
bring up a family of thirteen to the point where the youngest
reached the age of 20 years old ( 35 to 40 years). This would
take the minimum timeframe to 142 to 147 years post-Flood
for the Babel event (with reference to the MT). Gill seems to
offer some support to this, but is uncertain over the actual
date and provides the reader with the possible range through
Peleg’s life. Gill also notes that some “eastern writers say,
that it was in the fortieth year of the
life of Peleg, and then it must be in
the year after the flood one hundred
and forty one.”
39 But if Joktan was
feasibly born 20 years after Peleg,
then that time would run out to 181
years. And if we were to assume the
more normal 30 years in the MT to
birth of first born, then that minimum
period would stretch to 200 years.
Ussher doesn’t directly provide an
actual date, but only a minimum
period to deal with the problem of
Joktan’s children. However, he does
suggest that Babylon was founded
when Peleg was 13 years old, and
Egypt was founded 160 years post-Flood, which may indicate his view
of the Babel dispersion.
40 But there is
the possibility that the dates given by
the sources Ussher used are inflated,
which reduces confidence in this at
As noted, there are several primary sources for the dating
of Peleg’s life. The dates in table 1 and figure 3 have been
determined by subtracting the birth of Arphaxad from
Peleg’s life events, and adding a number of years back to the
Flood. The texts record that Arphaxad was born two years
after the family came out of the Ark, except Josephus’ LXX,
which has 12 years. The LXX is inflated, partly because it
includes the birth of Cainan, which the other texts omit,
although this is probably a result of a transcription error.
Table 1. Different views on the Babel incident in relation to Peleg’s life. Shaded areas are favoured dates given by major early biblical commentators for
division in the time of Peleg.
MT Jubilees SP LXX Josephus
Year of birth of
Peleg after Flood
101 256 401 401a 411a 509 401a 399a
Possible date of
Babel in Peleg’s
140–200c 315–379b 514
Year of death of
Peleg after the
340 640 740a / / / 738
a I have omitted Cainan as it is considered to be a late addition in the LXX. Otherwise, these dates would be 100 years higher.
b This is the date at which Babel was destroyed; the lower figure (315 years) is obtained by omitting the extra Cainan. It is 379 years if Cainan is included.
c Estimated from Ussher’s writing to account for the necessary maturity of Joktan’s children.
Figure 3. Time of the Babel scattering from the Flood according to historical sources. The grey boxes
are the lifespan of Peleg. The black dots are the time of the Babel event from various sources. The
dotted line is the proposed time of the Babel event. Note that Jubilees doesn’t give the death of Peleg,
and the date of the Babel event in Jubilees is not strictly dependent upon the Cainan insertion. Ussher’s
date for Babel is only hinted at in Ussher. The SP and LXX are plotted without the Cainan insertion.