Q: What is the meaning of the word toledoth?
This is the English transliteration of the plural of the Hebrew word often translated as “generations.” The singular form is toledah. It comes from the root meaning “to bear” or “to give birth”; a related Hebrew word means “child.”
Sometimes toledah is used in the sense of a genealogy. At other times, it means an historical period and is thus often translated as the “days of” a particular individual or event. The expression regarding an extended period of time is shown first in Genesis 2:4, “These are the generations (toledoth) of the heavens and the earth when they were created.”
If you examine the Book of Genesis in its entirety, you’ll discover that it is divided into ten “generations.” Toledoth subsequent to Genesis 2:4 are 5:1; 6:9; 10:1a; 11:10a; 11:27a; 25:19a; 25:12a; 36:1; and 37:2.
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.
Send email to Ask the Pastor.
Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.