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Seder Olam Rabbah 2 says that Ever died when Yaakov left his Yeshiva for Charan.

In the previous portions of this paragraph, the Midrash said that Yaakov was 63 when he got the Berachos, and he stayed by Ever for 14 years. At the end of chapter 1, Seder Olam said that Yaakov served Avraham for 15 years, and we know that Avraham died at 175 (Bereishis 25:7). We also know that Ever lived for 464 years (Bereishis 11:16-17); this means that he was 464-14-63-(175-15)=227 when Avraham was born.

We also know, from Bereishis 11:16-26, that Ever was 34 when he had Peleg; Peleg was 30 when he had Re’u; Re’u was 32 when he had Serug; Serug was 30 when he had Nachor; Nachor was 29 when he had Terach; and Terach was 70 when he had Avraham. Adding this up gives us only 225. So what happened to the other two years?


Now, maybe you’ll tell me that Avraham was in fact the youngest of his siblings, and for whatever reason, the Passuk lists them out of order. In this case, Avraham would have been born two years later, which would solve the problem. However, Seder Olam Rabbah explicitly says that Avraham was 48 at the Dor Haflagah, which was at the end of Peleg’s life. Since Peleg lived for 239 years (Bereishis 11:18-19), combining this with the above numbers indeed gives us that Avraham was 48; but he would have been 50 if we shift everything by two years, as I proposed above.


The fact that the Dor Haflagah took place at the end of Peleg’s life is also off by two years by this account. Since Ever was 34 when Peleg was born, and Peleg lived for 239 years, Ever should be 273 years old at the time of the Dor Haflagah. But if we take the fact that Ever was 227 when Avraham was born according to the Midrash, then Ever should be 275 at the time of the Dor Haflagah!

How can this Midrash be reconciled with the Pesukim, when it causes a two-year discrepancy in these dates?


I am aware of the opinion that Yitzchak was in Gan Eden for two years. While this is fine to answer many questions on the Parsha, this Midrash, which clearly states that Yaakov and Avraham overlapped for fifteen years, rather than thirteen years, cannot he answered in this manner.

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I think you're missing the key phrase in Seder Olam that makes everything work out:

ועבר מת אחר ירידתו של יעקב אבינו לארם נהרים שתי שנים

And Ever died after Yaakov's descent to Aram Naharaim [by] two years.

Thus, we can construct the following timeline:

  • Ever was 464 when he died

    As per Bereishis 11:16-17

  • Ever was 462 when Yaakov left him

    As per Seder Olam subtract two years that he lived after Yaakov left

  • Ever was 448 when Yaakov came to him

    As per Seder Olam subtract 14 years that Yaakov was with him

  • Ever was 400 when Avraham died

    As per Seder Olam subtract (63 - 15) years that Yaakov lived after Avraham died

  • Ever was 385 when Yaakov was born

    As per Seder Olam subtract 15 years that Yaakov served Avraham

  • Ever was 325 when Yitzchak was born

    As per Bereishis 25:26 subtract 60 years for Yitzchak's age at Yaakov's birth

  • Ever was 225 when Avraham was born

    As per Bereishis 21:5 subtract 100 years for Avraham's age at Yitzchak's birth

And we can see that this fits perfectly with the other timeline:

  • Ever was 34 when Peleg was born

    As per Bereishis 11:16

  • Ever was 64 when Reu was born

    As per Bereishis 11:18 add the 30 years of Peleg's age when Reu was born

  • Ever was 96 when Serug was born

    As per Bereshis 11:20 add the 32 years of Reu's age when Serug was born

  • Ever was 126 when Nachor was born

    As per Bereshis 11:22 add the 30 years of Serug's age when Nachor was born

  • Ever was 155 when Terach was born

    As per Bereishis 11:24 add the 29 years of Nachor's age when Terach was born

  • Ever was 225 when Avraham was born

    As per Bereishis 11:26 add the 70 years of Terach's age when Avraham was born

This also fits perfectly with the Dor Haflaga angle. If Ever was 225 when Avraham was born then Peleg must have been 191 when Avraham was born. If Avraham was 48 at the Dor Haflaga then Peleg must have been 239, which is exactly the age he died at according to Bereishis 11:18-19.

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