Many of us are visual learners. If we can see information presented in a clear manner, we can see relationships that we wouldn’t normally see in the raw data. And if anything in the scriptures needs clarity, it’s the Old Testament! So here is some visual information to hopefully help us out.
I saw a version of this first chart a few years ago (I don’t remember where, but credit is due to whoever created the original version). I have recreated the chart with a few changes. Here is the new version of the chart:
Notice how many of the patriarchs had either a first-hand relationship with Adam or with Noah. Five knew both! Notice how many patriarchs were alive when Enoch was translated. It’s easy to think he was on his own when he was preaching, but even Seth, the son of Adam, was still alive when Enoch and his city were taken up. Why weren’t Seth, Enos, Cainan and the others in the city of Zion with Enoch? Is it just a coincidence that this happened during the brief period when neither Adam and Noah were alive?
Abraham was the first patriarch that didn’t know either Adam or Noah personally. To think that Terah was able to get first-hand accounts from Noah and Shem about the flood and yet still worshiped false gods. Notice how many of the fathers died during Abraham’s lifetime. Noah had just died and there were nine generations of Noah’s offspring alive before Abraham was born. By the time of Abraham’s death all the fathers had passed away. (And what’s up with Nahor only living to 148?!? His great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Shem, would have been at his funeral!)
I have seen several versions of this next chart (one version is on Wikipedia) and decided to simplify it while adding an approximate time scale.
Notice how the kingdom of Judah had an orderly succession of kings from father to son as the promise to David that his offspring will reign was fulfilled, whereas the kingdom of Israel rarely had a dynasty that lasted more that two generations. Also notice how close Judah came to losing the Davidic dynasty when Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah of Israel. Jehu murdered king Johoram of Israel and king Ahaziah of Judah during a state visit, allowing Jehu to assume the throne in Israel and Athaliah to become the (only) queen of Judah. Although she tried to kill all the heirs to the throne, one grandson was hidden and he eventually regained the throne.
If you’d like a high-resolution copy of these two, here’s a PDF: Old Testament