The Toledot Formula
The Toledot formula refers to the Hebrew word תּוֹלֵדוֹת (toledot), which means “descendants,” “histories,” or “generations” (in reference to successors, usually introducing a geneaological list and related narratives) and various occurrences of it are thought to divide Genesis into 10–12 sections.
The occurrences in Genesis occur at:
- 2:4 (heavens and the earth); some don’t consider this instance to be a section marker
- 5:1 (Adam)
- 6:9 (Noah)
- 10:1 (Noah’s sons: Shem, Ham, Japheth); it also occurs at 10:32 but this is thought to be part of this “section”
- 11:10 (Shem)
- 11:27 (Terah, father of Abraham)
- 25:12–13 (Abraham’s son: Ishmael)
- 25:19 (Abraham’s son: Isaac, father of Jacob); some don’t consider this instance to be a section marker
- 36:1 (Isaac’s son: Esau); it also occurs at 36:9 and specifically emphasizes Esau as the father of the Edomites, but some consider this to be part of this same section
- 37:2 (Isaac’s son: Jacob, father of Joseph); some don’t consider this instance to be a section marker
Peter Leithart, “Toledoth and the Structure of Genesis.” Theopolis Institute blog. September 5, 2017. Retrieved from https://theopolisinstitute.com/toledoth-and-the-structure-of-genesis/
Wilrens Hornstra, “Toledot in Genesis – What Are They and Why Do They Matter?” Create a Learning Site blog. April 1, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.wilrens.org/2021/04/cals84/
Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 22–26.