Hebrew dowr, "revolution," period of time; 100 years in the patriarchal age (Genesis 15:13; Genesis 15:16; Exodus 12:40), afterward 30 or 40 years (Job 42:16; Luke 1:50). On the plural GENERATIONS, Hebrew toledowt, (See GENEALOGY. Mankind is ethnologically ranged under three heads in Genesis 10:3; Genesis 10:6; Genesis 10:22, "the sons of Japhet, Ham, Shem." Modern science by independent research arrives at a similar three fold division into Semitic, Aryan, and Turanian (Allophylian). Genesis, in accordance with modern ethnology, classifies together the Cymry or Celts (Gomer), the Medes (Madai), and the Ionians or Greeks (Javan); thus anticipating the Indo-European theory, which makes the European races (represented by the Celts and the Ionians) akin to the Aryans (represented by the Asiatic Madai or Medes).
Also Scripture, in agreement with ethnology, groups together as "children of Shem" (i.e. Semitics) Asshur (Assyrians), Aram (Syrians), Eber (Hebrew), and Joktan (the Joktanian Arabs). Also it rightly classifies under the "sons of Ham" Cash (Ethiopians), Mizraim (Egyptians), Sheba and Dedan (certain southern Arabs), and Nimrod (i.e. the oldest Babylonians). (See BABEL) Sir H. Rawlinson truly terms "the generations (genealogy) of the sons of Noah" "the most authentic record we possess for the affiliation of nations" (Journal of the Asiatic Society, 15:230). Generation means also the men of an age: as Isaiah 53:8, "who shall declare His generation?" i.e. their wickedness, in parallelism to their oppressive "judgment." In Jeremiah 7:29, "generation of His wrath," i.e. with whom He is angry. Also generation is used with reference to the characteristic disposition of the age, "adulterous," "unbelieving," "untoward" (Matthew 11:16; Matthew 12:39; Matthew 17:17; Acts 2:40).
In Luke 16:8, "the children of this world are in respect to their own (so the Greek) generation (i.e. in relation to men of their own kind, men of this world) wiser than the children of light," are in respect to their generation (men of their kind, godly, men of the world to come). In Matthew 3:7 generation means "brood of vipers." In Matthew 24:34 "this generation shall not pass (namely, the Jewish race, of which the generation in Christ's days was a sample in character; compare Christ's address to the generation, Matthew 23:35-36, in proof that generation means at times the whole Jewish race) until all these things be fulfilled," a prophecy that the Jews shall be a distinct people still when He shall come again.