After reading Genesis 11:10–26 and the genealogy of Shem and his descendants, there appears to be a contradiction in Genesis 25:8, which states that Abraham lived to a "good old age." Considering that Shem, his great-grandfather of nine generations earlier, lived to within a few decades of Abraham's death and Eber, Abraham's great-grandfather of six generations earlier, actually outlived him, how can we reconcile this seeming contradiction? How can Abraham be said to have lived to a good old age when there were people much older than him still alive at the time of his death? Now we know that there are no real contradictions in Scripture, which is inspired by God and therefore inerrant in the original manuscripts. And indeed when we closely examine the passage; the lifespan of Abraham with his contemporaries; and also the lifespan of Moses, the author of Genesis, we see that there is no contradiction in this statement.
There are a few ways to approach this, but first let's consider what the text of Genesis 25:8 actually says. Here are several different English versions of this verse:
"Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people." (KJV)
"Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people." (NKJV)
"Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people." (NIV)
"And Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people." (NASB)
Was Abraham "Full of Years" or "Satisfied"?
Notice that some words appear in italics in the above versions. This signifies that the English words don’t exist in the original Hebrew text but have been supplied by the translators for clarity. Young's Literal Translation (YLT) is a version which almost never includes these translator-supplied words and instead translates word-for-word literally. That version (with verbs modernized by the author) reads as follows:
"And Abraham expired, and died in a good old age, aged and satisfied, and is gathered unto his people." (YLT)