Genesis 5:6-24

Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh.

After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters.

So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.

Enosh lived ninety years, and begot [a]Cainan.

10 After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters.

11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died.

12 Cainan lived seventy years, and begot Mahalalel.

13 After he begot Mahalalel, Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years, and had sons and daughters.

14 So all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died.

15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and begot Jared.

16 After he begot Jared, Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years, and had sons and daughters.

17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died.

18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch.

19 After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died.

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah.

22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.

24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

We are probably by now used to the idea that Hebrew names have a meaning. However, the meaning of the names of the ten patriarchs provides a very interesting insight into the prediluvian world.

  • Adam means “man.”
  • Seth means “appointed.” Eve gave this name to show her faith in the fact that God would deliver the promised Messiah through the appointed son.
  • Enoch means “mortal.” This emphasizes once again that man is now mortal, because of sin.
  • Cainan means “sorrow.” The existence of sin causes sorrow. Imagine the sorrow of Adam and Eve at the death of their son, Abel. Death brings such sorrow that even Jesus was caused to weep at the tomb of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35).
  • Mahalalel means “the God who is to be praised.” All was not gloom and doom. There was a start to worship of the Lord God. Mahalalel’s name emphasizes the existence of those who want to worship God in faith.
  • Jared means “shall come down.” This is one of the more puzzling names, until we put them all together below.
  • Enoch means “teaching.” It seems that Enoch was a teacher and a prophet.
  • Methuselah means “his death shall bring.” We will see that there are two reasons for this. The first is that the Flood came the very year that Methuselah died. His death is prophetic, pointing to the way of salvation, and warning against doubt.
  • Lamech means “despairing.” It is perhaps significant that he died before he could see the salvation caused by the Flood. He was also a prophet, prophesying that Noah would “comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed” (Genesis 5:29). This is significant was well because Noah means “rest” or “comfort.”

There is a passage of the Bible that contains all these names, one after the other. It is 1 Chronicles 1:1-3: “Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.” Now that we know the meanings, this passage can be read as follows: “Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the God who is to be praised shall come down, teaching that His death shall bring the despairing rest.”

This is remarkable that in the very names of the ten patriarchs from before the Flood through whose line God was to send the Messiah, should spell out a dramatic statement of the gospel. This can surely be no coincidence. One of the exciting things about studying Genesis that we see over and over again is that it is foundational to the understanding of the entire Bible. God gave us hope right from the very beginning. Even in the midst of the dreadful evil before the Flood, God would not leave us without a way of salvation. — Taylor, pages 134-135.

I don’t know if the meaning of the names strung together are intended to convey a message, as Taylor writes above. Other commentaries give different (but at least vaguely-similar) meanings to the names. But I thought it was interesting enough to be possible.

There is no reason to think that there are any gaps in this record [of the genealogies] or that the years are anything other than normal years (except for the possibility that the original year was 360 days long). The record is perfectly natural and straightforward and is obviously intended to give both the necessary genealogical data the denote the promised lineage and also the only reliable chronological framework we have for the antediluvian period of history. … There was a total of 1,656 years from the Creation to the Flood. It is interesting to note that Adam lived until Lamech, the father of Noah, was fifty-six years old, and Noah was born only fourteen years after the death of Seth. Most likely, the oldest of the living patriarchs maintained the primary responsibility for preserving and promulgating Dos’ Word to his contemporaries. Since both Enoch and Lamech were outlived by their fathers, there were only seven men in the line before Noah who had this responsibility. This probably explains why, in 2 Peter 2:5, Noah is called the  “eight preacher of righteousness” in the “old world.” … The names are repeated in 1 Chronicles 1:1-4 and Luke 3:36-38. This confirms that they were accepted as historical by the later Biblical writers, of both Old and New Testaments. — Morris, pages 154-155.

Enoch “walked with God” and was a prophet of God. As such, he preached against the godlessness of his generation in fearsome, thundering words: “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:14-15).

It is remarkable that Enoch would prophesy of what we now recognize as the second coming of Christ even before the Flood, but this is clearly the meaning placed on it by Jude. Actually, it may be considered as an amplification and exposition of the great prophecy of Genesis 3:15, the promise of the eventual crushing of the serpent, Satan, and his seed. God “left not himself without witness,” even in the days of the antediluvians. The promised “coming” in judgment had a preliminary and precursory fulfillment in the great Flood, but its final fulfillment awaits the glorious return and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ. — Morris, pages 155-156.

The climax of Enoch’s testimony was an event all but unique in history. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him” (Hebrews 11:5). This is the inspired interpretation of the phrase here in Genesis: “he was not, for God took him.” Somehow, in actual physical flesh Enoch was supernaturally carried up into heaven, where presumably he still is today.

Nearly 25 centuries later, another prophet, Elijah, was similarly taken into heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:11). … One intriguing possibility to consider is that Enoch and Elijah may have been taken into heaven without dying because of a further ministry God has for them in the future—namely, that of serving as God’s “two witnesses” during the coming Tribulation Period. These witnesses are also identified as the “two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” in Zechariah 4:14. These anointed ones, these witnesses are real men, not angels, as is evident from the fact that they are to be slain when they have “finished their testimony,” and then resurrected (Revelation 11:7-120 and translated.  — Morris, pages 157-158.

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