Welcome back to my read-through and study of The Book of Genesis.
Genesis 4:25-Genesis 5:32
Chapter 4: 25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
Chapter 5: 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died. 6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. 7 Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died. 9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. 10 Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died. 12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died. 15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died. 18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died. 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. 25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died. 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. 32 After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Here is a chart to give us a sense of the passage of time. Noah is the first of the pre-Flood patriarchs born after the death of Adam. Not only was Noah born after the passing of Adam, Seth had also died by the time of Noah’s birth.
In the previous generation, though, there may have been a time when Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, and little Lamech all gathered together for a meal or to worship. Not to peak ahead too far, but you can see that Noah lived until two years before the birth of Abraham. Between Lamech and his son Noah, we almost have the ability to reach back to creation all the way (almost) 2,000 years into the future and the patriarch of the nation of Israel. For me, it is easier to imagine a correct keeping of the oral histories since creation when you can imagine that the participant of an event lived for hundreds of years and continued sharing the account directly with descendants.
Do these names have special significance?
Seth: שֵׁת Shêth, shayth; from H7896; put, i.e. substituted; Sheth, third son of Adam:—Seth, Sheth.
Enosh: אֱנוֹשׁ ʼĕnôwsh, en-oshe’; from H605; man; properly, a mortal (and thus differing from the more dignified 120); hence, a man in general (singly or collectively):—another, × (blood-) thirsty, certain, chap(-man); divers, fellow, × in the flower of their age, husband, (certain, mortal) man, people, person, servant, some (× of them), stranger, those, their trade. It is often unexpressed in the English versions, especially when used in apposition with another word. Compare H376.
Kenan: קֵן qên, kane; contracted from H7077; possession; a nest (as fixed), sometimes including the nestlings; figuratively, a chamber or dwelling:—nest, room.
Jared: יֶרֶד Yered, yeh’-red; from H3381; a descent; Jered, the name of an antediluvian, and of an Israelite:—Jared.
Enoch: חֲנוֹךְ Chănôwk, khan-oke’; from H2596; dedicated; initiated; Chanok, an antediluvian patriach:—Enoch.
Lamech: לֶמֶךְ Lemek, leh’-mek; from an unused root of uncertain meaning; powerful; Lemek, the name of two antediluvian patriarchs:—Lamech.
Noah: נֹחַ Nôach, no’-akh; the same as H5118; rest; Noach, the patriarch of the flood:—Noah.
How would you feel about being named “substituted?” I have read in Commentaries that the name might also be translated “Appointed” which seems comparatively much better to me, at least. Enosh is named after his grandfather, Adam, in the sense that both of them have a name that means “man.”
You might also notice several similarities with names we saw in the line of Cain’s descent:
We have two Enochs, Cain had an Irad to Seth’s Jared, a Mehujael to Seth’s Mahalal’el, a Methusael to Seth’s Methuselah, and again both have a Lamech.
One key difference in the two lines is how they are described. In Cain’s line, we see advancement in worldly arts and an accompanying advancement in sinfulness. We are not told that any from Adam’s line are the inventor of any particular field. But the Seth line is the righteous line that continued calling upon the name of Yahweh (Gen 4:26.)
We are not told specifically when the Lord (translated from Yahweh) may have left the Garden of Eden or when the Garden ceased to be. The impression from Chapter 4 is that God continued on in the Garden for at least some time after the Fall. Adam and Eve lived directly adjacent. God judged the offerings of Cain and Abel. Sometime in the intervening period of Chapter 5, though, the Garden disappears from the narrative.
Of note, to me, are the verses on Enoch. Genesis 5:24, above, tells us that Enoch walked with God and was not for God took him. If you look at the translation, the word for God comes from the plural ‘elohiym “the gods” rather than the singular Yahweh. Might the verse about how the gods “took him” mean they left the Garden – and the earth – with him? Who knows.
Enoch is an interesting figure in Biblical history for other reasons, too. He lived 365 years – the same number of days as are in a year. As a result the number is suggestive of symbolism. He is also the subject of many Jewish and Christian traditions and teachings. He was considered – though scholars dispute the claim – the author of The Book of Enoch, The Book of the Watchers, and the Book of Giants. The Orthodox Tewahedo Church based in Ethopia considers The Book of Enoch as Biblical canon and there is evidence that the book was relied upon by scholars in the Second Temple period. There are several apparent references to The Book of Enoch in the New Testament.
I will touch again on the themes from The Book of Enoch again soon but here is a primer for those who are interested.
Do we really believe that the patriarchs lived for so long? That is clearly a question of faith. However, there is tradition in other parts of the Middle East suggesting that an antediluvian people lived for longer. The Sumerian King’s List features even more unbelievably long lifespans in the earliest days of pre-history.