The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 5

Gen 5:1

Gen 5 is like a walk through the cemetery, as the record of the gravestones testify to the condemnation because of sin. It is valuable to color in every reference to "and he died." All the generations were affected by the law of sin and death. So with monotonous regularity this statement, "and he died", is made, emphasizing the hopelessness of the human race in spite of the long lives lived. Inevitably the end awaits even Methuselah. This is the theme song of Life -- the only significant exception being Enoch -- a wonderful reminder that the sting of death can be defeated.

"This is the book of... Adam" (Gen 5:1). Contrast this with: "[This is] the book of... Jesus Christ" (Mat 1:1). The book of Adam's family tree and the book of the genealogy of Christ form a striking contrast. One is a record of death, the other of life. Gen 5 has been called the "obituary chapter" of the Bible, for time after time we read the doleful words "and he died". On the other hand, Matthew, in giving the genealogy of Jesus, constantly repeats the phrase, "...and [he] begot". Although the people in the line of Christ did eventually die, the word "death" is never mentioned in Mat 1. By our sinful nature we are in Adam's book on death, but by our spiritual "new birth" we appear in Christ's living register of the redeemed.

The story is told of a man whose name was printed in the obituary column of a daily paper by mistake. Greatly disturbed, he went to the newspaper office and exclaimed, "This is terrible! Your error will cause me no end of embarrassment and may even mean a loss of business. How could you do such a thing?" The editor expressed regrets, but the man remained angry and unreasonable. Finally the editor said in disgust, "Cheer up, fellow, I'll put your name in the birth column tomorrow and give you a fresh start! How's that for a good deal?"

That's what baptism into the name of Christ can do for us!

Gen 5: Long life span, Gen 1:7n. Also, curse on Adam and posterity may have had a cumulative effect. Long life facilitated transmission of knowledge, ie history from the lips of the very participants. Note repetitions: "He died... he died... he died..." An inevitable sentence. The chronology of significance of names in chapter: "Man, made in God's image, changed to misery, laments. Blessed EL comes down, to teach. Death brings to weary comfort and rest."

WRITTEN ACCOUNT: AV "Book of the generations of..." Cp book of generations of Jesus Christ in Mat 1:1.

ADAM: "Red, earth". Cp 1Co 15:47.

LIKENESS OF GOD: Ct with v 3: "in his own likeness".

Gen 5:3

The Purpose of God Revealed in the Names of the First Ten Sons of God:
* Adam: Man.
* Seth: Appointed.
* Enos: Miserable.
* Cainan: The object of mercy.
* Mahalaleel: He who is with the mighty God.
* Jared: Shall descend.
* Enoch: The consecrated one.
* Methuselah: His death shall send forth.
* Lamech: When smitten.
* Noah: Rest.
* Reading the meanings in order: Man, appointed (to be) miserable, (yet) the object of mercy. He who is with the mighty God shall descend, (even) the consecrated one. His death shall send forth, when smitten, rest.

IN HIS OWN LIKENESS: Ct v 1: "in the likeness of God". Adam was created in God's image, but after his sin, his son was born in Adam's image (and not God's image, at least in the same sense as originally). "Shapen in iniquity" (Psa 51:5).

Gen 5:6

SETH: "Substituted".

Gen 5:7

ENOSH: "Misery". Mortality, deterioration.

Gen 5:9

KENAN: "Cainan" in AV. "Lamenting".

Gen 5:12

MAHALEEL: "Blessings to El".

Gen 5:16

JARED: "Will come down". Cp "Jordan" (sig "descender").

Gen 5:18

ENOCH: "Teaching".

Gen 5:21

METHUSELAH: "His death will bring".

Gen 5:22

ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD: Walking with God, in fellowship (1Jo 1:6,7), reconciliation, holiness, surrender. Walking before God, in sincerity (Gen 17:1); walking after God, in obedience (Deu 13:4); walking in God, in union (Col 2:6). See Ber 60:8.

To walk with God might sig: (1) to keep company with angels (cp Gen 3:8), or (2) to serve as priest at some special sanctuary (Mal 2:6; 1Sa 2:30; Rev 3:4).

Walking with God: cp Gen 17:1; 26:5; 48:15; Psa 116:9; 86:11. God is light; walk in light (1Jo 1:5; Eph 5:8). God is love; walk in love (1Jo 4:8; Eph 5:2). God is truth, walk in truth (Isa 65:16; Rev 3:14). See 1Jo 5:2.

"There is no reason why we cannot think of God every minute. There is no reason why we cannot have His will and presence, and the love of Him, always in the forefront of our consciousness. Something has to be there -- what better subject of interest and desire? It is of such -- and such only -- that He is making up His living jewels out of the vast dead human rockpile. Not of course that they ever achieve this in perfection: but He seeks only those who are deeply conscious that this is His desire and their salvation, and who strive totally to bring their weak fleshly minds and bodies into conformity with this perfect, complete unity with Him" (GVG).

Gen 5:24

See Lesson, Enoch, fate of.

WALKED: Cp Gen 6:9.

HE WAS NO MORE: Lit, "he was not" -- ie he simply ceased to exist. "Not found" (Heb 11:5).

GOD TOOK HIM AWAY: Enoch was taken away from the impending judgment and the increasing wickedness -- just as saints were "taken away" (Mat 24:40,41). "By faith, Enoch was translated, not to see death" (Heb 11:5). After 365 years Enoch did die -- typ, in sacrifice (VH 58). 365 days (cp 365 years/a completed cycle): "Like the shining sun of righteousness (Mal 4:2), he completed his course" (HPM). Abel typifies sacrifice of Christ; Enoch typ reward at 2nd coming.

Gen 5:25

LAMECH: "Weary".

Gen 5:29

The first (partial) fulfillment of Gen 3:15. Typ Christ, who will bring true rest: Heb 4:1,9.

NOAH: "Rest, comfort". Noah is typical of all righteous, who are saved by water while the world around them is perishing.

HE WILL COMFORT US: Typ Christ, who will bring true rest (Mat 11:28,29; Isa 11:10).

CAUSED BY THE GROUND...: "Out of the ground which the Lord hath cursed this one shall..." (RSV). The deliverer of mankind (ie Noah, Christ) must be one of mankind -- sharing in the effects of the curse.

CURSED: They were looking for the renewal of the earth from curse (ie, Psa 104:30).

Gen 5:32

SHEM: "Name": cp Gen 4:26.

HAM: "Burnt, black".

JAPHETH: "Enlarged". The eldest (Gen 10:21; 11:10).

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