Bible Commentaries
Genesis 5

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-8


Verses 1-8:

"Book," sepher, denotes a register or complete writing, as of a record. This register lists ten generations, from Adam to Noah. The existence of this written record confirms the high state of civilization from the very beginning of human history. Men were not ignorant, near-savage beings. They were highly skilled in arts and sciences and trades and crafts.

The listing of genealogies begins with Adam. He was humanity’s only special act of Divine creation, 1Co 15:45. All others came from him, by process of natural generation. Verses 1 and 2 re-affirm the original creation, Ge 1:26-28.

Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters beside the three mentioned in the sacred text. There is no way to know how many children they had. The ravages of sin had not become so pronounced during their lifetime. This means that they maintained youthful vigor and health far longer than people of later times. The earth and its atmosphere were not poisoned by the noxious chemicals and pollutants that reek havoc with human health. It is quite possible that Adam and Eve had literally scores or perhaps hundreds of children.

The life-span of pre-flood men was very long. Adam lived to be 930 years of age. Some interpreters suggest that these ".’years" were shorter periods of time than the ordinary "years" of 365 days, thus implying that Adam was in reality only about one hundred, or at the most two hundred years old, at the time of his death. If this same formula is applied to Seth, it would mean that Enos was born to him even before Seth’s birth! Also, it would place the birth of later patriarchs in this genealogical table at impossible times.

Verses 9-12

Verses 9-12:

The average age of the patriarchs listed from Adam through Jared was 919 years. All but Mahalleel lived over nine centuries. But they all had one other thing in common: they all died!, Ro 5:12-14. This is man’s appointment from which there is no escape, Heb 9:27.

Verses 21-24

Verses 21-24:

"Enoch" means "one dedicated." His life reflects the faith his father Jared had in Jehovah, and which he transmitted to his son. Enoch is referred to in Lu 3:37, in the genealogy of Jesus; in Heb 11:5, in the "Honor Roll of Faith;" and in Jude 14, as the author of a prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ.

"Walked" is halak. The grammatical structure of the verb denotes a continual or habitual going up and down. The same expression occurs in Mic 6:8, which see. It denotes a lifestyle of habitual fellowship with God. Verse 22 implies that Enoch’s walk with God may have begun with the birth of his son Methuselah.

"He was not; for God took him." This refers to the translation of Enoch (Heb 11:4), in which God took him unto His presence without his having to experience death, as did his contemporaries. "Took" is laqach, take or receive. It is the same word used in 2 Kings 2:3,5 regarding Elijah and the prophecy of his translation. Enoch was translated (taken) in the same way as Elijah.

Among the sacred writings of the Jews is "The Book of Enoch." Some regard this as being inspired, but it is not included in the canon of the Scriptures: It is regarded as having been compiled during the time of Herod the Great. In this book Enoch is portrayed as warning the men of his day to repent and turn from their wicked ways. It also lists several prophecies attributed to Enoch, one of which Jude refers to his epistle (verses 14, 15). Among the Arabs is a legend that Enoch was the originator of the science of arithmetic.

The life of Enoch was one of unusual piety and dedication to God. His was not a cloistered life, removed from contact with his fellowmen. He did warn of God’s judgment upon sin, and there is no reason to doubt that he was active in his proclamation of God’s righteousness and His requirements for man. Why would God take Enoch from earth directly to Heaven without his going through the process of death, when He did not do this for others? Heb 11:5 describes Enoch as pleasing God because of his faith, and his lifestyle, because of this faith. This event confirms the sovereignty of God, to do as He sees best under all circumstances.

Verses 25-32

Verses 25-32:

Enoch’s son Methuselah lived longer than any other human of record. He outlived his grandfather Jared by seven years. According to the chronology listed here and Ge 7:6, Methuselah died the year of the flood. Whether or not he perished in the flood is not known. Methuselah’s son Lamech died five years before the flood.

Some have computed the chronology of the human family from Adam’s creation to the time of the flood, using the genealogical table in chapter 5. The Hebrew text gives this time span as 1,656 years. The Spetuagint places the time as 2,262 years. The difference is accounted for by the variation of the numerical value assigned to certain Hebrew letters and expressions. This genealogical table is in conflict with findings of various historical accounts, in the realms of anthropology and biology. This conflict may be resolved when two factors are considered.

(1) The conclusions of biologists and anthropologists may themselves be in error, being based upon faulty assumptions and incorrect data. Some presuppose that man did not come into being by Divine creation, but evolved over millennia from a lower life-form. To accommodate this theory, they assume that the process of evolution requires many transitional forms of life. They grasp at bits and pieces of evidence: bone fragments, deposits of artifacts in various earth strata, assumptions based on various dating techniques such as carbon or argon, assuming a constant rate of decay and transition of elements. Such theories have repeatedly been proven invalid. What often passes as "science" is in reality theory, speculation based upon what one observes, which in turn is colored by what one believes. This is not true science.

(2) The variation of genealogical tables elsewhere in the Scriptures is another factor in the problem. These are often condensed, by referring to certain descendants as "sons" when in reality they are grandsons or further removed descendants. An example of this occurs in Mt 1:17, in the genealogy of Jesus. This table omits the names of three kings: Ahaziah, Jehoash, and Amaziah. Verse 8: "Joram begat Oziah (Uzziah)." But 1Ch 26:1 lists Amaziah as the father of Uzziah. Joram (Jehoram, 1 Kings 8:21-24) was Uzzziah’s great-great-grandfather. There are other examples of this in various genealogical tables.

There may have indeed been only 1,656 years from the time of Adam to the flood of Noah’s day. But the evidence is such that one cannot be dogmatic in regard to this figure.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Genesis 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.