Genesis 5


A recapitulation of the account of the creation of man, 1, 2;

and of the birth of Seth, 3.

Genealogy of the ten antediluvian patriarchs, 3-31.

Enoch's extraordinary piety, 22;

his translation to heaven without seeing death, 24.

The birth of Noah, and the reason of his name, 29;

his age at the birth of Japheth, 32.


Verse 1. The book of the generations] sepher, in Hebrew,

which we generally translate book, signifies a register, an

account, any kind of writing, even a letter, such as the bill of

divorce. Here It means the account or register of the generations

of Adam or his descendants to the five hundredth year of the life

of Noah.

In the likeness of God made he him] This account is again

introduced to keep man in remembrance of the heights of glory

whence he bad fallen; and to prove to him that the miseries and

death consequent on his present state were produced by his

transgression, and did not flow from his original state. For, as

he was created in the image of God, he was created free from

natural and moral evil. As the deaths of the patriarchs are now

to be mentioned, it was necessary to introduce them by this

observation, in order to justify the ways of God to man.

Verse 3. And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, &c.] The

Scripture chronology especially in the ages of some of the

antediluvian and postdiluvian patriarchs, has exceedingly

puzzled chronologists, critics, and divines. The printed Hebrew

text, the Samaritan, the Septuagint, and Josephus, are all

different, and have their respective vouchers and defenders. The

following tables of the genealogies of the patriarchs before and

after the flood, according to the Hebrew, Samaritan, and

Septuagint, will at once exhibit the discordances.





� � Heb.� Samar.� Sept.�


�Adam, Gen. v. 3.� 130 � 130 � 230 �

�Seth, ---- 6.� 105 � 105 � 205 �

�Enos, ---- 9.� 90 � 90 � 190 �

�Cainan, ---- 12.� 70 � 70 � 170 �

�Mahalaleel, ---- 15.� 65 � 65 � 165 �

�Jared, ---- 18.� 162 � 62 � 162 �

�Enoch, ---- 21.� 65 � 65 � 165 �

�Methuselah, ---- 25.� 187 � 67 � 167 �

�Lamech ---- 28.� 182 � 53 � 188 �

�Noah, at the Gen. vii. 6.� 600 � 600 � 600 �

� flood, � � � �


�Total before the flood, � 1656� 1307 � 2242*�


� In this first period the sum in Josephus is �

� 2256, which is also adopted by Dr. Hales in �

� his New Analysis of Chronology. �






� � Heb.� Samar.� Sept.�


�Shem begot Arphaxad � � � �

� after the flood, � 2 � 2 � 2 �

� Gen xi.10. � � � �

�Arphaxad, Gen xi.12. � 35 � 135 � 135 �

�Cainan (2d) mentioned � � � �

� only by the LXX. and � 0 � 0 � 130 �

� Luke iii.36. � � � �

�Salah, Gen. xi. 14.� 30 � 130 � 130 �

�Eber, ----- 16.� 34 � 134 � 134 �

�Peleg, ----- 18.� 30 � 130 � 130 �

�Reu, ----- 20.� 32 � 132 � 132 �

�Serug, ----- 22.� 30 � 130 � 130 �

�Nahor, ----- 24.� 29 � 79 � 179 �

�Terah, ----- 26.� 70 � 70 � 70 �


�Total to the 70th year � � � �

� of Terah, � 292 � 942 � 1172*�


� In this second period the sum in Josephus is �

� 1002. �


* The Septuagint account of the ages of the antediluvian and

postdiluvian patriarchs in the above tables, is taken from the

VATICAN copy, but if we follow the ALEXANDRIAN MS., we shall have

in the first period the whole sum of 2262 instead of 2242; and in

the second period, 1072 instead of 1172. On this subject the

different MSS. of the Septuagint abound with various readings.

For much satisfactory information on this subject I must refer

to A New Analysis of Chronology, by the Rev. William Hales, D.D.,

3 vols. 4to., London, 1809.

And begat a son in his own likeness, after his image] Words

nearly the same with those Ge 1:26:

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. What this

image and likeness of God were, we have already seen, and we may

rest assured that the same image and likeness are not meant here.

The body of Adam was created provisionally immortal, i.e. while he

continued obedient he could not die; but his obedience was

voluntary, and his state a probationary one. The soul of Adam was

created in the moral image of God, in knowledge, righteousness,

and true holiness. He had now sinned, and consequently had lost

his moral resemblance to his Maker; he had also become mortal

through his breach of the law. His image and likeness were

therefore widely different at this time from what they were

before; and his begetting children in this image and likeness

plainly implies that they were imperfect like himself, mortal like

himself, sinful and corrupt like himself. For it is impossible

that he, being impure, fallen from the Divine image, could beget a

pure and holy offspring, unless we could suppose it possible that

a bitter fountain could send forth sweet waters, or that a cause

could produce effects totally dissimilar from itself. What is

said here of Seth might have been said of all the other children

of Adam, as they were all begotten after his fall; but the sacred

writer has thought proper to mark it only in this instance.

Verse 22. And Enoch walked with God- three hundred years] There

are several things worthy of our most particular notice in this


1. The name of this patriarch; Enoch, from chanack, which

signifies to instruct, to initiate, to dedicate. From his

subsequent conduct we are authorized to believe he was early

instructed in the things of God, initiated into the worship of

his Maker, and dedicated to his service. By these means, under

the influence of the Divine Spirit, which will ever attend pious

parental instructions, his mind got that sacred bias which led him

to act a part so distinguished through the course of a long life.

2. His religious conduct. He walked with God;

yithhallech, he set himself to walk, he was fixedly purposed and

determined to live to God. Those who are acquainted with the

original will at once see that it has this force. A verb in the

conjugation called hithpael signifies a reciprocal act, that which

a man does upon himself: here we may consider Enoch receiving a

pious education, and the Divine influence through it; in

consequence of which he determines to be a worker with God, and

therefore takes up the resolution to walk with his Maker, that he

might not receive the grace of God in vain.

3. The circumstances in which he was placed. He was a

patriarch; the king, the priest, and the prophet of a numerous

family, to whom he was to administer justice, among whom he was to

perform all the rites and ceremonies of religion, and teach, both

by precept and example, the way of truth and righteousness. Add

to this, he was a married man, he had a numerous family of his

own, independently of the collateral branches over which he was

obliged, as patriarch, to preside; he walked three hundred years

with God, and begat sons and daughters; therefore marriage is no

hinderance even to the perfection of piety; much less inconsistent

with it, as some have injudiciously taught.

4. The astonishing height of piety to which he had arrived;

being cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit,

and having perfected holiness in the fear of God, we find not only

his soul but his body purified, so that, without being obliged to

visit the empire of death, he was capable of immediate translation

to the paradise of God. There are few cases of this kind on

record; but probably there might be more, many more, were the

followers of God more faithful to the grace they receive.

5. Enoch attained this state of religious and spiritual

excellence in a time when, comparatively speaking, there were few

helps, and no written revelation. Here then we cannot but see and

admire how mighty the grace of God is, and what wonders it works

in the behalf of those who are faithful, who set themselves to

walk with God. It is not the want of grace nor of the means of

grace that is the cause of the decay of this primitive piety, but

the want of faithfulness in those who have the light, and yet will

not walk as children of the light.

6. If the grace of God could work such a mighty change in those

primitive times, when life and immortality were not brought to

light by the Gospel, what may we not expect in these times, in

which the Son of God tabernacles among men, in which God gives the

Holy Spirit to them who ask him, in which all things are possible

to him who believes? No man can prove that Enoch had greater

spiritual advantages than any of the other patriarchs, though it

seems pretty evident that he made a better use of those that were

common to all than any of the rest did; and it would be absurd to

say that he had greater spiritual helps and advantages than

Christians can now expect, for he lived under a dispensation much

less perfect than that of the LAW, and yet the law itself was only

the shadow of the glorious substance of Gospel blessings and

Gospel privileges.

7. It is said that Enoch not only walked with God, setting him

always before his eyes, beginning, continuing, and ending every

work to his glory, but also that he pleased God, and had the

testimony that he did please God, Heb 11:5. Hence we learn that

it was then possible to live so as not to offend God, consequently

so as not to commit sin against him; and to have the continual

evidence or testimony that all that a man did and purposed was

pleasing in the sight of Him who searches the heart, and by whom

devices are weighed: and if it was possible then, it is surely,

through the same grace, possible now; for God, and Christ, and

faith, are still the same.

Verse 27. The days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and

nine years] This is the longest life mentioned in Scripture, and

probably the longest ever lived; but we have not authority to say

positively that it was the longest. Before the flood, and before

artificial refinements were much known and cultivated, the life of

man was greatly protracted, and yet of him who lived within

thirty-one years of a thousand it is said he died; and the longest

life is but as a moment when it is past. Though life is

uncertain, precarious, and full of natural evils, yet it is a

blessing in all its periods if devoted to the glory of God and the

interest of the soul; for while it lasts we may more and more

acquaint ourselves with God and be at peace, and thereby good

shall come unto us; Job 22:21.

Verse 29. This same shall comfort us] This is an allusion, as

some think, to the name a Noah, which they derive from nacham,

to comfort; but it is much more likely that it comes from nach

or nuach, to rest, to settle, &c. And what is more

comfortable than rest after toil and labour? These words

seem to have been spoken prophetically concerning Noah, who built

the ark for the preservation of the human race, and who seems to

have been a typical person; for when he offered his sacrifice

after the drying up of the waters, it is said that God smelled a

savour of REST, and said he would not curse the ground any more

for man's sake, Ge 8:21; and from that time the earth seems to

have had upon an average the same degree of fertility; and the

life of man, in a few generations after, was settled in the mean

at threescore years and ten. See Ge 9:3.

Verse 32. Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.] From

Ge 10:21; 1Ch 1:5, &c., we learn that Japheth was the eldest

son of Noah, but Shem is mentioned first, because it was from him,

in a direct line, that the Messiah came. Ham was certainly the

youngest of Noah's sons, and from what we read, Ge 9:22, the

worst of them; and how he comes to be mentioned out of his

natural order is not easy to be accounted for. When the

Scriptures design to mark precedency, though the subject be a

younger son or brother, he is always mentioned first; so Jacob is

named before Esau, his elder brother, and Ephraim before Manasses.

See Ge 28:5; 48:20.

AMONG many important things presented to our view in this

chapter, several of which have been already noticed, we may

observe that, of all the antediluvian patriarchs, Enoch, who was

probably the best man, was the shortest time upon earth; his years

were exactly as the days in a solar revolution, viz., three

hundred and sixty-five; and like the sun he fulfilled a glorious

course, shining more and more unto the perfect day, and was taken,

when in his meridian splendour, to shine like the sun in the

kingdom of his Father for ever.

From computation it appears, 1. That Adam lived to see Lamech,

the ninth generation, in the fifty-sixth year of whose life he

died; and as he was the first who lived, and the first that

sinned, so he was the first who tasted death in a natural way.

Abel's was not a natural but a violent death. 2. That Enoch was

taken away next after Adam, seven patriarchs remaining witness of

his translation. 3. That all the nine first patriarchs were taken

away before the flood came, which happened in the six hundredth

year of Noah's life. 4. That Methuselah lived till the very year

in which the flood came, of which his name is supposed to have

been prophetical methu, "he dieth," and shalach,

"he sendeth out;" as if God had designed to teach men that as soon

as Methuselah died the flood should be sent forth to drown an

ungodly world. If this were then so understood, even the name of

this patriarch contained in it a gracious warning. See the

genealogical plate after "Ge 11:32".

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