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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries

Genesis 5

 

 

Verses 1-32

§ 3. THE GENERATIONS OF ADAM (CH. 5:1-6:8)

EXPOSITION

The present section carries forward the inspired narrative another stage, in which the onward progress or development of the human race is traced, in the holy line of Seth, from the day of Adam's creation, through ten successive generations, till the point is reached when the first great experiment of attempting to save man by clemency rather than by punishment is brought to a termination, and Jehovah, whose mercy has been spurned and abused, determines to destroy the impenitent transgressors. First, in brief and somewhat monotonous outline, the lives of the ten patriarchs are sketched, scarcely more being recorded of them than simply that they were born, grew to manhood, married wives, begat children, and then died. In only two instances does the history diverge from this severely simple style of biographical narration, namely, in the cases of Enoch, who, as he eclipsed his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors in the elevation of his piety during life, was honored above them in the mode of his departure from the earth; and of Noah, whose birth was welcomed by his parents as a happy omen in a time of social degeneracy and religious declension, but who lived to see the hopes of reform which his pious parents cherished disappointed, and the world for its wickedness overwhelmed by a flood. Then, after sketching the uneventful lives of the patriarchs in a few bold strokes, the sacred penman sets before us a vividly arresting and profoundly impressive picture of the wickedness of the human race on the eve of that appalling catastrophe, at once indicating the cause of the earth's degeneracy in morals, and representing that degeneracy as a sufficient justification for the threatened judgment. Throughout the genealogical register the name Elohim is employed to designate the Deity, the subject being the evolutions of the Adam who was created in the image of Elohim. In the paragraph depicting the growth of immorality among men, and recording the Divine resolution to destroy man, the name Jehovah is used, the reason being that in his sin and in his punishment man is viewed in his relations to the God of redemption and grace.

Genesis 5:1, Genesis 5:2

This is the book. Sepher, a register, a complete writing of any kind, a book, whether consisting of a pair of leaves or of only a single leaf (Deuteronomy 24:1, Deuteronomy 24:3; "a bill of divorcement;" LXX; βιì βλος; cf. Matthew 1:1; Luke 3:36, Luke 3:38). The expression presupposes the invention of the art of writing. If, therefore, we may conjecture that the original compiler of this ancient document was Noah, than whom no one would be more likely or better qualified than he to preserve some memorial of the lost race of which he and his family were the sole survivors, it affords an additional corroboration of the intelligence and culture of the antediluvian men. It is too frequently taken for granted that the people who could build cities, invent musical instruments, and make songs were unacquainted with the art of writing; and though certainly we cannot affirm that the transmission of such a family register as is here recorded was beyond the capabilities of oral tradition, it is obvious that its preservation would be much more readily secured by some kind of documentary notation. Of the generationsi.e. evolutions (tol'doth; cf. Genesis 2:4)—of Adam. In the preceding section the tol'doth of the heavens and the earth were exhibited, and accordingly the narrative commenced with the creative labors of the third day. Here the historian designs to trace the fortunes of the holy seed, and finds the point of his departure in the day that God (Elohim) created man (Adam), i.e. the sixth of the creative days. More particularly he calls attention to the great truths which had been previously included in his teaching concerning man; viz; the dignity of his nature, implied in the fact that in the likeness of Elohim made he him; his sexual distinction—male and female created he them; their Divine benediction—and blessed them (cf. Genesis 1:27, Genesis 1:28); at the same time adding a fourth circumstance, which in the first document was not narrated, that their Maker gave to them a suitable and specific appellation—and called their name Adam (vide Genesis 1:26), in the day when they were created.

Genesis 5:3-5

At the head of the Adamic race stands the first man, whose career is summarized in three short verses, which serve as a model for the subsequent biographies. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years. Shanah, a repetition, a return of the sun's circuit, or of similar natural phenomena; from shanah, to fold together, to repeat; hence a year (Gesenius, Furst). Cf. Latin, annus; Greek, ἐ νιαυτοì ς; Gothic, Jar, jar, jet; German, jahr; English, year—all of which "seem to carry the same thought, viz; that which comes again" (T. Lewis). "Shanah never means month" (Kalisch). And begat a son in his own likeness,—damuth (cf. Genesis 1:26)—after his image—tselem (cf. GenesisGenesis 1:26); not the Divine image in which he was himself created (Kalisch, Knobel, Alford), but the image or likeness of his own fallen nature, i.e. the image of God modified and corrupted by sin (Keil, Murphy, Wordsworth). "A supernatural remedy does not prevent generation from participating in the corruption of sin. Therefore, according to the flesh Seth was born a sinner, though he was afterwards renewed by the Spirit of grace" (Calvin). The doctrine of inherited depravity or transmitted sin has been commonly held to favor the theory which accounts for the origin of the human soul per traducem (Tertullian, Luther, Delitzsch), in opposition to that which holds it to be due to the creative power of God. Kalisch thinks the statement "Adam begat Seth in his own image ' decisive in favor of Traducianism, while Hodge affirms "it only asserts that Seth was like his father, and sheds no light, on the mysterious process of generation ('Syst. Theol.,' Part I. Genesis 3:1-24. § 2). The truth is that Scripture seems to recognize both sides of this question. Vide Psalms 51:5 in favor of Traducianism, and Psalms 139:14-16; Jeremiah 1:5 in support of Creationism, though there is much force in the words of Augustine "De re obscurissima disputatur, non adjuvantibus divinarum scripturarum certis clarisque documentis." And called his name—probably concurring in the name selected by Eve (Genesis 4:25)—Seth—Appointed, placed, substituted; hence compensation (Genesis 4:25). And the days of Adam after he had begotten—literally, his begetting—Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters. "In that primitive time the births did not rapidly follow each other—a fact which had to indicate that his having a posterity at all was conditioned by the ripeness of his faith. At the same time the lateness of paternity among these primeval men may have been partly due to a physical cause as well, "since in exact accordance with the increasing degeneracy and rankness of human life is there, in a literal sense, the increase of a numerous and wretched offspring" (Lange). And all the days that Adam—not the whole tribe (Gatterer, vide Bohlen; cf. Balgarnie, 'Expositor,' vol. 8.), "as in this case Enoch must have been taken to heaven with his whole family" (Kalisch); but the individual bearing that name—lived were nine hundred and thirty years. The remarkable longevity of the Macrobii has been explained—

1. On the supposition of its non-authenticity.

2. On the basis of its historic credibility; as attributable to—

We prefer to ascribe the longevity of these antediluvian men to a distinct exercise of grace on the part of God, who designed it to be

And he died. "The ,solemn toll of the patriarchal funeral bell (Bonar). Its constant recurrence at the close of each biography proves the dominion of death from Adam onward, as an immutable law (Romans 5:11; Baumgarten, Kefi, Lange); "warns us that death was not denounced in vain against men" (Calvin); "is a standing demonstration of the effect of disobedience" (Murphy); "was intended to show what the condition of all mankind was after Adam's fall (Willet). The expression is not appended to the genealogical list of the Fathers after the Flood, doubtless as being then sufficiently understood; and it is not said of the descendants of Cain that they died, "as if the inheritance of the sons of God were not here on earth, but in death, as the days of the deaths of martyrs are held in honor by the Church as their birthdays" (Wordsworth).

Genesis 5:6-20

The lives of the succeeding patriarchs are framed upon the model of this Adamic biography, and do not call for separate notice. The names of the next six were Seth (Genesis 5:6; vide Genesis 4:25); Enos (Genesis 5:9; vide Genesis 4:26); Cainan, possession (Gesenius); a child, one begotten (Furst); a created thing, a creature, a young man (Ewald); possessor, or spearsman (Murphy; Genesis 5:12); Mahalaleel, praise of God (Gesenius, Furst, Murphy; Genesis 5:15); Jared, descent (Gesenius); low ground, water, or marching down (Furst); going down (Murphy; Genesis 5:18); Enoch, dedicated, initiated (Genesis 5:19; cf. Genesis 4:17).

Genesis 5:21

The dedicated and initiated child grew up, like an Old Testament Timothy let us hope, to possess, illustrate, and proclaim the piety which was the distinguishing characteristic of the holy line. At the comparatively early age of sixty-five he begat Methuselah. Man of a dart (Gesenius), man of military arms (Furst), man of the missile (Murphy), man of the sending forth—sc. of water (Wordsworth), man of growth (Delitzsch). And Enoch walked with God (Elohim). The phrase, used also of Noah, (Genesis 6:9), and by Micah (Genesis 6:8. Cf. the similar expressions, "to walk before God," Genesis 17:1; Psalms 116:9, and "to walk after God," Deuteronomy 13:4; Ephesians 5:1), portrays a life of singularly elevated piety; not merely a constant realization of the Divine presence, or even a perpetual effort at holy obedience, but also "a maintenance of the most confidential intercourse with the personal God (Keil). It implies a situation of nearness to God, if not in place at least in spirit; a character of likeness to God (Amos 3:3), and a life of converse with God. Following the LXX. ( εὐ ηρε Ì στησε δε Ì ἐ νω Ì χ τῷ θεῷ), the writer to the Hebrews describes it as a life that was "pleasing to God," as springing from the root of faith (Hebrews 11:5). Yet though pre-eminently spiritual and contemplative, Jude tells us (Jude 1:14, Jude 1:15) the patriarch's life had its active and aggressive outlook towards the evil times in which he lived. After he begat Methuselah. "Which intimates that he did not begin to be eminent for piety till about that time; at first he walked as other men' (Henry). Procopius Gazeus goes beyond this, and thinks that before his son's birth Enoch was "a wicked liver," but then repented. The historian's language, however, does not necessarily imply that his piety was so late in commencing and it is more pleasing to think that from his youth upwards he was "as a shining star for virtue and holiness (Willet). Three hundred years. As his piety began early, so likewise did it continue long; it was not intermittent and fluctuating, but steadfast and persevering (cf. Job 17:9; Proverbs 4:18; 1 Corinthians 15:58). And begat sons and daughters. "Hence it is undeniably evident that the stats and use of matrimony doth very well agree with the severest course of holiness, and with the office of a prophet or preacher" (Poole). And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. "A year of years" (Henry); "the same period as that of the revolution of the earth round the sun. After he had finished his course, revolving round him who is the true light, which is God, in the orbit of duty, he was approved by God, and taken to him" (Wordsworth). Modern critics have discovered in the age of Enoch traces of a mythical origin. They conclude the entire list of names to be not older than the time of the Babylonian Nabonassar, and believe it to be not improbable that "the Babylonians regulated the calendar with the assistance of an Indian astrologer or ganaka (arithmetician) of the town of Chanoge" (Von Bohlen). But "it would be strange indeed if just in the life of Enoch, which represents the purest and sublimest unity with God, a heathen and astrological element were intentionally introduced;" and, besides, "it is almost generally admitted that our list contains no astronomical numbers that the years which it specifies refer to the lives of individuals, not to periods of the world; and that none of all these figures is in any way reducible "to a chronological, system" (Kalisch). And Enoch walked with God. "Non otiosa ταυτολογιì α," but an emphatic repetition, indicative of the ground of what follows. And he was not. Literally, and not he (cf. Genesis 12:1-20 :36; Jeremiah 31:15; και Ì οὐ χ εὐ ριì σκετο LXX.). "Not absolutely he was not, but relatively he was not extant in the sphere of sense." "Non amplius inter mortales apparuit" (Rosenmüller). "If this phrase does not denote annihilation, much less does the phrase "and he died." The one denotes absence from the world of sense, and the other indicates the ordinary way in which the soul departs from this world" (Murphy). For God (Elohim) took him. Cf. 2 Kings 2:3, 2 Kings 2:5, 2 Kings 2:9, 2 Kings 2:10, where the same word לָקַח is used of Elijah's translation; ὁ τι μετε ì θηκεν αὐ το Ì ν ὁ θεì ος, LXX.). Though the writer to the Hebrews (Genesis 11:5) adopts the paraphrase of the LXX; yet his language must be accepted as conveying the exact sense of the words of Moses. Analyzed, it teaches

Genesis 5:25-32

The shortest life was followed by the longest, Methuselah begetting, at the advanced age of 187, Lamech,—strong or young man (Gesenius); overthrower, wild man (Furst); man of, prayer (Murphy),—continuing after his son's birth 782 years, and at last succumbing to the stroke of death in the 969th year of his age, the year of the Flood. Lamech, by whom the line was carried forward, was similarly far advanced when he begat a son, at the age of 182, and called his name Noah,—"rest," from nuach, to rest (cf. Genesis 8:4),—not "The Sailor," from the Latin no, and the Greek ναῦ ς (Bohlen), but at the same time explaining it by saying, This same shall comfortnacham, to pant, groan, Piel to comfort. "Nuach and nacham are stems not immediately connected, but they both point back to a common root, nch, signifying to sigh, breathe, rest, lie down" (Murphy)—us concerning our work and toil of our hands. To say that Lamech anticipated nothing more than that the youthful Noah would assist him in the cultivation of the soil (Murphy) is to put too little into, and to allege that" this prophecy his father uttered of him, as he that should be a figure of Christ in his building of the ark, and offering of sacrifice, whereby God smelled a sweet savor of rest, and said he would not curse the ground any more for man's sake, Genesis 8:21" (Ainsworth), is to extract too much from his language. Possibly he had nothing but a dim, vague expectation of some good thing—the destruction of sinners in the Flood (Chrysostom), the use of the plough (R. Solomon), the grant of animal food (Kalisch), the invention of the arts and implements of husbandry (Sherlock, Bush)—that God was about to bestow upon his weary heritage; or at most a hope that the promise would be fulfilled in his son's day (Bonar), if not in his son himself (Calovius). The fulfillment of that promise he connects with a recall of the penal curse which Jehovah had pronounced upon the soil. Because of the ground which the Lord—Jehovah, by whom the curse had Been pronounced (Genesis 3:17)—hath cursed. The clause is not a Jehovistic interpolation (Bleek, Davidson, Colenso), but a proof "that the Elohistic theory is unfounded" ('Speaker's Commentary').

Genesis 5:32

And Noah was five hundred years old. Literally, a son of 500 years, i.e. going in his 500th year (cf. Genesis 7:6; Genesis 16:1). The son of a year (Exodus 12:5) means "strictly within the first year of the life" (Ainsworth). And Noah begati.e. began to beget (cf. Genesis 11:26)—Shem,—name (Gesenius), fame (Furst)—Ham,—cham; hot (Gesenius, Murphy), dark-colored (Furst)—and Japheth—spreading (Gesenius, Murphy); beautiful, denoting the white-colored race (Furst). That the sons are mentioned in the order of their ages (Knobel, Kalisch, Keil, Colenso) may seem to be deducible

But there is reason to believe that Japheth was the eldest and Ham the youngest of the patriarch's children (Michaelis, Clarke, Murphy, Wordsworth, Quarry). According to Genesis 11:10 Shem was born 97 years before the Flood, while (Genesis 6:11) Noah was 600 years old at the time of the Flood. Hence, if Noah began to beget children in his 500th year, and Shem was born in Noah's 503rd year, the probability is that the firstborn son was Japheth. In accordance with this Genesis 10:21 is understood by LXX; Vulgate, Michaelis, Lange, Quarry, and others to assert the priority in respect of age of Japheth. In the narrative ahem is placed first as being spiritually, though not physically, the firstborn. Ranke perceives in the mention of the three sons an indication that each was subsequently "to lay the foundation of a new beginning."

The Antiquity of Man

The chronology of the present chapter represents man as having been in existence at the time of the Deluge exactly 1656 years. According to the Septuagint, which Josephus follows except in one particular (the age of Lamech), and which proceeds, again with two exceptions (the age of Jared, which it leaves untouched, and that of Lamech, which it increases by six), upon the principle of adding 100 to the Hebrew numbers, the age of man at the date of that catastrophe was 2262 (vide Chronological Table, see below). The dates of the Samaritan Pentateuch, being manifestly incorrect, need not be considered. Adding to the above dates the subsequent chronological periods from the Deluge to the call of Abram, from the call of Abram to the exodus from Egypt, from the exodus to the birth of Christ, the antiquity of man, according to the Biblical account, is not less than 5652 and not more than 7536 years. The conclusion thus reached, however, is somewhat scornfully repudiated by modem science, as affording, on either alter. native, an altogether inadequate term of existence for the human race. 1. The evidence of geology is supposed irrefragably to attest that man must have been upon the earth at least 1000 centuries, and probably ten times as long. The data for this deduction, as stated by Sir Charles Lyell, are chiefly the discovery, in recent and post Pliocene formations of alleged great antiquity, of fossil human remains and flint implements along with bones of the mammoth and other animals long since extinct ('Antiquity of Man,' Genesis 1-19.). But

HEBREW

SAMARITAN

SEPTUAGINT

JOSEPHUS

Age at son's birth

Age at death

Age at son's birth

Age at death

Age at son's birth

Age at death

Age at son's birth

Age at death

ADAM

130

930

130

930

230

930

230

930

SETH

105

912

105

912

205

912

205

912

ENOS

90

905

90

905

190

905

190

905

CAINAN

70

910

70

910

170

910

170

910

MEHALALEEL

65

895

65

895

165

895

165

895

JARED

162

962

62

847

162

962

162

962

ENOCH

65

365

65

365

165

365

165

365

METHUSELAH

187

969

67

720

187

969

187

969

LAMECH

182

777

53

653

188

753

182

777

NOAH

500

950

500

950

500

950

500

950

SHEM

100

100

100

100

DELUGE

1656

1307

2262

2256

HOMILETICS

Genesis 5:1-32

The antediluvian saints.

I. DESCENDANTS OF ADAM. AS such they were—

1. A sinful race. Adam's son Seth was begotten in his father's image. Though still retaining the Divine image (1 Corinthians 11:7) as to nature, in respect of purity man has lost it. Inexplicable as the mystery is of inherited corruption, it is still a fact that the moral deterioration of the head of the human family has transmitted itself to all the members. The doctrine of human depravity, however unpleasant and humbling to carnal pride, is asserted in Scripture (Genesis 6:5, Genesis 6:12; Genesis 8:21; Job 15:14; Job 25:4; Psalms 14:2, Psalms 14:3; Psalms 51:5; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:28), implied in the universal prevalence of sin and death (Romans 5:12-21), assumed in the doctrines of regeneration, which is declared to be necessary absolutely and universally (John 3:3), and redemption, of which one part of the design was to deliver men from the power as well as guilt of sin (Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12-14; Hebrews 13:12), and abundantly confirmed by experience, which testifies that "the wicked are estranged from the womb, and go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Psalms 58:3).

2. A long-lived race. Whether their remarkable longevity was due to the original vigor of the primus homo, or to the influence of the tree of life, or to the eminency of the Sethites' piety, it was—

3. A dying race. Though a sinful, they were yet a pardoned race; but though a pardoned, they were yet a mortal race. A portion of the original penalty remains to remind man of his past history and present condition; and so although the Sethites "lived many hundred years, yet none of them filled up a thousand, lest they should have too much flattered themselves in long life; and seeing a thousand is a number of perfection, God would have none of them to attain to a thousand, that we might know that nothing is perfect here" (Willet).

II. MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH Or GOD. Great as was the former distinction, it is completely eclipsed by this. It is a great thing to be born, but a greater to be born again. To be in God's world is much, to be in God's Church is more. To be of the line of Adam by nature is questionable honor, to be of Adam's line by grace is unquestionable glory. These ten names from Adam to Noah represent the leaders of the Church of God in the primeval age of the world. Whether distinguished by rare talent, great wealth, or high position, whether they invented arts, built cities and composed hymns like the Cainites, is not said. Their chief distinction lay in—

1. Their possession of faith in God. Not perhaps all with the same tenacity, but all with the same reality, they clung to the promise of the woman's seed. This it was which made them members of the antediluvian Church. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

2. Their observance of religious worship. From the beginning of the world the practice of sacrificial worship was maintained by believers. For two generations it appears to have been private rather than public in its character. In the days of Enos, according to one of the interpretations of Genesis 4:26, the Sethites began to worship God in social assemblies, as a means at once of fostering their own piety and of defending themselves against the rising tide of ungodliness; and we cannot doubt the godly practice would continue till the number of believers became so small that Noah could discover no one of like heart and spirit with himself to participate in his devotions.

3. Their nonconformity to the world. According to another reading of Genesis 4:26, in the third generation the holy seed began to make clearer and more distinct the lines of demarcation between themselves and the Cainites by calling themselves by the name of Jehovah, i.e. by adopting to themselves the appellation of the worshippers of the Lord. The fact that "the sons of God" are mentioned in Genesis 6:1 lends a sanction to this view. If it was so, doubtless the assumption of this particular title was only a sign or symptom of a great religious movement that began to effect the age,—a movement of separation in heart and life from the unbelievers of the time,—and that with a greater or lesser intensity perpetuated itself through each successive generation, not even dying 'away when there was only one man to be affected by it.

4. Their witness-bearing against the wickedness of the ungodly world. This comes out not indeed here, but in other Scriptures, in connection with two patriarchs, Enoch and Noah; the first of whom prophesied of the coming of the Lord (Jud Genesis 1:14), and the second of whom was a preacher of righteousness to the men of his generation (2 Peter 2:5); and what was true of them was doubtless characteristic in a measure of them all. They were unquestionably prophets, priests, and kings in their families and in relation to their contemporaries.

5. Their eminently godly lives. As much as this is implied in what has been already said. But of two of them it is distinctly stated that they walked with God: of Enoch, that before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God; and of Noah, that he was a perfect man and an upright; and though not perhaps entitled to say that all of them lived at the same spiritual elevation as did those two fathers, yet we are fairly warranted to conclude that all of them maintained a holy walk and conversation in a rapidly degenerating age.

III. PROGENITORS OF THE PROMISED SEED. This was the chief distinction of these saintly men, and the real reason why their names and ages have been so carefully preserved to the Church of God. They were all links in the chain leading on to the woman's seed. So to speak, they were the ten first heralds sent out to proclaim the approach of the king; the ten first shadows or adumbrations of the great Prophet, Priest, and King to whom the faith of the Church was looking forward. True, it is not much that we know about them beyond their names, and certainly there is consider able vagueness and uncertainty about their import; but still, accepting those meanings which have the greatest probability in their favor, it is interesting to note how they all indicate points of character or features of history which met in Christ. Adam we know was a prophecy of Christ, the second Adam, in more than his name (1 Corinthians 15:45). Abel, the first martyr, prefigured him m dying by a brother's hand. Seth, the Substituted One, was a shadow of him who took our room and stead (Romans 5:8); Enos, the Frail One, of him who, as to his human nature, was as "a tender plant, and a root out of a dry ground" (Isaiah 53:2); Cainan, Possession, of him who was the gift of God (2 Corinthians 9:15). Mahalaleel, Praise of God, of him who "was not ashamed to call us brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee" (Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 2:12); Jared, Descent, of him who came down from heaven (John 6:38); Enoch, the dedicated and instructed child who walked with God, and was translated that he should not see death, of him who for his people "sanctified himself" (John 17:19), "in whom were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' (Colossians 2:3), who with regard to his Father could say, "I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29), and who, after accomplishing his Divine mission on the earth, was received up into glory (Acts 1:11); Methuselah, Man of the Dart, of him of whom the royal psalmist sang, "Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies" (Psalms 45:5); Lamech, Strong Youth, of the strong One whom David saw in vision raised up for Israel's help (Psalms 89:19); Noah, Rest, of him in whose sacrifice God smelled a sweet savor of rest (Ephesians 5:2).

Lessons:

1. As descendants of Adam, let us remember we are sinners, and, repenting, believe the gospel; let us measure our days, and, observing their shortness, apply our hearts unto wisdom; let us think of our mortality, and prepare for the narrow house appointed for all the living.

2. As members of the Church of Christ, have we the marks that distinguished these antediluvian saints?

3. As the spiritual posterity of Jesus Christ, do we reflect him as his progenitors foreshadowed him?

Genesis 5:22-24

Enoch.

I. The CHARACTER of his piety.

1. Walking with God.

2. Witnessing for God.

II. The EXCELLENCE of his piety.

1. It began in early boyhood.

2. It flourished in evil times.

3. It grew in spite of scanty privileges.

4. It continued to the close of life.

III. The REWARD of Enoch's piety. He was translated that he should not see death.

1. A visible proof of immortality:

2. A solemn confirmation of the gospel.

3. A striking prophecy of Christ's ascension.

HOMILIES BY J.F. MONTGOMERY

Genesis 5:24

Walking with God.

Whole chapter a reproof of the restless ambitions of men. Of these long lives the only record is a name, and the fact, "he died." Moral of the whole, "Dust thou art" (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50). Yet a link between life here and life above. Enoch translated (Hebrews 11:5). The living man passed into the presence of God. How, we need not care to know. But we know why. He "walked with God." Who would not covet this? Yet it may be ours. What then was that life? Of its outward form we know nothing. But same expression (Genesis 6:9) tells us that Noah's was such. Also Abraham's, "the friend of God" (Genesis 17:1); and St. Paul's (Philippians 1:21); and St. John (1 John 1:3) claims "fellowship with the Father" not for himself only (cf. John 14:23).

I. ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A WALK WITH GOD. Not a life of austerity or of contemplation, removed from interests or cares of world. Noah's was not; nor Abraham's. Nor a life without fault. Elijah was "of like passions as we are;" and David; and St. John declares, 1 John 1:8-10.

1. It is a life of faith, i.e. a life in which the word of God is a real power. Mark in Hebrews 11:1-40. how faith worked in different circumstances. To walk with God is to trust him as a child trusts; from belief of his fatherhood, and that he is true. With texts before us such as John 3:16; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 2:2, why are any not rejoicing? Or with such as John 4:10; Luke 11:13, why are any not asking and receiving to the full? God puts no hindrance (Revelation 3:20). But

2. To walk with God implies desire and effort for the good of men. In an ungodly world Enoch proclaimed the coming judgment (Jud Luke 1:14; cf. Acts 24:25). Spiritual selfishness often a snare to those who have escaped the snare of the world. It is not the mind of Christ. It springs from weakness of faith. Knowing the gift so dearly purchased, so freely offered to all, our calling is to persuade men. Not necessarily as teachers (James 1:19), but by intercession and by loving influence.

III. ENOCH WAS TRANSLATED. But apostles and saints died. Yet think not that their walk with God was less blessed. Hear our Lord's words (John 11:26), and St. Paul (2 Timothy 1:10). Hear the apostle's desire (Philippians 1:23). Enoch walked with God on earth, and the communion was carried on above. Is not this our Savior's promise? (John 14:21-23; John 17:24). Death is not the putting off that which is corruptible; it is separation from the Lord. Assured that we are his forever, we may say, "O death, where is thy sting?"—M.

HOMILIES BY R.A. REDFORD

Genesis 5:24

A great example and a great reward.

Notice the three distinctions in this patriarchal prophet.

I. HIS distinguished PIETY—walking with God; faith giving him knowledge, confidence in God, enjoyment of God.

II. HIS comparatively SHORT LIFE, and therefore speedy deliverance from the imperfection and suffering of this world, though his son lived the longest antediluvian life, and perhaps was a disciple of his father, teaching his doctrine. Those who "initiate" (Enoch) great moral movements are seldom long-lived men.

III. His distinguished END—translation. God took him because he loved him. The anticipation of the resurrection was itself a prophecy. The seventh from Adam is taken to heaven without death, though all the rest died, however long they lived, as though to vivify the promise of the redeeming seed. It seems better to supply the word "died" rather than "was." "And he died not; for God took him"referring to the common formula of the patriarchal history, "and he died." Walking with God is walking to God. Those who are like Enoch in their life will not be very different from him in their end; for the peace and triumph of a good man's end is little short of translation. The first of the prophets is thus gloriously signalized. Was it not like a special blessing from the beginning of the world on the life of consecrated ministration to God? Walking with God may be the description of any kind of service, but especially of the prophets."—R.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Genesis 5:4". The Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/genesis-5.html. 1897.

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