John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 5
This chapter contains a list or catalogue of the posterity of Adam in the line of Seth, down to Noah; it begins with a short account of the creation of Adam, and of his life and death, Genesis 5:1 next of five of the antediluvian patriarchs, their age and death, namely Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Genesis 5:6 then a particular relation of Enoch, his character and translation, Genesis 5:21 then follows an account of Methuselah, the oldest man, and Lamech's oracle concerning his son Noah, Genesis 5:12 and the chapter is closed with the life and death of Lamech, and the birth of the three sons of Noah, Genesis 5:30.
This is the book of the generations of Adam,.... An account of persons born of him, or who descended from him by generation in the line of Seth, down to Noah, consisting of ten generations; for a genealogy of all his descendants is not here given, not of those in the line of Cain, nor of the collateral branches in the line of Seth, only of those that descended one from another in a direct line to Noah:
in the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; this is repeated from Genesis 1:27 to put in mind that man is a creature of God; that God made him, and not he himself; that the first man was not begotten or produced in like manner as his sons are, but was immediately created; that his creation was in time, when there were days, and it was not on the first of these, but on the sixth; and that he was made in the likeness of God, which chiefly lay in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, and in dominion over the creatures.
Male and female created he them,.... Adam and Eve, the one a male, the other a female; and but one male and one female, to show that one man and one woman only were to be joined together in marriage, and live as man and wife for the procreation of posterity; and these were not made together, but first the male, and then the female out of him, though both in one day:
and blessed them; with a power of propagating their species, and multiplying it, and with all other blessings of nature and providence; with an habitation in the garden of Eden; with leave to eat of the fruit of all the trees in it, but one; with subjection of all the creatures to them, and with communion with God in their enjoyments:
and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created; which, as Philo
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years,.... The Septuagint version, through mistaken, gives the number two hundred and thirty years:
and begat a son; not that he had no other children during this time than Cain and Abel; this is only observed to show how old he was when Seth was born, the son here meant; who was begotten
in his own likeness, after his image; not in the likeness, and after the image of God, in which Adam was created; for having sinned, he lost that image, at least it was greatly defaced, and he came short of that glory of God, and could not convey it to his posterity; who are, and ever have been conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; are polluted and unclean, foolish and disobedient; averse to all that is good, and prone to all that is evil: the sinfulness of nature is conveyed by natural generation, but not holiness and grace; that is not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the flesh, but of God, and produced of his own will, by his mighty power impressing the image of his Son in regeneration on his people; which by beholding his glory they are more and more changed into by the Spirit of God. The Jewish writers understand this in a good sense, of Seth being like to Adam in goodness, when Cain was not: so the Targum of Jonathan,"and he begat Seth, who was like to his image and similitude; for before Eve had brought forth Cain, who was not like unto him---but afterwards she brought forth him who was like unto him, and called his name Seth.'So they say
And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years,.... The Septuagint version is seven hundred; for having added one hundred years more the should be, to the years of his life before the birth of Seth, here they are taken away to make the number of his years complete:
and he begat sons and daughters; not only after the birth of Seth, but before, though we have no account of any, unless of Cain's wife; but what their number was is not certain, either before or after; some say he had thirty children, besides Cain, Abel, and Seth; and others a hundred
And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years,.... Not lunar years, as Varro
and he died, according to the sentence of the law in Genesis 2:17 and though he died not immediately upon his transgression of the law, yet he was from thence forward under the sentence of death, and liable to it; yea, death seized upon him, and was working in him, till it brought him to the dust of it; his life, though so long protracted, was a dying life, and at last he submitted to the stroke of death, as all his posterity ever since have, one or two excepted, and all must; for "it is appointed unto men once to die". Hebrews 9:27. The Arabic
And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos. Not that this was his firstborn, no doubt but he had other children before this time; but this is only mentioned, because it carried the lineage and descent directly from Adam to Noah, the father of the new world, and from whom the Messiah was to spring; whose genealogy to give is a principal view of this book, or account of generations from Adam to Noah.
And Seth lived, after he begat Enos, eight hundred and seven years,.... The Septuagint version makes the same mistake in the numbers of Seth as of Adam, giving him two hundred and five years before the birth of Enos, and but seven hundred and seven years after:
and begat sons and daughters; very probably both before and after Enos was born; but how many is not said.
And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died. As his father Adam before him. Seth, according to Josephus
And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan. According to the Septuagint a hundred and ninety years; it can hardly be thought but that he had sons or daughters before, but this is only taken notice of for a reason before given.
And Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years,.... The Septuagint version is seven hundred and fifteen; the hundred which is wanting is to be supplied from the preceding verse, which in that version has an hundred too much:
and begat sons and daughters; others besides Enos, as very likely he had before he was born.
And all the days or Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died. According to the Arabic writers
And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel. Here the Septuagint version adds an hundred years, as before.
And Cainan lived, after he begat Mahalaleel, eight hundred and forty years,.... The Septuagint has seven hundred and forty, which, added to the years given him before, makes the same sum:
and begat sons and daughters; as his progenitors did.
And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died. The Arabic writers
And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared. A hundred and sixty, according to the Septuagint version.
And Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years,.... Seven hundred and thirty, as the above version, still making the same mistake:
and he begat sons and daughters; how many cannot be said.
And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years, and he died. He also is spoken well of by the Arabic writers
And Jared lived an hundred and sixty two years, and he begat Enoch. Here the Septuagint agrees with the Hebrew text, and the Samaritan version differs, reading only sixty two; but this can hardly be thought to be his first son at such an age.
And Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years,.... And so, the Greek version, but the Samaritan is seven hundred and eighty five:
and begat sons and daughters; in that time, as well as before; for it is not to be imagined in this, or either of the foregoing or following instances, that these sons and daughters were begotten after living to such an age, since it is plain at that age they died.
And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years, and he died. The name of this patriarch signifies "descending"; and, according to the Arabic writers
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah. Here the Septuagint version adds again an hundred years; and that Enoch had a son, whose name was Methuselah, is affirmed by Eupolemus
And Enoch walked with God, after he begat Methuselah, three hundred years,.... The Greek version is two hundred. He had walked with God undoubtedly before, but perhaps after this time more closely and constantly: and this is observed to denote, that he continued so to do all the days of his life, notwithstanding the apostasy which began in the days of his father, and increased in his. He walked in the name and fear of God, according to his will, in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord then made known; he walked by faith in the promises of God, and in the view of the Messiah, the promised seed; he walked uprightly and sincerely, as in the sight of God; he had familiar converse, and near and intimate communion with him: and even the above Heathen writer, Eupolemus, seems to suggest something like this, when he says, that he knew all things by the angels of God, which seems to denote an intimacy with them; and that he received messages from God by them:
and begat sons and daughters; the marriage state and procreation of children being not inconsistent with the most religious, spiritual, and godly conversation.
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years. A year of years, living as many years as there are days in a year; not half the age of the rest of the patriarchs: our poet
And Enoch walked with God,.... Which is repeated both for the confirmation of it, and for the singularity of it in that corrupt age; and to cause attention to it, and stir up others to imitate him in it, as well as to express the well pleasedness of God therein; for so it is interpreted, "he had this testimony, that he pleased God", Hebrews 11:5.
and he was not; not that he was dead, or in the state of the dead, as Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret the phrase following:
for God took him, out of the world by death, according to 1 Kings 19:4 "for he was translated, that he should not see death", Hebrews 11:5 nor was he annihilated, or reduced to nothing, "for God took him", and therefore he must exist somewhere: but the sense is, he was not in the land of the living, he was no longer in this world; or with the inhabitants of the earth, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it; but the Lord took him to himself out of the world, in love to him, and removed him from earth to heaven, soul and body, as Elijah was taken; See Gill on Hebrews 11:5. The Arabic writers
And Methuselah lived an hundred and eighty and seven years, and beget Lamech. The Septuagint version is an hundred and sixty seven; the Samaritan only sixty seven; the same names were given to some of the posterity of Seth as were to those of Cain, as Lamech here, and Enoch before.
And Methuselah lived, after he begat Lamech, seven hundred eighty and two years,.... The Greek version is eight hundred and two years, and so makes the sum total of his life the same; but the Samaritan version only six hundred and fifty three, and so makes his whole life but seven hundred and twenty; and thus, instead of being the oldest, he is made the youngest of the antediluvian patriarchs, excepting his father Enoch:
and begat sons and daughters; some, it is highly probable, before he beget Lamech, since then he was near two hundred years of age, as well as others after.
And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty nine years, and he died,.... This was the oldest man that ever lived, no man ever lived to a thousand years: the Jews give this as a reason for it, because a thousand years is God's day, according to Psalm 90:4 and no man is suffered to arrive to that. His name carried in it a prediction of the time of the flood, which was to be quickly after his death, as has been observed; see Gill on Genesis 5:21. Some say he died in the year of the flood; others, fourteen years after, and was in the garden of Eden with his father, in the days of the flood, and then returned to the world
And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat son. According to the Septuagint version he was an hundred and eighty eight years old; but according to the Samaritan version only fifty three; the name, of his son, begotten by him, is given in the next verse, with the reason of it.
And he called his name Noah,.... Which signifies rest and comfort; for rest gives comfort, and comfort flows from rest, see 2 Samuel 14:17, where a word from the same root is rendered "comfortable", and agrees with the reason of the name, as follows:
saying, this same shall comfort us, concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground, which the Lord hath cursed; this he spake by a spirit of prophecy, foreseeing what his son would be, and of what advantage to him and his family, and to the world, both in things temporal and spiritual. In things temporal: the earth was cursed for the sin of man immediately after the fall, and continued under it to this time, bringing forth thorns and thistles in great abundance of itself, which occasioned much trouble to root and pluck them up, and nothing else, without digging, and planting, and sowing; and being barren through the curse, it was with great difficulty men got a livelihood: now Noah eased them in a good measure of their toil and trouble, by inventing instruments of ploughing, as Jarchi suggests, which they had not before, but threw up the ground with their hands, and by the use of spades, or such like things, which was very laborious; but now, by the use of the plough, and beasts to draw it, their lives were made much more easy and comfortable; hence he is said to begin to be an "husbandman", or a "man of the earth", that brought agriculture to a greater perfection, having found out an easier and quicker manner of tilling the earth: and as he was the first that is said to plant a vineyard, if he was the inventor of wine, this was another way in which he was an instrument of giving refreshment and comfort to men, that being what cheers the heart of God and men, see Genesis 9:20 and if the antediluvians were restrained from eating of flesh, and their diet was confined to the fruits of the earth; Noah, as Dr. Lightfoot
And Lamech lived, after he begat Noah, five hundred ninety and five years,.... The Septuagint version is five hundred and sixty five; and the Samaritan version six hundred:
and begat sons and daughters; of which we have no account.
And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years, and he died. According to the Greek version, he lived but seven hundred and fifty three; and according to the Samaritan version, only six hundred and fifty three: but it is best and safest in these, and all the above numbers, to follow the original Hebrew, and the numbers in that, with which the Targum of Onkelos exactly agrees, written about the time of Christ; and these numbers were just the same when the two Talmuds were composed. Some of the Jewish writers, and so some Christians, confound this Lamech with the other Lamech, who was of the race of Cain, spoken of in the preceding chapter, and say he was a bigamist and a murderer; and that in his days sins were committed openly, and witchcraft was throughout the whole world
And Noah was five hundred years old,.... Or "the son of five hundred years"
and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth; not together, but one after another; and since Ham was the younger son, see Genesis 9:24 and Shem was an hundred years old two years after the flood, Genesis 11:10 he must be born in the five hundred and second year of his father's age; so that it seems most probable that Japheth was the eldest son, and born in the five hundred and first year of his age; though Shem is usually mentioned first, because of his superior dignity and excellency, God being in an eminent manner the God of Shem, Genesis 9:26 and from whom the Messiah was to spring, and in whose line the church of God was to be continued in future ages. The name of Japheth is retained in Greek and Latin authors, as Hesiod
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