Adam Clarke Commentary
A recapitulation of the account of the creation of man, Genesis 5:1, Genesis 5:2; and of the birth of Seth, Genesis 5:3. Genealogy of the ten antediluvian patriarchs, vv. 3-31. Enoch‘s extraordinary piety, Genesis 5:22; his translation to heaven without seeing death, Genesis 5:24. The birth of Noah, and the reason of his name, Genesis 5:29; his age at the birth of Japheth, Genesis 5:32.
The book of the generations - ספר (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.
And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, etc. - 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. 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. 4th., London, 1809.
And begat a son in his own likeness, after his image - Words nearly the same with those Genesis 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.
And Enoch walked with God - three hundred years - There are several things worthy of our most particular notice in this account:
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.
This same shall comfort us - This is an allusion, as some think, to the name a Noah, which they derive from נחם (nacham), to comfort; but it is much more likely that it comes from נח (nach) or נוח (nuach), to rest, to settle, etc. And what is more comfortable than rest after toil and labor? 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 savor of Rest, and said he would not curse the ground any more for man‘s sake, Genesis 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 Genesis 9:3.
Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth - From Genesis 10:21; 1 Chronicles 1:5, etc., 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, Genesis 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 Genesis 28:5; Genesis 48:20.
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