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Tuesday, July 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 5

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-32

Genesis 5:1. The book of generations; the princely line of holy patriarchs, from whom the Messiah descended.

Genesis 5:4. And begat sons and daughters; but not being primogenitors of the promised Heir, the register of their names is kept in heaven.

Genesis 5:5. Adam lived 930 years. Sanchoniatho, the Phœnician historian, calls Adam, Cronus; and though he gives but eight fathers before the deluge, he confirms the testimony of Moses respecting their longevity. Heathen testimonies are numerous to the same effect, and are undisputed by the post-diluvian fathers. From these, Varro, whom the Romans call learned, affirms, that the first men lived a thousand years. Seneca, in his allegory of life, founded his idea of a bridge which had a thousand arches, on the same tradition. The antediluvians were free from all hereditary diseases. They subsisted very much on the fruits of the earth, and simple beverage. They did not breathe the heterogeneous airs of large cities, nor impair their health by sedentary occupations and habits; on the contrary, they used exercises adapted to their gigantic strength and stature. In a word, their lives were prolonged by the special care of heaven to populate and adorn the primitive earth.

Genesis 5:24. Enoch was not, for God took him. He was translated into paradise, as all the rabbins say; “for no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that came down from heaven,” John 3:13; and by his ascension he hath called future generations to repentance. Sir 44:16 .

Genesis 5:27. Methuselah: that is, he sent his death, or the arrows of his death. The name might therefore be a title conferred upon him by posterity, on account of the special favour of heaven in taking him away the year, or little more, before the flood. Our infidels can find no unbelievers in the longevity of these sires; why then should there be any now.

Genesis 5:28. Lamech. Not the Lamech in Cain’s line, but a more worthy patriarch in the progeny of Seth.

Genesis 5:29. And called his name Noah; that is, comfort or rest; a name prophetic of his reparations of the world destroyed by water. He outlived the wicked race he established agriculture he gave the world an example of religion, obtaining at the altar the special tokens of divine favour in the renewal of the covenant, and the blessing of God upon the earth. Thus he became the Deucalion or second father of the world.


We have here a marked distinction between Adam made in God’s image, and Seth born in Adam’s likeness. He was not born merely in the human form of his father, but with his corrupt propensities. He was, like the Psalmist, shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin. Psalms 51:5. He had in his nature the seeds of anger, pride, self-love, and aversion to good, which a corrupt education brings to rapid and awful perfection. May it then be our constant prayer, that God would create us anew in Christ Jesus, in righteousness and true holiness.

We have set before us for imitation, the example of Enoch, who walked with God; who was acceptable before him as a prophet, and a prince. As introductory to this high favour, let us pray to be reconciled to God and adopted into his family, that we may walk in the light of his countenance. Let us maintain a constant intercourse with God by devotion, and the practice of righteousness. Let us make a daily progress in piety, and in the knowledge of his will. Let us be faithful in the day of trial, that we may enjoy his favour and friendship for ever.

In the translation of this patriarch, we see the dawning of life and immortality. He walked with his Maker, and glorified him on earth; and his gracious and ever-faithful companion honoured him, body and soul, with a triumphant entrance into glory. Nor was the high favour long delayed. He was taken from a wicked world in the middle of life, that he might be the more striking type of our Saviour’s ascension, and embolden others to follow his holy example.

In the longevity of the fathers before the flood, and afterward in the gradual shortening of life, we see the increasing care of providence over man. While the human kind were free from constitutional diseases, and the earth wanted inhabitants, they lived to a vast age, which is attested by the heathens, as well as by Moses; but now when the earth could not nourish them, if life was so long, God has shortened the age of man. Let us revere his hand, for all his ways are wise, and all his judgments have mercy for their object. It being the design of the Holy Ghost to give us the history of the church, and of the Messiah’s line, many good men have but a name in this genealogy, and thousands more have not that favour; but let us endeavour that our names may be written in the book of life, that God may be the witness of our hearts, and the recorder of our piety. Then every saint shall stand in his own order, and have joy at his coming.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/genesis-5.html. 1835.
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