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Beginning of Adam’s Genealogy
After the bankruptcy of the human race via the line of Cain it is as if God starts history with man again. Cain and his descendants represent people who do not want to have anything to do with God. They build their own world where God is consciously excluded.
“The book of the generations of Adam” gives an account of all who were born of him through the line of Seth. The description goes from Adam to Noah, which are ten generations. First we are reminded of man’s origin: he is not begotten by anyone else (no evolution), but created directly by God (Gen 1:27). Reference is also made to his high descent: he is made “in the likeness of God”. That means knowledge of and dominion over creation and being free from evil.
God created man in a male and female form. He thus establishes marriage as the only form of cohabitation to produce offspring. He blesses them with all the good things of creation, including having offspring. That He gives them the name “Man” is to remind them that God made them out of the dust of the earth. This is from their creation their name. Man is in Hebrew adam and means ‘of earth’. Paul points at this when he says that man is “from the earth, earthly” (1Cor 15:47).
The genealogy of Adam that God gives here does not run through Cain, but through Seth, who has replaced Abel (Gen 4:25). It is a completely different genealogy from that of Cain (Gen 4:17-24). It mentions people who have lived in faith. No special efforts of them are mentioned, as with the descendants of Cain. It does not seem that they were held in esteem in the world.
But despite the characteristics of faith, we also notice the consequences of sin in this genealogy. Adam can only become the father of a son “in his own likeness”. The consequence of that cannot but be that he passes on his son his own sinful nature. The proof of sin and also its wages is death (Rom 6:23) which has passed on to all men (Rom 5:12). The remainder of this chapter and the entire history of mankind show this. Adam can grow as old as he is, even nine hundred and thirty years, he cannot escape the judgment of God: “In the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17).
And He Died
Not only about Adam, but about all those mentioned in this genealogy, we hear the death bell ring when, as in a chorus, we hear the words “and he died”.
An important side-effect is that through the high ages the truth of God could be passed on by as few intermediaries as possible. Thus, between Adam and Moses, that is, over a period of about 2,500 years, there were no more than seven intermediaries.
Enoch Taken by God
Enoch begot Methuselah and sons and daughters, lived to be three hundred and sixty-five years old, and he did not die, “for God took him”. Enoch is thus a wonderful exception to the law of nature “and he died” which sounded in the previous verses and which applies to all men throughout the ages. The only other descendant of Adam who went to heaven without dying is Elijah (2Kgs 2:11). The only person who could have gone to heaven without dying is the Lord Jesus. But He voluntarily died the death of the sinner in order to save him.
Enoch has “obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Heb 11:5). The reason is that he walks with Him. Enoch walks with God because he agrees with God (Amos 3:3). God wanted to walk with Adam in the garden (Gen 3:8), but sin made that impossible. Enoch believes in God, he takes Him into account in everything.
He warns his contemporaries of the judgment to come: “[It was] also about these men [that] Enoch, [in] the seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him”” (Jude 1:14-15). God has told Enoch about this, because He always makes His thoughts known to those who walk with Him and please Him.
The fact that Enoch really walked with God is shown by the fact that He did not keep God’s communication to himself, but passed it on to the people around Him. “Enoch” means ‘taught’. We have also been taught by God about what He is going to do with the world. Does that also bring us to a walk with God and a preaching of judgment to those around us to warn them?
Enoch is also a picture of the members of the church who live on earth at the coming of the Lord Jesus and will be caught up by Him without dying (1Thes 4:15-18). Enoch is taken away before the judgment of the Flood comes upon the world. In the same way, the church will be caught up before God’s judgments come upon the world as an introduction to the Lord Jesus’ return to earth.
The Oldest Man
Methuselah begot Lamech – not to be confused with the descendant of Cain (Gen 4:19-24) – and sons and daughters, was nine hundred sixty-nine years old, “and he died”. He is the oldest man in the world so far. In the millennial realm of peace, people will become even older (Isa 65:20; 22).
Lamech begot Noah, and sons and daughters, and lived to be seven hundred and seventy-seven years old, “and he died”. As with Enoch, the repeated course of events of birth, life, having children and dying is interrupted with Lamech. This is done here to communicate the motive of his son’s naming. Lamech lives in a world where violence and corruption are increasing (Gen 6:12-13). He notices that. He realizes and acknowledges that the earth is cursed. In the midst of this situation, he seeks peace. In faith he calls the son who is born “Noah”, which means ‘rest’.
The rest that Lamech speaks about when giving this name is also connected with comfort. There is a link between rest and comfort. It is not to be seen in English, but there is a play on words between the name Noah (‘rest’) and the Hebrew word for ‘comfort’. His longing for that rest is the longing of a God-fearing soul. But that rest can only come after judgment. Nor can Noah give that rest, and Lamech is mistaken when he says that “this one” will give him and others rest. It is the mistake that Eve also made, when she gets Cain (Gen 4:1) and sees in him the promised (or seed) offspring (Gen 3:15).
While Enoch is taken away before judgment (Gen 5:24), Noah is kept through judgment, save in the ark. Noah is a picture of the faithful remnant of Israel that is kept by God during the great tribulation that will come upon the whole earth.
With the naming of the sons of Noah, the genealogy of faith ends. There is no mention here of how old Noah eventually became. Noah’s three sons are mentioned – and not just one as in all previous cases – by whom the genealogy is continued. This also points forward to the further course that will make it clear that a new beginning is being made by these three sons.
Shem is mentioned first. Through him the lineage continues to Abraham, the ancestor of God’s earthly people Israel. God is called “the God of Shem” (Gen 9:26). Through him, finally, the Christ will be born (Lk 3:23; 36).
The flood came over the earth in the six hundredth year of Noah (Gen 7:6) that is, in the year 1656 after the creation of Adam.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 5". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25