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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Genesis 5

 

 

Verses 1-32

Genesis 5:1-32. Sethite Genealogy of Antediluvians.—With the exception of Genesis 5:29 this comes from P, as is clear from the style, each statement being cast in the same mould, and the whole forming a mere catalogue of names and dates. There is a striking divergence between the Heb., Sam., and LXX figures, the period from the Creation to the Flood being reckoned as 1656, 1307, and 2242 (a variant yields 2262) years respectively. The question is very complex; here the editor's view must be stated without discussion. The LXX may be set aside; the Sam. is probably to be preferred to the Heb. since the latter shows signs of artificiality and because it can be more readily explained from the Sam. than vice versa. The Sam. represents Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech as dying in the year of the Flood, and since this occurs early in the year the suggestion is that they perished in it. The Heb. presumably is an alteration to avoid this inference, and to make the period from Creation to the Exodus two-thirds of 4000 years. It is also necessary to pass by the individual members with the exception of Enoch and Noah. The mention of 365 years suggests a connexion with the solar year. Enoch may be identical with Enmeduranki, the king of Sippar, a favourite of the gods, connected with the sun-god, and initiated into mysteries of earth and heaven, just like the Enoch of the late Enoch literature (p. 433). His walk with God may, therefore, imply not simply an intimate fellowship but an initiation into Divine secrets. "He was not" is explained in Hebrews 11:5. The redactor has added Genesis 5:29 from J. The etymology of Noah's name (Genesis 5:29) refers apparently to his discovery of the vine (Genesis 9:20). The ground has been cursed (Genesis 3:17-19), but Noah is to pluck from it a soothing cordial for man's weariness, the wine which makes glad the hearts of men as well as God (Judges 9:13, Psalms 104:15) and enables them to drown their sorrows in at least temporary oblivion. The age of Noah (500 years) when his eldest son was born is at first sight surprising, for no other had reached 200 years. But the Flood had to occur late in Noah's life, otherwise the length of life assigned to his ancestors must have been abbreviated, if they were not to survive the Flood. On the other hand, if Noah's sons were at the time to have no children, they must themselves have been born a sufficiently short time before the Flood for their childlessness not to seem strange. It is perhaps scarcely necessary to add that the years mentioned in this chapter are intended to be literal years, and that we are not reading real history; though even these high figures are sober in comparison with those in the parallel Babylonian list of ten antediluvian kings whose reigns lasted in the aggregate, 432,000 years.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Genesis 5:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/genesis-5.html. 1919.

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