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Genesis 5

5
Generations: Adam to Noah.#The second of the five Priestly formulas in Part I (“This is the record of the descendants…”; see 2:4a; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10) introduces the second of the three linear genealogies in Gn 1–11 (4:17–24 and 11:10–26). In each, a list of individuals (six in 4:17–24, ten in 5:1–32, or nine in 11:10–26) ends in three people who initiate action. Linear genealogies (father to son) in ancient societies had a communicative function, grounding the authority or claim of the last-named individual in the first-named. Here, the genealogy has a literary function as well, advancing the story by showing the expansion of the human race after Adam, as well as the transmission to his descendant Noah of the divine image given to Adam. Correcting the impression one might get from the genealogy in 4:17–24, this genealogy traces the line through Seth rather than through Cain. Most of the names in the series are the same as the names in Cain’s line in 4:17–19 (Enosh, Enoch, Lamech) or spelled with variant spellings (Mahalalel, Jared, Methuselah). The genealogy itself and its placement before the flood shows the influence of ancient Mesopotamian literature, which contains lists of cities and kings before and after the flood. Before the flood, the ages of the kings ranged from 18,600 to 36,000 years, but after it were reduced to between 140 and 1,200 years. The biblical numbers are much smaller. There are some differences in the numbers in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. 1#Gn 1:27; Wis 2:23; Sir 17:1; Jas 3:9. This is the record of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them in the likeness of God; 2he created them male and female. When they were created, he blessed them and named them humankind.
3#1 Chr 1:1–4; Lk 3:36–38. Adam was one hundred and thirty years old when he begot a son in his likeness, after his image; and he named him Seth.#Gn 4:25. 4Adam lived eight hundred years after he begot Seth, and he had other sons and daughters. 5The whole lifetime of Adam was nine hundred and thirty years; then he died.
6When Seth was one hundred and five years old, he begot Enosh. 7Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he begot Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8The whole lifetime of Seth was nine hundred and twelve years; then he died.
9When Enosh was ninety years old, he begot Kenan. 10Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he begot Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11The whole lifetime of Enosh was nine hundred and five years; then he died.
12When Kenan was seventy years old, he begot Mahalalel. 13Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he begot Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14The whole lifetime of Kenan was nine hundred and ten years; then he died.
15When Mahalalel was sixty-five years old, he begot Jared. 16Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he begot Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17The whole lifetime of Mahalalel was eight hundred and ninety-five years; then he died.
18When Jared was one hundred and sixty-two years old, he begot Enoch. 19Jared lived eight hundred years after he begot Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20The whole lifetime of Jared was nine hundred and sixty-two years; then he died.
21When Enoch was sixty-five years old, he begot Methuselah. 22Enoch walked with God after he begot Methuselah for three hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 23The whole lifetime of Enoch was three hundred and sixty-five years. 24Enoch walked with God,#Enoch is in the important seventh position in the ten-member genealogy. In place of the usual formula “then he died,” the change to “Enoch walked with God” implies that he did not die, but like Elijah (2 Kgs 2:11–12) was taken alive to God’s abode. This mysterious narrative spurred much speculation and writing (beginning as early as the third century B.C.) about Enoch the sage who knew the secrets of heaven and who could communicate them to human beings (see Sir 44:16; 49:14; Heb 11:5; Jude 14–15 and the apocryphal work 1 Enoch). and he was no longer here, for God took him.#Wis 4:10–11; Sir 44:16; 49:14; Heb 11:5.
25When Methuselah was one hundred and eighty-seven years old, he begot Lamech. 26Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he begot Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27The whole lifetime of Methuselah was nine hundred and sixty-nine years; then he died.
28When Lamech was one hundred and eighty-two years old, he begot a son 29#Gn 3:17–19. and named him Noah, saying, “This one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands, out of the very ground that the Lord has put under a curse.”#The sound of the Hebrew word noah, “Noah,” is echoed in the word yenahamenu, “he will bring us relief”; the latter refers both to the curse put on the soil because of human disobedience (3:17–19) and to Noah’s success in agriculture, especially in raising grapes for wine (9:20–21). 30Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he begot Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31The whole lifetime of Lamech was seven hundred and seventy-seven years; then he died.
32When Noah was five hundred years old, he begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.#Shem, Ham, and Japheth: like the genealogies in 4:17–24 and 11:10–26, the genealogy ends in three individuals who engage in important activity. Their descendants will be detailed in chap. 10, where it will be seen that the lineage is political-geographical as well as “ethnic.” #Gn 6:10; 10:1.
5
From Adam to Noah
1 This is the record#tn Heb “book” or “roll.” Cf. NIV “written account”; NRSV “list.” of the family line#tn Heb “generations.” See the note on the phrase “this is the account of” in 2:4. of Adam.
When God created humankind,#tn The Hebrew text has אָדָם (’adam). he made them#tn Heb “him.” The Hebrew text uses the third masculine singular pronominal suffix on the accusative sign. The pronoun agrees grammatically with its antecedent אָדָם (’adam). However, the next verse makes it clear that אָדָם is collective here and refers to “humankind,” so it is preferable to translate the pronoun with the English plural. in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female; when they were created, he blessed them and named them “humankind.”#tn The Hebrew word used here is אָדָם (’adam).
3 When#tn Heb “and Adam lived 130 years.” In the translation the verb is subordinated to the following verb, “and he fathered,” and rendered as a temporal clause. Adam had lived 130 years he fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and he named him Seth. 4 The length of time Adam lived#tn Heb “The days of Adam.” after he became the father of Seth was 800 years; during this time he had#tn Heb “he fathered.” other#tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons. sons and daughters. 5 The entire lifetime#tn Heb “all the days of Adam which he lived” of Adam was 930 years, and then he died.#sn The genealogy traces the line from Adam to Noah and forms a bridge between the earlier accounts and the flood story. Its constant theme of the reign of death in the human race is broken once with the account of Enoch, but the genealogy ends with hope for the future through Noah. See further G. F. Hasel, “The Genealogies of Gen. 5 and 11 and their Alleged Babylonian Background,” AUSS 16 (1978): 361-74; idem, “Genesis 5 and 11,” Origins 7 (1980): 23-37.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father#tn Heb “he fathered.” of Enosh. 7 Seth lived 807 years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had#tn Heb “he fathered.” other#tn Here and in vv. 10, 13, 16, 19 the word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons. sons and daughters. 8 The entire lifetime of Seth was 912 years, and then he died.
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 Enosh lived 815 years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 The entire lifetime of Enosh was 905 years, and then he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived 840 years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 The entire lifetime of Kenan was 910 years, and then he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived 830 years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 The entire lifetime of Mahalalel was 895 years, and then he died.
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 Jared lived 800 years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 The entire lifetime of Jared was 962 years, and then he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God#sn With the seventh panel there is a digression from the pattern. Instead of simply saying that Enoch lived, the text observes that he “walked with God.” The rare expression “walked with” (the Hitpael form of the verb הָלָךְ, halakh, “to walk” collocated with the preposition אֶת, ’et, “with”) is used in 1 Sam 25:15 to describe how David’s men maintained a cordial and cooperative relationship with Nabal’s men as they worked and lived side by side in the fields. In Gen 5:22 the phrase suggests that Enoch and God “got along.” This may imply that Enoch lived in close fellowship with God, leading a life of devotion and piety. An early Jewish tradition, preserved in 1 En. 1:9 and alluded to in Jude 14, says that Enoch preached about the coming judgment. See F. S. Parnham, “Walking with God,” EvQ 46 (1974): 117-18. for 300 years,#tn Heb “and Enoch walked with God, after he became the father of Methuselah, [for] 300 years.” and he had other#tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons. sons and daughters. 23 The entire lifetime of Enoch was 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and then he disappeared#tn The Hebrew construction has the negative particle אֵין (’en, “there is not,” “there was not”) with a pronominal suffix, “he was not.” Instead of saying that Enoch died, the text says he no longer was present. because God took#sn The text simply states that God took Enoch. Similar language is used of Elijah’s departure from this world (see 2 Kgs 2:10). The text implies that God overruled death for this man who walked with him. him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived 782 years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other#tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons. sons and daughters. 27 The entire lifetime of Methuselah was 969 years, and then he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah,#sn The name Noah appears to be related to the Hebrew word נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). There are several wordplays on the name “Noah” in the story of the flood. saying, “This one will bring us comfort#tn The Hebrew verb יְנַחֲמֵנוּ (yÿnakhamenu) is from the root נָחָם (nakham), which means “to comfort” in the Piel verbal stem. The letters נ (nun) and ח (heth) pick up the sounds in the name “Noah,” forming a paronomasia on the name. They are not from the same verbal root, and so the connection is only by sound. Lamech’s sentiment reflects the oppression of living under the curse on the ground, but also expresses the hope for relief in some way through the birth of Noah. His words proved to be ironic but prophetic. The relief would come with a new beginning after the flood. See E. G. Kraeling, “The Interpretations of the Name Noah in Genesis 5:29,” JBL 48 (1929): 138-43. from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that the Lord has cursed.” 30 Lamech lived 595 years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other#tn The word “other” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for stylistic reasons. sons and daughters. 31 The entire lifetime of Lamech was 777 years, and then he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he#tn Heb “Noah.” The pronoun (“he”) has been employed in the translation for stylistic reasons. became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.