Genesis 5


‘This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them ‘Mankind’ when they were created.’ Genesis 5:1-2

After the history of the genealogy of Cain, where we see that mankind digressed into habitual sin, Moses wants us to understand that God originally intended that mankind lives after the spiritual image of God. This image would move man to focus on the spiritual, not the physical. Moses here brings to the forefront the behaviour of Enoch who walked with God, Genesis 5:24, as opposed to those who rebelled against God. In Adam’s line, we find a natural death but in Cain’s line, we find another murderer.

This chapter bridges the time-lapse between the creation and the flood, that is, from Adam to Noah and its written to help us trace the line of people who continued to honour God in those generations leading up to the flood. How many years in the past can’t be determined by the years of the generations that are listed in the Genesis chronologies.

The word ‘account’ is used nine other times in Genesis, there are thirteen names mentioned here but there are references to others and notice we have the summary regarding God having created man ‘in the image of God,’ etc. Genesis 1:27-28 / Genesis 2:4. In other words, this is a summary of what has already taken place with some extra information, which tells us that ‘Mankind’, Adam was the family name as well as the personal name of Adam.

‘When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.’ Genesis 5:3-5

God created Adam ‘in his own image’ and then, after the fall, Adam had a son in his own image, this is to say that, he transmitted the image of God in which he was created, but not in the purity in which it came directly from God, but in the form given to it by his own self-determination, modified and corrupted by sin.

The name Seth means substitute and he carries the seed promise, Genesis 3:15 and the seed line right up to the time of the Messiah.

‘When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died. When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died. When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died. When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died. When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died. When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, ‘He will comfort us in the labour and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.’ Genesis 5:6-29

The first things which strikes you when you read these accounts are the length of people’s lives, especially when we compare them with today’s life expectancy. The length of the lives of those mentioned in this chapter has often been questioned but we must keep in mind that before the flood of Noah’s day, the atmosphere and physical environment of the world was very different from what we experience today.

It’s believed by most biblical scientists that the earth was encompassed by a water vapour that protected man from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun, thus giving the earth a universal warm climate. One of the negative aspects of the longevity of mankind was that the wickedness of particularly evil men had a long-lasting impact on society. As a result, every imagination of man became continually evil, Genesis 6:5.

We need to make a point here because it will become very important in understanding Genesis 6:1-2 where we’re going to identify the ‘sons of God’. It’s obvious that the Cainite descendants of Adam were ‘sons of the devil,’ and that the Sethites were the ‘sons of God.’

This chapter is particularly concerned with tracing the line of the ‘sons of God.’ We can safely come to that conclusion by simply looking at the names mentioned in this chapter.

The name Seth means appointed or seedling, the name Enosh means to inquire of the Lord, the name Mahalalel means praise of God, the name Jared means descent, the name Enoch means dedicated, the name Noah means rest.

I find the name Methuselah, interesting because it literally means, ‘when I am dead, then it shall come’ which is an obvious reference to the coming flood. Though some may mistakenly think Methuselah died in the flood, this is highly unlikely. Methuselah was raised by a godly parent, Enoch, who walked with God and pleased God so that God took him away without death. And more importantly remember what his prophetic name means, ‘he will die before the flood’ actually happens, and so it’s thought by some, that three months after his death the flood came.

Notice also that ‘Enoch walked with God’ he was the most successful righteous man of all ancient times. The Scriptures also tell us that Noah walked with God, Genesis 6:9, this simply means intimate companionship, 1 Samuel 25:15, and here denotes a fellowship with God morally and religiously perfect, Amos 3:3.

The text also says that Enoch ‘was no more, because God took him away’. Enoch did what God wanted him to do and his reward was not to see death, this tells us that Enoch never died but went straight to heaven to have eternal fellowship with his God, Hebrews 11:5. The significance of this is that it signalled to mankind that salvation was indeed possible, that, in time, God would provide it, and that it ultimately include victory over death.

What is revealed in a comparison between the genealogy of Cain and Seth is that the descendants of Cain moved their ancestors into wickedness, whereas the genealogy of Seth eventually descended to Enoch who walked with God and Noah who was righteous before God, Genesis 5:29. It was through righteous Noah that God would begin the existence of man anew after the flood with a genealogy of men of faith.

‘After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died. After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.’ Genesis 5:30-32

The Jewish traditions say that Noah, whose name means comforter, was an inventor of agricultural instruments and so helped people work the ground, which was cursed by God, Genesis 3:17 / Genesis 5:29, in this way he brought people comfort as he made their life easier with his inventions.

The name Shem means fame and, although he stands ahead of his brothers in this list, he wasn’t the oldest, but he received this pre-eminence because he was the head of the Messianic line. This whole chapter is designed especially with the ancestry of the Lord Jesus Christ constantly in view.

The name Ham means to be hot, possibly the idea of being hot-blooded, or it might be applied prophetically to the temperature of the dwelling place of Ham’s future which was Africa.

The name Japheth means to make wide or spread abroad and would also appear to be prophetic of the enlarged borders of Japheth and the spreading of his future generations all over the earth.

This is the lesson that Moses wants us to understand as we move into the account concerning the flood of Noah’s era. Moses wants us to understand the lesson of the digression of mankind into wickedness in order that we guard ourselves against such in our own societies.

Genesis 6 is the account of the flood which was God’s punishment upon rebellious mankind, but significantly, God was preparing a new beginning already present in the posterity of Noah. The significance of the two different lines of the Cainites and the Sethites will appear right at the beginning of Genesis 6.

The Cainites grew progressively worse and worse, resulting in the judicial hardening of the entire race. The corruption couldn’t be contained in the line of the Cainites but through their intermarriage with the Sethites, practically the whole of humanity came to be in total rebellion against Almighty God, but we thank God that He was always willing to show mercy and intervene.

Go To Genesis 6



"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness."