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Genesis 5

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“…the generations of Adam…”

In this chapter we are given only the names that matter – those who descend directly from Adam through Seth (who was a replacement for murdered Abel), to Noah. This is important because it was then through Noah that all men on earth descend, and to whom Christ is linked, taking His earthly lineage from Adam. It is true that we are all ultimately related to Adam, but there was a formal ‘cut-off’ point at the Flood, for all but Noah’s family died, even the other descendants of the men named in this chapter.

Thus, Seth continued the ‘good’ line of Adam, but his own brothers and sisters are not named or counted. The same goes for all those named – their families came from the same stock as righteous men (Enoch, for example), but only those named are deemed to be of value in tracing the lineage of Christ.

Within this fact is yet another fact, that no man can claim salvation because of his family, or his connections. Each is saved as an individual and not as a family. It does not matter who our father or brother is – election applies only to the man who is predestined to salvation by God. God calls each one of us out by name, to be the recipient of a choice God made even before He made the world. So, Seth is named, but not Cain, Enoch is named, but none of his brothers, sisters, or wider family.

Therefore, these are the generations of the saved… we are not saved by lineage, but by a pre-Creation choice of God, a choice that can never be altered and never challenged. It is a choice that is eternal and fixed. Those who are saved belong to a generation of people with no necessary direct lineage to each other, for the generation we refer to consists not of families as such, but of individuals chosen by God. For us the choice is random, but to God there is His plan, which we do not know. Why is Seth mentioned but not any of his brothers or sisters? We do not know. We need not know, either, but should just be grateful for the choice, that enables us to be part of His kingdom and, later, His Heavenly abode.

We cannot boast about being chosen, because God made the choice, not us. He chose us without any merit on our part – it was a free gift of eternal life. We have not earned the gift. It was just given in mercy. We cannot obtain the gift for anyone else, not even our parents, spouses, family or friends. The only way any of them may know salvation is if they have already been chosen by God, in eternity. At some time in their own lifetime they will then realise salvation, and will know they belong to the generation of the saved.

Nothing can stand in the way of this generation, not even a great Flood. And the generation we speak of is very small indeed – see how many were actually saved from the Flood? Only a minuscule fraction of the million-or-so who lived on earth at the time! Even their own immediate families were lost… cousins, uncles, aunties, grandparents, and friends… all who were not predestined to salvation. This confirms the fact that only a remnant will be saved overall – a fact that remains in every age until the end time.

In this chapter we see phenomenal ages and life-spans. Even Enoch, who did not live as long, had a life-span of 365 years! Lamech only lived 777 years, but the others lived almost 1000 years each! Sin had yet to decimate society, and the judgement of God was not yet made to reduce life-spans drastically. In a very real way, these men knew a life that we will never, ever know. They had privileges we do not have, from better health to the direct company of God. But, the rest of the people – all descended from the same men – went their own way and ruined the earth with their sins. The larger the company of men became, the smaller, relatively speaking, became the remnant. That is how it is today… the larger the numbers who attend churches, the smaller the actual number of the saved will be… a remnant of a remnant.

And, as sin grows exponentially, so damnation, its corollary, is accrued by all who are lost. Just as the great men spoken of in this chapter had just a few good men as descendants, so today good men are few and far between. Just as the many unsaved men of the first 2000 years ruined earth with their sin, so today such sins are proliferating, and all will lead up to the final destruction of the earth by God the Potter, Who will dash all creation to the ground, to be smashed and removed for ever. A new heaven and earth will then be made, but this time it will be holy and pure, without flaw and with no possibility of being ruined again. It is this future that all who are of the ‘generation of the saved’ will inherit. Be grateful, and show it by your obedience and godly lives!

Verses 1&2

  1. “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

  2. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

“This is the book of the generations of Adam.” The word ‘book’ here is cepher. It can mean ‘book’, or scroll, a writing, a legal document, a law-book, or a genealogical register – the very meaning found in this text, though other meanings are generally available. In this text it is used in the sense of caphar – to recount exactly, or to rehearse. Thus, we can say with some certainty that this text tells us that (a) the account was made in writing and (b) it is a correct and accurate account of the descendants of Adam.

This interpretation is confirmed by the qualifying word ‘generations’, towl@dah, meaning descendants or genealogies, and yalad, meaning ‘to be born’.

The truth is repeated, that God made Adam in His own likeness, d@muwth - similitude, or ‘like as’, from damah, to resemble, to be like. We may understand this as me resembling a famous person, or even a king. I might resemble him, but I am not that person. I merely share certain characteristics. Likewise, we are made in the image of God, but we are not God and never can attain to being God: we simply share certain characteristics.

Note that this matter of ‘likeness’ is restricted to ‘him’, the male. The text then goes on to say that God created both male and female (‘them’). He blessed them, as we have already seen, and called ‘their’ name Adam on the day they were made. Further note that it was Adam who called the woman ‘Eve’, but it was God Who named the male ‘Adam’. A word of the same spelling means ‘mankind’, and it is this meaning that is given in this verse for ‘Adam’. That is, ‘Adam’ is a word referring to both male and female, for females were made from Adam’s body.

Verses 3-5

  1. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

  2. And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.”

Remember that Adam was made fully formed and adult. Thus, though he was technically age ‘0’, he was a fully-grown mature male. 130 years later, he had a son who was like him, Seth. The word ‘own’ before ‘image’ is interesting. It is ‘ezrach, and means a native; one springing from the soil. This exactly describes the beginning of Adam. Just as he was made in the likeness of God, so Seth was born in the likeness of Adam. We all know that a son is not his father… and that sons often resemble their father in looks, temperament, etc. This is the meaning here. It is also true that because the first man was made in God’s image, so this image continues through all genealogies by reason of birth: “after his image”, tselem, resemblance or semblance.

Adam lived another 800 years after the birth of Seth, making him 930 when he died. We see that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters, whose names are not given to us. How many? We do not know, but the number could have been quite large. We should not assume that Adam did not have other daughters even before the birth of the first son named in this book. The fact that they are not named or mentioned does not preclude the possibility of daughters being born even a hundred years before the first son.

Scoffers will not accept the immensely long life-spans, but they are given as fact. The provision of actual names and precise ages suggests truth rather than fable. There is no reason to reject long life-spans. After all, these people were born relatively soon after the creation, when everything was perfect. Sadly, the introduction of sin began a time of accruing bad effects on mankind and the earth, which ended with the Flood (and started again when it had subsided).

But, meantime, without the effects of wide-scale illnesses and problems, man could easily live for a very long time. Also remember that modern scientists put death down partly to the action of the sun on people… in those days the sun did not have direct access to people, for the water canopy was in place, which prevented harmful rays affecting men and women. More than that, however, the life-spans were obviously decreed by God.

At the end of 930 years, then, Adam died, muwth. This word also has interesting meanings, not just ‘death’. It can also mean death as a result of unwise moral conduct (this would apply today to the sexually promiscuous who die, say, of AIDS, or drug overdoses), or as a penalty, or prematurely. Was Adam supposed to live forever, or at least for a much longer time? We cannot tell from the text.

Adam was not the first to die, though, for Abel is the first recorded instance of death in the year I estimate to be about 120. Also, as Adam had other children, we do not know if any of those not named died before he did. Enoch was ‘taken’ when he was 365. Though the word ‘taken’ seems to imply death it actually means to be removed suddenly, without dying. Hebrews 11:5

Verses 6-8

  1. “And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:

  2. And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.”

At the age of 105 Seth had a son named Enos (‘man’), ‘Enowsh, from ‘anash, meaning to be weak and frail, but not necessarily meaning that he was either. Seth lived for another 807 years, dying at the age of 912. We see that he, too, had plenty of sons and daughters, who are not named in the text.

Verses 9-11

  1. “And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:

  2. And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.“

Enos’ first son was born when he was just 90, and his name was Cainan or Qeynan, (‘possession’), which comes from the same as qen – a contracted word meaning nest or cell, from qanan, meaning to make a nest. Enos died 815 years later at the age of 905 and he, too, had numerous other sons and daughters. Even a sceptic can see from this, that with life-spans of almost 1000 years, it was easily possible for mankind to have increased dramatically over the 2000 years preceding the Flood!

Verses 12-14

  1. “And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:

  2. And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.”

Cainan was just 70 before his first son, Mahalaleel, was born. Mahalaleel, or Mahalal’el means ‘praise of God’. From mahalal: praise (and halal, meaning to shine/have God’s favour) and ‘el, or Jehovah/God. This is an excellent clue as to the spiritual state of men at that time. Despite the casting out of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, there was still a prevailing sense of God and His presence. We know that God walked with Enoch as well as with Adam and Eve.

So, we are possibly seeing at this time (nearly 400 years after the Fall) a prevailing spiritual ethos in society. Or, the name is reflective of Cainan’s own wishes for his son.

If we project this forward to the time of Noah, where only one family was judged to be righteous out of what may have been millions alive at the time (including Noah’s own extended family), we might be seeing in this text the fact that only Cainan and his son at that time were righteous, even amongst his own other sons and daughters. This would certainly tie-in with the idea of a remnant. Cainan lived another 840 years after the birth of this son, and died at the age of 910.

Verses 15-17

  1. “And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:

  2. And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.”

At the age of 65, Mahalaleel saw the birth of his son Jared.(‘descent’), Yered, from yarad – to go down, descend, to be prostrated. Mahalaleel lived another 830 years after that, before dying at the age of 895. He, too, had many more sons and daughters.

Verses 18-20

  1. “And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:

  2. And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.”

Jared lived for much longer before having his son Enoch; he was 162 years of age. It is very obvious from these texts that men were far more virile and full of vigour in pre-Flood days. The famed Enoch (Chanowk, ‘dedicated’) was unique amongst men, as we find later, for he did not die but was taken up to be with God.

In itself this is a special sign of the presence of God at that time and Enoch’s name suggests, from the root word, chanak, that he was chosen by God to be dedicated to His service and praise, for the word also means to train or train-up.

Jared lived another 800 years, finally dying at age 962, having fathered many more sons and daughters.

Verses 21-24

  1. “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:

  2. And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:

  4. And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

At age 65, Enoch fathered Methuselah – another name that is even more famed. This son had an unusual name – M@thuwshelach, or ‘man of the dart’. From math: male or man, and shelach, meaning weapon or missile, or even ‘sprout’ or ‘shoot’. If the former meaning applies, then this is the first instance of weaponry being cited. But, if the latter, it could mean that the reference is to plants or agriculture.

Enoch only lived another 300 years after this birth, and he lived on earth for a total of 365 years. He had other sons and daughters, too. We are told that Enoch walked with God, the same phrase as was used for Adam and Eve. Enoch, then, was communing with God directly, possibly ‘walking’ in the actual sense. Even if this sense if not meant, it does mean that Enoch was very close to God. We are not told that Enoch died as did other men. Rather, we are told that “he was not; for God took him.”

This statement is made in a very matter-of-fact way and it does not mean death. God ‘took’ him, laqach, meaning to be snatched away, or to take in the hand, to take out of, to take away, to remove. It can also mean to select or to choose… possibly the first use of a term meaning election. Some suggest that Enoch was taken from the earth just before the Flood, but this would not make sense. Firstly, if Enoch was that righteous, he would have joined Noah on the ark. Secondly, he died many centuries before the Flood. So, he was more likely taken by God as a reward for his righteousness.

The first known city was named after Enoch. Jewish scholars point out that his life-span coincides with the number of days in the solar year: 365, but I see no real significance in this. They also suggest that the verses here suggest a fuller narrative about Enoch’s life, but it is now lost, so legend took over. However, this cannot be taken as fact, only conjecture.

As usual this ‘legend’ is said, by some Hebrew scholars, to be based on the life of a supposed seventh king before the Flood, Enmeduranna, who was ‘very close to the sun-god’. But almost all Jewish scholars admit that Enoch was a real person and not a myth.

They are not sure though, if his sudden and premature removal from earth meant that he did not go to the ‘netherworld’, or if he simply died young and was righteous. I do not personally accept either explanation, but take the text to mean that God removed Him as a reward.

Verses 25-27

  1. “And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:

  2. And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:

  3. And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.”

Methuselah was 187 years old before his son Lamech was born. Lamech or Lemek, meaning ‘powerful’, was the father of the famed Noah, and, unusually, a number of his other children are also named. After Lamech’s birth, Methuselah lived another 782 years, dying at age 969.

Here, again, Jewish scholars have different thoughts. They say that the name of Noah’s grandfather could mean ‘man of the weapon’ or ‘man (or worshipper) of Salah (a deity)’. His name is that of Methusael in 4:18. We know this from the Septuagint where both names are shown to be the same. Sadly, Hebrew scholars think that the extraordinary life-spans of these great men is attributable not to their actual ages, but to the fact that they were great men. They point to Babylonian stories that speak of all their heroes as having not hundreds but thousands of years added to their ages, as a mythical way of reflecting their greatness.

I am showing Hebrew scholar explanations occasionally, to show that though the Jews were God’s chosen people and will one day again receive the mantle of evangelism, their scholars nevertheless have become unbelieving and can present a picture that is far removed from scripture. Therefore, I would warn Christians away from Jewish theologies, which are widely varied and mixed, and which do not show us the true picture. Some things they say can be illuminative, but only where historical texts are concerned. This is because, sad to say, they are just as much cultic as any other false religion.

Verses 28-31

  1. “And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:

  2. And he called his name Noah, saying, This name shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.

  3. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:

  4. And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.”

Lamech was 182 when his son, Noah, was born. Noah’s birth was distinguished by Lamech’s homily: “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.”

What does this odd statement mean? It points to the fact of hard physical labour, brought upon all of mankind by Adam’s sin. Noah, it seems, would somehow comfort them: God had cursed the ground, but Noah would ease this burden. We are not told how he did this, in this text, but it must have occurred before the Flood, for the deluge could hardly have been termed as ‘comfort’. On the other hand, Lamech might well have been saying that his lineage would be blessed by being saved on the ark. We cannot tell from this text. Lamech lived a further 595 years after Noah’s birth, and died at age 777.

Verse 32

  1. “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

At the age of 500, Noah had Shem (‘name’), Ham (Cham, ‘hot’) and Japheth (Yepheth, ‘opened’). This text does not give any particular order, but we know from later texts that Shem was first-born (or, first named as an important son).

Shem (from shem, meaning glory, or reputation, or memorial; a sign of being prominent) became the father of the semitic tribes; Ham was the second son, the father of Canaan, and father of a number of peoples of the south. The name is later associated with Egyptians (from cham – hot or warm).

Japheth, the third son, had descendants who, after the Flood, settled on coastal areas created by the deluge, the Mediterranean, and up to what became Europe and Asia. From pathah, meaning open, spacious, open-minded (or gullible!).

Once again, some Hebrew scholars say that Noah is the tenth antediluvian king of Babylon, Ziusudra. We should remember that Babylon and its religions underpin the idea of the harlot and so have nothing to offer by way of theology or explanation. Very often unbelievers resort to the writings of cults and the occult to ‘explain’ away scripture. Hebrew scholars do not, though, accept this version… but many other unbelievers do.

One thing that might be possible is the Hebrew interpretation of the statement made by Lamech, concerning Noah giving comfort. The actual meaning, as I have already said, is not really given, so I have suggested a meaning. But, Hebrews think it is, rather, to do with Noah being the inventor of wine. They also suggest that it might even refer to a lost tradition that attributes the invention of the plough to him. This may, or may not, be true, but it is not impossible.

My own reading of scripture tells me that mankind was far more intelligent and resourceful than the accounts we find in fanciful history books, that begin with cave-men grunting and without fire and tools, to slowly evolving sophistication. The sophistication was already advanced well before Noah was born!

Noah is mentioned in Ezekiel as one of the three righteous men of antiquity, and in Isaiah we find the Flood named as the ‘waters of Noah’. More modern Jewish writers ask why God should have chosen Noah and his family when nothing ‘good’ is ascribed to him in scripture. But, this is not proof; though nothing specific is mentioned, the lack of mention does not mean he was not favoured by God. Indeed, we know that he was allowed to live because he was obedient (in building the ark) and righteous.

See table on next page

Table showing births and deaths from Adam to Noah.

  • Figures based on those in Genesis chapter 5.

  • Names given are those in the chapter.


  1. Adam was created on the sixth day and was made fully-grown. Therefore, his ‘birth’ day was Day 6 (actual equivalent day-name not known).

  2. Though created fully-grown his life-span remains at 903. He lived to see most of his descendants (before the Flood)

  3. The actual birth dates and life-spans of the first two sons are not given, so approximate dates are shown. The years ‘born’ and ‘died’ are quoted as from the year of Creation – 0.

  4. Noah was born in the year 1056 BC. His first son was born when he was 500 years old.

  5. None of the persons featured in this genealogy, from Adam to Lamech, lived to see the great Flood.

  6. Note that whilst only these persons are named, each of them had other sons and daughters, who are not named, and each of these went on to have their own children.

  7. Names are given in descending order, so the name above is the name of the father.



Age of father at birth of child

Year Born

Lifespan in whole years

Year Died


Not applicable

(5 days)



(Abel) Cain



Abel 20?

Abel = 120?














































First son of Noah





* Not given in this chapter


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