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Book Of Genesis – Lesson #5

Lesson 5:  Genesis Chapter 5

This chapter contains the line from Adam to Noah, in which are stated some common information concerning all of them, and certain special details about three of them. The genealogy is traced to the tenth descendant from Adam through Seth, and ends with the flood. The scope of the chapter is to mark out the line of faith and hope and holiness from Adam (as opposed to the lineage given in chapter 4 of the ungodly line via Cain), the first head of the human race, to Noah, who became eventually the second natural head of it.

Before we look at the specifics of the verses, we need to see “the big picture” of this chapter.

“What’s In A Name”

We know that the various names of God are important, as they reveal various aspects of His character and ministry, but what about the names of people listed in the Bible? 

So many times, we tend to skip over the names listed in Scripture because they are awkward to our tongue, and because we aren’t used to people’s “given names” being especially significant.  However, we need to remember that although most Bible translations merely “transliterate” the names (meaning that they merely put the sound of the name into English letters as closely as possible), God caused certain people to be named certain things because of what the name MEANS in “translation” (meaning the definition of the name, rather than just its’ sound).

One of the best examples of this was compiled by a Bible Teacher named Chuck Missler.  In studying the TRANSLATION (not just the transliteration) of the names given to the first ten generations of the “godly line” listed in Genesis 5, Missler found that God had given the plan of redemption to the world as a promise through the names of each godly man.  Here is a summary of God’s plan of redemption, hidden in Genesis chapter 5.

Hebrew           Name

English        Meaning










The Blessed God


Shall come down




His death shall bring


The despairing


Rest, or comfort


“Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.”

Is that remarkable, or what?  Remember that we studied in chapter 1 how God placed the “pictures” in the stars to tell the story of salvation; here we see it AGAIN in the godly lineage.

 Genesis 5:1-2

These verses are a recapitulation of the creation of man.

The present superscription differs from the former one in the introduction of the word ספר  sepher, “book”. There is here some ground in the text for supposing the insertion by Moses of an authentic document, handed down from the olden time, in the great work which he was directed to compose. The chapter before us could not have been completed, indeed, until after the birth of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. But if we except the last verse, there is no impossibility or improbability in its being composed before the deluge.  When we arrive at the later part of this study, and look at the comparative ages of the generations listed in this chapter, we see that Noah’s great-grandfather was of an age to have been told the stories of Creation and the Fall by Adam himself.

And called their name mankind. – This name seems to connect man אדם  ‘adam with the soil from which he was taken ארמה  ‘adamah Genesis 2:7. It is a generic or collective term, denoting the species. God, as the maker, names the race, and thereby marks its character and purpose.  This will also be important when we remember the creation mandate that all species reproduce according to their kind (Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:24-25) as we look at Genesis 6.

Genesis 5:3-20

In Genesis 5:3-5 the course of Adam’s life is completed. The lines of all his descendants in this chapter are drawn up in the same manner. The particulars stated are the years he lived before the birth of a certain son, the number of years he afterward lived during which sons and daughters were born to him, and his death. Two sons, and most probably several daughters, were born to Adam before the birth of Seth. But these sons have been already dealt with in chapter 4, and the line of Noah is here given. It is obvious, therefore, that the following individuals in the genealogy may, or may not, have been first-born sons. The stated formula, “and he died,” at the close of each life except that of Enoch, is a standing demonstration of the effect of disobedience.

The only peculiarity in the life of Adam is the statement that his son was “in his likeness, after his image.” This is no doubt intended to include that fallen human nature which had become the characteristic of fallen man. It is contrasted with the preceding notice that Adam was originally created in the image of God. If it had been intended merely to indicate that the offspring was of the same species with the parent, the phrase, “after his kind would have been used, as in the first chapter. This is one of the mysteries of the race, when the head of it is a moral being, and has fallen. His moral depravity, affecting the essential difference of his nature, descends to his offspring.

Genesis 5:21-24

The history of the Sethite Enoch is distinguished in two respects: First, after the birth of Methuselah, “he walked with the God.” Here for the first time we have God אלהים  ‘elohim with the definite article, with which it occurs more than four hundred times. By this he is emphatically distinguished as the God, now made known by his acts and manifestations, in opposition to atheism, the sole God in opposition to polytheism, and the true God in opposition to all false gods or notions of God. It is possible that in the time of Enoch some had forsaken the true God, and fallen into various pagan beliefs concerning the Supreme Being. His walking with “the God” is a hint that others were walking without God.

The phrase “walked with God” is rendered in the Septuagint as “pleased God,” and is referred to in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:5) as an evidence of Enoch’s faith. Walking with God implies community with him in thought, word, and deed, and is opposed in Scripture to walking contrary to him. We are not at liberty to infer that Enoch was the only one in this line who feared God. But we are sure that he presented an eminent example of that faith which purifies the heart and pleases God.

He made a striking advance upon the attainment of the times of his ancestor Seth. “In those days they began to call upon the name of the Lord.”  Now the fellowship of the saints with God reaches its highest form, – that of walking with him, doing his will and enjoying his presence in all the parts of life. It is related of him as of the others, that during the three hundred years of his walking with God he begat sons and daughters.

The second peculiarity of Enoch was his “teleportation”. This is related in the language of the times. “And he was not, for God took him;” or, in the version of the Septuagint, “and he was not found, for God translated him.”  In the New Testament it is said,, in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death.”

This glimpse into primeval life furnishes a new lesson to the men of early times and of all succeeding generations. An atonement was shadowed forth in the offering of Abel.  A voice was given to the devout feelings of the heart in the times of Seth. And now a walk of becoming a person reconciled to God, calling upon his name, and animated by the spirit of adoption, is exhibited.  

Faith has now returned to God, confessed his name, and learned to walk with him. At this point God appears and gives to the pre-Flood race a new and conclusive token of the riches and power of mercy in counteracting the effects of sin in the case of the repentant sinner. Enoch does not die, but lives; and not only lives, but is advanced to a new stage of life, in which all the power and pain of sin are at an end forever. This crowns and signalizes the power of grace, and represents in brief the grand finale of a life of faith.

This renewed man is received up into glory without going through the intermediate steps of death and resurrection. If we omit the violent end of Abel, the only death on record that precedes the translation of Enoch is that of Adam. But a little more than half a century after his death, Enoch is wafted to heaven without the pain and sorrow of death. This translation took place in the presence of a sufficient number of witnesses, and furnished a manifest proof of the presence and reality of the invisible powers. Thus, life and immortality were fully brought to light. Also, was it demonstrated that the grace of God was triumphant in accomplishing the final and full salvation of all who returned to God. The process might be slow and gradual, but the end was now shown to be absolutely sure.

Genesis 5:25-27

Methuselah is the oldest man on record. He lived to be within 31 years of a millennium.  The name Methuselah means “sending forth.”  A more specific rendering would be: “When he is dead, it shall be sent.” What will be sent? The Flood. As long as Methuselah lived, the Flood could not come. The very interesting thing is that according to a chronology of the genealogy of the patriarchs the year that Methuselah died is the year that the Flood came. “When he is dead, it shall be sent”—that is the meaning of his name.

Why did Methuselah live longer than any other person? God kept him here just to let mankind know that He is patient and merciful.  God will also wait for you, my friend—all of your life. Peter speaks of the long-suffering of our God: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Peter 3:20).

Genesis 5:28-31

In the biography of Lamech the name of his son is not only given, but the reason of it. The parents were weighed down with the toil of cultivating the ground (see Genesis 3:17-19). They looked forward with hope to the aid which their son would give them in bearing the burden of life, and they express this hope in his name. In stating the reason of the name, they employ a word which is connected with it only by a second remove. נוּח  nuach points back to a root נח (nch) signifying “to sigh, to breathe, to rest, to lie down.”

Genesis 5:32

And Noah was the son of five hundred years. – A man is the son of a certain year, in and up to the close of that year, but not beyond it. Thus, Noah was in his six hundredth year when he was the son of six hundred years Genesis 7:11, Genesis 7:6, and a child was circumcised on the eighth day, being then the son of eight days Leviticus 12:3; Genesis 17:12.

When the phrase indicates a point of time, as in Leviticus 27, it is the terminating point of the period in question. The first part only of the biography of Noah is given in this verse, and the remainder will be furnished in future chapters. Meanwhile, Noah is connected with the general history of the race, which is now to be taken up. His three sons are mentioned, because they are the ancestors of the post-Flood race. This verse, therefore, prepares for a continuation of the narrative.

From the numbers in this chapter it appears that the length of human life in the period before the Flood was ten times its present average. This has seemed incredible to some, and hence they have imagined that the years must have consisted of one month, or at least of a smaller number than twelve. But the text will not admit such interpretation. In the account of the Flood the tenth month is mentioned, and sixty-one days are afterward indicated before the beginning of the next year, from which we can plainly see that the primeval year consisted of twelve lunar months at least.

 Genealogy of the Patriarchs

These Columns Show Which of the Patriarchs Were Contemporary with Each Other



In looking at the life-spans of the pre-flood generations, we see that God’s warning against the eating of the “forbidden fruit” has been proven to be accurate.  They were told that if the ate of it, they would die “in that day”.  And so they did; all living less than 1,000 years, which the New Testament tells us, 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  2 Peter 3:8 (see Psalm 90:4)