5:1 book. The use of the word “book” in this connection strongly implies that reading and writing were abilities commonly shared by the earliest generations of mankind. These records, finally edited and assembled by Moses, must originally have come from eye witnesses, and there is no reason (other than evolutionary presuppositions), why their transmission could not have been by written records instead of orally-repeated tales.
5:1 generations. This is the second of the toledoth statements in Genesis (the first at Genesis 2:4a). Since Adam (and only Adam) could have personal knowledge of all the events in Genesis 2, 3 and 4, it is reasonable to conclude that this section was originally written by him. Genesis 5:1a is thus Adam’s signature at its conclusion.
5:1 made he him. If Genesis 5:1a is the concluding statement of Adam’s record, then Genesis 5:1b is the opening statement of Noah’s record, which concludes with Noah’s signature at Genesis 6:9a. As is true with the corresponding opening statements following the other toledoth endings in Genesis, as well as similar phenomena in Babylonian tablets, each statement ties in to the previous division by keying in to relevant statements. The opening statement in Genesis 5:1,2, obviously refers back to Genesis 1:26-28. Note that God “created” man in His spiritual image, and “made” man in His physical “likeness” (anticipating His future incarnation in human flesh).
5:2 their name Adam. “Adam” and “man” are both translations of the same Hebrew word. Its generic use in this context would perhaps better warrant the translation “...and called their name Man.”
5:3 hundred and thirty years. It is possible that other children were born to Adam, particularly daughters, during this 130-year period, with only Seth being mentioned by name, in view of an implied revelation to Eve that he was the appointed son leading eventually to Christ.
5:3 begat a son. Adam was “created” in God’s likeness (Genesis 5:1), whereas Adam “begat” Seth in his own likeness. Jesus Christ is the only “begotten” Son of God (John 3:16).
5:4 sons and daughters. Probably many children were born to Adam during his long life; the ancient quibble about “Cain’s wife” is easily resolved in terms of brother/sister marriages in the first generation. Close marriages are genetically dangerous today because of the accumulation of harmful mutations in the human genetic system over many generations, and incest has been prohibited since Moses’ time (Leviticus 20:11-20). In the first few generations, including those after the Flood, marriages of near relatives were necessary in order for mankind to obey God’s command to “multiply” (Genesis 1:28; 9:1), and accumulated mutations were few.
5:6 begat Enos. These records provide three items of necessary information nowhere else available: (1) the names of the antediluvian patriarchs in the line of the promised Seed who would ultimately fulfill God’s Protevangelic promise (these names are accepted as authentic and repeated in I Chronicles 1:1-4 and Luke 3:36-38); (2) the chronological framework of primeval history, showing a total of 1656 years from Adam to the Flood (there is no internal evidence to suggest any gaps in these records); (3) the lifespans of the antediluvians averaged over 900 years (912 to be exact, excluding Enoch), indicating vastly superior environmental conditions then.
5:8 nine hundred and twelve years. These great ages have been questioned. However, a “king list” was excavated near Babel, which tells of ten kings who had lived to great ages before the Flood. Although these ages were first deciphered as thousands of years, improved translations have brought them more in line with those in the Bible record. The Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans also recorded a tradition that the ancient men lived to great ages.
5:21 Methuselah. “Methuselah” may mean “when he dies, judgment.” He died in the same year that God sent the Flood, suggesting that his father Enoch received a prophecy concerning this coming judgment at the time Methuselah was born.
5:22 walked with God. Enoch presumably did not literally walk with God, as had Adam before the fall, but walked “by faith” (Hebrews 11:5) in prayer and obedience to God’s Word. There seems to be an implication that this spiritual walk had a special beginning at the time of his son’s birth, and the accompanying revelation. Note also Genesis 6:9.
5:22 sons and daughters. It is worth noting that Enoch’s walk with God was not such a mystical, pietistic experience as to preclude an effective family life or a strong and vocal opposition to the apostasy and wickedness of his day (Jude 14,15).
5:24 Enoch walked. Twice Enoch’s walk with God is mentioned, and he is elsewhere (Jude 14,15) said to have been a great prophet who prophesied of God’s ultimate judgment on all ungodliness at His coming, as well as its precursive fulfillment at the coming Deluge. There are at least three apocryphal books that have been attributed to Enoch, and they may have preserved certain elements of his prophecies. However, in their present form at least, they actually date from shortly before the time of Christ and are certainly not part of the inspired Scriptures.
5:24 was not. It is not said of Enoch that he “died,” like the other antediluvian patriarchs, but only that suddenly he was no longer present on earth. The New Testament makes it plain that he “was translated that he should not see death” (Hebrews 11:5). Elijah had a similar experience twenty-five centuries later (II Kings 2:11). Both Enoch and Elijah were prophets of judgment to come, ministering in times of deep apostasy. Enoch, as the “seventh from Adam” (Jude 14), a contemporary of ungodly Lamech (Genesis 4:18-24), prophesied midway between Adam and Abraham, when God was dealing directly with mankind in general. Elijah prophesied midway between Abraham and Christ, when God was dealing with Israel in particular. Both were translated in the physical flesh directly to heaven (not yet glorified, as at the coming rapture of the church, described in I Thessalonians 4:13-17, since Christ had not yet been glorified).
5:24 God took him. The text does not say where God took him, but presumably he, like Elijah, was taken into heaven and into the personal presence of God. Elijah is definitely scheduled to return to earth to preach again (Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 17:11), and it may well be that Enoch will accompany Elijah, and they will serve as the two prophetic witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12, prophesying again of God’s coming judgment, this time to the whole world, both Jew and Gentile.
5:25 Lamech. “Lamech” probably means “conqueror.” It is interesting that Lamech and his grandfather Enoch both appear to have been named after their older relatives in the line of Cain, possibly as a gesture of family affection in hope of leading the Cainites back to God. It is also interesting that these are the only two antediluvian patriarchs in the Sethitic line who did not outlive their fathers. Furthermore, Enoch and Lamech are the only two of these patriarchs from whom have been handed down to us fragments of their prophecies (Jude 14,15; Genesis 5:29).
5:27 nine hundred sixty and nine. Methuselah’s 969 year life span is the longest ever recorded, possibly testifying to God’s “long-suffering...in the days of Noah” (I Peter 3:20; II Peter 3:9), since the Flood was to be sent to destroy the world immediately after Methuselah’s death.
5:29 Noah. Noah means “rest,” and his father prophesied that he would bring the rest and comfort so desired by the godly remnant in that day.
5:30 begat sons. All the antediluvian patriarchs are said to have begotten sons and daughters, probably many of each, so the world population grew explosively. The names listed are not those of the firstborn, but of the one in each family who would serve as spiritual leader of his people and who would be in the line of promise. In Noah’s case, his brothers and sisters were probably ungodly like the rest of their generation, finally perishing in the flood.
5:32 begat Shem. Shem, Ham and Japheth were not triplets. Japheth is later called “the elder” (Genesis 10:21) and Ham the “younger son” (Genesis 9:24). However, Noah was five hundred years old before any of these sons–who were the ones who chose to go with him on the ark–were born. Evidently all of Noah’s older “sons and daughters” had followed the ungodliness of their aunts and uncles and of the world in general, and thus eventually perished in the Flood.
5:32 Japheth. The meanings of the names are probably as follows: Shem, meaning “name;” Ham, meaning “warm;” Japheth, meaning “enlarged.” The common notion that their names corresponded to three different skin colorations (“dark,” “black,” and “fair”) has no substance. Note, however, the significant fact that all the personal names listed for men and women who lived before the confusion of languages at Babel seem to have a distinctive meaning in the Hebrew language. This implies that the original language of mankind was Hebrew.