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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Genesis 5

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The Descendants of Adam

A. Introduction to the genealogy.

1. (Gen 5:1-2) Adam’s “signature.”

This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

a. This is the book of the genealogy of Adam: There is good reason to believe this is the end of Adam’s direct account, which was preserved and passed down to Moses who acted as an editor.

i. The history of the heaven and earth comprises the things regarding creation that no man witnessed, (and was given by revelation to either Adam or Moses). This history ended at Genesis 2:4 and from there to this point is the account or record of Adam.

b. And called them Mankind: The human race – mankind – was given the name “man” by God from the beginning. It is not sexist or gender biased to call the human race by the general heading “mankind,” because God does this.

2. Thoughts on genealogies.

a. One can arrange the following genealogies in a sequential manner and chart out a time line. However, one cannot establish an absolutely reliable timeline with this method, because Biblical genealogies are not always complete. Sometimes generations are skipped over.

b. If one takes the genealogies as being without omission, the time of Adam comes to be some 4,000 to 5,000 years before Jesus Christ. Even with omissions, it is hard to imagine that the time of Adam was significantly more than perhaps 10,000 years before Jesus.

i. This puts the Biblical record at incredible variance with the finding and assertions of modern science. Yet there are good reasons to believe God created the earth with age “built in,” even as Adam and the trees of Eden had age “built” into them.

c. We are also confronted with the problem of extremely long life spans. In this chapter, no one lived less than 365 years (and this was Enoch, who was a special case). Methuselah lived a total of 969 years. How is this possible?

i. Some have thought the ages are figurative, or they count months as years (but then Enoch fathered Methuselah when he was five and one-half years old).

ii. It is more likely that people did live much, much longer in the era before the flood. This is because the degenerative effects of the fall on the human gene pool had not yet accumulated greatly, and because the environment in the pre-flood world was so different, with the blanket of water vapors surrounding the earth (Genesis 1:6-8). In the post-flood world, life spans quickly came down to the life spans we are familiar with today.

d. During this era, the world would be populated quickly. One writer has estimated that if Adam, during his lifetime, saw only half the children he could have fathered grow up, and if only half of those got married, and if only half of those who got married had children, then even at these conservative rates, Adam would have seen more than a million of his own descendants.

i. Using these calculations, we can say that by the time of the flood, there could have been seven billion people on the earth.

e. Genealogies can be very instructive. They speak to us of both the absolutely historical character of the Scriptures, and are a powerful testimony to the end of every person on this earth.

i. “Have you never heard of one who heard read, as the lesson for the Sabbath-day, that long chapter of names, wherein it is written that each patriarch lived so many hundred years, ‘and he died’? Thus it ends the notice of the long life of Methuselah with ‘and he died,’ The repetition of the words, ‘and he died,’ woke the thoughtless hearer to a sense of his mortality, and led to his coming to the Savior.” (Spurgeon, The Word a Sword)

B. The descendants of Adam through Seth.

1. (Gen 5:3-5) Adam.

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.

a. And begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth: Even as Seth was in Adam’s fallen image and likeness, so also is every one of us. We are all sons and daughters of Adam, born fallen even as Adam was fallen. It would be redundant to say it, but every other person has been born in Adam’s image and likeness except Jesus.

b. And he had sons and daughters: This tells us that Adam had many other sons and daughters who are not specifically named in the Biblical record. These daughters became the wives for the sons of Adam.

2. (Gen 5:6-17) From Seth to Mahalaleel.

Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died. Enosh lived ninety years, and begot Cainan. After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died. Cainan lived seventy years, and begot Mahalalel. After he begot Mahalalel, Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died. Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and begot Jared. After he begot Jared, Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died.

3. (Gen 5:18-27) From Jared to Methuselah.

Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died. Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.

a. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him: Enoch, the son of Jared, was carried away to God in a miraculous way.

b. Enoch walked with God: Walking with God means walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), walking in the light (1 John 1:5-7), and walking in agreement with God (Amos 3:3). After walking like this with God, it was as if one day God told Enoch, “You don’t need to walk home. Why don’t you just come home with Me?”

i. Hebrews 11:5 tells us the foundation of Enoch’s walk with God: By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. You can’t walk with God, or please God, apart from faith.

c. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God: It seems Enoch began to walk with God in a special way after the birth of Methuselah. The name Methuselah means, When he is dead, it shall come. At the birth of Methuselah, Enoch had a special awareness from God that judgment was coming, and this was one of the things that got him closer in his walk with God.

i. Jude 14 also tells us Enoch was a prophet; even from his vantage point long ago, he could see the second coming of Jesus (Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly…).

d. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died: Methuselah’s long life was no accident. It was because of the grace of God. When Methuselah died, the flood came. God kept him alive longer than anybody to give people as long as possible to repent.

4. (Gen 5:28-32) From Lamech to Noah.

Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.” After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died. And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

a. Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah: If these genealogies are consecutive, Seth died when Noah was 14 years old. Noah could have known Adam’s son.

b. And he died: The overwhelming emphasis of Genesis 5 is that all these men died. They were all under sin and all subject to death. Some of them – many of them – were great men, but none of them was the deliverer God had promised.

i. “This is the greatest glory of the primitive world, that it had so many good, wise, and holy men at the same time. We must not think that these are ordinary names of plain people; but next to Christ and John the Baptist, they were the most outstanding heroes this world has ever produced. And on the Last Day we shall behold and admire their grandeur.” (Luther, cited in Boice)

©2013 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission
[A previous revision of this page can be found here]

Study Guide for Revelation 1 ← Prior Book
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