Genesis Chapter 5  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Genesis 5
Gen 5:1

“record.” The literal Hebrew is “scroll,” but this was not just one literal scroll, but was a record or a history that would have been kept on scrolls or tablets.

“man.” Here the word “man” refers to both men and women; humankind. The word “him” is singular.

Gen 5:2

“Adam.” In this context, the name “Adam” encompasses both men and women.

Gen 5:3

“fathered.” The KJV says “begat,” which just means “fathered.”

Gen 5:4(top)
Gen 5:5(top)
Gen 5:6(top)
Gen 5:7(top)
Gen 5:8(top)
Gen 5:9(top)
Gen 5:10(top)
Gen 5:11(top)
Gen 5:12(top)
Gen 5:13(top)
Gen 5:14(top)
Gen 5:15(top)
Gen 5:16(top)
Gen 5:17(top)
Gen 5:18(top)
Gen 5:19(top)
Gen 5:20(top)
Gen 5:21(top)
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Gen 5:23(top)
Gen 5:24

“and he was no more.” The literal Hebrew text is that Enoch “was not.” As we will see, Enoch was a prophet who pleased God and whom God moved from one location to another in order to save his life.

The situation with Enoch is debated, and many details of what happened and why are not in the Bible. The traditional Christian teaching about Enoch is that God took him to heaven, where he continues to live to this day. However, there are a number of problems with that belief. A major one is that if Enoch could go to heaven before Jesus Christ died to pay for his sins, then anyone could go to heaven before Christ paid for their sins, so then Christ did not need to die for people’s sins in order for them to be saved and live forever in heaven. But that goes against the entire teaching of Scripture. Jesus had to die to pay for people’s sins so they could have eternal life. Also, John 3:13 says “no one has gone up to heaven, but he who came down from heaven, the Son of Man.” So, if at the time of Christ, no one had yet gone up into heaven except Jesus, then Enoch had not gone up to heaven either. Still more evidence that Enoch died comes from the “heroes of the Faith” listed in Hebrews 11. Along with Abel (Heb. 11:4), Noah (Heb. 11:7), Abraham (Heb. 11:8), and Sarah (Heb. 11:11), Enoch is listed (Heb. 11:5), and then Hebrews 11:13 says, “All these people were still living by trust when they died.” So Hebrews testifies that Enoch, like the others in the list, died.

The biblical evidence is that Enoch did not go to heaven to be with God, but rather that Enoch died, and he likely lived 365 years, because Genesis 5:23 says, “All the days of Enoch were 365 years.” Throughout Genesis 5 there is the same wording about the number of years a person lived. For example, Genesis 5:5 says, “All the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.” Then Genesis 5:8 says, “All the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.” Then Genesis 5:11 says, “All the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.” Then Genesis 5:14 says, “And all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died,” and that same wording is used for Mahalalel (Gen. 5:17), Jared (Gen. 5:20), Methuselah (Gen. 5:27), and Lamech, the father of Noah, (Gen. 5:31). Similarly, Genesis 5:23 says, “And all the days of Enoch were 365 years,” so it would seem that the natural implication is that Enoch lived 365 years before he died. However, there is another possibility: Enoch could have lived 365 years and then God moved him to keep him from being killed, and then Enoch would have died years later without the Bible saying how many years he actually lived.

The Book of Hebrews adds a lot of information about Enoch that is not in the Old Testament. Hebrews 11:5 says, “By trust Enoch was moved so that he would not see death, and he could not be found, because God moved him, for before he was moved he obtained the testimony that he pleased God.” We know Enoch had an intimate relationship with God because Genesis says that Enoch “walked with God,” a phrase that indicates an intimate relationship. In fact, the Bible says that Enoch “walked with God” two times (Gen. 5:22 and 5:24).

So at some point in his life, God moved Enoch, as Hebrews 11:5 says. Enoch was a prophet (Jude 1:14), and it seems clear from what we know about the times Enoch lived in, which were very ungodly, that at some point God had to move Enoch from one place to another so Enoch would not “see death,” i.e., be killed. A number of scholars unwittingly acknowledge this when commenting on Genesis 5:24.

For example, Gordon Wenham writes: “‘and was not’: Enoch disappeared from the earthly scene. Sometimes the phrase is a poetic euphemism for death, e.g., Ps. 39:14 [13]; Ps. 103:16; Job 7:21; 8:22. But here it stands in contrast to the usual phrase “then he died,” which shows that Enoch did not experience a normal death. This is confirmed by the final remark, “because God took him,” a phrase used of Elijah’s translation to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:1, 5, 9, 10).”a

It is important to note that the wording that God took Enoch is also used of Elijah, because Elijah was also moved from one place to another (see commentary on 2 Kings 2:11), and so was Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:39-40). The point is that although Genesis 5:24 says Enoch was “no more” and “God took him,” that does not have to mean that Enoch died or that he went alive and bodily into heaven. It can simply mean that God moved Enoch from one place to another, which then makes Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5 and 11:13 fit together nicely.

Bruce Waltke writes about Enoch being taken and says: “was no more because God took him away. This describes a sudden and mysterious disappearance. Of all recorded Old Testament saints, only Enoch and Elijah are represented as not experiencing physical death (2 Kings 2:1-12; Heb. 11:5). The expression ‘took him’ (lāqah) differs radically from to take the life of someone, referring to an untimely death (cf Jonah 4:3) or ‘to take from’ (lqh min), referring to depriving someone of life (cf. Ezek. 24:16). Schmidt rightly renders ‘took him’ in Gen. 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:3, 5 as ‘to rapture.’”b In this context, the word “rapture” refers to moving someone from one place to another, exactly what Enoch experienced according to Hebrews 11:5.

Kenneth Matthews writes about Genesis 5:24 and says: “… unlike the normative pattern, the phrase ‘and then he died’ is absent. His disappearance is simply but obscurely expressed: ‘he was not’ or ‘he did not exist’ (’êninnû). The explanation for Enoch’s disappearance is equally veiled by the text, ‘God took him away’ (v. 24). ‘Took’ (lāqah) is a common Hebrew term having a variety of meanings, the simplest being ‘to take, fetch.’ It may refer to death, where one’s life is ‘taken’ (1 Kings 19:10, 14), or the opposite, where one’s life is ‘snatched’ from death (Ps. 49:15[16]). …The writer to the Hebrews clarifies the meaning of ‘taken’ by adding ‘so that he did not experience death’ (Heb. 11:5).c

So when we put all the evidence together from both the Old and New Testaments, we see that Enoch was a prophet who walked with God, and like many prophets, his life was threatened by the evil people around him, so God moved him so that he would not be killed. The biblical evidence leans towards Enoch’s life being 365 years, but it is possible that he lived 365 years before God moved him and then an unspecified number of years after God moved him.

“for God took him.” Traditional Christianity teaches that Enoch was taken to heaven alive, but that cannot be the case. If Enoch could go to heaven before Christ paid for his sins then anyone could go to heaven without Christ’s death, and the death of Christ would have been unnecessary. The phrase can simply mean that God took Enoch from one place on earth to another, which is what Hebrews 11:5 says.

[For more on the dead being dead, see Appendix 4, “The Dead are Dead.”]

Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15 [WBC], 128.
Bruce Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 115.
Kenneth Matthews, Genesis 1-11:26 [NAC], 1A:314.
Gen 5:25(top)
Gen 5:26(top)
Gen 5:27(top)
Gen 5:28(top)
Gen 5:29

“pain and toil. This is the same Hebrew as in Genesis 3:16 and 3:17. Jewish tradition says that Noah provided comfort by being the first one to invent the plow to work the soil or the first one to invent wine with its soothing effects. God said the ground was cursed in Genesis 3:17.

Gen 5:30(top)
Gen 5:31(top)
Gen 5:32

“fathered​ Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Although Genesis 5:32 seems to say that all of Noah’s sons were born when he was 500 years old only the oldest son, Japheth was born at that time. This can be clearly seen by studying all the scriptures on the subject (see commentary on Gen. 10:21). Japheth is said to be the oldest brother in Genesis 10:21. Also, Ham is said to be the youngest son in Genesis 9:24, where the word “younger” is better translated as “youngest.” Shem is listed first in this list because of his spiritual priority in being the line to the Messiah. Ham is apparently listed second because of the relationship between the descendants of Ham and the descendants of Shem in the Bible. For example, the Egyptians and Canaanites were descendants of Ham, and they consistently interacted with the descendants of Shem.

The flood came when Noah was 600 (Gen. 7:11-12). Since Genesis 11:10 states that Shem was 100 years old two years after the flood, Shem could not have been born when Noah was 500, because then Shem would have been 102, not 100, two years after the flood. It was Japheth that was born when Noah was 500, then, the year of the Flood Japheth was 100 and Shem was 98, then Shem was 100 two years after the Flood (see commentary on Gen. 10:21).


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