Gen 5:1-2 Here is another section of the book of Genesis described as a written account (or generation); the written account of Adam’s family line.
In total, the book of Genesis is sub divided into 10 of such written accounts (or generations), and this feature acts as subdivisions or sectional summaries within the book.
The first is Gen 2:4 which is the account (or generations) of the heaven and earth.
The next is that which occurs here in Gen 5:1, the written account (or generation) of Adam’s family line;
Gen 6:9 is the account (or generation) of Noah and his family;
Gen 10:1, the account of Shem, Ham, Japheth, Noah’s sons;
Gen 11:10, the account of Shem’s family line;
Gen 11:27, the account of Terah’s family line;
Gen 25:12, the account of Ishmael’s family line;
Gen 25:19, the account of Isaac’s family line;
Gen 36:1 & 9, the account of Esau’s Family line; and
Gen 37:2, he account of Jacob’s family line. The Hebrew word used here in all these cases is toledaw, and means the line of descendants or family line, and is mostly used in plural
This literal device helps to divide the book of Genesis into sections of summaries of the lives of its main characters.
This summary in 5:1 also re-enforces all that transpired in the first section of the book of Genesis, that God created male and female and blessed them and called their name Adam (or mankind) on the day of their creation. Each biblical sectional summary builds upon, and establishes the proceeding section to it
Gen 5:3-32 We now come to the section of genealogies within the scriptures, a section that so many find boring and irrelevant to their present lives’ application, and are prone to skipping over without any feeling of loss of benefit from their bible reading.
So, what are the different purposes of genealogies in the Bible? And how can believers today benefit from them? First of all genealogies are official literal documents, and never a work of artistic delight or entertainment.
No author or novelist ever decides to write up a genealogy into their novel or play. This is because when you include a genealogy in your story, you introduce more characters for whom you must find roles for. Secondly, you must make all your genealogies to match and fit together.
And all writers, including the so-called giants of the literary world know that this a trap to be avoided, and they all avoid it. Only the Bible takes up this near impossible task, and shines at it gloriously. So today when you read a genealogy in your Bible, recognize that generations of real people have worked in an unbroken line of successions to preserve the history that you and I have access to today.
The Bible is neither a story book nor the figment of the human imagination of a literary artist. It is the faithful and painstaking collection of the histories and records of God’s dealings with His people (in the drama of their lives’ story) that bring to us God’s own self-revelation; and alongside with it the attendant implications of that self-revelation to all of humanity.
Another purpose of genealogies which we may also consider may be to make us more like the ancient psalmist who had learnt to number his days (and how frail and transitory human life is) so that he might apply his hearts to wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
At this point we shall not attempt to go into the mechanics of the age and lifespan of each patriarchal figure; there is nothing here for us to spiritualize. We would rather present you with diagrammatic depictions and timelines of their lifespan, which is both more explanatory and reader-friendly.
We also need to point out a few things that these early genealogies in the book of Genesis are trying to show us:
That no matter how long these ancient people lived, it was only a matter of time, the curse of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was bound to catch up with each and every one of them, as it is written in Hebrew 9:27 that death is an appointment that every man must square up to. Gen 5, verses 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, and 31.
Cain’s family line (Gen 4:16-24) is shown to culminate in more violence, bloodshed, and death, whiles Seth’s family line produces men who began to call upon the name of the Lord (Gen 4:26).
In keeping with that which our Lord Jesus declared that the wheat and tares grow together in this wicked world (Matt 13:30), persons of vastly different propensities would live together and Interact in this world; with the sons of Cain running in the midst of the sons of Seth, and sowing the seeds of rebellion and ungodly living, so that as we shall see Genesis 6, God would no longer be able to put up with or tolerate the wickedness of sinful humanity. it only takes a few rotten eggs to make the entire collection rotten.
That despite the fact that these ancient persons lived for hundreds of years neither their lot nor the quality of their lives were even bettered by their extreme longevity, for in verse 29 Lamech names his son Noah (which means Comfort) for he said, “This one would comfort us concering our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed,” so as to prove Job, another ancient saint, right when he said in Job 5:7 “Man is born into trouble”.
Their lives were characterized by toil, sorrow, misery, and disharmony among men because of the death that had spread to all (Rom 5:12) in the first garden.
And it is not out of keeping that our heavenly father, in this our present dispensation, through the high priesthood agency of our Lord Jesus would leave us a comforter in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18), for when the condition of sinful humanity is assessed critically and correctly, he (mankind) is found to need no more than a Comforter to help navigate his course in this sinful world with the strength, light and guidance from another kingdom that is not of this world.
To show that despite the moral decay and toil in which men carried out their daily affairs, it was not because God had totally rejected and abandoned them, for it had always been in man’s power to choose either to accept or reject God who was all through the while striving with the human conscience (Gen 6:1) to bring them back to the place of repentance. Within this dark and revolving cycle of human failure, a ray of hope shines brightly in the character of verse 22 named Enoch.
Enoch’s life within his generation proves to us the truth of what the prophet Isaiah declares in Isaiah 59:1-2 that in any generation “the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear”, but that deliberate and recalcitrant continuation in sin is what causes a separation between people and God. So outstanding was Enoch in conscientious and righteous living, that of him it is written, “Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years”; and also that eventually the people of his day could not find him because “God took him”.
Jude, the brother of our Lord Jesus, helps us understand with more insight into the life and character of Enoch, for he reveals in Jude verse 14 that Enoch preached and prophesied powerfully in that ancient generation saying: “See the Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts that they have committed in their ungodliness, and all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him”.
So we can see that even in this ancient times the preaching regarding repentance and the coming judgment was well established.
And yet it is said that despite Enoch’s energetic and vocal preaching, men still continued, as they do today, to laugh at and keep company with sin.
O that Enoch were to appear to us today to instruct us regarding our walking faithfully with God; but there is no need for that, for according to father Abraham to the rich man who was in torments, we have Moses, and the prophets (Luke 16:29) who have written extensively to instruct them regarding walking with God.
Enoch was a shining light and a testimony in his generation, and supports the verdict of John the evangelist of the condemnation to come upon this world, since light has appeared and yet men continue to love darkness rather than light because of their evil deeds (John3:19).
Enoch also shows us, in contrast to his contemporaries, that apart from living for God, walking with Him, and preaching and prophesying in His name, the only other achievement left to men’s boast is that they begat sons and daughters, for there are so many persons of whom the scriptures just mention in passing that they begat sons and daughters.
Life Application of Genesis 5
1) The literary techniques (styles) and seeming trivialities and details of the Bible ought to be examined closely to be able to mine the secrets that the contain. We also need to consult and benefit from the works of other believers who are ahead of us in understanding scriptural interpretations.
2) The treasures of the Bible seem never to be on the surface, but tucked away in crevices, and places difficult to reach, so that the only way to benefit from scriptural writings is when we are prepared to get down on our hands and knees and dig for the treasures contained therein.
3) From the records of the biblical account death, disease, and toil have since troubled mankind from the fall in the garden till date, so that of the billions (and even possibly trillions) of persons that have walked this earth, only few have had the extremely rare privilege to have it recorded against their names that “he (or she) walked with God.” Human life and affairs can be so distracting that it requires a strong mind, focus, and deliberate action to love and live for God in this world.
4) Death is part of the human story (and life), and so it is foolish to ignore a reality that awaits all of us. This should make us apply our hearts to wisdom and to thank our Lord and Savior for rescuing us from such a sentence of spiritual death and corruption.
5) There will be all manner of personalities and distracting enterprises that will come our way in this world, since our Lord declared that the wheat and weeds do grow side by side. If you cannot take a firm stand for our Lord Jesus Christ and for godly living in this world, then check again whether you are not yourself part of the weeds that will be uprooted and burnt up at the harvest (Matt 13;30).
6) This life is not our final resting place. There is only trouble, toil, false security, false riches, and false peace here. We are only passing by, and will soon meet with the Prince of Peace. So let us prepare to meet Him well.
7) Even in this life of toil and corruption, men have still sought God and found Him. We too in this our own times can find Him if we search for Him with all our heart and souls (Jer 29:13).
8) Even till today most people who know and have witnessed the truth find it extremely difficult to pull away from the attractiveness of evil and sin. According to 2Timothy 2;26, they are still held captive by the devil as slaves to do his bidding.