INTRODUCTION TO Genesis 5
This chapter contains a list or catalogue of the posterity of Adam in the line of Seth, down to Noah; it begins with a short account of the creation of Adam, and of his life and death, Genesis 5:1 next of five of the antediluvian patriarchs, their age and death, namely Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Genesis 5:6 then a particular relation of Enoch, his character and translation, Genesis 5:21 then follows an account of Methuselah, the oldest man, and Lamech's oracle concerning his son Noah, Genesis 5:12 and the chapter is closed with the life and death of Lamech, and the birth of the three sons of Noah, Genesis 5:30.
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;This is the book of the generations of Adam,.... An account of persons born of him, or who descended from him by generation in the line of Seth, down to Noah, consisting of ten generations; for a genealogy of all his descendants is not here given, not of those in the line of Cain, nor of the collateral branches in the line of Seth, only of those that descended one from another in a direct line to Noah:
in the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; this is repeated from Genesis 1:27 to put in mind that man is a creature of God; that God made him, and not he himself; that the first man was not begotten or produced in like manner as his sons are, but was immediately created; that his creation was in time, when there were days, and it was not on the first of these, but on the sixth; and that he was made in the likeness of God, which chiefly lay in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, and in dominion over the creatures.
Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.Male and female created he them,.... Adam and Eve, the one a male, the other a female; and but one male and one female, to show that one man and one woman only were to be joined together in marriage, and live as man and wife for the procreation of posterity; and these were not made together, but first the male, and then the female out of him, though both in one day:
and blessed them; with a power of propagating their species, and multiplying it, and with all other blessings of nature and providence; with an habitation in the garden of Eden; with leave to eat of the fruit of all the trees in it, but one; with subjection of all the creatures to them, and with communion with God in their enjoyments:
and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created; which, as Philo (s) observes, signifies "earth"; and according to Josephus (t) red earth, out of which Adam was made; and as soon as he was made, this name was imposed upon him by God, to put him in mind of his original, that he was of the earth, earthly; and the same name was given to Eve, because made out of him, and because other marriage with him, and union to him; on that account, as ever since, man and wife bear the same name: wherefore I should rather think the name was given them from their junction and union together in love; so the name may be derived from the Arabic word (u) signifying to "join": though some think they had it from their beauty, and the elegance of their form (w), being the most fair and beautiful of the whole creation. The names of Adam and Eve in Sanchoniatho (x), as translated into Greek by Philo Byblius, are Protogonos, the first born, and Aeon, which has some likeness to Eve: the name of the first man with the Chinese is Puoncuus (y).
(s) Leg. Allegor. l. 1. p. 57. (t) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 2.((u) "junxit, addiditque rem rei---amore junxit", Golius, Colossians 48. (w) "pulcher fuit, nituit", Stockius, p. 13. Vid Ludolph. Hist. Ethiop. l. 1. c. 15. (x) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 34. (y) Martin. Hist. Sinic. l. 1. p. 3.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years,.... The Septuagint version, through mistaken, gives the number two hundred and thirty years:
and begat a son; not that he had no other children during this time than Cain and Abel; this is only observed to show how old he was when Seth was born, the son here meant; who was begotten
in his own likeness, after his image; not in the likeness, and after the image of God, in which Adam was created; for having sinned, he lost that image, at least it was greatly defaced, and he came short of that glory of God, and could not convey it to his posterity; who are, and ever have been conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; are polluted and unclean, foolish and disobedient; averse to all that is good, and prone to all that is evil: the sinfulness of nature is conveyed by natural generation, but not holiness and grace; that is not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the flesh, but of God, and produced of his own will, by his mighty power impressing the image of his Son in regeneration on his people; which by beholding his glory they are more and more changed into by the Spirit of God. The Jewish writers understand this in a good sense, of Seth being like to Adam in goodness, when Cain was not: so the Targum of Jonathan,"and he begat Seth, who was like to his image and similitude; for before Eve had brought forth Cain, who was not like unto him---but afterwards she brought forth him who was like unto him, and called his name Seth.''So they say (z) Cain was not of the seed, nor of the image of Adam, nor his works like Abel his brother; but Seth was of the seed and image of Adam, and his works were like the works of his brother Abel; according to that, "he begat (a son) in his own likeness". And they assert (a), that Adam delivered all his wisdom to Seth his son, who was born after his image and likeness; and particularly Maimonides (b) observes, that all the sons of Adam before Seth were rather beasts than men, and had not the true human form, not the form and image of men; but Seth, after Adam had taught and instructed him, was in human perfection, as it is said of him, "and he begat in his likeness": but the text speaks not of the education of Seth, and of what he was through that, but of his birth, and what he was in consequence of it; and we are told by good authority, that "that which is born of the flesh is flesh", carnal and corrupt, and such are all the sons of Adam by natural generation; see Job 14:4.
(z) Pirke Eliezer, c. 22. (a) Shalshalet Hakabala, apud Hottinger. Smegma, p. 212. (b) More Nevochim, par. 1. c. 7.
And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years,.... The Septuagint version is seven hundred; for having added one hundred years more the should be, to the years of his life before the birth of Seth, here they are taken away to make the number of his years complete:
and he begat sons and daughters; not only after the birth of Seth, but before, though we have no account of any, unless of Cain's wife; but what their number was is not certain, either before or after; some say he had thirty children, besides Cain, Abel, and Seth; and others a hundred (c). Josephus says the number of children, according to the old tradition, was thirty three sons and twenty three daughters. (d)(These families had at least five children, for one son is named as well as other sons and daughters. Therefore there must be at least three sons and two daughters in each family. For a family to have at least three sons and two daughters, according to the laws of chance, a family must on the average have nine children for this to be a near certainty. Hence the families listed in this chapter must have been large by today's standards. Given their long life, this is not at all unusual. However even today, the Old Order Mennonites of Waterloo County in Ontario and Lancaster County in Pennsylvannia, have many families this large. Ed.)
(c) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 74. 2.((d) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 1. footnote on point 3.
And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years,.... Not lunar years, as Varro (d), but solar years, which consisted of three hundred and sixty five days and odd hours, and such were in use among the Egyptians in the times of Moses; and of these must be the age of Adam, and of his posterity in this chapter, and of other patriarchs in this book; or otherwise, some must be said to beget children at an age unfit for it, particularly Enoch, who must beget a son in the sixth year of his age; and the lives of some of them must be very short, even shorter than ours, as Abraham and others; and the time between the creation and the deluge could not be two hundred years: but this long life of the antediluvians, according to the Scripture account, is confirmed by the testimony of many Heathen writers, who affirm that the ancients lived a thousand years, as many of them did, pretty near, though not quite, they using a round number to express their longevity by; for the proof of this Josephus (e) appeals to the testimonies of Manetho the Egyptian, and Berosus the Chaldean, and Mochus and Hestiaeus; besides Jerom the Egyptian, and the Phoenician writers; also Hesiod, Hecataeus, Hellanicus, Acusilaus, Ephorus and Nicolaus. And though the length of time they lived may in some measure be accounted for by natural things as means, such as their healthful constitution, simple diet, the goodness of the fruits of the earth, the temperate air and climate they lived in, their sobriety, temperance, labour and exercise; yet no doubt it was so ordered in Providence for the multiplication of mankind, for the cultivation of arts and sciences, and for the spread of true religion in the world, and the easier handing down to posterity such things as were useful, both for the good of the souls and bodies of men. Maimonides (f) is of opinion, that only those individual persons mentioned in Scripture lived so long, not men in common; and which was owing to their diet and temperance, and exact manner of living, or to a miracle; but there is no reason to believe that they were the only temperate persons, or that any miracle should be wrought particularly on their account for prolonging their lives, and not others. But though they lived so long, it is said of them all, as here of the first man:
and he died, according to the sentence of the law in Genesis 2:17 and though he died not immediately upon his transgression of the law, yet he was from thence forward under the sentence of death, and liable to it; yea, death seized upon him, and was working in him, till it brought him to the dust of it; his life, though so long protracted, was a dying life, and at last he submitted to the stroke of death, as all his posterity ever since have, one or two excepted, and all must; for "it is appointed unto men once to die". Hebrews 9:27. The Arabic (g) writers relate, that Adam when he was near death called to him Seth, Enos, Kainan, and Mahalaleel, and ordered them by his will, when he was dead, to embalm his body with myrrh, frankincense, and cassia, and lay it in the hidden cave, the cave of Machpelah, where the Jews (h) say he was buried, and where Abraham, Sarah, &c. were buried; and that if they should remove from the neighbourhood of paradise, and from the mountain where they dwelt, they should take his body with them, and bury it in the middle or the earth. They are very particular as to the time of his death. They say (i) it was on a Friday, the fourteenth of Nisan, which answers to part of March and part of April, A. M. nine hundred and thirty, in the ninth hour of that day. The Jews are divided about the funeral of him; some say Seth buried him; others, Enoch; and others, God himself (k): the primitive Christian fathers will have it that he was buried at Golgotha, on Mount Calvary, where Christ suffered.
(d) Apud Lactant. Institut. l. 2. c. 13. (e) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 9. (f) More Nevochim, par. 2. p. 47. (g) Patricides, p. 5. Elmacinus, p. 6. apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 216, 217. (h) Pirke Eliezer, c. 20. Juchasin, fol. 5. 1.((i) Patricides & Elamacinus, apud Hottinger. ib. (k) Juchasin, ut supra. (fol. 5. 1.)
And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos. Not that this was his firstborn, no doubt but he had other children before this time; but this is only mentioned, because it carried the lineage and descent directly from Adam to Noah, the father of the new world, and from whom the Messiah was to spring; whose genealogy to give is a principal view of this book, or account of generations from Adam to Noah.
And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:And Seth lived, after he begat Enos, eight hundred and seven years,.... The Septuagint version makes the same mistake in the numbers of Seth as of Adam, giving him two hundred and five years before the birth of Enos, and but seven hundred and seven years after:
and begat sons and daughters; very probably both before and after Enos was born; but how many is not said.
And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died. As his father Adam before him. Seth, according to Josephus (l), was a very good man, and brought up his children well, who trod in his steps, and who studied the nature of the heavenly bodies; and that the knowledge of these things they had acquired might not be lost, remembering a prophecy of Adam, that the world should be destroyed both by fire and by water, they erected two pillars, called Seth's pillars; the one was made of brick, and the other of stone, on which they inscribed their observations, that so if that of brick was destroyed by a flood, that of stone might remain; and which the above writer says continued in his time in the land of Siriad. The Arabic writers (m) make Seth to be the inventor of the Hebrew letters, and say, that when he was about to die he called to him Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, their wives and children, and adjured them by the blood of Abel not to descend from the mountain where they dwelt, after the death of Adam, nor suffer any of their children to go to, or mix with any of the seed of Cain, which were in the valley; whom he blessed, and ordered by his will to serve the Lord, and then died in the year of his age nine hundred and twelve, on the third day of the week of the month Ab (which answers to part of July and part of August), A. M. 1142, and his sons buried him in the hidden cave in the holy mountain, and mourned for him forty days.
(l) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 2. sect. 3.((m) Elmacinus, Patricides, apud Hottinger, p. 228, 229.
And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan. According to the Septuagint a hundred and ninety years; it can hardly be thought but that he had sons or daughters before, but this is only taken notice of for a reason before given.
And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:And Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years,.... The Septuagint version is seven hundred and fifteen; the hundred which is wanting is to be supplied from the preceding verse, which in that version has an hundred too much:
and begat sons and daughters; others besides Enos, as very likely he had before he was born.
And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.And all the days or Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died. According to the Arabic writers (n), this man was a very good man, governed his people well, and instructed them in the ways of righteousness, and the fear of God; and when his end drew nigh, his offspring gathered about him for his blessing; and calling them to him, he ordered them by his will to practise holiness, and exhorted them not to mix with the offspring of Cain the murderer; and having appointed Cainan his successor, he died in the year of his age nine hundred and five, A. M. 1340, and was buried in the holy mountain; but according to Bishop Usher it was A. M. 1140.
(n) Elmacinus, apud Hottinger, p. 231.
And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel. Here the Septuagint version adds an hundred years, as before.
And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:And Cainan lived, after he begat Mahalaleel, eight hundred and forty years,.... The Septuagint has seven hundred and forty, which, added to the years given him before, makes the same sum:
and begat sons and daughters; as his progenitors did.
And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died. The Arabic writers (o) also commend him as a good ruler of his people; and at his death he charged them not to desert the holy mountain, and join themselves with Cain's posterity; and having appointed Mahalaleel, who they say was his eldest son, his successor, he died on the fourth day of the week, and the thirteenth of the month Cheziran, A. M. 1535, and was buried in the double cave, and they mourned for him, according to custom, forty days: according to Bishop Usher it was in A. M. 1235.
(o) Elmacinus, apud Hottinger, p. 233.
And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared. A hundred and sixty, according to the Septuagint version.
And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:And Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years,.... Seven hundred and thirty, as the above version, still making the same mistake:
and he begat sons and daughters; how many cannot be said.
And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years, and he died. He also is spoken well of by the Arabic writers (p) as a good governor, a pious man that walked in the way of righteousness; and when he died blessed his children, and adjured them by the blood of Abel, not to suffer any of theirs to descend from the mountain to the sons of Cain: according to Bishop Usher he died A. M. 1290.
(p) Elmacinus, & Patricides in ib. p. 234.
And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:And Jared lived an hundred and sixty two years, and he begat Enoch. Here the Septuagint agrees with the Hebrew text, and the Samaritan version differs, reading only sixty two; but this can hardly be thought to be his first son at such an age.
And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:And Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years,.... And so, the Greek version, but the Samaritan is seven hundred and eighty five:
and begat sons and daughters; in that time, as well as before; for it is not to be imagined in this, or either of the foregoing or following instances, that these sons and daughters were begotten after living to such an age, since it is plain at that age they died.
And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years, and he died. The name of this patriarch signifies "descending"; and, according to the Arabic writers (q), he had his name from the posterity of Seth, descending from the holy mountain in his time; for upon a noise being heard on the mountain, about an hundred men went down to the sons of Cain, contrary to the prohibition and dehortation of Jared, and mixed themselves with the daughters of Cain, which brought on the apostasy: when Jared was near his end, he called to him Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, and their children, and said unto them, ye know what some have done, that they have gone down from the mountain, and have had conversation with the daughters of Cain, and have defiled themselves; take you care of your purity, and do not descend from the holy mountain; after which he blessed them, and having appointed Enoch his successor, he died the twelfth of Adar, answering to February, A. M. 1922: according to the Samaritan version, he lived only eight hundred and forty seven years: he died, according to Bishop Usher, A. M. 1422.
(q) Elmacinus, & Patricides in ib. p. 235.
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah. Here the Septuagint version adds again an hundred years; and that Enoch had a son, whose name was Methuselah, is affirmed by Eupolemus (r), an Heathen writer; and Enoch being a prophet gave him this name under a spirit of prophecy, foretelling by it when the flood should be; for his name, according to Bochart (s), signifies, "when he dies there shall be an emission", or sending forth of waters upon the earth, to destroy it,
(r) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 17. p. 419. (s) Thaleg. l. 2. c. 13. Colossians 88. so Ainsworth.
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:And Enoch walked with God, after he begat Methuselah, three hundred years,.... The Greek version is two hundred. He had walked with God undoubtedly before, but perhaps after this time more closely and constantly: and this is observed to denote, that he continued so to do all the days of his life, notwithstanding the apostasy which began in the days of his father, and increased in his. He walked in the name and fear of God, according to his will, in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord then made known; he walked by faith in the promises of God, and in the view of the Messiah, the promised seed; he walked uprightly and sincerely, as in the sight of God; he had familiar converse, and near and intimate communion with him: and even the above Heathen writer, Eupolemus, seems to suggest something like this, when he says, that he knew all things by the angels of God, which seems to denote an intimacy with them; and that he received messages from God by them:
and begat sons and daughters; the marriage state and procreation of children being not inconsistent with the most religious, spiritual, and godly conversation.
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years. A year of years, living as many years as there are days in a year; not half the age of the rest of the patriarchs: our poet (t) calls him one of middle age; though his being taken away in the midst of his days was not a token of divine displeasure, but of favour, as follows; see Psalm 55:23.
(t) Milton's Paradise Lost, B. 11. l. 665.
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.And Enoch walked with God,.... Which is repeated both for the confirmation of it, and for the singularity of it in that corrupt age; and to cause attention to it, and stir up others to imitate him in it, as well as to express the well pleasedness of God therein; for so it is interpreted, "he had this testimony, that he pleased God", Hebrews 11:5.
and he was not; not that he was dead, or in the state of the dead, as Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret the phrase following:
for God took him, out of the world by death, according to 1 Kings 19:4 "for he was translated, that he should not see death", Hebrews 11:5 nor was he annihilated, or reduced to nothing, "for God took him", and therefore he must exist somewhere: but the sense is, he was not in the land of the living, he was no longer in this world; or with the inhabitants of the earth, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it; but the Lord took him to himself out of the world, in love to him, and removed him from earth to heaven, soul and body, as Elijah was taken; See Gill on Hebrews 11:5. The Arabic writers (u) call him Edris, and say he was skilled in astronomy and other sciences, whom the Grecians say is the same with Hermes Trismegistus; and the Jews call him Metatron, the great scribe, as in the Targum of Jonathan: they say (w), that Adam delivered to him the secret of the intercalation of the year, and he delivered it to Noah, and that he was the first that composed books of astronomy (x); and so Eupolemus (y) says he was the first inventor of astrology, and not the Egyptians; and is the same the Greeks call Atlas, to whom they ascribe the invention of it. The apostle Jude speaks of him as a prophet, Jde 1:14 and the Jews say (z), that he was in a higher degree of prophecy than Moses and Elias; but the fragments that go under his name are spurious: there was a book ascribed to him, which is often referred to in the book of Zohar, but cannot be thought to be genuine.
(u) Elmacinus, Patricides, apud Hottinger. p. 239. 240. Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 9. (w) Juchasin, fol. 5. 1. Pirke Eliezer, c. 8. (x) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 74. 2.((y) Ut supra. (Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 17. p. 419.) (z) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 1, 2.
And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:And Methuselah lived an hundred and eighty and seven years, and beget Lamech. The Septuagint version is an hundred and sixty seven; the Samaritan only sixty seven; the same names were given to some of the posterity of Seth as were to those of Cain, as Lamech here, and Enoch before.
And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:And Methuselah lived, after he begat Lamech, seven hundred eighty and two years,.... The Greek version is eight hundred and two years, and so makes the sum total of his life the same; but the Samaritan version only six hundred and fifty three, and so makes his whole life but seven hundred and twenty; and thus, instead of being the oldest, he is made the youngest of the antediluvian patriarchs, excepting his father Enoch:
and begat sons and daughters; some, it is highly probable, before he beget Lamech, since then he was near two hundred years of age, as well as others after.
And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty nine years, and he died,.... This was the oldest man that ever lived, no man ever lived to a thousand years: the Jews give this as a reason for it, because a thousand years is God's day, according to Psalm 90:4 and no man is suffered to arrive to that. His name carried in it a prediction of the time of the flood, which was to be quickly after his death, as has been observed; see Gill on Genesis 5:21. Some say he died in the year of the flood; others, fourteen years after, and was in the garden of Eden with his father, in the days of the flood, and then returned to the world (a); but the eastern writers are unanimous that he died before the flood: the Arabic writers (b) are very particular as to the time in which he died; they say he died in the six hundredth year of Noah, on a Friday, about noon, on the twenty first day of Elul, which is Thout; and Noah and Shem buried him, embalmed in spices, in the double cave, and mourned for him forty days: and some of the Jewish writers say he died but seven days before the flood came, which they gather from Genesis 7:10 "after seven days"; that is, as they interpret it, after seven days of mourning for Methuselah (c): he died A. M. 1656, the same year the flood came, according to Bishop Usher.
(a) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 74. 2.((b) Apud Hottinger, p. 244. (c) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 32. fol. 27. 3. Juchasin, fol. 6. 1. Baal Habturim in Genesis 7.10.
And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat son. According to the Septuagint version he was an hundred and eighty eight years old; but according to the Samaritan version only fifty three; the name, of his son, begotten by him, is given in the next verse, with the reason of it.
And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.And he called his name Noah,.... Which signifies rest and comfort; for rest gives comfort, and comfort flows from rest, see 2 Samuel 14:17, where a word from the same root is rendered "comfortable", and agrees with the reason of the name, as follows:
saying, this same shall comfort us, concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground, which the Lord hath cursed; this he spake by a spirit of prophecy, foreseeing what his son would be, and of what advantage to him and his family, and to the world, both in things temporal and spiritual. In things temporal: the earth was cursed for the sin of man immediately after the fall, and continued under it to this time, bringing forth thorns and thistles in great abundance of itself, which occasioned much trouble to root and pluck them up, and nothing else, without digging, and planting, and sowing; and being barren through the curse, it was with great difficulty men got a livelihood: now Noah eased them in a good measure of their toil and trouble, by inventing instruments of ploughing, as Jarchi suggests, which they had not before, but threw up the ground with their hands, and by the use of spades, or such like things, which was very laborious; but now, by the use of the plough, and beasts to draw it, their lives were made much more easy and comfortable; hence he is said to begin to be an "husbandman", or a "man of the earth", that brought agriculture to a greater perfection, having found out an easier and quicker manner of tilling the earth: and as he was the first that is said to plant a vineyard, if he was the inventor of wine, this was another way in which he was an instrument of giving refreshment and comfort to men, that being what cheers the heart of God and men, see Genesis 9:20 and if the antediluvians were restrained from eating of flesh, and their diet was confined to the fruits of the earth; Noah, as Dr. Lightfoot (d) observes, would be a comfort in reference to this, because to him, and in him to all the world, God would give liberty to eat flesh; so that they were not obliged to get their whole livelihood with their hands out of the ground: and moreover, as Lamech might be apprised of the flood by the name of his father, and the prediction of his grandfather, he might foresee that he and his family would be saved, and be the restorer of the world, and repeople it, after the destruction of it by the flood. And he may have respect to comfort in spiritual things, either at first taking him to be the promised seed, the Messiah, in whom all comfort is; or however a type of him, and from whom he should spring, who would deliver them from the curse of the law, and from the bondage of it, and from toiling and seeking for a righteousness by the works of it; or he might foresee that he would be a good man, and a preacher of righteousness, and be a public good in his day and generation.
(d) Works, vol. 1. p. 9.
And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:And Lamech lived, after he begat Noah, five hundred ninety and five years,.... The Septuagint version is five hundred and sixty five; and the Samaritan version six hundred:
and begat sons and daughters; of which we have no account.
And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years, and he died. According to the Greek version, he lived but seven hundred and fifty three; and according to the Samaritan version, only six hundred and fifty three: but it is best and safest in these, and all the above numbers, to follow the original Hebrew, and the numbers in that, with which the Targum of Onkelos exactly agrees, written about the time of Christ; and these numbers were just the same when the two Talmuds were composed. Some of the Jewish writers, and so some Christians, confound this Lamech with the other Lamech, who was of the race of Cain, spoken of in the preceding chapter, and say he was a bigamist and a murderer; and that in his days sins were committed openly, and witchcraft was throughout the whole world (e): he died, according to Bishop Usher, A. M. 1651. Eight times in this chapter the phrase is used, "and he died", to put us in mind of death; to observe that it is the way of all flesh; that those that live longest die at last, and it must be expected by everyone.
(e) Shalshalet Hakabal, fol. 1. 2. & 74. 2.
And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.And Noah was five hundred years old,.... Or "the son of five hundred years" (f); he was in his five hundredth year: it can hardly be thought that he should live to this time a single life, and have no children born to him, which he might have had, but were dead; though some think it was so ordered by Providence, that he should not begin to procreate children until of this age, because it being the will of God to save him and his family from the flood, had he began at the usual age he might have had more than could conveniently be provided for in the ark; or some of them might have proved wicked, and so would deserve to perish with others:
and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth; not together, but one after another; and since Ham was the younger son, see Genesis 9:24 and Shem was an hundred years old two years after the flood, Genesis 11:10 he must be born in the five hundred and second year of his father's age; so that it seems most probable that Japheth was the eldest son, and born in the five hundred and first year of his age; though Shem is usually mentioned first, because of his superior dignity and excellency, God being in an eminent manner the God of Shem, Genesis 9:26 and from whom the Messiah was to spring, and in whose line the church of God was to be continued in future ages. The name of Japheth is retained in Greek and Latin authors, as Hesiod (g) Horace (h), and others (i), by whom he is called Japetos and Japetus.
(f) "filius quingentorum annorum", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (g) "Theogonia prope principium et passim". (h) Carmin. l. 1. Ode 3.((i) Apollodorus de Deorum Orig. l. 1. p. 2, 4. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 2.