|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:21-24 Enoch was the seventh from Adam. Godliness is walking with God: which shows reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed, Am 3:3. It includes all the parts of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under his eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend him. It is to be followers of him as dear children. The Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God. This was his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy of his life. Enoch was removed to a better world. As he did not live like the rest of mankind, so he did not leave the world by death as they did. He was not found, because God had translated him, Heb 11:5. He had lived but 365 years, which, as men's ages were then, was but the midst of a man's days. God often takes those soonest whom he loves best; the time they lose on earth, is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable advantage. See how Enoch's removal is expressed: he was not, for God took him. He was not any longer in this world; he was changed, as the saints shall be, who are alive at Christ's second coming. Those who begin to walk with God when young, may expect to walk with him long, comfortably, and usefully. The true christian's steady walk in holiness, through many a year, till God takes him, will best recommend that religion which many oppose and many abuse. And walking with God well agrees with the cares, comforts, and duties of life.
Verse 21. - The dedicated and initiated child grew up, like an Old Testament Timothy let us hope, to possess, illustrate, and proclaim the piety which was the distinguishing characteristic of the holy line. At the comparatively early age of sixty-five he begat ("forbidding to marry" being unknown then) Methuselah. Man of a dart (Gesenius), man of military arms (Furst), man of the missile (Murphy), man of the sending forth - sc. of water (Wordsworth), man of growth (Delitzsch). And Enoch walked with God (Elohim). The phrase, used also of Noah, (Genesis 6:9), and by Micah (Genesis 6:8. Cf. the similar expressions, "to walk before God," Genesis 17:1; Psalm 116:9, and "to walk after God," Deuteronomy 13:4; Ephesians 5:1), portrays a life of singularly elevated piety; not merely a constant realization of the Divine presence, or even a perpetual effort at holy obedience, but also "a maintenance of the most confidential intercourse with the personal God (Keil). It implies a situation of nearness to God, if not in place at least in spirit; a character of likeness to God (Amos 3:3), and a life of converse with God. Following the LXX. (εὐηρὲστησε δὲ Ἐνὼχ τῷ θεῷ), the writer to the Hebrews describes it as a life that was "pleasing to God," as springing from the root of faith (Hebrews 11:5). Yet though pre-eminently spiritual and contemplative, Jude tells us (vers. 14, 15) the patriarch s life had its active and aggressive outlook towards the evil times in which he lived. After he begat Methuselah. "Which intimates that he did not begin to be eminent for piety till about that time; at first he walked as other men' (Henry). Procopius Gazeus goes beyond this, and thinks that before his son's birth Enoch was "a wicked liver," but then repented. The historian's language, however, does not necessarily imply that his piety was so late in commencing and it is more pleasing to think that from his youth upwards he was "as a shining star for virtue and holiness (Willet). Three hundred years. As his piety began early, so likewise did it continue long; it was not intermittent and fluctuating, but steadfast and persevering (cf. Job 17:9; Proverbs 4:18; 1 Corinthians 15:58). And begat sons and daughters. "Hence it is undeniably evident that the stats and use of matrimony doth very well agree with the severest course of holiness, and with the office of a prophet or preacher" (Peele). And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. "A year of years" (Henry); "the same period as that of the revolution of the earth round the sun. After he had finished his course, revolving round him who is the true light, which is God, in the orbit of duty, he was approved by God, and taken to him" (Wordsworth). Modern critics have discovered in the age of Enoch traces of a mythical origin. They conclude the entire list of names to be not older than the time of the Babylonian Nabonassar, and believe it to be not improbable that "the Babylonians regulated the calendar with the assistance of an Indian astrologer or ganaka (arithmetician) of the town of Chanoge" (Von Bohlen). But "it would be strange indeed if just in the life of Enoch, which represents the purest and sublimest unity with God, a heathen and astrological element were intentionally introduced;" and, besides, "it is almost generally admitted that our list contains no astronomical numbers that the years which it specifies refer to the lives of individuals, not to periods of the world; and that none of all these figures is in any way reducible "to a chronological, system" (Kalisch). And Enoch walked with God. "Non otiosa ταυτολογία," but an emphatic repetition, indicative of the ground of what follows. And he was not. Literally, and not he (cf. Genesis 12:36; Jeremiah 31:15; καὶ οὐχ εὐρίσκετο LXX.). "Not absolutely he was not, but relatively he was not extant in the sphere of sense." "Non amplius inter mortales apparuit" (Rosenmüller). "If this phrase does not denote annihilation, much less does the phrase "and he died." The one denotes absence from the world of sense, and the other indicates the ordinary way in which the soul departs from this world" (Murphy). For God (Elohim) took him. Cf. 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 9, 10, where the same word לָקַח is used of Elijah's translation; ὁτι μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν ὁ θέος, LXX.). Though the writer to the Hebrews (Genesis 11:5) adopts the paraphrase of the LXX., yet his language must be accepted as conveying the exact sense of the words of Moses. Analyzed, it teaches
(1) that the patriarch Enoch did not see death, as did all the other worthies in the catalogue; and
(2) that in some mysterious way "he was taken up from this temporal life and transfigured into life eternal, as those of the faithful will be who shall be alive at the coming of Christ to judgment" (Keil). The case of Elijah, who was also taken up, and who afterwards appeared in glory on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9.), appears to determine the locality into which Enoch was translated (which Kaliseh willingly leaves to antiquaries to decide) to be neither the terrestrial Eden (certain Popish writers) nor the heavenly paradise where the pious dead are now assembled - sheol (Delitzsch and Lange), but the realm of celestial glory (Keil). That the departure of the good man was witnessed by his contemporaries we may infer from what occurred in the case of Elijah; and, indeed, unless it had been so it is difficult to see how it could have served the end for which apparently it was designed, which was not solely to reward Enoch's piety, but to demonstrate the certainty and to stimulate the hope of immortality. That the memory of an event so remarkable should have survived not merely in Jewish (Ecclus. 44:16) and Christian tradition (Jude 1:15), but also in heathen fable, is nothing marvelous. The Book of Enoch, compiled probably by a Jew in the days of Herod the Great, describes the patriarch as exhorting, his son Methuselah and all his contemporaries to reform their evil ways; as penetrating with his prophetic eye into the remote future, and exploring all mysteries in earth and heaven; as passing a retired life after the birth of his eldest son in intercourse with the angels and in meditation on Divine matters; and as at length being translated to heaven in order to reappear in the time of the Messiah, leaving behind him a number, of writings on religion and morality. The Book of Jubilees relates that he was carried into paradise, where he writes down the judgment of all men, their wickedness and eternal punishment" (Kalisch). Arabic legend declares him to have been the inventor of writing and arithmetic. The Phrygian sagsannacus (Ἀνακος: "nomen detortum ab Chanoch") is said by Stephanus Byzantinus, and Suidas, who corrupts the name into Nannacus, to have lived before the flood of Deucalion, to have attained an age of more than 300 years, to have foreseen the flood, gathered all the people into a temple and made supplication to God, and finally to have been translated into heaven. "Classical writers also mention such translations into heaven; they assign this distinction among others to Hercules, to Ganymede, and to Romutus (54:1:16: "nec deinde in terris fuit"). But it was awarded to them either for their valor or their physical beauty, and not, as the translation of Enoch, for "a pious and religious life." Nor is "the idea of a translation to heaven limited to the old world; it was familiar to the tribes of Central America; the chronicles of Guatemala record four progenitors of mankind who were suddenly raised to heaven; and the documents add that those first men came to Guatemala from the other side of the sea, from the East" (cf. Rosenmüller and Kalisch, in loco).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. Enoch … begat Methuselah—This name signifies, "He dieth, and the sending forth," so that Enoch gave it as prophetical of the flood. It is computed that Methuselah died in the year of that catastrophe.
Genesis 5:21 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 5:21 NIV
Genesis 5:21 NLT
Genesis 5:21 ESV
Genesis 5:21 NASB
Genesis 5:21 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible