Genesis 5:24
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Enoch walked with God.—This is translated in the LXX., “Enoch pleased God,” whence comes the “testimony” quoted in Hebrews 11:5. Really it gives the cause of which the Greek phrase is the effect; for it denotes a steady continuance in well-doing, and a life spent in the immediate presence of and in constant communion with God. (See Note on Genesis 4:18.)

God took him.—Instead of the mournful refrain and he died, coming like a surprise at the end of each of these protracted lives, we have here an early removal into another world, suggesting already that long life was not the highest form of blessing; and this removal is without pain, decay, or death into the immediate presence of God. Thus one of Adam’s posterity after the fall succeeded in doing, though, doubtless, not without special help and blessing from the Almighty, that wherein Adam in Paradise had failed. We learn, too, from Jude 1:14-15, that Enoch’s was a removal from prevailing evil to happiness secured. Already, probably, the intermarriages between the Cainites and Sethites had begun and with it the corruption of mankind. Philippson, while regarding the phrase “God took him” as a euphemism for an early death, yet finds in it an indication of there being another life besides this upon earth. We may further add that Enoch’s translation took place about the middle of the antediluvian period, and that his age was 365, the number of the days of the year. As, however, the Hebrew year consisted of only 354 days, and the Chaldean of 360, the conclusion that Enoch was a solar deity has no solid foundation to rest upon. But see Note on Genesis 8:14.

Genesis

THE COURSE AND CROWN OF A DEVOUT LIFE

Genesis 5:24
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This notice of Enoch occurs in the course of a catalogue of the descendants of Adam, from the Creation to the Deluge. It is evidently a very ancient document, and is constructed on a remarkable plan. The formula for each man is the same. So-and-so lived, begat his heir, the next in the series, lived on after that so many years, having anonymous children, lived altogether so long, and then died. The chief thing about each life is the birth of the successor, and each man’s career is in broad outline the same. A dreary monotony runs through the ages. How brief and uniform may be the records of lives of striving and tears and smiles and love that stretched through centuries! Nine hundred years shrink into less than as many lines.

The solemn monotony is broken in the case of Enoch. This paragraph begins as usual-he ‘lived’; but afterwards, instead of that word, we read that he ‘walked with God’-happy they for whom such a phrase is equivalent to ‘live’-and, instead of ‘died,’ it is said of him that ‘he was not.’ That seems to imply that he, as it were, slipped out of sight or suddenly disappeared; as one of the psalms says, ‘I looked, and lo! he was not.’ He was there a moment ago-now he is gone; and my text tells how that sudden withdrawal came about. God, with whom he walked, put out His hand and took him to Himself. Of course. What other end could there be to a life that was all passed in communion with God except that apotheosis and crown of it all, the lifting of the man into closer communion with his Father and his Friend?

So, then, there are just these two things here-the noblest life and its crown.

1. The noblest life.

‘He walked with God.’ That is all. There is no need to tell what he did or tried to do, how he sorrowed or joyed, what were his circumstances. These may all fade from men’s knowledge as they have somewhat faded from his memory up yonder. It is enough that he walked with God.

Of course, we have here, underlying the phrase, the familiar comparison of life to a journey, with all its suggestions of constant change and constant effort, and with the suggestion, too, that each life should be a progress directly tending to one clearly recognised goal. But passing from that, let us just think for a moment of the characteristics which must go to make up a life of which we can say that it is walking with God. The first of these clearly is the one that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews puts his finger upon, when he makes faith the spring of Enoch’s career. The first requisite to true communion with God is vigorous exercise of that faculty by which we realise the fact of His presence with us; and that not as a jealous-eyed inspector, from whose scrutiny we would fain escape, but as a companion and friend to whom we can cleave. ‘He that cometh to God,’ and walks with God, must first of all ‘believe that He is’; and passing by all the fascinations of things seen, and rising above all the temptations of things temporal, his realising eye must fix upon the divine Father and see Him nearer and more clearly than these. You cannot walk with God unless you are emancipated from the dominion of sense and time, and are living by the power of that great faculty, which lays hold of the things that are unseen as the realities, and smiles at the false and forged pretensions of material things to be the real. We have to invert the teaching of the world and of our senses. My fingers and my eyes and my ears tell me that this gross, material universe about me is the real, and that all beyond it is shadowy and {sometimes we think} doubtful, or, at any rate, dim and far off. But that is false, and the truth is precisely the other way. The Unseen is the Real, and the Material is the merely Apparent. Behind all visible objects, and giving them all their reality, lies the unchangeable God.

Cultivate the faculty and habit of vigorous faith, if you would walk with God. For the world will put its bandages over your eyes, and try to tempt you to believe that these poor, shabby illusions are the precious things; and we have to shake ourselves free from its harlot kisses and its glozing lies, by very vigorous and continual efforts of the will and of the understanding, if we are to make real to ourselves that which is real, the presence of our God.

Besides this vigorous exercise of the faculty of faith, there is another requisite for a walk with God, closely connected with it, and yet capable of being looked at separately, and that is, that we shall keep up the habit of continual occupation of thought with Him. That is very much an affair of habit with Christian people, and I am afraid that the neglect of it is the habitual practice of the bulk of professing Christians nowadays. It is hard, amidst all our work and thought and joys and sorrows, to keep fresh our consciousness of His presence, and to talk with Him in the midst of the rush of business. But what do we do about our dear ones when we are away from them? The measure of our love of them is accurately represented by the frequency of our remembrances of them. The mother parted from her child, the husband and the wife separated from one another, the lover and the friend, think of each other a thousand times a day. Whenever the spring is taken off, then the natural bent of the inclination and heart assert themselves, and the mind goes back again, as into a sanctuary, into the sweet thought. Is that how we do with God? Do we so walk with Him, as that thought, when released, instinctively sets in that direction? When I take off the break, does my spirit turn to God? If there is no hand at the helm, does the bow always point that way? When the magnet is withdrawn for a moment, does the needle tremble back and settle itself northwards? If we are walking with God, we shall, more times a day than we can count when the evening comes on, have had the thought of Him coming into our hearts ‘like some sweet beguiling melody, so sweet we know not we are listening to it.’ Thus we shall ‘walk with God.’

Then there is another requisite. ‘How can two walk together except they be agreed?’ ‘He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.’ There is no union with God in such communion possible, unless there be a union with Him by conformity of will and submission of effort and aim to His commandments. Well, then, is that life possible for us? Look at this instance before us. We know very little about how much knowledge of God these people in old days had, but, at all events, it was a great deal less than you and I have. Their theology was very different from ours; their religion was absolutely identical with ours. Their faith, which grasped the God revealed in their creed, was the same as our faith, though the creed which their faith grasped was only an outline sketch of yours and mine. But at all times and in all generations, the element and essence of the religious life has been the same-that is, the realising sense of the living divine presence, the effort and aspiration after communion with Him, and the quiet obedience and conformity of the practical life to His will. And so we can reach out our hands across all the centuries to this pre-Noachian, antediluvian patriarch, dim amongst the mists, and feel that he too is our brother.

And he has set us the example that in all conditions of life, and under the most unfavourable circumstances, it is possible to live in this close touch with God. For in his time, not only was there, as I have said, an incomplete and rudimentary knowledge of God, but in his time the earth was filled with violence, and gigantic forms of evil are represented as having dominated mankind. Amidst it all, the Titanic pride, the godlessness, the scorn, the rudeness, and the violence, amidst it all, this one ‘white flower of a blameless life’ managed to find nutriment upon the dunghill, and to blossom fresh and fair there. You and I cannot, whatever may be our hindrances in living a consistent Christian life, have anything like the difficulties that this man had and surmounted. For us all, whatever our conditions, such a life is possible.

And then there is another lesson that he teaches us, viz. that such a life is consistent with the completest discharge of all common duties. The outline, as far as appearance was concerned, of this man’s life was the same as the outline of those of his ancestors and successors. They are all described in the same terms. The formula is the same. Enoch lived, Mahalaleel, and all the rest of the half-unpronounceable names, they lived, they begat their heirs, and sons and daughters, and then they died. And the same formula is used about this man. He walked with God, but it was while treading the common path of secular life that he did so.

He found it possible to live in communion with God, and yet to do all the common things that men did then. Anybody’s house may be a Bethel-a house of God-and anybody’s work may be worship; and wherever we are and whatever we do, it is possible therein to serve God, and there to walk with Him.

2. And now a word about the crown of this life of communion. ‘He was not, for God took him’

What wonderful reticence in describing, or rather hinting at, the stupendous miracle that is here in question! Is that like a book that came from the legend-loving and legend-making brains of men; or does it sound like the speech of God, to whom nothing is extraordinary and nothing needs to have a mark of admiration after it? It was the same to Him whether Enoch died or whether He simply took him to Himself. If one wants to know what men would have made of such a thing, if they had had to tell it, let them read those wretched Rabbinical fables that have been stitched on to this verse. There they will see how men describe miracles; and here they will see how God does so.

He was not.’ As I have said, he disappeared; that was what the world knew. ‘God took him’; that was what God tells the world.

Thus this strange exception to the law of death stood, as I suppose, to the ancient world as doing somewhat the same office for them that the translation of Elijah afterwards partially did for Israel, and that the resurrection of Jesus Christ does completely for us, viz. it brought the future life into the realm of fact, and took it out of the dim region of speculation altogether. He establishes a truth who proves it, and he proves a fact that shows it. A doctrine of a future state is not worth much, but the fact of a future state, which was established by this incident then, and is certified for us all now, by the Christ risen from the dead, is all-important. Our gospel is all built upon facts, and this is the earliest fact in man’s history which made man’s subsistence in other conditions than that of earthly life a certainty.

And then, again, this wonderful exception shows to us, as it did to that ancient world, that the natural end of a religious life is union with God hereafter. It seems to me that the real proofs of a future life are two: one, the fact of Christ’s resurrection, and the other, the fact of our religious experience. For anything looks to me more likely, and less incredible, than that a man who could walk with God should only have a poor earthly life to do it in, and that all these aspirations, these emotions, should be bounded and ended by a trivial thing, that touches only the physical frame. Surely, surely, there is nothing so absurd as to believe that he who can say ‘Thou art my God,’ and who has said it, should ever by anything be brought to cease to say it. Death cannot kill love to God; and the only end of the religious life of earth is its perfecting in heaven. The experiences that we have here, in their loftiness and in their incompleteness, equally witness for us, of the rest and the perfectness that remain for the children of God.

Then, again, this man in his unique experience was, and is, a witness of the fact that death is an excrescence, and results from sin. I suppose that he trod the road which the divine intention had destined to be trodden by all the children of men, if they had not sinned; and that his experience, unique as it is, is a survival, so to speak, of what was meant to be the law for humanity, unless there had intervened the terrible fact of sin and its wages, death. The road had been made, and this one man was allowed to travel along it that we might all learn, by the example of the exception, that the rule under which we live was not the rule that God originally meant for us, and that death has resulted from the fact of transgression. No doubt Enoch had in him the seeds of it, no doubt there were the possibilities of disease and the necessity of death in his physical frame, but God has shown us in that one instance, and in the other of the great prophet’s, how He is not subject to the law that men shall die, although men are subject to it, and that if He will, He can take them all to Himself, as He did take these two, and will take them who, at last, shall not die but be changed.

Let me remind you that this unique and exceptional end of a life of communion may, in its deepest, essential character, be experienced by each of us. There are two passages in the book of Psalms, both of which I regard as allusions to this incident. The one of them is in the forty-ninth Psalm and reads thus: ‘He will deliver my soul from the power of the grave, for He will take me.’ Our version conceals the allusion, by its unfortunate and non-literal rendering ‘receive.’ The same word is employed there as here. Can we fail to see the reference? The Psalmist expects his soul to be ‘delivered from the power of the grave,’ because God takes it.

And again, in the great seventy-third Psalm, which marks perhaps the highwater mark of pre-Christian anticipations of a future state, we read: ‘Thou wilt guide me by Thy counsel, and afterwards take me’ {again the same word} ‘to glory.’ Here, again, the Psalmist looks back to the unique and exceptional instance, and in the rapture and ecstasy of the faith that has grasped the living God as his portion, says to himself: ‘Though the externals of Enoch’s end and of mine may differ, their substance will be the same, and I, too, shall cease to be seen of men, because God takes me into the secret of His pavilion, by the loving clasp of His lifting hand.’

Enoch was led, if I may say so, round the top of the valley, beyond the head waters of the dark river, and was kept on the high level until he got to the other side. You and I have to go down the hill, out of the sunshine, in among the dank weeds, to stumble over the black rocks, and wade through the deep water; but we shall get over to the same place where he stands, and He that took him round by the top will ‘take’ us through the river; and so shall we ‘ever be with the Lord’

‘Enoch walked with God and he was not; for God took him.’ This verse is like some little spring with trees and flowers on a cliff. The dry genealogical table-and here this bit of human life in it! How unlike the others-they lived and they died; this man’s life was walking with God and his departure was a fading away, a ceasing to be found here. It is remarkable in how calm a tone the Bible speaks of its supernatural events. We should not have known this to be a miracle but for the Epistle to the Hebrews.

The dim past of these early chapters carries us over many centuries. We know next to nothing about the men, where they lived, how they lived, what thoughts they had, what tongue they spoke. Some people would say that they never lived at all. I believe, and most of you, I suppose, believe that they did. But how little personality we give them! Little as we know of environment and circumstances, we know the main thing, the fact of their having been. Then we are sure that they had sorrow and joy, strife and love, toil and rest, like the rest of us, that whether their days were longer or shorter they were filled much as ours are, that whatever was the pattern into which the quiet threads of their life was woven it was, warp and weft, the same yarn as ours. In broad features every human life is much the same. Widely different as the clothing of these grey fathers in their tents, with their simple contrivances and brief records, is from that of cultivated busy Englishmen to-day, the same human form is beneath both. And further, we know but little as to their religious ideas, how far they were surrounded with miracles, what they knew of God and of His purposes, how they received their knowledge, what served them for a Bible. Of what positive institutions of religion they had we know nothing; whether for them there was sacrifice and a sabbath day, how far the original gospel to Adam was known or remembered or understood by them. All that is perfectly dark to us. But this we know, that those of them who were godly men lived by the same power by which godly men live nowadays. Whatever their creed, their religion was ours. Religion, the bond that unites again the soul to God, has always been the same.

Genesis 5:24. He was not — Any longer on earth or among men; for God took him — Out of this sinful and miserable world to himself. He was translated, as it is explained, Hebrews 11:5, that he should not see death, and was not found by his friends who sought him, as the sons of the prophets sought Elijah, 2 Kings 2:17, because God had translated him, had taken him body and soul to himself, as he afterward took that prophet. He was changed, as those saints shall be that are found alive at Christ’s second coming. But why did God take him so soon? Surely because the world, which was now grown corrupt, was unworthy of him, and because his work was done, and done the sooner, by his attending to it, and prosecuting it so diligently. But it is probable, also, that by his translation, as well as by that of Elijah, God intended to give mankind, generally become infidels with regard to a future state, a demonstration of the reality of such a state, and of the felicity of it, with respect to the righteous. For if there were no witness of his translation, as there was of that of Elijah, the circumstance that his body was not found, added to his eminent piety, might convince, at least such as were considerate, that he was taken to a better world.

Genesis 5:25-27. Methuselah signifies, He dies, there is a sending forth, namely, of the deluge, which came the very year that Methuselah died. If his name was so intended, it was a fair warning to a careless world long before the judgment came. However, this is observable, that the longest liver that ever was, carried death in his name, that he might keep in mind its coming surely, though it came slowly. He lived nine hundred sixty and nine years — The longest that ever any man lived on earth, and yet he died — The longest liver must die at last. Neither youth nor age will discharge from that war, for that is the end of all men: none can challenge life by long prescription, nor make that a plea against the arrests of death. It is commonly supposed, that Methuselah died a little before the flood; the Jewish writers say, seven days before, referring to Genesis 7:10, and that he was taken away from the evil to come.

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.The history of the Shethite Henok is distinguished in two respects: First, after the birth of Methushelah, "he walked with the God." Here for the first time we have God אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym with the definite article, with which it occurs more than four hundred times. By this he is emphatically distinguished as the God, now made known by his acts and manifestations, in opposition to atheism, the sole God in opposition to polytheism, and the true God in opposition to all false gods or notions of God. It is possible that in the time of Henok some had forsaken the true God, and fallen into various misconceptions concerning the Supreme Being. His walking with "the God" is a hint that others were walking without this God.

The phrase "walked with God" is rendered in the Septuagint εὐηρέστησε τῷ Θεῷ euērestēse tō Theō, "pleased God," and is adduced in the Epistle to the Hebrews Gen 2:5-6 as an evidence of Henok's faith. Walking with God implies community with him in thought, word, and deed, and is opposed in Scripture to walking contrary to him. We are not at liberty to infer that Henok was the only one in this line who feared God. But we are sure that he presented an eminent example of that faith which purifies the heart and pleases God.

He made a striking advance upon the attainment of the times of his ancestor Sheth. In those days they began to call upon the name of the Lord. Now the fellowship of the saints with God reaches its highest form, - that of walking with him, doing his will and enjoying his presence in all the business of life. Hence, this remarkable servant of God is accounted a prophet, and foretells the coming of the Lord to judgment Jde 1:14-15. It is further to be observed that this most eminent saint of God did not withdraw from the domestic circle, or the ordinary duties of social life. It is related of him as of the others, that during the three hundred years of his walking with God he begat sons and daughters.

Secondly, the second peculiarity of Henok was his teleportation. This is related in the simple language of the times. "And he was not, for God took him;" or, in the version of the Septuagint, "and he was not found, for God translated him." Hence, in the New Testament it is said, Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death." This passage is important for the interpretation of the phrase ואיננוּ ve'ēynenû καί ουχ εὑρίσκετο kai ouch heurisketo "and he was not (found)." It means, we perceive, not absolutely, he was not, but relatively, he was not extant in the sphere of sense. If this phrase do 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. Here, then, we have another hint that points plainly to the immortality of the soul (see on Genesis 3:22).

This glimpse into primeval life furnishes a new lesson to the men of early times and of all succeeding generations. An atonement was shadowed forth in the offering of Habel. A voice was given to the devout feelings of the heart in the times of Sheth. And now a walk becoming one reconciled to God, calling upon his name, and animated by the spirit of adoption, is exhibited. Faith has now returned to God, confessed his name, and learned to walk with him. At this point God appears and gives to the antediluvian race a new and conclusive token of the riches and power of mercy in counteracting the effects of sin in the case of the returning penitent. Henok does not die, but lives; and not only lives, but is advanced to a new stage of life, in which all the power and pain of sin are at an end forever. This crowns and signalizes the power of grace, and represents in brief the grand finale of a life of faith. This renewed man is received up into glory without going through the intermediate steps of death and resurrection. If we omit the violent end of Habel, the only death on record that precedes the translation of Henok is that of Adam. It would have been incongruous that he who brought sin and death into the world should not have died. But a little more than half a century after his death, Henok is wafted to heaven without leaving the body. This translation took place in the presence of a sufficient number of witnesses, and furnished a manifest proof of the presence and reality of the invisible powers. Thus, were life and immortality as fully brought to light as was necessary or possible at that early stage of the world's history. Thus, was it demonstrated that the grace of God was triumphant in accomplishing the final and full salvation of all who returned to God. The process might be slow and gradual, but the end was now shown to be sure and satisfactory.

24. And Enoch walked with God—a common phrase in Eastern countries denoting constant and familiar intercourse.

was not; for God took him—In Heb 11:5, we are informed that he was translated to heaven—a mighty miracle, designed to effect what ordinary means of instruction had failed to accomplish, gave a palpable proof to an age of almost universal unbelief that the doctrines which he had taught (Jude 14, 15) were true and that his devotedness to the cause of God and righteousness in the midst of opposition was highly pleasing to the mind of God.

i.e. He appeared not any longer upon earth, or amongst mortal men. The same phrase is in Genesis 42:36 Jeremiah 31:15.

For God took him out of this sinful and miserable world unto himself, and to his heavenly habitation: see Luke 23:43. And he took either his soul, of which alone this phrase is used, Ezekiel 24:16; or rather both soul and body, as he took Elias, 2 Kings 2:11, because he so took him that he did not see death, Hebrews 11:5.

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 Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for {g} God took him.

(g) To show that there was a better life prepared and to be a testimony of the immortality of souls and bodies. To inquire where he went is mere curiosity.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. and he was not] For this expression used to denote an unaccountable disappearance, cf. Genesis 42:13; Genesis 42:36; 1 Kings 20:40. In order to make it quite clear that the words did not imply death, LXX renders οὐχ εὑρίσκετο; Vulg. “non apparuit.”

The shortness of his life as compared with the other patriarchs might have been regarded as a proof of Divine displeasure, if the next sentence had not been added to explain the circumstance.

for God took him] “Took,” or “received,” him, i.e. into His own abode, without death: cf. “he shall receive me” (Psalm 49:15). Sam. “the Angel took him”; LXX μετέθηκε = “translated”; Lat. tulit; Targ. Onkelos, “for the Lord had made him to die.” Our word “translated” has passed into general use from this passage and from the allusion to it in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated (Lat. translatus est) that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him.” For the only other instance in the O.T. of a Saint’s “translation,” see the story of Elijah (2 Kings 2). In the early Babylonian traditions, Xisuthros, the hero of the Babylonian Deluge story, is “translated” after the Deluge, that he may dwell among the gods.

Late Jewish tradition was very busy with the story of Enoch. Enoch was supposed to have received Divine revelation concerning “all mysteries,” and to have recorded them in writing in apocalyptic books. This current belief concerning Enoch, as the repository and the recorder of the mysteries of the universe, gave rise to the writing of the extant apocalyptic work, “The Book of Enoch,” composed in the second century b.c.

The devout Israelite was able to believe that they who walked with God would somehow be taken by God; cf. Psalm 73:24, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward take me to glory.” In an age which had no conception of a general resurrection there was faith in God’s power and a trust in fellowship with Him.

Genesis 5:24As Adam was created in the image of God, so did he beget "in his own likeness, after his image;" that is to say, he transmitted the image of God in which he was created, not in the purity in which it came direct from God, but in the form given to it by his own self-determination, modified and corrupted by sin. The begetting of the son by whom the line was perpetuated (no doubt in every case the first-born), is followed by an account of the number of years that Adam and the other fathers lived after that, by the statement that each one begat (other) sons and daughters, by the number of years that he lived altogether, and lastly, by the assertion ויּמת "and he died." This apparently superfluous announcement is "intended to indicate by its constant recurrence that death reigned from Adam downwards as an unchangeable law (vid., Romans 5:14). But against this background of universal death, the power of life was still more conspicuous. For the man did not die till he had propagated life, so that in the midst of the death of individuals the life of the race was preserved, and the hope of the seed sustained, by which the author of death should be overcome." In the case of one of the fathers indeed, viz., Enoch (Genesis 5:21.), life had not only a different issue, but also a different form. Instead of the expression "and he lived," which introduces in every other instance the length of life after the birth of the first-born, we find in the case of Enoch this statement, "he walked with God (Elohim);" and instead of the expression "and he died," the announcement, "and he was not, for God (Elohim) took him." The phrase "walked with God," which is only applied to Enoch and Noah (Genesis 6:9), denotes the most confidential intercourse, the closest communion with the personal God, a walking as it were by the side of God, who still continued His visible intercourse with men (vid., Genesis 3:8). It must be distinguished from "walking before God" (Genesis 17:1; Genesis 24:40, etc.), and "walking after God" (Deuteronomy 13:4), both which phrases are used to indicate a pious, moral, blameless life under the law according to the directions of the divine commands. The only other passage in which this expression "walk with God" occurs is Malachi 2:6, where it denotes not the piety of the godly Israelites generally, but the conduct of the priests, who stood in a closer relation to Jehovah under the Old Testament than the rest of the faithful, being permitted to enter the Holy Place, and hold direct intercourse with Him there, which the rest of the people could not do. The article in האלהים gives prominence to the personality of Elohim, and shows that the expression cannot refer to intercourse with the spiritual world.

In Enoch, the seventh from Adam through Seth, godliness attained its highest point; whilst ungodliness culminated in Lamech, the seventh from Adam through Cain, who made his sword his god. Enoch, therefore, like Elijah, was taken away by God, and carried into the heavenly paradise, so that he did not see (experience) death (Hebrews 11:5); i.e., he was taken up from this temporal life and transfigured into life eternal, being exempted by God from the law of death and of return to the dust, as those of the faithful will be, who shall be alive at the coming of Christ to judgment, and who in like manner shall not taste of death and corruption, but be changed in a moment. There is no foundation for the opinion, that Enoch did not participate at his translation in the glorification which awaits the righteous at the resurrection. For, according to 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23, it is not in glorification, but in the resurrection, that Christ is the first-fruits. Now the latter presupposes death. Whoever, therefore, through the grace of God is exempted from death, cannot rise from the dead, but reaches ἀφθαρσία, or the glorified state of perfection, through being "changed" or "clothed upon" (2 Corinthians 5:4). This does not at all affect the truth of the statement in Romans 5:12, Romans 5:14. For the same God who has appointed death as the wages of sin, and given us, through Christ, the victory over death, possesses the power to glorify into eternal life an Enoch and an Elijah, and all who shall be alive at the coming of the Lord without chaining their glorification to death and resurrection. Enoch and Elijah were translated into eternal life with God without passing through disease, death, and corruption, for the consolation of believers, and to awaken the hope of a life after death. Enoch's translation stands about half way between Adam and the flood, in the 987th year after the creation of Adam. Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Jared were still alive. His son Methuselah and his grandson Lamech were also living, the latter being 113 years old. Noah was not yet born, and Adam was dead. His translation, in consequence of his walking with God, was "an example of repentance to all generations," as the son of Sirach says (Ecclus. 44:16); and the apocryphal legend in the book of Enoch Genesis 1:9 represents him as prophesying of the coming of the Lord, to execute judgment upon the ungodly (Jde 1:14-15). In comparison with the longevity of the other fathers, Enoch was taken away young, before he had reached half the ordinary age, as a sign that whilst long life, viewed as a time for repentance and grace, is indeed a blessing from God, when the ills which have entered the world through sin are considered, it is also a burden and trouble which God shortens for His chosen. That the patriarchs of the old world felt the ills of this earthly life in all their severity, was attested by Lamech (Genesis 5:28, Genesis 5:29), when he gave his son, who was born 69 years after Enoch's translation, the name of Noah, saying, "This same shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." Noah, נוח from נוּח to rest and הניח to bring rest, is explained by נחם to comfort, in the sense of helpful and remedial consolation. Lamech not only felt the burden of his work upon the ground which God had cursed, but looked forward with a prophetic presentiment to the time when the existing misery and corruption would terminate, and a change for the better, a redemption from the curse, would come. This presentiment assumed the form of hope when his son was born; he therefore gave expression to it in his name. But his hope was not realized, at least not in the way that he desired. A change did indeed take place in the lifetime of Noah. By the judgment of the flood the corrupt race was exterminated, and in Noah, who was preserved because of his blameless walk with God, the restoration of the human race was secured; but the effects of the curse, though mitigated, were not removed; whilst a covenant sign guaranteed the preservation of the human race, and therewith, by implication, his hope of the eventual removal of the curse (Genesis 9:8-17).

The genealogical table breaks off with Noah; all that is mentioned with reference to him being the birth of his three sons, when he was 500 years old (Genesis 5:32; see Genesis 11:10), without any allusion to the remaining years of his life-an indication of a later hand. "The mention of three sons leads to the expectation, that whereas hitherto the line has been perpetuated through one member alone, in the future each of the three sons will form a new beginning (vid., Genesis 9:18-19; Genesis 10:1)." - M. Baumgarten.

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