Genesis 5:3
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
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(3) In his own likeness, after his image.—That is, Adam handed down to his posterity that Divine likeness which he had himself received.

Seth.—See on Genesis 4:25.

Genesis 5:3. Seth was born in the one hundred and thirtieth year of Adam’s life, and probably the murder of Abel was not long before. Many other sons and daughters were born to Adam besides Cain and Abel, before this; but no notice is taken of them, because an honourable mention must be made of his name only, in whose loins Christ and the church were: but that which is most observable here concerning Seth, is, that Adam begat him in his own likeness, after his image. Adam was made in the image of God; but when he was fallen and corrupted, he begat a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail and mortal, and miserable like himself; not only a man like himself, consisting of body and soul; but a sinner like himself, guilty and obnoxious, degenerate and corrupt. This was Adam’s own likeness, the reverse of that divine likeness in which he was made, and which, having lost it himself, he could not convey to his seed.5:1-5 Adam was made in the image of God; but when fallen he begat a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail, wretched, and mortal, like himself. Not only a man like himself, consisting of body and soul, but a sinner like himself. This was the reverse of that Divine likeness in which Adam was made; having lost it, he could not convey it to his seed. Adam lived, in all, 930 years; and then died, according to the sentence passed upon him, To dust thou shalt return. Though he did not die in the day he ate forbidden fruit, yet in that very day he became mortal. Then he began to die; his whole life after was but a reprieve, a forfeited, condemned life; it was a wasting, dying life. Man's life is but dying by degrees.In the compass of Genesis 5:3-5 the course of Adam's life is completed. And after the same model the lines of all his lineal descendants in this chapter are drawn up. The certain particulars stated are the years he lived before the birth of a certain son, the number of years he afterward lived during which sons and daughters were born to him, and his death. Two sons, and most probably several daughters, were born to Adam before the birth of Sheth. But these sons have been already noticed, and the line of Noah is here given. It is obvious, therefore, that the following individuals in the genealogy may, or may not, have been first-born sons. The stated formula, "and he died," at the close of each life except that of Henok, is a standing demonstration of the effect of disobedience.

The writer, according to custom, completes the life of one patriarch before he commences that of the next; and so the first event of the following biography is long antecedent to the last event of the preceding one. This simply and clearly illustrates the law of Hebrew narrative.

The only peculiarity in the life of Adam is the statement that his son was "in his likeness, after his image." This is no doubt intended to include that depravity which had become the characteristic of fallen man. It is contrasted with the preceding notice that Adam was originally created in the image of God. If it had been intended merely to indicate that the offspring was of the same species with the parent, the phrase, "after his kind" (למינהוּ lemı̂ynâh, would have been employed, as in the first chapter. This is one of the mysteries of the race, when the head of it is a moral being, and has fallen. His moral depravity, affecting the essential difference of his nature, descends to his offspring.

As this document alludes to the first in the words, "in the day of God's creating man, in the likeness of God made he him," quotes its very words in the sentence, "male and female created he them, refers to the second in the words, and called their name man" Genesis 2:7, and also needs this second for the explication of the statement that the offspring of man bore his likeness, it presupposes the existence and knowledge of these documents at the time when it was written. If it had been intended for an independent work, it would have been more full and explanatory on these important topics.


Ge 5:1-32. Genealogy of the Patriarchs.

1. book of the generations—(See Ge 11:4).

Adam—used here either as the name of the first man, or of the human race generally.3874

Adam lived an hundred and thirty years after he was created, in which time he begat other sons and daughters, as appears from what was said before.

After his image; either,

1. In regard of the natural frame of his body and soul; but this was so evident of itself, that the mention of it had been frivolous. Nor is there any reason why that should be said of Seth, rather than of Cain or Abel. Or,

2. In regard of his corruption, q.d. a weak, sinful, mortal man, like himself; for Adam’s image is here plainly opposed to the likeness of God, wherein Adam is said to be created, Genesis 5:1. And this is fitly said of Seth to signify, that although he was a worthy and good man, and, Adam excepted, the most eminent person of the whole church of God; yet he, no less than wicked Cain, was begotten and born in sin; and that all the difference which was between him, and consequently between other good men, and the wicked progeny of Cain, was not from the nature which they received from Adam, but from the grace infused into them by God.

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 Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own {c} likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

(c) As well, concerning his creation, as his corruption.

3. in his own likeness, after his image] Cf. Genesis 1:26. Man was made in God’s image, after His likeness; he begets a son, in his own likeness, after his image. Many Heb. MSS., however, only read “in his image.” On the words “image” and “likeness,” see note on Genesis 1:26. The phrase here is evidently intended to shew that the elements of resemblance to the Divine image, which at the first were implanted in man’s nature, were communicated from father to son.

That the priestly document contained any tradition respecting the Fall, or the murder of Abel, seems improbable.

Seth] See note on Genesis 4:25. The father here gives the name; the mother’s name is not mentioned in this genealogy.Verses 3-5. - At the head of the Adamic race stands the first man, whose career is summarized in three short verses, which serve as a model for the subsequent biographies. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years. Shanah, a repetition, a return of the sun s circuit, or of similar natural phenomena; from shanah, to fold together, to repeat; hence a year (Gesenius, Furst). Cf. Latin, annus; Greek, ἐνιαυτός; Gothic, Jar, jar, jet; German, jahr; English, year - all of which "seem to carry the same thought, viz., that which comes again" (T. Lewis). "Shanah never means month" (Kalisch). And begat a son in his own likeness, - damuth (cf. Genesis 1:26) - after his image - tselem (cf. Genesis1:26); not the Divine image in which he was himself created (Kalisch, Knobel, Alford), but the image or likeness of his own fallen nature, i.e. the image of God modified and corrupted by sin (Keil, Murphy, Wordsworth). "A supernatural remedy does not prevent generation from participating in the corruption of sin. Therefore, according to the flesh Seth was born a sinner, though he was afterwards renewed by the Spirit of grace" (Calvin). The doctrine of inherited depravity or transmitted sin has been commonly held to favor the theory which accounts for the origin of the human soul per traducem (Tertullian, Luther, Delitzsch), in opposition to that which holds it to be due to the creative power of God (Jerome, Augustine, Calvin, Beza, Turretin). Kalisch thinks the statement "Adam begat Seth in his own image ' decisive in favor of Traducianism, while Hodge affirms "it only asserts that Seth was like his father, and sheds no light, on the mysterious process of generation ('Syst. Theol.,' Part I. Genesis 3. § 2). The truth is that Scripture seems to recognize both sides of this question. Vide Psalm 51:5 in favor of Traducianism, and Psalm 139:14-16; Jeremiah L 5 in support of Creationism (cf. Martensen's 'Dogmatics,' § 74), though there is much force in the words of Augustine "De re obscurissima disputatur, non adjuvantibus divinarum scripturarum certis clarisque documentis." And called his name - probably concurring in the name selected by Eve (Genesis 4:25) - Seth - Appointed, placed, substituted; hence compensation (Genesis 4:25). And the days of Adam after he had begotten - literally, his begetting - Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters. "In that primitive time the births did not rapidly follow each other - a fact which had to indicate that his having a posterity at all was conditioned by the ripeness of his faith. At the same time the lateness of paternity among these primeval men may have been partly due to a physical cause as well, "since in exact accordance with the increasing degeneracy and rankness of human life is there, in a literal sense, the increase of a numerous and wretched offspring" (Lange). And all the days that Adam - not the whole tribe (Gatterer, vide Bohlen; cf. Balgarnie, 'Expositor,' vol. 8.), "as in this case Enoch must have been taken to heaven with his whole family" (Kalisch); but the individual bearing that name - lived were nine hundred and thirty years. The remarkable longevity of the Macrobii has been explained -

1. On the supposition of its non-authenticity.

(1) As a purely mythical conception (Knobel, Bauer, Hartmann, Bohlen); which, however, may be safely rejected as an altogether inadequate hypothesis.

(2) As due to an error in the traditional transmission of the genealogical registers, several names having fallen out, leaving their years to be reckoned to those that remained (Rosenmüller); but against this conjecture stands the orderly succession of father and son through ten generations.

(3) As representing not the lifetimes of individuals, but dynastic epochs (vide supra); and

(4) as signifying lesser spaces of time - e.g. three months (Hensler), or one month (Raske) - than solar years; but even Knobel admits that "no shorter year have the Hebrews ever had than the period of a year's time."

2. On the basis of its historic credibility; as attributable to -

(1) The original immortality with which man was endowed, and which was now being frayed away by the inroads of sin (Kalisch).

(2) The superior piety and intelligence of these early father's of the race (Josephus, 'Antiq.,' I. 3:9).

(3) The influence of the fruit of the tree of life which, while in the garden, Adam ate (Whately, 'Ency. Brit.,' eighth ed., Art. Christianity).

(4) The original vigor of their physical constitutions, and the greater excellence of the food on which they lived (Willet). But if the first and second opinions are correct, then the Cainites should have died earlier than the Sethites, which there is no reason to believe they did; while the third is a pure conjecture (vide Genesis 2:9), and the fourth may contain some degree of truth. We prefer to ascribe the longevity of these antediluvian men to a distinct exercise of grace on the part of God, who designed it to be

(1) a proof of the Divine clemency in suspending the penalty of sin;

(2) a symbol of that immortality which had been recovered for men by the promise of the woman's seed; and

(3) a medium of transmission for the faith, for the benefit of both the Church and the world. And he died. "The solemn toll of the patriarchal funeral bell (Bonar). Its constant recurrence at the close of each biography proves the dominion of death from Adam onward, as an immutable law (Romans 5:12; Baumgarten, Kefi, Lange); "warns us that death was not denounced in vain against men" (Calvin); "is a standing demonstration of the effect of disobedience" (Murphy); "was intended to show what the condition of all mankind was after Adam's fall (Willet). The expression is not appended to the genealogical list of the Fathers after the Flood, doubtless as being then sufficiently understood; and it is not said of the descendants of Cain that they died, "as if the inheritance of the sons of God were not here on earth, but in death, as the days of the deaths of martyrs are held in honor by the Church as their birthdays" (Wordsworth). As 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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