1 This is the written account of Adam’s family line.
When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” [Hebrew: adam] when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father [or ‘ancestor’] of Enosh. 7 After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died.
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
The first verses of Genesis 5 echo those we saw in Genesis 1 – man (adam) created in God’s likeness, male and female together, and blessed.
There is no record of Cain or Abel here. Abel has been violently removed from the genealogy, and Cain’s deed of violence has removed him, too. There is no mention of Cain – instead we begin with Seth. Seth, who was in the likeness of Adam. An echo of man formed in God’s likeness is found in parenthood. This implies that all generations carry that original likeness – although we might say it is an imperfect version, now.
And the domino effect starts, as those created in God’s likeness reproduce, and then their offspring reproduce, and so it continues. It seems to be a list of firstborn sons, as other sons and daughters are mentioned but not named (again, Seth seems to have taken the place of Cain, the original firstborn).
Births and deaths are recorded here (along with very long lives, apparently), although with Enoch we see something somewhat different – he who walked faithfully with God – a hint of intimate relationship, of friendship, reminiscent of Yahweh in the garden. Eventually, ‘God took him away’ so that he was no more – but this seems somewhat different from the straightforward death of the others. This is shown in the repeated refrain ‘then he died’, emphasising that death was indeed the fate of humanity. Enoch is a break in the pattern. Enoch’s unique relationship with God affected his identity and apparently his destiny.
At the end of this list we come to Noah, over whom his father makes an announcement. In Lamech’s words we hear reference to the cursed ground, and that Noah will be a comfort. Is this an affectionate father’s joy over his firstborn son – the natural comfort? Or is it prophetic in some way? Whatever, the implication is that Noah’s fate is going to be important here – that something more is going to be said.
And indeed, Noah’s three sons are listed here: Shem, Ham and Japheth. The stage is set for the next part of the story.