This chapter is the only authentic history extant of the first age of
the world from the creation to the flood, containing (according to the
Hebrew text) 1656 years. The genealogy here recorded is inserted
briefly in the pedigree of our Saviour, (Lu 3:36,37).
and is of great use to shew that Christ was the seed of the woman,
that was promised. We have here an account,
Concerning Adam, ver. 1 - 5.
Seth, ver. 6 - 8.
Enos, ver. 9 - 11.
Cainan, ver. 12 - 14.
Mahalaleel, ver. 15 - 17.
Jared, ver. 18 - 20.
Enoch, ver. 21 - 24.
Mathuselah, ver. 25 - 27.
Lamech and his son Noah, ver. 28 - 32.
1: The first words of the chapter are the title of argument of the
whole chapter; it is the book of the generations of Adam - It is the list
or catalogue of the posterity of Adam, not of all, but only of the
holy seed, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came; the
names, ages, and deaths of those that were the successors of the first
Adam in the custody of the promise, and the ancestors of the second
1-2: Where we have a brief rehearsal of what was before at
large related concerning the creation of man. This is what we have
need frequently to hear of, and carefully to acquaint ourselves with.
Observe here. 1. That God created man. Man is not his own maker,
therefore he must not be his own master; but the author of his being must
be the director of his motions, and the center of them. 2. That there was
a day in which God created man, he was not from eternity, but of
yesterday; he was not the first - born, but the junior of the creation.
3. That God made him in his own likeness, righteous and holy, and
therefore undoubtedly happy; man's nature resembled the divine nature
more than that of any of the creatures of this lower world. 4. That God
created them male and female, (Ge 5:2), for their mutual comfort, as
well as for the preservation and increase of their kind. Adam and
Eve were both made immediately by the hand of God, both made in
God's likeness; and therefore between the sexes there is not that great
difference and inequality which some imagine. 5. That God blessed them.
It is usual for parents to bless their children, so God the common Father
blessed his; but earthly parents can only beg a blessing, it is God's
prerogative to command it. It refers chiefly to the blessing of
increase, not excluding other blessings.
2: He called their name Adam - He gave this name both to the man and
the woman. Being at first one by nature, and afterwards one by marriage;
it was fit they should both have the same name, in token of their union.
See note - part two at - "Ge 5.1"
3: Seth was born in the 130th 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. He was conceived
and born in sin, (Ps 51:5).
This was Adam's own likeness, the reverse of that Divine likeness in
which Adam was made; but having lost it himself he could not convey it
to his seed.
5: In the day Adam ate forbidden fruit, he became mortal, he began
to die; his whole life after was but a forfeited condemned life, nay it
was a wasting dying life; he was not only like a criminal sentenced,
but as one already crucified, that dies slowly and by degrees.
6-19: We have here all that the Holy Ghost thought fit to leave upon
record concerning five of the patriarchs before the flood, Seth, Enos,
Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Jared. There is nothing observable
concerning any of those particularly, tho' we have reason to think they
were men of eminency, both for prudence and piety: But in general, observe
how largely and expressly their generations are recorded. We are told how
long they lived that lived in God's fear, and when they died, that died in
his favour; but as for others it is no matter: the memory of the just is
blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot. That which is especially
observable, is, that they all lived very long; not one of them died 'till
he had seen the revolution of almost eight hundred years, and some of them
much longer; a great while for an immortal soul to be imprisoned in an house
of clay. The present life surely was not to them such a burden as commonly
it is now, else they would have been weary of it; nor was the future life so
clearly revealed then, as it is now under the gospel, else they would have
been impatient to remove it. Some natural causes may be assigned for their
long life in those first ages. It is very probable that the earth was more
fruitful, the products of it more strengthening, the air more healthful, and
the influences of the heavenly bodies more benign before the flood than they
were after. Though man was driven out of paradise, yet the earth itself was
then paradisaical; a garden in comparison with its present state: and
some think, that their knowledge of the creatures and their usefulness both,
for their food and medicine, together with their sobriety and temperance,
contributed much to it; yet we do not find that those who were intemperate,
as many were, (Lu 17:27), as short - lived as temperate men generally are
now. It must therefore chiefly be resolved into the power and providence of
God; he prolonged their lives, both for the more speedy replenishing of the
earth, and for the more effectual preservation of the knowledge of God and
religion, then when there was no written word, but tradition was the channel
of its conveyance. All the patriarchs here (except Noah) were born
before Adam died, so that from him they might receive a full account of
the creation, paradise, the fall, the promise, and those divine precepts
which concerned religious worship and a religious life: and if any mistake
arose, they might have recourse to him while he lived, as to an oracle, for
the rectifying of it, and after his death to Methuselah, and others that
had conversed with him; so great was the care of Almighty God to preserve in
his church the knowledge of his will, and the purity of his worship.
22: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah - To walk
with God, is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are
always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God, both
in ordinances and providences; it is to make God's word our rule, and his
glory our end, in all our actions; it is to make it our constant care and
endeavour in every thing to please God, and in nothing to offend him; it
is to comply with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be workers
together with him. He walked with God after he begat Methuselah, which
intimates, that he did not begin to be eminent for piety 'till about that
24: He was not, for God took him - That is, as it is explained,(Heb 11:5),
he was translated that he should not see death; and was not found,
because God had translated him. But why did God take him so soon?
Surely because the world, which was now grown corrupt, was not worthy of
him. Because his work was done, and done the sooner for his minding it
so closely. He was not, for God took him - He was not any longer in
this world: it was not the period of his being, but of his being here.
He was not found; so the apostle explains it from the seventy; not
found by his friends, who sought him, as the sons of the prophets sought
Elijah, (2Ki 2:17).
God took him body and soul to himself in the heavenly paradise, by the
ministry of angels, as afterwards he took Elijah. He was changed,
as those saints shall be that will be found alive at Christ's second
25: Methuselah signifies, He dies, there is a sending forth,
viz. 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 be minded
of its coming surely, tho' it came slowly. He lived nine hundred sixty
and nine years, the longest we read of 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. 'Tis commonly supposed, that Methuselah died a little
before the flood; the Jewish writers say, seven days before,
referring to (Ge 7:10), and that he was taken away from the evil to
29: This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our
hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed - Very probably
there were some prophecies that went before of him, as a person that
should be wonderfully serviceable to his generation.
32: And Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth - These Noah begat
(the eldest of these) when he was six hundred years old. It should
seem that Japheth was the eldest, (Ge 10:21),
but Shem is put first, because on him the covenant was entailed, as
appears by (Ge 9:26), where God is called the
Lord God of Shem. To him 'tis probable the birthright was given, and
from him 'tis certain both Christ the head, and the church the body, were
to descend; therefore he is called Shem, which signifies a name,
because in his posterity the name of God should always remain, 'till He
should come out of his loins, whose name is above every name; so that in
putting Shem first, Christ was in effect put first, who in all things
must have the pre - eminence. For the glory of God's justice, and for
warning to a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of the old world
we have a full account of its degeneracy, its apostacy from God, and
rebellion against him. The destroying of it was an act not of absolute
sovereignty, but of necessary justice for the maintaining of the honour of