This chapter is a record of Adam’s descendants. We see that the scarlet thread that begins with the first sacrifice in the Garden of Eden and the protevangelium, continues through Adam’s line. The redeemer could not descend from the bloodied line of Cain, so it goes through Seth. The first example of God passing over the firstborn in favour of a younger son. If you compare this genealogy with that of Matthew 1, the mention of death in Genesis 5 is obvious. Genesis, despite containing the creation, dwells on death and man’s need for a Redeemer; Matthew 1 focuses more on hope and life – and the Redeemer himself.
It’s not just a boring genealogy; Chuck Missler noticed that within the names of Adam’s descendants, there’s a message. Each Hebrew name has a meaning. When you read the meanings in sequence you get the message. Here are the names:
- Adam ‘man’
- Seth ‘appointed’
- Enosh ‘mortal, frail, miserable’
- Kenan ‘sorrow, dirge, elegy’
- Mahalal’El ‘the blessed God’
- Jared ‘shall come down
- Enoch ‘commencement’ or ‘teaching’
- Methusaleh ‘his death shall bring’
- Lamech ‘despairing’
- Noah ‘comfort, rest’
So taken together, you get ‘Man is appointed mortal sorrow; [but] the blessed God shall come down teaching [that His] death shall bring [the despairing] rest,’ (taken from Learn the Bible in 24 Hours by Chuck Missler).
Methuselah’s name is interesting;; not only have we seen it used to look forward to the Messiah, but it looked forward to the flood.
With thanks to my spiritual uncles: Uncle Warren Wiersbe, Uncle Chuck Missler, Uncle Matthew Henry, Uncle Jacob Prasch and Uncle Arnold Fruchtenbaum.