on Genesis 5 :32
Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth - From Genesis 10:21; 1 Chronicles 1:5, etc., we learn that Japheth was the eldest son of Noah, but Shem is mentioned first, because it was from him, in a direct line, that the Messiah came. Ham was certainly the youngest of Noah's sons, and from what we read, Genesis 9:22, the worst of them; and how he comes to be mentioned out of his natural order is not easy to be accounted for. When the Scriptures design to mark precedency, though the subject be a younger son or brother, he is always mentioned first; so Jacob is named before Esau, his elder brother, and Ephraim before Manasses. See Genesis 28:5; Genesis 48:20.
Among many important things presented to our view in this chapter, several of which have been already noticed, we may observe that, of all the antediluvian patriarchs, Enoch, who was probably the best man, was the shortest time upon earth; his years were exactly as the days in a solar revolution, viz., three hundred and sixty-five; and like the sun he fulfilled a glorious course, shining more and more unto the perfect day, and was taken, when in his meridian splendor, to shine like the sun in the kingdom of his Father for ever.
From computation it appears, 1. That Adam lived to see Lamech, the ninth generation, in the fifty-sixth year of whose life he died; and as he was the first who lived, and the first that sinned, so he was the first who tasted death in a natural way. Abel's was not a natural but a violent death. 2. That Enoch was taken away next after Adam, seven patriarchs remaining witness of his translation. 3. That all the nine first patriarchs were taken away before the flood came, which happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's life. 4. That Methuselah lived till the very year in which the flood came, of which his name is supposed to have been prophetical מתו methu, "he dieth," and שלח shalach, "he sendeth out;" as if God had designed to teach men that as soon as Methuselah died the flood should be sent forth to drown an ungodly world. If this were then so understood, even the name of this patriarch contained in it a gracious warning.
on Genesis 5 :32
And Noah was the son of five hundred years. - A man is the son of a certain year, in and up to the close of that year, but not beyond it. Thus, Noah was in his six hundredth year when he was the son of six hundred years Genesis 7:11, Genesis 7:6, and a child was circumcised on the eighth day, being then the son of eight days Leviticus 12:3; Genesis 17:12.
When the phrase indicates a point of time, as in Leviticus 27, it is the terminating point of the period in question. The first part only of the biography of Noah is given in this verse, and the remainder will be furnished in due time and place. Meanwhile, Noah is connected with the general history of the race, which is now to be taken up. His three sons are mentioned, because they are the ancestors of the postdiluvian race. This verse, therefore, prepares for a continuation of the narrative, and therefore implies a continuator or compiler who lived after the flood.
From the numbers in this chapter it appears that the length of human life in the period before the deluge was ten times its present average. This has seemed incredible to some, and hence they have imagined that the years must have consisted of one month, or at least of a smaller number than twelve. But the text will not admit of such amendment or interpretation. In the account of the deluge the tenth month is mentioned, and sixty-one days are afterward indicated before the beginning of the next year, whence we infer that the primeval year consisted of twelve lunar months at least. But the seemingly incredible in this statement concerning the longevity of the people before the flood, will be turned into the credible if we reflect that man was made to be immortal. His constitution was suited for a perpetuity of life, if only supplied with the proper nutriment. This nutriment was provided in the tree of life. But man abused his liberty, and forfeited the source of perpetual life. Nevertheless, the primeval vigor of an unimpaired constitution held out for a comparatively long period. After the deluge, however, through the deterioration of the climate and the soil, and perhaps much more the degeneracy of man's moral and physical being, arising from the abuse of his natural propensities, the average length of human life gradually dwindled down to its present limits. Human physiology, founded upon the present data of man's constitution, may pronounce upon the duration of his life so long as the data are the same; but it cannot fairly affirm that the data were never different from what they are at present. Meanwhile, the Bible narrative is in perfect keeping with its own data, and is therefore not to be disturbed by those who still accept these without challenge.
The following table presents the age of each member of this genealogy, when his son and successor was born and when he himself died, as they stand in the Hebrew text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, and Josephus:
Line of Noah Hebrew Sam. Pent. Septuagint Josephus Date Son's Birth Own Death Son's Birth Own Death Son's Birth Own Death Son's Birth Own Death Of Birth Of Death 1. Adam 130 930 130 930 230 930 230 930 0 930 2. Sheth 105 912 105 912 205 912 205 912 130 1042 3. Enosh 90 905 90 905 190 905 190 905 235 1140 4. Kenan 70 910 70 910 170 910 170 910 325 1235 5. Mahalalel 65 895 65 895 165 895 165 895 395 1290 6. Jared 162 962 62 847 162 962 162 962 460 1422 7. Henok 65 365 65 365 165 365 165 365 622 987 8. Methuselah 187 969 67 720 187 969 187 969 687 1656 9. Lamek 182 777 53 653 188 753 182 777 874 1651 10. Noah 500 950 500 950 500 950 500 950 1056 2006 100 100 100 100 Deluge 1656 1307 2262 2256 On comparing the series of numbers in the Hebrew with those in the Samaritan, the Septuagint, and Josephus, it is remarkable that we have the main body of the original figures in all. In the total ages of the first five and the seventh, and in that of Noah at the flood, they all agree. In those of the sixth and eighth, the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Josephus agree. In that of the ninth, the Hebrew and Josephus agree, while the Samaritan and Septuagint differ from them and from each other. On examining the figures of the Samaritan, it appears that the sixth, eighth, and ninth total ages would have reached beyond the flood, if the numbers found in the other authorities had been retained. And they are so shortened as to terminate all in the year of the flood. This alteration betrays design. The totals in the Hebrew, then, have by far the preponderating authority.
Of the numbers before the birth of a successor, which are chiefly important for the chronology, the units agree in all but Lamek, in regard to whom the Hebrew and Josephus agree, while the Samaritan and the Septuagint differ from them and from each other. The tens agree in all but two, Methushelah and Lamek, where the Hebrew, the Septuagint, at least in the Codex Alexandrinus, and Josephus agree, while the Samaritan differs from them all. In the hundreds a systematic and designed variation occurs. Still they agree in Noah. In Jared, Methushelah, and Lamek, the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Josephus agree in a number greater by a hundred than the Samaritan. In the remaining six the Hebrew and Samaritan agree; while the Septuagint and Josephus agree in having a number greater by a hundred. On the whole, then, it is evident that the balance of probability is decidedly in favor of the Hebrew. To this advantage of concurring testimonies are to be added those of being the original, and of having been guarded with great care.
These grounds of textual superiority may be supported by several considerations of less weight. The Samaritan and the Septuagint follow a uniform plan; the Hebrew does not, and therefore has the mark of originality. Josephus gives the sum total to the deluge as two thousand six hundred and fifty-six years, agreeing with the total of the Hebrew in three figures, with that of the Septuagint only in two, and with that of the Samaritan in none. Some MSS. even give one thousand six hundred and fifty-six, which is the exact sum of the Hebrew numbers. Both these readings, moreover, differ from the sum of his own numbers, which itself agrees with the Hebrew in two figures and with the Septuagint in the other two. This looks like a studied conformation of the figures to those of the Septuagint, in which the operator forgot to alter the sum total. We do not at present enter into the external arguments for or against the Hebrew text. Suffice it to observe, that the internal evidence is at present clearly in its favor, so far as the antediluvian figures go.
- The Growth of Sin
3. דון dı̂yn "be down, strive, subdue, judge." בשׁגם bāshagām "inasmuch, as also." The rendering "in their error" requires the pointing בשׁגם beshāgām, and the plural form of the following pronoun. It is also unknown to the Septuagint.
4. נפילים nepı̂lı̂ym "assailants, fellers, men of violence, tyrants."
Having traced the line of descent from Adam through Sheth, the seed of God, to Noah, the author proceeds to describe the general spread and growth of moral evil in the race of man, and the determination of the Lord to wipe it away from the face of the earth.
on Genesis 5 :32