Discover more from Beginning: a Verse Translation of Genesis
Draft of Genesis 5:3-32
“Good are the wings of love, the true wings that flew about through the mouths of the apostles, and the wings of fire that spoke the pure word. On these wings Enoch flew..."
I apologize for the lack of posts, but rather than offer excuses, I offer the completion of chapter 5.
These verses are a genealogical record of Adam’s descendants and little else. The description in the Berit Olam commentary puts it this way: “This commentary focuses on the narrative material in the book (i.e., Genesis) and such is lacking here… The only hint of narrative here is the enigmatic reference to Enoch, who ‘walked with God.’”
The strangest thing about the chapter is that the Hebrew text and the Greek text do not agree on the age of Adam when Seth is born. The Hebrew manuscript says 130. The Septuagint gives 230. The Vulgate follows the Hebrew. This is not the only time the Hebrew and Greek differ on ages. The most famous Septuagint age oddity is that, if you do the math, Methuselah survives the Flood! For the ages of Adam and Methuselah in this translation I follow the Hebrew.
The Church Fathers have a lot to say about Chanoch (Enoch). St. Ambrose of Milan: “Good are the wings of love, the true wings that flew about through the mouths of the apostles, and the wings of fire that spoke the pure word. On these wings Enoch flew when he was snatched up to heaven.”St. Ephrem the Syrian: “Some say that while Adam was looking [at Enoch] God transported him to paradise lest Adam think that Enoch was killed as was Abel and so be grieved. This was so that Adam might also be comforted by this just son of his and that he might know that for all who were like this one, whether before death or after the resurrection, paradise would be their meeting place.” St. John Cassian and St. Augustine, following St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews (11:5), say that Chanoch (Enoch) avoided death. Tertullian gives a different explanation: “Enoch and Elijah were transported hence without suffering death, which was only postponed. The day will come when they will actually die that they may extinguish Antichrist with their blood. There was a legend that St. John the Evangelist was to live till the second coming, but he died.”
Rashi offers this: “He (Enoch) was a righteous man, but his mind was easily induced) to turn from his righteous ways and to become wicked. The Holy One, blessed be He, therefore took him away quickly and made him die before his full time. This is why Scripture uses a different expression when referring to his death by writing ואיננו “and he was not”, meaning, he was not in the world to complete the number of his years.”
The chapter ends with the prophecy that Noach will be a comfort from the curse of Adam in 3:17. Rashi gives a practical explanation for how Noach will help: “For until Noah came people had no agricultural instruments and he prepared such for them.” I like the idea of Noach inventing the plough or the hoe before building his ship, but I’m not sure how that reading makes sense after we read about Tubal-Cain making bronze and iron tools in 4:22.
Onto the translation:
Adam was one-hundred thirty when born to him in his image like him Seth So were the days of Adam after Seth eight-hundred years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Adam's life nine-hundred thirty years Then he died Seth was one-hundred five when born to him Enosh Then to Seth after Enosh eight-hundred and seven years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Seth's life nine-hundred and twelve years Then he died Enosh was ninety when born to him Kaynan Then to Enosh after Kaynan eight-hundred and fifteen years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Enosh's life nine-hundred and five years Then he died Kaynan was seventy when born to him Mahalalel Then to Kaynan after Mahalalel eight-hundred and forty years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Kaynan's life nine-hundred and ten years Then he died Mahalalel was sixty-five when born to him Jared Then to Mahalalel after Jared eight-hundred and thirty years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Mahalalel's life eight-hundred and ninety-five years Then he died Jared was one-hundred sixty-two when born to him Chanoch Then to Jared after Chanoch eight-hundred years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Jared's life nine-hundred and sixty-two years Then he died Chanoch was sixty-five when born to him Metushalach Chanoch went with God after Metushalach three-hundred years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Chanoch's life three-hundred and sixty-five years Chanoch went with God until he was no longer because God took him Metushalach was one-hundred eighty-seven when born to him Lemech Then to Metushalach after Lemech seven-hundred eighty two years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Metushalach's life nine-hundred and sixty-nine years Then he died Lemech was one-hundred eighty-two when born to him a son whom he called Noach announcing "This boy will be succor from the toil and pain of our hands from the soil cursed by the Lord" Then to Lemech after Noach five-hundred ninety-five years He had sons and daughters In all the days of Lemech's life seven-hundred and seven-seven years Then he died Noach was five-hundred when born to him Shem Cham Yaphet.
If this translation and commentary is interesting to you, please share and:
Cotter, D. W., Genesis (ed. J. T. Walsh – C. Franke – D. W. Cotter) (Berit Olam Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry; Collegeville, MN 2003) 47.
Louth, A. – Conti, M. (ed.), Genesis 1–11 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture; Downers Grove, IL 2001) 119-121.