The ancient pre-historic patriarchs (Lk 3:37-3:37)

“The son of Methuselah,

The son of Enoch,

The son of Jared,

The son of Mahalaleel,

The son of Cainan.”


τοῦ Μαθουσαλὰ τοῦ Ἐνὼχ τοῦ Ἰάρετ τοῦ Μαλελεὴλ τοῦ Καϊνὰμ


These names are listed in 1 Chronicles 1:2-1:3, and Genesis, chapter 5.  This group from Adam to Noah is sometimes referred to as the patriarchs before the flood, or what some might call pre-historic times, since there is very little evidence of their actual existence.  Luke said Lamech was the son of Methuselah (τοῦ Μαθουσαλὰ), the son of Enoch (τοῦ Ἐνὼχ), the son of Jared (τοῦ Ἰάρετ), the son of Mahalaleel (τοῦ Μαλελεὴλ), the son of Cainan (τοῦ Καϊνὰμ).  Methuselah was the father of Lamech.  He supposedly lived to the age of 969, longer than Adam.  Thus, it became a saying that an old man was as “old as Methuselah.”  His father was Enoch, who lived to be only 365 years old, a big drop off in age here.  However, Enoch walked with God, so that there was this strange remark that God took him, not that he died.  He was considered the seventh generation, the lucky number.  In fact, there is a Book of Enoch, from around 200 BCE, that some considered canonical.  Jared was the father of Enoch.  Mahalalel was the father of Jared.  Kenan or Cainan was the father of Mahalalel.

Enoch (Sir 44:16-44:16)

“Enoch pleased the Lord.

He was taken up.

He is an example

Of repentance

To all generations.”

It is interesting that the first famous holy man mentioned is Enoch. He first appeared in chapter 5 of Genesis. He was among the 12 patriarchs before the flood. In fact, he was the lucky 7th one. Enoch was the son of Jared and the great grandfather of Noah, via Methuselah and Lamech. Although he was a descendant via Seth, son of Adam and Eve, he has the same name as Cain’s son in chapter 4 of Genesis. However, what made Enoch unique among these early patriarchs was that he does not seem to die. Instead God “took him up” when he was merely 365 years old. Perhaps there is some symbolism here. There were 3 apocryphal Books of Enoch written from the 3rd century BCE to after the time of Jesus Christ. In fact, there are a few mentions of Enoch in the New Testament writings. Thus Sirach would not have been out of place talking about him as he was one of the first people not to die, but go to heaven or “be taken up.” Thus there was a certain fascination about Enoch. He certainly pleased the Lord. Somehow, he was an example of repentance. He had some kind of special relationship with God. Interesting enough, Enoch has had a role in the Dead Sea Qumran community, Rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, and Islamic thought, as well as the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons.

The direct descendents of Adam (1 Chr 1:1-1:3)

“Adam, Seth, Enosh. Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared. Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech.”

This biblical author wants to put a historical spin on the various stories in the Pentateuch and the Deuteronomy history in Samuel and Kings. The first grouping is from Adam to Noah. This group of people is sometimes referred to as the patriarchs before the flood, or what some might call pre-historic times since there is very little evidence of their actual existence. This list is taken from Genesis, chapter 5. Perhaps this document might have been a contemporary document in the 5th century BCE with the priestly edition of the Pentateuch. The first grouping is the so-called first man Adam, who lived to be 937 years old, his son, and grandson. His son, besides Cain and Abel who are not even mentioned here, was Seth who lived to be 912 years old. Seth’s son was Enosh who lived to be 905 years old. Obviously there were other brothers and sisters but they are not mentioned. The next 3 were the direct descendents of Enosh. Kenan lived to be 910 year old. Kenan’s son Mahalalel lived to be 895 years old. Jared, his son, lived to be 712 years old. Notice that they are not living as long. The next 3 names pose some problems. Obviously these 3 are in chapter 5 of Genesis. However, the same names appear earlier in chapter 4 of Genesis. Enoch is a curious character as the son of Jared since he only lived to be 365 years old and apparently God took him instead of having him die. Also a man named Enoch was Cain’s first son as well as the name of a territory. Methuselah lived the longest to 965 years old, but Methushael was the name of the grandson of Enoch and the father of Lamech, the same name as in chapter 4. Lamech in chapter 4 is said to have been very vengeful as the son of Cain. In chapter 5, he lives to be 777 years old, being very lucky. He will be the father of Noah. Thus this first list of genealogies poses many questions.