Genealogies

Genesis 4:17-6:8

Following the story of Cain and Abel, the Torah recounts the genealogies of Adam and Eve’s children, starting with Cain’s descendants and their accomplishments. The Torah relates a brief, strange story of one descendant, by the name of Lemech, who has two wives. One day he calls his wives together to tell them he has killed a man, but as God protected Cain, He would protect Lemech sevenfold.

 

From there, the Torah relates that Adam and Eve had another son to replace Abel. This son, named Seth, is born in Adam’s own image, we are told. The Israel Bible brings the explanation of Rabbi Judah Halevi in his Book of the Khazars, that Cain killed Abel because he thought Abel would inherit the Land of Israel from their father. Seth’s similarity to his father made him the worthy heir. The entire incident illustrates how special the Land of Israel is and the lengths some would go to in order to stake a claim.

 

The Torah goes on to list the names of Seth’s descendants and how long they each lived. The prize for longevity goes to Methuselah, who lived 969 years, while Enoch, whom we are told “walked with God”, was removed from this Earth after a mere 365 years.

 

Noah rounds out the list, ten generations after Adam. We are told that man has proliferated upon the Earth, but not all his actions are acceptable in the eye of God. He decides to wipe out all life on Earth. Noah, though, has found favor in God’s eyes.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

This is only the first of many genealogical passages in the Bible. Why do you think these are important?

 

Comments ( 21 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Genealogies and name are very important to God of Abraham. Their is a specific meaning for each name and genealogy tells where we come from renjit

  • The Tenach is not a chronological history book. These genealogies are great helps to see the ‘line’ through time.
    Moreover it helps us constructing where we came from and that without the help of HaShem we would not have managed to exist.
    Maybe it is also a truth against the curse of Cain. We have relatives whom we can trust and to us (to our forefathers) was entrusted our land. So we are heirs.

    • Nicely put, "so we are heirs". I am not a Jew but love studying and teaching from the Torah and take every opportunity to tell my students and those I come in contact with that the genealogy is proof of who are the heirs of the land of Isreal. The church is ,or should be, the wild branches grafted into the vine not the heirs of Isreal We did not take the place of the true branches. We will carry them on our shoulders back to their land.

  • I once heard a former pastor explain the meaning of 5: 24. According to his explanation, Enoch was a very righteous man. He and Elohim walked and talked on a daily basis. One day while they were out walking, Elohim said. "Enoch, it's getting close to the end of the day and we're closer to My home than yours. Why don't you just come home with Me." What a blessing it must be to be that close to Elohim!
    *
    There is another curious matter in this verse. The "Aleph/Tav" symbol appears with Enoch in v. 18. In v. 24, the symbol appears together with Elohim, giving credence to both being the same in unity–the Godhead, if you will.

    • The Enoch and Yahweh explanation is truly inspiring; made me smile:).

  • For most people, chapters like this one, with a long list of genealogies, are just glossed over or skipped altogether. However, in Hebrew, that's a mistake. Not only does each letter have a meaning. names have a specific meaning. Generally, names given to a new born child speaks to his/her destiny. Put together a string of these names and a message can be seen. Such is the case with the "generations of Adam".

    • I think the above comment adequately answers the class question. The sages maintain that every word, letter, jot, or tittle has a specific meaning. Even names have a special meaning. Put together, they create very curious meanings indeed.

  • I believe the genealogies work on multiple levels. There is actually a lot that can be learned from them.
    *
    They help us to understand the passage of time and give us information that can help us to work out the chronology of the Scriptures. We can work out that the time from Adam to Abraham was about two thousand years and so on.
    *
    They add much to our history as we see how men became very evil by the time of Noach, but there was always a righteous man in each age that Hashem used to fulfill HIS plans.
    *
    Finally, by dissecting the Hebrew, we can find hidden meanings. This particular genealogy tells a very powerful story. I will give you the start of it to whet your appetite. It’s not too hard to find the rest of this with a little research.

     Adam — Hebrew meaning from Strongs — “a man”
     Seth — Hebrew meaning from Strongs — “substituted”
     Enosh
     Kenan
     Mahalalel
     Jared
     Enoch
     Methuselah
     Lamech
     Noah
    *
    You won’t be sorry if you take the time to work this out.
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Suejean I agree with you. The meanings of the names are so important. In the Stone a Edition of the Torah there is a chart of the genealogy of Adam. The charts made it so real for me to see how long they lived and who was still around. The overlapping of who was born, who was still alive, imagine they had Adam for his life time. He was the first hand face to face witness.

  • genealogies are not just important but vital. In today’s world everything is about evolution…humans evolved from some sort of animal or something else. Evolutionist want you to believe man came from anything else but don’t let it be G_d..
    If Moshe did not write The story of creation what proof would we have that the G_d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created mankind. The story of creation, hence the genealogies starting from Adam and Eve tells us we have a beginning. It tells us where we are from. It tells us of the linage from Adam to Noah to King David to the coming Messiah……

    • Excellent analysis for the modern day Torah reader.

  • Mrs Peggy Ann

    I would like to know?

  • Mrs Peggy Ann

    I don’know. I am wondering why Lamech thought he could take a human life and would be protected 7 fold without any punishment?

    • Hello, Mrs. Peggy Ann. According to the simple reading of the text, Lemech thought he could “get away with murder” by learning from Cain’s example. If Cain killed his brother on purpose and was promised he wouldn’t be punished, Lemech assumed for the accidental killing of a man he would be given a free pass.

      • Mrs. Peggy, the Amplified version of the Bible also brings out Ahuva's point that the murder committed by Lamech was accidental: 23 Lamech said to his wives,

        “Adah and Zillah,
        Hear my voice;
        You wives of Lamech,
        Listen to what I say;
        For I have killed a man [merely] for wounding me,
        And a boy [only] for striking (bruising) me.

        I believe Ahuva has the most accurate version which is Hebrew, the original language of the Torah, and even the Amplified version I've pasted above reflects commission of a homicide by accident (out of self-defence).

  • Sheila

    Comment from the KJV Bible — purpose of these genealogies is twofold: to record that real people lived before the Flood, and to record their physical death fulfilment of the curse. They link Creation with the Flood through 10 patriarchs—– this ancestral line shows a lifespan of about 900 years and confirms the line of descent from Adam to Noah.

  • Herman

    The first ones of a certain lineage models the others by setting example for them. Moreover they are the heirs of their fatherly portion. In them the halacha /education of the father must become clear to others.

    • That’s a good point. The genealogies prove the legitimacy of the line. I also heard another interesting thought from the father of a friend of mine, a professor of Jewish studies. He suggested that while for the modern reader, the narrative portions of the Torah are the most interesting and accessible, in the era in which it was first given, it was likely these genealogies that fascinated the Children of Israel. For them, it would have been like reading your own name in the newspaper!

      • That's a funny and yet true observation, Ahuva. I am sure you meant to say that "that while for the modern reader, the narrative portions of the Torah are the least interesting and accessible, in the era in which it was first given, it was likely these genealogies that fascinated the Children of Israel. For them, it would have been like reading your own name in the newspaper!"
        I also think genealogies are important for tracing the sins in one's family blood line and accordingly repent for them, though like the professor said, it was more relevant for those that first received the written Torah.

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