{5}           Gen 4:1-26  Sin outside Eden伊甸園外的罪惡4:1-26


Part D. From Adam to Noah (4:1—5:32)

D1.      The first murder (4:1-16)

D2.      Genealogy of Cain (4:17-24)

D3.      The birth of Seth (4:25-26)

        The moral condition of man continued to degenerate. Cain committed the most serious of all crimes: murder. The problem of killing was becoming serious, clearly seen from the casual reference by Lamech of his acts of murder. The word “kill” appears 5 times in this chapter (v.8,14,15,23,25).

        Progress of sin:

Chapter 3 (Adam)

Chapter 4 (Cain)

disobedience to God’s command (act against God)

murdering own brother (act against God & man)

eating a forbidden fruit

terminating a human life

sin through outside temptation (by the serpent)

deliberate sin from inside man’s own heart

talking to the serpent before sinning

sinning even after rebuked by God

when God inquired, admitting his sin

when inquired, lying and mocking God

silently accepting punishment

protesting about punishment



4:1       knew Eve his wife (NIV: lay with his wife Eve): OT frequently uses “know” to describe sexual relationship. It implies that sexual relationship improves mutual knowledge. This may not mean that they only had sexual relations after they ate the forbidden fruit. The reason is that human beings were commanded to multiply before the Fall (Gen 1:28).

Cain: The name (Heb. qayin) sounds like the Hebrew verb qaniti which means “gotten”, “gained”, “brought forth”, or “produce. Eve perhaps used the name to mean “brought forth”, bringing forth a son in her divinely assigned role. Some think the name means “smith”, referring to the metalworker.

I have gotten: “Gotten” (Heb. qanah, literal: bought) sounds like the name Cain (Heb. qayin), as if Cain was valued by Eve above everything else.

a man: not “a child”, possibly referring to the fact that while Eve came out of a man, now a man came out of Eve.

the Lord (Heb. Yahweh): used by Eve for the first time; reminding of the God who saves. Eve imagined herself as a kind of partner of God in man-making. This may reflect her renewed dependence on God.

o        The last phrase “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord” can also be interpreted as “I have gotten a man from the Lord” or “I have gotten a man like the Lord,” since the preposition used here can have different meanings. If it is the latter case, it appears to reflect the pride of Eve who thinks she can make a man like God. This interpretation, however, is not widely supported.

4:2       Abel: The name (Heb. hebel) sounds like the Hebrew word for empty, vanity, or breath (hebēl), possibly implying his short life (fleeting life span like breath) and apparently without any descendants. It may also mean weakness, vanity (Ps 39:5), or grief, as if he reminded Eve of the misery of their lives away from Eden.

o        Calvin thinks that Cain and Abel were probably twin brothers. However, if this is true, Abel’s name should be placed first according to Biblical tradition which places the chosen one first.

keeper of sheep: Many people chosen by God were shepherds: Jacob (Gen 30:36), Joseph (Gen 37:2), Moses (Ex 3:1), David (1Sa 16:11).

worker of the ground: Cain had the same occupation as Adam, nothing to be ashamed of.

4:3       in the course of time: Hebrew meaning “at the end of days”, probably on the Sabbath. Some translate it “an era ended,” referring to the expulsion from Eden.

offering of the fruit of the ground: probably similar to OT grain offering of grains and flour (Lev 2:1-3,14-16); but Cain’s offering was not described as first fruits like Abel.

4:4       firstborn: immediate offering after the first produce (Ex 23:19; Lev 2:14; Dt 26:1-11); thus offering the best to God.

fat portions: the best part (Gen 45:18; Eze 34:3; 39:19).

had regard (NIV: looked with favour): How did God show His favour? Probable methods: [a] fire descending from heaven burning up the offering, [b] prosperity in the work of the worshipper. In Hebrew, “have regard” or “to look at any thing with a keen earnest glance” has been translated “kindle into a fire,” so that the consumption by fire is a probable explanation (Gen 15:17; Jdg 13:20).

4:5       very angry: violent anger; literally, “it burned to Cain exceedingly.”

his face fell: looked depressed.

4:6       Why are you angry?: Similar to Adam, God used questions to appeal to his conscience.

4:7       if you do well: The conditional “if” indicates that Cain must have done something unworthy. A possible rendering is, “Shalt thou not have the excellency?” which then refers to the high privileges and authority belonging to the first-born in patriarchal times (Dt 21:17). However, the acceptance of the firstborn by God is not automatic, e.g. Ishmael and Esau.

if you do well....if you do not do well: can also mean “if you think it is good...if you think it is not good.” He could either accept God’s rejection of his offerings as a good thing or not as a good thing. If he thought it was good, he could feel better (by lifting his face). If not, then beware of sin (but he still could make a choice).

be accepted: meaning lifted up (will there not be a lifting up [of your face]?), opposite to the felling of Cain’s face in v.5. It can also mean “holding your head up.” God gave Cain another chance to get accepted.

sin is crouching at the door: The sinner would become a victim and be destroyed by sin (Jer 5:6). God forewarned Cain that a wrong course meant giving sin an opportunity to destroy him.

o        Sin is likened to an animal crouching or lurking at the door. This pictures sin temporarily under control of its master but coming alive when stirred. Sin is personified as a demonic spirit ready to pounce on Cain once he opens the “door” of opportunity.

desire: same word as “desire” in Gen 3:16 describing Eve. Sin would be tirelessly following (stalking) Cain, or sin would try to control Cain.

you must rule over it: God advised Cain to keep control of sin. Now that he received divine counsel, he could no longer claim helplessness nor ignorance.

Some view God’s word to Cain not as a reprimand but a consolation. While God did not favour Cain’s offering, He still cared about Cain so much that He talked to him directly. Cain’s relationship with God had not been broken. God obviously was not “punishing” Cain for the offerings. God warned Cain and asked him to ponder his choice.

4:8       Cain spoke to Abel: In the Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint, the verse contains the request of Cain: “Let us go out to the field.” (missing in Masoretic text, the Hebrew Bible) This was probably part of the plan of murder. Some explain “spoke” as “spoke against” or “asked to meet” or “sought”.

in the field: wide area with few people to witness the murder, perhaps a quiet spot in the field that Cain worked on, showing that it was a planned murder.

killed: Cain violently murdered Abel, caused by jealousy of his brother being favoured by God. Jealousy caused the first murder in the world. It is a dangerous sin that can cause broken relationship in the family and in church.

4:9       Where is your brother?: similar to the question asked of Adam after the Fall: “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9)

brother: The word appears 5 times in v.8-11. The rivalry between brothers happened many times among the patriarchs, such as Ishmael vs all his brothers (Gen 16:12; 25:18), Esau vs Jacob, Jacob’s sons vs Joseph.

I do not know: a lie. Just like Satan, Cain was a murderer and a liar (Jn 8:44).

am I my brother’s keeper?: Cain mocked God by talking back, showing the absence of any repentance. “Keeping” can mean legal protection. Cain was questioning why God ask him to provide legal protection to his adult brother. “Keeping” is also used frequently in OT to describe rearing of sheep, then the mocking question became “Am I a keeper of my sheep-keeping brother?” It was a rhetorical question expecting a negative answer but the unexpected response from God disclosed Cain’s crime.

4:10     What have you done?: similar to the question to Eve (Gen 3:13). It was a question to poke Cain’s conscience, not a question to demand an answer because God did not wait for the answer and continued.

the voice of your brother’s blood: It can be translated as: “Listen, the voice of your brother’s blood…” as the word “voice” can be translated as a verb (Isa 13:4; 52:8). God knows all secret criminal deeds; they stir the heart of the divine Judge to dispense justice.

4:11     cursed: the first cursed person in the world (Adam and Eve were not personally cursed).

the ground opened its mouth: It refers to the cry of Abel’s spirit from Sheol (Hades in NT, a place for departed spirits). The figures of Abel’s blood crying out and the ground swallowing the blood intensify the horrific crime committed by Cain.

no longer yield: After the ground was profaned with spilt innocent blood, the field would no longer produce for Cain as it had for Adam. He had to abandon his occupation of farming.

4:12     fugitive and wanderer: (literal: restless and isolated/banished) perpetual exile, no home to stay in, moving and running away all the time.

4:13     My punishment is greater than I can bear: Cain’s punishment included: [a] could no long farm, [b] exiled from his land, [c] fugitive from his relatives, fear for his life, [d] wandering without a home.

o        The sentence can also be translated as “Is my sin too great to forgive?” If this is the case, then Cain showed his remorse which could explain why God protected him. But it is more likely that Cain’s response was a complaint, that is, Cain protested that his punishment was too harsh. Because of his self-pity and resentment, he was expelled afterwards “from the presence of the Lord,” indicating no forgiveness from God.

o        1Jn 3:11-12 describes Cain as the “evil one” because he hated his brother and murdered him.

4:14     whoever finds me will kill me: Cain would be at least a young man at this time. Adam and Eve might have other younger children after Cain and Abel. Further, over the course of Cain’s long life, there could be many opportunities for retribution by Adam’s other children if Cain’s crime was found out.

4:15     Not so!: God showed His mercy to Cain who deserved no mercy. He contradicted Cain’s fearful outburst and said that nothing more than the original sentence (banishment) would occur.

vengeance: The word usually speaks of divine retribution against God’s enemies or His people, though it may describe retaliation by civil authority (Ex 21:20).

put a mark: The mark was something that people would recognize as God’s sign of protection. It could be some easily seen mark (perhaps on his forehead, Eze 9:4-6) that bore the imprint of supernatural work.

sevenfold: symbolizes complete vengeance from God and will be certain and severe. Some Jewish tradition takes the sentence to mean “He (Cain) will be punished after 7 generations,” that is, killed by the 7th generation descendant. (see note on v.23.)

4:16     Nod: means “wandering”, isolation, exile, or vagrancy, same root as “wanderer” in v.12. Cain was further removed from Eden than Adam by moving further east.

4:17     his wife: either his sister or his niece (child of Adam’s other children). Marriage to close relatives was only prohibited later in the Law of Moses (Lev 18:9).

Enoch (3rd generation Cainite from Adam): not the same as the Sethite Enoch in ch.5. The name means introduce, initiate, or dedicate, perhaps from his being the dedicator or founder of the city.

built a city: Does this indicate Cain ending his exile? Possibilities: [a] It indicates the end of the Cain’s wandering life, after an unknown period of time. [b] Cain disobeyed God again. [c] Cain only built the city that Enoch inhabited; he continued to wander.

o        Cities with their highly dense populations are commonly reputed to behave wickedly (as Sodom and Gomorrah). It is the same today.

4:18     Irad (4th generation Cainite): name meaning wild ass, onager, cane huts, or fugitive.

Mehujael (5th generation Cainite): name meaning “ecstatic of God”, “God has smitten”, or “God gives life”.

Methushael (6th generation Cainite): name meaning “man of God” or “man of Sheol”.

Lamech (7th generation Cainite): meaning of name unknown.

4:19     two wives: first record of polygamy, transgressing the original law of marriage. While the OT does not explicitly prohibit polygamy, cases of polygamy almost always led to tragic results.

Adah: name meaning ornament.

Zillah: name meaning shadow, shade, or shrill; or related to the Hebrew word for “cymbal”.

o        Some suggest that the two wives were praised respectively for their physical beauty and sweet voice.

4:20     father: instructor of all who worked in that occupation, e.g. Handel as father of oratorio music. Jabal was the father of livestock, perhaps keeping different livestock (while Abel only kept the sheep).

Jabal (8th generation Cainite): name meaning stream or produce, perhaps implying that he was an inventor.

4:21     Jubal: name meaning jubilant or produce, the same as Jabal, his brother; inventor of musical instruments.

4:22     Tubal-cain: Tubal means “smith” in Sumerian (ancient language); Cain also means “smith”. He was the legendary first metalworker.

forger: may also be translated as “father” as in v.20-21, or may mean “hammerer/sharpener”. His metallurgy probably included weapons as well as agricultural tools. As a son of Lamech, his craft could be used by Lamech for his assault and murder.

Naamah: The Midrash (Jewish commentaries) recognized that the root of her name can refer to “song” or pleasantness. Perhaps Naamah is meant to be associated with her half brother Jubal, the founder of instrumental music—he as accompanist, she as singer. Some speculate that she was Noah’s wife.

v.20-22 recorded the rapid advance of human civilization including: tent building, keeping livestock, advance in music and musical instruments, metallurgy, metallic instruments, perhaps weapons for fighting. These help to counteract the teaching that the first people on the Earth were merely some kind of half-animals.

Note that these civilization builders were all descendants of Cain.

4:23     said to his wives: Lamech bragged to his wives for his sinful behaviour of revenging a wound with murder. Perhaps this is an indication that murder was very common in his time.

o        This is commonly called the “Song of the Sword” in which Lamech boasts his prowess as a combatant, celebrates his heinous deeds, and intimates any challengers.

have killed: The verb appears two times in this verse. Both verbs are conditional perfect. The statement means: “If a man wounds me, I would have killed him; if a young man strikes me, I would have killed him.” Lamech was an extremely violent man who would kill anyone, young or old, for any wound he received. His name should be called “avenger”.

o        As the Song is a poem, poetic parallelism may show only one man, a young man. However, the term “young man” may refer to an infant (Gen 21:8), a teenager (Gen 21:16), or a young male adult (Ru 1:5).

o        According to some Jewish tradition, this verse refers to the murder of both Cain and Tubal-cain by Lamech (7th generation from Adam). This tradition was based on the interpretation of the word “sevenfold” in v.15 as “7 generations.” If so, it follows then Lamech was alleging that the punishment for his murders would only come after 77 generations, practically never.

4:24     seventy-sevenfold: While Lamech freely murdered, he also prohibited others from doing the same to him. Lamech contended that if Cain’s value was reprisal 7 times, then his acclaimed deeds merited much more. This was Lamech’s personal decision to multiply Cain’s sevenfold vengeance. He was probably implying that his family, or clan, or tribe would certainly revenge for him. That is possibly another indication of the high frequency of murders.

4:25     Seth: (Heb. shet) sounds like Hebrew for “he appointed” or “granted” (Heb. shat). The Hebrew noun seth may mean foundation (Ps 11:3; Isa 19:10), pointing to the new beginning in the person of Seth. Eve interpreted the birth of Seth as God’s response to the loss of the righteous Abel.

God has appointed for me: as a replacement for Abel. After Lamech’s unashamed boasting of his violent behaviour, the appearance of Seth represented a ray of hope that points eventually to God’s salvation.

o        Eve used Elohim as God’s name to emphasize His power. It may also be an echo of the dialogue between the serpent and Eve in Eden (Gen 3:1-5) when Elohim, not Yahweh, was used.

offspring: literally “seed”, same in the whole Genesis. Perhaps Eve was hoping that this was the one prophesied by God in Gen 3:15.

4:26     Enosh: synonymous with adam, referring to [a] all humanity or [b] as the name of an individual. It could imply the new “Adam” who inaugurated a new righteous line. It could also refer to the frailty and insignificance of “man”.

began to call upon the Lord: Organized religion (public regular worship as a group, as opposed to individual worship) became part of civilization. Septuagint and Vulgate attribute to Enosh the innovation of calling on the name of the Lord. They view Enosh as a righteous hero.

o        “Call” can mean [a] “invoking” the Lord in prayer and worship or [b] “proclaiming” in the sense of declaring the revelation of God (Ex 33:19; 34:5; Dt 32:3).

o        If the name of Yahweh was already proclaimed at this time, why did God need to reveal His name to Moses at Sinai (Ex 3:6,15; 6:2-3)? Jewish and Christian interpretation understood God’s revelation at Sinai as concerning a special aspect of divine power and character, not just the name Yahweh itself. Contextually, the issue was not the name of God per se (Ex 7:5) but rather the nature of God. Revelation of the “name” to Moses concerned the content and meaning of Yahweh that was not as fully understood by the patriarchs. The Lord’s “name” in Moses’ experience was related to God’s unique self-disclosure of His goodness, mercy, and majesty.

Cain’s family was a microcosm of human failure in today’s world: technical advance and moral failure. Whereas Cain’s descendants founded the civilized arts, Seth’s descendants began the practice to worship the Lord together. Whereas Lamech (from Cain) was remembered a polygamist and a murderer, Enoch (from Seth) was remembered as one who walked with God (both of them occupied the honoured 7th position after Adam).



        Here is a good lesson on parenting, based on how God disciplined Cain (Gen 4:6-7): [1] appealed to Cain’s conscience by asking a question, [2] explained to Cain the benefits of obedience, [3] pointed out the consequences of rebellion, [4] reminded Cain of the power of temptation and sin in his life, as well as the resources he already possessed to overcome them, [5] left it up to Cain to decide, right or wrong, and to face the consequences. Human character growth cannot happen unless the exercise of free choice is permitted. Yet, when the free choice leads to wrong deeds, the culprit is punished (Gen 4:11-12).

        God is a merciful Saviour despite man’s sin, e.g. protecting Cain, appointing Seth to replace Abel. He will always accept our repentance no matter what the situation is.

        We should learn to watch out for different sins described in this chapter, e.g. jealousy, anger, hatred, revenge, lies, pride.


{6}           Gen 5:1-32  From Adam to Noah從亞當至挪亞5:1-32


Part D. From Adam to Noah (4:1—5:32)

D4.      Genealogy of Seth (5:1-32)

        This next toledot section starting in chapter 5 presents these themes: [a] the interconnectedness of all mankind and the hope of universal blessing, [b] the continuation of God’s promise of preservation through the gift of procreation, [c] the rivalry between an unrighteous lineage and a righteous lineage, [d] the progress and universality of human wickedness.

        Why are genealogies included in the Bible? The Hebrews passed on their beliefs through oral tradition. For many years, writing was primitive and not easily available. Stories were told to children who passed them on to their children. Genealogies gave a skeletal outline that helped people remember the stories.

        What are the general purposes of genealogies? [a] Genealogies are designed to celebrate life and accomplishment by tracing the continuation of family. [b] Genealogies point out that people are important to God as individuals, not just as races or nations. [c] Genealogies confirm the historicity of the records. The book does not contain myths.

        What is the specific purpose of this genealogy in Gen 5? In Genesis, genealogies also confirm God’s promise that the coming Messiah would be born into the line of Abraham. This genealogy in Gen 5 records only the descendants from Seth because they were the chosen branch.

        What are 2 types of genealogies? [a] vertical or linear genealogy: tracing one line of descent, concentrating on the chosen line, e.g. 5:1; 11:10 (but not necessarily the eldest sons); [b] horizontal or segmented genealogy: tracing through several children, e.g. 10:1; 25:12; 36:1.



5:1       the book of the generations: this is the beginning of the next division in Genesis, the 2nd time with the phrase “the generations of” (Heb. toledot) and the 3rd division of the book; only in this time (of a total of 10 times) is “the generations” preceded by “the book” (literal “written”; similar to “Book of the Wars of the Lord” in Nu 21:14; “Book of Jashar” in Jos 10:13). A possible reason is that the information was originally in another document.

o        All human beings are related, going back to Adam and Eve.

in the likeness of God: recapitulation of Gen 1:26-28; 2:7. It would seem that despite human fallenness, divine image and blessing were continued among the human family without suspension.

5:2       blessed them and named them Man: The blessing and naming were normally done by the father. This reminds us that God is our Father.

5:3       named him Seth (2nd generation): Seth’s naming was done by Adam, apparently contradictory to Gen 4:25; however, the name might have been proposed by Eve but formally named by Adam.

Note that Cain was not mentioned, so were all the other descendants of Adam. The others were all unimportant in salvation history.

The format used for Adam in v.3-5 is duplicated throughout the remainder of the chapter: “X was ___ years old when he fathered Y (son). X lived ___ years after the birth of Y, and he fathered sons and daughters. X’s life totalled ___ years; then he died.”

5:4       930 years: 7 of 10 patriarchs lived over 900 years. Apart from Genesis, the Bible only records 4 people living over 100 years: Job (age over 170, Job 42:16), Moses (age 120, Dt 34:7), Joshua (age 110, Jos 24:29), and Jehoiada the priest (age 130, 2Ch 24:15).

o        In Mosaic law, long life was the result of God’s blessing for obedience (Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16; Eph 6:2-3).

5:5       he died: final fulfilment of God’s warning of certain death in Gen 2:17.

5:6       Seth: As a replacement for the faithful Abel and the pioneer of God’s chosen line, he was most likely a person of faith, devoted to God.

Enosh (3rd generation): The name is a common noun in Hebrew meaning “man”, perhaps referring to man as a mortal, describing the weakness, frailty, and misery of man’s state. Regular public worship appeared after the birth of Enosh (Gen 4:26). Although the Bible did not clearly attribute this to Enosh, it was likely that Enosh had made a major contribution to such practice.



5:9       Kenan (4th generation): name possibly another form of “Cain”, though unsure; or meaning “fixed”.



5:12     Mahalalel (5th generation): name probably meaning “praise God” or “praise of God” as “-el” is a contraction of Elohim. The fact that Kenan gave his son Mahalalel, a name related to God, indicates that he still recognized God and attributed importance in his belief.



5:15     Jared (6th generation): name possibly meaning “servant” or “to go down, descend.”







5:22     Enoch (7th generation, also in Jude 1:14): name meaning “introduce” or “initiate”.

walked with God: same description for Noah (Gen 6:9); translated “well pleased to God” in Septuagint. He kept a constant harmonious and intimate relationship with God whatever he did and wherever he went. This continued for 300 years.

o        Enoch was exemplary of righteousness and faith, two interdependent traits which are required to please God (Heb 11:5).

o        The expression “walk with God” is similar to the service of a loyal servant who goes before his master. The emphasis is on communion and fellowship.

o        For the psalmist, to “walk before God” means life and prosperity (Ps 56:13; 116:9).

Question: What is the meaning of walking with God?

Answer: (John Wesley)

o        [a] It is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under His eye.

o        [b] It is to live a life of communion with God, both in ordinances and providences.

o        [c] It is to make God’s word our rule, and His glory our end, in all our actions.

o        [d] It is to make it our constant care and endeavour in every thing to please God, and in nothing to offend Him.

o        [e] It is to comply with His will, to concur with His designs, and to be workers together with Him.

after he fathered Methuselah (8th generation): The name of Methuselah may mean “the warrior holding a spear”. But it can also mean “he dies, and the sending forth”, meaning that something would be sent after he died. The genealogy shows that Methuselah died exactly in the year that the Flood came. Jewish tradition recorded that Methuselah died “seven days before” the Flood. The Bible does not clearly indicate how Methuselah died, so it is of course possible that Methuselah was drowned in the Flood. However, it is unlikely that Noah would abandon his aged grandfather to certain death. (Noah’s father Lamech died 5 years before the Flood.)

o        If Methuselah’s name is related to the Flood, then Enoch named Methuselah as a prophesy to the coming Flood 969 years before it actually happened. The Bible recorded that he walked with God after Methuselah was born. It is likely that he received this prophecy from God about the Flood and this motivated him to walk with God.

o        Furthermore, the long life of Methuselah would have had an additional meaning. Since it was God’s plan that the Flood would come after Methuselah’s death, then his longest life span in the whole Bible would have signified God’s attribute of being merciful and long-suffering—to wait as much as possible for human beings to change their ways and to avert God’s harsh judgment.

had other sons and daughters: Walking with God does not require someone to live away from his normal life.

5:23     365 years: same number as the days in a year; probably symbolizing perfection, or a perfect time period for a perfect life.

5:24     he was not: translated “he was not found” in Septuagint; meaning disappeared.

o        The repetition of “Enoch walked with God” (v.22,24) was probably intentional in order to dispel any idea that the patriarch’s shorter life was a punishment for sin.

God took him: “Took” may mean that Enoch died naturally (Ps 73:24; Jonah 4:3). But his end was clearly different from all others as everyone else was described “he died.” Moreover, Heb 11:5 clearly says he did not die. Here, “took” means Enoch was “snatched” from death (Ps 49:15) and received into the presence of God. The same verb occurs for the assumption of Elijah whom the Lord “took” in the whirlwind (2Ki 2:3,10-11). Only 2 persons in all history have not experienced death when “the gates of Hades had not prevailed.” (Mt 16:18)

Enoch’s life on Earth was much shorter than all the others recorded in this chapter. Long life is generally regarded as a blessing (Ps 34:12-13; Eph 6:2) but in particular cases (such as extremely poor health), long life may not be a blessing. If God decides that our work on this Earth is complete, then death is a blessing (2Co 5:8).

o        The quantity (length or age) of a person’s life is of negligible value compared to the quality of his life as reflected by his relationship with God.

o        In Jewish literature, because of the high esteem he received, Enoch was referred as the recipient of special revelations in heaven concerning creation and eschatological events, as recorded in 3 books of Enoch which are part of the OT Pseudipigrapha. Jude 1:14-15 actually quotes from First Enoch. The books deal with Enoch’s journey through the universe in which he is granted a view of creation, judgment, the 7 heavens, and various astronomical information.

5:25     Lamech (9th generation): The contradiction between the piety of Sethite Lamech, reflected by his prayerful hope in the Lord, and the malevolence of Cainite Lamech’s virulent boasts (Gen 4:23) could not be more sharply drawn.




5:29     Noah (10th generation): the name (Heb. noah) sounds like the word for “rest”, “relief”, “comfort”, or “console” (Heb. nahem; same word in Gen 8:4); 10 generations from Adam to Noah, a perfect number. The Septuagint reads “he will give us rest.”

relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands: Lamech named his son Noah in the hope that he would bring his family relief from “painful toil” that Adam received after the Fall. But Noah brought more relief than Lamech would imagine. [a] The word “pain” (Heb. itsavon) is the crucial word in Adam’s and Eve’s curses. It occurs only 3 times in the Bible, first for Eve, then for Adam, and now for Noah. Therefore, the implication is that he brought relief from the curse. [b] Moreover, he brought relief for the whole mankind. After the Flood, God promised never to curse the ground and never to wipe out mankind with the Flood again (Gen 8:21; 9:11). [c] Even more, Noah provided relief to God too as he provided a way (or he is the way) for God to save mankind.



5:32     500 years old: Many patriarchs were advanced in life before children were born to them. More likely, only names for the chosen line were recorded by Moses, the author of Genesis. Noah might have other children who died before he was 500 years old. Noah’s 3 named children were all born after Noah’s 500th birthday.

Shem: The name (Heb. sem) means “name”. Perhaps it was Noah’s aspirations for his son to attain a reputation. Shem’s lineage did dominate the postdiluvian history recorded in Genesis.

Ham: The name may mean “the black land” in reference to the black fluvial soil of Egypt; it may also mean “hot”. He was the youngest son and the ancester of many of Israel’s traditional enemies.

Japheth: The name may mean “expand” or “extend”. The word may be related to the Egyptian word for the island Crete.

Question: Did the list in Gen 5 (or Gen 11) record the eldest sons in each generation?

Answer: Many theologians believe that the list from Adam to Noah is all for the eldest sons because the Hebrew tradition gives special honour to the eldest son. But there is no clear evidence from the Bible. The list actually follows only the chosen line from Adam to Noah, not necessarily following the eldest sons because:

o        [1] In the case of Adam, Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old and he was clearly not Adam’s eldest son; Cain was (Gen 4:1). Moreover, when Cain was exiled, there were already other people in the world. They must be the children and descendants of Adam and Eve born before Seth. Similaly, Arpachshad (Gen 11:12) was apparently the third son of Shem (Gen 10:22).

o        [2] The Bible did not say that the “other sons and daughters” were born after the listed son. For example, Gen 5:7: “Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters.” The two clauses are not linked and can be independent. Some of Seth’s children could have been born before Enosh.

o        [3] Notice the large variations in their age when the listed son was born: 130 (Adam), 105 (Seth), 90 (Enosh), 70 (Kenan), 65 (Mahalalel), 162 (Jared), 65 (Enoch), 187 (Methuselah), 182 (Lamech), 500 (Noah). For some of them, they must have some other children before the one listed in Gen 5. In Noah’s case, he likely had other children before Shem and they might have died before Noah began the construction of the ark when only 3 sons are mentioned.



        Walking with God is the ultimate objective in life.

        When we witness the constantly declining morality in the society today and the horrible sins that people are committing daily, we often ask why God would not send His judgments immediately (Rev 6:9-10: the saints cried “How long?”). In this chapter, we see people with even greater sins in Noah’s time than today, so much sin and violence that they deserved God’s almost total obliteration of mankind. However, God waited 969 years (the lifetime of Methuselah) for man to repent. We need to learn from God’s example to be merciful and long-suffering. We can also ask “How long?” but God has the best timing.

        God did not just wait for man to repent; God sent Noah to communicate His message of condemnation (Heb 11:7). We too must not simply forgive those who are sinful; we need to communicate God’s good news and give them a chance to repent and accept salvation.


{7}           Gen 6:1-22  Corruption of Man人類敗壞6:1-22


Part E. The Great Flood (6:1—9:29)

E1.       Corruption and violence (6:1-12)

E2.       Building the ark (6:13-22)

        Without restraint, sin can spread in scope and intensify in severity—from Adam’s disobedience (ch.3), to Cain’s murder (ch.4), to Lamech’s bragging of murder and polygamy (ch.4), and finally to the complete moral corruption of all mankind (ch.6). Gen 6:5 describes that “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (ESV; “all the time” in NIV) Human society had decayed beyond recovery. Time had come for God to start anew with one faithful family.



6:1       began to multiply: Because of the extremely long life span, the projected population before the Flood could have reached billions.

daughters were born: This is in contrast to the genealogy in ch.5 which mentioned only the sons. Here the focus is on the daughters because it leads to the next verse.

Gen 6:1-4 is the most difficult passage in Genesis. The difficulties include: [a] the identity of “sons of God” and “daughters of men”, [b] the exact meaning of God’s words of judgment, and [c] the identity of Nephilim, and whether they were children from the intermarriages. This passage is followed by Gen 6:5-8 which describes God’s decision to wipe out mankind. While the 2 passages can be unrelated, the fact that v.1-4 leads into v.5-8 implies that the intermarriages and the presence of the Nephilim contributed to God’s judgment or at least illustrated the sinfulness condemned by God.

6:2       the sons of God: exact meaning unknown, likely referring to the human rulers (aristocrats) or judges.

saw: temptation through sight, similar to Eve in Gen 3:6.

attractive: same word as “good”; but very different standard of good between God and man.

any they chose: implying multiple wives.

6:3       the Lord said: to Himself, similar to Gen 6:7 and 3:22.

he is flesh: Some translate it as “mortal” (NIV) referring to man’s propensity to die, but it probably refers to the corrupt side of human beings (same as v.12 and v.13) which explains why man received God’s punishment of a shortened life.

My Spirit: same word as “breath of life” in v.17 and Gen 7:15. It may refer to: [a] the gift of God which turned man into a living being (both physically and spiritually), or [b] God’s life-giving power which is necessary for survival (Gen 2:7).

abide: There are 3 possible meanings: [a] The word commonly means stay or live inside; then the sentence means that God’s breath of life would not stay with man forever, that is, they would eventually die. By the removal of his life-giving spirit, man’s life will be shorter. (Ps 104:29) [b] The word can also be translated “contend with” (NIV; also in ESV footnote); then it means God’s struggle with man. Thus “My Spirit shall not contend with man forever” implies that what happened in v.1-2 was displeasing to God and He would no longer allow the struggle to continue. [c] The word “contend” may mean judge or rule; then the sentence means that God will no longer deal with or plead on behalf of man.

not forever: not allowing man to live forever.

120 years: This can have 2 possible meanings: [a] This is a declaration that future human life span will be limited to 120 years. Argument against: The difficulty is that some people lived longer than 120 years after the Flood. Counter explanation: This is a normal standard for man, just like what Moses described in Ps 90:10, thus the limit may not apply to everyone. [b] This is a prophecy that there would be 120 years more before the Flood, giving them time to repent. This number is symbolic for perfection (12 times 10). When the Flood comes, all mankind (except Noah’s family) will die.

Since this verse concerns God’s judgment against all mankind, the “120 years” more likely refers to a shortened life (first meaning) because a period of grace before the Flood would affect only one generation.

Why is the second meaning less likely? If the “120 years” here refers to the period before the Flood, then this verse occurred 20 years before Gen 5:32 (when Noah was 500) because the Flood came when Noah was 600 years old. Then, God’s words in Gen 6:3,7 were either: [a] not directed to Noah but simply a self-expression; in that case, no one would have received the warning to repent; or [b] if God’s words were directed to Noah, then Noah would have known about God’s plan to destroy mankind when he was 480 years old; while his 3 sons would be born more than 20 years afterwards; meaning the verse is out of sequence, occurring before Gen 5:32.

6:4       Nephilim: It is a transliteration of the Hebrew word, sometimes translated “giants” or “titans”. These were probably men with big stature and likely of reckless ferocity; they were perhaps strong warriors.

o        Scholars generally agree that these mighty men were wicked people who oppressed people around them, and spread devastation and carnage. The Hebrew root of nephilim means “to fall” (Heb. napal) referring to their morally fallen nature. Some explain it to mean the sons of fallen angels. Counter argument: Even if fallen angels took possession of human bodies, the DNA were those of the humans and could not have produced giants.

o        The word “nephilim” is mentioned only once more in Nu 13:33. However, various alternate names can be found in the Bible for nephilim: Rephaim (or sons of Rapha), Anakites, and Anakim. They were all of superhuman size and strength. Goliath (1Sa 17:4-11; 1Ch 20:6-7) was a descendant of Rapha, stood 6.5 cubits (almost 10 feet or 3 metres tall) and carried at least 115 kg (250 pounds) of armour and weapons.

came in to: may mean sexual relations. The term is different from the sexual relations between husband and wife which uses the word “knew”.

mighty men (Heb. gibborim, NIV: heroes): warrior class, men of ignoble reputation for their violence and cruel tyranny.

men of renown: “Renown” is not equivalent to respect. It can simply mean good in combat. The word may also mean bad reputation with wicked deeds; if so, it may refer to their violent acts. This term may refer to the same people as “mighty men of old” in this verse, or the two terms may refer to two different groups of people.

o        Notice that human society may regard these violent gibborim as “men of renown” but God’s response is repulsion at their wickedness. Today, the biased media rarely use the word “terrorists” but instead describe these criminals who intentionally murder innocent people as “insurgents” or even a positive term “freedom fighters”.

6:5       wickedness of man was great: wicked both in action and in thought. Possibly the greatest sin was the proliferation of murder. “Great” could be read as a verb “multiplied”. It echoes the “multiply over the earth” in v.1.

thoughts of his heart: literally “plans in his heart”. The word “thoughts” has the same root as “made” in Gen 2:7,19. It contrasts the good of God and the evil of man, and points also to the wish of man to replace God. “Heart” in the Bible is the seat of intelligence, only occasionally referred to the seat of emotion. Here, man’s evil heart is in contrast to God’s grieving heart (same Hebrew word) in v.6.

continually: without stopping, no time for good deeds at all. The sin was full and strong and constant.

6:6       the Lord was sorry: (NIV: “grieved”; literal: “sighed”) sad for witnessing human sin, even though God knew beforehand that this would happen.

grieved (Heb. naham) him to his heart: (NIV: filled with pain) This is similar to the previous phrase (being sorry), although the former was directed specifically to an event (His creation of man who became sinful) and the latter to the emotional response describing the overall state of the heart. The grief was possibly also for the tragic end of the human race.

V.5 describes the hearts of man being full of wickedness and evil. In response, God’s heart was wounded and filled with pain.

Question: God is changeless. How do we explain ‘God repented’ (KJV; ESV: “was sorry”)?


o        Immutability or constancy is an attribute of God (Ps 100:5; Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17). God is described as “changeless” or “immutable” because no change can or will take place in the divine character. The Bible also describes God does not repent (Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Ps 110:4). However, God is capable of responsive interaction. This verse does not contradict God’s immutability. Rather, God’s feelings and actions toward man, such as judgment or forgiveness, are always inherently consistent with His attributes of justice and grace.

o        Because of possible misunderstanding, modern translations avoid using the word “repent” to describe God. The Hebrew word (yinnahem) is better translated “relent” or “grieved” (Gen 6:6; Ex 32:12,14; Ps 78:40-41).

o        God was “grieved” because of man’s sin (Gen 6:6; 1Sa 15:11,35). The intensity of the grief is demonstrated by how the Hebrew word (naham) is used in the rest of Genesis. It describes mourning over the loss of a family member due to death (Gen 24:67; 37:35; 38:12).

o        God changed His actions (“relented”) in response to changed circumstances: [a] petition of His servants (Jer 26:19; Ex 32:9-14; Am 7:5-6); [b] human repentance (2Sa 24:16; 1Ch 21:15; Jer 18:7-10; Joel 2:13-14; Jonah 3:7-10). Augustine showed that God changes works without changing plans.

6:7       blot out (Heb. maha; NIV: wipe; literal: obliterate): including the meaning of cleaning thoroughly with water (the Flood) so that nothing remained (Ex 32:32; Ps 69:28). The word sounds like “grieved” in v.6 (Heb. naham).

man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens: the sequence of destruction, opposite to the sequence of creation; the sin of man causing the destruction of nature (Ro 8:22).

6:8       but: only, only one man, and God’s favour carries from one man to his family and to the whole human race; how appalling it was when only one man or one family of piety and virtue existed in the whole world!

favour in the eyes of the Lord: Noah, whose name means relief (Gen 5:28), provided relief to his father, relief to mankind, and also relief to the heart of God. This is like a single ray of hope shining out of total darkness.

o        This word “favour” appears the first time in the Bible, and many times afterwards.

6:9       generations: a new “toledot” section (the 3rd of 10 in Genesis).

righteous: contrast wickedness in v.5, lived according to God’s standard and demand, morally upright.

blameless: (KJV: perfect; Heb. tamim can mean whole, unblemished, perfect, innocent, pious, or honest.) It does not mean that he was sinless, but only [a] perfect faith (with singleness of heart) in God, [b] wholeheartedly love God, and [c] sincerely obey God’s will; “blameless” in attitude toward God, “righteous” in conduct toward man (both faith and practice). (see description of Job in Job 1:8; David in 1Ki 11:4; 15:3; and 1Ki 8:61; 2Ki 20:2-5; Ps 119:80)

in his generation: a generation that is totally corrupted. Noah had to make an effort to be righteous and to not follow the corrupt world. Noah’s example of a holy life is mentioned many times in the Bible (Eze 14:14,20; Isa 54:9-10; Heb 11:7; 1Pe 3:20; 2Pe 2:5). Moreover, Noah was a prototype for the eschatological judgment of God (Mt 24:37-38; 2Pe 3:3-7). In early church, Noah’s water and ark (made of wood) were regarded as a type of the cross of Christ (also made of wood). Justin wrote in his Dialogue that we are saved through “water, faith, and wood…just as the wood of Noe (Latin word for Noah).”

walked with God: like Enoch, Noah’s great grandfather (Gen 5:22).


6:11     corrupt (Heb. hishit): This is the result when man did what was right in their own eyes, ignoring God and following their own choice. The word “corrupt” is repeated 3 times in v.11-12. The word has the connotation of decadence, perversion, destruction, and damage.

violence: severe treatment against another person, commonly involving physical harm such as wounding, rape, murder. The word also denotes immorality, oppression, cruelty, and outrage. Here, violence probably points to the proliferation of murder. In Mosaic Law, murder is abhorred, for innocent blood pollutes the land and prevents atonement unless the murderer’s blood is shed (Nu 35:33-34). It is also possible that violence included sexual sins as we witnessed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen 19.

6:12     In God’s original creation, every was “very good” (Gen 1:31); now, the Earth was “filled” with violence and “all” flesh had corrupted their way. Sin had turned everything from good to bad.

all flesh: including man and animals, though mainly referring to man. Sin was not an isolated event; corruption pervaded the lifestyle of the whole population.

6:13     God said to Noah: God shared His plan with Noah.

I have determined to make an end of all flesh: (literal: “the end of all flesh has come before My face”) In ancient times, new laws and legislation would come before the king for his final signature or approval. “Come before My face” means that God now gave His final approval after which was the action. God was acting in moral outrage against sin, neither impulsively nor selfishly.

destroy (Heb. mashit): The Hebrew verb sounds like the word “corrupt” in v.12, implying a pattern of measure for measure. Corruption leads to destruction. There is a correspondence between human morality and the state of the animal and natural worlds. Nature suffers because of human sin (Gen 3:17-19; Ro 8:20-21).

with the earth: It can be translated “from the earth”, thus referring the removal of all lives from the Earth. However, with the Earth covered with water, it can also be said that the Earth was destroyed.

6:14     make: imperative mood; the same mood appearing only twice in this chapter: make the ark (v.14), take the food (v.21).

ark (Heb. teba): literally, a box (Ex 2:3-5). A rectangular box could not be navigated and only God could guide the box; similar to the basket carrying Moses. In both cases, the salvation was from drowning. The ark is also symbolic of the salvation of Christ from death.

o        Outside Gen 6—9, the word teba is found only in Ex 2:3-5 describing the “basket” in which the baby Moses was placed. Both Noah and Moses were delivered from the waters by the grace of God to introduce a new era in God’s work among His people.

gopher wood: the word is a transliteration from Hebrew; unknown kind of tree. Some interpret it as cypress tree which is durable and is abounding in the Armenian mountains. Others identify it with a species of pine or a species of cedar. The Septuagint translates as “squared timber”. The word sounds like Hebrew “cover”, meaning that it was used to cover or protect (those inside the ark) from being swallowed up by the Flood.

o        The Greek word for cypress was kyparissos, originated from kaphar or gaphar, and was derived from Hebrew.

rooms (Heb. qinnim): an unspecified number of rooms. Some take the term as “reeds” (Heb. qanim) to mean another type of building material.

inside and out with pitch: (Heb. koper) waterproof material. Hebrew lexicon describes the material as “asphalt, bitumen, pitch, or tar,” possibly some petroleum product. It covered the outside, to shed off the rain, and to prevent the water from soaking in; it also covered the inside, to take away the ill smell of the beasts.

6:15     Dimension of the ark: 300 cubits (length=137-167 metres) by 50 cubits (width=23-28 metres ) by 30 cubits (height=14-17 metres) [different measures of cubits, see below]. It was not a ship designed to sail but only a huge flat-bottomed box designed to float, not slanted like a boat at the ends. The ark was exactly 6 times longer than it was wide—the same ratio used by modern shipbuilders.

o        A cubit is approximately the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow, or about 17 to 22 inches (43 to 56 centimeters). Jews use 3 different units of cubit: the “common” cubit 18 inches, the “royal” cubit 20 inches, the “long” cubit 22 inches. Most scholars believe that a cubit is 20 inches or 50 cm. However, most modern-day calculations use the common cubit of 18 inches or half a yard.

6:16     a roof…to a cubit above: literally, “skylight”… “finish it to a cubit on top”. The skylight symbolizes direct communication with God. Some take it to mean “window”.

There are different interpretations for the location and shape of the skylight:

o        [a] one window in the middle of the ark, facing to the sky, built like a box 1 cubit (18-22 inches, 46-56 cm) above the rest of the roof; or perhaps forming a gentle slope allowing the water to run off; perhaps protected by a canopy; probably difficult to reach so that Noah used the raven and the dove to test the ground around the ark.

o        [b] one translation from Hebrew: “a skylight in the ark, within a cubit of the top”: one window facing sideways constructed near the roof.

o        [c] a series of windows 1 cubit high running around its circumference at the top. The last suggestion is a reasonable one because they would allow fresh air, light, and perhaps rainwater when needed, and could be used for letting out stale air and waste products.

the door: one door only to be shut by God.

decks: 3 decks of 4.5 metres high each.

6:17     I will: emphatic noun; repeating His judgment in v.13 to establish its certainty.

breath of life: breath is the same word as “Spirit” in v.3.

all flesh under heaven: but not including water lives; only birds, animals, and insects in v.20; specified as “everything on the dry land” in Gen 7:22.

flood of waters: symbolically to wash away the blood spilt from violence.

everything that is on the earth: Literal reading would mean a worldwide Flood. However, it can also be a hyperbolic or a phenomenological description based on Noah’s limited viewpoint. “Earth” can be rightly rendered “land”, thus allowing a regional Flood. This kind of language is found in Gen 41:54-57.

6:18     I will establish my covenant: This refers to the covenant to be established later (Gen 9:8-17). Here, God said “I will establish…” (future tense) but later God said, “I establish my covenant with you…” (present tense) in Gen 9:9. However, some believe that this covenant is spelt out in v.19-21 although it is difficult to see how this can be a covenant.

covenant: (Heb. berith) meaning promise, pledge, agreement, assurance. It is the original word for “testament” in Old Testament and New Testament. It is a word of security for Noah. In Genesis, there are 3 covenants (ch.9,12,15) between God and man and all of them are promises, without conditions. [There are more about covenants in the commentary for Gen 9:8.]

with you: (singular) The covenant was made with Noah personally because he was the representative of the new humanity and the new world. However, in ch.9, the covenant was specifically extended to his family and all the living creatures.

o        The household is blessed by a believer in the home (Ac 16:31; 1Co 7:14; 1Pe 3:1-2).

you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives: including all 8 people in the one family (Heb 11:7). The Chinese word for “boat” is composed of 3 different components which together mean “boat with 8 mouths”.

6:19     male and female: only way to maintain the natural order through procreation.

The fact that exactly a pair of each kind could come to the ark is certainly God’s miraculous guidance.

6:20     come in: God directed the creatures to come to the ark.


6:22     Noah did all: perfect obedience by Noah, faithfully and fully following God’s commands; emphasis of his obedience by the word “did” twice in this verb and again in Gen 7:5,9,16; 8:18.

o        Noah did not question at all; he simply followed all the commands from God; his first spoken words were recorded only after the Flood, in Gen 9:25-27.



        The emotion shown by God in Gen 6:6 reflects God’s personal involvement in His creation. He is not an uninvolved observer (Isa 63:9).

        A person’s action can have more consequences than just for himself. The sin of man caused the destruction of animals and birds. On the hand, the righteousness of one man (Noah) saved the whole human race.

        Noah, by building an enormous wooden box on dry land, would have most likely tolerated ridicules and contempt from many people. Moreover, it was for an extensive period of time. But Noah understood it was God’s command and he persisted. We need to learn how to stand up against mockery and ridicule from non-believers and not to waver.

        When the whole world is full of evil, Noah walked with God (v.9). It is easy to be religious when religion is in fashion; but it is an evidence of strong faith to swim against the stream, and to follow God in the midst of evil. In this, Noah pleased God. In today’s society dominated by secularism, a Christian must not be afraid to walk in God’s path and to witness for God. Such a person will please God and certainly receive God’s blessings.