This is the written account of Adam’s family line.
When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father[b] of Enosh.7 After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan.10 After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel.13 After he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared.16 After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died.
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch.19 After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters.31 Altogether, Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Adam and Eve and Noah were Bible stories I learned early on, but Lamech and Enoch I didn’t know about until later, and I’m kind of surprised. Perhaps it’s just that there isn’t a lot of story, mostly names. Maybe it used to be more well known. It seems like the kind of allegorical contrast between righteous and wicked that would have been popular in the earlier centuries of a country founded on Protestant ideals.
Thanks to my NIV study notes, I know that Lamech is the seventh generation removed (seven being the number of “completeness”) from Adam through his fallen son, Cain. In chapter 4, we see how “evil” he is -in his greed and lust he marries not one but two women, then he kills a man and haughtily declares his immunity. Even though he is also the father of the arts (remember, his sons introduced music, animal husbandry, and metal smithing) he’s made out to be a pretty unlikeable dude.
Seth was granted to Adam and Eve to replace the slain Abel, and stands in contrast to his fallen brother Cain. Verse 5:1 reminds us “When God created man, He made them in the likeness of God.” Then, in verse 5:3, we are told Adam “had a son in his own likeness, in his own image, and he named him Seth.” This repetition reinforces Seth’s own godliness, again, as a foible to wicked Cain. And from this “good” son, a line of good men is brought forth. The seventh son removed from Adam, Enoch, was so good he “walked with God 300 years” (5:27) before being taken away by God. The generally accepted interpretation of this is that Enoch did not have to suffer death, but was taken into Heaven alive.The more famous Noah, Enoch’s grandson, almost seems like icing on the genealogical cake at this point-it’s hard to top walking with God.
So, the seventh son of wicked Cain: wicked. The seventh son of righteous Seth: righteous. Wicked begets wicked, righteous begets righteous. It just sounds like an 18th century saying to me. So, what can we learn from this story today? I don’t think anyone is cursed to repeat the same mistakes of their parents. That’s not to discount trauma and just the general influence of upbringing, whether it’s good or bad or somewhere in between. But we all have the chance, every day, to sow the seeds of righteousness. Sometimes it’s large and noticeable, like the men who died protecting two women, one wearing a hijab, from a hateful attack in Portland two years ago. Other times it can be as small as holding the elevator door open for the person who is still twenty paces behind you. I guess what I’m saying is, we aren’t doomed by bad genetics and we don’t all have to be heroes. What we do need to do is start paying it forward. Start with an act of kindness today, and let’s see what it will inspire down the road-tomorrow, in a generation, and seven generations from now.