Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Genesis Chapter 5 (v.1 to 32)

"This is the written account of Adam's line."

Hm. This sounds like one of those 'beget' chapters. . .

The author starts this chapter by again saying that man was created in god's image. And that god named them 'man' after he created them both. So male and female are both called 'man.'

Adam was 130 years old when he had the replacement kid, Seth. After that, Adam lived for 800 more years, and had other kids. Probably a lot of them, I'm thinking. So when he died he was 930. I think his final words were: "It's about bloody time."

When Seth was 105, (and Adam would have been 235) he had a son named Enosh (though no mention is made of Enoshropolis). Seth had a bunch of kids, and died at the age of 912.

When Enosh was 90 years old, (and Adam was 325 and Seth was 195) he "became the father of Kenan." After this he lived for 815 more years.

When Kenan was 70, (Adam would have been 395, Seth was 265, and Enosh was 160) he had Mahalalel (whoa, say that five times fast.) Kenan died at 910.

When Mahalalel was 65 (Adam was 460, Seth was 330, Enosh was 225, and Kenan was 135) he had a kid named Jared. Mahalalel then lived 'til he was 895.

Jared was 162 when he became the father of Enoch (Enochropolis?). Incidentally, Mahalalel was 227 when he became a grandfather. And Kenan was 297 when he became a great-grandfather. Enosh was 387 when he became a great-great-grandfather. Seth was a great-great-great-grandfather at the age of 462. And Adam would have been 622 when he became a great-great-great-great-grandfather. Whew!

Jared lived to be 962.

Enoch became a father at 65, (Adam: 687, Seth: 527, Enosh: 452, Kenan: 362, Mahalalel: 292, Jared: 227) and named the kid Methusela. But Enoch only lived for 365 years. He must've eaten a high-fat diet.

Methusela was a dad at 187, (Adam: 874, Seth: 714, Enosh: 639, Kenan: 549, Mahalalel: 479, Jared: 414, Enoch: 252) and had a son named Lamech. Did this Lamech have two wives and kill some dude? It doesn't say.

Lamech had a kid named Noah when he was 182 (Adam had been dead for 126 years, Seth was 709, Enosh: 821, Kenan: 731, Mahalalel: 661, Jared: 596, Enoch had been dead for 69 years, possibly from a heart attack, and Methusela was 369).

Noah, according to his father Lamech, was to be a comfort to them in their hard times since god had cursed the soil. Lamech died when he was 777. When Lamech was 683, Noah had Shem, Ham and Japheth, all after he'd turned 500.

Well, that was a snooze of a chapter. But it does bring up an interesting question to all you christians out there: do you really believe the verbatim truth of the bible? Do you really think these people lived for 900+ years? Towards the end of this lineage, the author claims that about 8 generations of people were alive at the same time. Family reunions must've been such a drag.

I think that some of this is an attempt to link all the stories together. That Noah can be traced back to Adam. Which doesn't seem like it should be important; I always thought the implication was that Adam, being the first man, was the father of everyone who came after. But this can't be the case if you have to go to the trouble of listing the bloodline of Noah all the way back to Adam. It seems other people existed separate the first created two, and the only way they could've gotten there within the construct of this story is if god made them and put them there. That this creating of other people is never explicitly mentioned has always bothered me.

The other point I think I need to address is how sneakily the author slipped in this second account of the offspring of Adam. The last chapter lists sons (and one daughter!) and even some things that they did, some trends they started. The names don't quite overlap, though. But there are some that are the same, and I'm sure it isn't coincidental: I think that the names are too important in the lore of these stories to be given to someone who isn't "the" person. Like naming someone in a story George W. Bush. People are going to ask, is that "the" George W. Bush?

In the last chapter, Enoch of Enochropolis was the son of Cain, the murderer. In this chapter, Enoch is a son in the bloodline springing from Cain's brother Seth, who is NOT a murderer. In the last chapter, Lamech was the son of Methushael, and in this chapter he's the son of Methusela. Sounds like the same name to me. In the last chapter, mention is made of Lamech becoming a murderer like his great-great-great-grandfather, Cain. In this chapter, Lamech is not a distant grandson of Cain, and no mention is made of anything that he did other than that his son, Noah, will be a comfort. At least in this chapter we are free to assume that Cain did indeed spend his life wandering, and didn't build any cities.

In the last chapter, Seth has a son named Enosh, and nothing more is mentioned. In this chapter, Seth has a son named Enosh as well.

The two chapters appear to be written by two different sources which have different priorities. The 4th chapter seems to want to get the message across that killing is still not a reason for killing, even after many generations since Cain. The 5th chapter seems to be focused on the lineage of Noah, and how that lineage, between Noah and Cain, was not a straight line. The mention of his three sons is an afterthought.

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