Translation of Enoch. B. C. 3017.
21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
The accounts here run on for several generations without any thing remarkable, or any variation but of the names and numbers; but at length there comes in one that must not be passed over so, of whom special notice must be taken, and that is Enoch, the seventh from Adam: the rest, we may suppose, did virtuously, but he excelled them all, and was the brightest star of the patriarchal age. It is but little that is recorded concerning him; but this little is enough to make his name great, greater than the name of the other Enoch, who had a city called by his name. Here are two things concerning him:–
I. His gracious conversation in this world, which is twice spoken of: Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah (v. 22), and again, Enoch walked with God, v. 24. Observe,
1. The nature of his religion and the scope and tenour of his conversation: he walked with God, which denotes,
(1.) True religion; what is godliness, but walking with God? The ungodly and profane are without God in the world, they walk contrary to him: but the godly walk with God, which presupposes reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3), and includes all the parts and instances of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God both in ordinances and providences. It is to make God’s word our rule and his glory our end in all our actions. It is to make it our constant care and endeavour in every thing to please God, and nothing to offend him. It is to comply with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be workers together with him. It is to be followers of him as dear children.
(2.) Eminent religion. He was entirely dead to this world, and did not only walk after God, as all good men do, but he walked with God, as if he were in heaven already. He lived above the rate, not only of other men, but of other saints: not only good in bad times, but the best in good times.
(3.) Activity in promoting religion among others. Executing the priest’s office is called walking before God, 1 Sam. 2:30, 35, and see Zech. 3:7. Enoch, it should seem, was a priest of the most high God, and like Noah, who is likewise said to walk with God, he was a preacher of righteousness, and prophesied of Christ’s second coming. Jude 14, Behold, the Lord cometh with his holy myriads. Now the Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God; for it is the life of a good man to walk with God. This was,
[1.] The business of Enoch’s life, his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God.
[2.] It was the joy and support of his life. Communion with God was to him better than life itself. To me to live is Christ, Phil. 1:21.
2. The date of his religion. It is said (v. 21), he lived sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah; but (v. 22) he walked with God after he begat Methuselah, which intimates that he did not begin to be eminent for piety till about that time; at first he walked but as other men. Great saints arrive at their eminence by degrees.
3. The continuance of his religion: he walked with God three hundred years, as long as he continued in this world. The hypocrite will not pray always; but the real saint that acts from a principle, and makes religion his choice, will persevere to the end, and walk with God while he lives, as one that hopes to live for ever with him, Ps. 109:33.
II. His glorious removal to a better world. As he did not live like the rest, so he did not die like the rest (v. 24): He was not, for God took him; that is, as it is explained (Heb. 11:5), He was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him. Observe,
1. When he was thus translated.
(1.) What time of his life. It was when he had lived but three hundred and sixty-five years (a year of years), which, as men’s ages went then, was in the midst of his days; for there was none of the patriarchs before the flood that did not more than double that age. But why did God take him so soon? Surely, because the world, which had now grown corrupt, was not worthy of him, or because he was so much above the world, and so weary of it, as to desire a speedy removal out of it, or because his work was done, and done the sooner for his minding it so closely. Note, God often takes those soonest whom he loves best, and the time they lose on earth is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable advantage.
(2.) What time of the world. It was when all the patriarchs mentioned in this chapter were living, except Adam, who died fifty-seven years before, and Noah, who was born sixty-nine years after; those two had sensible confirmations to their faith other ways, but to all the rest, who were or might have been witnesses of Enoch’s translation, it was a sensible encouragement to their faith and hope concerning a future state.
2. How his removal is expressed: He was not, for God took him.
(1.) He was not any longer in this world; it was not the period of his being, but of his being here: he was not found, so the apostle explains it from the LXX.; not found by his friends, who sought him as the sons of the prophets sought Elijah (2 Kings ii. 17); not found by his enemies, who, some think, were in quest of him, to put him to death in their rage against him for his eminent piety. It appears by his prophecy that there were then many ungodly sinners, who spoke hard speeches, and probably did hard things too, against God’s people (Jude 15), but God hid Enoch from them, not under heaven, but in heaven.
(2.) God took him body and soul to himself in the heavenly paradise, by the ministry of angels, as afterwards he took Elijah. He was changed, as those saints will be that shall be found alive at Christ’s second coming. Whenever a good man dies God takes him, fetches him hence, and receives him to himself. The apostle adds concerning Enoch that, before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God, and this was the good report he obtained.
Note, [1.] Walking with God pleases God.
[2.] We cannot walk with God so as to please him, but by faith.
[3.] God himself will put an honour upon those that by faith walk with him so as to please him. He will own them now, and witness for them before angels and men at the great day. Those that have not this testimony before the translation, yet shall have it afterwards.
[4.] Those whose conversation in the world is truly holy shall find their removal out of it truly happy. Enoch’s translation was not only an evidence to faith of the reality of a future state, and of the possibility of the body’s existing in glory in that state; but it was an encouragement to the hope of all that walk with God that they shall be for ever with him: signal piety shall be crowned with signal honours.
Genesis 5:25-27 – B.C. 3017
25 And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: 26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: 27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
Concerning Methuselah observe,
1. The signification of his name, which some think was prophetical, his father Enoch being a prophet. Methuselah signifies, he dies, or there is a dart, or, a sending forth, namely, of the deluge, which came the very year that Methuselah died. If indeed his name was so intended and so explained, it was fair warning to a careless world, a long time before the judgment came. However, this is observable, that the longest liver that ever was carried death in his name, that he might be reminded of its coming surely, though it came slowly.
2. His age: he lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years, the longest we read of that ever any man lived on earth; and yet he died. The longest liver must die at last. Neither youth nor age will discharge from that war, for that is the end of all men: none can challenge life by long prescription, nor make that a plea against the arrests of death. It is commonly supposed that Methuselah died a little before the flood; the Jewish writers say, “seven days before,” referring to chap. 7:10, and that he was taken away from the evil to come, which goes upon this presumption, which is generally received, that all the patriarchs mentioned in this chapter were holy good men. I am loth to offer any surmise to the contrary; and yet I see not that this can be any more inferred from their enrollment here among the ancestors of Christ than that all those kings of Judah were so whose names are recorded in his genealogy, many of whom, we are sure, were much otherwise: and, if this be questioned, it may be suggested as probable that Methuselah was himself drowned with the rest of the world; for it is certain that he died that year.
– Matthew Henry Commentary