Adam’s name means man. As the first man, that seems straight forward enough.
Adam’s son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”4
Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.
It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.5
Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)
Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.6
We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at birth, and so on.
Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, “God is my Judge”, etc.
Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning shall come down.7
Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means teaching, or commencement. He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ (although it is quoted in the Book of Jude in the New Testament):
Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against.”
Jude 14, 15
Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who we have already mentioned. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.8 Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the flood came.
Enoch, of course, never died: he was translated 9 (or, if you’ll excuse the expression, raptured ). That’s how Methuselah can be the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father!
Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, lament or lamentation. Lamech suggests despairing.
(This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.10)
Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham, to bring relief or comfort, as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.
The Composite List
Now let’s put it all together:
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The Despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort.
That’s rather remarkable:
Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.
Here’s the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis!
(You will never convince me that a group of Jewish rabbis conspired to hide the Christian Gospel right here in a genealogy within their venerated Torah!)
Evidence of Design
The implications of this discovery are more wide spread than is evident at first glance.
It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is a love story, written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago.
The Bible is an integrated message system, the product of supernatural engineering. Every number, every place name, every detail every jot and tittle is there for our learning, our discovery, and our amazement. Truly, our God is an awesome God.
It is astonishing to discover how many Biblical controversies seem to evaporate if one simply recognized the unity the integrity of these 66 books, penned by 40 authors over thousands of years.
It is remarkable how many subtle discoveries lie behind the little details of the text. Some of these become immediately obvious with a little study; some are more technical and require special helps.
Many of these discoveries are described in our Audio Book, Beyond Coincidence. Several are also highlighted in our Audio Book, The Creator Beyond Time and Space.
Look behind every detail: there’s a discovery to be made! God always rewards the diligent student. What other messages lay hidden behind the names in the Bible? Check it out.
This article was originally published in the
February 1996 Personal Update News Journal.
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Muth, death, occurs 125 times in the Old Testament.
See Pink, Jones, and Stedman in the bibliography.
Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more. Lamech had Noah when he was 182 (Genesis 5:25-28). The Flood came in Noah’s 600th year (Genesis 7:6, 11). 600 + 182 = 782nd year of Lamech, the year Methuselah died.
Genesis 4:26 is often mistranslated. Targum of Onkelos: …desisted from praying in the name ; Targum of Jonathan: surnamed their idols in the name… ; Kimchi, Rashi, and other ancient Jewish commentators agree. Jerome indicated that this was the opinion of many Jews of his day. Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishna (a constituent part of the Talmud), a.d. 1168, ascribes the origin of idolatry to the days of Enosh.
Numbers 24:21, 23.
Some authorities suggest that this might be an allusion to the Sons of God who came down to corrupt the daughters of men, resulting in the Nephilim (Fallen Ones) of Genesis 6. These were discussed in our article last month (January 1996), and are also reviewed in our audio book, The Flood of Noah.
Genesis 5:21, 24.
Genesis 4:19-25; rabbinical sources, re: Kaplan, et al.
Eastman, Mark, and Missler, Chuck, The Creator Beyond Time and Space, The Word for Today, Costa Mesa CA, 1995.
Jones, Alfred, Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids MI, 1990.
Kaplan, Rabbi Aryeh, The Living Torah, Maznaim Publishing Corporation, Jerusalem, 1981.
Pink, Arthur W., Gleanings in Genesis, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago IL, 1922.
Missler, Chuck, Beyond Coincidence (audio book with notes), Koinonia House, Coeur d Alene ID, 83816, 1994.
Rosenbaum, M., and Silbermann, A., Pentateuch with Onkelos’s Translation (into Aramaic) and Rashi s Commentary, Silbermann Family Publishers, Jerusalem, 1973.
Stedman, Ray C., The Beginnings, Word Books, Waco TX, 1978.