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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Genesis > Gen. 5:1-32

And He Died
Gen. 5:1-32

"and he died"

Textual Considerations

Chapter Five of Genesis deals with the descendants of Seth; the line was characterized by godliness and longevity, with Methuselah living 969 years; of each one, with the exception of Enoch, the report is, after a long life, “and he died”.

These three words are repeated 8 times in the Ch. (vs. 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31); the age of each individual is approximately 900 years: Adam, 930; Seth, 912; Enosh, 905; Cainan, 910; Mahalalel, 895; Jared, 962; Methuselah, 969 (perhaps he died the yr. of the Flood); Lamech, 777; the exception is Enoch, who lived 365 years, and the Bible says that “God took him” (v. 24).

In the Text the three words sound like a death knell; such a sad refrain; reminds the reader of the beating drums, the sound of the bugle, the tolling of the bells; the words remind the reader of the human experience.

Note: Following the Flood the age of man dropped significantly; for instance, Shem, son of Noah, lived 600 yrs. and Terah, father of Abraham, lived 205 yrs.

Theological Thoughts

* The three words remind us of the reality of death; “it is appointed for men to die once” (Heb. 9:27); death has no regard for person or status; all die; death is the great leveler of mankind; death is not ignored in Scripture; in fact, it has a prominent place.

* The words speak to us of the tragedy of death; death is an unaccompanied experience; each person must go alone through the valley of the shadow of death; death happens every day, every hour, every minute; it happens and life is over; all of the hopes, plans, and aspirations go unfilled; no more opportunity to show love, or to forgive and forget; loved ones are left behind; often the tragic nature of death and the circumstances connected to the death rend the hearts of those left and make the moment almost unbearable.

* The words reinforce the teaching that death is the result of sin; “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin” (Rom. 5:12) and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23); God had warned Adam: “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17; lit., “dying you will die”); thus God spoke of a double death: immediate spiritual death and later physical death; the physical death was the result of the spiritual death; immediately Adam was separated from God, and 930 later he experienced physical death.

* The words give emphasis to the fact that the problem of man is spiritual; physical death is because of spiritual death; man may be alive physically but he is dead spiritually; therefore, the need of man is life, spiritual life (see: Death and Need of Man)

See: Gen. 12:4-20 - Do You Live in Egypt?

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