Genesis 5:22
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Genesis

WITH, BEFORE, AFTER

‘Enoch walked with God,’- Genesis 5:22.

‘Walk before Me.’- Genesis 17:1.

‘Ye shall walk after the Lord your God.’- Deuteronomy 13:4.

You will have anticipated, I suppose, my purpose in doing what I very seldom do-cutting little snippets out of different verses and putting them together. You see that these three fragments, in their resemblances and in their differences, are equally significant and instructive. They concur in regarding life as a walk-a metaphor which expresses continuity, so that every man’s life is a whole, which expresses progress, which expresses change, and which implies a goal. They agree in saying that God must he brought into a life somehow, and in some aspect, if that life is to be anything else but an aimless wandering, if it is to tend to the point to which every human life should attain. But then they diverge, and, if we put them together, they say to us that there are three different ways in which we ought to bring God into our life. We should ‘walk with Him,’ like Enoch; we should ‘walk before’ Him, as Abraham was bade to do; and we should ‘walk after’ Him, as the command to do was given to all Israel. And these three prepositions, with, before, after, attached to the general idea of life as a walk, give us a triple aspect-which yet is, of course, fundamentally, one-of the way in which life may be ennobled, dignified, calmed, hallowed, focussed, and concentrated by the various relations into which we enter with Him. So I take the three of them.

1. ‘Enoch walked with God.’

That is a sweet, simple, easily intelligible, and yet lofty way of putting the notion which we bring into a more abstract and less impressive shape when we talk about communion with God. Two men travelling along a road keep each other company. ‘How can two walk together except they be agreed?’ The companion is at our side all the same, though the mists may have come down and we cannot see Him. We can hear His voice, we can grasp His hand, we can catch the echoes of His steps. We know He is there, and that is enough. Enoch and God walked together, by the simple exercise of the faith that fills the Invisible with one great, loving Face. By a continuous, definite effort, as we are going through the bustle of daily life, and amid all the pettiness and perplexities and monotonies that make up our often weary and always heavy days, we can realise to ourselves that He is of a truth at our sides, and by purity of life and heart we can bring Him nearer, and can make ourselves more conscious of His nearness. For, brethren, the one thing that parts a man from God, and makes it impossible for a heart to expatiate in the thought of His presence, is the contrariety to His will in our conduct. The slightest invisible film of mist that comes across the blue abyss of the mighty sky will blot out the brightest of the stars, and we may sometimes not be able to see the mist, and only know that it is there because we do not see the planet. So unconscious sin may steal in between us and God, and we shall no longer be able to say, ‘I walk with Him.’

The Roman Catholics talk, in their mechanical way, of bringing down all the spiritual into the material and formal, about the ‘practice of the presence of God.’ It is an ugly phrase, but it means a great thing, that Christian people ought, very much more than they do, to aim, day by day, and amidst their daily duties, at realising that most elementary thought which, like a great many other elementary thoughts, is impotent because we believe it so utterly, that wherever we are, we may have Him with us. It is the secret of blessedness, of tranquillity, of power, of everything good and noble.

‘I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were,’ said the Psalmist of old. If he had left out these two little words, ‘with Thee,’ he would have been uttering a tragic complaint; but when they come in, all that is painful, all that is solitary, all that is transient, bitterly transient, in the long succession of the generations that have passed across earth’s scene, and have not been kindred to it, is cleared away and changed into gladness. Never mind, though you are a stranger, if you have that companion. Never mind, though you are only a sojourner; if you have Him with you, whatever passes He will not pass; and though we dwell here in a system to which we do not belong, and its transiency and our transiency bring with them many sorrows, when we can say, ‘Lord! Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations,’ we are at home, and that eternal home will never pass.

Enoch ‘walked with God,’ and, of course, ‘God took him,’ There was nothing else for it, and there could be no other end, for a life of communion with God here has in it the prophecy and the pledge of a life of eternal union hereafter. So, then, ‘practise the presence of God.’ An old mystic says: ‘If I can tell how many times to-day I have thought about God, I have not thought about Him often enough.’ Walk with Him by faith, by effort, by purity.

2. And now take the other aspect suggested by the other word God spoke to Abraham: ‘I am the Almighty God, walk before Me and be thou perfect.’

That suggests, as I suppose I do not need to point out, the idea not only of communion, which the former phrase brought to our minds, but that of the inspection of our conduct. ‘As ever in the great Taskmaster’s eye,’ says the stern Puritan poet, and although one may object to that word ‘Taskmaster,’ yet the idea conveyed is the correct expansion of the commandment given to Abraham. Observe how ‘walk before Me’ is dovetailed, as it were, between the revelation ‘I am the Almighty God’ and the injunction ‘Be thou perfect.’ The realisation of that presence of the Almighty which is implied in the expression ‘Walk before Me,’ the assurance that we are in His sight, will lead straight to the fulfilment of the injunction that bears upon the moral conduct. The same connection of thought underlies Peter’s injunction, ‘Like as He . . .is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation,’ followed immediately as it is by, ‘If ye call on Him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth’-as a present estimate-’according to every mail’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear’-that reverential awe which will lead you to be ‘holy even as I am holy.’

This thought that we are in that divine presence, and that there is silently, but most really, a divine opinion being formed of us, consolidated, as it were, moment by moment through our lives, is only tolerable if we have been walking with God. If we are sure, by the power of our communion with Him, of His loving heart as well as of His righteous judgment, then we can spread ourselves out before Him, as a woman will lay out her webs of cloth on the green grass for the sun to blaze down upon them, and bleach the ingrained filth out of them. We must first walk ‘with God’ before the consciousness that we are walking ‘before’ Him becomes one that we can entertain and not go mad. When we are sure of the ‘with’ we can bear the ‘before.’

Did you ever see how on a review day, as each successive battalion and company nears the saluting-point where the General inspecting sits, they straighten themselves up and dress their ranks, and pull themselves together as they pass beneath his critical eye. A master’s eye makes diligent servants. If we, in the strength of God, would only realise, day by day and act by act of our lives, that we are before Him, what a revolution could be effected on our characters and what a transformation on all our conduct!

‘Walk before Me’ and you will be perfect. For the Hebrew words on which I am now commenting may be read, in accordance with the usage of the language, as being not only a commandment but a promise, or, rather, not as two commandments, but a commandment with an appended promise, and so as equivalent to ‘If you will walk before Me you will be perfect.’ And if we realise that we are under ‘the pure eyes and perfect judgment of’ God, we shall thereby be strongly urged and mightily helped to be perfect as He is perfect.

3. Lastly, take the other relation, which is suggested by the third of my texts, where Israel as a whole is commanded to ‘walk after the Lord’ their God.

In harmony with the very frequent expression of the Old Testament about ‘going after idols’ so Israel here is to ‘go after God.’ What does that mean? Communion, the consciousness of being judged by God, will lead on to aspiration and loving, longing effort to get nearer and nearer to Him. ‘My soul followeth hard after Thee,’ said the Psalmist, ‘Thy right hand upholdeth me.’ That element of yearning aspiration, of eager desire to be closer and closer, and liker and liker, to God must be in all true religion. And unless we have it in some measure, it is useless to talk about being Christian people. To press onwards, not as though we had already attained, but following after, if that we may apprehend that for which also we are apprehended, is the attitude of every true follower of Christ. The very crown of the excellence of the Christian life is that it never can reach its goal, and therefore an immortal youth of aspiration and growth is guaranteed to it. Christian people, are you following after God? Are you any nearer to Him than you were ten years ago? ‘Walk with Me, walk before Me, walk after Me.’

I need not do more than remind you of another meaning involved in this same expression. If I walk after God, then I let Him go before me and show me my road. Do you remember how, when the ark was to cross Jordan, the commandment was given to the Israelites to let it go well on in front, so that there should be no mistake about the course, ‘for ye have not passed this way heretofore.’ Do not be in too great a hurry to press upon the heels of God, if I may so say. Do not let your decisions outrun His providence. Keep back the impatience that would hurry on, and wait for His ripening purposes to ripen and His counsels to develop themselves. Walk after God, and be sure you do not go in front of your Guide, or you will lose both your way and your Guide.

I need not say more than a word about the highest aspect which this third of our commandments takes, ‘His sheep follow Him’-’leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps,’ that is the culmination of the walking ‘with,’ and ‘before,’ and ‘after’ God which these Old Testament saints were partially practising. All is gathered into the one great word, ‘He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.’Genesis 5:22. Enoch walked with God — A Scriptural phrase for eminent piety. He set God always before him, and acted as one that considered he was always under his eye. He lived a life of communion and intercourse with God in his ordinances and providences. He made God’s will his rule, and God’s glory his end, in all his actions. He made it his constant care to please God in every thing, and to offend him in nothing, and was a worker together with him. Reader, go thou, and do likewise. He walked with God after he begat Methuselah — Which seems to intimate that he did not begin to be eminent for piety till about that time. And he begat sons and daughters — A state of matrimony, and the cares and duties incumbent on the master of a family, are not inconsistent with the strictest holiness, or with the office of a prophet, or preacher of righteousness. For, according to Jdg 1:14-15, such was Enoch.5:21-24 Enoch was the seventh from Adam. Godliness is walking with God: which shows reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed, Am 3:3. It includes all the parts of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under his eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend him. It is to be followers of him as dear children. The Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God. This was his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy of his life. Enoch was removed to a better world. As he did not live like the rest of mankind, so he did not leave the world by death as they did. He was not found, because God had translated him, Heb 11:5. He had lived but 365 years, which, as men's ages were then, was but the midst of a man's days. God often takes those soonest whom he loves best; the time they lose on earth, is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable advantage. See how Enoch's removal is expressed: he was not, for God took him. He was not any longer in this world; he was changed, as the saints shall be, who are alive at Christ's second coming. Those who begin to walk with God when young, may expect to walk with him long, comfortably, and usefully. The true christian's steady walk in holiness, through many a year, till God takes him, will best recommend that religion which many oppose and many abuse. And walking with God well agrees with the cares, comforts, and duties of life.The history of the Shethite Henok is distinguished in two respects: First, after the birth of Methushelah, "he walked with the God." Here for the first time we have God אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym with the definite article, with which it occurs more than four hundred times. By this he is emphatically distinguished as the God, now made known by his acts and manifestations, in opposition to atheism, the sole God in opposition to polytheism, and the true God in opposition to all false gods or notions of God. It is possible that in the time of Henok some had forsaken the true God, and fallen into various misconceptions concerning the Supreme Being. His walking with "the God" is a hint that others were walking without this God.

The phrase "walked with God" is rendered in the Septuagint εὐηρέστησε τῷ Θεῷ euērestēse tō Theō, "pleased God," and is adduced in the Epistle to the Hebrews Gen 2:5-6 as an evidence of Henok's faith. Walking with God implies community with him in thought, word, and deed, and is opposed in Scripture to walking contrary to him. We are not at liberty to infer that Henok was the only one in this line who feared God. But we are sure that he presented an eminent example of that faith which purifies the heart and pleases God.

He made a striking advance upon the attainment of the times of his ancestor Sheth. In those days they began to call upon the name of the Lord. Now the fellowship of the saints with God reaches its highest form, - that of walking with him, doing his will and enjoying his presence in all the business of life. Hence, this remarkable servant of God is accounted a prophet, and foretells the coming of the Lord to judgment Jde 1:14-15. It is further to be observed that this most eminent saint of God did not withdraw from the domestic circle, or the ordinary duties of social life. It is related of him as of the others, that during the three hundred years of his walking with God he begat sons and daughters.

Secondly, the second peculiarity of Henok was his teleportation. This is related in the simple language of the times. "And he was not, for God took him;" or, in the version of the Septuagint, "and he was not found, for God translated him." Hence, in the New Testament it is said, Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death." This passage is important for the interpretation of the phrase ואיננוּ ve'ēynenû καί ουχ εὑρίσκετο kai ouch heurisketo "and he was not (found)." It means, we perceive, not absolutely, he was not, but relatively, he was not extant in the sphere of sense. If this phrase do not denote annihilation, much less does the phrase "and he died." The one denotes absence from the world of sense, and the other indicates the ordinary way in which the soul departs from this world. Here, then, we have another hint that points plainly to the immortality of the soul (see on Genesis 3:22).

This glimpse into primeval life furnishes a new lesson to the men of early times and of all succeeding generations. An atonement was shadowed forth in the offering of Habel. A voice was given to the devout feelings of the heart in the times of Sheth. And now a walk becoming one reconciled to God, calling upon his name, and animated by the spirit of adoption, is exhibited. Faith has now returned to God, confessed his name, and learned to walk with him. At this point God appears and gives to the antediluvian race a new and conclusive token of the riches and power of mercy in counteracting the effects of sin in the case of the returning penitent. Henok does not die, but lives; and not only lives, but is advanced to a new stage of life, in which all the power and pain of sin are at an end forever. This crowns and signalizes the power of grace, and represents in brief the grand finale of a life of faith. This renewed man is received up into glory without going through the intermediate steps of death and resurrection. If we omit the violent end of Habel, the only death on record that precedes the translation of Henok is that of Adam. It would have been incongruous that he who brought sin and death into the world should not have died. But a little more than half a century after his death, Henok is wafted to heaven without leaving the body. This translation took place in the presence of a sufficient number of witnesses, and furnished a manifest proof of the presence and reality of the invisible powers. Thus, were life and immortality as fully brought to light as was necessary or possible at that early stage of the world's history. Thus, was it demonstrated that the grace of God was triumphant in accomplishing the final and full salvation of all who returned to God. The process might be slow and gradual, but the end was now shown to be sure and satisfactory.

21. Enoch … begat Methuselah—This name signifies, "He dieth, and the sending forth," so that Enoch gave it as prophetical of the flood. It is computed that Methuselah died in the year of that catastrophe. i.e. He lived as one whose eye was continually upon God; whose care and constant course and business it was to please God, and to imitate him, and to maintain acquaintance and communion with him; as one devoted to God’s service, and wholly governed by his will. He walked not with the men of that wicked age, or as they walked, but being a prophet and preacher, as may be gathered from Judges 1:14-15, with great zeal and courage he protested and preached against their evil practices, and boldly owned God and his ways in the midst of them. Compare Genesis 6:6 Jeremiah 12:3 Micah 6:8.

Begat sons and daughter’s; hence it is undeniably evident that the state and use of matrimony doth very well agree with the severest course of holiness, and with the office of a prophet or preacher. And Enoch walked with God, after he begat Methuselah, three hundred years,.... The Greek version is two hundred. He had walked with God undoubtedly before, but perhaps after this time more closely and constantly: and this is observed to denote, that he continued so to do all the days of his life, notwithstanding the apostasy which began in the days of his father, and increased in his. He walked in the name and fear of God, according to his will, in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord then made known; he walked by faith in the promises of God, and in the view of the Messiah, the promised seed; he walked uprightly and sincerely, as in the sight of God; he had familiar converse, and near and intimate communion with him: and even the above Heathen writer, Eupolemus, seems to suggest something like this, when he says, that he knew all things by the angels of God, which seems to denote an intimacy with them; and that he received messages from God by them:

and begat sons and daughters; the marriage state and procreation of children being not inconsistent with the most religious, spiritual, and godly conversation.

And Enoch {f} walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

(f) That is, he led an upright and godly life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. walked with God] The phrase here, as in Genesis 5:24, used of Enoch, has passed into common use to express intimacy of communion with God. It denotes more than either standing in His presence, or walking before Him (Genesis 6:9, Genesis 17:1), or following after Him. It combines the ideas of fellowship and progress. It is the picture of one who has God with him in all the various scenes of life.

The audacity of the metaphor caused the LXX to render it by a paraphrase; εὐηρέστησε δὲ Ἐνὼχ τῷ θεῷ = “and Enoch was well pleasing unto God,” which is quoted in Hebrews 11:5. For other paraphrases, see Targ. Onkelos, “walked in the fear of God”; Targ. Palestine, “served in the truth before the Lord.”As Adam was created in the image of God, so did he beget "in his own likeness, after his image;" that is to say, he transmitted the image of God in which he was created, not in the purity in which it came direct from God, but in the form given to it by his own self-determination, modified and corrupted by sin. The begetting of the son by whom the line was perpetuated (no doubt in every case the first-born), is followed by an account of the number of years that Adam and the other fathers lived after that, by the statement that each one begat (other) sons and daughters, by the number of years that he lived altogether, and lastly, by the assertion ויּמת "and he died." This apparently superfluous announcement is "intended to indicate by its constant recurrence that death reigned from Adam downwards as an unchangeable law (vid., Romans 5:14). But against this background of universal death, the power of life was still more conspicuous. For the man did not die till he had propagated life, so that in the midst of the death of individuals the life of the race was preserved, and the hope of the seed sustained, by which the author of death should be overcome." In the case of one of the fathers indeed, viz., Enoch (Genesis 5:21.), life had not only a different issue, but also a different form. Instead of the expression "and he lived," which introduces in every other instance the length of life after the birth of the first-born, we find in the case of Enoch this statement, "he walked with God (Elohim);" and instead of the expression "and he died," the announcement, "and he was not, for God (Elohim) took him." The phrase "walked with God," which is only applied to Enoch and Noah (Genesis 6:9), denotes the most confidential intercourse, the closest communion with the personal God, a walking as it were by the side of God, who still continued His visible intercourse with men (vid., Genesis 3:8). It must be distinguished from "walking before God" (Genesis 17:1; Genesis 24:40, etc.), and "walking after God" (Deuteronomy 13:4), both which phrases are used to indicate a pious, moral, blameless life under the law according to the directions of the divine commands. The only other passage in which this expression "walk with God" occurs is Malachi 2:6, where it denotes not the piety of the godly Israelites generally, but the conduct of the priests, who stood in a closer relation to Jehovah under the Old Testament than the rest of the faithful, being permitted to enter the Holy Place, and hold direct intercourse with Him there, which the rest of the people could not do. The article in האלהים gives prominence to the personality of Elohim, and shows that the expression cannot refer to intercourse with the spiritual world.

In Enoch, the seventh from Adam through Seth, godliness attained its highest point; whilst ungodliness culminated in Lamech, the seventh from Adam through Cain, who made his sword his god. Enoch, therefore, like Elijah, was taken away by God, and carried into the heavenly paradise, so that he did not see (experience) death (Hebrews 11:5); i.e., he was taken up from this temporal life and transfigured into life eternal, being exempted by God from the law of death and of return to the dust, as those of the faithful will be, who shall be alive at the coming of Christ to judgment, and who in like manner shall not taste of death and corruption, but be changed in a moment. There is no foundation for the opinion, that Enoch did not participate at his translation in the glorification which awaits the righteous at the resurrection. For, according to 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23, it is not in glorification, but in the resurrection, that Christ is the first-fruits. Now the latter presupposes death. Whoever, therefore, through the grace of God is exempted from death, cannot rise from the dead, but reaches ἀφθαρσία, or the glorified state of perfection, through being "changed" or "clothed upon" (2 Corinthians 5:4). This does not at all affect the truth of the statement in Romans 5:12, Romans 5:14. For the same God who has appointed death as the wages of sin, and given us, through Christ, the victory over death, possesses the power to glorify into eternal life an Enoch and an Elijah, and all who shall be alive at the coming of the Lord without chaining their glorification to death and resurrection. Enoch and Elijah were translated into eternal life with God without passing through disease, death, and corruption, for the consolation of believers, and to awaken the hope of a life after death. Enoch's translation stands about half way between Adam and the flood, in the 987th year after the creation of Adam. Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Jared were still alive. His son Methuselah and his grandson Lamech were also living, the latter being 113 years old. Noah was not yet born, and Adam was dead. His translation, in consequence of his walking with God, was "an example of repentance to all generations," as the son of Sirach says (Ecclus. 44:16); and the apocryphal legend in the book of Enoch Genesis 1:9 represents him as prophesying of the coming of the Lord, to execute judgment upon the ungodly (Jde 1:14-15). In comparison with the longevity of the other fathers, Enoch was taken away young, before he had reached half the ordinary age, as a sign that whilst long life, viewed as a time for repentance and grace, is indeed a blessing from God, when the ills which have entered the world through sin are considered, it is also a burden and trouble which God shortens for His chosen. That the patriarchs of the old world felt the ills of this earthly life in all their severity, was attested by Lamech (Genesis 5:28, Genesis 5:29), when he gave his son, who was born 69 years after Enoch's translation, the name of Noah, saying, "This same shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." Noah, נוח from נוּח to rest and הניח to bring rest, is explained by נחם to comfort, in the sense of helpful and remedial consolation. Lamech not only felt the burden of his work upon the ground which God had cursed, but looked forward with a prophetic presentiment to the time when the existing misery and corruption would terminate, and a change for the better, a redemption from the curse, would come. This presentiment assumed the form of hope when his son was born; he therefore gave expression to it in his name. But his hope was not realized, at least not in the way that he desired. A change did indeed take place in the lifetime of Noah. By the judgment of the flood the corrupt race was exterminated, and in Noah, who was preserved because of his blameless walk with God, the restoration of the human race was secured; but the effects of the curse, though mitigated, were not removed; whilst a covenant sign guaranteed the preservation of the human race, and therewith, by implication, his hope of the eventual removal of the curse (Genesis 9:8-17).

The genealogical table breaks off with Noah; all that is mentioned with reference to him being the birth of his three sons, when he was 500 years old (Genesis 5:32; see Genesis 11:10), without any allusion to the remaining years of his life-an indication of a later hand. "The mention of three sons leads to the expectation, that whereas hitherto the line has been perpetuated through one member alone, in the future each of the three sons will form a new beginning (vid., Genesis 9:18-19; Genesis 10:1)." - M. Baumgarten.

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