Genesis 5:1-6:8 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. How does Genesis 6:5 (printed below) describe the state of the world in the days of Noah? Genesis 6:1-2,4 (printed below) gives an example of the depravity that was being practiced at that time, what do you think is being described in these verses?

And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every conception of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)

Now when men began to increase in number upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, (2) the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; so they took any of them whom they chose and made them their wives…(4) The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God came to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the mighty men of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:1-2,4)

When God looked down upon His creation, he saw that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (6:5). He saw that men were engaged in all forms of wicked conduct. The Lord saw that “every conception of the thoughts of (man’s) heart was only evil continually” (6:5). Man, who was created for devotion to God, had become completely devoted to evil (cp. Romans 1:28-32). An example of the state of the world in that day is given in Genesis 6:1-2; “the sons of God” co-habited with “the daughters of men.” This mysterious account seems to be referring to a perverse union between fallen angels (“the sons of God”) and human women (“the daughters of men”)—note Job 1:6, a passage in which fallen angels (demons) are identified as “sons of God.” According to Genesis 6:4, this perverse union produced “Nephilim,” that is to say, “men of renown” (i.e., men of superhuman strength and exploit).

2. What is the Lord’s reaction to this current state of affairs? See Genesis 6:6 (printed below)

And Jehovah felt remorse that he had made man on the earth, and it brought grief to his heart. (Genesis 6:6)

As the Lord looked down upon the world in its degenerate condition, we read the incredible words, “Jehovah felt remorse (literally, “Jehovah repented”) that he had made man on the earth, and it brought grief to his heart” (Genesis 6:6). “The God who is revealed in the Scripture is capable of feeling sorrow and being grieved. He has real reactions to human conduct. The repentance of God spoken of here is not a change in purpose, but a change in attitude. When man changes in his behavior then God changes in His attitude. The expression ‘the LORD repented’ is simply an indication that God’s attitude to man sinning is necessarily different from God’s attitude to man obeying.” (The New Bible Commentary, “Genesis,” E. F. Kevan, p.83)

3. In contrast to the Lord’s reaction to the degenerate state of mankind, what do we read in Genesis 6:8 (printed below)? What does Genesis 6:9 (printed below) say about Noah? What do you think this means? Note Psalm 19:13, also printed below.

But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah. (Genesis 6:8)

… Noah was a righteous man, one who was blameless in his day; Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

Also hold your servant back from committing willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. (Psalm 19:13)

In contrast to all that the Lord saw when He looked upon the world, and his reaction to it, stands Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” In Genesis 6:9 Noah is described as being blameless in his generation. This means that Noah kept himself from willful, defiant transgressions (cp. Psalm 19:13); Noah conscientiously sought to live in submission to God. Noah was “blameless” because “he walked with God.” The way to be blameless—the way to stay clear of great transgressions and stay on track spiritually—is to always set the Lord before us.

4. What does Genesis 5:21-24 (printed below) and Hebrews 11:5 (printed below) tell us about Enoch?

After Enoch had lived sixty-five years he became the father of Methuselah. (22) After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God for three hundred years, and there were born to him other sons and daughters. (23) Now altogether Enoch lived three hundred and sixty-five years. (24) Enoch walked with God, then he was removed from the earth; for God took him away. (Genesis 5:21-24)

By faith Enoch was taken so that he would not experience death; and he was not found, because God took him. Before he was taken it was testified of him that he was one who was pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Enoch was an ordinary man; nothing more is said about him besides the fact he had a family. But as an ordinary man there was something extraordinary about him: “Enoch was taken so that he would not experience death.” That is to say, Enoch was never separated from fellowship with God. (In the Old Testament era, for there to be unbroken fellowship with God, what was required was an immediate translation into the presence of God. In the New Testament era the Christian’s “translation” occurs at the time of his physical departure from this present earthly life, cp. 2 Corinthians 5:8). The reason Enoch was immediately translated into glory was because he had been “pleasing to God” (Enoch walked with God, Genesis 5:22). The source of Enoch’s covenant commitment was faith: “by faith Enoch was taken.”

5. What do we learn about Lamech (see Genesis 5:28-31 printed below?) What would you say is the main characteristic of his life?

After Lamech had lived a hundred and eighty-two years, he gave birth to a son. (29) He named him Noah, saying, This one shall give us rest from the work and hard labor of our hands caused by the ground that Jehovah has cursed. (30) And Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after the birth of Noah, and there were born to him other sons and daughters. (31) Now altogether Lamech lived seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died. (Genesis 5:28-31)

The main characteristic of Lamech’s life was his hope in God. Lamech recognized that his son, Noah, would be used by God to bring salvation to His covenant people: with Noah the people of God would pass safely through the judgment and entered into a “new” creation, experiencing God’s divine blessing of rest. After the birth of Noah, Lamech had to wait 595 years, and even then he had to rest in peace without yet seeing the realization of his godly hope. Lamech’s whole life was characterized by hope in the Lord and His sure promises.