Chronicles 1:1-4

“Adam, Sheth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

First Chronicles starts in a most unusual way by simply listing the generations of people from the time of Adam onwards. What can such a list of names possibly mean?

When we read genealogies like this in the Bible, we often forget that in Bible times the name that someone was given meant something. So it would be interesting to see what the names of these patriarchs in 1 Chronicles 1:1-3 means.

Adam means Man. Seth means appointed. There are a couple of places in the Bible where puns are used on a person’s name, which we miss in English. For example, Genesis 4:25 reads:

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth (which means appointed), for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”

Enosh means mortal, reminding us that as sinners we will not live forever. Kenan means sorrow – reminding us that death has brought us sorrow. Mahalalel means the God who is to be praised. Jared means he shall come down. Enoch means teacher. Methuselah means His death will bring it about. It is interesting that Methuselah died the same year that the Flood came. Lamech means weary, and Noah means peace. When we put all these together, we read “Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the God who is to be praised shall come down teaching that His death shall bring the weary rest”. Those names read like a statement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Father, we know that even from the beginning of the world, You had Your plan of salvation for us, and You never left us without the means of salvation. We praise and thank You. Amen.

Ref: Taylor, P.F. (4th edition, 2016), Itching Ears, (Castle Rock, WA: J6D Publications), p. 196. Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

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