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26 cause Cain slew him.
And to Seth also there was born
a son, and he called his name Enos. Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.
the pious Satya (the Just one), or Satyavrata (just in fulfilling vows) is saved, with the seven holy wise men, and that from him mankind, or Mánujás, 'the offspring of Manu,' derive their origin; in like manner, Seth is here made the first father of the pious branch of the human race, and his son is called 'Enos, which means man. Hence it may be conjectured that there are traces here of central Asiatic myths; and although the deluge does not occur in Genesis until after ten generations, there may be a foundation for this circumstance, in the innumerable intervals of the Menus (Manvantara) with their alternate creations and destructions.
Verse 26.—The addition, "Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah " has here a significant meaning1, for the descendants of Seth form the connecting link in the genealogy going down to the pious Noah, and the patriarchs continue this worship of Jehovah in subsequent times2.
1 See the introduction to Chapter IV. p. 81.
GENEALOGY OF THE PATRIARCHS BEFORE
THIS chapter is entitled, at its commencement, "the document of the history of the man," and it contains a genealogical and chronological table, extending from the first man down to Noah; so that we may consider it as a complete document in itself, and independent of the preceding episode in Chapter IV. Very probably the title of the genealogy remained unaltered by the subsequent compilers, for it can scarcely be imagined that such a title would have been interpolated at a later period, in a continuous and to outward appearance an historical narrative, although this was perhaps the case with the titles of some of the Psalms.
In Hebrew, the chapter is called a sapher, or document,—a general name, which is used to designate any complete record, without reference to its length, and even letters and contracts'. We may conjecture with great probability, from the artificial arrangement here adopted, as well as from the numbers in the genealogy, and the continuation of the line of descent in the same symmetrical manner (chap. xi. 10), down to Abraham that the Hebrew compiler must have had this genealogical table before him
1 Deut. xxiv. 1; 2 Sam. xi. 14; Jerem. xxxii. 11.
in writing. The narrative itself in the fifth chapter, as already observed, is closely connected with the first cosmogony1: it resembles that earlier portion of the book, in employing the name of Elohim; it also represents men not as if formed of earth, but as created after God's image; it describes them as created male and female, without mentioning Eve, and then declares them blessed, using the very same expressions as before (in the first chapter) 2. Owing to this connection of the two portions, we have very probably in the genealogy of this chapter a composition originally Chaldæan, from which the Hebrew writer borrowed some names3 in the episode of chapter iv., which was dictated chiefly by patriotic feeling; and it deserves attention that he has only interrupted the succession of the names in chapter v. with a single derivation, that of Noah (verse 29), and that he has gone on to the account of the flood by an intermediate description (vi. 1-8), with which he has blended his own views.
The numbers in chapter v. seem to be arbitrary, and have been deemed by some on that account historical; they extend the lives of the ten antediluvian patriarchs to above nine centuries, and have ever presented rich materials for the extravagant calculations and strange hypotheses of chronologists and physiologists. Even the Alexandrian translator, whom Josephus follows, was here occupied with a theory, which he had either invented or picked up, respecting the arrangement of the numbers, in order to relieve difficulties and to get rid of certain contradictions. He evidently set out with the idea, that men who had lived nine hundred years could not have attained puberty until they were 150 years of age; and hence, without inter2 Comp. Gen. v. 1, 2, with Gen. i. 26-28.
3 Gen. iv. 7.
1 Gen. i.-ii. 3. VOL. II.
fering with the total sum of each life, wherever he found any patriarch who had had a son born to him before he had reached 150, he postponed the birth of the son exactly one hundred years, until he came to those patriarchs whose age rendered such a change unnecessary, as they were more than 150 years old when their sons were born1. The reduced ages ascribed to the patriarchs after the flood, in the continuation of the genealogy2 (chap. xi.), have a
1 See Table by Vater.
2 [The following table will show the ages ascribed to the first twenty patriarchs both in the Hebrew genealogy and by Josephus, at the periods of the birth of the sons mentioned in Genesis, chapters v. xi. and xxi.
Total...... 1556 2156 years Total 492 1193 years The extraordinary duration of life which these twenty patriarchs are said to have attained is thus given in Genesis :Ten Patriarchs before the Flood.
Total...... 8575 years
Ten Patriarchs after the Flood.
Josephus. 112 years
Ten Patriarchs after the Flood.
Ages. 602 years 438
148 205 175
Total...... 3173 years
different relation to each other, because men could then attain puberty before their hundredth year; and consequently an arbitrary change, according to a fixed rule, may be noticed, which has also been remarked by Michaeler1.
The great longevity of the antediluvian patriarchs was received by the ancient commentators with a childlike faith, as purely historical; and it is only the moderns who have come forward, under the pressure of critical attacks, to support these numerical statements with some appearance of argument; they have alleged the age of the animals of the aboriginal world in defence of the ages of the patriarchs, and have observed that the body is maintained longer on vegetable diet, especially in a fine climate: they have cited instances from Josephus of the prolongation of the life of man to more than a century2, and have given modern illustrations of the same fact. When physiologists assure them that, from the very structure of the human body, a life of nine centuries is impossible, and that, according to our experience, two hundred years, even in the most favourable climates, is the utmost limit of man's age, they fall back on the belief that Providence here worked a miracle, in order to facilitate population and the transmission of knowledge. No account however exists of any individual who handed down the narrative of the miracle, and who saved from the flood a numerical calculation of years, which is without a parallel in more recent legends. It has been further argued on this subject, that we hear of long-lived men in the myths of other nations, as in those
1 Histor. Krit. Versuch. über die ältesten Völkerstämme (Historical and Critical Essay on the oldest National Tribes), i. 25. See especially Gesenius, de Pent. Samarit., p. 48.
2 Josephus, Arch. 1.3, 9. [He considered 600 years requisite to predict the periods of the stars.]