Genesis 4:26 MEANING

Genesis 4:26
(26) He called his name Enos.--Heb., Enosh, that is, man. We thus find language growing. Up to this time there had been two names for man: Adam, which also in Assyrian--another Semitic dialect--has the same meaning, as Sir H. Rawlinson has shown: and Ish, a being. (See on Genesis 2:23.) We have now Enosh, which, according to Frst and others, signifies mortal; but of this there is no proof. Most probably it is the generic word for man. and is used as such in the Aramaic dialects. Thus in Syriac and Chaldee our Lord is styled bar-enosh, the son of man: not the son of a mortal, but the son of man absolutely.

Then began men (Heb., then it was begun) to call upon the name of the Lord (Jehovah).--That is, the notion of Divinity began now to be attached to this name, and even in their worship men called upon God as Jehovah. Eve, as we have seen, attached no such idea to it; and when, in Genesis 4:3, we read that Cain and Abel brought an offering to Jehovah, these are the words of the narrator, who in the story of the fall had expressly styled the Deity Jehovah-Elohim, that is, Jehovah-God, or more exactly, "the coming God," in order to show that Elohim and Jehovah are one. Two hundred and thirty-five years had elapsed between the birth of Cain and that of Enos, and men had learned a truer appreciation of the promise given to their primal mother, in Genesis 3:15, than she herself had when she supposed that her first child was to win back for her the Paradise. Probably they had no exact doctrinal views about His person and nature; it was the office of prophecy "by divers portions" to give these (Hebrews 1:1). But they had been taught that "He who should be" was Divine, and to be worshipped. It is the hopeless error of commentators to suppose that Eve, and Enos, and others, knew all that is now known, and all that the inspired narrator knew. They thus do violence to the plainest language of Holy Scripture, and involve its interpretation in utter confusion. Read without these preconceived notions, the sense is plain: that the name Jehovah had now become a title of the Deity, whereas previously no such sacredness had been attached to it. It was long afterwards, in the days of Moses, that it became the personal name of the covenant God of the Jews.

4:25,26 Our first parents were comforted in their affliction by the birth of a son, whom they called Seth, that is, 'set,' 'settled,' or 'placed;' in his seed mankind should continue to the end of time, and from him the Messiah should descend. While Cain, the head of the apostacy, is made a wanderer, Seth, from whom the true church was to come, is one fixed. In Christ and his church is the only true settlement. Seth walked in the steps of his martyred brother Abel; he was a partaker of like precious faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and so became a fresh witness of the grace and influence of God the Holy Spirit. God gave Adam and Eve to see the revival of religion in their family. The worshippers of God began to do more in religion; some, by an open profession of true religion, protested against the wickedness of the world around. The worse others are, the better we should be, and the more zealous. Then began the distinction between professors and profane, which has been kept up ever since, and will be, while the world stands.And to Seth, to him also there was born a son,.... When he was an hundred and five years old, Genesis 5:6 and this is mentioned as a further proof and instance of God's goodness to Adam's family in this line, that there was a succession in it, where the true worship of God was kept, and from whence the Messiah was to arise, and as a pledge and confirmation of it:

and he called his name Enos; which is generally interpreted a weak, feeble, frail, mortal, miserable man; which Seth being sensible of, and observing the sorrows of human life, and especially an increase of them among good men through the growing corruptions of the age, gave this name to his son; though it may be observed, that the derivation of this name may be from the Arabic word "anas" (o), to be sociable and familiar; man being a sociable creature, not only in civil but in religious things, and so a reason of the name may be taken from what follows:

then began men to call upon the name of the Lord; not but that Adam and Abel, and all good men, had called upon the name of the Lord, and prayed to him, or worshipped him before this time personally, and in their families; but now the families of good men being larger, and more numerous, they joined together in social and public worship: or since it may be thought there were public assemblies for religious worship before this time, though it may be they had been neglected, and now were revived with more zeal and vigour; seeing the Cainites incorporating themselves, and joining families together, and building cities, and carrying on their civil and religious affairs among themselves, they also formed themselves into distinct bodies; and not only separated from them, but called themselves by a different name; for so the words may be rendered: "then began men to call themselves", or "to be called by the name of the Lord" (p); the sons of God, as distinct from the sons of men; which distinction may be observed in Genesis 6:2 and has been retained more or less ever since: some choose to translate the words, "then began men to call in the name of the Lord" (q); that is, to call upon God in the name of the Messiah, the Mediator between God and man; having now, since the birth of Seth, and especially of Enos, clearer notions of the promised seed, and of the use of him, and his name, in their addresses to God; see John 14:13. The Jews give a very different sense of these words; the Targum of Onkelos is,"then in his days the children of men ceased from praying in the name of the Lord;''and the Targum of Jonathan is,"this was the age, in the days of which they began to err, and they made themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord;''with which agrees the note of Jarchi,"then they began to call the names of men, and the names of herbs, by the name of the blessed God, to make idols of them:''and some of them say, particularly Maimonides (r), that Enos himself erred, and fell into idolatry, and was the first inventor of images, by the mediation of which men prayed to God: but all this seems to be without foundation, and injurious to the character of this antediluvian patriarch; nor does it appear that idolatry obtained in the posterity of Seth, or among the people of God so early; nor is such an account agreeable to the history which Moses is giving of the family of Seth, in opposition to that of Cain; wherefore one or other of the former senses is best.

(o) "Consuevit, assuevit, et familiaris evasit", Golius, col. 169. (p) "vocari de nomine Jehovae", Piscator. (q) "Ad invocandum in nomine Domini", Montanus, "vel vocare in nomine Domini", Cartwright. (r) Hilchot Obede Cochabim, c. 1. sect. 1. R, Gedaliah, Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 74. 2. Juchasin, fol. 134. 2.

Courtesy of Open Bible