“Enoch lived 65 years, and he had a son Methuselah. Enoch walked
with God for 300 years after he had Methuselah, and he had sons and
daughters. All of Enoch’s years were 365 years. Enoch walked with God,
and he was no more because God had taken him.”

Bible studies with Don Isaac Abravanel’s commentary (also spelled Abarbanel) has withstood the test of
time. For over five centuries, Abravanel has delighted – and enlightened – clergy and layman alike,
offering enduring interpretations of the Bible.

Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) was a preeminent Jewish thinker, scholar, and prolific Biblical
commentator. In Genesis chapter 5, the Bible provides a sketch of Enoch, albeit an enigmatic one.
Abravanel’s portrayal of Enoch adds much to our understanding of Enoch’s conflicted soul, as we shall
now see.

Abravanel begins by comparing verses pertaining to Enoch and Noah, both exemplary men described as
individuals who “walked with God.” He asks: Why does Enoch’s verse praising him tack on mention of
Methuselah: “Enoch walked with God after he had Methuselah”, yet Noah’s verse does not, as it says:
“Noah walked with God"?

Furthermore, why does the Bible use puzzling language to convey Enoch’s death: “And he was no more
because God had taken him?” Wouldn’t it suffice to simply say that Enoch died?

Abravanel answers these questions, and by so doing, gives Bible students key insights into Enoch’s inner
struggles to keep the faith.

To properly understand Enoch, Bible students need to first assess from whom he descended. Who was
his father, grandfather, great-grandfather etc.? Abravanel traces ten generations of righteous
personalities, starting with Adam leading to Noah. Each one, in his own unique way, served the Maker.
These men put God front and center, as far as their principles and conduct was concerned.

The Bible points out that each of these truth seekers set their minds and souls to learning God’s ethos,
His values. Consequently, they delayed marriage until they were older and religiously mature. Enoch
deviated from his ancestors’ precedence, marrying much younger than his illustrious forebears.

This suggests, Abravanel writes, a less than flattering observation about “young” Enoch. He was sex
crazed. That explains why he ran headlong into marriage so early, unlike his noble predecessors.

After Enoch’s marriage and after his son Methuselah was born, Enoch regrouped. He found God. See
Abravanel’s World to learn about the driving force behind Enoch’s transformation. Laudably, Enoch
served his Creator. “Enoch walked with God for 300 years after he had Methuselah…” In a word, Enoch
reinvented himself.

But, he also remained with his wife, begetting sons and daughters. Compare Enoch’s family life with
Adam’s. Abravanel teaches that after Adam fathered Cain and Abel, he temporarily separated from Eve
for purposes of realigning his goals, putting his life in order – alone.

In brief, we have outlined Enoch’s inner struggles. On the one hand, he aspired to Godliness, while on
the other hand he sought spousal intimacy. Heaven looked down on Enoch’s conflicted soul, and had
mercy: “And he was no more because God had taken him.”

Genesis Chapter 5

Based on Abravanel’s World of Torah, by Zev Bar Eitan