Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In Genesis 5:28-29 we read about Lamech naming his son Noah, but what he says as he does so has me wondering. With Gen 5:29 it seems Lamech almost knew something in advance.

Genesis 5:29 And he (Lamech) called his name Noah, saying, "This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed."

Other than Adam, Lamech is the only father before the flood we get a quote from.

Did Lamech somehow know Noah would bring some type of relief?

share|improve this question
This question is well presented, shows some research effort and is intriguing. –  user2027 Feb 6 '14 at 5:18
It might also be of note that Lamech is one of two patriarchs whose father was still active after him. Enoch was translated before the death of Jared. Methusaleh and Jared have the longest life spans in Genesis 5 while their sons have the shortest. –  Frank Luke Oct 20 '14 at 13:16

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On the surface, this question sounds unanswerable.

What do we know about Lamech? He lived 777 years, dying approximately 5 years before the flood. Methuselah, Lamech's father, died within a year of the flood (as late as in the flood, but this isn't known). Lamech's lifespan was unusually short (118 years shorter than anyone else whose age at death is mentioned) for that time. Does that provide any clues?

What we know of how God used Noah regarding the flood doesn't suggest to me that he particularly gave his father any comfort. Nothing is said of anything Noah did for his father, nor what his father thought of the long project of building the boat.

Perhaps Lamech was just tired of hard work (Ge 3:17-19) and looked forward to Noah helping him in that burdensome toil.

It seems unlikely to me that Lamech chose this name for Noah with knowledge of the future. It is curious that he is one of a few people quoted (though this, by itself, is not necessarily a mark of good distinction, Ge 4:23-24), but without any other evidence in the text to support it, the simplest answer ties in with God's curse on the man.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.