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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?

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    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
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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.

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I have a line of thought on this that leads to a conclusion that Lamech would have had what he considered divine insight into an expectation that his son, Noah, was likely destined to play a role of rescuer in the plans of God.

  1. Two of the antediluvian fathers listed in Gen.5 are said to have "walked with God". This is seemingly always taken by commentators to refer to the idea that they stood out as men who led righteous lives. However, I think this refers to the idea that God, in physical form, visited them, both Enoch (5:21-23) & Noah (6:9), and walked & talked with them (as He did with Adam).

All of the fathers listed in Gen.5 are godly men from the godly line of Adam through Seth. Contrasted to this is the ungodly line of Cain listed in Gen.4. To say that two of these fathers of Gen.5 'walked righteously with God' is redundant to the idea that all these fathers of Gen.5 walked righteously with God. Therefore, it stands out that these two men received special earthly visitation from God that informed them of His future plans.

Enoch, so informed from God, would attach prophetic significance when naming his son Methuselah, which can be translated: 'his death shall bring judgment'.

  1. Lamech lived the first 113 years of his life with Enoch, his grandfather, still alive on earth. I don't think it strains logic to consider that during those years Enoch spoke to his grandson of the significance of Methuselah's name and other details that God had directly imparted to him. In fact, Enoch & God were still having their 'walks' during the first part of Lamech's lifetime. So, Lamech was living daily with an expectation that God had plans for a future catastrophe. (Noah would be born 69 years after Enoch was translated to Heaven)

Therefore, it is conceivable that direct details were passed from God, through Enoch, unto Lamech about specific future plans for specific offspring of Enoch (i.e. Noah). If this was not entirely settled in this manner, it is also possible that Lamech, considering the life-expectancy of Methuselah and his knowledge of God's plan, calculated that either he or his son would be the family head who would represent the godly line after Methuselah's death when judgment would be due.

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Genesis 5:29 cites the words of Noah's father Lamech. The words themselves point back to the words of God in Genesis 3:15-19. These verses speak of the curse that God put on the ground and the endless toil that would ensue in order to get the ground to produce food. These verses also set up a solution to the problem: the arrival of the offspring of the woman who would defeat the Serpent and lift the curse from the ground. This was the great expectation from the very beginning: who would be that person?

When Eve was about to give birth to Cain she said as recorded in Genesis 4:1,

“I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

Cain, of course, killed Abel and received an added curse: In Genesis 4:11–12 we see God's decree to Cain:

"And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

He obviously was not the one prophesied to lift the curse!

As Eve gave birth to her next child after Abel she also alluded to that expectation:

"And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” (Genesis 4:25)

The search for the deliverer who would bring rest to a weary world continued. We can presume that this expectation continued with each of the descendants of Eve all the way to Noah.

This then explains the words of Noah's father, Lamech.

“Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”

His expectation was that his son Noah would bring rest to a tired humanity and would lift the curse from the ground. Noah came very close to being that person considering that those that listened to his preaching and obeyed were saved from the flood. But in the end he, like all the rest of humanity, fell into sin, thereby disqualifying himself from being the fulfillment of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15.

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  • Good points. I edited for some formatting around the scriptures. They can be set off by using the ">" symbol in front of the verse. Will you cite the translation sources for the scriptures you have quoted? (KJV, ESV, etc.) – Gina Mar 28 '18 at 9:32
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The Curse:

Genesis 3:17 reads;

"And to the man[a] he said,“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,and have eaten of the treeabout which I commanded you,‘You shall not eat of it,’cursed is the ground because of you in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life."

[a] Footnote "to Adam"

The prophesy of Lamech concerning his faithful son Noah reads;

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."

The prophesy of Lamech was fulfilled when God lifted the curse after the flood, when Noah made a burnt offering on an altar: Genesis reads;

Genesis 8:20-21 (NRSV)

God’s Promise to Noah

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

With the lifting of the curse the ground was made easier to cultivate and more productive. Genesis reads;

Genesis 8:22 (NRSV)

"As long as the earth endures,seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,summer and winter, day and night,shall not cease.”

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