Do you know who was the oldest man whose age is recorded in the Bible? Of course you do – Methuselah at 969 years. Everybody knows that! Well how about the second oldest? Do you know him? Have you ever heard of Jared? He was the second oldest man and he lived 962 years. Yet, how many times do you hear his name mentioned? What did he ever do? Is he well known because he came in second or for any other reason for that matter? We'll explore that a bit in today's devotional.
“Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died.” (Genesis 5.18; all emphasis mine, above and below, jb). Maybe today's devotional is about the fact that rarely do we remember who finished second (like Jared, for instance). But, perhaps it is about something more important. Some 29 times the New King James version says (of various people of course), “and he died.” It could have said it 29 hundred times, or 29 million times for that matter. After all that is the common fate of all men, right?
Well, not exactly. For what is Jared to be remembered? For the fact that he lived to be second oldest of all men recorded in the Bible? Or, maybe it is something else! Jared's one son that is mentioned by name in the genealogy of Genesis 5 was named Enoch; Jared had sons and daughters, but their names are not recorded. However, the one name that is recorded is unique, not the name, but the person. Of all the people listed in the Genesis 5, two do not have their lives appended by the terse statement, “and he died.” Noah's epitaph is not written in Genesis 5, but it is recorded later; Genesis 9.28-29 says, “And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.” So, counting Noah, 9 out of the 10 patriarch have their histories appended with the statement, and he died! But what about the tenth patriarch?
The scripture says concerning Jared's one named son, “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5.21-24). The wording is different because the ending is different. “And he died” does not apply to Enoch. He is one of the two people in the Old Testament who were translated; he did not see death. The human author of Genesis said, “Enoch walked with God.” The writer of the Hebrews epistle said this about him: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, 'and was not found, because God had taken him'; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11.5). Just as a matter of record the other Old Testament worthy not to see death was Elijah (see 2 Kings 2.1-11).
So Jared, though rarely mentioned and somewhat obscure, was the father of Enoch, a man who walked with God and who was translated into heaven without seeing death. We know nothing of Jared's character, but we know he was a success as a father! At the “young age” of 527 years, Jared lost his eldest son, but he didn't lose him! We know nothing of the circumstances of Enoch's translation, but our minds can ponder the man who later would have the words “and he died” said about him, how it might have been to see his righteous son taken to heaven because he walked with God. Talk about a proud father; I imagine he was one! Had he lived today, I think we could spot Jared by the bumper sticker on his car saying, “I am the proud parent of a son who walked with God!”
1. How do we know that Enoch was taken directly to heaven and did not just disappear from sight?
2. What kind of father do you think Jared was?
3. How was Enoch described so far as his fellowship with God was concerned?
4. Who was the second man in the Old Testament who was translated (i.e. did not die)?
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