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  • Dr. David Neiman

Genesis, Chapter 5 – Hanokh and Methuselah

When we come to the age of Hanokh, the seventh on the list, we read that his life on earth is given as 365 years. But the account of Hanokh is unlike all the others. Of each of the individuals listed before the Flood, except for Hanokh, it is said that he had sons and daughters, lived a number of years and died. Only of Hanokh does the account change. It starts as do the others with the statement "Hanokh lived sixty-five years and had Methuselah." Then it continues, "But Hanokh walked with (accompanied) God after the birth of Methuselah for 300 years and begat other sons and daughters. And all the days of Hanokh were 365 years. And Hanokh accompanied God and he was not, for God had taken him." This passage is remarkable and most unusual. Unlike all the others, it does not say that he died. His "walking with God" is also unique in terms of his lifespan and his transformation.33

The explanation of the figure of Hanokh must be sought in its relation to the figure of Enmen-dur-an-ki in the Babylonian King List. Enmen-dur-an-ki is the one possessed of knowledge of all that is in heaven and on earth. He is the Learned One, the Scientist-Philosopher. He is also the beloved of Shamash, the Sun-God, who is the patron deity of Law, Order, Science and all higher Wisdom. The biblical Hanokh is also the "Learned One," the one who has superior knowledge. He is also the favorite of God the Creator, for he "walks with God." He is also transfigured from living to not being, for it is said that "he was not." And the number of the years he lived on earth is 365, the number of days in the annual Solar cycle. It seems that in the biblical list of Genesis 5 we have a close approximation to the Babylonian King List and a transference and translation of Enmen-dur-an-ki, beloved of Shamash, the Sun-God, to Hanokh in the biblical list, whose god, with whom he walked, seems to be somehow related to the solar cycle of 365.

Skinner, in his Commentary to the Book of Genesis points out what becomes clearly apparent in a study of the Babylonian King List and its relationship to Genesis, chapter 5.

The parallel between No. 7 in the biblical list, Hanokh and Babylonian Enmeduranki is undeniable. And the tenth name in both cases is the hero of the Flood. Slight as these coincidences are, it is a mistake to minimize their significance. "When we have two parallel lists of equal length, each terminating with the hero of the Flood, each having the name for 'man' in the third place and a special favorite of the gods in the seventh, it is too much to ask us to dimisss the correspondence as fortuitous. The historical connexion between the two traditions is still obscure, . . .but that a connexion exists it seems unreasonable to deny." 34

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