Here is some interesting insight into the meaning of the names from Adam to Noah that I heard recently from a Bible class teacher. There is nothing in the Bible that isn’t for our benefit. Every name given, or number mentioned has significance in the story being told. So is the case with the names of those in the genealogical line of Jesus. The meaning of these names has been lost in the translation over into English, but a study into their meanings will reveal a hidden message about Christ.
Unlike our Western names, Hebrew names took on a literal meaning to describe a person. While a Hebrew concordance usually works great for translation, the names of individuals are typically taken as the roots of other words. For example, beginning with Adam, who was formed from the dust of the ground, he was simply named ‘adam, meaning ‘man,’ the root word of ‘adamah, meaning ground. “And the LORD God formed man ‘adam of the dust of the ground ‘adamah…” (Gen 2:7)
We also have the example of Enoch the prophet who named his son Methuselah “his death shall bring.” Enoch was prophesying the coming of the flood at the death of his son, nearly 969 years later. We see in Genesis 6:3 the prophecy come to light when God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” One hundred and twenty years later, in the same year Methuselah died, the flood came.
So from Adam and continuing with the genealogy to Noah, we have:
- Adam (adamah) : man
- Seth : appointed
- Enosh (anosh) : mortal
- Kenan : sorrow
- Mahalal’el : (mahalal) blessed (El) God
- Jared (yaradh) : shall come down
- Enoch : teaching
- Methuselah : (muth) his death (shalach) shall bring
- Lamech : despairing, lamenting
- Noah : comfort or rest
Here’s where it gets interesting. Put all of those meanings into a sentence: Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow, (but) the blessed God shall come down teaching. His death shall bring (the) despairing comfort and rest.
There’s more than coincidence going on here. This is a great testament to the coming Messiah!