Genesis 5:21 When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methu’selah. 22 Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methu’selah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
25 When Methu’selah had lived a hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 Methu’selah lived after the birth of Lamech seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methu’selah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.
“Enoch… God took him.” Took him where? That question has been asked for hundreds of years. Chrysostom in the 4th Century asked the question and says he was asked does this mean Enoch is still alive somewhere? Chrysostom accepts a sense of mystery regarding these types of questions – we cannot know the answer. He argues we have to believe that the words mean something as the scripture is always precise in its meaning, but he acknowledges that he does not know how to answer the question and that probably the answer cannot be reached by reasonable inquiry for its meaning can be found only in God and God did not choose to reveal the depth of its meaning.
“and he was not, for God took him.” It is perhaps more than coincidental that in the Joseph story later in Genesis (chapters 37 ff), after the 10 brothers have sold Joseph into slavery they use a similar phrase to say that their one brother is no more. They use the phrase to tell the lie that he is dead when in fact they have no idea where Joseph is. The text here as well clearly implies that something mysterious occurred and Enoch’s whereabouts remain unknown.
“Let us again bless Enoch with holy words of praise, for since he was well-pleasing to the Lord, he was translated in glory: As it is written, he was seen to be too great for death, since he was manifested as a most true servant of God.” (From the Canon of the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. 2nd Sunday before Christmas)
Enoch begets Methuselah. There exists an interesting parallel between the genealogy of Cain in Genesis 4 and that of Seth in Genesis 5. In 4:18 Enoch (Cain’s son) has a grandson named Methushael. Methushael (Cain’s descendent) begets a son named Lamech, as does Lamech the descendent of Seth. The parallel list of similar names seems to scholars too identical to be coincidence, but how this happened or the purpose it serves is lost in history. Some scholars think that a single list of descendents was variously attributed to Cain or to Abel by different sources. The final editor of Genesis kept both lists in the scriptures.
Methu’selah at nine hundred and sixty-nine years of age is the Bible’s oldest man. Regardless of his age, he gets no more description than the other men in the genealogy. His great age still ends in death – humans are purely mortal beings and cannot escape death for ever.