What does Genesis 5:12 mean?
ESV: When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel.
NIV: When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel.
NASB: Now Kenan lived seventy years, and fathered Mahalalel.
CSB: Kenan was 70 years old when he fathered Mahalalel.
NLT: When Kenan was 70 years old, he became the father of Mahalalel.
KJV: And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:
Verse Commentary:
Kenan, the fourth generation from Adam, lived just 70 years before he fathered Mahalalel. In the context of this passage, this seems to be a fairly early fatherhood! Then again, genealogies such as these don't mention every single child. On the contrary, it's said over and over that these men had other children. These are not necessarily a list of firstborn, but are only those in the line from Adam to Noah.

Also interesting about this passage is how the different generations overlap. Based on what's described in this passage, prior to the flood, humanity had continued access to the very first and second generation of man, up until right before the flood. In fact, Noah's father, Lamech, would have been born 56 years before Adam died. In other words, Noah and Shem both lived at the same time as someone who was a contemporary of the very first man.

This is another important aspect of the Genesis genealogies: showing that mankind had an unbroken, clear understanding of their own history prior to the flood.
Verse Context:
Genesis 5:1-32 is a bridge of genealogy connecting the time of Adam and his son Seth to the time of Noah. This brings the Bible's historical record to the era of the flood. It provides a small, but helpful set of details: early humans lived a long time, had many children, and all died as a result of ubiquitous human sin. Enoch is the exception that proves the rule, commended for walking with God and seemingly taken away before his physical death. Despite the presence of early God-worshippers such as Adam and Seth, man will quickly descend into extraordinary wickedness, as seen in chapter 6. The coming of Noah at the end of this chapter prepares us for God's response to the sins of humankind.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 5 uses a simple genealogy of Adam's descendants through Seth to link the earliest humans with the time of Noah and the flood. In the generations after the garden, human beings live extraordinarily long lives, have great numbers of children, and continue to be in relationship with God though separated from Him physically and spiritually. The description of Enoch being ''taken'' by God is the exception that proves the rule: No matter how long a person lives, sin always leads to death.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 4 ends with the birth of Seth's son Enosh, and a statement that people had begun to call on the Lord's name. Chapter 5 details the generations from Adam through Seth to Noah, connecting the time of Adam and Seth with the time of Noah and his sons as described in chapter 6. This sets the stage for God's judgment of mankind's pervasive sin in the flood.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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