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(Gen 1:1 - 6:8)

B'resheet/Genesis 5:24   ... and he was no more, for G-d had taken him


This intriguing piece of text has interested scholars in many generations and places, as they try to work out exactly what this means. What Is ...

Targum Jonathan: An early (1st-2nd Century CE) translation/paraphrase of the Prophets into Aramaic; attributed to the 1st century Jewish scholar Jonathan ben Uzziel; similar to Targum Onkelos, but at times a looser paraphrase
Targum Jonathan paraphrases this to say, "he was not with the sojourners of the earth, for he was withdrawn and he ascended to heaven by the word of G-d." Who Is ...

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity
Rashi suggests that although Enoch was a righteous man, he was not firm enough in his convictions, so that he might have ended up committing sin had he stayed longer on this earth. Consequently, he was taken away from the world before that happened. It is clear that Enoch's departure was by the hand of G-d because the word , 'took' is used in the same way in Ezekiel 24:16 when G-d tells Ezekiel that He is going to take his wife from him.

Whether we accept the Sages' suggestions about Enoch's character or not, the Scriptures are explicit that G-d knows the measure of man, "for G-d sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the L-rd looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, NASB), "for the L-rd searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts" (1 Chronicles 28:9, NASB). Indeed, although many people saw Yeshua's signs and miracles and 'believed in Him', He didn't commit Himself to them, "for He Himself knew what was in man" (John 2:25, NASB).

It is good that our G-d knows and remembers that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14, KJV). He values us and takes care that we are not placed in situations that we cannot, in His strength, handle; He does not set us up for failure. Rav Sha'ul speaks of this when he tells the believers at Corinth, "No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and G-d can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation He will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure" (1 Corinthians 10:13, CJB).

This shouldn't be taken as an excuse, whenever the going gets a little rough, to cry 'Wolf!' and expect the L-rd to pull us out of testing circumstances. Rav Sha'ul also writes about us having to take up the whole armour of G-d so "that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:13, NASB). But it does give us the assurance that whatever happens, in Him, we can withstand. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors in through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37, NRSV).

Further Study: 1 Peter 5:7; James 4:7

Application: When we get into difficulties, we often shout for help and expect the L-rd to wave a 'magic wand' and make things better. Do you have any areas in your life where you are trying to bail out and avoid having to stand and deal with the issues?

© Jonathan Allen, 2008

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