Genesis 5 – Reasons for Boring Bible Genealogies

*These notes come from Bob Deffinbaugh’s study on Genesis 5 at

Genealogies were an important aspect of ancient culture, with the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Hittites keeping king/royalty lists. Not intended to be chronological, the lists often omitted names and were selective. Rather than implying parentage, the genealogies recorded lines of people, highlighting those of importance. Apart from names, the genealogies in Genesis, if taken literally, show long life spans that could have been a means of population, but also serve to remind that God keeps his word in judgment and salvation

The purposes of God’s program for man that were established in the first chapters of Genesis are to be carried  out through the generations of Adam by Seth, not Cain. The determining factor for ancient men’s destiny was whether they came from the generations of Seth, Godly character, or Cain, immoral character.

Some Notes:

  • There were two Lamech’s
    – Lamech (from Cain) – murderer and founder of polygamy
    – Lamech (from Seth) – Father of Noah and a Godly man
  • Cain’s line was credited with worldly progress and achievements (building the first city, technology, culture, metal workers, ranchers, musicians)
  • Seth’s line doesn’t mention any great achievements, but rather that they were men of faith and that they were producers of Godly men in whom the purposes and program of God would continue

Ultimately, we are measured by our children – Cain built a city for his son, but Seth built God into his son. Nothing is more important than ensuring our generations and genealogies center around raising Godly children

*Link to study on the rest of the chapters in Genesis


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