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Who was Enoch in the Bible?

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There are at least four different men in the Bible named Enoch (Genesis 4:17; 5:18; 25:4; 46:9). We should note that, in Genesis 25:4 and Genesis 46:9, the NIV gives the name “Hanok,” while some other translations, such as the Darby translation, give the name “Enoch” instead. In both verses, the name “Hanok” is from the same Hebrew word translated “Enoch” in Genesis 4:17 and Genesis 5:18. Other translations say “Hanoch” or “Henoch.” The only difference is one of English spelling.

It is only the Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5:18 that the Bible gives any significant information about. This Enoch was the great-great-great-great-grandson of Adam. Genesis 5:22–24 says, “After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

Hebrews 11:5 gives a little more detail: “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” This being “taken away” is what Enoch is most famous for. Only two people in the Bible are said to have been chosen by God to escape death, Enoch and Elijah. Enoch appears to have been given this privilege due to being a man who walked faithfully with God (Genesis 5:24) and pleased God (Hebrews 11:5). For what purpose was Enoch taken away? The Bible does not specifically say. The most common assumption is so that he could serve as one of the two witnesses, alongside Elijah, in the end times.

There are also three pseudepigraphal books using Enoch’s name, with 1 Enoch being the most well known, often referred to as the Book of Enoch. None of the pseudepigraphal books of Enoch were actually written by the biblical Enoch. However, since the biblical book of Jude quotes from 1 Enoch and attributes the quotation to the biblical Enoch (Jude 14), at least that one small prophecy must be truly attributable to the biblical Enoch.

Enoch draws a lot of attention due to the mystery surrounding him. Far too much speculation has gone into how and why God took Enoch away. Instead of conjecturing, we should be seeking to follow Enoch’s example by being men and women who walk faithfully with God and seek to please Him with our lives.

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Who was Enoch in the Bible?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022