This verse seemed simple enough: Seth is born, represents a fresh start of sorts for humanity - a good guy, gives birth to a son (Enosh) who is connected to a spiritual revival.
My goal was to simply clarify what "then men began to call upon the name of the LORD" was supposed to mean. After all, Adam & Eve spoke openly to God back in the garden of Eden and Eve herself praises Him following Abel's birth in Genesis 4:1 ("'I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD'").
NOTE: The majority of the post hereafter comes from the article "Enos' Legacy: Owning God" from the Grace Bible Church. I've only quoted snippets to get my points across, but I'd encourage you to read the whole thing as it contains many more nuggest of gold.
For a guy who seems to be leading the people back to God, you'd expect Enosh to have a good strong name indicative of his role. Instead, a translation of the root word for his name reveals it to mean: weak, sick, frail, and feeble. What?! Don't look now, but the translatory surprises have only just, began...
In Genesis 4:26 “began” is the translation of the Hebrew word "chalal." This is a root word meaning "to profane, defile, pollute." In Exodus 20:25 we read: "And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it." Here "polluted" is the same word translated as "began" in Genesis 4:26. [...]Cross-Examining the Bible
This verse does not record when men began to truly worship but this is when men began to call themselves or their gods by the name of the Lord. [...]
Additionally, it should be noticed that there does not appear to be any response from God to the supposed appeals of Enos and his fellow "worshippers." For more then 900 years, God is silent. Not until He decides to destroy the earth does He communicate with men and then only through Noah. So, it would seem that if the men in Genesis 4:26 are calling out to Jehovah, he is not willing to respond their request. [...]
What are we to learn from Genesis 4:25-26? We learn that Cain, at long last, has past off the scene and I think we are happy to see him go. [...] And, at first, as we read of Seth and Enos, our hopes are raised. Perhaps mankind has forsaken their sinfulness in favor of a life of holiness. But, alas, we have learned that our optimism is misplaced.
By interpreting verse 26 in such a way, I find myself in the awkward position of backing Jewish rather than Christian scholars. And while this verse isn't of the upmost importance in the grand scheme of things, I have to admit that the prospect of completely disagreeing with every single major Christian translation of this verse does shake my confidence in them.
That said, I consider the experience to be a positive one, regardless of whether or not someone does come along to prove me wrong on this particular point as it only reinforces the need for us to not simply take anyone's word about scripture - be it a Pastor's or Bible translation - for granted, but to examine the Scripture carefully for ourselves.
"...for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)
(back to Genesis 4)