When Lamech was 182, he had a son, and said “From the very ground on which the LORD put a curse, this child will bring us relief from all our hard work”, so he named him Noah (v28-29)
The name Noah sounds similar to the Hebrew word for comfort. The NIV translates this verse as:
He will comfort us in the labour and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed (See also Genesis 3 v 17-19)
Lamech was obviously getting very tired and as the world was getting worse, it seems that very few people were continuing to follow God, they were suffering the consequences of the cursed soil.
For creation was condemned to lose it’s purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8 v 20-21)
Lamech had the hope that God would relieve them from their burden of hard work and is the only person that would have known each of his ancestors back to Adam as well as Noah and his children.
It is not clear exactly how long it took Noah to build the ark but it was anything up to 100 years. Lamech died only a few years before the flood and his father Methuselah died in the year of the flood so they would have known about it and the judgement coming. Hopefully they would have helped Noah as it would have been a pretty impossible task to complete on his own and later Noah’s sons could have helped so in the later stages there could have been six of them working together. Reading ahead though, it is also possible that Noah was alone with his sons. When God gave him the instructions to build the ark God says that he is the only one who is righteous, so did Methuselah die before the flood or in it? It is interesting to note that Methuselah apparently means “when he dies; judgement” His father Enoch was known to be a Godly man and certainly Lamech’s naming of Noah was prophetic as after the flood in Genesis 8 v 21-22 God promised not to put the earth under a curse again.
After Noah was 500 years old, he had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth (v 32)
Now a curious thing I’ve noticed here is that there is no further detail on the dates relating to the births of Noah’s three sons. All the previous records state “When … was … years old, he had a son, but when we come to Noah’s 3 sons it says “After Noah was 500 years old, he had three sons”. Were they triplets? or was it just deemed unnecessary to record their ages. The only accurate mention we have is in Genesis 11 v 10 where it tells us that two years after the flood, Shem was 100 years old. Translations differ in relation to Genesis 10 v 21 in that some refer to Shem as being the elder brother, whereas others interpret the Hebrew word ha-gadol (“the elder”) as referring to Japheth. The order of the names given is not necessarily the order of birth but it is Shem’s line which is then followed down to Abraham and further so it may be that his name is placed first as he becomes the most important in the future records.