What are we to make of the brief and enigmatic tale of Enoch (Gen 5:21-24)? What do “walked with God,” “was not,” and “God took him” mean?

Let us take these three descriptions of Enoch apart. Enoch was not the only one in the Bible who is said to have “walked with God,” or to have “walked before God,” but it is certainly remarkable that the text says twice that Enoch walked with God (Gen 5:22, 24). The first time, the text says he did so “after he began Methuselah three hundred years,” which seems to imply that Enoch made some manner of improvement after the birth of his son. In any event, throughout the Bible, such metaphors are used to describe, essentially, a God-fearing, faithful, and righteous person. Noah also “walked with God (6:9), and Abram was invited to “walk before me” (17:1). Next, what of the rather enigmatic phrase that Enoch “was not” (אַיִן, ayin)? As Matthew Henry puts it, this probably means Enoch “was not to be found.” I might add: he was not among his fellow men, probably nowhere on earth, and very probably not anywhere in ordinary spacetime. Then we have the very terse explanation: “for God took him.” (5:24) A name is later put on the mystery: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Heb. 11:5) This might have happened in the way that happened with Elijah (2 Kings 2:11: “by a whirlwind” and in “a chariot of fire”) or Jesus (e.g., Luke 24:51; he was “carried up into heaven”).