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Faithlife

Genesis 4b

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Genesis 4:16-17…Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.

Commentary

            After Abel’s murder Cain now does the only thing he can do: He “went out from the presence of the Lord.” Now his life is not only cursed but also away from God’s literal presence. He then makes his way to the land of “Nod” – a word that literally means “wandering.” This land is east of Eden, so if the original Garden of Eden was in fact the Promised Land of ancient Israel, the area east of it would stretch anywhere from modern-day Iraq, to Iran, to India.

            Cain then had sexual relations with his wife. The question has been posed for years about who this woman was. Keeping in mind that Adam and Eve had other children (Gen. 5:3-4), the only feasible answer is that Cain had married one of his sisters who became his wife (the Jewish historian Josephus says that the tradition in his day was that Adam ended up with 33 boys and 23 girls). With Adam and Eve as the first and only people on the planet in the beginning, their children would have to have had sexual relations with each other to begin to fill the earth. Keep in mind that this practice was neither unlawful at that time nor was it genetically dangerous. It wasn’t until Moses’ day, approximately 2500 years later, that the Law was given forbidding marriage between close relatives (Leviticus 18-20). Even during the days of Abraham (2100 BC), who married his half-sister in route to being the father of the chosen Jewish race, this practice wasn’t forbidden. The reason this is forbidden today is due to genetic deformities that have crept in through the centuries due to sin and the Curse. For instance, every person has two sets of genes that specify how a person will look, but today’s genes contain many mistakes that have crept in through the centuries. Some have one ear larger than another, and others have noses that aren’t centered. The more distant parents are relationally the more it is likely that gene pairs will have different genetic mistakes. However, when siblings come together sexually today, the likelihood of the offspring inheriting two of the exact same bad genes that their parents both possess is overwhelming, and it causes deformities. However, in Cain’s day, the gene pool was still pure and basically undefiled by sin. This made it possible for the people of that day to marry close relatives with no genetic deformities. Today this just isn’t so, and it’s not only genetically harmful but illegal as well (because of the medical ramifications).

            Cain’s wife conceives and gives birth to their firstborn whom they named Enoch (not the other Enoch of Genesis 5:21-24). This is the name, meaning “commencement,” given to the city that Cain is said to have built. The city was likely called this because it was Cain’s way of starting a new life within an area where other people also lived. God had told him he was to wander the earth, but Cain wanted to stop and settle, so he built a city. Now literally this “city” is nothing more than an isolated encampment with walls. Notice that Cain makes no effort to name the city in honor of God. Instead he honors his son and names it after him.

Food for Thought

            The first “city” was built in rebellion against God’s mandate to wander, but it reveals that man didn’t take millions of years to evolve from the Stone Age to urbanization. It occurred in the first generation after Adam. Ironically, evolutionary thought also came into being in rebellion to the creation account. Cain’s actions are reminiscent of those who live away from the presence of God who attempt to make meaningful lives for themselves away from His presence. Many do well, but they cannot avoid the fact the reality that life without God is a worthless endeavor.

Genesis 4:18-22…Now to Enoch was born Irad; and Irad became the father of Mehujael; and Mehujael became the father of Methushael; and Methushael became the father of Lamech. 19 And Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. 20 And Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 And his brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

Commentary

            Many people undertake the task of reading through the Bible, but most fail to complete this worthy task. Oftentimes it’s the genealogies that cause people to stop reading, but this ought not be. The Bible is God’s Word, and what little He’s given to us has a place. Genealogies are there for a reason, even if the reason isn’t always clear. The above genealogy lends itself to many pertinent observations. Given that one of the main points of Genesis 4 as a whole is to trace the seed of woman (God’s children) alongside the seed of the serpent (Satan’s children), we can see that the narrator is making a point about the seed of the serpent. Cain, the prototype of Satan’s children (1 John 3:12) has a son named Enoch. Enoch has Irad who has Mehujael who has Methushael. Notice that the latter two names end with “el” – one of the names of God. This  may indicate each child was named with God in mind (i.e. Daniel = “God is my judge”; Immanuel = “God with us”). There is no certainty as to what these names actually mean, and one must be careful in interpreting them. There are, however, clues that indicate great joy in these names.

            Notice also that, including Adam, the seventh name given is Lamech who reaches a new level of evil behavior. He took two wives in opposition to the clear mandate of Genesis 2:24. The name of his first wife Adah means “ornament” while Zillah means “shade.” Both names indicate that the women were beautiful and may show how physical lust had infiltrated Lamech’s life and the society around him. It’s no coincidence that Adam’s genealogy concerning the seed of woman in Genesis 5 through Seth also has seven men, but the seventh man in the godly line ends with Enoch – a man who walked with God continually till he was no more (Gen. 5:24). Furthermore, Cain’s line contains three more men (Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-Cain) while Seth’s godly line ends with the man named Noah – the “preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5).

            Even though Cain’s line contains a genealogy of evil people, these folks are also credited with many inventions. Verse 20 says that Jabal invented the tent – reminiscent of the nomadic lifestyle Cain was told to have. He also learned the fine art of domesticating animals by having livestock – an occupation that Abel originally had before his death. Jabal’s brother Jubal (“sound”) is born with a knack for music, and he is credited as being the originator of stringed and pipe instruments. The half-brother of these men, Tubal-Cain, is said to be the father of metallurgy – one who shaped bronze and iron. His sister’s name, Naamah, means “pleasant.”

Food for Thought

            The first civilization – urbanization, agriculture, cattle domestication, music and metallurgy – all came about one generation after Adam. This is in stark contrast to the evolutionary idea that cave men slowly evolved out of the Stone Age through hundreds of thousands of years. Dr. Morris says that all of these things “confirm the necessary coexistence of a written language for formal communications. This is further intimated by the use of ‘book’ in Gen. 5:1. More and more modern archaeological discoveries today are verifying the high degree of technology possessed by the earliest men, thus indirectly validating this biblical testimony.”

Genesis 4:23-24… And Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to my voice, you wives of Lamech, give heed to my speech, for I have killed a man for wounding me; and a boy for striking me; 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

25 And Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him.” 26 And to Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Commentary

Food for Thought

Theological Themes:

1.      Depravity – Man is sinfully depraved even in the Paradise of God. Human improvement does not come from changing environments.

2.      Satan (serpent) – Existence of evil

3.      Temptation – Once we set our eyes on what we cannot do, we are sure to do it.

4.      Sin – Crossing the boundaries God has given us results in alienation, deteriorating ecology, and physical & spiritual death.

5.      Clothing – After the Fall man loses his innocence which results in shame. Dress shields us from sexual temptations.

6.      Seed – Children of God and the children of the serpent (1 John 3:12)

7.      Second Adam – The first Adam, who represents all people, fails and brings death to all; the active obedience of the last Adam gives the faithful eternal life (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:45ff).

8.      Faith – Adam’s failure in his confrontation with Satan comes as a result of his and Eve’s doubting God’s goodness instead of trusting is His knowledge of what’s best.

9.      Sacrificial Suffering – If rewards for faith were given apart from sacrifice then we would serve God for self-gratification. By winning the victory through sacrifice grace is imparted.

10.  Husbands & Wives – Leave, cleave, and weave; marriage is a type of Christ’s relationship to His Church. As Christ so loved the church, so ought husbands to love their wives.

11.  The Cain in Us – Jude 11 warns us not to be like Cain – those who advocate libertarianism.

12.  Weakness – Abel signifies insignificance; Enosh signifies weakness. Together these represent true religion. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12).

I)       The world takes pride in its cultural advancements (17-24)

A)    The city becomes a lasting monument as it attempts to evade the effects of the curse (17)

B)    Advancement of culture brings enjoyment and convenience (18-22)

1)      Tenting

2)      Herding livestock

3)      Music

4)      Weapons

C)    “Except the Lord build the house the laborers labor in vain” (Ps. 127)

(Note the order of the genealogy with Lamech as 7th)

D)    The value of marriage and life are altered by human indulgence (23-24)

II)    The priority of the righteous is to preserve the knowledge of the Lord (25-26)

A)    The faithful commemorate God’s provision [in Seth] (25)

B)    The faithful proclaim God’s nature (26)

Observations:

1.      The first affluent society (self-indulgent, self-gratifying, building cities in defiance)

2.      The faithful proclaim their worship of the Lord in words.

3.     In an affluent and self-indulgent society, the righteous must preserve the knowledge of the Lord.

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