Genesis 4

 

Genesis 4: 1 -- the birth of Cain
Genesis 4: 2 -- the birth of Abel and their later occupations
Genesis 4: 3 -- Cain's offering
Genesis 4: 4 -- Abel's offering and God's reaction
Genesis 4: 5-- Cain's reaction
Genesis 4: 6-7 -- God speaks to Cain
Genesis 4: 8 -- Cain kills Abel
Genesis 4: 9 -- God confronts Cain
Genesis 4: 10 -- evidence of premeditation
Genesis 4: 11-12 -- the consequences
Genesis 4: 13 -- "my punishment" or "my crime"?
Genesis 4: 14 -- driven from the earth
Genesis 4: 15 -- the mark of Cain
Genesis 4: 16 -- Cain in Nod
Genesis 4: 17 -- Cain's city
Genesis 4: 18 -- Cain's progeny
Genesis 4: 19 -- Lamech
Genesis 4: 20-22 -- Lamech's children
Genesis 4: 23 -24 -- Lamech's boast
Genesis 4: 25-26 -- Seth
Genesis 5:1a -- Adam's closing statement

 

Genesis 4:1

 NIVAdam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.  she said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”

 KJVAnd Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

Alex. LXXAnd Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and brought forth Cain and said, I have gained a man through God.

HebrewAnd the man knew Eve his wife.  And she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have gotten a man child Jehovah.”

There is an interesting difference between what the Hebrew is actually saying and what all the translations say. Consider: Eve had been present when God told Satan the seed of the woman would crush his head. Eve was the only woman on earth. Here is her first child. The Hebrew makes it evident she thought this was the Messiah. It also makes it evident that they were aware, from the first, that the Messiah, the Savior, would be God Himself. The book of Job, which is the earliest completed book of the Bible, also makes this plain:

from Job: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And yet after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh will I see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes -- I, and not another. How my heart yearns for him!" (Job 19:25-27)

It is the translators who have changed the meaning so that Eve says ''with the help of the Lord," or "from the Lord," or "through God." The Hebrew does not say any of those things.

The word most of the verses use for Adam being intimate with his wife is that he 'knew' her. This is the same reference Jesus makes in defining eternal life: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3) This also emphasizes that spiritual death is to be apart from God, to not have an intimate relationship with Him.

And this brings up another point: God uses the physical things on earth to give us some concept of spiritual realities. Jesus used fields and animals and harvesting -- the natural things the people knew -- to help them at least have an idea of some very deep truths. In this same way, there is only one physical picture of Jesus entering a person's life and a new life being created as the person is "born again." That is sex. And that simple connection helps us to understand why Satan is so intent on perverting this act. God has commanded no sex outside of marriage. We who are believers are the bride of Christ. If the picture can be destroyed then the truth is less known, less understood. Those, today, who believe sex should be confined to the marriage of a man and a woman are called "prudish" and "old-fashioned," or perhaps "religious freaks." But spiritually it is directly related to the first Commandments -- "You shall have no other gods before me...you shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God....."

 

Genesis 4:2

NIVLater she gave birth to his brother Abel.  Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.

KJVAnd she again bare his brother Abel.  And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Alex. LXXAnd she again bore his brother Abel.  And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

HebrewAnd she continued to bare his brother Abel.  And became Abel a shepherd of flocks, and Cain became a tiller of the ground.

Again the Hebrew may be throwing us a bit of a curve. "And she continued to bare his brother Abel." Were the boys twins? The Hebrew word translated "continued" is "yacaph," meaning to add, augment, or continue to do something. Or were they separated by some time as the other later translations seem to indicate? When we go back to the earliest, the Alexandrian LXX, we only have 'again,' which could go either way. Would Eve have said "I have gotten a manchild, Jehovah" if there were two babies at once? Probably not. This is not related in any way to any salvation doctrine, so it is simply a matter of curiosity.

“Cain”  means “acquisition” or “to chant, wail, or lament” also “spear” --  it depends on which dictionary you use and which vowels are used. “Abel” – means "fresh, grassy, meadow." This seems to indicate that these are adult names and not given at birth. Eve was not named Eve at first, only 'woman.' Many of the names in the Bible seem to be adult names, not the names which would be given newborn babies.

Why was Abel a keeper of sheep when everyone was vegetarian? Wool and milk immediately come to mind. It needs to be noted also that selective breeding through the millenia have made sheep and goats different animals. However the indications are that they are part of the same kind, originating from the same original type of animal. In addition, it also needs to be noted that the word translated ‘flocks’ or ‘sheep,’ is not nearly so specific.  It is ‘tson,’ and from an unused root meaning ‘to migrate.’  The indication is that Abel moved his flocks from place to place.  Cain, however, would have been in one basic area, working the ground.

 

Genesis 4:3

NIVIn the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.

KJVAnd in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 

Alex. LXXAnd it was so after days that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice to the LORD.

HebrewAnd it was in the end of days that brought Cain from the fruit of the ground an offering to Jehovah.

The word translated 'offering' in three of those translations is "minchah." It comes from an unused root meaning "to apportion, to bestow, or a donation; often bloodless; specifically a sacrificial offering." The choice of the Hebrew scholars who translated the word into Greek was "thusia," which comes from a word meaning sacrifice. This is going to be a clue regarding God's judgment.

Often Cain's sacrifice is criticized because it was not a blood sacrifice, but that is not the reason God was displeased, as shown below. Numbers 18:12, and other places, commands sacrifices of the firstfruits of the crops and the best of the crops. The clue here is that the best is given to the Lord, not leftovers.

 

Genesis 4:4

NIVBut Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.  The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,

KJVAnd Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Alex. LXXAnd Abel, he also brought of the firstborn of his sheep and of his fatlings, and God looked upon Abel and his gifts,

HebrewAnd Abel he also brought from the firstlings of his flocks, even from their fat.  And looked Jehovah to Abel and to his offering:

When the NIV and KJV translators added "with favor" and "with respect" to the LORD's looking on Abel's offering, they were not adding meaning -- they were clarifying meaning. God 'looking' on something was idiomatic for His approval, and that meaning has been lost through the years.

The fatty portions of meat are the tenderest and most flavorful. The firstlings, or the first lambs/kids born that year would not have had the layers of fat on them that adults could have, so it was not simply the white fat offered to the Lord. It was the tenderest portions of meat -- those marbled with fat.

It is interesting that it was evidently already known that the firstborn and firstfruits were to be given to the Lord.

 

Genesis 4:5

NIVBut on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.  So Cain was very angry and his face was downcast.

KJVBut unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Alex. LXXBut Cain and his sacrifices he regarded not,  and Cain was exceedingly sorrowful and his countenance fell.

Hebrew and to Cain and to his offering not did he look.  And glowed Cain greatly and fell his face.

The word translated ‘angry, wroth, sorrowful, glowed’ is from a primitive root meaning “to glow, to melt, to burn, to dry up or to kindle or incite passion (by extension)." Is the indication that Cain was deeply embarrassed at first, rather than angry?  Was his reaction embarrassment and depression (his face fell)?

.

Genesis 4:6-7

NIVThen the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry?  Why is your face downcast?” If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

KJVAnd the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth?  And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?  and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.  And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Alex LXXAnd the LORD God said to Cain, Why are you become very sorrowful, and why is your countenance fallen? Have you not sinned if you have brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? Be still, to you shall be his submission, and you shall rule over him."

HebrewAnd said Jehovah to Cain, why have you glowed?  And why has fallen your face? Is there not if you do well, exaltation?  And if not you do well at the door sin is crouching and towards you its desire is.  But you should rule over it.

We have, both here and in the following passages, direct quotes from those involved. This is Adam's tablet. Was Adam, then, present at these times?

Cain is having personal communication with God using regular conversation. Here is an indication that Christ Himself was present to be talked to there between the cherubim in the flaming whirlwind at the entrance to the garden.

It is here, in the LXX -- the earliest translation -- we have the reason for God's refusal to accept Cain's offering. It was not a sacrifice. Cain did not give God the best. It was not 'rightly divided.' It was brought in the right way, and then, evidently, Cain held back the best part for himself. It is in the LXX we see God telling Cain to 'be still.' Cain's heart must have been in turmoil. The question in the LXX is who is going to submit to Cain? Who will he rule over?

The Masoretic translations all refer to the 'it' or 'him' in terms of sin. When it is 'him,' we then presume it is Satan. We have at least always thought it referred to sin.

But perhaps there is something else meant which the Council of Jamnia either did not understand or intentionally changed: Cain was the oldest. His was the birthright.

Whichever is correct, the fact is that God is personally and in spoken language explaining to Cain what his error was in the LXX. That explanation is not present in the later translations. Why not? Several ideas come to mind, but opinions and ideas are only opinions and ideas.

The word “sin” in the LXX is from a primitive root meaning ‘to miss.’   The 'target' which was missed would be obedience to God's will. Missing that, often on purpose, is sin. In the Masoretic translations, God is telling Cain the tendency, the inclination, to sin is right there with you. If this is the real meaning of the verse, then the answer is in the New Testament: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) Since God is the same, past, present and future, this would have applied to Cain as well.  

 

Genesis 4:8

NIVNow Cain said to his brother, Abel, “Let’s go out into the field.”  And while they were in the field Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

KJVAnd Cain talked with Abel his brother:  and it came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Alex. LXXAnd Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go out into the plain; and it came to pass that when they were in the plain Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

HebrewAnd talked Cain with Abel his brother; and as they were in the field, rose up Cain against Abel his brother and killed him.

Very often the Bible will compress time enormously. For instance, in verse 2 above, Abel is born and is a keepeer of sheep. Presumably not as a newborn! So we really have no biblical indication of how much time elapsed between the problem with the offering/sacrifice and the murder of Abel. Because this event follows the problem immediately in the passage, we normally think it was pretty quickly after. That may be correct. Or Cain may have been holding this grudge in his heart and letting it build for some time.

Did Cain plan to kill Abel? That is not directly stated, but it does seem to be implied, as he took Abel out, away from Eden, away from other people, where they would be alone. He took him out to a field, or plain. This would have been Abel's territory, as he was a keeper of the flocks.

Do the words indicate a fight?  “Attacked,” and “rose up” come from a combination of two words, “el” and “quwm.”  The meaning of the two together depends on the context, but equally possible translations are “to rise up against,” “to accomplish against,” “to continue against,” etc.

Up until this time we have no indication anyone in the world had yet died. Certainly no one had yet been murdered. Because animals had been killed as sacrifices, they knew about death. Did Cain plan to actually kill Abel or just beat him up? If we look at one of the meanings of the word "Cain," -- spear -- then we very possibly can say he planned to kill him. If the name Cain was given to him because of the way he killed his brother, then it was premeditated. It would also explain the Lord saying, later, that Abel's blood was in the ground. Hitting Abel over the head or strangling him would not have resulted in the blood on the ground. The caution with all of this is to not jump to conclusions about some of what we read and not to always depend on traditional ideas about the meanings. Letting Bible explain Bible means we must get to know the Bible thoroughly. 

 

Genesis 4:9

NIVThen the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother?”  “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

KJVAnd the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?  and he said, I know not:  Am I my brother’s keeper?

Alex LXXAnd the LORD God said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?  And he said, I know not, am I my brother’s keeper?

HebrewAnd said Jehovah to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?  And said he, Not I do know, keeper my brother’s am I?

There is no argument at all among translations as to God confronting Cain and Cain's famous answer. Just as He had with Cain's parents, the Lord confronted Cain with a question. God already knew the answer. Would Cain confess?

Cain, instead, not only lied but disclaimed responsibility for his brother. In disclaiming responsibility for his younger brother, Cain was also betraying his birthright as the eldest.

His response to God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" has rung down through the ages as what is probably the most famous rhetorical question of all time. The answer is 'yes.' In Matthew 25, Christ tells the story of the sheep and the goats, telling both groups, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of one of these my brothers, you have done it unto me….” Who was Jesus referring to? There are two possibilities: either the Jewish people or Christians. Maybe both. "Brothers," though, is different from "neighbors." Yet we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. In all of it, we are to care for others, related physically or spiritually, or just those in proximity.

 

Genesis 4:10

NIVThe LORD said, “What have you done?  Listen!  Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

KJVAnd he said, What hast thou done?  The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

Alex. LXXAnd the LORD said, What have you done?  The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me out of the ground

Hebrewand he said What have you done?  The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.

God then confronts Cain with the truth, which both of them really knew all along. And, again, the reference to Abel's blood in the ground is evidence that Cain may have killed him with a spear or knife. What reason was there for a spear? Animals were not yet killing other animals, so there was no need to protect the sheep or anyone or anything else. If, indeed, Cain had made a spear, it may have been for the express purpose of killing his brother. Or he may have simply used a killing knife. Either way, it points to premeditation. One does not need a killing knife (or spear) to till the ground, and Cain was a tiller of the ground.

 

Genesis 4:11-12

NIV Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you.  You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

KJVAnd now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength: a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

Alex LXXAnd now you are cursed from the earth which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  When you till the earth, then it shall not continue to give its strength to you: you shall be groaning and trembling on the earth.

HebrewAnd now cursed are you more than the ground which opened its mouths to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, not again will it give its strength to you.  A vagabond and a fugitive you shall be on the earth.

There is a common teaching about this verse that says Cain is here condemned to hell. That is not what 'cursed' means. The word in Hebrew is 'awrar,' from a primitive root meaning 'hateful' or 'abominable.' God has called Cain hateful; He has not condemned him to hell. However, the consequence of the murder is that Cain will no longer be able to work the ground which now contains his brother's blood. One interesting note is that the ground is called 'her,' and given the feminine identification. This may be an early indication of the later "mother earth" mythologies.

The first part of verse 12 is the same in all translations: any efforts Cain makes to resume tilling the soil will be fruitless. But the second part of verse 12 has an interesting difference. Whereas the Masoretic-based translations claim God tells Cain he will be a 'restless wanderer' or 'vagabond' or 'fugitive,' the Alexandrian does not say that at all. Instead, God tells Cain that Cain will be groaning and trembling on the earth. We tend to go with the Alexandrian here since, as a verse below will indicate, Cain built a city. That is not being a restless wanderer, a vagabond, or a fugitive. And God would certainly not prophesy wrongly.

 

Genesis 4:13

NIVCain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.

KJVAnd Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

Alex. LXXAnd Cain said to the LORD God, My crime is too great for me to be forgiven.

HebrewAnd said Cain to Jehovah, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

Here we have a giant difference in translations between the Masoretic-based translations (the Hebrew is taken from the Masoretic) and the more ancient Alexandrian Septuagint. Was Cain bemoaning his punishment or was he coming to terms with the severity of his sin? Our feeling here is to go against tradition and with the more ancient text. It makes more sense in terms of what immediately follows. In addition, when we looked up the ancient words connected with this verse, a surprising thing came to light: either translation is possible, depending on the vowel points. The Masoretic, however, having been the result of the Council of Jamnia about 100 A.D. did not include vowel points. They were inserted eight hundred years later on the basis of tradition, in 900 A.D. The Alexandrian LXX had the vowels in all along.

 

Genesis 4:14

NIVToday you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence;  I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.

KJVBehold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth: and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth: and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

Alex. LXXIf you cast me out this day from the face of the earth, then I shall be hidden from your presence, and I shall be groaning and trembling on the earth and then it will be that anyone that finds me will slay me.

HebrewLo, you have driven me out today from the face of the earth and from your face I shall be hidden.  And I shall be a vagabond and a fugitive on the earth and it will be anyone who finds me shall kill me.

Cain continues talking to the Lord, face to face evidently.

In Exodus, we find that repayment for first degree murder is that a near relative may kill the murderer.  At this time, everyone alive was a near relative to everyone else.  It is interesting that this form of justice was known at this time.

How old were the brothers when Abel was killed? Probably at least 200 years old. Later, when Eve bears Seth, she says he is a replacement for Abel, so he would have been born shortly after the murder. Seth was born when Adam and Eve were 230 years old (not 130, as will be shown in the genealogy section). So Cain and Abel were not only grown, but fathers, grandfathers, and probably grandfathers with a few 'greats' preceding. The population of the world had grown immensely, especially if no one had died until this time.

In all the translations Cain is distraught that he will be hidden from the Lord's presence. So the Lord's presence was physically there for people to communicate with Him at this time.

 

Genesis 4:15

NIV But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

KJVAnd the LORD said unto him, Therefore whoseoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.  And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Alex. LXXAnd the LORD God said to him, Not so, anyone that slays Cain shall pay seven penalties; and the LORD God set a mark upon Cain that no one that found him might slay him.

HebrewAnd said Jehovah to him, If anyone kills Cain, sevenfold he shall be avenged.  And set Jehovah on Cain a mark so that not should kill him anyone who found him.

If the Alexandrian is correct in Genesis 4:13, then the mark of Cain was a mark of forgiveness, not a mark of condemnation. It was certainly not a racial characteristic, as the three sons of Noah all show progeny lines with a variety of characteristics -- and they are the ancestors of us all.

Seven penalties is different from ‘sevenfold’ – the first is a matter of number, the second a matter of severity.   The more ancient text speaks in terms of numbers of punishments. And, actually, this makes more sense, since how does one determine if a punishment is 'twice as bad' or 'three times as bad' as another punishment. But if one is punished a number of times, that is actually something that can be counted.

 

Genesis 4:16

NIVSo Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

KJVAnd Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

Alex LXXSo Cain went forth from the presence of God and dwelt in the land of Nod, over against Edem.

HebrewAnd went out Cain from the presence of Jehovah and lived in the land of Nod east of Eden.

"Nod" means "exile." It may be a play on words from ‘nuwd' – meaning fugitive

The word used for 'east' is the feminine form of the word that means ‘ancient.’  It means ‘in front of, or forward.’  The LXX using ‘over against,’ is probably the closest, meaning nearby. Cain evidently stayed as close as possible. 

 

Genesis 4:17

NIVCain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.  Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

KJVAnd Cain knew his wife: and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Alex. LXXAnd Cain knew his wife, and having conceived she bore Enoch; and he was building a city and he named the city after the name of his son, Enoch.

HebrewAnd Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch.  And he built a city, and he called the name of the city according to his son’s name, Enoch.

It is here we see the idea of ‘restless wanderer,’ ‘vagabond,’ etc. is clearly wrong.  God did not lie.  Cain was not a restless wanderer.  He moved nearby and built a city.  Therefore the correct translation of verses 12 and 14 would be “groaning and trembling” is we are told in the ancient Alex. LXX.

This is NOT the same Enoch who walked with God and was taken up rather than died.  That Enoch’s father’s name was Jared, as we are told in Genesis 5. 

Who did Cain marry?  His sister.  Early genetics contained no mutations.  Incest was not defined until the time of Moses.  Abraham married his half-sister.  He looked for someone in the family group for Isaac to marry.  When Esau married outside the family Isaac and Rebekkah were upset; Jacob married within the family group (both sisters!).  Genetic load did not make this type of marriage dangerous until it had built to the levels occurring at the time of Moses.  However, this idea of marrying within the family continued in many ways. We see it in the European royalty right up until World War I. And like Tzar Nicholas' only son, the result of this much intermarriage showed up as hemophilia in many of the male children of European royalty. What we do see continuing biblically is that the Isralites in the Promised Land were forbidden to marry outside twelve tribes.  This had primarily to do with reasons of faith, which the Bible deals with more. In the New Testament we see the same orders. Paul forbids the believer to partner with an unbeliever. This can be marriage or business. He asks what light has to do with darkness and tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

Cain was building a city. This indicates enough population to support a city by that time.  Enoch was not necessarily Cain’s firstborn, it’s just that his wife was pregnant with him while the city was being built.

Population – Adam lived over 900 years.  Assume Eve was about the same.  Today a woman is of childbearing age for about 30 years, or about 1/3 of her life.  If Eve was of childbearing age for one third of her life, that was 300 years.  If she only had one child every three years, she had 100 children.  The oldest would be close to  300 when the youngest sibling was born – and thus already married and a parent, grand-parent, and probably more.  The population at that time exploded exponentially.

 

Genesis 4:18

NIV – To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

KJV – And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael began Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.

Alex. LXX – And to Enoch was born Jaidad; and Jaidad begot Maleleel; and Maleleel begat Mathusala; and Mathusala begot Lamech.

Hebrew – (numbering is different now)  And was born to Enoch Irad and Irad fathered Mehujael; and Mehujael fathered Methusael.  and Methusael fathered Lamech.

Name meanings:

Enoch – comes from a root word meaning to initiate, to discipline, to train up, to dedicate.  The Hebrew word for ‘teacher’ comes from this.

Irad –  fugitive

Mehujael – two versions:  “God is combating” and “smitten of God” – HOWEVER when you look at the root that the word ‘combating or smitten comes from it means “to stroke, to rub, to smooth, to touch.”  Name could mean “touched by God.”

Methushael – man of God

Lamech – wild man or overthrower. This Lamech is NOT Noah's father. Noah's father was the son of Methuselah.

Were these names given upon manhood? It is still the custom, today, in some of the Orient particularly, to give a child a babyhood name, a childhood name, a mature name, and even more if they earn it in some way.

The different spellings in the LXX reflect Greek translations of Hebrew words.

 

Genesis 4:19

NIVLamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 

KJVand Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

Alex. LXXAnd Lamech took to himself two wives; the name of one was Ada, and the name of the second Sella.

HebrewAnd took to himself Lamech two wives; the name of the first was Adah, and the name of the other was Zillah.

"Adah" means 'ornament' or 'pleasure.' "Zillah" means 'protection' or 'screen.' These two wives remind us a bit of Rachel and Leah -- one the ornament and the other the hard worker. Whereas God gave Adam one wife, Lamech took for himself two. This is our first indication that things were not as they should be. The indications get worse.


Genesis 4:20-22

NIVAdah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

KJVAnd Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle; and his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

Alex. LXXAnd Ada bore Jobel; he was the father of those that dwell in tents, feeding cattle. And the name of his brother was Jubal; he it was who invented the psaltery and harp. Sella she also bore Thobel; he was a smith, a manufacturer both of brass and iron; and the sister of Thobel was Noema.

HebrewAnd bore Adah Jabal; he was the father of those living in tents and raising livestock. And his brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those playing the harp and the organ. And Zillah also she bore Tubal-Cain, the hammerer of every engraving tool of bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.

Abel had already been a herdsman, so what does this mean? Very possibly, using Hebrew culture, the word 'father' would indicate a tribe of herdsmen came from Jabel. "Jabal" (phonetically close to "Abel") means ‘moving’ – Name indicates moving with flocks as they feed. Nomadic lifestyle.

"Jubal" comes from the word meaning ‘stream’ – from ‘yabal’ which probably means ‘to flow,’ or ‘to bring forth,’ or ‘to carry forth.’ Idea is to bring with pomp. The word ‘jubilee’ is from Jubal.

The word translated 'invented' in the Alexandrian also means 'made known.'

Tubal-cain – ‘tubal’ means ‘to produce’ or ‘produce, or wealth, or fruit’ – this name has come to mean the offspring or fruit of Cain. “Cain” means “acquisition” or “to chant, wail, or lament” -- it depends on which dictionary you use! However, "Cain" also translates into "spear," and Tubal-Cain was involved in working metal. Was he producing implements of war?

The fascinating one here is Naamah (Noema). Why is this woman mentioned, when there is no other mention of her. Linguistically, the clue is in her name, and this is especially evident in the old LXX spelling. Both "Noe" and "Na'a" are alternate spellings, and older ones, of Noah. "Ma" is the root word for "water." So linguistically this woman is tied to Noah; in Hebrew tradition she was his wife. This would be ample reason to include her in the genealogy here.

What we do have in these verses is strong evidence of advanced cultures, not the 'cave men' with which early men are associated in standard history.

 

Genesis 4:23-24

NIVLamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

KJVAnd Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; the wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

Alex. LXXAnd Lamech said to his wives, Ada and Sella, Hear my voice, you wives of Lamech, consider my words, because I have slain a man for my wounding and a youth for my hurt. Because vengeance has been exacted seven times on Cain’s behalf, on Lamech’s seventy times seven.

HebrewAnd said Lamech to his wives Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice you wives of Lamech, listen to my words – for a man I have killed because of my wound and a young man for my hurt. For sevenfold Cain is avenged and Lamech seventy-seven. 

Lamech's name means "wild man." His temper must have been volitile. He is boasting to his wives about killing both a man for wounding him and a youth -- in Hebrew terminology that would be someone in the teens to early twenties -- for 'injuring' him. We have no idea whether or not these hurts and injuries were physical or simply insulting words. What we do find in his words is that law and order had broken down. When Cain murdered Abel he was terrified someone would kill him in retribution. But now, a few generations later, Lamech is boasting about killing two men and is in no fear of anyone punishing him in any way.

The other interesting thing about this passage is that evidently Cain had been killed. Lamech makes reference to the response of seven times, or sevenfold, vengeance the Lord evidently visited on someone for killing Cain. The translations have very different verb tenses here. The NIV: If Cain is avenged seven times. The KJV: If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold. The LXX: Because vengeance has been exacted seven times on Cain's behalf. and the Hebrew: For sevenfold Cain is avenged.

Imagine how Adam and Eve felt. They were the only ones alive who knew what the world had been like before sin. And although -- if they had not sinned -- others would have after them, they must have felt responsibility and deep shame for what they saw their act had led to. Their pain must have been incredible.

 

Genesis 4:25-26

NIVAdam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

KJVAnd Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Alex. LXXAnd Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore a son, and called his name Seth, saying, For God has raised up to me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew, and Seth had a son, and he called his name Enos: and he trusted on the name of the LORD.

HebrewAnd Adam again knew his wife, and she bore a son and she called his name Seth, for has appointed me God another seed in place of Abel, because killed him Cain. And to Seth also he was born a son, and he called his name Enos. Then it was begun to call on the name of Jehovah.

"Seth" means 'compensation or sprout;' also ‘substituted.’ And again, if Seth was the substitute for Abel, then Cain and Abel were not young men at the time of their fight; both were easily 200 years old or more.

"Enos/Enosh" means 'mortal.'

The last sentence has two different translations, and thus two different possible meanings, although they are both related. The LXX shows that many did not trust on the LORD by that time. It had become something remarkable. The other translations seem to indicate that men no longer had the privilege of talking to the Lord face to face as Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel had done. Thus, all that is possible in these later generations is simply to call on the name of the Lord, or simply to depend on His character. Whatever translation you choose, something different is being mentioned. Evidently the evil had progressed to such an extent that either God was no longer available to men as He had been, on a personal basis at the entrance to Eden, or men simply wanted nothing to do with Him until they became desperate. Was Seth one of the only ones who trusted God at this time?

 

Genesis 5:1a

NIVThis is the written account of Adam’s line.

KJVThis is the book of the generations of Adam

Alex. LXXThis is the book of the generation of men (in the day in which God made Adam.) 

HebrewThis is the book the generations of Adam (in the day that created God man)

This closes Adam’s tablet. The fact that he did not go beyond Enos in Seth’s line, gives an indication of the time when Seth’s son was old enough to become a believer – not long before Adam was 930 years old and died. The NIV uses the term 'written,' because the Hebrew word 'sepher' is in the Hebrew and indicates something written.

The part in parentheses may be the beginning of the next tablet.

 

    return to the beginning

    continue to Genesis 6 (Genesis 5 and 11 will be considered together, as the Genealogies)