Genesis 4:17-26

December 27, 2010 at 11:54 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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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. 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. Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 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. 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; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” 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.” 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.

This week we finish looking at chapter 4 of Genesis. To recap, Adam and Eve have been commanded to leave the garden of Eden after they sinned against God. They moved east of Eden and settled down. They had two boys named Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel went to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Abel offered an animal from the flock while Cain offered the fruit of the ground. When God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s, Cain got angry at his brother. God warned Cain that sin was waiting to master him. In the end, sin won and Cain killed his brother. As punishment, God said that Cain would no longer be able to cultivate the ground and that he would be a wanderer. Cain feared that when someone heard of his deed they would kill him. To prevent this, God “appointed a sign” to Cain so that others would know who he was and that they should avoid him.

All of this happened in a short amount of time. In verse 17 we see the beginning of Cain’s legacy. Cain has relations with his wife and they have a son named Enoch. Right from the beginning we deal with a verse that has caused much controversy and many questions among those looking for a reason to doubt the Bible. The question is: “Where did Cain get his wife?” Many see this as a problem for the Bible because they see no way for Cain to get a wife. Others use this to point to the possibility of other people not descended from Adam. Both miss the plain reading of the Bible in their effort to push their bias and personal feelings onto the Bible. The Bible names Cain and Abel but doesn’t say that they are the first children that Adam and Eve had. Seth, the son who was born to replace Abel, was born when Adam was 130 years old (Genesis 5:3). In verse 4 it says that Adam lived 800 years after Seth and had other sons and daughters. Because Adam and Eve were the first human beings in existence, there is only one logical explanation for where Cain got his wife. It was either his sister or it was his niece.

I realize that in today’s day and time this thought is not very appealing, and it shouldn’t be. But, think about it for a minute. You’re the only man and woman on the planet. You have been told by God to be fruitful and multiply. How else is this supposed to happen? The problems that man would have today with close siblings having children would not have been problems then. Sin’s corrupting influence had just been introduced to man and the genetic material of mankind hadn’t been corrupted to the point it is today. It is also important to remember that God didn’t forbid this sort of relationship until the time of Moses. So while we don’t know who Cain took for a wife, we do know that it was a family member. The two had a son named Enoch and Cain built a city and named it after his son. We then begin to see the lineage of Cain and the legacy of Cain’s actions. One of the descendants of Cain was Lamech. Lamech had two wives (which does go against the marriage institution that God had developed in the beginning). From one wife, Adah, he had at least two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Jabal was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. Jubal was the father of those who play the pipes and the lyre. From his other wife, Zillah, he had Tubal-cain and Naamah. Tubal-cain was the father of those who forged implements of bronze and iron.

Here in a very short time, we see Cain’s family adapting to the curse of not being able to tend the ground. They began to forge metal and make musical instruments. They tended flocks and lived in tents. This didn’t take the millions/billions of years that evolutionists seem to claim that it did. If we were to use the 130 years that it took for Seth to be born as a general generation (even though it wasn’t because Cain and Abel had been born, as had Cain’s wife), this progression from the first man to men who were forging iron/bronze, building cities, and making musical instruments is about 780 years. It is obvious that Adam and his descendants were created with a vast amount of knowledge. The idea that man had to evolve over millions of years to the point we are today and that he was as dumb as a box of rocks at the beginning is both sad and prideful.

We also see that Cain’s pride and stubbornness has been passed down though. Lamech has killed a man for wounding him and a young boy for striking him. The sin of his ancestor echoes in his actions, but it is his bold claim that God will have vengeance on anyone that kills him seventy times over that is amazing. It is not made clear that God is involved in this proclamation nor that He gave a sign to Lamech like He did to Cain. Some say that Lamech’s killings were unintentional, but there is nothing that gives this connotation any credit. Outside of the little information about Lamech and his two wives, this ends Cain’s genealogy.

From here, we are brought back to Adam, Eve, and their new son Seth. As was mentioned above, Seth was expected to replace Abel. We then find out that Seth has a son and names him Enosh. The chapter ends with the statement, “Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD”. This seems to be an indication of a few things. First, Adam and Eve were still in God’s presence. This is noted by the fact that when Cain killed Abel, he left the presence of God (Genesis 4:16). It also points to the fact that Seth had been influenced by God’s presence and really did (to some degree) replace Abel. He and his descendants called on the name of the LORD.

It is here that we stop for this week, but it is a good place to stop. As with any time we study scripture, we must first observe, then understand, and then apply. While many may think that the first two are the hardest, I believe that it is the last. The application of scripture to our lives is what makes us grow in holiness. So let me ask, do you call on the name of the LORD? Do you spend time in His presence daily? Or are you like Cain and you’ve gone out from His presence? Would you rather hold on to your sin and give in than live holy? These things and more are things we can ask ourselves and we must be honest with the answers when they come. To hear the truth about ourselves and hide from it is to neglect God’s grace and mercy. Next week we will begin looking at chapter 5! Hope to see you here!

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