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Genesis 1-2-3-4

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#101 Resource Manager

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 05:23 PM

The Law of Moses in Eden


It is useful to note that not a few of the principles and practices enjoined upon Israel by the Law were anticipated in the early chapters of Genesis:


The Sabbath.

A Tree of Life.

Marriage - one man, one woman.

The higher status of the husband.

“The wages of sin is death.”


The “covering” of sin (cp. Yom Kippur).

A flaming sword: the Shekinah Glory.

The way of life kept open.

Religious festival at the end of the year.

Meal offering.

Sin offering (and other sacrifices?).

A central sanctuary.


“Thou shalt not kill.”

The avenger of blood, and the city of refuge.

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 05:25 PM

4:18-22 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And 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.


There is a vast amount of uncertainty about both details and name-meanings here. In attempts to derive the names from known Hebrew roots it is sometimes possible to go off in several different directions. But it is remarkable how in this Cainite line there are so many suggestions of a religious emphasis - a false religion - culminating in: “corrupt before God” (6:11); i.e. not just corrupt, but corrupt before the face of God, in religious practice.


Already it has been noted that Cain had his own city, a holy city, and in it a dedicated priest Enoch. Other name-hints chime in with these ideas. Irad may mean “Eternal City” - before even Jerusalem or Rome or Mecca were thought of.


Mehujael suggests “the Living One of God” - an allusion to the Cherubim?


Methusael might be: “He asked for death,” or, more probably: “The wisdom of God” (a priest practising divination?).


Lamech was, apparently, the first to thrust aside the law given in Eden that in marriage there should be one man and one woman. It is remarkable that in this lawless line the temptation - one of the strongest in human nature - to tinker with the divine law of marriage (2:24) should have been held at bay until the sixth generation. Kidner comments: “The attempt to improve on God’s marriage ordinance set a disastrous precedent, on which the rest of Genesis is comment enough” (the lives of the patriarchs!).


The names of Lamech’s wives are interesting. Adah is usually taken to mean “attractive, adorned;” but this name is also the extremely common Hebrew word for the “congregation” of Israel. Again, there is a hint of religious emphasis.


Zillah means “shadow,” perhaps in the sense of secondary wife, concubine.


Adah’s sons Jabal and Jubal seem, on the face of it, to have gone off in different directions - dwelling in tents and rearing cattle, and developing musical talent: “them that handle (Handel!) the harp and the organ.” The word translated “handle” could mean either “specialise in” or “keep for oneself; i.e. corner.” It comes in a religious context in Daniel 3:5,10,15.


But Jabal may have been different. Literally, “he was the father (that is, the leader) of the dweller in the Tabernacle and of the animals (sacrifices)”, and in that case Jubal’s music would be specially for the orchestra and choir of the sanctuary.


If there is any truth in these suggestions, false religion was fast becoming highly organized.


Tubal-cain, as will be seen by and by, helped the process on yet further. His cognomen, obviously a proud inheritance from his forefather, became the Hebrew word for “blacksmith,” and hence the Kenites. The Iron Age dates only from the time of the Judges. So it may be surmised that the secret of iron-smelting, known earlier, was lost at the time of the Flood.


There is a very close resemblance (not very evident in the English text) between the names Tubal-cain and Vulcan, the divine blacksmith of ancient paganism. And just as Tubal-cain married Naamah - “pretty one” - a name which the Phoenicians gave to Astarte, so also in the Greek mythology Vulcan is associated with Venus.


With Tubal-cain’s skill there came in great advances in the arts of making idols (Is. 40:19; 2 Tim. 4:14) and weapons of war (v.23,24). The rabbis interpret his name as meaning “the improver on Cain,” i.e. not one murder but many.


“Cain’s family is a microcosm: its pattern of technical prowess and moral failure is that of humanity.”


“God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecc. 7:29).


It has often been noted that there are marked similarities between the Cainite names and those of the line of Seth (ch.5):





































































In these lists there is anticipated the resemblances which have always existed between false and true religion - as between tares and wheat. Jesus himself forewarned that two may be in one bed, yet one taken and the other left.


God’s disapproval is hinted at in the omission of the ages of the Cainites (contrast ch.5), as though declaring: “The lives of these men, long or short, are unimportant in my sight.”


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Posted 13 June 2020 - 05:25 PM

4:23,24 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye 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 seven-fold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.


This first expression of poetry, like music, come from Cain’s family. It is an expression of pride and ferocity. It threatens judgement (cp. Is. 32:9ff). There is some doubt as to how the Hebrew should be translated. AV (and RVm) suggests penitence for a violent act, but this reading is surely disallowed by the boastful tone of v.24. The only alternative is to follow RV etc: “I have slain a man for wounding me.”


Most students take the references to “a man ... a young man” to be strict parallelism, making two references to the same individual. But the word for “young man” suggests a distinction - and certainly there are a great many examples where Old Testament parallelism develops a similar but not identical idea (e.g. Ps. 72:11; 89:36; Is. 55:4; 40:31; Hab. 3:5).


So Lamech’s boast may have been that in revenge he had wiped out all that branch of the family.


But why?


Both AV and LXX (s.w. 1 Pet. 2:24) suggest retaliation for physical violence. But there is another possibility: “I have slain a young man for joining himself to me.” The same word comes in Malachi 2:14: “Yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy youth.” Then, possibly, this un-named young man had appropriated Naamah (Pretty One!) without parental consent - the first elopement? This would explain the highly exceptional mention of Naamah (v.22) for no apparent reason, and would also supply a reason for Lamech addressing this revenge song to his wives.


Lamech’s boast was that he was greater than God who pronounced a mere seven-fold judgement against any who sought vengeance on Cain (v.15). ‘But I (crowed this man of might), I take vengeance, seventy and seven-fold if need be!’


Or it may be that he meant: ‘My god is Force - he can deal out death and destruction more than the God the others worship!’


Lamech’s behaviour is fully explained by the sensational developments introduced by his son Tubal-cain, the metal-worker. He now had at his disposal the world’s first armaments factory, and like the modern warlords he called it his Ministry of Defence! Then and now man “imputes this his power unto his god (his weapons)” (Hab. 1:11; cp. Dan. 5:4). And dedicating himself to this glorious new religion, Lamech evidently (as with belief of the Truth; 3:20) took to himself this new name of violence: Lamech means “blotting out.” Even so, apart from 6:2,4,13, this is the end of the line of Cain. “So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord.” The name of the other Lamech (5:28) like that of Methuselah, foretold the end of that evil family - “blotting out.”


Is it a coincidence that the seventy-seven-fold destruction threatened by the Cainite Lamech, is matched by a life-line of seventy-seven generations ending in Jesus, the Saviour?


But there is another possibility. The LXX reading is not seventy-seven but “seventy times seven.” If this is correct there may be specific allusion to it (for LXX was the Bible most in use in the first century) in Christ’s reply to Peter’s somewhat self-righteous enquiry: “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” The shattering answer was: “Until seventy times seven” (Mt. 18:21,22). In other words, let the gentle persistence of your forgiveness at least rival the murderous efficiency of power-drunk Lamech.


The explanation suggested here of Lamech’s song differs vastly from the weird stupidity of the Talmud version. Never was a better example of how God has destroyed the wisdom of the wise and brought to nothing the under- standing of the prudent (Is. 29:14; 1 Cor. 1:19).

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 05:26 PM

4:25 “And 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.”


It is fairly clear that this is not to be read as happening after verse 24. The chronicle of the line of Cain has been terminated, and now the record goes back to the alternative - those who came to be called “the sons of God” (6:2), another and more wholesome branch of the family.


Seth was named by his mother, as Cain had been. Eve had been convinced that Cain would prove to be the Redeemer. Now the emphasis which clings to the name Seth (Ps. 11:3; Is. 19:10), and the fact of his being named by Eve, indicates as firm a conviction as ever. It is as though she said: “I thought Cain was the Redeemer, but he wasn’t. Abel was the right sort, but he was murdered. Now Seth is the appointed Saviour - he’s bound to be!’ Alas, Eve, you are only a few thousand years out in your expectations. Those of the Lord’s faithful remnant in these days who have had strong but disappointed expectations of Messiah’s appearing in some recent year may take comfort from Eve’s experience.


For the word “another” LXX used a word implying “a son better even than Abel;” and for “appointed” it chose the unusual word “raised up,” which in Mark 12:19 signifies the Levirate law for a man raising up seed to his dead brother. There is here a suggestion that Eve, recalling that Abel died childless, may have seen in Enos one who should reckon as Abel’s son.

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 05:40 PM

4:26 “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.”


“To Seth also” carries the meaning that as there had been a vigorous development in the line of Cain, so also in the more godly side of the family, as chapter 5 proceeds to emphasize.


But Seth did not share the irrepressible optimism and expectation that there was in his mother, for when in due time a son was born to him it was he, and not the boy’s mother, who assigned the name Enos.


Thus he expressed his depressing but realistic loss of faith in human nature; for Enos means “frail mortal man, the being of incurable weakness” (Jer. 30:12,15; 15:18; Mic. 1:9; 2 Sam. 12:15). It was as though he had declared: ‘By this time I have learned that like begets like (5:3). Then what hope that my son will be the promised Saviour from sin?’


There must be some connection between this discouraged outlook and the way in which man now began to call upon the name of the LORD. As with Eve (4:1) this divine Name was associated with the great Promise (3:15). So it may be that the faithful remnant, appalled at the sharp decline into false religion and violence, began to appeal persistently in prayer for the redemption which, they now at last realised, human nature could not achieve.


The common phrase: “to call on the name of the Lord” seems always to describe worship or an expression of utter dependence on God.


It is possible that the words should read: “began to call themselves by the name of the Lord” (as in 48:16; Am. 9:12; Jas. 2:7; Acts 22:16). In that case here was a separatist movement by which the faithful sought to dissociate themselves from the apostasy which was filling the world with corruption.

Subject Index

Quotations Index

(Both Subject and Quotation Index also included in the attached .pdf)

Attached File  Genesis1234HAWCBMR.pdf   1.26MB   15 downloads


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