If you were to ask someone, who was Cain? Most people could spout off an immediate answer. He was the first one in the Bible to kill someone. But if you asked that same person about Lamech, you might not get such a quick response. It does not help that there is another Lamech mentioned in Genesis 5:28, who was Noah’s father.
Yet we are talking about Lamech, the 4th grandson of Cain. Lamech and his family were a significant part of the growing success of Cain’s family, but they also had a dark side. And it would prove to be greater than Cain and his descendants.
Lamech had two wives (Adah and Zillah), a daughter (Naamah), and three sons. Apart from Cain’s mother, Eve, Adah, Zillah, and Namaah were the only women mentioned by name in the Bible during this time. Despite having this honor, it was Lamech’s sons Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-Cain who were a big success.
- Jabal was the first to work with cattle and possibly other livestock (See Genesis 4:20 NKJV). One wonders if he ran across any wild horses. Cattle and horses could have been traded for food with the farmers. We cannot be entirely sure but history would show their usefulness to help till the ground. Also, Jabal’s work with animals necessitated a nomadic lifestyle to feed them. Thus, he was the first to invent and live in tents (Genesis 4:20).
- Jubal introduced the first musical instruments, such as the flute and harp (Genesis 4:21 NKJV). The King James Version of the Bible uses the word organ instead of flute. It seems there was a decline in the use of the pipe organ during the time of King James. He worked hard to bring a resurgence of popularity to the pipe organ in the church . In more modern times, the pipe organ became less popular. So the New King James felt it more appropriate to describe it as a pipe, with an emphasis on the flute. Either way, Jubal was instrumental in establishing the first woodwind and stringed instruments.
- Tubal Cain had a fascination with bronze and iron. He molded and shaped useful tools from these valuable metals. He also taught others his profession (Genesis 4:22). As we know, others have used his invention to produce weapons to kill and destroy. His own father may have been the first when he killed a young man for wounding him.
Lamech Kills A Young Man?
For some strange reason, the identity of this young man is unknown. Although, there is reason to suggest he could have been someone from Cain’s family. This is primarily because there is evidence of possible intermarriage between Cain, Lamech, and Adam’s descendants. For example, why do Enoch and Lamech, two prominent names in Cain’s family, appear in Adam’s family tree (Genesis 5:21-24 & 28)?
Also, Enosh gave birth to Cainan which sounds remotely familiar to the name Cain himself, though not exactly the same (Genesis 5:9 KJV).
These things, though not absolute make me think that Lamech and his family moved away from his family and ended up closer to Adam’s other son’s family, Seth.
Cain went away from his descendants after his brother’s death. And it is not unreasonable to suggest Lamech did the same. Also, all of this could help to better explain this unusual pattern of names in Adam’s family.
Lamech’s Vengeful Words
Having said all of this it is important to mention the words Lamech said, to his wives, shortly after the incident with the young man. They will reveal a lot about Lamech’s character which slowly began to spread throughout the world. Notice what he said.
“If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold” (Genesis 4:24 NKJV).
God had forbidden anyone from taking vengeance into their own hands. But, Lamech and his family were about to go WAY beyond normal vengeance. They were even going beyond the strict, but merciful, punishment of the Lord.
Later, after the flood, God made justice more clear. If a man kills another man, he will die at man’s hand (Genesis 9:6: Justice equals 1 man for 1 man and not 77 for one). This description of Lamech is a good picture of the malicious evil that slowly began to fill the earth.
I can envision as Lamech’s family moved away from the descendants of Cain, there was extreme caution. With each step they probably looked back, to make sure no one was following them. But no one came after Lamech or his family. Lamech assumed the worst, but the family of this unknown young man chose not to seek vengeance.
Because of this, I believe the other members of Cain’s family were more peace-loving and respected God’s command not to be vengeful. Who knows, they may have realized it was an accident. Yet, this family knew vengeance would not bring their son back. They also realized because of God’s stern warning and Lamech’s vengeful words that the price tag of vengeance was too high. That may be why they did not want the world to know their son or family’s name.
Sometimes doing the right thing is hard, but God blesses those who commit their ways to Him. Their obedient sacrifice saved many lives and problems for years to come. Scripture does not record any deaths, in Adam’s family, for over 800 years (Genesis 5:3-5).
The Lord blesses the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and those who forgive (Matthew 5:7) and don’t take vengeance into their own hands. It is an act of love that makes our world and families so much better and pleases the Lord.
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