Our last post for this internet session will be something we wrote many years ago and it is simply titled Genesis 4: It may not format that well here and endnotes will be given upon request.
This chapter contains many events from the murder of Abel down to the birth of Seth but I will deal briefly with a couple and more in-depth with another in the little space that I have. I chose to do the murder in passing because volumes have been written on it and my few words will not be that groundbreaking. Let it suffice that I mention just 2 things that we see in this act of rage.
The first thing that we see, is that God had in place a legal system prior to any secular construction. Life before the flood was not a free-for-all anarchy but it was regulated with God providing the justice. Why we are not given the law code at this time is not made known but we can see through the reactions of Adam, Eve and Cain that they knew of the penalties of their actions and were not surprised to be punished.
There were no complaints ‘hey, you never told us…’, they accepted God’s action as if they knew in advance of what would happen if they did wrong. This telling of the murder and Cain’s subsequent punishment refutes all arguments that the secular world invented the legal system, or that it evolved and that the Biblical writers copied form their non-religious neighbors.
We have here a full account of the trial and condemnation of the first
murderer. Civil courts of judicature not being yet erected for this purpose,
as they were afterwards, God himself sits Judge; for he is
the God to whom vengeance belongs, and who will be sure to make
inquisition for blood, especially the blood of saints11
Moral and legal laws were in place long before secular societies came into existence and copied from God. We know God’s laws were carried into the post-flood world because Noah was a righteous man and he would have taught his sons, and their descendants on what was right and wrong.
The second, item we observe in this account is God’s mercy:
God’s care for the guilty sinner after he has
God is not a heartless God nor a tyrannical despot as some modern atheists would describe him as being. God hears people’s complaints, He hears their cries and if it is warranted, He applies mercy, thus when He tells His people in Micah 6:8-9 ‘to …love mercy, do justly…’ He remains consistent with Himself and His commands.
Although Cain expressed not penitence, but fear of punishment, God
displayed His long-suffering and gave him the promise, “Therefore (ˆKe not
in the sense of ˆKe alo, but because it was the case, and there was reason
for his complaint) whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on
God sets the example for modern Christians on how they should act when they are involved with the legal system. They should not follow the popular opinion, they should not follow an unjust code or sentencing guideline, they are to follow God’s example and find the true guilty party, apply true charges, and in their verdicts apply true decisions with just sentences, couple with mercy when it is needed.
If the believer does not do it, then who will? The believer must also remember that justice is for all and if one person does not receive justice then no one has it but it is p to the believer to make the stand against the crowd or the crowd will not hear of the better way.
The end of this chapter contains the second item I will touch on briefly and it is found in verse 25-26. Seth is born. Now it is commonly held that Cain and Abel are the first two children and Seth is third yet scriptures doesn’t give us any information on their birth order except to say that Cain came before Abel and those two came before Seth.
At the birth of the first son Eve exclaimed with joy, “I
have gotten a man with Jehovah;”14
We do not know how many children Adam and Eve had or when, that information is not germane to the Christian faith nor to shore up faith in God. It does not matter who was the first birth or even the last. All this passage shows is that giving birth was the same in the beginning as it is now and that lost children are replaced by their parents with new children.
The reason Seth’s birth is mentioned is that it establishes the genealogical line for God’s purpose later on. For some reason no other children, from Adam and Eve, are deemed worthy enough to contribute to God’s revelation. We know they had other sons and daughter’s yet God chose Cain and Seth to be in the forefront of His plan.
We know this by the genealogy of Cain in this chapter and the one for Adam in the next and it is in the genealogy of Cain that I find my main point I want to focus on. We read in verse 19-22 the following:
19 Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. 20 And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute. 22 And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.
In this short passage we find 3 interesting facts: 1. A descendent of Cain was the father of all nomads; 2. another descendent of Cain’s was the father of those who played certain musical instruments; 3. A third descendent of Cain’s became the instructor of every craftsman in two metals. These are great distinctions for a man whose life was marred by a murder. Seth’s line gets two distinction and they far overshadow Cain’s family honors, Enoch walked with God & Noah was a righteous man, but no one else in Seth’s line is credited like Cain’s.
For Cain’s descendents to maintain such honor, then they must have had descendants on the ark. The could not be the father of nomads or musicians or be the instructor of craftsmen if none of Cain’s people were carried to safety during the flood. Since we know that Noah was of Seth’s line, that makes his sons the same. They are of Seth But what of their wives?
We know nothing about them, except that they are mentioned as Noah’s wife, ‘and their wives’ and so on. No names, no heritage, nothing to indicate where they came from save for these few verses in chapter 4.
There does not seem to be any passages in the Bible referring to her other than the account beginning in Genesis 7:7 which mentions Noah’s wife. His wife is not named in the Bible for certain; however, according to Jewish tradition her name is Naamah. Why Tubal-cain’s sister (a daughter of Lamech by his wife Zillah, and sister of Tubal-cain, a descendant of Cain) should be specifically mentioned is unknown. Jewish tradition made her Noah’s wife. Her name, meaning “the beautiful” or “the pleasant one,” reflects the worldly mind of the Cainites, who looked for beauty rather than for character as the chief attraction in women15
So that means at least 2 of the wives were from Cain’s descendents which tells us that not all of Cain’s descendents were bad and not all of Seth’s people were good as they were lost in the flood like the rest of the population of that time. We can conclude then that people from both lines survived the flood and the world contains the genes from all pre-flood humans.
We can see evidence of this in chapter 6 where it talks about the Nephilim, ‘The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards…’ (6:4). The members of Noah’s family carried forward all the genetic combinations needed to produce more giants as time went on and it proves that this group were not ‘angels or spirit men’ as some believe(16) but actual human beings.
It is possible that all 4 were from Cain’s line or 1 was from Seth’s or another sibling’s, we just do not know, God is silent on the matter and all we have from the Book of Jubilees are their names:
All of these names are interesting for whatever value they might add to the story of our ancestors. Ham’s wife was Ne’elatama’uk; Japheth’s wife was Adataneses; and Shem’s wife was Sedeqetelebab. Each son built a city and named it after his wife. Noah dwelt on Mount Lubar, in the Ararat mountain range, where the Ark landed. Shem built a city in front of the mountain on the east; Ham built his city on the south; and Japheth built the city of Adataneses west of Mount Lubar.17
God may not always tells us in explicit language what is happening but he does leave clues as to what has taken place and we must look to the Holy Spirit to help discern what those clues are telling us.