Well, let’s open our Bibles to the fourth chapter of Genesis. I was saying to Patricia as we were driving down tonight that I think I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t preach very many sermons anymore, if a sermon by definition is a sort of self-contained message. It seems as though in more recent years rather than sermons, we are doing expositions of Scripture and that we are much more concerned with the meaning of the text than with creating some form of communication or some style.
And that’s as it should be in one sense, although I think it’s good to be able to capture all your thoughts in one unit and present it. I find it difficult to do that, I think particularly because I know I’m coming back every week, and so I don’t feel the pressure to get it all in. At the same time, we don’t want to have a rambling exercise where we’re just meandering through the text in a sort of uncontrolled fashion, and so what we endeavor to do is to capture the essence of a text but not be limited by time as to what is available to us in that text.
And the fact of the matter is that you just can’t always get all that’s there in one message or two or three or however many. People ask me if I plan my message series in advance, and the answer is, “Well, I plan the book I’m going to teach, I plan the chapter I’m going to teach, I plan the section I’m going to teach, but I can’t plan how long it’s going to take me to teach it because I’m not particularly interested in the homiletics of it, I’m not particularly interested in the form of it or the style of it or capturing it in some format that is sort of all contained in one unit.
What I’m much more concerned about is getting the meaning here and digging out the riches of what is available in the text and for that, it takes time, and so we spend the time in these expositions but always with a theme, always with a general, overarching theme. And when we come to Genesis chapter 4, verses 17 to 26, we come to a theme: the origin of society - the origin of society. If you want a sub-category to that, secular and sacred society.
This is the origin of society here, and while on the surface the text may appear to be rather isolated, rather anecdotal and somewhat pedantic (that is, strictly informational) and it may appear at first reading to be sort of minor details about the first family, it is, in fact, much more than that. It is broad, it is sweeping information on the story of civilization, the story of society, the story of culture, the story of man in his development in a very unique era of human history. And that unique era of human history is pre-flood.
As often scholars call it, the antediluvian - the “ante” in the sense of A-N-T-E, meaning before - the antediluvian society or civilization; that is, the civilization on the world before the flood.
Now you remember, when we come into Genesis chapters 6, 7, and 8, we’re going to be looking at the universal flood. God sent a flood which covered the entire earth, and it drowned all humanity with the exception of eight people. The only ones who survived the flood were Noah and his wife, his three sons, and their three wives - a total of eight people. The universal flood destroyed all humanity with the exception of those eight people.
If you turn over to chapter 6 for a moment, you have there an explanation of why God sent the flood. Verse 5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I have made them.’
“But Noah found favor” - or grace - “in the eyes of the Lord.” Then it goes on to mention Noah as “a righteous man, blameless in his time, he walked with God - became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, the earth was filled with violence, and God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” And, of course, as you know, the Lord sent the flood.
Go over to verse 21 of chapter 7. “All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms on the earth, and all mankind. And of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things, to birds of the sky, they were blotted out from the earth, and only Noah was left, together with those who were with him in the ark.”
So what you have, then, is you have a pre-flood society. The cataclysmic flood that covered the whole earth and drowned all of humanity (and every other living creature outside the ark that moved on the earth) that flood not only drowned all of humanity but - listen carefully - it reshaped the planet. And we’ll get to that when we get to the flood itself. It created, very likely, the current continents. It literally readjusted land and water and reshaped the earth. As a result of that, it totally destroyed the first world civilization.
Now, because of that, archeologists, essentially, in all their digs and all their enterprises are finding things that relate to the post-flood world. There are no doubt fossils, of course, and there are occasional times when they are found, fossils of the pre-flood society, buried deep in fossil ferriferous rock strata in the earth’s crust. Very few artifacts of the pre-flood era have been found. Most of what archeologists work with is what has come and gone in society after the flood, starting with Noah and his family.
Therefore, essentially, the only history we have of the earth pre-flood, is Genesis chapter 4. It is, therefore, a very monumental portion of Scripture. If we want to understand this part of human history, this element of the saga of man, then we have to understand Genesis chapter 4 because it is the only record of the antediluvian society. It is the only record of the pre-flood civilization. Here, then, is God’s Word - the only account in existence of the first civilization.
Now, prior to the flood, the world was different, as we know. And we’ll learn more about it when we get into the study of the flood, but there was essentially no weather. There was essentially no wind, no rain, no snow. The terrain may well have been more gentle. There may have been greater flatland surfaces. The climate was mild and warm. There were abundant plants and abundant animals covering the earth, and it was a very congenial environment - not at all like the current environment with all of its tendency toward natural disasters.
We also know about the pre-flood time because we have a Genesis 5 genealogy, and the genealogy of Genesis 5 is the genealogy up to Noah. It starts with Adam in verse 1 and goes all the way down to Noah and his sons in verse 32. That is the genealogy of the line of Seth, pre-flood. We learn from that genealogy that people lived for hundreds of years, for half a century, Adam himself living 930 years, a man named Methuselah living 969 years. People lived very long lives.
We also know (because it’s repeated in the genealogy of chapter 5) that they begat sons and daughters. Now, we cannot really imagine how many sons and daughters 900-year-old people could have, but assuming that being 900 was like being 90 in our world, they could certainly be having children into their 400s or 500s. And so they would be having children at a rapid rate, who then would be having children, who then would be having children, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Any good guess would take into the lifespan, say, of Cain, who lived 800 years - in that 800 years of the life of Cain, one can imagine that the earth was populated with hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions. And conservative estimates are - and I say conservative estimates are - that by the time you go another 800 years, which is 1600 years to the flood, 800 years after Cain, by the time you get to the flood, 1600 years later, you could be having between seven and ten billion people on the earth.
And remember, they live a long time. They have many children. The climate is mild. The earth is a congenial environment. It was a different world. In that early generation, all marriages at first were brother-sister marriages. But there were no mutant genes in the genetic system in any of those children. There was a pristine element in humanity at that time. It hadn’t degenerated, so that even with that sort of intrafamily marriage, there was no genetic harm that could have resulted.
It wasn’t until many, many, many generations after the flood that Moses laid down the law of God, forbidding marriage within a family because those marriages had become genetically very dangerous, and thus, incest was prohibited in the law of Moses. But there was before the flood a pristine purity in the human genetic system and its bloodstream with so very, very few accumulated mutant genes, together also with a primeval absence of disease-producing organisms, which only gradually developed through the outworking of the curse, so that’s one of the reasons they lived so long. The original created microorganisms were no doubt beneficial and served to assist life in that first great age span.
So we very likely had a civilization that could populate the earth to the level of beyond seven billion people, according to some. The people would be living, as I said, in a much more congenial environment. They would be stronger than we would ever imagine. You have to be very strong to live 900 years. They would be very resistant to disease and illness and aging. They would be extremely healthy. They would be very intelligent and would they ever be skilled - can you imagine doing something for 600 years? You’d get it down. Can you imagine playing a musical instrument for 600 years?
Any skill, they would be very experienced - in experience and riches, they would be very productive. So here is a society that’s immensely creative, immensely productive, very strong, very healthy, and very, very intelligent. Because the curse is causing a constant decline in every aspect of life, we’re getting weaker physically. We’re propped up now by certain scientific inventions in the area of medicine, but generally, the law of entropy works, and matter breaks down. They were more intelligent, more skilled, more experienced, more productive, stronger, healthier, and they lived in a far more benign and congenial environment. This was an amazing, amazing golden age, pre-flood.
It’s a fascinating age to think about. But the fact of the matter is, we only have one record of it, just one little window, and that comes in Genesis chapter 4, and then in Genesis chapter 5, the genealogy. That’s all we have, that’s all we know about that golden age. But it is very instructive and wonderfully helpful for us to learn what God has revealed for us.
Now, though, as I said, the world would be populated by millions and billions of people by the time the flood came and destroyed them all, the Holy Spirit chooses to build the history around two families: the family of Cain and the family of Seth. Both of them were sons of Adam, so we’re talking about the first family. Now, in chapter 4, verses 16 to 24, we have the story of Cain’s family; and in verses 25 and 26, we are introduced to Seth’s family; and then in chapter 5, we have the genealogy of Seth’s family. So the contrast here is between two families.
Now, this is, again, the wonderful mind of God instructing us because if you want to know the truth, there are only two families in the world today - just two. There’s the secular family and there’s the sacred family, and that’s the way it’s always been. There are only two families, from the divine perspective, on the planet, and Cain and Seth model for us the secular family and the sacred family. Cain and secular culture; Seth and sacred culture. Cain and material society; Seth and spiritual society. Cain and those who rebel against God; Seth and those who worship God.
And those are the only two families there are, right? That’s - you’re either in one or the other. You’re either a Cainite or a Sethite. You’re either involved in the secular culture or the sacred culture, the material society or the spiritual society. You’re either a rebel against God or a worshiper of God.
And so what we learn here is about Cain, first of all, and secular culture and then about Seth and sacred culture. The line of murderous Cain is evil, and that line is illustrated by Lamech, as we will see. The line of righteous Seth is good, and that line is illustrated by both Enosh in this fourth chapter and Enoch in the fifth chapter. And so we are simply seeing God divide for us all of humanity, pre-flood, the way all of humanity, post-flood, is divided. There is the secular, the material, the rebellious, and the evil culture, and there is the sacred, spiritual, worshiping, and righteous culture. And those two coexist on the planet until the end of history.
But let’s go back pre-flood and look at the only accurate historical record we have of that civilization. First of all, Cain and secular culture. Verse 16, “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch, and he built a city, 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.
“And Lamech took to himself two wives, the name of the one was Adah and the name of the other, Zillah. And Adah gave birth to Jabal, he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. And 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-Kayin, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron, and the sister of Tubal-Kayin was Naamah. And Lamech said to his wives, ‘Adah and Zillah, listen to my voice, you wives of Lamech, and 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.’”
Now, at first reading, as I said, it seems a bit obscure, a bit far-reaching, a bit irrelevant, but as you look a little more closely at this, you’re going to be as fascinated as I have been by it. It is important to say as we take a look at Cain and secular culture that secular culture is, in itself, a provision from God for man’s life. You do not want to miss that. Secular culture is a provision from God for man’s life. It is a common grace. It brings to man the enjoyment of God’s creation. God has given man all things richly to enjoy on this amazing and astonishingly rich planet.
The earth itself is so replete with riches that it never ceases to stagger us. We can draw out of the earth all of the materials that we use to build things and to produce fabrics, clothing - there just seems to be no end to it, from natural products like cotton all the way to petroleum products like plastic and everything in between. We are able to mine out all matter of metals and smelt them down and sort them out from the places where they are encased and all precious metals and all precious jewels.
All the way from the pearl, which is floating in the sea in that little creature, the oyster, to the diamond, which is harder than any substance on the earth, which has to be struck out of a rock bed, all of those riches, everything that we enjoy all the time - electricity, the ability to pick up a telephone and talk to somebody across the earth and have a one-second timeframe in which my voice goes up to a satellite and comes back down to a system that directs it into his ear without a wire, that’s all within the framework of God’s creation. That’s all part of common grace.
And that contributes to communication, it contributes to culture, it contributes to society. And because man is made in the image of God, he is phenomenally creative. The creativity of man is staggering. If you have gone to Europe, as I recently have, and you have trekked around Europe you see, even looking back - I mean we’re all aware of the creativity of man in terms of computers and in terms of modern science and electronics and Internet and in medicine and all of those kinds of scientific things.
But even if you step back and you look at the monumental achievements in architecture, the massive achievements in edifices and buildings that were built by men many, many centuries ago. And you go through Europe and you see all of these things - and many of them are cathedrals, many of them are temples to Roman gods or Greek gods, and many of them are cathedrals representing religions of the world. And I always say about them, they do not necessarily bring glory to God because they are the emblems of false religion.
But they certainly give testimony to the fact that man was created in the image of God and has an immense ability to create. He can create things with his genius that have beauty, that have order, that have strength, that last for thousands of years. Man demonstrates the image of God in him, and so these things, which are not necessarily to the glory of God, are certainly evidence of man being made in the image of God. Man, who has this incredible ability to create magnificent art.
You take a tour through the Louvre or through the La Hermitage in St. Petersburg or visit the great museums at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican or visit the museums wherever you go in the world and you are struck by the creative genius of man. You see the statues of Michelangelo, you stand before “The Last Supper” of Leonardo da Vinci, and on and on it goes. You see the paintings of the great masters, Raphael, Bernini, and so forth and so on, and you realize there never has been a gang of baboons produce any of it.
It is very clear that when you go back in man’s history, all the way back to Genesis chapter 4, and you’re before the flood when sort of observable, verifiable history can be studied by archeology, when you go before the flood, the whole shape of the earth has been so dramatically changed that man, at his best archeological efforts, can’t really reconstruct man’s life. He can maybe find some fossils and say, “Well, this is the kind of creature that existed a long time ago.”
But he can’t find substantial artifacts that can define for him the nature of life on the earth. Isn’t that amazing? That even though there may have been seven billion and more people on the earth, we don’t have enough archeological artifacts to reconstruct what life before the flood was like. It’s as if God said, “I’m just going to not only obliterate the people but obliterate everything about that society from the face of the earth, never to be remembered again.”
But when you get back to that point, man, if man is creative now, what was man like then? How refined could his art become? How refined could his craftsmanship become with a pristine mind, living hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years in a readily congenial and yielding earth, which provided for him all of the resources right at his hand, without having to grapple with disasters and weather problems, et cetera, et cetera? His creativity would be far beyond ours, far beyond anything we can imagine, so that he was able to develop a highly sophisticated culture and, in 1600 years, a massive earth-engulfing population.
And as we will see when we get into this fourth chapter of Genesis, this is no grunting, snorting Neanderthal. This is no bent-over caveman, chewing raw flesh. There was no evolution. There never has been any evolution. Man was created, as we’ve been saying, about 6,000 years ago, and he was created more wonderful and more capable, stronger, healthier, smarter, wiser, more skilled and more experienced than any man we’ve ever met. And this, by God’s design, so that human culture is a gift of God. The best that men can do is common grace. It is the gift of God to us.
Well, let’s look at Cain and the secular culture. We pick up the story in verse 16, actually. “Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” Now, we know at this part of the story (because we’ve already gone through the first 15 verses) that Cain was an unbeliever. Cain rejected God, refused to believe in the true and living God as his God. He knew God existed, he knew God was the true God, but he refused to embrace him as his God. He loved his sin, he did not want forgiveness. God offered him forgiveness, he didn’t want it.
He didn’t want to obey God, he didn’t want to acknowledge God, he was an apostate. He was a doomed and damned man. Even God personally came to Cain, as we remember in the opening part of the chapter, and endeavored to bring him to a point of repentance, to elicit from him a confession of sin, but there was no repentance, there was no admission of sin, there was no desire for God in his heart. He settled into his love of sin. He loved his sin, he delighted in his sin, he longed for his sin. He, therefore, accepted his chosen life apart from God.
And in verse 14, where it says, “Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground, and from thy face I shall be hidden,” some translate that “from thy face I will seek to hide” and both are true. He sought to be away from the presence of God, and God sent him out of His presence, so that this was both God’s judgment and Cain’s own choice - and so it is with all who reject God.
He left the presence of God, and God sent him out. He didn’t want repentance, he didn’t want forgiveness. He saw the truth, he heard the truth, he rejected the truth. He chose to do everything he could to avoid God. That’s why in verse 16 to 26, you never read anything about God. God had no place in the line of Cain. God had no place in secular culture.
That’s not new, by the way, folks. Getting God out of the secular culture is not new, it’s very, very old.
So Cain settles down in verse 16. He is fixed and resolute in his rebellion, and he settles down in the land of Nod. Interestingly enough, in the Hebrew, Nod is “wandering.” He settles down in the land of wandering. Maybe it was a place or maybe it’s a reference to his life as a vagabond. Because back in verse 12, God had cursed him by saying, “You’ll be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” And so he settled down to a life of wandering, both his choice and his judgment. He went out from the presence of God, both his choice and his judgment.
He is, then, the first apostate, the first doomed sinner. The people who lived before him, Adam and Eve, were believers. His brother, born after him, was also one who believed in the true God and obeyed God - and, you remember, Cain killed him. So he is the first of the doomed sinners who refuses God’s forgiveness.
Somewhere along the line, Cain married because verse 17 says he had relations with his wife. He married his sister. People always ask, “Where did Cain get his wife?” That’s not a hard question. He married his sister. As I said earlier to you, in that pristine, pure era of humanity, there were no mutant genes to cause the kind of problems that a decaying humanity brings upon itself that require God making a law against that by the time of Moses. At this time, such was not necessary, and there would be no other place to get your wife than to marry your sister, which was perfectly within God’s purpose.
So he married his sister. Now, we know, according to chapter 5, verse 4 - please notice - the days of Adam, after he became the father of Seth, were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. So there were plenty of children in the family - more sons, more daughters from which Cain could choose his wife.
And I want you to understand, we’re not following a chronology here, we’re following a comparison. If you read the verse that I just read, “The days of Adam after he became father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters,” you could think that he didn’t have other sons and daughters until after he had Seth, so that Cain couldn’t have gotten married until Seth was born, even though Seth being born isn’t mentioned until down in verse 25. It’s not chronology, it’s not that Cain was born here and, you know, twelve verses later Seth was born. It’s just they were both born, the time we don’t know, but they provide for us the contrasting families.
So Cain got married. Doesn’t tell us his wife’s name, so we just like to call her “Mrs. Cain.” He married one of his sisters. It’s interesting to think about that. I don’t know how easy it was for him to convince one of the sisters to marry him because, after all, he was a murderer who had murdered Abel - murdered the delight of his mother and father - but, apparently, the stigma of being his brother’s killer did not prevent one of his sisters from being willing to marry him to fulfill the command to populate the earth.
And it was, you know, his fear - remember back in verse 14? - that somewhere down the line, some of his relatives were going to kill him because he had murdered Abel. And so as the family multiplied, that fear would become more and more heightened.
So verse 17 says, he knew her, back to that familiar word we commented on last time in verse 1 of this chapter where Adam knew his wife, a euphemistic way of referring to sexual relations. And here it’s translated, “had relations with his wife” and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. Although the genealogy shows how sin disqualified Cain’s line as the people of blessing because they’re just wretched people as the flow here is sort of culminated in Lamech, we see what an unqualified and sinful people they were.
It also shows us the common grace of God because they were still able to procreate. Even Cain had the joy of a marriage. Cain had the privilege of having children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And out of the loins of Cain came some very remarkable people. One of them developed livestock, breeding and feeding and raising and all of that. Another one developed music. Another one out of his family developed metallurgy, all of the - literally, the hammering (and sharpening is the Hebrew word) of iron and bronze.
And all of these things brought all kinds of richness into that culture, so he had some pretty formidable people in his line. So God blesses the line of Cain, but notice: He blesses them in a temporal way; that is, only connected to time. Only in the physical were they blessed, not in the sense of the spiritual or that which is eternal. Now, all of Cain’s line was drowned. All of them. All of them that came out of that union were drowned. The whole, entire progeny of Cain was destroyed. But even though they were a wicked family that ultimately ended up being destroyed, they still possessed the image of God.
And living in that pre-flood, pristine environment, they enjoyed the blessings of common grace to create a wonderful culture full of temporal joy and blessing. This is common grace. They were really enabled to fulfill Genesis 1:28, which was to subdue the earth, to make it produce, and to rule over it.
Cain’s genealogy here, Cain’s line, consists of eleven names through seven generations, from Adam to Lamech, and then it ends with Lamech’s four children. In chapter 5, we’ll look at Seth’s line. It covers ten generations rather than seven, from Adam to Noah, and ends with Noah’s three children, three sons. Cain’s line begins with this name, Enoch, in verse 17. Please notice: This is not the same Enoch as the Enoch of chapter 5, verse 22. That Enoch is in the line of Seth. Apparently, at the beginning of the world, there were just a few names and they kept using them over and over - not uncommon.
If you’ve ever met a man from Russia, you know there are about seven male names, and they just keep passing them down generation after generation. So we’re not surprised that certain names appear repeatedly. There is Lamech in the line of Cain, and there is another Lamech (in chapter 5, verse 26) in the line of Seth, not to be confused with the one in the line of Cain. So I just mention that because you’ll be reading ahead and you’ll say, “Wait a minute - there’s another Enoch and another Lamech. Are they the same?” The answer is no, they are not.
So Cain finds a wife in his family, she agrees to marry him, they get married. He has relations with his wife, she is not just a woman, she is his wife, which indicates to us that even early on, there was an understanding of the formality and the legality of marriage. He had a wife, and the Lord gave them a child. They named the child Enoch (or Hanoch). It means dedicate. Hanukkah is what the Jews celebrate, it’s the dedication. It can mean to commence or to initiate or to inaugurate, which is consistent with to dedicate something that is new, something that is inaugural.
And this was their first child, apparently, and so they named him initiate, inaugurate, commence. The name appears, as I said, in chapter 5. One of Seth’s sons is named Enoch. You’ll also find it in chapter 25 of Genesis. Genesis chapter 25 verse 4 - you don’t need to look it up, I’ll just comment on it very briefly, it’s just really a note. But there, it is transliterated Hanoch but it’s the same Hebrew word, and Hanoch there is the son of Midian, who’s a son of Abraham, and then later on, the first son of Reuben, son of Jacob, in chapter 46 is called Hanoch.
So there are at least four named Hanoch (or Enoch) in the book of Genesis. The name seems to fit a son who was viewed by the family as the commencement (or the initiation or the inauguration) of a next generation.
Now, we have a rather startling statement immediately after this. It says, in verse 17, she conceived and gave birth to Enoch, and he built a city. Actually, the Hebrew is better read he was building a city. Now, the question here - and it is no small question - is: Who is he? And the best interpretation of the “he” in the Hebrew construction here is that “he” refers to Cain. He had relations with his wife, she conceived and gave birth to Enoch, and he was building a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
Why was he building a city? Didn’t God tell him that he was going to spend his life - what? - wandering? That he was going to be a vagabond and a wanderer his whole life? Well, I think it’s pretty obvious why he was building a city - because he didn’t like that. In an effort to mitigate his curse, he sets out to build a city.
This is, by standards of some Hebrew scholars, what’s called a periphrastic participle, “was building,” so that the idea here is he started to do this. He was erecting this city. The implication would be a little at a time. And it may have been, as one rabbi (Nachmanides, from the thirteenth century) says, “Cain was erecting a city a little at a time due to his continuous state of wandering that resulted from the divine curse upon him.”
It was as if he was trying to get this city started, where he could settle and dwell, and mitigate the curse of wandering. It’s obvious that he desired to live in a settled place. He probably desired - probably had a nagging wife who said, “Look, can’t we ever settle down? And how can we keep dragging everything we have and our family all over the place?” So thus, he makes some kind of effort to settle.
The word “city” - we say city and we think of Los Angeles - “city” is a general Hebrew word that means a fenced-in place. It means a complex of dwellings. It could be made out of anything, it could be any size, large or small - any kind of complex of dwellings. He was trying to erect a place to settle in. He was trying to settle down. The indication of the Hebrew is he couldn’t succeed at it because he finally gave up and called the name of the city Enoch or the name of the complex or fenced-in place Enoch after the name of his son.
Now, it was common to name a city or a dwelling (a complex, a house, an estate) after the person - listen - who owned it and was responsible for it, which leads me to believe that what happened was Enoch tried - Cain tried to do this, eventually couldn’t do it, it became Enoch’s place and thus, it bore his name, and even Cain, the relentless vagabond, had to acknowledge that it was not to be called Cain, it was to be called Enoch.
And again, to name a city after a person was to express ownership and responsibility. In Deuteronomy chapter 3 and verse 14, “Jair, the son of Manasseh, took all the region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called it” - that is - “Bashan, after his own name.” Now, that was essentially the same thing. It was somewhat typical if you took over a place and it belonged to you and you had both ownership and responsibility to, therefore, name it after yourself.
“David lived in the stronghold” - 2 Samuel 5:9 - “David lived in the stronghold, the complex of dwellings, and called it the city of David” because, obviously, he had responsibility for it and ownership of it. You have a similar situation in 2 Samuel 12:28. That was 2 Samuel 5:9. Second Samuel 12:28, “Joab sent messengers to David,” verse 27, “I have captured the city of waters. Now, therefore, gather the rest of the people together, encamp against the city, capture it, lest I capture the city myself and it be named after me.” So Joab says, “If I capture the city, it’s going to be named after me.”
So here you have a city named after Enoch, which indicates that he was the owner of it, and he was responsible for it. This was Enochville, not Caintown, because Cain apparently wasn’t successful in his effort.
So it is here that you have the beginning of urbanization. It is here that you have the beginning of culture developing as Cain’s first son, Enoch, finishes a town. This is very important. There was no evolution of society here. There was Adam, his son, Cain, and his grandson, Enoch, and Enoch is the father of the first town. They’ve already come out of the cave, folks. They’re already building a society by the third generation
Now, the next verse identifies four subsequent generations (the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh) all in verse 18. “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.” That doesn’t mean those were the only children born, those were just the first born in the next sequence of generations. You can be sure Cain and his wife had more children, and they had children, and there were others being born, as we mentioned, after Seth, sons and daughters of Adam, and they were having children.
And those children were having children, and the earth is being populated, but we’re following the history of two families because in the end, there are only two families. We know that when the flood comes because the flood drowns the whole world except eight righteous people. But we’re just following the first born, moving through the generations.
Irad. Some suggest that that name - and by the way, originally, they weren’t talking in Hebrew, you understand that. We don’t know what language they spoke before the flood. We don’t know what it was, so we don’t know what the actual words were, but we do know that the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write a Hebrew record which incorporates the Hebrew version of these words. And “ir” (I-R), “hir” (H-I-R) means “of the city.” So it could be that Irad is a city dweller, a townsman. So now we have a town and we have a son who is a townsman, so we have the beginning of business.
A society is already operating within the framework of a town. This is beyond the agriculture of Cain and those like him. This is beyond the tending of sheep of those who were following, sort of, in what Abel did. This is dwelling in the town, this is the city dweller. This is the urbanization. Man has already pulled together dwelling places in which there is commerce of some kind going on.
By the way, Mehujael and Methushael both end in “el” (E-L), which is God. The best guess - we can’t be dogmatic, the best guess is the first name means God blots out and the second means violence of God. There’s no affirmation that they believed in God; there is simply an identification that they were under the judgment of God. And the picture is, you have a city and you have a city dweller, and then you have God blotting out and acting in violence against it. So you can see by the names there is a flow of iniquity that is escalating.
Then comes the climax of the genealogy of Cain in the man Lamech. Lamech maybe comes from a strong root which means conqueror or strong man. He steps on the stage, and he is the prototype of the way of Cain, as Jude 11 refers to it. He’s the prototype of the Cainite. He is the maximum man in the Cainite culture. He is the epic illustration of a declining society, and verse 19 tells us his story. “And Lamech took to himself two wives.” Stop there.
Man did not evolve into monogamy. The original design of God was monogamy - one man, one woman for life - that’s clear in Genesis 2:24, that a man and a woman cleave to each other, they leave their parents. The Lord made that abundantly clear from the beginning. It’s reaffirmed all the way through Scripture.
Man, as these social evolutionists talk about all the time, did not evolve from a grunting Neanderthal with women all over the place, committing sexual acts like a dog in heat or whatever, into some monogamous person. Rather, man was created monogamous, and it didn’t take long before he ceased to be monogamous, as illustrated by Lamech. And this is evidence of a decline, not an incline, of a devolution, not an evolution, of a going down, not a going up.
You get into the seventh generation from Adam, Cain is still alive at this time, it’s still in the lifetime of Cain, still in the lifetime of Adam, who lived to be 930 years. Adam sees it all. In fact, Adam sees everything right on down, most likely, to the birth of Noah. Adam actually lived right down until he could see what was coming because this massively populated world was so corrupt.
Now, it doesn’t mean that Lamech was the only bigamist. It doesn’t mean that Lamech was the only polygamist. It just means he was one, and it indicates to us that that’s where the line of Cain went. As I said, there could be millions of people on the earth very rapidly, and we certainly can’t say that somebody else hadn’t been a bigamist or a polygamist, but this is illustrative of the direction society was going.
And then the full comment comes in chapter 6 where God says, “I looked at the world and it was all evil, and only evil, continually.” But here is where the recorded illustration of the corruption of marriage takes place. Lamech took to himself two wives. Now, after this, we see it again. Abraham, foolish, stupid Abraham had his wife, Sarah, to whom he had been married for many, many years. He’s now essentially an old man, and in the end of his life he’s promised a son. And in an act of folly, he decides to take to himself Hagar, the handmaid, and have a relationship with her. And you know the result.
You go outside God’s design for marriage - he has a sexual relationship with Hagar, out of that comes Ishmael, out of Ishmael come the Arabs, who today, this very day, are a severe problem in the life of Israel and have always been. You have the same thing with Jacob. Jacob takes two wives, Leah and Rachel, and disaster upon disaster occurs in his family. You have David, who takes several wives, and it leads to nothing but total chaos, disaster, heartache, sin in his life. To say nothing of Solomon, whose marriages and concubines were legendary.
Wherever you see bigamy, wherever you see polygamy in Scripture, it brings conflict, sin, sorrow, and devastation to families. The Bible doesn’t always make a moral comment on it, doesn’t here, it just says he took two wives, without comment, but doesn’t need to make a comment. All you have to know is the character of the man here. All you have to know is the standard of Genesis 2:24, and the standard of Genesis 2:24 is one man, one woman, together for life, one flesh. Whenever it’s violated anywhere in the pages of Scripture, conflict, sin, sorrow, devastation results, whether you’re talking about Abraham, whether you’re talking about Jacob, whether you’re talking about David, Solomon, or whoever.
So with Lamech, the pattern of corrupting God’s design - remember now, God hadn’t made a lot of laws at this point. God hadn’t laid down a lot of laws at this point. The Ten Commandments hadn’t yet been given. There weren’t a lot of commands that they were going to be worried about breaking. But there were some things that were very clear, and one of them is God had designed marriage to be between one man and one woman, leaving parents, cleaving together, one flesh for life. That, God did say. And I think that’s why it points out here that Lamech violated that, to show you this is a rebellious person in the way of Cain.
This is a man who follows the pattern of Cain, and he leads Cain’s family, now in the seventh generation, into an open rebellion. Now, he marries these two girls, and by now, you know, there are a number of sons and daughters born to Adam and we don’t know the timetable here and anyway, he picks out two girls, Adah and Zillah. Now, people always want to know, “What were they like?” I don’t know anything about them.
But the best I can do - and you don’t want to overstate the value of this - is if you do an etymology on their names, Adah means ornament. I suppose you could say pretty. And Zillah is a word that has to do with a sweet-sounding voice. So he married “pretty” and “sweet-voiced,” which is a bit thin in terms of perceiving character. So, you know, he was attracted to them. He liked the way one looked, he liked the way one sounded.
I don’t know what else to say, and that’s just a stab in the dark, believe me. But that seems to be the root. We do know their names don’t mean profound and godly. The best we can say is pretty, with a nice voice. So that was Adah and Zillah.
Now, apparently, again an emphasis, to take to himself two wives is some kind of a formal act. It doesn’t say he had two sex partners. It says he took to himself these two woman, and the taking to oneself has the idea of something formal, something recognized, something legal, so that from the very beginning, there was a formal, recognized social element within marriage. There was some societal arrangement for marriage, some formal union.
Now, why two wives? Well, I mean maybe he liked them both, I don’t know. But society was still patriarchal. There wasn’t any sort of formal government. And the more wives you had, the more children you had; and the more children you had, the more work you could get done. The more work you could get done, the more productive you could be. The more productive you could be, the more wealth you would gain. The more wealth you had, the more power you got. So added to the lust factor (“pretty” and “sweet-voiced”) was the possibility that the more wives you had, the more productive you would be.
If life was largely family-business-family-related, then the bigger the family, the bigger the potential. These two wives gave Lamech at least four children, four that are named here. And these four children - three boys and a girl - are given to us here. The three boys took society to the next level.
From its original combination of an agrarian society, working agriculture, combined with an urban society, which had begun to develop in the city, urbanization and agrarian combining now develops even further. And the development, again, is great cultural development. And, again, man (though flawed) is made in God’s image. And he has remarkable abilities. He has, particularly in the pre-flood era, far more remarkable mental capacities than anything we could ever imagine.
I’m always reminded of somebody saying to me when I was in a science class in my university days that, for the most part, we use about one percent of our brain. I can’t imagine somebody who would use ten percent of it or fifty percent or a hundred percent. But what about using, say, a hundred percent or maybe eighty percent of a brain like the brain of someone at that time in the history of humanity? High levels of intelligence, high levels of creativity, high levels of self-discipline, strength, health - the likes of which we can’t even comprehend.
To be 450 years old and be like a 25-year-old. The ability to grasp truth, to grasp elements, facts, to reason, to function, to develop highly refined insights and skills, to build relationships that incorporate others into a corporate function, to build a team, to build a group of people working for common goals. Amazing, amazing enterprises would result.
And they did, through these three boys. Let’s look at verse 20. “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-Kayin, the forger” - or the hammerer and sharpener - “of all implements of bronze and iron.” This is pretty remarkable stuff. The sons, you will notice, are all connected to the same Hebrew stem, Yabal, whether it’s Jabal, Jubal, or Tubal. It means “to produce.” They were all highly productive - amazingly productive. They were producing remarkably.
The first one, Jabal, was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. The was the original cattle rancher. This is animal husbandry. Of all of those who work with - the Hebrew word is actually the word miqneh - livestock. Not talking about tending sheep. That had already been done by Abel, and there probably were others who did the tending of sheep. This includes all animals that would be domesticated. All - this whole matter of animal breeding.
And, you know, you would learn about that if you lived hundreds and hundreds of years and you had people who worked with you who lived hundreds and hundreds of years, and you went through literally millions of animals in the time of those years. You would learn about breeding and feeding and killing and skinning. You would learn about the milk of animals, the hide of animals, as well as the meat of animals, and by now they were meat-eaters. Jabal was the founder of all of that.
Now, they dwelt in tents because livestock need to graze. And at that time, the deserts hadn’t been formed, pre-flood, and the earth was full of vegetation. So you took your tent and you just moved in a very benign and congenial climate everywhere to let those livestock feed and grow and flourish.
So now we have society really developing. There has been agriculture. Cain started out, and certainly though he couldn’t succeed, he must have taught others to do it successfully. And even part of the curse, when Adam was sent out of the garden, you remember, was that Adam himself was going to till the ground, right? So Adam was a farmer and I’m certain a successful one at that. So there was agriculture to feed people. And then there was urbanization as the towns were built. And then there were animals added to provide the livestock which would provide all kinds of benefits that come from animal husbandry.
Not just that, it interests me in verse 21 that his brother’s name was Jubal and he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. He was the father of music. Here came one who invented music. What a tremendous act of God and common grace. Can you imagine our unbelieving world with no music? Music is a wonderful blessing to our world, isn’t it? It’s one of those things that God gives and doesn’t have to give. He doesn’t have to provide wonderful crops of food, doesn’t have to provide wonderful animals and livestock to give us delicious food and leather goods and all of the things that come from animals and milk, et cetera, et cetera. He doesn’t have to provide that.
He doesn’t have to provide a secular world with the beauties of music, the sweet tones of a lyre and a pipe, but He does. He invented music, Jubal did it. That’s pretty amazing. There would be the need to invent a scale, to come up with some understanding of the incredible mathematics of music, the tones, the arrangements of music. And then he also invented instruments to play it. You could never say you were a musician unless you could make a sound. And so he must have been able to make instruments.
The word “lyre” is kinnor. It was an old kind of a hand-held harp, but I think it’s the more modern word in Hebrew for violin. And then there was the pipe, which is really a flute, usually made out of reeds. So here is another element of the pre-flood genius. They have all of this urbanization, all of this wonderful development, and along with it, they have music. What an incredible gift from God to the secular world is music. And by the way, it certainly has declined. It’s declining rapidly, isn’t it?
The other wife, Zillah, gave birth to Tubal-Qayin, who may have been named after Cain. It appears that Tubal-Qayin - as a way to honor Cain. Who wants to do that unless you agree with his rejection of God? So it just tells us more about the decline of the family. Tubal-Qayin, it says, is “the forger” (the NAS says). Actually, it’s the latish, it’s the hammerer, it’s the sharpener of all implements of bronze and iron. Now, this is a metallurgist. This is not easy, either. I mean how do you just invent music and musical sounds and scales and instruments? And how do you just all of a sudden develop all of animal husbandry and the whole operation of that? Takes a genius to do that.
And how do you develop the matter of making all kinds of things out of bronze and iron? Metallurgy is a skill of great science. It demands tremendous power. First of all, you have to get raw material to make things out of bronze and iron. And if you look at Job 28 - and we’ll close with this, so stick with me for just a few more minutes.
In Job 28, “Surely there is a mine for silver,” Job 28 says, “and a place where they refine gold. Iron is taken from the dust, and from rock, copper is smelted” - or bronze. “Man puts an end to darkness.” How does man find this? How does he find the copper? How does he find the iron? How does he find the silver and the gold? He puts an end to darkness. What does that mean? He has to go deep down into the belly of the earth where it has been dark, and he has to create a shaft which lets the light in.
He has to go to the farthest limit to search it out. “The rock, in gloom and deep shadow. He sinks a shaft, far from habitation, forgotten by the foot.” He has to develop some way to literally drill into the core of the earth. And they sink a shaft, in verse 4, forgotten by the foot. Job is probably - certainly a book written in the patriarchal time - maybe the oldest book in the Bible in terms of its events.
So what they do is they sink a shaft. Here’s how they do it - “forgotten by the foot” - a place nobody ever had been. And they hang down in that shaft “and swing to and fro, far from men.” Somehow, they built a shaft and some kind of an elevator system so people could go way down and swing on that shaft way down in the belly of the earth. “The earth, from it comes food, and underneath it is turned up as fire.” Did they develop an explosive system? Did they go way down in the belly of the earth and have some manner of dynamite to literally turn it over?
“The rocks are sources of sapphires, dust contains gold. It’s a path that no bird of prey knows.” And birds of prey, you know, they fly and they have this incredible vision, don’t they? And they can look down from high in the sky and they can see a small mouse and go get that thing because of their incredible vision. But this is something that even a bird of prey can’t see. This is something “the falcon’s eye never has caught sight of.” This is somewhere “the proud beasts have never walked and the fierce lion has never passed.
He puts his hand on the flint, overturns the mountains at the base.” What’s a flint? A flint is something used to start a what? A fire. Somehow they knew how to overturn a mountain in the mining process. And they would hew out channels through the rocks.
We were just driving through Italy, through rock - mountain after mountain after mountain - wondering at the amazing drilling that went on. It’s similar to riding through the Chunnel, as it’s called, from England to France that goes under the British - the channel there, and realizing the tremendous ability to drill through rock. Well, they did it then. They hewed out channels through the rock, damming up streams and all these kinds of things. Well, you get the picture. Developing metallurgy, using bronze and iron - very difficult science that commanded great, great power and wisdom.
By the way, as a footnote, if you study evolution, you will find the evolution of civilization divides human history into the Stone Age, which is 100,000 BC to 4000 BC. It was the Stone Age when people just messed around with rocks. Then comes what they call the Chalcolithic Age, from 4000 BC to 3200 BC. Then the Bronze Age, from 3200 BC to 1200 BC. And then the Iron Age from 1200 BC to 330 BC.
Now, they’ve got it all spread out over thousands and thousands of years - and here’s one guy who did it all. How ridiculous. There was no Bronze Age, there was no Iron Age, there was no Stone Age. There was just one period of time, lasting about 1600 years, in which they worked with stone, they worked with bronze, they worked with iron, they made music, they developed cities, and they created agriculture and livestock, and they populated the planet. That’s what the Bible says. People became civilized, urbanized, fed, clothed, entertained, comforted, and protected. A very highly developed society.
But as Derek Kidner says in his commentary on Genesis, “Culture, used or abused, offers no redemption.” It is a good gift, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you rather be living here in this culture than in some aboriginal place with no comforts and a very hard existence? Sure, it’s a blessing but it’s very temporal, and it will disappear.
Revelation 18 takes us to the end of history. And in Revelation 18:21, we hear that Babylon is going to be destroyed, the final world empire. Verse 22, “The sound of harpists and musicians, flute-players, trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer.” That’s going to be the end of music. “No craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer. The sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer, the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer, the voice of the bridegroom and the bride will not be heard in you any longer, your merchants were the great men of the earth because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.”
In other words, there’s going to come a time when all cities and all agriculture, all urbanization, all business, all crafts, all music, all ends. And then there will be a time of divine purification when the Lord purifies the earth and establishes His kingdom. And then all enterprises will be sacred, in His kingdom. But until that time, God has given us the common grace of culture, and it is a blessing from Him.
Well, verse 22 ends that he had a sister, Tubal-Kayin did, by the name of Naamah. We don’t know anything about her, doesn’t say, but the two consonants in the Hebrew word (N and M) are frequently used in words related to music - naem, one who makes sweet music. Maybe she was the original girl singer. And I will add, the female voice is the most beautiful instrument in the world, if it is on pitch.
Well, no evolution in this. All the elements of civilization, culture, society, and modern life - urbanization, agriculture, animal domestication, industrialization, entertainment - all developed in the first family in the first seven generations from Adam before Adam even died, before Cain even died. Sad to say, however, alongside culture, as it developed, was sin developing as well. And there is no mention in this section of God because God had no place in secular culture - and He still doesn’t, does He? Then we come to Lamech next week.
Lord, again your Word is so rich for us and opens to us such profound answers to the questions that seem to plague people. Thank you for giving us your truth and showing us the way things really are. We understand that you have been very gracious to this world. The culture is a gracious gift. But used or abused, it offers no redemption.
How sad when man takes all this goodness that man created in your image can produce from this rich planet, which you’ve created, takes it all, uses it all, enjoys it all, spends and even wastes it all, and never, ever gives you thanks. No wonder the judgment of Romans 1 falls on him, that when they knew God, they didn’t glorify Him as God, and were not thankful.
We understand the way of Cain, we understand the secular culture. We understand it has no place for you. We understand that all its blessings are temporal, and its end, as it was for the family of Cain, is the end of judgment.
We thank you, Father, that by your grace we can belong to the sacred culture, where blessings are forever. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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