We left off last week with Cain being cursed by God and settling in the land of Nod, which is east of Eden. Genesis 4:17-24 tells the story of Cain’s family. Of course Adam and Eve had more children than just Cain and Abel. Apparently it was ok to intermarry; there was no other choice if Adam and Eve were the only human beings created. So, Cain married his sister (4:17, 5:4). Cain’s family has interesting roots and one can trace the development of his family and what they introduce to the world to ancient civilizations and how they developed. Here’s what we learn in Genesis 4 about the development of civilization:
- The introduction of cities: Cain tried building a city and naming it after his son Enoch (v.17). Was he successful? Was he the first to do this?
- The introduction of polygamy (more than one wife): Methushael’s son Lamech took two wives, Adah and Zillah (v.19). Did God approve of this?
- The introduction of domesticating animals for human purposes: Jabal, son of Adah, was the father of a nomadic type of people who lived in tents and raised sheep and goats.
- The introduction of music: Jabal’s brother Jubal was the father of all who play the lyre (stringed instrument used in ancient cultures) and pipe (musical, not for smoking).
- The introduction of metalworking: Zillah’s son Tubal-Cain forged bronze and iron. Were they used to help out with ordinary chores and living or for war?
- The introduction of poetry (?): Lamech writes what appears to be the first poem of our Bible in Genesis 4:23-24. In his poem he boasts about a man who attacked and wounded him and how he killed the young man. Was there some type of war between them or was it murder? The Hebrew word for killed in verse 23 is the same word used to describe what Cain did to Abel back in verse 8 of chapter 4.
- The introduction of life without God: Cain’s descendents seem focused on themselves and their humanistic efforts. There is on mention of glory or worship given to God. It would be nice to say that God was a part of what they did and their daily life, but we can’t. It’s not there. The author of Genesis introduces Cain’s family line and then moves to the more important line of Adam’s family, his son Seth.
What are your thoughts on Genesis 4:17-24?