Devotionals Genesis

First History of the Race

I recall the moment our first son was born. I was there and I felt like I was “the man” because now I was “a dad”. Proud of me being a father, proud of my wife giving me a son, proud of my son. I was the happiest man on earth. At that moment I was the man with all the good feelings one might describe … but the truth is, most other new fathers feel exactly the same. The same emotions were present and active with the next son and daughter. As we move into our text today, we must say that just because people know there is a God, and do not follow God, does not mean they do not have feelings of love and tenderness, especially when becoming a parent. I was not a believer when the first son was born. Read this passage again:

Ge 4:17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

1) The name Enoch seems to mean “dedication”, also meaning “new beginning”. Just as Enoch’s birth was a new beginning, it was a new beginning for Cain. He was told to separate and go into the world and be a ceaseless wanderer. Enoch symbolized a totally new beginning of a totally new life apart from his parents and family.

2) Building a city. This is significant. Cain was to be a restless wanderer, yet in this city he seems to desire stability, ownership and presence. It is important to capture the true translation of … Cain was then building a city. The Hebrew implies that he started building the city but never completed it. Even today we decide on a city’s name before it’s built, therefore naming the city Enoch, although not completed, was not strange. The city might have been completed by someone else much later in time.

3) Whilst construction took place, Cain did not live there because the city does not remove the curse. No man can decide to stop and removed what God has decreed. Others would have lived in the incomplete city, but not Cain. Even if another completed the city, Cain did not live there. His future would be a nomad, moving from place to place, suffering to exist and eat and drink. That was his punishment. He himself as well as no other man could remove the curse God placed upon him.

4) Cain never felt safe. His son Enoch and his city Enoch might have been wonderfully comforting to him in the context of one of us becoming a father or mother and owning a house. Yet these never gave him security and peace. The curse was heavy and final. Murdering his brother left Cain under God’s displeasure, though God left the door open for faith and repentance.

5) Early cities. Some argue that it was impossible for man to build a city as early as Cain did. On the contrary, why not? We cannot give the exact dating of this city but as our early ancestors lived to many hundreds of years and the expansion of the race was well under way, why would it not seem plausible for Cain to build a city. The city where our church is, had 500 people in 2000, 601 in 206 and 1682 in 2021. Since then it has rocked with major international companies such as Michelin Tires and BMW vehicles starting huge facilities. My point is that cities start small! There is no reason to believe Cain could not have started building a city. In fact, look at how Cain’s numbers increased.

Ge 4:18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

This does not suggest that all Cain’s descendants lived in the City of Enoch … the city of “new beginnings”.

6) Similarity in names. Although we are not that far in our text, let’s compare the names of the two streams flowing from Adam.

(i) Cain: Adam, Cain, Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, Lamech and his sons Jabal, Jubal and Tubal Cain.

(ii) Seth: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. These two streams run over seven generations, so mixing, trading and coexisting would have existed. They would have borrowed names from each other, so it’s difficult to say who used a name first.

7) Many names do not have meanings. Some have suggested meanings for many of these names by saying they sound like something in Hebrew, but this is pure speculation.

8) Polygamy.

Ge 4:19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 

This statement is almost missed if you are not focusing properly. What is noteworthy to observe is that this act of taking two wives originated amongst the stream of those who were the people of this world and not the people of God! You will recall that God purposed a marriage to be monogamous. Now, seven generations from Adam we find from amongst the Cainites polygamous marriages starting. Surely, as with today, this is an affront to God’s design for marriage. The two wives are mentions by name. It is suggested that Adah means “ornament” or “morning” and Zillah meaning “shade” or “shelter”. According to those who have studied names, these are associated with physical beauty and could be the reason for Lamech taking two wives. Sadly this has been man’s problem throughout history. Physical beauty has been his down fall. Over the past 30 years or so, woman have followed this trait. It must be repeated and repeated strongly that although we are sensual beings, God designed one man for one woman and one woman for one man. This does not mean one at a time but “until death us do part”. Although we live in a “Hollywood” style of visual attraction, first sex, then marriage followed by divorce, this is not the Biblical way. Due to sin marriages do fail but God’s laws don’t fail … they are broken! Perhaps we need to repeat that a relationship built upon what is seen, is doomed to failure. A man and a woman need to grow to know each other’s personality, character, likes and dislikes, health, family and family history, education and aspirations regarding careers. Are there perhaps a family history of disease, mental illness and other disorders … not to prevent a marriage but to know what might be expected in the future … that is to be prepared? As mentioned often, the words my friend uses are so very important. He says … “Is it love or is it lust?” Consider that! Love lasts … but lust without love or even with half love shall not last.

Our Father, thank You for exposing the first history of the race to us. Help us Lord, to be guarded against the traps one could fall into, especially that of ignoring Your laws for sexual unions. Graciously bless the marriages and families of all Your children. Amen.

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