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Genesis 4:18-24 - Aligning Cain's Clans with History

Genesis 4:18 to 24 - 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 stringed instruments and pipes. 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.” - NIV

 

Introduction

Following the breadcrumbs through history and scripture, it seems that Eden was somewhere near Lake Van, and that Cain moved just east of there, around 4200 BC. His wife may well have grown up further east, near Lake Urmia1. The "cities" of the time were more like large villages, which were unlikely to survive the flood 1500 years later, hence providing no record of Cain himself. Regardless, his family and descendents endured for at least seven generations, perhaps longer, and their Biblical record is consistent with the GeoCreationist timeframe computed from Adam through Noah.

 

A young earther, Earl Cripe, has written a very informative article entitled, "The Land of Nod - Where Was it and What Was Going on There?"2 Though we differ on the science, it is very informative on the Hebrew, and draws inferences that give one pause. Combined with our knowledge of the ancient, we can gain perspective on what life was like through the generations recorded of Cain, and the validity of scripture as a historical document.

 

Enoch

When Eve gave birth to Cain in Genesis 4:1, she is recorded to have said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." In other words, it was no thanks to Adam -- who followed his wife into sin and got them kicked out of paradise -- then Cain was born. Eve knew the truth about God now, and probably saw Adam as week. In my opinion, he disgusted her. So, when she gave birth to Cain, she expressed it in this simple utterance.

 

Cain appears to have grown up an angry man, which came out in the killing of his brother Abel. He then had a son, and named him Enoch, which means, "dedicated, disciplined, initiated, or trained up."3 It is a clear contrast to follower, faithful, loving, self-sacrificing. He named his city after Enoch as well, a reflection of the that ideal Cain chose to live, an ideal to which his father fell short.

 

A Slow Return to God?

For the next few generations, the names of Cain's descendants would appear to suggest a coming back to God. It starts when Enoch the Disciplined named his son Irad, or "fleet of foot, or in other words, a runaway or a fugitive"4 Perhaps Irad's father Enoch felt trapped, and this was the expression of his desire to leave the militaristic disciplined lifestyle implied by his name. If indeed Enoch provided a sheltering for Irad, away from Cain, then it could have provided the environment necessary for Irad to seek out God.

 

As Cripe points out, Irad's knowledge of God stemmed from Cain's perspective on what had happened with Abel, combined with his father's recoil against Cain while growing up. But there must have been something of God's love that he grasped in between the lines, because he grew up and named his own son Mehujael, or "Smitten of God". It didn't stop there either. Mehujael grew up to have son named Methushael, or "the man who is of God"5.

 

Lamech

Methushael had a son named Lamech, and he completely departed from any God-loving lifestyle that Mehujael apparently lived. If man is to have one wife, as shown by Adam and Cain, then Lamech had two. Where Cain eventually killed his brother and felt guilty and fearful for it, Lamech killed a man (we do not know who) and felt reblliously indignant about it. Not only did Lamech follow in his ancestor Cain's footsteps, he appears to have one-upped him, at least in his own mind. As he says in verses 23 and 24...

 

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.” - NIV

 

Even more interesting however are his sons.

 

Jabal

20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.

 

It is interesting that scripture specifically calls out Jabal and his people lived in tents. Didn't everyone? Not at all. Recall that Cain had built a city/village of permament dwellings, and archaeoligical finds from that time suggest they were most likely made of mud, brick, and wood6. Raising livestock however requires the mobility that is afforded by tents. Jabal's people therefore would seem to have been wanderers. Most likely, they raised sheep and other livestock along the rivers, such as the Tigris and Euphrates, just as Abel likely had. This may in fact, be the source of the meaning later ascribed to Jabal's name. "The Hebrew word for this name is Yabal (yaw-bawl') and means a water course, or a wandering, meandering stream."

 

Jubal

21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.

 

As described by Joachim Braun, stringed instruments appear in ancient art at least as far back as 3,300BC7. These drawings appear in the ancient Israeli city of Megiddo, and could have been influenced by travelers from the north, suggesting that the actual invention of stringed instruments go back even further. How far? Well, Cain's ancestral line does not record any ages. However Adam to Abram records, on average, 100 years per generation. As a rough guess for Cain's family, this could place Jubal at around 3,600 BC. This would provide plenty of time for Jubal to invent stringed instruments and see them spread through the Near and Middle East, in time for Megiddo to have its own descendents record them in 3,300 BC drawings. Such a timeline is consistent with what we know.

 

Tubal-Cain

22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.

 

At first glance, this might seem odd to a historian, becuase the iron age did not begin until around 1,200 BC. However, that is not when iron working began. The earliest iron beads are from Iran and Iraq, and date to 4,600-3,100 BC. If we assume, as we did with Jubal, that Tubal-Cain's life bracketed 3,600 BC, then (as with Jubal) the idea of him working with bronze and iron is consistent with what we know.

 

Conclusion

By comparing the culture and names of Cain's descedents to the archaeolgical knowledge we have of the time, we find that the GeoCreationist dating for Adam (and by extension Cain) is consistent with what historians know. Cain built a city at a time when permanent dwellings of mud, brick, and wood became popular. Jabal in contrast, used tents, to facilitate the sheparding lifestyle inherited from the Ubaid 3/4 dwellings of the time. Jubal is recorded as the father of stringed instruments, not long before the earliest art we have of them. Finally, Tubal-Cain worked with bronze and iron, within 300 years of the beginning of the Bronze Age itself, and around the seeming discovery of meteoric iron by regions within modern Iran and Iraq. By computing a date for Adam, and showing its alignment with history, the validity of scripture as a historical source is confirmed.

 

1. "Where is Eden, Nod, and Enoch? Between Lake Van and Lake Urmia" - GeoCreationism.com

2. "The Land of Nod - Where Was it and What Was Going on There?" - Earl Cripe

3. Cripe

4. Cripe

5. Cripe
6. "Old Testament Life and Literature" - Gerald A. Larue, Ch. 6

7. "Music in ancient Israel/Palestine" - Joachim Braun