by Kristen C. Strocchia
“Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play stringed instruments and pipes. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.” Genesis 4:19-22
There are actually two Lamech’s in the early chapters of Genesis. The one mentioned here in the line of Cain, and the other mentioned one chapter later [Genesis 5:25, et al.] but who was descended from Cain’s younger brother Seth.
The name Lamech is an ancient name of unknown meaning, though scholars have speculated many possible roots–some positive and some negative attributes. But I believe God includes Lamech’s story in an otherwise uninteresting/unimportant genealogical list for a reason.
Five generations after Cain, his descendant Lamech distorts the marriage and family structure instituted by God at the Creation of humankind. God created Lamech’s sixth-great grandfather Adam and his sixth-great grandmother Eve with the purpose that one man would marry one woman and the two would become one flesh for life [Genesis 2:24]. It seems plausible–from the next detail we’ll learn about him–that Lamech maybe hadn’t even heard of God in his life. Or at least that he wasn’t in the habit of crediting God’s words to Him. So it is not a huge surprise that this Lamech is credited as being the first polygamist in world history.
But just because it is recorded in the Bible that people chose to deviate from God’s intended design–and Lamech could see the one-man-one-woman marriages all around him–does not mean that God condones this behavior. In fact, the Bible records the sins of many ancient people, but it also records the consequences that they received for their sin while still on this earth.
Lamech’s story is included in the narrative of the effects of sin that is unfolding in the early chapters of Genesis, because God wants people to see how deeply sin ravaged the earth and humankind from the beginning.
Yet, despite Lamech’s sinful lifestyle, he had three intelligent and creative sons, each successful in their own way. Scriptures don’t tell us whether or not Lamech’s sons revered God any more or less than their father. But I believe that God is also showing by this that children are not resigned to repeat the fate of their parents. Yet, even if the ungodly are more prosperous in some generations than others, just as Cain would one day die and stand judgment, so would Lamech, and his sons and daughter–Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-Cain, and Naamah.
The question will still be put before them, how did they use their successes at shepherding, music, and tool-making? Was it to the glory and honor of God?
And what about you? Have you come from an unsaved family? Has God blessed you with abilities even before you came to a saving knowledge of Him? Give Him praise and bring Him glory through His gifts at work in your life.
P.S. On the Creation vs evolution front, notice that Tubal-Cain worked in bronze and iron. Evolutionists would like us to believe that humans evolved after dinosaurs died and that they weren’t smart enough to make tools until about 2,000BC [bronze] and 700BC [iron]. Well, God would have us know that both tool types were introduced probably about 3500-3300BC at the latest. We’ll discuss this more in the flood.