Barry Newman's Blog

July 27, 2011

Science and Genesis 4: 1 – 26 (part IX)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 10:38 pm

Lamech and his family

The reference to the marriage of Lamech to two women, Adah and Zillah is given without comment though some would see in the double marriage a hint of the sexual laxity that one observes from time to time later in the Old Testament.  Of additional interest is the mention of the third women – Naamah, the sister of Tubal-Cain.  The naming of Adah and Zillah is convenient  because they produced different progeny but Naamah is simply mentioned as a sister. Perhaps it is significant that a woman of that name is mentioned in I Kings and 2 Chronicles as the Ammonite mother of Rehoboam.  The way the account reads however is that all three women were real women, known perhaps from a source independent of the Genesis account but now incorporated into it.

Adah and Zillah are not only conveniently named as the mothers of different progeny, they also become the audience for Lamech’s boast.  The double-fold form of address, “Listen to me” and “Hear my voice” seems to add strength to his boast.  His reference to them as his wives perhaps suggests that he sees himself  as superior to them.  All up, the portrayal appears to be that of an arrogant man.

His boast is in terms of his disregard for human life and his personal hand in ending a life.  Additionally however the boast relates to two further matters. He sees the hurt he brought about as greater than the hurt done to him – “He wounded me; I killed him.”  Furthermore, the one he killed was young, and he Lamech was older – “Though I was older (and not as strong?), I killed him.”  That the young man is not named might also indicate Lamech’s lack of interest in his no longer being alive.

His boast is made further evident in his reference to Cain.  Whether his view of how seriously God might consider his act by comparison with that of Cain was correct or not, Lamech wants it to be seen as having greater significance!  “God having said that anyone killing Cain would be avenged by him seven fold, surely means that he would avenge anyone killing me seventy seven times.”  The appalling nature of what Lamech says to his wives is so abominable that it becomes difficult to imagine how the sinfulness of humanity could further degenerate.  It is as though, at this point, the reader/listener should not be forced to endure reading/hearing of any further depravity and a new development is recorded in the account – the birth of a child.  Death reigned but now new life comes on the scene.  The TV channel has been changed and we can rest easier for a time.

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