I’m taking an interest in the second half Genesis chapter 4, verses 16-24, through to Chapter 5, the third generation, today, the third in this series, Jabal.
This is not a well known part of the early history of man kind after the creation of man and man's fall (sin), but it does reveal a great deal about the development of human kind in this early period.
Yesterday I gave the illustration of the famous swimmer Dawn Fraser who won Olympic Gold in the same 100 metres event at three successive Olympics, yet her life was much more than that one aspect of her life.
So too in the Genesis account in the second half of chapter 4 where we read of people where one aspect of their life's contribution is highlighted.
Jabal's father was Lamech whose father was Methusael, who was the fourth generation from Cain. In other words from Cain we read that he had a son named Enoch. Enoch's son was named Irad. Irad's son was named Mehujael and his son was Methusadel who was Lamech's father and then came Jabal.
In Chapter 4 verse 19 we read that Lamech took two wives, one's name was Adah (who bore Jabal) and Zillah.
Yesterday we saw this was the first instance of polygamy in the Bible, a wickedness which finally led to the full scale wickedness of man that the great Flood destroyed.
What is said about Jabal?
"He was the father of all such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle." Genesis 4 verse 20.
There are a whole range of suggestions as to the implications of this text.
I rather like the idea put forward by numerous writers that Jabal was
a) the father of the cattle industry
b) the father of all tent-dwellers (today stockmen)
c) agricultural activity (today technology)
d) pioneer of design (today architecture)
e) pioneer of the clothing industry, leather wear
What it certainly implies is that this was an historical figure who was wonderfully blessed with creative gifts and talents in which he used wisely and to full advantage, for himself, his immediate community and the wider society.
It also illustrates that God takes each person according to their own integrity regardless of the sins of their parents, in this case, Lamech taking more than one wife (Genesis 2 verse 24).
This is a remarkable truth that those born into situations for which they had no say. It brings great comfort to many.
The Genesis story in this capsule of time, brings instruction and benefit to us all today. Tomorrow we'll look at Jubal.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html