I am taking an interest in the second half Genesis chapter 4 verses 16-24, through to Chapter 5, the third generation, today, is the "first" Lamech (there are two). 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 metre event at three successive Olympics, yet her life was much more than that aspect of her life. So too in the Genesis account of the second half of chapter 4 where we read of people and what they specifically engaged in. However only one single aspect of their life is highlighted.
The first Lamech's 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.
There is a second Lamech who was the father of Noah from the Seth line but that is for another time, the final and 10th article from Chapter 5.
In Chapter 4 verse 19 we read that he took two wives, one's name was Adah and the other Zillah. This was the first instance of polygamy in the Bible, that of taking more than one wife and this wickedness led to more wickedness which the Flood was brought to destroy everyone except Noah and his immediate family.
Some have thought there was disputation between the two wives with Zillah the favoured party. The short poem in verse 24 known as 'The Song of the Sword' is believed to have represented this disputation. Regardless, Lamech made a confession to both women.
This was not a confession of adultery, it was not a confession that he'd somehow gone behind their backs and married a third wife, nor was it a confession that he had stolen property and that they would soon be penniless and out of home.
What we see in Lamech's confession is an acknowledgement of the sacredness of life. God gives life, it is God who takes away life. Only God had the authority to both give and take away any human life made in the image of God.
Verse 23 "I've slain a man to my wounding, a young man to my hurt".
Lamech is himself vexed by his own actions. He is cut to the quick that he has taken a life, and moreover a young life. He has to confess it to someone, the burden of guilt is just too much to bear
But there is more, and in the following verse Lamech recognises the punishment is not only a physical one, but a mental one, a spiritual one, in that his pain for this act of murder is seventy times seven fold of Cain's punishment when he slew Abel.
Lamech knew of the drama of Abel's murder within the family history.
The message is clear, that the taking of someone's life brings an horrific inner pain that cannot be removed and moreover, it is a pain that comes from within the spirit of man, as man is made in the image of God, his creator.
Lamech bought to mankind the sin of multiple marriages as it was clear that God made Adam and Eve and acknowledged that partnership (Genesis 1 verse 28) and then again Chapter 2 verse 24 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh".
The Genesis story therefore in this capsule of time, and regardless of all its messiness and drama is instructive for us today. Tomorrow we'll look at Jabal.
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