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This article is about The Cainite. You may be looking for the father of Noah.


Lamech was a descendant of Cain, a Cainite, and was the son of Methusael. Lamech was a significant figure in the line of Cain, being the focal point of all of Cain's descendants listed in Genesis (4) after Abel's murder. As a member of Cain's line, Lamech epitomized sin and a false worship of God (a pseudo-Yahwism) by mocking God's blessing of retributive protection for Cain's life. He is the first recorded polygamist in the Bible, having two wives named Adah and Zillah. With Adah Lamech had one son named Jabal, the innovator of herdsmanship and Jubal-- forefather of musicians; with Zilah he fathered Tubal-cain-- forefather of blacksmiths-- and a daughter, Naamah.


Biography

Early life

Lamech was born to his father Methusael, who in turn was named after his father (Lamech's grandfather) Mehujael. Lamech likely lived near the city of Enoch that his great-great-great grandfather, Cain built. Many of Lamech's ancestors were likely alive and also lived in the vicinity of Enoch. Lamech was the first recorded polygamist in the Bible, taking two women named Adah and Zillah.[1]

Wives and Children

Lamech is the last recorded parent of Cain's line, which may have made him the last person with a lineage directly traceable to Cain. Between his two wives he had several children. It is likely that his son Jabal by Adah was his firstborn. Significantly Jabal was the "father" of all those who lived in tents and raised livestock. He then had a second son Jubal who was the "father" of those musicians playing the lyre and stringed instruments.

Then he conceived with Zilah and had a son named Tubal Cain. Tubal Cain made some of the first bronze tools. In addition Lamech had one daughter named Naamah. Compared to most of the contemporary society, Lamech allowed his children to branch out into different practices than what he practiced. While it is not known what Lamech's occupation was, he allowed, if not encouraged technological development from his sons. Clearly this portrays Lamech as an influential and progressive member of society, representing the progress of mankind brought about by the Cainites.

The Boastful Song of Lamech

While Lamech's polyamorous relationship is noted, in contrast to martial norms it is not presented with a directly negative connotation (neither is it condoned).

Perhaps the greatest thing Lamech was remembered by was his boastful song.

Lamech was a man of violence. Incidentally he was wounded by a young man. In vengeance Lamech attacked and killed the man who had "wronged him". In this he boasted to his wives that he killed the young man,[2] and that if Cain was to be avenged seven times he would be seventy seven times.[3] This showed his arrogance and claiming of self-righteousness, even calling himself "better than Cain". He mocked God by misquoting him, whether or not this was unintentional and applied God's promise for Cain to himself. This showed his pseudo-Yahwism where he probably believed God as a deity, but had no regard whatsoever for his authority.

In boasting to his wives he may have been trying to show himself as heroic and powerful to his wives. This may also be signs of his attitude to ruling over his wives, perhaps telling his wives if they wronged him that he would receive vengeance.

This attitude may have developed because of the technological accomplishments of his sons.

Legacy

Mocker of God

Lamech mocked God at the perceived leniency towards murder, saying anyone who tried to take revenge upon him would suffer eleven times more than those who might have killed Cain. Jesus himself specifically preaches that a neighbor should be forgiven seventy-seven times, a direct contrast to Lamech's statement.[4]

Father of Technology

Lamech is the indirect progenitor of some of the most influential technologies. While it does not seem he created the practices of his sons, being their father would have vetted him much praise. Without Lamech allowing his sons to branch out many technological advancements may not have been developed or created under much different circumstances.

Lamech is also the last recorded father in the Cainite race. His sons may or may not have had children, but nevertheless passed down their skills.

Verses

  1. Gen 4:19 (Link)
  2. Gen 4:23 (Link)
  3. Gen 4:24 (Link)
  4. Matt 18:22 (Link)
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