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*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Genesis 4:20-26 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 4:20
  • Genesis 4:21
  • Genesis 4:22
  • Genesis 4:23
  • Genesis 4:24
  • Genesis 4:25
  • Genesis 4:26

Lamech’s two wives, Adah and Zillah, have children who continue to build in the city of Enoch. Meanwhile, Adam and Eve have another son named Seth. Through Seth, the godly lineage would continue.

Lamech’s wife Adah gives birth to two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Jabal became a nomadic herdsman. He ruled over the animals and subdued the land. Jubal became a musician. Zillah gave birth to a son and daughter. The boy was called Tubal-cain and the girl, Naamah. Tubal-cain became a metalworker. Through Cain’s descendants, humanity begins to take dominion over the creation.

Lamech was a proud and boastful man, revealed as a killer in what he says to his wives. He killed a man for wounding him and a boy for striking him. He wanted even greater revenge on anyone who harmed him than was given to Cain. These verses paint a picture of a society without God, pursuing pleasures, with little regard for human life. This is the beginning of the earth becoming filled with violence (Genesis 6:11) and the reason God judges it with a flood. In contrast, we see Adam and Eve gaining a new son, Seth, and the beginning of men calling on God.

Abel had been killed and Cain the unbelieving murderer had wandered off to build a city in the land of Nod. It was not that Cain didn’t believe God existed – God spoke directly to Cain. It was that Cain did not believe God’s way was best for him, so he chose his own way. By grace, God enabled Eve to conceive again and bear a son whom she named Seth. He was appointed to take the place of Abel in Adam’s family tree. Sin and the depravity of men continued to increase, but so did those who called upon the name of the Lord.

It is interesting to note that technology such as bronze and iron are a part of society fairly early on. The human race prior to the flood developed civilization quickly.  It seems that with a friendly and fertile environment, long lives, good health and high intellects, humanity turned its energy toward two goals, one good and one bad: subduing the earth and subduing one another through violence. We will see soon that God will judge the earth, make it a much harsher environment, with dramatically shortened lives, and dispersed people, perhaps to minimize their energy to bring violence upon one another.

Biblical Text

20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” 25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.




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