"Cain's Later Home" Page 1 of 2 (series: Lessons on Genesis)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

October 4, 2013

Commentary on the Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe


Lesson I.C.3: Cain's Later Home and Some of His Noted Descendants.


Gen. 4.16-24 (KJV)

16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived , and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.


Commentary

16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD,
God kept His word and protected Cain as he wandered. One day he found a place in the “land of Nod” that seemed like a good place for him to settle down, and he decided to build a city there. The earth would not yield its strength to Cain’s labor as a farmer, but Cain would labor and build on the earth and succeed. However, Cain never ceased to be a fugitive, for the name of the land where he settled means “wandering.” His citizenship wasn’t in heaven—“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3.20, 21)—nor did he have any hope to reach the heavenly city (see Heb. 11.9-16). The closest he would get to heaven was his city on earth.

“Presence of the Lord” is thought by some to refer to the appointed place of worship at Eden.
“Cain went out from the presence of the Lord,” he willingly renounced God and religion, and was content to forgo its privileges, so that he might not be under its principles. He forsook Adam’s family and alter, and cast off all pretensions to the fear of God, and no longer paid attention to God’s ordinances. “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord,” and we never find that he ever came into it again, so “the last state of this man was worse than the first (Matt. 12.45).

and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
The land Cain “dwelt in”

was called “the land of Nod,” that is, shaking, or trembling (lit., “land of wandering, or flight”) because of the continual restlessness and uneasiness of his own spirit (or the land of a vagabond). There is no way to locate this land geographically, except to speak of it as being “east of Eden.” Cain was simply fulfilling the prediction God made of his future existence. Pathetically and stoically, he set out into the trackless wastes. The ideas of “flight” and “misery” are discernable in the Hebrew word for “went out.” Those that depart from God cannot find rest anywhere else. After Cain “went out” from the presence of the Lord, he never again found rest.


17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived , and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.

Only have part of Bible exposition commentary
Was Cain married before he left Eden (no doubt Cain’s wife was a daughter of Adam—“And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters”—Gen. 5.4), or did he find a wife during his travels? Did he tell her he murdered his brother? We don’t know, but surely he had to explain the mark God put on him. It was normal for Cain to seek a wife, because he not only wanted to build a city, but he also wanted to build a family. How else could he be remembered, but in his descendants. Cain didn’t know that his name and foul deeds would be written in God’s Word for everyone to read.

It is not revealed how many years had elapsed after Cain left the Garden until he met his wife, but it may have been hundreds of years. Since all life came from the first divinely created human pair, it is necessary to conclude that at some time brothers and sisters were married to each other. By Moses time this type of close marriage was forbidden (Lev. 18.7-17), because of genetic decay. By the time Cain was ready to set up a home, Adam and Eve had numerous descendants. It is not necessary to imagine another race of people already well-established in the world.

Some translators describe Cain’s city as a fortified settlement, irrespective of its size. Evidentially, a number of Cain’s relations followed him. This is another downward step. Whether the wall was for protection from enemies or wild beasts, those who should have ruled, showed that they feared something.

Cain’s wife bore him a son whom he named Enoch, which is related to the Hebrew word for “consecrated.” Cain named his city after his son, but we are not told to whom or to what the city was consecrated. Six generations of Cain’s descendants are named in verses 17-22, some of whom are famous. Here is where urban life, city life, began.

Though as a result of the Flood, Cain’s descendants were to play no lasting role in human history, this genealogical list shows that they were not forgotten by God, and come as much within the scope of His salvation as others who died before the time of the Savior.



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