Genesis 4:16-24 - The First Civilization and Society (Part 1)
Remember, Genesis 4:1-6:8 is dealing with the ungodly and the godly seed (descendents) of early history. We have already studied how the ungodly and godly seed began:
A. The First Children, Cain and Abel: False Vs. True Worship—the Beginning of False Worship, 4:1-7
B. The First Murder, Cain Kills Abel: The Undeniable Truth of Judgment—Sin Cannot Be Hid, 4:8-15
Now, Scripture shows us how the ungodly line branched out and developed into an ungodly civilization and society. This is the Development of the First Ungodly Seed or Descendents.”
A. A society that was secular and ungodly.
1. “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord…” (v.16).
a) Cain left God’s presence (v.16a).
(1) Remember God had confronted Cain for his sin in murdering his brother, God pronounced judgment, but the Lord also reached out in mercy to Cain (4:8-15).
(2) But Cain’s response was “He went out from the presence of the Lord.” (v.16).
(3) We have other passages of Scripture where people left the presence of the Lord:
Remember when Adam and Eve "Heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8, NASB95)
When the Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh, "Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." (Jonah 1:3, 10 NASB95)
The cry of David in his repentant prayer to the Lord after his sin of adultery and murder was "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:10-11, NASB95)
(4) This means more than just physically leaving the presence of the Lord. Cain was leaving, forsaking, and getting as far away as he could...
(a) from the presence of God.
(b) from his godly parents, Adam and Eve, breaking their hearts even more.
(c) from the community and neighborhood of the godly (Adam and Eve had other children by this time, cp. Genesis 5:4).
(d) from the place and altar where God was worshipped.
(e) from the land where people were living godly lives.
(5) So Cain decided to walk away from his family and God, going to another country in order live like he wants. Our character should always be godly no matter where we go to live
(6) So here, we see that Cain was the one who physically left the presence of God. But I want to look at a NT passage that reveals something on a larger scale (Revelation 3:20).
(a) People who want to separate themselves from the presence of God now, will be separated from God for all eternity:
Paul said in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 "For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, NASB95)
Revelation 20 says "This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:14-15)
(7) Cain was the first person who launched the permanent seed of the serpent upon earth (1Jn 3:12).
(8) Do not let it be true of you that you “went out from the Lord’s presence.” Flee to him, and find in him the One you have needed all along.
B. A society that was rootless and restless.
1. Cain dwelt in the land of Nod (v.16b).
a) The loss of roots of a person.
(1) The verses that are the focus for this study, speak of Cain building a city and of the resulting civilization.
(2) But to understand this civilization we have to go back to the previous verses in which Cain is said to have become a wanderer as a result of his sin.
(a) We find it in God’s words of judgment: “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth” (v. 12).
(b) We find it in Cain’s complaint: “I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me” (v. 14).
(c) We even find it in the name of the land to which Cain goes, for Nod (“the land of Nod”) means “wandering.”
(d) The point obviously is that Cain remained a wanderer at heart even when he attempted to settle down. Having rejected God, he had severed his roots and was condemned to restlessness.
(3) Adam and Eve suffered something similar, for they were cut off from Eden. But their roots were in God, and they remained close to the presence of God.
(4) It is far worse for Cain. He had rejected God and was therefore restless and rootless
Paul was telling the Ephesians in chapter 3 to "to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love" (Ephesians 3:16-17, NASB95)
Paul exhorted those in Colosse on this very issue by saying "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude." (Colossians 2:6-7, NASB95)
b) The loss of roots of society.
(1) This is the way our society is today. It thinks its happy and doing well and satisfied with all that the world has to offer but we need to remember this world has the god of the world in it.
(2) The person or society that turns away from God will always be restless and rootless. No person or society will know true peace until it turns to God.
(3) The reason is this: a person or society who lives only a secular life—who lives only for this world—has only what this world has to offer which is, pleasure, money, position, recognition, honor, and security. But none of this is permanent.
(4) The things of this world can never satisfy the soul of man. The soul was made for God; therefore, the soul can never rest nor be rooted until it rests and is rooted in God.
Solomon knew this and that is why he wrote "For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, NKJV)
Isaiah said "There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked" (Isaiah 48:22, NKJV)
The Lord says in Isaiah 57 that "The wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20, NKJV)
!! C. A society who honored and gloried in themselves (v.17).
1. “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch…” (v.17a).
a) Cain had a wife.
(1) Who was she? His sister or half-sister or distant relative? Scripture is clear: Adam and Eve had other children. In fact Adam lived to be 930 years old (Genesis 5:4-5).
(a) There must have been many children, and of course the children of each generation would have given birth to many other children.
(b) The potential population during Adam’s life is staggering.
(i) James Montgomery Boice, expositor, points this out:
if only one half of Adam’s children lived, and if only half of the living got married, and if only half the married had children, then, even at the three half-rates, the population would still number more than a million at Adam’s death
(2) There was no danger of deformity or harmful genes due to intermarriage for two reasons:
(a) This was the way God planned and purposed the human race to grow.
(b) This was the very beginning of the human race. What I mean by that is, Adam and his immediate family stood at the head of the stream of human life.
(c) The stream of human life—just like the stream of a river—was not polluted at the head or spring. It became polluted as it flowed downstream.
2. “Cain’s wife conceived and bore Enoch…” (v.17b).
a) Cain and his wife had a son and named him Enoch.
(1) The name means beginner, dedicated, or initiated. Apparently, Cain was hoping that his son would give him a new beginning—a new start—in life.
(2) But note: the new beginning was not with God, but apart from God. Cain was hoping and working for a new beginning within the secular world. He wanted a fresh start within the world, not with God.
3. “Cain built a city… and named it Enoch…” (v.17c).
a) Cain became a contractor and began to build a city.
(1) This, of course, was not a city like the modern cities of today. It was probably just a few houses enclosed within a wall.
(2) Apparently, as months and years passed, some other families had forsaken God and the godly line and they had joined Cain and his family in the land of Nod.
(3) Think about this: Cain is seeking to settle down and build his roots right here on earth. He should have been seeking heaven in order to settle the restlessness of his soul:
When Moses was telling the children of Israel that the Lord would scatter them, he says "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29, NASB95)
The Psalmist tells us to "Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34:14)
There is a promise for those who keep their mind on the Lord, Isaiah says "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3, NASB95)
"He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,” And, “Here is repose,” but they would not listen." (Isaiah 28:12, NASB95)
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33, NASB95)
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29, NASB95)
D. A society that continued to grow in its secular and ungodly heritage (v.18).
1. “Enoch… Irad…Mehujael…Methushael… Lamech…” (v.18).
a) The ungodly society continued to grow and develop on the earth.
(1) The parents gave their children meaningful names.
(a) Irad meant townsman, citizen, the ornament of a city. He was, perhaps, a leader who brought honor to his hometown.
(b) Mehujael meant smitten of God, the purified or formed of God. Note that the name of Mehujael ends in “el,” which is the name of God, Elohim.
(c) Methusael meant man of God. Note his name ends with “el,” the name for God as well.
(d) Lamech meant strong youth, man of prayer or youth.
(2) The names given the children suggest that the ungodly seed were religious, but their religion was only...
(a) a worldly religion
(b) a secular religion
(c) a humanistic, man-made religion
These are the type of people "having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:5, NKJV)
b) God gives us children for godly offspring, or heritage (Psalm 127:3).
(1) It does no good to build and guard our houses and cities if there are no future generations to inherit them and keep the family, city, and nation going.
(2) Among the Jews, it was unheard of that a husband and wife not want children or that a child be aborted. “Children are the blessing for the Jew,” writes Rabbi Leo Trepp. “Each child brings a blessing all his own.
(3) It is in the family that we preserve the best of the past and invest it in the future.
(4) Not everyone is supposed to get married, nor are all married couples able to have children. But all adults can value the children, pray for them, be good examples to them, and see that they are protected and cared for and encouraged in their spiritual upbringing.
Remember what Jesus said about this in Matthew 18:5–6: "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:5-6, NKJV)
E. A society that worshipped the cult of beauty and sex (v.19).
1. “Then Lamech took for himself two wives…” (v.1).
a) The first person to practice polygamy.
(1) It took just seven generations for the ungodly to ignore God’s ordained institution of marriage, one man for one wife.
(2) The ungodly seed ignored and rebelled against God and His commandment for purity of life and marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6, cp. Malachi 2:14-15).
(3) Lamech was attracted by the beauty and pleasure of the flesh, so much so that he let his passion run loose. He wanted to have the bodies of two attractive women at once.
(4) He and his wives were consumed with the flesh (the sinful nature):
(a) The deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:13-21)
(b) The result of the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 6:8)
(c) Example of the flesh (1Cor.3:1-3).
!!!!! (5) Beauty and sex are so worshipped that they have become the dominant theme of advertisements throughout the industrialized world.
(6) Beauty and sex are used to sell everything from soap to cars.
b) The Christians attractiveness.
(1) Believers should be as attractive as he or she can be, but not so much with the clothes and cosmetics that expose and attract attention to the flesh.
(2) Our objective is to focus attention upon Christ. Christ is to be so dominant in our lives that people see Him in us. Christ and our testimony for Christ should dominate our lives.
Paul writes to Timothy saying "And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do." (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NLT)
Many times we are so concerned with our appearance, but Peter says "Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands." (1 Peter 3:3-5)
Speaking about our body part, Paul says "Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God." (Romans 6:13)
For the woman, the writer of Proverbs says "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30, NKJV)
F. A society of famous, wealthy, and gifted people (v.20-22).
1. “Adah, Jabel, Jubal, Zillah, Tubal Cain, Naamah…” (v.20-22).
a) Different types of gifts (v.20).
(1) There was Jabal, the son born of Lamech’s wife Adah.
(a) Scripture says that he was a rancher who raised livestock (miqueh). The Hebrew word seems to include more than mere cattle. It would include other livestock as well, such as camels and donkeys.
(b) Jabal was also the discoverer of the nomadic tent. His need to constantly move the herds from pasture to pasture necessitated that he come up with some moveable housing for his own family and the families of his hired workers.
(2) There was Jubal, the second son of Lamech’s wife Adah.
(a) Jubal was a musician who invented the harp (string instrument) and the flute (reed pipe) for music.
(b) Note that he invented the very first musical instruments upon earth: Jubal is the “father” of all string and pipe instruments. He was the first to develop the cultured arts for society.
(3) There was Tubal-Cain, who was Lamech’s son by his other wife, Zillah.
(a) Tubal-Cain was a metal-worker: he worked both with brass and iron. He was the first person ever known to take brass and iron and manufacture all kinds of useful things.
(b) Probably made such things as utensils, jewelry, decorative items, tools, and weapons.
(4) There was Naamah, the sister of Tubal-Cain – Naamah means beautiful, attractive, pleasant.
(a) Why was a woman mentioned in the genealogy of Lamech when the names of women were seldom, if ever, listed in the roots of families?
(b) The name Apparently, Naamah’s beauty was so striking that she caught everyone’s attention, so much so that she was well known down through the ages for her beauty.
!!!!! (5) Note: a significant fact about the ungodly seed or descendents of society: there is nothing whatsoever mentioned about God in this coverage of the ungodly line of civilization.
(a) The only things discussed are the things of the world...
Ø the world’s work and employment
Ø the world’s wealth and possessions
Ø the world’s culture and artistic interests
Ø the world’s tools, decorative items, and weapons
Ø the world’s fascination and lust for beauty and sex
(b) All of these things are important, even necessary for society to survive and progress. But where is God in all this?
(i) The ungodly seed and descendents are building a society of people who seek to be famous, wealthy, powerful, and culturally gifted. But they build a people without God, a people without hope both in this life and in the life to come.
Listen to what Jeremiah says "This is what the Lord says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with Me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves." (Jeremiah 2:5, NLT)
Before knowing Jesus Christ, Paul says "In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope." (Ephesians 2:12, NLT)
We should not be lukewarm, Jesus says "But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" (Revelation 3:16, NLT)