THIS IS THE EIGHTH IN A SERIES ON THE SERAPHIM. The exile removed the Cainites from Adam’s sphere of influence. It brought a period of peace between the seed of the nachash/saraph and the seed of the woman, a peace that continued until Adam could reinvent himself as Satan. Genesis 4:17-24 records seraphic births in the notable and accomplished line of Lamech, sixth in descent from Cain. Lamech’s son Jabal “was father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle’ (Gen 4:20). The word here for cattle, miqneh, applies to property in livestock, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. The KJV renders it “substance” in Job 1:3 where it includes camels and donkeys. Jabal’s herds and flocks were large enough to require fresh pasturage. As pastoral nomads, Cainites prospered in the marginal land of their exile. Jabal’s brothers were free to indulge other interests. Jubal was a musician who invented stringed and wind instruments. Tubal-Cain was a metallurgist, who worked in hammered copper and iron. “Cain” may later take its meaning of “spear” from the application of these metals to weapons.
This account preserves several lines of Cainite poetry. Lamech tells his two wives that he has killed a young man. He then testifies that if Cain “be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” Though Cainites had paid a terrible price for the murder of Abel and a second violent death was horrific, Lamech acted in self-defense. Unlike Eve and the young Cain, he trusted God to be fair and good and his lines of poetry are a tribute to it.
As for the earthly line, seed of the woman, and their accomplishments, the genealogy of the heavens and earth (Gen 2:4-4:26) has little to say, which speaks volumes. It notes the birth of Seth, and Seth’s son Enos, whose name means “frail” or “incurable”. It concludes on this hopeful note: “then began men to call upon the name of the LORD” (Gen 4:26). We can conclude that the seraphic branch of mankind, God’s original creation, was stronger, smarter, and better equipped to subdue the earth. The seraphic Lamech composed poetry. The Sethite Lamech said of his son Noah “this same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed. (Gen 5:29).
We encounter the Sethite Lamech in Genesis 5, the genealogy of Adam. Cain is not included because he was the son of the seraphic adam, not the flesh and blood man he had become. For that matter, it lists only the Sethite ancestors of Noah, as this male line is the only one to survive the flood. We know that the Sethites were flesh and blood by the use of the proper name Adam and from the account itself: God made man [(‘adam without the definite article, but in the sense of mankind, and not as a proper name-see similarly Gen 1:26] in his image and likeness, male and female, but Adam “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image and called his name Seth” (Gen 5:3). The Hebrew text omits “a son” and this stresses how Adam begat. He begat in his flesh and blood likeness. “Seth” has the sense of “place”, “replace” or “appoint”. Adam’s replacements, his copies, weren’t true to the seraphic original.
Through Adam sin and death passed to all men (Rom 5:12). For this reason, Jesus was born of a virgin. He was a descendant of Adam, but not in the patrilineal line. He came in the “likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3), or as the passage from Heb 2:14 has it: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”. Death is a recurring theme in the genealogy of Adam. But it, too, contains a hopeful note. Enoch, sixth in line from Adam, walked with God, and God took him.
At the commencement of chapter 6, Adam had been dead for over 600 years and had attracted an angelic following for he occupied an enviable position in the heavenlies. As the cherub of extension (see “The King of Tyre”), his prospects were excellent. Now, no longer flesh and blood and subject to the constraints of geography, he was free to correspond with the Cainites and engineer their ruin. He would hardly introduce himself as Adam. Lamech’s poetry informs us that Cain had been faithful to pass on an account of his father’s treachery. He could masquerade and entice angels to his cause. Such may be those “which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation” (Jude 1:6).
His new temptation was strikingly similar to the first: “And it came to pass, when men [the adam] began to multiply on the face of the earth [adamah], and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen 6:1,2). Here “the adam” refers not to a specific person, but to mankind in general, since daughters were born to “them”. The sons of God are Cainite seraphim, those of the heavenly line. The daughters of men are descendants of flesh and blood Adam, including Seth’s brothers, but for convenience sake we will call all of them “Sethites”.
For generations, the Cainite seraphim passed the image of God to their offspring, but in their union with the daughters of men, they too partook of flesh and blood, defiled themselves and violated creation’s order to procreate “after their kind”. Like seraphic Eve, they were enticed by what was “pleasing to the eye” and sinned. Like seraphic Cain, they listened to the wrong voice and made the wrong choice. “And the LORD said, my spirit shall not always strive with man [the adam], for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (vs. 3).
We know that man, both Cainite and Sethite, were mortal. Neither had access to the tree of life. So, what is God saying? Here “flesh” takes its moral sense. Since the Sethites were sinful by reason of their birth, the phrase “he also is flesh” must refer to the Cainite branch and their recent conduct. God decreed that he would bring an end to the heavenly branch of mankind in 120 years.
The graver danger lay not with the sin of Cainite men marrying Sethite women, but with the prospect that Cainite women would eventually marry Sethite men. This would impart the sin nature to their offspring through patrilineal descent from Adam. Through God’s merciful intervention (the flood), Cainites were spared in death. Satan had no claim upon their bodies and they were kept safe from him in Sheol. This is why when Christ preached to the dead, special provision was made for them to hear him. “By which [quickened by the Spirit] also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing…” (1 Pet 3:19,20).