Back in 1990, I was working a “sit and wait job”. I was helping an elderly man. He needed someone to sit near his bed and help him to the bathroom when he woke in the night. He and his wife were light sleepers so I couldn’t do much other than sit and read. That summer, I read through the Bible 5 times. I got so bored that I decided to dig into the genealogies in the first 5 books of the Bible. I made charts, compared life-spans and looked up the meanings of the names.
The spin most preachers put on Cain began to bother me. The reason I had been taught that Cain’s lineage was included was to show how evil mankind had become. The passage supposedly shows that Cain’s sin led to Lamech’s sin of marrying two wives and illustrates how violently corrupt the world had become. The things that bothered me were:
- A. It seemed to me that Cain did not get the punishment he deserved. In Genesis 4:13-15 Cain seems repentant and God reduces his punishment.
- B. Polygamy was not considered a sin in the Old Testament. The two most heralded patriarchs of the Bible, Abraham and David were both polygamists, not to mention numerous kings and other leaders.
- C. Lamech’s declaration in Genesis 4:23-24 about killing a man that wounded him sounds to me like self-defense. He makes the assertion that if God could have mercy on Cain for murder, then surely God will have even more mercy on the person who kills in self- defense.
When I got into the genealogies, I started to find other things that bothered me.
- D. The explanation that since all the decedents of Cain perished in the flood, the sons of Lamech had to have been “spiritual” fathers of shepherds, metalworkers, and musicians. I couldn’t find the concept of “spiritual” fathers anywhere else in the Old Testament genealogies. In fact, the closest thing I found was Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew which traces Jesus to David through his adoptive father Joseph.
- E. Then there was the daughter of Lamech named Naamah. Women are not mentioned in genealogies unless they are the mothers of very important men.
All this was making me very curious about what had actually happened before the flood. I kept saying to God, I wish I could just talk to Noah! I wasn’t asking to speak to him. I was just wishing. But one night, the heavens above me opened and I could hear the angels singing. I sensed that God was inviting me to come talk with Noah. I started to get up out of my body, but I thought better of it. My life on earth was very harsh at that time and I had small children. I was afraid if I visited Heaven, I’d never want to come back, so I got back down into my body and told God He’d have to get it across to me some other way.
Within a week, I was delving into the genealogy of Esau in Genesis 36. It goes along talking about Esau, his wives and concubines and his decedents. Then, all of a sudden, it switches to the genealogy of Sier the Hortite. “Huh?” I thought, “What does that have to do with anything?” Further digging revealed that Esau and Sier were in covenant together and the covenant was sealed by the giving of one of the granddaughters of Sier the Hortite as a concubine for Esau.
Verse:22 “And the sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam. Lotan’s sister was Timna.”
Suddenly a light went on! The reference was very similar to Genesis 4:22 “And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.”
I had previously done a lot of studying about covenants. In ancient times in a covenant between two tribes, a common name was often adopted and a marriage between the two families was sealed by the giving of a daughter in marriage to the chief of the other tribe. Noah’s father was also named Lamech and my timelines showed that it was entirely possible for the Lamech of Cain and the Lamech of Seth to be alive during the same time period.
Naamah was Noah’s wife! Why did I think this? Because in ancient times, wives were generally taken from close relatives and they were often “earned” by working for the father of the woman. Noah’s son Shem’s decedents were known as shepherds and nomads. Europeans are for the most part descendants of Japheth. The most enduring music ever written has come from them. Ham’s decedents were known for their prowess in war – a superior knowledge of metalworking was essential to them. Lamech of Cain’s sons are listed as “the father of those who live in tents and have livestock”, “the father of all those who play the flute and harp”, and “an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron”
Sherlock, you got it! Naamah went back to her brothers to find wives for her sons. The genealogy of Cain is included because we can trace our beginnings back to two of the sons of Adam and Eve – Seth and Cain.
For many years, I wondered if I had really heard from God. After all, why was I the only one who interpreted this genealogy this way? It was another 25 years before I found anyone else who thought Naamah was the wife of Noah, but thanks to the internet, I have found that there are some ancient Jewish traditions and rabbis that concur with my conclusions.
The genealogies also seem to point to the general climate just before the Flood. During the time of Enoch, just around the time of Adam’s death, there was a great revival. After God took Enoch to Heaven without death, things deteriorated quickly until there were only 8 people left on the earth who followed after God.
Chapter 6 tells the story of the Nephilim. These were beings who were part angel and part human. I believe Satan had a plan to take over the earth by planting the seed of rebellious angels among men. These “supermen” are probably the Titans of Atlantis. They persecuted believers of the true God as evidenced by the self-defense of Lamech of Cain and the early death of Noah’s father Lamech. All of mankind were forced to worship them or face death. So God intervened.
It’s a tactic Satan has used time and time again – and it’s going to happen again. Matthew 24:37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.