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1 John 3:12: We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.

Lamech was the great great great grandson of Cain, the world’s first murderer. We don’t know much about him, but what little we do know is not good. We know, for example, that he took two wives, despite the fact that the created order of things was for there to be one man and one woman in a marriage. We also read that he had four children, three of whom were significant pioneers in culture, as the world’s first nomadic herdsman, musician, and metallurgist.

The other notable thing about Lamech was his boastful threat. In Genesis 4:23-24, we read:

Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.”

When God sent Cain away, after his murder of his brother Abel, Cain was anxious that people might kill him. So God decreed that anyone who killed Cain would suffer vengeance sevenfold. That is God’s prerogative. At first hearing, Lamech’s boast seems to be similar. However, the difference is that Lamech decided on this path of vengeance himself; it was not mandated by God. Moreover, it was disproportionate, because Cain was a murderer, whereas Lamech sought to kill people who had merely harmed him in some way.

Lamech took on to himself attributes which belonged rightly to God. Lamech’s boast is an example of how people are prepared to twist God’s words, in order to suit matters for themselves.

Prayer: We see, Lord God, how so many want to set themselves up as little gods, and take on to themselves attributes which belong to You. Please make us humble, and obedient, that we might seek to do only Your will. Amen.

Notes: Taylor, P.F. (2007), The Six Days of Genesis, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books)

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