Genesis 4:17-5:31, The Two Enochs and the Two Lamechs
In my last post I described “profaning the name of YHVH” as the gateway transgression, after which come all other transgressions. As we read about this profaning, or polluting, of the Name (which could literally be understood as YHVH’s reputation, or legacy), it’s sandwiched between Cain’s geneaology – which ends with multiple blasphemies and evils spoken by Lamech – and Seth’s geneaology – which ends with stressful words of the other Lamech, who was the father of Noah.
The former Lamech is fifth from Cain, but the latter Lamech is seventh from Seth. Thus, Cain’s ancestral line (at least, our written record of it) ends abruptly, but I believe this is completely by design.
This was recorded for our benefit, so that Mankind can be portrayed in that pre-Flood world as one “Lamech” or the other. Ever prophetically speaking to us, the Bible shows that all descendants of Adam – whether they hail from Cain’s line or Seth’s – had reached their personal breaking point of “Lamech”, for better or for worse. The former Lamech spouts off elitist and violent words, while the latter Lamech agonizes over the stress and adversity of life. There are no other quotes in either genealogy, except from these two who share a namesake.
This is no accident; both men’s words show how Mankind had shifted to two extremes – one to the uber-violent while the other became ultra-oppressed.
Adam and Eve attempted to raise their children to be righteous as Abel was righteous, by Eve’s own admission (cf. Genesis 4:25). However, just two generations later, Mankind as a whole “began to profane the name of YHVH.” Therefore the question becomes: ‘how did the descendants of Seth stray?’ By all appearances, Cain’s descendants reached the point of ‘Lamech’ within five generations, while Seth’s ancestors reached their tipping point in seven. Thus it appears that Cain’s ancestors were on a fast track to perdition, while the descendants of Seth gradually followed the influences of Cain’s descendants. This is exactly what I believe Genesis 5 shows (aside from the genealogy of Seth of course).
Anyone can spot that some of the names are common between the two geneaologies. My question is, why? I don’t believe in biblical coincidences; I think that such “coincidences” are invitations to dig deeper, so let’s shovel some ideas.
The first similarity is the name “Enoch”, which first appears as the name of Cain’s son, who became the namesake of a fortress Cain was building at the time (cf. Gen. 4:17). That must’ve been some fortress, because there’s a chance that Enoch – a descendant of Seth – was named after it. (Gen. 5:18). Now I realize that’s complete speculation, but at any rate, Enoch might’ve been named after a fortress of Cain, but he definitely didn’t go the “way of Cain” – he “walked with God, and was not, for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24).
Assuming that Enoch was named after an impressive fortress, the fact remains, Enoch broke from the trajectory the rest of his peers were headed towards. The very fact that Enoch “walked with God” is an indication that his contemporaries were not; they were more concerned with fortresses, their fields, eating and drinking, building harems, and so forth (cf. Gen. 5:28, 6:2; Matt. 24:37-38). And who was Enoch’s most famous contemporary? That’s right, it was Lamech, the violent entrepreneur in the line of Cain. (For an explanation of why Lamech was so famous, read this recent post).
Seth’s genealogy includes ages as benchmarks, and if we do the math, Enoch was still alive to see the birth of his grandson, which was a brisk 113 years before he taken. However, the name given to his grandson was “Lamech”. Thus this a hint that Enoch’s son Methusaleh was inspired by… the violent entrepreneur, even as his father was demonstrating intimacy with the One True God.
I like to imagine that God was so want of intimacy with men in those days that He literally took it where He could find it – in this case, the soul of Enoch. Clearly no one else was joining Enoch in his walk, in fact it appears that in those days Enoch’s relatives were looking to the successes of Cain’s line, as well as the other distractions mentioned by both Moses (Gen. 6:1-5) and especially Messiah Yeshua:
“As the days of Noah were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away…” (Matthew 24:37-39)
It wasn’t that these men were necessarily egregious in their sins. As a collective whole, mankind was certainly violent and sensuous, but in the end, they all died because “they didn’t know” (as Messiah is quoted above). They could have known, had they followed Enoch’s example, but it appears no one wanted to know except God, so God took him.
There will come a time again when we will have a chance to be taken, but if we envy successful people while ignoring their injustices done to others, or are preoccupied with entertainment, our careers, working, the opposite sex, and anything else aside from doing God’s will, we too will miss our Enoch moment, and perish like those in the Great Flood. ◊