Posts by Standing in the Eleventh Hour

Genesis 5:32-6:3, Why Did Noah Wait So Long to Have Children?

And Noah is a son of five hundred years, and Noah begetteth Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 5:32, YLT)

Noah sure did wait a long time to have children.  Comparatively speaking, his ancestors became fathers at the average spring chicken age of 120 (based on the average age of the patriarchs in Genesis Chapter 5).   The choice in wording is also interesting, as this verse specifically uses the word ben, which typically means “son”.   The Hebrew ben isn’t used to describe how any of Noah’s patriarchs became fathers; it’s only attached to Noah to poetically describe the years of an older man’s life.

Is there anything to make of this?  Could it be that there is something more beyond the poetry that gives us a clue as to why Noah remained childless for so long?

I believe the Scriptures DO offer us answers.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, 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 that they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2, emphasis mine)

Here’s that word “ben” again (this time in plural form, b’nai).  I’ll venture to say that the Word of God might be trying to teach us something about being a son, a son of the Most High God that is.  Let’s forget all the gross speculation about these “sons of God” being aliens or fallen angels, and instead consider that the author is trying to show how Noah kept his status as a son… while the rest of mankind lost theirs.  Perhaps the Word is showing that men substituted fellowship with the Holy One for the company of women.  I believe my interpretation fits the context, especially after reading the very next revelation:

Yahweh said,My Spirit will not strive among man forever, in whom only is flesh; and his days will be one hundred twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3, my translation).

In Noah’s 480th year (the Flood came when Noah was 600; cf. Gen. 7:11), God lined out how long mankind would remain on the Earth.  While putting this mark on mankind, He certainly isn’t calling them “sons of God” anymore.  He’s now seeing them as something much worse – specifically he calls them “flesh”.   This is how God will hereafter describe humanity up to the flood, especially when He shows Noah His vision, i.e. “the end of all flesh has come before me…” (vs. 13).

This wasn’t intended of course.   It’s perfectly clear that we were made to fellowship with His Spirit, even if He would strive for us for a time.  However, In God’s view, men rejected following God’s spirit and instead chased flesh.  Men lost sight of being “sons of God” to the point of just becoming your average bag of flesh:

“Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6)

This is not an account of fallen angels, this is an account of fallen men!  This was a time when Yahweh looked at the earth and no longer found any “sons”… except for one.

Interestingly enough, whereas the above Scripture says “Yahweh was sorry” that verb is actually yinachem – the same root bearing Noah’s real name “Noach”, who “was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God.” (vs. 9)

I believe the reason Noah abstained from bearing children was because he looked at the world in the same way Yahweh saw it – with much grief.  I believe Noah walked with God so closely that he was also nachem (sorry) that God made man, and didn’t see any reason to bring a child into the world.   In fact, I don’t think Noah even considered fatherhood until God’s Spirit marked out a remaining 120 years, and gave Noah a vision about entering the ark with sons of his own (cf. Gen. 6:18).   When Noah saw these things, I believe Noah adjusted his life to the will of the Spirit  – and is this not what every righteous man aspires to be?  To be such a man who adjusts his life to the will of the One True God?

In short, Noah was being a son amidst a great deal of flesh.

If any man is not a son of God, he is just a walking bag of bones.  Noah’s life exemplifies how we all must have our walk with the Almighty – even if the whole world falls away. ◊

Genesis 5:29-5:31, Beware the Jackpot of Wickedness

And he named him Noah, saying, “This same will comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Yahweh has cursed.” (Genesis 5:29, WEB)

At first glance, this reads as if Lamech is prophesying over Noah’s life – and many have drawn that very conclusion.   After all, it makes a compelling argument, as some of the details spoken by Lamech seemingly come to pass.  For instance, during Noah’s lifetime, YHVH declares “I will never again curse the ground on account of man” (cf. Genesis 8:21).  Furthermore, in the very next breath (vs. 22) God declares that the Earth’s new climate will feature a clear-cut “seedtime and harvest” – which allows us a bit of “rest” in between – as opposed to the constant, undefined planting/gathering times as might have occurred prior to the Flood.

So it’s easy to see why Lamech’s words are traditionally read in a positive light, but what happens when we read the events declared by Lamech in chronological order?  Well, they might have a different feel to them:

“Yahweh cursed the ground,
And because of that our hand is full of stress [itzavon].
But this one will relinquish [nacham] us from our work.”

[Note: “hand” should be interpreted metaphorically as it appears in singular form (“not hands as many Bibles say).  Also, I think itzavon should be understood as “stress.”]

Read in chronological order, it’s easier to detect a little hostility and blame in Lamech’s words, isn’t it?  So whatever Lamech meant, it’s tricky – so we need to understand his words, beginning with what Lamech intended with the name “Noach”.

‘Noach’ is derived from the Hebrew verb nacham, which can mean “comfort” or “consolation” (as is often translatied), but usually means a complete reliquishing from abrasive situations, such as a rainstorm after a long drought, or “turning a wasteland into the Garden of Eden” (i.e. Isaiah 51:3).  Whenever nacham is used, something abrasive is turned away for someone else’s benefit, such as:

I will give thanks to You, the LORD; for though you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and You comfort [nacham] me (Isaiah 12:1, emphasis mine).”

Isaiah loved using this word nacham, and I imagine that’s because Isaiah often wrote about complete turnarounds in Israel’s present and future.  Probably the most famous has to do with the advent of the “voice of the wilderness”.  Interestingly enough, there appears to be striking coincidences designs in word choices between what Isaiah declared over Israel and what Lamech declared over Noah:

Comfort ye [nachamu], comfort ye [nachamu] My people, saith your God.  Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her, that her warfare [tsava] hath been completed… accepted hath been her punishment, that she hath received from the hand [yad] of Jehovah Double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1, YLT)

Put in a different way, Isaiah showed how Israel received “double” for her offenses (in contrast to a double payment for a job well done) – a ‘jackpot’ for transgressions against the LORD.  However, YHVH also promised a time of “relinquishment” (nacham) and turning away from His punishment.

So now that we understand the meaning of nacham, let’s understand Lamech’s intent in naming his son “Noach”.  The first question I have is, from what did Lamech seek relinquishment?  Of course he wanted a relinquishment from the curse of the ground started by YHVH.  However, where I get hazy is he didn’t want YHVH to relinquish it but… Noah?!!

The truth is, Noah didn’t relieve the earth from any curse – … it was actually YHVH who gave the earth the respite Lamech wanted, but it was also YHVH who first relinquished Himself from mankind, as is written:  “and Jehovah repenteth [nacham] that He hath made man in the earth, and He grieveth Himself — unto His heart.” (Genesis 6:6, YLT)  So if you’re still with me, there are two competing destinies for Noah – one from Noah’s flesh and blood father, and the other from his Father in Heaven.  It appears they have a different idea of what is relinquished from the Earth.

Let’s remember, when Noah was born, there was already an ever-increasing heap of offenses which started when “men began to profane the name of YHVH (Genesis 4:26).  And with an abundance of offenses already evident in that world, what was Lamech expecting?  Did he think his fellow man was somehow worthy to be relieved of such a curse?

I think it’s time we read these words with a negative connotation, as Lamech appears to pin all blame on YHVH for earth’s peril (where have we heard THAT before?) – not to mention expecting Noah to somehow ‘cheat’ the curse of God.

And why wouldn’t Lamech think that?  After all, others had seemingly ‘cheated’ their own relief through innovations and accruing wealth, and I’m speaking of the “other Lamech”, who was fifth from Cain (Lamech the father of Noah was seventh from Enosh).  The sons of this “other Lamech” made him famous and powerful – why couldn’t Noah do the same?

When our children are born, we’re beaming with pride, and expect them to save the world.  We hope they’ll grow up and build rockets travelling at light speed or find cures for every cancer.  However, what we don’t say is “my son will cure the cancer that YHVH created” – but this is exactly how I read Lamech naming his son.  I detect an undertone of hostility and despair to YHVH – not a prophecy.

I’ve written before about the similarities between the two Lamechs – not just as namesakes, but that they act as ‘bookends’ for the genealogies, they are both quoted, they both evoke a previous curse from YHVH, but now I’m going to expand this thought even further…  they both act as gods.  Lamech the fifth from Cain made up his own vengeance (see Genesis 4:24), while Lamech the seventh from Enosh thought that a man – his son – was going to out-fox God and His curse.

To reiterate, these similarities between the two aren’t coincidence; they’re signs.  This is a road map showing when the offenses – which began with profaning the name of YHVH – reached their completion, marking when the two main peoples (of Adam and Enosh) reached the fullness of transgression.

If you don’t believe the former coincidences are a sign… you will believe the next one.

It’s easy to read the Scriptures and catch that the number seven stands for the completion, fullness, or complete end of something.  The sacrifice of high Holy Days are only complete with seven animals, the wall of Jericho fell on the seventh turn, the prophet Daniel says “seventy sevens are determined… to make an end of sin, to seal up…” (cf. Daniel 9:24), and so it is countless other times, especially in the book of Revelation, where EVERYTHING ends with seven, i.e.  “seven angels with seven trumpets, preparing themselves to sound…” (Rev. 8:6)…

So to the naked eye, Lamech the father of Noah might die insignificantly, but we who are learned might see something prophetic in Lamech’s death:

And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years, and he died.  (Genesis 5:31, KJV, emphasis mine).

But wait, there’s more!  It would seem “the other Lamech” of Cain’s stock ALSO had his phenomena attached to him:

If Cain be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” (Genesis 4:24, KJV, emphasis mine)

So these “777 jackpots” if you will mark the reward of transgression for the sons of Adam.  It took Cain’s ancestors five generations to win it, while the sons of Enosh reached it in seven.

The 777th year of Lamech’s life occurred just five years before the Flood, and I like to believe that’s when the fullness of sin evoked the “relinquishing” (nacham) of Mankind, as God said to Noah: “The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:13)

So the sum of these things is this:  Lamech was banking on a different jackpot than the one YHVH had in store.  True to Noah’s name, there was a “relinquishment”… but not the one Lamech foresaw.

There will be a day when the world wins the “777” jackpot – i.e. when the seventh angel sounds the seventh trumpet after the seventh last plague… so let’s make sure we’re preparing for the reward of righteousness, and not the jackpot of wickedness. ◊

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. ◊

Genesis 4:25-26, The Gateway Transgression

Recently I suggested that the words of Lamech the descendant of Cain signaled “the beginning of the End.”  In spite of Lamech being a brutal tyrant incapable of accepting any responsibility for his injustices, he and his sons were still able to influence the entire world.  They taught them how to acquire wealth, developed agricultural tools and weaponry, and even taught them entertainment (cf. Gen. 4:20-22).  However, not all influence is beneficial.  The “fathers of” their innovations influenced the whole world, but only to the wrong side of the Great Flood.  As Messiah Yeshua taught about that Pre-Flood world:  “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 24:38-39).  In other words, the influence of Lamech and his sons advanced “eating and drinking” (through the keeping of livestock and the cutting of tools), and the music to accompany this feasting and harem-building.

So for all their ingenuity and gifts to the world, Lamech and his sons had no mind at all for the Living God.  Neither did the rest of the world.  Eventually, all would perish in the Great Flood.

It didn’t have to end that way, because it didn’t begin that way.  Immediately after the words of Lamech we read:

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son, and called his name Seth: …For God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, because Cain has slain him. (Genesis 4:25, DARBY)

I’ve written extensively how at first, Adam and Eve favored Cain instead of Abel, as Cain was firstborn, he was stronger, and had adopted his father’s trade – while Abel seemed more of an afterthought.  However, Eve’s words (presumably hers) indicate that after the Almighty publicly favored Abel before Cain, Adam and Eve suddenly realized that God’s favor was more precious than anything Cain could provide.  They realized that their “seed” was best served in the hands of one who could teach their posterity acceptance by the One True God.

So Adam and Eve saw that Cain just didn’t murder their son, but also generations of children who would’ve grown in the fear YHVH ElohimPerhaps we should see it this way as well.

However, life moves on, so Adam and Eve bore Seth with the goal of raising him to live as his brother Abel had lived – in the fear of YHVH, the Almighty.

So if we know Adam and Eve sought to raise their posterity after Abel’s example, but only eight souls out of all their descendants actually survived the Great Flood, we would rightly deduce that men strayed from the path somewhere on the ancestral line.

And that’s exactly what the Scriptures teach:

Seth also fathered a son, whom he named Enosh. At that time, profaning the name of the LORD began.  (Genesis 4:26, ISV)

A few Biblical translations are making editions (like the ISV version above) to portray this “beginning” (Heb. huchal) of “profaning” (qara – which means ‘calling’ or ‘profaning’), which has already been noted by several Christian commentators and the Jewish sages alike for thousands of years.

This translation better fits the surrounding context.  Case in point, if we omit the genealogy of Adam to Noah (which is most of Genesis 5), we are left with these key points in succession of scripture:

  • The history of Cain’s descendants, which culminates with Lamech’s violence and arrogance
  • When men began to “profane” the name of YHVH
  • When men began to multiply on the earth and were sensual, violent, evil, etc.

In other words, God’s word overwhelms us with the evil of Mankind leading up to the Great Flood.  However, Genesis 4:26 specifically uses the Hebrew huchal to show how the latter state “began”.

If we desire wickedness, we scoff at the “Great Flood story”.  ‘God destroy men who act exactly like me!? Preposterous!’ – so we dismiss this as fiction.

If we desire righteousness, we want to know how the latter state happened – a state SO BAD the Almighty said ‘I regret I made Man’!  So, we look to Genesis 4:26 and understand that these multiple offenses huchal (began) when men profaned the name of YHVH.  [Note: The Bible doesn’t actually say who profaned the Name; it passively says “at that time it was begun to profane in the name of YHVH.”  This was likely worded this way so the reader would not think that it was Enosh who started it, but Mankind in general].

The first three of the Ten commandments includes “you shall have no other gods before Me… you shall not make a graven image… and you shall not bring my Name to nothingness” (cf. Exod. 20). These were spoken from Heaven and etched in stone. All three are related, as all three describe profaning the Name. Profaning the Name is a gateway transgression;  a man’s future transgressions are rooted to this beginning – when a man forgets who the One True God is.  

This is exactly what happened during the time of Enosh.  Men forgot who God was, so the evil that followed was only a matter of time.

We don’t know if they made idols, or imagined up other gods for themselves. Or, in business dealings, perhaps they took oaths in the name of ‘YHVH’ while swindling one another.  Perhaps they did all three.  Whatever happened, what we can know with certainty is that this is the moment in history when Mankind began its downward spiral, stemming from profaning the Name of YHVH Elohim. ♦

Genesis 4:23-24, Why Lamech’s Words Must Be Understood

In my last post I addressed the oxymoron of Cain “settling down” in a “land of wandering” and identified God’s riddle: if you’re apart from the Presence, it doesn’t matter how you reinvent yourself – you’re “wandering”.

Although Cain and his descendants appeared to be somewhat successful, it’s only according to the success of this life.  In the end, Cain’s lineage couldn’t separate themselves from the “way of Cain” (James 1:11). They would all ultimately drown in the Great Flood.  The last words we hear from Cain’s descendants are from a man named Lamech, the fifth from Cain:

And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.   (Genesis 4:23-24, KJV)

[Note: Several Bible translations offer “wounding” and “hurting” as past progressive verbs, but in Hebrew these words are not in verb form. Additionally, there are attempts to portray that Lamech smote a man due to a cause, i.e. “for my wound”; if that were the case, we’d expect the Hebrew kiy – which indicates a causal relationship.  However, the –l proclitic is used instead which indicates an action toward something. Therefore, I think the KJV’s translation and others like it are correct. ]

God allowed Lamech’s words for a reason, even if they seem completely out of place.  After all, these are the only words recorded from any of Cain’s descendants.  Could Lamech’s words be an out of place signal – like a road flare on a dark country road -designed to get our attention?

I believe they are. So let’s slow down and understand how God is warning us through Lamech’s words.

Understanding the context, Lamech’s speech occurs right after the Bible reveals how successful his three sons had become.  They were innovators who changed the world – rapidly, within one generation (vv. 20-22).  They taught men a better way to acquire wealth: they taught the dwelling in mobile tents instead of fixed fortresses which allowed for flocks and herds,  smithing metal into specific tools advancing agriculture and (perhaps) weaponry, and even taught entertainment through music and song – a respite from “the toil and stress of life” (ref. Gen. 5:29).

So these men became the “father of” an innovation and profession, which influenced the entire world.  But the one to benefit the most from their successes was… Lamech, the “father of the fathers of”!  He was likely well respected – so much so that Methuselah – a contemporary to Lamech’s three sons – might have named his own son “Lamech” in honor of Cain’s descendant (cf. Gen. 5:25).  So it’s likely Lamech was an influential man, and it’s therefore important to know what kind of man he was.

So when examining Lamech’s words to his wives, the first thing we must understand these are Lamech’s words – not the Almighty’s.  He said, “hear my voice… harken to my speech.”  Lamech is not prophesying.  Quite the contrary, actually. These are words that reveal the type of man he was, which is why God gave us them.

Lamech smote a young man of some stature, enough to make Lamech reasonably expect some level of retribution.  But Lamech never regretted murdering someone – he regretted that his victim might be avenged!  In other words, Lamech reacted like his forefather Cain, but this is not just Cain 2.0 – Lamech is far worse.  While Cain seemed resigned to his fate, Lamech promoted additional violence on top of his original murder! Indeed, Lamech was a diabolical character, a violent tyrant who would never face his guilt.

So in effect, Lamech instructs his two wives – the mothers of his three influential sons – to direct the family’s power toward such a vengeance that would make God’s wrath seem weak.  We don’t know if Lamech believed those words God once spoke over Cain, but it does seem like he’s mocking them, as if he could exceed God’s punishment by inventing more grandiose ways to destroy people.  So even if Lamech believed that YHVH God existed, he didn’t fear Him.  In fact, the brutal tyrant blasphemed God.

So now we understand Lamech’s words in their proper context.  Now let’s interpret them as a warning to future generations.

There are two lessons to learn from Lamech’s life, and they’re actually primers for the foundations taught in the Torah, reinforced by the Prophets, and solidified by Messiah Yeshua and His apostles.

The first lesson is: those with much destroy those with little.  These powerful types may not always destroy lesser-thans in a physical sense, but they nevertheless devour through threats, extortion, frivolous lawsuits, slanders, persecutions, and many other abuses of power.  The second lesson is connected to the first:  The rich and powerful own justice, too.  In other words, after the haves abuse the have-nots, and the abused cry out for justice, those have-nots are exterminated “seven and seventy” times over.

There is an oft-repeated torah that forbids perverting justice for the poor (e.g. Exo. 23:6, Lev. 19:15, Deut. 16:19), and should we forget those commandments, they’re rehashed throughout the Prophets (Isa. 1:17, Jer. 5:28 et al).  Following suit, Messiah Yeshua taught that justice was one of the weightier matters of the Law (i.e. Matt. 23:23).   In short, justice is important to God, evidenced by His teaching of it throughout all of time.

So Lamech’s life is marred by the same injustices and transgressions which provoked God’s judgment of the pre-Flood world.  For example, Lamech’s wives’ names suggest beauty (Adah = adorned; Tzillah = respite), as does his daughter’s (Naamah = beautiful). Comparatively, the judgment before the Flood was “the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful” (Gen. 6:2).  Lamech was also one of those who took multiple wives, (Gen. 6:2) and Lamech’s violent murder  fits the bill for “the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Gen. 6:11)  Indeed, Lamech’s life exemplifies every judgment of the pre-Flood world.

So now we know Lamech’s life and words in context, and he seems to exemplify everything God detested about that pre-Flood civilization.

What we know so far is:

Lamech was the ‘father of the fathers of’, a highly influential man.
Lamech was a brutal and diabolical man.
Lamech blasphemed God.
Lamech’s life exemplified every judgment of the pre-Flood world.

With this knowledge, I interpret Lamech’s speech as a warning of “the beginning of the End.”

There are even more prophetic clues bringing clarity to Lamech’s words; see if you can find them!   The clues begin right after Lamech’s speech in Genesis 4:24, and end with the judgments I’ve already mentioned in Genesis 6.  In the meantime, ask yourself the following questions:

How did Seth get his name?
Two family lineages are listed (Cain’s and Seth’s).  Who was Lamech’s contemporary?
Does the Bible offer any hints at how influential and respected Lamech was?
What happens when brutal tyrants are highly respected?
What did Messiah Yeshua say of the Pre-Flood world? How does that compare to Lamech’s family?

If we answer these questions, we will not only understand Lamech’s words in context, but understand them prophetically as a warning of the beginning of our end as well. ♦

Genesis 4:16-24, Cain’s Descendants and Implications for Today

Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16, NASB)

Many Bibles read that Cain lived in a place called “Nod”. However, what many readers lose in translation is that nod means “wandering”, and that nod is used just earlier in the phrase often translated as “a fugitive and a vagabond will you be in the Earth” (cf. Gen 4:12).  That phrase should probably be translated as “you will be wavering and wandering [nod] in the Earth”, which would put vs. 16 in proper context: as Cain enters a “land of wandering”, thus living out his judgment.

Previously I suggested there was a prophetic undertone to righteous Abel’s murder, which was followed by Cain’s “desolation” from the “Presence of God” (in other words, a prototypical “holy land”).  I believe this is a prophetic forecast for future “desolations” which occurred in the days of Moses, Judges, Prophets, the Babylonian captives, and ultimately, when Rome destroyed Israel in accordance with the prophecies of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  Thus the pattern of desolation is imprinted here early in the Scriptures – as a prophecy of warning to future generations.

So Cain’s “desolation” begins in verse 16 – which is a glorious oxymoron.  How does Cain “settle” (Heb. yeshev) in a “land of wandering”?  Which is it – did he settle down or wander aimlessly?  Adding to this conundrum is what happens next:

Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17)

The Hebrew word for “city” is iyr, which can designate any fortified place. Given that Cain was preoccupied with “anyone who finds me will smite me” (vs. 14), he likely built some sort of fortress.  At the same time, he named his son “Chanokh” (anglicized as “Enoch”) which is the same Hebrew word used when “dedicating” or “establishing” a memorial – i.e. how King Solomon “dedicated” the Holy Temple (ref. 1 Kings 8:23).  Therefore, when Enoch was born, it appears Cain was intending to re-establish himself!

So Cain built a fortress, he had a new family, and thus he “settled down” …but only according to man’s standard.  Prophetically speaking, Cain was still nod-wandering …according to the Word of God.  So the answer to the riddle is hiding in plain sight: Cain went out from the Presence… and was in the land of wandering.   If you are separated from the Presence of God, you’re “wandering”.  It doesn’t matter if you have the tallest castle with the thickest walls, or married to the prettiest wife with ten sons to carry on your legacy!  It doesn’t matter how you re-establish yourself; without the Presence, it’s vanity.

Let’s consider that Cain and his descendants (cf. Genesis 4:18-24) had quite the accomplishments – specifically, three of Cain’s fourth-great-grandsons revolutionized agriculture, the performing arts, and metallurgy (vv. 20-22).  In fact, these three sons – along with their father Lemech – would yield tremendous power and influence over the rest of the world, for it is written of them that they were “fathers of” all those who followed their trade.  In fact, Methusaleh, who was the same generation as Lemech the descendant of Cain –might have named his own son “Lemech” (who turned out to be the father of Noah, see. Gen. 5:25-30) in honor of him.

Cain’s descendants were sons of a desolation, and I write about their accomplishments and influence because of a strange trend I’m witnessing in Christian churches and especially in the Messianic faith.  You see, there is another group of people who are sons of a desolation, and who are likewise highly influential and successful all over the world.

I speak of today’s Jewish community.

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood as anti-Semitic.  It’s not anti-Semitic to identify how disproportionately successful Jewish people are in today’s society when compared to the success of other cultures and communities.  I find zero fault in anyone capitalizing on opportunities.

The fault I find is actually with Christians and Messianics.  As Christians/Messianics, we believe that the last desolation of Jerusalem occurred for a reason, one which was specifically prophesied by Messiah Yeshua.  Like Cain, these men went into all nations – wandering you might say, and immediately built shtetls and communities, and “settled down” so to speak.  As the centuries passed, Jews were unfairly persecuted, but eventually, they began to be innovators in the sciences, arts, and various industries.

However, while no one claims the descendants of Cain were successful because of Providence, why are Christians and Messianics claiming that today’s Jewish community is successful because of God’s favor?  This type of success is only measureable in this life, and doesn’t have any bearing on the age to come.

Just ask Cain’s descendants.  Their success and influence couldn’t save them from the Great Flood; in fact, we could argue that it helped contribute to the Great Flood!  And the success of anyone today – Jewish or Gentile – will not him in the upcoming Yom haDin (Day of Judgment).

Therefore, we must stop calling “favor” what the world calls “success”.  They are not necessarily compatible.

Now, in future posts I’ll discuss how Cain’s descendants could’ve been saved from the flood, just as Jews are returning to Israel in preparation for end-time fulfillments.  For now though, let not sons and daughters of God be swayed by anyone’s success in this life.  For as the ancient world was swayed by the influences of Cain’s descendants and drowned, what would become of us if we falsely confused God’s favor with human success? ♦

Genesis 4:10-15, Prophetic Patterns in the Cain and Abel Story

The story of Qayin and Hevel (Cain and Abel) offers practical knowledge about favor and jealousy, but perhaps more importantly, offers a great deal of prophetic revelation.

Perhaps no revelation is more apparent than “many who are first shall be last, and the last first.” (Matt. 19:30) This cornerstone teaching of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) was forecast long ago through the lives of these two brothers – not because Qayin was Hevel’s senior, but because Qayin had pride with an expectation to be “first”, compared to Hevel’s humility and servanthood as the “last”.

However, this is not the end of the “last shall be first” pattern.  The Scriptures soon show how Avraham is favored before his father Terah.  Then, Itzak (Isaac) is favored before Ishmael, followed by God judging Esau in favor of Ya’akov (Jacob), whose son Joseph is favored over his brothers, and so forth.  Through these examples a mystery is revealed to us: God’s favor does not come through entitlement.

The “last shall be first” is not the only prophetic pattern forecast in the Qayin and Hevel story. We also first witness the reoccurring pattern of  “wandering”.

During his judgment, Qayin was fearful that he would be “wavering and wandering” over the Earth (cf. Gen 4:14), but that particular word, “wandering” (Heb. nood) – is used elsewhere to denote how God “removes” Yis’rael in highly troubling times:

“ADONAI had told David and Shlomo his son… I will not have the feet of Isra’el wander any longer out of the land which I gave their ancestors — if only they will take heed to obey every order I have given them and live in accordance with all the Torah that my servant Moshe ordered them to obey.” But they did not take heed; and M’nasheh misled them into doing even worse things than the nations ADONAI had destroyed ahead of the people of Isra’el.Moreover, M’nasheh shed so much innocent blood that he flooded Yerushalayim from one end to the other..”. (2 Kings 21:6-9, 16 CJB)

By the time of King David, YHVH had already caused Yis’rael to “wander out of the Land” at the hands of Philistines, Assyrians, and other nations due to the breaking of her covenant.  By the time of M’nasheh, God’s prophets warned of the same fate for similar transgressions, and for the shedding of innocent blood.

Therefore, in the reading of Qayin and Hevel, YHVH shows that the punishment for Qayin’s refusal to listen to YHVH, and the shedding of Hevel’s innocent blood, is a “wandering from the land” – a foreshadowing of what the Prophets  call “desolation” (at least, how most Bibles translate various words to be “desolation”).  Moshe (Moses) saw and warned of Yis’rael’s future desolation to the nations just a few years after the Exodus (Lev. 26:33).  Yeshayahu (Isaiah) also saw that Yis’rael “would become without inhabitant” (Isa. 6:12).  There are dozens of other warnings in the Prophets but the highest example may be the desolation foretold by Daniel – due to the fact that Messiah reiterated it (cf. Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11; Matthew 24:15).

The long and short of it is that the desolation of Yis’rael is a common theme reappearing throughout the Scriptures. It’s warned of throughout the Prophets, witnessed in the times of Judges, and fulfilled in both the desolations of Shomron (Samaria) and Yahudah.  However, it’s greatest fulfillment came after the appearance of Messiah Yeshua, when Rome utterly destroyed Yerushalayim.

Thus we realize that the banishment of Qayin – who ignored the pleading of God and shed the innocent blood of Hevel – is a prophetic forecast of the desolations witnessed throughout time – occurring due to similar motivations as Qayin’s.  Yis’rael would ignore the pleadings of God through his prophets, and shed innocent blood, ultimately executing their own Messiah!

And of course, all this shedding of righteous blood comes with a price:

 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. (Matt. 23:35)

So there were many desolations of Yis’rael, but one noteworthy point to mention is that even in His wrath, God never made a complete end of Yis’rael.  He wouldn’t excuse their guilt, but He also wouldn’t forget His mercy.  For these reasons He commanded that the nations whom He chose as the instruments of His wrath would treat Yis’rael well.

This decree of not harming Yis’rael began with Avraham, “by blessing will I bless those who would bless you; and cursing upon those who curse you” (Gen. 12:3), and in spite of God allowing Yis’rael to enter all her desolations, that same expectation of respect for Yis’rael never changed.  As the prophet Tzecharyah (Zechariah) declared, ““I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, but they added to the calamity”” (Zech. 1:14-15).

Previously I suggested that death was too good for Qayin, and while that may be true to his personal circumstance, I further suggest that Qayin was allowed to live in his isolation because it’s a prophecy of all the future times Yis’rael would be desolated – but not completely destroyed.  Hence, Qayin was allowed to live because Yis’rael would always be allowed to live.

In short, “Qayin and Hevel” is one grand prophetic revelation about all the times Yis’rael ignored the pleadings of God for repentance, killed its prophets and shed innocent blood, and entered into desolation, while at the same time, being allowed to live.  If we can grasp this concept, the rest of the Word of God will become much more compelling to us as readers as we will understand the prophetic patterns laid out for us to follow. ♦

Genesis 4:10-15, Why Was Cain’s Life Spared?

There seems to be a lot of speculation and struggling with Qayin’s (Cain’s) punishment – or lack thereof – as some believe that Qayin should’ve lost his own life after murdering his brother Hevel (Abel), based on comments from skeptics and even some believers in Internet Land.  On the flip side is Christian flag-waving of the “Grace” extended to Qayin; according to Christians, this is one proof that Jesus was always the ‘God of the Old Testament’.

The way I see it, the problem is that both sides of the debate perceive an inconsistency between how God views premeditated murder in other parts of the Bible (i.e. the Torah or “Law”), versus how God allows Qayin to keep his life after such a blatant example of… premeditated murder!  However, I suggest both views are missing key points of information in what I call ‘The Curious Case of Qayin’.

First of all, nothing in the Law and its punishments for murder were applicable until Yis’rael made a covenant with God at Horev (cf. Exod. 24:7).  With respect to how God banished Qayin thousands of years earlier, comparisons to other parts of the Bible would be irrelevant, except that it does raise questions about the eternal nature of God, and how we’d expect His judgments to be uniform throughout time.  That’s an important question, and I will answer it shortly.

As for this being “Grace”, indeed there are many instances of grace in the Tanakh, but I  can’t include Qayin’s judgment among them.  Grace entails complete forgiveness and a restoration of the soul, but that is not what I see in Qayin.

So this leaves two questions: why was Qayin’s life spared and if it’s not grace, what is it?

I say the answer is in plain sight.

First, let’s clear up an assumption that many of us may have.

Where is Abel, your brother?  And Cain answered, “I don’t know! The keeper of my brother… is me?” (Genesis 4:9)

We read this dialogue and always assume that God and Qayin were alone.  But the text suggests there were witnesses.  For example, by the time she had Seth, Havah (Eve) knew Hevel’s fate , and seemed to be a bit hostile to Qayin (cf. Gen. 4:25).  If Qayin was banished immediately, how could Havah know this information?  Therefore, I suggest that the following dialogue makes much more sense… in the presence of witnesses, likely other “sons and daughters” birthed by Havah (cf. Gen. 5:4).

What have you made? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.” (vs. 10)

Even in death, God hears a righteous person more than the wicked who remains alive, because “YHVH is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32).  By listening to the voice of Hevel, God is advocating for the victim.  Thus everything hereafter should be understood as God honoring what the blood of Hevel spoke.

And now, you have been cursed from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand, because you would work the ground.  No longer will it yield its produce to you… (vs. 11-12)

Qayin knowingly buried his brother in the same grounds that he worked.  In doing so, God judged those grounds to now be Hevel’s final resting place – instead of a cultivated field. If the sinister Qayin remained, he would disrupt Hevel’s resting place for the sake of “produce” (the Heb. koach can mean “strength” but when used with soil it should be understood as “produce”) – even with his brother secretly buried beneath it!  Thus God obviously judged in favor of Hevel and dismissed Qayin from those lands.

A vagrant and a wanderer will you become in the earth.” (vs. 12)

“Fugitive and vagabond” is a seriously unhappy translation of two words that are almost the same, found in the obviously poetically Hebrew ‘na wa nad’.  In fact, this is the only place where “fugitive” and “vagabond” are used for each word, respectively.  Since there is no consistency in how each of these words are translated, the interpretation of na wa nad is open to suggestion.

I say that this term, obviously used to describe Qayin’s future, should be compared with his past.  Previously, he was “the man” and was stable, grounded, and secure.  Now, his future would be the exact opposite – unstable!  As long as we understand that it’s the exact opposite of him being “the man” alongside his parents, we understand the intent of Qayin becoming “na wa nad” – living life alone without the stability always provided for him.

Then Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to endure.” (vs. 13)

The real reason Qayin was allowed to live jumps right off the page… right here.

God – Who I think was deferring to the blood of Hevel for judgment – knew that Qayin would’ve preferred a coward’s death to facing a life filled with adversity.  In this respect I think Hevel knew his brother quite well!  Notice how much that fear of adversity is evident in Qayin’s response below:

“Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will smite me.” (vs. 14)

Ironically, Qayin would’ve lived a lot like someone else in the story – wandering to and fro, fearful of prey, living away from the cultivated fields… that sort of reminds me of how a shepherd would live, is it not?  It seems to me that Qayin’s judgment has an air of becoming like his brother Hevel was in life – who coincidentally is now crying out to God through his blood.  It’s nothing short of poetic justice that Qayin has to live as Hevel was. I believe that Hevel wanted his brother Qayin to see life as he’d seen it.

Notice how the Almighty never said anything about killing Qayin, and how that was purely Qayin’s invention?  Again, if we assume this exchange had witnesses, it makes more sense.  I say Qayin was subtlely inviting anyone – a witness per say – to find him and kill him, to alleviate the one thing Qayin couldn’t bear: adversity.  I think Qayin was so fearful of real life that he wanted to be ‘offed’.

Which is then why the Almighty ensured Qayin would live:

But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” And the LORD set a sign on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. (vs. 15)

The mysterious mark/sign of Qayin only makes sense if witnesses overheard these words.  It’s my opinion that this declaration is the mark of Qayin.  True, this is a protection of Qayin’s life, but this was not for Qayin’s benefit – it was done for Hevel.  I believe Hevel – as a righteous man – had compassion on his murderer.

This doesn’t mean he wanted his brother excused!  Up to this point, Qayin never laments his murderous act – he only laments its consequences!  Therefore, Qayin would not learn any remorse through death.  Thus Qayin was allowed to live to learn remorse, and perhaps humility for what he did.  This is the poetic justice the blood of Hevel wanted, which God honored.

So, Qayin was neither offered Grace, nor was he given murder.  Qayin was given the punishment that fit Qayin – which was exactly what he deserved. If anything, this is one indication that we all will get what we deserve. The question is, do we want God to listen to us, even in death? Or do we want God to set His face and dismiss us from His presence?  Ω

Genesis 4:10-14, The Way of Qayin Was and Is the Way of the Serpent

The LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.   Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  From now on, when you till the ground, it won’t yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me out today from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. Whoever finds me will kill me.” (Genesis 4:10-14)

The majority of our Bibles translate YHVH’s words to Qayin (Cain) as “What have you done?” but I say we should interpret this as “what have you made?”  The verb in question is the Hebrew asah, which is used interchangeably with its synonym bara (to create) to describe God’s ordering of the heavens and the earth, as well as His creation of Mankind (ref. Genesis 1-2).

By design, YHVH also responds with “asah” to Havah (Eve) and the serpent after their transgressions at the Tree of Knowledge (cf. Gen. 3:13-14).  These responses indicate that we who were created in the image of God are creative in nature, but we can “make” (asah) acts of mischief that are foreign to YHVH.  When we create such evil, God asks, “What is this you made?” for this is not the handiwork He respects.  Selah.

So the question to Qayin after he murdered his brother Hevel (Abel), “what have you made?” is similar to God’s response at the Tree, but it’s the fates of the serpent and Qayin that are eerily similar.  However, before delving into this mystery, we must understand how similar paths led to similar fates.

At first, both Qayin and the serpent were “the man”.  We know that the serpent was the wisest among the animals and Qayin was the stronger son who learned his father’s trade.  They were as privileged as royalty until someone else came along who – in their eyes – stole their favor.  To them, it wasn’t supposed to go down that way!

“Dumb humans, who don’t have any knowledge of good and evil? How could they be favored before me, the serpent, who is the wisest of all the beasts!? I will make them as I am and conquer them, and regain my rightful place over all creation!”

“Hevel!? That runt!? How can he be favored instead of me, Qayin!? I’m the one who was born strongest, and followed in my father’s footsteps!  Now it looks as if my parents favor him, along with God!  Nonsense! I will eliminate this competition, and regain my proper place!”

Thus the similarities in motivations led to similar fates:

 The Serpent’s Fate (Gen. 3:14-15)
Qayin’s Fate (Gen. 4:10-14)
Because you have made (asah) this…  What have you made (asah)? 
Cursed are you… Now you are cursed…
From all the cattle and every beast of the field… From the ground, which opened its mouth to receive the blood of your brother by your hand.
Over your belly will you go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life. If you work the ground, it will not continue to give its produce to you. A waverer and a wanderer shall you become in the Earth.
And I will put enmity between your seed and her seed… he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel… It will come to pass, that anyone who comes upon me will kill me. 
X Rightly so. Whoever smites Qayin, seven times will I avenge him.  And YHVH set upon Qayin a sign, lest anyone come upon him to kill him.

Both the serpent and Qayin were judged by God for their mischief (what they made/worked), and cursed them from their previous, comfortable lives.  Both of them were informed of how they would experience life as a “wanderer”, and would have to rely on a new means of sustenance.  Both of them also knew of the enmity they would experience with Mankind in the future.

I’ve written before how at the Tree of Knowledge we became more like serpents than gods, and this seems to bring that theory home to roost.  Qayin’s motivations were like the serpent before him, which is why the shared similar fates. Thus we have our main takeaway:  God is showing us that we might all become like the snake. The serpent’s venom is within us. 

If we don’t control our lusts, we might go what the Apostle Yahudah (Jude) calls
“the way of Qayin” (Jude 11). Jude explains how this theme reoccurs throughout the Bible, and so we also have to expect it in our own lives.  We must constantly be on guard against politicians, pundits, predators, and false prophets who want to manipulate us, and subjugate us under an insatiable lust for power.

There is one and only thing that differs between the fates of the serpent and Qayin, and that is the mercy which is inexplicable to most of us.  We all struggle with Qayin’s “punishment” – or lack thereof.

I want to encourage you that there is always an answer for what we don’t understand in the Word of God.  The reasons for Qayin’s banishment are both practical and prophetic, and we will get to those answers soon, Lord willing! Ω

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genesis 4:9, If You Can’t Love Your Brother, How Can You Love Your Brethren?

The LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)

Qayin (Cain) smites his brother Hevel (Abel), and then God interrogates Qayin with questions to which He certainly already knows the answer (I’ve already written about why God would do this here).

There is also much Internet clutter about how Qayin killed Hevel.  Apparently it’s something our inquiring minds want to know, but I think any investigation to uncover the murder weapon is following a red herring.  The truth is, it would’ve been included had it been something we NEED to know.  Though there is one process we can use to uncover lessons that YHVH, the King of the Universe, wants our little human minds to grasp.

If we read the text in Hebrew and identify what words are used in repitition  we can identify trends and reduce speculation.  It just so happens there is one word that sticks out like a sore thumb, not just in this highlighted verse but throughout the whole chapter.  That Hebrew word is “akhi”, the word for “brother”.  In the verses concerning Qayin and Hevel, akhi appears seven times (yes, there “seven” is again).  In fact, after YHVH asks, “Where is Hevel your brother (akhi)?” He ONLY refers to Hevel as “your brother”.

The simple answer is that God isn’t concerned with us identifying the murder weapon. What He appears to want us to understand is that Qayin targeted his akhi… his brother, his own flesh and blood.

In response to God’s question (which is literally “Where did Hevel your brother go?“), Qayin literally responds, “the keeper of my brother is… me?” (If he would have said ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’ as is traditionally translated we’d expect to see shamartiy or shamartiy-o, as in the literalDo I keep my brother?). In other words, from my chair it looks like he’s implying “you’re laying this on me?”  This is how I interpret it based on my understanding that Qayin was the epitome of a narcissist… who responds to adversity by eliminating “competition”.

Once his brother Hevel’s sacrifice was looked upon by God, Hevel – suddenly – became favored by his parents, too.  There is a big change in the backstory from the beginning of Hevel’s life to how he was perceived after his murder, as Adam and Havah (Eve) appear to view Hevel as the seed to carry out God’s favor after they were gone (cf. Gen. 4:25).  (Note: I will expand on why that was so important to them when the time comes.)

But when Hevel gained so much favor by his parents, Qayin – as a narcissist – probably assumed that he lost their favor.  Since the Bible hints at Adam and Havah beginning to think more highly of Hevel – as they should have all along – Qayin’s response might be understood with an underscore of jealousy and insidiousness. The bottom line is that Qayin’s response indicates that he thought everyone else was Hevel’s keeper… everyone except Qayin, that is: “the keeper of my brother… is me!?” (with the unspoken narrative of ‘You, O God, accept him, my parents favor him now… if they and You love him so much, why didn’t you all keep him, why are you looking at me?’)

What Qayin failed to understand is that there was no reason to be enraged, as God spoke to him (cf. 4:6).  The favor that comes from both God and parents isn’t a competition. Favor was meant to be a shared joy of the community, not an exclusive entitlement!  And that’s what I think is the parshat (simple) and foundational message of this early part of Scripture – a common truth that anyone who would read the Bible would see (and hopefully learn) right away.  If you don’t grow up with your brothers and sisters loving them – and preserving them – you won’t have a home to come home to.  You too will be like a wanderer in the earth. You will ruin your life, and set back the lives of your family as well.  As we continue to read this story, that’s exactly what we find.  Qayin ruined his life and set back what his parents were hoping to accomplish.

And now for the prophetic implications of this verse.

The crux of the whole of Scripture, and the crux of what Messiah taught is: you will not receive God’s favor if you are at odds with your greater “brethren”.  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ is well known throughout Scripture, but the spiritual implications is this: if you can’t love and shomer (keep/watch over/preserve/protect) your mother’s son who is your akhi, how could you love your neighbor who is also your “akhi”?  In other words, with the Qayin and Hevel story, God is preparing everyone to love his family that he may grow up to love his neighbors… even the brethren… who are our fellow believers in the Kingdom of God.

And we also come to yet another prophecy of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  In the Scriptures, the Messiah is also associated to the word akhi (brother) as David suggested that Messiah will come as One of Yisrael “in the great congregation” (meaning on one of the three major feasts when all Israel was to assemble at Jerusalem, cf. ). In Psalm 22, when Messiah is depicted as declaring the greatness of YHVH at the major feasts, being surrounded by the wicked, with pierced feet and hands, and with great thirst – you know, everything that occurred at Yeshua’s final Passover – we also see this word “akhi” to describe how Messiah would view the rest of Israel.

He was their akhi as the Scriptures say (cf. Psalm 22:22).

And like Qayin, remarkably, Israel was allowed to survive… into a period of wandering, without actually answering the question “Where did your akhi go?”

Which I suppose makes a great topic for another time. Ω