Posts tagged “Noah

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 4:23-24, 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. ♦