Posts tagged “Noah’s Flood

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 4:25-26, 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. ♦