Cain’s descendant who was the first known polygamist was in the lineage or family line of Cain?
“And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Genesis 4:15-19 (KJV)
One can glean much from observing the genealogy in Genesis 4:18-22. Given that one of the main points of Genesis 4 as a whole is to trace the seed of the woman’s godly seed alongside the seed of the serpent or children of the devil, it is evident that the narrator is tracing the line of the serpent so as to contrast it with the godly line that begins in 4:25 with Seth. Cain, the model of Satan’s offspring (1 John 3:12), had a son named Enoch who fathered Irad who fathered Mehujael who fathered Methushael. Notice that the latter two names end with “el”—a shortened form of Elohim. This may indicate each child was named with God in mind (e.g., Daniel = God is my judge; Immanuel = God with us). There is no certainty as to what these names mean, but there are clues that indicate great joy by Cain in the naming of his sons.
Note that, including Adam, the seventh name given is Lamech who reaches a new level of wickedness. He is the focal point of the narrative; hence, he has the seventh position in the genealogy. It is no coincidence that Adam’s genealogy concerning the seed of woman in Genesis 5 through Seth also has seven men, but the seventh man in the godly line ends with Enoch—a man who walked with God and was taken by God before he died (Gen. 5:24).
Lamech was the first polygamist, for he is said to have taken two wives in opposition to the clear mandate of Genesis 2:24— “a man shall be united to his wife” (a singular noun). His wives were named “Adah,” which means “ornament,” and “Zillah” which means “chime” and may allude to beautiful singing. This suggests that the two women were praised for their beauty and voice (cf. Song 2:14) not necessarily for anything God-fearing in their nature. Part of the decline of man highlighted by the narrator in the character of Lamech is his polygamy. Though God never condemns this in Genesis, the narrator’s purpose was to show the decline of man in lieu of sin. Later, when Abraham takes two wives, God does not condemn him, nor does He condemn Jacob or David for such practices. Yet any cursory reading of those OT narratives reveals great troubles—even devastation—within their households for polygamy. Of course, in the Law of Moses, it was assumed that polygamy made for troublesome home life (Deut 21:15–17).
Now whereas Seth’s godly line ends with an eighth man named Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), Cain’s line contains three more men—Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-cain. These men illustrate God’s grace working through those who had abandoned the worship of His holy name, for many of the world’s momentous cultural inventions emerged from their wisdom. Although they had no regard for their Creator, God worked through them to contribute to His created world and people. This has been God’s way since the beginning and has been the norm ever since. Take for example the Greek and Roman cultures. Both have contributed to the areas of art, philosophy, the legal system, political institutions, and even highways. They produced what the Hebrews did not, and their influence continues into the modern-day. Were they believers in Yahweh? Not even close! Yet God blessed the work of their hands, their minds, and their writings. Thus, one does not need to worship or even recognize God to be brilliant, successful, or blessed in a worldly sense. In fact, God obviously allows those who curse His name to enjoy great success in this life. Yet this life does come to an end, as evidenced by all the “successful” atheists throughout time. They are all dead, and all who still live will die.
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