My mind is blown a little after reading this chapter – the WRITTEN account of Adam’s descendants. I couldn’t help but remember that in Chapter 4 we read about the descendants of Cain. Now, here’s where my mind gets blown: Cain gave birth to Enoch, and Seth, the son who looked just like Adam, named his first son Enosh. I had to do a side-by-side comparison of each lineage.
Check it out:
So, we have two lineages that end with Lamech. Remember in Chapter 4, I said, something is special about Lamech. We find at the end of chapter 5 that Lamech is Noah’s father! But I gotta tell ya, I’m baffled about the two lineages. I had a thousand questions: did Noah come from Cain or Seth? I can’t handle that kind of uncertainty, so I pondered the thought of two brothers having children with similar names. I liked this theory way better, mostly because it gives me a satisfactory conclusion: Noah came from Seth’s side.
I do believe it is significant that these two chapters are written one right after the other, and I love the two Lamechs. Cain’s Lamech apparently committed murder but received favor from God – or at least self-proclaimed favor that seemed to work out for him. Because anyone who killed Cain would be punished 7 times, anyone who killed Lamech would be punished 77 times! Seth’s Lamech, in contrast, lived 777 years. That’s pretty cool, huh?
Comparing the two, Cain’s Lamech was responsible for developing the first skills crucial to the advancement of civilization. His sons were the first ranchers, farmers and tent-makers, musicians, and iron workers. (Working with metals would have required fire. Think about that!)
Seth’s Lamech, on the other hand, also did a noteworthy thing: he asked God for help through his son Noah. This passage spans hundreds and hundreds of years, and it’s not until Lamech that we hear mention of God. It seems some bad stuff happened between the births of Cain and Seth and either/both Lamechs. God had cursed the ground, remember? He cursed it when he banished Adam and Eve from the garden, and he cursed it again when Cain killed Abel. Double cursed! Maybe others accepted it and just worked and grumbled all day. Perhaps this is why Cain’s Lamech committed murder?
Seth’s Lamech, however, went to God. We all know how God answered that prayer. I love that Noah gets credit for renewing God’s promise to the world through the flood, and as a parent watching her kids grow and develop skills and passions, I bet Lamech wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Seth’s Lamech is one of those people from the Bible who is never the topic of Sunday school lessons, but he’s an excellent example of love, humility and foresight (and several other characteristics).
Writing prompt: The Lamechs
Write about a Seth’s Lamech in your life, or alternatively (if you’re feeling an itch for some fiction), write Lamech’s story.
Further writing or alt topic: what about Cain’s Lamech? He was pretty significant, too, but we don’t credit him for things like fire or music or architecture, do we? Today, let’s think and write about his contributions.