Genesis 4:18 MEANING



Genesis 4:18
(18) Unto Enoch was born Irad.--Cain was building a city, 'Ir, and it was this probably which suggested the name 'Irad. It has little in common with Jared, as it begins with a harsh guttural, usually omitted in English because unpronounceable, but which appears as g in Gomorrah. Possibly 'Irad means citizen; but these names have been so corrupted by transcribers that we cannot feel sure of them. Thus, here the LXX. calls 'Irad Ga‹dad, and the Syriac 'Idor. In the list that follows, the names Mehujael (Samaritan Michel, Syriac Mahvoyel), Methusael, Enoch, and Lamech (Heb., Lemech), have a certain degree of similitude with those in the line of the Sethites, whence many commentators have assumed that the two lists are variations of the same original record. But it is usually a similarity of sound only with a diversity of meaning. Thus Mehujael, smitten of God, answers to Mahalaleel, glory to God; Methusael, God's hero, to Methuselah, the armed warrior. Even when the names are the same, their history is often most diverse. Thus in the Cainite line Enoch is initiation into city life, in the Sethite into a life of holiness; and the Cainite polygamist Lemech, rejoicing in the weapons invented by his son, is the very opposite of the Sethite Lemech, who calls his son Noah, quiet, rest

Verse 18. - Years passed away, the family of Cain grew to manhood, and, in imitation of their parents, founded homes for themselves. And unto Enoch (whose wife probably would also be his sister, few caring at this early stage to intermarry with the accursed race) was born Irad. Townsman, citizen, urbanus civilis (Keil, Lange); fleet as a wild ass (Murphy); ornament of a city, from Ir, a city (Wordsworth). And Irad begat Mehujael. Smitten of God (Keil, Gesenius, Murphy), the purified or formed of God (Lange). And Mehujael begat Methusael. Man of God (Gesenius, Lange), man asked or man of El (Murphy), man of prayer (Keil). And Methusael begat Lamech. Strong youth (Gesenius, Lange); man of prayer, youth (Murphy); king, by metathesis for melech (Wordsworth). The resemblance between these names and those in the line of Seth has been accounted for by supposing a commingling of the two genealogies, or one common primitive legend in two forms (Ewald, Knobel). But -

1. The similarity of the names does not necessarily imply the identity of the persons. Cf. Korah in the families of Levi (Exodus 6:21) and Esau (Genesis 36:5); Hanoch in those of Reuben (eh. 46:9) and Midian (Genesis 25:4); Kenaz in those of Esau (Genesis 36:11) and Judah (Numbers 32:12).

2. The similarity of the names only proves that the two collateral branches of the same family did not keep entirely apart.

3. The paucity of names at that early period may have led to their repetition.

4. The names in the two lines are only similar, not identical (cf. with Irad, Jared, descent; with Mehujael, Mahalaleel, praise of God; with Methusael, Methuselah, man of the sword).

5. The particulars related of Enoch and Lamech in the line of Seth forbid their identification with those of the same name in the line of Cain.

4:16-18 Cain cast off all fear of God, and attended no more on God's ordinances. Hypocritical professors, who dissemble and trifle with God, are justly left to themselves to do something grossly scandalous. So they throw off that form of godliness to which they have been a reproach, and of which they deny the power. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and we never find that he came into it again, to his comfort. The land Cain dwelt in was called the land of Nod, which means, 'shaking,' or 'trembling,' and so shows the restlessness and uneasiness of his own spirit, or 'the land of a vagabond:' they that depart from God cannot find rest any where else. Those on earth who looked for the heavenly city, chose to dwell in tabernacles or tents; but Cain, as not minding that city, built one on earth. Thus all who are cursed of God seek their settlement and satisfaction here below.And unto Enoch was born Irad,.... But of neither of them is any other mention made, either in sacred or profane history; nor is it said how old Enoch was when Irad was born, nor how long he lived after; as is recorded of Adam, Seth, and their posterity:

and Irad begat Mehujael, and Mehujael begat Methusael; of whom also we have no other account:

and Methusael begat Lamech; and it seems for the sake of Lamech that the genealogy of Cain's posterity is described and carried down thus far, some things being to be taken notice of concerning him. The names of the immediate posterity of Genos or Cain, according to Sanchoniatho, and, as Philo Byblius (l) has translated them, were light, fire, and flame; who found out fire by rubbing pieces of wood together, and taught the use of it, from whence they seem to have their names. These begat sons that exceeded others in bulk and height, whose names were given to the mountains they first possessed, and from them were called Cassius, Libanus, Antilibanus, and Brathy; and of them were begotten Memrumus and Hypsuranius, so called by their mothers, women, who, without shame, lay with everyone they could meet with; of these came Agreus and Halieus, the inventors of fishing and hunting; and these seem to answer to the generations from Cain to Lamech; and it is no wonder Moses should take no more notice of such a set of men; which, according to their own historian, deserved but little regard.

(l) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 34, 35.

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