Notebooks

Tubal-Cain

16 Mar 1995 04:50

According to Genesis 4:22, instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.'' The whole chapter is one of those which make you wonder what, exactly, they were thinking there in Canaan when they wrote this...

1. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
10. And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
12. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15. 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.
16. And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17. 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.
18. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
23. 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.
24. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
25. And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
26. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Here we have the Lord not knowing what had happened, until Abel's blood told him; a city built by, apparently, two people, of the second generation; and a real problem with tempers. (Is it not strange that the farmer was made a vagabond, whereupon he builds a city, and becomes the ancestor of such as dwell in tents?)

And while we are on the subject of odd bits of a very odd book, do please consider this, from Chapter 6:

1. And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2. That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
I should very much like to know how the Church tip-toed through this mine-field, which, taken literally, implies that God had grandchildren (and ones who wouldn't make a poor showing in the Divine Wallet either), and how it is taken by the fundamentalists today. But there's more: according to the apocryphal book Enoch, the sons of God taught people the use of metals; which would seem to imply that Tubal-cain was a direct descendant of the Almighty, and that God's children had a thing for girls from the wrong side of the tracks.