Genesis 4


The birth, trade, and religion of Cain and Abel, 1-7.

Cain murders his brother Abel, 8.

God calls him into judgment for it, 9, 10.

He is cursed, 11, 12.

He despairs, 15, 14.

A promise given him of preservation, and a mark set on

him to prevent his being killed, 15.

He departs from God's presence, 16.

Has a son whom he calls Enoch; and builds a city,

which he calls after his name, 17.

Cain has several children, among whom are Lamech, the first

bigamist, 18, 19.

Jobat, who taught the use of tents and feeding cattle, 20.

Jabal, the inventor of musical instruments, 21.

Tubal-cain, the inventor of smith-work, 22.

Strange speech of Lamech to his wives, 23, 24.

Seth born to Adam and Eve in the place of Abel, 25.

Enoch born, and the worship of God restored, 26.


Verse 1. I have gotten a man from the Lord.] Cain, ,

signifies acquisition; hence Eve says kanithi, I have gotten

or acquired a man, eth Yehovah, the Lord. It is

extremely difficult to ascertain the sense in which Eve used these

words, which have been as variously translated as understood.

Most expositors think that Eve imagined Cain to be the promised

seed that should bruise the head of the serpent. This exposition

really seems too refined for that period. It is very likely that

she meant no more than to acknowledge that it was through God's

peculiar blessing that she was enabled to conceive and bring forth

a son, and that she had now a well-grounded hope that the race of

man should be continued on the earth. Unless she had been under

Divine inspiration she could not have called her son (even

supposing him to be the promised seed) Jehovah; and that she was

not under such an influence her mistake sufficiently proves, for

Cain, so far from being the Messiah, was of the wicked one;

1Jo 3:12.

We may therefore suppose that eth Yehovah, THE LORD, is an

elliptical form of expression for meeth Yehovah, FROM THE

LORD, or through the Divine blessing.

Verse 2. And she again bare his brother Abel.] Literally, She

added to bear ( vattoseph laledeth) his brother.

From the very face of this account it appears evident that Cain

and Abel were twins. In most cases where a subject of this kind

is introduced in the Holy Scriptures, and the successive births of

children of the same parents are noted, the acts of conceiving and

bringing forth are mentioned in reference to each child; here it

is not said that she conceived and brought forth Abel, but simply

she added to bring forth Abel his brother; that is, as I

understand it, Cain was the first-born, Abel, his twin brother,

came next.

Abel was a keeper of sheep] Adam was originally a gardener,

Abel a shepherd, and Cain an agriculturist or farmer. These

were the three primitive employments, and, I may add, the most

rational, and consequently the best calculated to prevent strife

and an immoderate love of the world.

Verse 3. In process of time] mikkets yamim, at the

end of days. Some think the anniversary of the creation to be

here intended; it is more probable that it means the Sabbath, on

which Adam and his family undoubtedly offered oblations to God, as

the Divine worship was certainly instituted, and no doubt the

Sabbath properly observed in that family. This worship was, in its

original institution, very simple. It appears to have consisted

of two parts: 1. Thanksgiving to God as the author and dispenser

of all the bounties of nature, and oblations indicative of that

gratitude. 2. Piacular sacrifices to his justice and holiness,

implying a conviction of their own sinfulness, confession of

transgression, and faith in the promised Deliverer. If we

collate the passage here with the apostle's allusion to it,

Heb 11:4, we shall see cause to form this conclusion.

Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering]

minchah, unto the Lord. The word minchah is explained, Le 2:1,

&c., to be an offering of fine flour, with oil and frankincense.

It was in general a eucharistic or gratitude offering, and is

simply what is implied in the fruits of the ground brought by Cain

to the Lord, by which he testified his belief in him as the Lord

of the universe, and the dispenser of secular blessings.

Verse 4. Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock]

Dr. Kennicott contends that the words he also brought,

hebi gam hu, should be translated, Abel brought IT also,

i.e. a minchah or gratitude offering; and beside this he brought

of the first-born ( mibbechoroth) of his flock, and it was

by this alone that he acknowledged himself a sinner, and professed

faith in the promised Messiah. To this circumstance the apostle

seems evidently to allude, Heb 11:4: By FAITH Abel offered

πλειοςαθυσιαν, a MORE or GREATER sacrifice; not a more

excellent, (for this is no meaning of the word πλειων,) which

leads us to infer, according to Dr. Kennicott, that Abel, besides

his minchah or gratitude offering, brought also θυσια, a victim,

to be slain for his sins; and this he chose out of the first-born

of his flock, which, in the order of God, was a representation of

the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world; and

what confirms this exposition more is the observation of the

apostle: God testifying ροις δωποις, of his GIFTS, which

certainly shows he brought more than one. According to this

interpretation, Cain, the father of Deism, not acknowledging the

necessity of a vicarious sacrifice, nor feeling his need of an

atonement, according to the dictates of his natural religion,

brought a minchah or eucharistic offering to the God of the

universe. Abel, not less grateful for the produce of his fields

and the increase of his flocks, brought a similar offering, and by

adding a sacrifice to it paid a proper regard to the will of God

as far as it had then been revealed, acknowledged himself a

sinner, and thus, deprecating the Divine displeasure, showed

forth the death of Christ till he came. Thus his offerings were

accepted, while those of Cain were rejected; for this, as the

apostle says, was done by FAITH, and therefore he obtained witness

that he was righteous, or a justified person, God testifying with

his gifts, the thank-offering and the sin-offering, by accepting

them, that faith in the promised seed was the only way in which he

could accept the services and offerings of mankind. Dr. Magee, in

his Discourses on the Atonement, criticises the opinion of Dr.

Kennicott, and contends that there is no ground for the

distinction made by the latter on the words he also brought; and

shows that though the minchah in general signifies an unbloody

offering, yet it is also used to express both kinds, and that the

minchah in question is to be understood of the sacrifice then

offered by Abel. I do not see that we gain much by this

counter-criticism. See Ge 4:7.

Verse 5. Unto Cain] As being unconscious of his sinfulness, and

consequently unhumbled, and to his offering, as not being

accompanied, as Abel's was, with faith and a sacrifice for sin, he

had not respect-He could not, consistently with his holiness and

justice, approve of the one or receive the other. Of the manner

in which God testified his approbation we are not informed; it was

probably, as in the case of Elijah, by sending down fire from

heaven, and consuming the sacrifice.

Cain was very wroth] That displeasure which should have been

turned against his own unhumbled heart was turned against his

innocent brother, who, though not more highly privileged than he,

made a much better use of the advantages which he shared in common

with his ungodly and unnatural brother.

Verse 6. Why art thou wroth?] This was designed as a gracious

warning, and a preventive of the meditated crime.

Verse 7. If thou doest well] That which is right in the sight

of God, shalt thou not be accepted? Does God reject any man who

serves him in simplicity and godly sincerity? But if thou doest

not well, can wrath and indignation against thy righteous brother

save thee from the displeasure under which thou art fallen? On the

contrary, have recourse to thy Maker for mercy;

lappethach chattath robets, a sin-offering lieth at thy door; an

animal proper to be offered as an atonement for sin is now

couching at the door of thy fold.

The words chattath, and chattaah, frequently signify

sin; but I have observed more than a hundred places in the Old

Testament where they are used for sin-offering, and translated

αμαρτια by the Septuagint, which is the term the apostle uses,

2Co 5:21:

He hath made him to be sin (αμαρτιαν, A SIN-OFFERING) for us,

who knew no sin. Cain's fault now was his not bringing a

sin-offering when his brother brought one, and his neglect and

contempt caused his other offering to be rejected. However, God

now graciously informs him that, though he had miscarried, his

case was not yet desperate, as the means of faith, from the

promise, &c., were in his power, and a victim proper for a

sin-offering was lying ( robets, a word used to express the

lying down of a quadruped) at the door of his fold. How many

sinners perish, not because there is not a Saviour able and

willing to save them, but because they will not use that which is

within their power! Of such how true is that word of our Lord, Ye

will not come unto me that ye might have life!

Unto thee shall be his desire, &c.] That is, Thou shalt ever

have the right of primogeniture, and in all things shall thy

brother be subject unto thee. These words are not spoken of sin,

as many have understood them, but of Abel's submission to Cain as

his superior, and the words are spoken to remove Cain's envy.

Verse 8. Cain talked with Abel his brother] vaiyomer

Kayin, and Cain said, &c.; not talked, for this construction the

word cannot bear without great violence to analogy and grammatical

accuracy. But why should it be thus translated? Because our

translators could not find that any thing was spoken on the

occasion; and therefore they ventured to intimate that there was a

conversation, indefinitely. In the most correct editions of the

Hebrew Bible there is a small space left here in the text, and a

circular mark which refers to a note in the margin, intimating

that there is a hiatus or deficiency in the verse. Now this

deficiency is supplied in the principal ancient versions, and in

the Samaritan text. In this the supplied words are, LET US WALK

OUT INTO THE FIELD. The Syriac has, Let us go to the desert. The

Vulgate Egrediamur foras, Let us walk out. The Septuagint,

διελθεμενειςτοπεδον, Let us go out into the field. The two

Chaldee Targums have the same reading; so has the Coptic version.

This addition is completely lost from every MS. of the Pentateuch

now known; and yet it is sufficiently evident from the Samaritan

text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac, Septuagint, and Vulgate,

that it was in the most authentic copies of the Hebrew before and

some time since the Christian era. The words may therefore be

safely considered as a part of the sacred text, and with them the

whole passage reads clear and consistently: "And Cain said unto

Abel his brother, Let us go out into the field: and it came to

pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up," &c. The

Jerusalem Targum, and the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel, pretend

to give us the subject of their conversation: as the piece is

curious, I shall insert the substance of it, for the sake of those

who may not have access to the originals. "And Cain said unto

Hebel his brother, Let us go out into the field; and it came to

pass that, when they were in the field, Cain answered and said to

Hebel his brother, I thought that the world was created in mercy,

but it is not governed according to the merit of good works. nor

is there any judgment, nor a Judge, nor shall there be any future

state in which good rewards shall be given to the righteous, or

punishment executed on the wicked; and now there is respect of

persons in judgment. On what account is it that thy sacrifice has

been accepted, and mine not received with complacency? And Hebel

answered and said, The world was created in mercy, and it is

governed according to the fruit of good works; there is a Judge, a

future world, and a coming judgment, where good rewards shall be

given to the righteous, and the impious punished; and there is no

respect of persons in judgment; but because my works were better

and more precious than thine, my oblation was received with

complacency. And because of these things they contended on the

face of the field, and Cain rose up against Hebel his brother, and

struck a stone into his forehead, and killed him."

It is here supposed that the first murder committed in the world

was the consequence of a religious dispute; however this may have

been, millions since have been sacrificed to prejudice, bigotry,

and intolerance. Here, certainly, originated the many-headed

monster, religious persecution; the spirit of the wicked one in

his followers impels them to afflict and destroy all those who are

partakers of the Spirit of God. Every persecutor is a legitimate

son of the old murderer. This is the first triumph of Satan; it

is not merely a death that he has introduced, but a violent one,

as the first-fruits of sin. It is not the death of an ordinary

person, but of the most holy man then in being; it is not brought

about by the providence of God, or by a gradual failure and

destruction of the earthly fabric, but by a violent separation of

body and soul; it is not done by a common enemy, from whom nothing

better could be expected, but by the hand of a brother, and for no

other reason but because the object of his envy was more righteous

than himself. Alas! how exceeding sinful does sin appear in its

first manifestation!

Verse 10. The voice of thy brother's blood] It is probable that

Cain, having killed his brother, dug a hole and burled him in the

earth, hoping thereby to prevent the murder from being known; and

that this is what is designed in the words, Thy brother's blood

crieth unto me FROM THE GROUND-which hath opened her mouth to

receive it from thy hand. Some think that by the voice of thy

brother's blood the cries of Abel's widow and children are to be

understood, as it is very probable that he was father of a family;

indeed his occupation and sacrifices seem to render this probable,

and probability is all we can expect on such a subject. God

represents these as calling aloud for the punishment of the

murderer; and it is evident that Cain expected to fall by the

hands of some person who, from his consanguinity, had the right of

the avenger of blood; for now that the murder is found out, he

expects to suffer death for it. See Ge 4:14.

Verse 12. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be] Thou shalt

be expelled from the presence of God, and from thy family

connections, and shalt have no fixed secure residence in any

place. The Septuagint render this στενωνκαι τρεμωνεση, thou

shalt be groaning and trembling upon the earth-the horror of thy

crime shall ever haunt thee, and thou shalt never have any

well-grounded hope that God will remit the punishment thou

deservest. No state out of endless perdition can be considered

more awful than this.

Verse 13. My punishment is greater than I can bear.] The margin

reads, Mine iniquity is greater than that it may be forgiven.

The original words, gadol avoni minneso, may be

translated, Is my crime too great to be forgiven? words which we

may presume he uttered on the verge of black despair. It is most

probable that avon signifies rather the crime than the

punishment; in this sense it is used Le 26:41, 43; 1Sa 28:10;

2Ki 7:9; and

nasa signifies to remit or forgive. The marginal reading is,

therefore, to be preferred to that in the text.

Verse 14. Behold, thou hast driven me out] In Ge 4:11, 12,

God states two parts of Cain's punishment: 1. The ground was

cursed, so that it was not to yield any adequate recompense for

his most careful tillage. 2. He was to be a fugitive and a

vagabond having no place in which he could dwell with comfort or

security. To these Cain himself adds others. 1. His being hidden

from the face of God; which appears to signify his being expelled

from that particular place where God had manifested his presence.

in or contiguous to Paradise, whither our first parents resorted

as to an oracle, and where they offered their daily adorations.

So in Ge 4:16, it is said,

Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and was not

permitted any more to associate with the family in acts of

religious worship. 2. The continual apprehension of being slain,

as all the inhabitants of the earth were at that time of the same

family, the parents themselves still alive, and each having a

right to kill this murderer of his relative. Add to all this, 3.

The terrors of a guilty conscience; his awful apprehension of

God's judgments, and of being everlastingly banished from the

beatific vision. To this part of the punishment of Cain St. Paul

probably alludes, 2Th 1:9:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the

presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. The words

are so similar that we can scarcely doubt of the allusion.

Verse 15. The Lord set a mark upon Cain] What this mark was, has

given rise to a number of frivolously curious conjectures. Dr.

Shuckford collects the most remarkable. Some say he was paralytic;

this seems to have arisen from the version of the Septuagint,

στεςεςκαιτπεμοςεση, Groaning and trembling shalt thou be.

The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel says the sign was from the great

and precious name, probably one of the letters of the word

[UNKNOWN] Yehovah. The author of an Arabic Catena in the Bodleian

Library says, "A sword could not pierce him; fire could not burn

him; water could not drown him; the air could not blast him; nor

could thunder or lightning strike him." The author of Bereshith

Rabba, a comment on Genesis, says the mark was a circle of the sun

rising upon him. Abravanel says the sign was Abel's dog, which

constantly accompanied him. Some of the doctors in the Talmud say

that it was the letter tau marked on his forehead, which

signified his contrition, as it is the first letter in the word

teshubah, repentance. Rabbi Joseph, wiser than all the

rest, says it was a long horn growing out of his forehead!

Dr. Shuckford farther observes that the Hebrew word oth,

which we translate a mark, signifies a sign or token. Thus,

Ge 9:13, the bow was to be

leoth, for a sign or token that the world should not be

destroyed; therefore the words, And the Lord set a mark upon Cain,

should be translated, And the Lord appointed to Cain a token or

sign, to convince him that no person should be permitted to slay

him. To have marked him would have been the most likely way

to have brought all the evils he dreaded upon him; therefore the

Lord gave him some miraculous sign or token that he should not be

slain, to the end that he should not despair, but, having time to

repent, might return to a gracious God and find mercy.

Notwithstanding the allusion which I suppose St. Paul to have made

to the punishment of Cain, some think that he did repent and find

mercy. I can only say this was possible. Most people who read this

account wonder why Cain should dread being killed, when it does

not appear to them that there were any inhabitants on the earth at

that time besides himself and his parents. To correct this

mistake, let it be observed that the death of Abel took place in

the one hundred and twenty-eighth or one hundred and twenty-ninth

year of the world. Now, "supposing Adam and Eve to have had no

other sons than Cain and Abel in the year of the world one hundred

and twenty-eight, yet as they had daughters married to these sons,

their descendants would make a considerable figure on the earth.

Supposing them to have been married in the nineteenth year of

the world, they might easily have had each eight children, some

males and some females, in the twenty-fifth year. In the fiftieth

year there might proceed from them in a direct line sixty-four

persons; in the seventy-fourth year there would be five hundred

and twelve; in the ninety-eighth year, four thousand and

ninety-six; in the one hundred and twenty-second they would amount

to thirty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight: if to these

we add the other children descended from Cain and Abel, their

children, and their children's children, we shall have, in the

aforesaid one hundred and twenty-eight years four hundred and

twenty-one thousand one hundred and sixty-four men capable of

generation, without reckoning the women either old or young, or

such as are under the age of seventeen." See Dodd.

But this calculation may be disputed, because there is no

evidence that the antediluvian patriarchs began to have children

before they were sixty-five years of age. Now, supposing that

Adam at one hundred and thirty years of age had one hundred and

thirty children, which is quite possible, and each of these a

child at sixty-five years of age, and one in each successive year,

the whole, in the one hundred and thirtieth year of the world,

would amount to one thousand two hundred and nineteen persons; a

number sufficient to found several villages, and to excite the

apprehensions under which Cain appeared at this time to labour.

Verse 16. The land of Nod] As nod signifies the same as

, a vagabond, some think this verse should be rendered, And

Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, from the east of

Eden, and dwelt a vagabond on the earth; thus the curse pronounced

on him, Ge 4:12, was accomplished.

Verse 17. She-bare Enoch] As Chanoch signifies

instructed, dedicated, or initiated, and especially in sacred

things, it may be considered some proof of Cain's repentance, that

he appears to have dedicated this son to God, who, in his father's

stead, might minister in the sacerdotal office, from which Cain,

by his crime, was for ever excluded.

Verse 19. Lamech took-two wives] He was the first who dared to

reverse the order of God by introducing polygamy; and from him it

has been retained, practised, and defended to the present day.

Verse 20. Jabal-was the father] The inventor or teacher, for

so the word is understood, 1Sa 10:12. He was the first who

invented tent-making, and the breeding and managing of cattle; or

he was, in these respects, the most eminent in that time. Though

Abel was a shepherd, it is not likely he was such on an extensive


Verse 21. Jubal-the father] i.e. The inventor of musical

instruments, such as the kinnor, which we translate harp,

and the ugab, which we render organ; it is very likely that

both words are generic, the former including under it all stringed

instruments, and the latter, all wind instruments.

Verse 22. Tubal-cain] The first smith on record, who taught how

to make warlike instruments and domestic utensils out of brass and

iron. Agricultural instruments must have been in use long before,

for Cain was a tiller of the ground, and so was Adam, and they

could not have cultivated the ground without spades, hooks, &c.

Some of these arts were useless to man while innocent and upright,

but after his fall they became necessary. Thus is the saying

verified: God made man upright, but they have sought out many

inventions. As the power to get wealth is from God, so also is

the invention of useful arts.

M. De Lavaur, in his Conference de la Fable avec l'Histoire

Sainte, supposes that the Greeks and Romans took their smith-god

Vulcan from Tubal-cain, the son of Lamech. The probability of

this will appear, 1. From the name, which, by the omission of the

Tu and turning the b into v, a change frequently made among the

Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, makes Vulcain or Vulcan. 2. From his

occupation he was an artificer, a master smith in brass and iron.

3. He thinks this farther probable from the names and sounds in

this verse. The melting metals in the fire, and hammering them,

bears a near resemblance to the hissing sound of tsillah,

the mother of Tubal-cain; and tsalal signifies to tinkle or

make a sound like a bell, 1Sa 3:11 2Ki 21:12. 4. Vulcan is said

to have been lame; M. De Lavaur thinks that this notion was taken

from the noun tsela, which signifies a halting or lameness.

5. Vulcan had to wife Venus, the goddess of beauty; Naamah, the

sister of Tubal-cain, he thinks, may have given rise to this part

of the fable, as her name in Hebrew signifies beautiful or

gracious. 6. Vulcan is reported to have been jealous of his

wife, and to have forged nets in which he took Mars and her, and

exposed them to the view of the whole celestial court: this idea

he thinks was derived from the literal import of the name

Tubal-cain; tebel signifies an incestuous mixture of

relatives, Le 20:12;

and kana, to burn with jealousy; from these and concomitant

circumstances the case of the detected adultery of Mars and Venus

might be easily deduced. He is of opinion that a tradition of

this kind might have readily found its way from the Egyptians to

the Greeks, as the former had frequent intercourse with the


Of Naamah nothing more is spoken in the Scriptures; but the

Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel makes her the inventress of funeral

songs and lamentations. R. S. Jarchi says she was the wife of

Noah, and quotes Bereshith Rabba in support of the opinion. Some

of the Jewish doctors say her name is recorded in Scripture

because she was an upright and chaste woman; but others affirm

that the whole world wandered after her, and that of her evil

spirits were born into the world. This latter opinion gives some

countenance to that of M. De Lavaur.

Verse 23. And Lamech said unto his wives] The speech of Lamech

to his wives is in hemistichs in the original, and consequently,

as nothing of this kind occurs before this time, it is very

probably the oldest piece of poetry in the world. The following

is, as nearly as possible, a literal translation:

"And Lamech said unto his wives,

Adah and Tsillah, hear ye my voice;

Wives of Lamech, hearken to my speech;

For I have slain a man for wounding me,

And a young man for having bruised me.

If Cain shall be avenged seven-fold,

Also Lamech seventy and seven."

It is supposed that Lamech had slain a man in his own defence,

and that his wives being alarmed lest the kindred of the deceased

should seek his life in return, to quiet their fears he makes this

speech, in which he endeavours to prove that there was no room for

fear on this account; for if the slayer of the wilful murderer,

Cain, should suffer a seven-fold punishment, surely he, who should

kill Lamech for having slain a man in self-defence, might expect a

seventy-seven-fold punishment.

This speech is very dark, and has given rise to a great variety

of very strange conjectures. Dr. Shuckford supposes there is an

ellipsis of some preceding speech or circumstance which, if known,

would cast a light on the subject. In the antediluvian times, the

nearest of kin to a murdered person had a right to revenge his

death by taking away the life of the murderer. This, as we have

already seen, appears to have contributed not a little to Cain's

horror, Ge 4:14. Now we may suppose that the descendants of

Cain were in continual alarms, lest some of the other family

should attempt to avenge the death of Abel on them, as they were

not permitted to do it on Cain; and that in order to dismiss those

fears, Lamech, the seventh descendant from Adam, spoke to this

effect to his wives: "Why should you render yourselves miserable

by such ill-founded fears? We have slain no person; we have not

done the least wrong to our brethren of the other family; surely

then reason should dictate to you that they have no right to

injure us. It is true that Cain, one of our ancestors, killed his

brother Abel; but God, willing to pardon his sin, and give him

space to repent, threatened to punish those with a seven-fold

punishment who should dare to kill him. If this be so, then those

who should have the boldness to kill any of us who are innocent,

may expect a punishment still more rigorous. For if Cain should

be avenged seven-fold on the person who should slay him, surely

Lamech or any of his innocent family should be avenged

seventy-seven-fold on those who should injure them." The Targums

give nearly the same meaning, and it makes a good sense; but who

can say it is the true sense? If the words be read

interrogatively, as they certainly may, the sense will be much

clearer, and some of the difficulties will be removed:

"Have I slain a man, that I should be wounded?

Or a young man, that I should be bruised?"

But even this still supposes some previous reason or

conversation. I shall not trouble my readers with a ridiculous

Jewish fable, followed by St. Jerome, of Lamech having killed Cain

by accident, &c.; and after what I have already said, I must leave

the passage, I fear, among those which are inscrutable.

Verse 25. God-hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel]

Eve must have received on this occasion some Divine communication,

else how could she have known that this son was appointed in the

place of Abel, to continue that holy line by which the Messiah

was to come? From this we see that the line of the Messiah was

determined from the beginning, and that it was not first fixed in

the days of Abraham; for the promise was then only renewed, and

that branch of his family designated by which the sacred line

was to be continued. And it is worthy of remark, that Seth's

posterity alone continued after the flood, when all the other

families of the earth were destroyed, Noah being the tenth

descendant from Adam through Seth.

Though all these persons are mentioned in the following chapter,

I shall produce them here in the order of their succession: 1.

Adam; 2. Seth; 3. Enos; 4. Cainan; 5. Mahalaleel; 6. Jared; 7.

Enoch; 8. Methuselah; 9. Lamech, (the second;) 10. Noah. In order

to keep this line distinct, we find particular care was taken

that, where there were two or more sons in a family, the one

through whom God particularly designed to bring his Son into the

world was, by some especial providence, pointed out. Thus in the

family of Adam, Seth was chosen; in the family of Noah, Shem; in

the family of Abraham, Isaac; and in that of David, Solomon and

Nathan. All these things God watched over by an especial

providence from the beginning, that when Jesus Christ should come

it might be clearly seen that he came by the promise, through

grace, and not by nature.

Verse 26. Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.]

The marginal reading is, Then began men to call themselves by the

name of the Lord; which words are supposed to signify that in the

time of Enos the true followers of God began to distinguish

themselves, and to be distinguished by others, by the appellation

of sons of God; those of the other branch of Adam's family, among

whom the Divine worship was not observed, being distinguished by

the name, children of men. It must not be dissembled that many

eminent men have contended that huchal, which we translate

began, should be rendered began profanely, or then profanation

began, and from this time they date the origin of idolatry.

Most of the Jewish doctors were of this opinion, and Maimonides

has discussed it at some length in his Treatise on Idolatry; as

this piece is curious, and gives the most probable account of the

origin and progress of idolatry, I shall insert it here.

"In the days of Enos the sons of Adam erred with great error,

and the counsel of the wise men of that age became brutish, and

Enos himself was (one) of them that erred; and their error was

this: they said, Forasmuch as God hath created these stars and

spheres to govern the world, and set them on high, and imparted

honour unto them, and they are ministers that minister before him;

it is meet that men should laud, and glorify, and give them

honour. For this is the will of God, that we magnify and honour

whomsoever he magnifieth and honoureth; even as a king would have

them honoured that stand before him, and this is the honour of the

king himself. When this thing was come up into their hearts they

began to build temples unto the stars, and to offer sacrifice unto

them, and to laud and glorify them with words, and to worship

before them, that they might in their evil opinion obtain favour

of the Creator; and this was the root of idolatry, &c. And in

process of time there stood up false prophets among the sons of

Adam, which said that God had commanded and said unto them,

Worship such a star, or all the stars, and do sacrifice unto them

thus and thus; and build a temple for it, and make an image of it,

that all the people, women, and children may worship it. And the

false prophet showed them the image which he had feigned out of

his own heart, and said it was the image of such a star, which was

made known unto him by prophecy. And they began after this manner

to make images in temples, and under trees, and on tops of

mountains and hills, and assembled together and worshipped them,

&c. And this thing was spread through all the world, to serve

images with services different one from another, and to sacrifice

unto and worship them. So, in process of time, the glorious and

fearful name (of God) was forgotten out of the mouth of all

living, and out of their knowledge, and they acknowledged him not.

And there was found no people on the earth that knew aught, save

images of wood and stone, and temples of stone, which they had

been trained up from their childhood to worship and serve, and to

swear by their names. And the wise men that were among them, as

the priests and such like, thought there was no God save the stars

and spheres, for whose sake and in whose likeness they had made

these images; but as for the Rock everlasting, there was no man

that acknowledged him or knew him save a few persons in the world,

as Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Sham, and Heber. And in this way did

the world walk and converse till that pillar of the world, Abraham

our father, was born." Maim. in Mishn, and Ainsworth in loco.

1. WE see here the vast importance of worshipping God according

to his own mind; no sincerity, no uprightness of intention, can

atone for the neglect of positive commands delivered in Divine

revelation, when this revelation is known. He who will bring a

eucharistic offering instead of a sacrifice, while a sin-offering

lieth at the door, as he copies Cain's conduct, may expect to be

treated in the same manner. Reader, remember that thou hast an

entrance unto the holiest through the veil, that is to say his

flesh; and those who come in this way, God will in nowise cast


2. We see the horrible nature of envy: its eye is evil merely

because God is good; it easily begets hatred; hatred, deep-settled

malice; and malice, murder! Watch against the first appearance of

this most destructive passion, the prime characteristic of which

is to seek the destruction of the object of its malevolence, and

finally to ruin its possessor.

3. Be thankful to God that, as weakness increased and wants

became multiplied, God enabled man to find out useful inventions,

so as to lessen excessive labour, and provide every thing

indispensably necessary for the support of life. He who carefully

attends to the dictates of honest, sober industry, is never likely

to perish for lack of the necessaries of life.

4. As the followers of God at this early period found it

indispensably necessary to separate themselves from all those who

were irreligious and profane, and to make a public profession of

their attachment to the truth, so it should be now. There are

still men of profane minds. whose spirit and conduct are

destructive to godliness; and in reference to such the permanent

order of God is, Come out from among them, touch not the unclean

thing, and I will receive you. He who is not determined to be a

Christian at all events, is not far from being an infidel. Those

only who confess Christ among men shall be acknowledged before his

Father and the angels of God.

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