Lamech in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

1. Son of Methusael, of Cain's line; the first polygamist; by Adah begat Jabal and JUBAL, by Zillah Tubal-cain and Naamah. (See JABAL.) The three, Adah, Zillah, and Naamah, are the only antediluvian women named. See Genesis 4:23-24, "a man I slay (I am determined to slay), for my wound, a young man for my hurt; for (if) Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Lamech (will be avenged) seventy and seven fold": whoever inflicts wound or blow (stripe) on me, man or youth, I will surely slay; if God will avenge Cain's cause, when assailed, sevenfold, I have power in my hands (by the bronze and steel of Tubal-cain's discovery) to avenge myself ten times more. (Speaker's Commentary, Keri, and Delitzsch). In the common version Lamech calculates on impunity after homicide, because of his ancestor Cain's impunity; but it gives no explanation of why he should be avenged on any assailant ten times more than Cain. Possibly his reasoning is: I slew a youth for a wound and bruise he inflicted on me; as I did it under provocation, not as Cain without provocation and in cold blood, since Cain was protected by God's threat of sevenfold vengeance, I am sure of seventy and sevenfold vengeance on any assailant. This is the earliest example of Hebrew poetry, the principle of versification being parallelism, with rhythm, assonance, strophe, and poetic diction. Its enigmatical character shows its remote antiquity. Enoch's prophecy in Judges 1:14 was about the same age, and is also in parallelism. Delitzsch notices "that titanic arrogance which makes its own power its god (Habakkuk 1:11), and carries its god, i.e. its sword, in its hand," translated Job 12:6 "who make a god of their own hand." Lamech boasts thus, to assure his wives of security amidst the violence of the times especially among the Cainites, which precipitated God's judgment of the flood (Genesis 6:4; Genesis 6:11; Genesis 6:13). Poetry, God's gift to man, has been awfully desecrated, so that its earliest extant fragment comes not from paradise but the house of Lamech, a man of violence and lust. 2. Noah's father; son of Methuselah, in Seth's line (Genesis 5:28-29). A contrast to the Cainite Lamech and his profane and presumptuous boasting. In pious, believing hope, resting on the promise to Eve of a Redeemer, he by the Spirit foresaw in Noah ("rest or comfort") the second founder of the race, the head of a regenerated world; "this same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." Feeling the weary toil of cultivating a ground yielding weeds sooner than fruits, Lamech looked for the ground's redemption from the curse in connection with Noah. It shall be so at the glorious coming of Noah's Antitype (Romans 8:19-23; Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:13).

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