Notes on Genesis Chapters 4-5

by Lambert Dolphin

Text: Genesis Chapters 4 and 5

4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man [even] the LORD." 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it."

8 Cain said to Abel his brother, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" 10 And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." 13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me." 15 Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him.

16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives: "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say: I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold."

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him." 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. 6 When Seth had lived a hundred and five years, he became the father of Enosh. 7 Seth lived after the birth of Enosh eight hundred and seven years, and had other sons and daughters. 8 Thus all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died. 9 When Enosh had lived ninety years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 Enosh lived after the birth of Kenan eight hundred and fifteen years, and had other sons and daughters. 11 Thus all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died. 12 When Kenan had lived seventy years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived after the birth of Mahalalel eight hundred and forty years, and had other sons and daughters. 14 Thus all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died. 15 When Mahalalel had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived after the birth of Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and had other sons and daughters. 17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died. 18 When Jared had lived a hundred and sixty-two years he became the father of Enoch. 19 Jared lived after the birth of Enoch eight hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died. 21 When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. 25 When Methuselah had lived a hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after the birth of Lamech seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. 28 When Lamech had lived a hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son, 29 and called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground which the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands." 30 Lamech lived after the birth of Noah five hundred and ninety-five years, and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died.

32 After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


1. Eve (the "mother of all living") expects that her first-born son will be the promised messiah, hence her remark when Cain was born. Cain (Heb: qanah) means "gotten." Abel means "breath" or "vanity". Perhaps her second son was weak and sickly or perhaps she foresaw that his life would some how be in vain and wasted. Possibly Cain was favored over Abel as the boys grew up. The boys were home-schooled with lots of instruction about God and life as they grew up.

2. Early man not only engaged in farming but also in animal husbandry. Each line of work was a legitimate enterprise, however Abel had a heart open to the Lord and understood that true worship is based on sacrifice rather than the fruit of human efforts or works. The appointed place for offerings was probably at the gate of Eden on the East side, where the two cherubim with whirling swords stood guard to the Tree of Life. Here is the first indication of a mercy seat, later symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle and Temples.

3. The first murder gives us further evidence that the fall of man from the innocence of the garden was a fall into total depravity and lostness. Jesus taught, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man." (Mark 7:20-23) In contrast, "The Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

4. By the time Adam died the population was probably more than 100,000 persons! Cain had no trouble finding a wife. Many of his relatives, knowing of his murder of his brother would have been interested in justice being served by Cain's death. Cain despairs after God calls him to give account. Rather than bringing immediate justice to Cain, judgment is delayed by God's longsuffering mercy and Cain is marked with God's protection. He is encouraged to seek the Lord and thus overcome the evil that controls him. Yet, there is no record of Cain (or any of his family or descendants) finding the Lord over the next ~1600 years until the Flood of Noah. The NT says this about Cain and Abel: "By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking." (Heb. 11:4); "...not like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous." (1 John 3:12); "...that upon you (Jews) may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar." (Matt. 23:35); "you have Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel." (Heb. 12:24)

5. Cain, a condemned murderer, built the first city before the Flood. Nimrod built the first city after the flood. Mankind is not ready to live in a city. There are two symbolic cities in the Bible: the city of man and the city of God. Jesus, the Second Adam, has prepared New Jerusalem, the Paradise City of God, as a home for redeemed mankind. The Tree of Life will be there for the healing of the nations.

6. The names of Cain's offspring give hints of the Antediluvian civilization. They seem to have developed music and the arts, "Jubal was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe," and metalworking and perhaps even science and industry, " Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron." Before the flood men lived nearly 1000 years. They were far healthier than we are now. The genetic pool had as yet suffered little damage from cosmic rays and other hazards. Education and preparation for life took a small fraction of a lifetime compared to now. We can easily imagine a very advanced sophisticated society possibly having technology and libraries far superior to our own today. Thus the notion of human "progress" or the "advancement of man" is an illusion! Of course it was a corrupt world that finally became fully decadent and completely unwilling to turn to God for salvation and new life.

7. Seth means "appointed" or "substituted." He in the father of a new godly line which will one day lead to the birth of the Savior of the world, that one, unique seed promised to Eve. Adam's third son Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old. After that Adam lived another 800 years, dying at the age of 930. After Seth was born, Adam and Eve had "other sons and daughters" suggesting at least 5 children per family (Genesis 5:4,5). In fact, by the time Adam died there were seven generations of his own offspring on the earth. A very conservative population growth calculation places the world population at 120,000 persons, minimum, by the time Adam died! Evidently Cain married one of his sisters or nieces or cousins. Marriage between close relatives was not prohibited until much later---in the time of Moses---when accumulating genetic damage made birth defects more likely in the event genetically-close intermarriage took place.

8. A tight reading of the genealogy given here adds up to 1,656-2262 years from Adam to Noah. (That is, there do no appear to be any gaps in the genealogy from Adam to Noah). 1656 years (based on the MT) is more than sufficient time to completely fill up the earth with people. A conservative population growth calculation would place the population at the time of the flood as 7 billion people at least, perhaps it was even higher! (See also Henry Morris, The Genesis Record Baker Books, 1976, and "Population Growth Before the Flood").

9. Part-way through the Antediluvian Age, Enoch was born. Enoch began to walk with God at the age of 65 years and walked with God for 300 years until God took him home [translated him] without dying, (a picture for us of the rapture of the church). He was a prophet of God as Jude tells us in the NT, foreseeing not only the flood of Noah, but also the second coming of Messiah at the close of the age in which we all now live: "It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came [or, "will come"] with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him..." (Jude 14,15)

10: Ray Stedman writes in his book Understanding Man

"...A way of escape [for man] is indicated again in a most fascinating way in this chapter by the meaning of the names listed. There is some difference among authorities as to the meaning of these names, depending upon the root from which they are judged to be taken. But one authority gives a most interesting sequence of meanings. The list begins with Seth, which means "Appointed." Enosh, his son, means "Mortal;" and his son, Kenan, means "Sorrow." His son Mahalalel, means "The Blessed God." He named his boy Jared which means "Came Down," and his boy, Enoch, means "Teaching." Methuselah, as we saw, means "His death shall bring;" Lamech means "Strength," and Noah, "Comfort." Now put that all together:

God has Appointed that Mortal man shall Sorrow;

but The Blessed God, Came Down, Teaching,

that His Death Shall Bring,

Strength and Comfort.

Is this book from God? God has given you and me a life to watch just as Methuselah's generation watched his. It is your own life. God has written "Methuselah" on each one of us. "His death shall bring it," or "When he dies, it will come." How far is it till the end of the world for you? When you die. That is the end of the world. That is the end of man's day. Is it fifty years from now, ten, tomorrow? Who knows? But at any moment, when he dies, it will come."

Lambert Dolphin
July 26, 1992. February 3, 2003.