Genesis 6, Part 2

By Dr. Samuel M. Frost

From my last article on Genesis 6, arguing that “sons of God” and “daughters of Adam” are both offspring of Adam and Eve, we can continue to see that this is the true contextual interpretation.  Adam lived to be 930 years old (Gn 5.5).  Seth was born to Eve 130 years after Creation (5.3).  He also had “many sons and daughters” (5.4) that are not named.  How many?  We do not know.  However, we are quite logically safe in inferring that Cain, Abel, and Seth are not the “only” 3 that he and Eve had!  There was some Jewish speculation concerning this recorded by Josephus.[1]  There it is noted that they had 33 sons and 23 daughters.  As to the source Josephus used, much research can be done here.  There have also been statistical calculations given that yield, quite plausibly, anywhere from 800 to 1000 children.  Scripture is “not silent” on this matter since it does, in fact, mention “sons and daughters”.  How many?  We do not know, but certainly more than 3, and statistically less than 1100.[2]

“And he named her, Eve, for she is the mother of all the living human beings” (3.20).  The term, “living” (chai), refers to human beings, obviously.  It is a term used for fish, birds, and animals from Gn 1-3.  However, we are safe to deduce Eve did not “mother” penguins.  Therefore, Cain’s wife was his sister, a daughter of Adam.  Lamech (4.23) “took to himself two wives” (4.19).  Cain “knew” his wife (4.17), but Lamech, born much later, “took” his.  Gn 6.2 uses the same expression, “they took to themselves wives”.  Gn 6.2 is even further than Lamech’s time, but by the time we get to Lamech, a great grandson by four lines of birth from Cain, Adam and Eve’s offspring, and their offspring, “took wives”.  Mirroring, then, Adam and Eve, where Adam “knew” his wife (4.1), Cain “knew” his wife, a direct “daughter” of Adam.  As time went on, however, great grandsons began to “take” wives, who would be great granddaughters of Adam and Eve; or, in Bible-speak: daughters of Adam.  With Eve standing at the head of “all the living humans”, our analysis is logical, exegetical, and certainly biblical.  We may also note from the last article, that Cain, a son of Adam, was one who was “fallen” in face.  The Hebrew verb here, naphal (fallen), is linked with the “great ones” (nephilim).  Hence, Cain, a son of Adam, a son of God, was “fallen”.  These “fallen ones” were also great heroes, or “men of violence”.[3]

If Seth was born to Adam 130 years into Adam’s (and Eve’s) life, we find another possible inference in the text.  In 4.25 Seth is stated as having “replaced” Abel since he was killed.  This would mean that Abel died around 129-30 years old.  It would also mean that Adam and Eve were having “sons and daughters” for 130 years.  None of them were murdered, as was Abel.  With Abel gone, Seth was “added” to replace him.[4]  Thus, she continued to have children after 130 years as well.  Keep in mind, these “sons and daughters” of Eve could “be fruitful and multiply” well within 130 years, and so on with their children, also “sons and daughters.”  In short, it can be estimated that by the time 130 years rolled around, and Abel (and later, Lamech, also a killer, 4.23) was murdered, several thousand “living ones” would be on the face of the earth, many of whom were “nephilim”.  By the time Cain, for example, murdered his brother, sons and daughters of Eve had laid out “the land of Nod”, and even cities.  Cain “built” a city and called it, “Enoch” (4.17).  It doesn’t take 130 years to build a city, or measure off a town limit.  Finally, “Nod” is another name of a son, who apparently had done just that, naming the city after him.[5]  Cain would have known how to build such an undertaking.  The fact that he feared for his life because of what he had done only heightens the fact that he would have feared retaliation from his family, the sons and daughters (great sons, great granddaughters, etc.) of Adam and Eve.  Eve is apparently aware of the murder of her son, by her other son, Cain.  And Lamech, too, expresses his knowledge of Cain’s murder, using it to bolster protection from retaliation (4.24).  Lamech, then, is a son of God who “took two wives” (“daughters of Adam”) for himself, and in great defiance of his crime, proclaims protection for himself that God personally gave to Cain.  Lamech, in short, is tempting the LORD, reasoning in his heart that what God did for Cain, he shall do for himself!  Lamech’s mind was evil.[6]

There is one other interesting note that is often not brought out in translation.  This has to do with Jabal, the son of Adah and Lamech.  Jabal, it is said, was the first to start making and dwelling in tents (nomadic life, moving around the land), “and purchased possessions” (Young’s Literal Translation).  Most translations have “cattle” here (4.20).  However, the same word is “purchased possession” (the pointing is only different, but pointing came much later in Hebrew).  In my doctoral work, the late Dr. Duane L. Christensen laid out his entire interpretative approach to the Torah.  Genesis offers a ‘menorah-pattern’ for reading, and re-reading the stories that follow as repetitive patterns.  For example, Adam has 3 sons mentioned in particular.  Noah has 3 sons as well.  One son goes astray (Ham), as does Cain for Adam.  We have a great list of Adam’s descendants, as we do Noah’s sons, and their descendants.  Genesis begins with the “human race”, whereas when we come to Abraham, he is dealing with “a single people”.  Therefore, in dealing with Abraham and a single nation of people, “God is preparing a way for establishing his covenant with Abraham” so that “the people of the earth will ultimately be blessed” (from his classroom Syllabus).  While discussing this, Dr. Christensen noted that “purchased possessions” should be understood as purchased human beings; slaves.  Jabal, a nomadic tent dweller, was a seller of slaves, a possessor of men.

The term itself, miqneh, or, miqnah, does not mean, “cattle”, but “property” which, obviously, “cattle” was.  The point is that “possession” or “purchased possession” is the root meaning.  It is a loaded term in Torah, and here denotes that the sons of God, of Adam in other words, were now “possessing” things, objects for sale, and selling objects, including human beings.  Abraham’s slaves (servants) were “purchased possessions” (Gn 17.12, 13, 23, 27).[7]  The “taking of wives” (which suggests not asking, but taking) by the sons of the Mother of All Living Humans in regards to the “daughters of Adam”, and the immense population explosion by the time of Noah, is now appreciated in Genesis 6.  We see a steady increase of “evil thoughts” (6.5) from “evil knowledge” that gradually increased over the human family, beginning with Cain, who appears to be the Firstborn Son of Eve (4.1).  Thus, noting that the toledoth from 5.1 ends in 6.8, and that 5.1 is a continuation of the toledoth from 2.4-4.26, we find that the first toledoth ends with “and men began to call on the Name of YHWH”, whereas the second toledoth ends with, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of YHWH”.  Both of them stem from the beginning of creation (2.4; 5.1).  There is no room, then, for reading an account for demonic “angels” procreating with women to produce mutant babies, half human, half angelic.  The whole story up to Noah is about humankind, the introduction of evil knowledge into the heart, and the inability of man to correct its onslaught….except for “grace” (6.8).  It is “grace” that saves, and it is the sons of God and the daughters of Adam, of humanity, human beings, that need grace because their plight is under the wrath of God.  Without grace, wrath is all that there is left for YHWH to do.  As we see with the story of Cain, “sin” desired his heart in order to “master” it.  In Genesis 6, by the time we reach Noah, sin and evil knowledge had entirely infected “the heart”.

With the narration, then, there is a line of those sons and daughters who “called on the Name of YHWH” (4.28), who “found grace in the eyes of YHWH” (6.8), whereas there was a line of those who did not, like Lamech.  There is no “bloodline” other than stemming from Adam and Eve (this is Paul’s argument much later on in Romans 5.12), the parents of every single human being to this day.  There are two “seeds” mentioned in the earlier toledoth, the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman.  However, since we know that the serpent did not have sex with Eve (animals cannot procreate with human beings since they are not of the same “kind”), the text, in typical Hebrew style, leaves us to ask, “what is the seed of the serpent?”  We know what Eve’s “seed” are: human beings.  We know that the serpent does not mate and procreate with Eve, or her daughters.  The answer is illustrated before us in the text.  Eve gives birth to Cain, her “seed”.  Cain, however, is infected with the thoughts of “sin” (4.7), and he murders his brother.  The thoughts of sin and evil knowledge stem from the fact that the serpent deceived the woman, for this is what “sin” does: it deceives.  It conceives.  James 1.15-16 is illustrative here.  There, sin “conceives” and “gives birth”.  Whereas, contrastingly, in 1.18, God “gives birth” to us “through the word.”  We may also note the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares where the “seed of Satan” is sown in the field of the world, along with the “seed of the son of man.”  Both are “children” produced by “seed.”  Cain is a “seed of the woman” and a “seed of the serpent” because sin conceived in his heart and brought about death; in this case, murder.

We may further elaborate here that the serpent-creature (whatever it was, it had no mate) did not live forever, but died at some point (this is denoted by the phrase, “all the days of your life” in 3.14).  But, the “seed” of the woman and the serpent denotes that a struggle between the two “seeds” (offspring) would continue long after Eve was dead, too.  We can further deduce that since Eve is the mother of all the living, then all of her “seeds” would potentially be “born of the word of truth” (James 1.18), or remain under the domination of sin-enslavement (the seed of the serpent).  Abel demonstrated “faith”, as did Noah.  Noah “found grace”, and some sons “called on the Name of YHWH” (4.28).  Joseph, later recorded by Moses, was a man “in whom the Spirit of YHWH dwelled” (Genesis 41.38).  The same Spirit that we find in the beginning (1.2).  Is this not the teaching Jesus to Nicodemus, who should have known from reading his Torah that “you must be born from above” as Torah teaches?  To simply be born of flesh, of Eve, is flesh, and flesh profits nothing.  But, to be of the seed of the Woman that bruises the head of the serpent’s spirit – that requires faith, which requires the Spirit-enabling-birth.  It is with faith, and grace that produces the obedience on the part of the Abels, Enochs and Noahs of the world!  Torah tells us so.

[1] Flavious Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus, trans., William Whiston, Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, MI, 1981, 27; Antiq., Bk. 1.II.3.

[2] William J. Tinkle, Heredity: A Study in Science and the Bible, St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1967, 152.  This is an early work in genetic studies, but simply takes the biblical material at face value, arguing that biblical exegesis is perfectly within rational (logical) grounds to argue that Cain took a sister as a wife.  On an entirely scientific level, offering falsifiable procedural methodology, see Nathaniel T. Jeanson, Traced: Human DNAs Big Surprise, Master Books, 2022.  This book is not yet released.  His previous work, Replacing Darwin: The New Origin of Species (2017, Masters Books) has created a stir in the scientific community.  There are several other works than can be sited as well, but this is not the point of my paper.

[3] Willem A. VanGemeren (Ed.), Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis Volume 3, Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1997, art. Allan M. Harmon, nphl, 130.  Harmon argues that Numbers 13.33 and Genesis 6.2 are the same subjects; men of violence in terms of military.  This would accord with the editorial note in 6.4, “and also after” – meaning that the Flood had wiped out these men of violence, but such descriptive terms applies “again” in Numbers 13.33.  Hence, the fear of the “Nephilim” dwelling in Canaan by the Israelites should have been assuaged by this story in Genesis 6.  God can effectively deal with the “Nephilim” then, as well as now.

[4] The Hebrew word, “instead”, denotes a replacement or filling in for. 

[5]  The same can be said of Nimrod, a “mighty one” (10.8; cf. 6.4), who “built cities”.  This what the “sons of God” did, the mighty sons of Adam who “made a name” for themselves before the Flood, “and afterwards” (11.4).

[6] We may note that Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was his half sister according to Genesis 20.12.  Such a marriage was later condemned in the Torah, Leviticus 18.9.  We should have, then, no issues with brothers marrying sisters (and this was certainly practiced in ancient times), only to be later condemned in the Torah.

[7] See, Willem A. VanGemeren, Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis Volume 2, Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1997, 1090.

%d bloggers like this: