Then Cain went away from the presence of YHWH and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. *
- The line of Cain is credited with the first city, the first non-nomadic lifeway, and the development of fine arts and technology. Credited, or indicted. Throughout Genesis this recurring theme should shock the reader: the human city is against God.
- YHWH never promises the Hebrews that they will build cities. On the contrary, they will overcome cities, will inhabit them as sojourners and conquerors.** To build a city turns the attention toward one’s own progeny and legacy, and this misdirection is a matter of faith—precisely what God demands Abraham cut from his heart.†
- The apostle writes, “[Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”‡ It seems that Abraham, maybe more than Abel, is the antithesis of Cain.
* Genesis 4.16-22. English Standard Version.
** Genesis 22.17.
† Genesis 22.1-14
‡ Hebrews 11.10. English Standard Version.