Jabal Jubal and Tubal and Song of the Sword

by peacefulpete 2 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    I've been posting some things regarding Genesis lately and just had to share some more fun bits. Gen 4 contains a version of a genealogy of Cain (incompatible with that in Chapter 5 see chart below) that culminates in Lamech. It begins by God punishing Cain

    12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

    Then immediately says Cain instead builds a city. So much for that. (roll with it) It might seem a bit odd to build a city when there aren't any people but we have more disconnected legends being woven together here so we have to roll with it again.

    This genealogy has Cain father Enoch who has a grandson name Lamech. Yep, Enoch in this tradition is not a icon of faith but just another bloke in a genealogy. The chapter 5 version has Enoch being the father of Methuselah the father of Lamech the father of Noah! But roll with it, again these are separate legends and stories compiled into a crude narrative.

    According to the chapter 4 version Lamech has 2 wives and 4 kids. 3 boys and 1 girl. The mention of 2 wives (first polygamist mentioned) is not accompanied with any condemnation or explanation. The boys names are Jabal, Jubal and Tubal all of which possibly mean "Leader". The Tubal name had "Cain" as in 'descendant of Cain' added (likely by an editor) to distinguish him from another Tubal a couple chapters later. Many have noticed the names form a rhyme. Each son is named as the father of a trade.

    19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of (cutting) tools out of[g] bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

    Not sure just what this tradition meant by Jabal being the father of those who raise livestock with Abel having kept flocks 18 verses earlier (roll with it) but the important part seems to the nomadic lifestyle. This inclusion likely has to do with the Kenites as I mentioned briefly in another thread. But anyway his brother is the inventor of musical instruments.

    The third son Tubal the inventor of the Bronze AND Iron ages is said to have invented swords but a chapter earlier it says God invented swords,(remember the flaming sword to keep Adam and Eve away from the lifegiving tree?) Quite an accomplished family, well except for the daughter Naamah. But wait, ancient Jewish tradition preserved in Genesis Rabba (commentary) claims this Naamah marries Noah and is the mother of all people alive!, Other Rabbinic tradition claims Noah marries the Naamah daughter of Enoch in chapter 5. Obviously the two are the same character but differing traditions and genealogies. (Like I mentioned before the 2 genealogies are incompatible). Quite an important woman then. Odd that Genesis itself doesn't include this pretty significant accomplishment.

    What follows in chapter 4 is often named the Song of the Sword:

    23 Lamech said to his wives,

    “Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
    wives of Lamech, hear my words.
    I have killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for injuring me.
    24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
    then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

    The poem/song is pretty enigmatic. Is Lamech bragging about his having killed one, maybe two men? Is he boasting that anyone seeking revenge on him for his killing will regret it 77 times over? It sounds like he's proud he's many times more badass than his great great grandfather Cain. Many have speculated this might be due to his son's invention of iron swords mentioned just before and have named the section the Song of the Sword as a result. In reality the song was a separate unit and dropped where it is at the end of the genealogy that mentions the name Lamech so the Tubal, sword connection is likely not relevant. The regressive Sethite reference in the following verses 25,26 is from the P source and tacked on the end of the chapter. IOW this section at some point likely ended with the list of Lamech's sons as the fathers of the trades.

    Obviously this Lamech character and others in this list at one time had more legends associated with them lost to time. There are many later Jewish Midrashic stories and creative embellishments meant to flesh them out but the text of Genesis preserved just a smattering of the tales told around the campfires of ancient Israel.


    Robert R. Wilson’s Genealogy and History in the Biblical World (New Haven: Yale, 1977), 161:Genealogies of Genesis 4 and 5 - Robert R. Wilson


    This otherwise obscure song of the Sword would likely never come up in discussion if it weren't for the similarity it has to the famous Matthew 18 passage

    21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times !

    It is suggested the writer had the Lamech song in mind. Who knows but it sure does represent a huge step forward in religious thought when compared to the sentiment in Genesis.

  • blondie

    I always felt the story of Cain was very disjointed (as other parts of the bible are). Thanks for the info.

  • peacefulpete

    Blondie, thanks for replying. I know this type of stuff doesn't get much input these days.

    But... Just a couple more thoughts.

    Vss. 25,26 reads

    25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth,[h] saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
    At that time people began to call on[i] the name of Yahweh.

    It should be obvious we have a couple more issues here. According to this chapter 4 narrative, as it appears in Genesis, Adam and Eve have their first male child since Cain and Abel, "Seth" to replace Abel. That really throws a wrench into any explanation as to where Cain got his wife and who was living in the city he built.

    The next line declares that at that time people began to worship using the name Yahweh. If you recall this contradicts the narrative in Ex 6:

    2 And God spoke to Moses, and he said to him, “I am Yahweh. 3 And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Shaddai,[a] but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.

    Again the answer is the work is a compilation of stories and not originally a coherent narrative.

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