Alice C. Linsley
Lamech, a descendant of Cain and Seth, was a ruler and a priest. His name is a variant of the Egyptian la-melech, which has been found on hundreds of seals. La-melech means "of the King." The la-melech seal typically had the image of a scarab or a sun disc, the emblem of the Creator. The sun disc was used as a royal seal by the Kings of Judah who were direct descendants of Cain and Seth.
Analysis of the Genesis 4 and 5 marriage and ascendancy pattern reveals that Lamech was likely a Horite ruler-priest. The Horite priesthood has roots in the Proto-Saharan culture that centered around Nekhen, the oldest known shrine city of Horus, whose totem was the falcon.
Lamech Segment: Genesis 4 and 5
The pattern of having two wives is evident with Terah, Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. The rulers named in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11 and 22:20-24 married two wives and traced their lineage through both the father's line and the mother's line. Analysis of the Genesis King Lists reveals that the first born son of the half-sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father, So Isaac ruled Abraham's territory after Abraham died.
The first born son of the patrilineal cousin wife ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather. So Joktan, Abraham's first born son by Keturah ascended to the throne of this maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. This is evident in the case of Lamech's daughter who married her cousin and named their first born son Lamech, after her father.
We are able to trace the line of the cousin brides by looking at the recurrance of the names of chiefs. Cousin brides named their firstborn sons after their fathers. Lamech's daughter Naamah (Gen. 4) married her patrilineal cousin (or uncle) Methuselah (Gen. 5) and named their firstborn son Lamech after her father. The first born son of the cousin wife belonged to the bride's father’s house while the bride belonged to her husband’s house. Levi-Strauss (1949) observed that in a patrilineal system, mother and child do not belong to the same clan.
Patrilineal cousins are cousins who are descended from a common male ancestor or patriarch. As the lines of Cain (Gen. 4) and Seth (Gen. 5) intermarried and the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried, all of the rulers listed in Genesis descend from a common Edenic ancestor.
Lamech maintained his wives in separate households on an east-west axis. His son by Zillah was Tubal-Cain. Tubal-Cain maintained wives in Nok (the oldest site of metal working in Africa) and Kano, to the north. Abraham's father, Terah, maintained wives in Ur and Haran, to the north. Abraham maintained Keturah in Beersheba and Sarah in Hebron, to the north. The location of the wives is significant because their positions marked the southern and northern boundaries of the chief’s territory.
Likewise, the Great Chief marked HIS territory by the sun’s rising in the east and setting in the west. In other words, God was regarded as sovereign over all the earth. Vestiges of this cosmology are evident in the Psalms where Yahweh is said to ride his chariot, the sun. The sun or helios was viewed also among Greeks as a symbol for Jesus Christ, the 'Sun' of God who said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darknesss, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). (For an extensive discussion of sun symbolism, see David Fideler's Jesus Christ, Sun of God Wheaton: Quest Books, 1993Z)
Lamech’s situation symbolizes his spiritual hubris, for by setting his wives on an east-west axis, he pretends equality with God. As the Hebrew scholar Theodor Gaster noted, the names Adah and Zillah corelate to the Akkadian words for dawn and dust. This rounds out the picture of Lamech as a braggart, for besides regarding his murder of a man as being without impunity, he regarded himself as God's equal.
Analysis of the Lamech story reveals that this Kushite chief had two wives, Adah and Zillah. Likewise, Abraham and Jacob had two wives. In Africa, from whence came Abraham's Kushite ancestors, a chief is expected to have more than one wife.
Related reading: The Marriage and Ascendancy Structure of Abraham's People; The Kushite Royal Marriage Pattern Drove Kushite Expansion; The Seventh Seal and Silence in Heaven