Lamech Segment: Genesis 4
Explanation of Symbols
/ Line of descent
Lamech Segment Analysis
© 1998 Alice C. Linsley
Levi-Strauss observed in 1949 that in a patrilineal kinship system the mother and child do not belong to the same clan or house. For the rulers listed in Genesis 4 and 5 this applies only to the second wife, the cousin bride. The first wife was a half-sister and belonged to the same clan as her husband. Sarah and Abraham, for example, belonged to the clan of Terah, their father. He was an Aramean ruler and a priest. The word Terah means priest.
Naamah is named in Genesis 4. She is a descendant of Cain. Her son is named in Genesis 5 as a ruler in the clan of Seth. It is clear from analysis of the Lamech segment that the clans of Cain and Seth intermarried. Likewise, the clans of Ham and Shem intermarried.
Naamah married Methuselah, her patrilineal cousin and named their first born son Lamech, after her father. Lamech is a royal name, and a variant of la-melech found on hundreds of Egyptian seals. La-melech means "of the king." The marriage and ascendancy pattern revealed in this diagram is identical to that of Abraham and his two wives, and Moses' father and his two wives, and to Samuel's father and his two wives.
Naamah is the key to understanding the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's ancestors. Lamech's daughter. Naamah, married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah (Gen. 5:26) and named their first-born son Lamech, after her father. Recognition of cousin bride's naming prerogative makes it possible to trace the ancestry of Jesus Messiah back to both Cain and Seth.
Analysis of the Lamech story reveals that this Nilo-Saharan ruler had two wives, following the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Horite ancestors. However, Lamech is said to have placed his wives in separate households on an east-west axis instead of a north-south axis, as was the case with his righteous descendant Abraham. Sarah resided in Hebron and Keturah in Beersheba to the south. Abraham's father Terah maintained wives in Haran and Ur to the south. The location of the wives is significant because their positions marked the southern and northern boundaries of the chief’s territory. The Creator’s territory was marked by the solar arch from east to west.
Lamech’s two wives lived in settlements on a east-west axis. As the Hebrew scholar Theodor Gaster noted their names Adah and Zillah indicate dawn and dust. This rounds out the picture of Lamech's arrogance, for besides killing a man without impunity, he set himself as an equal to God.
In Genesis 4 only sons are listed as they became the rulers. However, this doesn't mean that Cain had not daughters. One of Cain's unnamed daughters married her cousin Enosh (listed in Genesis 5)and named their first-born son Kenan after her father. Kain and Kenan are linguistically equivalent names. Likewise Irad's unnamed daughter married her cousin Mahalalel and named their first-born son Jared, after her father. Irad and Jared are linguistically equivalent. Methushael's daughter married her cousin Enoch and named their first-born son Methuselah, again linguistic equivalents.
Factoring the daughters into the genealogical picture of Genesis 4 and 5 clarifies the kinship pattern of Abraham's Horite Hebrew ancestors. Our clue to look to the daughters is the person of Naamah, daughter of Lamech. The consistency of the pattern throughout Genesis 4 and 5 indicates that these lists represent very old and authentic king lists.
It is difficult to establish a time framework for the rulers listed in Genesis 4 and 5, but it is safe to say that these lines of descent, with the daughters marrying their patrilineal parallel cousins, represent a very old pattern for the Horite rulers, going back to at least 4000 B.C.
Related reading: Evidence of the Cousin Bride's Naming Prerogative; Methuselah's Wife; The Horite Hebrew Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern; The Life Spans of Methuselah and Lamech; St. John Chrysostom on Lamech's Speech; Two Named Esau