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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 4

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-24

The Entrance of Sin into God’s Creation - Since God’s divine destiny for His creation would be fulfilled in the creation of mankind, emphasis is, therefore, given to their creation. However, two sinful events hindered God’s plan, which are the Fall in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-24), and the murder of Abel by Cain his brother (Genesis 4:1-24). The fall of Adam and Eve brought God’s creation into mortality and its subsequent vanity. Although Adam and Eve repented of their sins and produced a righteous offspring, they did bring all of creation into corruption and vanity. The murder of Abel caused sin to take root into humanity; for Cain was unrepentant of his sin and produced unrighteous offspring that sowed unrighteousness into the earth. Now we have two types of men living upon the earth, those who are righteous and those unrighteous before God.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Fall of Adam & Eve Genesis 3:1-24

2. Cain and Abel Genesis 4:1-26

Verses 1-26

Ten Genealogies (Calling) - The Genealogies of Righteous Men and their Divine Callings (To Be Fruitful and Multiply) - The ten genealogies found within the book of Genesis are structured in a way that traces the seed of righteousness from Adam to Noah to Shem to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob and the seventy souls that followed him down into Egypt. The book of Genesis closes with the story of the preservation of these seventy souls, leading us into the book of Exodus where we see the creation of the nation of Israel while in Egyptian bondage, which nation of righteousness God will use to be a witness to all nations on earth in His plan of redemption. Thus, we see how the book of Genesis concludes with the origin of the nation of Israel while its first eleven chapters reveal that the God of Israel is in fact that God of all nations and all creation.

The genealogies of the six righteous men in Genesis (Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) are the emphasis in this first book of the Old Testament, with each of their narrative stories opening with a divine commission from God to these men, and closing with the fulfillment of prophetic words concerning the divine commissions. This structure suggests that the author of the book of Genesis wrote under the office of the prophet in that a prophecy is given and fulfilled within each of the genealogies of these six primary patriarchs. Furthermore, all the books of the Old Testament were written by men of God who moved in the office of the prophet, which includes the book of Genesis. We find a reference to the fulfillment of these divine commissions by the patriarchs in Hebrews 11:1-40. The underlying theme of the Holy Scriptures is God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Thus, the book of Genesis places emphasis upon these men of righteousness because of the role that they play in this divine plan as they fulfilled their divine commissions. This explains why the genealogies of Ishmael (Genesis 25:12-18) and of Esau (Genesis 36:1-43) are relatively brief, because God does not discuss the destinies of these two men in the book of Genesis. These two men were not men of righteousness, for they missed their destinies because of sin. Ishmael persecuted Isaac and Esau sold his birthright. However, it helps us to understand that God has blessed Ishmael and Esau because of Abraham although the seed of the Messiah and our redemption does not pass through their lineage. Prophecies were given to Ishmael and Esau by their fathers, and their genealogies testify to the fulfillment of these prophecies. There were six righteous men did fulfill their destinies in order to preserve a righteous seed so that God could create a righteous nation from the fruit of their loins. Illustration As a young schoolchild learning to read, I would check out biographies of famous men from the library, take them home and read them as a part of class assignments. The lives of these men stirred me up and placed a desire within me to accomplish something great for mankind as did these men. In like manner, the patriarchs of the genealogies in Genesis are designed to stir up our faith in God and encourage us to walk in their footsteps in obedience to God.

The first five genealogies in the book of Genesis bring redemptive history to the place of identifying seventy nations listed in the Table of Nations. The next five genealogies focus upon the origin of the nation of Israel and its patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

There is much more history and events that took place surrounding these individuals emphasized in the book of Genesis, which can be found in other ancient Jewish writings, such as The Book of Jubilees. However, the Holy Scriptures and the book of Genesis focus upon the particular events that shaped God’s plan of redemption through the procreation of men of righteousness. Thus, it was unnecessary to include many of these historical events that were irrelevant to God’s plan of redemption.

In addition, if we see that the ten genealogies contained within the book of Genesis show to us the seed of righteousness that God has preserved in order to fulfill His promise that the “seed of woman” would bruise the serpent’s head in Genesis 3:15, then we must understand that each of these men of righteousness had a particular calling, destiny, and purpose for their lives. We can find within each of these genealogies the destiny of each of these men of God, for each one of them fulfilled their destiny. These individual destinies are mentioned at the beginning of each of their genealogies.

It is important for us to search these passages of Scripture and learn how each of these men fulfilled their destiny in order that we can better understand that God has a destiny and a purpose for each of His children as He continues to work out His divine plan of redemption among the children of men. This means that He has a destiny for you and me. Thus, these stories will show us how other men fulfilled their destinies and help us learn how to fulfill our destiny. The fact that there are ten callings in the book of Genesis, and since the number “10” represents the concept of countless, many, or numerous, we should understand that God calls out men in each subsequent generation until God’s plan of redemption is complete.

We can even examine the meanings of each of their names in order to determine their destiny, which was determined for them from a child. Adam’s name means “ruddy, i.e. a human being” ( Strong), for it was his destiny to begin the human race. Noah’s name means, “rest” ( Strong). His destiny was to build the ark and save a remnant of mankind so that God could restore peace and rest to the fallen human race. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning, “father of a multitude” ( Strong), because his destiny was to live in the land of Canaan and believe God for a son of promise so that his seed would become fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the earth. Isaac’s name means, “laughter” ( Strong) because he was the child of promise. His destiny was to father two nations, believing that the elder would serve the younger. Isaac overcame the obstacles that hindered the possession of the land, such as barrenness and the threat of his enemies in order to father two nations, Israel and Esau. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “he will rule as God” ( Strong), because of his ability to prevail over his brother Esau and receive his father’s blessings, and because he prevailed over the angel in order to preserve his posterity, which was the procreation of twelve sons who later multiplied into the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, his ability to prevail against all odds and father twelve righteous seeds earned him his name as one who prevailed with God’s plan of being fruitful and multiplying seeds of righteousness.

In order for God’s plan to be fulfilled in each of the lives of these patriarchs, they were commanded to be fruitful and multiply. It was God’s plan that the fruit of each man was to be a godly seed, a seed of righteousness. It was because of the Fall that unrighteous seed was produced. This ungodly offspring was not then nor is it today God’s plan for mankind.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Generation of the Heavens and the Earth Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 4:26

a) The Creation of Man Genesis 2:4-25

b) The Fall Genesis 3:1-24

c) Cain and Abel Genesis 4:1-26

2. The Generation of Adam Genesis 5:1 to Genesis 6:8

3. The Generation of Noah Genesis 6:9 to Genesis 9:29

4. The Generation of the Sons of Noah Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:9

5. The Generation of Shem Genesis 11:10-26

6. The Generation of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

7. The Generation Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

8. The Generation of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

9. The Generation of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

10. The Generation of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

Verses 25-26

Epilogue to the Genealogy of the Heavens and the Earth - The Generations of the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 4:26) concludes with God giving Adam and Eve a son to replace Abel. The significance of this son named Seth is that he is used to carry the redemptive seed of the Messiah to its fruition in Christ Jesus; thus, the closing statement, “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” The following genealogy of Adam (Genesis 5:1-32) reveals that this redemptive seed is carried to Noah, at which time God destroys the rest of mankind because human depravity degenerated beyond hope of redemption.

Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

Genesis 4:25 Word Study on “Seth” Strong says the Hebrew word “Seth” ( שֵׁת ) (H8352) means, “put, or substituted.” Eve gave Seth this name because she saw that God had appointed her with, or compensated her with, another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain killed. Strong says this name comes from the primitive verb ( שִׁית ) (H7896), which means, “to place, or to appoint.” This same Hebrew verb is used in Genesis 4:25 and is translated “hath appointed,” because God appointed another man-child to take the place of Abel.

Comments - The Second Book of Adam and Eve interprets the name “Seth” to mean “God has heard my prayer and delivered me,” and “power and strength.”

“But when Adam came and saw the child's good looks, his beauty, and his perfect figure, he rejoiced over him, and was comforted for Abel. Then he named the child Seth, that means, ‘that God has heard my prayer, and has delivered me out of my affliction.’ But it means also ‘power and strength.’” ( The Second Book of Adam and Eve, 2.2) [111]

[111] The Book of Adam and Eve: Also Called The Conflict of Adam and Eve With Satan, trans. S. C. Malan (London: Williams and Norgate, 1882), 106.

Genesis 4:25 Word Study on “hath appointed” Strong says the Hebrew word “hath appointed” ( שִׁית ) (H7896) is a primitive verb meaning, “to place, or to appoint.” From this verb comes the name “Seth” ( שֵׁת ) (H8352), which means, “put, or substituted, or appointed” ( Strong).

Genesis 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 4:26 “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos” - Word Study on “Enos” Gesenius says the Hebrew word “Enos” ( אֳנוֹשׁ ) (H583) means, “a man, multitude.” Strong says it means, “a mortal, a man,” and comes from ( אָנַשׁ ) (H605), which means, “to be frail, feeble,” and figuratively, “melancholy.” BDB says it means, “man, mankind.” The Enhanced Strong says this name is found 7 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “Enos 6, Enosh 1.”

Genesis 4:26 “then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” - Comments - The opening chapters of Genesis reveal Adam’s fellowship with God, walking with Him in the cool of the day, and sacrifices offered to Him after the Fall, and God speaking with Cain when he sinned; thus, mankind was designed to have a relationship with God. The statement in Genesis 4:26 that men began to call upon the Lord may imply that Cain's descendants did not worship YHWH and that Seth began a new seed of righteousness upon the earth. The next section, which gives the genealogy of Adam (Genesis 5:1 to Genesis 6:8), reveals a lineage of righteous men that led up to Noah. This lineage stands in stark contrast to the degenerating moral condition of mankind that brought divine judgment in the form of the Flood.

Genesis 4:26 Comments In contrast to the genealogy of Cain, whose descendant Lamech killed a man (Genesis 4:17-24), following the sins of his fathers, Seth’s descendants begin to call upon the Lord. We see this in the next genealogy of Shem in which his descendant Enoch walked with God, and we see it in the genealogy of Noah, who was a righteous man. Thus, mankind branched into two different moral characters, one of corruption, and one of righteousness. The seed of righteousness came through the descendants of Seth. The Genealogy of the Heavens and the Earth began with Adam tending the Garden and retreating to fellowship with God in the cool of the day. This genealogy concludes with man endeavouring to restore his fellowship with God after the Fall by calling upon the name of the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 4". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/genesis-4.html. 2013.
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