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Who Was Lamech in the Bible?

Bible open to book of Genesis with magnifying glass to signify apple of my eye

It’s not uncommon to see multiple people share the same name in the Bible. But we run into the question, who is who? How do we tell them apart? One of those names, and one that is maybe not as well-known, is Lamech.

There are two men in the Bible—both in the Old Testament and both in Genesis—that share this name. What’s interesting is that there are similar roots to these two men and yet drastically different stories.

One comes from the line of Cain, who was born to Adam and Eve. Cain had a brother named Abel and out of jealousy, killed him. God cast him out for his sin, but Cain continued to produce offspring that eventually led to a man named Lamech.

After Cain was banished, Adam and Eve had another son named Seth. And from Seth, we find in the lineage another man named Lamech. While Cain’s line progressed into the world, Seth’s line sought the Lord. We know this because Genesis 4:26 says, “To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”

So, what happened and what sets these two men, and their families, apart? Additionally, what can we learn from both?

Lamech (Descendant of Cain)

Both Lamech’s are first mentioned in Genesis 4. However, the descendant of Cain is identified first and not in a flattering way.

As I mentioned, Cain is cast out and separated from his family. Yet, God marks him so that no one will harm him. In the years and decades that follow, Cain produces offspring that continue into sin and rebellion against God.

Lamech is the great-great-great-grandson of Cain. The first description of him is that he has two wives, and it’s the first case of polygamy recorded in the Bible. After identifying his children, we immediately read a poem declared by Lamech, and it’s about murder.

It doesn’t take long to learn a lot about this Lamech. He is plainly and unashamedly living in sin. In fact, within his poem, he is boasting about murder. Someone had committed a small offense against Lamech and he, in turn, killed the man.

Lamech not only carries on the sins of Cain, but takes it to a new level; he is Cain perfected. Eleven times more evil and wicked than his ancestor.

What’s interesting is that Lamech had three sons: Jabal, who invented mobile tents and progressed livestock practices; Jubal, who is known for the lyre and pipe; and Tubal-Cain, the designer of the sword. It could be said that Lamech’s family is brilliant, and likely Lamech was as well. But brilliance doesn’t equal righteousness.

Lamech took the achievements of his family and spoiled them. There is even reason to believe that Lamech potentially killed the man with his son’s own invention—the sword. But he allowed his pride and selfishness to lead him into obedience rather than surrender.

Lamech (Descendant of Seth)

After we learn about Lamech, the descendant of Cain, we also immediately learn about Lamech, the descendant of Seth. And if you remember from above, it was with Seth and his son that lived in a time when “people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” We can gather from that statement that by and large, the line of Seth served God.

The line includes Enoch, the great-great-great-great grandson of Seth. And what’s significant about Enoch is that he walked so closely with God that he was taken; one of only two men in the Bible with such a distinction.

Enoch fathered Methuselah, the oldest person to ever live, and Methuselah fathered Lamech. Now honestly, I don’t know where Lamech stood with God. We don’t get tidbits or insights into his walk like some of his other family members. But what we do know is that this family included people who loved God. We know this from Genesis 4:28; we know that his grandfather had an intimate walk, and his son is Noah. Noah and his family were the only righteous people on the whole earth at the time of the flood.

In addition, Lamech lived to be 777 years old, a number of completion and prophesied in his son’s name “hope”. And ultimately, it was from the line of Seth—this Lamech—that Jesus came from.

Honestly, we have no reason to believe Lamech didn’t live a righteous life and can assume he chose to carry on the family devotion in seeking God.

What Lessons Can We Take Away from Each Lamech's Life?

Two men from the same roots; one lived in rebellion while the other lived in a family of righteousness. Same beginning, but different outcomes and legacies.

From the line of Cain, and from his descendant Lamech, we see the negative consequences of sin. That when you and I choose self over surrender to God, we enter into a whole lifestyle of destruction. Not only do we see polygamy and murder, but we see pride and even boasting in sin.

Lamech was so engrossed with himself and focused on worldly desires that he either didn’t know just how far from God he was or didn’t care. Neither did it affect only him, as we know it wasn’t too far off into the future that the flood came and wiped out his own descendants. His sin and choices ended in death for his family.

While Lamech advanced in achievement he also progressed in wickedness, surpassing Cain. In vanity, all those worldly successes meant nothing.

Ultimately, we can take from Lamech, the descendant of Cain, that progress without God is meaningless. That fearing Him far surpasses any worldly comfort or temporary satisfaction.

Now, from the line of Seth, we see the value and beauty in establishing a home that serves and fears God. These were men who walked with God, knew God, and followed Him. There was no boasting of sin or rebellion against God; only a heritage of faith.

Lamech himself prophesied hope through his son’s name and indeed, it came to pass. What we can learn from this family is that establishing righteousness in the home is necessary and teaching our children to fear God is our chief aim.

What I, personally, gather is the significant role I play as a parent. I can push my child to worldly success but what profit does it have apart from God? I’d much rather encourage my child to seek wholeheartedly after the Almighty and know Him intimately.

The Bible tells the tale of two Lamech’s—of two families. Shared roots but significantly different legacies. One feared no one while the other feared God. And it was the family who feared God that was allowed to continue a legacy that ultimately led to the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Photo Credit: ©Sparrowstock 


Brittany Rust has a passion to see people impacted by the power of God’s Word and His abundant grace through writing and speaking. She is the founder of Truth and Grace Ministries, Truth x Grace Women, and is the author of five books. Brittany lives with her husband, Ryan, and son, Roman, in Castle Rock, Colorado. Learn more at www.brittanyrust.com




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