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The Land of Nod – Where Was it and What Was Going on There?
Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the East of Eden (Genesis 4:16, The Holy Bible, KJV).
In A Land Called Nod
Cain went and dwelt in the land of Nod. This is the Hebrew nowd (node) and it means the aimless wandering of a fugitive. It rises from the primitive root nuwd (nood). In the Authorized Standard Version (King James) it is translated bemoan 7 times, remove 5 times, vagabond 2 times, flee 1 time, get 1, mourn 1, move 1, pity 1, shaken 1, skippedst 1, sorry 1, wag 1, and wandering 1 for a total of 24 occurrences in the Hebrew Bible. Its various meanings are: to shake, waver, move to and fro, show grief, have compassion on, wander (aimlessly), take flight, to flutter, to shake, to lament, condole, show sympathy, to make a wagging, and to wag (with the head). Nod was a God-forsaken region. Cain was reduced to this when he rejected God and His blessings.
East of Eden
It was on the East of Eden. The East is the Hebrew qidmah (kid-maw’). In literal terms it means forward, front, east, antiquity, in front of, over against, or to front on. It is closely related to eastward which is the Hebrew qedmah (kayd’-maw) and has the additional meanings of that which is before, aforetime, from of old, earliest time, of old (adverb), or beginning. Often it is a Biblical symbol for wisdom. It can mean the Wisdom of God or it can mean the wisdom of natural man or fallen principalities (the devil and his cohorts). The Garden was placed by God in the east part of the inside of Eden. This was a realm that was to be governed by the ancient and eternal wisdom of God. The word east also means ancient and can imply eternal. This was the good wisdom because it was what God had Himself used and in a limited sense made available to man in the Garden in order to provide for man.
But remember that evil also pre-existed, not as an actuality until Satan and Adam came along to express it, but as an antithesis to that which was good. The opposite of good was also from antiquity, ancient, and eternal. God said, in Genesis 3:22, that He possessed that knowledge all along. Then Adam acquired that knowledge and now Cain has it. Nod is outside the Garden. It is not in the East of Eden, but on the East of Eden. It is no accident that Cain went looking for Eden and camped just as close to it as he could get. He is going to try, by that ancient wisdom of the East but which is not of God, to regain that which he has lost. He will build his own world. He will give it his own philosophy. It will be his own kingdom and he will rule it his own way. He will carve his own epitaph before he dies: I Did It My Way!
The Futile World of the Vagabond
The hopelessness of Cain’s misguided dreams of empire was established before Cain was born. God placed Cherubim with flaming swords at the gate at the East of Eden to keep man, by that wisdom which was from the East but which originated from outside of Eden-which man had allowed to come into Eden, and did not come from God-from re-entering the Garden of Eden and finding the Tree of Life. Following the lead of their ancient father, religious and secular humanists are still today trying to go back into the old Eden by the philosophy, science, education, and religion, and with the same success as Cain had.
Cain’s Efforts to Rid Himself of Guilt
The first effort of Cain had to do with his own philosophy of discipline. This was the thing that was the bitterness in his soul now. His problem was no longer Abel because Abel was dead and could not hurt him. It was the unfair way in which God had disciplined him. His punishment was unreasonable, unloving, and unnecessary in Cain’s view. Now Cain was experiencing bitter regret at what he had done. Regret is not the same as repentance. Most men regret the things they have done which have brought them guilt but they are not repentant. Like Cain, they are not sorry for what they have done to their family, their friends, to their parents, and to God. They are only sorry for themselves and for that of which they think they have deprived themselves. This is exactly how it was with Cain.
Enoch-The Man and the City
He named his first son Enoch. This is the Hebrew word Chanowk (khan-oke’) and it means dedicated, disciplined, initiated, or trained up. Cain named the city that he built Enoch, or the City of Discipline and Training. Like many a guilty father, Cain tried to put his guilt trips off on his son:
That boy would never make the mistakes his father made; Cain would see to that. Adam had been too easy on him. He let him roam the fields, look out for himself, do his own thinking, and come to his own conclusions. What a mistake this had been on Adam’s part. If Cain had had more supervision-if Adam had shown a little more interest in him and kept a little closer control over him, how differently things might have been. Adam had known that there were mortal dangers stalking Cain; lying in wait outside his door as God Himself had put it. Still, Adam let Cain go his way and fend for himself. He never taught Cain to obey and to respect authority. If he had done so, Cain might have listened and this would not have happened. Cain would not make that mistake with Enoch. He would beat the devil out of that wayward, headstrong child if necessary to train him and make him respect authority.
As in the case of Cain and Enoch, rebellion usually does not happen in the first generation, but in the second. Enoch named his son Irad. This is the Hebrew `Iyrad (ee-rawd’) and it means fleet of foot, or in other words, a runaway or a fugitive. This shows that Enoch not only considered himself and his family to be fugitives from God, but that he hoped his son would have the courage which he lacked to break away from this legalistic city and look for truth in some other place and way.
As soon as he was old enough, Irad did flee from Cain and his heartless religion. But like those who had gone before him, he continued to be religious. Irad looked for God and for truth. He did have a conscience, and felt the sting of God’s judgment on his grandfather and his children. He named his son Mehujael. This is the Hebrew M^echuwyaOel (mekh-oo-yaw-ale’) or MechiyyaOel (mekh-ee-yaw-ale’) which means Smitten of God. Irad’s view of God had been clouded by the cruel, autocratic religion of his grandfather. The only God he knew was the one who had reportedly mistreated Cain and who had caused him, who professed to be right and to honor God, to brutalize his own father. Mahujael was committed to religion and to God and named his son Methusael. This is the word MethuwshaOel (meth-oo-shaw-ale’) which means the man who is of God. No doubt this came from his tradition and his sincere interest in God and his family origins. He had heard the stories of how Eve had said of his grandfather, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Methusael tried to live up to this name and tradition and became a religious teacher, passing along to his son the old stories. But like all religious humanism-the good intentions and the best efforts of man instead of that which is of God-every effort failed. The stories and the lessons became distorted and things went from bad to worse.
Nowhere in this line of Cain is their any mention of Abel’s sacrifice and of any of Cain’s descendants bringing the blood sacrifice. No doubt this was not a part of their religious heritage. This was the thing that had brought about Cain’s downfall, and it is most likely that he did not encourage it among his people. Indeed, he may have kept it from them entirely. Like their infamous patriarch, Cain’s decedents believed in the inherent goodness of man, in religion, in good works, and in doing the best one could. They dwelt on the East of Eden.
Methusael, the man who is of God, begat Lamech; and he becomes sort of the summom bonnum, not only of Cain’s line, but of the line of religious humanism.
The meaning of the name Lamech is a bit difficult and obscure. Extensive studies of this Hebrew name have turned up some probabilities that are in keeping with the events taking place but precision is illusive. Caution needs to be exercised with the meanings given for this name.
The name Lamech, or Lemech’ in the Hebrew, appears to have two almost completely divergent meanings. One applies to this Lamech who is of Cain and the other to the father of Noah, who was also named Lamech but who descended from Seth. As it applies to this Lamech, the name means: to present (as a mercenary argument), to bargain with a harlot, and to hire in the bad sense, as for sinister uses.
Lamech had two wives. The name of the first was Adah. This name is not difficult. It is the Hebrew `Adah (aw-daw’) and it means to adorn, to deck oneself out, to make advances, to take away. It would appear to be conveying the information that Adah was a harlot when Lamech met and married her.
The name of his other wife was Zillah. This is the Hebrew word Tsillah (tsil-law’) which means a shade, a shadow, or a protection. The contrast in personalities between these two girls may be dramatized in the difference between “A” and “Z,” (though that may be going a little far with symbolism). This is describing a quiet woman, a home-body, a protective mother and wife; and probably indicates someone who had little or no flair about her. There are lots of Lamechs around today; men who have a fast, flashy, gaudy, and tawdry woman to run with; and a good old girl to go home to.
To Lamech and Adah were born two sons. The name of the first was Jabal. The Hebrew word for this name is Yabal (yaw-bawl’) and means a water course, or a wandering, meandering stream. Jabal was a wanderer. He drifted in the far out, lonely regions and made his living by keeping sheep. He slept under the stars and drank from the streams. Like the desert nomads, he had no one spot to call home. He just drifted.
The name of the other was Jubal. This word, which is Yuwbal (yoo-bawl’) literally means a blast. Ordinarily this would be the blast of the trumpet, as in the Year of Jubilee, which actually is a word that derives from this name and is very close to it. But in this case we do not think that this was the blast of a trumpet since no trumpet is mentioned here, but the harp and the organ are identified. The name also has something to do with a river or a brook running or singing along and apparently means a singer. In other words, this Jubal was a noise-maker. The language indicates that his music and his singing were loud, raucous, and grating. So you see nothing much has changed during the history of man. A smooth talking man marries a fast woman and they have one son who is a hippie, a beachcomber, a dropout from society; and the other is a musician. The latter hangs out in taverns twanging away on his strings and singing in his loud, nasal songs about this hard livin’ but well meanin’ old boy-the role model for the bar crowd-who cannot make up his mind about which one of the two women he really wants.
The Other Side of the “Family”
Zillah also gave Lamech two children; the one a boy and the other a girl. The boy’s name was Tubal-cain. The name is the two-part Hebrew word Tuwbal Qayin (too-bal’-kah’-yin). The first part of the name, Tubal, means an instructor. In that context, it also means to bring, to carry, to lead, or to produce. The name Cain means a fixed spear or a lance ready to strike through. Apparently Tubal-cain made, and taught others how to make, weapons out of brass and iron.
A Departure from Religion-or is it?
In case it has escaped you the decedents of Cain, by these accounts, were more religious on the whole than the descendants of Seth though they were not righteous by faith. This occupation of Tubal-cain would seem at first blush to be a wide departure from that tradition. Yet we must bear in mind that Cain, the patriarch of this religious system, was an ill-tempered and violent man who had killed his innocent brother over religious differences. Some of the most warring and violent men in history, such as Constantine and King Richard, were religious leaders and carried out their violence in the name of religion. In recent times we have had religious violence in Ireland, Yugoslavia, and the Middle East. In the west, the religious fundamentalists are the most hawkish, pro-military, and ready to propose violence as the solution to many problems national and international. Perhaps religion is a root cause for what Tubal-cain did.
The motivation behind Tubal-cain’s vocation is not clear. In a few verses is is revealed that in his day men were violent and bloodshed and wickedness were great in the earth. Perhaps it was as simple as supply and demand.
One thing is clear, however. The anthropologists and evolutionists are wrong again. Men were born with the abilities to make bronze and to work with metal. They did not acquire the ability through the years from the caveman and stone ages, neither one of which ever existed on this earth.
Naamah the Agreeable One
Just what to make of the girl Naamah is not clear. Her name is the Hebrew Na`amah (nah-am-aw’) and it means agreeable, pleasant, graceful, beautiful, sweet, and easy to get on with. It may be that this is describing one of Cain’s descendants that was a genuinely nice person. But there is some indication that this is not trying to porftray good character. It may be that this is describing a beautiful, but gullible girl who was an easy mark for the men who came into her life. She certainly was raised in that kind of environment; though Zilliah may have been able to protect her from it.
The Original Religious Humanist Manifesto
The inevitable end of religious humanism is underscored in the little story that Lamech had to tell his two wives “. . . I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.” The reason that he gave is a bit obscure and there are different opinions on it. Some think two men had set in upon him to kill him. The one had wounded him and the other was trying to finish him off. Others think that Lamech was confessing, as no doubt he had heard Cain doing many times, that he had let his temper get away from him and committed two very unfortunate murders for which he would suffer reproach and probably vengeance from their people.
But his motives are really not the significant thing here. It is his reasoning that is fascinating. He said that his great, great, great grandfather had killed a man and that God had shown mercy to him and pledged vengeance seven-fold to the man who would do him hurt. That being the case, God would avenge Lamech seventy and seven-fold because he had killed two men. Now, you would have thought that Lamech would have been content with fourteen-fold, but no, he went for it all. He was not even content with multiplying. He carried 7 to the eleventh power.
Modern Day Lamechs
The tendency is to laugh a laugh of scorn and unbelief at the cheekiness of this warped fellow, but there is scarcely a better example in the Scripture to amplify what has happened in religious humanism and legalistic religion today. There is a great cry that goes up for leniency and mercy and help for the law-breaker. This is true whether you are talking about the immoral person, the rebel, and the backbiter in the church, the revolutionary who is trying to overthrow the government, or the rapist, or the murder. Religious leaders and groups come forward by the hundreds and thousands to help these poor people and defend their rights as fellow human beings. But one would be hard pressed to find a single pastor or religious group who is committed to anything meaningful for the victims of these heartless, selfish, and sinister people. It makes no difference to these bleeding hearts that some poor wife, with her hungry children, is sitting at home neglected and frightened because her husband pulled out and left her for some young hussy. There is no mileage to be had by these modern day Lamechs in sticking up for righteous causes. The whole noise in the church is made about not interfering in other people’s business, not judging, and not doing anything to hurt the feelings of this poor fellow who really cannot help it that he does not have enough character and sense of responsibility to honor his vows and provide for his wife and family.
We have to treat murderers and rapists as if they were honored guests, give them their own cell with all of the amenities of home, provide them a shelter for their nefarious deeds, and turn them out on the street for the tiniest legal irregularity.
As it Was in the Days of Noah
One of the reasons that we know it is the end of the age is because of this mentality. This is the way it was just before God pronounced judgment on the old world and sent the Flood, and Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah…(Luke 17:26). Remember that Cain was a very religious man and Cain’s line were very religious; but it was all humanism. It was a religion that was not only out of harmony with God’s instructions but it was puffy and defiant of God for His judgments and His disciplines. This spirit is very evident in the false world of religious humanism-often called fundamental and evangelical. Like Cain, religious humanists today think that-by this arrogance, by this rebellion, by these popular movements, and by these tactics-they will bully their way back into Eden and find that Tree of Life; but they will not. No one has ever gotten past the death angel and no one ever will.
Those are a few of the many lessons that can be learned from the Land of Nod and the society of Cain.
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