|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:19-24 One of Cain's wicked race is the first recorded, as having broken the law of marriage. Hitherto, one man had but one wife at a time; but Lamech took two. Wordly things, are the only things that carnal, wicked people set their hearts upon, and are most clever and industrious about. So it was with this race of Cain. Here was a father of shepherds, and a father of musicians, but not a father of the faithful. Here is one to teach about brass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of the Lord: here are devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, and how to be merry; but nothing of God, of his fear and service. Present things fill the heads of most. Lamech had enemies, whom he had provoked. He draws a comparison betwixt himself and his ancestor Cain; and flatters himself that he is much less criminal. He seems to abuse the patience of God in sparing Cain, into an encouragement to expect that he may sin unpunished.
Verse 20. - And Adah bare Jabal. Either the Traveler or the Producer, from yabhal, to flow; poetically, to go to walk; hiphil, to produce; descriptive, in the one case, of his nomadic life, in the other of his occupation or his wealth. He was the father - av, father; used of the founder of a family or nation (Genesis 10:21), of the author or maker of anything, especially of the Creator'(Job 38:28), of the master or teacher of any art or science (Genesis 4:21) - of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. Mikneh, literally, possession, from kanah, to acquire, as in ver. 1; hence cattle, as that was the primitive form of wealth (cf. pecus, pecunia); by which may be meant that Jabal was the first nomad who introduced the custom of living in tents, and pasturing and breeding not sheep merely, but larger quadrupeds as well, for the sake of wealth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Adah bare Jabal,.... According to Hillerus (m), this name, and Jubal and Tubal, after mentioned, all signify a river; why Lamech should call all his sons by names signifying the same thing, is not easy to say.
He was the father of such as dwelt in tents, and of such as have cattle: not in a proper sense the father of them, though his posterity might succeed him in the same business; but he was the first author and inventor of tents or movable habitations, which could be carried from place to place, for the convenience of pasturage for cattle: he was not the first that had cattle in his possession, or that first fed and kept them, for Abel, the son of Adam, was a keeper of sheep; but he was the first that found out the use of tents, and the pitching of them to abide in at proper places, so long as the pasturage lasted, and then to remove elsewhere; as we find in later times the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did, and as the Scenitae and Nomades among the Arabs, and who retain the same method of keeping cattle to this day; and so the words may be rendered according to Bochart (n) and Noldius (o),"he was the father of such that dwell in tents "with" cattle.''Heidegger (p) thinks this Jabal to be the same with Pales, the god of shepherds (q), to whom the Palilia were sacred with the Heathens; and that from Jabal may be formed "Bal", leaving out the "jod", as is sometimes done, and by adding the termination, it will be "Bales", and by changing the letters of the same organ, "Pales".
(m) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 35, 45, 349. (n) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 44. col. 466. (o) Ebr. Part. Concord. p. 273. No. 1196. (p) Hist. Patriarch. Exercit. 6. sect. 11. (q) Vid. Servium & Probum in Virgil. Georgic. l. 3. ver. 1.
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