Our History: Two Distinct Groups Arise (Genesis 4:16-26)

So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.” – Genesis 4:16-17

Cain’s Descendants         

This account begins a history of Cain’s descendants. Since Nod means “wandering”, it’s likely that this was a figure of speech rather than an actual geographical area that Cain and his wife journeyed to after he murdered his brother, Abel.


Cain may have tried to derail God’s prophecy of him becoming a wanderer by building a city. The Hebrew verb “was building”, however, is indefinite and suggests that he never finished. But Cain’s descendants did prosper by taking the lead in building cities, developing music, advancing agriculture, creating weapons, and spreading civilization.

Cain’s family record jumps down to Lamech, the seventh generation from Adam. His family not only epitomizes the variety of talent and ability God gives people, but also shows the rise of sin.

Lamech held a high view of himself and wore polygamy, murder, and revenge as a badge of honor. He defied God’s principle of monogamy (Gen. 2:23, 24) by taking two wives. He also killed a young man in self-defense, then arrogantly bragged to his wives: “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

Henry M. Morris notes the significant elements that modern evolutionary archaeologists and anthropologists identify of evolving men from the stone age into true civilization—namely urbanization, agriculture, animal domestication, and metallurgy. These were all accomplished quickly by the early descendants of Adam. It did not take hundreds of thousands of years as evolutionists suggest.

Two Distinct Groups Arise

Another branch of Adam’s family tree takes shape. Seth—born to Adam and Eve—took Abel’s place as leader of God’s faithful people. Seth’s name means “appointed” or “substituted”.

Two distinct groups arise: 1) Those who are apathetic to sin and evil, (although the Cainites sought to exercise dominion over the earth as God commanded, their motivation stemmed from rebellion against God); and 2) those who call on the name of the Lord (the descendants of Seth, 4:26). This shows the probable shift from individuals personally meeting with God to the beginning of regular public worship and prayer. It also shows faith on the part of those who “called upon His name”.

Although Seth and his family line also inherited Adam and Eve’s sin nature, they would carry the “seed of the woman” (God’s prophecy to Eve) that would eventually defeat the Serpent: Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection.

4 thoughts on “Our History: Two Distinct Groups Arise (Genesis 4:16-26)

  1. This series you are doing in Genesis has been really cool. You know most of us don’t really dig into some of the Old Testament stories the way we should. You having it right here available is very useful. Keep it up!

    • Thank you, I appreciate that! I admit that I am more familiar, and comfortable, with the New Testament. But there are so many great lessons in the Old Testament. I am learning and enjoying this study in Genesis.

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