Cain's Descendants
Genesis 4:17-24
And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city…

The natural man is fertile in all things pertaining to this present evil world; and Satan, the god of this world, sharpens and quickens his ingenuity and skill.

1. Pastoral pursuits make progress. Jabal was the father of such as dwell in tents, and have cattle (ver. 20). Jabal takes the lead as the great shepherd of his day — gentler, perhaps, and more peaceful in his nature — morn like Abel in his disposition. The Spirit of God does not here cast censure on such employments, as if there were sin in them. He simply points out these children of Cain as sitting down contented with earth, and engrossed with its pursuits. These children of Cain seem to have shrunk from tillage. The soil was too full of terror, as well as of toil, for them to attempt its tillage. How a man's sin finds him out! How it traces him out wherever he sets his foot!

2. The fine arts. Jabal had a brother by name Jabal, who betakes himself to the harp and the organ. Yes — music — the world must soothe its sorrows or drown its cares with music! The world must cheat its hours away with music! The world must set its lusts to music (Job 21:12). Yet, sweet sounds are not unholy. There is no sin in the richest strains of music. And God, by bringing into His own temple all the varied instruments of melody, and employing them in His praises, showed this. But these Cainites make music of the siren kind. God is not in all their melodies. It is to shut Him out that they devise the harp and the organ. Yet these inventions He makes use of for Himself afterwards; employing these men as the hewers of wood and the drawers of water for His temple.

3. The mechanical arts. Zillah bare Tubal-Cain to Lamech: and this Tubal-Cain was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. The arts flourish under Cain's posterity. They can prosper without God, and among those in whose hearts His fear is not. God suffers them to go on forgetting Himself, and occupying themselves with these engrossing employments. He does not interfere; and this not only because He is long suffering, but because one of His great purposes is, that man shall have full scope to develop himself mentally, morally, and physically. Man has torn himself off from God; and God will let it be seen how the branch can unfold its leaves and fruit, or rather what kind of leaves and fruit it can put forth when thus severed from Himself. God will let the world roll on its own way, that it may be seen what a world it is. What is earth without the God that made it, or the Christ by whom it is yet to be made new? What are the arts and sciences; music, painting, statuary? What are the wisdom, skill, energy, power, genius of the race, developed to the full? What are the mind's resources, the heart's fulness, the body's pliant power, man's strength or woman's beauty, youth's fervour or age's grey-haired wisdom? What are all these in a world from which its Creator has been banished; a world whose wisdom is not the knowledge of Christ, and whose sunshine is not the love of God?

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

WEB: Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

The Land of Nod
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