Genesis 4:23b, 24
“I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”
Lamech was Cain’s great-great grandson. Considering how long people lived in those days it is likely that Cain was still alive when Lamech said these words. During his lifetime how many times did Cain tell the story behind his exile, and at what point did it get to be his parents’ fault, his brother’s fault, God’s fault? When did the story began to be about how he had been wronged and how justified he had been in killing his brother, Abel? From Lamech’s words we get the idea that there was no longer any sense of wrongdoing associated with murder.
History somehow got twisted. On Cain’s part there was no acknowledgment that he had offended God, that he was wrong in killing his brother, that God was justified in the punishment that He meted out—in fact, merciful in the judgment He meted out in banishing Cain. All God got from Cain was whining and whimpering about how badly off he was going to be (4:13, 14). It was all God’s fault if things didn’t turn out well for him.
In the generations between Cain and Lamech, wrong became right, evil took on the robe of sanctification. Cain managed to rewrite history. By the time Lamech told the story, Cain was the saint rather than the sinner.
We aren’t told what the consequences of the “rewrite” were except for this curious note at the end of the chapter: “At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.” (4:26b).
Evil had gotten so rampant by that time it seems, that there was no other place for men to turn but back to the Lord.
I wonder how long it will take for men today, overwhelmed with the evil their “rewrites” have caused, to turn back to God?