“And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.”
Genesis 4: 22, King James Version
“One Man, Two Wives and Four Children”
“It is an evident truth that most of the mischiefs that now infest or seize upon mankind throughout the earth, consist in, or are caused by the disorders and ill-governedness of families.”
Is there an example in my family where I have seen the consequences of not putting God first?
“The foundations of civilization are no stronger and no more enduring than the corporate integrity of the homes on which they rest. If the home deteriorates, civilization will crumble and fall.”
All this week we will study the consequences of what happened in Eden, on Adam and Eve’s family tree.
In Genesis 4, the sad tale begins with Eve conceiving the first two children – Cain and his younger brother Abel. Two children couldn’t have been more different. Cain was a “tiller of the ground” and Abel was a “keeper of sheep.” In no time, Cain began living his life in direct contradiction of God’s will. When God did not acknowledge his offering, the fury of Cain at God was directed at his younger brother who was perceived to be “God’s favorite!” The consequence – the first murder. Evil won. Good died. And Cain, marked by God for his own protection, went off to dwell in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
But this wasn’t the last of Cain’s story. The Bible records that he and his wife had children – a son Enoch who built a city. Then Enoch had a son, Irad who begat Mehujael. Mehujeal begat Methusael who begat Lamech. And here’s where things turned really ugly! Especially for women! Lamech, evidently dissatisfied with the one woman, one man idea God instituted in Eden, decided he would take two wives. Since the Bible often places things in order of their occurrence, I’m going to suggest that since Adah’s name is mentioned first, she was most likely wife #1. Adah, the Bible tells us, had Jabal – “the father of those who dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle” and then she conceived again and had a child named Jubal, who was called father of all such as handle the harp and organ. Some Bible commentators tie the production of instruments to the enjoyment of leisure time. Perhaps they are right, for I know that beautiful music certainly makes my quiet moments more pleasant.
Now along comes wife #2 – Zillah. The Bible tells us in our text for today, Genesis 4: 22, that Zillah had two children, Tubalcain who was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. Then Zillah had a girl named Naamah.
So I asked myself the questions I told you we would be asking throughout the study of women in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Why is Naamah mentioned? What can we learn from her story?
Let’s not forget, from Eve to Sarah – generation after generation and year after year, there are only three women whose names we know. Two were the wives of the first recorded polygamist. And one was his daughter, Naamah.
I’d like to offer this insight into a possibility why God mentions Naamah. And my enlightenment on this girl comes from the Hebrew meaning of her name.
I’ll never forget when I turned twelve-years-old, my parents sat me down one day and said to me, “Dorothy, you have a very special name. We could have called you many different names but we chose Dorothy for it means – ‘Gift from God,’ and this is what you are to us.” I have never forgotten what my parents told me. And in the story of Lamech and his two wives, we find a daughter is born. Now just for a minute, let’s think what life might have been like for Lamech’s family. First, he married two women. He was a rule-breaker scoffing at God. Ignoring God’s instruction. Into this messy, complicated situation, a baby girl is born.
I want to skip over to Genesis 4: 25 for a moment. Abel was murdered. Cain was banished as punishment. Then Eve had another baby. Here’s what the Bible tells us: “She bare a son, and called his name Seth: ‘for God,’ said she, ‘hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew’” (Genesis 4: 25 KJV).
If you notice, Eve named the baby. This same situation is recorded over and over again in the Bible. The mother gives the child a name that not only has meaning to her but to her life at that time.
So let’s go back to Zillah, who after having a baby girl, calls her Naamah, which means “pleasantness,” a word the dictionary defines as “providing joy.”
In the midst of a chaotic and potentially disagreeable and contentious situation, Zillah chose “joy” and she even named her precious daughter after the choice she made. Since the Bible doesn’t tell us anything to the contrary, I am going to believe that Naamah lived her life bringing “pleasantness” and “joy” to all she met. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if God included her story to let us know that no matter how tragic and destructive our home situation, we can choose to be “daughters of joy” bringing pleasantness like rain to dry ground. I love this quote by Buffy Saint-Marie: “You have to sniff out joy, keep your nose to the joy-trail.” “AMEN!” is what I say to that. For throughout history, God’s daughters have found that joy can be in very short-supply, especially when you think about some of the terrorizing things that have happened to women. Yet, even in the face of being a descendent of Cain and the daughter of Lamech who chose to ignore God, his Creator, we find “pleasantness” rose above the defilement of marriage to bring “joy” into a home. In the words of one of my heroines, the gifted Helen Keller: “Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.” I will add to this – “Shine On” – daughters of God. May joy be the candle of light we share today – no matter how dark our world.
“We have within ourselves
Enough to fill the present day with joy,
And overspread the future years with hope.”
“Joy is the experience of knowing you are unconditionally loved.”
“Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Jeremiah 31: 3, King James Version
“Grant to us, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness, and the serenity which comes from living close to Thee. Daily renew in us the sense of joy, and let the eternal Spirit of the Father dwell in our souls and bodies, filling every corner of our hearts with light and grace; so that, bearing about with us the infection of good courage, we may be diffusers of life, and may meet all ills and cross accidents with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving Thee thanks for all things.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
The Man Who Loved Women
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.