4:17 knew his wife. His wife was probably one of Adam’s daughters (see Genesis 5:4), although it could have been a later descendant, since it would easily have been possible for the population to grow to several hundred thousand by the time of Cain’s death.
4:17 Enoch. Cain named his son “Enoch,” meaning “dedication” or “commencement,” probably signifying the beginning of a new manner of life.
4:17 city. Urbanization is usually considered by evolutionary archaeologists to be one of the first indicators of the emergence of true civilization from a hunting-and-gathering culture (so-called stone age culture). It is significant that true civilized cultures, by this definition, have existed since the very first generation following Adam, with no suggestion whatever of a long evolutionary advance from an imaginary stone age. Evidently Cain, unable to survive either as a farmer or by trade, had to develop his own self-sufficient economy, through the patriarchal clan which he established around his son Enoch and the city which Cain built for him.
4:18 Lamech. The possible meaning of these names are: Irad, meaning “Townsman,” Mehujael, meaning “God gives life;” Methusael, meaning “Man of God;” Lamech, meaning “Conqueror.” The similarity of some of the names to those in the Sethitic line, as well as their religious “-el” endings, probably indicates that the two families kept in touch with each other and that the Cainitic line continued to believe in God as long as Adam remained alive to exercise some degree of patriarchal leadership.
4:19 two wives. Lamech is the first recorded rebel against the divine command of monogamous marriage. It is probable that Adam died during Lamech’s time (by comparison with the chronological data in the Sethitic line) and the Cainites thenceforth became more openly rebellious against God.
4:19 Zillah. “Adah” apparently means “ornament” and “Zillah” means “shade.” Lamech’s motivation in taking two wives may have been partially physical lust and partially the desire to establish a large clan in the increasingly violent antediluvian society.
4:20 bare Jabal. Lamech’s children were given names associated with their talents: “Jabal” seems to mean “wanderer,” “Jubal” means “sound” and “Naamah” means “pleasant.” “Tubal-cain” is of uncertain meaning but is associated etymologically with the Roman God Vulcan. The inventions of these talented progeny no doubt contributed greatly to the wealth and power of Lamech’s clan, and to the increasing materialism of the Cainite civilization in general.
4:22 brass and iron. Evolutionary archaeologists have attempted to organize human history in terms of various supposed “ages”–Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, etc. The Noahic record, however, indicates that early men were very competent in brass and iron metallurgy, as well as agriculture, animal husbandry, and urbanization. It is significant that both many kinds of bronze and iron implements are known to have been used in the earliest civilizations of Sumeria and Egypt. The same is true of musical instruments, and it is evident that the science and art of both metallurgy and music, as well as agriculture and animal husbandry, had been handed down from ancient times to these earliest post-Flood civilizations. Modern archaeology is confirming the high degree of technology associated with the earliest human settlers all over the world.