In yesterday's installment of this series, we examined Genesis 2 and found the first marriage. It was created by God Himself, between one man and one woman.
Today, we look at the first marriage containing multiple wives to one husband. We will find this in Genesis 4.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 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.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
Notice how verse 16 starts: Cain went out from the presence of the Lord. He turned his back on God. He wanted nothing to do with God. He wanted to do things his own way, rather than the way God intended. He was his own man, he was going to rule his own world and didn't want God involved. He did what was right in his own eyes. Cain built his own city and named it after his son, and the generations declined from there.
Look at the 5th generation from Cain, at Lamech. Lamech took 2 wives, Adah and Zillah.
We are looking at 5 generations away from God, where Cain left and led his descendants to a life away from God's presence. What happens when we are not in the presence of God?
We decline. We degenerate. We become immoral, debased, sinful.
Now, we've established that the "law of first mention" takes the spot where an idea if first brought up in Scripture and uses that context throughout the entire Scripture. If something is positive at first mention, it's the same all the way through, if something's negative, it is that way all the way through (ok, I'm simplifying this idea, if you'd like to learn more, see yesterday's post).
This is the first mention of multiple wives in Scripture.
It is not in a positive light.
Rather, this is in a man 5 generations away from God, in a lineage who'd forsook God, and went to do his own thing. Lamech's kids were the first musicians, metal workers, and so on. They were the most self sufficient folks out in the world, they had entertainment, contractors, builders, farmers, you name it. They had no need for God, nor His design. They are what we would think of as the "world", away from God the Creator, who chooses not to follow what He has designed, but rather seek to do on their own by their own methods.
Lamech did what was right in his own eyes, and took 2 wives.
That was not what God designed just a few chapters back in Genesis 2.
As we keep reading about Lamech, we see that he wasn't exactly the most upright man himself. Besides marrying more than one woman, he also killed another person. Reminiscent of his grandpa (with a few greats) Cain, isn't it?
Lamech simply kept in with the family who'd delineated from God, doing more debased things each generation.
So, now we've seen both the first marriage created by God, and the first polygamous marriage created by man.
Next, we'll move on to what the bible shows about the polygamous marriages in the Old Testament. Stay tuned!
Sources: Bible Gateway,
View Part 1 "The First Marriage"
Introduction to the Polygamy series
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