Lamech Had Two Wives
Scripture tells us that Lamech, the great, great grandson of Cain had two wives. Usually there is not much said about this fact unless the subject is polygamy or more precisely polygyny. The general arguments begin by attempting to point out facts that have the appearance of being negative or evil. These include that Lamech was of the lineage of Cain, the man who killed his brother, and that Lamech also killed a man. Here are the pertinent quotes from scripture.
And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the Book of Jasher for additional information concerning Lamech. Jasher, while not a part of scripture, is an excellent history and is endorsed by scripture.
17 And Lamech, the son of Methusael, became related to Cainan by marriage, and he took his two daughters for his wives, and Adah conceived and bare a son to Lamech, and she called his name Jabal.
26 And Lamech was old and advanced in years, and his eyes were dim that he could not see, and Tubal Cain, his son, was leading him and it was one day that Lamech went into the field and Tubal Cain his son was with him, and whilst they were walking in the field, Cain the son of Adam advanced towards them; for Lamech was very old and could not see much, and Tubal Cain his son was very young.
27 And Tubal Cain told his father to draw his bow, and with the arrows he smote Cain, who was yet far off, and he slew him, for he appeared to them to be an animal.
28 And the arrows entered Cain's body although he was distant from them, and he fell to the ground and died.
29 And the Lord requited Cain's evil according to his wickedness, which he had done to his brother Abel, according to the word of the Lord which he had spoken.
30 And it came to pass when Cain had died, that Lamech and Tubal went to see the animal which they had slain, and they saw, and behold Cain their grandfather was fallen dead upon the earth.
31 And Lamech was very much grieved at having done this, and in clapping his hands together he struck his son and caused his death.
32. And the wives of Lamech heard what Lamech had done, and they sought to kill him.
33 And the wives of Lamech hated him from that day, because he slew Cain and Tubal Cain, and the wives of Lamech separated from him, and would not hearken to him in those days.
34 And Lamech came to his wives, and he pressed them to listen to him about this matter.
35 And he said to his wives Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice O wives of Lamech, attend to my words, for now you have imagined and said that I slew a man with my wounds, and a child with my stripes for their having done no violence, but surely know that I am old and grey-headed, and that my eyes are heavy through age, and I did this thing unknowingly.
36 And the wives of Lamech listened to him in this matter, and they returned to him with the advice of their father Adam, but they bore no children to him from that time, knowing that God's anger was increasing in those days against the sons of men, to destroy them with the waters of the flood for their evil doings.
After reading this account one can see that if true it certainly enhances what we learn from scripture. I did not include verse 22, but it is worded in such a way as to indicate that Lamech was not the only man with more than one wife at that time. We can also see that the killing was accidental concerning Cain and a loss of self control with Tubal Cain. We also see that Adam himself supported Lamech by advising his wives to return to Lamech. It is my belief that we have this account preserved so that the scripture can not be taken out of context and used to prove something that it does not say. Even with out the help from Jasher the negative comments mentioned above are purely circumstantial and can not be used as proof.
Feel free to send your helpful comments.
Basic Articles on Marriage, Children, Divorce, Remarriage and Adultery
Articles on Polygyny
Scriptural Marriage Possibilities
Polygyny is not Adultery!
Who did Seth Marry?
Lamech Had Two Wives
A Damsel or Two.
God Gave David His Wives.
How Many Wives per Man in Israel?
Is Polygyny Still Righteous Today?
Is Polygyny a Blessing from God?
Is Permission for Polygyny Required?
It Began with One Man and Four Women
Let Each Woman Have Her Own Husband
Hosea's Two Wives
Is this the Meaning of Leviticus 18:18?
Women with Women?
Men with Men?
Support for Scriptural Polygyny
How I discovered Polygyny
Sunday Morning Visitor
Poly Friendly Book Reviews
Christian Polygyny Links Page