Genesis 4

The book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price was the product of Joseph Smith's translation of the Old Testament. It contains passages that should have been part of the original text. The next 15 verses belong between Genesis 3 and 4:
And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.
And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.
And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and they also begat sons and daughters.
And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.
And Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish.
And the Lord God called upon men by the Holy Ghost everywhere and commanded them that they should repent;
And as many as believed in the Son, and repented of their sins, should be saved; and as many as believed not and repented not, should be damned; and the words went forth out of the mouth of God in a firm decree; wherefore they must be fulfilled. (Moses 5:1-15)
Gen 4:1 Eve... bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord
Adam had plenty of experience naming animals. Eve would name the children-so it would seem. She could not exactly call Cain after the name of his grandfather or some great forbearer. All the names would be original.
With the naming of children, we see a pattern that will be repeated over and over again in the Old Testament. The child is named based on the mother's situation and emotional response to the birth (see Gen 29:31-35). Eve's response at Cain's birth was "Look, I have been blessed with a man from the Lord." The name Cain in the Hebrew is a wordplay meaning, "I have gained [or made] a male child with the help of the Lord." (The Torah: A Modern Commentary, ed. by W. Gunther Plaut [New York, The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981], 44) The Book of Moses gives another perspective. Adam and Eve had been commanded to hearken unto the Lord. Eve hoped that since Cain came from the Lord that he would hearken to the Lord, saying, "I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words" (Moses 5:16). Unfortunately, Cain's name did not keep the joyful and obedient meaning it originally held.
Latter-Day Saints do not believe that Cain is the firstborn of Adam and Eve. The book of Moses suggests that they had sons and daughters before Cain's birth (Moses 5:12-16). Cain's name is mentioned first because he is the first to commit murder, not because he is the firstborn son. The scriptures are often incomplete. Some have compared them to newspaper headlines. Cain's murder made the headlines. Had he not committed murder, his name would be absent from the book of Genesis.
Hugh Nibley
You think of Cain as a very blessed and special person. They thought he was. They expected great things of him. They expected that he would turn the tide. Everything had gone against Adam and Eve. Many of their posterity were not repenting (see Moses 5:13). They continued, and when they begot Cain, Eve said, "I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words...." There was hope that Cain would be the right one, that he wouldn't reject the words. He would put things back on the track. But he didn't. He was a failure. (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe [n.p., n.d.], 8.)
Joseph Smith
If Cain had fulfilled the law of righteousness as did Enoch, he could have walked with God all the days of his life, and never failed of a blessing. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 169-170)
Gen 4:4 the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering
Joseph Smith
By faith in this atonement or plan of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven... But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts. Certainly, the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins. But however various may have been, and may be at the present time, the opinions of men respecting the conduct of Abel, and the knowledge which he had on the subject of atonement, it is evident in our minds, that he was instructed more fully in the plan than what the Bible speaks of, for how could he offer a sacrifice in faith, looking to God for a remission of his sins in the power of the great atonement, without having been previously instructed in that plan?
We conclude that whenever the Lord revealed Himself to men in ancient days, and commanded them to offer sacrifice to Him, that it was done that they might look forward in faith to the time of His coming, and rely upon the power of that atonement for a remission of their sins. And this they have done, thousands who have gone before us, whose garments are spotless, and who are, like Job, waiting with an assurance like his, that they will see Him in the latter day upon the earth, even in their flesh.
We may conclude, that though there were different dispensations, yet all things which God communicated to His people were calculated to draw their minds to the great object, and to teach them to rely upon God alone as the author of their salvation. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 58-61)
Gen 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect
What was wrong with Cain's offering? God is not supposed to be a respecter of persons. Was the Lord playing favorites, accepting Abel and rejecting Cain? Did he offer the wrong thing? Wouldn't the children of Israel later be commanded to offer the fruits of the fields (Deut 26:1-4)?
What did Cain do wrong? The Bible doesn't answer this question to our satisfaction. The Pearl of Great Price tells us the reason. Abel, according to the command of God, made his offering in faith. Cain, at Satan's command, made his offering without faith (Moses 5:18). If Satan tells you to pay your tithing, don't do it. The Lord doesn't accept offerings commanded by Satan, nor does He accept offerings given unwillingly.
For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. (Moroni 7:6-8)
Hugh Nibley
Why was Cain making the offering? Because Satan had commanded him to. It wasn't because he loved the Lord. It says he loved Satan more than God, so when Satan told him to do something, he obeyed Satan. He wasn't doing it for the Lord's benefit or as respect to the Lord, but receiving a command from Satan, he made the offering to the Lord. Would the Lord accept it under those circumstances? He receives only offerings that are made to him at his command, as Adam gave it. (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe [n.p., n.d.], 8.)
Gen 4:6 the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?
Brigham Young
Cain conversed with his God every day, and knew all about the plan of creating this earth, for his father told him. But, for the want of humility, and through jealousy, and an anxiety to possess the kingdom, and to have the whole of it under his own control, and not allow anybody else the right to say one word, what did he do? He killed his brother. Then the Lord put a mark on him. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 104.)
Gen 4:7 unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him
The biblical use of pronouns can be confusing. The text can be read "unto Cain shall be Satan's desire, and Cain shall rule over Satan." The Moses version makes more sense. It reads, "I will deliver thee up (unto the power of Satan), and it shall be unto thee according to his (Satan's) desire. And thou (Cain) shalt rule over him." (Moses 5:23)
The Moses version suggests an interesting reciprocal relationship between Cain and Satan. What happens to Cain will be according to Satan's desire. By virtue of his murder, Cain will be punished with a curse. This was Lucipher's desire, "for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Ne 2:27) But Cain has greater power over him because he has a body. Satan gets to destroy Cain's life but Cain gets to exercise authority over Satan.
Joseph Fielding Smith
Cain To Rule over Satan. Sons of perdition will have an ascendancy over Satan himself, because he has no body. But who is Perdition? The Lord said to Cain: "If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him; For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world." (Moses 5:23-24)
Satan wanted him because Cain had a body, He wanted more power. A man with a body of course will have greater power than just a spirit without a body.
Cain sinned with his eyes open, so he became Perdition, the father of lies.
(Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2:280)
Joseph Fielding Smith
It appears that the reason Satan desired to have him was due to the fact that Cain had obtained a body of flesh and bones and therefore had superior power, and Satan was willing to accept and be obedient to him because of that condition. The natural conclusion is, therefore, that a devil with a body of flesh and bones has some power greater than one who was denied the physical body. (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 171)
Hugh Nibley
Cain rule over Satan? Yes. that is the arrangement-the devil serves his client, gratifies his slightest whim, pampers his appetites, and is at his beck and call throughout his earthly life, putting unlimited power and influence at his disposal through his command of the treasures of the earth, gold and silver. But in exchange the victim must keep his part of the agreement, following Satan's instructions on earth and remaining in his power hereafter. That is the classic bargain, the pact with the Devil, by which a Faust, Don Juan, Macbeth, or Jabez Stone achieve the pinnacle of earthly success and the depths of eternal damnation. ("A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 8," Ensign, Dec. 1976, 74)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Are we not led to believe that instead of accepting this word from the Lord in the spirit of humility and with regret for his evil actions, Cain rather rejoiced in the words that were spoken; "Satan desireth to have thee * * * And thou shalt rule over him?" Is it not possible that he rejoiced in the knowledge that through his wickedness he should rule in the kingdom of wickedness? What glory and honor could Cain expect to obtain in becoming the "father of lies" and becoming Perdition? Such an attitude of mind is hard to understand. To think that Cain would glory in obtaining dominion in the empire of evil, and in becoming the author of falsehood and holding the scepter of power in the kingdom of darkness, is almost beyond belief. Yet we are told that Cain rejoiced in the counsels given him by Satan, and frowned upon the counsels given him by Jehovah. Cain rejoiced, saying: "Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness."-Moses 5:31. (The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 100 - 101.)
Gen 4:8 Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him
George Albert Smith
When Abel was out with his flocks, and his brother Cain saw that he was favored of the Lord because he did right, the adversary whispered to Cain, "You can just as well have these flocks, nobody will know if you slay your brother," and he took his life. And what did he gain? He didn't gain anything, but he lost the blessing of his Heavenly Father. He took that which he could not give and became a murderer and from henceforth his name is known in the earth as one who had departed from the right and had committed an awful crime.
So it has been all the way down from that day until now. When the Lord sent Noah among the children of men to warn them and to teach them and to encourage them to works of righteousness, they turned away from him, they didn't believe he was a prophet of God. The adversary whispered in their ears, "Why, this man is only an ordinary man, he has no right to speak in the name of the Lord, surely you will pay no attention to him," and his mission was made unpopular by the cunning of the adversary. Men and women in their sins continued sinful and failed to listen to the warning voice of a prophet of God, and the result was that the Lord could do nothing with them until they were repentant. He saw the futility of working with them because they were wilfully in the hands of the adversary, and so he covered the earth with a great flood, gathering just a little handful of people to re-people the earth, because it was necessary that good men and good women should transmit to posterity the virtues that they inherited when they were created in the spirit world. And so it has ever been. In the time of the Savior the adversary whispered to those people, "He is not the Son of God, surely you will not accept him, he is just an ordinary man, he is only the son of Mary and Joseph and he is not any more the Son of God than you are," and the people listened to that insidious, wicked one and crucified the Redeemer of mankind. (The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 20)
Gen 4:9 Am I my brother's keeper?
Thomas S. Monson
The answer to that vital question is: Yes, we are our brothers' keepers. ("Our Brothers' Keepers," Ensign, June 1998, 33)
John H. Vandenberg
Pain, sorrow, and tragedy have been with the human race ever since this event. Yet from this episode in the scriptures there is brought to our attention the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
What do we think about that question? What charge has the Lord given us relating to it? Let us refer to 1 John, chapter 3:
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 Jn. 3:11, 14, 16, 18.)
("My Brother's Keeper," Ensign, June 1971, 63)
Dallin H. Oaks
Cain set the pattern of the world. Cain coveted the flocks of his brother Abel, and Satan showed him how to obtain them (see JST Gen. 5:14, 23; Moses 5:29, 38). Satan taught Cain that a man could get worldly wealth by committing some evil against its owner (see JST Gen. 5:16; Moses 5:31).
Cain killed Abel. The scriptures say that he did so "for the sake of getting gain" (Moses 5:50), the flocks of his brother (JST Gen. 5:18; Moses 5:33). Seeing this, the Lord asked Cain, "Where is Abel thy brother?" Cain first attempted to cover his sin with a lie: "I know not." Then he added a rationalization: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. 4:9; Moses 5:34).
Are we our brothers' keepers? In other words, are we responsible to look after the well-being of our neighbors as we seek to earn our daily bread? The Savior's Golden Rule says we are. Satan says we are not.
Tempted of Satan, some have followed the example of Cain. They covet property and then sin to obtain it. The sin may be murder, robbery, or theft. It may be fraud or deception. It may even be some clever but legal manipulation of facts or influence to take unfair advantage of another. Always the excuse is the same: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Those who follow the example of Cain fulfill a Book of Mormon prophecy. Seeing our day, Nephi prophesied that many would say, "Lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this" (2 Ne. 28:8).
We live in a world where many look on the marketplace as a ruthless arena where the buyer must beware, where no one is obligated to do more than the law requires, and where fraud isn't fraud unless you can prove it in court.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ have a higher standard. President Harold B. Lee said, "The standard ... in the Church must be visibly higher than the standard ... in the world" (Ye Are the Light of the World, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 13). We are commanded to live the Golden Rule. ("Brother's Keeper," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 20)
Gen 4:11-12 now art thou cursed...a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth
"The curse upon Cain was two-fold. First of all, the earth was not to yield her strength unto the efforts of Cain's tilling of it. It is implied in the two previous verses that this was because of the blood of Abel being absorbed by it. It is further suggested in a subsequent chapter of Moses that this part of the curse also included a loss of the priesthood (Moses 7:8). This is further attested to in [Moses 7:22] and Abr. 1:21-27. The full significance of this will undoubtedly be made known at a future time. The second part of Cain's curse was that he would be "a fugitive and a vagabond . . . in the earth" (Moses 5:37). The following story, though raising some puzzling questions, perhaps demonstrates the literalness and continuance of this aspect of the curse. The account is a reconstruction by Abraham O. Smoot of the words of Elder David W. Patten, a member of the first Quorum of the Twelve in this dispensation, relating an event that occurred in 1836.
"As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. He walked along beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight.
"The response by Cain to his being cursed is not given fully in Genesis. The account in the Book of Moses is much more complete and verifies some of the incidents relative to Cain's rebellion discussed earlier in this chapter. (Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2: The Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Randall Book, 1985], 106.)
The above story is problematic. The reader should be familiar with this story because it is part of church history. The story suggests that like John the Beloved and the three Nephites, Cain hasn't died. Instead of a blessed state of translation, he wanders about as a vagabond in a cursed state, seeking death, but he is unable to die. What is problematic with this doctrine? We are left to wonder what happened to Cain during the flood. Was he kept with the animals in the ark?
Neal A. Maxwell
Cain slew Abel and then gloried and boasted, "I am free." Free? Yes, free to be "a fugitive and a vagabond" in the desert he had made of his own life. (Meek and Lowly [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 96.)
Gen 4:14 every one that findeth me shall slay me
Ironic it is that Cain was worried about being murdered. He didn't worry too much about Abel being murdered, but his selfish concern is for his own life. He now must suffer the psychological effects of being a murderer and an outcast. "The severest punishment upon a guilty conscience is a continual torment in the flesh without satisfying the demands of justice." (The Carthage Assassins., Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, vol. 6 (June 1845-December 1845), No. 3. July 15, 1845. Vol. Vi. 41.)
Hugh Nibley
He has become an outlaw now. He has taken life, and he can't claim the law's protection because he not only has broken it, but he has taken it into his own hands and taken life on his own. The first rule the Lord gives, as it says in the Book of Ether, is that "God will not that man should shed blood, but has in all things forbidden it since the beginning of man." That's a general order that applies at all times. He has in all things forbidden it since the beginning of man. Cain has broken the rule now. "...and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that he that findeth me will slay me,..." That's the status of the outlaw in ancient and medieval societies. A person who was outlawed had no law to protect him, so anyone who found him was perfectly free to kill him. He had no protection. To whom could he flee? Who was his protector? He had no lord to champion him. He couldn't go to the courts because he was outlawed. He had not the protection of the king's highway or the three days' protection. He had nothing. So he said, anyone that finds me will be perfectly free to kill me because of my iniquities. He has a bad reputation. His name is known for evil now. Anywhere he goes he is going to be at great risk. What can he do? It's a terrible thing. "...for these things are not hid from the Lord."
But the Lord says to him, the fact that one person kills doesn't justify you in killing him. You do not correct the taking of life by the taking of life. This doesn't give anyone else the right to kill. So anyone who kills Cain will be avenged seven fold. Otherwise, people will start the rule of vendetta, and that never ends. Then you'll get northern Ireland, and you'll get the Philippines, or Lebanon. It's the Arabic rule of the raid, of the revenge. You get the Jukes and the Kallikacks, the feuding of Kentucky. And the famous border ballads in Percy's relics, the Douglases and the Percys. They feud for generations and generations, and when does it end? When they are both wiped out. That's your Book of Mormon theme. It ends the same way with the Jaredites and the Nephites, with extermination. This is the old Asiatic theme. It's a very old and very well established theme. So the Lord says this is not going to happen. You don't have a right to do that. (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe, 2)
Gen 4:15 the Lord set a mark upon Cain
Wilford Woodruff
What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. Today there are millions of the descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rests upon them. Though nearly six thousand years have passed and gone, this mark is visible to the whole human family. Yet the fool and the infidel say there is no God, and they ridicule the Bible.
The Lamanites, on this continent, suffered a similar experience. They went to war against the Nephites; they thirsted for blood, and they painted themselves red; and the Lord put a curse of redness upon them. Hundreds of years have passed since then, but wherever you meet the Lamanites today, you see that mark upon them. (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 1, April 7, 1889)
Hugh Nibley
The mark on Cain is for his protection, and as a warning to all the rest of us-hands off! If Cain must be punished, God does not solicit our services for the job. (Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1992], 537 - 538)
Sterling W. Sill
Cain put ugliness into his soul when he became anti-obedience and allowed anger, rebelliousness, and murder to get possession of his life. Then he covenanted to serve Satan. Because of Cain's ugliness God said to him, "And now art thou cursed . . ." (Gen. 4:11.) "Then the Lord set a mark upon Cain. . ." (Gen. 4:15.)
Some kind of a mark is set upon everyone who does wrong. Abraham Lincoln once had to appoint a postmaster and was considering a candidate who was strongly recommended by a prominent senator. When Lincoln refused to make the appointment, the senator asked him why. Lincoln said, "I don't like his face." The senator replied. "You can't hold the poor man responsible for his face." But the President said, "Every man is responsible for his face." When one becomes insanely angry, a wild display of ugliness immediately shows up in his face. And when the anger passes, his face never fully recovers from its distortion. Each time the evil is repeated, the distortion is increased. Ugliness is the mark that God puts on sin. When one is extremely happy a twinkle comes into his eye, and radiance appears in his face.
In the book of Revelation, the Lord tells about putting his own mark on all of those who serve him. (Rev. 20:4.) All of the blessed are beautiful. Some of the marks that God sets on virtue are a clear eye, a steady hand, an erect stature, a clear conscience, and a lighted countenance. We also recognize the ugly marks of sin in the bloated body, the bloodshot eyes, the unsteady legs, and the addled brain of an alcoholic. Nicotine addiction leaves its mark in stained fingers, foul breath, polluted air, hardened arteries, and cancerous lungs. The sins of the fathers are also visited upon the children, and the ugly marks of dope addiction frequently appear even in the deformed bodies and minds of unborn children. Just as no one can imagine our Heavenly Father as ugly, so no one can imagine Satan as beautiful. And like God and Satan, each one of us is fashioning himself by what he does. (That Ye Might Have Life [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 280-281.)
Gen 4:16 Cain... dwelt in the land of Nod
Hugh Nibley
Nod means to move back and forth. Nud is the same word in Hebrew. What do you do when you move back and forth? Well, you migrate. You are a people that have no settled position. The migrants and nomads of central Asia tour and follow the grass with the seasons. They are always on the march. Or the Arabs with their camels. These nomadic peoples live in the land of Nod, which means migrating or nomadism. The basic meaning is not to stay in one position, but to go this way, then this way, and then this way. In summer you go up to the summer pasture. In winter you go down to the winter pasture. So he went to the land of Nod east of Eden, and that's where they are going to live for the rest of their days. (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe, 2 .)
Gen 4:17 Cain builded a city, and called [it] after the name of his son, Enoch
Cain built a city of Enoch. It was not a righteous city. His son Enoch was not a righteous man. This city and this Enoch are not to be confused with righteous Enoch and holy city of Enoch referred to in Gen. 5:21-27 and Moses 7:19.
Gen 4:19-24 Lamech
This is a wicked Lamech. Just as there was a wicked Enoch (Gen 4:17) and a righteous Enoch (Gen 5:22); there was a wicked Lamech (Gen 4:19-24) and a righteous Lamech (Gen 5:25-31). This can be confusing. The father of the wicked Lamech was named Methusael. The father of the righteous Lamech was named Methuselah.
The wicked Lamech was so wicked that he boasted a greater curse than Cain. The righteous Lamech was so righteous his priesthood was compared to Enoch's, "The next great, grand Patriarch [after Enoch] who held the keys of the Priesthood was Lamech." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 171) Righteous Lamech passed this patriarchal priesthood on to his son Noah-the righteous Noah-not the wicked one (Mosiah 11:1).
Gen 4:23-24 Biblical Parallelism
"Although the repetition of sounds and acrostic (related to the Hebrew alphabet) forms do not translate well into English, the most important type of repetition in Hebrew poetry does translate well: synonymous parallelism. This poetic pattern involves a balance of thought, in which the second line repeats the idea expressed in the first, often with some sort of variation. A good illustration is the song of Lamech found in Genesis 4:23-24:
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.
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
"Lamech did not have wives in addition to Adah and Zillah, and he did not kill two men, as one who did not recognize the parallelism might assume. The 'wives of Lamech' are Adah and Zillah; the 'man' and the 'young man' are the same." (Kevin L. Barney, "Understanding Old Testament Poetry," Ensign, June 1990, 52)
Gen 4:23 hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech... for I have slain a man
"Like his fathers before him, going back to Cain, Lamech entered into an evil covenant and also became known as "Master Mahan." He killed Irad, his great-grandfather, and then bragged to his wives of his deed, saying that if Satan had rewarded Cain seven fold, Satan could reward him seventy and sevenfold.
"But unlike Cain's wife, Lamech's wives would have no part of their husband's evil. They rebelled against him and told 'abroad' what he had said. His secret made known, Lamech found himself cast out and in fear of being killed himself. Then, the scriptures say, 'among the daughters of men these things [the secret combinations] were not spoken because that Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad.' ("Moses 5:53Moses 5:53.)
"The Bible ends the story with Lamech bragging to Adah and Zillah. The Pearl of Great Price goes on to describe the choice these women made to expose that evil, and thus offers a far more inspiring story." (Our Sisters in the Latter-day Scriptures [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 131)
Gen 4:24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold
An insertion from the book of Moses is due:
For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam;
Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oath's sake.
For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.
Wherefore the Lord cursed Lamech, and his house, and all them that had covenanted with Satan; for they kept not the commandments of God, and it displeased God, and he ministered not unto them, and their works were abominations, and began to spread among all the sons of men. And it was among the sons of men.
And among the daughters of men these things were not spoken, because that Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion;
Wherefore Lamech was despised, and cast out, and came not among the sons of men, lest he should die.
And thus the works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men.
And God cursed the earth with a sore curse, and was angry with the wicked, with all the sons of men whom he had made;
For they would not hearken unto his voice, nor believe on his Only Begotten Son, even him whom he declared should come in the meridian of time, who was prepared from before the foundation of the world. (Moses 5:49-57)
Moroni recognized these secret combinations among the Jaredites, the Nephites, and the latter-day Gentiles. In the tradition of these wicked oath takers, Cain and Lamech reign supreme. He tells of the institution of the combinations among the Jaredites made possible by an ancient record of their wicked oaths.
Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory?
...And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning.
And they were kept up by the power of the devil to administer these oaths unto the people, to keep them in darkness, to help such as sought power to gain power, and to murder, and to plunder, and to lie, and to commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.
And it was the daughter of Jared who put it into his heart to search up these things of old; and Jared put it into the heart of Akish; wherefore, Akish administered it unto his kindred and friends, leading them away by fair promises to do whatsoever thing he desired.
And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;
For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man. (Ether 8:9, 15-19)
Ezra Taft Benson
Moroni seemed greatly exercised lest in our day we might not be able to recognize the startling fact that the same secret societies which destroyed the Jaredites and decimated numerous kingdoms of both Nephites and Lamanites would be precisely the same form of criminal conspiracy which would rise up among the gentile nations in this day. (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 349.)
Gen 4:26 then began men to call upon the name of the Lord
The text implies that man did not begin to call upon God until the birth of Seth's son Enos. However, Cain and Abel had already offered sacrifice. Biblical scholars recognized this inconsistency stating, "This inconsistency is the result of the redactional (meaning "editorial, revisional") activity of Rp (a biblical scribe)". (The Interpreter's Bible, ed. by G. A. Buttrick et al [New York, Abingdon Press, 1952] vol. 1, p. 516)
The book of Moses tells us that as soon as Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden, they began to call upon the Lord.
And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord...
And thus the Gospel began to be preached from the beginning, being declared by holy angels...(Moses 5:4-5, 58)
Joseph Smith's inspired work would correct the text as follows, "then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord." (Moses 6:4, emphasis added)