In a recent post, as well as an earlier post, there was some discussion about the “Rule of First Mention,” although this “Rule” was not explicitly named. On a recent Sunday, after the evening worship service, the author of this post had a discussion with the Pastor about polygamy. The Pastor said that he believes in the “Rule” (as the “Rule of First Mention” will be called in the remainder of this post), and therefore, because God created only one wife for Adam, monogamy-only is what He intends to be the ideal marriage pattern for all men after Adam. (This author is not quoting the Pastor verbatim, but is distilling his words to capture the substance of his argument.)
Let’s explore the “Rule” and see if we can discover some things that are outside of God’s perfect will for us. Already mentioned in the two previous posts linked to in the first paragraph were gardening as God’s ideal occupation for man, animal skins as God’s ideal clothing for mankind to wear, and Adam having only one wife. In this post, we will look at the ungodly line of Cain to see what we should avoid.
And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. (20) And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. (21) And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. (22) And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. (Gen 4:19-22)1
The most-used “Rule” in this passage is the fact that polygamy is first mentioned in connection with an evil man, Lamech. Therefore, according to the “Rule,” polygamy is evil.
Also mentioned in connection with Lamech, and totally ignored by the monogamy-only advocates, are four very specific things. It was the son of Lamech, Jabal, who is the first person mentioned to ever live in a tent. Jabal is also the first person mentioned to have cattle. Jabal’s brother, Jubal, is the first person mentioned in Scripture to play the harp and the organ (actually, any type of musical instrument). Their half-brother, Tubalcain, is the first-mentioned metal worker. Therefore, according to the “Rule,” all four of these activities are evil, because they are first mentioned in connection with Lamech.
“But,” you might say, “perhaps Jabal, Jubal, and Tubalcain were not evil, as was their father, Lamech, and their ancestor, Cain.” Not so, because Genesis 4, with the exception of 4:25-26, is the account of evil and how it became so widespread by the time of Noah (see 6:1-8) that God had to destroy all mankind except for Noah and his immediate family from the face of the Earth (see Gen. 6-9). If one or more of Lamech’s sons were not wicked, that would stand out like a candle in a dark room, and would therefore be explicitly stated, just as is Noah’s obedience to God’s commands in that very spiritually-dark time.
A better objection to the four mentioned activities being evil because of the “Rule” would be if God specifically allows those activities later in His Inspired, Inerrant, Infallible Word. Stay tuned for the next post, which will address exactly that.
1 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the King James Version.