4:24 If Cain is to be avenged seven times as much,
then Lamech seventy-seven times!” 1
1 sn Seventy-seven times. Lamech seems to reason this way: If Cain, a murderer, is to be avenged seven times (see v. 15), then how much more one who has been unjustly wronged! Lamech misses the point of God’s merciful treatment of Cain. God was not establishing a principle of justice when he warned he would avenge Cain’s murder. In fact he was trying to limit the shedding of blood, something Lamech wants to multiply instead. The use of “seventy-seven,” a multiple of seven, is hyperbolic, emphasizing the extreme severity of the vengeance envisioned by Lamech.
2 tn Heb “knew,” a frequent euphemism for sexual relations.
3 sn The name Seth probably means something like “placed”; “appointed”; “set”; “granted,” assuming it is actually related to the verb that is used in the sentiment. At any rate, the name שֵׁת (shet) and the verb שָׁת (shat, “to place, to appoint, to set, to grant”) form a wordplay (paronomasia).
4 tn Heb “offspring.”