Lamech: How Man Views His Own Sin

Man’s inclination is to compare his own behavior with that of others. We can all find an example of someone who has done far worse things than we have…yet the only standard that matters at all is the perfect standard of God.

"And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah." (Genesis 4:19)
“Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah.”  (Genesis 4:19)

There are several things that we can learn about Lamech’s attitude toward sin in general, and his own sin specifically. Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, people still maintain these attitudes toward their sinfulness:

Failure To Recognize Sin

“There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”(Proverbs 14:12)

First and foremost, people are reluctant or unable to identify the sin in their own life. Genesis 4:19 tells us that Lamech married two wives. This was a direct infraction against what God had decreed to Adam saying, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24). Yet we see no recognition on Lamech’s part that he has done anything wrong.

Pride And Self-Importance

“And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech…” (Genesis 4:23a KJV)

While we can really only speculate, it would seem from what Lamech says here that he definitely considered himself the ruler of that “roost”, so to speak. It is unlikely that Lamech ever showed love or respect for either of his wives, but maintained this attitude whenever he dealt with them. “Listen to what I have to say, hear me speak!” A cavalier attitude toward sin demonstrates a lack of respect and reverence for God. Those without any reverence for God usually lack any real concern or respect for others, either. They are only concerned about themselves.

Revelry In Their Sin

“Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
The steadfast love of God endures all the day.” (Psalm 52:1 ESV)

When Lamech tells his wives that he has killed a young man (Genesis 4:23), his language is almost poetic; it’s as if he is singing a song about a heroic deed that he has performed! Shame and guilt over sin comes only by the convicting power of God’s Spirit; apart from Him, people rejoice and are proud of their wicked behavior. Look around us today at how many people are glorying in abominable sinfulness that they should be ashamed of.


“…For I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.” (Genesis 4:23b KJV)

We are not given any details about this incident except what Lamech himself says about it. Was he truly justified in killing the other man? Was it self-defense as he is claiming? We really do not know, but it is highly suspicious to say the least, based on what we do know about Lamech. Like so many criminals in courtrooms around the world: in his own eyes, Lamech felt completely justified and blameless for the blood that he had spilled. People have the tendency to come up with any and every possible excuse, explanation, and alibi imaginable when it comes to their own sins. When it comes to others, however, they are quick to point a finger. Which brings us to the next point:

Comparing Themselves With Others

“If Cain is avenged…” (Genesis 4:24)

Man’s inclination is to compare his own behavior with that of others. We can all find an example of someone who has done far worse things than we have. The liar can point an accusing finger at the thief, who can point his finger at the adulterer, who can compare himself to the murderer, who feels satisfied that at least he is not so bad as the mass murderer, who can say that at least he is not so depraved as the wicked tyrant who has the blood of millions on their hands. People use this type of reasoning all the time, comparing themselves one to another, yet the only standard that matters at all is the perfect standard of God. Not one of us can live up to the perfect sinlessness that Jesus Christ maintained, and He is the only One that we are compared with. We have all fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

Disregard For God’s Judgment

“If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” (Genesis 4:24)

Lamech’s arrogance and pride are vividly shown in his statement here: “If God withheld maximum judgment from Cain, then surely He will not judge me!”

Lamech is boasting to his wives that they have absolutely nothing to fear from the God of Heaven. Since Cain’s life was spared after he brutally murdered his brother, then Lamech assumed his own life would be that much safer since his actions were not nearly as despicable as Cain’s (at least in his own eyes). What a dangerous practice it is to assume that judgment delayed is judgment withheld! David encourages us to “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2 KJV).

Yet the wicked look at others and assume that since the outward manifestations of God’s judgments are not readily apparent in their lives, then they themselves are safe to do the same things. What a tragic mistake it is to think this way. Cain was judged for his sin, in this life and in the next. So was Lamech. Those who do not put their trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins can be certain, though they may have not experienced God’s judgment yet, they certainly will.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,


[This post was originally published September 27,  2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission

.*English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

3 thoughts on “Lamech: How Man Views His Own Sin”

  1. I think you identified sin and man’s reaction exactly. Man compares his sin to another and tells himself it’s not so bad. I was talking to someone recently (a Christian) in my personal life and what he said to me fits into this blog discussion. He said “well, that’s just human nature” in trying to justify a behavior that was not Christ-like.

    Good post.


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