New English Translation
22 Now Zillah also gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who heated metal and shaped[a] all kinds of tools made of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah, listen to me!
You wives of Lamech, hear my words!
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man[b] for hurting me.
24 If Cain is to be avenged seven times as much,
then Lamech seventy-seven times!”[c]
- Genesis 4:22 tn The traditional rendering here, “who forged” (or “a forger of”) is now more commonly associated with counterfeit or fraud (e.g., “forged copies” or “forged checks”) than with the forging of metal. The phrase “heated metal and shaped [it]” has been used in the translation instead.
- Genesis 4:23 tn The Hebrew term יֶלֶד (yeled) probably refers to a youthful warrior here, not a child.
- Genesis 4:24 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.