6 Jan. Genesis 4:17-26

6 Jan. Who built the earliest city in Mesopotamia?

"At that time Cain was building a city, which he named after his son Enoch."

"Enoch had a son named Irad, Irad had a son named Mehujael, Mehujael had a son named Methushael and Methushael had a son named Lamech."

"Lamech married two women, Adah and Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal, who became the first person to live in tents and raise cattle. Jabal's brother was Jubal, the first person to play the harp and flute."

"Zillah gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who made tools out of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah…"

"Adam had sexual relations with his wife Eve again, and she gave birth to a son. She named him Seth and said, 'God has given me another child. He will take the place of Abel, who was killed by Cain.' Seth also had a son, and they named him Enosh."

"At that time people began to pray to the LORD."

          (Genesis 4:17-26)

 

 

Many people who set out to read all the way through the Old Testament struggle when they reach the lists of ancestral families set out in the genealogies of Genesis chapters 4 & 5.

Some people believe these genealogies are literally true. But this raises interesting questions. How and why would Cain (the only surviving son of the first man and woman according to Genesis) - build a 'city' (a settlement for hundreds of people)?

Many others believe that the family names listed in Genesis represent thousands of years of ancestral history, and the names convey truths about how mankind developed over many centuries. 'Enoch', for example, means a 'founder' in Hebrew, and his name may indicate that it was Cain's and Enoch's descendants who built the first substantial settlements in Mesopotamia.

The first city known by archaeologists to exist in Mesopotamia was Eridu. Following the Biblical account, the first Mesopotamian city may therefore have been called Eridu after Enoch’s son Irad (see Genesis 4:18).

In Sumerian, it was known as ‘Nun-ki’ meaning ‘the mighty city’ (a name later transferred to the ‘mighty city’ of Babylon). It was built on an island of slightly higher land situated among the low-lying marshlands at the mouth of the River Euphrates near Basra in modern-day Iraq.

Here, archaeologists have discovered remains of houses built using the ubiquitous reeds found all over this swampy delta. They have also uncovered fragments of bitumen-covered reed boats used by these early people (similar to those still used by the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq).

Over the years, the sandy island was slowly extended by building out over mats of berdi reeds laid at the water’s edge, and the surrounding swamplands were gradually drained. In time, the city grew to house a holy shrine and a controversial temple – the first Tower of Babylon (see Genesis 11:1-9).

The photo (by Ltybcc1) shows the remains of Eridu, the first known city in Iraq.

You can read more about the ancestral dynasties of Genesis Chapter 5 @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/23-the-journeys-of-adam-enoch-noah-abraham/enoch-founds-a-city-in-mesopotamia/


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