PART IV: “Foul Play and Civilization”
Adam found loving intimacy with Chavah, his marital consort. Soon, a son was born. Naming him Cain, Chavah said (by way of word-play): “I did gain (‘qaniti’) a son by God’s Will.” Again a son, Abil (naming him, you might say, to signify “spiration”), was born to Chavah, a sibling for Cain. (“Abil” – On this orthographic variant, as in Iolu Abil, Vanua’aku party politician of Vanuatu, ruling that Pacific island nation from 2009 to 2014.)
Abil found work watching flocks; but Cain would till soil, as did Adam. Soon, Cain brought a sacrificial gift of fruit to God (Cain had grown this fruit through his own laborious tilling of soil). Abil, for his part, brought God luscious, high quality firstlings from his flocks. Abil and his sacrificial gifts found favor with God; not so Cain and his gift. Cain was angry and hurt: downright downcast. Cryptically, God said to Cain: “Why do you act so angry, so hurt and downcast? If you just do what is right and good, you will find uplift. But if you do not do right, sin lurks not far off, as if waiting in your own doorway. Sin longs… it virtually lusts for you, but you can withstand its alluring pull, its attraction.”
Just as cryptically, Cain said but a word or two to Abil. Whilst out on a grassy knoll (thus, in a way, anticipating a tragic Autumn day in 1963 Dallas, TX), Cain struck Abil down with a fatal, fratricidal blow. God said to Cain: “What of Abil, your sibling?” Boldly, Cain said: “How would I know? Am I a watchman for all humanity?” God said: “What did you do?! Your victim’s blood calls out to his Lord to do what is just! Now, calumny is your lot… surpassing in filth this soil you till! This ground, which has drunk in blood spilt by your own hand! Till on, but you will not again find soil so complicit in your (agrarian or homicidal) plotting. Your portion? That of a lowly vagrant, lost throughout this (now sad, dark) world.”
Cain said to God: “My lot is so harsh” (ambiguous locution, implying also, “My sin is too much of an onus to carry”)! As a lost vagrant, a villainous migrant by Your own hand, I am without land and, alas, without You! I, too, shall fall victim to foul play, wantonly slain by assassins, criminals, hoodlums!” God said to him: “I vow to punish, to pay back many-fold all who would kill Cain.” So God put a mark, a sign of warning on Cain, so that nobody would kill him. Thus, Cain quit God’s company, moving to a land known as Nod, not far from Adam’s halcyon, natal land.
Cain found loving intimacy with his (to us anonymous) marital consort; soon a son, Chanoch, was born. Cain was also first to found a city, calling it Chanoch, in honor of his son. To Chanoch was born Irad; and to Irad, Machuyail. To Machuyail was born Matusail; and to Matusail, Lamach (which sounds, fittingly, akin to “lummox”…but may signify “mighty youth” if sharing Arabic linguistic origins). Lamach took two marital consorts, Adah and Zillah. To Adah was born Yaval, patriarch and primordial paradigm to all who inhabit canvas housing, living amidst flocks. Yuval, Yaval’s sibling, was, similarly, prototypical patriarch to all string and wood-wind musicians (guitarists – folk, rock, and classical; violin virtuosi Niccolo Paganini, Antonio Vivaldi, and David Oistrakh; all bassoonists and harpists; banjo, oud, olifant and duduk aficionados). And to Zilla was born Tuval-Cain, first to mold tools of iron and brass. In addition to Tuval-Cain, a girl, Naamah, was born to Zillah.
And Lamach said to his two marital consorts: “Adah and Zillah, Hark! This I say to you: O consorts of Lamach, hang on my words. Your husband did kill a man for harming him; and a boy for but bruising him! If God is to pay back Cain’s assassins many-fold, do so for Lamach many, many, many-fold!!”
Adam again found loving intimacy with his marital consort, to whom was born a third son. Naming him Shayt, Chavah said in witty word-play: God is providing (‘shaht’) offspring; I so miss Abil,” whom Cain had slain. To Shayt, in turn, a son, Inosh (signifying “mortal man” or “fully human”) was born. Humanity was soon to turn to God, calling upon Him cognominally.