“To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.” – Genesis 4:26 ESV
In Genesis 4:26 we are told that men began to call upon the name of the Lord, but what does that mean?
Murray’s interpretation of Genesis 4:26 is insightful – he asserts that at this time men began to blaspheme God and take God’s name in vain. Murray’s premise on Genesis 4:26 derives from Bullinger who as we know teaches the Genesis 6 hybrid doctrine. In a moment we will look at his appendix on this.
A correct understanding of this passage will reveal who the “Sons of God” were.
The sons of God were a tribe, they were primarily the sons of Enos but more specifically they were an antediluvian covenant people who began to intermarry with non-believers. This is a famous motif in Moses writings.
These men who called upon the name of the Lord were the “Sons of God”. They subsequently began to fall into apostasy and the flood resulted.
As a parallel in the New Testament believers are warned NOT to marry unbelievers…
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2nd Corinthians 6:14
This would apply in many ways but specifically in marriage. Perhaps Jesus warning in Matthew 24:37-38 is referring to this very type of apostasy…
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,”
The apostasy that precedes Christ return will feature this same sort of sin that happened in Noah’s day and it has nothing to do with angels and women having sex and siring devil babies…
Do you see how absurd that is? To assert that it to completely miss the essence of Jesus warning.
Jesus isn’t referring to angels and women intermarrying here because if He wanted to clarify the issue he could have right here in one or two words. No, we are talking about marriage in the simple sense and somehow the apostasy was the result of it.
Enoch was a “Son of God”. Noah and his sons, were the “sons of God”. Luke calls Adam a “son of God”. But especially Noah as we find that he was the main person who did not fall into the prevailing apostasy at the time. That is why he was “perfect”. Has nothing to do with genetics.
Keep in mind the Torah was for the Israelites and was given to them AS they were entering into the promised land where they would have to abstain from intermarriage or cease to exist.
Genesis 6 was an object lesson from Moses to the Israelites to abstain from intermarriage with the godless pagan nations whom they were about to be in contact with.
Bullinger’s View on Genesis 4:26
Here’s what Bullinger has to say in Appendix 21 about the meaning of this phrase…
ENOS. (GENESIS 4:26.) – “CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.”
“Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.” If this refers to Divine worship it is not true: for Abel and Cain both began, and their descendants doubtless followed their example.
What was really begun was the profanation of the Name of Jehovah. They began to call something by the Name of Jehovah. The Authorized Version suggests “themselves”, in the margin. But the majority of the ancient Jewish commentators supply the Ellipsis by the words “their gods”; suggesting that they called the stars and idols their gods, and worshipped them.
The Targum of Onkelos explains it: “then in his days the sons of men desisted from praying in the Name of the Lord.”
The Targum of Jonathan says: “That was the generation in whose days they began to err, and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the Name of the Word of the Lord.”
Kimchi, Rashi, and other ancient Jewish commentators agree with this. Rashi says: “Then was there profanation in calling on the Name of the Lord.”
Jerome says that this was the opinion of many Jews in his days.
Maimonides, in his Commentary on the Mishna (a constituent part of the Talmud), A.D. 1168, in a long treatise on idolatry, gives the most probable account of the origin of idolatry in the days of Enos.
The name Enos agrees with this; for his name means frail, weak, sickly, incurable. The sons of men, as “Enosh”, are so called for a similar reason (Job 7:17; 15:14. Psalm 9:20; 103:15. Daniel 2:43). See Appendix 14.
If Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, became the first idolatrous priest in Israel (see notes on Judges 18:30), what wonder that Enos, the grandson of Adam, introduced idolatry among mankind.
Moreover, what “ungodliness” did Enoch, “the seventh from Adam” have to prophesy about in Jude 14, 15, if purity of worship was begun in the days of Enos, instead of profanation in calling on the Name of the Lord?
Surely this is sufficient evidence that this profanation of the Name of the Lord was the reason why Enoch was raised up to prophesy against it.
It would seem to me that idolatry began at the fall – it is speculation to pin the blame for the origin of idolatry on Enos. Enos came from a line of godly pre-flood patriarchs. It would be much more appropriate to assign the origin of idolatry to Cain and his descendants.
I acknowledge how some commentators have viewed this passage but if we are to resort to that then my first question would be, how have other commentators understood this passage?
The Septuagint translators didn’t view this passage that way.
This view of Genesis 4:26 would be the natural interpretation for those who accept the hybrid theory of Genesis 6 as the one I suggested would end all dispute about who the “sons of God” were.
The transliteration of Enos name lends nothing to the argument. There are much better transliterations than what Bullinger gives us.
Bullinger citing a passage from the pseudipigraphal book of Enoch (Jude is citing Enoch) does nothing to strengthen his argument either, it rather reveals the origin of his bias in this regard.
There are several good interpretations of what “calling upon the name of the Lord” could refer to but my position is that this is what distinguished the “Sons of God”…
From the LXX:
“And to Seth, to him also was born a son, and he called his name, Enos. This one hoped, therefore he called to himself the name of the Lord God.”
The KJV agrees with this translation.
Enos far from being the first idolater, hoped in the promise of God, the seed to come.
Lastly, consider this passage:
Deut 28:9-10 NKJV
9 “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.
10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.”
Moses using the same idea of a covenant people as in Genesis… the covenant people in those days were destroyed.