The name Lamech in the Bible
There are two Lamechs mentioned in the Bible:
- The last mentioned father in the line of Cain (Genesis 4:18). This Lamech has two wives: Adah, the mother of Jabal the arch-tent-dweller and Jubal the arch-musician, and Zillah, the mother of Tubal-cain the smith and his sister Naamah. This Lamech boasts that if Cain is avenged sevenfold, he would be avenged seventy-sevenfold (Genesis 24). Something precisely opposite is preached by Jesus when he instructs Peter to forgive his hypothetic offending brother not seven times but seventy-times-seven times (Matthew 18:22).
- The father of Noah, the grandfather of Shem, Ham and Japheth. And since this Lamech is an ancestor of Christ, he is mentioned in the Lucan genealogy (spelled Λαμεχ; Luke 3:36).
Etymology and meaning of the name Lamech
The word למך (lmk) does not occur in Hebrew, so we are left to guess at its meaning. BDB remains silent on he subject, but both Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and NOBSE Study Bible Name List suggest relations to a Semitic root that doesn't occur in the Biblical narrative but which also exists in Arabic, meaning strong and robust young man. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Powerful; NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Wild Man.
To a creative audience, the name Lamech may also be seen as constructed of the particle ל (le), meaning to or towards:
and the verb מוך (muk), be low, depressed:
The whole name would thus mean For Lowering; For Humiliation.
The Chaotic Set Theory suggests that in Noah the human-animal mental symmetry broke. The standing of man meant a disparity in posture; all other living beings now being low.