🔼The name Tubal-cain: Summary
- World-Spear, World Government
- From (1) the noun תבל (tebel), the whole world-economy, and (2) the noun גין (qyn), spear, the symbol of government, from the verb גין (qyn), to fabricate.
🔼The name Tubal-cain in the Bible
The name Tubal-cain occurs only once in the Bible. He is one of three sons of Lamech the First (Genesis 4:22). His mother's name is Zillah and his sister's name is Naamah. His two half brothers are Jabal and Jubal. Their mother is called Adah.
The author of this story informs us that Jabal and Jubal are the "fathers" of all those who live in tents and have livestock, and those who play the lyre and pipe. To Tubal-cain, however, no patriarchy is ascribed. Instead the author says that Tubal-cain was "the forger of all implements of bronze and iron". This appears to indicate that the author figured that whoever lives in tents, keeps livestock of is a musician is an autonomous "son" of Jabal or Jubal, while whoever forges implements of bronze or metal is Tubal-cain himself.
The enigmatic nature of this paragraph continues when we realize that the patriarchies of Jabal and Jubal as well as the forging of metals were initiated in the godless era before the flood and by the godless lineage of Cain, and that they somehow survived the flood. Tubal-cain, after all, is the forger of all implements of bronze and iron, and although a very sporadic use of iron goes back to as far as 3000 BC, the iron age didn't commence until 1200 BC. And that is roughly half-way the book of Judges.
Note that our name occurs only in Genesis 4:22, where it is spelled once with a maqqep and once without (תובל קין).
🔼Etymology of the name Tubal-cain
The name Tubal-cain consists of two elements, the first one being identical to the name Tubal and the second being identical to the name Cain.
The name Tubal comes from the fertile verb יבל (yabal), meaning to carry or bring along, and note that the names of Tubal-cain's brothers, Jabal and Jubal, were derived from this same verb:
The verb בלל (balal) means to mix something with oil, usually flour products, usually as ritualistic food preparation. The emphasis of this verb lies on saturation and overflowing: to fill something with oil until it can absorb no more and begins to reject an excess of oil. Noun בליל (belil) describes a very rich mix for animals to eat. Noun שבלול (shabbelul) describes a snail, or an animal that looks saturated with oil. Nouns תבל (tebel) describes sexually incompatible partners, and noun תבלל (teballul) tells of insoluble material that obstructs a person's eye.
The verb יבל (yabal) speaks mostly of a flowing along some course, which of course requires the bottom of the course to be saturated and reject any further absorption. Noun יבל (yabal) means water course or conduit, noun יובל (yubal) means stream and noun אובל ('ubal) means stream or river. Adjective יבל (yabbal) means suppurating (discharging pus from a wound). Noun יבול (yebul) denotes produce from the soil and noun בול (bul) means produce or outgrowth. Noun יובל (yobel) or יבל (yobel) describes "a carrier" or "a producer" or "something that drives a flow" (e.g. a trumpet, or the principle of Jubilee). Noun תבל (tebel) refers to the whole world-economy.
Verb אבל ('abel) is like the previous ones in that it describes a drive of liquid or semi-liquid elements along some collective course. It's often used to describe a collective mourning, which either happened in a procession or else contagious enough to drag others along. Nouns אבל ('ebel) and אבל ('abel) both mean mourning, but the latter is also the word for actual water stream or brook. In cognate languages this verb is used to describe the driving of camels. There is even a sporadically used adverb אבל ('abal), which in older texts expresses solemn affirmation (verily, truly, yes indeed I'm totally going along with you there) but later texts appear to put somewhat of a breaking force on the momentum ("yes!... but").
The second part of our name is the same as Cain and has to do with the following root group:
The verb קנן (qanan) isn't used in the Bible but it appears to tell of the weaving of many strands into a dynamic and interlocked network. These strands may be reeds and twigs that a bird weaves into a nest, or it may be acts of trade and routes of commerce that together combine into a bustling economy. Noun קן (qen) means nest, and verb קנן (qinnen) means to make a nest.
Verb קנה (qana) means to obtain, i.e. to acquire or in some instances to create. It's the regular verb for a commercial purchase. Noun קנין (qinyan) describes an item acquired (or created). Noun מקנה (migneh) means cattle (as unit of commerce). Noun מקנה (miqna) means purchase or purchase-price. Noun קנה (qaneh) denotes some herb on a stalk, or any rod, reed, branch- or stalk-like item (in this sense, a plant "acquires" its branches).
The verb קין (qyn), which isn't used in the Bible, occurs in cognate language with the meaning of to fit together, fabricate or forge (often of metal things). In the Bible occurs only the noun קין (qayin), meaning spear. Note that our modern word "franchise" comes from a word that meant spear, and originally denoted a free man, i.e. one who had the authority to bear arms, own property and thus conduct trade. The earliest republican government of Rome was called curia, literally spear-bearers, and the link between bearing a spear or other such ceremonial weapon and a senatorial government (a government by tribal elders) appears to have been pretty much globally understood throughout history.
Noun קינה (qina) denotes a kind of sad poem; a dirge or lamentation, which both had to be fabricated and could, presumably, pierce a person's soul like a spear (which is an obvious Biblical figure of speech; see Luke 2:35). The denominative verb קונן (qonen) means to do a dirge, which could be either to chant or compose one.
The verb תקן (taqan) means to make or become straight.
For a meaning of the name Tubal-cain, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Tubal The Smith for Tubal-cain and does not offer a translation for the separate name Tubal. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Flowing Forth Of Cain for Tubal-cain.
Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the pre-flood story of generations forms a commentary on the most basic dynamic of human economy, with the evolution of formal government as the line of Cain, culminating in Global Government. Cain's competing line, of his brother Seth, is rather obviously the line of information technology, which in turn would suggest that Abel stands for intuition. Information technology started with the first primitive abstract symbols, the meaning of which was agreed upon by a wholly unprecedented level of convention. That convention lead to the evolution of the spoken word, which lead to writing and the development of the highly complex narrative technology that made it possible for the Word of God to assume human form.