One of the Christmas gifts I received from my parents was a Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. The sheer volume of study notes is a bit overwhelming, and frankly, Dake is a raving dispensationalist, which amuses me more than it inspires me. Still, from time to time, he brings in an insight that is both novel and enlightening. This morning, for example, I was reading Genesis 4:26, which in the King James Version says, “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.”
I have usually heard contrasts made between the line of Cain and the line of Seth, one being wicked and the other godly. But Dake points out that both lines were full of wickedness–so much so that Enoch and Noah have to be pointed out as exceptions to the rule. I think the misunderstanding has sprung from the phrase: “then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” Of course, Adam, Eve and Abel had all called upon Yahweh prior to this time, so the phrase must mean something other than its apparent denotation. Dake suggests that it could be translated as “then men began to call themselves by the name of Jehovah” or “call upon their gods by the name of Jehovah.” Rather than this being a new era of godliness, it was the beginning of idolatry.