Lamech and First Mention…Again

The Law of First Mention is a method of hermeneutics in which the student interprets all scriptural references to a givenconcept primarily in light of its very first mention. This is a very subjective method of Biblical interpretation, and a very dangerous one, because it quickly breaks down into nonsense. While it is often asserted that polygyny must be wrong, because the first polygynist was a murderer, we could as easily assert that polygyny must be right, because it led to the invention of all wind and string instruments. (See Genesis 4:21.) In fact, the sequence of the narrative would render our case even stronger than the former: Moses told of Lamech’s polygyny, then of his descendants’ inventions, and only then does he tell of Lamech killing another man. The absurdity of this train of logic is evident, but many people have no difficulty using the same method to declare all forms of polygamy to be perversions on the basis of Lamech.

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One Response to Lamech and First Mention…Again

  1. Guest says:

    And as we’ve discussed as well, Jay, those who point to Adam as the model for marriage, and thus the “first monogamist”, generally fail to note that it was by means of this particular “first mention of monogamy” that sin entered the world.

    Perhaps it simply means that there are other lessons to be learned from these examples than extrapolation about marriages…

    – Mark Call

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