Sunday, June 30, 2019

Tubalcain, teacher of corruption. No iron in Genesis 4: Technology part 3

There Was No Iron in the Preflood World. Technology part 3
Glenn R. Morton April 12, 2020

I am going to start this with a passage from Jeremiah 6:28

They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron ; they are all corrupters"
Why would Jeremiah equate corrupters to brass and iron? Obviously this is some sort of metaphor or euphemism. This was written at a time when iron was the top technological metal. The rules of what to do with iron were ‘ironed-out’ experimentally. At some point it was learned that mixing brass and iron together didn’t work and resulted in a corrupted product. Brass is mostly copper and it is the copper which is the problem. I could through up a phase diagram that few would understand or I can use some discussion boards on exactly this topic. Here are some of the answers metalurgists gave to a guy who wanted to use brass and iron in a game he was writing. These answers are easy to understand:

" If cu content is more then .4% it is considered as unwanted element and it will show cracks on surface after rolling or forging of steel ,"

Copper and iron are like oil and water, they won’t mix. Immiscible = unmixable. From an article.

" Moreover, a large undercooling tended to promote the coagulation of the separated droplets, so the size of the separated Fe-rich spheroids in the microstructure of the immiscible Cu–Fe alloys increased with the increase in the undercooling . Junting Zhang. Liquid phase separation in immiscible Cu–Fe alloys International Journal of Cast Metals Research Volume 31, 2018 - Issue 2

One can heat them to high temperatures and stir vigorously and unless you quench it immediately the copper will form lumps in the iron, ruining the product.

One metalurgist said: " You’d have distinct crystals of the copper-rich and iron-rich phases, the relative size of which are dependent on your alloying ratio ."
[Necro]Is an Iron/Copper alloy possible? (and useful?)

In other words, lumps of copper and lumps of iron somewhat glued together, but useful for nothing.

Phil McCurdy in a response to this on Biologos provided the most exquisite reason for this euphemism, brass and iron.  The two metals, when put in close contact (as would be the case with objects with lumps of copper inside an otherwise iron object) Phil pointed me to an article on the galvanic corrosion issues with iron and copper next to each other.

This article gives an example of what happens to the iron in contact with copper.

"In the 17th century,[vague] Samuel Pepys (then serving as Admiralty Secretary) agreed to the removal of lead sheathing from English Royal Navy vessels to prevent the mysterious disintegration of their rudder-irons and bolt-heads, though he confessed himself baffled as to the reason the lead caused the corrosion.[7]"

The problem recurred when vessels were sheathed in copper to reduce marine weed accumulation and protect against shipworm. In an experiment, the Royal Navy in 1761 had tried fitting the hull of the frigate HMS Alarm with 12-ounce copper plating. Upon her return from a voyage to the West Indies, it was found that although the copper remained in fine condition and had indeed deterred shipworm, it had also become detached from the wooden hull in many places because the iron nails used during its installation "were found dissolved into a kind of rusty Paste"

I started with this topic to show why Jeremiah used this euphemism for corrupters. It was a high tech euphemism of that day. This euphemism appears once more in Scripture, back in Genesis 4 and it says more about the time the account was written than it does about the technology those people had. Here I am letting the Bible itself interpret the Bible.

Genesis 4:22-24 says:

19And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle.
21And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe.
22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives:
Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:
For I have slain a man for wounding me,
And a young man for bruising me:
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfol d.(Genesis 4:22-24 ASV)

We will analyze this passage to show that it is easily possible to translate this in another way. So, the answer to Dick’s question lies in the power of the first person to translate a passage. But first the background. This is the last generation before the flood. Of this generation, the Bible says, “And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”(Gen. 6:5 ASV) I note this because this passage is actually very strange. If one groups verse 22 with verses 19 and 20, the translation makes sense. The passage seems to be speaking of technological things. But the strange thing about this passage is the sudden proclamation of Lamech to his wives claiming the protection that God gave to Cain (Gen 4:15). One can legitimately ask, ‘What on earth is the guy talking about?’ ‘Where did this claim come from?’ The narrative seems to be missing something here because in the middle of talking about technology, Lamech makes claims about killing people. Lumping 22 with the rest of that passage brings another meaning out. Let’s look harder at verse 22

There is a clue in Tubal-cain’s name. The last part of that name is Cain, the very man whose name is invoked two verses below. According to Strong’s Tubal-cain means “offspring of Cain ” . But there is more. If one looks up the meaning of Tubal, Strong’s says it comes from a primitive root meaning to flow, which makes one think of ‘flowing from Cain’.

So, who was Cain? Cain was the first murderer. His name also means spear—a weapon of violence. A spear doesn’t have to be made of metal. Fire hardened wooden spears work just fine and dandy. Everything about Cain involves violence. While the account doesn’t say how Cain struck Abel, given that Cain had a name meaning spear, one might wonder if it is a name earned after the dirty deed. So, did Tubal-Cain get his name from what he did? In other words, could he be a spiritual offspring of Cain? In light of this, one can take a new view of Genesis 4:22.

With the Hebrew in parenthesis, we see that Tubal-cain was the forger ( latash ) of every ( kol) cutting instrument( choresh ) of brass ( nechosheth ) and iron( barzel) . Latash appears five times in the Bible. Brown-Driver-Briggs says it means “to sharpen, hammer, whet” But nowhere else is this word translated as forger. In Ps 52:2 it is translated as sharp: “ Like a sharp razor .” In 1 Sam. 13:20 it is translated as sharpen: “ all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock ;”. In Job 16:9 it is translated as “my adversary sharpens his eyes against me”. And finally in Ps. 7:2 it is translated as ‘whet’: “ he will whet his sword ”. Whetting is sharpening so this verse says, ‘he will sharpen his sword”. So, let’s use the words sharpen, as the meaning for this word since all instances seem to fall into that category rather than as a forger.

So, now we have Tubal-cain being the sharpener of every, what? The word translated above as instrument is choresh Strong’s says this word means ‘fabricator’ and that it is the active participle of charash , which has the meaning, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs of “to cut in, plough, engrave, devise; to plot evil ; to be deaf; to be silent”. The ASV and RSV translations translate this as ‘instrument’, but the problem is that instrument is not a Hebrew active participle. An example of an active participle would be “Tubal-cain was a sharpener of every cutter” or “Tubal-cain was a sharpener of every fabricator…” This verse is used to claim that iron working was the invention of Tubalcain, the Neolithic child of Adam. But it is mis-read as ‘Tubalcain was the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron’, when in fact, Tubalcain was the forger of every fabricator! A fabricator is a person, not an instrument; not a utensil. This is the reason that the King James translates ‘ latash ’ as ‘instructor’ rather than forger. If one wishes to believe that this verse is talking about literally forging things, they need to remember that what is being forged is a person. To be literally true, then Tubal-cain needs to be putting people into his forge and burning them (which clearly isn’t the meaning). Nor is Tubal-cain literally sharpening people as one would a knife.

The interesting thing is what words the Bible doesn’t use. The passage doesn’t use chariyts , keliy , or magzerah , all of which are iron instruments, or implements. If Tubal-cain were sharpening a chariyts (a cutting instrument) or a keliy (utensil) or magzerah (axe) that would make sense if it is really brass and steel implements. But the Bible doesn’t use those words. Instead of these words, Tubal-cain is sharpening a person! Whatever the verb latash means, it was being done to a person. To forge a person is to be that person’s instructor or to have a person burning in the hot coals of the forge. I strongly suspect that the latter is not the meaning. To sharpen a person, like iron sharpens iron, is to teach him. Of the two choices, I know what I would opt for—he is an instructor of people. For better or worse, it can be said of my wife and I, that we forged our children’s lives, meaning we instructed their lives. That is what Tubal-cain did. He forged people, not iron. To deny this is to deny the Hebrew grammar with the fabricator.

This point is utterly crucial to my argument. Now, what was Tubal-cain instructing that person in? Let’s look at one of the other possible meanings of charesh . In particular, one meaning caught my eye; one possible meaning of the root word means ‘a plotter of evil’. If one read this verse using that definition, it would read “Tubal-cain was the instructor of every plotter of evil…” This would clearly be an entirely different meaning to the verse and it illustrates the power of the first translator. He who translates first, influences everyone in the future on the meaning of the verse. But, the reader will ask, if Tubal-cain was the instructor of every plotter of evil, why does this verse say brass and iron? What I have learned and you saw above is that it is because “brass and iron’ is an idiom for rebellious or corrupt people. Jeremiah 6:28 says:

They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron ; they are all corrupters .” (ASV) [my emphasis]

This is the only other place in Scripture where this phrase occurs. While it might be uncertain in Genesis, it is clear that ‘brass and iron’ is an idiom in Jeremiah 6:28. And that sheds light upon the meaning of Genesis 4:22. If brass and iron is an idiom for spiritual rebellion, then it totally fits what is about to happen to the world in Genesis 4:22. It plays right into the reason for the Flood, which is about to come upon the earth. So, this verse may explain Genesis 6:5, “ And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ”

I would submit for the reader’s consideration, that this verse says nothing about metal working as has been commonly assumed for millennia, but it says everything about human rebellion and who was the leader of it. Tubal-cain is the last generation before the flood of Noah; brought upon the earth because of man’s rebelliousness. Genesis 4:22 would then read:

“ Tubal-cain was the instructor of every plotter of evil corruption .”


“ Tubal-cain was the instructor of every plotter of evil rebellion .”

This would group this verse with the Lamech proclamation in the following verses rather than with the technology in the earlier verses. Lamech’s claim to have killed a man would fit in a world of increasing rebelliousness. But who was it that Lamech killed? I think it was his own son. Lamech lamented:

“for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt” (Gen. 4 23 KJV)

It would grieviously hurt a father to kill his own son. It wouldn’t hurt that much to kill an unrelated young man, at least not to the same degree.

There are two different Hebrew words translated as ‘man’ here. The first is iysh and that word simply means ‘man’. But the second, which is translated ‘young man’ is a different word, yeled , which means “child, son, boy, offspring, youth” according to Brown-Driver-Briggs. Four of the five meanings are of a person’s child. Lamech killed his own son. And that is why he goes on to talk about being avenged 77 times because the crime of killing your own son is that much worse than killing your brother. When he says he has slain his son to his hurt, that has new meaning given the above interpretation.

If the traditional interpretation of Tubal-cain being the inventor of metal work is correct, then it makes no sense why Lamech, Tubal-cain’s father, claims to have killed his son. But, if Tubal-cain was a rebellious corruptor of others, this declaration of filicide, the killing of one’s child, makes perfect sense. Rebellious children often bring ruin to family relationships.

Now, one other connection here is that this translation makes Tubal-cain a corruptor of other people. Notice again that Jeremiah 6:28 effectively defines the phrase ‘brass and iron’ as corruption. And then notice that Genesis 6:11, 12 says about why the world was about to be destroyed:

“ The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt ; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth .”

This recurring theme of corruption from Tubal-cain on, makes sense in a world gone mad.

"Scientifically minded’ Christians (a term used her on Biologos) proud of the fact that they don’t conflict with modern science in their theological interpretation. While most of that conformity has been achieved by declaring the Bible false, they do mostly maintain a Neolithic Adam. But this temporal placement of Adam creates for them another conflict with science, and not just with genetics. We have seen that archaeology does not support the concept that tents, harps, flutes and tending sheep were invented in the Neolithic, after the time when Neolithic Adam lived. Thus a Neolithic Adam does not get the ‘scientifically minded’ Christian out of a scientific conflict with the Bible. None of the post-Adamic events match archaeology. Thus, if one interprets these events as being Neolithic, then the Bible would simply be wrong. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we place the Bible in a position to be false? But reading Genesis 4:22 as follows will allow us once and for all to reject the Bible-falsifying view that Adam was Neolithic.

“ Tubal-cain was the instructor of every plotter of evil corruption .”

No comments:

Post a Comment