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Master Mahan

I had buried children before this time, but this was different. Abel had been killed by the hand of a brother. Such a thing had never happened before. The sense of shock was greater to me than when I had seen the lions kill and eat when we had been forced to leave the garden. The very act of killing had been new and repulsive to us then, but we had come to accept it as a fact of survival. We had killed to preserve our own lives and to offer the sacrifice of the perfect lamb as a symbol of the death of the Only Begotten Son.

I felt sorrow that we had had Abel taken from us. But the pain I felt concerning Cain, for we knew it had been Cain who had done this, was like a sickness. I felt ill, knowing that Cain had done something so horrible, how could I deal with this? How could I accept that this stranger who had become so evil was my son?

The children who worshipped God supported Adam and myself. There was beginning to be a split among us all. Those who worshipped God and those who worshipped Satan could not abide the company of the other. A line was being drawn and few could stand in the middle.

Adam sat bowed by the fire. He had been this way for days. I went to him and sat quietly. Finally he turned and looked into my face. There was pain there which I was beginning to fear would never leave him.

"Adam," I began quietly, "Why do you suppose this has happened to us?"

He looked away from me and closely studied his hands. "All will not listen to the voice of the Lord, Eve. Many of our children have heard the voice of the Lord and have seen and heard angels which have come to us to tell us of God. You and I know the value of God's love and we have tried to help our children understand it. But we cannot force them to worship God. And those children who do not value what is good will bring a curse upon themselves with their own acts of filth!" Adam's hands came up, and covered his face and his voice came with difficulty through his tears and ragged breathing, "Would that we should never have seen such evil! How shall we live our lives with any joy after this?"

I put my arm around him and he pulled me fiercely to him as he cried for his children. I cried also, but also I cried for Adam's pain. It seemed that his was even deeper than my own.

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We saw Cain very seldom now. I don't know what it was that he expected. Many of our sons and daughters were always visiting us, to speak with their father, or to visit and chase away the many cares of their lives with precious moments of friendship and laughter. It was so different from the distant past when Adam and I had shouldered our responsibilities without help from others. The companionship was warm and comfortable. But when Cain set foot into proximity with us it was as if a cloud covered the sun. Warmth melted away and sudden fear stabbed into all and loathing crept into us.

After the first or second time in which Cain appeared my mind became separated from my feelings and I began to observe the reactions of others to Cain. The children hung back away from him with wide eyes. The adults were polite but almost imperceptibly stepped away from him as if they were afraid of some unspeakable filth. I do not believe that this was deliberate, but was done without thought as a simple wish to survive. To my knowledge no one had confronted Cain concerning Abel's death. But we all accepted the fact that Cain was very dangerous. His few visits ended with a scowl of impatience and he soon left.

The warmth returned to the others, but not to me. I would sit for endless moments, my skin turning to bumps with the tiny hairs of my body standing on end, as from bitter cold. The cold went through my entire body and only when it left could I move and feel again. Sometimes I imagined that my other children looked at me wondering how I could have borne such a son. It was a disgrace, perhaps something in me had caused Cain to turn out so badly.

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Now we lived in an uneasy truce with Cain and his brothers who lived close to us but in spirit were far away from us. The cold, fearful cloud which accompanied Cain was also with his brothers. I call them his brothers not because they were born from the same mother and father as each other, but because they were the same in purpose and selfishness.

The time seemed long that we lived this way, but looking back I see that the events which separated us happened swiftly. Cain and his wife quietly moved eastward. Soon others of his brothers moved their families to join him. They called the land Nod. The separation which had begun as a difference in beliefs and actions had become also a physical separation. Those of us who were left behind breathed with relief.

Over the years we heard the events of the land of Nod. Cain's wife bore him a son, who was named Enoch. She then bore him many more children. Cain built a city and named it after his son, Enoch.

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The death of Abel remained a grievous wound. It was as if it had healed only enough to keep from festering. But it was as if a dreadful scar crippled us all. We missed Abel, it was almost unbearable.

Thankfully God did give us a gift which eased the pain somewhat. I was to have another child. Was it possible that Adam and I looked forward to this child more than any other? We had had many, many children by this time. Most of them were alienated from us and living in the valley of Nod. I took great comfort in the children who still loved us and worshipped God. There were few of us who offered the sacrifice of the perfect lamb.

Finally my child was born. It was a son and Adam named him Seth. Adam thanked God and said, "God has appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew. Abel had been Adam's spiritual heir, now that he was dead God had appointed Seth as the new spiritual heir.

Could anything be amusing after all that had happened to us? God must have sent Seth to us not only as Adam's heir but to lighten our hearts as well. Before Seth could even toddle we began to see an uncanny likeness in him to his father. Before his baby babble began to even make sense to us, the form of it, and the expressions on his face were Adam's. Soon he was a smaller form of Adam, looking, walking, talking and expressing himself in the same ways. We never really ceased to marvel, and we had many a laugh. Adam and Seth would simply look at each other with a little smile at such times.

Seth became a man and offered the sacrifice of the perfect lamb. Besides resembling his father he had the same faith in God that Adam had. I was proud of Seth. His faith was so great, it was a pleasure to teach him. He had not seen our garden. He had not walked with the Lord as Adam and I had, but you would not know it. It was almost as if he had really been there and seen it himself. There was somehow a special knowledge given to him which his other brothers and sisters had been denied, good and faithful as some of them were.

I thanked God every day for the good and faithful children that we had. There were so few, so few.

At irregular intervals we heard snatches of news from Nod. The city, Enoch, named for Cain's son, was a place of unimaginable violence. For any offense, the offender must pay seven times. Whole families might be murdered. Abel's murder had simply opened a flood of spilled blood and hatred and misery. Occasionally Adam, Seth, and his brother priesthood would venture there to try and touch the hearts of some. There were a very few there who were not wholly wrapped up in evil who could respond in a small way. It is through these few that we knew of the conditions which ruled Enoch.

The years passed swiftly, Seth took a wife and she gave him a son, Enos. They had many more children and were a happy family.

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At this time Adam, Seth, and Enos became the center of a very strong priesthood. All of us who worshipped God could feel the strength which God poured into these men. It poured out of them onto their families and the sacrifice on the ledge became more and more beautiful, even though it never changed. This was a time of quiet peace for me. I had finally begun to accept that many things could not be changed. I could no longer weep over my children in Nod, and their warring, violent ways. I could only do my best and accept what came. Perhaps I was becoming tired, I had seen so much, and fought many things. Perhaps I could no longer fight.

God gave the priesthood something wonderful and which they in the turn gave to their children. God taught the priesthood to put the words of God and the names of our families and children in a place where we could remember those words. In this way we learned to read and write. Always before our words which could not remain in our minds went away on the wind. God now taught us to capture them in the form of signs on solid substance. If we learned what the signs meant then we could recapture the words just as they had been said.

Now the beautiful story of the garden could be written. When Adam and I could no longer tell it around the fire, someone else could tell it in our very words. My greatest wish is that Adam and I could tell that story always so that our children could feel that they were there and could see the face of the Lord. I had grown since the time in the garden. Then I could never have imagined the wonderful gifts that God had ready to give us.

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Not only were the years passing swiftly, but many new generations were being added to us. Enos gave Seth a grandson, and for Adam and myself one of many great grandsons. In respect to us all these children called us Mother and Father. Enos' son was named Cainan. Cainan's son was Mahalaleel.

Generations were added also to Cain and his brothers. Enoch was the father of Irad, who was the father of Mehujael. Mehujael fathered Methusael who was the father of Lamech.

Now all of these sons of Cain had followed a course of violence. The Lord had told Cain that whoever should kill him would have vengeance wreaked upon them seven times, And that is how Cain and his brothers had patterned their lives, resulting in bloodshed and feuds.

I was preparing the evening meal and Adam was resting by the fire after a long day of labor. There was always much coming and going which I loved, I remembered the days of caring for children with no adult company. Now there were grown sons and daughters, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren always coming to see us. We visited and shared meals and shared in the work which must be done. Because of this happy state of affairs I was not aware of the serious discussion which was beginning to take place with Adam and two of the other men. I glanced over to see them deep in counsel. It was Cainan and Mahalaleel with Adam and I could see the serious cast of their faces. I went over out of curiosity.

"Mother," Mahalaleel spoke as they all three looked up at me. They were embarrassed!

"What is the matter with you three? Why do you stop talking as soon as I walk over to you?" I began to have an uneasy feeling as I looked at their faces. I could see that they were uneasy as well and did not want my presence.

"Adam? What is the matter?" The warmth was draining from me and I was beginning to be afraid.

"Sit down, Eve." Adam spoke gently and they made room for me beside him and I sat. They looked at each other and moments passed.

Finally Cainan spoke. "Mother, we have had disturbing news. Irad came to us and told us a story. Irad is now dead."

"We think he was killed for having told us the story which he did," said Mahalaleel.

I felt sad. I had seen Irad on occasion, but not often of course. He was Cain's grandson. It wasn't fair. How could Cain's sons ever know God since they were certain to follow Cain's example?

"Why is his death different from the others who have died in Nod?" I asked. "We know there have been many deaths since Abel's." I suddenly felt a need for Adam's shoulder, to lean my head for just a moment on something solid and warm. I closed my eyes in weariness.

Adam's arm came around me and pulled me closer. "We were afraid this would upset you. We didn't want to tell you."

"What is this story which has cost Irad his life?" I asked.

There was another long pause and I opened my eyes to look at their faces once again. There was shame on their faces and yet I knew that these three had no reason to feel shame.

Cainan spoke, "Mother, we have heard that ever since Cain began it there has been a secret combination of men who have made a covenant with Satan. Abel was the first to be killed as a result of it."

"A covenant with Satan?!" I could not believe this. "It was Satan who tricked me in the garden! He seeks only to destroy us and the purposes of God! How could my sons be so stupid as to bargain with a being so evil?"

"You are not the only one who can be tricked, Mother," Mahalaleel spoke calmly. "But we fear that these men have not been tricked, but have made this covenant with full knowledge of their own actions. If Satan seeks to destroy us he has chosen a perfect way to do it. It is certainly destroying many in Nod."

"And I fear," said Adam, "that there is not much we can do about it. There are few there who will listen to any of our words."

Presently Cainan and Mahalaleel stood up and left us. The evening meal progressed without Adam and myself. There were daughters there to help the children and they ate and relaxed without us, They were not aware of this new sorrow which caused a man and wife to sit quietly apart for the rest of the evening.

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It wasn't very long from the time of Irad's death that we began to hear other faint whispers of news from Nod. We could not at first believe the rumors, that Lamech, a man of power had fallen.

Life went on, but the rumors were becoming stronger. There were those who claimed that they had seen Lamech. They claimed that he had become a hunted and desperate man, seeking to save his life, slipping away like a shadow whenever his presence might be discovered. He had become hated and despised.

One night I approached Adam and my sons. "What are these rumors about Lamech? I do not understand them. What do they mean?"

I was fortunate, I discovered. My husband and those sons who worshipped God had respect for me. They did not think of me as a mere woman. I also knew that these sons loved and respected their own wives.

I knew that not all my daughters were loved. I had seen despair and apathy in the eyes of many of the women. I had seen bruises and scratches on their bodies and faces. I knew that some of the surliness and mistrust that I had encountered from many of them was caused by the lives they led. For some of their lives were hard. I knew that many of their children died from the careless and loveless existence in which they were born. And with the death of each child, no matter how hard the woman, she suffered and became harder. I had seen the attitude of many of the men to their wives and daughters and to all women. To many men all women were weak. They controlled them by physical violence and threats. And to the men's minds this made women stupid as well.

It was as well that these sons and daughters were in Nod. We could not help them, for they would not accept our love or help. They would not accept the one thing which could change their lives, and that was a willingness to follow God's laws.

My sons looked at me and began to speak.

"Mother, you remember that we told you of the death of Irad?" Mahalaleel asked. "We have discovered the rest of the story. We do not wish to speak of it very much. It seems that Lamech held the same position as Cain once did in the secret combination of Satan. He was called Master Mahan, the leader. Irad must have been a part of the combination, he surely knew the secrets of it . We think he did not approve and so he began to tell us of it. When he did that he broke an oath to the group. Lamech killed him for breaking the oath, for that is the penalty."

"That is why we have not heard until now how this group operates. We have suspected much of it, but they are very secretive," said Adam.

"They take an oath of death?" I asked incredulously. "And wasn't Irad Lamech's grandfather?"

"Great-grandfather, they have no respect for anyone," Cainan's jaw clenched in anger.

"Yes," said Mahalaleel. "It is very dangerous to speak of it. Many are living in fear because of it. The story continues that after Lamech killed Irad he bragged of it to his wives. He bragged that while Cain was avenged seven times, he, Lamech, was avenged seventy-seven times. They did not like it and began to spread the story. Needless to say his other brothers were angry at this violation of their secrets. All the women were furious with what they had found out. Lamech is now running for his life, having broken the oath himself."

Slightly stunned, I murmured to Adam and my sons, "This is not pleasant to hear, but thank you for telling me." I walked away slowly, careful of my footing, for I felt unsteady. My mind pondered the things which I had heard. I could hear the low rumble of the men's voices behind me as they continued talking among themselves.

I walked a little distance and turned back to watch as sons and daughters prepared for the evening. I leaned wearily on a slanting trunk of a tree.

The tree was dead and the bark had been peeled off of it. The smooth wood was warm from the sun. I found myself clutching it for comfort.

I had borne many children and loved them. My sons in turn were destroying and hating. I could understand the attitude of Lamech's wives. Even though the events of our lives drew us apart physically and in belief, they still had concern for the children which they themselves bore and loved. In the dark and murky world in which my sons had made a covenant with Satan, that most terrible and hateful liar, no child which any woman bore was truly safe. Besides that, many of the women were likely to have been daughters of Irad. Once again I wept for Abel, the beautiful son of my own womb. As I bent my head to the trunk of the tree Abel's face blurred in my mind and became the faces of many sacrificed to deceit and hatred.

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As the young people and children ate dinner I joined them. There was happy laughter and relaxing. I noticed a gathering of the men. The chief men of our group were arriving, Seth and Enos had come and were joining Adam, Cainan and Mahalaleel. Other sons arrived as well. These were men of righteousness, who believed the words of the angels who had appeared to them. Just as an angel had appeared at the sacrifice so long ago, others had appeared to many of our children. Seth and Enos both came over to me and kissed me. So did many others. I looked up into their faces and consoled myself in these good sons.

After they had arrived they left as a body. I knew that the business which they had was important and they did not wish to be distracted. I also knew that what they would discuss was too dangerous for the rest of us to hear. Those who knew of Irad's death knew that they were dealing with great evil. I was glad to sit by the warm fire and hold one of the children.

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In the years that followed we knew that the hearts and minds of most of our sons were in darkness. Adam and our faithful sons preached the word of God to many. Angels appeared and spoke to many. But it did no good. Acts of violence flourished and fear ruled almost everywhere. I would have been afraid myself. I would have feared for Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, and Mahalaleel. But by our belief in God and in our desire to see the face of the Lord we were protected. I knew that God protected us and that his protection was a valuable gift. But those of us who rebelled against God would lose that protection. Satan awaited any who were unwary and destruction often followed.

Follow along in the scriptures (links to Center Place Library)

Inspired Version of the Bible
Genesis Chapter 5:6-45 and Chapter 6:1-18

forward to chapter 14

Copyright 1991 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: September 18, 2001