Book of Wisdom 10:3–4; Testament of Adam 3:5; Augustine, City of God 15.20; Genesis Rabbah 22:12; Ecclesiastes Rabbah 6:2; Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer 30.


In Genesis 4:23, Lamech boasts “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me.” Modern commentators view this statement as an example of Hebrew parallelism rather than a claim by Lamech to have killed two separate people. But ancient interpreters often understood the verse to mean that Lamech killed both Cain and a younger son.


For a more detailed discussion of the Lamech legend and other ways that interpreters changed the story, see my Cain and Abel in Text and Tradition: Jewish and Christian Interpretations of the First Sibling Rivalry, Themes in Biblical Narrative 14 (Leiden: Brill, 2011).