And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man for wounding me, and a young man for hurting me.
All Commentaries on Genesis 4:23 Go To Genesis 4
Basil the Great
Some think that Cain was destroyed by Lamech on the grounds that he lived until that time to pay the longer penalty. But this is not true. For Lamech seems to have perpetrated two murders from what he tells us. “I have killed a man and a youth”—the man for wounding and the youth for bruising. Now, a wound is one thing and a bruise another; and a man is one thing and a youth another. “For Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, but Lamech seventy times sevenfold.” It is right for me to undergo four hundred and ninety chastisements, if truly God’s judgment against Cain is just, that he should undergo seven punishments. In fact, as he did not learn to murder from another, so he did not see the murderer undergoing the penalty. But I, having before my eyes the man groaning and trembling and also the greatness of the anger of God, was not brought to my senses by the example. Therefore I deserve to pay four hundred and ninety penalties.