Genesis 4

Genesis 4


Now the manI knewII his wifeIII Eve,IV

Notes on verse 1a

I “man” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
II “knew” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
III “wife” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
IV “Eve” = Chavvah. Perhaps from chavah (show, tell, live, declare). This is Eve, meaning “life-giver.”

and she conceivedV and boreVI Cain,VII saying,

Notes on verse 1b

V “conceived” = harah. This is to conceive or be pregnant – it can be literal or figurative.
VI “bore” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
VII “Cain” = Qayin. From the same as qayin (spear); from qun (to chant a lament, to play a musical note). This is Cain, the name or Kenite – the people or their territory. It may mean “spear,” “smith,” “acquisition,” or “political leader.” See

“I have producedVIII a manIX with the help of the Lord.”X 

Notes on verse 1c

VIII “produced” = qanah. This is to acquire, create, purchase, own. Its root may mean to smith or to produce. It is a play on words with Cain’s name since they are spelled similarly.
IX “man” = ish. Related to “wife” in v1. See note III above.
X “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

NextXI she bore his brotherXII Abel.XIII

Notes on verse 2a

XI “next” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
XII “brother” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.
XIII “Abel” = Hebel. From the same as hebel (emptiness, vapor, breath; something that is fleeting or futile, worthless or a delusion; something that is passing and so does not satisfy); related to habal (to be vain or act in a vapid manner). This is Abel, meaning “vanity” or “breath.” See

Now Abel wasXIV a keeperXV of sheep,XVI and Cain a tillerXVII of the ground.XVIII 

Notes on verse 2b

XIV “was” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note X above.
XV “keeper” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.
XVI “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.
XVII “tiller” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage.
XVIII “ground” = adamah. Related to “man” in v1. From the same as adam (see note I above). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

3 In the courseXIX of timeXX Cain brought to the Lord an offeringXXI of the fruitXXII of the ground, 

Notes on verse 3

XIX “course” = qets. From qatsats (to cut or chop off in a literal or figurative sense). This is outer border, end, or extremity. It can also mean infinite.
XX “time” = yom. Literally “day.”
XXI “offering” = minchah. This is a gift or an offering, particularly a sacrificial one that is generally bloodless and given spontaneously (voluntarily).
XXII “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.

and Abel for his part brought of the firstlingsXXIII of his flock,XXIV their fatXXV portions. And the Lord had regardXXVI for Abel and his offering, 

Notes on verse 4

XXIII “firstlings” = bekorah. 14x in OT. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to); related to bikkurim (first-fruits); related to bekor (firstborn). This is the rights granted to the firstborn.
XXIV “flock” = tson. Same as “sheep” in v2. See note XVI above.
XXV “fat” = cheleb. This is fat, finest, marrow. It is fat in a literal or figurative sense. It refers to the richest or best part.
XXVI “regard” = shaah. 15x in OT. This is to gaze at, gaze around, regard – to look to, especially for help. It is to consider or be compassionate. It could also be to look at in amazement or while confounded.

but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry,XXVII and his countenanceXXVIII fell.XXIX 

Notes on verse 5

XXVII “was…angry” = charah. Perhaps related to charar (to be hot, burn, glow, melt, be scorched; figuratively, to incite passion, be angry). This is to be displeased, burn with anger, glow, become warn. Figuratively it is a blaze of anger, zeal, or jealousy.
XXVIII “countenance” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
XXIX “fell” = naphal. This is to fall, whether by accident, to fall prostrate, or to fall in violent death. Figuratively, it can refer to personal ruin or calamity, a city falling, an attack or a falling away. It can also be a deep sleep or wasting away.

6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well,XXX will you not be accepted?XXXI And if you do not do well, sinXXXII is lurkingXXXIII at the door;XXXIV its desireXXXV is for you, but you must masterXXXVI it.”

Notes on verses 6-7

XXX “do well” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.
XXXI “be accepted” = seeth. 14x in OT. From nasa (to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively; to carry, take, or arise; to bring forth, advance, accept). This is elevation, swelling, elation, dignity, being accepted.
XXXII “sin” = chatta’ah. From chata’ (to miss or go wrong and so to sin, bear the blame; it can also include the sense of forfeiting or lacking). This is sin itself as well as punishment for sin. It is sometimes used specifically to refer to sin that is habitual.
XXXIII “lurking” = rabats. This is crouched like an animal, lie down, lie stretch out, rest, sit, brood, lurk.
XXXIV “door” = pethach. From pathach (to open wide in a literal or figurative sense; to open, draw out, let something go free, break forth, to plow, engrave, or carve). This is any kind of opening – a door, entrance, gate.
XXXV “desire” = teshuqah. 3x in OT– Eve’s curse that a woman’s desire will be for her husband in Genesis 3:16, God’s teaching to Cain that sin’s desire is for you, but you must master it in Genesis 4:7, & “I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me” from Song of Songs 7:10. Related to shuq (to overflow, run after). This is a longing or desire.
XXXVI “master” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field,XXXVII Cain rose upXXXVIII against his brother Abel, and killedXXXIX him. 

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”XL 

Notes on verses 8-9

XXXVII “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It is used to mean wild like a wild animal.
XXXVIII “rose up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
XXXIX “killed” = harag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death.
XL “keeper” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.

10 And the Lord said, “What have you done?XLI Listen;XLII your brother’s bloodXLIII is crying outXLIV to me from the ground! 

Notes on verse 10

XLI “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XLII “listen” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
XLIII “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
XLIV “crying out” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.

11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has openedXLV its mouthXLVI to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.XLVII 

Notes on verse 11

XLV “opened” = patsah. 15x in OT. This is to open, part, rend. It often refers to the mouth.
XLVI “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
XLVII “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.

12 When you tillXLVIII the ground, it will no longerXLIX yieldL to you its strength;LI

Notes on verse 12a

XLVIII “till” = abad. Same as “tiller” in v2. See note XVII above.
XLIX “longer” = yasaph. Same as “next” in v2. See note XI above.
L “yield” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
LI “strength” = koach. Root may mean to be firm. This is power, strength, force. It can be literal or figurative, positive or negative. It can also mean capacity or means – what something produces. Additionally, it could refer to some kind of small reptile.

you will be a fugitiveLII and a wandererLIII on the earth.”LIV 

Notes on verse 12b

LII “fugitive” = nua. This is to waver in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be to tremble, quiver, totter. It could also refer to a fugitive.
LIII “wanderer” = nud. This is to nod, waver, wander, flee, show grief, disappear. It can be nodding the head as a sign of sympathy or consolation. It could also be tossing one’s head to show contempt or to taunt.
LIV “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishmentLV is greaterLVI than I can bear!LVII 

Notes on verse 13

LV “punishment” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.
LVI “greater” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
LVII “bear” = nasa. Related to “be accepted” in v7. See note XXXI above.

14 TodayLVIII you have drivenLIX me away fromLX the soil,LXI and I shall be hiddenLXII from your face;LXIII I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meetsLXIV me may kill me.” 

Notes on verse 14

LVIII {untranslated} = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
LIX “driven” = garash. This is to cast out or expel. It can be to exile someone or to divorce them.
LX {untranslated} = paneh. Same as “countenance” in v5. See note XXVIII above.
LXI “soil” = adamah. Same as “ground” in v2. See note XVIII above.
LXII “hidden” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
LXIII “face” = paneh. Same as “countenance” in v5. See note XXVIII above.
LXIV “meets” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.

15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfoldLXV vengeance.”LXVI And the Lord putLXVII a markLXVIII on Cain, so that no one who came uponLXIX him would killLXX him. 

Notes on verse 15

LXV “sevenfold” = shibathayim. 6x in OT. From sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is seven times.
LXVI “vengeance” = naqam. This is to avenge, punish, have a grudge, execute.
LXVII “put” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
LXVIII “mark” = oth. From avah (to mark, sign, point out); OR from uth (to agree). This is a sign in a literal or figurative sense. It could be a flag or monument. It could be evidence or a mark. It could also be an omen or a miracle. 
LXIX “came upon” = matsa. Same as “meets” in v14. See note LXIV above.
LXX “kill” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.

16 Then Cain went away from the presenceLXXI of the Lord, and settledLXXII in the landLXXIII of Nod,LXXIV eastLXXV of Eden.LXXVI

Notes on verse 16

LXXI “presence” = paneh. Same as “countenance” in v5. See note XXVIII above.
LXXII “settled” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
LXXIII “land” = erets. Same as “earth” in v12. See note LIV above.
LXXIV “Nod” = Nod. Related to “wanderer in v12. From nud (see note LIII above). This is Nod a place name, meaning “wandering.”
LXXV “east” = qidmah. From the same as qedem (front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity). This is the front portion or east.
LXXVI “Eden” = Eden. 14x in OT. Perhaps from the same as eden (luxury, delight, pleasure); from adan (to luxuriate). This is the garden of Eden and also the name of a Levite.

17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch;LXXVII and he builtLXXVIII a city,LXXIX and namedLXXX it Enoch after his sonLXXXI Enoch.LXXXII 

Notes on verse 17

LXXVII “Enoch” = Chanoch. 16x in OT. From the same as chek (chamber or room that is private; can mean the innermost chamber of a house); probably from chanak (to narrow; to dedicate, initiate, train, or discipline). This is Enoch or Hanoch, which probably means “initiated.”
LXXVIII “built” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively.
LXXIX “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
LXXX “named” = qara + shem. Qara is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth. Shem is related to “put” in v15. Perhaps from sim (see note LXVII above).This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
LXXXI “son” = ben. Related to “built” in v17. Perhaps from banah (see note LXXVIII above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
LXXXII Literally “called the name of the city after the name of his son.”

18 To Enoch was born Irad;LXXXIII and Irad was the father ofLXXXIV Mehujael,LXXXV and Mehujael the father of Methushael,LXXXVI and Methushael the father of Lamech.LXXXVII 

Notes on verse 18

LXXXIII “Irad” = Irad. 2x in OT. Perhaps from the same as Arad (Arad – a city in Canaan; root may mean fugitive). This is Irad, meaning “fugitive.”
LXXXIV “was the father of” = yalad. Same as “bore” in v1. See note VI above.
LXXXV “Mehujael” = Mechuyael. 2x in OT. From machah (to strike, reach) + el (God, a god).  This is Mehujael, meaning “struck by God.”
LXXXVI “Methushael” = Methushael. Related to “Mehujael” in v18. 2x in OT. From math (male, person, few, associate, adult); {from the same as mathay (when? how long)} + el (see note LXXXV above). This is Methushael, meaning “man of God.”
LXXXVII “Lamech” = Lemek. 11x in OT. Perhaps from l- (to, for, of) + muk or makak (be low, humiliate, go down).  OR from an unknown root meaning to be robust. This is Lamech. It may mean “for lowering” or “for humiliation.”. Alternately, it could be “strong man.”

19 Lamech took twoLXXXVIII wives; the name of the oneLXXXIX was Adah,XC and the name of the otherXCI Zillah.XCII 

Notes on verse 19

LXXXVIII “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
LXXXIX “one” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
XC “Adah” = Adah. 8x in OT. From adah (adorning oneself with ornaments, decorate). This is Adah, meaning “ornament.”
XCI “other” = sheni. Related to “two” in v19. See note LXXXVIII above.
XCII “Zillah” = Tsillah. 3x in OT. From tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque; an alternate meaning is to ring as a bell does). This is Zillah, meaning “shadow” or “bell.”

20 Adah bore Jabal;XCIII he was the ancestorXCIV of those who liveXCV in tentsXCVI and have livestock.XCVII 

Notes on verse 20

XCIII “Jabal” = Yabal. 1x in OT. From yabal (to bring, carry, flow, lead forth). This is Jabal, meaning “conduit” or “flowing.”
XCIV “ancestor” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
XCV “live” = yashab. Same as “settled” in v16. See note LXXII above.
XCVI “tents” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
XCVII “livestock” = miqneh. Related to “produced” in v1. From qanah (see note VIII above). This is something that is bought, which implies property or possession. However, it is generally used of livestock – cattle, flock, herds.

21 His brother’s name was Jubal;XCVIII he was the ancestor of all those who playXCIX the lyreC and pipe.CI 

Notes on verse 21

XCVIII “Jubal” = Yubal. Related to “Jabal” in v20. 1x in OT. From yabal (see note XCIII above). This is Jubal, meaning “stream.”
XCIX “play” = taphas. This is to catch, seize, wield, capture. It can also mean to use unwarrantably.
C “lyre” = kinnor. Root may be to twang. This is a lyre or harp.
CI “pipe” = uggab. 4x in OT. From agab (to desire, lust, breathe after, lust). This is pipe or flute. It is some kind of reed instrument – breathed into.

22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain,CII who madeCIII all kinds of bronzeCIV and ironCV tools.CVI The sisterCVII of Tubal-cain was Naamah.CVIII

Notes on verse 22

CII “Tubal-cain” = Tubal Qayin. Related to “Cain” in v1 & perhaps related to “Jabal” in v20 & “Jubal” in v21. 2x in OT. From Tubal (Tubal; “answer” or “restore”) + Qayin (see note VII above) OR from yabal (see note XCIII above) + Qayin (see note VII above). This is Tubal-cain, perhaps meaning “offspring of Cain.”
CIII “made” = latash. 5x in OT. This is to hammer into an edge, so, to sharpen. It can be to hammer or whet. Also, a forger or instructor.
CIV “bronze” = nechosheth. Perhaps from nechushah (copper, bronze, brass – something made from this metal like a coin or fetter; something that is considered base in contrast to gold or silver.; from nachush (made of bronze or brass, coppery; figuratively, hard); from nachash (to divine, interpret omens, learn from experience, observe; to hiss). This is bronze, copper, steel, brass or something made from copper. So, it could be a coin or chains. It can also figuratively mean something considered lesser in contrast to gold or silver.
CV “iron” = barzel. From the same as Birzoth (a name meaning holes). Root may mean to pierce. This is iron as something used as a cutting implement. It can also specifically mean ax head.
CVI “tools” = choresh. 2x in OT. From charash (to scratch, which implies etching or plowing; to manufacture regardless of materials used; figuratively, to devise or conceal; a sense of secrecy so being silent or left alone or speechless). This is a tool or artisan.
CVII “sister” = achot. Related to “brother” in v2. From ach (see note XII above). This is sister literally and figuratively.
CVIII “Naamah” = Na’amah. 5x in OT. From Na’am (Naam, meaning “pleasure”); from naem (to be pleasant, beautiful, sweet, or agreeable in a literal or figurative sense). This is Naamah, meaning “pleasantness.” It is a personal name and also the name of a place.

23 Lamech said to his wives:

“Adah and Zillah, hearCIX my voice;CX
    you wives of Lamech, listen toCXI what I say:CXII

Notes on verse 23a

CIX “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
CX “voice” = qol. Same as “listen” in v10. See note XLII above.
CXI “listen to” = azan. Perhaps from ozen (ear, hearing, audience, show; properly, broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape). Properly, this is to expand or broaden one’s ear i.e. listen intently, pay attention, heed.
CXII “what I say” = imrah. From emer (speech, thing, utterance, promise, argument, command); from amar (to speak, say, answer, command, promise, report). This is any kind of utterance, a word or commandment.

I have killedCXIII a manCXIV for woundingCXV me,
    a young manCXVI for strikingCXVII me.

Notes on verse 23b

CXIII “killed” = harag. Same as “killed” in v8. See note XXXIX above.
CXIV “man” = enosh. Related to “wife” and “man” in v1. See note III above.
CXV “wounding” = petsa. 8x in OT. From patsa (to split, wound, bruise). This is to wound or bruise.
CXVI “young man” = yeled. Related to “bore” in v1. From yalad (see note VI above). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”
CXVII “striking” = chabburah. 7x in OT. From chabar (to unite, ally, attach, touch; to join in a literal or figurative sense; also, specially, using magic knots or spells to fascinate or connect). This is a blow, striking, or scourging. It can also refer to the wound or bruise – the stripe being blue and black marks on the skin.

24 If Cain is avengedCXVIII sevenfold,
    truly Lamech seventyCXIX-sevenfold.”CXX

25 AdamCXXI knew his wife again, and she bore a son and namedCXXII him Seth,CXXIII for she said,

Notes on verses 24-25a

CXVIII “is avenged” = naqam. Same as “vengeance” in v15. See note LXVI above.
CXIX “seventy” = shibim. Related to “sevenfold” in v15. From sheba (see note LXV above). This is seventy
CXX “seven” = sheba. Related to “sevenfold” in v15 and “seventy” in v24. See note LXV above.
CXXI “Adam” = Adam. Related to “man” in v1 & “ground” in v2. 10x in OT. From the same as adam (see note I above). This is Adam.
CXXII “named” = qara + et + shem. Literally “called his name.” See note LXXX above.
CXXIII “Seth” = Sheth. 8x in OT. From shith (to place, set, bring, appoint, consider, bring, array or look). This is Seth or Sheth, meaning “put” or “substituted.”

“GodCXXIV has appointedCXXV for me another childCXXVI instead of Abel, because Cain killedCXXVII him.” 

Notes on verse 25b

CXXIV “God” = Elohim. Related to “Mehujael” and “Methushael” in v18. See note LXXXV above.
CXXV “appointed” = shith. See note CXXIII above.
CXXVI “child” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
CXXVII “killed” = harag. Same as “killed” in v8. See note XXXIX above.

26 To Seth also a son was born, and he namedCXXVIII him Enosh.CXXIX At that time people beganCXXX to invokeCXXXI the name of the Lord.

Notes on verse 26

CXXVIII “named” = qara + et + shem. Literally “he called his name.” See note LXXX above.
CXXIX “Enosh” = Enosh. Related to “wife” and “man” in v1 & “man” in v23. 7x in OT. Perhaps from enosh (see note III above). This is Enosh, meaning “man.”
CXXX “began” = chalal. This is to pierce, which implies to wound. It is used figuratively for making someone or something profane or breaking your word. It can also mean to begin as though one opened a wedge. Also, to eat something as a common thing.
CXXXI “invoke the name” = qara + shem.  See note LXXX above.

Image credit: “In the Beginning: Cain & Abel” by adunt, 1972.

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