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CHAPTER IV. And the man knew Chavah, his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man 2 by the aid of Jehovah. And she again bare his brother
Abel; and Abel became a shepherd, but Cain was a 3 tiller of the ground. And it came to pass at the end
CHAPTER IV., verse 1.- It is well known that the word yada', knew, like yıvbokelv, cognoscere, the Arabic ráya, 'to see,' and dris in Sanscrit", is used as a substitute for an objectionable expression.—K'ayin is undoubtedly smith,' Arab. k'ayn from k'an, compare verse 22: for spear 2 is less appropriate. The narrator, in violation of all grammar, derives the name of Cain, (whether it had come down to him by tradition, or, like Abel, had been invented by him), from k'anah, “to gain, as if it were quisition,' k'inyan, which is appropriate to the description of an active agricultural nation in a popular legend. But the introduction of foreign allusions is not altered by the substitution of k’ún for k'anah, and is rather increased by the turn which the narrator gives it.-—"By the aid of,” (Septuagint dià, Vulg. per, through, by means of, Germ. mit). Schumann conjectures that in this phrase, “gotten a man by the aid of Jehovah,” the writer meant to allude to the assistance of Jehovah at the birth of the first son, and the tenor of the whole narrative is not opposed to such a supposition.
Verse 2.--Hebel (Abel), 'breath,' 'perishableness,' on account of his short life. Josephus, St. Augustine and others were reminded by the 'Abel of the Septuagint, of 'ebel, (grief, pain,) and modern critics have inconsiderately followed them in this derivation.
Verse 3.-Yamim, ‘days,' is not indefinite, to mean 'some time or other,' nor by way of transition, deinde, tum ; as elsewhere
1 Comp. Brahmavaiv. Spec. p. 25. st. 22.
2 2 Sam. xxi. 16.
of the year, that Cain brought an offering of the fruit 4 of the field unto Jehovah. And Abel also brought [an
offering] of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat
thereof; and Jehovah looked propitiously upon Abel 5 and his offering. But upon Cain and his offering he did
not look; and Cain became very wroth, and his counte6 nance fell. Then Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou
it is said, “in those days,' and `in the days of such a one;' but here the expression “at the end," qualifies the word days', and the phrase means a year, as Rosenmüller correctly explains it?. The ordinary expression zebach hayyamim' (sacrifices of days, or yearly sacrifices) is here alluded to, and the sacrifices are offered in strict accordance with the Levitical enactments, namely the first-fruits of corn and cattle.
Verse 5.—It was usual for the Divine Being to cause sacrifices which were acceptable to himself to be burnt with fire from heaven 5 : compare Servius on the 12th Æneid, Among our ancestors fire was not kindled on the altars, but the sacrifices were consumed with divine fire, which had been elicited by prayers." The narrative in Genesis does not state what were on this occasion the tokens of favour or displeasure.
Verse 6.--The depression of the countenance denotes sadness, as the lifting up of the face indicates cheerfulness and serenity; and these signs are of importance to the right understanding of the following verse, which has been variously explained, and in which some have even attempted to find a type of the Messiah [by interpreting the passage), “When thou art faithful, doth not a wroth ? and why dost thou bend thy face down towards the earth? If thou doest well, dost not thou look up ? but if thou doest not well, then sin lieth before the door, and upon thee its desire is directed, but thou must rule
i Compare Genesis xli. 1. 2 Compare Levit. xxv. 29, and the Annals dibrei, hayyamim. 3 1 Sam. ii. 19. 4 Numb. xviii. 13, &c.; Deut. xii. 6, and xiv. 22. 5 Judges vi. 21; Kings xviii. 38. a Na'sa' panim, Job xi. 15; xxii. 26.
sheep lie at the door of the Tabernacle??” We adhere, with Rosenmüller, Fleck?, Maurer and others, to the simple words of the text, determined by the usage of the Hebrew language; and following the observations of these critics, we find (as we might expect from the philosophising tendency of the writer) that a general remark has been suggested in the allusion to Cain and his
purpose; - viz. “Innocence gives a serene mind, but thou (Cain) betrayest by thy downcast look that thou art in danger of becoming a prey to sin.” In connection with hetib (to make good) we must supply lib (heart) 3 [i. e. to make the heart good, or to do well], and in the first part of verse 7, s'e'eth (a raising) requires panim (countenance) to be understood; meaning, that if thou doest well thy countenance is raised, or that “ cheerfulness is thy portion.” The remainder of verse 7, “its desire is directed upon thee, but thou must rule over it,” is a figurative expression, with a vague construction, representing sin, chatta'ath, personified as the blood and the earth, (verses 10, 11,) and lurking like an animal of prey at the fold+; to this lurking enemy, the idea of which has been erroneously rejected by Schumann and Köster , the following pronouns refer, We must not therefore apply robeç (lurks, or lies,) to Cain, as Vater, Schlott and Schumann have done,-namely, “ Then liest thou, like a slave, at the door of Sin," as if sin were here a loose
Such a notion originated chiefly in the word t'ishuk'ah, desire,' which, together with the whole phrase in chap. iii. ver.16, has been incorrectly applied here.
Symbol. Hagan. i. 99. 3 In Winer's Exeget. Stud. i. 175. 3 Judges xix. 6, 22; Ruth iii. 7. Compare Jerem. iv. 22.
4 Robeç (lurks,) for the feminine robeçeth: see Gesenius, Lehrgeb. p. 716; Ewald, Gram. $ 569 b.
5 Erläuter. p. 83.
8 over it. Then Cain talked with Abel his brother; but
it came to pass, that when they were in the field, Cain 9 rose up against his brother Abel and slew him. Then
Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?
And he answered, I know not; am I my brother's 10 keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the
voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the
Verse 8.-- [“ Cain talked”-not, “ Cain said;' although the Hebrew amar generally means the latter.] The idea of the narrator appears to be, that Cain, after this admonition, certainly talked again with Abel, but was unable to overcome his feeling of animosity. The supposition is doubtful of a phrase having been here omitted, and of supplying it by the expression “let us go into the field;" it is however adopted by the Septuagint (dréxowuey eis tò méolov), Samaritan, Syriac, Vulgate, and the Targum of Jerusalem ; but its genuineness is dubious, since Symmachus, Theodotion and Onkelos are not acquainted with it; and it is a law of criticism, that an obscure reading has the preference over an explanatory one. Amar (talked) certainly stands here in an absolute sense for Dibbar (spoke) according to a very late usage of the Hebrew languagel; and all other interpretations are forced, even that of Schumann,-" he thought evil against Abel.”
Verse 10.-ço‘ak'im, (crying,) although in the predicate, does not agree with the preceding nominative (“ voice"), but is in the plural, to agree with “blood.” In a similar manner, mention is made in Exodus of the skins of “red-dyed rams," instead of “red-dyed skins of rams?.” Cain has to fear vengeance for the blood he has shed (ver. 14), since the blood which has been shed continues to cry unto God for vengeance until the murderer is punished.
1 2 Chron. ii. 10; xxxii. 24; Dan. vii. 16; Exod. xix. 25.
u ground. Now then be thou cursed from the earth,
which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's 12 blood from thy hand. For when thou tillest the ground,
it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength;
thou shalt be a wanderer and a fugitive upon the earth. 13 Then Cain said unto Jehovah, My punishment is too 14 great to bear; behold thou drivest me out this day
from the land, and I must hide myself from thy face, and I shall be a wanderer and a fugitive upon the earth; and thus it will come to pass,
every one that
Verse 11.—"Cursed from the earth” has been understood here to mean, “ driven by curses from the earth ;” but no ancient version expresses this. Others have interpreted it "in the land,” or cursed more than the ground” which had been likewise cursed". The simplest rendering however is από της γης * from hence, off from the earth,' for the earth is personified; the land is, as it were, to cast him out; his race is to be dispersed and outlawed. At the same time allusion is made to Persia, the soil of which is in parts sterile and saline, and yields little produce however well cultivated.
Verse 13.-'On is incorrectly rendered, “My guilt is too great to be forgiven?,” for Cain is not intended to exhibit repentance; but ‘on is 'punishments,' as Schumann renders it; and to the Israelite it appears to be an unbearable punishment to remain in a land where Jehovah does not dwell. Cain is exposed to misfortune out of the territory of Jehovah ; and, it may be remarked, Jonah desired to withdraw himself from the presence of Jehovah, when he proposed to go to Tarshish”. In strictness we ought here to supply an 'im (if) after hen (behold) in ver. 14.—“Behold, if thou drivest me out...... then it shall come to pass,” &c.
1 Genesis iji. 17. ? Na' sa', xviii. 24 ; 1. 17. 3 Isaiah v. 18.
4 Jonah i. 3; compare Genesis xlví. 3, 4, where Jehovah accompanies Jacob to Egypt.