The Problem With Genesis 4:1
Many may reply, “I didn’t know there was a question concerning that verse.” Unless one understands that the Hebrew is badly corrupted on this passage, he will, like most everyone else who has ever read it, arrive at a mistaken conclusion. Before we start an evaluation to discover the ramifications, let’s read it according to the KJV:“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.”
Most people will respond upon reading this, “That’s perfectly clear, Adam was the father of Cain.” If that’s also been your interpretation, I hate to rain on your parade! Unless one can fathom the true significance of Genesis 4:1, much of the balance of Scripture will remain a mystery. To show you that the Hebrew at Genesis 4:1 is indeed corrupted, I will use the following two witnesses:
The Interpreter’s Bible, a twelve volume collaborative work of 36 ‘consulting editors’, plus 124 other ‘contributors’, makes the following observation on this verse, vol. 1, page 517:
“Cain seems originally to have been the ancestor of the Kenites ... The meaning of the name is ‘metalworker’ or ‘smith’; here, however, it is represented as a derivation of a word meaning ‘acquire’, ‘get’ — one of the popular etymologies frequent in Genesis — hence the mother’s words I have gotten a man. ‘From the Lord’ (KJV) is a rendering, following the LXX and Vulg., of ’eth Yahweh, which is literally, ‘with Yahweh’, and so unintelligible here (the help of [RSV] is not in the Hebrew). It seems probable that ’eth should be ’oth — so, ‘the mark of Yahweh’ — and that the words are a gloss ...”
Secondly, The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary On The Bible, edited by Charles M. Laymon, makes the following comment on this passage, on page 6: “... under circumstances which are obscure (vs. 1b can scarcely be translated, still less understood). His younger brother was named Abel, which suggests the Hebrew word for breath.”
Therefore, if Genesis 4:1 is “unintelligible” and “can scarcely be translated, still less understood”, how can one prove anything by quoting it? Additionally, if the words are a gloss, where is the foundation for such a premise? It should then be quite obvious that we need to look somewhere else for the answer. Fortunately, we do have other sources, but there are those who refuse to allow them in spite of the corrupted Hebrew.
At this point, I will quote a few passages which most of the anti-seedliners claim are “Jewish” sources, and according to them should be discredited along with and including the Talmud. Inasmuch as the Torah & Old Testament are the first volume of the Talmud, then by their perverted line-of-reasoning we would have to discard the entire Old Testament from our Bibles. (How absurd!) First, in the Aramaic Targum (Aramaic was merely one of the languages which Messiah and his disciples knew), called pseudo-Jonathan, on Genesis 3:6, which is unique inasmuch as it identifies the angel Sammael as the “serpent”:
“And the woman saw Sammael, the angel of death, and she was afraid and knew that the tree was good for food, and that it was a remedy for the enlightenment of the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. She took of its fruit and ate and also gave (it) to her husband and he ate.”
Again, they will also condemn the Aramaic Targum pseudo-Jonathan, on Genesis 4:1: “And Adam knew that his wife Eve had conceived from Sammael the Angel (of death) and she became pregnant and bore Cain. And he was like those on high and not like those below. And she said: ‘I have got a man from the angel of the LORD’.”
This rendition of Genesis 4:1 is interesting, for it speaks of the “angel of death” plus “like those on high” and “like those below.” This seems to accord with John 8:23, where Yahshua told the Canaanite variety of “Jews”: “... Ye are from beneath; and I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” Satan was on high until his fall, when he fell like lightning; Luke 10:18.
The Palestinian Targum to Genesis 4:1: “And Adam knew his wife Eve, who had desired the Angel; and she conceived, and bare Cain; and she said, I have acquired a man, the angel of the Lord ...”
In another Rabbinic work: Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, 21: “And she saw that his likeness was not of earthly beings, but of the heavenly beings, and she prophesied and said: I have gotten a man from the Lord.”
It would appear from those references that the problem with Genesis 4:1 is an omission of some of the words of the Hebrew text. I will now quote Genesis 4:1 from the King James Version and I will add the potentially needed words in italics from the Targum of Jonathan so it will make some sense:
“And Adam knew his wife Eve, who was pregnant by Sammael, and she conceived and bare Cain, and he was like the heavenly beings, and not like earthly beings, and she said, I have gotten a man from the angel of the Lord.”
While one might not like the source of the Aramaic Targums, still he must concede that this evidence brings the Scriptures into context, and many Hebrew scholars recognize this.
One such scholar is Clarke’s Commentary, volume 1, page 58, and he suggests a contextual problem with Genesis 4:1 as opposed to 1 John 3:12, and being aware that the meaning of the Greek word “wicked” in this instance means “Satan” says the following: “... Unless she had been under Divine inspiration she could not have called her son (even supposing him to be the promised seed) Jehovah; and that she was not under such an influence her mistake sufficiently proves, for Cain, so far [remote] from being the Messiah, was of the wicked one; I John 3:12 ...”
THE GENESIS 3:15 & 4:1 CONNECTION
Unless Genesis 4:1 is properly comprehended, one simply will not be able to grasp Genesis 3:14-15. Before delving into this second passage, let’s take a look at it in the KJV: “14 And Yahweh said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary has a better than average interpretation of Genesis 3:14-15
“14. Cursed(ʾārûr) art thou. The Lord singled out the originator and instigator of the temptation for special condemnation and degradation. From that moment he must crawl in the dust and even feed on it. He would slither his way along in disgrace, and hatred would be directed against him from all directions. Man would always regard him as a symbol of the degradation of the one who had slandered God (cf. Isa 65:25). He was to represent not merely the serpent race, but the power of the evil kingdom. As long as life continued, men would hate him and seek to destroy him. 15. I will put enmity. The word ʾêbâ denotes the blood-feud that runs deepest in the heart of man (cf. Num 35:19, 20; Ezk 25:15-17; 35:5, 6). Thou shalt bruise(shûp). A prophecy of a continuing struggle between the descendants of the woman and of the serpent to destroy each other. The verb shûp is rare (cf. Job 9:17; Ps 139:11). It is the same in both clauses. When translated crush, it seems appropriate to the reference concerning the head of the serpent, but not quite so accurate in describing the attack of the serpent on man’s heel. It is also rendered lie in wait for, aim at, or (LXX) watch for. The Vulgate renders it conteret, ‘bruise,’ in the first instance and insidiaberis, ‘lie in wait,’ in the other clause. Thus, we have in this famous passage, called the protevangelium, ‘first gospel,’ the announcement of a prolonged struggle, perpetual antagonism, wounds on both sides, and eventual victory for the seed of woman. God’s promise that the head of the serpent was to be crushed pointed forward to the coming of Messiah and guaranteed victory. This assurance fell upon the ears of God’s earliest creatures as a blessed hope of redemption.”
Notice Wycliffe on verse 14, where he comments:“From that moment he must crawl in the dust and even feed on it.” This became a literal fulfillment in history when the “Jews” rummaged through city dumps throughout Europe to find anything that could be repaired and peddled again to others. Not only that, but they are famous for their involvement in junkyards and landfills. Literally, they have made a business living off the refuse, filthiness and immorality of this world.
Further, Wycliffe adds: “He would slither his way along in disgrace, and hatred would be directed against him from all directions. Man would always regard him as a symbol of the degradation of the one who had slandered God ... He was to represent not merely the serpent race, but the power of the evil kingdom.” [emphasis mine] Indeed, this is a very exemplary portrayal of the descendants of Cain.
Also notice Wycliffe’s comment in verse 15, “It is also rendered lie in wait for, aim at, or (LXX) watch for.” This is interesting for, when Yahweh spoke to Cain in Genesis 4:6-7 and said to him: “6 And Yahweh said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door ...” The words “sin”, “lieth” and “door” describe Cain’s natural genetic demeanor, and have nothing to do with a personal decision as so many claim. For instance, the meaning of the word “lieth” is described by Strong’s as follows:
“Lieth — #7257 râbats, raw-bats’: a primitive root; to crouch (on all four legs folded, like a recumbent animal); by implication torecline, repose, brood, lurk, imbed:— crouch (down), fall down, make a fold, lay, (cause to, make to) lie (down), make to rest, sit.”
Inasmuch as Genesis 3:15 speaks of a war between the seed (descendants) of the woman and the seed (descendants) of the serpent, this portrayal of the “seed of the serpent” is very fitting, and is manifested in the children of Cain, or the Canaanite variety of the “Jews.” Notice how Wycliffe depicts this Two Seedline war: “... the announcement of a prolonged struggle, perpetual antagonism, wounds on both sides, and eventual victory for the seed of woman.” That war has been going on now for about 7,500 years. The major agenda of the “serpent” descendants of Cain is to totally destroy the “seed of the woman.” Anyone who doesn’t understand the protevangelium simply hasn’t the slightest idea what is going on in the world today!
With this enlightenment on Genesis 4:1, everything else falls into its proper place, and all the supporting Scriptures for Two Seedline doctrine fit together very nicely. There can be little reasonable doubt as to the correct meaning of all the interlocking passages to Genesis 3:15. The Protevangelion 10:1-7 now squares with the Bible when it says (Mary’s Joseph speaking); The Lost Books of The Bible and The Forgotten books of Eden:
“1 And when her sixth month was come, Joseph returned from his building houses abroad, which was his trade, and entering into the house, found the Virgin grown big: 2 Then smiting upon his face, he said, With what face can I look up to the Lord my God? or, what shall I say concerning this young woman? 3 For I received her a Virgin out of the temple of the Lord my God! and have not preserved her such! 4 Who has thus deceived me? Who has committed this evil in my house, and seducing the Virgin from me, hath defiled her? 5 Is not the history of Adam exactly accomplished in me? 6 For in the very instant of his glory, the serpent came and found Eve alone, and seduced her. 7 Just after the same manner it has happened to me ...” [emphasis mine]
John 8:44 now becomes quite comprehensible. There can be little logical question, then, that Messiah was speaking of the scribes and Pharisees as being the literal genetic descendants of Satan through Cain. The Smith & Goodspeed translation renders John 8:44 like this:
“The devil is the father you are sprung from, and you want to carry out your father’s wishes. He was a murderer from the first, and he has nothing to do with truth, for there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in his true character, for he is a liar and the father of them.”
This leaves little reasonable doubt that when Messiah identified the scribes and Pharisees as being guilty of all the blood from Abel to Zacharias, then they could be none other than the literal lineage of Cain, Luke 11:49-51.
Also, Josephus Wars 2:8:2 becomes clear: “For there are three philosophical sects among the Judeans. The followers of the first of whom are the Pharisees; of the second the Sadducees; and the third sect, who pretends to a severer discipline, are called Essenes. These last are Judah by birth, and seem to have a greater affection for one another than the other sects have.”
From this, it would appear that of these three sects mentioned, only the Essenes could essentially claim to be pure blooded Israelites of the Tribe of Judah. Why didn’t Josephus mention the Pharisees and Sadducees as being Jews by birth? Is it possible the Bible is correct when it says at Revelation 2:9 and 3:9:“... and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews[Judah], and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan ... Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews[Judah], and are not, but do lie ...”?
Not only did Yahshua the Messiah accuse the scribe and Pharisee “Jews” of lying about their lineage, but He also told them in plain, unadulterated language they were not of his sheepfold; John 10:26-27: “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.”
Context means the entire Bible, not just a small passage. Disagreement with the entire context suggests scribal or translation problems. Sometimes, context must take precedence over the Hebrew or Greek letter.
The following short addendum is being added by William Finck on April 25th, 2016.
Origen's Hexapla, a work of the 3rd century AD which placed the Hebrew, Latin, and various Greek translations of the Bible all side-by-side in columns, shows many variant readings in the Greek versions of Genesis 4:1, which help to elucidate the problems that the earliest translators had with this verse. The fragment on display here is from Volume 1, page 17 of Origenis Hexaplorum, an edition of the existing fragments of Origen's Hexapla by Fridericus Field of Trinity College, published at Oxford's Clarendon Press in 1875. The PDF facsimiles of the two-volume set as well as a screenshot of thie entire page containing this fragment can be downloaded at the links below.
The image on the right shows the various translations of part of the text of Genesis 4:1 into Greek. I am not yet ready to ascertain exactly why the entire first half of the verse is wanting, however the Hexapla did not survive to us completely, this is a volume of fragments, and it is written entirely in Latin, in which I am not proficent. The author reproduced both the Hebrew and Latin texts at the beginning of each verse, and then gave all of the readings from various Greek translations. Translating the various Greek interpretations of the Hebrew into English, the following readings are found (all translations are my own, possible variations are in brackets):
Latin: "I got a man to help Yahweh"
First Greek reading: "I have acquired a man through [by] God" (Definite article indicates "the God", or a particular God.)
Second Greek reading: "The Hebrew and Syriac: I have acquired a man with [by] a god." (No article would indicate no particular god, indefinite article added..)
Third Greek reading: "I have acquired a man with a lord" (Again, no definite article, no definite Lord, indefinite article added.)
Fourth Greek reading: "I have acquired a man, a lord" (the two nouns each being singular and in the accusative case with no prepositions are both the object of the verb, and therefore they refer to the same object, a man who is a lord)
While these readings do not directly support Clifton's entire thesis presented in this paper, they do support the assertion that the text of Genesis 4:1 was rather problematic to the earliest translators of the Hebrew into Greek. For that reason, Clifton turned to the Aramaic Targums for an indication of how the Hebrew scribes of that same era understood the passage.