After leaving the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve have their first two sons: “Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain (קין; qayin), saying, ‘I have gotten (קניתי; qaniti) a man with the Lord. And again, she bore his brother Abel” (Gen 4:1-2a). Cain gets his name because it sounds like the Hebrew word for “to get” or “possess” (קנה; qanah). The astute reader might ask: Why does the Bible explain the rationale for Cain’s name, but not Abel’s? The reason is that the almost immediate death of Eve’s younger son will tell the reader why Abel gets his name.

In Hebrew, Abel (הבל; Hevel) means “vapor” or “breath” – something that is here today and gone tomorrow. According to Proverbs, “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor (הבל; hevel) and a snare of death” (Prov 21:6). Lamenting the brevity of a human life, the psalmist says to God, “My lifetime is nothing before you. Surely all humanity stands as a mere breath (הבל)” (Ps 39:5 cf. 39:11; 78:33; 94:11; 144:4). Similarly, Job states, “I loathe my life; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath (הבל)” (Job 7:16).

In light of the meaning of Abel’s name, readers should not be shocked to see that a mere six verses after Abel’s birth, “Cain rose up against his brother Abel and murdered him” (Gen 4:8). Those who can read the Bible in its original language don’t need an explicit explanation for why Abel gets his name; when we hear that Eve has a son named הבל we know that, like a vapor, he won’t be around for long! Despite this tragedy, God’s love has the last word. Soon after Abel’s death, “Adam again knew his wife Eve and she bore a son and called his name Seth (שֵׁת; Shet), for she said, ‘God has substituted (שַׁת; shat) for me another offspring in place of Abel” (Gen 4:25-26). Although Abel leaves the world like a wisp at the hands of his brother Cain, God reinforces Adam and Eve’s family line by appointing Seth who, according to Jewish tradition, is one of the most virtuous people in all of biblical history.

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153 COMMENTS

  1. My question on this is why Jesus and Yeshua are the same person. I always thought that Jesus was for the greek side of his name but you have it here in Hebrew? My other question is how did Eve know that Abel was going to be killed by his brother?

    • Hi Sandra. Good questions. First, “Jesus” is the English translation for the Greek Yesoos and the Hebrew Yeshua; it’s all the same person, it’s just a matter of the language in which ones chooses to write his name. Second, the Bible doesn’t narrate Eve’s naming of Abel like it does with Cain (see Gen 4:1-2), so it’s not that Eve “knew” that Abel would die and named him accordingly, it’s that he ends up with a fitting name in light of his short stay within the biblical narrative.

      • Is it possible that, rather than Eve foreknowing the brevity of Abel’s life, the word may have come to mean vapour as a result of hi untimely demise?

      • I would like to know why the bible said that Cain went to the land of Nod n found his wife, and why Yahweh put a protection on him against others attacking him..so if only Cain n Abel were born then there were no other siblings except Seth

      • Shalom Dr Schaser.

        Bless you for your endeavors to put light to the Word.

        Was it the tradition of the mothers to name their newborns?

        • Thanks for your question, Joan. In the Bible, we get instances of both men and women giving newborns their names. So, either the mother or father could do it.

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    • My question centers on the race of Jesus that is a start first anf foremost, so we u derstand why Bible characters were changed their ethnicity race

      • “Ethnicity” and “race” are two different concepts. “Race” is a modern construction that wouldn’t have been useful to the ancient Israelites. Jesus’ ethnicity is Jewish; based on his heritage, culture, worship, rituals, politics, and national origin, the world would have identified him as a “Jew” by ethnicity. He, and other Jews like him, usually refer to themselves as “Israel” — the biblical name for the ethnic people in that Land.

    • My thoughts exactly! They must have changed persons named later in life, after some significant event, like untimely deaths?

  2. 1st – for Sandra – And the deeper meaning of HIS name, Yeshua is from the root of & with the meaning of Salvation! “You shall name HIM Yeshua because he will save HIS people…”, 2nd again building on Sandra Lee’s comments. Is there any way of knowing if Hevel was prophetically named at birth or was it given to him post his murder? I consulted the Chumsh – no help from there.

    • Thanks, Bruce. Abel’s name wasn’t given post-murder, since he’s called Abel upon birth (Gen 4:2a). I know of no rabbinic comment that says Abel was prophetically named in anticipation of his quick death (but it may well be out there somewhere). I’ll note that no one explicitly “names” Abel in the text; whereas Eve names Cain and explicates the reason for his name (Gen 4:1-2), the text just says “and she bore his brother Abel.” So for me, instead of thinking in terms of a “prophetic naming,” it’s enough to say that the author of Genesis highlights the appropriateness of Abel’s name in light of what happens to him in the narrative.

    • Thanks Bruce I will sometimes get confised over people some times I like to say Yeshua instead of Jesus, I know that they are both the same person. Thanks and to Dr. Schaser too, I feel that you are doing a great job here in tring to get us thinking on the right path. Excuse my spelling I am not a good speller even now that I am taking Hebrew for the third time. Plus when I went to colleage learning computer programing, we use to spell the word on perpus. (spelling againg). Just so you understand.

    • You can find the meaning of Hebrew roots at Abarim-publications.com. It provides a very good explanation of the Hebrew roots. The best way to access the meanings is by googling it like this: the amazing name Hevel (enter)
      Regards!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Raymond. I once heard a church sermon in which the Abel-hevel connection was mentioned, so some churches would be able to relate this kind of material to their congregations. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer seminaries require their graduates to learn the biblical languages (for various reasons), so many pastors come out of school unable to makes these kinds of connections. I think it’s a problem with the seminary system more so than the Church. Thank you again for your response to the post!

      • that’s why they call it cemetery students that went seminaries a friend of mine who taught Greek at Dallas seminary that call it

      • Even if we do learn biblical languages in Bible school or seminary (as I did) we did not cover anything like this. It was mainly on how to read at the fundamental level and mostly how to use the linguistic tools.

        • Learning the fundamental linguistic tools is certainly important, but you’re right that most seminary students don’t have the opportunity to actually use those tools in a Hebrew exegesis course that brings out the nuances and artistry of the text. I wish that seminaries and Bible schools required more classes in Hebrew and Greek 🙂

          • When I went to Eastern Baptist Seminary, now part of Eastern University, as a Bible major, both Hebrew and Greek were required, and there were OT classes in Genesis, “historical” books and prophetic books where we translated portions of the text from the Hebrew, Same was true of NT classes.

  3. The emphasis on males.How did these sons have children? Were they hermaphrodites? Why is one a Jew only through a female Jew?

    • Hi Winston. On the sons having children, we often assume that Adam’s family was the only one around, which then leads to the question: if its only Cain and Abel, how are they reproducing? But the Bible explicates that there are other people around than the primordial family, since “Cain knew his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch” (Gen 4:17). So there’s nothing in the biblical narrative that precludes other people being around, but the authors don’t narrate their stories. Female (or matrilineal) descent for Jewishness is a rabbinic development; descent was patrilineal (male) in the the biblical period.

      • Hi Dr Schaser, If “The Bible explicates that there are other people around than the primordial family”, how did sin and death pass on to all man, if we not all descendants of ADAM? Romans 5 v12: ‘Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.’

        • Good question! Paul doesn’t say that it was Adam’s sin that passed on to every human like a disease — through the bloodstream, as it were. Rather, Paul says that death spread to all people “because all people sinned.” Think of Adam (whose name means “humanity”) as the archetype for the sins that we would all commit after him. He is the “exemplar” of how human beings behave; insofar as we follow Adam’s example, we also die like Adam because we also sin like Adam.

          • Dr.Nicholas, The bible explicitly shows that Adam and Eve(all people that we know) have sinned and also that the messiah will come from the son of Eve not son of eve(s).The time when Cain get his wife is not indicating in the bible.and question,Adam means what or derive from?

          • Thanks for your question, Junior. “Adam” means “human” or “humanity.” In fact, when “Adam” appears in Genesis 2-3, the Hebrew actually has “ha adam” or “the human” — that is, Adam is not a proper name in the early chapters of Genesis, but rather describes the (first) human being.

          • Noach was a descendant of Adam through the lineage of Seth. We are all descended from Noach through his sons Yapheth, Shem and Ham.

        • The gene was still almost perfect look at the longevity of years they lived. So they had relations with their own sister. Women were not mentioned any biblical scholar understands this.

        • This has always been something to wonder after. I have friends (masonic lodge members, with access to other ancient scriptures otherwise suppressed) who say there were other races created as well, and that Adam was supposed to be their priest and king, as per Melchezidick and Christ!

      • If God had other people around would they be fallen like Adam and Eve or perfect like before they sinned? Wouldn’t the simple answer be that they had daughters and most likely other sons that were not named as they were not the line to Jesus. The idea of other created people creates difficulties if they were sinless they should have remained in the Garden and if they were created with sin that would not be free will.

        • I’m not one to think I know the definitive answer to this, BUT…the verse where God banishes Cain and he’s concerned that the people there will kill him so God puts a mark on him, has always kept my mind open to the possibility that there were other people (or angels?) on the earth at that time. As for the garden-no one was given access to the garden but Adam and Eve so whether they were the only people on earth or whether there were other people and/or angels wouldn’t seem to affect who had access to the garden.

          • That’s a good way to look at it, Melinda. Thanks for your comment. The biblical text certainly seems to be acknowledging the existence of other people besides Adam and Eve’s family, based on the passage you cite from Genesis 4.

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      • Re other people. Since the world was flooded and God (re)created starting with Adam to say here were other people is impossible. Adam has children and was pure in the sense That God said it is good. They married their Sisters else God made their wives as Adam

  4. This is fascinating.. I wonder if Eve named him such because, in her mind, Cain was primary. Did she see him as the One spoken of to the serpent, the offspring, that would crush the serpent’s head? I think the language is so interesting here: ” ‘I have gotten (קניתי; qaniti) a man with the Lord.” Wait, wasn’t Adam part of the process? But no, she says she got a man “with the Lord.” So, if she sees Cain as the One, then what is Able but a breath, an afterthought..

    • Thanks for your responses, Mary! So Adam is still part of the process in the birth of Cain: “Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived and bore Cain” (Gen 4:1). The sense of the Hebrew is that Eve got a son “with the help of” the Lord, as anyone who has a child does. Interesting thought about Cain being the foretold “seed” to crush the snake’s head. It’s ironic that the reader would make this logic conclusion, and then Cain ends up “crushing” his own brother, rather than the snake!

      • Oh wow, you just took it to another level when you pointed out Cain “crushing” his brother! But I apologize for not making myself clear, I understood Eve conceived Cain with Adam. I was more speaking to her emotional state; how she saw herself, the Lord, and Adam in the equation. I think how the verses are voiced could be giving give us a window to her soul.

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        • I think Eve was recognising the existence of man and woman as a duality of spirit and body. She and Adam create the physical body in which the spirit of Cain will dwell. Cain’s spirit will come to his body from its earlier residence with The Lord (Ha-Shem).

  5. And again she bore Able ? Is not the text ” And THEN she bore ABLE ” Then and again have to compete different meaning ?

    • Hi Cal. Thanks for your question. The operative Hebrew verb comes from the root יסף (yasaph), which means “to do again” or “to add.” So in English, it might best be translated: “And she did [it] again,” i.e., she “conceived again” and she bore Abel.

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      • Dr. Nicholas J. Schaser … I wondered if it meant that she gave birth to a twin? The way it reads lead me to believe that this could be the case.

          • I bought a copy of the the Book of Jasher referenced 3xs in the bible. It says that Adam midwived Cain and his twin sister and when Eve was due, their daughter midwived Able and his twin sister.

          • Iris, the Book of Jasher mentioned in the Bible has been lost to history; there is no extant copy of the text. What you may have purchased is a copy of Pseudo-Jasher, an 18th century forgery that claims to be an English translation of the Book of Jasher (but is not).

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        • Eve gave birth to twins, I believe Adam and Eve gave birth to other children that perhaps God chose not that there names written down in the Bible. remember these guys live for hundred of years. CAIN had to take one of his sisters as his wife . thank you

  6. Good day Sir thanx for your wonderful teachings I really enjoy it. One question that arise from so many people out of Gen 4:17. Cain had a wife and she bore him a son. Where is she comming from. Can you give me a little bit of clarity please. Thanx very much

    • Hi Louis. A great question, but unfortunately I can’t give a whole lot of clarity because they Bible doesn’t tell us 🙂 What we often assume is that Adam’s family constitutes the only humans on earth at the time of Genesis 4, but the Bible doesn’t align with this thinking since, as you note, Gen 4:17 says that Cain “knew his wife” — clearly, there are other people around other than just Adam’s line. Where did they come from? The Bible doesn’t tell us! Wish I could be more helpful on this one, but we just don’t know.

      • Just a thought! As we already have assumption that early family were marrying between close incest relationships, which were restricted when Law was given. Secondly there is mention of 7 women in many mythologies around the world. As we see main genealogies are through male names so may be Adam and Eve had daughters as well who became wives of the sons. Because we see list of Cain’s family growing and later we see Seth was born. In between we can assume they had daughters even before Seth.

        • Dr. Nicholas, I have no proof, however, I was taught that in the birth of each sibling there was a female twin. This is where Cain finds his wife.

          Shalom

          • Yes I have learned of this also. Also that Cain killed his brother Abel because he wanted Abel’s twin/ wife to be.

        • Nagina, I concur with your statement and have attempted several times to elaborate a bit on where the wife of Cain came from. As Dr. Nicholas has stated, they were the only humans on earth, however, they had a task of filling the earth with humanity.

          I therefore, believe that when each sibling was born, they each had a twin sister. How else could another female human exist?

          • Could it be possible that the same way God Made a wife(Eve) for Adam by removing Adam’s rib and made Eve, he could have done the same for Cain and Seth wives? Though the Bible did not talk about it

          • Thanks for your question, Kilama. As you note, the Bible doesn’t provide such information, so it’s best to withhold speculation 🙂

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      • In light of this question it is that we don’t know what the time span in between Adam and Eves children that are being born. Cain 1st more children then Able? more children then Seth. And we don’t know how much time went by before Cain took a wife. How could there be other people around other than Adam’s line? The bible doesn’t teach this and we cannot start adding words and ideas that God hasn’t written in his word.

      • Dr. Nicholas, I have no proof, however, I was taught that in the birth of each sibling there was a female twin. This is where Cain finds his wife.

        Shalom

        • Hi Roberto. Thanks for your comment. Since there’s no info in the biblical text for this (as you note), we probably shouldn’t put much weight on it.

          • It took 2 people to carry the “perfect” genome for humanity with Adam and Eve. By the time of Noah it took 6 (Noah’s sons and their wives). By the time of the Exodus the genome had degraded to the point that the “laws of sanguinity” we’re needed.
            … Just a thought on our origins …

  7. Re the name Abel being prophetically given, I have experienced that God somehow brings His prophetic intents to pass by being intimately involved with mankind. As a Biblical example Abraham in KJV Gen 22:7-18, when asked “where is the sacrifice?” He responds “God will provide himself a sacrifice” which can mean either an animal or prophetically “Himself” as the sacrifice. Also if you take the first 10 names in Gen the 5 listing you get prophetically: Hebrew/English Adam/Man, Seth/ Appointed, Enosh/Mortal, Kenan /Sorrow, Mahalalel/The Blessed God, Jared/Shall come down, Enoch/Teaching, Methuselah/His death shall bring, Lamech/The Despairing, Noah/Rest or comfort.

    • Great point re God being “intimately involved” with humanity, Peeter. I definitely agree. Not quite sure if I’m following your thesis on Genesis 5 — that is, I’m not sure what the names would say “prophetically.” Just a quick translational note: Methuselah doesn’t mean “his death shall bring.” The “Meth” in the name doesn’t come from מוֹת (mot; “death”), but rather מַת (mat; “a group of men,” likely a diminutive of the plural מתים). The “selah” in the name comes from שׁלח (to send out). So rather than “his death shall bring,” Methuselah means something like “men go out.”

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  8. Helpful Information! Thank you for making it available for all who are desirous to know what The Scriptures teach.

  9. Havel havalim, amar Koheleth; havel havalim, hakol havel. – Vapor of vapors, says Koheleth; vapor of vapors, all is vapor. – “Futility of futilities/Vanity of vanities,,” says the Teacher, “futility of futilities/vanity of vanities,! Everything/All is futile/vanity!”

    • Hi Urmas. “Vanity” is alternate option for the Hebrew hevel in many English translations — and it’s good in the context of Qohelet because it expresses his angst about the apparent meaninglessness of life. But the word hevel in this context could just as easily be translated “vapor” or “wisp” — i.e., life lasts for such a short time, you work for no reason, and then you die (which is Qohelet’s worldview in a nutshell).

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  10. A-ha, this is not so inconsequential an issue, the first of human creation. • Nagina – June 29, 2018, point of incest in the first family is the traditional Christian teaching. Can you share how this Christian story/belief came to be? • If there were other humans than Adam and Eve, were they also created, by whom or how? • Adam names the animals Gen. 2:20 and sees no one else of his human kind. • I heard stories of Lilith, Adams first wife and always discounted them as works of satan. Like McDonald’s… I’m lovin’ it! J.

  11. I like the way this is expressed. I have never heard anything like it! It is straight forward and simply to understand. Life is but a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. We can be gone in an instance…the twinkling of an eye! Come LORD JESUS! Thank you!

  12. I like the way this expression. I have never heard anything like it! Life is but a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. We can be gone in an instance…the twinkling of an eye! Come LORD JESUS! Thank you!

  13. I have met other understanding of word hbl, Habel. For me the best is: weak. That fits well to the story of first brothers (Habel was killed because he was weak; it is difficult to kill a man when it is one against one). Also His mother gave that name naturally as she saw that he was weak child since birthday.

    • Hi, Rado. While there are other words for “weak” in Hebrew (e.g., רך or רפה) the general idea of Abel being weaker than Cain is certainly operative in the story. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion!

    • I don’t see Abel’s death as a result of some weakness in Abel, but the result of treachery on the part of Cain. Abel had no reason to expect to need to defend himself.

  14. Abel’s name, meaning “vapor” also reminds me of the smoke that went up toward God when he sacrificed his lambs showing that God accepted the sacrifice. Pleasing prayers are like an “incense” or smoke, or a vapor before God so that could be another way to take the name. Perhaps Eve had prayed for a second son and so she named him Abel because she felt her prayers had been heard upon conceiving him. It is just a thought…

  15. Habel is often translated as weak, low quality, not worth too much. According to me, that translation fits the best to that Biblical story of the first brothers. Shallom.

  16. But Abel’s prayers rose upward and were pleasing to God because he gave God the best of his flock, I do not think that is weak or worthless. I think Abel was an early “type” for the Savior, Christ, who ultimately was killed because others were jealous of his miracles, all the signs and especially because it was clear his prayers were heard by God, His Father. Joseph, son of Jacob, was also betrayed and sold to Egyptians because he was favored by his Father Jacob, and that is a clear typology for Christ sold by Judas.

    • You’re right on all of this, Mary. It’s not to say that Abel’s actions or heart were “weaker” than Cain’s, but rather that Abel only spent a short time on the earth, hence the meaning of the name. Your note on Abel being a type of Christ is 100% correct (cf. Heb 12:24), and there are certainly lots of parallels between the lives of Joseph and Jesus.

  17. Yes, I would like to agree with Dr. Schaser and others. When I took a Hebrew Bible, I have found mistake in my opinion. Thanks for saving me from my mistakes. But maybe I have found reason of his name. He could be a twin brother and there was a longer brake in birth, and he appeared unexpectedly when everybody were thinking that it is finished on one baby.

    • Thanks for your comment, Rado. The notion that Abel was Cain’s twin, i.e., both were born during the same pregnancy with some kind of gap in between, goes all the way back to the rabbis. So your thought here certainly has precedent in ancient biblical interpretation.

  18. It seems to me that Eve thought that Cain was “The Seed” promised toward the end of chapter 3. Cain’s name has a lot of overtones of permanence and substance to it. One definition given in Strong’s concordance is “fixity, also a lance (as striking fast)”. The similarity of Cain’s name to something tangible that can be bought or acquired is along the same lines. In English, the word “purchase” sometimes carries the meaning of “having a grip on something”. Mechanics and plumbers speak of using the proper wrench to get more “purchase” on a stubborn nut or pipe. Abel’s name is just the opposite, since it is impossible to “get a grip” on a vapor or breath. Why would a mother give a child a name synonymous with “transitory vapor, vanity, etc.”? Maybe Eve was confused by Abel.
    In some ways, Eve seems to have two sides to her. At times she seems to typify “Babylon”. She is often “confused” which is one thing scripture also points out about Babylon (first she is confused about what God had commanded about the fruit of the tree, and then she is confused about Cain being the promised seed). She also glories in her own works. Eve makes herself the subject of her proclamation at Cain’s birth. “I have gotten”… “From the Lord” is added as a detail. Another similarity to Babylon is found in her derision towards true righteousness, as found in Abel. She sees it as vain, undependable, etc. To her credit, she does repent and get it right when Seth is granted to her as “another seed”. This time around, she makes the Lord the subject of her proclamation. “The Lord has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew”. The account of Abel and Cain just begs for a ton of questions to be asked. Why did Abel choose an occupation that seems to be a refusal of what the Lord said to Adam (and presumably to his descendants) about getting food by the sweat of his face in tilling the ground? Being a shepherd doesn’t seem to be as much work, though it would require being ready to fight off predators. And what did Abel do for food? At this point the only things the Lord had given to man as food were plants, grain and fruit. Nothing had been said about milk and cheese from goats and sheep. Meat wasn’t given to man as food til after the flood. Maybe Abel foraged while he tended the flocks?

  19. Genesis 5: 4 explains how the other women, after Eve was made by the Almighty, first came into existence and therefore a supply of women began to be available for all of Adam’s “sons’, and that included wives for the line starting with Cain. and the line starting with Seth, and for Adam’s other sons.

    • I think that the biblical narrative is certainly alluding to this fact, Stephen (similar to what Ecclesiastes says about life). Thanks for your note.

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  20. There are 2 creation stories of Man. The 1st says He created them male & female. The 2nd says He created Adam and put him in a garden and then created Eve from Adam. I have always thought these were 2 separate creations. This 1st creation could be the group from which Cain takes a wife. Shalom

  21. Cain offered his best production from the fields.How could it not stand in equality with Abel’s offerings.He offered from his profession/work.Why should God show partiality between the two.

    • Great question, Felix. The truth is, the Bible doesn’t tell us why God had favor for one sacrifice and not the other. As frustrating as this lack of detail can be, it also foreshadows God’s choosing of Israel as a nation; God just has a special love for the Israelites (in Hebrew that love is called “hesheq”), but God’s love has nothing to do with what Israel does or doesn’t do. God’s choosing of Abel’s sacrifice, “just because,” might foreshadow God’s similar choosing of Israel.

    • The LORD says if he did well… we don’t do well at all w accursed things like what the ground produces & like things dedicated to idol even the gold & silver on them. We do well after what God do for us like sacrifice to God of innocent cattles like to cover the shame of the first couple & like killing a lamb to the LORD for omitting of sins at the temple. I had struggle w it also for decades & thought hard about it, finally at peace w it. Peace to you as well!

      • History says that the Ancient Israelites migrated to the West of Africa around 70AD,
        So the Akan (Genesis 36:27) people of present day Ghana/GANA/KANA/KANAAN/CANA/CANAAN traditions, Customs, Culture is what is found in the Holy Bible.
        All the untranslated words in the Bible are AKAN words and languages, same spellings, same meaning, except that the non Akan people pronounced the Akan words wrong.
        In Akan the first born is all ways knows as BA KANE which is simply translated as first born. BA is a child and KANE is first, KANE is first born.
        I will explain Abel’s names next comment.

  22. Apologies for the redundancy. Bad internet connection. My post kept dropping.

    Happy Yom Kippur to all. May Hashem have favor for us all with a good year to come. Life, Health and Prosperity to all.

    May we all be inscribed for He promised that He would pour out from Heaven all the Blessings we need.

  23. In those early days men lived close to a thousand years. Caine probably married at close to a hundred years. His must have come from Adam and Eve. To argue otherwise would be questioning the entire creation story.

  24. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and pnamed him Seth. 4 qThe days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, rand he died. –Genesis 5:3-5. Notice verse 4 says “he had other sons and daughters”.

    • Can someone please explain why we call Yeshua’s name Jesus when l was always led to believe it was Joshua.

      • Thanks for your question, Sandy. In Hebrew, Joshua is Yehoshua. Yeshua (Jesus) is a shortened version of Yehoshua, and it also appears in the Hebrew Bible nearly 25 times (usually rendered “Jeshua” in English translations). Essentially, the name Jesus (Yeshua) is related to Joshua (Yehoshua), but Yeshua is a diminution of Joshua.

      • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  25. Why did God find Abel’s offering acceptable but found Cain’s unacceptable and why did that make Cain so angry that he killed his brother?

    • Cain saw fit to offer the Lord produce from the ground, which the Lord had cursed, for man’s own sake. Abel saw fit to offer a sacrifice from his flock, foreshadowing the Sacrifice of the Lord on the Cross. Thus his sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord and Cain’s was not, this made him jealous.

  26. In one of my bible which is the tanakh it states “She then bore his brother Abel”. i was told that in jewish believe cain and Abel are twins. But it is not clear like Esau and Jacob are. thanks

  27. I humbly caution all the contributors to tread very, very lightly on the question of ‘where did the wives come from?”. We are drifting from the “WORD” given, to focusing on filling in the blanks where it is not required of us; as a result we are beginning to focus on personalities and events, and this is dangerous ground. I’m not suggesting that we should not, but we must also be aware of the purpose and purity of the scriptures. 1 Cor 4:6, 2 Cor 4:13, Gal 3:10, Rev 1:3 warn “not to go beyond what written”.

    • After your above statement “Dr.” it appears you don’t believe that Adam was the first man. Yes there were other families around and they were all descendants of Adam . Read Genesis chapter 5 v4. I think Dr. you need to study a little more.

  28. A question about Cain; if Cain was a child of Adam and Eve, what was the reason he was not even mentioned in the genealogy or lineage of Adam in the Bible Luke 3:38? Why? If I may ask.

    • Thanks for your question, Xolani. Biblical genealogies are very selective; they are not meant to provide an exhaustive generational list, but rather to present a limited picture of descent in order to make a theological claim. More, we shouldn’t expect Cain to be included in the NT genealogies, since he is understood as an unsavory character (cf. 1 Jn 3:12; Jude 1:11), and therefore the NT writers wouldn’t want to associate him with Jesus.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

      • Thank you for replying. I understand. Please explain to me Genesis 6:2. How can sons of God be fallen angels (demons) that came down to earth and mated with the daughters of men? (according to Josephus). The Bible says that Adam was the son of God, so since every seed must produce out of its own kind Gen1:11, what comes from Adam is like Adam. These sons of God in Gen6:2, are they not the righteous seed line From Adam, to Seth etc who lusted after the beauty of the daughters of men, As it is today Luke17:26-28?

        • Thanks, Xolani. Adam is called God’s son in a metaphorical sense in Lk 3:38, and it was common to call certain human beings “sons” of God (e.g., Exod 4:22; Ps 2:7). However, the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 are God’s divine creations — i.e., the celestial beings that God creates in the heavenly realm, just like God creates humans in the earthly realm (cf. Job 38:1-7; Psalm 82). These “sons of God” are lesser deities who seem to rebel against God somehow (the text doesn’t give us much information).

  29. Friendly good day, thanks for its illustrations that respect, sim impeded the most ancient rabbinical illustrations, they seem to be more explicit and I would like he will extend why the tanak must not be read of maneraa literally and that understands himself for literal in the concept yehudita. thanks

  30. Is it possible that Adam and Eve had girl children before Cain? That would explain her ‘profound’ gratitude in getting ‘a man, from the Lord’. The coming of Abel was not much celebrated seeing as he did come after ‘the man’ Cain

    • Thanks for your question, Ben. Since the text never explicates that Adam and Eve had female children before Cain, we don’t have a textual basis for the theory. Eve’s exclamation that she has “gotten a man from the Lord” is a way for the biblical writer to make a wordplay on Cain’s name (to explain why Cain get’s his name), because “I have gotten (קניתי; qaniti)” echoes the name, Cain (קין; qayin). Eve doesn’t need to make the same exclamation after Abel (הבל; hevel) is born, because the reader already knows that his name means “vapor.”

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  31. love your background and insight! I feel it is conjecture to suppose the existence of other people independent of the posterity of Adam and Eve – I think that description of others is simply the notation that Adam and Eve had many other children and were fulfilling God’s command to ‘mulitply and fill the earth’ as most translations describe and that the purity of their state, tho fallen, allowed for brother and sister to continue fulfilling that command without the issues of biological incest that have come about thru greater biological specialization and greater impurity over time.

    • May I ask your opinion of ‘original sin’ of our first parents (Adam and Eve)that was passed on. Thus a a need of Baptism to erase the original sin. Thank you.

      • The notion of “original sin” as an inherited stain from birth due to Adam’s sin is not a biblical idea. It comes from a mistranslation of Romans 5:12 into Latin, which is what Augustine read and extrapolated into the notion of “original sin.” In the original Greek, Paul says that death came into the world through Adam’s sin, and that everyone dies because everyone follows in Adam’s footsteps (i.e., everyone sins). Adam is an archetype for all of humanity, but the Bible doesn’t assert that Adam’s “original sin” forces everyone else into an inborn state of sinfulness.

      • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  32. Also, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Adam and Eve as all of mankind are literally the spirit offspring of God in the pre-mortal world so that in reality all mankind are children of God, beginning with Adam. This is further corroborated by the Bible’s description of Jesus being the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, meaning all are begotten as spirits before coming to the mortal world where everyone else has a mortal set of parents. This is what literally makes us all brothers and sisters as children of God.

    • What passage in the Bible or book of Mormon explains that mankind are literally the offspring of God in the pre-mortal world?

  33. Our Lord Jesus is the seed who crushed the head of the devil, isn’t it? (I am just out of the the hospital I believe w a medical miracle.) Why is Cain expected to be the seed? Is Noah & the Lord from his line? What reasons could Eve have to name her sons like them, it must be repercussion from & out of Eden. It sounded like to me the first couple were so very young that they had given to the trick of the snake; they are “egg eaters”. It’s my experience though I did not give in!

    • Thanks for your question. The New Testament writers do not cite Genesis 3:15 (Eve’s offspring bruising the serpent’s head) with reference to Jesus. Noah comes from the line of Seth (cf. Gen 5:6, 28-29).

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  34. There has been a lot of speculation on Cain’s wife. It is certainly true that Adam and Eve had daughters and the Godly line came through them. However that was another line that we call Neanderthals mentioned in chapter 5 that can account for this. See next post

  35. Of course twisted due to a lack of words in the language to accurately define the event. The Godly line intermarried with the Neanderthals and this is what caused the need for the flood in the first place. They were not suitable mates for Adam.

    • Neanderthals were fully human, and descendants of Adam and Eve. There is no ‘Godly line’—a careful reading of Scripture leads me to believe the Bene Elohim in Genesis 6 were the demons who were judged at the time of the flood.

      • They were not homosapians. They are not descendants of Adam. They were wiped out completely as the Bible says.

  36. Thanks Dr for a great debate and thanks also to the other contributors as it leads to a very interesting study. The bible tells us that Mankind consist of Body, Soul and Spirit. Since the first man (Adam) was created by God and He breathed into the nostrils of Adam….

  37. Cont. Adam received his spirit from God. Since God is Spirit. Our spirit must have existed with God before we were born. Jeremiah 1:4-5. Thus our spirit is eternal just as our father is eternal. This proves that we existed with Him before we were predestined to be born.

  38. Dear Dr. Schaser: I have been reading the whole questions and answers, however, there is a hesitation in creation moment: I(and just I) think that in Eden there was those who were created by God, and in the earth around, there was more people, neanthertals i.e.,could it be?

    • Thanks for your question/comment, Gustavo. There’s nothing in the biblical text that demands that Adam and Eve were the only people on earth, so your assumption is plausible. At the same time, the text doesn’t mention “neanderthals,” so there’s also no reason to import this group into the narrative.

  39. Genesis(ICB): 3 Later, Cain brought a gift to God. He brought some food from the ground. 4 Abel brought the best parts of his best sheep. To me this looks like Cane didn’t offer the best, am I misunderstanding?

    • This could be the reason for God’s disfavor, but the text is not explicit. Lots of ink has been spilled over the centuries trying to figure out “the reason,” but it may be that Genesis is setting us up for God’s election of Israel, whom God chooses based on no merit of their own (i.e., for no identifiable “reason”).

  40. Please pardon my ignorance, and forgive me for being slightly off, but who is the “us” in Genesis 1 where God says let us make man, someone like ourselves? Thank you.

    • Thanks for your question, Ed. The “us” in Gen 1:26 is the God of Israel addressing the other lesser deities in the divine council. In Israelite theology, many gods exist, but only the God of Israel is worthy of the peoples’ worship. Genesis 1 is the first of many examples of this theology, which is called “henotheism.”

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  41. eventually bible wanna saying to us that knowing human’s ilfe what it is.
    something here today, but gone tommorrow….
    so, worship to G-d is wise.

  42. The best theology is kneeology. We must remember that the Bible is written too where even a child can learn. It’s when we try to intellectualize scripture to where ppl can’t understand. The word of God must be kept in simplicity form. The Holy Spirit is the revealer.

  43. ‘Let us make man in our image’ (correct me if I’m wrong). With the “us” and the “our”, maybe more of Adam and Eve were created but they are selected to be the bearer (through their descendants), of the eventual re-enactment of creation itself when The Creator comes to crush the ‘serpent’ who continued to challenge Him? Another thing, who wrote the gospels and why are they written in Greek?

    • The “us” in Genesis 1 is God and God’s divine council of lesser deities. We do not know who wrote the Gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke, and John are all later authorial traditions). The Gospels are written in Greek because much of the Roman world spoke Greek in the first century, and the Gospel authors were among these Greek speakers.

  44. Why didn’t you refer to Eccl 1 for hbl. And should we translate hbl there as breath instead of vanity? I think a hebrew speaker wouldn’t necessarily pick up that Abel meant breath either.

    • Hevel means “vapor” or “breath” — something ethereal that doesn’t last long. That is why Ecclesiastes uses the word to describe life. From Qohelet’s perspective, life is short and insignificant, just like hevel. Any fluent Hebrew reader knows the meaning of Abel’s name and would find his brevity in the narrative fitting.

  45. Adam and Eve were the only humans until Cain was conceived, apparently after they sinned. Abel was born sometime later. Both were old enough to be farming and herding when Abel was murdered. Seth was born when Adam was 130. Gen. 5:4 other sons and daughters, source of Cain’s wife.

  46. Dr Schaser : what do you think the identifying mark placed on Cain was ? some form of a tattoo ? a change of skin color ? the Bible doesn’t specifically tell us how God ‘marked’ Cain to prevent him being killed by others….your thoughts ?

    • Thanks for your question, Stephen. Unfortunately, the text doesn’t specify. However, the sign is probably not something done to Cain’s body like a tattoo, and there’s no evidence for the disastrous interpretation that God altered Cain’s skin color. God does not place a “mark upon” Cain, but rather appoints a “sign for Cain” (לקין אות; Gen 4:15). In Genesis, God also offers a “sign” (אות) for the seasons in Gen 1:14 and a sign for Noah and his descendants after the flood (9:12-17) — both of which are visible in the sky. There is the sign of circumcision upon one’s body (17:11), but this is a sign that humans put on themselves, not one that God puts on them. Since God appoints signs in Genesis that exist apart from the person’s body, it’s best to understand Cain’s “sign” in a similar way. Thus, we can be confident that it was not something that appeared on Cain’s skin or body. Yes, God changes Moses’ skin as a “sign” in Exodus 4, but this was a temporary sign and his skin immediately changed back (4:6-8). Unlike Moses, Cain’s sign is perpetual and, again, the immediate context of Genesis (rather than Exodus) points to the sign existing apart from Cain’s body.

  47. Dear Dr Shaser, I am unable to enrol for any of the courses at this time but the small snipits I am receiving are very interesting to read and see what it is all about as above for example. I use Yeshua now in my prayers when praying for people.

  48. I have a question: If Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of eden, after being the first people mentioned after creation of al! other things. They were told to be fruitful and multiply before it mentions disobedience. Couldn’t Eve have had children without pain, before they disobeyed? Then after eating from tree of knowledge, Cain could have been the first child born after being expelled from the garden?

    • This scenario is possible, but the text doesn’t narrate births before Cain’s. More, God “increases” pain in childbearing after Adam and Eve eat from the tree (Gen 3:16), so any prior births wouldn’t have been without pain.

  49. My point is, how can you increase pain to something unless you have something to compare it to. She would bave had to have some childbirths prior to this to increase the pain of it. A lot of times names aren’t mentioned unless there’s a point being made.

    • Right. Again, the scenario is possible, but one wouldn’t want to conclude that Eve did, indeed, have children prior to Cain when the text does not mention any (and also doesn’t narrate anyone but Adam and Eve leaving Eden). On Gen 3:16, God could have increased labor pain before Eve ever bore any children; by analogy, one can increase the volume on a guitar amplifier before playing the instrument.

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