on Genesis 4 :1
I have gotten a man from the Lord - Cain, קין, signifies acquisition; hence Eve says קנתי kanithi, I have gotten or acquired a man, את יהוה eth Yehovah, the Lord. It is extremely difficult to ascertain the sense in which Eve used these words, which have been as variously translated as understood. Most expositors think that Eve imagined Cain to be the promised seed that should bruise the head of the serpent. This exposition really seems too refined for that period. It is very likely that she meant no more than to acknowledge that it was through God's peculiar blessing that she was enabled to conceive and bring forth a son, and that she had now a well-grounded hope that the race of man should be continued on the earth. 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 from being the Messiah, was of the wicked one; 1 John 3:12. We may therefore suppose that את היוה eth Yehovah, The Lord, is an elliptical form of expression for מאת יהוה meeth Yehovah, From The Lord, or through the Divine blessing.
on Genesis 4 :1
- Section IV - The Family of Adam
- Cain and Abel
1. קין qayı̂n, Qain (Cain), "spear-shaft," and קנה qānah, "set up, establish, gain, buy," contain the biliteral root קן qan, "set up, erect, gain." The relations of root words are not confined to the narrow rules of our common etymology, but really extend to such instinctive usages as the unlettered speaker will invent or employ. A full examination of the Hebrew tongue leads to the conclusion that a biliteral root lies at the base of many of those triliterals that consist of two firm consonants and a third weaker one varying in itself and its position. Thus, יטב yāṭab and טיב ṭôb. So קין qayı̂n and קנה qānah grow from one root.
2. הבל hebel, Habel (Abel), "breath, vapor."
3. מנחה mı̂nchâh, "gift, offering, tribute." In contrast with זבח zebach, it means a "bloodless offering".
7. חטאת chaṭā't, "sin, sin-penalty, sin-offering." רבץ rābats, "lie, couch as an animal."
16. נוד nôd, Nod, "flight, exile; related: flee."
This chapter is a continuation of the second document. Yet it is distinguished from the previous part of it by the use of the name Yahweh alone, and, in one instance, אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym alone, to designate the Supreme Being. This is sufficient to show that distinct pieces of composition are included within these documents. In the creation week and in the judgment, God has proved himself an originator of being and a keeper of his word, and, therefore, the significant personal name Yahweh is ready on the lips of Eve and from the pen of the writer. The history of fallen man now proceeds. The first family comes under our notice.
In this verse the first husband and wife become father and mother. This new relation must be deeply interesting to both, but at first especially so to the mother. Now was begun the fulfillment of all the intimations she had received concerning her seed. She was to have conception and sorrow multiplied. But she was to be the mother of all living. And her seed was to bruise the serpent's head. All these recollections added much to the intrinsic interest of becoming a mother. Her feelings are manifested in the name given to her son and the reason assigned for it. She "bare Cain and said, I have gained a man from Yahweh." Cain occurs only once as a common noun, and is rendered by the Septuagint δόρυ doru, "spear-shaft." The primitive meaning of the root is to set up, or to erect, as a cane, a word which comes from the root; then it means to create, make one's own, and is applied to the Creator Genesis 14:19 or the parent Deuteronomy 32:6. Hence, the word here seems to denote a thing gained or achieved, a figurative expression for a child born. The gaining or bearing of the child is therefore evidently the prominent thought in Eve's mind, as she takes the child's name from this. This serves to explain the sentence assigning the reason for the name. If the meaning had been, "I have gained a man, namely, Yahweh," then the child would have been called Yahweh. If Jehovah had even been the emphatic word, the name would have been a compound of Yahweh, and either אישׁ 'ı̂ysh, "man," or קנה qı̂nâh, "qain," such as Ishiah or Coniah. But the name Cain proves קניתי qānı̂ytı̂y, "I have gained" to be the emphatic word, and therefore the sentence is to be rendered "I have gained (borne) a man (with the assistance) of Yahweh."
The word "man" probably intimates that Eve fully expected her son to grow to the stature and maturity of her husband. If she had daughters before, and saw them growing up to maturity, this would explain her expectation, and at the same time give a new significance and emphasis to her exclamation, "I have gained a man (heretofore only women) from Yahweh." It would heighten her ecstasy still more if she expected this to be the very seed that should bruise the serpent's head.
Eve is under the influence of pious feelings. She has faith in God, and acknowledges him to be the author of the precious gift she has received. Prompted by her grateful emotion, she confesses her faith, She also employs a new and near name to designate her maker. In the dialogue with the tempter she had used the word God אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym. But now she adopts Yahweh. In this one word she hides a treasure of comfort. "He is true to his promise. He has not forgotten me. He is with me now again. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will give me the victory." And who can blame her if she verily expected that this would be the promised deliverer who should bruise the serpent's head?
on Genesis 4 :1
4:1 Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters, Ge 5:4. But Cain and Abel seem to have been the two eldest. Cain signifies possession; for Eve when she bare him said with joy and thankfulness, and great expectation, I have gotten a man from the Lord.