And Adam knew his wife again; and she bore a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.—Cain, the firstborn, and Abel, who had outstripped him in prosperity, were both lost to Adam. But instead of the third son succeeding to the place of the firstborn, it is given to one specially marked out, probably by prophecy, just as Solomon took the rights of primogeniture over the head of Adonijah.
Seth.—Heb., Sheth, that is, appointed, substituted: he was thus specially designated as the son who was to be the chief over Àdam’s family.Genesis 4:25. In this verse we find the first mention of Adam in the story of this chapter. No question, the murder of Abel, and the impenitency and apostacy of Cain, were a very great grief to him and Eve and the more because their own wickedness did now correct them, and their backsliding did reprove them. Their folly had given sin and death entrance into the world; and now they smarted by it, being, by means thereof, deprived of both their sons in one day, Genesis 27:45. When parents are grieved by their children’s wickedness, they should take occasion from thence to lament that corruption of nature which was derived from themselves, and which is the root of bitterness. But here we have that which was a relief to our first parents in their affliction; namely, God gave them to see the rebuilding of their family, which was sorely shaken and weakened by that sad event. For they saw their seed, another instead of Abel. And Adam called his name Seth — That is, set, settled, or placed, because in his seed mankind should continue to the end of time.
25. שׁת shēt, Sheth, "placed, put."
26. אנישׁ 'enôsh, Enosh, "man, sickly." בשׁם קרא qero' beshēm means, first, to call an object by its name Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 45:3-4; second, to call an object by the name of another, who is the parent, leader, husband, owner Numbers 32:42; Judges 18:29; Psalm 49:12; Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 44:5; Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 65:1; third, to proclaim the name of Exodus 33:19; Exodus 35:5-6; fourth, to call upon the name of God, to address him by his proper name with an audible voice in the form of prayer. This is the most common meaning of the phrase. In this sense it is followed by Yahweh as the proper name of the true God among the Hebrews. It is not to be forgotten that names were still significant, at this early period.
This passage completes the account of Adam's family. Henceforth, we generally meet with two parallel lines of narrative, as the human family is divided into two great branches, with opposing interests and tendencies. The main line refers to the remnant of the race that are on terms of open reconciliation with God; while a collateral line notes as far as necessary the state of those who have departed from the knowledge and love of the true God.
The narrative here reverts to a point subsequent to the death of Habel, when another son is born to Adam, whom his mother Eve regards as a substitute for Habel, and names Sheth in allusion to that circumstance. She is in a sadder, humbler frame than when she named her first-born, and therefore does not employ the personal name of the Lord. Yet her heart is not so much downcast as when she called her second son a breath. Her faith in God is sedate and pensive, and hence she uses the more distant and general term אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym, God.
Yet there is a special significance in the form of expression she employs. "For God" hath given me another seed instead of Habel. He is to be instead of Habel, and God-fearing like Habel. Far above this consideration, God hath given him. This son is from God. She regards him as God's son. She receives this gift from God, and in faith expects him to be the seed of God, the parent of a godly race. Her faith was not disappointed. His descendants earn the name of the sons of God. As the ungodly are called the seed of the serpent, because they are of his spirit, so the godly are designated the seed of God, because they are of God's Spirit. The Spirit of God strives and rules in them, and so they are, in the graphic language of Scripture, the sons of God Genesis 6:1.Circ. 3874
She gave the name, but not without Adam’s consent, Genesis 5:3. She spoke by Divine inspiration.
Note that the word
seed is used of one single person here, and Genesis 21:13, Genesis 38:8; which confirms the apostle’s argument, Galatians 3:16.
Instead of Abel; to succeed his father Adam, as Abel should have done in the priesthood, and administration and care of holy things in the church of God. Genesis 5:3 but, according to Bishop Usher, Seth was born the same year, which is most probable.
And she bare a son, and called his name Seth, that is, "put, placed, set"; not with any respect to Cain, who had no settled fixed abode, but wandered about; or to Seth as a foundation of the church and true religion, being a type of Christ the only foundation, though he may be considered in such a light; but the reason of his name follows:
for God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew; that is, another son in his room; and by calling him a "seed", she may have respect unto the promised seed, whom she once thought Cain was, or however expected him in his line, as being the firstborn; but he proving a wicked man, and having slain his brother Abel, on whom her future hope was placed, has another son given her, and substituted in his room, in whom, and in whose family, the true religion would be preserved, and from whom the Messiah, the promised seed, would spring see Galatians 3:16.And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. called his name] Here, as in Genesis 4:1 (see note), the mother gives the name.
God] Elohim (not Jehovah, as in Genesis 4:1), probably because of Genesis 4:26.
hath appointed] Heb. shath. As was pointed out in the note on Genesis 4:1, the resemblance to a Hebrew word in the sound of a proper name does not supply its strict etymology. The name “Seth” (shêth) = “setting” or “slip,” resembles in sound the Hebrew verb for “appointed” or “set” (shâth), and it is to this assonance that Eve’s words refer.
It is an instance of a play on a word, viz. paronomasia, of which there are many cases in the O.T. But assonance is a delusive element in etymology.
another seed] We are not to infer that no other children were born to Eve, but that Seth was “appointed” to take the place of Abel, and his seed to form a righteous counterpart to the unholy seed of Cain. In Sir 49:16 Seth is united with Shem as “glorified among men.”
25, 26. The Line of Seth
These two verses begin the line of Seth which is parallel to that of Cain. The more complete genealogy, found in ch. 5, comes from a different source (P). But it is not unlikely that they are derived from the same materials as the previous section.Verses 25, 26. - The narrative now reverts to the fortunes of the doubly saddened pair. And Adam knew his wife again. Having mournfully abstained for a season a thro conjugali (Calvin); not necessarily implying that Adam and Eve had not other children who had grown to man's estate prior to the death of Abel (cf. Genesis 5:4). And she bare a son, and called his name Seth. Sheth, from shith, to put or place; hence appointed, put, compensation. For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed - semen singulars (Calvin); filium, Eve having borne daughters previously (Onkelos, Jonathon, Dathe, Rosenmüller) - instead of Abel. Her other children probably had gone in the way of Cain, leaving none to carry on the holy line, till this son was born, whom in faith she expects to be another Abel in respect of piety, but, unlike him, the head of a godly family (Calvin). Whom Cain slew. Literally, for Cain killed him (Kalisch). The A. V. follows the LXX., ὁν ἀπέκτεινε καὶν, and has the. Support of Gesenius, who renders כִּי = אַשֶׁר. (see 'Lax. sub nom.'); of Rosenmüller, who says, "Conjunctio enim causalis כִּי saepius pro relative pronomine usurpatur," quoting, though without much aptness, Psalm 71:15 (com. in loco); and of Sal. Glass, who supplies several so-called examples of the relative force of כִּי, every one of which is perfectly intelligible by translating the particle as quia ('Sac. Philippians 3:2, 15.); and of Stanley Leathes ('Hebrews Gram.,' Genesis 12:16). There seems, however, no sufficient reason for departing from the ordinary casual signification of the particle. Furst does not recognize the meaning which Gesenius attaches to כִּי (cf. Ewald's 'Hebrews Syntax,' § 353), And to Seth, to him also there was born a son. Thus the expectations of Eve concerning her God-given son were not disappointed, but realized in the commencement and continuance of a godly line. The pious father of this succeeding child, however, had either begun to realize the feebleness and weakness of human life, or perhaps to be conscious of the sickly and infirm state in which religion then was. And he called his (son's) name Enos. Enosh, "man" (Gesenius); "mortal, decaying man" (Furst); "man, sickly" (Murphy). Then began men. Literally, it was begun. Huchal third preterite hophal of chalal (Greek, χαλάω λύω), to open a way. Hence "the literal sense of the word is, a way was now opened up, and an access afforded, to the worship of God, in the particular manner here described" (Wordsworth). To call upon the name of the The Lord. Either
(1) to invoke by prayer the name of Jehovah, i.e. Jehovah himself as he had been pleased to discover his attributes and character to men, referring to the formal institution of public worship. "The expression is elsewhere used to denote all the appropriate acts and exercises of the stated worship of God - Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:4; Genesis 21:33; 1 Chronicles 16:8; Psalm 105:1" (Bush). Or
(2) to call themselves by the name of Jehovah - cf. Numbers 32:42; Judges 18:29; Psalm 49:12; Isaiah 44:5 (margin). Other renderings need only be mentioned to be set aside.
(a) Then began men profanely to call upon the name of God (Onkelos, Jonathan, Josephus), referring to the institution of idolatry.
(b) Then men became so profane as to cease to call (Chaldee Targum).
(c) Then he hoped to call upon the name of the Lord; οϋτος ἤλπισεν ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸ ὄνομα Κυρίον τοῦ θεοῦ (LXX).
(d) Then the name Jehovah was for the first time invoked (Cajetan), which is disproved by Genesis 4:3.
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