Genesis 4:25–5:32

425 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. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

51 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

9 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.

12 And Cainan lived seventy years and begat Mahalaleel: And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.

15 And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.

18 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.

21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech. And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.

28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.

32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


With he prowess of Lamech established, we return to ’adam and Eve* and the birth of Seth—a granted gift different from Eve*’s construction of Cain and his subsequent lineage that includes an Enoch… and Methusael and Lamech. Seth is seen as a replacement for Abel and through whom the storyline will continue.

A question lingers on as to whether YHWH is introduced in the third generation of Seth’s line with Enosh or much later with Moses. Both claims are made.

With a formal genealogy of ’adam we now follow Seth (Note: begotten by ’adam, not made by Eve*). The report of the generations is formulaic in reporting deaths until we get to Enoch. This is a different Enoch than Cain’s son and the namesake of the first city. The difference is in a claim of independence from G*D and a friendship with G*D.

Seth’s descendent, Enoch, begot Methuselah who begot another Lamech. These name links between the stories of Cain and Seth remind us how connected we still are from that first ’adam in G*D’s image, male and female, and another whose rib revealed ’ishah and ’ish.

Cain’s Enoch is city oriented, separated from G*D. Seth’s Enoch is not recorded as having died, but continuing to “walk” with G*D. This walking is the same descriptor used of what G*D did in Eden’s evenings. Seth’s Enoch is intimate with G*D and lives 365 years, a full solar year of years. There are echoes here of the seventh generation after ’adam with the seventh Mesopotamian king before the flood also being taken up with his gods. This Enoch begets Methuselah who lives 995 years, as close to an ideal millennium as anyone gets.

Cain’s Lamech is the end of a line of selfish independence. Seth’s Lamech lived a numerically significant 777 years and begot Noah. When looked at as a name, we see how Noah rounds out this post-Eden genealogy. Noah’s name means he will console or comfort us in, literally, “our work and the pain of our hands.” This word about pain only appears three times—with Eve*, ’adam, and, now, Noah. We will need all the consolation we can get as, after this genealogy, we hear the death consequences of tilling and laboring. Noah will be a new ’adam, and as frailly innocent as the first ’adam. With Noah, both Eden and East of Eden will be lost track of in the reprise of watery chaos with a small protected space in its midst. Mountain tops and rainbows will lead us onward. We will have to put down any expectation of return to a fantasized innocence.

Genesis 4:16–24

416 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.

19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.

23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.


’Adam and Eve* are already East of Eden. Cain’s land of Nod or Wandering may coincide with his parents and it may be even further east.

With the building of a city named after Cain’s son, Enoch, we come to a genealogy that wraps up the journey of Exile through Cain’s line. In its seventh generation we are introduced to key components of what we call civilization.

Jabel reestablishes animal husbandry, last seen with Abel. Surrounding the city, outside the walls, the resources of wandering nomads support the city. Within the city, Jubal entertains. Tubal-Cain begins technological tools that lead from copper and iron down to steel and carbon fibers. Naamah is conviviality herself.

Food, entertainment, technology, and a pleasant community—we are off and running as a self-sufficient unity that rolls on, providing its own meaning and persistence—attempting a place of safety past the fear of death.

A sign of this city, its progress beyond mere multiplication, is in Lamech’s boast that G*D may have protected Cain with a mark signifying a seven-fold retribution, but, through his own strength over man (the powerful) and boy (the weak), he can promise ten times seven, plus yet another seven retributions. We’ve run into the same sort of extension past G*D’s word with the lead up to nakedness after ingesting good and no-good.

A similar extension comes with Lamech responding to his existential loneliness by going beyond the “making” of Mother Eve* to the taking of two, count them, two, wives known only for their offspring and making those children his. Lamech is in charge in ways beyond either ’adam or Cain.

We might as well anticipate a next consequence that exceeds an exile. Time will tell.

Genesis 4:10–15

A request has come to add the biblical text in front of the comments, similar to what I had done with Mark. I’ll give that a try and will appreciate comments about how it works for you. Given copyright issues, there are a limited number of versions in the public domain. I’ll start with the King James Version (KJV).

410 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.


Attempts to wriggle away from accountability keep coming back to a basic point—consequence. There is no opening available to consider one’s self unique and separate from others and the whole of creation.

An intentional return to a version of Cain v. Abel, Ayn Rand’s selfishness, or Trumpian de-naming of opponents finds the lives of those disdained rising against them—consequences of setting individuals and classes against one another. Such accusations of unnecessary pain arise from the very base of any life at all—soil. To dust we return and harm to the youngest and perceived least along the return pollutes the journey back.

’Adam is sent to till for the sustenance of all (admittedly, to start with, only one other). Cain’s non-sustenance of Abel deepens the exile task of tilling—it will now provide no advantage over hunting and gathering. Where tilling provided a field, a place, for Cain, he will now wander—homeless (though later we find him founding a city—a remove from the land).

For the moment, forgetting ’adam and Eve*, Cain appeals what seems like an additional death threat—first exile from Eden and now restless wanderer available to be killed as he had killed.

Without relinking sacrifice to anything, the threat to Cain is met with a seven-fold threat in return. The issue of capital punishment is perennially with us; G*D does not execute (well, yet). Cain is given a sign of free passage, not a death sentence beyond the general one all exiles from Eden are under. It can be read that G*D’s first response to murder is compassion and a seven-fold judgment against any (including the state) who would execute a murderer.

Attempts to wriggle away from accountability keep coming back to a basic point—consequence. There is no opening available to consider one’s self unique and separate from others and the whole of creation.

An intentional return to a version of Cain v. Abel, Ayn Rand’s selfishness, or Trumpian de-naming of opponents finds the lives of those disdained rising against them—consequences of setting individuals and classes against one another. Such accusations of unnecessary pain arise from the very base of any life at all—soil. To dust we return and harm to the youngest and perceived least along the return pollutes the journey back.

’Adam is sent to till for the sustenance of all (admittedly, to start with, only one other). Cain’s non-sustenance of Abel deepens the exile task of tilling—it will now provide no advantage over hunting and gathering. Where tilling provided a field, a place, for Cain, he will now wander—homeless (though later we find him founding a city—a remove from the land).

For the moment, forgetting ’adam and Eve*, Cain appeals what seems like an additional death threat—first exile from Eden and now restless wanderer available to be killed as he had killed.

Without relinking sacrifice to anything, the threat to Cain is met with a seven-fold threat in return. The issue of capital punishment is perennially with us; G*D does not execute (well, yet). Cain is given a sign of free passage, not a death sentence beyond the general one all exiles from Eden are under. It can be read that G*D’s first response to murder is compassion and a seven-fold judgment against any (including the state) who would execute a murderer.

The teller of this small gem of a story gives a listener/reader much to work with regarding the meaning of life and doesn’t care about any later sensibility of consistency such as a demand to know who else there is (beyond ’adam and Eve*) who would concern Cain?

Genesis 4:8–9

Loss leads to loss. Diminishment demands diminishment. Such are the physics of relationships. A struggle begins to change outcomes, and it is a very difficult task—as troublesome as time travel to go back and redo what has already begun. Without a new force, the arc of devolving pertains.

The first-born, second-place sacrificer finds the easiest way to be first in everything—to have no rival; to be alone. Here aloneness returns us to ’adam, perceived to be alone. One was made two. Now two are made one. And around we go.

Distance and death are related. Cain begins with distance, “Let us go out to the field.” [A technical note—this line is not found in the Masoretic text, but is found in the Greek, Syriac, and Aramaic persons of this verse. Without this verse, the story is going to great beyond. With its presence, we find ourselves located in one of Cain’s fields, which grew his less than winning “sacrifice.”]

What better fertilizer to grow a better crop (as if that were the key issue in Cain’s loss) than the body and blood of the one who bested him—Abel’s.

We have just heard about a generalized temptation awaiting everyone, around every corner. That temptation is located in the arena of turning a relationship into a competition based on a zero-sum game regarding acceptance or assurance.

A brother is taken into distance and then to death. No remorse. After all, there has never before been a death. There is no social model developed as to how one should feel and respond to having killed (deliberately or not). There is no second thought. The delayed outcome of getting stuck on the horns of knowing and not-knowing has finally begun arriving and has continued to this day—the doom of death.

A previous question to ’shah and ’ish—”Where are you?”—echoes back—”Where is your brother?”

These questions are still alive and being asked. Where are you? Where are your siblings? Where did earth’s integrity/health go? And there is no wiggling away—we are the keepers of self, one-another, and creation.

Genesis 4:6–7

Poems are enigmatic by nature, always carrying more than the poet knows. Whether surface-level poesy or resolutely constructed language, doors open into dimly-known, evocative space. Poems can start with observation but push through it and deep enough into a wilderness beyond to return with a more profound reflection than a rapid response.

Incense and dejection flicker across Cain’s face at being bested. [It would be intriguing to have a description of Abel’s face. How do you, as a reader, think Abel projected his reception of favor?]

These recognized responses become the start of the poem in these verses. Where do Cain’s anger and collapse come from? An impossible question for even the most introspective. It might as well be asked which place of watery chaos welling up through the soil provided the conditions for the shaping of an ’adam? There will never be a memorial built there.

Though addressed to Cain, this poem is also for Abel, Seth, and every reader to the present. Whether you offer well or not, there is a serpent built into every setting—every choice. Like it or not, to choose is risky and to not choose even riskier.

The presence of mistake and sin is as ubiquitous as this whole strange scene of unasked for sacrificial worship covering over sibling testing and rivalry.

Neither innocence nor an internalized sense of good and not-good exempts from a provocative question or dare. This is a perennial state of affairs, no matter whatever the moral system lived within.

Even so, there is a word of hope that whether one is caught by a temptation or not, there is no such trap that holds ultimate sway.

Even this declaration contains a risk because poems—in general, and especially this particular one—are notoriously difficult to understand, much less translate into a current economic model or idolatry.

Genesis 4:3–5

Bitten by a tree, ’shah and ’ish reorient their relationship and cling to one another—leaving their parental home (see Gen. 2:24). A separation took place as g()d slammed the door behind them.

Presumably ’adam tilled their new world well enough to sustain them. A birth took place and was claimed by Eve*. There is no mention made of any continued conversation with G*D.

Time passed. Dividing the labor, the boys, Cain and Abel, each had established their part with their care of the land and care of the animals.

The myth of the Wild West (not to be introjected directionally into this story as it would put us nearer a closed-down Eden) is the iconic struggle between the farmer (Cain) and herdsman (Abel). How is dominion going to look given such a battle royal?

From an unknown quarter (did a passing serpent suggest such an action?), Cain brought a grain offering to G*D. Seemingly simultaneously (like all experimental jumps claimed by two or more inventors) there is a competition set up as to whose product is better. Does tilling or animal husbandry have more prestige and honor?

Who better to have as a third-party judge than the very Creator with power to have exiled ’adam and Eve*. This one truly has no favorites so a win here will mean something that can be taken to the bank.

Of course, a question needs to be asked about how G*D came to be present. Was G*D seen lurking in the underbrush spying on how things were going? Was an invitation sent to G*D via the cherubim? Did an inherent sense of g()d still live in Exile through stories told around a fire by ’adam and Eve* and was it strong enough to manifest?

At any rate, the story of an elder child being discounted in favor of a younger begins beyond Eden. [It would be worth a look at Eve* (a second ’adam) supplanting ’adam before younger sons followed Eve*’s lead and took over from older sons.]

As you consider the mystery of why Cain and Abel came up with their same activity of sacrifice, the presence of G*D to play the role of judge, and the fairness or unfairness of the result, imagine at least 3 plot lines of where the story will lead.

Genesis 4:1–2

’Adam now “knows” Eve*. The previous nude/naked distinction is clarified as a stage prior to sexual intercourse. This is where physical multiplication begins.

This concept of knowing has clear connections to a legitimate, paid-for, transaction—as distinguished from consensual happenstance or rape. This sets us on a continuing trail of distinguishing legitimate and non-legitimate (clean and unclean) sexuality. Such clarifications can assist individuals and their cultural context in finding a more whole and even holy experience of sexuality as a blessing beyond a gift. At the same time it can bedevil individuals and societies with false dichotomies and choices such as accepting one sexual orientation as legitimate and clean, excelling all others. It can also confuse categories of sex and love which can mix as chaotically as any other attempt at unifying that which cannot ultimately be joined together.

So it is two become both two, “’Adam and Eve*,” and one, “Cain.” And three become four with the multiplication continuing with “Abel.”

Remembering that Eve* was rib-constructed rather than clay-shaped, the naming of Cain continues the constructed imagery with Eve*’s announcement of having “made” a next maker (“smith”) who will make even more. Eve* claims she is partnering with G*D in making more, multiplying. We may even remember a distinction between name sources and the questionable value of etymology.

There is no such drawn out naming for a second child and this would be a good place to review your notes on family systems and where birth rank enters the conversation. Inquiring minds still want to know and so scholars have noted the similarity of Abel to another Hebrew word meaning “vapor” or “puff of air”—here today, gone tomorrow. This works as foreshadowing a short life but doesn’t address the connection with sheep (as distinct from Cain’s following the way of a tiller-of-the-soil and the valuing of connections with g()d—both intrinsic and extrinsic.

Genesis 3:21–24

After the renaming of ’ishah to Eve*, furthering a divide begun in loneliness, we hear a continuation of judgment upon the not overtly cursed ’ishah and ’ish.

Stronger clothing is now provided—leather instead of leaves. This is an affirmation in the midst of a punishment. If they are going to continue their body shame, they might as well do it in style. Fashion is a first occupation?

Immediately a second thought comes that if ’ishah and ’ish did not die immediately upon eating the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge, but received fashion-forward clothing, they may not be content with accessorizing and go for The Tree of Life.

Creation may not have had an initial sense of eternity as it was built Day-by-Day. To deal with a questioner forever may not be what g()d bargained for.

Thus was ’adam sent East of Eden. They move directly from the naming of Mother Eve* to tilling Mother Earth. Such tilling will be a constant reminder of human origins—the dust of the earth. The uncertainty of water and weather is reminiscent of chaos beyond a vault of Heavens and below the surface of sea and land—something always having to be dealt with.

The ambivalence of relationship between creator and creation is captured here with the solicitous care of clothes and the expulsion of the humans and their new wardrobe.

Lest ’adam think that tilling outside of Eden is much more difficult than inside and Eve* not feel up to going through a second labor and they attempt to reenter Eden, a barrier is set up.

Are the cherubic and whirling sword actually dangerous or Wizard of Oz flim-flam? Is this a more authentic threat of death than a prior command threatening the same? Is this the end of a G*D/human partnership (G*D and ’adam, Inc.)? An end of story with no happy ever after?

Genesis 3:20

There is a naming that makes a direct connection between a name and that which is named. This suggests a potential of control. If you can name, you have dominion. For such a reason people guard their “true” name and share only their “use” name.

There is also a naming that disconnects by way of inventing an etymology or public, easy, explanation of a name—putting a layer of reason between the name and the named. This distraction allows a false sense of knowing the named.

Alter quotes Herbert Marks regarding these two naming processes:

In a verisimilar narrative, naming establishes and fixes identity as something tautologically itself; etymology, by returning it to the trials of language, compromises it, complicates it, renders it potentially mobile.

Adding to the misdirection of an etymological sufficiency here are additional ways in which the Hebrew root word for “Eve” sounds like more than “to live.” In the related language of Aramaic, “Eve” can sound like the word for or evocation of a “serpent.”

Readers might begin to wonder about such a connection and suspect an on-going conversation or questioning of what we think we know and how it is we know it. “Eve” not only connects us with basic animal life—multiplying—of post-Edenic biology, but with knowledge of good and not-good—questioning—of post-Edenic philosophy and psychology.

Readers might also travel farther down that path and begin connecting the question-asking serpent with the beginning of life or being its mother. Current abortion legalist use a fetal heartbeat as a measure of the beginning of life while those more oriented toward honoring multi-valent choices come closer to the arrival of a question as a marker of the beginning of life.

It is not until we get to the point of multiplying, post-Eden, that a “mother” is a possibility. Unless the “shame of nakedness” is code for bodies mature enough for procreation, there is nothing to suggest there was ever going to be children born within Eden. G*D seemed satisfied with the two. ’Ishah and ’ish, to talk with at evening time. The grafting, budding, process of rooting a rib or cloning it that has been used up to this point has carried no suggestion of birthing, much less mothering.

Like G*D or g()d, Eve needs demythologizing. Might that be notated with the orthography of Eve* ?

Genesis 3:16—19

Isn’t it the way of the world that the one who gets the blame in first wins—at least doesn’t come in last and can make it to a subsequent heat. ’Ishah has found cunning within the polarity of good and not-good and uses it by getting the first blame in—Serpent did it!

The serpent received a full-on curse with no reason given or consideration acknowledged of the value of a previous relationship. For ’ishah and ’ish, there are consequences, but they are not labeled as curses of these two. As close as a curse comes is to the soil ’ish will be tilling. These consequences might better fall in a category of rued disappointment.

“If they want knowledge so badly, here’s a dose!”

In the absence of knowing about death, good, and not-good, humans also don’t know about birth and the cost of multiplying—labor. A foreshadowing of labor pains and their repeat is not a change in potential like the loss of limbs. It is a change in relationship—’ishah and ’ish have not been under the dictate of multiply and increase. It has been enough to walk in the cool of a Garden, forever and ever.

With a credible challenge to a magisterial G*D, head of all gods, and creator of Dusty (a play toy shaped from clay)—the actual entrance of good and not-good (G*D’s privileged domain) brings a chorus from Greek tragedy announcing a resultant future that comes from challenging a G*D or g()d or gods.

Likewise, productivity has not been known. All that has been needed is to look at a tree’s fruit, and it floats into the mouth, delicious—peel me another grape! Now to till with a purpose! The serpent loses limbs and ’ish develops sweat glands.

If a game of revelation is going to be played, it is time to have an image of a creator become more real. From the outside, it appears all that is needed is a name and it is automatically filled with substance and will obey. Not so. Making, shaping, and relating are hands-on processes.

“Go, return to the dust of the ground and wrench from it your sustenance yourself. See how it will disappoint and exhaust you as you have disappointed and exhausted me”