Genesis 4:1

THE MESSIANIC EXPECTATION OF GENESIS 4:1

AND ITS INTERPRETATION OF THE PROTOEVANGELIUM

Taylor E. Terzek

Presented at the College of Arts & Sciences’ Research Symposium

Liberty University, VA

The divinity of Jesus Christ, the one who fulfills the messianic role prophesied in the OT, is an area of continuous contemplation in biblical academia. One route to a consensus is found in examining the OT’s intention in messianic description. Does the OT intend to personify the Messiah as one who is divine, subsisting in the Godhead? Beginning this journey of analysis, one must first examine that which has claimed the designation of the first messianic prophecy, Gen. 3:15. The true area of analysis will be Gen. 4:1, marking Eve’s immediate interpretation of Gen. 3:15. Before endeavoring to understand whether the Messiah was thought to be divine, the preliminary examination must determine whether Eve interprets Gen. 3:15 as messianic. Thenceforth, the underlying question is: does Eve’s declaration found in Gen. 4:1 impute a divine attribution to the expected Messiah?

THE PROTOEVANGELIUM (GEN. 3:15)

Gen 3:15 is claimed to be the first of the six direct messianic prophecies of the Pentateuch. In this light, it is considered to be the protoevangelium, the foundational prophecy, and thus takes precedence as the “mother prophecy” of messianic promise.[1] Being that the protoevangelium is highly important to the progression of messianism in the Bible, it is only logical that scholars claim that it contains subtle allusions to the divinity of the messiah. Further, if there are indeed divine implications to the depicted messianic role found in Gen. 3:15, it provides grounded reason to pursue the theme of the messiah’s divinity throughout the rest of the OT.

Exegetical History

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzkhaki (1040-1105) has had a detrimental influence to the messianic understanding of Gen. 3:15. Preceding Rashi (the common acronym referring to Rabbi Shlomo Yitzkhaki) Christianity undisputedly interpreted Gen. 3:15 as the protoevangelium. Indeed, the Midrash and even David Kimchi recognized Gen. 3:15 as the first messianic prophecy in the OT.[2] Rashi, however, understood Gen. 3:15 naturalistically referring to the hostility between humanity and snakes. From his stirring, the debate ensued with many prominent Christians newly interpreting the text in similar naturalistic explanations. Among these were the reformer John Calvin, and modern scholar, John Walton.[3] Hamilton notes that more conservative writers opt for the messianic interpretation of Gen. 3:15, while the more critical commentators suggest that the messianic view has been more a product of eisegesis.

The classic protoevangelium interpretation of Gen. 3:15 has nonetheless survived long and resilient debate.  Rydelnik observes four main interpretations of the text: the naturalistic view, the symbolic view, the sensus plenior view, and the messianic view. The three interpretations prior to the messianic view all seek to reformulate and disregard the illustrated messianic figure of Gen. 3:15 with complex syntactical obscurities and isolated exegesis.

The naturalistic view hinges on one’s rendering of זַרְעֲ (zera, seed) as collective, not singular, but this is “simply incorrect” in regards to lexical analysis.[4] The symbolic view, holding the same interpretation of ‘seed’ in the collective sense, thus facing similar lexical inconsistencies, insinuates issues for the messianic view based on the equality of the blows expressed and the ‘deadly’ description of the serpent. These additional arguments, however, do not damage the messianic view in the slightest. Matthews states, that it is not the force of the blow, but rather “the location of the blow distinguishes the severity and success of the attack.”[5] Rydelnik argues, “An acceptable messianic view would hold that both blows are deadly – indicating that the Messiah will indeed die and through His death have victory over the serpent.”[6] Moreover, the symbolic view often praises the connection of naturalistic imagery and meaning as to promote its accuracy. “Continuing the imagery of the snake, the strike at the human heel is appropriate for a serpent since it slithers along the ground, while the human foot stomps the head of the vile creature.”[7] Nonetheless, since the imagery is an appropriate one, it does not resolve the illustration as a mere naturalistic one. It is simply a profound appropriation to the messianic interpretation of the text. Sensus plenior adopts the same lexical strategy as the naturalistic view and holds that the collective sense of ‘seed’ necessitates the original intent to be non-messianic. Yet, those who adhere to a sensus plenior view admit the possibility of a later messianic correspondence with the progressive revelation of history. Wenham states:

While a messianic interpretation may be justified in the light of subsequent revelation, a sensus plenior, it would perhaps be wrong to suggest that this was the narrator’s own understanding. Probably he just looked for mankind eventually to defeat the serpent’s seed, the powers of evil.[8]

Nonetheless, being that the naturalistic view provides no formidable compulsion to dismiss original messianic intention, sensus plenior needlessly accommodates mistaken scholarship.

The messianic view claims, “Gen. 3:15 ultimately predicts the coming of a future individual (a ‘seed’) who will have victory over the serpent through his own death.”[9] Ancient interpretations highly favor such messianic interpretations for Gen. 3:15. Rydelnik states, “This messianic reading of Gen. 3:15 is evident in the Septuagint and the rabbinic literature of the Targumim Pseudo-Jonathan, Neofiti, Onqelos and the Midrash Genesis Rabbah 23:5.”[10] Additionally, the earliest attestation for the messianic view is found in the early church fathers Justin (ca. 160 CE) and Irenaeus (ca. 180 CE).[11] It is no moot point “that this text was understood by the Jewish community to point to the Messiah almost three hundred years before Jesus was born.”[12]

The few scholars who have held a messianic interpretation of Gen. 3:15 adequately argue through contextual correspondence, syntactical clarification, ancient interpretations, and innerbiblical exposition. It is this holistic examination of Gen. 3:15 within its context that provides the best evidence for messianic intention by Moses and the OT writers. “It is no surprise that the very first messianic prophecy should occur within the context of the fall.”[13] The entrance of sin in the world necessitated a means of redemption, and the messiah took the form of that salvation. Therefore, understanding the messianism of the protoevangelium, one can examine whether the messianic depiction of Gen. 3:15 promotes the messiah as a God-Man.

THE DIVINITY OF THE MESSIAH IN GEN. 3:15

Fruchtenbaum notes major significance in the link of the messiah to the seed of the woman, the mother and not the father. The connotations beckon distinction in the messiah’s birth. Since the father has no genealogical influence in his birth, the natural deduction corresponding with Scripture is that the messiah will be born of a virgin (cf. Isaiah 7:14). Matthews asserts that several commentators saw allusions to the virgin birth in Gen. 3:15 because “some Old Latin texts and the Vulgate… had the feminine pronoun ‘she [ipsa] shall crush’ rather than the masculine.”[14] It is this virgin birth – free of a human male patron – that causes some to reason that Gen. 3:15 is the first indicator of the messiah’s divinity.

Some might argue, rightfully so, that this inference is only possible given retrospective analysis.  The reader is simply taking an explicit truth formed from the progressive revelation of God in history, and inserting it as an implicit reading of the text in Genesis. This is a subject for another examination. Gen. 4:1, however, may provide some valuable insight into understanding how those who first heard the prophecy comprehended its meaning. Kaiser agrees, “Some hint of what these early mortals may have understood from [Gen. 3:15] is evident in Eve’s response after she had given birth to her first son (Gen. 4:1).”[15] Utley states, “The closing phrase of [Gen. 4:1]…implies that this was a statement of faith by Eve based on Gen. 3:15.”[16]

Translation History of Eve’s Expectation

‘I have gotten a man: Yahweh’ is the literal translation of the Hebrew provided by Fruchtenbaum. “Apparently [Eve] connected the birth of her son with the immediate fulfillment of the promise concerning the Seed, who was to bruise the head of the serpent.”[17] Fruchtenbaum claims that only a minority of “Bible translators really understand what Eve is saying here, which is why our English translations do not read as given above.”[18] Translators have had their difficulties with this verse, yet the English versions consistently represent a non-messianic interpretation.

The [authorized version] translators inferred, very properly, that Eve could not have supposed she had given birth to God, and so they introduced the word ‘from.’ The [revised version] translators, knowing that there was no such word as ‘from,’ introduced ‘with the help of’ (in italics). But neither from, nor with, nor any other preposition, is in the text.[19]

NASB, ESV, HCSB, and the NIV all translate קָנִ֥יתִי אִ֖ישׁ אֶת־יְהוָֽה with the Lord’s ‘helping’ Eve’s birth. The NKJV and KJV interpret the child as ‘from the Lord.’ It is supposed that these English translations are based on the LXX and Vulgate, which read ‘through God.’[20]

RESONING IN THE TRANSLATION OF אח IN GEN. 4:1

Translation seemingly hinges on the attribution of the Hebrew word אח (ʾeth). The word can be used in two ways: 1) as the preposition ‘with,’ or 2) as an untranslatable objective marker of the accusative sense.[21] The former indicates the typical translation of most English Bibles – ‘I have gotten a man with the Lord’ or ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.’ The latter connotes the literal translation given by Fruchtenbaum and Kaiser – ‘I have gotten a man: Yahweh’ or ‘I have gotten a man, even the Lord.’

Prepositional Use

Those who hold to the prepositional use of ʾeth in Gen. 4:1 normally construct several linguistic and theological reasons to support their translation. Yet, there will be an obvious common reasoning that runs underneath each of the proceeding commentators’ translations. C. John Collins states it perfectly; he admits “from a purely syntactical point of view, the interpretation of [ʾeth-Yhwh] as appositional is unexceptionable,” but he clarifies his prepositional rendering by stating that the resulting content of such an appositional translation is “jarring, to say the least.”[22] Therefore, in the consequential bewilderment of the correct syntactical translation, Collins settles his translation by inserting ‘with the help of’ as to generate a proper interpretation. Further commentators conduct a similar scheme.

Gordon J. Wenham notes in his work done in the Word Biblical Commentary series:

The majority of commentators have argued that since it is a regular feature of the promise to the patriarchs that God will be with them, implicitly to help them, it is justified here to translate אח ‘with the help of’ (cf. 21:20; 26:3, 24; 28:15; 31:3; 39:2). For these reasons it seems more likely that Eve meant ‘I have gained a man with the Lord’s help.’[23]

Despite the appeal to context, Wenham dismisses the very construction of the sentence in his translation. Interpretation should incorporate context and theme, but translation depends on the Hebrew text itself and its precise grammar.

Westermann and Casutto understand Eve’s pronouncement as a declaration of achievement, placing herself equal with God as creator. Thus the translation is rendered ‘I have created a man equally with the Lord.’ Still, even “Westermann admits…that if this was Eve’s meaning, she would have said ‘as [כ] the Lord.’”[24] Such commentators are attempting to fit the terminology of the text into their interpretation.

Hamilton, appealing more to the etymology of the sentence’s language, suggests a translation corresponding to Akkadian and Ugaritic. “Supporting evidence for ʾeth meaning ‘from’ is now found in [a] Akkadian phrase” which may be “compared with [a] Ugaritic clause.”[25] If this is the case, then what is the proper translation of Gen. 1:1, where it states ‘In the beginning God created [ʾeth] the heaven and [ʾeth] the earth’? Would it be accurate to assert that God created from the heaven and from the earth? There would require some fancy reconstruction if the signification of ʾeth signified ‘from’ in all its uses; and if Hamilton would respond that it only means ‘from’ in some cases, what within the text determines the alternative translation? Again, the text itself must point to its required translation, and in the case of Gen. 4:1, ʾeth is preceded by a mark of the accusative. The same issue presents itself to others who have recommended reappointing “it ‘sign of’ and translating ‘I have gained a man the sign of the Lord’” based on Akkadian correspondence.[26]

Kenneth A. Matthews accentuates Eve’s recognition of her divinely designated position. “Eve the woman…with divine help produced the ‘man’…She sees in creating Cain the realization of her divinely assigned role.”[27] The verse then aims in teaching the theology of the divine consignment of authority: “procreation is the divine-human means whereby the man and woman might achieve the dominion that God has envisioned for them (1:28).”[28] The contextual and theological attribution is admirable, yet ‘help’ is the key to this understanding, and that insertion was solely based on a prepositional rendering of ʾeth. As mentioned, revised version translators only inserted ‘help’ as to accommodate the lacking of the previous insertion ‘from’ made by authorized version translators. Matthews only builds thematic support retrospectively and therefore draws inadequate conclusions.

Other scholars affirm a prepositional translation because they view Eve as shaking her fist at God for throwing her out of the garden. John C. L. Gibson states, “Her cry at her son’s birth is intended to be exultant and arrogant rather than pious. She will show God!”[29] Interestingly, this interpretation does not require ʾeth to be translated as a preposition; the same interpretation can be asserted if ʾeth signified an appositional objective marker. Therefore, even the retrospective method of translation in light of a desired interpretation fails to solidify a prepositional rendering of ʾeth. In regards to the interpretive claim, there is nothing in the text itself to necessitate this arrogance by Eve.[30]

There are ancient Jewish evidences for prepositional renderings. The Midrash Rabbah translates the phrase ‘with the help of the Lord.’ The Targum Onkelos translates it ‘from before the Lord.’[31] The Peshitta reads, ‘I have gotten a man to the Lord.’ Regarding Rabbis in the medieval era, Rashi rendered it ‘with the Lord’ and Nachmanides translated it as ‘unto the Lord for the service of the Lord.’ Fruchtenbaum claims that these translations are all attempts by the Jewish community to “get around the obvious” and preserve their desired interpretation.[32] He quotes Rabbi Akiba who claims that this is inconsistent with the traditional teaching that “every ʾeth and gam is an extension.”[33] Delitzsch summarizes translation history by stating, “Ancient translators… have all understood אח of God as helper and giver.”[34]

Additionally, commentators who translate ʾeth as a prepositional usage in Gen. 4:1 consistently reveal their opposition’s lack of contemporary scholastic prevalence. Hamilton notes that in all of his research, Walt Kaiser Jr. is the only modern writer to seriously consider the literal translation. Though Hamilton’s statement was too early to have come across Arnold Fruchtenbaum, James Montgomery Boice, or John Phillip’s work, his point is true concerning the overwhelming commonness of modern commentators who prefer the prepositional translation of ʾeth. Their preference, however, is one that is influenced less by the syntactical structure of the sentence and more by the anticipated interpretation.

Appositional Objective Marker

Those few scholars (Fruchtenbaum, Kaiser Jr., Boice, Phillips and Wilson) who reject the prepositional use of ʾeth, do so for a variety of reasons. Firstly, similar accusative structures containing ʾeth are found throughout Genesis – e.g., 1:1, ‘In the beginning God created [ʾeth] the heaven and [ʾeth] the earth.’ Walton also states, the “same grammatical construction is used in [Gen. 4:2], ‘his brother, Abel.’”[35] Joseph D. Wilson notes,

This particle occurs forty times in the first five chapters, always with the same signification. It may be thought that Gen. 5:22, “Enoch walked with God,” is an exception; but it is not. The English requires the preposition; “walked with” is the translation of the Hebrew verb.[36]

Secondly, in Boice’s judgment, the translation rendered ‘I have brought forth the Lord’ “should be preferred for linguistic as well as theological reasons.”[37] It is apparent that ʾeth is part of a parallel formation, appearing before ‘Cain’ previously in the sentence and before ‘Yahweh’ later in the sentence. The sentence thus reads, “‘She bore ʾeth-Cain, and she said, I have brought forth a man, ʾeth-Yahweh.’”[38] It would require durable linguistic evidence to purpose different translations for equivalent constructions in the same sentence.

Being that “the Hebrew construction for Yahweh is the same as in the previous phrase: bore Cain,” there is a clear implication in Eve’s statement.[39] The same meaning expressed in Eve’s birthing Cain is equivalently articulated in her claim to have ‘gotten a man: Yahweh.’ “It is because of this very obvious connotation that attempts are made to redo the obvious meaning of the verse.”[40] The prepositional translations of ʾeth are thus wrongfully deduced, which conversely ensures the accuracy of the literal rendering.

Ancient attestation for the translation of ʾeth as an appositional objective marker is found in the Jerusalem Targum and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. The former translates the phrase ‘I have gotten a man: the angel of Jehovah.’ The latter reads, ‘I have gotten for a man the Angel of the Lord.’[41] Though the mentioned Aramaic paraphrases read Gen. 4:1 as the supernatural birth of the Angel of the Lord, the appositional use of ʾeth is evident. This rendering was a means for Jewish scholars to preserve the authenticity of a correct translation without insinuating an unorthodox interpretation. If the divinity of the Messiah were a true claim of the OT, it would make Jesus’ claims and works all the more fulfilling. Additionally, Luther is often cited by many commentators for having translated the verse literally, ‘I have gotten a man, namely (or even), the Lord.’[42]

Translation Conclusion

Quite frankly, the translators who insert ‘with the help of’ are moderately permitted given the obvious confusion of Eve’s statement. They suppose that she certainly could not be claiming her child to be divine, and somewhat rightfully so. Nevertheless, the text must stand its ground, and interpretation must be guided by the text. Translation should allow for the text to render what it intends to render, whether that be an apparent correct or incorrect statement. The perplexity of a passage is not grounds for making a necessary alteration or insertion into the text, especially if the literal translation carries important signification for theological concepts – i.e., the expectation of a divine messiah.

THEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF A LITERAL TRANSLATION

It appears best, for the sake of Biblical integrity, to translate Gen. 4:1 in its literal terminology, rendering it something similar to what Fruchtenbaum asserts – ‘I have gotten a man: Yahweh.’ Such a translation is grammatically best, yet it is also linguistically and theologically possible. Though many commentators sacrifice syntactical accuracy for interpretive understandability, the proceeding analysis will examine the various interpretive implications of a correct syntactical translation of Gen. 4:1.

Allusion to the Messiah’s Divinity

Kaiser and Fruchtenbaum insist that this translation implies that Eve expected for her child to be the divine messiah. Eve was interpreting Gen. 3:15, seeing its fulfillment in the birth of her firstborn son. “If so, then Eve’s instinct about the coming Messiah were correct, but her timing was way off!”[43] Fruchtenbaum notes, “Eve’s interpretation of Cain’s birth is a good example of correct theology with the wrong application.”[44] Nevertheless, claiming that her son was a God-man ‘Yahweh,’ a supposed title for God, insinuates the expectation that this messianic figure would be divine. Therefore, the fulfilled messiah, Jesus Christ’s subsistence in the Godhead was hinted at as early as Gen. 4:1.

Expectation of Deliverance

Joseph D. Wilson and James Montgomery Boice, however, take a different approach to the interpretation of Eve’s sentence. Wilson believes that the ʾeth debate is not as crucial as the use of the word and title ‘Yahweh.’[45] “The word ‘Yahweh’ is the third person singular of the future tense of the verb ‘to be.’ It means ‘he will be’ or ‘he who will be.’”[46] Eve then was viewing the fulfillment of the protoevangelium in the birth of her son, but it was not necessarily a divine attribution; it was an attribution to one who would deliver, remove the curse brought on by the fall. The messianic interpretation is still vibrant, yet it is not necessarily a divine claim concerning her son.

A character within the Genesis narrative does not mention the title ‘Yahweh’ until Gen. 4:1. Eve’s statement concerning her firstborn son is the first recorded employment of ‘Yahweh’ in the OT.[47] Yes, “the word occurs in Gen. 2 and 3, but that is the work of the historian, Moses.”[48] The modern Christian perspective has led to an important piece of eisegesis that could extensively affect the meaning of this text. Indeed, Christianity Anno Domini naturally “assumes that the word [Yahweh] must have meant ‘[Yahweh] God’ to Eve and Adam.”[49] Scripture expresses, though, that God progressively revealed his names to the patriarchal fathers, and ‘Yahweh’ was not known as a title for God in the early stages of history (cf. Exodus 6:3). If God reserved the title ‘Yahweh’ until later in the history of his revelation, then Eve could not have possibly meant for the title ‘Yahweh’ to immediately connote a divine being. Rather, she “would have been using the word in a broader sense meaning perhaps ‘the one who brings into being,’ ‘gives life,’ or ‘delivers.’”[50] Boice thus supposes, “the best translation of Eve’s words would be, ‘I have brought forth a man, even the deliverer.’”[51]

If Boice and Wilson are correct in their assertions, the messianic interpretation still holds, but the divinity of that mentioned deliverer is not necessarily expected by Eve. Walton agrees, “It is unique in the Old Testament to refer to the Messiah as Yahweh himself. Such was not the nature of messianic expectation in the Old Testament.”[52] Generally, Eve was expressing her hope for a remedy regarding the curse of Gen. 3:15, and there is no reason for Eve to suppose this seed to be divine. “The promise of God had not given her the slightest reason to expect that the promised seed would be of divine nature, and might be Jehovah, so as to lead her to believe that she had given birth to Jehovah now.”[53]

Raymond Abba, however, supposes that Exodus 6:3 does necessarily imply that the patriarchs did not designate Yahweh as title for God. They were not ignorant of the title, but rather “God did not reveal to them those qualities of his Being which are signified by this name.”[54] Exod. 6:3 then should be understood as “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob in the character of El Shaddai, but (in the character of) my name Yahweh I did not become known to them.’”[55] The emphasis is on the personality connoted by the name, not the title itself.

Therefore, if Eve did not understand the ‘character’ signification of ‘Yahweh,’ then she could only have used the title in two ways: 1) as a title for God, but with no apparent reference to God’s personality, or 2) as the literal etymology of the word, which would be the idea of a deliverer, not a reference to the divine. If it was the former, she thought her child to be divine, but the divinity was the extent of the implication. There would be no expectation of deliverance or ‘covenantal presence’ tied to the title usage, because Eve would not have known that these were the significations of such a title according to Abba’s rendering of Exodus 6:3. Thus the messianic deliverance in reference to her interpretation of Gen. 3:15 would be non-existent; she would only be claiming her child to be divine, not delivering or ‘bruising Satan’s head’ in any manner. If Eve used the title in the second way – the literal etymology of the Hebrew – she would be affirming a messianic interpretation of Gen. 3:15, but not necessarily attempting to make a divine correlation; her emphasis is on the character of her seed, not his divine status or title. If one must choose between Eve implicating either a divine title or delivering character (it cannot be both in light of Exodus 6:3), then the delivering characteristic fits better with the context of Genesis.

Continuing through the Genesis narrative, one finds distinct allusions to expectations of an immediate deliverer. In Gen. 5:21-24, for example, the reader is informed concerning Enoch and his son Methuselah. Interestingly, Methuselah literally means, “When he dies it will come,” or “since there is no neuter in Hebrew, it actually reads, ‘When he dies he will come.’”[56] Methuselah gave birth to Lamech, who gave birth to Noah, whose name means ‘comfort.’ Thus, Fruchtenbaum suggests, in light of Gen. 5:29, Lamech thought Noah would be the one who came to fulfill the promise of Gen. 3:15 and act as deliverer. Although Lamech wrongfully applied his understanding of Gen. 3:15, his mere expectation of a promised one to fulfill the curse exposed the apparent messianic understanding of the protoevangelium in their time.[57] Thus it is apparent that many characters in the Genesis narrative had an expectation of deliverance, which weighs in favor of understanding Eve’s use of ‘Yahweh’ with a similar signification.

CONCLUSION

Gen. 3:15 has been verified as a highly probable candidate for the protoevangelium. Not only does the text of Gen. 3:15 suggest a messianic interpretation, but also the contextual progression of Genesis reveals that characters within the narrative believed the prophecy to be a promise for a deliverer. Gen. 4:1, in its correct and literal translation of ʾeth as an objective marker in the accusative sense, reveals that Eve anticipated one who would remedy the curse spoken of in Gen. 3:15. The first woman was horribly mistaken regarding the timing of such a deliverer; nonetheless, Gen. 3:15 is irresistibly attested in its messianic interpretation by Eve’s declarative expectation. This expectation is consistent with the narrative of Genesis, which contains similar hopeful declarations of deliverance – men calling upon the name of Yahweh (Gen. 4:26; cf. 5:21-25; 6:1-4).

Though the typical theological implications of Gen. 4:1 tend to include a certain expectation by Eve that the messiah would be divine, this is not a necessary correlation considering God’s progressive revelation of divine titles. Eve thus illustrated the messianic interpretation of Gen. 3:15, but does not necessarily attribute a divine essence to such a deliverer. The analysis herein reveals that Eve had not yet been blessed with the future truth that the Messiah would indeed be a God-man. Although the progression of the rest of the OT makes it a point to insinuate the divinity of the promised Messiah, Eve’s historical placement did not allow for her to express that truth in Gen. 4:1.

Concerning the introductory questions of the examination, the first messianic promise found in Gen. 3:15 illustrates no reason to assume that the messianic figure would be both God and man. The immediate understanding of Gen. 3:15 found in Gen. 4:1 may appear to insinuate a divinity to such a figure, but given the historical development of God’s titles and character, the text presents no reason for Eve to have expected a divine attribution to the Messiah. The divine expectation of the Messiah may be affirmed in future OT texts, but not in Gen 3:15 or Gen. 4:1.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abba, Raymond. “The Divine Name Yahweh.” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 80, No. 4 (1961): 320-328.

Barry, John D., and Michael R. Grigoni, and Michael S. Heiser et al., Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012.

Bateman IV, Herbert W., Darrell L. Bock, and Gordon H. Johnston. Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2011.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition Notes, Biblical Studies Press, 2006.

Boice, James Montgomery. Genesis 1-11. Vol. 1 of Genesis: An Expositional Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998.

Brown, Francis, and Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Electronic edition. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000.

Calvin, John. Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis. Translated by J. King. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005.

Collins, C. John. Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 2006.

Delitzsch, Franz. A New Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1. Translated by Sophia Taylor. Minneapolis, MI: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, 1978.

________ and Keil, C. F. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament: Vol. 1 Pentateuch. Translated by James Martin. Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951.

Edersheim, Alfred. Bible History: Old Testament. Oak Harbor: Logos Bible Software, 1997.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold. Ariel’s Bible Commentary: the Book of Genesis. San Antonio, TX: Ariel Ministries, 2009.

________. Messianic Christology. Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998.

Gibson, John C. L. Genesis. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster John Knox Press, 1981.

Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17. New International Commentary In the Old Testament. Nashville, TN: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990

________. “186 אֵת.” In Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke. Electronic edition. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999.

Jamieson, Robert, and A.R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 1997.

Kaiser Jr., Walter C. The Messiah in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.

Matthews, Kenneth A. Genesis 1-11. The New American Commentary. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 1996.

McNamara, Martin. Targum Onkelos to Genesis (Aramaic Bible, Vol 6). Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1988.

Phillips, John. Exploring Genesis: An Expository Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2001.

Roop, Eugene F. Genesis. Scottdale, PA: Herald Pr, 1987.

Rydelnik, Michael. The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010.

Sailhmaer, John H. The Pentateuch as Narrative: a Biblical-Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992.

Smith, James E. The Pentateuch, 2nd ed. Old Testament Survey Series. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1993.

________. What the Bible Teaches About the Promised Messiah. Nashville, TN: Nelson, 1993.

Stigers, Harold G. A Commentary On Genesis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976.

Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated Edition. Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998.

Utley, Robert James. How It All Began: Genesis 1–11. Study Guide Commentary Series. Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International, 2001.

Vawter, Bruce. On Genesis: a New Reading. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1977.

Walton, J. H. Genesis. New International Version Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Wenham, Gordon J. Genesis 1-15. Vol. 1 of Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, TX: Thomas Nelson, 1987.

Wesley, John. Explanatory Notes Upon the Old Testament, Vol. 1. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishers, 1975.

Wilson, Joseph D. “Jehovah.” Bibliotheca Sacra 76, no. 302 (April 1919): 221-227.


[1] James E. Smith, What the Bible Teaches About the Promised Messiah (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 1993), 38.

[2] The Midrash states, “Eve had respect to that seed which is coming from another place. And who is this? This is the King Messiah.” Kimchi states, “Messiah, the Son of David, who shall wound Satan, who is the head, the King and Prince of the house of the wicked.” Both are cited in Michael Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? (Nashville, TN.: B&H Academic, 2010), 123.

[3] J. H. Walton, Genesis, New International Version Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 233; John Calvin, Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis, trans. J. King (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005), 1:167.

[4] Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope, 132. “The word can also be used with an individual meaning as well,” seen in Gen 4:25.

[5] Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11, The New American Commentary (Nashville, Tenn.: Holman Reference, 1996), 245.

[6] Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope, 133.

[7] Mathews, Genesis 1-11, 245.

[8] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, vol. 1 of Word Biblical Commentary (Waco: Thomas Nelson, 1987), 81.

[9] Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope, 134.

[10] Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope, 137. See R. A. Martin’s analysis of the LXX in Walter C. Kaiser Jr., The Messiah in the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1995), 40. “The LXX seems to have had a messianic understanding of the verse, for, as has been pointed out, the independent personal pronoun hu occurs more than one hundred times, but this is the only one that the LXX translates literally with autos, although the Greek idiom would require the neuter.” Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17, New International Commentary On the Old Testament Series (Nashville, Tenn.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990), 199.

[11] For an extensive list of Messianic view supporters throughout history, see Herbert W. Bateman IV, Darrell L. Bock, and Gordon H. Johnston, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2011), 471.

[12] Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 40.

[13] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998), 14.

[14] Mathews, Genesis 1-11, 247

[15] Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 42.

[16] Robert James Utley, How It All Began: Genesis 1–11, Study Guide Commentary Series (Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International, 2001), 72.

[17] Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament (Oak Harbor: Logos Bible Software, 1997), Gen 4:1.

[18] Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology, 15.

[19] Joseph D. Wilson, “Jehovah,” Bibliotheca Sacra 76, no. 302 (1919): 222-223.

[20] The LXX reads ἐκτησάμην ἂνθρωπον διὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ (I have gained a man through God) and the Vulgate similarly reads “per deum.” The NET Bible Notes strongly hold and support a prepositional rendering by alluding to such ‘ancient versions’: “The particle (’et) is not the accusative/object sign, but the preposition “with” as the ancient versions attest.” Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Gen 4:1. The Dead Sea Scrolls do not note Gen. 4:1. It reads beginning with v. 2 ‘[And a]gain [she] gave birth to his brother A[bel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain wa]s a tiller of the ground;’ 4QGenb: 4:2-11.

[21] Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998), 853; Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000), 84; Victor P. Hamilton, “186 אֵת,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 83.

[22] C. John Collins, Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 2006) 197. Delitzsch and Keil state an identical claim, “So far as the grammar is concerned, the expression might be rendered as in apposition to שּאי, ‘a man, the Lord’ (Luther), but the sense would not allow it.” Franz Delitzsch and C. F. Keil, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament: Vol. 1 Pentateuch, trans. James Martin (Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), 108.

[23] Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 102. Roop does not allude to contextual support, but claims a similar idea of the child as a ‘blessing’ or ‘gift’ of God: “The speech could be understood as Eve saying that she obtained this baby boy by God’s gift of fertility.” Eugene F. Roop, Genesis (Scottdale, PA: Herald Pr, 1987), 50.

[24] Wenham, Genesis 1-115, 101-102. Stigers asserts a similar interpretation: “The preposition ʾeth here expresses her community in creativity.” Harold G. Stigers, A Commentary On Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 86.

[25] Hamilton, Genesis: Chapters 1-17, 221.

[26] Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 102; e.g., P. A. H. de Boer, NedTT, 31 [1942] 197-212. Chaldaism and the corresponding word ʾâth gesture this conclusion.

[27] Mathews, Genesis 1-11, 265. My emphasis added.

[28] Ibid., 265

[29] John C. L. Gibson, Genesis (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster John Knox Press, 1981), 143. John Sailhamer prefers this understanding as well, “Eve’s words are a boast that just as the Lord created man, so now she had created a man.” John H. Sailhmaer, The Pentateuch as Narrative: a Biblical-Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 111. Bruce Vawter agrees, but with an additional correspondence to myth: “But we hear also, perhaps, a bit of the old arrogance that led to the eating of the forbidden fruit, the lusting after autonomy and equality with the gods.” Bruce Vawter, On Genesis: A New Reading (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1977), 92. The Faithlife Bible Study asserts a similar claim: “Eve’s statement that she “produced a man with the help of Yahweh” reflects her pride and joy in the birth of her firstborn (compare Jer 20:15).” John D. Barry, Michael R. Grigoni, Michael S. Heiser et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Ge 4:1.

[30] Some commentators take the opposite approach, claiming that this was an expression of Eve’s thanksgiving. Robert Jamieson claims that Eve expresses her “pious gratitude” in her statement; Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), Gen 4:1. Matthew Henry asserts a similar “gratitude” in Eve’s expression, teaching that children are a blessing from God; Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), Gen 4:1–2. James E. Smith also affirms Eve’s thanksgiving; James E. Smith, The Pentateuch, 2nd ed., Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1993), Ge 4:1–2. And John Wesley states, “For Eve when [s]he bare him [s]aid with joy and thankfulne[s]s and great expectation, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the Old Testament, Vol. 1 (Salem, OH: Schmul Publishers, 1975), 20.

[31] Martin McNamara, Targum Onkelos to Genesis (Aramaic Bible, Vol 6) (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1988), 48.

[32] Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology, 16.

[33] Ibid., 16.

[34] Franz Delitzsch, A New Commentary on Genesis, trans. Sophia Taylor (Minneapolis, MI: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, 1978), 1:178. Emphasis added.

[35] Walton, Genesis, 262

[36] Wilson, “Jehovah,” 222-223.

[37] James Montgomery Boice, Genesis 1-11, vol. 1 of Genesis: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1998), 250.

[38] Boice, Genesis 1-11, 250.

[39] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel’s Bible Commentary: The Book of Genesis (San Antonio, TX: Ariel Ministries, 2009), 115.

[40] Ibid., 115

[41] Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology, 15.

[42] See Luther and early Lutheran exegetes T. Gallus, Die ‘Frau’ in Gen 3:15, 31-32.

[43] Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 42.

[44] Fruchtenbaum, Ariel’s Bible Commentary: The Book of Genesis, 116.

[45] “The wealth of learning and ingenuity which has been expended in making sense of [Eve’s] words would have been saved if commentators had sought the meaning of ‘Jehovah’ as Hengstenberg did.” Wilson, “Jehovah,” 223.

[46] Wilson, “Jehovah,” 223.

[47] See Utley, How It All Began: Genesis 1–11, 72.

[48] Ibid., 222.

[49] Boice, Genesis 1-11, 250.

[50] Ibid., 250.

[51] Ibid., 251.

[52] Walton, Genesis, 262. John Phillips notes the correct translation, but makes no mention of an insinuated divinity: “Her exclamation demonstrates her saving faith in the promise of a coming redeemer.” John Phillips, Exploring Genesis: An Expository Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2001), 63.

[53] Delitzsch and Keil, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament: Vol. 1 Pentateuch, 108.

[54] Raymond Abba, “The Divine Name Yahweh,” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 80, No. 4 (1961), 323.

[55] Ibid., 323. Emphasis added.

[56] Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology, 16. This ‘coming’ refers to the flood. Indeed, the same year that Methuselah died, the flood came.

[57] Also see Fruchtenbaum’s analysis of Gen. 6:1-4 concerning the Nephilim and its attestation to innertextual proof of a messianic understanding of Gen. 3:15. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology, 17.

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