Seth in the Bible

Bible Review's Supporting Roles by Elie Wiesel

Read Elie Wiesel’s essay on Seth in the Bible as it originally appeared in Bible Review, October 1999.—Ed.

An obedient son, Seth (shown twice) listens to his dying father’s last wish, dons his cap and sets out the door to fulfill Adam’s request, in this 15th-century illumination from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves. According to extrabiblical legend, the dying man sent his youngest son back to paradise to obtain anointing oil from the Tree of Knowledge. Pierpont Morgan Library/Art Resource, NY

In the story of the first man and the first woman, we are intrigued by a character about whom we are told very little.

Adam and Eve, we know. After all, they are our ancestors. Each one of us is their direct descendant. Scripture says so, and we are bound to believe it, if only to impose upon ourselves an essential lesson: that of equality. Descended from the same line, no one is superior to another. Nor inferior.

The text provides us with numerous elements about Adam and Eve’s origin, their life as first couple and first parents, their sojourn in paradise and, later, in exile.

That is equally true of their two sons, Cain and Abel. We know their tragic story. The elder and his rejected offerings, the younger and his accepted ones. The dialogue of Cain with God. The first murder and the first death in human history. Abel died unmarried; Cain had children and grandchildren.

After the murder of the younger brother and the flight of his assassin, the text tells us little else about Adam and Eve. They are missing but not dead. For they reappear on the scene. When? A hundred and thirty years, or seven generations, after their first family tragedy and shortly after the death of Cain himself, who is killed by his great-great-grandson Lemech. Suddenly, without minding the non sequitur, the text informs us that Adam returned to his wife, knew her, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth: “because God has granted me a new future in place of Abel, killed by Cain” (Genesis 4:25). Then, in the next verse, the text tells us, “To Seth also, a son is born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to evoke the name of the Lord.” There it is, almost everything that we know of Seth: Contrary to biblical custom, it is he and not his spouse who gives the name Enosh to their son. For Maimonides, this verse indicates the beginning of idolatry in the world. Enosh and a few chosen ones, such as Noah, Shem and Eber, were the only ones to remain bound to the Lord.a

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With Adam’s death, Seth became the patriarch of the first family. With the death of his brothers Cain and Abel and of Cain’s descendants, Seth became progenitor of the rest of the human race, as shown in this greatly abbreviated family tree.

But why are we told so little about Seth? How did he sustain himself? Was he a musician, like Yuval? Did he like the country life or that of the city? How did he live with his aged parents? Did he benefit, or did he suffer, from an excess of love on their part? The reader doesn’t know whether to pity him or to envy him.

A curious thing: In midrashic literature, which is usually so expansive, rather little is said about this character to whom, we shall soon see, we owe so much.b The Midrash is more forthcoming regarding Seth’s family.

A moving midrashic legend recounts that after the death of Abel, the mourning Adam and Eve fall into a profound, melancholy solitude. Far from Paradise, they are no longer in harmony with their environment or with one another. We imagine them silent, lethargic. They no longer desire anything, least of all another child. Undoubtedly, Abel and his cruel fate are too prevalent in their thoughts for them to wish to give him a brother. Years, centuries slip away, and for them, the world is a wasteland. But do they remember the first commandment, to be fruitful and multiply? And if they have forgotten, why doesn’t God remind them of it?

In the Midrash, it is one of their descendants who reminds them—Lemech. A curious character. He is blind. At a certain time, he takes two women: Ada and Tzila (Genesis 4:19). Why two? One to give him children and the other to give him pleasure. It is to them that he will confess: “Ada and Tzila, listen to my voice! Wives of Lemech, give ear to my word! I have killed a man” (Genesis 4:23). Yes, he had just killed Cain. It was an accident, but it was nevertheless a murder. He is sure that this act will weigh upon not seven generations, as in Cain’s case, but upon seventy-seven. The next verse speaks of the reunion of Adam and his wife. What is the connection?

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The Midrash furnishes it for us: Lemech’s two wives separated themselves from him after the birth of their children, saying: What good is it to have children, since God has decreed that the seventh generation after Cain (which is theirs) would be punished? What good is it to give life to children who will die?

Lemech, not too intelligent, asks the advice of Adam, who then reprimands the two wives: Who are you to preoccupy yourselves with the ways of the Lord? He does what He must do, and as for you, do your duty as wives!

Thereupon, says the Midrash, they respond: And who then are you to lecture us? Since the death of your son, it has been 130 years that you have separated yourself from your wife so as no longer to have children—and you tell us to have them? Faced with the logic of Lemech’s two wives, Adam immediately returned to Eve, “and he had a son in his image and according to his form” (Genesis 5:3), whom Eve named Seth. Why Eve and not Adam? Because in the Bible, it is always the woman who names the children. But if so, why did Seth name his son? Was this perhaps to mark the singularity of Enosh, who is so closely linked to Adam and to God? Like Adam, Enosh means “man.” Moreover, the next verse says, “ze sefer toldot adam,” “this is the book of the generations of Adam.” In other words, we are present not at the beginning but at the second beginning of Creation.

Adam’s last son, Seth, resembles his father. We are all his descendants, states the Midrash. It strains to reassure us. In case we were afraid to be Cain’s descendants and inheritors of his original sin, the Midrash tells us, all the descendants of Cain will perish in the Flood, but not those of Seth.

The proof: We are here to tell his story.

Translated from French by Martha Liptzin Hauptman.

Read an interview BAR Editor Hershel Shanks conducted with Elie Wiesel and Biblical scholar Frank Moore Cross, republished from BAR, July/August 2004 >>



a. Moses Maimonides (the Rambam) was a great 12th-century philosopher and expert on Jewish law (halakhist).

b. Midrash a genre of rabbinic literature, includes nonliteral elaboration on the biblical text.


Elie Wiesel

The author of more than 30 novels, plays and profiles of Biblical figures, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. This online publication is adapted from Wiesel’s article “Supporting Roles: Seth,” which was published in Bible Review in October 1999. At the inception of Wiesel’s Supporting Roles series in Bible Review, BAS editors wrote:

We are pleased—and honored—to present our readers with the first of a series of insightful essays by Elie Wiesel, the world-renowned author and human rights advocate. Wiesel is best known for his numerous books on the Holocaust and for his profiles of Biblical figures and Hasidic masters. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His occasional series for BR will focus on characters in the Bible that do not occupy center stage—those who play supporting roles.



More “Supporting Roles” by Elie Wiesel in Bible History Daily:

Cain and Abel




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26 Responses

  1. Pastor says:

    There are some suppositions in the original writing above that are just not necessary. Abel died without a wife? We have no record of that (or that he had one either). He died without Children? (see last comment)

    There is an assumption made that Seth is the third born, but Cain already had a wife (a sister) and was fearful of others killing him during his exile. In 130 years, and likely some multiple births involved, Adam and Eve would have many children and Grandchildren before Seth was born. He was born to take Abel’s place implying that perhaps Abel died shortly before he was conceived. I will stick with Scripture and not tradition

  2. Virginia says:

    The birth of Cain could not be more clear and completely debunks any alternative “interpretations” which have given rise to racist BS, paranoia about “serpent seedlines” and mystical mumbo-jumbo.

    Genesis 4:1 states: “Now THE MAN [Adam] had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD [Yhvh].” Cain’s father was Adam. The conception, pregnancy, and birth were accomplished through the work of Yhwh. Period, end of debate.

    An actual study of the descendants of Cain and Seth shows that they are actually the same, although there are some gaps and reversals.

    The creation story told in Genesis 1-2:4 is a beautiful and logical story. Seven times through the process, it is described as “good”. The last step is the creation of Man AND Woman, simultaneously. They are made in the image and likeness of Elohim. They are given dominion. Then there is an end of the creating and a rest ensues. Nothing more about that creation follows.

    The creation story that is told starting at Genesis 2:5 is completely different and incompatible. This is a type of craftsman god who makes a man alone, before plants (oxygen) or animals. This man is not made in the image and likeness of god. This god “plants a garden”. This god doesn’t think ahead. Animals are created to be companions to the man, but they are insufficient in that regard. So FINALLY this god decides to make a woman.

    The whole thing is a series of poor planning and execution from the very beginning. Then, why would there be a tree that’s off-limits in the first place? Why would a tempting snake – which by the way, would be a tree-snake (no legs necessary) who was female (no sex with Eve) and could talk (ancient Canaanite tradition, talking with snakes) – put there? Like I said, this god just doesn’t do planning and overseeing very well. This god also walks around, talking with the man and woman, and can’t find them after the forbidden-fruit episode. This god is unaware of the conversation between the snake and Eve or Eve and Adam. This god is unaware that they have “fallen” until the pivotal moment when Adam says they hid because they were ashamed.

    Obviously, things go downhill from there. Poor Cain works hard in the field, fulfilling the proclamation: “Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” Adam doesn’t seem to be doing any of the work or offering or instructing his sons. One can only guess that Abel – whose name basically means “vapor” and about whom we aren’t given a clue – was lollygagging in the pastures instead. So Cain and Abel (not Adam) both bring offerings, and what happens? Cain gets kicked in the teeth without even knowing why. And so on.

    Because the plain unvarnished text leaves so much to be desired in intelligibility and logic, people have been inventing meanings, which turn into doctrines, to justify beliefs. Now that we have access to so many archaeological discoveries about creation myths from other cultures, we can see how derivative this garden story really was. We are also misled by thinking the two creation stories in Genesis are two different tellings of the same story, which is obviously not the case. But the second, flawed story about flawed human action is the start of the genealogy that is told to provide a history for the people who ended up writing the books.

    There is a kind of logic to the whole thing, but it’s not to be taken literally.

  3. Barbara Bomprezzi says:

    Thank you for the good read. I am happy to know of Seth and that Adam was blessed with this son. I know that Elie Wiesel was a great writer and I would love to know more about him also. I would really like to read more about Seth by Elie Wiesel. I would like to say thank you again for the good read and May God Continue to Bless you.

    Barbara Bomprezzi

  4. Nhlanhla Mthembu says:

    All this confusion is a direct result of the “fall of man”. God gave us the Bible and gave us enough information to know the consequences of sin and the rewards of salvation. All this filling in the blank stuff is robbing us of prayer time.

  5. Kurt says:

    [Appointed; Put; Set].
    The son of Adam and Eve born when Adam was 130 years old. Eve named him Seth because, as she said, “God has appointed another seed in place of Abel, because Cain killed him.” Seth may not have been the third child of Adam and Eve. According to Genesis 5:4, Adam had “sons and daughters,” some of whom may have been born before Seth. Seth is worthy of note because Noah, and through him the present-day race of mankind, descended from him, not from the murderous Cain. At the age of 105 years Seth became father to Enosh. Seth died at the age of 912 years (3896-2984 B.C.E.).—Ge 4:17, 25, 26; 5:3-8; 1Ch 1:1-4; Lu 3:38.
    Publications Index (Seth)

  6. Lonesome Gardener says:

    Do you know that the garden of Eden has nothing to do with the whole of the mid-east and even the Orient.In Isaiah 51:3.. he compares Judah,as ‘wilderness’ like Eden…In this case,it should be the ‘Oceanic Wilderness’,since 2 Peter 3:5-7 says that On this they willingfully forget that the old heaven and old earth standing out of the water and in the water.6.The world that then,varnished perished,was flooded with water.7.the world that we are in now was preserved by the same word by fire for the day of judgement,as a destination for the ungodly…So now the Garden of Eden(physical desolate landmass) is in an oceanic wilderness..Some where in the oceanic east,in the middle of nowhere,but pure ocean..since Genesis 2:8 says that Eden is located eastward.Then Psalms 50:1 says that ” The Mighty One Lord God has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down.”…In that case,since theres only one place and time in the Bible old testament where God had called the earth,and that was the begining of creation..So the rising of the sun where he had called the earth from,must be in The Fiji Isles,South Pacific..Theres an ancient landmass submerged there and there were 8 survivors.If you want know where Eden is,thats the place Fiji..sunken land of Vuniivilevu(big Eve tree),south of Moturiki Is,Central east Fiji

  7. says:

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    Seth in the Bible by Elie Wiesel – Biblical Archaeology Society

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  10. blkrsenmaiden says:

    Yes: I should also mention, the translation of Samael’s name means “Poison of God”. There is no direct connection in the narrative to the Serpent, but it seems implied. Also, having read the book of Enoch (several times), it seems worthwhile to point out that his guide is the Angel Uriel (the Light of God). And, in the 2nd book of Ezra (the apochrophal) Ezra is given a “Chalice of Fire” by Uriel, which allows Ezra to dictate 94 books to his scribes, speaking fluently day and night. God then tells Ezra only to publish the first few and keep the others back, so only the wise can read them. Have to really wonder what was in those books, eh? So, I should also mention that while re-reading a lot of the original mesopatamian literature in 2008, quite a portion is devoted to Abraham and to Noah. It is worth while to study, if you can still find it ~ at that time, it was all online in internet libraries. It was hard to imagine then, that things in Iraq could degenerate any more than they were, but ; in fact that has happened and much of what was unearthed in the archeological digs after WW1, previous to WW2, that was kept in museums, has been looted, including a lot of original solid gold jewelry, stele, statues, etc. I don’t think it was intentional, I think that the conditions in Iraq are inhumane. Its unlikely that anybody looting that stuff has the first clue what it is. But: at that point, everything was still in place in museums and available online~ one piece of info I gleaned is that 1 or more of the sons of Noah went back to the places where there had been cities before and found the Stelle of Seth, explaining the original “sorcery” of the universe (Astrology?). There is also some discussion of the “Book of Life” in the mesopatamian lore. One of the most valuable things I got out of studying all that, was the explanation of the Cult of Mithras in direct regard to the constellation of Taurus, the procession of the Equinoxes, the evolution of the Zodiac, the origin of Orion (as Gilgamesh, who slew the Bull of Heaven and offered it to Shamash the sun god, on the Vernal Equinox). Not really a lot in all that about Adam and Eve, although varous places in Saudi Arabia are traditionally their burial tombs –the rivers of Iraq also have a lot of legends surrounding Noah. The primary god that Abraham (supposedly) worshiped before he discovered the living god, was named Sin, a traditional Moon God associated with the canals around the Ziggurats, which are described in poetry (but for which there is not much evidence now). Apparently Abraham’s “day job” was actually as an “Idol Maker”. So he must have known first hand that the idols were not “real” (in the conventional sense).

  11. blkrsenmaiden says:

    Have heard occult rumors about Adam and Eve, some from ‘secret’ societies which blossomed during WW2. A famous example is the writings of Mdme Blavatski, who was fond of dropping names and retelling myths, particularly about the Aryans. Most of what she says is fairly unprovable, but makes good reading. She founded the Theosophy Society, which is fairly easy to google, they have branches now all over the world and are fairly popular in Canada. She wrote a periodical named “Lucifer” (don’t ask). Anyway: the point is, I have heard a few things. One of the things I heard is that Eve was in the company of a black angel named Samael. Originally I had a scripture reference for this, but it eludes me at the moment. Maybe it was from the Sepher Raziel Hamelech? or the Book of Enoch? The Secret Doctrines by Mdme Blavatski? Cant remember. The story goes that after they left Eden, Adam became angry with Eve and insisted they do penance by standing in a river for months. He didn’t understand that this hurt her (because of her menses). She wouldn’t do it. She left. He got the idea that they could not return to Eden because she wouldn’t do the penance he thought of. He abandoned her and traveled all over the earth. During that time, a black angel (Samael) came to Eve and comforted her and helped her survive. This implies that the angel not only was compassionate but also harbored some animosity toward Adam. There are many rumours about demonology that spring from this period ~ that include legends about Lilith, who Adam supposedly had children with. The whole concept of hybrid or half breed human/animals is fairly confusing, since these may have sprung from unions with Lilith, or may have sprung from unions that were made by the fallen angels…..a number of books talk about the procreation of “descended” angels (Enoch is the most famous), in which they procreated with EVERYTHING not just humanity. All animals. In 2008 one of my BF’s was deployed to the part of Iraq that is traditionally the origin of Abraham, called URDU. During that time, I re-read a lot of this info and also read a lot of the mesopatamian records. Even if you stick to the Law Codes and don’t get into religion, procreating with animals seems to have been considered ‘normal’. It is discussed in the law codes in terms of sex with “spring buck”. So, back to Adam and Eve: You might also read the 1st book of Chronicals, in the first few sentances it gives the lineage of Adam and doesn’t mention either Cain or Abel. It also mentions at least 3 different people named Enoch. Cain is mentioned in the Kabbalah ~ recently re-read “The Kabbalah Unveiled” by MacGregor Mathers, in which he says that Cain was a result of the spirit of Severity that entered Eve (Binah?) from the Left Side. This could not be “mitigated” (by Chokmah?) and therefore, the history we know ensued. I find that book confusing and obscure, but its got some really amazing one liners, which you sort of decode if you are well aware of the traditions of the Kabbalah. If you follow the metaphor in the Kabbalah Unveiled, Eve represents Binah (?) and there is a differentiation between the Supernal Father of the Godhead and the mirror image (below) of Adam, as delineated by the lower 7 Sephiroth of the Tree of Life, being separate from the Supernal Triad. It seems to me a lot of what is said about the Kabbalah is conjecture~ some is repeated from books no longer extant. The implication in the Kabbalah Unveiled, is that the “Lightening Sword” originates from Gibor (one of the Left Sephiroth, below Binah) and it does not originate with Kether (the God Head) at all, as many erroneous diagrams of the Tree of Life illustrate. This really seems logical and I think a major problem with current publications is they slavishly repeat things they have no source for. So if you follow the implication, Severity entered Binah (Eve) and from this, orginated Gibor (the Sword), which then permeates the lowers Sephiroth, preventing access to the God Head or the Supernal Triad. There is no path (on the Tree) between Chokmah and Gibor. All fairly theoretically, but mildly interesting, I suppose. Samael, the black angel, has a HUGE following in the Occult, but nobody seems to know why, again, slavishly repeating what others have said without looking for the source. He is traditionally now associated with the lower “shells” of the demonic or fallen angels (and associated with Lilith, but again, no reason given). I have often wondered why there is not more information about this, it may be the reason is that it serves no purpose. Or that God is Jealous (as is written into the 10 commandments). The Gnostic Gospels claim a rather confusing verison of all of this also ~ fairly similar to many UFO Ancient Aliens type theories floating around. The Gnostic writings have been largely criticized as forgeries by greek sorcerers, which makes sense, in a historical context. The theory is that the sorcerers wanted to make money and felt the religious versions of the texts didn’t allow them to do so, or were simply too boring. This seems fairly realistic in the context of Greek / Caananite (also known as Phoenician) pagan cults. A very famous one is the cult of Astaroth / Molech mentioned often in the bible as an anathema. Clearly these priest-cults are out of a job, if people reject their fundamental premise.

  12. Aaron in the Bible | Centro de Estudios Judaicos del Sur de Puerto Rico says:

    […] Elie Wiesel’s studies of Joshua and Seth in Bible History Daily as they appeared in Bible […]

  13. Paul Ballotta says:

    I misspelled William Craig’s name. After seeing the trailer on television I found a copy at Saint Vincent de Paul for $12.00. You probably guessed right that I was just waiting to use that. The photo on the cover of “Enemy at the Gates” actually depicts the statues of the children intact, while it was my recollection of the film version that had broken statues in a recreation of Stalingrad, taken from actual footage on film.
    In a lighter note, another less confrontational joining of wheels comes from the film, “Fiddler on the Roof” set in Czarist Russia. It centers on a Jewish farmer and his daughter’s marriages, but in the background, an edict has been issued to put pressure on the authorities to evict the Jews from there land. In Genesis 32:2 it is Mahinaim where the people of Jacob and Esau were about to come in contact. Then there’s a scene where the Jewish and Russian men danced the same dance, the bibl;ical “Maharnaim dance”.or “dance of the two camps” (Song of Songs 7:1) .

  14. Paul Ballotta says:

    September 17, 1942. “Stalingrad is on fire, brutalized by Nazi dive-bomber attacks. For the first time, the Russians conceded that German shock troops rammed their way into the oustskirts of the city after a 26-day attack. The German command claimed its troops have crossed the Volga and barreled into the center of the city” (Chronicle of the 20th Century, p.541).
    “Already Russian newspapers had made the name Vassili Zaitsev famous. In but ten days he had killed nearly fourty Germans, and correspondents gloatingly wrote of his amazing ability to destroy his enemies with a single bullet. It was a skill he had learned while shooting deer in the forrests around Elininsky, his home in the Ural Mountain foothills. A shepherd in the summers, Zaitsev, at the age of fifteen, went off to technical school in Magnitogorsk. Later, he served as a bookkeeper in the Soviet Union Far East Fleet. On September 20, 1942, the broad-faced Zaitsev came to Stalingrad with the 284th Division. Now he was a national hero, and as his fame spread across no-man’s land, the Germans took an inordinate interest in him. They called a Major Konings out from Berlin to kill him” (The Enemy at the Gates; The Battle for Stalingrad, by William Crag, p.123, and the cover is a photo of broken statues of children holding hands in a circle, also a type of cherubim).
    In the film based on this book, the war of propaganda between the two opposing armies came to grinding halt as the two snipers were unable to annihilate one another. With Hitler and Stalin waiting, The shepherd from the Urals felt the weight of the wheel of history turning on him. Zaitsev tells his mentor who got him the transfer to sniper division (out of the “cannon-fodder”), Danilov, (who turns out to be the only nice government minder) that he can’t bear the pressure (not to mention his oponnent who passes out chocolate bars to informants). Whereupon Danilov reassures him, as someone who still believed the principles of the revolution, and says, “It’s more than a confrontation between two nations. It is the essence of class struggle.”
    .If you go to the Wikipedia page on Hittie Pantheons, there’s an image of creature with a man’s body and a lion’s head, along with a creature whose upper body was man with the lower body of a bull.
    Ebla is also thought to have early cultural links with the city of Carchemosh on the Euphrates and there was a tradition there of hybrid human-animal-bird statues. The emerging Neo-Hittite city-states imitated this art, which included the ruler statue:
    “The rulers presented themselves in a very stereotyped and distinctive fashion, implying close artistic contacts and common custom. Commemorative stelae and statues in the round are found in some quantity, and the figures, whether human or divine, are often supported on podia flanked by paired lions or bulls” (Cambridge Ancient History of the Near East III, part 1, p.387). Reading through this section on “The Neo-Hittie States in Sryia and Anatolia” I noticed how each city-state had their own histories and the challenge in trying to find at what point do these chronologies synchronize, when the wheels of history intersect, as in Ezekiel’s description of the four wheels of the living creatures (also a type of cherubim; Ezekiel 10:15, 10:20).
    “All four had the same form; the appearance and structure of each was as if two wheels cutting through each other” (Ezekiel 1:16).
    “The Ofannin (wheels) are then described as partly inter-joined; for “their appearance and their work was it as were a wheel in the middle of a wheel’ (ver. 16). In the description of the Hayyot (living creatures) such a phrase, with the term ‘in the middle of” (tok) is not employed.The Hayyot are partly joined, according to the words, ‘they were joined to one another’ (ver. 11); while in reference to the Ofannin it is stated that they are partly intermixed, “as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel'” (TheGuide for the Perplexed, by Moses Maimonides, Dover, p.254)
    They went “wherever the spirit impelled them” (Ezekiel 1:20) and were not driven by monetary concerns like the lyrics from “Join Together” by The Who; “They don’t move in any particular direction, and they don’t make no collections.”

  15. Paul Ballotta says:

    It is interesting to note that the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 takes place outside the Garden of Eden where “the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword…guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). A type of cherubim known in Assyrian art is Lamassu, and on the Wikipedia page of Lamassu it states that these are hybrids of winged bulls or lions with human heads. It also states that “the motif of a winged animal with a human head is common to the Near East, first recorded in Ebla, around 3000 B.C.E.”
    Two kings of Akkad claimed to have conquered Ebla. Sargon the Great mentions the god Dagan giving him “Ebla as far as the forest of cedars and the mountain of silver.” His successor a hundred years later, Naram-Sin, mentions the god Nergal did “open up the path” giving him Ebla and “he also presented him with Amanus, the Mountain of Cedar” (The Archives of Ebla, pp.14,15).
    Since we know the Lamassu statues flanked the gates of the city, we may infer that the cherubim are stationed at the entrance of Ebla, a strategic obstacle challenging an invader seeking to “open up a path” to the tree of life. In this instance that “tree” would be the cedar forest that later Assryian kings sent expeditions for acquiring building materials.

  16. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Gen.2:20 records that ‘Adam gave names to all the beasts and to the birds of heaven and to all the wild animals of the field. But by Adam no helper was found like to himself.’ This interest in naming and classifying accords with the scientific concerns of Ebla where enctclopedic lists of birds, fishes, plants, trees, metals, precious and nonprecious stones were drawn up at the scribal school” (The Archives of Ebla, p.275).
    This is another example of why I think Ebla is Abel, an inner conviction , or faith; “Though he (Abel) is dead, he still speaks by faith” (Hebrews 11:4).
    An example of giving names to the beast can be found in the writings of Ignatius who was bishop in Antioch of Syria, while on his way to being martyred in Rome. In one letter, “Ignatius to the Romans,” he writes; “From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea” (5:11). Once I read a commentary where someone inserted passages from the book of Daniel chapter 7 into Ignatius’ letter, making the fourth beast of Daniel’s dream the Roman Empire (after Babylon, Media-Persia and Greece). Ignatius describes his Roman soldier escort in the conext of leopards whose wrongdoing made him more a disciple of Christ. He even communicates in the letter his intention to make the wild beasts waiting for him in Rome to devour him quickly. The “wrencing of bones, hacking of limbs, crushings of my whole body” (5:5), is similar to the fourth beast using its teeth “with which it devoured and crushed, and what was left it trampled with its feet” (Daniel 7:7).

  17. Paul Ballotta says:

    It is not inconcievable that the northwest Syrian site of Tell Mardikh, being the location of the lost city of Ebla, is the biblical Abel. Tablets inscribed with a west Semitic language were found that has some affinities with biblical Hebrew, with the the language of Ugarit being a link between the two. Among the similarities is the verse from Genesis 1:26; “Let us make man in our image.”
    “Til now the only attestation of adam, “man, Adam,” outside the Bible appeared in Old Akkadian texts from the period of Sargon the Great (circa 2350 B.C.) in the form of the personal names A-da-mu and A-dam-u. Now from Ebla comes the personal name A-da-mu, one of the 14 governors of the provinces under King Igris-Halam. In Ugarit one of the titles of El, the head of the pantheon is il ab adm, ‘El, the father of mankind'” (The Archives of Ebla, by Giovanni Pettinato, p.274).
    Earlier this year it was reported that the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh fell prey to rampant looting:

  18. Paul Ballotta says:

    I made another amateurish mistake when stating that the Hebrew word for carving is “huk” when in fact it is “huq” that means statute or decree, as in the decrees of unjust judges in Isaiah 10:1; “Those who decree decrees of trouble.” “Huqah” means “to cut in, carve” and “huqoq” means “to cut in, inscribe, decree.”
    Also I confused the Midrash with the Mishnah. Mishnah is derived from the root “shanah” meaning “to repeat”. Midrash is derived from “derash” meaning “to draw out.” So we have this oral tradition being “repeated” through the ages, from which we can still “draw out” the meaning.
    I also agree with commentator Phillip’s interpretation of Isaiah 28:10-14, which has often been interpreted negatively. In the translation of the J.P.S. Bible, the footnote to Isaiah 28:9 mentions that it is the mockers of Isaiah’s message who say, “To whom would he give instruction? To those newly weaned from milk?”

  19. Paul Ballotta says:

    Genesis chapter 5 has similarities to the Sumerian pre-diluvian king-lists in that the descendants of Adam are given long lifespans as were the exaggerated duration of the Sumerian city’s reign. The kingship “descends” first upon Eridu (“Irad” in Genesis 4:18), and in later various medieval traditions, a book descends down to Adam that is refered to in Genesis 5:1; “This is the book of the generations of Adam…”
    “When Adam was in the Garden of Eden, the blessed Holy One brought down a book for him by the hand of Raziel, the holy angel appointed over supernal, sacred mysteries. In it were engraved supernal engravings, sacred wisdom” (The Zohar, vol.1, by Daniel Matt, p.311). The Hebrew word for engraving or carving is “huk” and it is the root-word for “hokmah” which means wisdom. The ancient Egyptians employed the term “hekau” which means “words of power” and was used to perform magical incantations.
    Zohar 1:55b also states that Adam kept the book “hidden until he left the Garden of Eden, daily wielding treasures of his Lord.” The word for wielding in Hebrew is “mishtammash” (using) and it is used in the context of magic/miracle-working. From the accounts of Jewish mystic visionaries seeking the “glory” of God’s throne during the period of the Mishnah we have mention of the term “Employment of the Glory.” The use of the verb “mishtammash” in this Midrashic “literature is a fixed term for ‘undertaking theurgic practices'” in particular, “to make magical use of the name of God JHVH” (Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, by Gershom Scholem, p.66; p.358, footenote 17).
    Adam gave this book to Seth and it passed down the generations to Abraham. Josephus states that Seth was virtuous and that his children “were the inventors of that particular sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order” (Antiquities, Book 1, chapter 2:3). He also staes that Seth inscribed these discoveries on two pillars for future generations. The gnostic Sethites who were regarded as heretics by the early church fathers, believed that they were the spiritual descendents of Seth. From the Nag Hammadi Library we have a sample of their beliefs in “The Three Steles of Seth” where Seth is called the “Father of the living and the unshakable race.”
    “I shall utter thy name, for thou art a first name. Thou art unbegotten. Thou hast appeared in order that thou mightest reveal the eternal ones … Thou art he who is uttered by a voice, but by mind art thou glorified, thou who hast dominion everywhere.”

  20. Gilbert Paradis says:

    Read Gen. 5:4. Adam had other sons and daughters. That is where their wives came from. figure it out. Gil

  21. Allan Rchardson says:

    More to the point, if Adam, Eve and Cain were the only people in the world after Abel was killed, and Cain went out to wander the otherwise unpopulated world alone, then (1) why did he need a “mark” to prevent someone from killing him, and (2) where did he find a wife?

    For that matter, where did Seth find a wife? from the descendants of Cain, who had no way to leave descendants without finding HIMSELF a wife?

  22. Alan says:

    Where are all the wives in these stories supposed to have originated? The lads are the only offspring mentioned for Adam and Eve, and if they had daughters, the whole first generation would have been guilty of incest.

  23. P. Steven L. says:

    Since it is written…”…when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you in ALL truth..” then why would anyone want to discourage another for learning even more that helps us rightly divide the word of truth. A wonderful Bible teacher of mine told me the God rewards the diligent student! I have found that to be true. Are the answers ALWAYS given as absolute? If so, tell me how Matthew KNEW that Hosea 11:1 was a fulfillment of Messianic prophecy? Those who tell others to stop trying to “fill in the blanks” would have called him to the carpet for taking scripture out of context! And, like Cira, I have found many insights with more diligent study of the original languages! Much has been lost in translation over the centuries…man’s doing, not God’s.

    So here is MY insight from original languages and comparing scripture with scripture! Man did not simply “discover” that they were naked at the fall. The LIGHT that was their covering was removed! I got that comparing Genesis with parts of the Psalms. But YOU will have to find that yourself! Comparing scripture with scripture gives MANY opportunities to fill in the blanks. For it is written…”Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand? them that are weaned from the milk…For precept must be upon precept…line upon line…here a little, and there a little….wherefore, hear the word of the Lord…” – Isaiah 28:10-14. I would be very careful about putting limitations and setting absolutes on the Word of God in every instance.

  24. Don Dobbins says:

    Good gracious! Where does all of this fictitious supposition originate? Cain not the son of Adam? Cain and Abel twins? A 6th-day race? (This implies, of course, that Adam was of one race and someone else was created in the manner of Adam and began another race.)

    Secondly, the Bible is the authority, not oral tradition. Almost all of what Weisel purports is extra-Biblical and thus completely unreliable. God himself was silent on myriad subjects concerning creation and subsequent events; why do we need to fill in the blanks, especially when the “answers” are given as absolute?

  25. Cira Acierno says:

    Scripture tells those of us who study in depth verse by verse and chapter by chapter using the original languages that on the 6th Day the Creator created all the races, men and women, and on the day after the 7th of HIS rest HE created Eth Ha Adam, The Man Adam. Eve was formed from his DNA (the curve not an actual bone). Eve meaning Mother of All Living because through her would be born the Savior and all will Live if they believe and love HIM. Much detail is given about whose Cain’s Father was. Certainly, he was the son of Eve, but not with Adam since Cain is NOT listed in the genealogy of Adam in the Book of Genesis 5. Cain married in the country of Nod a woman from the 6th Day Race. His descendants are so called Kenites .Kenites are a different race from Adam. You will find out who Cain’s father was when GOD gives the 1st Prophesy in Genesis 3:14 to the Serpent (look up meaning) and to Eve before the twins were born. Yes, Cain and Abel were twins. And well, I would love to give further details and documentation, but each of us must do our own searching and studies ALWAYS believing in GOD’S WORD and not man’s.

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