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Genesis 4:2

Context
4:2 Then she gave birth 1  to his brother Abel. 2  Abel took care of the flocks, while Cain cultivated the ground. 3 

Genesis 4:12

Context
4:12 When you try to cultivate 4  the

ground it will no longer yield 5  its best 6  for you. You will be a homeless wanderer 7  on the earth.”

1 tn Heb “And she again gave birth.”

2 sn The name Abel is not defined here in the text, but the tone is ominous. Abel’s name, the Hebrew word הֶבֶל (hevel), means “breath, vapor, vanity,” foreshadowing Abel’s untimely and premature death.

3 tn Heb “and Abel was a shepherd of the flock, and Cain was a worker of the ground.” The designations of the two occupations are expressed with active participles, רֹעֵה (roeh, “shepherd”) and עֹבֵד (’oved, “worker”). Abel is occupied with sheep, whereas Cain is living under the curse, cultivating the ground.

4 tn Heb “work.”

5 tn Heb “it will not again (תֹסֵף, tosef) give (תֵּת, tet),” meaning the ground will no longer yield. In translation the infinitive becomes the main verb, and the imperfect verb form becomes adverbial.

6 tn Heb “its strength.”

7 tn Two similar sounding synonyms are used here: נָע וָנָד (navanad, “a wanderer and a fugitive”). This juxtaposition of synonyms emphasizes the single idea. In translation one can serve as the main description, the other as a modifier. Other translation options include “a wandering fugitive” and a “ceaseless wanderer” (cf. NIV).



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