“I have gotten a man from the LORD” – The Association by Eve of Adam and Yahweh

In a recent discussion of Biblical Hebrew, I came across a very interesting reading of the original Hebrew of Genesis 4:1. First, the familiar translation:

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD [Yahweh].” (KJV)

In the original Hebrew,  the word rendered ‘gotten’ is qnh, which has, as one of its meanings, “procreate, beget, bear”. This would render the verse, literally:

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have procreated a man with Yahweh.”

On first look, this doesn’t appear to make sense. For in the same verse, we would see that:

    • Adam procreated with Eve to produce Cain
    • Yahweh procreated with Eve to produce Cain

      Now, based on how we think, both can’t be right. The notion of Yahweh, God of Israel, literally procreating with Eve to be the father of Cain is ridiculous to modern readers, and may even be viewed as blasphemous.

      Because of this, many modern interpretations of the verse take it to refer to the special cooperation mothers, as creators, have with the LORD, the great Creator of us all. This is a teaching I believe to be true.

      But was that the extent of the understanding for the original Israelite readers of the text?

      If not, what then, did this mean? What would the writer have been thinking?

      The very satisfying answer that I’ve found, which is based on the covenant concept of what it means to take upon oneself the Name of Yahweh (which one of the Ten Commandments instructs us not to do in vain), comes from a broad understanding of Israelite imagery and symbolism that is found throughout the Old Testament and related writings. It is this understanding of the dualism that I wish to explore here.

      On Earth As It Is In Heaven

      In previous posts, I have discussed the dual realms of ancient Hebrew thought: Heaven and Earth, Time and Eternity. In Israelite thought, Elements of Heaven have their counterpart on Earth. The Temple is where these elements come together, and become indistinguishable. You are both in Heaven and Earth. You are a priest on earth and an Angel in the court of God. This is an important concept to take into consideration as the following elements are discussed:

      The Divine Council

      In the Ancient Israelite cosmology, we find the following figures:

      El Elyon, the Most High God

      The bene elohim, the Sons of God/El.

      Yahweh, the chief of the bene elohim, and the God of Israel.

      The bene elohim, with Yahweh presiding, make up a Divine Council of Gods.

      In Job, we see the Divine Council in action. “Now there was a day when the sons of God (bene elohim) came to present themselves before the Yahweh,” (Job 1:6)

      Later in Job, these members of the Divine Council are referred to as and connected with stars who witnessed and rejoiced in the Creation, “Whereupon are the foundations [of the Earth] fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? “ (Job 38:6–7)

      Psalm 82 gives us another glimpse of this Divine Council, where the Most High God condemns many of the bene elohim for their wickedness, and condemns them to ‘die like men’.

      God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

      How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

      Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

      Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

      They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

      I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

      But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

      Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

      Kings as Gods, and Gods as Kings

      The Kings of Earth were the counterparts of the bene elohim in the Divine Council.

      Isaiah uses this imagery of the stars/bene elohim, and associates it with the wicked King of Babylon.

      Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.   How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [Day Star], son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell [sheol], to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:11–15).

      Today, this verse is read by many as an allusion to the casting out of Satan, the Devil, from heaven. (in Job, a figure known as the satan does appear among the Council to make a report) Because of this, the latin Lucifer is commonly used as synonym for Satan, The Accuser. But why the association with a King?

      Ezekiel does it again, associating a prideful King – the King of Tyre – with a cherub cast to the ground from the Mountain of God.

      “ Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” (Ezekiel 28:12–17)

      The Greek (Septuagint, or LXX) version of Deuteronomy (which may be one of the oldest versions we have, older than even the Hebrew manuscripts that have found) holds a key to this imagery of the bene elohim, the stars of heaven, as the counterpart of the Earthly Kings. The passage presents the Most High God (El) dividing up the nations, and granting each of his sons (the bene elohim) a nation to have responsibility over.

      “ When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the angels[/sons of God].  For the Lord’s [Yahweh’s] portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 32:8–9, LXX) [1]

      Yahweh: The Anointed King of Israel

      Yahweh, the LORD, the chief of the bene elohim, is granted responsibility over Israel. He is their Heavenly King.

      The anointing of Israel’s earthly Kings [Anointed = Messiah (Hebrew)= Christ (Greek)] associated them in a very real and sacred way ,with Yahweh. It was in this way they took upon themselves His Name. In essence, they became as Yahweh with them. They sat on Yahweh’s throne in the Temple, and to their subjects, their God became as one among them, as in Isaiah’s Messianic Immanuel : “God with Us”.(Isaiah 7:14). This can be seen at Solomon’s dedication of the Temple:

      “And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor…Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.” (1 Chronicles 29:22–23)

      Israel’s kings had the great responsibility to represent Yahweh. They were commanded and warned, “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. “ (Exodus 20:7) The wicked Kings, then were cast down from this role, and the anointing – and Name/Title of Yahweh – was given to another.

      Adam the King

      I have discussed in another post that one way of reading the Genesis Eden Narrative was in the context of the rejection of the King/Priest from the TempleGarden, with Adam being that first King/Priest.

      Along with that symbolism, would Adam, the father of all, and most notably the father of the progenitors of Israel, not have been the archetypal first earthly representative of Yahweh?

      In the garden/temple, Adam is not viewed as mortal. He is an angel, a bene elohim, a Son of God anointed with oil from the tree of Life. He bears the name-title of Yahweh. He is a King and a Priest unto the Most High God, and Eve (the Hebrew means Life) is his Queen.

      Now, let us return to the verse in question:

      And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have procreated a man with Yahweh.”

      Now you can see how, in this context, the same thing is said in two different ways. Eve indeed procreated with Adam, who bore the name-title of Yahweh as King.

      Going Further

      Would it not be possible then that all references to the acts of Yahweh in Genesis 4 are actually the person of Adam acting in his role of Yahweh? Adam and Eve have been sent away from the garden, away from the Holy of Holies, away from the physical presence of the LORD.

      If, in the bounds of the Garden narrative, Adam and Eve were now separated from the presence of Yahweh, why then would Yahweh be speaking face to face with Cain, and further cast him away from his presence as a penalty for the murder of Abel?

      Could it be that the Yahweh who confronted Cain was in fact Cain’s father, Adam, the King, who had been given authority to act in the name of Yahweh? Would it not have been Adam himself who cast Cain away from his kingdom, and had the mark placed upon him?

      The First Yahweh and the Last Adam

      These are all very interesting thoughts that invite a fresh reading of the Garden Narratives. Especially when it is understood that the earliest Christians associated Jesus of Nazareth as being the ultimate and literal incarnation of Yahweh. He is the rightful Prophet, Priest, and King, who is even called by Paul the ‘last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45 )- for Jesus,  instead of simply taking upon the name of Yahweh was Yahweh. It would form an interesting parallel, indeed, If Adam was the First earthly Yahweh, and Jesus,  the literal incarnation of Yahweh, was the Last Adam.

      [1]The Masoretic Hebrew text has ‘Israel’ in place of ‘angels/sons of God’, and thus affects how it is translated in most English Bibles.

      2 thoughts on ““I have gotten a man from the LORD” – The Association by Eve of Adam and Yahweh

      1. I loved this post. It was very insightful. We see the same concept as Peter taught that the Savior taught the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18–19) only to find out in the vision given to President Joseph F. Smith that he did not go there in person but organized his representatives to go there for him.

      2. Thanks for the comment! Yes, it is the same principle! That of delegation of authority through the taking on of the NAME. I love the phrase in D&C 138, that the Lord “appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority,” – a key part of ancient kingship was the ritual clothing of garments representing a transference of their authority. cf the story of the transference of Elijah’s mantle.

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