פָּרָשַׁת בְּרֵאשִׁית | Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanchuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017). As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

⬛ The earliest of the three strata in Parashat Bereshit was composed in the late eighth or early seventh century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. This layer is indicated with a BLUE text, and is commonly known as the “J.” (The oldest layer in the Torah, “E,” does not appear in Parashat Bereshit.)

⬛ Text in GREEN indicates the “P” (i.e. Priestly) layer, and is, as Dr. Yoreh explains, “responsible for supplementing the ‘J’ narrative with dates, names, and numbers, thus ‘ordering’ and authenticating J’s account.” This strata dates from the exilic period, 571–486 BCE.

⬛ Presented here in FUCHSIA is the final redactor of the text, a post-exilic (pre-3rd c. BCE) source that Dr. Yoreh refers to as the “Bridger.” B supplements earlier strata with genealogies and popular myths, providing narrative bridges between distant story cycles.

Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8) in the annual Torah reading cycle is read on the Shabbat following the festival of Sukkot and Shemini Atseret (Simḥat Torah), the last shabbat in the month of Tishrei. The parashah is followed by Parashat Noaḥ (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

1 א בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ ב וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃ ג וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר׃ ד וַיַּ֧רְא אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־הָא֖וֹר כִּי־ט֑וֹב וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹהִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃ ה וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ לָאוֹר֙ י֔וֹם וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם אֶחָֽד׃
1 1 At the beginning of Elohim’s[1]Elohim [=God] is used by this source almost exclusively until Exodus 6:2. Note also the use of the root ב.ר.א (Gen 1:1, 21) as opposed to י.צ.ר in the subsequent chapter (Gen 2:7, 8) – attributed to J; both mean “to create”. The root י.צ.ר, however is usually associated with material creation (commonly clay), whereas ב.ר.א is further removed. This distinction is indicative of the foci of Chapters 1 and 2. In Chapter 1 the deity is removed, whereas in Chapter 2 the deity is more present. The use of multiple verbs to emphasize fruitfulness appears in God’s blessing to human beings and animals (vss. 22, 28) both here and after the flood (9:1); the same words (and others) are used to describe the Israelites’ fruitfulness in Exodus 1:7. creating of the heavens and the earth, 2 when the earth was Tōhu/chaos and Bōhu/inchoate, Ḥoshekh/darkness over the face of Tehōm/Abyss, rushing-spirit of Elohim hovering over the face of the waters – 3 Elohim said: “Let there be light!” And there was light. 4 Elohim saw the light: that it was good. Elohim separated the light from the darkness. 5 Elohim called the light: ‘Day’ and the darkness he called: ‘Night.’ There was setting, there was dawning: one day.[2]God creates light and not darkness (vs. 3), often taken to mean that God creates good and not evil. This dualistic theology is seen in other places in the P source, most prominently in Leviticus 15 where Yhwh (the Lord) and Azazel (a demon) are accorded some measure of equality.

ו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יְהִ֥י רָקִ֖יעַ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַמָּ֑יִם וִיהִ֣י מַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין מַ֖יִם לָמָֽיִם׃ ז וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִים֮ אֶת־הָרָקִ֒יעַ֒ וַיַּבְדֵּ֗ל בֵּ֤ין הַמַּ֙יִם֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ מִתַּ֣חַת לָרָקִ֔יעַ וּבֵ֣ין הַמַּ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֖ר מֵעַ֣ל לָרָקִ֑יעַ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ ח וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֱלֹהִ֛ים לָֽרָקִ֖יעַ שָׁמָ֑יִם וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שֵׁנִֽי׃
6 Elohim said: “Let there be a Raqia/dome amid the waters, and let it separate waters from waters!” 7 Elohim made the Raqia and separated the waters that were below the Raqia from the waters that were above the Raqia. It was so. 8 Elohim called the Raqia: ‘Shamayim/Heaven.’ There was setting, there was dawning: second day.

ט וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יִקָּו֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ אֶל־מָק֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד וְתֵרָאֶ֖ה הַיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ י וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ לַיַּבָּשָׁה֙ אֶ֔רֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵ֥ה הַמַּ֖יִם קָרָ֣א יַמִּ֑ים וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ יא וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים תַּֽדְשֵׁ֤א הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ דֶּ֗שֶׁא עֵ֚שֶׂב מַזְרִ֣יעַ זֶ֔רַע עֵ֣ץ פְּרִ֞י עֹ֤שֶׂה פְּרִי֙ לְמִינ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ יב וַתּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ דֶּ֠שֶׁא עֵ֣שֶׂב מַזְרִ֤יעַ זֶ֙רַע֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְעֵ֧ץ עֹֽשֶׂה־פְּרִ֛י אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ יג וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם שְׁלִישִֽׁי׃
9 Elohim said: “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered to one place, and let the dry land be seen!” It was so. 10 Elohim called the dry land: ‘Arets/earth’ and the gathering of the waters he called: ‘Yamim/seas.’ Elohim saw that it was good. 11 Elohim said: “Let the earth sprout forth with sprouting-growth, plants that seed forth seeds, fruit trees that yield fruit, after their kind, (and) in which is their seed, upon the earth!” It was so. 12 The earth brought forth sprouting-growth, plants that seed forth seeds, after their kind, trees that yield fruit, in which is their seed, after their kind. Elohim saw that it was good. 13 There was setting, there was dawning: third day.

יד וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהַבְדִּ֕יל בֵּ֥ין הַיּ֖וֹם וּבֵ֣ין הַלָּ֑יְלָה וְהָי֤וּ לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים וּלְיָמִ֖ים וְשָׁנִֽים׃ טו וְהָי֤וּ לִמְאוֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ טז וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃ יז וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ יח וְלִמְשֹׁל֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם וּבַלַּ֔יְלָה וּֽלְהַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֣ין הַחֹ֑שֶׁךְ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ יט וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם רְבִיעִֽי׃
14 Elohim said: “Let there be lights in the dome of the heavens, to separate the day from the night, that they may be for signs-for set-times, for days and years, 15 and let them be for lights in the dome of the heavens, to provide light upon the earth!” It was so. 16 Elohim made the two great lights, the greater light for ruling the day and the smaller light for ruling the night, and the stars. 17 Elohim placed them in the dome of the heavens 18 to provide light upon the earth, to rule the day and the night, to separate the light from the darkness. Elohim saw that it was good. 19 There was setting, there was dawning: fourth day.[3]Note the ordered creation narrative; an eye for organization marks the Priestly source as is seen in the many genealogies, itineraries, and lists written by P.

כ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם שֶׁ֖רֶץ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה וְעוֹף֙ יְעוֹפֵ֣ף עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַל־פְּנֵ֖י רְקִ֥יעַ הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ כא וַיִּבְרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת כׇּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ הַֽחַיָּ֣ה ׀ הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת אֲשֶׁר֩ שָׁרְצ֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם וְאֵ֨ת כׇּל־ע֤וֹף כָּנָף֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ כב וַיְבָ֧רֶךְ אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר פְּר֣וּ וּרְב֗וּ וּמִלְא֤וּ אֶת־הַמַּ֙יִם֙ בַּיַּמִּ֔ים וְהָע֖וֹף יִ֥רֶב בָּאָֽרֶץ׃ כג וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם חֲמִישִֽׁי׃
21 Elohim created the great sea-serpents and all living beings that crawl about, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and all winged birds after their kind. Elohim saw that it was good. 22 And Elohim blessed them, saying: “Bear fruit and be many and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds be many on earth!” 23 There was setting, there was dawning: fifth day.[4]God’s creation of the sea monsters (vs. 21) is oft seen as a monotheistic reconceptualization of Baal and Anat’s defeat of the Sea God and his monsters. Here it is taken one step further emphasizing God’s complete control over these mythical creatures. Other allusions to Ancient Near Eastern myths include “the deep” (Hebrew – תהום), perhaps a backhanded reference to Tiamat – the Goddess which Marduk defeated in order to become King of the Gods in Babylonian myth.

כד וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים תּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ נֶ֤פֶשׁ חַיָּה֙ לְמִינָ֔הּ בְּהֵמָ֥ה וָרֶ֛מֶשׂ וְחַֽיְתוֹ־אֶ֖רֶץ לְמִינָ֑הּ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ כה וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִים֩ אֶת־חַיַּ֨ת הָאָ֜רֶץ לְמִינָ֗הּ וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ לְמִינָ֔הּ וְאֵ֛ת כׇּל־רֶ֥מֶשׂ הָֽאֲדָמָ֖ה לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ כו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכׇל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכׇל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ כז וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃ כח וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָם֮ אֱלֹהִים֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָהֶ֜ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֛וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ וּרְד֞וּ בִּדְגַ֤ת הַיָּם֙ וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּבְכׇל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ כט וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּה֩ נָתַ֨תִּי לָכֶ֜ם אֶת־כׇּל־עֵ֣שֶׂב ׀ זֹרֵ֣עַ זֶ֗רַע אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י כׇל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־כׇּל־הָעֵ֛ץ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֥וֹ פְרִי־עֵ֖ץ זֹרֵ֣עַ זָ֑רַע לָכֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה לְאׇכְלָֽה׃ ל וּֽלְכׇל־חַיַּ֣ת הָ֠אָ֠רֶץ וּלְכׇל־ע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וּלְכֹ֣ל ׀ רוֹמֵ֣שׂ עַל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ֙ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה אֶת־כׇּל־יֶ֥רֶק עֵ֖שֶׂב לְאׇכְלָ֑ה וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃ לא וַיַּ֤רְא אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וְהִנֵּה־ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם הַשִּׁשִּֽׁי׃
24 Elohim said: “Let the earth bring forth ḥayah/living beings after their kind, behemah/herd-animals, remes/crawling things, and the ḥayot/wildlife of the fertile-ground after their kind!” It was so. 25 Elohim made the wildlife of the earth after their kind, and the herd-animals after their kind, and all crawling things of the fertile-ground after their kind. Elohim saw that it was good. 26 Elohim said: “Let us make the Adam/Earthling, in our image, according to our likeness! Let them exercise mastery over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, animals, all the earth, and all crawling things that crawl about upon the earth! 27 So Elohim created the Earthling in his image, in the image of Elohim did he create it, male and female he created them. 28 Elohim blessed them, Elohim said to them: “Bear fruit and be many and fill the earth and occupy it! Have mastery over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all living things that crawl about upon the earth!” 29 Elohim said: “Here, I give you all plants that bear seeds that are upon the face of all the earth, and all trees in which there is tree fruit that bears seeds, for you shall they be, for eating; 30 and also for all the living things of the earth, for all the birds of the sky, for all that crawls about upon the earth in which there is living being – all green plants for eating.” It was so. 31 Now Elohim saw all that he had made, and here: it was exceedingly good! There was setting, there was dawning: the sixth day.[5]This chapter is one of two parallel creation accounts – the second of which appears in Genesis 2 and is attributed to J. The question of relationship between J and P is oft discussed in scholarship, one school claiming that P is supplementary to J (i.e. was dependent upon J composing or sculpting his narratives as additions to the J narrative), the second school claiming that P was composed independently and was combined with J by a later redactor. The position adopted in this commentary will be the former; I think that the process of narrative composition in the Pentateuch and former prophets was almost exclusively supplementary. For a popular documentary commentary on the Pentateuch (the latter position) see Friedman’s color coded Bible. My book-series Kernel to Canon and this website present the documentary hypothesis for comparative purposes, but without commentary.

2 א וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ הַשָּׁמַ֥יִם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ וְכׇל־צְבָאָֽם׃ ב וַיְכַ֤ל אֱלֹהִים֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִכׇּל־מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃ ג וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכׇּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת׃
2 1 Thus were finished the Heavens and the Earth, with all of their array. 2 Elohim had finished, on the seventh day, his work that he had made, and then he ceased, on the seventh day, from all his work that he had made. 3 Elohim gave the seventh day his blessing, and he hallowed it, for on it he ceased from all his work, that by creating, Elohim had made.[6]A six day creation and God’s rest on the seventh day is the reason given for the most important and most repeated priestly commandment, namely the Sabbath (e.g. Ex 20:11).

שני ד אֵ֣לֶּה תוֹלְד֧וֹת הַשָּׁמַ֛יִם וְהָאָ֖רֶץ בְּהִבָּֽרְאָ֑ם בְּי֗וֹם עֲשׂ֛וֹת יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶ֥רֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם׃ ה וְכֹ֣ל ׀ שִׂ֣יחַ הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה טֶ֚רֶם יִֽהְיֶ֣ה בָאָ֔רֶץ וְכׇל־עֵ֥שֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה טֶ֣רֶם יִצְמָ֑ח כִּי֩ לֹ֨א הִמְטִ֜יר יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאָדָ֣ם אַ֔יִן לַֽעֲבֹ֖ד אֶת־הָֽאֲדָמָֽה׃ ו וְאֵ֖ד יַֽעֲלֶ֣ה מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְהִשְׁקָ֖ה אֶֽת־כׇּל־פְּנֵ֥י הָֽאֲדָמָֽה׃ ז וַיִּ֩יצֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֗ם עָפָר֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה וַיִּפַּ֥ח בְּאַפָּ֖יו נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים וַֽיְהִ֥י הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּֽה׃ ח וַיִּטַּ֞ע יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים גַּן־בְּעֵ֖דֶן מִקֶּ֑דֶם וַיָּ֣שֶׂם שָׁ֔ם אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָצָֽר׃ ט וַיַּצְמַ֞ח יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה כׇּל־עֵ֛ץ נֶחְמָ֥ד לְמַרְאֶ֖ה וְט֣וֹב לְמַאֲכָ֑ל וְעֵ֤ץ הַֽחַיִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַגָּ֔ן וְעֵ֕ץ הַדַּ֖עַת ט֥וֹב וָרָֽע׃
4 These are the progeny of the Heavens and the Earth: their being created.[7]There are two ways in which the אלה תולדות (= “these are the generations”) formula can be viewed; as a closing statement summarizing the seven days of creation or as an opening statement introducing the narrative beginning in 2:4b. Taking into account the other ten occurrences of this formula in which it always functions as an introduction, it seems a lot likelier that אלה תולדות is an opening statement. The formula occurs exclusively in P texts, and thus if it is to be attributed to P here it would seem to indicate that P knew of J’s narrative in Chapter 2. The other option is that of a third author combining the two narratives (Chapters 1 and 2), but that seems a lot less likely considering the prevalence of the formula in Priestly texts. Note also the appearance of the root ברא following this formula, which appears in P’s Chapter 1 as opposed to the roots יצר and עשה which appear in Chapter 2. ¶The grammatical structure of vs. 4b ביום עשות ה’ אלהים ארץ ושמים “(“In the day that the Lord God made earth and Heavens”) is parallel to the grammatical structure of Gen 1:1, בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ (often mistranslated as “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, no the is apparent in the vocalized Hebrew) – both are temporal clauses dependent upon the subsequent verses, thus both may be paraphrased as “When God created heaven and earth, the earth was….” At the time of YHVH Elohim’s making[8]The distinction between ברא (to create ) in Chapter 1 and יצר (to create) in Chapter 2 was noted in Chapter 1. Another creationary verb used in this chapter is עשה (eg. vs. 4b), literally to make. Note also the use of Yhwh Elohim (= Lord God), which is most often seen as a theological statement, i.e. Yhwh, the private Israelite God equals Elohim the universal God. The root to know (ידע) also plays an important role in this chapter (vs. 9) and in Chapters 3 and 4, it means to know sexually, as well as to distinguish; sexual knowledge using the verb ידע is common in J. The אלה תולות (These are the generations) formula appears in vs. 4a. The formula is universally attributed to P, it appears some 10 other times in Genesis as an opening statement preceding genealogies or genealogical statements (e.g. Gen 5:1). of Earth and Heaven, 5 no bush of the field was yet on earth, no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for YHVH Elohim had not made it rain upon earth, and there was no Earthling/Adam[9]The word אדם (man, human) is the name given to the first man both in Chapters 1 and 2. In my opinion this is indicative of some relationship of dependence between them. Note the order of creation: in Chapter 2, man is the first creation, whereas in Chapter 1 man is the final creation, both are positions of importance. to till the fertile-ground/Adamah – 6 but a surge would well up from the earth and water all the face of the fertile-ground; 7 and YHVH Elohim formed the Earthling, of dust from the fertile-ground, he blew into his nostrils the breath of life and the Earthling became a living being. 8 YHVH Elohim planted a garden in Eden/Land-of-pleasure, in the east, and there he placed the Earthling whom he had formed.[10]Note that no Garden of Eden is mentioned in P’s creation account in Chapter 1; this could be a sign of the later author’s discomfort with J’s narrative of humanity’s fall from grace. Note also that in Chapter 1 (P) the material from which God created human beings and animals is not mentioned, whereas in Chapter 2 (J) it is dust or earth. This may be an attempt to distance God from material creation of Chapter 2 (J), which is a human act. 9 YHVH Elohim caused to spring up from the fertile-ground every type of tree, desirable to look at and good to eat, and the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden and the Tree of the Knowing of Good and Evil.[11]I often like to refer to J’s God as a typical Near-Eastern God, except that the playing field has been narrowed to one. As so brilliantly illustrated in Miles, God: A Biography: J’s Yhwh is a non-omnipotent non-omniscient character who “suffers” from the full range of human emotions, the most prominent in the first part of Genesis is insecurity, as seen from the expulsion in Chapter 4 and the Tower of Babel narrative. The trees that threaten Yhwh domination are within the garden, yet as opposed to the rest of the trees there is no indication that He planted them – in other words they are beyond his power. Thus the seeds to Adam’s downfall and or the overthrow of Yhwh are within arms reach.

י וְנָהָר֙ יֹצֵ֣א מֵעֵ֔דֶן לְהַשְׁק֖וֹת אֶת־הַגָּ֑ן וּמִשָּׁם֙ יִפָּרֵ֔ד וְהָיָ֖ה לְאַרְבָּעָ֥ה רָאשִֽׁים׃ יא שֵׁ֥ם הָֽאֶחָ֖ד פִּישׁ֑וֹן ה֣וּא הַסֹּבֵ֗ב אֵ֚ת כׇּל־אֶ֣רֶץ הַֽחֲוִילָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֖ם הַזָּהָֽב׃ יב וּֽזְהַ֛ב הָאָ֥רֶץ הַהִ֖וא ט֑וֹב שָׁ֥ם הַבְּדֹ֖לַח וְאֶ֥בֶן הַשֹּֽׁהַם׃ יג וְשֵֽׁם־הַנָּהָ֥ר הַשֵּׁנִ֖י גִּיח֑וֹן ה֣וּא הַסּוֹבֵ֔ב אֵ֖ת כׇּל־אֶ֥רֶץ כּֽוּשׁ׃ יד וְשֵׁ֨ם הַנָּהָ֤ר הַשְּׁלִישִׁי֙ חִדֶּ֔קֶל ה֥וּא הַֽהֹלֵ֖ךְ קִדְמַ֣ת אַשּׁ֑וּר וְהַנָּהָ֥ר הָֽרְבִיעִ֖י ה֥וּא פְרָֽת׃
10 Now a river goes out from Eden, to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four stream-heads. 11 The name of the first one is Pishon/Spreader – that is the one that circles through all the land of Ḥavila, where gold is; 12 the gold of that land is good, there too are bdellium and the precious-stone carnelian. 13 The name of the second river is Giḥon/Gusher – that is the one that circles through all the land of Kush. 14 The name of the third river is Ḥiddekel/Tigris – that is the one that goes to the east of Assyria. And the fourth river – that is Phrat/Euphrates.

טו וַיִּקַּ֛ח יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּנִּחֵ֣הוּ בְגַן־עֵ֔דֶן לְעׇבְדָ֖הּ וּלְשׇׁמְרָֽהּ׃ טז וַיְצַו֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים עַל־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר מִכֹּ֥ל עֵֽץ־הַגָּ֖ן אָכֹ֥ל תֹּאכֵֽל׃ יז וּמֵעֵ֗ץ הַדַּ֙עַת֙ ט֣וֹב וָרָ֔ע לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ כִּ֗י בְּי֛וֹם אֲכׇלְךָ֥ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת׃ יח וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹא־ט֛וֹב הֱי֥וֹת הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְבַדּ֑וֹ אֶֽעֱשֶׂה־לּ֥וֹ עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃ יט וַיִּ֩צֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָ֗ה כׇּל־חַיַּ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙ וְאֵת֙ כׇּל־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיָּבֵא֙ אֶל־הָ֣אָדָ֔ם לִרְא֖וֹת מַה־יִּקְרָא־ל֑וֹ וְכֹל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִקְרָא־ל֧וֹ הָֽאָדָ֛ם נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה ה֥וּא שְׁמֽוֹ׃
15 YHVH Elohim took the Earthling and set him in the garden of Eden, to work it and to watch it. 16 YHVH Elohim commanded concerning the Earthling, saying: From every (other) tree of the garden you may eat, yes, eat, 17 but from the Tree of the Knowing of Good and Evil – you are not to eat from it, for on the day that you eat from it, you must die, yes, die. 18 Now YHVH Elohim said: “It is not good for the Earthling to be alone, I will make him a helper corresponding to him.” 19 So YHVH Elohim formed from the fertile-ground every living-thing of the field and every bird of the sky and brought each to the Earthling, to see what he would call it; and whatever the Earthling called it as a living being, that became its name.

שלישי כ וַיִּקְרָ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם שֵׁמ֗וֹת לְכׇל־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּלְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּלְכֹ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה וּלְאָדָ֕ם לֹֽא־מָצָ֥א עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃ כא וַיַּפֵּל֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ תַּרְדֵּמָ֛ה עַל־הָאָדָ֖ם וַיִּישָׁ֑ן וַיִּקַּ֗ח אַחַת֙ מִצַּלְעֹתָ֔יו וַיִּסְגֹּ֥ר בָּשָׂ֖ר תַּחְתֶּֽנָּה׃ כב וַיִּ֩בֶן֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ אֶֽת־הַצֵּלָ֛ע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֥ח מִן־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיְבִאֶ֖הָ אֶל־הָֽאָדָֽם׃ כג וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ הָֽאָדָם֒ זֹ֣את הַפַּ֗עַם עֶ֚צֶם מֵֽעֲצָמַ֔י וּבָשָׂ֖ר מִבְּשָׂרִ֑י לְזֹאת֙ יִקָּרֵ֣א אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּ֥י מֵאִ֖ישׁ לֻֽקְחָה־זֹּֽאת׃ כד עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזׇב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃ כה וַיִּֽהְי֤וּ שְׁנֵיהֶם֙ עֲרוּמִּ֔ים הָֽאָדָ֖ם וְאִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְלֹ֖א יִתְבֹּשָֽׁשׁוּ׃
20 The Earthling called out names for every herd-animal and for the birds of the sky and for every living-thing of the field, but for the Earthling, there could be found no helper corresponding to him. 21 So YHVH Elohim caused a deep slumber to fall upon the Earthling, so that he slept, he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 YHVH Elohim built the rib that he had taken from the Earthling into a woman and brought her to the Earthling. 23 The Earthling said: “This-time, she-is-it! Bone from my bones, flesh from my flesh! She shall be called Woman/Isha, for from Man/Ish she was taken!” 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Now the two of them, the Earthling and his wife, were naked, yet they were not ashamed.[12]Note the narrative style and characterization of this chapter (beginning with 4b), as opposed to the list-like style of Chapter 1.

3 א וְהַנָּחָשׁ֙ הָיָ֣ה עָר֔וּם מִכֹּל֙ חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־הָ֣אִשָּׁ֔ה אַ֚ף כִּֽי־אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹ֣א תֹֽאכְל֔וּ מִכֹּ֖ל עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃ ב וַתֹּ֥אמֶר הָֽאִשָּׁ֖ה אֶל־הַנָּחָ֑שׁ מִפְּרִ֥י עֵֽץ־הַגָּ֖ן נֹאכֵֽל׃ ג וּמִפְּרִ֣י הָעֵץ֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתוֹךְ־הַגָּן֒ אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים לֹ֤א תֹֽאכְלוּ֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְלֹ֥א תִגְּע֖וּ בּ֑וֹ פֶּן־תְּמֻתֽוּן׃ ד וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הַנָּחָ֖שׁ אֶל־הָֽאִשָּׁ֑ה לֹֽא־מ֖וֹת תְּמֻתֽוּן׃ ה כִּ֚י יֹדֵ֣עַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כִּ֗י בְּיוֹם֙ אֲכׇלְכֶ֣ם מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְנִפְקְח֖וּ עֵֽינֵיכֶ֑ם וִהְיִיתֶם֙ כֵּֽאלֹהִ֔ים יֹדְעֵ֖י ט֥וֹב וָרָֽע׃ ו וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י טוֹב֩ הָעֵ֨ץ לְמַאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ה֣וּא לָעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְי֖וֹ וַתֹּאכַ֑ל וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּם־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ וַיֹּאכַֽל׃ ז וַתִּפָּקַ֙חְנָה֙ עֵינֵ֣י שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּ֣דְע֔וּ כִּ֥י עֵֽירֻמִּ֖ם הֵ֑ם וַֽיִּתְפְּרוּ֙ עֲלֵ֣ה תְאֵנָ֔ה וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם חֲגֹרֹֽת׃ ח וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־ק֨וֹל יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּגָּ֖ן לְר֣וּחַ הַיּ֑וֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם וְאִשְׁתּ֗וֹ מִפְּנֵי֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּת֖וֹךְ עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃
3 1 Now the Naḥash/naga/serpent was more shrewd than all the living-things of the field that YHVH Elohim had made. It said to the woman: “Even though Elohim said: ‘You are not to eat from any of the trees in the garden . . . !'”[13]Plays on words are quite common in this chapter (3) and throughout the J composition often adding a measure of double entendre. Thus ערום – crafty, in 3:1 denotes both craftiness and nakedness, and indeed the snake is the most naked of creatures as it sheds its skin. Note also that the name חוה = Eve means “snake” in Biblical Hebrew. This is clearly a literary statement: just as the snake was snaky towards Eve, so too Eve was snaky towards Adam. 2 The woman said to the Naḥash: “From the fruit of the (other) trees in the garden we may eat, 3 but from the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said: ‘You are not to eat from it and you are not to touch it, lest you die.'” 4 The Naḥash said to the woman: “Die‽ You will not die! 5 Rather, Elohim knows that on the day that you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will become like Elohim, knowing good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was a delight to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to contemplate. She took from its fruit and ate and gave also to her husband beside her, and he ate. 7 The eyes of the two of them were opened and they knew then that they were nude. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 Now they heard the sound of YHVH Elohim (who was) walking about in the garden at the breezy-time of the day. And the Earthling and his wife hid themselves from the face of YHVH Elohim amid the trees of the garden.

ט וַיִּקְרָ֛א יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ אַיֶּֽכָּה׃ י וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־קֹלְךָ֥ שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי בַּגָּ֑ן וָאִירָ֛א כִּֽי־עֵירֹ֥ם אָנֹ֖כִי וָאֵחָבֵֽא׃ יא וַיֹּ֕אמֶר מִ֚י הִגִּ֣יד לְךָ֔ כִּ֥י עֵירֹ֖ם אָ֑תָּה הֲמִן־הָעֵ֗ץ אֲשֶׁ֧ר צִוִּיתִ֛יךָ לְבִלְתִּ֥י אֲכׇל־מִמֶּ֖נּוּ אָכָֽלְתָּ׃ יב וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הָֽאָדָ֑ם הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָתַ֣תָּה עִמָּדִ֔י הִ֛וא נָֽתְנָה־לִּ֥י מִן־הָעֵ֖ץ וָאֹכֵֽל׃ יג וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים לָאִשָּׁ֖ה מַה־זֹּ֣את עָשִׂ֑ית וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה הַנָּחָ֥שׁ הִשִּׁיאַ֖נִי וָאֹכֵֽל׃ יד וַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֥ים ׀ אֶֽל־הַנָּחָשׁ֮ כִּ֣י עָשִׂ֣יתָ זֹּאת֒ אָר֤וּר אַתָּה֙ מִכׇּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה וּמִכֹּ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה עַל־גְּחֹנְךָ֣ תֵלֵ֔ךְ וְעָפָ֥ר תֹּאכַ֖ל כׇּל־יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ׃ טו וְאֵיבָ֣ה ׀ אָשִׁ֗ית בֵּֽינְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וּבֵ֥ין זַרְעֲךָ֖ וּבֵ֣ין זַרְעָ֑הּ ה֚וּא יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ רֹ֔אשׁ וְאַתָּ֖ה תְּשׁוּפֶ֥נּוּ עָקֵֽב׃
9 YHVH Elohim called to the Earthling and said to him: “Where are you?” 10 He said: “I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid, because I am naked, and so I hid myself.” 11 He said: “Who told you that you are nude? From the tree about which I command you not to eat, have you eaten?” 12 The Earthling said: “The woman whom you gave to be beside me, she gave me from the tree, and so I ate.” 13 YHVH Elohim said to the woman: “What is this that you have done?” The woman said: “The Naḥash enticed me, and so I ate.” 14 YHVH Elohim said to the Naḥash: “Because you have done this, damned be you from all the herd-animals and from all the living-things of the field; upon your belly shall you walk and dust shall you eat, all the days of your life. 15 I put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed: they will strike you on the head, you will strike them on the heel.”

טז אֶֽל־הָאִשָּׁ֣ה אָמַ֗ר הַרְבָּ֤ה אַרְבֶּה֙ עִצְּבוֹנֵ֣ךְ וְהֵֽרֹנֵ֔ךְ בְּעֶ֖צֶב תֵּֽלְדִ֣י בָנִ֑ים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָתֵ֔ךְ וְה֖וּא יִמְשׇׁל־בָּֽךְ׃
16 To the woman he said: “I will multiply, multiply your pain (from) your pregnancy, with pains shall you bear children. Toward your husband will be your lust, yet he will rule over you.”

יז וּלְאָדָ֣ם אָמַ֗ר כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֘עְתָּ֮ לְק֣וֹל אִשְׁתֶּ֒ךָ֒ וַתֹּ֙אכַל֙ מִן־הָעֵ֔ץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר צִוִּיתִ֙יךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ אֲרוּרָ֤ה הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ בַּֽעֲבוּרֶ֔ךָ בְּעִצָּבוֹן֙ תֹּֽאכְלֶ֔נָּה כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ׃ יח וְק֥וֹץ וְדַרְדַּ֖ר תַּצְמִ֣יחַֽ לָ֑ךְ וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ אֶת־עֵ֥שֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶֽה׃ יט בְּזֵעַ֤ת אַפֶּ֙יךָ֙ תֹּ֣אכַל לֶ֔חֶם עַ֤ד שֽׁוּבְךָ֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה כִּ֥י מִמֶּ֖נָּה לֻקָּ֑חְתָּ כִּֽי־עָפָ֣ר אַ֔תָּה וְאֶל־עָפָ֖ר תָּשֽׁוּב׃ כ וַיִּקְרָ֧א הָֽאָדָ֛ם שֵׁ֥ם אִשְׁתּ֖וֹ חַוָּ֑ה כִּ֛י הִ֥וא הָֽיְתָ֖ה אֵ֥ם כׇּל־חָֽי׃ כא וַיַּ֩עַשׂ֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים לְאָדָ֧ם וּלְאִשְׁתּ֛וֹ כׇּתְנ֥וֹת ע֖וֹר וַיַּלְבִּשֵֽׁם׃
17 To Adam he said: “Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying: ‘You are not to eat from it!’ Damned be the fertile-ground on your account, with painstaking-labor shall you eat from her, all the days of your life. 18 Thorn and sting-shrub let it spring up for you, when you (seek to) eat the plants of the field! 19 By the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread, until you return to the fertile-ground, for from her you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust shall you return.” 20 The Earthling called his wife’s name: Ḥavva/Life-giver! For she became the mother of all the living. 21 Now YHVH Elohim made Adam and his wife coats of skins and clothed them.[14]The Lord promises that on the day Adam eats from the forbidden fruit he will die. This promise, however, is not kept. The Lord spares Adam, as he spares Noah and each one of the Patriarchs even when they sin grievously. This theme was noted by the Rabbinic sages and is referred to as the Attribute of Mercy associated with the divine name Yhwh. There is also a correlation between the attribute of Judgment and the name Elohim according to the same sages.

רביעי כב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ׀ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֗ים הֵ֤ן הָֽאָדָם֙ הָיָה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לָדַ֖עַת ט֣וֹב וָרָ֑ע וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀ פֶּן־יִשְׁלַ֣ח יָד֗וֹ וְלָקַח֙ גַּ֚ם מֵעֵ֣ץ הַֽחַיִּ֔ים וְאָכַ֖ל וָחַ֥י לְעֹלָֽם׃ כג וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֵ֛הוּ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים מִגַּן־עֵ֑דֶן לַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֻקַּ֖ח מִשָּֽׁם׃ כד וַיְגָ֖רֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן֩ מִקֶּ֨דֶם לְגַן־עֵ֜דֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֗ים וְאֵ֨ת לַ֤הַט הַחֶ֙רֶב֙ הַמִּתְהַפֶּ֔כֶת לִשְׁמֹ֕ר אֶת־דֶּ֖רֶךְ עֵ֥ץ הַֽחַיִּֽים׃
22 YHVH Elohim said: “Here, the Earthling has become like one of us, in knowing good and evil. So now, lest he send forth his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat and live throughout the ages . . . !” 23 So YHVH Elohim sent him away from the garden of Eden, to work the fertile-ground from which he had been taken. 24 He drove the Earthling out and caused to dwell, eastward of the garden of Eden, the Keruvim and the flashing, ever-turning sword to watch over the way to the Tree of Life.

4 א וְהָ֣אָדָ֔ם יָדַ֖ע אֶת־חַוָּ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וַתַּ֙הַר֙ וַתֵּ֣לֶד אֶת־קַ֔יִן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר קָנִ֥יתִי אִ֖ישׁ אֶת־יְהֹוָֽה׃ ב וַתֹּ֣סֶף לָלֶ֔דֶת אֶת־אָחִ֖יו אֶת־הָ֑בֶל וַֽיְהִי־הֶ֙בֶל֙ רֹ֣עֵה צֹ֔אן וְקַ֕יִן הָיָ֖ה עֹבֵ֥ד אֲדָמָֽה׃ ג וַֽיְהִ֖י מִקֵּ֣ץ יָמִ֑ים וַיָּבֵ֨א קַ֜יִן מִפְּרִ֧י הָֽאֲדָמָ֛ה מִנְחָ֖ה לַֽיהֹוָֽה׃ ד וְהֶ֨בֶל הֵבִ֥יא גַם־ה֛וּא מִבְּכֹר֥וֹת צֹאנ֖וֹ וּמֵֽחֶלְבֵהֶ֑ן וַיִּ֣שַׁע יְהֹוָ֔ה אֶל־הֶ֖בֶל וְאֶל־מִנְחָתֽוֹ׃ ה וְאֶל־קַ֥יִן וְאֶל־מִנְחָת֖וֹ לֹ֣א שָׁעָ֑ה וַיִּ֤חַר לְקַ֙יִן֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַֽיִּפְּל֖וּ פָּנָֽיו׃ ו וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־קָ֑יִן לָ֚מָּה חָ֣רָה לָ֔ךְ וְלָ֖מָּה נָפְל֥וּ פָנֶֽיךָ׃ ז הֲל֤וֹא אִם־תֵּיטִיב֙ שְׂאֵ֔ת וְאִם֙ לֹ֣א תֵיטִ֔יב לַפֶּ֖תַח חַטָּ֣את רֹבֵ֑ץ וְאֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ תְּשׁ֣וּקָת֔וֹ וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּמְשׇׁל־בּֽוֹ׃ ח וַיֹּ֥אמֶר קַ֖יִן אֶל־הֶ֣בֶל אָחִ֑יו וַֽיְהִי֙ בִּהְיוֹתָ֣ם בַּשָּׂדֶ֔ה וַיָּ֥קׇם קַ֛יִן אֶל־הֶ֥בֶל אָחִ֖יו וַיַּהַרְגֵֽהוּ׃ ט וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־קַ֔יִן אֵ֖י הֶ֣בֶל אָחִ֑יךָ וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א יָדַ֔עְתִּי הֲשֹׁמֵ֥ר אָחִ֖י אָנֹֽכִי׃ י וַיֹּ֖אמֶר מֶ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ ק֚וֹל דְּמֵ֣י אָחִ֔יךָ צֹעֲקִ֥ים אֵלַ֖י מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָֽה׃
4 1 The Earthling knew Ḥavva, his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Qayin. She said: “Kaniti/I-have-acquired a man, as has YHVH!” 2 She continued bearing-his brother, Hevel/Ephemeral. Now Hevel became a shepherd of flocks, and Qayin became a worker of the fertile-ground. 3 It was, after the passing of days that Qayin brought, from the fruit of the fertile-ground, a gift to YHVH, 4 and as for Hevel, he too brought-from the firstborn of his flock, from their fat-parts. YHVH had regard for Hevel and his gift, 5 for Qayin and his gift he had no regard. Qayin became exceedingly upset and his face fell. 6 YHVH said to Qayin: “Why are you so upset? Why has your face fallen? 7 Is it not thus: If you intend good, bear-it-aloft, but if you do not intend good, at the entrance is sin, a crouching-demon, toward you his lust – but you can rule over him.” 8 Qayin said to Hevel his brother “. . .”[15]The Septuagint (the Ancient Greek translation) upon which the English is based, “adds” the content of Cain’s interaction with his brother Abel which does not exist in the Hebrew (Masoretic text). The question of whether the fuller Septuagint version reflects the genuine version or the Hebrew (Masoretic text) does is debated among scholars. But then it was, when they were out in the field that Qayin rose up against Hevel his brother and he killed him. 9 YHVH said to Qayin: “Where is Hevel your brother?” He said: “I do not know. Am I the watcher of my brother?” 10 Now he said: “What have you done‽ A sound – your brother’s blood cries out to me from the fertile-ground!”

יא וְעַתָּ֖ה אָר֣וּר אָ֑תָּה מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר פָּצְתָ֣ה אֶת־פִּ֔יהָ לָקַ֛חַת אֶת־דְּמֵ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ מִיָּדֶֽךָ׃ יב כִּ֤י תַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה לֹֽא־תֹסֵ֥ף תֵּת־כֹּחָ֖הּ לָ֑ךְ נָ֥ע וָנָ֖ד תִּֽהְיֶ֥ה בָאָֽרֶץ׃ יג וַיֹּ֥אמֶר קַ֖יִן אֶל־יְהֹוָ֑ה גָּד֥וֹל עֲוֺנִ֖י מִנְּשֹֽׂא‏׃ יד הֵן֩ גֵּרַ֨שְׁתָּ אֹתִ֜י הַיּ֗וֹם מֵעַל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה וּמִפָּנֶ֖יךָ אֶסָּתֵ֑ר וְהָיִ֜יתִי נָ֤ע וָנָד֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְהָיָ֥ה כׇל־מֹצְאִ֖י יַֽהַרְגֵֽנִי׃ טו וַיֹּ֧אמֶר ל֣וֹ יְהֹוָ֗ה לָכֵן֙ כׇּל־הֹרֵ֣ג קַ֔יִן שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקָּ֑ם וַיָּ֨שֶׂם יְהֹוָ֤ה לְקַ֙יִן֙ א֔וֹת לְבִלְתִּ֥י הַכּוֹת־אֹת֖וֹ כׇּל־מֹצְאֽוֹ׃ טז וַיֵּ֥צֵא קַ֖יִן מִלִּפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב בְּאֶֽרֶץ־נ֖וֹד קִדְמַת־עֵֽדֶן׃ יז וַיֵּ֤דַע קַ֙יִן֙ אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַתַּ֖הַר וַתֵּ֣לֶד אֶת־חֲנ֑וֹךְ וַֽיְהִי֙ בֹּ֣נֶה עִ֔יר וַיִּקְרָא֙ שֵׁ֣ם הָעִ֔יר כְּשֵׁ֖ם בְּנ֥וֹ חֲנֽוֹךְ׃ יח וַיִּוָּלֵ֤ד לַֽחֲנוֹךְ֙ אֶת־עִירָ֔ד וְעִירָ֕ד יָלַ֖ד אֶת־מְחֽוּיָאֵ֑ל וּמְחִיָּיאֵ֗ל יָלַד֙ אֶת־מְת֣וּשָׁאֵ֔ל וּמְתוּשָׁאֵ֖ל יָלַ֥ד אֶת־לָֽמֶךְ׃ חמישי יט וַיִּֽקַּֽח־ל֥וֹ לֶ֖מֶךְ שְׁתֵּ֣י נָשִׁ֑ים שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאַחַת֙ עָדָ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית צִלָּֽה׃
11 “And now, damned be you from the fertile-ground, which opened up her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you wish to work the fertile-ground she (Adamah) will not henceforth give her strength to you; wavering and wandering must you be on earth!” 13 Qayin said to YHVH: “My iniquity is too great to be borne! 14 Here, you drive me away today from the face of the fertile-ground, and from your face must I conceal myself, I must be wavering and wandering on earth – now it will be that whoever comes upon me will kill me!” 15 YHVH said to him: “No, therefore, whoever kills Qayin, sevenfold will it be avenged!” So YHVH set a sign for Qayin, so that whoever came upon him would not strike him down. 16 Qayin went out from the face of YHVH and settled in the land of Nōd/Wandering, east of Eden. 17 Qayin knew his wife; she became pregnant and bore Ḥanokh. Now he became the builder of a city and called the city’s name according to his son’s name, Ḥanokh. 18 To Ḥanokh was born Irad, Irad fathered Mehuyael, Mehuyael fathered Metushael, Metushael fathered Lemekh. 19 Lemekh took himself two wives, the name of the (first) one was Ada, the name of the second was Tsilla.[16]The short genealogical style of vs. 18 (J) is markedly different from the organized list of Chapter 5 (P), which details the number of years each person lived and when they bore children.

כ וַתֵּ֥לֶד עָדָ֖ה אֶת־יָבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י יֹשֵׁ֥ב אֹ֖הֶל וּמִקְנֶֽה׃ כא וְשֵׁ֥ם אָחִ֖יו יוּבָ֑ל ה֣וּא הָיָ֔ה אֲבִ֕י כׇּל־תֹּפֵ֥שׂ כִּנּ֖וֹר וְעוּגָֽב׃ כב וְצִלָּ֣ה גַם־הִ֗וא יָֽלְדָה֙ אֶת־תּ֣וּבַל קַ֔יִן לֹטֵ֕שׁ כׇּל־חֹרֵ֥שׁ נְחֹ֖שֶׁת וּבַרְזֶ֑ל וַֽאֲח֥וֹת תּֽוּבַל־קַ֖יִן נַֽעֲמָֽה׃ כג וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לֶ֜מֶךְ לְנָשָׁ֗יו עָדָ֤ה וְצִלָּה֙ שְׁמַ֣עַן קוֹלִ֔י נְשֵׁ֣י לֶ֔מֶךְ הַאְזֵ֖נָּה אִמְרָתִ֑י כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ הָרַ֙גְתִּי֙ לְפִצְעִ֔י וְיֶ֖לֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִֽי׃ כד כִּ֥י שִׁבְעָתַ֖יִם יֻקַּם־קָ֑יִן וְלֶ֖מֶךְ שִׁבְעִ֥ים וְשִׁבְעָֽה׃ כה וַיֵּ֨דַע אָדָ֥ם עוֹד֙ אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שֵׁ֑ת כִּ֣י שָֽׁת־לִ֤י אֱלֹהִים֙ זֶ֣רַע אַחֵ֔ר תַּ֣חַת הֶ֔בֶל כִּ֥י הֲרָג֖וֹ קָֽיִן׃ כו וּלְשֵׁ֤ת גַּם־הוּא֙ יֻלַּד־בֵּ֔ן וַיִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ אֱנ֑וֹשׁ אָ֣ז הוּחַ֔ל לִקְרֹ֖א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהֹוָֽה׃
20 Ada bore Yaval, he was the father of those who sit amidst tent and herd. 21 His brother’s name was Yuval, he was the father of all those who play the lyre and the pipe. 22 And Tsilla bore as well – Tuval-Qayin, burnisher of every blade of bronze and iron. Tuval-Qayin’s sister was Na’amah. 23 Lemekh said to his wives: “Ada and Tsilla, hearken to my voice, wives of Lemekh, give ear to my saying: Aye – a man I kill for wounding me, a lad for only bruising me! 24 Aye – if sevenfold vengeance be for Qayin, then for Lemekh, seventy-sevenfold!”[17]Note the switch of divine names from Yhwh (the Lord) to Elohim (God) in the final verses of Chapter 4, and then back again. Vs. 26 explains the switch from Elohim to Yhwh as one of human initiative. This theological program is likely a secondary explanation of the switch that indeed occurs after Chapter 3 in the text. The familiarity of this source with both the narrative of Chapter 4 (the death of Abel) and the genealogical list of Chapter 5 (the birth of Seth), may also indicate a later date of composition. In this commentary it is attributed to B, the bridging source. [18]In Genesis 4, part of the Yahwistic composition, Cain kills his brother Abel in cold blood. The reader expects some sort of retribution, and prima facie, it seems that Cain is indeed punished: Yhwh pronounces that “the earth will not give you of her strength” (4:11) and that Cain shall be forced to wander in order to scratch out his sustenance. If the punishment is examined more closely however, one finds that it is in fact only an echo of the harshly worded curse God pronounces upon Adam. The mild language used in the description of Cain’s sentence is in marked contrast with the graphic description of Cain culpability: “The blood of your brother screams to me from the earth.” (4:10) Furthermore, it would seem that Cain’s punishment of exile is never really carried out, he is described as “settling” in the land of Nod (4:16) – an obvious wordplay on the content of the punishment (na’ vanad) thus making subtle mockery of it – and he builds the first city (4:17), both marked signs of sedentary lifestyle. Even if Cain was exiled it is clear that in the Pentateuchal law codes the punishment does not fit the crime. Exile is enumerated as a possible punishment for murder in the Pentateuchal law codes, but only in cases when the murder is accidental. ¶This, however, is not the most mystifying element of the account. Yhwh’s promise to protect Cain from retribution, by providing him with the proverbial: “Cain’s mark”, which would ensure a sevenfold revenge, borders on the extraordinary. The fact that people would wish to kill Cain is only natural and entirely just according to the law codes of the time, Cain did kill his brother in cold blood after all. No protection is provided to a person who kills his or her fellow in cold blood according to Deuteronomy. In fact, it is the closest living relative’s responsibility to kill the murderer. Lemech, Cain’s descendant, brags that if Cain were to be revenged sevenfold for his death, than he, Lemech, who also is guilty of murder should be revenged seventy seven fold in case of his (Lemech’s) untimely demise. Lemech’s pronouncement can be understood as a mockery of Yhwh’s promise to Cain to keep from harm. How can a murderer expect retribution in the case of his death? His death, according to all conventional legal systems is entirely justified. Abel’s blood then continues to scream across the generations, and who shall answer it? Who shall punish the first murderer? ¶The answer that J provides is the flood. Cain’s fratricide marks the antedelluvian (pre-flood) generation as evil and sets the stage for the cataclysmic flood which follows immediately. The answer P provides is evident in Chapter 5, and see the commentary there. 25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son. She called his name: Shet/Granted-one! meaning: Elohim has granted me another seed in place of Hevel, for Qayin killed him. 26 To Shet as well a son was born, he called his name: Enosh/Mortal. At that time they first called out the name of YHVH.[19]Note the use of the qal passive form yulad (was born) in vs. 26, which appears in the post priestly (Bridger) genealogies of Chapter 10, as well as in Gen 22:20-22, and in many other places, P uses the hiphil (vayoled – he fathered, as throughout Genesis 11, or the niphal (hivaled – was born) form, as in Genesis 21:5, of the verb ילד (to give birth).

ששי 5 א זֶ֣ה סֵ֔פֶר‏ תּוֹלְדֹ֖ת אָדָ֑ם בְּי֗וֹם בְּרֹ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אָדָ֔ם בִּדְמ֥וּת אֱלֹהִ֖ים עָשָׂ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃ ב זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בְּרָאָ֑ם וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָ֗ם וַיִּקְרָ֤א אֶת־שְׁמָם֙ אָדָ֔ם בְּי֖וֹם הִבָּֽרְאָֽם׃
5 1 This is the record of the progeny of Adam. At the time of Elohim’s creating Adam, in the likeness of Elohim did he then make it, 2 male and female he created them and gave blessing to them and called their name: “Adam/Earthling!” on the day of their being created.

ג וַֽיְחִ֣י אָדָ֗ם שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים וּמְאַת֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בִּדְמוּת֖וֹ כְּצַלְמ֑וֹ וַיִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שֵֽׁת׃ ד וַיִּֽהְי֣וּ יְמֵי־אָדָ֗ם אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־שֵׁ֔ת שְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵאֹ֖ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ ה וַיִּֽהְי֞וּ כׇּל־יְמֵ֤י אָדָם֙ אֲשֶׁר־חַ֔י תְּשַׁ֤ע מֵאוֹת֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
3 When Adam had lived thirty and a hundred years, he fathered one in his likeness, according to his image, and called his name Shet. 4 Adam’s days after he fathered Shet were eight hundred years, and he fathered (other) sons and daughters. 5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred years and thirty years, then he died.

ו וַֽיְחִי־שֵׁ֕ת חָמֵ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים וּמְאַ֣ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־אֱנֽוֹשׁ׃ ז וַֽיְחִי־שֵׁ֗ת אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־אֱנ֔וֹשׁ שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֔ים וּשְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ ח וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ כׇּל־יְמֵי־שֵׁ֔ת שְׁתֵּ֤ים עֶשְׂרֵה֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּתְשַׁ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
6 When Shet had lived five years and a hundred years, he fathered Enosh, 7 and Shet lived after he fathered Enosh seven years and eight hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 8 And all the days of Shet were twelve years and nine hundred years, then he died.

ט וַֽיְחִ֥י אֱנ֖וֹשׁ תִּשְׁעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־קֵינָֽן׃ י וַֽיְחִ֣י אֱנ֗וֹשׁ אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־קֵינָ֔ן חֲמֵ֤שׁ עֶשְׂרֵה֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ יא וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י אֱנ֔וֹשׁ חָמֵ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֔ים וּתְשַׁ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
9 When Enosh had lived ninety years, he fathered Qenan, 10 and Enosh lived after he fathered Qenan fifteen years and eight hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 11 And all the days of Enosh were five years and nine hundred years, then he died.

יב וַֽיְחִ֥י קֵינָ֖ן שִׁבְעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־מַֽהֲלַלְאֵֽל׃ יג וַיְחִ֣י קֵינָ֗ן אַחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־מַֽהֲלַלְאֵ֔ל אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ יד וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י קֵינָ֔ן עֶ֣שֶׂר שָׁנִ֔ים וּתְשַׁ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
12 When Qenan had lived seventy years, he fathered Mehalalel, 13 and Qenan lived after he fathered Mehalalel forty years and eight hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 14 And all the days of Qenan were ten years and nine hundred years, then he died.

טו וַֽיְחִ֣י מַֽהֲלַלְאֵ֔ל חָמֵ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים וְשִׁשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־יָֽרֶד׃ טז וַֽיְחִ֣י מַֽהֲלַלְאֵ֗ל אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־יֶ֔רֶד שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ יז וַיִּהְיוּ֙ כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י מַהֲלַלְאֵ֔ל חָמֵ֤שׁ וְתִשְׁעִים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
15 When Mehalalel had lived five years and sixty years, he fathered Yered. 16 and Mehalalel lived after he fathered Yered thirty years and eight hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 17 And all the days of Mehalalel were ninety-five years and eight hundred years, then he died.

יח וַֽיְחִי־יֶ֕רֶד שְׁתַּ֧יִם וְשִׁשִּׁ֛ים שָׁנָ֖ה וּמְאַ֣ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־חֲנֽוֹךְ׃ יט וַֽיְחִי־יֶ֗רֶד אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־חֲנ֔וֹךְ שְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ כ וַיִּֽהְיוּ֙ כׇּל־יְמֵי־יֶ֔רֶד שְׁתַּ֤יִם וְשִׁשִּׁים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּתְשַׁ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
18 When Yered had lived sixty-two years and a hundred years, he fathered Ḥanokh, 19 and Yered lived after he fathered Ḥanokh eight hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 20 And all the days of Yered were sixty-two years and nine hundred years, then he died.

כא וַֽיְחִ֣י חֲנ֔וֹךְ חָמֵ֥שׁ וְשִׁשִּׁ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־מְתוּשָֽׁלַח׃ כב וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֨ךְ חֲנ֜וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־מְתוּשֶׁ֔לַח שְׁלֹ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ כג וַיְהִ֖י כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י חֲנ֑וֹךְ חָמֵ֤שׁ וְשִׁשִּׁים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁלֹ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָֽה׃ כד וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנ֖וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃
21 When Ḥanokh had lived sixty-five years, he fathered Metushelaḥ, 22 and Ḥanokh walked in accord with Elohim after he fathered Metushelaḥ three hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 23 And all the days of Ḥanokh were sixty-five years and three hundred years. 24 Now Ḥanokh walked in accord with Elohim, then he was no more, for Elohim had taken him.

שביעי כה וַיְחִ֣י מְתוּשֶׁ֔לַח שֶׁ֧בַע וּשְׁמֹנִ֛ים שָׁנָ֖ה וּמְאַ֣ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד אֶת־לָֽמֶךְ׃ כו וַֽיְחִ֣י מְתוּשֶׁ֗לַח אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־לֶ֔מֶךְ שְׁתַּ֤יִם וּשְׁמוֹנִים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁבַ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ כז וַיִּהְיוּ֙ כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י מְתוּשֶׁ֔לַח תֵּ֤שַׁע וְשִׁשִּׁים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּתְשַׁ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
25 When Metushelaḥ had lived eighty-seven years and a hundred years, he fathered Lemekh, 26 and Metushelaḥ lived after he fathered Lemekh eighty-two years and seven hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 27 And all the days of Metushelaḥ were sixty-nine years and nine hundred years, then he died.

כח וַֽיְחִי־לֶ֕מֶךְ שְׁתַּ֧יִם וּשְׁמֹנִ֛ים שָׁנָ֖ה וּמְאַ֣ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֖וֹלֶד בֵּֽן׃ כט וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֶת־שְׁמ֛וֹ נֹ֖חַ לֵאמֹ֑ר זֶ֞‍֠ה יְנַחֲמֵ֤נוּ מִֽמַּעֲשֵׂ֙נוּ֙ וּמֵעִצְּב֣וֹן יָדֵ֔ינוּ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵֽרְרָ֖הּ יְהֹוָֽה׃ ל וַֽיְחִי־לֶ֗מֶךְ אַֽחֲרֵי֙ הוֹלִיד֣וֹ אֶת־נֹ֔חַ חָמֵ֤שׁ וְתִשְׁעִים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וַחֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵאֹ֖ת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֥וֹלֶד בָּנִ֖ים וּבָנֽוֹת׃ לא וַֽיְהִי֙ כׇּל־יְמֵי־לֶ֔מֶךְ שֶׁ֤בַע וְשִׁבְעִים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּשְׁבַ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּמֹֽת׃
28 When[20]As noted in the general comments (see comment below v.31) the birth notice of Noah differs markedly from the rest of the genealogical list. The god name is different (Yhwh versus Elohim); a reason for Noah’s name is provided as opposed to the rest of the genealogical list; the reason is related to God’s curse of J’s Chapter 3. The original birth notice is thus attributed to the J author. It was then sculpted to fit better with the P genealogical list, thus the P additions in the body of the notice. Lemekh had lived eighty-two years and a hundred years, he fathered a son. 29 He called his name: Noaḥ! saying: Zeh yenaḥamenu/May this-one comfort-our-sorrow from our toil, from the pains of our hands coming from the fertile-ground/Adamah, which YHVH has damned. 30 And Lemekh lived after he fathered Noaḥ ninety-five years and five hundred years, and fathered (other) sons and daughters. 31 And all the days of Lemekh were seventy-seven years and seven hundred years, then he died.[21]We never hear what happens to Cain’s progeny in Chapter 4; after Lemech and his children, the lists ends, and presumably we are meant to think that they died in the flood. Seth, Adam third son (vs. 6) and the genealogy through him, was in my opinion a priestly construct inserted after the birth of Lemech children, in order to prevent the first murderer Cain from being rewarded with the honor of being humanity’s founding father. ¶ J’s list of Cain’s sons in chapter 4 end with a Yahistic “Lemech” (4:18). The Priestly genealogy through Seth ends with a Priestly “Lemech” giving birth to Noah (5:28-29). The etymology of Noah’s name is, however, not Priestly, it is Yahwistic (“the earth, cursed by Yhwh”). Note that the rest of chapter 5 (vss. 1, 24) uses the name “Elohim” (God) whereas this verse uses the name Yhwh. It would seem then that according to the Yahwist after the birth of Lemech (the first’s) other children, he finally produced a son over whom he was able to pronounce, “Here is the one who will comfort us…” (5:29). P incorporated Lemech into his genealogy (which is in fact a reworking of the J genealogy and note that P simply “borrowed” the names from J’s genealogy of chapter 4: Cain vs. Keinan; Hanokh vs. Hanokh; Irad vs. Yered; Mehuyael vs Mahallel; Metushael vs. Methuselah) and thus Noah’s birth notice is cut off from its original Yahwistic context and Cain from his place in biblical “history”. In the J version provided on this website we place this birth notice of chapter 5 as part of the continuous J narrative.

לב וַֽיְהִי־נֹ֕חַ בֶּן־חֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָ֑ה וַיּ֣וֹלֶד נֹ֔חַ אֶת־שֵׁ֖ם אֶת־חָ֥ם וְאֶת־יָֽפֶת׃
32 When Noaḥ was five hundred years old, Noaḥ fathered Shem, Ḥam, and Yefet.

6 א וַֽיְהִי֙ כִּֽי־הֵחֵ֣ל הָֽאָדָ֔ם לָרֹ֖ב עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה וּבָנ֖וֹת יֻלְּד֥וּ לָהֶֽם׃ ב וַיִּרְא֤וּ בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֥י טֹבֹ֖ת הֵ֑נָּה וַיִּקְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ נָשִׁ֔ים מִכֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּחָֽרוּ׃ ג וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֗ה לֹֽא־יָד֨וֹן רוּחִ֤י בָֽאָדָם֙ לְעֹלָ֔ם בְּשַׁגַּ֖ם ה֣וּא בָשָׂ֑ר וְהָי֣וּ יָמָ֔יו מֵאָ֥ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֖ים שָׁנָֽה׃ ד הַנְּפִלִ֞ים הָי֣וּ בָאָ֘רֶץ֮ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵם֒ וְגַ֣ם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָבֹ֜אוּ בְּנֵ֤י הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם וְיָלְד֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם הֵ֧מָּה הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מֵעוֹלָ֖ם אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַשֵּֽׁם׃
6 1 Now it was when the Earthling first became many on the face of the fertile-ground and women were born to them, 2 that the B’nei Elohim/divine beings saw how beautiful the Earthling women were, so they took themselves wives, whomever they chose. 3 YHVH said: “My rushing-spirit shall not remain in the Earthling for ages, for they too are flesh; let their days be then a hundred and twenty years!” 4 The giants were on earth in those days, and afterward as well, when the Nephilim came in to the Earthling women and they bore them (children) – they were the heroes who were of former ages, the men of name.[22]6:1-4 adds the myth of the fallen angels to the tamer account of the fall of humanity. The addition of racy mythic elements to the book of Genesis is attributed in this commentary to the Bridging source, a post priestly redactor, who bridges between tradition cycles and adds his own mythic flavour to the narratives.
This section is clearly removed from the rest of the chapter. Why would we talk of the lifespan of human beings when they are about to be completely destroyed? Moreover, this limited lifespan does not accord with the Noah’s lifespan of 600 years in the subsequent chapter, nor with the lifespan of his children in Chapter 11. The fallen angel myth is contrary to the very monotheistic tenor of the Genesis narratives in both J and P and the decided lack of an angel hierarchy and demigod figures in these sources.

מפטיר ה וַיַּ֣רְא יְהֹוָ֔ה כִּ֥י רַבָּ֛ה רָעַ֥ת הָאָדָ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וְכׇל־יֵ֙צֶר֙ מַחְשְׁבֹ֣ת לִבּ֔וֹ רַ֥ק רַ֖ע כׇּל־הַיּֽוֹם׃ ו וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם יְהֹוָ֔ה כִּֽי־עָשָׂ֥ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּ֖ב אֶל־לִבּֽוֹ׃ ז וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֗ה אֶמְחֶ֨ה אֶת־הָאָדָ֤ם אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֙אתִי֙ מֵעַל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה מֵֽאָדָם֙ עַד־בְּהֵמָ֔ה עַד־רֶ֖מֶשׂ וְעַד־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם כִּ֥י נִחַ֖מְתִּי כִּ֥י עֲשִׂיתִֽם׃ ח וְנֹ֕חַ מָ֥צָא חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃
5 Now YHVH saw that great was the Earthling’s evildoing on earth and every form of their heart’s planning was only evil all the day. 6 Then YHVH was sorry that he had made the Earthling on earth, and it pained his heart. 7 YHVH said: “I will blot out the Earthling, whom I have created, from the face of the fertile-ground, from human to herd-animal, to crawling thing and to the birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I made them.” 8 But Noaḥ found favor in the eyes of YHVH.[23]The J section ends in vs. 8 with a statement of Noah finding favor in Yhwh’s eyes, Noah is previously mentioned in J’s birth notice appropriated into the P genealogy of Chapter 5. Vs. 9 launches into Noah’s genealogy beginning with אלה תולדות – “these are the generations” formula, repeating the final verses of chapter 5, a fitting segue to vs. 8. The fracture between J and P is, however, quite apparent. Noah is righteous in vs. 9, while J explicitly mentions that all of humanity is evil (vss. 5-7), even Noah, who perhaps finds favor in Yhwh’s eyes is not exempt from this moral pronouncement. Noah’s drunkenness in Chapter 9 certainly doesn’t reflect well on him. The deity’s name switches abruptly from “the Lord” vs. 8 to “God” in vs. 9. The following verses 9-22 command Noah to build the ark, and provide him with very ordered and detailed instructions, as opposed to the sketchy details in the J version at the beginning of Chapter 7. This is reminiscent of the ordered and detailed Priestly creation account as opposed to the story-like account of J’s creation narrative.

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, but I have made other changes. In place of Fox’s “humanity” and “the human” for the translation for “ha-Adam,” I have chosen “the Earthling.” In place of “begetting” for toldot, I have chosen “progeny.” And in place of “soil” (for Adamah), I have chosen “fertile-ground” in almost every instance, as well as emphasizing the feminine gender of Adamah, which seems to me important for this mythopoetic narrative. (Later in the Pentateuch, I use “fertile-earth” for adamah.) By replacing “snake” with a transliteration of its Hebrew naḥash, I mean to draw attention to the word’s cognate in Sanskrit, naga (नाग), a serpent-like being whose echo in Indian mythology seems strongly related. In place of “Ocean” for Tehom, I use “Abyss” and in place of “wild and waste” for “tohu v’bohu, I use ‘chaos and inchoate.’ Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Elohim [=God] is used by this source almost exclusively until Exodus 6:2. Note also the use of the root ב.ר.א (Gen 1:1, 21) as opposed to י.צ.ר in the subsequent chapter (Gen 2:7, 8) – attributed to J; both mean “to create”. The root י.צ.ר, however is usually associated with material creation (commonly clay), whereas ב.ר.א is further removed. This distinction is indicative of the foci of Chapters 1 and 2. In Chapter 1 the deity is removed, whereas in Chapter 2 the deity is more present. The use of multiple verbs to emphasize fruitfulness appears in God’s blessing to human beings and animals (vss. 22, 28) both here and after the flood (9:1); the same words (and others) are used to describe the Israelites’ fruitfulness in Exodus 1:7.
  2. God creates light and not darkness (vs. 3), often taken to mean that God creates good and not evil. This dualistic theology is seen in other places in the P source, most prominently in Leviticus 15 where Yhwh (the Lord) and Azazel (a demon) are accorded some measure of equality.
  3. Note the ordered creation narrative; an eye for organization marks the Priestly source as is seen in the many genealogies, itineraries, and lists written by P.
  4. God’s creation of the sea monsters (vs. 21) is oft seen as a monotheistic reconceptualization of Baal and Anat’s defeat of the Sea God and his monsters. Here it is taken one step further emphasizing God’s complete control over these mythical creatures. Other allusions to Ancient Near Eastern myths include “the deep” (Hebrew – תהום), perhaps a backhanded reference to Tiamat – the Goddess which Marduk defeated in order to become King of the Gods in Babylonian myth.
  5. This chapter is one of two parallel creation accounts – the second of which appears in Genesis 2 and is attributed to J. The question of relationship between J and P is oft discussed in scholarship, one school claiming that P is supplementary to J (i.e. was dependent upon J composing or sculpting his narratives as additions to the J narrative), the second school claiming that P was composed independently and was combined with J by a later redactor. The position adopted in this commentary will be the former; I think that the process of narrative composition in the Pentateuch and former prophets was almost exclusively supplementary. For a popular documentary commentary on the Pentateuch (the latter position) see Friedman’s color coded Bible. My book-series Kernel to Canon and this website present the documentary hypothesis for comparative purposes, but without commentary.
  6. A six day creation and God’s rest on the seventh day is the reason given for the most important and most repeated priestly commandment, namely the Sabbath (e.g. Ex 20:11).
  7. There are two ways in which the אלה תולדות (= “these are the generations”) formula can be viewed; as a closing statement summarizing the seven days of creation or as an opening statement introducing the narrative beginning in 2:4b. Taking into account the other ten occurrences of this formula in which it always functions as an introduction, it seems a lot likelier that אלה תולדות is an opening statement. The formula occurs exclusively in P texts, and thus if it is to be attributed to P here it would seem to indicate that P knew of J’s narrative in Chapter 2. The other option is that of a third author combining the two narratives (Chapters 1 and 2), but that seems a lot less likely considering the prevalence of the formula in Priestly texts. Note also the appearance of the root ברא following this formula, which appears in P’s Chapter 1 as opposed to the roots יצר and עשה which appear in Chapter 2. ¶The grammatical structure of vs. 4b ביום עשות ה’ אלהים ארץ ושמים “(“In the day that the Lord God made earth and Heavens”) is parallel to the grammatical structure of Gen 1:1, בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ (often mistranslated as “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, no the is apparent in the vocalized Hebrew) – both are temporal clauses dependent upon the subsequent verses, thus both may be paraphrased as “When God created heaven and earth, the earth was….”
  8. The distinction between ברא (to create ) in Chapter 1 and יצר (to create) in Chapter 2 was noted in Chapter 1. Another creationary verb used in this chapter is עשה (eg. vs. 4b), literally to make. Note also the use of Yhwh Elohim (= Lord God), which is most often seen as a theological statement, i.e. Yhwh, the private Israelite God equals Elohim the universal God. The root to know (ידע) also plays an important role in this chapter (vs. 9) and in Chapters 3 and 4, it means to know sexually, as well as to distinguish; sexual knowledge using the verb ידע is common in J. The אלה תולות (These are the generations) formula appears in vs. 4a. The formula is universally attributed to P, it appears some 10 other times in Genesis as an opening statement preceding genealogies or genealogical statements (e.g. Gen 5:1).
  9. The word אדם (man, human) is the name given to the first man both in Chapters 1 and 2. In my opinion this is indicative of some relationship of dependence between them. Note the order of creation: in Chapter 2, man is the first creation, whereas in Chapter 1 man is the final creation, both are positions of importance.
  10. Note that no Garden of Eden is mentioned in P’s creation account in Chapter 1; this could be a sign of the later author’s discomfort with J’s narrative of humanity’s fall from grace. Note also that in Chapter 1 (P) the material from which God created human beings and animals is not mentioned, whereas in Chapter 2 (J) it is dust or earth. This may be an attempt to distance God from material creation of Chapter 2 (J), which is a human act.
  11. I often like to refer to J’s God as a typical Near-Eastern God, except that the playing field has been narrowed to one. As so brilliantly illustrated in Miles, God: A Biography: J’s Yhwh is a non-omnipotent non-omniscient character who “suffers” from the full range of human emotions, the most prominent in the first part of Genesis is insecurity, as seen from the expulsion in Chapter 4 and the Tower of Babel narrative. The trees that threaten Yhwh domination are within the garden, yet as opposed to the rest of the trees there is no indication that He planted them – in other words they are beyond his power. Thus the seeds to Adam’s downfall and or the overthrow of Yhwh are within arms reach.
  12. Note the narrative style and characterization of this chapter (beginning with 4b), as opposed to the list-like style of Chapter 1.
  13. Plays on words are quite common in this chapter (3) and throughout the J composition often adding a measure of double entendre. Thus ערום – crafty, in 3:1 denotes both craftiness and nakedness, and indeed the snake is the most naked of creatures as it sheds its skin. Note also that the name חוה = Eve means “snake” in Biblical Hebrew. This is clearly a literary statement: just as the snake was snaky towards Eve, so too Eve was snaky towards Adam.
  14. The Lord promises that on the day Adam eats from the forbidden fruit he will die. This promise, however, is not kept. The Lord spares Adam, as he spares Noah and each one of the Patriarchs even when they sin grievously. This theme was noted by the Rabbinic sages and is referred to as the Attribute of Mercy associated with the divine name Yhwh. There is also a correlation between the attribute of Judgment and the name Elohim according to the same sages.
  15. The Septuagint (the Ancient Greek translation) upon which the English is based, “adds” the content of Cain’s interaction with his brother Abel which does not exist in the Hebrew (Masoretic text). The question of whether the fuller Septuagint version reflects the genuine version or the Hebrew (Masoretic text) does is debated among scholars.
  16. The short genealogical style of vs. 18 (J) is markedly different from the organized list of Chapter 5 (P), which details the number of years each person lived and when they bore children.
  17. Note the switch of divine names from Yhwh (the Lord) to Elohim (God) in the final verses of Chapter 4, and then back again. Vs. 26 explains the switch from Elohim to Yhwh as one of human initiative. This theological program is likely a secondary explanation of the switch that indeed occurs after Chapter 3 in the text. The familiarity of this source with both the narrative of Chapter 4 (the death of Abel) and the genealogical list of Chapter 5 (the birth of Seth), may also indicate a later date of composition. In this commentary it is attributed to B, the bridging source.
  18. In Genesis 4, part of the Yahwistic composition, Cain kills his brother Abel in cold blood. The reader expects some sort of retribution, and prima facie, it seems that Cain is indeed punished: Yhwh pronounces that “the earth will not give you of her strength” (4:11) and that Cain shall be forced to wander in order to scratch out his sustenance. If the punishment is examined more closely however, one finds that it is in fact only an echo of the harshly worded curse God pronounces upon Adam. The mild language used in the description of Cain’s sentence is in marked contrast with the graphic description of Cain culpability: “The blood of your brother screams to me from the earth.” (4:10) Furthermore, it would seem that Cain’s punishment of exile is never really carried out, he is described as “settling” in the land of Nod (4:16) – an obvious wordplay on the content of the punishment (na’ vanad) thus making subtle mockery of it – and he builds the first city (4:17), both marked signs of sedentary lifestyle. Even if Cain was exiled it is clear that in the Pentateuchal law codes the punishment does not fit the crime. Exile is enumerated as a possible punishment for murder in the Pentateuchal law codes, but only in cases when the murder is accidental. ¶This, however, is not the most mystifying element of the account. Yhwh’s promise to protect Cain from retribution, by providing him with the proverbial: “Cain’s mark”, which would ensure a sevenfold revenge, borders on the extraordinary. The fact that people would wish to kill Cain is only natural and entirely just according to the law codes of the time, Cain did kill his brother in cold blood after all. No protection is provided to a person who kills his or her fellow in cold blood according to Deuteronomy. In fact, it is the closest living relative’s responsibility to kill the murderer. Lemech, Cain’s descendant, brags that if Cain were to be revenged sevenfold for his death, than he, Lemech, who also is guilty of murder should be revenged seventy seven fold in case of his (Lemech’s) untimely demise. Lemech’s pronouncement can be understood as a mockery of Yhwh’s promise to Cain to keep from harm. How can a murderer expect retribution in the case of his death? His death, according to all conventional legal systems is entirely justified. Abel’s blood then continues to scream across the generations, and who shall answer it? Who shall punish the first murderer? ¶The answer that J provides is the flood. Cain’s fratricide marks the antedelluvian (pre-flood) generation as evil and sets the stage for the cataclysmic flood which follows immediately. The answer P provides is evident in Chapter 5, and see the commentary there.
  19. Note the use of the qal passive form yulad (was born) in vs. 26, which appears in the post priestly (Bridger) genealogies of Chapter 10, as well as in Gen 22:20-22, and in many other places, P uses the hiphil (vayoled – he fathered, as throughout Genesis 11, or the niphal (hivaled – was born) form, as in Genesis 21:5, of the verb ילד (to give birth).
  20. As noted in the general comments (see comment below v.31) the birth notice of Noah differs markedly from the rest of the genealogical list. The god name is different (Yhwh versus Elohim); a reason for Noah’s name is provided as opposed to the rest of the genealogical list; the reason is related to God’s curse of J’s Chapter 3. The original birth notice is thus attributed to the J author. It was then sculpted to fit better with the P genealogical list, thus the P additions in the body of the notice.
  21. We never hear what happens to Cain’s progeny in Chapter 4; after Lemech and his children, the lists ends, and presumably we are meant to think that they died in the flood. Seth, Adam third son (vs. 6) and the genealogy through him, was in my opinion a priestly construct inserted after the birth of Lemech children, in order to prevent the first murderer Cain from being rewarded with the honor of being humanity’s founding father. ¶ J’s list of Cain’s sons in chapter 4 end with a Yahistic “Lemech” (4:18). The Priestly genealogy through Seth ends with a Priestly “Lemech” giving birth to Noah (5:28-29). The etymology of Noah’s name is, however, not Priestly, it is Yahwistic (“the earth, cursed by Yhwh”). Note that the rest of chapter 5 (vss. 1, 24) uses the name “Elohim” (God) whereas this verse uses the name Yhwh. It would seem then that according to the Yahwist after the birth of Lemech (the first’s) other children, he finally produced a son over whom he was able to pronounce, “Here is the one who will comfort us…” (5:29). P incorporated Lemech into his genealogy (which is in fact a reworking of the J genealogy and note that P simply “borrowed” the names from J’s genealogy of chapter 4: Cain vs. Keinan; Hanokh vs. Hanokh; Irad vs. Yered; Mehuyael vs Mahallel; Metushael vs. Methuselah) and thus Noah’s birth notice is cut off from its original Yahwistic context and Cain from his place in biblical “history”. In the J version provided on this website we place this birth notice of chapter 5 as part of the continuous J narrative.
  22. 6:1-4 adds the myth of the fallen angels to the tamer account of the fall of humanity. The addition of racy mythic elements to the book of Genesis is attributed in this commentary to the Bridging source, a post priestly redactor, who bridges between tradition cycles and adds his own mythic flavour to the narratives.
This section is clearly removed from the rest of the chapter. Why would we talk of the lifespan of human beings when they are about to be completely destroyed? Moreover, this limited lifespan does not accord with the Noah’s lifespan of 600 years in the subsequent chapter, nor with the lifespan of his children in Chapter 11. The fallen angel myth is contrary to the very monotheistic tenor of the Genesis narratives in both J and P and the decided lack of an angel hierarchy and demigod figures in these sources.
  23. The J section ends in vs. 8 with a statement of Noah finding favor in Yhwh’s eyes, Noah is previously mentioned in J’s birth notice appropriated into the P genealogy of Chapter 5. Vs. 9 launches into Noah’s genealogy beginning with אלה תולדות – “these are the generations” formula, repeating the final verses of chapter 5, a fitting segue to vs. 8. The fracture between J and P is, however, quite apparent. Noah is righteous in vs. 9, while J explicitly mentions that all of humanity is evil (vss. 5-7), even Noah, who perhaps finds favor in Yhwh’s eyes is not exempt from this moral pronouncement. Noah’s drunkenness in Chapter 9 certainly doesn’t reflect well on him. The deity’s name switches abruptly from “the Lord” vs. 8 to “God” in vs. 9. The following verses 9-22 command Noah to build the ark, and provide him with very ordered and detailed instructions, as opposed to the sketchy details in the J version at the beginning of Chapter 7. This is reminiscent of the ordered and detailed Priestly creation account as opposed to the story-like account of J’s creation narrative.

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