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Was the Name of God Profaned in the Days of Seth?

Seth appears a total of seven times in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (NKJV). We get a brief glimpse of his life by stringing together all of the passages[i] that speak of him.

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth […], and as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD, (Genesis 4:25-26).

 

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died. (Genesis 5:3-4, 6-8).

 

Here 130 years after creation, Adam has a son named Seth; then 105 years after that Seth had a son named Enosh. Thus we learn that a total of 235 years after creation men began to call upon the name of the Lord. The Hebrew term for Lord is YHWH which is the personal name of God. God told Moses: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai], but by My name LORD [YHWH יְהוָה] I was not known to them,” (Exodus 6:3). Thus to think that this was the first time that humans began to worship the Lord is unfounded. Rather we simply read that they began to use his personal name at that point for some purpose. While it appears to have begun with a son of Seth, we should not infer that it was limited to that line. After all, the Hebrew text very literally says az hukhal likro beshem YHWH] “then was begun (the) calling by (with, in) the name YHWH” (translation mine). The term hukhal (הוּחַל) is the passive (hophal) of begin. The subject of the verb hukhal is “calling” (likro’ לִקְרֹא). The word “men” does not even appear in the text. Thus we see that apparently, up until that point, men were not invoking God by His proper name. It could be that they didn’t know it, though we cannot be sure. Nevertheless this reading of the verse does not in any way substantiate the notion that Seth’s sons were the sons of God. Another reading is possible which may clarify the passage.

 

A Possible Translation

Conversely, the verb hukhal (הוּחַל) comes from the root (חלל) the basic meaning is “to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin” according to Brown Driver Briggs’[ii] Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible. Thus, the alternative reading would be “then calling by the name of YHWH was profaned”. This alternative reading actually finds endorsement by the ancient Aramaic Targumim. Targum Onkelos interprets the passage as:

 

And to Sheth also was born a son, and he called his name Enosh. Then in his days the sons of men desisted [חָלוּ] (or forbore) from praying in the name of the Lord, (Genesis 4:26, Targum Onkelos, emphasis mine).

 

Targum Jonathan is similar though it amplifies that reading even more:

 

And to Sheth also was born a son, and he called his name Enosh. That was the generation in whose days they began to err [למטעי], and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord, (Genesis 4:26, Targum Jonathan, emphasis mine).

 

While neither “began” nor “profane” supports the sons of Seth theory, the latter would seem to make more sense in light of the entire story of the Bible. The divine name seems to have been known from the very beginning of creation. Adam was familiar with it because he heard the voice of the LORD (YHWH) God in the garden after he had sinned. Calling by the name of the Lord was until that time respected and honored but it was in the days of Enosh when calling by the name of the Lord was defiled. God then destroyed the world because of the continual wickedness. Noah retains knowledge of the name and then apparently at the tower of Babel the name is forgotten or lost. God chooses not to reveal His name again until Moses has the encounter at the burning bush.

The Sons of Seth Were Not Sons of God

Regardless of which reading we take, there is simply no evidence whatsoever to support the concept that Genesis 4:26 can be used to interpret the sons of God as the sons of Seth. There is no indication that Seth’s sons were somehow more godly than the rest of humanity. Furthermore, it must not be missed that Adam lived another 800 years after begetting Seth and that he had sons and daughters. Likewise “Seth lived eight hundred and seven years and had sons and daughters,” (Genesis 5:7). All of the sons and daughters of Seth as well as the sons and daughters of Cain were in fact sons (and daughters) of Adam. Technically speaking every human ever born on this planet is a son or daughter of Adam; the Hebrew language uses the term to mean “human”. Thus the text is driving home the point that there are two dissimilar groups: the daughters of Adam on the one hand and the sons of God on the other. To suggest that the daughters of men were actually the daughters of Cain is fanciful. Rather, the daughters of Adam are contrasted with the sons of God: the daughters of men were human and the sons of God were not.

Furthermore, we can in no way infer that all of these sons and daughters remained so godly that they would be distinguished from the sons of Cain. After all, only eight people were saved out of the entire world. These sons of Seth must not have been so godly after all. Simply put, the sons of God do not refer to the lineage of Seth, but to direct creations of God, which before the redeeming work of Christ was limited to Adam himself and to angels. Therefore, the sons of God in Genesis six refers to fallen angels who had relations with human women.

 

 



[i] The two other (out of seven) passages that speak of Seth merely mention his name: “Adam, Seth, Enosh,” (1Chr 1:1);”The son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God,” (Luke 3:38).

[ii] Brown Driver Briggs (BDB) Hebrew English Lexicon provides the following definition. The most common definition is “1. to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin”. BDB then goes on to give the various forms of how the root is used in each of the binyanim (verbal paradigms). In the a. (Niphal) it means to: 1. to profane oneself, defile oneself, pollute oneself; b. ritually; c. sexually; 1. to be polluted, be defiled; d. (Piel): 1. to profane, make common, defile, pollute; 2. to violate the honour of, dishonour; 3. to violate (a covenant); 4. to treat as common; e. (Pual) to profane (name of God); f. (Hiphil): 1. to let be profaned; 2. to begin; g. (Hophal) to be begun (emphasis mine). The Hophal is simply the passive of the Hiphil – therefore, if the Hiphil occasionally means to let be profaned then the one occurrence of the Hophal might also be translated as profaned rather than begin.

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9 comments

  1. There was a place in one of your video’s where you spoke of a father worrying abut his wife, that he thought she had conceived a child with a watcher. Where is that referenced from?

  2. Hi Douglas. Do you see a possible connection between the Hebrew word “חלל” and the Arabic “Halaal?” It seems very similar. The same goes for “Hamas” and the Hebrew “chamas,” which means violence.

  3. Hermano Douglas, el rabino Daniel ben Izjak hizo una traduccion de la Torá al español. Esta traduccion la puede encontrar en el siguiente enlace:

    http://losnazarenos.jimdo.com/s-word/

    En un cuadro pequeño dice: Torá 1999 de Daniel ben Itzjak, y el modulo para eSword lo puede descargar (download) gratuitamente.

    Este rabino, tradujo al español Genesis 4:26

    «Y a Shet también le nació un hijo, y lo llamó Enosh. ENTONCES EL LLAMAR EN NOMBRE DEL ETERNO SE HIZO ALGO PROFANO

    (Génesis 4:26; Tora 1999)

    Hermano Douglas, podria Ud averiguar si hay este modulo para theWord???

  4. My comment will be slightly off subject, but I would like to play the devil’s advocate (no pun intended), if I may.

    First of all, there is no verse in the bible that says Adam (the husband of Eve) was created. The words “create” or “created” are not ever used in connection with that specific person, who is first mentioned in chapter 2 of Genesis. The word “formed” is used throughout that chapter and every other association with the person Adam (see Genesis 2:7, as well as 1 Timothy 2:13). But Genesis 2:7 is not repeating anything in chapter 1, just as nothing else in chapter 2 is repeated from the previous chapter. Chapters 1 and 2 describe separate events.

    If you compare the two chapters, you will see a distinct difference in the order of events. You will also see that man is ‘created’ as male and female (simultaneously) on the Sixth Day in chapter 1. Adam, the person, is ‘formed’ in chapter 2, and his wife comes later… possibly days or weeks after. What this means is that Adam (the person) was made after the Creation Week ended. This means that there were other humans on the planet by the time he showed up. However, he was special in that he was made by the hand of God and given a soul, then placed in the garden by himself. In other words, he was singled out from all the other humans and given special treatment. He was possibly the only one with a soul, as well.

    This explains a few things…

    Everyone (particularly atheists) question where Cain’s wife came from. The simple answer is she was among the humans that were alive outside the garden, along with all the other humans who lived in the land of Nod. You know… the ones who populated Cain’s city later on.

    It also addresses the issue that Cain was terrified that he would be slain by anyone who found him after he was banished by God. Obviously there were other people around, and the reason God put a mark on him for protection.

    It also sheds light on the comment that Noah was perfect in his generations. That is, he was a direct descendent of Adam, and not from some pre-Adamic human. Altho I admit it could also refer to not having any nephilim genetics in his lineage. However, didn’t the nephilim show up after Noah was born? So that couldn’t be a factor for him.

    So, your comment that all humans are descendants of Adam would only be true for those after the flood. Prior to that, the majority of humans most likely were not sons or daughters of Adam. Since Adam was the ‘chosen one’ and singled out by God (just as Moses was later), it makes it a little easier to understand why God decided to kill all humans in the flood except for Noah’s (perfect) family. It was no different than when God told Moses He was going to kill all the Israelites and make a new nation from his offspring. That was only averted by the bargaining of Moses.

    Something else to consider… if the events of chapter 2 occur at a later time than the Creation Week, our calculation of how old the earth is would be way off. The biblical calculation begins when Adam is formed. Well, what if he was formed centuries after the Creation Week? That would allow for certain geological or evolutionary ‘inconsistencies’, if such things exist.

    Genesis 5:1-2 seem to be the only confusing verses.

    “This is the book of the generations of Adam [presumed to be the individual]. In the day that God created man [the race, not person], in the likeness of God made he him;

    Male and female created he them [the race]; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

    Because of these two verses, I believe that Adam, the person, was formed by God within 1000 years (the day) that mankind was first created. Therefore, the earth could be 1000 years older than Adam and Eve and not contradict scripture.

    I realize this is not at all what churches will tell you. But then, we know much of what is said in churches these days is not scripturally supported. However, I believe this theory is worthy of consideration.

    • Very insightful. Thank you very much.

    • What would you make of Genesis 3:20 then? “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”

      • I’ll admit that I’m not entirely sure, and I have thought about it in the past. My thinking is that it depends on the definition of “living”. It might imply a higher sense of life or intelligence. Kinda like if you compare ‘existing’ and ‘being alive’. Existing is the lowest state of life. Being alive means having purpose (at least by my understanding).

        So, perhaps that verse originally meant that Eve was the first matriarch of all the ‘higher conscious’ humans. The ones formed directly by God and set apart with a different purpose.

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