When trying to understand the meaning of "the cry of Abel's blood," as recorded in Genesis 4:10,I found this interesting article which reads,

In our lesson, taken from here , we look into an interesting Midrash regarding the word “Blood” in Genesis 4:10. וַיּאמֶר מֶה עָשִׂיתָ קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָה׃
Then He said, "What have you done? Hark, your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground! In the Hebrew, the word blood is in plural form (bloods), whereas translations use the singular form “blood”.

I was not aware that blood is translated from "bloods," in the Hebrew, and if i omit "blood," and insert "bloods," into the text in Genesis 4:10, it would appear to change the meaning of the text as follows,

Genesis 4:10 (NIV)

10 The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s bloods cries out to me from the ground.

The text would now appear to be saying,

All the brothers bloods cries out.Which could point to Luke 11:50-51 . This quote helps to explain my reasoning,

Killing and human violence, however, do not stop in the biblical story, nor have they stopped in the contemporary world. Jewish and Christian interpreters across the centuries have seen in the Cain and Abel story a precursor to future murders of innocents up to the present day. For them, the plural of bloods in Gen 4:10-11 and the present tense of the verb, is crying out, in Gen 4:10 point to the blood of later generations still crying out to God in a desperate plea for a reckoning.Taken from here.

Why is "bloods," translated singular as blood, in Genesis 4:10 ?

  • This isn't really an answer to the question, but I am not sure you translation "All the brothers bloods cries out." can stand, אָחִ֔ (brother) is singular - this text literally reads 'your brother's (singular) bloods (plural)' therefore the bloods all belong to Abel. – Jonathan Chell Mar 13 '15 at 16:15
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    See Gesenius §124. The Various Uses of the Plural form. (124n there deals with this particular word.) – Susan Mar 13 '15 at 17:09
  • @Jonathan Chell-I understand your comment Re: 'your brother's (singular) bloods (plural). Worth thinking about is, Abel spoke through the sacrifice and in the same way (prophecy),he speaks through "the blood," only blood is plural, so in "prophecy," Abel is speaking "through the bloods." – Bagpipes Mar 13 '15 at 19:03
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    As Susan noted. Such Semiticisms were common, even being carried over into Greek (cp. αἱμάτων in John 1:13). – user862 Mar 14 '15 at 7:27
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    It is worth noting that the Jewish understanding is that "bloods" is referring to Cain and his descendants, as explained in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5. This is the origin of the famous phrase in the Talmud that is also found in the Quran, "Whoever destroys a life, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." – Alex Strasser Dec 14 '19 at 20:19

Taken from here:

Finally, the distinction between דָּם‎ blood and דָּמִים‎ requires to be specially noticed. The singular is always used when the blood is regarded as an organic unity, hence also of menstrual blood, and the blood of sacrifices (collected in the basin and then sprinkled), and in Nu 2324 of the blood gushing from wounds. On the other hand, דָּמִים‎ as a sort of plural of the result and at the same time of local extension, denotes blood which is shed, when it appears as blood-stains (Is 115) or as blood-marks (so evidently in Is 94). But since blood-stains or blood-marks, as a rule, suggest blood shed in murder (although דָּמִים‎ also denotes the blood which flows at child-birth or in circumcision), דָּמִים‎ acquired (even in very early passages) simply the sense of a bloody deed, and especially of bloodguiltiness, Ex 221 f., &c.

I am not a Hebrew scholar, but from the source(Gesenius 124) it is apparent that "bloodshed", which was the case with Abel, is given a plural form due to the action of the blood flowing from the wound inflicted, rather than 1 singular event. Therefore, your point is well taken; Abel's blood, being plural, speaks to a continuous sacrifice. The author of Hebrews quotes,(Heb. 12:24)

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

What is apparent is that Abel's blood, either from the sacrifice he made or the fact that he in effect became a sacrifice, is supeceded by the continuous sense blood-shedding of Christ.

  • Hebrews 12:24 is certainly relevant for understanding of my question. – Bagpipes Mar 14 '15 at 11:55

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