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NET Version: "I have created a man just as the LORD did!" (Genesis 4:1)

Most other translations have her giving credit to the Lord, whereas this one has her pretending to be a Godess.

While this translation at first surprised me, it seems consistent in it's own way to Eve's original desire to be a God, whereas the other versions seem to have her hoping in God.

The variation seems diametrically opposed to the traditional thought "The Lord has helped me"

Is there a biblical or translational reason to think this might be accurate?

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When considering the NET translation one should always consider the footnotes.

4 tn Here is another sound play (paronomasia) on a name. The sound of the verb קָנִיתִי (qaniti, “I have created”) reflects the sound of the name Cain in Hebrew (קַיִן, qayin) and gives meaning to it. The saying uses the Qal perfect of קָנָה (qanah). There are two homonymic verbs with this spelling, one meaning “obtain, acquire” and the other meaning “create” (see Gen 14:19, 22; Deut 32:6; Ps 139:13; Prov 8:22). The latter fits this context very well. Eve has created a man.

Notice that the footnote states there are two verbs with this same spelling one that means "obtain, acquire" and another that means "create" the NET choice of "create" is based upon the value judgement of the translators that it fits best however two points should be noted against that assumption.

(1) The more common meaning of the verb is obtain, as “acquired” (NJB), “gotten” (AV, NASB), or “gained” (NJPS) this accounts for around 220 uses of the the word out of 226.

(2) In The infrequent occasions this verb is used in the sense of create (as “brought forth” (NIV, REB) or “produced” (NAB, NRSV)) God is invariably its subject (Cf. Gen 14:19, 22; Deut 32:6; Ps 139:13; Prov 8:22; also perhaps Exod 15:16; Ps 78:54.), but here we have the woman, Eve, as the subject.

Then there is also the LXX rendering to be considered as well.

Genesis 4:1 Αδαμ δὲ ἔγνω Ευαν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ συλλαβοῦσα ἔτεκεν τὸν Καιν καὶ εἶπεν ἐκτησάμην ἄνθρωπον διὰ τοῦ θεοῦ

The lexicons seems to unite in their agreement that κτάομαι means to obtain, acquire or get, for example:

[GING] κτάομαι procure for oneself, acquire, get Mt 10:9; Lk 18:12; 21:19; Ac 1:18; 8:20; 22:28; 1 Th 4:4.* [pg 114]

[Fri] κτάομαι fut. κτήσομαι; 1aor. ἐκτησάμην; (1) as procuring something for oneself get, obtain, acquire (AC 1.18); (2) idiomatically; (a) σκεῦος κτᾶσθαι literally possess a container, i.e. control one's sexual life, derivative, derivation, derived from regarding σκεῦος (container) either as one's body or one's wife (1TH 4.4); (b) κτᾶσθαι τὴν ψυχήν literally acquire one's soul, i.e. save oneself, protect one's life (LU 21.19) ἐκτησάμην VIAD--1S κτάομαι

It seems to me that the NET needs to do more to make its case than simply assert "The latter fits this context very well."

The other significant footnote is:

5 tn Heb “with the Lord.” The particle אֶת־ (’et) is not the accusative/object sign, but the preposition “with” as the ancient versions attest. Some take the preposition in the sense of “with the help of” (see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת; cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV), while others prefer “along with” in the sense of “like, equally with, in common with” (see Lev 26:39; Isa 45:9; Jer 23:28). Either works well in this context; the latter is reflected in the present translation. Some understand אֶת־ as the accusative/object sign and translate, “I have acquired a man – the Lord.” They suggest that the woman thought (mistakenly) that she had given birth to the incarnate Lord, the Messiah who would bruise the Serpent’s head. This fanciful suggestion is based on a questionable allegorical interpretation of Gen 3:15 (see the note there on the word “heel”).

Ignoring the last part of the footnote that is irrelevant to the discussion at hand the translator acknowledges that either the meaning of "with the help of" or "just as the Lord did" is possible. It seems to this writer however that the NET chooses its preferred option based upon its translation of created rather than acquired. If one chooses to go with acquired as there is strong evidence to do then "with the help of" seems like the most probably translation.

In conclusion I quote the NAC commentary:

Rather, her exclamation acknowledges that this achievement came only by the assistance of the Lord. This first birth recorded in the Bible is consonant with all of remaining Scripture, which invariably attributes conception and life to the unique work of God and as evidence of his blessing (e.g., Pss 127:3–5; 139:13). From the outset of God’s plan for the human family, procreation is the divine-human means whereby the man and woman might achieve the dominion that God has envisioned for them (1:28). This motif of children (“seed”) dominates Genesis and was critical to later Israel’s understanding of its own destiny as it interpreted the life of the patriarchs (e.g., 12:7).

Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26 (Vol. 1A, p. 265). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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  • +1 What would I know ? :-) - but I do love the line of argument. – Russell McMahon Jun 23 '15 at 14:46
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    ἐκτησάμην - Change the first eta to a iota, and tell me what you get. – Lucian Aug 23 '17 at 9:51
  • @Lucian I thought the same thing... – למה זה תשאל לשמי Aug 27 '17 at 10:24
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Arguably, the NET version is correct: Eve compares herself as creator to God.

Leon R. Kass says, in The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, on page 126,

...[T]he conventional translation of qanithi ʾish ʾeth ʾAdonai, "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord", makes Eve seem grateful and even pious, but "with the help of" is an interpretive interpolation. In my view, the context clearly favours “I have gotten [or created] a man [equally] with God”—or in plain speech, “God created a man, and now so have I.”

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  • Thank you for this insight! I've taken a liking to the NET and quite a few verses such as this are different in nature, but surprisingly more accurate. – 1Up Jun 23 '15 at 5:57
  • Thing is, even if she is saying she created a man...we may be reading too much into it. I mean, she did grow a child in her womb for 9 months and then give birth. While they had surely seen animals do it, this was the first child born to a woman. Are we really going to begrudge Eve exclaiming that she created a man(male child in this case). Just seems like we're being a bit rough on her. It's not like she is claiming dirty or equality with God. She just, literally, created, formed, grew, a man! – Joshua Jun 30 '15 at 20:32
  • @David Thank you for your edit. Does anyone know why I got -10 points for this answer, although the answer points seem unchanged? – Dick Harfield Jul 1 '15 at 2:42
  • @DickHarfield You can see in your reputation history (public information); looks like it was an “un-upvote” on June 30. – Susan Jul 9 '15 at 8:09
  • @susan thank you for taking the trouble to tell me. I assume that means that someone who had upvoted my answer, at this point retracted that upvote. – Dick Harfield Jul 9 '15 at 8:48
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Most other translations have her giving credit to the Lord, whereas this one has her pretending to be a Goddess.

Why pretending ? Weren't man and woman created in the image of God ? (Genesis 1:26-27). Even the humble plants possess this basic characteristic in common with their Creator (compare Genesis 1:11-12 with John 5:26), so why would humans fare any less ?

Eve's original desire to be a God

According to God Himself, she already was a god, and so was her husband, as has been pointed out above. So why then did she try to acquire something she already possessed ? , one might reasonably ask. Pretty much for the same reason many other [wo]men, for instance, forgetting that they already have a spouse, go and seek the happiness and fulfillment which they already possess in other people, only to ultimately end up shattering the marital Paradise they already had, but did not (truly) know that they had it.

The variation seems diametrically opposed to the traditional thought “The Lord has helped me”.

Key word being “seems”. But Christ taught us not to judge after appearances (John 7:24).

Is there a biblical or translational reason to think this might be accurate ?

Of course there is ! You've already found one yourself, I provided another, and so did each of the other two participants which answered this question before me. But since objections have been raised, it is only fair that they might also be addressed.


Then there is also the LXX rendering to be considered as well.

Of course there is ! And, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I completely resonate with this idea.

Genesis 4:1 Αδαμ δὲ ἔγνω Ευαν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ συλλαβοῦσα ἔτεκεν τὸν Καιν καὶ εἶπεν ἐκτησάμην ἄνθρωπον διὰ τοῦ θεοῦ.

Notice that by changing the first eta into a iota,1 the underlined verb becomes ἐκτῐσᾰ́μην,2 meaning precisely I have made or created. (But the similarities stop here, since the Greek dia means through rather than as).

1 Matthew 5:18 comes here to mind, the jot mentioned there being precisely the Anglicization of the iota discussed in this paragraph.

2 Indeed, this verb is rather famous, since its presence in Proverbs 8:22 (κύριος ἔκτισέν με) was one of the main reasons behind the Arian controversy, which prompted the first two Ecumenical Councils.

There are two [ Hebrew ] verbs with this same spelling, one that means “obtain, acquire”, and another that means “create”.

The exact same can (almost) be said about the Greek as well, as already pointed out above.

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