In English, the Bible states:

1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, 'I have gotten a man from the LORD.'
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Genesis 4:1-2 (KJV)

In Hebrew (Masoretic Text), Genesis 4:2 states:

וַתֹּסֶף לָלֶדֶת אֶת־אָחִיו אֶת־הָבֶל וַיְהִי־הֶבֶל רֹעֵה צֹאן וְקַיִן הָיָה עֹבֵד אֲדָמָה

My curiosity stems from whether the verb in verse 2 in Hebrew, וַתֹּ֣סֶף, means "continuing (to do) again," implying a process still in the act from verse 1 and Cain's birth?

Perhaps Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel as twins, much like Isaac with Esau and Jacob.

Any illumination would be appreciated.

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    The direct object marker has parallels pretty much everywhere, I don't know on what basis you think it is made up.
    – user2672
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 6:53
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    Really?? Where in any other language is a "word" used as simply a marker, and then translated in different places as different words?? And on top of that, words are built off of it, and it is plural in some cases. I appreciate whomever downplayed my question, when I posed it as very serious. Even without the aleph-tav, the question is still viable! Btw, some chapters have no "DOM's" even with direct objects to be marked! And the words formed from aleph-tav are all over the place and translated in many ways, without any origin. Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:56
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    Well, for instance, English and many other European languages have definiteness markers (the, a/an), other languages (including Hebrew) mark questions, etc. It is well-known that the Hebrew object marker is less used in e.g. poetry and stylistic differences like that are completely normal cross-linguistically.
    – user2672
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 17:12
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    Your opinion about what is a "normal" kind of word seems to be predetermined by your native language. There are plenty of languages that lack definite and indefinite markers (Akkadian, Latin, Polish, Russian), there are languages that have a definite but no indefinite marker (Hebrew, Aramaic), and there are languages that have both (English, German, French). Are you willing to learn about this or not?
    – user2672
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 19:15
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    It is also incorrect that "all other words in Hebrew are built off two letters"; Semitic languages typically build words from a three-consonantal root. You reiterate that the "argument" is "interesting", but you fail to make clear what that argument exactly is, why it is persuasive (what problem does it solve?), or why it is interesting.
    – user2672
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 19:16

4 Answers 4


את In the rules of Rabbi Eliezer:

"Extension: The particles “et” את, “gam”, and “af”, which are superfluous indicate that something which is not explicitly stated must be regarded as included in the passage under consideration, or that some teaching is implied thereby. "

את occurs once with Cain and twice with Abel. From this the Rabbis discern that Cain had a twin sister, and Abel was a triplet. We can put to rest the Greek question of where Cain got his wife.

If Cain and Abel were twins, it suggests that three girls were born at the same time. I think it becomes awkward at this point.

  • Lol...Wow!! Thank you for sharing this! I did not know that the rabbis had discerned this, and I find it fascinating. I now know I need more study concerning this. Re: את, I do know that R. Akiva spent years studying it, as well as R. Nahum before him, and R. Simeon after him. Also Rabbi S. R. Hirsch said that it is a "sign" that "the thing stands for something greater than itself," much like a symbol. Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 17:46
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    You know, if the rabbis discussed this, I would think it's a fair question, not one that keeps losing points. Today it was downvoted, -2, somehow, yet the points on this page haven't changed, just my rep. I'm slightly disgusted that I keep seeing my reputation points going down, yet I cannot see why or who is doing it. It seems if one wants to irritate someone, they go around downvoting questions without leaving any response, anonymously. Frankly, we should use this forum to help others learn. I edited this question, removing the aleph-tav aspect, in hopes to learn something new. I did. Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 2:19
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    Blind down votes are cheap shots by people who don't understand SE. We are supposed to be commenting and voting to improve answers not to censor things you don't like. Your opinion doesn't matter. A different view doesn't matter. Quality matters. But don't play for points. Keep asking, keep answering, keep improving as you are able.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 5:21
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    Thank you...I knew something must be up. I am merely more concerned with points initially because I wanted to earn enough to comment on other questions, which I now seem to be able to do. Thanks again for clarifying that and my question! I love to learn, and SE is AMAZING & fascinating to me. Worldwide knowledge coalesces on a singular platform with all kinds of subjects! I love it! :) Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 19:08

If their naming is anything to go by then it’s not possible they were twins.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:15

Eve listening to the pronouncement made upon the deceiver understood that a child, a male child will crush the head of the deceiver and this would, at least in her mind mean regaining access to the lost paradise.

So when she had a child and saw it was a male child she exclaims

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord."” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭

That’s what the English says but the Hebrew says אישׁ את־יהוה which is roughly, she acquired the man-god or the god man or the Messiah. This she imagined would be that deliverer she anticipated. Except for the fact that this child was born of Adam and not the seed of the woman exclusively like Jesus which is what Genesis 3:15 prophecies precisely.

Seeing she did not get her deliverer she named the next child vapor out of disappointment because her dreams all vanished like a vapor. This would give reasons to believe they were born apart in age and not twins.

As for the eth, there are other twins in the Bible and they don’t follow the proposed explanation. Esau and Jacob have eth but Esau alone has it first as the descendant line bearer however when he gives up his right to first born it switches to Jacob henceforth.

If anything, Cain and Abel were both possible line bearers for the promised Messiah except Cain loses the eth when he sins and he never has the eth next to his name again and Abel is murdered without descendants. Seth takes up the eth v25 as the line bearer for the seed through which the Messiah would come.

  • 1
    I love this explication. Thank you...you pose a very interesting use of aleph-tav. Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 23:36
  • The eth points to Jesus. John 1:1 says He is the eth and Jesus Himself says John 5:39 that the Scriptures bear witness of Him and yet He incarnated after the last OT book. Ruth is another fascinating line bearer of the Messianic line, as soon as she is redeemed the eth appears next to her name immediately. Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 2:43

The letter (of the law) kills, but the spirit (of unity/harmony)gives life, Psalm 133. Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren, to dwell together in harmony.

  • There is a bible study I came across which deals into the superfecundation aspect of this in depth here:
    – user61209
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:08
  • worldeventsandthebible.com/adam-and-eve-story
    – user61209
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:11
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review
    – agarza
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:56
  • @ user61209 - Although "brothers" are a common topic in these answer and question, they do have different meanings. Topical Bible study can be misleading because it avoids the "Context" which is so important. --- When answering it is best to relate your point, instead of merely referring to a link. Use links as a back-up reference. --- Keep studying the Bible, it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 22:11

The term twins is actual, but the fact is likely Cain and Abel are 3/4 twins.

Superfecundation is the fertilization of two or more ova from the same cycle by sperm from separate acts of sexual intercourse, which can lead to twin babies from two separate biological fathers. The term superfecundation is derived from fecund, meaning the ability to produce offspring. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfecundation

This process allows twin babies to be born with two separate fathers and the same mother. It is likely that the snake was a man and fertilized the second egg creating Superfecundation.

This book from 1672 might shed some light on the subject when it says “For those fecundary Enemies to the Bible...” meaning those of the snakes seed. Read this book Reasonableness Scripture-belief; Discourse Giving Some Account Those Rational Grounds Upon Bible Received Word God

It is likely the snake is a man who layed with Eve and fertilized the second egg giving rise to Cain.

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    That’s a mystic tale that has ancient origins. There is little (next to nothing) in the Biblical text to justify this answer. Maybe had you included those extra biblical texts your response would have been more suited for hermeneutics, at this point it’s lacking substantive backing (and references). Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:03
  • Edited please read edit Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 19:42
  • I’m reading the old English and where you read fecundary I read secondary (secundary) because that is an s not an f. Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 19:53
  • Fecundity has the definition the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility. Secund has the definition : having some part or element arranged on one side only : UNILATERAL. Place secundary and fecundary together and you have unilateral fertility. Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 20:11
  • Or unilateral offspring. Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 20:14

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