Genesis 4:15 (DRB):

And the Lord said to him: No, it shall not be so: but whosoever shall kill Cain, shall be punished sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, that whosoever found him should not kill him.

I am not expert in English, but to my knowledge, isn't "whosoever" means "every one who"?

The verse Genesis 4:15 has about 4 translations:

  • anyone.
  • any one.
  • whoever.
  • whosoever.

In case of "anyone", it is accepted logically.

But in case of "whosoever" which means "every one" this means that Cain will be killed many times by many persons. This means killing Cain is allegorical.

There's difference between:

  • Anyone who kills Cain shall be punished...
  • Every one who kills Cain shall be punished...

There's logical difference between (anyone) and (every one).

So, please correct me if I am wrong. I hope you give me the accurate English translation of this verse.

  • You're overthinking it. There's no real difference in this context. Whether it's one person or a bunch of people killed him together, God's decree would apply to them all.
    – curiousdannii
    May 28, 2020 at 7:02
  • @curiousdannii I said: correct me if I am wrong. For me, there is logical difference between (anyone) and (every one), they are not equal.
    – salah
    May 28, 2020 at 8:00
  • 1
    They are all equivalent meanings in English.
    – Dottard
    May 28, 2020 at 9:56
  • 2
    The Bible is a book to teach us about God, nothing more. It was written in ordinary language (of the time) and so has the normal linguistic idiom as part of it. The way to understand the Bible is to simply ask what the passage would have meant to a person at the time.
    – Dottard
    May 28, 2020 at 11:22
  • 1
    Your question is not about logic - it is about simple English grammar. Spiritual enlightenment is as per the Holy Spirit - see John 16:13.
    – Dottard
    May 28, 2020 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


The Hebrew is לָכֵן֙ כָּל־הֹרֵ֣ג קַ֔יִן (therefore all who kill Cain). The way the particle הֹרֵ֣ג is used translates to a limiting relative clause in English. Because all is limited by the relative clause, there is no difference between all who, anyone who, whoever, and whosoever. The clause "who kills Cain" makes them logically equivalent. However because הֹרֵ֣ג is singular, anyone who and whoever are more grammatically correct. Whosoever is no longer used in modern English, unless you're a lawyer.

  • I think: all who, every one who=anyone who, from all perspectives, is a logical error in English. This logical error is found also in Arabic: أيّ من=كلّ من. We may accept this equality bypass but upon checking, the equality is illogical.
    – salah
    May 29, 2020 at 1:17
  • Hebrew and Arabic are very similar languages.
    – Perry Webb
    May 29, 2020 at 11:07

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