Genesis iv. 25-26.

June 28, 2010

Adam also knew his wife again: and she brought forth a son, and called his name Seth, saying: God hath given me another seed, for Abel whom Cain slew.  But to Seth also was born a son, whom he called Enos; this man began to call upon the name of the Lord.

25-26. Seth and Enos.

Cornelius: “And called his name – i.e. not Adam, but Eve, as is clear from the Hebrew ticra, which is feminine” (Commentaria, p 123).

St. Jerome: “Seth is properly translated θέσις, that is, position or placing.  So because God had put him in place of Abel, he is accordingly called Seth, that is, placing” (LHQG).

“Just as Adam is translated man (homo), in the same way Enos too, according to the variety of the Hebrew tongue, is translated man (homo or vir)” (ibid.).

Cornelius: “Enos in Hebrew is the same as weak, afflicted, wretched, of hopeless health, bound to certain death; it seems therefore that Seth first named his son to remind him and his posterity of the misery of their lot, and of their mortality, to which we are all bound by sin.  Thus, just as Adam was named from adama, that is, man from ground or earth, so Enos is called man from misery and mortality” (Commentaria, p 123).

The Lord – in Hebrew this is the Tetragrammaton Jehova.  Whence Rupertus, Cajetanus and others think that this name was revealed to Adam and Enos, and that they called upon God by it.  But it is more accurate to say that the Tetragrammaton was revealed first to Moses, as I shall say concerning Exodus vi. 3.  Therefore after Moses, who wrote these things, received this name from God in Exodus vi., he here and there addresses God by it earlier, even in Genesis, even if Adam, Enos and the other Patriarchs did not call God Jehova, but Elohim or Adonai” (Commentaria, p 124).

St. Bede: “After mentioning Cain, the destroyed fratricide, and recording his offspring in their turn to the seventh generation, Holy Scripture returns to set forth the restoration of the holy seed, and to tell that it remains perpetually while the impious perish.  Now Seth is translated Position, or Resurrection, and the reason for this is made plain when his parent says: God hath given me another seed, for Abel whom Cain slew.[1] He replaces Abel not only in the order of birth, but also fills his brother’s place in the merit of his virtue.  It is shown that the devotion of his mind passed even to his offspring, when it is added: But to Seth also was born a son, whom he called Enos; this man began to call upon the name of the Lord.  Enos is translated Man (homo or vir): whence it is right that one who has such a name begins to call upon the name of the Lord, imploring more insistently the aid of his Creator in daily prayers, the more he remembered that he was made of a fragile nature.  Mystically, however, just as Abel killed by Cain represents the Lord’s Passion, so Seth, born for him, represents Him restored from death: whence it is fittingly related by the Seventy Translators that when he was born either his father or his mother said: For the Lord has raised up for me another seed for Abel, whom Cain slew.[2] According to the mystic senses it is called another seed, although the same Lord who was slain rose again, because it is evident that he was slain as a mortal, but rose again immortal.  He died that we might not fear to die: He rose that He might grant to us the hope and faith of rising from death.  The Apostle, speaking of our resurrection, clearly distinguishes these two seeds, saying: It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory.  It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power.  It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body.[3] And of the Lord Himself he says: For although He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God.[4] Now Enos, the son of Seth, figuratively expresses the Christian people, who every day are born throughout the whole world from water and the Holy Ghost, through faith and the mystery of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.  For Enos brought forth the grace of regeneration to his first generation; he was accustomed to call upon the help of the Lord’s name in all that he did, saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, and the rest.  We too are accustomed, either by these words or by others, to implore the Lord’s grace, without which we can do nothing; whence we are rightly, on account of the weakness of our conscience, called by the name Enos, that is, Man: but on account of the hope of our future immortality we are sons of Seth, that is, of the Resurrection” (In Principium Genesis II col. 76-77; cf. St. Chrysostom, xx. 4; St. Augustine, De civitate Dei, xv. 17).


[1] Bl. Anne Emmerich: “I saw that Seth was promised to Eve in the crib-cave at Bethlehem, and was also born there to her (Nachträge zum Leidenstage Jesu: Der Name Schädelstätte).  “So after a seven-year penance, Seth, the child of the Promise, was born to Eve in the crib-cave, and it was told to her here by an Angel that Seth was the seed God had given her for Abel.  Seth was concealed for a long time here, and also in the cave where Abraham was suckled, because his brothers strove to take his life, as Joseph’s brothers did his” (Die Sünde und ihre Folgen: 4. Die Familie Adams).

[2] ἐξανέστησε γάρ μοι ὁ Θεὸς σπέρμα ἕτερον ἀντὶ Αβελ, ὃν ἀπέκτεινε Κάϊν.

[3] I Cor. xv. 42-44.

[4] II Cor. xiii. 4.

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