Genesis 4:20

20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.

Genesis 4:20 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 4:20

And Adah bare Jabal
According to Hillerus F13, this name, and Jubal and Tubal, after mentioned, all signify a river; why Lamech should call all his sons by names signifying the same thing, is not easy to say.

He was the father of such as dwelt in tents, and [of such as have]
not in a proper sense the father of them, though his posterity might succeed him in the same business; but he was the first author and inventor of tents or movable habitations, which could be carried from place to place, for the convenience of pasturage for cattle: he was not the first that had cattle in his possession, or that first fed and kept them, for Abel, the son of Adam, was a keeper of sheep; but he was the first that found out the use of tents, and the pitching of them to abide in at proper places, so long as the pasturage lasted, and then to remove elsewhere; as we find in later times the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did, and as the Scenitae and Nomades among the Arabs, and who retain the same method of keeping cattle to this day; and so the words may be rendered according to Bochart F14 and Noldius F15,

``he was the father of such that dwell in tents "with" cattle.''

Heidegger F16 thinks this Jabal to be the same with Pales, the god of shepherds F17, to whom the Palilia were sacred with the Heathens; and that from Jabal may be formed "Bal", leaving out the "jod", as is sometimes done, and by adding the termination, it will be "Bales", and by changing the letters of the same organ, "Pales".


F13 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 35, 45, 349.
F14 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 44. col. 466.
F15 Ebr. Part. Concord. p. 273. No. 1196.
F16 Hist. Patriarch. Exercit. 6. sect. 11.
F17 Vid. Servium & Probum in Virgil. Georgic. l. 3. ver. 1.

Genesis 4:20 In-Context

18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
The King James Version is in the public domain.