Genesis 4:2 – The farmer
… Cain worked the soil (in Hebrew: ‘abad’ ‘adamah’). (Genesis 4:2)
Hebrew uses two words for our concept of a farmer, i.e.:
The first word:
- abad: a verb that can be translated as ‘to work’ – to serve.
In view of the verb form used, to be translated as:
- to labour, to work, to carry out work
- to work for someone else, to serve someone else by working
- to serve as subordinates
- to serve (God)
- to serve (in Levitical service)
A few texts:
Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.” (Genesis 29:15)
And God said (to Moses), “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)
The second word:
- adamah: a noun.
To be translated as:
- ground, land, a certain piece of land
- the earth’s surface
- the whole of the inhabited earth
A few texts:
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
… then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their ancestors. (2 Chronicles 6:25)
Both words together are translated a few times as:
Those who work (abad) their land (adamah) will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19 i.a.)
According to Hebrew word use, a farmer is to be understood as someone who:
- works the land – as a servant
- works for someone else – serves someone else by working for him
- serves, and works – as a subordinate on the land he works on, and to God.
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Genesis 4:2 – The farmer.