A Sin Offering Laying in the Doorway? A Minority Interpretation of Gen 4:6–8

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  Exegetical insight in Gen 6:4–8 reveals that the common translation of "Sin crouching at the door" is better understood as "An animal to be offered as a sacrifice for sin is right now laying in the doorway." This paper serves as
  THE MASTERÕS SEMINARY EXEGESIS OF GENESIS 4:6Ð8 CHRIS BURNETT OT761 EXEGESIS OF GENESIS DR. BARRICK SPRING, 2015   Genesis 4:6Ð8 presents in two scenes the tragic fall into sin of the first familyÕs firstborn son, despite YahwehÕs interaction and intervention. Many problems emerge which must be explored and resolved in order to accurately and faithfully understand the meaning of the text. A block diagram of the passage is presented below with translation. COMMENTARY 4:6 !"# $%&'()*   + ,%-+.#   /)0*1234-   Wayyiqtol verb ( !"# ) and Subject ( $ %&'$() ) followed by Definite Direct Object Marker ( *+,# ) and Object (ÒQainÓ or ÒCainÓ) signal the primary protagonists of the narrative through verse 16. God is referenced by the divine name Yahweh, later revealed in the 1  See Hermann Gunkel, Genesis , trans. by Mark E. Biddle (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997), 43. Gunkel 1 finds the appearance of Yahweh here a Òvery strangeÓ obscuring of the clear narrative forms with regard to divine speeches, as if there were a missing introduction (typified by Gen 3:8; 16:7).  Pentateuch as the God of Israel. 5 6% (   + %/ 7%8   +%9 :% (   YahwehÕs direct speech to Cain begins with two 2 questions using the interrogative pronoun with attached proposition, both which echo CainÕs 3 animus in verse 5. The third person perfect verb $ &! -&.  in the qal reflects having become hot or 4 angry, an outbreak of wrathful, burning emotion. The masculine singular of the perfect is often 5 used impersonally such that YahwehÕs question, ÒWhy does it anger you?,Ó is more aptly translated, ÒWhy are you angry?Ó ;#<)=%>   ? @ (.>%=   +%9 ,% (.-  The second divine question, ÒWhy are you 6 downcast?,Ó is literally, ÒWhy has your countenance fallen?Ó Here the perfect verb +/0  functions 7  See D. N. Freedman, Ò  1$&'$()   YHWHÑIV. Meaning  ,Ó in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament  , 15 vols., eds. G. 2 Johannes Botterweck, and Helmer Ringgren, trans. by David E. Green. 5:500Ð21 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 513Ð16. Hereafter referred to as TDOT.  This name previously occurs followed by the divine name 2) %3$45# t(12x chap. 2; 9x chap. 3), but stands alone in Chapter 4 (9x). Derivatives of 2) %3$45#  are added appositively from Chapter 24, most notably in direct speech (e.g.  1)6$45#    1$&'$()  in 24:27). See William D. Barrick, and Irvin A. Busenitz,  A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew , rev. ed. (Sun Valley, CA: Grace 3 Books International, 2011), 41. This longer form of the interrogative pronoun $&"  which creates  Mil  ! •l   accentuation is used when either connecting to the following words by  Maqqeph , or by a conjunctive accent  , as here (see Wilhelm Gesenius, and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, GeseniusÕ Hebrew Grammar,  eds. E. Kautzsch, and Sir Arthur Ernest Cowley, 2nd English ed [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910], ¤ 37e). The pronoun inserts the dagesh forte  because it is followed by the strong guttural . a (Gesenius, Grammar,  ¤ 102l), which refuses doubling by the strong dagesh  (Barrick & Busenitz, Grammar  , 29). A dagesh  is expected in 7&8 , but instead the text gives 9(+  because the tone is thrown back from the ultima of $ &! -&.  on to the penultima, the syllable which otherwise would have  Metheg  , a secondary accent which forces its syllable to remain open (Barrick & Busenitz, Grammar  ,   45), because the penultima of $ &!&.  could not have  Metheg. See Gesenius, Grammar, ¤ 20f; Franz Delitzsch,  New Commentary on Genesis , transl. Sophia Taylor (T&T Clark, 1888; reprint, Minneapolis: Klick & Klock, 1978), 182; Claus Westermann, Genesis 1-11: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984), 282. See Gordon John Wenham, Genesis 1-15 , Word Biblical Commentary, ed. David Allen Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker 4 (Waco, TX: Zondervan, 1987), 104. Westermann finds the repetition of words and phrases from v. 5 to potentially indicate that the material in v. 6 is not srcinal to the text, though such a view reflects the bias of redaction criticism rather than sound exegesis. Westermann, Genesis , 299. So Ludwig Koehler, and Walter Baumgartner, eds, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament  , 5 vols., 5 revised by Walter Baumgartner, and Johann Jakob Stamm, ed. and transl. M. E. J. Richardson (Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 1999), 351; William L. Holladay, ed.  A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 116 (Hereafter referred to as  HALOT  ); John C. Collins, Genesis 1Ð4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006), 192; Delitzsch, Genesis , 181; Wenham, Genesis 1Ð15 , 93. Less forcefully, Mathews prefers ÒscowlingÓ for the meaning of $ &! -&.  to reflect CainÕs grimaced face in relation to his downcast 2)30&:  in v. 5 (see Kenneth Mathews, Genesis 1Ð11:26,  New American Commentary 1A [Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996], 269). Barrick prefers ÒirritatedÓ (see William D. Barrick, Genesis 4 ÑTranslated and annotated   [unpublished notes, 2013], 2); Westermann, Genesis , 299, recognizes an air of Òresentment.Ó These choices presumably aim to reflect the relationship between $ &! -&.  and the fallen 2)30&:  in the next clause, with the result that an angry response seems downplayed, and a state of emotional dejection made most prominent. Gesenius, Grammar,  144b; Westermann, Genesis 1-11 , 282. 6  ÒFaceÓ or Òcountenance,Ó 2)30&: , is an example of  plurale tantum , in which only the plural form of the noun is used, 7 such as 23) ;<"  for water. Paul JoŸon,  A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew , 2nd ed, transl. and rev. Takamitsu Muraoka (Rome: Pontifical Bible Institute, 1996), ¤ 90f.  like the English perfect to denote a completed action with continuing results in the presentÑ  8 CainÕs face became downcast and so remained at the time God questioned him. It may be 9 concluded that in verse 6, Yahweh questions Cain with the intent of bringing him to self-examination and repentance over his anger and dejection.   10 4:7 A 6B* .C    DE#"F#BG'H"*   *I J (K+  Interrogative =$  with strong negative #4  means Òsurely,Ó expressing the conviction that the contents of the statement are unconditionally and unequivocally certain. The 11 rhetorical question, ÒSurely, if you do well, wonÕt there be a lifting up?Ó is axiomatic, dependent upon Cain taking right action to reverse his current animus. A significant debate exists over the 12 use of > ?6#(@ , the infinitive construct of #@0 , since there is no successive word with which to create a construct relationship.   The nomen rectum has not been supplied after the nomen regens  of the construct state .  It is viewed as a substantivized infinitive, though this is admittedly very rare, especially when a literal translation would read, Òif you do well, a lifting up ofÉ(?).Ó The 13 strongest solution for the missing object of > ?6#(@  comes from the context itself: it is CainÕs 2)30&:   A. B. Davidson,  Introductory Hebrew Grammar Hebrew Syntax , 3rd ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1902), 39b. 8  For discussion on CainÕs emotional state as one of depression, see Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 9 1Ð17,  New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 224. Though some translators in n. 5 show greater continuity between the emotions of $ &! -&.  and 9)A,0&/   B C+(/&0 , Hamilton understands them as essentially one in the same, translating YahwehÕs two interrogations as, ÒWhy are you depressed and why are your crestfallen?Ó There seems to be no hint at irritation or anger which is lexically significant for $ &! -&. . Merrill unites both clauses by expressing that CainÕs countenance had fallen with anger. See Eugene Merrill, The    Bible Knowledge Key Word Study , Genesis  Ð   Deuteronomy , (Colorado Springs: Cook Communications), 55. So Mathews, Genesis 1Ð11:26,  269; Wenham, Genesis 1-15 , 104. Delitzsch, Genesis , 182; Westermann, Genesis 10 1-11,  299, delves more negatively, finding in these questions a kind of moral condemnation which Òimplies a reproachÓ for incorrect conduct, a line of questioning which deems CainÕs resentment unjustified. He admits however that such a conclusion is in light of verse 7 rather than strictly found in verse 6. Gesenius, Grammar,  150e. The protasis with 2#  is durative and frequentative, to be translated in the present tense 11 such that results are understood to continue (JoŸon, Grammar  , ¤167h). So Mathews, Genesis 1Ð11:26,  270; Collins, Genesis 1Ð4 , 198Ð99; Westermann, Genesis 1-11,  299. Delitzsch 12 recognizes that the intrinsically transitive hiphil imperfect  1D)3E)6F  speaks equally of good external action and internal attitude (see Delitzsch, Genesis , 182), whereas  HALOT   (408Ð09) and Holladay, ( Concise Lexicon ,   133), emphasize correct behavior. The latter seems more in line with the context of performing a sacrifice.   HALOT  , 1301; Hamilton, Genesis 1Ð17  , 225; Gesenius, Grammar, ¤ 113a. 13  (face) which may be held high with right action. CainÕs downcast face may be lifted up by a 14 sense of encouragement, because proper conduct would restore GodÕs favor. Furthermore, Cain himself would be lifted up to a favored position. Thus, > ?6#(@  may mean encouragement, confidence or acceptance, an exaltation or elevation akin to ÒfavorÓ with Yahweh. 15   E# 6"F#BA   * 7 L    DH"*.-  The waw  adversative marks the opposite circumstance to the previous clause: ÒOn the other hand, if you do not do well.Ó  M $BE2/   A*1%N48   84A1)O4 (   The contrasting circumstance will bear 16 a contrasting consequence. The preposition (+  attached to the noun with an elided article (the simple  shewa  of (+  is replaced by a  pathach ) is spatial, marking the point at which an action is 1718  performed: at CainÕs door. Much of the debate as to the meaning of the feminine noun >#G&H<.   19 depends upon its relationship the masculine participle I J6DK! . 20  The noun >#G&H<.  occurs 271 times in the Hebrew OT, 109 times meaning Òsin offering,Ó 89 of which occurrences are found in the Torah. The other occurrences of >#G&H<.  refers to the Hamilton, Genesis 1Ð17  , 225Ð227; Barrick, Genesis 4 , 2; Mathews, Genesis 1Ð11:26,  269;  HALOT  , 1301; 14 Westermann, Genesis 1-11,  299;  HALOT  , 1301; Holladay, Concise Lexicon , 348. The concept of ÒforgivenessÓ for > ?6#(@  is presented by Barrick, 15 Genesis 4 , 2; Hamilton, Genesis 1Ð17  , 227; Mathews, Genesis 1Ð11:26,  269 n. 268; Collins, Genesis 1Ð4 , 192 n. 10. Collins sees a parallel usage of #@0  in verse 13, where Cain cannot ÒbearÓ forgiveness for his sin. Delitzsch, Genesis , 182, does not agree with the concept of forgiveness here, noting that specific to verse 7, ÒWherever > ?6#(@  is used without an addition, it means neither oblatio nor acceptio , still less remissio peccati , but elatio É.Ó Barrick, Genesis 4 , 2. Both NASB and ESV translate the waw  Òand,Ó not sharply delineating the contrast in situations 16 and results. This clause is not equally axiomatic to the preceding, however, but a specific statement which is understood in light of the treatment of the following clause. Barrick & Busenitz, Grammar  , 56Ð57. 17  See Bruce K.Waltke, and M. OÕConnor,  An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax  (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 18 1990), 11.2.10.a. Hereafter referred to as  IBHS.  The definite article here is used possessively (see Frederic Clarke Putnam,  Hebrew Bible Insert: A StudentÕs Guide to 19 the Syntax of Biblical  Hebrew, 2nd ed. [Ridley Park, PA: Stylus Publishing, 2002], ¤1.4.3b, hereafter called  HBI  ). Mathews takes .<>,:  as figurative for a Òdoor of opportunity,Ó but it is doubtful that such an expression was a preferred reading by the srcinal audience. Delitzsch understands this as the Òdoor of the heartÓ (see Delitzsch, Genesis , 183). The gender disagreement between female >#G&H<.  and male I J6DK!  does not mean the terms are unrelated. While >#G&H<.   20 appears feminine because of the >  ending, it is considered a common, non-gendered noun which joins appositively to the masculine I J6DK! . The >  ending of >#G&H<.  is thus not the reason for the construct relationship, but rather the conjunctive accent joining the terms appositively (Barrick & Busenitz, Grammar  , 81).
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