In the wake of the banishment from Eden, Adam and Eve start their family:

וְהָאָדָם יָדַע אֶת־חַוָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד אֶת־קַיִן וַתֹּאמֶר קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת־יהוה׃

Bereshit 4:1 "And the man [ha-adam] knew Eve, his woman, and she conceived and bore Cain, and she said: "I have gotten (or "created") a man with YHWH."

Even stranger is her claim that she produced this man "with YHWH."

Why does Eve refer to her infant as a "man" [ish]? Would it not have been more natural to refer to him as בן - 'son'?

4 Answers 4


In addition to the answer from @Dov, there are other mefarshim that discusses this.

Rashi cites the Gemara in Niddah 31a that says that there are three partners in the creation of a person:

The Sages taught: There are three partners in the creation of a person: The Holy One, Blessed be He, and his father, and his mother.

Rashi says:

ה‘ — ;את קניתי is like ‘עם ה “with the L-rd”; she meant to say: when He created me and my husband He created us by Himself, but in the case of this one we are copartners with Him

The Ramban, however, begins to cite Rashi on this posuk, but then proceeds with his own explanation:

The correct interpretation appears to me to be that she said: “This son will be for me an acquisition for the Eternal, for when we shall die he will exist in our stead to worship his Creator.” This is also the opinion of Onkelos who translated eth hashem to mean “before the Eternal.” [The word eth in the following verses is translated] in a similar sense: And it shall be shown ‘eth hakohen’ (the priest),416 meaning to the priest; And David came near ‘eth ha’am’ (the people),417 meaning to the people. Or it may be that eth hashem has the same interpretation as in the verses: And Enoch walked ‘eth ha’elokim’ (with G-d);418 Noah walked ‘eth ha’elokim’ (with G-d).

Similary, the Chizkuni writes:

'קניתי איש את ה, “I have acquired a man with the Lord.” Chavah considered herself as having become a partner with the Creator. From the beginning of creation until Genesis 2,4, where the תולדות, derivatives of the creation have first been mentioned, the name used for G-d had always been elohim. This meant that the only attribute that G-d had employed was His attribute of Justice. During the period that He made various improvements, securing the continued viability of the universe He had created, the Creator has been referred to by both the name elohim, as well as the tetragram. This means that He was employing both His attribute of Justice as well as His attribute of mercy, רחמים. This suggests that possibly by G-d using these two attributes the universe would be able to survive all challenges.


With the birth of her son, it is a reference to mankind starting afresh.

Refer to the Ibn Ezra there:

והאדם. כאשר ראה שלא יחיה בגופו בעצמו לעולם הוצרך להחיות המין על כן אמרה קניתי איש את ה', ואין שם זכר למלת אלהים. כי הנה נמצא בארץ במין כאשר הוא במעל' בעצמים. ומלת טוב כלל וכן כתוב וירא אלהי' את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאד ורע חלק

AND THE MAN. When Adam realized that he would not live forever he saw the need of perpetuating the human race. Eve concurred and therefore exclaimed, upon giving birth to a child, I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord. Eve used the Tetragrammaton, and not the term Elohim, because the Lord’s spirit now rested upon the earth via the human race even as it does on the heavenly bodies. The term good refers to creation as a whole. We thus read, And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Gen. 1:31). Evil is found only in a part of creation. (Sefaria translation, emphasis mine).


איש and אשה are more properly translated as husband and wife.

The better translation of Chava's statement would be, "I acquired a husband for G-d."

This is basically a summary of what is described at the beginning of the sentence. That when a man and woman have sexual relations, conceive and bear a child, the male becomes a husband to that woman and that woman becomes his wife.

Kayin's name commemorates that change in status of the parents.


See Targum Yonasan where he says that Chava was saying that she produced a child with the assistance of a heavenly angel.

תרגום יונתן על בראשית פרק ד פסוק א (א) ואדם ידע ית חוה איתתיה דהוה חמידת למלאכא ואעדיאת וילידת ית קין ואמרת קניתי לגברא ית מלאכא דיי:

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