Why did the pasuk change מחויאל to מחייאל in Bereshis 4:18? Is there any peirush who discusses this change and it significance?


An explanation is given by Radak in which he notices that change and mentions the fact that in ancient times it was a custom to parents to rename their children according to certain events in their lives; sometimes a reason is presented, sometimes not.

According to Bereshis Rabbah 23:2 (also Yalkut Shimoni Iyov 918) this change might had happened due to rebellious behavior:

ויולד לחנוך את עירד וגו' - אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: כולן לשון מרדות הן. עירד, עורדן אני מן העולם. מחויאל, מוחן אני מן העולם

Said Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi: All these names signify chastening: Irad, "I shall drive them out of the world" (through the mabul); Mehujael, "I will wipe them from the world".

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