Genesis 4:20 and 21

Revised: March 2020


       Genesis 4:20 “And Adah gave birth to Jabel; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.”

        We need not seek many hidden messages from verse 20 since the surface meaning serves up clarity enough. The inferences behind the word Jabel יבל, ybl, mean ‘to break through, come forth, run, flow,’ as a spring or creek. But also ‘to bring, to lead.’ The word sums to 42 as does חלד, chaled, ‘to become rusted, corroded’; also ‘world, earth; life’. Mr. Paul F. Case comments:

“Kheled. What glides swiftly, what is transient. A noun for life, it refers to the personal life of man, considered as being fleeting, ephemeral. Kheled is also a special Qabalistic name for the "earth" of Malkuth. There is a very definite relationship between Binah, the Mother, and Malkuth, the Bride. Kheled, in this connection, refers to the world of man, including his terrestrial environment, as being essentially transitory, as undergoing continual change.”


       The Qabalistic inferences here represent our early nomadic tendencies with the herding of livestock while we roamed various areas of the world living in temporary shelters, only to break out of that pattern and lead others to find that ideal spot for settlement. The logical consequence to settling somewhere is the control of land and food sources to placate subconscious needs for security; Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, if you will. Self-consciousness carves out a little kingdom for itself, and plants the seed for the very beginnings of little kingdoms everywhere. And now we have countries maintaining the same patterns we created way back then. And all of it transitory today as back then.


       Genesis 4:21 “And his brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.”

       Jubal, now, hints some ideas that also helps with understanding brother Jabel. Because Jubal in Hebrew is יובל, yuval, as a name, but also means ‘river or creek,’ like his brother’s name. With different vowel points, yovel, means ‘ram’s horn,’ and is also the root of ‘jubilee.’

       In researching כנור, kinnor, ‘a cithara’, typically translated as ‘harp or lyre’ in authorized versions, evolved into the modern ‘violin’ and suggests the evolution of all stringed type instruments. And עוגב, ugav, mostly translated as ‘pipe or flute’ is now the modern ‘organ.’

       A communal settlement would eventually create the need for some diversities. Having achieved some dominion over the elemental forces surrounding us, crop harvests naturally brought celebratory activities with festivals, and from these emerged entertainments with primitive music and dancing. These are subconscious (feminine) manifestations. Creative cultural aspects are signs of progress. With such progress self-consciousness develops intellect. We were beginning to feel some undefined relationship with the cyclic order of nature and her elements. There appeared to be some mechanistic order to this environment which were to develop seasonal events. Civilization was taking crude roots which, through millennia from this Qabalistic hint, might be considered the primitive beginnings of our entire world’s entertainment industry.

       These two verses, in hidden Qabalah-speak, are introducing the third, bottom-most sphere on the left side of the Tree of Life named Hod, Splendor. The above describes the need for Human Intellect to conceive, construct and carve out civilization from the elements of our natural environment. It required the expanse of human self-consciousness and our developing awareness through our self-conscious minds with attention and observation toward the natural cycles of nature’s appearances. It required Intellect to create music and rhythm. It necessitated Intellect to work with and bend the forces of nature into the fundamentals required, not for mere survival, but for thriving with a future in mind. That planning, based on our understanding of nature’s laws and rhythms, called for intellectual awareness to see and project beyond the present state of affairs.

       As branches from Lamech and Adah’s root suggest the need for self-embellishment, Jabel and Jubal are ‘rivers or streams’ subsequent to such need. Mankind the world over, personified as these characters, has learned to parcel off areas and guard them separate from others to protect future supply, and to celebrate these and other accomplishments. We are now whole countries doing the same, and guarded with weapons galore.

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