The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived and gave birth to Cain and said, “I have gotten a man with Yahweh’s help.” Bible see other translations

“knew.” The word “know” is the common idiomatic word used for sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse gives the most intimate and personal “knowledge” of the other, so “know” was used throughout the biblical world as an idiom for sexual intercourse (cp. Gen. 4:1, 17, 25; 24:16; Matt. 1:25), which even included rape (Gen. 19:5; Judg. 19:25). Other idioms for sexual intercourse are, “go into” (2 Sam. 3:7), and “go near; approach” (Exod. 19:15 ESV), “uncover the nakedness” (Lev. 18:12); and sometimes “see the nakedness” (Lev. 20:17).

[For more on “know,” see commentary on Matthew 1:25.]

“I have gotten a man.” The Hebrew word translated “gotten” is qanah (#07069 קָנָה), and it has a very large range of meanings. Many of these occur in the different English versions, thus, “I have gotten” (KJV); “I have acquired” (CJB; NJB); “I have obtained” (GNV); “I have produced” (NAB); “I have created” (NET); “I have brought forth” (NIV); and “I have gained” (TNK). It is impossible to determine exactly what Eve thought from the Hebrew text, but it is noteworthy that she understood that God had a part in her being able to give birth. It is also worth noting that she did not mention Adam’s role, although it seems certain that she knew it.

Commentary for: Genesis 4:1