The Overlooked Third Son of Adam and Eve

After their first son, Cain, kills their second, Abel, and is sent into exile by God, the biblical Adam and Eve have a third, named Seth, from whom Noah—and hence all of postdiluvian humanity—is born. The book of Genesis, after ignoring Adam and Eve for 22 verses, during which, it seems, 130 years have gone by, states that the two had a son. Eve “called him Seth, because God has granted me a new future in place of Abel, killed by Cain. To Seth also a son is born, and he named him Enosh.” In a 1999 essay, recently republished online, Elie Wiesel explored this oft-forgotten biblical character about whom the Bible tells us so little:

A curious thing: in midrashic literature, which is usually so expansive, rather little is said about this character to whom, we shall soon see, we owe so much. The midrash is more forthcoming regarding Seth’s family. A moving midrashic legend recounts that after the death of Abel, the mourning Adam and Eve fall into a profound, melancholy solitude. Far from paradise, they are no longer in harmony with their environment or with each other. We imagine them silent, lethargic. They no longer desire anything, least of all another child. Undoubtedly, Abel and his cruel fate are too prevalent in their thoughts for them to wish to give him a brother.

[I]n the Bible, it is always the woman who names the children. But if so, why did Seth name his son? Was this perhaps to mark the singularity of Enosh, who is so closely linked to Adam and to God? Like Adam, Enosh means “man.” Moreover, the next verse says, zeh sefer toldot adam: “this is the book of the generations of Adam.” In other words, we are present not at the beginning but at the second beginning of Creation.

Adam’s last son, Seth, resembles his father. We are all his descendants, states the midrash. It strains to reassure us. In case we were afraid to be Cain’s descendants and inheritors of his original sin, the midrash tells us, all the descendants of Cain will perish in the Flood, but not those of Seth.

The proof: we are here to tell his story.

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Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Adam & Eve, Cain and Abel, Elie Wiesel, Genesis, Hebrew Bible, Midrash

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy