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.

Read more at Bible History Daily

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

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy