The joint adoption of Adam – by God and Eve – makes him a "son of God," together with his son Cain. The words of the mother after his birth sound like real investiture. The expression "son of God" is a kind of kenning, to be understood as "hero" (TWAT 158), a hyperbole that outside the Bible would suggest demigods, while in Genesis it may at most indicate the adoption by God (Scott 1992 [1]). And in fact, there are good reasons to believe it, just considering the name Qayin, which can be matched with Hittite kaina-, that is, "adopted son," like the son-in-law for the father of the bride (EDHIL 427, s.v. kaina-; Kloekhorst 2010 [2]: 220-221; HED s.v. kaena-; Arbeitman 2000 [3]: 4-8; Pringle 1993 [4]: 214-231). If Cain is proxy for the Hittite kaina-, then the Cainites were named "sons of God" as they were adopted. This acknowledgment relies on Hittite sources, where the antiyant- of the king is equivalent to king's son-in-law (LÚMES HADAN LUGAL) (Imparati 2004 [5]: 267). Condemned by God for her sin, Eve manages, complying with the Hittite law, to rehabilitate her husband and son through royal adoption. There is no doubt that the expulsion from the garden of Eden amounts to a repudiation, which nevertheless does not exclude that God continues to take care of his children. Within this continuity, we should interpret the remedy devised by Eve, who contrives the ruse of adoption to recover a compromised relationship. In line with this premise, it is easier to understand the use of the term kaina- for Tubal-Kain, the son of Zillah, Lamech's second wife. His name seems to reflect the condition of the second wife's son, who becomes kaina- because he is adopted. This interpretation is confirmed by the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis, where the children of the second wife suffer the consequences of their submission (Van Seters 1968 [6]; Schökel 1987 [7]; Wahl 1999 [8]). To sum up: according to Genesis, the first men are "taken" into the garden of Eden to cultivate and guard it (2:15) (Wyatt 1988 [9]). They are "hired" to work (Swenson 2006 [10]; Naidoff 1978 [11]), while Eve, at the instigation of the snake, pursues the project of a royal kinship. Considering how reluctant is a part of the Jewish tradition towards royalty (Buber 1990 [12]), the problematic hub of the first three chapters of Genesis is about the claim to overcome the status of "servants of God" to become instead "sons of God." However, since there is no mother goddess, kinship with God can only amount to a unique adoption and "becoming like God" may allude to the "material" the gods were thought to be made of, which strengthens the path we are following centred on meteoric iron.

Originally Published: April 21, 2021

Last Updated: June 18, 2021

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