“Am I my brother's keeper?”




About this Quote

After God asks Cain where his missing brother is, he lies to God claiming he does not know. Then he asks the now famously evasive question: “Am I my brother's keeper?” That is, “am I supposed to look after my brother?”

Quote in Context

See the quote in bold below within its King James Bible verse.

And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

— Genesis 4:9

Scriptural Translation

What does this quote really mean?

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Quote words Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
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Am (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
I אָנֹֽכִי׃ I H595
my brother's אָחִ֖י A brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance [like H0001]) H251
keeper? הֲשֹׁמֵ֥ר Properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e., guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc H8104

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The King James Bible text is sourced from the BibleForgeDB database (https://github.com/bibleforge) within the BibleForge project (http://bibleforge.com). Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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