GENESIS 4:9

“Am I my brother's keeper”

KING JAMES VERSION (KJV)

TRANSLATION, MEANING, CONTEXT

WORDS OF GOD IN RED

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?”

To get what Genesis 4:9 means in detail, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

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

High popularity: 590 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Genesis chapter 4 using average monthly Google searches.

Genesis 4:9 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
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Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
And the Lord יְהוָה֙ (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God Lord
said וַיֹּ֤אמֶר To say (used with great latitude) said
unto אֶל Near, with or among; often in general, to unto
Cain, קַ֔יִן Cain, the first son of Adam; Kajin, the name of a place in Palestine, and of a Middle Eastern tribe Cain
Where אֵ֖י Where? hence how? Where
is (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
Abel הֶ֣בֶל Abel (Hebel), the son of Adam Abel
thy brother? אָחִ֑יךָ A brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance [like H0001]) brother
And he said, וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ To say (used with great latitude) said
I know יָדַ֔עְתִּי To know (properly, to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively, instruction, designation, punishment, etc.) know
not: לֹ֣א Not (the simple or abs. negation); by implication, no; often used with other particles not
Am (No Hebrew definition. English implied.)
I אָנֹֽכִי׃ I I
my brother's אָחִ֖י A brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance [like H0001]) brothers
keeper? הֲשֹׁמֵ֥ר Properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e., guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc keeper

Verse Context

See Genesis 4:9 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 7  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

  • 8  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

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

  • 10  And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

  • 11  And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;




Sources:

The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are 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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