It really is surprising what can be found using lexicons, concordances, and interlinear texts of the Scriptures. I don’t want to keep moaning about the work of translators, who have worked tirelessly to bring us the Word of God, but sometimes I just wish they could have put a few more gems from the original in the margin!
Here is one. Genesis 4:10 The story of Cain and Abel. What did the Lord say to Cain? “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. And now you are cursed more than the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”
The Hebrew word here for blood is DMY, pronounced D’MAY, the plural of DM. This is authenticated from my Analytical Hebrew Lexicon. Why should the Lord have used the plural? “The voice of your brother’s bloods.”
Although a painstaking exercise, I decided to search the Hebrew of all the references to blood in the O.T., just to find whether there were any others in the plural number. I found 18, which is a very small fraction of the total.
Most of them have this flavour about them, (Psalm 5:6) “The Lord abhors the man of bloods and deceit.”
However, there are a few references of similar vein to that in Genesis 4.
2 Samuel 3:28 “And David said, ‘I and my kingdom are innocent forever before Jehovah from the bloods of Abner son of Ner.”
2 Kings 9:26 “Yesterday, says Jehovah, I have seen the bloods of Naboth and the bloods of his sons.” These words were spoken to Elijah the prophet, who then denounced Jezebel for what she had done in cutting off the patrimony of one of the sons of Israel. It would seem that Naboth and his sons were slaughtered, so that there would not be an heir to redeem the land taken by force.
Finally, 1 Chronicles 28:3 “God said to me, [David] ‘You shall not build a house to my name, because you are a man of battles, and have shed bloods.'”
Looking at these verses we can draw a conclusion. The Lord spoke about the blood of Naboth in the plural, as well as the bloods of his sons. Normally we might expect the singular to be used of one man, and plural of more than one, but it was not so. Likewise, the plural was used of Abel, and Abner. The reason is locked up in the laws of the Old Testament, where land occupied a prominent place in legislation. The patrimony owned by a family had to remain within that family, unless sold by members of the family. It was an offence for anyone illegally to occupy another’s territorial possessions.
But there is more to it than that. When Cain slew Abel, “the voice of his brother’s bloods cried out.” Why plural? Simply because he had been prevented from bringing them into the world. There were beings in the spirit world waiting their turn to come down and be part of Abel’s family, and they had been cut off. Therefore they cried out for vengeance to the One who was Judge of all. The same would have been true in the families of Naboth, and Abner, and those other men slain under the kingship of David.
This meaning was given in the margin of the Companion Bible at Genesis 4:10, which alerted me to the idea, and the possibility that pre-existence was hidden within the text, and I’ve wanted to share it in this series.