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Seth

SETH

SETH (Heb. שֵׁת), antediluvian patriarch, son of Adam and Eve. The Bible has preserved two different traditions regarding Seth. In one Seth is the third son of Adam and Eve, born to them after the murder of Abel (Gen. 4:25 (j)). His name is said to derive from the fact that God "provided" (shat) another son to replace Abel. In the genealogy of Adam, however, Cain and Abel are not mentioned, the implication being according to some exegetes that Seth was Adam's first son (5:3 (p); cf. i Chron. 1:1). This source also furnishes the information that Seth lived to the age of 912 years and that his eldest son was Enosh, who was born when Seth was 105 (Gen. 5:6–8).

In the Aggadah

Seth was born circumcised (arn2; Mid. Ps. 9:7), and he inherited the garments which God Himself had made for Adam (Num. R. 4:8). His nature is reflected in the fact that "the generations of man" end with Seth and his son, Enosh (Gen. 4:26). They were the last human beings to be created solely in the image of God; after their death centaurs began to appear (Gen. R. 23:6). Seth is also associated with the messianic era. The future generations of the righteous will be the descendants of Seth (pdre 22), who will himself be one of the "seven shepherds" counseling the Messiah after the resurrection of the dead (cf. Micah 5:4; Suk. 52b).

In Islam

Seth (Arabic Shith) is not mentioned in the *Koran, but he does appear in post-Koranic literature, where the meaning of the name is given as "a present from Allah" (cf. Gen. 4:25). All the survivors of the Flood are his descendants and as a result all the Arab genealogists trace the descent of mankind from him.

bibliography:

See Commentaries to Genesis, ch. 5. in the aggadah: Ginzberg, Legends, index; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 429–30.

[HaÏm Z' ew Hirschberg]

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