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SETH (Hebrew, ; Greek, ΣὴΘ).

—Biblical Data:

According to Gen. iv. 25, 26 and v. 3-8, Seth was the third son of Adam. He was born after Cain had murdered Abel and when Adam was 130 years old. Seth lived to the age of 912. His eldest son was Enosh, who was born when Seth was 105 years old. In Gen. v. the line of descent from Adam to Noah is reckoned through Seth. Seth is mentioned also in I Chron. i 1 and in Luke iii. 38; but neither passage contains additional information.

E. G. H. G. A. B.—In Rabbinical Literature:

Nothwithstanding the etymology of the name given in Gen. iv. 25, the Rabbis consider "Seth" to mean "foundation"—i.e., Seth was the founder of the world (Num. R. xiv. 12; Midrash Agadah to Gen. l.c.). By "God hath appointed me another seed" (Gen. l.c.) Eve alluded to the Messiah, who would descend from Seth through Ruth the Moabite (Gen. R. xxiii. 7). After the expulsion from paradise Seth was the first of Adam's children who had the face and form of man, Adam's earlier post-expulsion progeny having had the shapes of demons and apes (ib. xxiv. 6; Tan., Bereshit, 26). Seth was one of the seven shepherds whom Micah (v. 5) prophesied should rise against the Assyrians (Cant. R. viii. 9).

W. B. M. Sel.—Critical View:

The account of Seth in Gen. v. is contained in the P document, being a part of that writer's list of antediluvian patriarchs. This list, beginning with Cainan and including Lamech, is the same as the list of J in Gen. iv. (comp. Harper, "Hebraica," v. 35). Both are transcripts of a Babylonian list preserved in a corrupt form by Berosus (comp. Gunkel, "Genesis," in Nowack, "Handkommentar," p. 121). Since "Enosh" in P's list means "man," as does also "Adam" in J's list, probably "Seth" in the Babylonian list was the name of a deity. Hommel (in "Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch." xv. 244 et seq.) conjectures that "Seth" was originally "Shitti," an epithet of Marduk, who in Berosus' list occupies this place under the name "Adapara."

Bibliography:
  • Hommel, The Ten Patriarchs of Berossos, in Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch. 1893, xv. 243-246;
  • Gunkel, Genesis in Nowack, Handkommentar, 1901, pp. 49, 120 et seq.;
  • Holzinger, Genesis, in K. H. C. pp. 57 et seq.
E. G. H. G. A. B.
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