Jabal (Bible)

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This article is about the individual in Genesis 4. For other people of this name, see Jabal.
Jabal the   Shepherd
Jabal, son of Lamech, with his sheep and a dog
Born Jabal
Other names Yabal
Occupation shepherd
Known for forefather of all shepherds
Title "the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock"
Parent(s) Lamech and Adah
Relatives Jubal (brother)
Tubal-cain (half-brother)
Naamah (half-sister)

Jabal (or Yabal) is an individual mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, in Genesis 4:20.


Jabal (a descendant of Cain) was the son of Lamech and Adah, and the brother of Jubal, half-brother of Tubal-cain and Naamah. He is described as the "ancestor of all who live in tents and raise livestock."


Francis Nigel Lee interprets Genesis 4:20 to mean that Jabal was both the "father of all cattle ranchers" and the "father of all tent-dwellers", and as such as the "pioneer of all livestock and agricultural technology" as well as the "pioneer of all architecture." Lee notes that Jabal was probably also a weaver, and thus "the pioneer of the clothing industry." Or he may have just been the first nomadic herder of livestock such as cattle. [1]

Gordon Wenham, on the other hand, understands the verse to indicate Jabal was the first "dweller with herds." That is, he was the "father of the Bedouin lifestyle." He notes that whereas Abel "merely lived off his flocks," Jabal could "trade with his beasts of burden," and that this "represents cultural advance."[2]


  1. ^ Francis Nigel Lee, The Central Significance of Culture (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1976), 29.
  2. ^ Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15 (Word, 1987), 113.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Tubal-Cain at Wikimedia Commons