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Jabal (Bible)

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Jabal the Shepherd
Jabal, son of Lamech, with his sheeps 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"
Parents Lamech and Adah
Relatives Jubal (brother)
Tubal-cain (half-brother)
Naamah (half-sister)

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


Jabal was a descendant of Cain, 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."[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.

Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Jabal (Bible). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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