I don’t know about you but I do some of my best pondering while housekeeping. I needed to clean the bathroom and mop the kitchen floor. I’m not sure what prompted it, but my mind wondered into the story of Abel and Cain. My kids enjoy this story. I use it when we need to talk about controlling our temepers. My second son inherited my terrible temper. I tell them about the two brother’s and Cain’s uncontrolled temper.
So I was on the kitchen floor scrubbing up splatters, and I thought. I wonder if Cain’s retort, “Am I my brother’s keeper” was a snipe at the fact that his brother got to be the sheppard. So I asked my husband to look into the Greek word for sheppard, and the phrase Cain used for “brother’s keeper” to see if it was related to sheppard.
Dr Newman reported back that no, they don’t seem to be related-
The Greek is: οὐ γινώσκω· μὴ φύλαξ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ μου εἰμὶ ἐγώ;
the word keeper is: φύλαξ which means guard, like an armed guard of a city. The word for shepherd is: ποιμήν which comes from an Indo European root *peh2 (to protect). The etymological meaning of shepherd is similar to guard, but the etymology of φύλαξ is unknown.
So its not the play on words that I thought it may be, but Cain is being much sharper than I realized. “Am I my brother’s bodyguard?”
No great conclusion, just something for all of us who fight a temper to think about, maybe the next time you’re scrubbing.