Adam knew Eve his wife

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

– Genesis 4:1

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.

– Romans 8:29 (NASB)


Similar to “satisfy” in Proverbs 5:19, the Hebrew word translated “know” in our English Bibles carries a much deeper meaning in both the Hebrew and Greek. “Yada” means to know someone very intimately. A systematic theology of “knowing” a person reveals it almost always means to be sexually or relationally intimate, “possessing a personal intimacy and affection,” (Monergism) or have an intimate foreknowledge of the person, as in predestination. Consider these verses:

“Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”

– Genesis 4:17

“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him”

– Genesis 4:25


“For I have chosen [known] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

– Genesis 18:19


“And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

– Genesis 19:5


“Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man.”

– Genesis 19:8


“The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.”

– Genesis 24:16


“He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.”

– Genesis 29:5


“As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.”

– Genesis 38:25-26


“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.”

– Genesis 45:1


“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.”

– Exodus 1:8


“But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”

– Exodus 5:2

“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty,a but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. … I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

– Exodus 6:3, 7


“Moses said to the LORD, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

– Exodus 33:12-13


“the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:”

– Numbers 24:16


“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves … and 32,000 persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him.”

– Numbers 31:17-18, 35


“a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ … You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.”

– Deuteronomy 9:2, 24


“and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.”

– Deuteronomy 11:28


“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face”

– Deuteronomy 34:10


“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.”

– Judges 2:10


“And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.”

– Judges 11:39-40


“As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.” But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go.”

– Judges 19:22-25


“This is what you shall do: every male and every woman that has lain with [known] a male you shall devote to destruction.” And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.”

– Judges 21:11-12


“They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.”

– 1 Samuel 1:19-20


“Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD.”

– 1 Samuel 2:12


“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.”

– 1 Samuel 3:7


“And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”

– 1 Samuel 10:11


“And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.”

– 2 Samuel 7:20-21

According to Bible Hub, the five meanings or explanations of “know” in the Old Testament are:

1. a. know, learn to know, good and evil

b. perceive.

c. perceive and see.

d. discriminate, distinguish.

e. know by experience

f. recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess

g. consider

h. not know

2. know a person, be acquainted with

3. know a person carnally, of sexual intercourse, followed by accusative: man subject Genesis 4:1,17,25; Genesis 24:16; Genesis 38:26 (all J), 1 Samuel 1:19; Judges 19:25; 1 Kings 1:4; woman subject Genesis 19:8 (J), Numbers 31:17,18,35 (all P), Judges 11:39; יֹדַעַת מִשְׁכַּב זָכָר Judges 21:11; לֹא יָ˜דְעָה אִישׁ לְמִשְׁכַּב זָכָר Judges 21:12; man subject and object (of sodomy) Genesis 19:5 (J), Judges 19:22.

4. a. know how to do a thing, be able to do it

b. be skilful

5. absolute have knowledge, be wise

As we have just seen, “knowing” a person in the Bible often carries much richer meaning than mere intellectual awareness. When we’re told Adam “knew” his wife, the Bible isn’t simply being sexually reticent. It’s precisely because sex involves knowing someone on an extremely intimate level that the word “yada” was used, and it’s the same word used to describe God’s foreknowledge of those whom he would save (Romans 8:29). Just knowing that God’s foreknowledge, forelove and election of a sinner like me somehow parallels my future intimate knowledge of my future wife absolutely blows my mind.

By drinking my wife’s breast milk, I’d be knowing her on a much deeper level. Her nutrition, state of health and wellbeing would speak volumes and sing their song through her milk.

I even imagine being so in tune to her that should anything go wrong, I’d probably be able to tell before she could. She’d have an early warning system built into her marriage.

It’s worth repeating that sexual intimacy with your spouse and drinking/feeding breast milk mirrors the foreknowledge, forelove and choosing, and deep intimate knowledge God has with the believer, because the same word is used to describe these affections.

References/Further Reading:

Two views on foreknowledge|Monergism

Dr. Daniel Akin – A Theology for the Church (Google books preview)

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