The biblical source of this brief, anonymous work is Genesis 1:26-4:12. Its simple metrical scheme, poorly integrated refrain, and lack of any extrascriptural dialogue mark this work as an early, pre-Romanos kontakion. In fact, throughout this verse re-creation of the primary Edenic events, the few "lyric" echoes from the Bible may be stock homiletic phrases. There are, however, two exegetical points worth noting: (1) Stanzas 1-2 may reflect an apocryphal tradition in which jealousy over the honor given to humans is the cause of the revolt of the angels; (2) Cain's guilt is not evident to his parents (19) in Genesis nor does he bury Abel in a pit (18.2-4) for which Adam and Eve seek in vain (20-21). Perhaps the "pit" (bothunō) is extrapolated from Yahweh's accusation that "The sound of the blood of your brother cries to me from out of the ground" ( Gn. 4:10).
On the other hand, the unknown author of this proto-kontakion is fairly sensitive to the poetic and rhetorical possibilities of his genre and topic. He obviously enjoys the callidae iuncturae of root meanings and the sound effects of his carefully selected diction, both of which are difficult to reproduce in translation. 3 Even in the grammatically independent refrain I detect a clever ploy: the exploitation of the precise ambiguity of the word that I have ambiguously translated as "premium." The Greek noun timē, depending on the context, can mean "honor" or "pun-