Cain and Abel

Posted by admin on 19 May 2013 in Genesis |

Genesis 4:1-26


Recommendation on the methodology to study the Holy Bible

I think it is good practice to deeply think on each verse so that you may derive meanings from it by yourself. If you only listen to what others talk about the verse and don’t have a chance to think deeply on the verse by yourself, how can you confirm what you hear from others is correctly based on the text?

I suggest for you to make efforts to derive some meanings and conclusions by your own reading and careful observation on each verse, which meanings and conclusions you and others can’t deny to be reasonably correct if based on the text.

This will increase your knowledge & faith.



1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

There must be other children of Adam & Eve before Cain was born. Cain was a child born after Adam & Eve were expelled from Eden garden due to their sin. Eve says “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”(1b). This gives us a few thoughts:

  • A child is a gift from God. She received the gift and she thanked & praised God.
  • Receiving the gift involves pregnancy, formation of a life in the womb, and birth pain. We can’t exclude God in this wonder of reproduction process.
  • A new life is a spiritual being as well as a physical being.

And then, Abel was born as a younger brother of Cain.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.

The fact that God accepted Abel’s offering but he refused Cain’s gives us a few thoughts:

  • Abel’s offering involved shedding blood of lives amongst flocks.
  • Cain offered earthly fruits to God. Earthly fruits may require shedding sweats to acquire but did not please God.
  • There are requirements in the offering to God. God does not accept any offering that does not fulfil such requirements. Here, let us think about whether God will accept all type of religions that offer their own way of offerings.
  • Abel’s offering represents sacrificial offering by the Lamb of God, Jesus

So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

God’s Word shows Cain’s Anger is due to Cain’s own misdeed. Cain himself was the wrong doer but he was angry at both God and Abel. God’s Word shows the characteristics of the sin:

The sin is crouching at the door like the lion crouching just before attacking.

“it desires to have you”: human beings as sinners are in great danger of being in full control of the sin.

“but you must rule over it.”: even so, we have responsibility to control the sin. The restless battle is between human beings and the sin. Jesus crucified the sin on the cross and frees those who are lead by the Holy Spirit instead of their sinful nature (Romans 8:1-4). Accept Jesus and declare your victory in Jesus over the sin today.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Cain killed his younger brother Abel, who and whose offering pleased the God. Cain committed murder out of his jealousy. The murder practiced by Cain was evil and wicked.

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

As the result of the sin of the murder, Cain became ‘a restless wanderer on the earth’. What does it mean?

Before we conclude, note that the murder requires death sentence according to the God’s Law given through Moses (Exodus 21:12-17).

We can conclude that this was a death sentence. He would be killed by whoever might find him.

So, he had to hide. If he might be found, he had to run.

He would suffer the fear of the vengeance or the death wherever he might go and whoever he might meet... One serious sin caused him suffering of the whole life time.

13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

What Cain says explains it better as shown in v13 – v14. He says:

  • The punishment is unbearable.
  • He is expelled from the land.
  • God withdraws His presence (which includes His goodness, mercy and kindness) from Cain.
  • He faces the fear of the vengeance or the death wherever he goes and whoever he meets.

15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

At the appeal of Cain (I have to say he repented), God put a mark on him showing God’s declaration that “anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over”.

17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.

Cain was building a city. Amongst the descendants of Cain, Jubal was the father of all who play stringed & piped instruments. And Tubal-Cain was the father of engineering.

23 Lamech said to his wives,

“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

Lamech killed a younger man as Cain killed his younger brother. Lamech took advantage of God’s forgiveness on Cain and became bold and justified his murder saying “if Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times”.

He spoke this to his two wives. This makes us to think both murders by Cain and Lamech might be linked to their “women”. These days people often mention the sin of “violence” & “sex” together. Such corruption (sex & violence) was prevailed in Genesis 6, when God decided to judge the world by the flood.

25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

Adam & Eve gave birth to Seth in place of Abel, who and whose offering pleased God. Abel means “breath; son; breathing spirit”. Seth means “appointed; granted”. He also gave birth to a son and named him Enosh. It is interesting to know that this name is the same to Cain’s son’s name as shown v17. Enosh means “man, human being”. Seth might be a godly man. At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.

Seth’s descendant, Noah and his family were saved in the flood but Cain’s descendants were wiped away in the flood (Genesis 6 - 8).

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