BIRTHS, MURDERS, MARRIAGE
Lord, we have strayed so terribly far from You.
Read GENESIS 4
Cain and Abel
4 Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
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. 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.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
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.”
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.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so[e]; 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,[f] east of Eden.
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[g] bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.
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.”
25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth,[h] 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.
At that time people began to call on[i] the name of the Lord.
a Genesis 4:1 Or The man
b Genesis 4:1 Cain sounds like the Hebrew for brought forth or acquired.
c Genesis 4:1 Or have acquired
d Genesis 4:8 Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Masoretic Text does not have “Let’s go out to the field.”
e Genesis 4:15 Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew Very well
f Genesis 4:16 Nod means wandering (see verses 12 and 14).
g Genesis 4:22 Or who instructed all who work in
h Genesis 4:25 Seth probably means granted.
i Genesis 4:26 Or to proclaim
New International Version (NIV)
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“Peter … asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me’” (John 21:21,22).
We are not told why Cain’s sacrifice is rejected, though many suggestions have been offered. It is not even clear that Cain has sinned with regard to his sacrifice, though we assume that he has. These are not the issues, however. Rather, the issue is how Cain handles not being approved. Life may sometimes feel unfair; how do we handle rejection, or another being promoted above us? God has cautioned Cain that, if he does right, all will be well, but that sin was crouching at his door if not (6, 7). Both covetousness and murder later get prohibited in the Ten Commandments. While we may not murder, we are undoubtedly familiar with envy, jealousy, and covetousness.
In chapter 3, God has cursed the serpent and the ground, but not humans. After Cain murders and the cursed ground receives Abel’s blood, however, Cain is cursed “from the ground” (11). The ground from which Cain has brought his offering and onto which he spills his brother’s blood becomes hostile to him so that he cannot cultivate it. This punishment goes beyond that of Adam (Gen 3:17– 19). Similarly, whereas Adam was driven from the garden, Cain’s penalty goes further, for he will now wander the earth.
This sad chapter has two murderers. Cain murders Abel, and Lamech kills a young man (23). At the same time, life continues through marriages and births. This is a world drifting away from the idyllic garden of Eden and which reflects the world we know. At the end of the chapter we learn that people begin to call on the name of the Lord. We are not told why, but we can see their need of Him. Sin crouches at the door for us all, and we all need to call on the name of the Lord.
Think about what it means to “do well” and be accepted (v 7). Are you engaged?
Lord, please help me to follow You faithfully, regardless of what I perceive others may have from You. Please take jealousy and resentment from my heart.