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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 4: Cain and Abel


v.1,2 Cain & Abel born and grow up

v.3-7 Offerings and a Warning

v.8-10 Cain Murders Abel

v.11-15 Imposed Consequences

v.16-24 Cain's Ongoing family Tree

v.25,26 A New Family Line


v.1,2 Cain & Abel born and grow up


v.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.”

v.2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.


[Notes: The start of the mandate to ‘fill the earth' [1:28] Eve gives birth to Cain and then Abel. As differing ways of ‘subduing', controlling or using the earth, Cain works in horticulture and Abel as an animal farmer.]



v.3-7 Offerings and a Warning


v.3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.

v.4,5 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, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

v.6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?

v.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.”


[Notes: We are not told why they both brought gifts to God – which implies an ongoing relationship with God [obviously passed on by Adam and Eve] – but Cain just brings ‘some' produce, while Abel brings some of the best meat from a firstborn of the flock. Casual versus heart-felt giving. Somehow God expresses what He feels about this and Cain is angry about it. In v.6,7 some very basic truths are revealed:

i) inner heart attitudes are often revealed in outward appearances.

ii) doing good will always be acceptable to God.

iii) doing wrong and being happy about it, simply opens a door for further wrongs to follow.

What is interesting is that God seeks to steer Cain from this latter course.]



v.8-10 Cain Murders Abel


v.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.

v.9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don't know,” he replied. “Am I my brother's keeper?”

v.10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.


[Notes: Cain fails to heed this counsel from God and kills Abel. Presumably he buries him to hide the evidence, but nothing can be hidden from God.]



v.11-15 Imposed Consequences


v.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.

v.12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

v.13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear.

v.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.”

v.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.


[Notes: A curse, we said, is a divine decree of bad, but this ‘curse' is very limited – Cain will be banished from this place to become a wanderer. Cain realises something of the significance of this and feels it means being hidden from God's protection [an interesting assumption!] and feels he will be very vulnerable. Somehow, in a way not explained, except as a mark, Cain will be protected. We might have expected God to issue a death sentence over this murderer, but He doesn't. Grace and mercy gives him a second chance (possibly because this is the first such killing).]



v.16-24 Cain's Ongoing family Tree


v.16 So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

v.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.

v.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.

v.19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.

v.20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.

v.21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.

v.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.

v.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.

v.24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”


[Notes: Briefly we follow Cain's progress. He flourishes in as far as he has a family and he builds a city, which implies other people. Whether there others apart from Adam and Eve or whether there is now a rapidly growing population, originally from Adam and Eve, with children apart from Cain and Abel, is open to speculation.]



v.25,26 A New Family Line


v.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.”

v.26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.


[Notes: With Abel dead and Cain banished, Adam and Eve have (at least one other) a son named Seth. Seth is the beginning of a family tree that resulted in what we know of as the Hebrews. see 1 Chron 1:1-28]


Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 4


1. Abel was am open-hearted giver. Cain was a somewhat begrudging giver. Which am I?

2. God warned Cain of the danger of a wrong attitude that might turn even worse. Cain failed to heed the warning and killed his brother. Where can unresolved issues in our lives lead us?

3. Incredibly God doesn't kill Cain for killing Abel. Perhaps its too early days for understanding and so God sends him into exile where he has the chance to change. Is this God of the second chances and if so, what does He want us to become after failure?



Continue to Chapter 5