Genesis 4

Chapter 4: Genesis 4: 1-26, the first murder

After the fall of Adam and Eve, sin and death entered the human race. In this chapter we have the first death, and the first murder. Cain killed his brother Abel in cold blood due to jealousy and anger.

Verses 1-5, 1 The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have gotten a man with Yahweh’s help.” 2 Again she gave birth, to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 As time passed, Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of its fat. Yahweh respected Abel and his offering, 5 but he didn’t respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell.

Eve gave birth to a son and called him Cain. She gave birth to another son and called him Abel. Abel was a sheep rearer while Cain was a farmer. Yahveh rejected Cain’s offering of fruits, but He accepted Abel’s offering of an animal. Cain was angry with God for rejecting his offerings. Cain’s attitude in his offering was not pleasing to God. He did not offer with faith and he did not offer his best crops to God. Abel’s attitude in the offering was pleasing to God. He offered with faith and sacrificed an animal without any blemish or defect. Cain’s offering of his crops did not involve the shedding of blood. Abel’s animal offering involved killing and shedding its blood. The author of Hebrews says that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, Hebrews 9:22.

Hebrews 9:22, “According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.”

Verses 6-8, 6 Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen? 7 If you do well, won’t it be lifted up? If you don’t do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.” 8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go into the field.” While they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.

The LORD asked Cain why he was angry, told him to re-examine himself, and repent of his sin. God would not reject his offering if he offered his best and with the correct attitude. God warned Cain that harbouring anger in his heart would result in undesirable consequences. Cain called Abel to the field and murdered him in cold blood. This was the first murder.

Verses 9-12, 9 Yahweh said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 Yahweh said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. 11 Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 From now on, when you till the ground, it won’t yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.”

The LORD asked Cain for Abel’s whereabouts but he lied and said he did not know. This was the first lie. The LORD told Cain that Abel’s innocent blood was crying out for vengeance from the ground. The LORD cursed Cain and made him a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth.

Verses 13-15, 13 Cain said to Yahweh, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me out today from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. Whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Yahweh said to him, “Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” Yahweh appointed a sign for Cain so that anyone finding him would not strike him.

Cain did not repent of his sin but pleaded for mercy. Now that Cain was a fugitive, the avenger of blood would come and kill him. The LORD gave grace and mercy to Cain. He issued a decree forbidding anyone from killing Cain. The LORD put a mark on Cain to protect him from the avenger of blood. Even though Cain committed a capital crime, God gave him mercy and grace and spared his life.

Verses 16-19, 16 Cain left Yahweh’s presence, and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and named the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 Irad was born to Enoch. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took two wives: the name of the first one was Adah, and the name of the second one was Zillah.

The LORD banished Cain to the land of Nod, on the east side of the garden of Eden. Cain married a wife and had a son whom he named Enoch. Enoch’s descendants was Irad, Mehulael, Methushael, and Lamech. Lamech married two wives, Adam and Zilah.

Verses 20-24, 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal, who was the father of all who handle the harp and pipe. 22 Zillah also gave birth to Tubal Cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of bronze and iron. Tubal Cain’s sister was Naamah. 23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice. You wives of Lamech, listen to my speech, for I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for bruising me. 24 If Cain will be avenged seven times, truly Lamech seventy-seven times.”

The sons of Lamech were Jabal and Tubal Cain. Lamech was an evil, violent, ruthless, and wicked man. He killed a man for injuring him and a young man for bruising him. He boasted that he was more wicked than his great-great grandfather Cain.

Verses 25-26, 25 Adam knew his wife again. She gave birth to another son, and called him Seth, saying, “for God has given me another child instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 A son was also born to Seth, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on Yahweh’s name.

Eve conceived again and gave birth to a third son and called him Seth. Seth in Hebrews means appointed or substitute. Seth was a substitute for Abel and would be an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Seth had a son called Enosh. At that time, men started to worship the LORD.

Application:

Cain offered a sacrifice that displeased God. Abel offered a sacrifice that pleased God. When we offer to the LORD, we must offer an acceptable sacrifice. God loves a cheerful giver. We must offer our bodies as living sacrifices for God by surrendering our lives to Him and making Him the centre of our lives. We must not allow the world to squeeze us into its old but allow God to transform and renew us in conformation to his good, perfect and pleasing will, Romans 12:1-2.

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to present our bodies to You as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing in Your sight. Help us not to conform to the pattern of his world. Transform and renew our hearts and minds. Help us to discern Your good, perfect and pleasing will. Help us surrender our lives to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.