Chapter 4

  1. Cain Murders Abel

      • Adam and Eve were intimate, Eve conceived, and gave birth to Cain.

      • The name “Cain” meant “I’ve got him” or “Here is is”. Guzik makes an interesting point based on the meaning of the name Cain that I had never considered on my own. Eve understood God’s words in Genesis 3:15 to be a prophecy that the child of the woman would kill Satan. It would be natural for her to assume, especially since she and Adam were the only two people on Earth, that this prophecy referred to the son she had just given birth to.

    • She also gave birth to Abel.

    • Abel became a shepherd and Cain became a gardener.

    • Cain presented some of his produce as an offering to the Lord

    • Abel presented the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions as an offering to the Lord.

    • The Lord was pleased with Abel’s offering, but not with Cain’s. Cain was furious and sullen.

      • Why would God not have been pleased with Cain’s offering? At first reading it may seem unfair. This article at offers a good explanation. The author points out that Cain and Abel were more than likely giving these offerings because God had revealed to them that He expected them to- which means He would have instructed them regarding what was expected. So Cain and Abel would have known what was acceptable and what wasn’t. Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.” Abel offered the best of his flock (the firstborn), while Cain only offered some of his produce.

    • Genesis 4:6-7– Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

      • God dealt with Cain in terms of loving confrontation instead of automatic affirmation. God made it clear that Cain would be accepted if he did well. God warned Cain about the destructive power of sin. Cain could resist sin and find blessing, or he could give in to sin and be devoured. We prevent sin from ruling over us by allowing God to master us first. Without God as our master, we will be slaves to sin.” (Guzik)

    • Cain told his brother to come out to the field with him. While in the field, Cain attacked Abel and killed him.

    • When the Lord asked Cain where Abel was, Cain responded, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

      • Guzik draws a parallel here between Cain and “dead religion”. Cain’s offering had been faithless and was obligatorily given. He then became enraged that his brother’s faithful offering had been accepted while Cain himself had been rebuked for his. This led to hatred of his innocent brother and eventually murder. “Jude 11 warns of the way of Cain, which is unbelief, empty religion leading to jealousy, persecution of those truly godly, and murderous anger. There is no greater curse on the earth than empty, vain religion, those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power of God (2 Timothy 3:5). (Guzik)

    • Then God said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

– “The blood of Abel spoke, and it spoke of judgment. The blood of Jesus also speaks, but of better things, of grace and of sin having been judged (Hebrews 12:24).” (Guzik)

    • God then cursed Cain. He would be alienated from the ground he once worked. It would never produce for him again and he would now wander the earth.

      – “The curse upon Cain was that Adam’s curse would be amplified in regard to him. If bringing forth food from the earth would be hard for Adam (Genesis 3:17-18), it would be impossible for Cain (who was a farmer). If Adam were driven from Eden (Genesis 3:24), Cain would find no resting-place on all the earth (a fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth).” (Guzik)

    • Cain answered that God’s punishment was too severe. He told God that he was afraid that whoever found him would kill him.”

      • One of the consequences of sin is that it makes the sinner pity himself instead of causing him to turn to God. One of the first signs of new life is that the individual takes sides with God against himself.” (Barnhouse)

    • The Lord replied that whoever would kill Cain would suffer revenge 7 times over. God then placed a mark on Cain so that no one would kill him.

      • Many people have wondered: who were these “people” Cain was so afraid of? Were he and his brother and parents not the only people on the earth? If not, where did the other people come in? Eric Lyons, writing for Apologetics Press, has some excellent insight if you’re interested in pursuing that topic. He makes the point that we have no idea how old Cain and Abel were at this point. The Bible refers to the passing of time, but doesn’t say how much time. The Bible also does not specify that Cain and Abel were the only children of Adam and Eve at this point. Genesis chapters 1-11 spans a 2,000 year period and chapters 4 and 5 likely span at least 1,400 years. Adam and Eve could have had many children and grandchildren by this point. The Bible doesn’t tell us everything.

    • Cain went and lived in the land of Nod, to the east of Eden.

  • 2. The Line of Cain
    • Cain and his wife had a son named Enoch.

      • The identity of Cain’s wife really bothers a lot of people. During the Scopes Trial in 1925 (the famous trial in which the ACLU endeavored to bring the theory of evolution into science class) it was actually one of the ways that Clarence Darrow (the council for the defense) tripped up William Jennings Bryan (council for the prosecution). In an effort to discredit the Bible, Darrow asked Bryan where Cain’s wife came from if there were no other people on earth and Bryan had no answer. Answers in Genesis has a great article on the subject if you’re interested. However, it’s really simple- even if the answer makes you queasy: Cain’s wife was either a sister or another close relation like a niece. I’ll pause while we all collectively grimace. But, doesn’t the Bible forbid marrying close family members? Not until the Mosaic covenant which is about 2,500 years AFTER Adam and Eve. It’s really NOTHING compared to marrying a sister or close relation today. I mean think about it- we have no idea how old Cain was when he married. He could have been over 100. We know Adam and Eve had tons of children. Cain was the first. So, by the time his 300th niece was born to his 31st brother, the fam probably wasn’t exactly as “tight nit” as we are today. A rule of thumb that is important to remember when studying the Old Testament is not to get tripped up applying present day societal norms to Biblical societies- it doesn’t work. It’s also worth noting that the gene pool was a lot more pure at that point so the typical effects of incest would not have applied. Thousands of years in a pool becoming more polluted by the generation (mutations, etc) make the rules a lot different for us and God put a stop to it (in Leviticus) before it ever became an issue.

    • Cain built a city and named it Enoch, after his son.

    • See the Genealogy of Cain chart below.

    • Lamech took two wives.

      • Interesting side note- this verse (Genesis 4:19) is one of the verses that Mormons cite to justify polygamy. God, however, never approves of polygamy in scripture. He mandates in Genesis 2:24 that marriage is between one man and one woman. Monogamy is also taught in many other verses: Proverbs 5:18-19, Malachi 2:14-15, Mark 10:2-8, I Corinthians 7:2,10, I Timothy 3:2,12, and Titus 1:6. If you’ll notice, even God’s favored (David for example) who engaged in polygamy were NOT blessed by it. Only trouble and misery came from it. Again- as I have mentioned before- there were extreme societal differences. One huge difference is the fact that in those times a women who was not married had almost no way of providing for herself. This could have been a factor contributing to God’s seeming nonchalance when it comes to polygamy. God did, after all, issue many laws to protect the wives and children of polygamists. If you’re interested in a more in depth discussion you can check out Why Did God Allow Polygamy in the Bible over at

    • Lamech told his wives, Adah and Zillah, that he killed a man for wounding him and a boy for striking him. If Cain is to be avenged 7 times, then he, Lamech, will be avenged 77 times.

      • This is all a representation of humanism, a man-centered perspective. The city was Cain’s city; the focus of Lamech was his beautiful wives and his own perceived strength. But for all of Lamech’s boasting, neither he nor his descendants are ever heard of again in the Bible. He came to nothing.” (Guzik)

    • Adam and Eve had another son, named Seth. Seth was specifically given in place of Abel.

      • Adam and Eve had many children who were not specifically named in the Biblical record, but Seth was worthy of mention because he “replaced” Abel and was the one to whom the promise of a deliverer from the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) would be passed.” (Guzik)

    • Seth had a son named Enosh. At this time people began to call on the name of the Lord.

      • Even in those wicked days, the worship of God was not unknown. Some have called Genesis 4:26 “the first revival,” because it was the first indication of a spiritual resurgence after a clear decline.” (Guzik)

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