Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Cain and Abel


Vs. 1-2: Adam and Eve “made love” and gave birth first to Cain then to Abel.

Vs. 3-9: Cain took to farming while Abel to ranching. They both made offerings of their best produce to God. This means that the offerings and sacrifices had been required of them. God, “looked with favor” on Abel’s offerings, but not Cain’s.

In Hebrews 11:4 we read, “By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith he still speaks, though he is dead.” God accepted Abel’s offering, because he offered them to God in faith, which speaks of Abel’s close and genuine relationship with God. Also, while Abel brought the firstborns and fatty offerings, Cain brought simply some of his fruit. Clearly Cain’s heart is not totally God’s or with God. God did not favor Abel’s offering per se, but favored the offering with the giver whose heart was clearly his. From the very beginning of time God made it known what He looks at the heart and not the outward appearance or act of worship and submission.

Cain who obviously was full of himself was jealous of God’s favor and he became “angry and downcast.” This was the first time that the feeling of entitlement, and feeling of unfairness cropped up. Cain felt that it was unfair for God to show favoritism.

God who sees everything confronted Cain and warned him: “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 in essence told Cain to nip it in the bud, before sin grows and cause him trouble. God gave him a chance to run away from sin, to perhaps even seek God’s help to overcome, but Cain did not say anything. His feeling of being unjustly treated caused him to plot his brother’s murder. He had to remove the competition. It was a premeditated murder as he lured his unsuspecting brother to the “field,” which was probably so he can lure his brother away from the rest of the family. 

Vs. 10- 16: The Lord confronted Cain, again. God gave him a chance to come clean by asking: “Where is your brother Abel?” For sure God knew what happened, actually he knew before it happened, which was why he talked to him before he committed the atrocious act. “Where is your brother?” Cain could have easily told God what happened, and with remorse and contrition asked for forgiveness. Instead, with utmost defiance he retorted: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Of course, we are our brother’s keepers! However, Cain instead said: I don’t care about Abel, I don’t know nor care where he is! I don’t even care what happens to him!” 

Now God goes for the jugular: “What have you done?” His anger, disappointment and utmost sadness Cain’s attitude and about his crime was very palpable. God must have screamed: “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” This is how seriously murder or the taking of another’s life offends Him. (Watch out those who murder and kill including those who yet in the womb!). God, who is Holy told Cain of the consequences of his sin: the ground will no longer yield fruit for him, and losing the ability to exercise his gifts and usefulness, he became destined to live the life of a wanderer, away from his family and the presence of God He grew up and is familiar with.

Vs. 13-16: Cain exhibits symptoms of a psychopath: he could not care less about his brother, but he felt his impending painful experience of becoming a homeless bum, a target of hatred and vindictive relatives, very acutely. Suddenly, he was asking God for leniency. It is interesting that Cain said he will not only be vanished from his land, but he will also lose the privilege of coming into God’s presence, which indicates that God still appeared and spent time with the first family in Eden. Even for a callous Cain, getting vanished from God’s presence, a place oozing with grace, goodness and favor, seemed harsh.

God in His mercy offered him protection. So, Cain moved out.

Vs. 17-25: Cain got married and gave birth to Enoch. Cain built a city. His first love was farming, but the ground would not yield any fruit for him so he had to find another way to make a living. The first development he made he named after his first son, Enoch. I am not sure that Cain had a change of heart or that he repented and sought God. Nevertheless, it is obvious that God allowed him to have a “normal” even prosperous life: he had a family, a successful second career and a prosperous existence. As we look around us, we see a lot of prosperous, successful people who do not acknowledge God in their lives, which in itself is a demonstration of Gods’ kindness, mercy and grace

A few generations later, Lamech was born, who apparently followed in his ancestors footsteps by killing another young man who “wounded” him.

Lamech’s descendants were born with certain skills to contribute to people’s way of life at that time. Jabal raised livestock (like Abel?), Jubal was the artistic one who played different musical instrument while Tubal-Cain was a blacksmith who forged tools made of iron and bronze. 

Throughout all these time, Adam and Eve were still alive and were bearing other children. They had another son called Seth who Adam said God gave them to replace Abel.

The end of the chapter curiously ended with: “At that time people began to call on the Name of the Lord.”

God must still be very present in Eden where Adam and Eve lived, and their descendants had the privilege of approaching Him for their needs and cares. What a wonderful opportunity.

Lessons and Applications:

  • God being God may choose who or what He wants or prefers. It is not for man, mere creation and mortal to question him.
  • Feelings of being unfairly treated and jealousy often times if left unchecked can give birth to even greater sin – that of wanting to harm the perceived competition.
  • Murder is a serious sin.
  • God looks at the heart of all those who come to Him with offerings. Any kind of offerings may they be in the form of worship, service or things, must be in offered and given to Him by/with faith. The giver’s heart must be solely given to God along with the offerings.  Otherwise, He might say: Depart from me, I never knew you!”
  • God is ever merciful and gracious. A simple cry for mercy is enough for Him to extend His arm of mercy.
  • God assigns and allows each to exercise their gifting and contribute to society they live in. 


God I thank you so much for your grace and mercy. I worship you for your holiness that cannot tolerate sin. Thank you for your warnings and the “way out” you provide at each temptation. Help me to submit before you my offerings (of things and services), along with my heart.

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