THE BIRTH OF CAIN AND ABEL
In Genesis 3 we have the root of sin and in Genesis 4 the fruit of sin.
How bad is sin?
Well, in this chapter, we find that man was not just suffering from ptomaine poisoning because of having eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Chapter 4 reveals how much had really happened to the man. By his disbelief and his disobedience, he had turned away from God and had sinned in such a way that he brought upon himself and his race His judgment, because you and I are given this same kind of nature. We have the same nature that our father had, and Adam has given all of us a pretty bad nature. All this is revealed in the story of the two sons of Adam and Eve. They had more children than this, but we are given the record of only these two at this time.
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
- Our lesson text now jumps past the account of the fall in Genesis 3 to the conception and birth of Cain. The majority of interpreters see all the events of Genesis 4 as occurring after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden (3:23, 24). Against this understanding, however, is a proposal that the construction in the original language has the author backtracking (at least briefly) to events that occur prior to the expulsion. This theory means that Eve’s future punishment noted in Genesis 3:16 connects with childbearing already experienced.
- Whether what is recorded in the verse before us happens before or after the fall may affect interpretation. If the birth of Cain takes place before the fall, then Eve’s words I have gotten a man from the Lord are seen as giving the Lord credit. If the birth of Cain takes place after the fall into sin, however, Eve’s words are understood by some to be a boast in that she is claiming to have created a man just as the Lord did.
- In either case, we see underway the God-ordained imperative to multiply. The sexual function between husband and wife is God-ordained. Sexual expression neither resulted in nor resulted from the fall into sin by Adam and Eve. The name Cain occurs 20 times in 17 verses in the KJV, and all but one of these (Joshua 15:57) refers to the individual in the verse before us. Three of the occurrences are in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11).
And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
- The designation Abel occurs 16 times in 13 verses in the KJV, although some refer to a stone (1 Samuel 6:18) or a city (2 Samuel 20:14, 15, 18). Four of the references to Abel the man are in the New Testament (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; Hebrews 11:4; 12:24). To be either a keeper of sheep or a tiller of the ground is a common occupation in antiquity.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
And in process of time it came to pass,
- The phrase used here refers to a long indefinite period.
that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
- This was probably the first offering that he brought, even though the Lord had explained to the First Family the necessity of the Sacrificial System, that is, if they were to have any type of communion with God and forgiveness of sins.
- There is evidence that Adam, at least for a while, offered up sacrifices. Cain knew the type of Sacrifice that the Lord would accept, but he rebelled against that admonition, demanding that God accept the labor of his hands, which, in fact, God could not accept. So we have, in the persons of Cain and Abel, the first examples of a religious man of the world and a genuine man of Faith.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
- This is what God demanded; it was a blood sacrifice of an innocent victim, a lamb, which proclaimed the fact that Abel recognized his need of a Redeemer, and that One was coming Who would redeem lost humanity; the Offering of Abel was a Type of Christ and the price that He would pay on the Cross of Calvary in order for man to be redeemed.
And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
- As stated, this was a Type of Christ and the Cross, the only Offering which God will respect. Abel’s Altar is beautiful to God’s Eye and repulsive to man’s. Cain’s altar is beautiful to man’s eye and repulsive to God’s. These “altars” exist today; around the one that is Christ and His atoning work, few are gathered, around the other, many. God accepts the slain lamb and rejects the offered fruit; and the offering being rejected, so of necessity is the offerer.
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.
- Let us say it again, God has no respect for any proposed way of Salvation, other than “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” [I Cor. 1:23; 2:2]).
And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
- That which filled Abel with peace filled Cain with wrath; the carnal mind displays its enmity against all this Truth which so gladdens and satisfies the heart of the Believer.
GOD GIVES CAIN A SECOND CHANCE
And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
And the LORD said unto Cain,
- God loves Cain, just as He did Abel, and wishes to bless him also.
Why are you angry?
- Abel’s Altar speaks of Repentance, of Faith, and of the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God without blemish; Cain’s altar tells of pride, unbelief, and self-righteousness, which always elicits anger)
and why is your countenance fallen?
- Anger, in one form or the other, accompanies self-righteousness, for that is what plagued Cain; God’s Righteousness can only come by the Cross, while self-righteousness is by dependence on works.
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
If you do well, shall you not be accepted?
- If you bring the correct sacrifice, and thereby place your faith
and if you do not well, sin
- A Sin-Offering
lies at the door
- A lamb was at the door of the Tabernacle.
And unto you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.
- The Lord promised Cain dominion over the Earth of that day, if he would only offer up, and place his trust in, the right Sacrifice; He promises the same presently to all who trust Christ [Mat. 5:5]).
CAIN MURDERS ABEL
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
- The first murder; Cain’s religion was too refined to kill a lamb, but not too cultured to murder his brother; God’s Way of Salvation fills the heart with love; man’s way of salvation inflames it with hatred; “Religion” has ever been the greatest cause of bloodshed.
And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel your brother?
- Adam sins against God and Cain sins against man. In their united conduct, we have sin in all its forms, and that on the first page of human history.
And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
- He showed himself a “liar” in saying, “I know not”; “wicked and profane” in thinking he could hide his sin from God; “unjust” in denying himself to be his brother’s keeper; “obstinate and desperate” in not confessing his sin.
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
said, What have you done?
- This concerns man’s sins, the fruit of his sinful nature.
The voice of your brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground.
- There is some Scriptural evidence that Cain cut his brother’s throat. Thus, with the first shedding of human blood, that ominous thought sprang up, divinely bestowed, that the Earth will grant no peace to the one who has wantonly stained her fair face with the life-stream of man.
And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
And now are you cursed from the Earth,
- Cain repudiated the Cross, murdered his brother, and is now cursed by God; this is the first curse leveled by God against a human being.
which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand;
- This was the beginning of what has proven to be a saturation; from then until now, the Earth has been soaked with the blood of innocent victims.
When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
When you till the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto you her strength;
- This presents the fact that Cain had polluted man’s habitation, and now, when he tilled the soil, it would resist him as an enemy.
a fugitive and a vagabond shall you be in the Earth.
- This presents the search, not of a better lot, but under the compulsion of an evil conscience.
And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
- Cain did not see the enormity of his sin, but the severity of his punishment; in other words, there was no repentance.
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the Earth;
- Adam’s sin brought expulsion from the inner circle, Cain’s from the outer.
and from Your face shall I be hid;
- To be hidden from the Face of God is to be not regarded by God, and not protected by His Guardian care.
and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the Earth;
- This means a wanderer.
and it shall come to pass, that everyone who finds me shall
- This means seek to.
- The reference by Cain to other individuals proves that in the some 100 plus years since Adam and Eve were created, the first parents had other children. By this time, there could very well have been several thousands of people on the Earth.
And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold
- Cain was allowed to live in order that he might be a perpetual warning to others that the blood of their fellowman must not be spilled; however, very few heeded, as few presently heed.
And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
- We aren’t told what the mark was, but evidently, all knew.
THE CHILDREN OF CAIN AND A GODLESS CIVILIZATION
We find that Cain moves out from God, and he establishes a civilization that is apart from God altogether. The children of Cain establish a godless civilization.
And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
And Cain went out from the Presence of the LORD,
- Those in rebellion against God do not at all desire His Presence, and for all the obvious reasons.
and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
- “Nod” means “wandering;” the majority of the human race “wander,” because they don’t know God and, therefore, have no peace.
And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
And Cain knew his wife;
- This is the Biblical terminology for conception.
and she conceived, and bore Enoch: and he built a city,
- Which actually means “was building” or “began to build;” the idea is, it was not finished; and so it has been, and is, with the human race; nothing is ever quite finished with the unredeemed, simply because what is built doesn’t satisfy.
and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
- This carries the idea, due to the meaning of the name Enoch, that this city would be a place of education and learning — but it was education and learning without God.
And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat
- This means fathered.
Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
- All of this was three hundred or more years after the creation of Adam and Eve.
And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
- The first instance of polygamy recorded in the Bible.
And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
And Adah bare Jabal:
- She gave birth to Jabal.
He was the father of such as dwell in tents,
- The apostle Paul was a tent maker later on, but here is the first housing contractor.
And of such as have cattle.
- This is the very first rancher.
And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
- It seems that Jubal was the originator of musical instruments; man’s ear is now filled with other sounds than those which issue from Calvary, and his eye is filled with other objects than a Crucified Christ.
And Zillah, she also bare Tubal–cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal–cain was Naamah.
- Tubal-cain was the first one to begin to work with metals; the name of “Cain” was probably added to show that these were “Cainites;” “Naamah” means “beautiful”.
And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
- Lamech says, “If Cain got by with it, I can get by with it. After all, Cain did not slay in self-defense, but I have.” We do not know whether he did or not, but he says that he slew in self-defense. And We do not know whether or not his two wives entered into this, or whether or not he was defending one of them. We are not told how it happened.
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
- This is the first recorded poem in human history. Like so much poetry ever since, it glorifies immorality and murder, and denies coming wrath. Man has attempted to deny judgment ever since; nevertheless, judgment one day is coming [Rev. 20:11-15].
THE BIRTH OF SETH
And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
And Adam knew his wife again; and she bore a son, and called his name Seth:
- After dealing with Cain’s line in the beginnings of corruption of violence, Moses goes back some years to the birth of “Seth;” the Holy Spirit will single out “Seth,” because he was in the lineage of Christ; the name “Seth” means “appointed substitute”.
For God, said she, has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.
- When “Cain” was born, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the LORD,” indicating that she believed in the Covenant of Genesis 3:15. Now she uses the term “God,” in effect stating that she has lost faith in the Covenant. As stated, this “seed” would be the one through whom Christ would come, but because of faithlessness, Eve did not know or believe this.
And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos:
- The name “Enos” means “sickly, mortal, decaying man;” the awful results of the Fall are now beginning to sink in.
then began men to call upon the Name of the LORD
- This probably refers to contempt; quite possibly the family of Cain, knowing that Seth had now taken the place of Abel, as it regards the “firstborn” or “appointed one,” contemptuously refers to them as the “God people,” or the “Lord people”.
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