Cain Murders Abel
1Adam and Eve had a son. Then Eve said, “I'll name him Cain because I got him with the help of the Lord.” 2Later she had another son and named him Abel.
Abel became a sheep farmer, but Cain farmed the land. 3One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the Lord, 4 and Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, 5but not with Cain and his offering. This made Cain so angry that he could not hide his feelings.
6The Lord said to Cain:
What's wrong with you? Why do you look so angry? 7If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling. But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don't let it!
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let's go for a walk.” And when they were out in a field, Cain attacked and killed him.
9Afterwards the Lord asked Cain, “Where is Abel?”
“How should I know?” he answered. “Am I supposed to look after my brother?”
10 Then the Lord said:
Why have you done this terrible thing? You killed your own brother, and his blood flowed onto the ground. Now his blood is calling out for me to punish you. 11And so, I'll put you under a curse. Because you killed Abel and made his blood run out on the ground, you will never be able to farm it again. 12When you try to farm the land, it won't produce anything for you. From now on, you'll be without a home, and you'll spend the rest of your life wandering from place to place.
13“This punishment is too hard!” Cain said. 14“You're making me leave my home and live far from you. I will have to wander about without a home, and just anyone could kill me.”
15“No!” the Lord answered. “Anyone who kills you will be punished seven times worse than I am punishing you.” So the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn everyone not to kill him. 16But Cain had to go far from the Lord and live in the Land of Wandering, which is east of Eden.
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17Later, Cain and his wife had a son named Enoch. At the time Cain was building a town, and so he named it Enoch after his son. 18Then Enoch had a son named Irad, who had a son named Mehujael, who had a son named Methushael, who had a son named Lamech.
19Lamech married Adah, then Zillah. 20-21Lamech and Adah had two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Their son Jabal was the first to live in tents and raise sheep and goats. Jubal was the first to play harps and flutes.
22Lamech and Zillah had a son named Tubal Cain who made tools out of bronze and iron. They also had a daughter, whose name was Naamah.
23One day, Lamech said to his two wives, “A young man wounded me, and I killed him. 24Anyone who tries to get even with me will be punished ten times more than anyone who tries to get even with Cain.”
25Adam and his wife had another son. They named him Seth, because they said, “God has given us a son to take the place of Abel, who was killed by his brother Cain.” 26Later, Seth had a son and named him Enosh.
About this time people started worshiping the Lord.
Why does the story have to go this way? When given perfection, why does it get spoilt? Why do kids get sick, relationships break, people hurt each other and countries go to war?
Why does Jeremiah lament, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9), and the Psalmist declare, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). Why are we like this? Why did we choose disobedience over all that was good in the act of creation?
Why, why, why, why, why?
Could it be the separation caused by sin? Because of the Fall, Adam and Eve became separated from God and with Cain’s murder of Abel a universal separation occurred between all people. There was a rending in our hearts that has persisted. But there is hope.
God, in giving us choice and free will, also provided a remedy to sin. In Romans 5:19 Paul says, “…through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” In 1 Corinthians 15:22 he says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
With the havoc wreaked in chapter four, Cain’s murdering ways and callous indifference to God, Lamech’s polygamy and the murder he committed, there begins a violent and rebellious record that will be human history. It is not until Jesus, the second Adam, comes that this separation from God, from others and within ourselves is mended for God had “chosen [him] before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20) to be our salvation.
Almighty God, the judge of all, when our hearts condemn us, Jesus redeems us. Guide me today to live in the freedom that he alone can give and to share this same freedom in fellowship with others to the glory of your holy name, through Jesus alone. Amen