Genesis 4:1-15    Cain Murdered Able

1 “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  4 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:  5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.  6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  7 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.    8 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.    KJV


9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" 10 And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth." 13 And Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me." 15 And the LORD said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.  NKJV


Facts revealed as God deals with the first violent action of mankind:

Y      Adam and Eve did not attempt to start a family until they had been driven from the Garden.

Y      Cain (means: spear, possession, or smith) and Abel (means: breath) were twins since they both resulted from one conception.

Y      Eve acknowledged that the miracle of the birth of Cain was an act of God as she said, “I have gotten a man from Yahowah.”  She bore again and it was his brother Abel demonstrating that the boys were twins with no second conception.

Y      We know nothing of the childhood of the boys.  But, we pick up on the story of their lives as they are ready to bring an offering to the Lord.  Able was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Y      Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord, the fruit of the work of his hands.

Y      Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and their fat, the fruit of the work of his hands.

Y      Yahowah respected Abel and his offering, but Yahowah rejected Cain and his offering.

Y      What was the difference that caused God to accept one and reject the other?

²   God had established with Adam and Eve that the only acceptable covering for sin was in a Blood Sacrifice, for without the shedding of blood there is no covering for sin,  and it is sin that stands between God and man. 

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  [Hebrews 9:22  NIV]


For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.   [ Leviticus 17:11   NKJV]

²   And the boys were aware from Adam and Eve that God required a Blood Offering.

²   Cain’s offering was an offering without blood being shed, while Abel’s offering was one of the shedding of the blood of the lamb.

Y      Cain was very angry because he and his offering were not acceptable so his countenance fell.

Y      God knew what was about to happen and spoke to Cain before he had time to take action on his anger.  God did not prevent the evil one from doing what he was intent on doing, leaving it as evidence of Cain’s personal choice.  However God did warn him of his responsibility in advance.

Y      God said to Cain, “Why are you angry?”  And “Why has your countenance fallen?”

Y      Then comes the statement by which we know that Cain fully knew what was acceptable to God and what was not when God said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?”

Y      Then God said, “If you do not do well, sin (Satan) lies at the door, his desire is for you, but you should rule over him.” 


Some translations translate the word about sin as “it” but the word is actually translated both ways “it” or “him” in different places according to the choice of the translator.


Y      This also establishes man’s responsibility in regard to Satan and his temptations.  When we do wrong Satan is there to urge us on to additional wrong, but God has given man authority over Satan when He said, “You must rule over him.”

Y      Jesus example when he was tempted was to say “no” and He gave a Scriptural reason for His choice. 

Y      Scriptures say “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  [James 4:7]  The only way to resist the devil is to say “no” to the temptations he brings and it is helpful to have a Scriptural reason for that choice.

Y      After God warned Cain and told him he is responsible for his actions of right and wrong, Cain still killed his brother.

Y      Then it is judgment time, and calling Cain to account for his actions God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”

²   The fact that God did not prevent Cain from killing his brother set a precedent for us today in the fact that God does not prevent an evil one from harming an innocent one. 


If He did, He would be controlling the evil one, and since He would be in control of the evil one’s actions, He could then not judge the evil one because the evil one did not have the freedom to act on his own choice. 


In order for us to be held accountable for our actions we must first have the knowledge and the ability to choose and to act out our choice.  And the choice must also be a choice between right and wrong.  God does hold the evil one accountable for his actions. 

²   Remember, it was the “Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of GOOD and EVIL.”  So there is an instinctive knowledge of good and evil in the heart of the individual as the conscience is pricked inside when we do wrong and we feel guilty whether we acknowledge the wrong or not.  This causes us to feel guilt and it is amplified if we are called to account for it.  It is this feeling of guilt that causes an evil person to lash out against the righteous in such a defensive manner.

Y      Just like today when called upon to explain the wrong done, it is human tendency to first deny the act and pretend ignorance, and then attempt to escape any responsibility.

Y      But we need to know that God knows all about it before He asks us to answer for the sin.  So Cain said, “I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?”

Y      God said, “What have you done?  The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the Ground.  Here again we learn that God can receive witness from inanimate objects.  God well knows all about our deepest secrets, He does not depend on our confession.

Y      So Cain’s denial did not help him escape the consequence of his actions, as God pronounced a curse on Cain that affected the ground for the sake of Cain’s sin. 

Y      This provided a double curse because it was cursed for Adam’s sin, an now it will no longer yield its strength to Cain.  And, it is a personal curse because it does not affect anyone else.

Y      Since the earth will not respond to Cain’s efforts to till it, Cain will not be able to settle on it and will remain a fugitive and a vagabond.

Y      Cain felt that the punishment was greater than he could bear, that he was driven out from the face of the ground and hidden from the face of God which would make him a target for anyone who ran across him to kill him.

Y      Yahowah pronounced a curse on anyone who should kill Cain by promising to take vengeance against that person sevenfold. 

Y      So God put a mark on Cain, so that he would not be killed by anyone coming across him. 


Notice that the mark of God was a “protective mark” to keep him alive and protect him from other men. 


When God puts a “mark” on a person, it is always a “protective mark” - as was the case for those who received the mark from the one with the inkhorn in [Ezekiel 9:1-7], and for the 144,000 of [Revelation 7:1-8]. 


These marks protect them from the violence of men as well as from the plagues God will send in His judgment against the wicked. 


However: “Satan’s markThe Mark of the Beastis a mark of wrath and judgment. [see Revelation 13:17; 14:9,11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4]