My Brother’s Killer, Genesis 4:5b-16

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” Genesis 4:1-5.

We find now this man Cain who is over a hundred years old, acting like a child.

“… [God] did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” Genesis 4:5b.

Cain did not have any respect for what God desired, yet he expected God to respect him.

“So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’” Genesis 4:6-7.

The very first sermon preached on the face of the earth is preached by God Himself, and He preached it to a man whom He knew would reject it. This is an example to all Christians everywhere.

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:1-4.

God gives everyone a free will and He gives them the option of receiving Him into their lives or rejecting Him altogether. And more importantly His gentle invitation is extended to all no matter the depths of sin and depravity that they have sunk to.

“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel [or any sinful person]?’” Ezekiel 33:11.

Many folks may say, well if someone came back from the dead and told me there was a God I would believe, or, if there is a God show me. Signs and wonders and great miracles may win a few, but many will not believe, even if someone were to return from the dead (Luke 16:19-31). Cain heard it from God’s own lips and still rejected Him.

“Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose against Abel his brother and killed him.” Genesis 4:8.

One expositor pointed out that Jesus had called Abel a prophet. This is a fascinating thought, but should not be surprising because God has always had a witness for Himself throughout the ages.

This was particularly so before the Bible was completed and God communicated directly through His prophets to the people.

Today’s prophets receive God’s words through the Scriptures via the Holy Spirit within them; and then in turn give these revelations to the people.

“…that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.” Luke 11:50-51.

It is quite possible that this is what got Abel killed. He may have tried to reason with Cain telling him what the Lord required for a sacrifice and why He required it.

Nothing is more irritating to the sinner than someone trying to point them to Christ. The response can often be loud, aggressive, and sometimes violent. Especially when faced with an angry, self-centered man-child like Cain.

Cain whose name is thought to mean spear killed his brother whose name means breath or nothing, reminds us of the spear that was thrust into Jesus’ side after He died on the cross.

The death of Christ released the Holy Spirit to indwell those who have received the breath of life in Christ. The death of Abel released his breath, or spirit to return to God who created him.

Many of the names given to men in the Bible are prophetic of their lives, whether the parents knew it or not.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’” Genesis 4:9.

There is a lesson to be learned from God’s approach to finding the truth in a matter. God did not begin with an accusation; from the first sin to the first murder. He began with a question.

“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” Genesis 3:9.

“And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’” Genesis 3:11.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ and he said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’ And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.’” Genesis 4:9-10.

Cain’s reply to God’s question gives us a good insight into his character. “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Try to imagine what would have happened if you had given a snotty answer like that to your parents.

This is a childish self-centered man with no respect for authority. It is very likely that his mother doted on him far too much, perhaps with the thought in the back of her mind that he would be the savior of mankind.

Folks, I hate to say this because it was hard for me to correct my children when they needed it, but this is a necessary part of parenting.

The cute little guy, or sweet little angel needs to have a time out or a trip to their room or a privilege taken way when they act up (Our nanny government punishes those who use corporal punishment).

If you fail to do so, your sweet little angel may grow up to be a complete hellion and a real heartache for you.

“The rod and reproof [rebuke, correction by words] give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Proverbs 29:15.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old [or mature] he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

Some children are so tenderhearted that a few words will be punishment enough.

I have actually known of others who were so stubborn that no matter what the punishment it made no difference in their attitude. Instead they blamed their parents for being harsh when all they were honestly trying to do was get through to the child.

Stubborn children still need correction, but not blindly, find what gets through to them, like a time out, a privilege taken away or the like.

Brute force does not always work. Sometimes both parents just need to know what makes their child tick, not what the latest pop child psychologist thinks. And most of all, what does God the Creator of mankind have to say.

“And He [God] said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 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.’” Genesis 4:10-12.

Cain had sown his brother’s blood, now he reaps a curse; no longer would the earth which he loved so much yield its full bounty.

Cain was also now doomed to be a fugitive and a vagabond, and it soon will be seen this is what some of his descendents became.

“And Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! 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.’” Genesis 4:13-14.

The sentence is passed, and not a word of remorse, nor a plea for forgiveness. Only, me, me, me, this self-centered man feels for his own loss, and the first is not separation from God, but separation from the ground which he so dearly loved to garden.

The lament continues, “I shall be hidden from Your face”. Cain was fully aware that he was enjoying the blessings of God while he was among his brethren and with his family.

Now there was only the unknown as he wandered away from them. He may even have thought that God was like himself, able to be in only one place at a time. And still there is no cry of remorse or repentance.

“I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” I think that any one of us would rather not be punished for our crimes even murder, but we would know that we deserved it.

Cain cries that anyone who finds me will kill me as if he did not deserve it. In fact he seems to think that he does not deserve to be punished at all; this man is totally self-absorbed and out of touch with reality, as many murderers are.

“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.” Genesis 4:15.

This is not really a concession to Cain on God’s part since He had already passed judgment on him in Genesis 4:11-12 which did not include a death sentence. It is actually a warning to anyone who would alter God’s judgment by killing him; this would be an offense against God, not Cain.

About the mark of Cain; John Wesley made the best comment in “Wesley’s Explanatory Notes”. “What the mark was, God has not told us: therefore the conjectures of men are vain.”

However, one little piece of bigotry should be cleared up; some have speculated that the mark of Cain was that the Lord turned him black. With this speculation they justify the racist thinking that the black race is cursed and inferior.

In their ignorance folks like this forget that the entire race of Cain was wiped out in the flood of Noah’s day. Not one gene of Cain survives to this day. I refer all of these folks back to Wesley’s remark shown above.

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.” Genesis 4:16.

Nod means “wandering” or “exile”.

“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’” Isaiah 57:20-21.

My Brother’s Killer, Genesis 5b-16 taken from posted on 8-13-14, updated on 10-25-21.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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