Genesis 4

4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

  • What did the LORD have to do with this? It is Adam’s child, right? Or did the LORD pull another “virgin” birth?

4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

  • When did the LORD ever ask for offerings? Why would the LORD need any “fruits of the ground”?
  • Furthermore, why is the LORD still concerned with these people? Didn’t he cast them off into exile to live a life of sorrow and misery? Why isn’t he starting up a new creation of “better” humans in his Garden, and forget about this failed experiment?

4:4 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:

  • Again, what does the LORD need with the “firstlings” of Abel’s flock?

4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

  • Is there any reason why the LORD had no respect for Cain’s offering? Perhaps it has to do with God’s obsessive lust for blood and the smell of burning flesh. This verse foreshadows later Biblical atrocities where the LORD prefers situations where enormous amounts of blood are spilled, rather than peaceful, nonviolent, diplomatic solutions.
  • How did the LORD make it known whether or not he had respect for their offerings?

4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
4:7 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.
4:8 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.

  • The first religious hate-crime. If the LORD saw that the first people ever born were already killing each other over religion, shouldn’t this give the LORD some kind of warning signal that there’s a problem with his “creation”? Shouldn’t the LORD be explaining to his subjects that they mustn’t fight over who the LORD likes better, or whose offerings the LORD prefers?
  • Why did the LORD allow this to happen?

4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

  • Don’t you know? Aren’t you God?

4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
4:11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

  • Notice that this is the first human death that occurs in the Bible. However, we get no description of what happens to Abel “after” he dies. These verses say nothing about going to “heaven,” “hell,” or any other kind of afterlife. Could it be that this particular author has the (surprisingly healthy) belief that nothing happens to people when they die?

4:12 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.
4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

  • Why doesn’t God punish himself for creating such flawed creatures?

4:14 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.
4:15 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.

  • So the LORD doesn’t want him dead? In fact, he’s making sure that no one kills him? What happened to “an eye for an eye”? Strictly speaking, Cain’s “punishment” isn’t that much worse than Adam and Eve’s, except Cain’s crime was murder, while Adam and Eve’s was knowledge . So, to God, the “crime” of knowledge is pretty much equivalent to murder!

4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

  • How can anyone go out from the “presence of the LORD” if the LORD is everywhere?

4:17 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.

  • Who lived in the land of “Nod,” when the only humans that ever existed were Adam and Eve? Were there multiple Adams and Eves? If so, why doesn’t it say that? And then why were all the other Adams and Eves “punished” for the sins of this particular Adam and Eve? Or did Adam and Eve have many many more babies, who grew up rapidly and managed to settle entire civilizations within Cain’s lifetime?
  • Enoch and everyone else must have had severe birth defects. Trying to spawn a population out of two genetic samples would create a catastrophic bottleneck. In addition, the Bible itself speaks heavily against incest. So why is incest acceptable now, but forbidden later?
  • Isn’t Cain supposed to be a “fugitive”? Then why is he happily settling down with his wife and building a city?

4:18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
4:19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
4:20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
4:21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

  • How can Jabal be the father of all nomads, and Jubal be the father of musicians if the flood later wiped out everyone but Noah’s family? [contributed, see comments below]

4:22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
4:23 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.
4:24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

  • Is Lamech’s punishment supposed to be 77 times “worse” than Cain’s? What exactly does that mean?

4:25 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.
4:26 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.