Genesis Chapter 4

Outline

The birth, employment, and religion of Cain and Abel. (Verse 1-7.)

Cain murders Abel, The curse of Cain. (Verse 8-15.)

The conduct of Cain, His family. (Verse 16-18.)

Lamech and his wives, The skill of Cain’s descendants. (Verse 19-24.)

The birth of another son and grandson of Adam. (Verse 25,26.)


The First Family was now about to become a reality. How much time had elapsed since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden is unclear. Also, the location of their new residence in relation to the Garden of Eden is unkown other than the fact that it is eastward of Eden. How far eastward remains a mystery.

How many times do we sell our birth right for a mess of pottage? We can never have anything better than what God wants for us. That is why we should pray, Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.

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

[Gen 19:5, Judges 19:22]

The word knew is meant in an intimate and physical way. God had given Adam and Eve the gift of Sex (The union of a man and a woman intimately in the confines of a marital relationship).

Satan has taken it and perverted it. God has had to judge the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness. God will not allow the popular Sodomite movement of today to go on unpunished. Many believe AIDS is the hand of God already judging mankind for this wickedness.

2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Notice that God places the younger first when listing them together because of the favour Abel had with God due to his obedience. While God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, He also blesses those who put into practice Biblical principles.

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:

[Exod 13:12, Exod 34:19, Lev 27:26, Num 18:17, Prov 3:9]

Heb 11:4 – By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

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

[Heb 11:4]

Abel brought the sacrifice God commanded; Cain rebelled and did things his way, bringing something he worked for himself.  This is  self-righteousness and pictures many people in our land who are attempting to gain God’s favour through their own good works!

The process of time referred to here means the time for the next yearly sacrifice was at hand. Each year on the Day of Atonement, offerings were to be made from the firstlings of your flock as a covering for sin.

God had instituted the first sacrifice for sins in the Garden when He killed innocent lambs and made coats for Adam and Eve. The skins were a covering for their nakedness only. They were not a covering for their sins as the Masonic Lodge falsely teaches. It was the blood of the innocent lambs that foreshadowed the future sacrifice of Christ that provided a covering for their sins.

6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

[countenance = emotions or attitude of one as seen in their face]

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.

all Cain had to do was take some of his fruit, buy a sheep from his brother and offer it to God; the Lord was more than willing to accept Cain if he obeyed – note also Hebrews 11:4 and I John 3:12.

Cain and Abel had for many years came with their Father and Mother to offer sacrifices for the sins of their family on the Day of Atonement. Now this time Cain and Abel would offer their own sacrifices. Cain was married and was responsible to make an offering for his own house.

No longer was his father responsible for making an offering for his two sons. Cain on his own decided to bring an offering of his own making. Cain brought a fruit offering instead of what he knew God expected. He was worshipping God but in his own way. How many times have we heard this before? God did not have respect for Cain’s offering because there was no bloodshed for the remission of sins

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.

[1st John 3:12, Jude 11]

Billions of people have been killed over the last 6000 years in the name of Religion because people are to self-centered to help someone who is spiritually blind to find the truth, so they label them as heretics (and so they may be), but instead of witnessing to them they kill them to ease their guilty conscience.

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

[Gen 3:9]

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” is not an honest question, but the cry of the rebellious sinner

God is omniscient, so He was not asking for Himself, He was asking for Cains benefit. Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God.

10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

[Matt 23:35, Matt 27:25, Acts 5:28, Rev 6:10]

11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

[Deut 28:15, Gal 3:10]

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.

[vagabond – wanderer]

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

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.

This was a personal curse on Cain for his sin, not a universal curse upon the Earth that occurred in Chapter three with his Father. This was an individual curse of poverty upon Cain for his murder of his brother and as we shall see from the following verses it was also a banishing of Cain from Gods presence. Yes, God is omnipresent, but the place of sacrifice was now denied to Cain because of his sin.

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.

What was the mark that the LORD set upon Cain? Many have claimed secret revelation in this area and all have been wrong. The Masons, Mormons and Aryans (KKK) hold or held to the belief that the mark was black skin. This was a ridiculous attempt to justify their racist views. The Truth is we don’t really know what the mark was. It couldn’t have been black skin because when the flood came along they would have been all destroyed.

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

[2nd Kings 13:23, 2nd Kings 24:20, Jer 23:39, Jer 52:3]

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.

[Psa 49:11]

The age old question of many skeptics has been, “Where did Cain get his wife?”  The obvious answer is that he married his sister or cousin – Gen 5:4.  Remember that Adam and Eve had the same “Father” and thus Adam essentially married his own sister!

18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.

[beget –to bring forth, procreate]

Once again we are presented with the question, Where did Cain get his wife? Well since chapter two states that Eve was the mother of all living we know that Cain had to marry his sister.

19 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 (more than one wife) in the Bible – this would be in rebellion to what God said in Gen 2:24.

20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.

21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.

[artificer – one who makes something by art or skill]

Here we have the first sister mentioned in the Bible, a city bares her name in Joshua 15:41 but it is not clear whether there is any relation to the Naamah mentioned here.

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.

24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

Apparently, Lamech was assaulted by two men and he killed them both. Since God said he would avenge someone for getting revenge on Cain, Lamech thought surely that God should avenge him seventy times more because of his innocence.

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.

Notice when a male child is born the Bible often associated it as the seed of a man. Man provides the seed. Only once is there a mention of the seed of the woman. It is found in Genesis three in reference to the Virgin Birth of our Saviour.

“appointed me another seed…” – compare with Gen 3:15

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.

[1st Kings 18:24, Psa 116:17, Joel 2:32, Zeph 3:9, John 1:12, Acts 15:17, 1st Cor 1:2]

 


Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-7 – When Cain was born, Eve said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. Perhaps she thought that this was the promised seed. If so, she was wofully disappointed. Abel signifies vanity: when she thought she had the promised seed in Cain, whose name signifies possession, she was so taken up with him that another son was as vanity to her. Observe, each son had a calling. It is the will of God for every one to have something to do in this world. Parents ought to bring up their children to work. Give them a Bible and a calling, said good Mr. Dod, and God be with them. We may believe that God commanded Adam, after the fall, to shed the blood of innocent animals, and after their death to burn part or the whole of their bodies by fire. Thus that punishment which sinners deserve, even the death of the body, and the wrath of God, of which fire is a well-known emblem, and also the sufferings of Christ, were prefigured. Observe that the religious worship of God is no new invention. It was from the beginning; it is the good old way, Jeremiah 6:16. The offerings of Cain and Abel were different. Cain showed a proud, unbelieving heart. Therefore he and his offering were rejected. Abel came as a sinner, and according to God’s appointment, by his sacrifice expressing humility, sincerity, and believing obedience. Thus, seeking the benefit of the new covenant of mercy, through the promised Seed, his sacrifice had a token that God accepted it. Abel offered in faith, and Cain did not, Hebrews 11:4. In all ages there have been two sorts of worshippers, such as Cain and Abel; namely, proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method of salvation, who attempt to please God in ways of their own devising; and humble believers, who draw near to him in the way he has revealed. Cain indulged malignant anger against Abel. He harboured an evil spirit of discontent and rebellion against God. God notices all our sinful passions and discontents. There is not an angry, envious, or fretful look, that escapes his observing eye. The Lord reasoned with this rebellious man; if he came in the right way, he should be accepted. Some understand this as an intimation of mercy. “If thou doest not well, sin, that is, the sin-offering, lies at the door, and thou mayest take the benefit of it.” The same word signifies sin, and a sacrifice for sin. “Though thou hast not done well, yet do not despair; the remedy is at hand.” Christ, the great sin-offering, is said to stand at the door, Revelation 3:20. And those well deserve to perish in their sins, that will not go to the door to ask for the benefit of this sin-offering. God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering did not change the birthright, and make it his; why then should Cain be so angry? Sinful heats and disquiets vanish before a strict and fair inquiry into the cause.

Verse 8-15 – Malice in the heart ends in murder by the hands. Cain slew Abel, his own brother, his own mother’s son, whom he ought to have loved; his younger brother, whom he ought to have protected; a good brother, who had never done him any wrong. What fatal effects were these of our first parents’ sin, and how must their hearts have been filled with anguish! Observe the pride, unbelief, and impenitence of Cain. He denies the crime, as if he could conceal it from God. He tries to cover a deliberate murder with a deliberate lie. Murder is a crying sin. Blood calls for blood, the blood of the murdered for the blood of the murderer. Who knows the extent and weight of a Divine curse, how far it reaches, how deep it pierces? Only in Christ are believers saved from it, and inherit the blessing. Cain was cursed from the earth. He found his punishment there where he chose his portion, and set his heart. Every creature is to us what God makes it, a comfort or a cross, a blessing or a curse. The wickedness of the wicked brings a curse upon all they do, and all they have. Cain complains not of his sin, but of his punishment. It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins. God has wise and holy ends in prolonging the lives even of very wicked men. It is in vain to inquire what was the mark set upon Cain. It was doubtless known, both as a brand of infamy on Cain, and a token from God that they should not kill him. Abel, being dead, yet speaketh. He tells the heinous guilt of murder, and warns us to stifle the first risings of wrath, and teaches us that persecution must be expected by the righteous. Also, that there is a future state, and an eternal recompence to be enjoyed, through faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice. And he tells us the excellency of faith in the atoning sacrifice and blood of the Lamb of God. Cain slew his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous, 1st John 3:12. In consequence of the enmity put between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, the war broke out, which has been waged ever since. In this war we are all concerned, none are neuter; our Captain has declared, He that is not with me is against me. Let us decidedly, yet in meekness, support the cause of truth and righteousness against Satan.

Verse 16-18 – Cain cast off all fear of God, and attended no more on God’s ordinances. Hypocritical professors, who dissemble and trifle with God, are justly left to themselves to do something grossly scandalous. So they throw off that form of godliness to which they have been a reproach, and of which they deny the power. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and we never find that he came into it again, to his comfort. The land Cain dwelt in was called the land of Nod, which means, ‘shaking,’ or ‘trembling,’ and so shows the restlessness and uneasiness of his own spirit, or ‘the land of a vagabond:’ they that depart from God cannot find rest any where else. Those on earth who looked for the heavenly city, chose to dwell in tabernacles or tents; but Cain, as not minding that city, built one on earth. Thus all who are cursed of God seek their settlement and satisfaction here below.

Verse 19-24 – One of Cain’s wicked race is the first recorded, as having broken the law of marriage. Hitherto, one man had but one wife at a time; but Lamech took two. Wordly things, are the only things that carnal, wicked people set their hearts upon, and are most clever and industrious about. So it was with this race of Cain. Here was a father of shepherds, and a father of musicians, but not a father of the faithful. Here is one to teach about brass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of the Lord: here are devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, and how to be merry; but nothing of God, of his fear and service. Present things fill the heads of most. Lamech had enemies, whom he had provoked. He draws a comparison betwixt himself and his ancestor Cain; and flatters himself that he is much less criminal. He seems to abuse the patience of God in sparing Cain, into an encouragement to expect that he may sin unpunished.

Verse 25,26 – Our first parents were comforted in their affliction by the birth of a son, whom they called Seth, that is, ‘set,’ ‘settled,’ or ‘placed;’ in his seed mankind should continue to the end of time, and from him the Messiah should descend. While Cain, the head of the apostacy, is made a wanderer, Seth, from whom the true church was to come, is one fixed. In Christ and his church is the only true settlement. Seth walked in the steps of his martyred brother Abel; he was a partaker of like precious faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and so became a fresh witness of the grace and influence of God the Holy Spirit. God gave Adam and Eve to see the revival of religion in their family. The worshippers of God began to do more in religion; some, by an open profession of true religion, protested against the wickedness of the world around. The worse others are, the better we should be, and the more zealous. Then began the distinction between professors and profane, which has been kept up ever since, and will be, while the world stands.