Genesis 4 – Cain and Abel

  • v.1 – Some ancient interpreters have this unusual interpretation that Eve committed adultery by sleeping with the serpent that is why it is said Eve gave birth to “a man” and not a “son”.
  • v.3-5 – There is no consensus among scholars why God favored Abel’s offering over Cain. The New Testament however says that Abel’s offering was better because Abel had faith (Hebrews 11:4). This is consistent with Hebrews 11:6.
  • v.7 – Ancient Mesopotamians have this idea that the demon always lingers around doorways. Demons in Old Babylonia were thought to have this goal of ambushing their victims.
  • v.8 – shows the first murder in history
  • v.9 – the first legal defense was “am I my brother’s keeper?”
  • v. 12 –  Mesopotamians love the urban lifestyle. Farmers and Shepherds were considered as a part of the urban region since what they do is necessary for life. They disdain upon people who live nomadic lives. In the Bible however; we can see that it is through the nomadic life wherein the arts developed.
  • v.12 – God punishes the livelihood of Cain
  • v.12-13 – The word “wandering” is from the Hebrew word “trembling” Trembling is a part of God’s punishment according to ancient interpreters.
  • v.14 – shows the earth is already populated by a number of people. This is the problem of Cain. Warring clans could already be happening at that time. Abel’s extended family might be seeking revenge.
  • v. 17 – Cain was seen here as building a city. Mesopotamians says the first city was Eridu. The name is very similar to the name of Cain’s grandson Irad.
  • v.17 – The Hebrew root word for “city” literally means excitement, terror or anguish. It describes a place full of these emotions.
  • v.17 – Prohibition of incest occurred after the time of Cain.
  • v.20 – Jabal invented tents and pioneered nomadic life which is still alive in the Middle East today.
  • v.21 – Jabal invented stringed instruments.
  • v.22 – Tubal-cain was the inventor of metallurgy
  • v.25 – Abel is dead and Cain is banished so Adam has no more heir. God graciously gives Adam a new son. This is the line that will go all the way to Jesus Christ.
  • v. 25 – Seth in Hebrew sounds like the word “granted”
  • v. 26- Some ancient commentators say Enosh increased sin that is why there is a call to prayer. But there seems to be no great evidence for this. We also see here the first prayer to YHWH which is separate from a sacrifice.
  • Archbishop James Usher added the ages of successive generations and came up with the date of creation as possibly 4,004 BC. Other scholars disagree with this this method.



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NIV First-Century Study Bible: Explore Scripture in Its Jewish and Early Christian Context (Kindle Location 5340). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Nelson, Thomas. NKJV, The Chronological Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Location 1024). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The Apologetics Study Bible (Apologetics Bible) (Kindle Location 70168). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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