Genesis 4:8
Then Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
Cain the MurdererJ. Alexander.Genesis 4:8
EnvyGurnall, WilliamGenesis 4:8
Murder of a BrotherN. Wanley.Genesis 4:8
The Beginning of the Fatal Operations of Sin on Human SocA. Maclaren, D. D.Genesis 4:8
The First MurderJ. S. Exell, M. A.Genesis 4:8
The First MurderW. S. Smith, B. D.Genesis 4:8
The First MurdererHomilistGenesis 4:8
The First MurdererC. P. Carey, M. A.Genesis 4:8
The Progress of SinM. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.Genesis 4:8
Unbelief Working by Wrath, Malice, and EnvyR. S. Candlish, D. D.Genesis 4:8
The Kingdom of GodR.A. Redford Genesis 4:1-8
Antiquity of HusbandryBishop Babington.Genesis 4:1-16
Cain and AbelG. R. Leavitt.Genesis 4:1-16
Cain and AbelGenesis 4:1-16
Cain and AbelEssex RemembrancerGenesis 4:1-16
Cain and AbelM. Dods, D. D.Genesis 4:1-16
Cain and AbelI. Williams, B. D.Genesis 4:1-16
Cain and AbelA. Jukes.Genesis 4:1-16
Domestic LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Genesis 4:1-16
Formal Worship an Immense CurseHomilistGenesis 4:1-16
Lessons from the History of CainG. Gilfillan.Genesis 4:1-16
Naming of ChildrenBishop Babington.Genesis 4:1-16
The Best OfferingGenesis 4:1-16
The First Age of the ConflictJ. M. Gibson.Genesis 4:1-16
The First Patriarchal Form of the New DispensationR. S. Candlish, D. D.Genesis 4:1-16
The Religion of Nature, and the Religion of the GospelD. Evans.Genesis 4:1-16
The Story of Cain and AbelD. Rhys Jenkins.Genesis 4:1-16
The True and False Worshipper of GodJ. S. Exell, M. A.Genesis 4:1-16
The Two OfferingsH. Bonar, D. D.Genesis 4:1-16
The Two SacrificesF. D. Maurice, M. A.Genesis 4:1-16
Two Kinds of OfferingsBishop Babington.Genesis 4:1-16

Another "genesis" is now described, that of sinful society, which prepares the way for the description of the rising kingdom of God.

I. THE DEVELOPMENT OF MORAL EVIL IS CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH HUMAN SOCIETY. We must still bear in mind that the aim of the narrative is not scientific, but religious and didactic. The sketch of the first family in vers. 1 and 2 is plainly an outline to be filled in. The keeper of sheep and the tiller of the ground are out in the broad world. We are not told that there were no other human beings when they were grown up. Probably from their employment it is meant to be inferred that the human family had already grown into something like a community, when there could be a division of labor. The production of animal and vegetable food in quantities can only be explained on the presupposition that man had increased on the earth. Then, in ver. 3, we are led on still further by "the process of time."

II. THE COMMUNITY OF MEN, THUS EARLY, HAS SOME PROVISION FOR RELIGIOUS WORSHIP. The two men, Cain and Abel, "brought" their offerings apparently to one place. The difference was not the mere difference of their occupations. Abel brought not only "the firstlings of the flock," but "the fat thereof," an evident allusion to the appointment of some sacrificial rites. The Lord's respect to Abel's offering was not merely a recognition of Abel's state of mind, though that is implied in the reference to the person, as distinct from the offering, but it was approval of Abel's obedience to the religious prescription which is in the background. The Lord remonstrates with Cain when his countenance fell and he was wroth. "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (croucheth like a beast of prey ready to be upon thee). This may be taken either

(1) retrospectively or

(2) prospectively - sin as guilt, or sin as temptation; in either case it is at the door - not necessarily a welcome guest, but ready to take possession. Sin forgiven, temptation resisted, are placed in apposition to acceptance. "Unto thee shall be his desire," - i.e. Abel's, as the younger, - "and thou shalt rule over him," i.e. the natural order shall be preserved. Notice - 50. Divine love providing acceptance in the Divine order, in which religion is preserved, and natural life, with its appointments.

2. Divine mercy rescuing a fallen creature from the results of his own blind disobedience.

3. The righteousness of God maintained in the disorder and passion which spring out of human error and corruption. Sin is at the door; judgment close upon it. Yet God is justified though man is condemned. There is no great sin committed but it has been seen at the door first.

4. Doing not well precedes the direct presumptuous sin. "Cleanse thou me from secret faults." Cain was warned by God himself before his fallen countenance darkened his heart with crime and stained his hand with a brother's blood. What a picture of the gradual degradation of the conscience. Notice -

(1) The disobedience of a Divine commandment in some minor point.

(2) Sense of estrangement from God - loss of his "respect unto us."

(3) Sullen, brooding enmity against God and man.

(4) All these culminating in the violent outbreak of self-assertion, his own works evil, his brother's righteous, therefore he bated him. Ver. 8 is again an epitome. The talk of the two men with one another may represent a long period of angry debate. "It came to pass," on some occasion, in the field, the angry thoughts found their vent in angry words. "Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." The first blood shed had a religious occasion for its origin. The proto-martyr was slain as a testimony to the truth. Mark the significant omen for the subsequent human history. Marvel not if the world hate those to whom God shows special respect. The type is here of all religious wars. The Cain spirit is not mere bloody-mindedness, but all defiance of God, and self-assertion, as against his will and word. Infidelity has been as bloody as superstition. Both meet in the same perverted worship of self. - R.

Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.
I. IT WAS THE MURDER OF ONE BROTHER BY ANOTHER. We should have thought that the members of this small family could have lived on amicable terms with each other. We should never have dreamed of murder in their midst. See here: —

1. The power of envy.

2. The ambition of selfishness.

3. The quick development of passion.

II. IT WAS OCCASIONED BY ENVY IN THE RELIGIOUS DEPARTMENT OF LIFE. Brothers ought to rejoice in the moral success of each other. Envy in the church is the great cause of strife. Men envy each other's talents. They murder each other's reputation. They kill many of tender spirit. You can slay your minister by a look — a word — as well as by a weapon. Such conduct is: —

1. Cruel.

2. Reprehensible.

3. Astonishing.

4. Frequent.


1. By a convicting question.

2. By an alarming curse.

3. By a wandering life.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

iety: —

I. THE FIRST RECORDED ACT OF WORSHIP OCCASIONS THE FIRST MURDER. Is not that only too correct a forecast of the oceans of blood which have been shed in the name of religion, and a striking proof of the subtle power of sin to corrupt even the best, and out of it to make the worst? What a lesson against the bitter hatred which has too often sprung up on so-called religious grounds!

II. SIN HERE APPEARS AS HAVING POWER TO BAR MEN'S WAY TO GOD. Much ingenuity has been spent on the question why Abel's offering was accepted and Cain's rejected. But the narrative itself shows in the words of Jehovah, "If thou doest well, is there not acceptance?" that the reason lay in Cain's evil deeds (See 1 John 3:12; Hebrews 11:4). Plenty of worship nowadays is Cain's worship. Many reputable professing Christians bring just such sacrifices. The prayers of such never reach higher than the church ceiling.

III. Note in one word THAT WE HAVE HERE AT THE BEGINNING OF HUMAN HISTORY THE SOLEMN DISTINCTION WHICH RUNS THROUGH IT ALL. These two, so near in blood, so separate in spirit, head the two classes into which Scripture decisively parts men, especially men who have heard the gospel.

IV. The solemn Divine voice reads the lesson of THE POWER OF SIN, WHEN ONCE DONE, OVER THE SINNER. Like a wild beast, it crouches in ambush at his door, ready to spring and devour. Or, by another metaphor, it hungers after him with a longing which is a horrible parody of the wife's love and desire (comp. Genesis 3:16 with Genesis 4:7). The evil deed once committed takes shape, as it were, and waits to seize the doer. Remorse, inward disturbance, and, above all, the fatal inclination to repeat sin till it becomes a habit, are set forth with terrible force in these grim figures. What a menagerie of ravenous beasts some of us have at the doors of our hearts! The eternal duty of resistance is farther taught by the words. Hope of victory, encouragement to struggle, the assurance that even these savage beasts may be subdued, and the lion and adder (the hidden and the glaring evils which wound unseen, and which spring with a roar), may be overcome, and led in a silken leash, are given in the command, which is also a promise, "Rule thou over it."

V. THE DEADLY FRUIT OF HATE IS TAUGHT US IN THE BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE ACTUAL MURDER. Notice the impressive plainness and fewness of the words. "Cain rose up against his brother, and slew him." Observe the emphasis with which "his brother" is repeated in the verse and throughout. Observe, also, the vivid light thrown by the story on the rise and progress of the sin. It begins with envy and jealousy. Cain was not wroth because his offering was rejected. What did he care for that? But what angered him was that his brother had what he had not. So selfishness was at the bottom, and that led on to envy, and that to hatred. Then comes a pause, in which God speaks remonstrances, as God's voice — conscience — does now to us all, between the imagination and the act of evil. A real or a feigned reconciliation is effected. The brothers go in apparent harmony to the field. No new provocation appears, but the old feelings, kept down for a time, come in again with a rush, and the man is swept away. Hatred left to work means murder.

VI. MARK HOW CLOSE ON THE HEELS OF SIN GOD'S QUESTION TREADS. How God spoke, we know not. Doubtless in some fashion suited to the needs of Cain. But He speaks to us as really as to him, and no sooner is the rush of passion over, and the bad deed done, than a revulsion comes. What we call conscience asks the question in stern tones, which make a man's flesh creep. Our sin is like touching the electric bells which people sometimes put on their windows to give notice of thieves. As soon as we step beyond the line of duty we set the alarm going, and it wakens the sleeping conscience.

VII. CAIN'S DEFIANT ANSWER TEACHES US HOW A MAN HARDENS HIMSELF AGAINST GOD'S VOICE. It also shows us how intensely selfish all sin is, and how weakly foolish its excuses are.

VIII. THE STERN SENTENCE IS NEXT PRONOUNCED. First we have the grand figure of the innocent blood having a voice which pierces the heavens. That teaches in the most forcible way the truth that God knows the crimes done by "man's inhumanity to man," even when the meek sufferers are silent. According to the fine old legend of the cranes of Ibycus, a bird of the air will carry the matter. It speaks, too, of His tender regard for His saints, whose blood is precious in His sight; and it teaches that He will surely requite. Then follows the sentence, which falls into two parts — the curse of bitter, unrequited toil, and the doom of homeless wandering. The blood which has been poured out on the battlefield fertilizes the soil; but Abel's blasted the earth. It was a supernatural infliction, to teach that bloodshed polluted the earth, and so to shed a nameless horror over the deed. We see an analogous feeling in the common belief that places where some foul sin has been committed are cursed. We see a weak natural correspondence in the devastating effect of war, as expressed in the old saying that no grass would grow where the Turk had stabled his horses. The doom of wandering, which would be compulsory by reason of the earth's barrenness, is a parable. The murderer is hunted from place to place, as the Greek fable has it, by the Furies, who suffer him not to rest. Conscience drives a man "through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none." All sin makes us homeless wanderers. Every sinner is a fugitive and a vagabond. But if we love God we are still wanderers, indeed, but we are "pilgrims and sojourners with Thee."

IX. CAIN'S REMONSTRANCE COMPLETES THE TRAGIC PICTURE. We see in it despair without penitence.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)


1. Selfishness overlooks the means employed by others to become great.

2. Destroys the sacredness of natural ties.

3. Considers the virtues of others hostile to itself.

4. Is not scrupulous in injuring the innocent.



1. A righteous Judge sitting on the judgment seat.

2. An opportunity will be offered to the accused to prove his innocence.

3. Only integrity can stand the investigation.


1. No prosperity.

2. No home.

3. No peace.




1. The history affords a melancholy instance of the disappointment which sometimes follows parental hopes.

2. The history teaches that no professions of religion are acceptable to God if they be unaccompanied with faith.

3. We learn from the history, the rapid and extensive progress which sin is capable of making.

4. The history suggests to us the awful criminality which is connected with the murder of a soul! — the infusion of a deadly poison, or the infliction of a deadly blow on the character, and happiness, and hopes of an immortal spirit! — the perdition of a soul by our influence and by our instrumentality! Oh! this is a solemn thought for the minister, and for the parent, and for everyone who possesses any degree of influence in society. "Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God."

5. You also perceive from the history, that the sinner who is bold in crime becomes a coward in the presence of punishment. This was strikingly exemplified in the case of Cain. In the field he was courageous — brave enough to shed a brother's blood! But how he fled trembling when the deed was done. How he endeavoured to persuade Jehovah that he had not been guilty of the crime. And though his punishment was mild and merciful for such a monster of iniquity, yet when it is pronounced he faints, and cries, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." Nor is there in punishment alone, anything that is calculated to soften the heart or to reform the character.

6. Again, the history is connected with the gospel truth that "the blood of sprinkling speaketh better things than the blood of Abel." Both of these are represented in the Scriptures as endowed with speech. The blood of Abel was not sacrificial; the blood of sprinkling is the propitiation for our sins. The blood of Abel proclaims the depravity and malevolence of man; the blood of sprinkling proclaims the purity and the love of God. The blood of Abel cried for punishment on the murderer; the blood of sprinkling cries for pardon and salvation. The blood of Abel produced wretchedness and terror in the mind of Cain; the blood of sprinkling produces joy unspeakable and full of glory.

7. The history teaches that the death of a believer, under whatever circumstances it occurs, is always safe and happy. Such was the death of Abel.

(J. Alexander.)

Our text presents us with a narrative which happened nearly six thousand years ago; a period almost bordering upon that golden age of the world's infancy, when the bowers of Eden still blossomed as the garden of the Lord, and when man yet walked in innocence. But already had "the gold become dim"; and a little space of time had sufficed to change each scene. "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" It may be useful, too, to make this also our first inquiry — the cause of Cain's sorrow. Our second will be, how God sought to remove it.

I. In inquiring into THE CAUSE OF CAIN'S SORROW, we may be sure that sin was the first cause; for to that source alone we ourselves may trace our every trouble. Cain possibly, as we often do, might impute it to what he considered God's harsh and unjust treatment of him, in having no respect to his offering; he should, however, have looked further, and considered his sin. Cain's sin appears to have been of a three-fold character, and consisted first in this: that, though he was a sinner both by nature and by practice, yet, as if unconscious that he was such, he made no acknowledgment of guilt. Scripture everywhere speaks of two distinct classes of offerings. In the New Testament the apostle calls them "gifts"; where, in speaking of one of the particular duties of priests, he mentions both kinds of offerings: "For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices" (Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 5:1). In these gifts, or thank offerings, to have offered blood would have been the grossest abomination; a sin, however, into which the heathen fell. So David says: "Their drink offerings of blood will I not offer." God, therefore, instituted the ordinance of sacrifice, typical of that blood which should one day be shed upon the cross; and therefore it was only when a sacrifice had been first offered, by way of typical atonement, that then God could delight in the thanksgiving of the reconciled sinner. Now, Cain brought a thank offering only; clearly, then, he was practically unconscious of his guilty state before God. In this respect, every unconvinced and every self-righteous sinner resembles Cain; born in Cain's nature, and alas! still unchanged. If you have never yet felt yourself to be a lost sinner, and have never yet by faith washed your guilty soul in the blood of Christ's sacrifice, which alone can cleanse from sin, then, in that case, your best offerings, your prayers and your praises, your charities, or even your sacramental eucharists, are but the offering that Cain brought; and God can neither respect you nor your offering: He does not accept you. But let us now go on to observe the next particular in Cain's sin. It was want of faith in God's method of acceptance. It is just in this way that thousands now, who, like Cain, are without faith, argue respecting God's ordinances, especially respecting His great ordinance, Christ. Some will satisfy themselves with an ideal or speculative faith, who nevertheless have never really come to Christ, have never pleaded earnestly the merit of His sacrifice, or sought, as Abel did, the blood of sprinkling. Others altogether exclude from their religion faith in Christ as the only means by which they can be accepted of God; and this they do, not avowedly perhaps, but by a garbled sophistry. Whilst they profess to hold the fundamental doctrine of justification by faith alone, they so mix up with it the nonsensical quackeries of some thing of their own fancied merits, and so-called inherent righteousness, that they weaken it, and fritter it down into a mere unscriptural idea. We have yet to trace another particular in Cain's sin, and one which is the certain result of being in an unconvinced and unbelieving state — it is disobedience. Unconscious of need, and exercising no faith in God's ordinance, he thought to serve God after his own fashion. And here you have the test by which to try the character of your faith. The true believer has respect to all God's commandments, and would not willingly pass by one, even the most seemingly trifling; for he is aware that, however apparently unimportant it may be in itself, yet the mere fact of its being a Divine command invests it with infinite sanction, and with a claim to most unreserved obedience. The unbeliever, on the other hand, is for serving God according in his own loose notions of morality, by endeavouring to distinguish between duties which are essential and duties which are not essential, as well as also between great sins and little sins.

II. We have seen that there were three particulars in this sin: in answering our second inquiry as to how God sought to remove Cain's sorrow, we shall find THAT THERE WERE THREE CORRESPONDING PARTICULARS IN THE OFFER OF MERCY WHICH GOD MADE TO HIM. The first particular in Cain's sin was that he was unconvinced of his sinfulness and impenitence: the first step, therefore, in God's exhibition of mercy towards him was an endeavour to lead him to true repentance by convincing him that he was a sinner. God usually seizes the most convenient seasons for the operations of His mercy. He comes to knock at the sinner's heart when His visits might seem to be most welcome; and, if in the sinner's sorrow there is any even the most remote semblance of repentance, oh, then a gracious and loving Father steps forth to meet him. God comes to Cain when in trouble, and when vexed in spirit with disappointment, and then mildly expostulates with him: "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" Surely these questions should have touched him, and reminded him of his sin. Cain sorrowed; but, alas! it was not after a godly sort: it did not prove to be that "godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of." This is one reason "wherefore serveth the law"; and the result is blessed, when it comes with such power to a sinner's heart as to convince him of sin. Such it proved to St. Paul (Romans 7:7-11). We have already observed that the second particular of Cain's sin was want of faith in God's appointed method of acceptance, namely, in the shedding of blood. The second particular, therefore, in the exhibition of God's mercy was the assurance of pardon and acceptance through faith in the blood of a sacrifice: "And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door"; that is, "If, in consequence of the utter corruption of your nature, you are unable to make amends to My law already broken, or in future to fulfil all its spiritual requirements, yet in mercy I have provided a remedy, the use of which will restore you to My favour. And now, that I have brought your sin to your knowledge, go to the door of your tent, and see lying there the goat on which, typically, I am ready to lay all your sin: take, and offer it for a sin offering" (Leviticus 4:23, 24). In support of this interpretation, I would first remark that, in the language of Scripture, sin and its punishment, or atonement, are so intimately connected together, that the same word of the original (chattath) represents both ideas; and this word, which in our text has been translated "sin," is in other parts of the Old Testament rendered one hundred and twenty-four times "sin offering." We may further add, in support of the interpretation which we have given, that the literal meaning of the verb "lieth" is in the original "coucheth," and is, moreover, of the masculine gender; whereas the name "chattath" is feminine; thus proving that the verb refers both in its meaning and its gender to the male animal connected with the idea of the sin offering. From what we have said, then, it will appear that God's gracious offer of mercy to Cain consisted in this, that, though he was unable himself to fulfil God's requirements, yet a substituted victim which would be accepted for him was at hand. This, however, was not the only promise of mercy which God made to Cain. The third particular of Cain's sin was disobedience; and, in consequence, he, although the firstborn, forfeited the blessing of birthright. The third particular, therefore, in the exhibition of God's mercy was that, if he would be obedient, he should still enjoy his forfeited preeminence: "And unto thee shall be his [Abel's] desire, and thou shalt rule over him." As though God had said, "Why should you be angry, and imagine that I deal harshly or unfairly with you in choosing your brother and rejecting you? It is true, indeed, that he is My chosen, My elect, and that I have given him that preeminency which is yours by nature; so that, if he lives, from him shall descend My chosen seed, and of him Messiah shall be born — not of you. But do not think that this can furnish you with excuse, or that this My election of him to the rights of the firstborn shall, for one moment, stand in your way. I now pledge My word to you that, if you will be obedient, and propitiate My anger by the sacrifice of the sin offering which is near at hand, even at the door — then Abel shall indeed regard you as the eldest born: 'his desire shall be towards thee'; and thou shalt still enjoy the preeminence, 'thou shalt rule over him.'" To offers so full of mercy the hardened Cain turned a deaf ear, determining to obtain the preeminence — which, possibly, he thought rightly belonged to him — in his own way, not God's way; and, spurning the victim of God's choice, which was crouching at his feet, and whose offered blood, crying for mercy on his behalf, might have saved him, he chose his own victim, and with a brother's hand he shed a brother's blood, blood which cried for vengeance on the murderer's head. How short the step from the richest offers of mercy to a final reprobation! Reject the preaching of the cross today, and tomorrow you may be sealed in final impenitency. And let the believer learn from this narrative how to present all his offerings to God. They must all have reference to the blood of Christ.

(C. P. Carey, M. A.)

Beware of envy; it was one of the first windows that corrupt nature looked out at; a sin that shed the first blood. Cain's envy hatched Abel's murder.

( W. Gurnall..)

I. CAIN'S CRIME. Anger and hatred are the seed of murder. We need to pray always: "Incline our hearts to keep this law."

II. CAIN'S QUESTION. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

1. Defiance of God.

2. Disregard of humanity.


1. Fruitless toil.

2. A restless life.

IV. CAIN'S REMORSE. If we wish to avoid the way of Cain, let us —

1. Subdue angry feelings.

2. Love our neighbour.

3. Confess our sins to God, instead of trying to conceal them.

4. Ask God for pardon, instead of trying to flee from His face.

(W. S. Smith, B. D.)

I. THE LORD DID NOT ALL AT ONCE FINALLY REJECT CAIN; on the contrary, He gave him an opportunity of finding acceptance still, as Abel had found it. The very intimation of his rejection, made to him immediately upon the first offence, was a merciful dealing with Cain, and ought to have been so received by him, and improved for leading him to humiliation, penitence, and faith. Instead of being humbled, however, he is irritated and provoked. Still, the Lord visits him, and graciously condescends to plead and expostulate with him. "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" Wilt thou mend matters by thine angry and sullen gloom? Nay, there is a more excellent way. Retrace thy steps. Do as Abel did. And if like him thou doest well, thou canst have no doubt of thine acceptance. Thy rueful and downcast looks will be elevated into the gladness of a spirit in which there is no guile. But, on the other hand, beware. If thou rejectest the only true and effectual remedy — if thou doest not well — think not that any passionate complaints or moody discontent of thine will avail for thy relief. Sin — the sin to which by complying with its solicitations thou hast given the mastery over thee — is not thus to be got rid of. Nay, thou canst not keep it at a distance, or even at arm's length. It lieth at thy door; ever crouching for thee; ever ready to fawn upon thee for further concessions, or to grasp thee in its fangs of remorse and shame and terror. Cain would not be subject to the law of God — nor would he submit himself to the righteousness of God. He thought that he did well to be angry. And as his wrath could not reach the great Being of whom chiefly he complained, he vented it on his brother, who was within his reach. Being of the wicked one, he slew his brother.

II. Returning from the field, CAIN SCRUPLES NOT, APPARENTLY, TO REVISIT THE SANCTUARY — the very "presence of the Lord"; for it is afterwards said that upon receiving his sentence he went out from thence (ver. 16). He seems to think that he may calmly meet both his parents and his God. He even assumes an air of defiance. Thus the infidel regards religion, in the persons of its professors, as insulting and injurious to himself. He is not its keeper. It is no concern of his to save its credit or its character; rather he may be justified in putting it out of his way as best he can.

III. But Cain, though thus far spared, WAS MADE FULLY AND TERRIBLY AWARE OF THE DIVINE DISPLEASURE. He had hitherto been a tiller of the ground; and the ground, though cursed for man's sake, yielded a return to his toil. This employment of a cultivator of the soil seems originally to have possessed a certain preeminence of rank, and it had this manifest advantage, that it was a stationary occupation — a settled line of life. It permitted those who engaged in it to remain quietly resident in their hereditary domains, and to exercise their hereditary dominion. Above all, it left them in the neighbourhood of the place where the Lord manifested His presence — the sanctuary — the seat and centre of the old primeval religion. But Cain was henceforth to be debarred from the exercise of his original calling; at least on the spot where he had previously enjoyed his birthright privileges. For not only is the ground cursed to him — he is "cursed from the earth."

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

The last chapter described the origin of sin; our narrative develops its progress. Eve was tempted by an external object of pleasure. Cain allowed his heart to be impregnated with the poison of jealousy; the mother was disobedient in the hope of obtaining a high intellectual boon, the son sinned merely to destroy the happiness of another without thereby increasing his own; the former brought death into the world, the latter murder. The sin of Eve marked the period when the innocence of childhood is endangered by the consciousness of good and evil, and when the first act of free will is also the first error; the deed of Cain describes the more advanced epoch of manhood when the strife and struggle with practical life is hottest; when the heart is assailed by numberless perils and collisions; when ambition excites the imagination; and the welfare of competition taxes and stimulates all the energies of man. The first sin was against God; the second both against God and a brother. But the source of either was the covetous desire of the heart. The Bible reminds man, incessantly, that within himself is the spring of life and death.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Sir George Sands, a gentleman living in Kent, had two sons, grown up to that age wherein he might have expected most comfort from them; but in the year 1655, the younger of them, without any apparent provocation, did in a most inhuman manner murder his brother, as he lay sleeping by him in bed; first, he beat out his brains with a hatchet, and then, observing his poor victim to be still lingering in life, he stabbed him seven or eight times in and about the heart; after which, he went to his aged father and told him of it, glorying in his in human and dastardly deed.

(N. Wanley.)

Abel, Adah, Adam, Cain, Enoch, Enos, Enosh, Eve, Irad, Jabal, Jubal, Lamech, Mehujael, Methusael, Naamah, Seth, Tubal, Tubalcain, Zillah
Tigris-Euphrates Region
Abel, Attack, Attacked, Brother, Cain, Death, Field, Killed, Let's, Pass, Riseth, Rose, Slayeth, Slew, Spoke, Talked
1. The birth, occupation, and offerings of Cain and Abel.
8. Cain murders his brother Abel.
11. The curse of Cain.
17. Has a son called Enoch, and builds a city, which he calls after his name.
18. His descendants, with Lamech and his two wives.
25. The birth of Seth,
26. and Enos.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 4:8

     5040   murder
     5047   opportunities, in life
     5214   attack
     5277   criminals
     5436   pain
     5561   suffering, nature of
     5568   suffering, causes
     5589   trap
     5769   behaviour
     5791   anger, human
     8450   martyrdom
     8795   persecution, nature of

Genesis 4:1-8

     6155   fall, of Adam and Eve

Genesis 4:3-8

     6109   alienation
     8796   persecution, forms of

Genesis 4:3-9

     5004   human race, and sin

Genesis 4:3-16

     5082   Adam, significance

Genesis 4:4-8

     8765   grudge

Genesis 4:7-9

     7031   unity, God's goal

Genesis 4:8-10

     6173   guilt, and God

Genesis 4:8-11

     7315   blood, basis of life

Genesis 4:8-12

     5295   destruction
     5661   brothers

Genesis 4:8-16

     5377   law, Ten Commandments
     7318   blood, symbol of guilt

What Crouches at the Door
'If thou doest not well, sin croucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.'--GENESIS iv. 7 (R. V.). These early narratives clothe great moral and spiritual truths in picturesque forms, through which it is difficult for us to pierce. In the world's childhood God spoke to men as to children, because there were no words then framed which would express what we call abstract conceptions. They had to be shown by pictures. But these early men, simple and childlike
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Parental Duties Considered and Urged.
"And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed." Some general observations on the importance of education, especially parental education, were made in the preceding discourse. We are now to consider the ways and means by which parents, are to seek a godly seed. Only general directions can here be given. Much will be left to the discretion of those concerned. Some of the principal parental duties are, Dedication of their children
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
Ver. 20. "And Noah began and became an husbandman, and planted vineyards."--This does not imply that Noah was the first who began to till the ground, and, more especially, to cultivate the vine; for Cain, too, was a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. The sense rather is, that Noah, after the flood, again took up this calling. Moreover, the remark has not an independent import; it serves only to prepare the way for the communication of the subsequent account of Noah's drunkenness. By this remark,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Cain and Abel. Gen 4:3-8
CAIN and ABEL. Gen 4:3-8 When Adam fell he quickly lost God's image, which he once possessed: See All our nature since could boast In Cain, his first-born Son, expressed! The sacrifice the Lord ordained In type of the Redeemer's blood, Self-righteous reas'ning Cain disdained, And thought his own first-fruits as good. Yet rage and envy filled his mind, When, with a fallen, downcast look, He saw his brother favor find, Who GOD's appointed method took. By Cain's own hand, good Abel died, Because
John Newton—Olney Hymns

Letter xxiv (Circa A. D. 1126) to Oger, Regular Canon
To Oger, Regular Canon [34] Bernard blames him for his resignation of his pastoral charge, although made from the love of a calm and pious life. None the less, he instructs him how, after becoming a private person, he ought to live in community. To Brother Oger, the Canon, Brother Bernard, monk but sinner, wishes that he may walk worthily of God even to the end, and embraces him with the fullest affection. 1. If I seem to have been too slow in replying to your letter, ascribe it to my not having
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Letter xxxv. From Pope Damasus.
Damasus addresses five questions to Jerome with a request for information concerning them. They are: 1. What is the meaning of the words "Whosoever slayeth Cain vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold"? (Gen. iv. 5.) 2. If God has made all things good, how comes it that He gives charge to Noah concerning unclean animals, and says to Peter, "What God hath cleansed that call not thou common"? (Acts x. 15.) 3. How is Gen. xv. 16, "in the fourth generation they shall come hither again," to be reconciled
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Letter xxxvi. To Pope Damasus.
Jerome's reply to the foregoing. For the second and fourth questions he refers Damasus to the writings of Tertullian, Novatian, and Origen. The remaining three he deals with in detail. Gen. iv. 15, he understands to mean "the slayer of Cain shall complete the sevenfold vengeance which is to be wreaked upon him." Exodus xiii. 18, he proposes to reconcile with Gen. xv. 16, by supposing that in the one place the tribe of Levi is referred to, in the other the tribe of Judah. He suggests, however, that
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

How the Kindly-Disposed and the Envious are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 11.) Differently to be admonished are the kindly-disposed and the envious. For the kindly-disposed are to be admonished so to rejoice in what is good in others as to desire to have the like as their own; so to praise with affection the deeds of their neighbours as also to multiply them by imitation, lest in this stadium of the present life they assist at the contest of others as eager backers, but inert spectators, and remain without a prize after the contest, in that they toiled not
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Epistle cxxii. To Rechared, King of the visigoths .
To Rechared, King of the Visigoths [82] . Gregory to Rechared, &c. I cannot express in words, most excellent son, how much I am delighted with thy work and thy life. For on hearing of the power of a new miracle in our days, to wit that the whole nation of the Goths has through thy Excellency been brought over from the error of Arian heresy to the firmness of a right faith, one is disposed to exclaim with the prophet, This is the change wrought by the right hand of the Most High (Ps. lxxvi. 11 [83]
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

The Growth of the Old Testament Prophetic Histories
[Sidenote: Analogies between the influences that produced the two Testaments] Very similar influences were at work in producing and shaping both the Old and the New Testaments; only in the history of the older Scriptures still other forces can be distinguished. Moreover, the Old Testament contains a much greater variety of literature. It is also significant that, while some of the New Testament books began to be canonized less than a century after they were written, there is clear evidence that
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

Second Sunday after Trinity Exhortation to Brotherly Love.
Text: 1 John 3, 13-18. 13 Marvel not, brethren, if the world hateth you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Extracts No. vii.
[In this number the objector gives the whole ground of his objections, and the reasons for his doubts: which he states as follows, viz. "1. Mankind, in all ages of the world, have been, and still are prone to superstition. "2. It cannot be denied, but that a part of mankind at least, have believed, and still are believing in miracles and revelation, which are spurious. "3. The facts on which religion is predicated are unlike every thing of which we have any positive knowledge." Under the first
Hosea Ballou—A Series of Letters In Defence of Divine Revelation

The Faith of Abraham.
"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. By faith even Sarah herself received power to conceive seed when she was past age, since she
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

The Earliest Chapters in Divine Revelation
[Sidenote: The nature of inspiration] Since the days of the Greek philosophers the subject of inspiration and revelation has been fertile theme for discussion and dispute among scholars and theologians. Many different theories have been advanced, and ultimately abandoned as untenable. In its simplest meaning and use, inspiration describes the personal influence of one individual upon the mind and spirit of another. Thus we often say, "That man inspired me." What we are or do under the influence
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah
"And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto Me (one) [Pg 480] to be Ruler in Israel; and His goings forth are the times of old, the days of eternity." The close connection of this verse with what immediately precedes (Caspari is wrong in considering iv. 9-14 as an episode) is evident, not only from the [Hebrew: v] copulative, and from the analogy of the near relation of the announcement of salvation to the prophecy of disaster
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Sixth Commandment
Thou shalt not kill.' Exod 20: 13. In this commandment is a sin forbidden, which is murder, Thou shalt not kill,' and a duty implied, which is, to preserve our own life, and the life of others. The sin forbidden is murder: Thou shalt not kill.' Here two things are to be understood, the not injuring another, nor ourselves. I. The not injuring another. [1] We must not injure another in his name. A good name is a precious balsam.' It is a great cruelty to murder a man in his name. We injure others in
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Third Sunday Before Lent
Text: First Corinthians 9, 24-27; 10, 1-5. 24 Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. 25 And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: 27 but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Li. Dining with a Pharisee, Jesus Denounces that Sect.
^C Luke XI. 37-54. ^c 37 Now as he spake, a Pharisee asketh him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. [The repast to which Jesus was invited was a morning meal, usually eaten between ten and eleven o'clock. The principal meal of the day was eaten in the evening. Jesus dined with all classes, with publicans and Pharisees, with friends and enemies.] 38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner. [The Pharisee marveled at this because
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Epistle xxxix. To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria.
To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Gregory to Eulogius, &c. As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country (Prov. xxv. 25). But what can be good news to me, so far as concerns the behoof of holy Church, but to hear of the health and safety of your to me most sweet Holiness, who, from your perception of the light of truth, both illuminate the same Church with the word of preaching, and mould it to a better way by the example of your manners? As often, too, as I recall in
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Adam's Sin
Q-15: WHAT WAS THE SIN WHEREBY OUR FIRST PARENTS FELL FROM THE ESTATE WHEREIN THEY WERE CREATED? A: That sin was eating the forbidden fruit. 'She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband.' Gen 3:3. Here is implied, 1. That our first parents fell from their estate of innocence. 2. The sin by which they fell, was eating the forbidden fruit. I. Our first parents fell from their glorious state of innocence. God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.' Eccl
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Blessed are they that Mourn
Blessed are they that mourn. Matthew 5:4 Here are eight steps leading to true blessedness. They may be compared to Jacob's Ladder, the top whereof reached to heaven. We have already gone over one step, and now let us proceed to the second: Blessed are they that mourn'. We must go through the valley of tears to paradise. Mourning were a sad and unpleasant subject to treat on, were it not that it has blessedness going before, and comfort coming after. Mourning is put here for repentance. It implies
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Unity of God
Q-5: ARE THERE MORE GODS THAN ONE? A: There is but one only, the living and true God. That there is a God has been proved; and those that will not believe the verity of his essence, shall feel the severity of his wrath. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' Deut 6:6. He is the only God.' Deut 4:49. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thy heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else.' A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Tiglath-Pileser iii. And the Organisation of the Assyrian Empire from 745 to 722 B. C.
TIGLATH-PILESER III. AND THE ORGANISATION OF THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE FROM 745 to 722 B.C. FAILURE OF URARTU AND RE-CONQUEST Of SYRIA--EGYPT AGAIN UNITED UNDER ETHIOPIAN AUSPICES--PIONKHI--THE DOWNFALL OF DAMASCUS, OF BABYLON, AND OF ISRAEL. Assyria and its neighbours at the accession of Tiglath-pileser III.: progress of the Aramaeans in the basin of the Middle Tigris--Urartu and its expansion into the north of Syria--Damascus and Israel--Vengeance of Israel on Damascus--Jeroboam II.--Civilisation
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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