Genesis 4: The First Murder

How many sons and daughters might Adam and Eve have had?

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Genesis 4:1–2 Adam and Eve became one. She became pregnant and gave birth to their son Cain, saying, “With the help of the Lord, I’ve created a man.”
She became pregnant again and gave birth to Abel, who became a shepherd, but his brother Cain was a farmer.
King James
Genesis 4:1–2 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

What were the differences between Cain’s offering and Abel’s?

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Genesis 4:3–5 At harvest time, Cain brought a portion of his crops as an offering to the Lord. Abel’s offering was the choicest cuts of meat from the very best of his flock. God approved of Abel and his offering, but not Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, his face red with anger.
King James
Genesis 4:3–5 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 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: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Why was Cain angry? Who was he angry with—himself, Abel, God, or something else?

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Genesis 4:3–6 At harvest time, Cain brought a portion of his crops as an offering to the Lord. Abel’s offering was the choicest cuts of meat from the very best of his flock. God approved of Abel and his offering, but not Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, his face red with anger.
The Lord said, “Cain, why are you so red-faced with anger?
King James
Genesis 4:3–6 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 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: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

Was God’s advice to Cain encouraging or discouraging? Why?

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Genesis 4:7 Do what is right, and you’ll be accepted. But if you don’t, sin is knocking on your door, ready to control you. Don’t let that happen.”
King James
Genesis 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.

Why did Cain kill his brother? What did he expect to accomplish, if anything?

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Genesis 4:8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go for a walk.” When they were alone in the field, Cain attacked Abel and killed him.
King James
Genesis 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.

Why did God ask Cain about his brother?

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Genesis 4:9–10 “Where is your brother Abel?” God said.
Cain said, “I don’t know. Am I supposed to keep track of my brother?”
“What have you done?” God said. “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
King James
Genesis 4:9–10 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?
And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

What caused Cain to be a failure as a farmer?

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Genesis 4:11–12 Now you are cursed by the earth that received your brother’s blood by your hand. 12 Your farming the land will no longer yield an abundant harvest. You will be a wanderer on Earth, with no place to call home.”
King James
Genesis 4:11–12 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 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.

Why did Cain think someone would kill him?

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Genesis 4:13–14 “Your punishment is more than I can stand,” Cain said. “I can’t stay here, and you won’t go with me to protect me. I will be a fugitive wherever I go, fearing for my life. Someone is sure to find me and kill me.”
King James
Genesis 4:13–14 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 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.

What kind of mark upon Cain did God use to warn others? How would people know the meaning of the mark?

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Genesis 4:15 “No, anyone who kills you will receive punishment seven times greater.” God put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might find and kill him.
King James
Genesis 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.

What does it mean to “leave” the presence of the Lord?

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Genesis 4:16 Cain left the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
King James
Genesis 4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

Why did Cain build a city? Who were its inhabitants?

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Genesis 4:17–22 He became one with his wife. She became pregnant and gave birth to their son Enoch. Cain built a city and named it Enoch, after his son.
Enoch had a son named Irad, who was Mehujael’s father and Lamech’s grandfather.
Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah.
Adah gave birth to her son Jabal, who was the first of those who lived in tents, raising livestock.
His brother Jubal was the first musician to play the harp and flute.
Zillah gave birth to her son Tubalcain and his sister Naamah. He was a skilled forger of bronze and iron tools.
King James
Genesis 4:17–22 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. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.

How did Lamech justify his actions in killing someone? How realistic was his claim that God would severely punish anyone who killed him?

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Genesis 4:23–24 Lamech said to his wives, “Listen, Adah and Zillah. Hear what I have to say, for I have killed a young man who attacked and wounded me. If someone who kills Cain will receive seven times the punishment, then anyone who kills me for my act of self-defense should be punished seventy times seven.”
King James
Genesis 4:23–24 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. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

What does it mean to “call upon the name of the Lord”?

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Genesis 4:25–26 Adam again became one with his wife, and she gave birth to another son. She named him Seth, meaning compensation, saying, “God has given me a child instead of Abel, who was killed by Cain.”
When Seth’s son Enos was born, people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
King James
Genesis 4:25–26 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. 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.