God's Admonishment of Cain

Gen. 4:9-12:
9 "Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
11 “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
12 “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth."


God now asks Cain where his brother was. This is the famous "Am I my brother's keeper". That is even in question today. Are we supposed to take care of our brother (all humans), or as a minimum, know him and his problems. Some believe they have enough problems by themselves without taking care of others. The problem is that Cain lies and has no remorse. Do you believe God did not know the location of Abel. Of course not! But, God was giving opportunity after opportunity (same as now) to come across clean. But, Cain did not. Technically, Cain did NOT know where Abel was. His spirit was in Sheol. This was the OT "holding place" or "dwelling place" for spirits of the dead waiting for the savior. Abel was the first to go. Doesn't it sound as if Cain is actually challenging God for His right to even ask? God now rhetorically asks Cain what he has done. God hears the voice of Abel's blood crying out. Remember, blood was the life and spirit and soul material of us. That is why the blood sacrifice is so important. Blood must be shed for the offerings. BUT, later on, when humans can eat meat, the meat must be bled properly so the "life" material would not be consumed.

Now God sets up a curse for Cain. No longer is He talking to Cain with mercy; now He speaks in judgment. From the ground we were made; to the ground we will go. God says Cain is cursed from the ground which is where the blood went from Abel. Henry M. Morris, writer of The Genesis Record expresses the relationship very well between the seeds of the woman and seed of Satan. "Abel, the type of the seed of the woman, was righteous before God and yet died violently at the hand of the first of the Serpent’s seed. Thus, Abel’s blood crying from the ground is the prototype of all the suffering inflicted on the righteous through the ages by the children of the wicked one. Its climax and fulfillment are seen in the conflict of Satan and Christ on Calvary." From now on, Cain will struggle to keep things going. The ground will not yield what it should or could. Cain will, from now on, wander. He will be a vagrant and wander the earth. Cain would have rather seen innocent blood shed than to obey God. That is what Christ said. Jesus said that the religious leaders had the devil as their father (John 8:44; Matt. 23:15). Even Jesus was forced into a crucifixion to shed blood because the people would rather shed blood than listen to God (Matt. 27:25)

Gen. 4:13-16:
13 "Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear!
14 “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.
16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden."


God's punishment for Cain is much the same as the "crushing of the head of the Serpent". It was serious. Now Cain begins to get scared; not remorseful, but scared. He complains that his punishment is too great. Isn't that what we say today. We have a society not willing to take responsibility for what they do, say, think, etc. We have good with bad, wheat with the tares, good seed and bad seed, etc. So, God lets Cain live and wander.

There is the question of whether repentance would ever be accepted by God from now on. As long as he is living, I believe he could repent. What God would do, I do not know. I would think that He would forgive.

Now Cain tries to go to God's mercy (without repentance). He says that he will be hidden from God. Here it looks like Cain feels total isolation from God to the point that anything that happens will not be seen. Anyone who wants to murder Cain would just do so. However, v15 says that God will not allow that to happen. Whoever kills Cain would get God's wrath 7-fold worse than Cain received. Later in Genesis, God discusses capital punishment. In this case, Cain is saved from death. But he was not saved from suffering the rest of his life. Maybe, His allowing Cain to live is a sign of giving Cain the opportunity sometime to repent. That certainly is a sign of His grace. To protect Cain, God put a "sign" or "mark" (Hebrew: oth = a sign). Most scholars feel oth is better translated a "sign" rather than a physical "mark" for people to see. We do not know what that was; we only know that others would know it and be wary of Cain and not to hurt him.


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