The man and his wife, Eve, had sex and she bore Cain and then Abel. There is no time for discussing growing up, because they’re already men and working in the fields. Abel is tending to the livestock and Cain is tilling the ground and growing fresh veggies. They both make offerings to God, but God didn’t recognize Cain’s offering. Cain get mad at Abel and lures him out to the field to kill him. Eventually, God finds out and curses Cain by making leave and go wandering (Nod is “wandering”), but nobody can kill him or else they will receive a sevenfold punishment.
There is no explanation as to why God did not accept Cain’s offering. Is he not a vegetable fan? I can see why God chose Abel’s offering. I mean, some fresh young animals are perfect for a barbecue. But why does Cain get mad at Abel and kill him? He should be mad at God for not giving a reason for his decision. As an aside, from AJ Jacobs’ book, The Year of Living Biblically, there is a hierarchy of sacrifices and animals are number one on that list.
I will bring this story up again in a couple posts because I see it as telling that Cain gets off pretty easy for murder. OK, I mean, he hasn’t been given any commandments or anything, so maybe he didn’t realize that murder was wrong. Oh, right, except that humans know the difference between good and evil thanks to mom and dad eating from that tree in the last chapter.
“Cain knew his wife…” Huh? This would only make sense if the first chapter creation narrative is included and God created humankind and not just one human and a rib woman. Anyway, I’m not going to get hung up on this. We get genealogy of Cain, then we return to Adam and Eve knowing one another and producing Seth because Cain killed Abel. Seth had a son Enosh.
We get yet another genealogy, this time of Adam which is actually a genealogy of Seth. This one has some common names to Cain’s lineage, including Lamech and Enoch. The latter of which is interesting in that, despite having only a few lines written about him in this book, spawned an entire volume known as the Book of Enoch. It is only found today in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible and as a separate book. There is a great video on this book on the YouTube channel, Religion For Breakfast.
Ages in the bible are interesting. Methuselah lived until he was nine hundred sixty-nine years old. The idea of ages in the Bible is one that has confused me for a long time, and it still does because of the counting system used. There is an excellent primer on the BioLogos blog that breaks down how to calculate the ages in years of the patriarchs in the Bible (https://biologos.org/articles/long-life-spans-in-genesis-literal-or-symbolic/). Quick and dirty explanation: It’s most likely based on a base-60 counting system and “years” are most likely months, which would make sense since the moon cycle would be a better measure of time back in those days since the full phases could be observed. Also, the Jewish calendar is based on months, and the Christian holiday of Easter moves based on when Passover falls.
And to think, I didn’t think I would say anything about the genealogy chapters.
2 thoughts on “Genesis Chapters 4 and 5”
The way I understand some of this is that Cain’s offering was rejected because he did it out of obligation and not true faith although there is never a complete explanation so that is just an assumption. You could say he offered a bloodless sacrifice and that’s why it was rejected but a lot of people think that is not the case.
As for Cain killing Abel, part of it is there are so few people in the world at this time that these people have direct relationships with God and Cain being outdone by his brother threw him into a jealous rage. Also, Cain is the first-born so to be shown up by the younger brother was even more of an insult in those times.
Although Cain is saved and protected, he is still marked and we must assume justice finally caught up to him although we are never clearly told what happens to him.
Finally, why did people live so long in the Bible? I would believe it was to populate the Earth. There were so few people and they had to have a lot of kids to end up to grow the population and this would take time. Someone living to today’s life spans could only have so many kids.
These are just my thoughts. Don’t take them as “gospel” LOL.
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