Genesis 4:6-10

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 4:6
  • Genesis 4:7
  • Genesis 4:8
  • Genesis 4:9
  • Genesis 4:10

Genesis is a book about many beginnings. The beginnings of the world, the human race, sin and redemption, and the nation of Israel to name a few. In fact, the word Genesis from the Greek means “origin,” and in Hebrew it means “beginning.” The book of Genesis contains the events of the flood, tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lives of the Patriarchs.

In the beginning, God created everything by simply speaking, “God said…and it was so” (Genesis 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15). This is not a scientific technical account of creation, but it shows a loving God creating a universe and mankind to rule it and fellowship with God. Man was formed especially from the ground and given the breath of life from God. The woman was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:7).

After man fell into sin, things began to spin out of control quickly. Cain murdered his brother Abel and the human race became so violent that God decided to destroy them all with a flood. God saved one righteous man (Noah) and his family in an ark filled with animals to deliver the human race from extinction. God chose Abraham and blessed a special group of people named “Israel.” God began to unfold a plan of salvation from a coming famine by sending Joseph to rule in Egypt. The failure of man in every circumstance is met by the salvation of God. We fail, but the good news is God saves us.

Genesis chapter 4 begins the account of life and experience after being exiled from the garden of Eden. In it we see the first children born, the first murder, and the first glimpses of civilization begin to sprout. Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain kills his brother Abel due to his jealousy, and the effect of this sin starts the division between the godly and ungodly. However, the grace of God is manifested to Adam and Eve as their third son, Seth is born. Through Seth and his son, Enosh, the worship of God was restored. This chapter affirms to us how important it is for us to know God and follow His will.

God tries to counsel Cain, warning him of giving into sin and tells him to master it. Cain gave into jealousy and sin, he killed his brother.

God spoke to Cain and tried to lead him back to the right path. God was trying to encourage Cain to reject sin, but instead of taking God’s counsel to heart, Cain resisted.

It seems there was more direct communication with God during this era. In this passage God speaks directly to Cain, and tells Cain that sin is seeking to control him and that he has no reason to be mad at God. What Cain needs to do is straighten up and do right, then he won’t have a reason to be mad. This is another indication of the amazing gift God gave to humanity, the freedom to choose. That is one of the primary ways in which we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27).

The book of 1 John reveals more about Cain’s thoughts and intention, Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous (1 John 3:12). Cain killed Abel because of he was jealous of Abel and likely because he (Cain) had not given God the best of what he had to offer.

In verse 7, God warned Cain that temptation was a fierce beast crouching at the door of his life. Here, sin is personified as an animal. Cain carried a grudge or harbored a bitter feeling in his heart. God told Cain that he must master it, but Cain was unwilling to get right with God. The Hebrew phrase about desire and mastery is the same as in Genesis 3:16. God makes it clear to Cain that sin is trying to devour him, and that it is his choice whether to give in to it or to master it. Cain will decide. And unfortunately he decided to give in to sin.

Cain murdered his own brother out of envy and hatred. This wasn’t a sudden decision, it began with his anger. God intervened to warn Cain, but Cain ignored the warning. That means the murder was premeditated. In spite of God’s warning and promise, Cain murdered his brother, and then lied to God, which is futile, since God knows all things. The first physical human death in the bible was a murder. Cain refused to show respect to God and instead, he showed his selfish defiance.

When Cain lied to God trying to cover up his wicked deeds, God asked questions. Just as He did in Genesis chapter three with Adam and Eve, God was giving Cain the opportunity to tell the truth, and confess his sin.

Cain and Abel, actual blood brothers, were separate in spirit. They both knew God, but one was righteous and one wicked.

Biblical Text

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 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.

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