And Cain talked with Abel
Or "said", or "spoke unto" him F12; either what the Lord God said to him in the foregoing verses, as Aben Ezra; or he spoke to him in a kind and friendly manner, and thereby got him to take a walk in the field with him. The Vulgate Latin version adds, "let us go abroad"; and the Septuagint and Samaritan versions, "let us go into the field"; not to fight a duel, which Abel doubtless would have declined, had that been declared, but to have some friendly conversation; and there being a large pause here in the Hebrew text, the Jerusalem Targum gives us an account of what passed between them when in the field;
``Cain said to Abel his brother, there is no judgment, nor Judge, nor will a good reward be given to the righteous; nor will vengeance be taken of the wicked; neither is the world created in mercy nor governed in mercy; otherwise, why is thine offering received with good will, and mine not?''Abel answered and said to Cain,
``there is a judgment,'' &c.and so goes on to assert everything Cain denied, and to give a reason why the offering of the one was accepted, and the other rejected: and to the same purpose the Targum of Jonathan: and it came to pass, when they were in the field;
alone and at a distance from their parents, or from any town or city, if any were now built, as some think there were, and out of the sight of any person that might come and interpose and rescue: about a mile from Damascus, in a valley, yet on the side of a hill, are now shown the place, or the house on it, where Cain slew Abel F13; and so Mr. Maundrel F14 speaks of a high hill near Damascus, reported to be the same they offered their sacrifice on, and Cain slew his brother, and also of another hill at some distance from Damascus, and an ancient structure on it, supposed to be the tomb of Abel: that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him;
in a furious manner assaulted him, without any just provocation, and took away his life, by some instrument or other, perhaps that was used in husbandry, which might be in the field where they were. The Targum of Jonathan is,
``he fixed a stone in his forehead, and slew him;''and so the Jews say F15 elsewhere: our poet F16 says, he smote him in the breast with a stone, into the midriff or diaphragm: it must be by some means or other, by which his blood was shed; but it is not material to inquire what the instrument was, as Aben Ezra observes; since though there might be swords, yet there were stones and clubs enough, as he takes notice; and there must be even instruments for agriculture, one of which might be taken up, as being at hand, with which the execution might be made. The Jewish writers F17 say Abel was an hundred years old when he was slain; and some of them F18 make Abel to be the first aggressor: they say, that Abel rose up against him, and threw him to the ground, and afterwards Cain rose up and slew him; however this was not likely the case.
F12 (rmayw) "et dixit", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, Drusis.
F13 Lud. Vartoman, Navigat. l. 1. c. 6.
F14 Journey from Aleppo l. 1. p. 131, 133, 134.
F15 Pirke Eliezer, c. 21.
F16 -----------------And, as they talk'd, Smote him into the midriff with a stone, That beat out life.---------- Milton's Paradise Lost, B. 11. l. 444
F17 Josippon apud Abendana in Miclol. Yophi in loc.
F18 Tikkune Zohar, correct. 69. fol. 112. l. 2.