Genesis 4:14

14 Behold, 1you have driven me today away from the ground, and 2from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, 3and whoever finds me will kill me."

Genesis 4:14 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 4:14

Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of
the earth
Not from being upon the earth, or had chased him out of the world as a wicked man is at death, but from a quiet settlement in it, and from society and converse with the inhabitants of it; and especially he was driven from that part of it, where he was born and brought up, and which he had been employed in manuring; where his parents dwelt, and other relations, friends, and acquaintance: and to be banished into a strange country, uninhabited, and at a distance from those he had familiarly lived with, was a sore punishment of him: and from, thy face shall I be hid;
not from his omniscience and omnipresence, for there is no such thing as being hid from the all seeing eye of God, or flying from his presence, which is everywhere; but from his favour and good will, and the outward tokens of it, as well as from the place where his Shechinah or divine Majesty was; and which was the place of public worship, and where good men met and worshipped God, and offered sacrifice to him: and from the place of divine worship and the ordinances of it, and the church of God and communion with it, an hypocrite does not choose to be debarred: and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth;
as was threatened him, (See Gill on Genesis 4:12): and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall
slay me;
that is, some one, the first that should meet him, for he could be slain but by one; so odious he knew he should be to everyone, being under such marks of the divine displeasure, that his life would be in danger by whomsoever he should be found: and this being near an hundred and thirty years after the creation of man, see ( Genesis 4:25 ) ( Genesis 5:3 ) there might in this time be a large number of men on earth; Adam and Eve procreating children immediately after the fall, and very probably many more besides Cain and Abel, and those very fruitful, bringing many at a birth and often, and few or none dying, the increase must be very great; and we read quickly after this of a city being built, ( 4:17 ) . Cain seems to be more afraid of a corporeal death than to have any concern about his soul, and the eternal welfare of it, or to be in dread and fear of an eternal death, or wrath to come; though some think the words should be rendered in a prayer F24, "let it be that anyone that findeth me may kill me"; being weary of life under the horrors of a guilty conscience.


F24 Lightfoot, vol. 1. p. 3,

Genesis 4:14 In-Context

12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."
13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
15 Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.
16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Job 15:20-24
  • 2. 2 Kings 24:20; Psalms 51:11; Psalms 143:7; Jeremiah 52:3
  • 3. Genesis 9:6; Numbers 35:19