Genesis 4:1-8

Cain and Abel

1 Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth[c] a man.”
2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

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Genesis 4:1-8 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 4

In this chapter an account is given of the two eldest children of Adam and Eve, their names and calling, Ge 4:1,2 and of their different offerings to the Lord, and the different respect had unto them by him, which in Cain issued in wrath and envy, which appeared in his countenance, and were taken notice of by the Lord, and about which he reasoned with him, Ge 4:3-7 but it had no effect upon him, he murdered his brother, upon which he was examined about him, but denied he knew anything of him where he was, Ge 4:8,9 he is arraigned, convicted and condemned, sentence passed upon him, and that executed, which he complains of, and is mitigated, or however a protection is granted him, and a mark set on him for his security, Ge 4:10-15 after which we have an account of his posterity for several generations, their names, and the business of some of them, Ge 4:16-24 and the chapter is closed with the birth of another son, and of a grandson to Adam and Eve, in whose days was the beginning of social religion.

Genesis 4:1-8 In-Context

1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”
2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

Cross References 14

  • 1. ver 17,25
  • 2. S Genesis 2:20
  • 3. Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 1:11
  • 4. Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 12:24
  • 5. S Genesis 2:7
  • 6. Leviticus 2:1-2; Isaiah 43:23; Jeremiah 41:5
  • 7. Numbers 18:12
  • 8. Leviticus 3:16; 2 Chronicles 29:35
  • 9. Exodus 13:2,12; Deuteronomy 15:19
  • 10. Hebrews 11:4
  • 11. John 4:4
  • 12. Genesis 44:16; Numbers 32:23; Isaiah 59:12
  • 13. Job 11:15; Job 22:27; Psalms 27:3; Psalms 46:2; S Romans 6:16
  • 14. Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; 1 John 3:12; Jude 1:11

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or "The man"
  • [b]. "Cain" sounds like the Hebrew for "brought forth" or "acquired."
  • [c]. Or "have acquired"
  • [d]. Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Masoretic Text does not have "“Let’s go out to the field.”"