(Gen 4:1 NASB) Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”
Gen 4:1: The third chapter of Genesis showed us how sin came to life. Chapter four will give us the fruit that springs up from that root of sin. This chapter exemplifies the conflict between the “seed of the woman” (Abel) and the “seed of the serpent (Cain).” This conflict is more evident as time goes on.
Eve is possibly expressing joy over giving birth to the Savior, “I have gotten a manchild from Yahweh.” However, if she thought that this was a Savior, she was badly mistaken.
(Gen 4:2 NASB) And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Gen 4:2: Some think that Cain and Abel were twins since it was not stated that Adam “knew” his wife again in verse 2. It is possible that they were twins, but since it’s not stated in the record, it is doubtful. Besides, I think Adam “knew” his wife on a very regular basis and probably kept her pregnant for several hundred years. Adam could always use the excuse that Elohim told them to “be fruitful and multiply.”
We see in this verse that Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. Cain was one, possibly of several, to provide food for the family. Man was not instructed to use animals for food until after the flood (Gen. 1:29, 2:16, 3:19, 9:3). Genesis 9:3 is not allowing man to eat “all living creatures” as this would also include poisonous creatures and cannibalism. Keep in mind that Elohim had already distinguished between clean and unclean animals. This would have carried over to the definitions of animals that were used for food (Gen. 7:2-3, 8-9).
Also Abel, as a shepherd, provided sheep as clothing for the family and also for offerings to Elohim.
(Gen 4:3 NASB) So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
Gen 4:3: Cain brought an offering “in the course of time.” Apparently this was much later. We do not know how old these men were. The passage states that after a long period of time, Cain finally brought an offering and it is an offering of the “fruit of the ground” and it was likely grain.
(Gen 4:4 NASB) And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;
Gen 4:4: The passage does not say that Abel was just now doing this, as is implied with Cain. Abel was bringing “the firstlings of his flock.” This is commanded in Torah (Ex. 13:12, Num. 18:17). Abel probably offered the firstlings of his flock to Elohim on a regular basis, as commanded.
The fact that the text states that Abel also offered the fat portions of the firstlings likely means that he was making a sin offering (Lev. 4:27-35). With this offering for unintentional sin, Elohim had regard for Abel and for his offering.
(Gen 4:5 NASB) but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
Gen 4:5: Many think this sounds as if Elohim is not being “fair” by rejecting Cain’s offering. Elohim has regard for Abel’s offering but doesn’t care for Cain’s. There is little in this account that directly explains Elohim’s refusal of Cain’s offering. One thing to keep in mind is that we are obviously not told everything in these few sentences.
Why did they know to give offerings in the first place? Why is it that Abel gave the appropriate sin offering over 2000 years before it was told on Mt. Sinai? The answer is that the people already knew of Torah. This is more evidence to the premise that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was Torah and when its fruit was eaten sin became alive. We will be coming up to areas of Scripture that cannot be explained any other way than to say the people already knew Torah. How did Abraham keep Elohim’s commandments and statutes if there weren’t any (Gen. 26:4-5)? Why were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed? Was it for breaking the laws of Elohim that did not yet exist? How did Joseph know that he would be sinning against Elohim when Potiphar’s wife wanted him (Gen. 39:9)?
The book of Hebrews tells us why Elohim did not accept Cain’s sacrifice (Heb. 11:4). Abel offered the sin sacrifice of the flocks as he was supposed to. Cain offered a grain sacrifice for sin which was allowed only in the case of severe poverty (Lev. 5:11-13). Regardless of Cain’s occupation, a grain offering for sin was only acceptable if that person was stricken with poverty. In the case of Cain, that is clearly not the issue. He merely thought he could get away with little or no effort on his part.
On the other hand, Abel was a man of faithfulness. Yeshua called him “righteous” and put him in the category of a prophet (Matt. 23:34-36). It is only by our faithfulness that Elohim can accept anything from us for we truly have nothing to offer Him. Abel showed his faithfulness by his obedience. Cain demonstrated disdain for the Torah of Elohim by trying to offer a poor man’s offering. Elohim will not be fooled.
(Gen 4:6 NASB) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
Gen 4:6: Why is Cain angry? He is so angry that he is going to commit murder. Yeshua tells us that when we are angry at our brother, we are in danger of judgment (Matt. 5:21-22).
(Gen 4:7 NASB) “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.”
Gen 4:7: Elohim is definitely warning Cain about the consequences of his anger. He is telling Cain to rule over his sin. Because if he doesn’t, sin will rule over him. This is good advice for all of us.
Allusion to sin being “alive” is given to us here. Sin is described as “crouching at the door” and having “desire for you.” This correlates with the message Paul gave us in Romans 7:9-10.
(Gen 4:8 NASB) And 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.
Gen 4:8: Sadly enough, it appears that Cain planned the murder by luring Abel out to a field where nobody would see what was happening. The first murder was apparently premeditated.
(Gen 4:9 NASB) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Gen 4:9: Cain showed little regard for Elohim by lying to Him and answering in such a smart aleck manner. He was boldly questioning Elohim’s right to ask the question. Adam, after his sin, responded in something resembling confession, but not Cain. The longer sin goes unchecked in mankind, the more hardened his heart gets and the more perverted his senses get.
Elohim cannot speak to Cain in mercy but must now speak to him in judgment.
(Gen 4:10 NASB) And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
Gen 4:10: The writer of Hebrews uses this verse (Heb. 12:24). The blood of Abel spoke of murder that was committed. The blood of Messiah speaks of redemption and salvation.
(Gen 4:11 NASB) “And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
(Gen 4:12 NASB) “When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”
Gen 4:12: Cain could no longer produce the fruits by which he had sought to approach Elohim. The earth would not cooperate with him and he would be a wanderer on the earth. All of us today who try to produce “good works” by our own hands find out that we end up with “thorns and thistles.” The only good works are those that Elohim works in us due to His faithfulness that He prepared beforehand (Eph. 2:8-10). These works are following the instructions of Torah
(Gen 4:13 NASB) And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear!
(Gen 4:14 NASB) “Behold, Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Thy face I shall be hidden, and I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me.”
Gen 4:14: It seems that Cain is sorry, but apparently he’s just sorry he got caught.
(Gen 4:15 NASB) So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him should slay him.
Gen 4:15: Why did Elohim spare Cain and not immediately kill him? I do not think it was out of his mercy, although that could have been the case. Primarily, it was for Cain to be a testimony to his generation of Elohim’s warning against sin.
We don’t know anything about the “sign” (the Hebrew word “oth” is better translated “sign” instead of “mark”) Elohim put on Cain, but it worked. Cain was not killed by his contemporaries for murdering Abel.
Since Cain didn’t trust Elohim to begin with, it makes sense that Cain was a wanderer because he didn’t trust Elohim’s sign to keep him from getting killed. He was constantly looking over his shoulder…
(Gen 4:16 NASB) Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Gen 4:16: The term “Nod” means “wandering.” This likely means that Cain wandered the land east of Eden.
The remainder of chapter 4 gives us an interesting picture of life in the antediluvian (pre-flood) world. This is pretty much the only information we have about the first civilization. Archeological excavations deal almost solely with post-flood era. It is only through legendary recollections of a “golden age” and very few artifacts found deep in fossilized rock that give us clues as to the nature of life in that first world. Most mythological stories of prosperous ancient civilizations such as a sunken Atlantis may have come from recollections of the antediluvian world. In recent years, a number of amazing ancient artifacts have led some writers to the strange notion of ancient astronauts. Actually what they are finding are the remains of a very advanced civilization from what was probably the pre-flood era.
What was the population of man in the world before the Flood? We do not know for sure, but we can speculate by using the few known facts from Scripture. According to Genesis 5, the average patriarch lived about nine hundred years and begat sons and daughters.” Let’s make the following assumptions:
1. The average life-span was about 400 years.
2. The average couple had only six children (three boys and three girls).
3. The children of the couple began having their own children before their parents were about the age of eighty years old. This gives the average couple the opportunity to live to see five generations of their offspring.
Given these very conservative conditions, the population of the earth in its first 800 years (the presumed life-span of Cain) would be 120,000. The population was probably much greater than this since people probably had many more than six children and lived much longer than 400 years.
By the time of the Flood, 1,656 years after creation according to Usser’s chronology, using the conservative assumptions mentioned above, the world population would have been at least seven billion people!
(Gen 4:17 NASB) And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
Gen 4:17: Cain was apparently trying to defy Elohim by setting up a city when Elohim said he would be a wanderer. Cain may have started the city, but he probably didn’t finish it. He was probably the first man to be “run out of town” in fulfillment of Elohim’s curse on him.
It is interesting to note that evolutionary anthropologists state that one identifying mark of mans emergence from the “stone age” is the development of urbanization. Scripture tells us that Adam’s first son built the first city. It didn’t take a million years.
Yes. Cain must have married his sister. However, there was not yet the contamination in the bloodstream and the genetic impurity that we have today. Therefore, this union would not have resulted in a hazardous mess. It is possible that the laws of incest were not given until the time of Moses, when it was necessary. But it is more likely that in order to obey the order to “fill the earth” and multiply, the commandments against incest had to be broken early on. This would be one case where commandments conflict and the weightier issues had to be followed. Also, by that early time microorganisms, disease, and genetic mutation had not infested into the human race and genetic defects due to incest would not have occurred.
Also, Elohim ordered the Israelites then to stay pure as a people which would isolate them from many diseases occurring in the Gentiles because of their evil practices.
(Gen 4:18 NASB) Now to Enoch was born Irad; and Irad became the father of Mehujael; and Mehujael became the father of Methushael; and Methushael became the father of Lamech.
(Gen 4:19 NASB) And Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah.
Gen 4:19: Irad, Mehujael, and Methushael are only listed because they lead up to Lamech, who is the most illustrious of Cain’s descendants. Lamech is determined to follow Cain’s example of rebellion against Elohim. The names of his two wives are interesting. The name Adah means “pleasure” or “adornment.” She must have been the looker. The name Zillah means “to hide.” She must have been the cooker.
Polygamy is not condemned in Scripture. I don’t know that it was approved of in every case, but it wasn’t counted as a sin in any case but for a king as he is not to “multiply” his wives (Deut. 17:14-17). Even then, to “multiply his wives,” may not mean he could not have a few, as David did. Regardless, here it is giving a historical record.
(Gen 4:20 NASB) And Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
Gen 4:20: Jabal invented the tent and probably lived a nomadic lifestyle. He also started the domestication of animals. The Hebrew word for livestock includes cattle, goats, camels and maybe others. He may have also been rebelling against Elohim by using his livestock for food instead of just for clothing or milk.
(Gen 4:21 NASB) And his brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.
Gen 4:21: Jubal started the first rock band and invented sophisticated instruments. His musical ability probably appealed to the sensuality of the Canaanite people.
(Gen 4:22 NASB) As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
Gen 4:22: Tubal-Cain was a skilled metal worker. He probably organized the first labor union and was very good at fashioning metal instruments, tools, and jewelry. Actually, some of his handiwork may have been found in the middle of some coal deposits.
The Encyclopedia Britannica states that coal was formed from the remains of trees, shrubs, and other organic material between 250 to 400 million years ago. There are some who claim they found gold jewelry and iron pots in the middle of coal seams.
For one thing, coal has been formed in the laboratory from trash in about twenty minutes. Millions of years aren’t the necessary ingredient, just the right conditions. Those ideal conditions of heat and pressure existed during the time of the cataclysmic flood. That’s why they possibly found some of Tubal-Cain’s artwork in the coal seam.
(Gen 4:23 NASB) And Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;
(Gen 4:24 NASB) If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”
Gen 4:24: This Lamech was a real winner. He probably had his son, Tubal-Cain, to fashion weapons for him out of metal which would give him unfair advantages in fighting. So then he kills a man and boastfully writes a song about it. He brags that if Elohim can promise a sevenfold punishment for anyone killing Cain, He can guarantee a seventy-seven fold punishment for anyone even hurting him. It’s rather funny that his warning only had an audience of two women.
This is a very contrasting attitude spoken of by Messiah who tells us not to forgive someone seven times, or seventy times, but seventy times seven times (Matt. 18:21-22). It would appear that Yeshua had Cain and Lamech in mind when He spoke in this instance.
This record of Seth’s descendants is Elohim’s answer to modern anthropology (the study of ape-man evolving into something resembling modern man). Evolutionary anthropologists try to tell us the signs of man turning from a wild animal into a civilized being are as follows:
1. The findings of ancient cities.
2. The evidences of domestication of cattle and other animals.
3. The fossil remains of ancient tools.
4. The development of musical instruments which are a definite sign that modern culture was forming.
Elohim recorded these incidents in the line of Cain to tell us today that man has been the way man is now since the time Elohim created man to dwell on the earth (Ecc.1:9-10). If Elohim were to give the Canaanites electricity, the internal combustion engine, and the microchip, you would have our world today.
(Gen 4:25 NASB) And Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him.”
Gen 4:25: Note that Eve named this child. At other times the father named the child. The naming of children has apparently been a joint venture since the very first parents.
(Gen 4:26 NASB) And to Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.
Gen 4:26: The men listed in the record of the descendants of Seth will not be listed with particular human accomplishments or boasting.
The Canaanites were of the “seed of the serpent” and the Sethites were of the “Seed of the woman.” This promised Seed of the woman would need special preserving by Elohim Himself while the seed of the serpent grew like weeds in the field.
The word “men” is inserted in this passage. It is likely a reference to Seth calling upon the name of Yahweh. It is through the line of Seth that we receive the Messiah (Luke 3:23-24, 38).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas