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The very first part of that verse actually reads, from the Hebrew, "And Cain said to his brother. We don't know, that is missing from the text. The King James translators fixed this by changing the word from "said" to "talked. At some point when the scroll was being copied, a copier accidently skipped over what was said by Cain. Here is this verse from Young's Literal Translation. Young's remains true to the Hebrew, but adds, "Let us go into the field.

From the Greek Septuagint, which reads as follows. Where did the Septuagint get the "Let us go out into the plain? Either they were translating from a Hebrew scroll that includes the conversation, or they "fixed" the text by adding the sentence in order for the passage to make sense.

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The reason that I bring up this problem in the text is so that you will recognize that there is a problem in the text and we do not know with certainty all of the facts in this murder. But in any case, Cain does murder his brother and he is punished for it, which by the way, is more evidence that God gave his commands to Adam and Eve, long before he gave them to Moses, here specifically the commandment, "you shall not murder" Exodus The punishment The first punishment for Cain is that he is will no longer be able to work the ground. Cain is distressed by this punishment and says to God, according to the translations;.

This implies that there is no remorse in Cain and he is more worried about his punishment than the evil act he did to his brother. However, the Hebrew word translated as punishment is avon , which means "iniquity" or "guilt. Cain then continues to say,. However we find throughout the Old Testament instances where God shows Grace. The story of Noah, the exodus of the Israelites and many others are stories of grace and this story is no different as God grants mercy, grace and hope to Cain.

God evidently believed that Cain's murder did not deserve death, either by his or anyone else's hand and this may be a sign that there is more to this murder story than we are told. Don't forget that the conversation between Cain and Abel is not known for sure and it is also possible that there are elements of this story that have not been passed down to us. What is the mark that God placed on Cain? We of course cannot know with any certainty, but there are some clues. The Hebrew word translated as "mark" is the word 'ot , which is used in the Biblical text for a "sign.

In the above passage, the Hebrew word for the "mark" is tav , which is last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The above passage would be better translated as, "and put a 'tav' upon the foreheads. It is possible that the "mark" God placed on Cain was the letter tav and may also be a sign that God was in covenant relationship with Cain.


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Conclusion As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, if we carefully examine the text more closely we will find that there is much more to the story of Cain and Abel then most of us have been taught. I don't have all of the answers; in fact, as I study the Biblical text carefully, I will usually wind up with more questions than I do answers.

But this is what Bible study is all about. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry 1 Samuel Man must approach God in faith. Not only must the sacrifice not be done with the wrong heart attitude, God expected that the one bringing it be conscious that he was flinging himself solely on God being true to his Word. God was not some sort of trickster who would tell them to do something and then laugh, or back down and not keep His promise.

Faith must have a rational purpose. God never asks us to direct faith towards a mindless, illogical, nebulous nothingness. Faith has to have rationale. Why bring the sacrifice? Was it to praise God, seek forgiveness of sin, or show thankfulness.

Why Did Cain Kill Abel?

We know from Scriptures recorded later in history that different sacrifices were allowed for different reasons. So the type of sacrifice was also important, because with it came the purpose for faith. Sacrifices must be acceptable. We can safely say that God did not consider some articles as sacrifices.

God did not allow man to offer him a pig or weeds. For example, if it was an animal, the beast had to be in good condition; it could not be mangled or on its deathbed. It must be offered in an acceptable way. If the sacrifice was an animal, it was not to be chained and starved to death.

It could not be hung, poisoned or struck on the head. Very specifically, the Bible says it was to die by shedding its blood. It must be offered on an altar. It was to be offered on an altar. Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.

If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it Exodus God obviously had strong feelings about how an altar should and should not be built. God must have told Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob something for them to even know to build one in the first place. I believe it is safe to assume that God gave them these minimal details of what an altar should be. I believe it is also safe to assume that knowledge was also passed on to Cain, Abel and Job.

There is one other interesting point one can make about altars. An altar represented a point of contact between God and man. It was a place not the only place where man came to do business with God. The significance of that point can be missed until you think of what it would have been like to have no altar.

There you have Abel, Cain, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Job, all wandering around town holding their sacrifice in their hands, but not sure how to communicate that they are trying to approach God. Not only did they have to know how , they needed a where. Without doubt he met God at an altar. There may be other irreducible minimums, but these are enough to get the picture. Any violation of these essentials and God did not accept the sacrifice. Having travelled all over the world and visited over 40 tribal groups, I know that many bizarre things are done in ritual sacrifice.

The basic essentials of proper sacrifice-making are not an intrinsic part of human thinking. God must have told them. Is there any additional Scriptural evidence that such a conversation took place? I believe we can say, yes, there is ample evidence that God gave Cain and Abel some very specific instructions. Why is your face downcast? Later on in the Scriptures we see records of angels talking to Zacharias, the shepherds and Mary, with these individuals showing significant apprehension. But in Genesis 4, nothing in the record comes across as this conversation being some sort of exception to the rule.

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We can safely say that God did converse with Cain and Abel. This can also be said of other godly men whose lives are recorded in the early pages of the Bible.

Cain and abel in the bible

Secondly, we know that God had at least one conversation prior to the sacrifice being offered. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Both of these indicate prior knowledge, prior conversations. That prior conversation s would have had to contain the essential details we saw above. The fact that Cain and Abel even knew to offer a sacrifice of any kind implies knowledge gained from God. We saw that such knowledge does not naturally reside in the human heart. We do not instinctively like or make sacrifices. To start with, we can reply with confidence that Abel did that right thing.

God wanted Cain to do the same thing Abel had done. In addition to that generality, according to the details found later in the Pentateuch, Abel did seven specific right things when he offered his sacrifice. The Bible tells us in Genesis But Abel 1 brought 2 fat portions from 3 some of the 4 firstborn of 5 his 6 flock.

Abel brought the sacrifice. Abel presented the offering himself.

When any of you brings an offering to the LORD. He must present it. Leviticus , 3. He offered the fat. With an animal, only certain parts of the animal were considered acceptable. For example, God would not have accepted the hide, horns, hooves or sex organs. The priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma.

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