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A Testimony of Cain and Abel (Gen 4:1-10)
It has been several months since we have been in Genesis getting answers from the Pentateuch, which is the title of this particular series. As I have said several times and while I know many do not like this form of expository bible study where we simply move our way through chapters and verses and words tying it to concepts prior stated to form a biblical foundation of what is being said and understanding it’s impact upon what we find hundreds and thousands of years later including the modern day, today. Genesis is literally the beginning of our Apologetic, that is our answer to those without the church and within: those who need an answer to persuade them unto a firm Trust in the Word of God and of His incarnation, as well as an answer to those who have faith but who are not established in sound doctrine, thus in any right understanding of a matter a foundation is needed to establish it.
1Pe_3:15-16 where we are told But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Genesis again is the beginning of our Epistemology, that is the foundation of what we will read in the future, or what we have read that chronologically takes place after. And while we often feel like we have read Genesis or Exodus 1000 times and we know the stories of this time period Oh so well, the truth is that when you exegetically look at any part of Scripture and allow the text to speak for itself by the meanings of it’s definitive language found throughout the whole by an examination of both the Hebrew and the Greek texts and a heavy dose of logic . This is a very important part in developing a systematic theology based in Scripture which is consistent, which is needed for any meaningful learning, witnessing to non-believers, or correcting those who oppose themselves by contradictory theology which will eventually be challenged, shaken or destroyed, leading the worst cases to a disregard of the contradictory nature of their Faith thereby limiting the effect of it’s power in reality. Ultimately Our Trust in the WORD of GOD is a search for truth, and truth can only be arrived at by the facts of witnesses, evidence refined until it is irrefutable.
In Genesis 3, in ending we had seen how Adam and his help mate Eve had lead their people or Anthropon as it is referred to in the Greek, in to the fall, this was accomplished by a deconstruction of the God ordained order of Headship, which starts with YHWH then to His mediating Word, then unto husbands and fathers and then to the wives who are by design ‘Help-mates’ made to aid in the lone-ness of their men, with the purpose of reproduction ‘increase’ and ‘multiply’ in their own likeness and kind as spoken in the purpose of YHWH for creating the ADaM on the earth, as well as what was spoken in the dominion mandated. But when the Law of God contained in the headship order was replaced with the service of self worship ‘Lust or Covetousness’, the proverbial flame of the sacrifice unto self deification, the eventual result was YHWH GOD’s removal of the tree of life from the grasp of the people of Adam as a whole which resulted in the beginning of death, as the text clearly attributes this ability to the fruit of this Tree of life or lit. Lives:
Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Gen 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Gen_4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD-YHWH.
This statement is straight forward in the Hebrew, it literally says And the Adam handled (YaDO / YaDa) that Eve (את־חוה)she conceived and beget that QUN (את־קין) and said QuN-ITI AISh ath-YHWH / I’ve lodged a man from the LORD.
For those interested, when reading the Hebrew the prefix ATh /את is indicative of personage, and is perhaps in English best rendered or described as that or this, some say the very person: Ath is used to indicate a name, so that the name is distinguished from the meaning, this is why YHWH the name has an Ath affixed to it in this verse, there is no confusion in this text in who is attributed with fill Eve’s womb with this child. And so as YHWH had done to the people of Adam in naming them on account of their look, the word QuN is indicated as a name by Ath-QUN on account of Eve’s conception; names have meanings, especially in Hebrew logic.
QuN-ITI / קניתי means throughout the testimony of scripture ‘to acquire’ or ‘to buy or purchase’ (If you care about the actual reading of the Hebrew text of קניתי you can find this exact phrase in the following Gen_4:1; Gen_47:23; Rth_4:5; Rth_4:9; Rth_4:10; Ecc_2:7), and this phrase like most Hebrew naming is the concept of the name in English we spell Cain, but in transliteration it is QUN and it means to purchase, acquire or buy, implying an exchange, but the root meaning is seemingly referencing how a child acquires lodging, as the word QuN is also the word for ‘room’ as in Gen_6:14 (Speaking of the rooms in the ark). This poetic reference to the simplicity, and the complexity of the procreation. As a matter of fact if one were to focus on the poetic element of this particular portion of Genesis they would see an extremely beautiful knowledge of the union of procreation in Qain, often overshadowed by the actions of Qain by our foreknowledge. That is by looking at this scripture in translation of the names you could read ‘And the blood knew life and she had a child that roomed and she said I have possessed a male by YHWH.’
The blend of Father Adam The blushed and Live was Qain the first Child conceived, carried, roomed in the womb and he was considered a possession from YHWH, He That is. There is nothing in this text to suggest as some do, that this child did not come from Adam, but rather these words and phrases are used throughout scripture for all of the patriarchs to indicate a man handling his wife by physical connection and a child lodging as a possession, and in a sense a purchased lodger in the womb. (If this very direct statement is made suspect to redefinition by some who belive Cain was a possession of the Serpent, as some Jewish traditions impose and Christians follow, to them consistency dictates that there is NO story of Scripture safe from adulteration. Rather this verse, by literal logical interpretation speaks plainly to the creation of a Child: on one hand a child can be looked at as practice in relationship to the mother as the host and the child a guest, thus placing the expense of creating a new life by the miraculous admixture of blood and life, which takes a toll from the life giving mother who rooms her child, yet on the other side the life giving mother does not say ‘I have possession, acquiring or bought this child of my own self’, but that this child which I room which came by YHWH, allowing blood and life to know one and other in a way we do not even comprehend today with science, thus the possession can only be attributed to HE THAT IS Creator-YHWH. And perhaps in the shadow of the darkness of the fall from Eden and from the allowance of eating the fruit which gave everlasting life, the fruitful multiplicity left from the blessing of the dominion mandate offers a form of everlasting or continued life, with the hope to perfect in the crushing blow now promised to Adam and Eve, and thus Eve says I have purchased a man from the LORD in regards to Qain.
And simply in 2 we are told:
Gen 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Gen 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
Gen_4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
The phrase in the process of time denotes the passage of days lit.,and it is referencing a passage that would needs be generally agreed on by the family. I believe from the use of the word firstlings ( the Hebrew the word: מבכרותH1062 of the firstlings H1062-בּכרה בּכורה- bek-o-raw’ –
Feminine of H1060; the firstling of man or beast; abstractly primogeniture: – birthright, firstborn (-ling).
As used here, Exo 23:16 calls this the Feast of Harvest, the first-fruits of your labors. We see the first celebration of a feast by 2 or more gathered unto YHWH in worship upon a passage of days, thus a time of worship in service. I believe this is the feastival we call firstfruits of the wheat harvest or Pentecost in the Greco-Hebraic reckoning of the 5o day count in passage unto the seventh week after the sheaf is of the first fruit is cut to be waved before the altar of YHWH at the tabernacle as commanded in the law, also called the feast of weeks under the National codification of Exo_34:22.
What the brothers are doing here is indicative of the feastival, offering the first fruit of the earth and of the live stock YHWH has given them, all evidence points to this being the first recorded time of worship in scripture in a ‘ecclesiastical’ setting, and that with no record of it’s command or even an inference of YHWH’s word in Genesis, thus reasonably, it is concluding that the Heavenly patterns were established in Adam’s likeness and image as being made in that of YHWH himself who has imposed his Law upon the heart of Adam as a creature, even so far as to reveal divine worship in a festive way prior to any insinuation in writing of this direct law. This is an important part as it shows the progression of law in a degenative decline in Adam’s nature, rather than a revealed constitution of it, that is Adam has begun with perfection in the knowledge of the heavenly and that all was written in their likeness, and that the Scripture had needs be revealed in morality as well as worship and love, the heavenly to be organized and written in to a testimony, a witness as the degeneration of man occurs, As Adam’s folk multiplied in fruitfulness Government was essential. Insomuch as the increase of men changes the way in which all forms of Government must exist and function, it should at all points nevertheless center it’s focus around YHWH the creator and lawgiver as it’s sole authority and powers, yea as it’s giver, that power being first instituted in the family structure seated upon the Divine Order –Law with mercy and judgment unto worship, worship which had been implanted into the likeness and image of Adam originally, and fully endorsed and codified, that is made the code of Law by the letter in the form of nation law to order government in all capacities as revealed by the law of Moses in the Pentateuch, and while this is the earthly image and likness of the heavenly which is the true, Adam in his earthly likeness and image is matched to worship in spirit and truth through the revealed pattern of worship as we thankfully have codified in the National law of Israel. Perhaps some may think this is too much to expound upon in this area of Genesis, but it is the logical progression of accepting the scripture as a total revelation and understanding th building blocks, that is the system of Biblical theology, an epistemology, a logic or knowledge or logic of the written Word.
It is through such we understand how Rom_5:14 says, …death reigned from Adam to Moses…
And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
Gen 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Gen 4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
Gen 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
The writer of Hebrews tells us by the Spirit in Heb_11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it (his faith) he being dead yet speaketh.
Abels sacrifice was more excelent or greater because of Faith, faith which is like what is said of Abraham later in Scripture “reckoned as righteousness”. It was not the extravagance of Abel’s gift over Qain’s it was the excellence of Faith reckoned as righteousness, and this manifesting itself in Abel’s sacrifice, in other words Abel’s sacrifice in the mention of the fat or fatlings and first, or chiefest showed that he was giving his best to YHWH, not that under microscopic inspection his Sheep didn’t have a defect of any sort, but that by faith he gave his most excellent sacrifice he could, and in fact only Abel and YHWH knew the level of faith existent at this reckoning. Abel did not do it for Qain to be jealous, or for his parents to respect him as the better son, Abel did it with love towards YHWH from His heart mind and soul and his strength, in fact fulfilling the greatest commandment by Faith, but not faith which is not seen, no by Faith which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is not s fuzzy feeling, Faith is true trust and belief that in coming to God you believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek him. Heb_11:6 , and this was Abel’s excellence of achievement, as should be ours.
And it is this level of Faith that Qain does not have, notice Cain is speaking with YHWH in a way it is not recorded of Abel. Is this prayer or a thought Qain has, perhaps it is the inner struggle he told his father Adam or Mother Eve of before or after he moved against his righteous brother, he told someone before what we read next. Yet it is important to examine the logic being used here, especially in light of the time of celebrating the firstlings, and Qain the first born is not respected. Perhaps in light of the celebration Qain thought his birth order was enough, that he in fact was there, this again we do not know certainly, but what we know is that YHWH says assuredly: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
People interpret things differently, but it is a poor argument to make that YHWH didn’t truly mean he would accept Qain if he did well, that is by Faith, but if not by true Trust then sin awaited Qain out side his door, an interesting and poetic connection to QUN referencing a room. This by consideration shows Qain to be inside himself, selfish in his thoughts, the language testifies to it, dependant perhaps on his internal efforts, that is his true Faith, Qain is un like Able he is ‘faithless’ and thus unjustified, not made righteous. The connection to the door implies coming or going, and the LXX implies a division or the crossing of a line. On one side is the sin and the other acceptance the line or division has everything to with trusting in the promises of GOD.
concerning verse 4, which is pivotal in understanding Qain’s motivation, the LXX in English says
(Gen_4:7 Brenton) Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.
YHWH in speaking to Qain is making his miss clear, the division or the portion he has given, and this agrees to the lesson from Hebrews.
Interestingly and doctrinally importantly, the word’s in Greek indicate a thing being rightly or wrongly cut is used descriptively of sin, and this is the first time, by name sin (See all the words numbered from G264 – G267 ) spoken of A-Martano, or E-martano or marturia: which out strong’s says ‘missing the mark” as a illustrative way to arrange it’s meaning which is similar to the way YHWH is speaking to can in the idea of division. Yet technically the mark is thus undefined the Martes / μαρτες. Biblically, sin in the non-abstract form is best shown in the use of this root of Amartes, in what is said in G267 of Thayer Definition: ἀμάρτυρος /amarturos
1) without witness or testimony, unattested.
This is undoubtedly testified to from Heb_11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness (εμαρτυρηθη G3140) that he was righteous, God testifying (μαρτυρουντος G3140) of his gifts… Here in the KJV the word witness and testifying are translated from the same Martur simply referring to evidence of testimony, thus sin in ALL regards in understood as spoken of as without witness – A+Maratus unattested, un-witnessed, untestifiable, having the negative particle ‘A’ added to the word for testimony or witness. Thus making it comparable to a false witness, but technically not the same as pseudo-witness, or another witness that is not true but in the sense of lacking a witness, thus the discussion between YHWH and Qain is focusing around Qain’s witness through his gift, that is the division or portion he has given to YHWH in this action of faith.
Gen 4:7 Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.
(Gen 4:7 ABP) If not rightlyG3723 you brought,G4374 [3rightlyG3723 1but 2not] divided,G1244 you sinned?G264 Be still, to you shall be his submission, andG2532 you will control him!
And Again people interpret things differently, Qain seemingly interprets Submission and Rule as an endorsement, a mistranslation for murder, rather than this referring to Qain’s own selfishness of division, Qain chose to eliminate the competition, this is a fundamental error in that it uses another’s acceptance or actions as the back drop of the testimony or witness of comparing one’s own faith and works against, rather than self examination against the faith you first have in YHWH GOD and his Word, thereby if you establish the mark as focused upon another person and not of GOD’s Word, even if that person is righteous, your mark is based on a failed and degenerating image and likeness and not on the very image, thus if one can eliminate the reference point perhaps your second best will become first place. Or worse, you could suppose that by any means possible you have been given right to Subdue and rule, and as the first born son, violence is the best way to affect this goal. Thus
Gen_4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Gen 4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
False witness to YHWH’s face? What a guy. Agin, this no longer A-mertureo, but Pseudo-mertureo and that is the exact word used in
Exo_20:16 You shall not witness falsely (G5576 ψευδομαρτυρησεις / pseudo-martur-e-seis) this is another testimony propounded upon truth, another witness in fact a false witness, thus we see the holistic nature of sin as the ultimate witness of one’s faith in all areas coming to fruit. Qain would have had no need to bear a false witness or a pseudo-testimony if he were not judged by his wrongly decided actions, which by his lie to YHWH knew in himself he was wrong, and turning his answer which is first a lie to a question to justify himself, I suspect, due to human nature and the tone litigation often takes that the next question would be what does being a keeper imply?” either in the affirmative or the negative. But YHWH gives no place, he as true to his perfection in judgment asks the question and answers it in absolute truth and then judgment.
Gen_4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
It is from this verse of the Torah / Law we have our first glimpse of life after death, and fittingly as it is the first recorded Adam to die. It is from this verse all who believe in a spiritual realm or existence after death are compelled to use in explanation, that he being dead yet speaketh, yet this attribute is attributed to Abel’s Faith in Hebrews 11, do men at some point have conscious life after death? While Scripture elsewhere is abundantly clear that there is sleep in the grave until the resurrection, scripture is as well abundantly clear that “blood” specifically, makes “noise” or yells or cries, and in the case of Abel’s blood it is crying, in the present tense according to the Greek LXX.
Rev_6:9-10 …I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Yet it must be said that in both cases inquisition for blood was made, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble. Psa_9:12
So While not making a hard fast doctrine of what this means, it can be assured that what it says is that for the souls slain for the word of God and the testimony or witness they held, who are Faithful and accounted as righteous, the humble, there blood YHWH remembers, and is speaks after death. Is it conscious? or is it blood being remembered by YHWH the beholder after the fact? Regardless, this is the power of the martyr’s blood and the tone which is takes with YHWH.