Cain and Abel–The Blood Cries Out: Genesis 4:10-16

Cain AbelThe LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,east of Eden.

Genesis 4:10-16

We have to keep in mind that before Cain murdered Abel, no human had ever died. Cain and everyone else alive at that time, had never been exposed to a friend or relative dying in the hospital, to a violent movie with a high body count, to a first person shooter game with gory graphics where the goal is to kill as many of the enemy as possible, or to a real life war where the same goal presides.

So when Cain stood over Abel, lying there with dark warm blood blood flowing from him into the ground, Cain couldn’t be sure what to expect. He may not even have realized that his anger would have such a dramatic result. The reality of physical death was a new concept. He must have feared God in that moment but at the same time, he may have taken hope in that Abel’s blood didn’t pool on the surface of the earth but rather it disappeared into the ground which opened its mouth to receive it. (v. 12) At that time there were no police officers, no judges, no man made justice system to investigate Abel’s death. Perhaps Cain thought that he could move on with his life, now without the person who distressed him the most.

Perhaps the religious leaders who killed Jesus thought the same. What a thorn in their side He was, this upstart Rabbi who was so open and honest about everything, including their shortcomings. This One who was stealing away the hearts of the people with His love, His mercy, and His miracles. He was a threat to their authority but now, they may have thought, now that he’s been crucified, we’ve removed this one who has distressed us so. The religious leaders surely thought, “We’ve eliminated him.” The political leader, Pilate, surely thought, “I’ve washed my hands of him.”

Of course in both the case of Abel and the case of Jesus, this was not to be. As a result of Abel’s death, Cain’s life was changed forever. Abel’s blood cried out to God and demanded justice. Cain learned, as we all learn, that we can be sure our sin will find us out.

Jesus’ blood also cried out, but Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24) Abel’s blood cried out for justice but Jesus’ blood cried out “Father forgive them.” (Luke 23:24) As a result of Jesus’ death, the world changed forever. A way to reconcile with the Father was provided. A way that’s available to you and to me right now. (see Your New Life)

Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. (v. 13) Now that the truth of Cain’s deed has come to light we see that Cain is afraid for his life. Think about it, Cain lived in a time so early in the development of the human race that wherever Cain went he would encounter his relatives. And his relatives, either out of fear of Cain or out of a desire for vengeance, might attempt to kill him. But God puts a mark on Cain to deal with this issue.

Abel’s relatives learned from Cain’s mark that it wasn’t theirs to take revenge. It’s the Lord’s to avenge. You and I must realize the same. Though we may possess a deep desire to, it’s not for us to take action. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

A second reason for Cain’s mark is because of God’s love for Cain. Yes Cain murdered his brother, yes Cain has been weighed in the balance and found guilty, and yes Cain will experience consequences for his sin. Never the less God loves Cain. God’s mark, whatever it may have been, served as protection for Cain and helped Cain to endure his years in the land of Nod, which is literally Wandering.

Is there a person in your life who distresses you? Do you ever wish that he or she were gone? Beware of the way of Cain. (Jude v.11) Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7) Cain’s anger resulted in a life in Nod or Wandering. Your anger can alter your life path in ways that you never thought possible. Jesus tells us the way we’re to respond to those who distress us:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

Matthew 5:44-46


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Ray Stedman

C.H. Spurgeon

John Courson

[Image via gabork – Creative Commons]

Genesis 4:9-15 — “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“My Brother’s Keeper” by Ronnie T. Tres Reyes. Top Five finalist, 2008 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office “Isang Pitik sa Charity” photo contest. Reyes describes his photo: “Taken one chilly night outside a McDonald’s along Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. For over a year, this five year old boy has been taking care of his baby brother every night on the steps of the restaurant. Sometimes he lies on the concrete and allows himself to be the baby’s bed and source of warmth.”

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:9

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) Cain’s insolent answer to God’s question reminds us of the same condition of heart found in Pharaoh when he said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him…” (Exodus 5:2) The difference is that Pharaoh didn’t have a direct awareness and communication with God like Cain did. Given the level of direct communication that Cain enjoyed with God, it’s hard to believe that Cain could answer God with such hardness of heart. But that’s one of the consequences of sin. Cain committed the first recorded murder, and his sin had the effect of hardening his heart toward God, causing him to question. Questioning God’s ways is no more rational than not obeying God in the first place. Listen to what God said to Job and his friends when they questioned Him:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel

with words without knowledge?

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

while the morning stars sang together

and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Have you ever given orders to the morning,

or shown the dawn its place,

that it might take the earth by the edges

and shake the wicked out of it?” (Job 38:2-13)

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2)

Lord please keep our hearts tender toward You, keep us from questioning Your will, help us to give thanks in everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Lord, please keep our hearts tender toward others, keep us far from the way of Cain. (Jude 1:11)

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) The way of guilt is to deny responsibility. The truth is that God has in fact made us our brother’s keeper. God tells you and I that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Notice that Philippians 2:4 instructs us to take care of our own responsibilities as well as those of others. Taking care of ourselves, our own family, our own brothers and sisters in the Lord, and also others, it’s all part of God’s plan for you and for me. Matthew Henry writes that caring for others is, “a great duty, which is strictly required of us, but is generally neglected by us.”

The church is God’s instrument to minister to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the old of our world.

You are the church.

Love God.

Love people.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-40


Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

C.H. Spurgeon

Matthew Henry