CloserLook > Genesis > Genesis 4:5-26 to 6:1-4
Previous Lesson: Genesis 3:15-24 and 4:1-5
Next Lesson: Genesis 6:5-22
Listen to audio

MS Word version of Genesis 4:5-26 to 6:1-4Download Text in MS Word

Download Audio
(Right-Click and select "Save Target As")
Streaming Audio
(Immediate Playback)

Genesis 4:5-26 to 6:1-4

We ended last week's lesson outside the garden, and it was there that a young couple raised their first two sons.

I'm sure Adam and Eve would have stressed the significance of their coats of skins as their children were growing up.

For you see, their covering was much more than just clothing.  It was their substitute, their atonement or covering for sin.

However, in spite of its importance, there is no record in scripture that any such covering had been provided for the children.

And if that were true, then no sacrifice had been made, and no blood had been shed for their atonement.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cain would have been a great help to his father in the provision of fruits and vegetables for their vegetarian family.

However, Abel's sole contribution seems to have been wool for clothing.

And because his family had no need of meat, he was never called upon to perform the duties of a butcher.

And that’s about the way things were during their growing up years.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Whether it was by direct revelation, or simply the result of their parents’ teaching, both boys eventually came to the realization that they needed to bring an offering to God.

And I'm sure it had been impressed upon them that this offering must involve the shedding of blood, for as Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "without shedding of blood is no remission."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


So in Genesis 4:3-4, we see their spiritual reaction, and it wasn't entirely the kind you would have expected, at least Cain’s wasn't. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4: And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof

It must have been very hard for Abel to accept the principle of a blood sacrifice, for he had never killed anything in his life, much less one of his little lambs. 

But as things turned out, it was Cain, not Abel, who insisted on doing things his way.

But before we get into that rather awkward situation, let's take a little time to examine these two very different young men.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eve had called her first son Cain, which means "gotten," and no doubt expressed her sentiment, "I have gotten a man from the LORD."

However, as we will soon see, Cain turned out to be a grief of mind to his parents.

God had told the serpent, --"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." And no doubt Eve overheard His remark, but I'm sure she never expected to see the beginnings of its fulfillment in her own son.

However, that's exactly what happened. 

And 1 John 3:12 confirms that very fact: "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother."

Yes, in spite of the fact that he was his mother’s son, he soon proved himself to be the offspring "of that wicked one."

And so we have the beginnings of two very different lines of humanity, the ‘seed’ of the serpent, and the seed of the woman.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now, I realize, that in the primary sense, the term “her seed" is a direct reference to Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, but I also believe it refers to those who are in Christ.

And as you might expect, Satan had already made plans to eliminate the godly line of Abel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the other hand, Abel’s name wasn't nearly as nice as his brother's.

In fact, his mother called him "vapour" or "vanity.”

No doubt the fallen world she lived in had dampened her spirits, and this was reflected in her choice.

However, her enthusiasm for her first son, and her relative lack thereof for her second, was misguided. 

Hebrews 11:4 calls Abel a man of faith--"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.”

And when Christ was upbraiding the Pharisees and lawyers for their hostile attitude, He revealed something that was quite amazing.

Let's look at His words in Luke 11:49-51. "Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
50: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
51: From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation." 

Did you notice the connection here?

"That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world"--and then He identifies Abel as the very first prophet that God had sent. 

And like many other prophets, he would pay for his godly testimony with his life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now that we are better acquainted with these two brothers, let's get back to that memorable day when they appeared before the Lord.

V 3-4 "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4: And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof

As we have previously mentioned, both men must have realized that God required a blood sacrifice.

However, to offer such a sacrifice would require them to admit their lost condition, and that didn't appeal to Cain's pride.

Consequently, he rejected any thought of a substitute, and "brought of the fruit of the ground--.”

But his offering wasn’t a sacrifice at all. It was a gift, a gift offered by one in good standing.

There was no admission of sin, no need of a substitute, and no shedding of blood.

And Cain’s gift was just a foretaste of all the works of man which have been offered down through the ages, and condemned as unacceptable.

Yes, Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly says--"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

And that's exactly what Cain was doing, wasn't he?

He was boasting!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But look where that gift came from. 

Picking around in the thorns and thistles, he had presented the very best fruit of an accursed ground.

And as far as God was concerned, it was a perpetual reminder of man’s fallen condition.

Yes, it was "the way of Cain," spoken of in the book of Jude. 

And it is the way of all the bloodless religions in this world today.

Rejecting any need of a Substitute, they continue to offer the best works of their fallen nature, and insist upon being accepted.

But it doesn’t work, and it didn’t work for Cain either.

Genesis 4:5 "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

However, Abel was different, and his offering was different.

Because he was a man of faith, his heart was attuned to God.

He knew he was sinner, and his offering admitted that very fact.

V 4 "And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now, both Cain and Abel were members of a fallen race, and both were alienated from God by their own personal sins.

However, "the LORD had respect unto Abel--.”

Was He playing favourites?

No, He wasn't.

In fact, Peter says in Acts 10:34--"Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."

Then why did He have respect unto Abel and not unto Cain?

To answer that question, we merely need to continue reading V 4. "And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering."

Yes, it was the offering that made the difference.

Cain demanded to be received in his sin, but Abel sought to be received in his substitute.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jumping ahead in time, let's take a look at the burnt offering, which was sacrificed just outside the tabernacle. 

Like Abel's offering, it was a blood sacrifice, and no doubt the circumstances surrounding both of them would be similar.

So let’s look at Leviticus 1:3-5.  "If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
4: And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
5: And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD

First of all, V 4 says, "And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering.” 

So not only was it voluntary, but by this very action of putting his hand upon its head, he showed his identification with his sacrifice.

Yes, he owned it as his substitute.

V 4 also says it was "accepted for him.”

So it was a sacrifice acceptable to God, and would be sufficient to make an "atonement for him."

In other words, it was adequate to cover his sin.

And I’m sure all of this was true of Abel’s offering.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But there is one other point to be made here.

V 5 says, "And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD.”

So it was the offerer, not the priest, who killed the animal.

That would be awfully hard to do, wouldn't it?

And in Abel’s case, it would be doubly hard, because he was a vegetarian.

No, he had never killed one of his little lambs before. 

But he did it anyway, and by his actions, he demonstrated the fact that he agreed with God's principle that "without shedding of blood is no remission."  -- Hebrews 9:22.

Yes, by faith he came to God as a poor lost sinner, pleading the blood of his substitute, and he found acceptance and peace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  Not the labour of my hands

    Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

    Could my zeal no respite know,

    Could my tears forever flow,

    All for sin could not atone;

    Thou must save, and Thou alone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hebrews 11:4 says, "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 he being dead yet speaketh."

Yes, his life was to end shortly, but he would leave behind him a clear testimony:  "Without shedding of blood is no remission." 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V 5 "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."

When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God had sought them out and reasoned with them, in order to lead them to repentance.

Cain also needed to recognize his sin, and his need of a substitute, so in V 6-7, we find God reasoning with him.

---"Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
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."

In effect, God was saying:  Cain, why are you angry? Do the right thing and I will accept you. Examine your heart; you have a sin problem that needs to be dealt with.

But Cain was unrepentant, and I'm sure his continual rejection of God's truth, troubled his brother.

So Abel, being a prophet of God, probably continued to reason with him on God’s behalf, but to no avail.

In fact, Cain just wished he would shut up.

And finally, in a fit of rage, he did shut him up . . . forever.

V 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."

And that ended that!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But he couldn't dismiss God that easily. 

V 9 "And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"

Adam had blamed God for his own downfall-- "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree"-- but Cain did even worse.

When God questioned him, he was downright insolent.

In so many words, he said, How do I know where he is; am I his babysitter?

V 10 "And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground."

Yes, he could shut his mouth, but not the cry of murder from the bloodstained ground.

"What hast thou done?"  It was the very same question that God had asked his mother.

However, as Proverbs 29:1 says, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

So there was no other course left to God but judgment.

V 11-12 "And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
12: When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth."

The ground, cursed for his father’s sake, had yielded its increase grudgingly, but Cain had prevailed.

Now it would forsake him altogether.

Yes, Cain had lost his green thumb.

Never again would he be able to offer the fruit of an accursed ground to God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

However, he had served his real master very well.

1 John 3:12 tells us that Cain "was of that wicked one," and he had certainly been a profitable servant.

By the murderous act of his wicked heart, he had unwittingly allowed Satan to nip the godly line of Abel in the bud.

But was Cain repentant?

No, he wasn't!

In fact, in V 13-15, we read, "--Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14: Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15: And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

There was absolutely no repentance for his sin, only sorrow for his punishment, and a request for protection.

And no doubt he had good reason to be apprehensive.

Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam "begat sons and daughters."  So it's not too hard to imagine that Cain's relatives would be seeking revenge for the murder of their brother.

V 16 "And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod , on the east of Eden ."

As you will notice, Cain wasn't driven out, as his parents were.

No, he voluntarily "went out from the presence of the LORD.”

And he lived "in the land of Nod ," which is the land of wandering, and as it turned out, both Cain and his descendents got along quite well without God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V 17-22 "And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18: And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19: And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20: And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21: And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22: And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah."

Yes, Cain built a city and named it after his son.

And his descendants were successful cattlemen, accomplished musicians, and skilled craftsmen.

Doing quite well without the Lord, thank you very much!

No, the ungodly are not all found in our slums and ghettos.

Many times it is the rich, the cultured, and the exponents of higher learning that champion a society without God.

V 23-24 "And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24: If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold."

I'm not sure what is involved here.  Perhaps he was boasting about his prowess as a warrior.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V 25  "And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."

Satan had been successful in snuffing out the godly line of Abel through his wicked brother Cain, but he would not be successful for long.

No, God never leaves the world without a witness to His Name.

And to some extent, I think Eve understood that, for she said, God "hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel--,” and she called his name Seth, which means "appointed" or "substituted."

And down through the ages, God has always made sure that there was a witness to His Name.

And, by the way, that's why Jesus has personally committed that job to us in this age of grace.

Acts 1:8  "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me --."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So Chapter 4 ends with the encouraging words in V 26 -- "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD."

Yes, a new godly line had been established.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chapter 6 is more or less a continuation of the narrative concerning the godly line of Seth, and that's where we are going to commence reading, bypassing Chapter 5.

Chapter 5 is a detailed record of Seth’s genealogy, and although it is important in itself, it might not add a great deal to our present study. 

So here we are in Genesis 6:1-2:  "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose."

I suppose there have been hundreds of pages written about these verses, and there are eminent and reliable commentators that hold very different interpretations.

Some believe that they speak of the unholy union of fallen angels with the daughters of men.

They point to the fact that the words "sons of God" usually refer to angelic beings, and that their offspring were most unusual, both in size and ability, as a proof that the human race had been infected by half human, half angelic creatures.

Such a condition would have made the human race unsuitable for the incarnation of God's Son, and because of this, God brought the whole thing to an end with the flood.

This is a very quick synopsis of this position, and although there is definite merit in the evidence, I have one big problem with this explanation.

In Matthew 22:30, Jesus firmly established the fact that angels do not marry.

Speaking of the deceased, He said, "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."

No, there is no equivalent of the human family in heaven.

There are no mother and father angels, and no angelic children.

And even in a human family, it is impossible for children to be born without the creative act of God.

Yes, Eve was right when she said, "I have gotten a man from the LORD."

So, in spite of the fact that Satan would be quite happy to pollute the human race with half-human, half-angelic beings, neither he nor his demonic host have the power to create life, and certainly God would not participate in such a debauchery.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

However, other commentators have taken a modified view, believing that these verses refer to demon possession in the human race, and I think that argument is more plausible.

However, for the purpose of this lesson, I am going to take the liberty of following another very different interpretation, and here it is:

Satan had been successful in eliminating the future godly line of Abel through murder.

There's no doubt that he had the same plans for the godly line of Seth, but this time his methods would be different.

He knew that intermarriage between­ the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain would eventually extinguish any godly testimony.

It would take a little longer, but the end result would be the same.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

God is also very familiar with the devastating effects of this type of intermingling, be it intermarriage, business partnerships, or any other binding relationship with the unsaved.

In fact, as time went on, He warned His Chosen People Israel against this type of thing, and even today, He continues to warn the church against such a yoke.

2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

However, the earthly results of compromise can often be quite impressive, especially from man's point of view.

But then, so was the unholy union between the line of Seth and line of Cain.

In fact, V 4 tells us, "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

Yes, their offspring were "mighty men," and they were "men of renown."

Whether they were physically mighty, as in the case of the giants mentioned in V 4, or simply mighty economically or politically, I don’t know, but certainly the results were impressive!

Yes, a little bit of compromise had produced a great deal of success.

But it was success at a tremendous cost.

V 3 tells us that "--the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."

So, in spite of their great achievements, combined with their great evil, man had 120 years and counting.

And we have also run out of time, so we must stop right here, and pick it up in next week's lesson.


Home | Bio | Site Map | Genesis | John | Romans | Ephesian | Hebrews | Misc |
; Phone: 1-226-240-5485

Material is not copyrighted. Please reproduce anything you wish and pass it on.
~ Lloyd McDonald ~