Cain his killing, marrying and death

After the story of the creation in Genesis 1 and 2 we get the story of the partner of Adam, the mannin Eve, to be tempted and getting Adam with her disobeying God his order not to eat from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3). As punishment Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden and knew they would going to die. Adam and Eve by getting to know good and evil were now going to feel good and evil as well and came to face conflict and struggle. They had the life struggle to find food and to protect themselves for weather conditions and against animals because now it had become a battle between them too for life and death or for food.

In the fourth chapter of the first book of Moses we learn that Adam and Eve had intercourse and received her son Cain (because she had received help from the Elohim to bring a man on earth) who came to work on the fields of the earth. Their next son was Abel who became a sheep-keeper. Cain and Abel where then the first two brothers of the first family in history. Man had to toil to sustain himself but also had to fight evil thoughts. He had to protect himself, his wife and children, also preparing his children for a further life when he would be gone. Cain and Abel probably got to learn from their parents how to take care of themselves but also how to worship God and shared the generous idea of offering gifts to their Most High Creator.

In no short amount of time — just 16 verses after announcing the birth of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 — Cain has murdered his younger brother. Cain’s ego brought him to be willing the one in the first place, the one to be favoured by God. Hostility came over him because he saw that God preferred his brother’s offering. His pride came to bring him as far as killing his own brother (in a fit of anger and jealousy).

File:Albrecht Dürer - Cain Killing Abel (NGA 1943.3.3671).jpg

Cain Killing Abel ) 1511 woodcut – Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528)

According to John Byron in Genesis, Adam and Eve disobey God, but their actions are never described as sin. Although God warned them that

“in the day that you eat of it, you shall die” (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:3),

Adam lives to be 930 years old. According to him, the incongruity between God’s words and Adam’s longevity could suggest that Adam was not responsible for sin and death.

The first time sin and death are mentioned in the Bible is after the Garden of Eden — in God’s warning to Cain to resist sin.

4:7 Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” (Genesis 4:7).

God’s words serve as both warning and commentary about Cain’s murder of Abel in the very next verse.

“ And Cain {1 } told 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. {1) Heb said unto } (Ge 4:8 ASV)

Thus, despite God’s warning to Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:17), their son Abel is the first person to experience death at the hand of the first (real) sinner, Cain.

This is because now man had received knowledge from good and evil. In later books we are told that when people do not know what is good or evil or have no knowledge of The Law, they can not be found guilty of the Law.

Cain consequently exiled from the land made in theory that the world’s population would have dropped from four down to three. Cain went away from the presence of God, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden where he got to know a wife, who conceived and bore Enoch. Mary Joan Winn Leith addresses explores the identity of the wife of Cain in “Who Did Cain Marry?”.

Given that the wife of Cain is only mentioned once in the Old Testament, she would not be counted among the famous women in Genesis. Nevertheless, her identity is still worth investigating. Who did Cain marry? Mary Joan Winn Leith first explores the traditional Jewish and Christian answers that contend that the wife of Cain was another daughter of Adam and Eve. According to this reasoning, Cain would have married his sister — one of Abel’s twin sisters no less, according to the Genesis Rabbah.

A different answer emerges when Leith turns from the traditional responses about the wife of Cain and delves into modern scholarship. Looking at recent work done by sociologists and anthropologists, she notes that when forming a group identity, we tend to define ourselves by how we differ from other groups. In the ancient Near East, sometimes those outside of a particular group or society were considered less “human” by those inside of the group. An important factor that contributes to this mindset is geography. People in the ancient Near East typically stayed close to home, which affected their perception of the world. Surely they knew that other groups of people — potential enemies or allies — existed far away, but if they never came into contact with these groups, what did they matter?

Mary Joan Winn Leith explores the identity of the wife of Cain.

Mary Joan Winn Leith suggests that while the Israelite storyteller knew that other men and women in Genesis existed outside of Eden, they did not matter to him or factor into his account. He was concerned with Adam and Eve and their progeny — not those outside of this group.

DID LAMECH KILL CAIN? How did Cain die? This 12th-century column capital from the Cathedral of Saint-Lazre in France depicts Lamech hunting with his son Tubal-Cain. They accidentally shoot and kill Cain, mistaking him for a wild animal. Photo: Cathedral Museum of St. Lazare, Autun, Burgundy, France/The Bridgeman Art Library.

This 12th-century column capital from the Cathedral of Saint-Lazre in France depicts Lamech hunting with his son Tubal-Cain. They accidentally shoot and kill Cain, mistaking him for a wild animal. Photo: Cathedral Museum of St. Lazare, Autun, Burgundy, France/The Bridgeman Art Library.

John Byron, professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary, explains that ancient interpreters were not afraid to change the story of Cain in the Bible to fit with their sense of justice, ensuring that he was adequately punished for killing his brother Abel. One of the most popular interpretations credits Lamech — Cain’s great, great grandson — with killing Cain.

Lamech admits to having killed a man for wounding him, and a boy or young man for bruising or striking him, in Genesis 4:23–24. As such it is said that if Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech will be avenged seventy and seven times. Ancient interpreters believed that this passage sheds light on who killed Cain in the Bible, and they identified the man Lamech killed in verse 23 with Cain.

File:Giohargius Tubalcain.JPG

Giohargius and Tubalcain – Tubal-cain in his forge. Tapestry, Musée de Cluny — Musée national du Moyen Âge

According to the Lamech legend — which was based on Genesis 4 but which evolved over the centuries—Lamech accidentally killed Cain while he was hunting with his son Tubal-Cain. In the legend, Lamech is a blind but skilled hunter, and Tubal-Cain accompanies him to direct his bow and arrow. Hearing a noise in the bushes, they shoot what they think is a wild animal. Upon investigation, though, they discover that Lamech’s arrow has killed Cain.

In this version of events, how did Cain die? Like an animal. Justice according to some may be served.

However, the Lamech legend is just one of the ways ancient interpreters sought to answer the question: How did Cain die? Did Cain die in the flood? Did he die naturally? Did Lamech kill Cain? If Lamech did not, then was there someone else who killed Cain? In the Bible, we will not find a definitive answer.

*

Who did Cain marry? There are many answers. For Leith’s explanation of the identity of the wife of Cain—one of the often-overlooked women in Genesis—read her full Biblical Views column “Who Did Cain Marry?”

 To find out more about the Lamech legend and other interpretations that seek to explain what happened to Cain in the Bible, read the full Biblical Views column by John Byron, professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary, in the May/June 2014 issue of BAR.

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Preceding

Disobedient man and God’s promises

Cain and Abel in the Bible

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Additional reading

  1. Creation of the earth and man #17 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #1 In the image and after the likeness
  2. Creation of the earth and man #21 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #5 Spiritual and animal body
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. First mention of a solution against death 7 Human sacrifice
  5. Doest thou well to be Angry?

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Related

  1. Story of Prophet Adam(a.s) Part 4
  2. The Controversial Woman
  3. Cain and Abel
  4. Who are Cain and Abel?
  5. Cain
  6. Two Very Different Reactions to God Imposing His Will
  7. The Acceptable Sacrifice
  8. The Gift of Cain
  9. Cain’s Rejected Offering
  10. Like That (what about my gift?)
  11. Genesis part IV: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs
  12. Abel Sees the Face of His Brother, Cain Sees the Face of His Brother
  13. What Kind of Offering Did You Have in Mind?
  14. A Mark That Won’t Come Off
  15. Cain Anand Bose,Psiberite
  16. Look after you
  17. In Truth and Action
  18. You Can Rule Over Sin
  19. “Sons of Those Who Murdered the Prophets”
  20. Unsettling Judgments of God
  21. The Seen And The Unseen
  22. Faith at the Dawn of History
  23. Old Testament Lesson 5: “If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted”
  24. Pride Goes Before A Fall
  25. The Next Step
  26. The Beginning of Mixed Marriages
  27. Blame Game
  28. Hidden Stories: Cain’s Wife

Over Christadelphians

Free Christadelphians or Brothers and sisters in Christ, living in Belgium, European Union. - Vrijë Christadelphians of Broeders en zusters in Christus wonende in België in de Europese Unie.
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