Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 4- The First Children

Genesis 4 tells us about the first children in the world, the first murder, and the descendants of Cain.

1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.”

Imagine being the first pregnant woman ever. She had never seen a pregnant woman, a baby, a child, or a birth. There were no books or classes to tell her what was going to happen. She had no mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters or neighbors to go to for information.

Of course, she also hadn’t watched umpteen movies and TV shows depicting birth as unbearably painful and dangerous either. Neither would she have had anyone telling her their horror stories (why do we women do this to each other?)

What she would have had were the animals. She would have watched the animals around her give birth and have had some idea of what was going to happen from them. I wonder if she would have been more or less afraid than we are?

She acknowledges this child as not a random act of nature, but as a gift from God.

2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

We just covered probably twenty years in these two verses. Some think Enoch probably wrote this part. Possibly Adam or Seth. Anyway…

3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.

Cain was a farmer so it was natural for him to bring those things he had grown.

Now, only the death of an animal will do for a sin offering. However, the Books of the Law written by Moses tell us that wheat, wine, olive oil, salt, and the first tenth of all farm products were all acceptable- even required- gifts to God. This scripture doesn’t say this was a sin offering, just an offering.

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:

How did God show this respect? Did He send fire to consume Abel's gift? Or did a voice speak from Heaven? Just how was this done?

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

6 And the Lord said unto Cain, “Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?

7 “If thou do well, shall thou not be accepted? And if thou do not well, sin lies at the door, and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shall rule over him.”

God did not accept Cain’s offering because “sin lies at the door.” He already hated his brother and was already contemplating murder. God does not accept our offerings when our hearts are not right. Cain’s was not right. God tells him that if his heart was right, his sacrifice would have been accepted; that he is in danger of sinning; that sin was trying to dominate him; but that he had the choice to “rule over” it or not. He was in control.

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.

Pre-meditated murder.

9 And the Lord said unto Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” And he said, “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Once again God tries to get someone to acknowledge the sin He already knows he has committed. Not admitting it just makes things worse.

Cain says, “How should I know? Am I his shepherd?”

10 And He said, “What have thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground.

11 “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

12 “When thou till the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall thou be in the earth.”

God, of course, knew what had happened.

Some would ask why He didn’t stop Cain, why He doesn’t stop others from committing evil acts? God could stop us from being evil, from sinning at all. But He chooses to give us the free will to make our own decisions. If He stopped us from making bad decisions, we would not have free will. Without free will, we are no more than programmed robots or animals.

We cannot choose to love God- indeed, we can’t love at all- without the choice to not love.

We cannot be kind without the choice to be cruel.

We cannot choose to be selfless without the choice to be selfish.

Cain could not have chosen to be a good man without the true choice to be evil. He chose evil.

God punishes Cain by making it so he can’t grow good crops and so he will be a wanderer.

13 And Cain said unto the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.

14 “Behold, Thou have 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 finds me shall slay me.”

He is bargaining with God over his punishment. He must leave his parents and siblings, everyone he knows, except his wife. And he fears someone (Adam? Another brother?) will take revenge.

15 And the Lord said unto him, “Therefore whosoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven-fold.” And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Some think this mark was to change his skin color and that is where different races come from. This is impossible as all the decedents of Cain were killed in the flood (unless He changed him to green or purple; some color we no longer have). We don’t know what this mark was.

God still loves us even when we make the wrong choices. He still protected Cain.

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

17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Many have asked where Cain got his wife and even try to use this to prove the Bible couldn’t be true concerning Creation, saying there were people besides Adam and Eve on the earth.

However the answer is simple: Cain’s wife was also his sister. This seems horrid to us today because a few things have changed since Cain’s time.

These first humans would have had perfect DNA with no harmful mutations. Disease would not have gotten a hold on them, though they are dying. There would have been no problem with brothers marrying sisters. In fact, Abraham married his half-sister several thousand years later and was still blessed by God. It wasn’t until the time of Moses (at least 2500 years later) that inter-sibling marriage was outlawed. It was OK for cousins to marry, genetically and morally, up until a thousand years ago or so (and actually still is among certain people groups).

Jewish tradition says that Eve had sixty children. Considering that a female is born with more than a million eggs and is fertile for roughly half her life, and Eve probably lived for 900+ years, this is not the least bit unreasonable.

In fact, if anything, it is too low an amount. That would be one baby every ten years for 600 years. One every five or even three would probably have been normal. So she could easily have had 150-200 children; more than enough for Cain to pick a mate from.

And if Cain and his wife followed suit (and there is no reason to believe they didn’t), this “City of Enoch” could have easily had more than 1,875,000 people (at only 50 children per woman), what with Cain’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

Only the first or most important son is mentioned in general genealogies.

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.

The first known incident of polygamy.

20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.

The father of nomads.

21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and the organ.

The first musician.

22 and Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naama.

Domestication of cattle, musical instruments, working knowledge of iron and brass; these people were not “cave men.” They were highly intelligent and civilized.

Of course, with their life spans they had much longer to figure things out than we do.

"Cavemen" by the way, are increasingly believed to be nothing more than displaced modern men. Those who were attacked and driven from their homes during war simply took refuge in caves until they could build houses. They would have had a temporary set back in technology simply because in fleeing for their lives they couldn't carry everything with them and had to start all over.

Genetic tests on Neanderthals are showing that they were just normal humans with rickets and sever arthritis.

23 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.”

The second murder. We don’t know what the “young man” did to so offend or hurt Lamech. Some have speculated he was flirting with his wives, but there is no way for us to really know. It may have been self defense or it may have been murder.

25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: “For God,” said she, “has appointed me another seed instead of Able, whom Cain slew.”

She knew Able was to have been the lineage for “The Seed” that would crush Satan. (Maybe this was why Cain hated him.) God has now replaced him and made sure there would be a “Seed.”

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.

This word “call” is from the word “qara.” This is the same word used to say that God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would call (or name) them. “Qara” can mean

  • Accosting a person met,
  • To call out,
  • Address by name,
  • Bewray,
  • That are bidden,
  • Call for,
  • Cry unto,
  • Be famous,
  • Guest,
  • Invite,
  • Mention,
  • Give name,
  • Preach,
  • Make,
  • Proclaim,
  • Pronounce,
  • Publish,
  • Read,
  • Renowned,
  • Say

We can’t tell from the context of the scripture for sure if they began to “address by name, call for, cry unto, invite, mention, preach, pronounce, publish and read” the name of the Lord, or if they began to “accost and bewray” His Name. The evil discussed in the next chapter hints it might be the later, but maybe no one thought to preach The Gospel until this time.