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Verses 1-16

Cain and Abel (4:1-16)

Adam and Eve’s first two sons, Cain and Abel, maintained a belief in God and presented offerings to him. Abel offered the best of his flock in humble faith and God accepted him. Cain’s attitude was arrogant and his life ungodly, and therefore God rejected him (4:1-5; cf. Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 3:12). Since the attitude and conduct of the offerer were more important than his gifts, God told Cain that if he wanted God to accept him, he would have to overcome the sin that threatened to destroy him. That sin was like a wild beast crouching at the door, waiting to attack its victim (6-7).

Cain failed to overcome his sin and in jealous anger he killed Abel. His taking of Abel’s life called out for revenge from the one who had given that life. God therefore drove Cain into the barren countryside, away from the place where people, though sinners, at least still worshipped God. Although Cain remained unrepentant, God in his mercy protected him from any possible revenge killing (8-16).

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