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Genesis 4:5 - Exposition

But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect . Because of the absence of those qualities which distinguished Abel and his offering; not because the heart of Cain was "no more pure," but "imbued with a criminal propensity" (Kalisch), which it was not until his offering was rejected. The visible sign, whatever it was, being awanting in the case of Cain's oblation, its absence left the offerer in no dubiety as to the Divine displeasure with both himself and his offering. In the rejection of Cain's offering Bohlen sees the animus of a Levitical narrator, who looks down slightingly on offerings of the fruits and flowers of earth; but, as Havernick well remarks, the theocracy was essentially based on agriculture, while the Mosaic institute distinctly recognized the legality and value of bloodless offerings. And Cain was very wroth (literally, it burned with Cain exceedingly ), and his countenance fell . In fierce resentment against his brother, possibly in disappointed rage against himself, almost certainly in anger against God (cf. Nehemiah 6:16 ; Job 29:24 ; Jeremiah 3:12 , and contrast Job 11:15 ). There was apparently no sorrow for sin, "no spirit of inquiry, self-examination, prayer to God for light or pardon, clearly showing that Cain was far from a right state of mind" (Murphy). Yet the Lord does not forthwith abandon the contumacious and insensate transgressor, but patiently expostulates with and instructs him as to how he too might obtain the same blessing of acceptance which his younger brother enjoyed.

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