Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel: A Tale of Two Brothers by Jonathon Wright

When Cain was born, Eve was grateful she had finally given birth to a “man” (Genesis 4:1 NKJV). Shortly after this, Abel was born. The name Abel in Hebrew implies vanity and disappointment [1].

Why was Eve disappointed when Abel was born? The only reason I can think of is that Abel was smaller. Much smaller than she expected. We can only speculate how much bigger Cain was, but later in the Book of Genesis, there is mention of giants (Genesis 6:4).

Could Cain Have Been The First Giant?

There have been many speculations about the giants. Some have thought the giants were angels or supernatural beings. But I think they were Cain’s descendants. That seems to be a more rational explanation. Cain was, after all, the firstborn of the genetically perfect Adam.

Cain grew up and worked the ground right alongside his parents in the hot sun tilling the ground (Genesis 4:2 NKJV). But Abel took care of the sheep.

What led Abel to find a new career and leave the family’s work in the garden behind? Did anyone look down upon him for not helping or being like his brother? These questions are impossible to answer with absolute certainty. But because of the birth order, we assume that Cain was stronger than his brother.

For a season, Cain was the man of the family, and everyone looked up to him. He was the firstborn big brother. He was the one that Adam and Eve were hoping for. But Abel as his name suggests for a season may have been a disappointment.

Sometimes The Inner Qualities Are Greater Than the Outward Appearance

Cain, on the surface, had a lot going for him. But he also had a major flaw that brought the giant man down. He could not control his anger.

Anger is a deadly force that destroys relationships in seconds. Words spoken in the heat of anger can linger with long-lasting effects. But in Cain’s case, his anger turned to rage and brought the first death in the history of mankind.

The Offering

Most of us know the story of how Abel brought an offering that pleased the Lord. But when Cain brought his offering, the Lord did not look with favor upon it. Cain became very angry.

I can almost hear Cain say, “How could the Lord accept his offering and not mine? I work so hard in the field tilling the ground and this guy sits around watching sheep all day.”

It is hard to say exactly why God accepted one offering and frowned upon the other. But Abel’s offering of the fat portions is significant.

It reminds me of another command that God gave Moses and the children of Israel, more than 2000 years later.

Leviticus 1-4 mentions how to prepare burnt and crop offerings as well as many others. Abel prepared his offering as if he were following those instructions. There is only one way this could have happened. The Lord must have given Adam and his descendants specific instructions about offerings.

Abel was doing things exactly like God said. However, Cain was not following God’s commands. But, the exact nature of Cain’s transgression is not specified.

Afterward, the Lord spoke to Cain and wanted to know why he was so angry. God told Cain that if he did what was right, he and his offering would be acceptable. But when he did not do what was right, he was letting sin control his life.

Then God said, “You must learn to rule over your sin.” 

The Lord warned Cain and tried to get his attention before he made a serious mistake. But Cain did not listen and let anger get the best of him. His rage led to the killing of his brother, which he tried to cover up.

Shortly after his brother’s death, the Lord confronted Cain and said, “What have you done. Because you have killed your bother, you will wander for the rest of your life away from this place and my presence. The ground will no longer yield its fruit for you.” (See Genesis 4:10-12).

Cain felt overwhelmed by the Lord’s stern words and said, “My punishment is more than I can bear. You have sent me away from your presence and my family, and anyone who finds me will kill me.” (See Genesis 4:13-14). Cain wondered how he was going to survive.

The Lord put a mark on him and said, “Whoever kills Cain will suffer a punishment seven times greater.” (See Genesis 4:15). The Lord wanted to put an end to this family feud. Unfortunately, it did not stop.

The Lord helped Cain Get His Life Back Together

Cain left God’s presence and settled in the land of Nod. It does not take long for him and his wife to start a family.  The Lord helped him get his life back together (Genesis 4:16-17 NKJV).

I am so glad the Lord helps us get our lives back together, even when we make a royal mess of things. That’s the way God’s grace is for us all.

Cain then built a city for his son Enoch, and things were looking up for them. This city called Nod was very industrious and became the first major city in the world. Cain and his family were doing well and making a name for themselves. But soon that would change and the tragedy of death would strike again when a descendant of Cain, named Lamech, killed another man.


We will talk more about Lamech, his family, and decisions that greatly impacted the world during this time.      

[1] Zodhiates, S. 1994. Complete Word Study Old Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG.

Click Here To Read More by Jonathon Wright

Audible Gift Memberships

By jonathonwright

I am currently writing a book called God Unusual Plan. It is a dramatic historic devotional study of Genesis 1-9. I hope you enjoy.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: