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-God's Killings in Genesis

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Cain and Abel

Genesis 4

(4:1) "And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived."
This is the first sexual intercourse mentioned in the Bible.

(4:3-5) "And the Lord had respect unto Abel."
God liked Abel's dead animals better than Cain's fruits and vegetables. Why? Well, no reason is given, but it probably had something to do with the amount of pain, blood, and gore involved.

(4:3) "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD."

(4:4) "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."

(4:5) "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect."

4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4:4 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:
4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (4:8) "Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him."
Because God liked Abel's animal sacrifice more than Cain's vegetables, Cain killed his brother Abel in a fit of religious jealousy.

(4:9) "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Quoted by President Obama at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast, implying that the answer is, "Yes, we are our brother's keeper," although Cain probably meant something more like, "I don't know, it's not my day to watch him."

(4:11-12, 16-17) "A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth."
As a punishment for killing Abel, God says Cain will be "a fugitive and a vagabond." Yet in just a few verses (4:16-17) Cain will settle down, marry, have a son, and build a city. This is not the activity one would expect from a fugitive and a vagabond.

(4:14) "Every one that findeth me shall slay me."
Cain is worried after killing Abel and says, "Every one who finds me shall slay me." This is a strange concern since there were only two other humans alive at the time -- his parents!

(4:15) "The LORD set a mark on Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."
But God is worried, too. He says whoever kills Cain will be punished sevenfold (whatever that means). Just to make sure, though, God puts a mark on Cain so no one will kill him. Good idea. But it contradicts the law given in Gen.9:6 that says whoever kills shall be killed.

Until the 1978 revelation to Mormon President, Spencer W. Kimball, black men were not allowed to hold the priesthood. This was based, in part, on Genesis 4:15, where God placed a mark on Cain after he had killed his brother Abel. Joseph Smith and later LDS leaders interpreted the "mark upon Cain" to be turning of Cain's skin (and that of all his descendents) black.

It should be noted, however, that Mormons were not alone in this interpretation of Gen.4:15. Many Protestant denominations at the time Joseph Smith founded the LDS Church (1830) had the same racist understanding of the "mark of Cain."

(4:17) "And Cain knew his wife."
That's nice, but where the hell did she come from? "The Bible doesn't mention any of Cain's sisters. Well, maybe he married his mom, or maybe God pulled another creation over in the next county. In any case, Cain and the mysterious Mrs. Cain have a son (another blue cigar!). His name is Enoch and he builds a city (population 3).

Although the Bible doesn't say where Mrs. Cain came from, Joseph Smith provided the answer in "The Inspired Version" of the Bible, which was his very own "translation". Here's what it says: "And it came to pass, that Cain took one of his brother's daughters to wife, and they loved Satan more than God." Gen.5:13

So according to Joseph Smith (and he ought to know!) Cain married one of his nieces. He doesn't say, though, which of Cain's brothers was Mrs. Cain's father.

Another answer is provided by the Pre-Adamite theory.

(4:19) "And Lamech took him two wives."
Lamech is the first of a long line of biblical men with more than one wife.
Is polygamy OK?
What the Bible says about polygamy

(4:23-24) "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold."
Lamech kills a man and claims that since Cain's murderer would be punished sevenfold, whoever murders him will be punished seventy-seven fold. That sounds fair.

(4:25) "Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son."
Way to go Adam!

(4:26) "And to Seth ... was born a son."
Where'd he find his wife?

4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
4:8 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.
4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
4:11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
4:12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
4:14 Behold, thou hast 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 findeth me shall slay me.
4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
4:17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
4:18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
4:19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
4:20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
4:21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
4:22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
4:23 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.
4:24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
4:26 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.

(4:3-4) Does God desire animal sacrifices?

(4:5) Does God respect anyone?

(4:11-12, 16-17) What became of Cain?

(4:14) Does God know and see everything?

(4:15) Does God approve of capital punishment?

(4:16) Does God know everything?.

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Cain and Abel
Dwindling in Unbelief
The mark of (Herman) Cain: What Mitt Romney believes about black people (Genesis 4:1-17)
How many animals has God killed? (4:4)
What the Book of Mormon says about the poor (and why Mitt Romney should be concerned about them) (4:9)
Congratulations, it's a boy! Episode 1: Adam and Eve
Congratulations, It's a boy! Episode 2: The line of Cain

OMGWTFBible: In the Beginning - Chapter 2 - (Genesis 2:4-6:4)
In which the whole Paradise Lost thing goes down and Cain and Abel take sibling rivalry a little bit too far. Recorded live at the Parkside Lounge on November 19, 2012. Guest: Jacob Hartz

Real Bible Stories
The First Brothers: Cain And Abel

Messed up Bible stories
Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel - The Real Consequences of Murder!

Slate Blogs the Bible by David Plotz
From Creation to Flood Nitpicking Genesis
Genesis 4

The Bible (Annotated)
Genesis 4. Population explosion, all in a city that God can't see.

Christian Response
The Annotated Skeptic's Annotated Bible
But if ye had known what this meaneth (Gen 4:1-7)