Genesis 4

Cain and Abel

1 Adam had sex with his wife, Eve. She became pregnant. She gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the Lord's help, I have given birth to a son.’

4:1Eve knew that God has authority over life and death.

2 Some time later, Eve gave birth to Cain's brother. She called him Abel. When they had grown to become men, Abel took care of sheep. Cain worked on the land as a farmer.

3 One day, it was time for the harvest. Cain brought to the Lord some of his crops as an offering. 4 But Abel brought to God some of the first lambs that his sheep had given birth to. He brought pieces of fat from the best of his lambs to offer them to God. Abel and his gift pleased the Lord. 5 But God was not pleased with Cain and his gift. So Cain became very angry. His face looked sad.

4:4Abel chose the firstborn young animals to give to God. He killed them, and then he gave God the fat pieces. This is the best part of the meat from the animal.
4:5Cain was angry because God was not happy with him and his gift. Cain did not try to learn what God really wanted as a gift. Instead, Cain showed God that he was angry.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why do you look sad? 7 If you do what is right, I will accept you. But if you do not do the right thing, sin will be very near to you. It will be like a wild animal at your door that is ready to eat you. But you must become its master.’

4:7God told Cain that, if he continued to do wrong things, sin would destroy him. God told Cain that he must turn away from his sins. Then he would accept Cain.

Cain kills Abel

8 One day Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘We should go out to the fields.’ While they were in the fields, Cain attacked his brother Abel. He killed Abel.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel, your brother?’ Cain replied, ‘I do not know where he is. Must I always keep my brother safe?’

10 Then the Lord God said, ‘Why have you done this bad thing? Now your brother's blood is lying there on the ground. That is like his voice which is shouting to me for help. 11 The ground received your brother's blood when you killed him. As a result, the ground no longer accepts you. It has brought a curse on you. 12 When you work hard to dig the ground, no plants will grow in it for your food. You will travel from place to place. You will not have your own home.’

4:12God's question to Cain is like the question that he asked Adam and Eve. That was when they hid in the garden. God knew that Cain had killed Abel. He wanted Cain to say that he is sorry. But Cain was not sorry that he had killed his brother.

13 Cain said to the Lord, ‘That punishment is too much! It will give me too much pain. 14 Now you are making me leave my home here on the land. I will be far away from where you are. I will be a traveller without a home. If someone sees me, they will kill me.’

15 But the Lord said to Cain, ‘No! If anyone kills Cain, I will punish that person seven times more than I have punished you.’

Then the Lord put a special mark on Cain. This was to tell other people that they must not kill Cain.

16 Cain went away from the Lord. He went to live in the land called Nod, which is east of Eden.

The descendants of Cain

17 Cain had sex with his wife. She became pregnant and she gave birth to Enoch. Cain started to build a city. He called the city Enoch because that was his son's name. 18 Enoch became the father of Irad. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech married two women. One was called Adah. The other was called Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal. Jabal became the father of people who live in tents and they take care of animals.

21 Jabal had a brother called Jubal. Jubal became the father of people who make music with harps and flutes.

22 Zillah gave birth to a son. His name was Tubal-Cain. He used bronze and iron to make tools. Tubal-Cain had a sister. Her name was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his two wives,

‘Adah and Zillah, listen to me!

My wives, hear my words!

A man attacked me, so I killed him.

Yes, I killed a young man because he hurt me.

24 If someone kills Cain, God will punish that person seven times more.

But if someone attacks me, I will punish that person 77 times more!’

4:24Lamech is proud because he killed the young man. He wants to tell people what he has done. He does not think that he has done anything wrong. This shows that sin has become much worse in the world.

The birth of Seth

25 Adam again had sex with his wife, Eve. She gave birth to another son. She called him Seth. Eve said, ‘God has given me another child to take the place of Abel, because Cain killed Abel.’ 26 Later Seth had a son and he called him Enosh.

At that time, people began to use the name of the Lord to worship him.