Genesis 4

Cain and Abel

1 Adam had sex with his wife Eve. And she became pregnant. Some time passed and she gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the LORD I have given birth to a son.’

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

2 After some time had passed, Eve gave birth to Cain's brother. She called him Abel. When they had grown, Abel kept sheep. And Cain worked on the land.

3 Some time passed. Then one day Cain brought to God some of the fruit that he had grown. The fruits were an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat pieces from some of the first young ones of the animals that he kept. The LORD was happy with Abel and his offering. 5 But God was not happy with Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry. His face looked sad.

4:5Abel chose the first-born 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 is angry because God is not happy with him and his offering. But God is happy with Abel and his offering.
4:5Instead of trying to please God, Cain shows God that he is 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 be happy with you. But if you do wrong things, sin will be like a wild animal at your door. It will be like an animal that wants to eat you. But you must be its master.’

4:7God is telling Cain this. If he does wrong things, sin will destroy him. Sin is bad. It came into the world (and into people) when Adam and Eve went against God in the Garden of Eden. God is telling Cain that Cain must have authority over sin. Then Cain will not do wrong things. Then God will be happy with Cain and his offering.

Cain kills Abel

8 One day Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel. And he killed him.

9 Some time passed and the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel, your brother?’ Cain replied, ‘I do not know. Must I always keep my brother safe?’

4:9God's question sounds like the question that he asked Adam and Eve. That was when they hid in the Garden. God knows that Cain has killed Abel. God is giving Cain time to say what is true. (He is giving him time to say that he killed Abel.) But Cain does not tell God what he has done.

10 Then the LORD God said, ‘What have you done? Listen! The blood of your brother is like a dead person calling out to me from the ground.’

4:10God is saying that Abel's blood is like a person. It is crying out to God to punish Cain for the death of Abel.

11 Then God said, ‘I have cursed you. I will not let you grow food in the ground. This is because it is wet with your brother's blood. This is because you killed your brother. 12 When you work on the land, no plants will grow in it. There will be no plants that you can eat. You will travel from place to place. You will not live in one place.’

4:12Cain would have to travel from place to place to find food. The ground will not let any plants grow when Cain works on it. This is because of God's curse.

13 Cain said to the LORD, ‘What you are doing to me is too much. 14 From today, you will not let me work on the land. You will not be with me. I will be like a traveller without a home. If someone sees me, they will kill me.’

4:14Cain is not sorry that he killed his brother. He did not tell God what he had done. He is not sorry about that either. Cain thinks that God is doing too much to him. That is why he is sorry.

15 But the LORD said to Cain, ‘I will not let anyone kill you. If anyone kills Cain, I will hurt that person 7 times more.’ Then the LORD put a mark on Cain. This was to let other people know that they must not kill Cain. 16 Cain went away from the LORD. Cain went to live in the land of Nod, which is East of Eden.

17 Cain had sex with his wife. After some time she gave birth to Enoch. Cain was building a city. He called the city Enoch because it was his son's name. 18 Enoch was the father of Irad. Irad was the father of Mehujael. Mehujael was the father of Methushael. Methushael was the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech married 2 women. One was called Adah and one was called Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal. Jabal was the father of the people who live in tents and keep livestock.

4:20Lamech went against what God wanted by marrying 2 women. As more people were born, sin came into their lives.
4:20People can live in tents. In Old Testament times, they were made of material or animal skins. You can take tents down and move them. Then you put them back up in another place.

21 Jabal had a brother called Jubal. Jubal was the father of the people who play the harp and flute.

4:21People use harps and flutes to make music.

22 A son was born to Zillah. His name was Tubal-Cain. He made tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain had a sister. Her name was Naamah.

4:22Bronze and iron are both metals.

23 Lamech said to his wives, ‘Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech hear my words. A man hurt me, so I killed him. I killed a young man because he hurt me. 24 If a man kills Cain, then God will hurt him 7 times more. So I will hurt the man who hurts me 77 times more.’

4:24Because Adam and Eve went against God, sin has come into humans. As time passes, sin becomes worse. Lamech is happy 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.

25 Adam had sex with Eve. And she gave birth to a son. She called him Seth. Eve said, ‘God has given me another child because Cain killed Abel.’ 26 Seth became the father of Enosh.

At this time, men began to worship and to praise the name of the LORD.