This chapter is about Cain & Abel. The first human murder is recorded here. That we know of. And it all stemmed from jealousy.
Adam & Eve are officially kicked out of the Garden of Eden. They had Cain first, then Abel. Which I’ve always found fascinating because you’d think that Adam & Eve had sex in the Garden of Eden. But they never had kids. What’s that about?! No where in the bible does it say anything about fertility problems (like Jacob’s wife Rachel) or nor has God, at this point, laid out the “be fruitful & multiply” deal.
So first comes Cain, then comes Abel. It doesn’t give ages to them. At all, EVER! Nor does it say that Abel was born x amount of years after Cain. Abel became a shepherd & Cain was a farmer. This is where I believe that humanity made the small leap from hunter/gatherers to a more agricultural based “society.” Because Adam & Eve never had a mentioned trade, like farmer or shepherd. Like their sons.
After some time, Cain brought some “fruits of the soil” & Abel brought “fat portions” from some of the firstborn of his flocks to God. This was before the rule/law that the first born offerings. And I’m assuming that this would be around harvest time. Because if Cain is bring “fruits of the soil,” it would only stand to reason that it was around harvest time or was harvest time. God was stoked about Abel’s “offering.” Because let’s be honest, God likes his off the top. He likes to get first (& bestest) choice! God “didn’t look with favor” at Cain’s “offering.”
Cain gets “very angry.” God calls him out on it. And this is the first time the word “Sin” appears. “Sin is crouching at your door…,” God says to Cain. The rest of the verse says “…; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Master sin? Yes, you are reading that correctly (4:7, NIV) And here’s where the first murder comes in. And I even argue that it was premeditated murder. Verse 8 says, “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel & killed him.” I feel like Cain said ‘Hey come here. I wanna show ya something in this dark alley over here.’
Verse 9 is the infamous line “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And yes, you are! Sorry. That’s just how it works.
Verse 11 is where Cain gets into some stuff. “Now you’re under a curse & driven from the ground…” Verse 12 follows by saying, “When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You’ll be a restless wanderer on the earth.” Which is kinda harsh, that’s the man livelihood. He’s a farmer. And the ground isn’t going to give me any kind of crops now! Harsh. And I’ve always been kinda confused about the wanderer part of this verse. Because a few verses later, Cain founds a freaking city. We’ll get there. Promise. But no, no wandering.
Now Cain gets a wife in verse 17. Where she came from, who knows? And she’s not named either. Cain & his unnamed wife have a child, whose name is Enoch. There’s a “forbidden” book of the bible named after Enoch. Cain founds a city & named it after Enoch.
Now here comes the fun part. I’ll try to dissect this the best I can. Enoch has a son named Irad. Irad then has a son called Mehujael. Mehujael, in turn, has a son named Methushael. Methushael has a son named Lamech. So Lamech is Cain’s great-great-great grandson. Lamech is Noah’s dad. Yes, THAT Noah.
Lamech marries 2 women named Adah & Zillah. It doesn’t say which one of these women is Noah’s mom. If either one of them is even Noah’s mom. Adah’s son, whose actually named, with Lamech is named Jabal. Jabal is the father of those who live in tents & raise livestock. Jabal had a named brother also. His name is Jubal. Now Jubal was the father of “all who play the harp & flute.” So Jubal came up with stringed & woodwind instruments. Now Lamech’s other wife Zillah had a named son too. His name was Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze & iron. So within 4 generations we’ve gone from living in caves into the Iron Age! And for some reason they name Tubal-Cain’s sister. Her name is Naaman. The bible usually doesn’t just name drop for no reason but it doesn’t say anything about her, besides her name.
And then outta nowhere Lamech says to his wives, in verse 23, “I’ve killed a mane for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged 7x, then Lamech 77x.” Here’s the 2nd murder in the bible. And this really is out of nowhere. There’s nothing before or after saying anything about this.
In verse 25, Adam & Eve had Seth. Seth had a son, his name is Enosh. Maybe a homage to his nephew, Enoch.
Verse 26 says, “At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.” So now we move into the part of humanity where we “get religion.”