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The Bible Story of Cain & Abel

Updated on February 24, 2013

Genesis Chapter 4

After Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, they had children. Their firstborn was Cain and later they had Abel. The female children aren’t mentioned, but they must have been born because later Cain has a wife.

Cain became a tiller of the ground and Abel raised sheep. Cain decided to give an offering to God from his crops and Abel gave an offering of one of his lambs. God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.

I’ve always questioned why God didn’t accept Cain’s offering. How did Cain know a crop offering wasn’t acceptable? In Leviticus it says not only a blood offering is acceptable, but an offering of crops was also offered at different times.

Cain and Abel
Cain and Abel | Source

In the Old Testament, a blood offering was required for the forgiveness of sin. That is why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins, but in Genesis it doesn’t say that Cain was making an offering for his sins.

Maybe Cain didn’t make the offering with a right attitude. When we give to God we need to do it joyfully and give our best. If we give out of obligation or the need for approval, it means nothing.

It angered Cain that God didn’t accept his offering. He became resentful and jealous of Abel, because God accepted Abel’s offering and not his. We don’t know what Cain and Abel’s relationship was like.

Afterwards Cain went out into the field and murdered Abel. This alone, shows that Cain didn’t have a right heart. Now, not only had Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, but Cain had committed the despicable sin of murder.

Cain could have gone back and made a different offering that God did accept, but instead he let his hatred for Abel brew in his heart because of his anger and jealousy. When we do wrong, we need to go back and make it right. Cain didn’t even try to make a better sacrifice, instead he killed Abel.

God punished Cain for his sin, by sending him out in the wilderness. Cain worried that someone would kill him in revenge for Abel’s death and he let his fears be known to God. Then God gave him a special mark to show others not to kill him.

God didn’t punish Cain out of anger or just to punish him. He punishes all of us when we commit sin to teach us how to do right. The punishment Cain received seems harsh, but his sin wasn’t a simple sin.

God let Eve have another child which she named Seth, to make up for the loss of Abel.


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