The first murder in human history (Genesis 4)

We live in a time when everything is changing and there is a lot of confusion about what is good and what is bad. One of these things, which has come to be viewed differently, is capital punishment, or the death penalty. Most people believe that the death penalty should be ended, and the countries of the world, one after another, are abolishing the death penalty. On the other hand, Christians differ in their views on this subject. I am often asked questions in this regard, that is, what should be the Christian’s attitude towards the death penalty. You can’t answer that question simply. That is why I intend to do a Bible study on this subject and as I study to come up with articles on this portal. Today I studied Genesis 4, because it mentions the first murder that was committed in human history, when Cain killed his brother Abel. Let’s see what God’s Word teaches us in this sad story.

1.The first murder was premeditated

This is how the Holy Scriptures tell us that this happened.

 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have obtained a male child with the help of the Lord.” And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a cultivator of the ground.So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part, also brought an offering, from the firstborn of his flock and from their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his face was gloomy.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why is your face gloomy? If you do well, will your face not be cheerful? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Cain talked to his brother Abel; and it happened that when they were in the field Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:1-8)( NASB)

Jealousy and envy were the sin that lurked at the door of Cain’s heart. Overthrown by sin, Cain planned and then carried out the murder.

2.God watches over people’s lives and demands accountability from murderers

That’s not what people do, they quickly forget and don’t appreciate the value of other people’s lives according to the value that life truly has. God values our lives very highly. He who gave us life knows its true value. Immediately after Cain committed this crime the Bible says that “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” (Genesis 4:9a)(NASB)

3.The killer sought to hide the traces of his crime

Almost all murderers, of all times, try to hide the traces of the crimes committed. They believe that they can hide from people, and some try to hide from God, which is impossible. So did Cain. When he was asked where Abel is “he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”(Genesis 4:9b)( NASB)

4.The victim’s shed blood demands revenge on the killer

When Cain believed that the traces of the crime had been blotted out, that no one knew, “God said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground.’’ (Genesis 4:10)( NASB)

5.God punishes murder

Here are the consequences He foretold for Cain’s murder in Genesis 4:11-12:

  •  Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand
  •  When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you
  •  you will be a wanderer and a drifter on the earth.”

Especially the last thing mentioned in this list of consequences made Cain terrified about his life ahead.

6.The killer realized that for the life taken by murder he had to pay with his own life

 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to endure! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and I will be hidden from Your face, and I will be a wanderer and a drifter on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” (Genesis 4:13-14)( NASB)

7.God showed mercy to the murderer

So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him seven times as much.” And the Lord placed a mark on Cain, so that no one finding him would kill him. (Genesis 4:15)( NASB)

8.People do not realize God’s mercy and abuse it

In the rest of this chapter we are told that “Cain went forth from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” There his wife gave birth to Enoch, and Cain’s family line is carried on. One of Cain’s descendants, Lamech, “said to his wives; “Adah and Zillah, listen to my voice, you wives of Lamech, pay attention to my words, for I have killed a man for wounding me; and a boy for striking me! If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times!” (Genesis 4:23-24 NASB) In this statement, Lameh says that he killed those people because they caused him a wound and bruises. The worst thing is that he compares himself to Cain in this crime and expects greater protection from God when he says he will be avenged seventy times seven. He seems to believe that God is on the side of the murderers… Lamech did not realize God’s mercy toward Cain and wanted to abuse it.

Based on this chapter, a dilemma seems to stand out. On the one hand, God says that Abel’s blood demands revenge, and on the other hand, God showed mercy to Cain and did not take his life. In the following articles, I invite you to look further into how God solves this dilemma.

Translated by Ina Croitoru