Posts Tagged ‘Murder’

Why was Cain’s offering not accepted?

January 5, 2010

Scholars have speculated for years the reason why God did not accept Cain’s offering.  It is important for us to remember that speculation is a BAD method of interpretation.  The text doesn’t say that Cain’s offering was deficient in some way, but Abel’s offering is described as being the best of what he had (first born cattle, fattest portions), Cain’s offering was not described in this way.   This of course could be a commentary on the kind of worship and sacrifice that God wants from his people, he wants the very best of what we have, however, it may still be difficult to draw this conclusion because it does not say for sure why God does not “look with favor” on Cain’s offering.  If we’re going to assume anything we should assume that that information was not important for what the author was trying to communicate to his readers.

What was the significance of the Cain and Able narrative?

This begs the question, what was the important idea communicated by this narrative?  I think that the clearest explanation is that this is a narrative about the destructive nature of Sin.  This narrative sets the stage for a long history of violence within the world.  There is pride there is jealousy, and there is murder.  Cain did what he wanted to do, not what God asked him to do (Genesis 7).  Sin is a potent enemy and just as with Cain, sin crouches at our doors as well, but we must to our best to master our desires to do our own will.

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What is the significance of Genesis 4:23-24?

January 5, 2010

23 Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.

24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.

These two verses in Genesis 4 make up what is referred to as Lamech’s “Song of Vengeance”.  There is literary and theological significance that comes from Lamechs words, I will list some of them as follows…

1. Lamech is the end of Cain’s line of descendants.  His behavior as a murderer shows the depth of curruption that had come from the line of Cain who himself was the first murderer.

2. There is a parallel here with the line that came from Cain and the line that came from his brother Seth.  Cain’s descendent named Lamech represented murder, death, and the end of Cain’s line.  But with Seth’s descendent named Lamech the line did not end, rather was the father of Noah who would be God’s instrument to save humans from the flood.

3. We know that only death can come from Cain’s line, because we know from Genesis chapter 6 that all people on earth, except for Noah’s family, will be wiped out.

4.  Finally, there may be some literary tie via the Gospels.  Lamech represents vengeance, murder and unforgiveness.  He says “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”  But Jesus came with a very different paradigm, one of grace in which he says just the opposite of Lamech.  Matthew 18:21-22 says:

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Clearly there is a juxtaposition taking place in the texts, not only between the line of Cain and the line of Seth, but the world view of Lamech and the world view of Jesus.